PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton
September 9, 2011
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICSNATION": The president takes the
jobs fight to Republicans, with a new ally -- carrier pigeons.
Tonight, Speaker Boehner says he`s open to the Obama jobs plan. But
can he be a real partner?
Terror alert just two days before the 9/11 anniversary. Law
enforcement officials report a credible threat against New York and
Washington, D.C. We will go live to the experts.
Plus, Governor Scott Walker`s plan to suppress the vote in Wisconsin.
First a voter I.D. law, and now we have a smoking gun. An important story
we all need to know about.
And Rush and righties all jump on board the Ponzi scheme bandwagon.
But is Rick Perry leading his party on a road to ruin?
Welcome to POLITICSNATION. I`m Al Sharpton. Tonight`s lead,
President Obama`s full-court press on jobs. Just moments ago, the
president finished a conference call with more than 1,000 governors,
mayors, and other officials to push his jobs bill. Earlier he took it to
the road selling the plan on the Republicans hope turf. Here he was today
with Congressman Eric Cantor`s district.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want you to call.
I want you to e-mail. I want you to tweet.
I want you to fax. I want to you visit. I want you to Facebook.
Send a carrier pigeon.
I want you to tell your Congress person the time for gridlock and
games is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And breaking news, folks. Speaker Boehner says his party
should consider the Bill. Wow, for the second day in a row, Boehner said
the president`s ideas merit consideration by the Congress. Wow. That`s
John Boehner talking. Sure sounds willing to compromise. In fact, he
sounds down right friendly. Just listen to him talking golf with the vice
president last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Seven birdies, five
bogies. So we have lunch, we`re sitting around for about an hour. I said,
why don`t we go play nine holes. Six pars, three birdies, and I missed a
four-foot straight in birdie on the last hole. So the next day I go to Sam
Hills. I shoot an 86.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He`s Mr. Congeniality. But let`s not forget, the last time
we say Boehner his the greens, it was to strike a debt deal with President
Obama. He later walked out on that deal. This is the same guy who
wouldn`t return the president`s phone calls during the debt crisis. He`s
the same guy who just last week asked President Obama to move his speech to
Boehner`s also the person who invited this gentleman to be a special
guest at last night`s joint session. Meet James Planty, the CEO of Pathway
Genomics, a company that makes tests so people can see if they are at risk
for certain medical conditions. Boehner invited Planty to attend because
he said the CEO`s business had been, quote, "hampered by excessive
regulations from the Obama administration."
It turns out that`s not really true. According to "USA Today" the
company used faulty data analysis and fraudulent data in its testing. In
fact, when Wall Green`s learned that the company had no record of FDA
approval, it pulled the product from its shelves.
So maybe Boehner is ready to compromise. But how much can this White
House really trust him to be a partner and to deliver? Joining me now is
Ed Rendell, former DNC chairman and current MSNBC news political analyst,
and Michael Steele, former RNC chairman and now an MSNBC analyst.
Well, let me start with you, Governor Rendell. The president made, I
think, a very stirring and I think brilliant speech last night. But now
the hard work begins. And he hit the ground running today in Virginia. He
is on the phone talking to officials all over the country. What does he
have to do to make this bill pass and provide jobs for American people?
ED RENDELL: Well, he`s got to do two things. First, I agree with
you. I thought he was terrific last night. Not only was the plan good
substantively. Not only did it sort of put it to the Republicans because
each and every component of it is something that the Republicans, many of
them, have endorsed in the past and the president laid that out there.
But thirdly, and most importantly, he sounded strong. He sounded like
a leader. It is to some Democrats it`s been a long time coming. And to
sound like a leader is important.
And I think there is a lot of enthusiasm for what he said and for what
was in the bill. He`s got to, in his tour around the country, he has it
nonstop. Keep that level of leadership going, keep the strength going,
keep the belief that this is important for the country`s future. If he
does that, I think that he puts the Republicans in a difficult spot.
If they say no and turn down the bill itself or turn down most of the
components of the bill they look like they are just being negative to hurt
The last thing the president`s got to do though, Al, is if the
Republicans come up with some good additional ideas, and they are good
sound ideas, he has to incorporate some of them in the bill to show sea
leader, he is strong, but he is willing to accept other people`s ideas when
they`re good solid ideas.
SHARPTON: Michael Steele, I heard that where you were watching the
president`s speech, you slipped off to the restroom so you can stand up and
applaud and no one say that you were doing something that a Republican
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: Yes, yes, that is about how it
happened. No, look, the president gave a great speech. He always does.
He always does. It was great moment standing there in the well of the
Congress, again, telling us what he`s going to do.
Now let`s do it. And I think that`s where the American people are. I
think the polls have reflected that. I think right, left, center, up and
down have been waiting for this moment, for the sides to come together with
under the umbrella of creating jobs.
I agree with a lot of what the governor just said. Republicans have
to be careful here. They have to thread a very narrow eye of this needle
to get something done, particularly with respect to spending and those
So we will see, reverend. I mean, very have been down this road.
This is the fourth or fifth speech, including on jobs, so let`s see where
SHARPTON: What does -- what has to happen? Let me put it that way.
STEELE: Well, I think what has to happen is what the president said
will happen next week. He gets a plan to the Hill for the leadership to
begin to put through the appropriate committees for the details of the
plan. I think that`s going to be the first big major step.
I would also likewise say I think Republicans, who have begun the
process of putting together their own plan, do the same thing, so that the
nation will have a full array of choices to consider along with what the
members are considering so that nothing is done in the dead of night and it
is all very transparent, and it`s all talked about civilly and in an
important way to get us towards getting jobs back on the books.
SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, as Chairman Steele talks about civilly, I
don`t think that that is anything less than what the American public has
the right to expect. But when you have three members of Congress that
won`t even come to the president`s speech, when you have Michele Bachmann,
let me put up with what she said, saying that the president in a speech
that everyone is applauding as a great speech, she saw it as offending the
Congress. Let me let you hear what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELE BACHMANN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was interesting to
me, if you look at the president`s remarks, almost out of the gate, the
president began by insulting members of Congress. I don`t consider the
greatest, most deliberative body in the United States, the House of
Representatives, a circus, a political circus. It isn`t at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, how do we have a civil conversation with people not
attending, people nit-picking it make points in a demagogic way? How do we
get past all of this and reach the level of civil discourse to give people
jobs, Governor Rendell?
RENDELL: First of all, Al, don`t take too much that three people
didn`t attend. No leaders can control 100 percent of their caucuses. It
was more important to hear what Speaker Boehner said. It was more
important to hear what Eric Cantor said, and they were both fairly
I think there a reason for that. They can read the polls like
everybody else. They know the American people are fed up with discord and
partisan bickering and they are fed up with inaction. The president laid a
great case. If he was trial lawyer, the jury would have voted in his favor
in 10 seconds.
And he said, the American people agree with all these things by a
landslide. And they do. There is no question that they want real tax
reform. There is no question that they want jobs produced by our
infrastructure. There is no question they want vets to get job preference
and businesses to get tax credits for hiring vets and for hiring people out
of work for more than six months.
So it`s a great program. Payroll tax deduction, I ask, and I think
Michael would agree with this, there is no way politically that Republicans
cannot extend the payroll tax deduction and in fact make it even broader as
the president suggests while at the same time refusing to -- at the same
time extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. That would
be political suicide.
SHARPTON: Let me bring in, I want you to stay with me, both of you, I
want to bring in Jared Bernstein, former chief economist for Vice President
Biden, now an MSNBC contributor and senior fellow with the Center on Budget
and Policy Priorities.
Jared, I want to ask you a direct question that really kept coming up
and have you done something interesting on this. Republicans say that
stimulus does not work. Do you agree or disagree? And if you disagree,
JARED BERNSTEIN, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER ON BUDGET AND POLICY
PRIORITIES: Well, you know I disagree, and I will explain why, because the
evidence strongly points in the other direction. You can look at the
models from nonpartisan groups like the Congressional Budget Office,
But here is something you can actually do yourself, if you want to do
a couple of mouse clicks on some statistical web sites. GDP brought its
measure of economic growth was cratering in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Jobs we were losing at a rate of over 700,000 per month in January of 2009.
February, 2009, less than four weeks after this president is in
office, he signs the Recovery Act. Almost immediately, the loss rates
under the overall economic growth and in jobs began to diminish and GDP
turned positive in the second half of 2009, where it`s been since, and job
growth also became positive in March of 2010.
As the stimulus faded, you saw both of those very important
fundamental measures begin to slow down. And the reason is because the
economic hole that we walked into was just so very deep that we haven`t
quieted the economic policy that served as a chasm over that hole. But
when the stimulus phased in, things improved. When it phased out, things
SHARPTON: In light of that, Michael Steele --
SHARPTON: In light of Mark Zandi. Let me show you Mark Zandi who was
economic advisor to John McCain 2008 campaign, let me show you what he
says. He says that plan of the American Jobs Act, President Obama plan,
will do 1.9 million jobs. So stimulus help bring jobs. Fading in when it
faded out, dropped. Now you have a respected Republican economist that was
an advisor to your last nominee saying he would add almost two million
jobs, cut unemployment by one percent. In that climate, how does your
party fight this bill?
STEELE: Well, I mean, you are making I think, an erroneous
assumption, reverend. I don`t think the leadership, and you already
referenced their statements. They are not looking to fight this Bill.
They are not looking to stand in the way. Between the polls and reality on
the ground with respect to jobs, they are ready to roll up their sleeves
I think in the devil, as you know in this town, as it always is, is in
the details. Whether you have the economist or governor or anyone else
looking at this stuff, that`s the reality here of the town. What the
president puts on the table and how they pay for it, we still get back to
the same rub, whether you are talking stimulus one or two or whatever you
want to call this, how does it get paid for.
And that`s what the Congress and the White House will have to work out
in the long-term, because, yes, you can inject the money, I can take my
credit card and put money down on anything. But the bill comes due. If
you do not have the cash it pay the bill, you`re stuck. And I think that`s
again, one of the underlying fundamentals here that still needs to be
SHARPTON: Jared, let me say this to you, the president said clearly
last night, that those that have gotten more, that have benefitted more in
this country need to pay their share. He also talked about how we are
going to have to deal with some of the loopholes. I think that he has
already given some indication of where he is going in terms of how to pay
for it. And he says he intends to pay for every bit of this bill.
BERNSTEIN: Reverend, one way to think about this is that the bill the
president outlines last night has a price tag of about $450 billion. The
high end, high end Bush tax cuts, not the whole package, the high end is
$800 billion over 10 years. Once you start doing some of the kinds of
measures that president argued about in a climate where the folks at the
top are really the only one who have pull aid head in this so-called
recovery so far, that kind of pay-for makes sense.
SHARPTON: All right, Jared Bernstein, Governor Rendell, Michael
Steele, thank you.
RENDELL: Can I say one last thing quickly?
RENDELL: I just want to say that Jared said makes sense. But that is
not politically feasible. There has to be a mix of revenue and cuts. What
is important is ten days from yesterday when the president delivers his
And one thing he said, that I think should be heartening to
Republicans is he said he is willing to examine entitlements. And that
will be part of the package, entitlement reform.
BERNSTEIN: Governor, both sides agree with that governor.
SHARPTON: I have to go, Jared.
BERNSTEIN: You bring the revenues into the picture, that`s the
RENDELL: That`s where the fight is going to be. You got to do both.
BERNSTEIN: Of course.
SHARPTON: I think you`re right. I think you`re right, we have to do
this in a civil but firm way, in a civil conversation. We started it
tonight. You see how Michael Steele didn`t cut me off one time and didn`t
scream at me like he usually does.
BERNSTEIN: You sound good, Michael.
SHARPTON: You are setting a civil tone for your party. Have a nice
STEELE: Goodnight, guys.
SHARPTON: Coming up next, new information about that terror warning
from New York and Washington. Folks on edge about a potential car bomb
plot. But how real is the threat?
Plus, the right wing is loving Rick Perry`s Ponzi scheme talk about
Social Security. That`s what they are, talking about Ponzi schemes. But
he is wrong on the facts and he`s wrong on the politics. And we`re going
to talk about it.
We have a smoking gun with Scott Walker`s bid to stop Democrats from
voting in Wisconsin. A leaked memo reveals something that looks an awful
lot like a poll tax. You`re watching POLITICSNATION on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Two days before the 10-year anniversary of the 9-11
attacks, counterterror officials have been tracking down details on what
they call a credible threat from Al Qaeda. Officials say the apparent plot
could involve a car bomb strike on New York or Washington. All day long,
police have been pulling over suspicious vehicles and staking out bridges
and tunnels for anything out of the ordinary.
Joining me now, is Jonathan Dienst, chief investigative reporter for
WNBC here in New York. Jonathan has been working on the story since it
broke. And with me is Roger Cressey, NBC news terrorism analyst and a
former White House counterterrorism official.
Jonathan, what`s the latest?
JONATHAN DIENST, WNBC CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, we always
hear the phrase, if you see something, say something. Calls about
suspicious packages and suspicious vehicles have doubled in New York City
since news of this report. Police are responding. The state police are
now sending down 500 state troopers to help with checkpoints, bridges and
tunnels, as precaution.
The threat information is three suspected terrorists may have been
trying to come from Pakistan to New York to try to carry out a car bomb
plot. As of now, officials have no hard evidence that those suspects came
here, got here. But they are armed now with perhaps, perhaps, some partial
names, some partial travel patterns. So they are trying to track those
down, follow those movements. But as of now, there is nothing to indicate
a specific plot is under way here in New York City. But as precaution,
given that this 9/11 anniversary week is underway --
SHARPTON: That`s part of the underlying tension here, and putting up
red flags is that when bin Laden`s compound was raided, they did find some
kind of indication that there was the 9/11 date to do something.
DIENST: Right. And that why this information, while not super
specific in terms of who these guys are or how they are going to get in
here, you couple that with the overall threat picture, New York has it take
the precautions. Let the public know, make them aware, and also step up
security for a few days as they try to get a better grip on this threat
information. Remember, it is just a day, day and a half old now. They are
running these leads down now. They are concerned. They want answers.
SHARPTON: Roger, let me ask you. You certainly know this, feel
better than most. You were in the White House during 9/11. What can you
tell us about what was actually found in the compound of Usama bin Laden?
ROBERT CRESSEY, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST: Reverend, I think
Jonathan did a great job of giving the overview of the current threat.
What the S&P found in the Abbottabad compound during the exploitation phase
after bin Laden was killed was nothing that spoke to a specific threat they
were dealing with right thousand.
What it did speak to is bin Laden`s interest and intent to try and
coordinate an event to coincide with the anniversary weekend, there was but
nothing in the immediate aftermath that spoke to the specific plot. This
plot came out of information, as Jonathan said, from the very reliable
source over the past couple of days. In fact, up until early last week,
reverend, there was no reason the administration had to believe that there
was anything credible in the pipeline. So that`s why we are seeing this
reaction in such very short period of time. It also speaks to now the 9/11
anniversary weekend and the steps taken to cover it.
SHARPTON: So there has been this credible source that has been right
with some things in the past, but there has been no confirmation. But this
credible source triggered this concern. Vice President Biden, let me show
you what he said on "The Today Show" this morning talking about how we are
probably more vulnerable if it`s a lone person trying to take something up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The lone actor is the more
worrisome thing because there are fewer -- there are fewer trails to
follow. There are fewer leads to move on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But you`re saying, Jonathan and Roger, that people are
making a lot of reports, it`s doubled, and that people should do that, it
is better to be cautious. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a
similar statement really saying that everybody can be part of the process
of just making everybody be more secure by being responsible.
DIENST: Right. And I think also when you touch on what I think is so
critically important here is this informant or whoever is providing this
information to us. While he may have been credible, where did he get this
information from? And that`s the question. And was that an initial
reporting to him credible? He passed on what he had heard on what he had
been told. The question is how accurate was this information? How
reliable was that underlying information?
And that`s what they are trying to get handle on. It is very tough to
get a handle on it when you talk about the Pakistan-Afghanistan border
But in the meantime there are some leads. They`re running down all
these possible travel scenarios, running down names. So they will go out
and conduct some interviews of people who have traveled to and from
Pakistan or they can trace to that region just to see, what do you know and
when did you come back into the country? They may do interviews
domestically here at some point if they can get --
SHARPTON: As this goes forward, I`m sure it is intense and I`m sure
that everyone is doing whatever they can do. But your recommendation to
people watching would be what?
CRESSEY: Continue to be go about doing your business, reverend. The
most important thing we can do is not to be influenced by a potential
terror threat but do what we planned to do regardless of the security
situation. There is an amazing and very impressive security apparatus in
Washington and New York that is dealing with this potential threat.
As Jonathan said, because the sun confirmed we should not make too
much out of it. It is because it is the 9/11 anniversary weekend and this
person reported in the past that the government is taking it seriously.
But we are going to go about our business, because if we change how we
operate, then in fact we have given a victory to Al Qaeda and it`s
followers. We need to think about that and do the exact opposite.
SHARPTON: Those are comforting words. Thank you so much.
Ahead, why Rick Perry might want Rush to stop talking about upon Ponzi
schemes. You`re watching POLITICSNATION on MSNBC.
AL SHARPTON, HOST, MSNBC LIVE: Here on "Politics Nation," we want the
entire nation to be part of the conversation. Go to Facebook.com/Politics
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you. I look forward to hearing from all of you.
SHARPTON: We`ve been reporting on the massive Republican effort to
roll back voting rights all over the country -- an issue that could decide
the winner of next year`s presidential election. Twenty eight states
require you to have an ID in order to vote. And today, we have a key
development from Wisconsin, where Governor Scott Walker signed a voter ID
law earlier this year. A new leaked memo from one of Walker`s appointees
shows just how far they`ll go to make it harder for people to get those
free IDs to vote. The memo says, quote, "Refrain from offering the free
version of the ID to customers who do not ask for it."
The non-free version cost $28. That is $28 to vote. In a public
election. That sounds like a poll tax to me. Yesterday a state employee
took matters into his own hands. Chris Larsen sent out e-mails urging his
co-workers to tell voters about the free IDs. He said, quote, "Remember to
tell anyone you know, anyone, even if they don`t need the free ID, they may
know someone that does. So tell everyone you know." A couple hours later,
he was fired.
Joining me now, state Senator Jon Erpenbach who has been fighting the
voter ID effort in Wisconsin. Thank you for being here, Senator. This is
outrageous. But it also shows that it is bigger than a partisan squabble
with undermining the principles of democracy and voting rights act, in my
STATE SEN. JON ERPENBACH (D), WISCONSIN: Well, you`re absolutely
right, Reverend. There`s no doubt about that. What the Department of
Transportation political appointed staffer has done by telling other DOT
workers who are hard workers and I do a great job and obviously have been
under a tremendous amount of pressure this year in Wisconsin. He`s told
them basically, don`t let people know that they can get free IDs to vote.
And you`re right, if they`re going to pay the $28 to get the ID card in
order to vote, it is a poll tax, which is not constitutional. So that the
entire piece of legislation has been flawed from the beginning. Obviously,
the Department of Transportation is worried about the cost of this thing.
The Republicans who pushed this really hard and Government Walker didn`t
properly fund it. And Wisconsin is going to require you to have a photo ID
to vote, Wisconsin should pay for it. And I don`t care if you are Bill
Gates or the poorest person in Wisconsin, it shouldn`t cost you a penny to
SHARPTON: Well, with someone who is faced with unemployment, or just
trying to make their means barely $28 would discourage you, let`s say, from
voting. And it is absolutely a strategy that I think speaks to an ugly
underbelly in politics today that is being used different ways, different
places but uncovered here by this employee having the courage to come
forward and say what he should be really protected for saying, "Tell the
people that they can vote for free. Tell the people they can get the ID
ERPENBACH: Right. There wasn`t anything that Chris Larsen did wrong
in that e-mail. It wasn`t political. Anybody in state government in the
state of Wisconsin could have sent that out and would not have lost their
job in all likelihood, there isn`t grounds to fire a person just based on
that e-mail. Again, it wasn`t political. You can`t campaign on state
time, you can`t talk about politics on state time. But at the same time,
what he did I thought was absolutely right. In the meantime, Al, we have
170,000 senior citizens in the state of Wisconsin who do not have photo ID
right now. They don`t. They don`t have a driver`s license.
And odds are, some of them were not be able to afford the $28 it is
going to cost. But at the same time, they have been going to the polling
place time and time and time again for decades in their hometown where they
vote. Now they`ll going to be turned away because they didn`t either have
the $28 or weren`t informed about the fact that they could have been got an
ID to vote for free. So, this legislation, this law and what the DOT is
doing, the political appointees at the DOT are doing is absolutely wrong.
SHARPTON: Well, you hit my point, you and I are in total agreement
there, that even with the $28 put aside, the voter ID law itself who
disenfranchise a lot of seniors, a lot of young students.
SHARPTON: A lot of minorities. And it is just something that is a
real impediment. Look at how this impacts. The National Poll says 16
percent of poor, 18 percent of elderly, 20 percent voters between 18 and
19, 28 percent of African-Americans. This is, in my opinion, clear that
this is design that hurts people that in certain demographics in this
country. And that, you know, is James Crowe Junior, reminiscent of his
daddy, Jim Crowe.
ERPENBACH: Yes, and let`s talk about the politics of the demographics
that you just talked about Reverend Al. And it is really quite simple.
The politics are this. The groups that you talked about tend to, but not
all of them, but tend to vote democrat. And obviously, if you are Scott
Walker and you`re looking at a recall here in Wisconsin and you don`t
support Scott Walker, obviously Scott Walker doesn`t want you to vote. And
if you don`t have an ID, the proper ID to show up and vote, he`s going to
make it as difficult as he possibly can by perhaps telling the DOT or
perhaps not, I don`t know, to make sure that the workers don`t tell others
that the IDs are free. Obviously it is going after Democrats and it is the
wrong thing to do.
SHARPTON: Well, I think that it is outrageous and I think that we
need to deal with this. That`s why I wanted to bring on "Politics Nation"
tonight. Let me bring in Chris Larsen, the former state employee, who sent
out that e-mail. Chris, thank you for joining us.
ERPENBACH: Chris is right here.
CHRIS LARSEN, FORMER STATE EMPLOYEE: Thank you for having me.
SHARPTON: What did you think -- what entered your mind when you got
this memo, came across this memo, telling people that don`t tell people
that they can vote -- I mean, well get ID free and therefore get the ID to
vote. And that there was this seeming effort to make sure that people
didn`t know they didn`t have to pay the $28? What came to your mind when
you came across this memo?
LARSEN: I never actually received the memo. I heard about this whole
situation on the radio that morning on the way to work. I didn`t see the
news the night before. And apparently it was on the news the night before.
And so I just -- I don`t know, I just felt like I should inform people that
maybe didn`t know. And keep those that did know informed and just keep
passing it along.
SHARPTON: And so you heard about the memo and you just hearing about
it, felt the right thing to do was to send out information to everybody
saying, people ought to know they could get the ID free and therefore,
vote, with no cost?
ERPENBACH: Yes, basically, I talked to Chris earlier and Chris heard
about it on the radio. He is in the Capital Times that day as well. They
had come across the memo. And then I wrote a letter to the secretary
asking for an explanation. We got the explanation back. Today, Al,
obviously he didn`t say anything other than the fact that well, it is right
there in the form. People should know that. Well, it is confusing piece
of legislation and people know that they probably need and ID but they
don`t know the fact that are just free. So, what Chris did was making sure
that -- and saw Chris` e-mail. And Chris` e-mail was really quite simple.
He just said, if you know anybody who qualifies or know anybody who knows
somebody that could qualify, we need to get the word on. That`s all he
SHARPTON: Now, I see he`s at trouble with his ear phone which is why
you answered. Let me ask you this. What can be done to stand up for Chris
because Chris all you did was really try to give public information that
people could get the ID free and vote and really just give public
information. You weren`t trying to give people a vote, one party or
another, one way in an election rather, am I correct?
LARSEN: Yes, that`s correct. My message is completely unbiased. It
did not swing one way or the other. It was just the facts as I heard them
on the radio earlier that morning?
ERPENBACH: So, what we`re going to do Reverend is we`re going to be
having a meeting with the department secretary in my office sometime next
week. And we`ll sit down with Chris in the department and see what we can
SHARPTON: Well, I would love for both of you to come back and tell us
about it. We`ll be watching this. State Senator Jon Erpenbach and Chris
Larsen, thank you very much.
ERPENBACH: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Up ahead, Rick Perry might not know the moon walk but he is
doing a big time walk back today. Maybe he was watching "Politics Nation."
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: The republican candidates are talking
about ways to transition this program. And it is a monstrous lie. It is a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Rick Perry`s monstrous lie take on Social Security may not
be toxic to the front runners campaign, yet but it looks like Perry`s team
may be feeling the heat. After the debate, top campaign adviser Dave
Carney, tried to soften Perry`s comment saying quote, "We will have a real
long discussion about this, protecting those that are on Social Security
and those who about to be on Social Security. The system is broken and you
have to fix it." That`s not a walk back, that`s a full back flip. But
will it help Perry walk away from the nomination thanks to Tea Party
support or will it cost him the big prize.
With me now, Joe Madison, Sirius XM radio host, and Josh Trevino,
vice president for Communication of the conservative Texas Public Policy
Foundation. Thank you both for joining me tonight. Josh.
JOSH TREVINO, TEXAS PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION: Yes.
SHARPTON: Why the back flip?
TREVINO: Well, actually, if you look at Dave Carney`s full quote
after the debate, it wasn`t a walk back at all. Carney actually repeated
the phrase that the government used that Social Security is structured like
a Ponzi scheme. And if you look at the governor`s actual statement during
the debate, he said essentially the same thing that Dave Carney did which
is that they need to protect benefits for current beneficiaries in the
system. So, it wasn`t a walk back at all, it was actually a restatement of
what the governor said in the debate.
SHARPTON: Joe, didn`t they call this a lie? Didn`t they say that
this system was a lie?
JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, I`m very glad that he said
what he said. I`m glad he said it wasn`t a walk back. I`m glad he said
that he believes it is a Ponzi scheme. I`m glad just to hear that. Thank
you. The reality is that a Ponzi scheme has one basic component, that is
what you get rich quick. That`s the whole purpose after Ponzi scheme. Now
you tell me, anybody out there on Social Security who takes Social Security
to get rich quick. Most people are waiting month to month for their
SHARPTON: And pay as they go.
MADISON: And pay as they go. The reality is, you can fix Social
Security. We know that it can be fixed. One way you can fix of course is
that, one should make $106,000, maybe the wealthy ought to continue to pay
into Social Security. Maybe if they don`t want Social Security because
they are wealthy on their own, they can give it back. I`m very happy to
hear what I just heard. He didn`t back up from it and it is going to cost
SHARPTON: Josh, listen to what Paul Krugman wrote. "Social Security
has been running surpluses for the last quarter century, banking those
surpluses and special account, the so-called trust fund, the program won`t
have to turn to Congress for help or cut benefits until or unless the trust
fund is exhausted, which the program`s actuaries don`t expect to happen
until 2037. You hear that, Josh? And there`s a significant chance
according to their estimates, that that day will never come." This is what
Krugman, noble prize winner in economics say. Does that mean anything to
TREVINO: Well, I`ll tell you this. When you look at what the
American people actually believe about the state of Social Security,
they`ve got a pretty good handle on the state of the system. Gallup last
year had a poll saying that six out of ten Americans don`t think they`ll
going to see benefits. There was more recent polling this past June, if I
recall correctly, that as you actually go down in age faith in the Social
Security system actually diminishes.
SHARPTON: But what Americans are you talking about, Josh -- there was
a poll done this year asking Americans, 64 percent of Americans polled say
that they do not want Social Security overhauled. So, what are you talking
about? That`s over two thirds of the people polled.
TREVINO: Well, you know, I can show you again, Gallup, which is a
reasonably respected polling organization which has exactly opposite
results, it shows six in ten Americans think they`re not going to see any
benefits. And this is within the past year.
SHARPTON: Fifty seven percent Republicans, are you going to dispute
that as well?
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
Josh, are you going to dispute this poll as well? Fifty seven
percent of Republicans say that they don`t want to overhaul? I mean, don`t
you guys get it that people don`t want to have their Social Security
overhaul? They pay as they go. It is not a scheme. It`s not a get-rich
TREVINO: Well, if people like Ron Johnson can win in Wisconsin
calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme and the people like Marco Rubio can
win in Florida of all place saying, Social Security needs significant
revision, I think that`s a pretty good bell weather what the American
SHARPTON: Joe, you say, you are happy about it. So, you don`t think
they can win.
MADISON: No, no, and I guarantee you that 37 years from now, the
young man Josh, who will be eligible for Social Security, and Josh, I bet
you won`t be returning that check. Look, the reality is we know Social
Security isn`t out there to make people rich. It is a safety net. Most
important of all, what is Social Security? It is insurance.
MADISON: That`s what insurance is. Now, if people want to take
their chances on the stock market and they really want to know what a Ponzi
scheme is, all they have to do is look at what Madoff did to a lot of
millionaires and billionaires in this country. That`s a Ponzi scheme. So,
the reality is, that if you want to mess with grandma`s Social Security
check or blind person`s Social Security check or even some members of
Congress in the Republican Party who use Social Security to be educated, go
right ahead and see what happens politically.
SHARPTON: Well, you know, Josh.
TREVINO: Nobody is talking about messing with grandma`s Social
Security check. It`s not one single candidate on either side talking about
messing with current benefits. That is a false implication.
MADISON: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You see, this is where they
get blown away. Look, if it is no good, if it is illegal -- I`m not
finished. Don`t interrupt me. If it is no good, it`s illegal, then -- you
can laugh all you want to. Then why would you allow grandma to have it,
Josh? It is illegal. It is a Ponzi scheme. Why would you run a Ponzi
scheme on grandma?
SHARPTON: And why would you say that grandma didn`t understand that
she was dealing with Bernie Madoff, Josh?
We`ve got to go. Thank you, Joe. Thank you, Josh. We`re going to
have to have you all back to finish this all. Josh, you always inspire me
for the weekend to work harder. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Welcome back. These are live pictures from the World
Trade Center site here in New York where this Sunday, President Obama will
attend the memorial for the September 11th attacks. Later that day, he
will visit the sites in Washington and Pennsylvania attacked that morning
ten years ago. NASA has just released video taken by U.S. astronaut in
orbit on September 11th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK CULBERTSON, NASA ASTRONAUT: I just wanted folks to know that
their city still looks very beautiful from space. I know it is very
difficult for everybody in America right now. But the country still looks
good and for New Yorkers, your city still looks great from up here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I remember, ten years ago, that day, I was in Brooklyn,
New York, campaigning for a local candidate for mayor. When we found out
what happened, and I was able to work my way back to our headquarters at
National Action Network in Harlem, people were distraught. A young man
whose mother died in the World Trade Center lived with us for weeks.
Waiting for the phone to ring, hoping his mother hadn`t died in that
building. So, I saw firsthand the suffering and anxiety. But I also saw
people coming together. Because somehow we realized that those that were
the enemies of the country saw us all the same way.
There was no memo to tell people based on race to get out of the
building or based on political party or economic standing. They attacked
all of us, and all died of all races, of all economic standing, of all
backgrounds. It`s funny how people that look at America see us all as one.
I`m fighting and I hope you are, that we begin looking at ourselves as one.
Treated the same, given the same opportunities. And that we have as much
regard for our oness as those that are our enemies. That`s why we need
America to be better. Remember that on 9/11.
Thanks for watching, I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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