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Msnbc Live at 6 p.m. ET, Monday July 18

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Guest Host: Al Sharpton
Guests: Michael Steele, Bob Shrum, Melanie Sloan, Dana Milbank, Matt Lewis, Michael Eric
Dyson, Robert Menendez, Jim McDermott

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Republicans have a new game, it‘s called cup, cap and crack up. Can Democrats win the game?
Tonight, forget drinking the Kool-Aid, Republicans are drinking the strong tea and it may take them right down the drain in the next election.
And the bomb shell new report said Rupert Murdoch‘s company has paid more than $650 million to make charges of corporate spying and hacking go away. And it all happened here in America.
Plus, did shady Republicans try to use the Maxine Waters investigation for political reasons? That hot story tonight.
Welcome to the show. I‘m Al Sharpton.

Tonight‘s lead, President Obama is vowing to veto what some are calling the Republican‘s worst idea yet. It‘s the so-called “cut, cap and balance” bill, a Tea Party plan that‘s even more extreme than the Ryan budget.
Here‘s the White House --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Classic Washington posturing kabuki theater. You know, this is a measure that is designed to duck, dodge and dismantle. Duck responsibility, dodge obligations, and dismantle eventually if enshrined into law, which it will not be. But it would essentially require the dismantlement of our social safety net, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Republicans are moving ahead with the plan even though American people have already rejected their agenda. A new poll shows 71 percent disapprove of how Republicans are handling the debt talks—much worse than for Democrats or the president. In fact, 51 percent of Republicans don‘t even like where the GOP is doing, 73 percent of independents feel the same way.
Joining me now, is Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, and former RNC chairman Michael Steele, now an MSNBC contributor.
Thanks to both of you for coming.
Bob, do they get copies of the polls over at RNC, or don‘t they care about what the American people think?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, they have a fundamental dilemma, Al. And that is that people like McConnell and people like Boehner understand that this is now becoming a real political problem and that they can back themselves into a box canyon that they can‘t get out of. So they are looking for way out.
Boehner was willing to do a grand bargain with the president. Whether it be $4 trillion of cuts, some revenue enhancements spread out over the next 10 years, he ran into terrible trouble with his own caucus, and with a possibility after a coup from Eric Cantor, who reminds me increasingly of that line from Shakespeare—he has a lean and hungry look. And what he‘s looking for is to be speaker.
So, if we‘re going to go through these symbolic votes this week to satisfy the Tea Party. It‘s going to pass the House with Republican votes. It may or may not pass the Senate, although I think it won‘t. If it passes the Senate and the president will veto it, it won‘t be overridden. The veto can‘t be overridden.
And then I suspect that we fall back to the McConnell plan slightly modified by what Harry Reid has been suggesting, which is --
SHARPTON: But before we go back to the Harry Reid thing, Michael Steele, let‘s get serious. We are talking about very serious things here.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I think we need to take the gloves off now and really talk real to the American people. We are talking about people that need Social Security. We‘re talking about people that need Medicaid and Medicare. This is not academic talk. This is not—this is real life.
And the American people, in every poll, is saying they don‘t want to see this.
When will someone in the Republican Party stand up like Bob Dole stood up, in a situation like this, in the ‘90s and say to the extremists, wait a minute, “This is crazy”? I mean, there‘s an article in “Newsweek” saying, come on, where‘s—it makes you miss Bob Dole. Is there any spine, anywhere in the Republican leadership?
STEELE: Al, that‘s a very dramatic question. But it belies the reality --
SHARPTON: Well, give me a dramatic answer.
STEELE: Well, I‘m about to. This is actually boring and mundane because it goes back to the basic points that have been since the beginning of this thing, going back over a year now, and that is that the people fundamentally want the government to reform spending behavior. That is at the crux of this whole thing. You talk about Social Security whether it is an Obama plan, or a Reid plan or Ryan plan, as if it is somehow impacted within the next 24 hours should one of those plans be passed.
The reality of it is, you‘re talking about the future of the structure of those, you know, events and those particular projects and programs, and how they wind up spending money going into the future. It‘s not necessarily about right now.
The right now is our current deficit and our current debt that the country wants us to deal with. And I think you‘re going to see an interesting shift here. Bob touched on something just a moment ago about Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell.
(CROSSTALK)
SHARPTON: No, no, you are you‘re giving me --
STEELE: Wait, I will let you finish—let me finish—let me finish my point then you can ask your question—
SHARPTON: I will let your point if you will answer my question. I didn‘t ask you to give a tour of what you and Bob and all of the political pundits think.
STEELE: I‘m not giving you a tour, Al, the facts are the facts.
(CROSSTALK)
SHARPTON: -- and deal with these extremists that are putting an amendment vote on that American people don‘t want? That was my question.
STEELE: Well, the question is, is a speechless question. I can site you polls where the American people support what Republicans are doing. So, that doesn‘t mean anything.
The fact of the matter is that Republican leadership and members of Congress who are elected in November came with a specific agenda. There‘s no secret what that agenda was. It was to deal with and cut the spending of this government, period.
(CROSSTALK)
SHARPTON: The agenda was they promised the American people jobs.
They promised the American people jobs.
Let me show you something, Mr. Steele. Look at this poll. Here‘s a poll that says that if we have a balanced budget amendment with cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, 63 percent oppose it.
STEELE: Right.
SHARPTON: Only 31 percent are for it. You know whose poll that is?
FOX News.
STEELE: That‘s fine.
SHARPTON: This is FOX News. This is your spokespeople poll saying that two to one, people don‘t want to. So, you‘ve got polls that contradict your own --
STEELE: Al, my point on the poll says --
SHARPTON: Give me a real answer here. Why are you guys allowing the extremists—look at—
STEELE: I can‘t answer the question. You keep talking.
SHRUM: Al, if he doesn‘t answer the question, I will.
SHARPTON: I want an answer to my question.
STEELE: I‘m not giving you a detour. You just don‘t like the answer I‘m giving you.
SHRUM: The answer you are giving Michael is wrong. The answer you are giving is wrong. It‘s wrong. If we don‘t pass an increase—if we don‘t pass an increase in the debt limit, we either default on our obligations --
SHARPTON: No question.
SHRUM: -- which causes global depression or number of show, we need 44 percent cut in some of these fundamental federal programs. You say the Ryan program, we can wait on that, it‘s not going to hurt people.
(CROSSTALK)
SHRUM: People 55, people—the president‘s proposed a whole series of cuts. You can make Medicare --
STEELE: Name one.
SHRUM: I‘ll give you one. I‘ll give you one. You can go to the drug companies and you can say, let‘s negotiate on prices. I think we‘d save hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years.
STEELE: Didn‘t we cut half billion out of Medicare last year?
SHRUM: We didn‘t cut any benefit. That‘s another Republican lie.
STEELE: Yes, we did.
SHRUM: We didn‘t cut any benefits. No, we reformed the process by which we provide money. You sit there and say there are a lot of polls.
Name one poll. Name one poll that shows people
(CROSSTALK)
SHARPTON: Name one poll. Name one. Name the poll. One. One, two,
three -
STEELE: There are Zogby polls, there are “USA Today” polls --
(CROSSTALK)
SHARPTON: The poll that I cited was on this amendment. Let‘s not
play games here now. Cutting down Social Security , cutting down Medicare
--

(CROSSTALK)
STEELE: -- Washington, Al, and can‘t find a poll that you like --
SHARPTON: I‘m asking you to find a poll—
SHRUM: Michael, this is ridiculous.
STEELE: You have the Medicare under the Ryan plan. Every senior --
(CROSSTALK)
SHRUM: We are having a conversation about nothing. You are having a conversation about nothing right now. We are having a conversation about nothing because the Republicans are running a symbolic game on the country when we‘re in danger of default.
SHARPTON: All right. Michael, let me ask you this --
SHRUM: Ronald Reagan raised the debt over and over and over again. Today‘s Republicans in the House are Reaganites in name only. And that‘s why 70 percent of people disapprove of what they are doing.
STEELE: And President Obama voted against raising the debt.
SHRUM: Yes, and he shouldn‘t have. But he cast the vote.
STEELE: What‘s your point?
SHRUM: It‘s easy to reconcile. He cast the vote when it was purely symbolic, when the debt. This is not purely symbolic. We could be heading for a train wreck. The Wall Street, economists, Howard Baker, the former Republican Senate majority leader saying this is a disaster. We can‘t go down this road.
(CROSSTALK)
SHARPTON: Bob, let me ask my --
SHRUM: It was a posturing vote, yes.
SHARPTON: Let me ask Michael this question because I‘m really trying to get to you deal with the issue you don‘t want to deal with.
STEELE: What do you want to deal with, Al?
SHARPTON: You‘re calling this vote on a balanced budget amendment and you talked about every poll that the Republicans are doing but you won‘t deal with this vote this week. Is it because, maybe, just maybe, the Republicans have overplayed their hands? I mean, I‘m reading the op-ed case that Douthat wrote this morning in the “New York Times” where he said, y‘all were winning. Y‘all had it. And you had no end game.
You came in, you had a great first three rounds strategy, but you didn‘t know what to do, because once the fight kept going, you had no strategy if you didn‘t win a knock-out.
To win—let me finish. To win the end game, Republicans need something they were willing to conceive. Their inability to make even symbolic concessions has turned a winning hand into a losing one. That‘s what dole understood. Y‘all don‘t understand how to win at the end. That‘s what I‘m raising to you, Michael.
STEELE: Al, on that point, which is—I would not have a disagreement with you, necessarily. I think that the messaging has been off. I think that arguments that have been profited by the leadership have stepped on each other. Whether it‘s, you know, Boehner or McConnell or McConnell on Ryan or whom ever. So there has not been the kind of strategic coordination, particularly rolling out big plans like the Ryan plan, and making big proposals as you have seen by the GOP. So I will absolutely concede that from a strategic messaging point, yes, the party has been off point a bit. It doesn‘t, however, take away from the underlying argument that country wants us to do something about spending.
And, al, I‘ve said this from the beginning --
(CROSSTALK)
SHARPTON: A balanced budget amendment is not it. Do you realize that if you had—just a minute. I let you finish.
(CROSSTALK)
SHARPTON: Let me raise this point. Do you realize Michael that if you had a balanced budget amendment that Ronald Reagan, with his budget illegal eight times, that George Bush would have been illegal eight times? That Michael—that Bill Clinton would have been illegal twice. Even the Ryan budget doesn‘t fit this.
I mean, come on. When do you guys understand that this is totally wacky?
STEELE: that‘s the point. That‘s why those members want that constitutional revision put in place so we do not have the spending that occurred on both Republican and Democratic administrations over the past 15 to 20 years. I mean, these individuals ran on this—this was their platform. This is what their constituency wanted from them. They come to Washington. They‘ve made the case. And they blew it.
SHRUM: Al, Al, Al --
SHARPTON: Bob, I‘ve got to go.
SHRUM: Their constituent didn‘t want this.
(CROSSTALK)
SHRUM: Let me tell you what --
STEELE: Thank you, Bob --
SHARPTON: Bob Shrum, thank you. Michael Steele, thank you so much for joining me.
Ahead: an explosive report on the Rupert Murdoch story that blows the whistle on hacking here in the United States.
Plus, Michele Bachmann‘s mainstream makeover won‘t fly here. Why did she leave her church of 10 years right before announcing?
And gospel singer slash presidential candidate, Herman Cain, sings about being kind an compassionate. So, why is he talking about banning mosques? That‘s the con job for today, ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SHARPTON: Could the House Ethics Committee investigation of Congresswoman Maxine Waters be tainted? There are some shady things going on with lawyers and Republicans. Melanie Sloan wants some answers. That‘s next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SHARPTON: The House Ethics Committee today is airing some new dirty laundry. Except this time, it‘s their own. Democratic Representative Maxine Waters is facing ethics charges for helping secure bailout funds for a bank that had links to her husband. When the scandal first broke, the Republicans were all over it, claiming the high moral ground.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I‘ve had to bring my members in from time to time, and had serious conversations with them. And so, it‘s part of what I‘ve been trying to do to hold my members to a higher standard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But today, leaked memos obtained by “Politico” show two committee lawyers were illegally sharing information about the case with Republican lawmakers. Now, a watch dog group is calling for an investigation into the ethics of the House Ethics Committee, saying, quote, “The two lead attorneys handling the Waters investigation reached confidentially—breached confidentiality by providing confidential material to those not authorized to view it.”
Joining me now is Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens of Responsibility and Ethics in Washington—the group that‘s calling for this investigation.
Ms. Sloan, thank you for joining us tonight.
MELANIE SLOAN, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON:
Thanks for having me.
SHARPTON: Now, why are you calling this investigation? And let me make it clear, you have also been critical of Congresswoman Waters. So, this is not that you have not come right down the middle in terms of the issues at hand here.
SLOAN: That‘s right. In fact, there are very few groups who have been as critical of Representative Waters over the years as we have, including over this very factual scenario. But that said, Ms. Waters was entitled to the fool and accurate investigation handled by the ethics committee in a nonpartisan fashion.
This is the one committee in Congress that is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans and it‘s supposed to act in a nonpartisan passion. And, yet, here, we‘ve seen allegations that the investigation into Representative Waters is irretrievably tainted by a committee staff who were sharing information improperly, confidential information with members and staff not authorized to see it. And they were improperly accessing computers.
And basically, the investigation is completely tainted by this. It seems that Ms. Waters also may not have been given all the evidence that she was supposed to have been given.
SHARPTON: You have given me a whole lot here. Now, I want it walk through this.
SLOAN: Sure.
SHARPTON: You are saying it appears now, based on what has become public, that the investigation was compromised because they were sharing confidential information with Republican members that were not supposed to see this. So, I would assume this is for political purposes.
SLOAN: That certainly is the allegation, that the committee investigation was tainted by politics, and that there were Republicans who had—were really out to get Ms. Waters and that they were using the staffers and staffers were helping assist them in this task. Now, let me just say, there were also counter allegations by some of the same staff members who lost their jobs or they were put on administrative leave at the time that the chief council of the committee was, in fact, doing his best to protect Democrats.
But given all these back-and forth-allegations, clearly what we need is an outside investigation of the ethics committee itself. The ethics committee is a mess. It‘s been known to be a mess for many years but never to this level.
(CROSSTALK)
SHARPTON: At the same time, you are also saying—you are saying there are allegations about the Democrats but you also said there are allegations that the Republicans withheld some of the evidence to Ms. Waters lawyers, so that she could properly defend herself. In fact, her lawyer released this statement. I want you to see this afternoon.
“The committee,” this is her lawyer‘s statement, “The committee was driven to bring a flawed case and ignore committee rules imposed to ensure fairness and due process. The only remedy is immediate dismissal with prejudice. No other remedy exists to cure this misconduct.”
And that‘s from Stan Brand, attorney for Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
How can an ethics committee have an ethics inquiry and do it using questionable and unethical behavior?
SLOAN: Well, it can‘t. And clearly, that‘s the point. And Mr. Brand is right that the ethics process and the investigation into Ms. Waters is tainted beyond any ability to use that material. I think that the committee must dismiss the case it has in front of it. I think it‘s possible that committee could start fresh with outside council and reconsider from the very beginning, from the date the matter was first referred by the office of congressional ethics.
But there‘s the question that the case, as it currently exists, before that ethics committee can‘t go forward. And, in fact, not only is there problems with that case now requiring an outside counsel, but the speaker and the minority leader need to appoint another outside council simply to conduct an investigation of the ethics committee because no member or any member of the public can, in fact, have confidence in anything that comes out of the committee given this state of affairs.
SHARPTON: Well, this is the kind of thing that makes people that have confidence in Washington. And one level, you are accusing a member of Congress of some corruption. At another level, we are finding out the committee is compromised and possible political motivation. I mean, it is an absolute reason for the distrust. Well, at least I must say that you guys have been on this one, straight down the middle, not fans of Ms. Waters. In fact, critics would say, fair is fair.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, thank you for your time this evening.
SLOAN: Thanks.
SHARPTON: Ahead, Rick Perry says he‘s got a calling, a calling, to run for president. We‘ll find out what that‘s all about.
And presidential candidate Herman Cain sings about salvation for all. So why is he talking about banning mosques? We are going to reveal the Cain gospel con job, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SHARPTON: GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain keeps discriminating against Muslims. But he‘s used to singing a tune about compassion. That‘s our con job of the day.
Yesterday, Cain claimed that Americans should have the right to ban mosques in their community. This isn‘t the first --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: You are saying that any community, if they want to ban a mosque?
HERMAN CAIN ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, they have the right to do that.
WALLACE: Are you willing to restrict people because of their religion?
CAIN: I‘m willing to take a harder look at people that might be terrorists. That‘s what I‘m saying. I‘m simply saying, I owe it to the American people to be cautious because terrorists are trying to kill us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Cain‘s gone off the deep end against Islam back in March.
He said he wouldn‘t appoint Muslims to his administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be comfortable appointing a Muslim to your cabinet or as a federal judge?
CAIN: No. I will not. There‘s this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government.
Cain wasn‘t always so mean-spirited. It turned out that 15 years ago, Mr. Cain recorded a gospel album. On it, he sings songs like this “This is the Day,” “My Soul is Anchored,” “Heaven” and” Hallelujah Square.” In that album, he sings about salvation.
(BEGIN MUSIC CLIP)
CAIN (singing): I‘ll all my friends in hallelujah square, what a wonderful time we‘ll all have up there.
(END MUSIC CLIP)
SHARPTON: When I was growing up, I learned another gospel song. It‘s called, “He‘s got the whole world in his hands.” Not just one part of the world. That‘s like me. But the whole world. Herman Cain should have learned to sing that one too. Herman Cain says, he cares about his fellow man. But he sounds like a broken record when it comes to equal rights. And that‘s our con job of the day.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SHARPTON: Welcome back to the show. Now to discuss some of today‘s biggest political stories, we bring on our power panel. Joining me now, Georgetown University professor and MSNBC political analyst, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. Dana Milbank, columnist and national political correspondent for The Washington Post and finally Matt Lewis, senior contributor for The Daily Caller.
First question, instead of drinking the Kool-aid, are Republicans drinking tea on the debt crisis? House leaders are wasting time with Tea Parties cut, cap and balance bill even though it has no chance of passing the Senate or getting signed by President Obama. Dana, the clock is ticking toward the default. Are the Republicans fiddling while Rome is burning here?
DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, yes, Reverend they are. But sometimes a little bit of fiddling is necessary here. The Republicans, particularly the House Republicans, really need a way out of this corner that they have backed themselves into. So, what‘s happening tomorrow in this debate, yes, everybody knows nothing is going to come of it. But it could be a catharsis. It could be a way for the House Republicans to say, look here, we‘ve got our marker in the ground. This is what we are trying to do. We couldn‘t get it done.
All right. Let‘s sneak in this little deal that‘s been negotiated over in the Senate. I think, you will see, I was just over looking down on the Senate floor. And you saw Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell walk off for a private talk. You kind of get the sense that they know they‘re going to work this out. You just got to let the House Republicans get it out of their system.
SHARPTON: Well, Matt, you saw the walk-off of the Senate floor as Dana just talked about with McConnell and Reid. We are hearing that Boehner went to the White House Sunday with Eric Canton, talked to the president. I mean, are we just playing to the extremists with theatrics tomorrow and they have already thrown in the towel? What‘s going on, Matt? What‘s your side of the aisle here?
MATT LEWIS, THE DAILY CALLER: I don‘t think so. Look, I mean, I think this is part of democracy. And I think that Republicans, the House tomorrow will pass, cut, cap and balance. And then it will go to the Senate. If this Senate passes it, let‘s see if Barack Obama vetoes raising the debt limit. If the Senate rejects it, I think both sides actually in a way will benefit. Because both sides would have appeased their base and then they can compromise. I don‘t think any compromise will involve raising taxes but I do think that there may be some middle ground and hopefully we can raise the debt ceiling and also cut spending which if think is the perfect solution.
SHARPTON: Dr. Dyson, people are out looking at us right now, worried about their Social Security. Worried about their medical care, with Medicaid and Medicare. I mean, while we‘re going through all of these appeasing different political sides, what about the people and where will this end up at the end of the day in terms of the real needs of the American citizens? That‘s the question.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: That‘s a great point, Reverend Sharpton. And people are acting as if they are oblivious to the concern of the masses. As you have said, you know, let them eat cake and tea. Tea and cake. The reality is that this concession to the far right, maybe as Mr. Milbank said, something that is, you know, violently necessary so that people can appeal to their bases and at the end of the day, say, look, we showed our strength. Now, let‘s go and get the business done. If Reid and McConnell are cutting deals behind the scene. So, it‘s much to do about nothing. But you know what fascinates me even more Reverend Sharpton? Is the fact that Standard and Poor‘s said that they will going to cut the AAA rating of America. Now, all of America feels what it likes to be poor. The nation itself is like somebody who‘s got bad credit as a result of having hard times. And so, I think we should be paying greater attention to that and what that signifies to the world about what we able to do to follow through on the promises we make, on the capital we have.
SHARPTON: Now, Matt. Let me ask you another question. Turn the page a minute. I‘m a minister and Dr. Dyson‘s a minister but maybe you have a connection I don‘t have. Is Rick Perry the divine choice in the GOP race? I mean, this weekend, the Texas governor told the Des Moines register, he was thinking about getting into the race saying, quote, “I‘m getting more and more comfortable everyday that this is what I‘ve been called to do. This is what America needs.” Matt, is Rick Perry the GOP savior waiting in the wings?
LEWIS: Well, he might be, ironically. But now, look, I don‘t think this is really that far out of the mainstream here. I think that you know, it‘s pretty mainstream within the Christian faith to believe that we are all in a ministry, in a sense. Whether you are a plumber, or a banker or a doctor, you are sort of serving your calling. I don‘t think this means that God says that Rick Perry is going to win. But if you are a public servant, I mean, look, I think it is even part of mainstream language. You know, he is answering his calling. So, I don‘t think this is really some weird fringy thing. I think this is pretty mainstream.
SHARPTON: I‘m not at all, I think all of us have a calling. But then the bible also talks us about you will be judged by your works. And Dana, among the works that we‘ve seen from Governor Perry as he talked at one point about succeeding from the union. We have heard a lot of his works that he is going to have to answer if he enters the race. Yet, he is already ranking number three on some polls so there seems to be some people that want to see him come in.
MILBANK: Right. Yes. I don‘t know if Rick Perry was called or not. But what I do know is that Republican Party right now needs some divine intervention to try to get this—to get this primary field in shape. They should have this golden opportunity to go after the president in this weak economy but they don‘t have quite the perfect candidate. And a lot of people are hoping that Rick Perry is that. In large part, that‘s because he is unknown in the same way, well maybe it was Chris Christie or Mr. Daniels wants something other than that.
But of course, when you get into it and once Rick Perry enters the race, yes, then they will start talking about succession, about his campaigns against, you know, salt restrictions and light bulbs, you know, they‘ll get into say, well, really, is the economy been as good as all that in Texas during his many years. There is a long record. Longest serving governor. A lot of things to unpack there. He looks very attractive now because nobody‘s done that due diligence.
SHARPTON: Now, Dr. Dyson, Governor Perry‘s also called a prayer meeting of conservative clergymen and saying that we must pray for America. You think he is going to go for the Christian right vote that we saw from the moral majority and rallying around George Bush on certain moral and private morality issues? Is that the base he‘s going to go for?
DYSON: I think so, Reverend Sharpton. And I think despite the fact that he has major beef with George W. Bush, the same kind of outlook and portfolio is available to him. And it is for the offing. And it is certainly available for his exploitations. So, I think this appeal to the far right, using the language, not of civic democracy or civil religion which unifies us around common symbols but to reinforce the alienation by saying, some people are righter than others, better than others, and have a clearer voice and vision. Look, I believe in a calling. I‘m an ordained minister for more than 30 years, but look, he is from Texas. A guy named Jesus called him. He might have thought it was Jesus and we can excuse him for feeling he was called by Jesus to come into the race.
SHARPTON: Matt, I mean, he invited all of these conservatives‘ ministers, he didn‘t invite me and I‘m a conservative. I‘m trying to conserve Roe versus Wade, I‘m trying to conserve voting rights bill, I‘m trying to conserve a lot of things. But I wasn‘t invited. But is the GOP kind of skeptical about this? Are they upset? Is the establishment concerned about Perry entering this race?
LEWIS: I don‘t think so. I think that Rick Perry may be the best position candidate to win the nomination. If you go down the check list of all the things you need, the Tea Party support, the evangelical support, but also mainstream support. And again, he is a governor, Americans like to elect governors president. So, you know, like Michele Bachmann for example, is a member of the House. Herman Cain has never been elected. So you know, Rick Perry really is sort of the whole package that Republicans really might get behind. I think he‘s going to get in the race. And if he gets in, I think he‘ll be for real.
SHARPTON: Dana, you might be amazed, then surprised but Rudy Giuliani said something that I agree with. Even a broke clock is right twice a day. He said that the Republicans should get out of people‘s bedrooms. How do you think this plays with Rick Perry and the prayer meetings and with the Michele Bachmann and her statements about gays and her husband being quoted calling barbarians. I mean, look at what Rudy Giuliani said, a republican leader who‘d been running around New Hampshire, there is what Giuliani said. Rudy Giuliani.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: I think that the Republican Party would be well advised to get the heck out of people‘s bedrooms and let these things get decided by states.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Dana?
MILBANK: You know, Reverend, I think this is a pretty clear sign that Rudy will not be running for president. In fact, if he does want to run for president, he‘s going to have to go to Marcus Bachmann‘s clinic and try to reorient that thinking. Because that is not what the republican electorate wants to hear right now. He‘s got a sort of a libertarian point of view that is just not going to fly in this electorate. But it‘s a, you know, I‘m sure the fact that his one year support would be victory enough for him today.
SHARPTON: Well, I was thinking of campaigning for him in some of the district to help along (INAUDIBLE). Thanks guys for a great panel.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.
Ahead, a bomb shell report says Rupert Murdoch‘s company paid more than $650 million to make charges of corporate spying and hacking go away. And it all happened here in America. That next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SHARPTON: It‘s getting worse. New reports show that out of control corporate culture at Rupert Murdoch‘s workplace. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SHARPTON: The fallout from the News Corp phone hacking scandal continues to put pressure on Rupert Murdoch‘s media empire. And now the New York Times reports that News Corp‘s hacking habits extended to their American companies as well. The company‘s marketing branch known as news America has spent millions to settle cases alleging espionage and claims of hacking. What will it mean for the future of FOX News and News Corp here in the U.S.?
Joining me now is democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey.
One of the first lawmakers to call for an investigation of News Corp.
Thank you for joining us, Senator.
SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: Good to be with you Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Now, you‘ve been calling for an investigation since last week. Why is that?
MENENDEZ: Well, because we saw our published reports that suggested what was going on in Great Britain where the “News of the World” was actually getting access to the prime minister‘s records, to the royal family‘s records, to the young victim of a crime and others actually had been attempted here in the United States against 9/11 families and the victims of 9/11. And so, to me, that‘s outrageous, if it‘s true, and needs to be investigated. And that‘s why I called upon the Justice Department to conduct an investigation to find out whether that‘s true. Because as we approach the tenth commemoration of September 11th, the last thing that 9/11 families should have to think about is that access to their records were you know, ultimately obtained illegally by an entity like News Corp.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you about a new twist to this, about the News Corp company, News America in today‘s New York Times, they have a story that reports that quote, I‘m going to quote the sorry, “News America had illegally accessed plaintiff‘s computer system and obtained proprietary information and disseminated false, misleading and malicious information about the plaintiff. The breach was traced to an IP address registered to News America after the break-in. The competitor lost contracts.” These, you know, are pretty strong accusations. And it turns out the man who runs News America when this happened, or ran it when it happened, is Paul Carlucci and he is the publisher of the New York Post. Does that concern you?
MENENDEZ: Well, certainly the allegations that the story has are concerning. And then look, you know, we think that what happened in Great Britain was pretty outrageous. It is standard of journalism, it‘s not an standard that we want to see here in the United States. And in fact, if such actions took place against individuals and entities here in the United States, you know, it needs to be investigated. Certainly, in my concern for 9/11 victims and families, if what is alleged actually took place, it would be punishable on the federal law for each count and five years in prison and a fine. We need to get to the truth of what that is. And ultimately, this is you know, the type of journalism that was taking place there in Great Britain. If it came to our shores, that‘s pretty despicable.
SHARPTON: So you are calling for a criminal investigation by the Justice Department or a congressional investigation or both?
MENENDEZ: I‘ve called for the Justice Department to ascertain the truth of the questions and to pursue the truth no matter where it leads us. If in fact that investigation, which I have noted the FBI out of New York, has begun a preliminary investigation to look at whether or not the facts are such that it would lead to a more full blown investigation, if those facts lead us in that direction, then I will depend upon the Justice department. Take it out of the spear of politics, pursue the legal process and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
SHARPTON: Mr. Murdoch and his son supposedly go before parliament tomorrow. Could there also be tomorrow congressional hearings in the United States as we move down the road looking into these allegations?
MENENDEZ: Well, Reverend, I think we have to see how the facts unfold. I know that J. Rockefeller, the chairman of the Commerce Committee in the Senate has talked about that possibility. From my own view, I‘m looking to see where the facts unfold particularly where it relates to 9/11 families. And I will depend upon the Justice Department to help us unfold it. But I think tomorrow will be a very telling day about how News Corp operated in Great Britain and who knows where that line of questioning will lead.
SHARPTON: All right, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. Thank you for your time this evening.
MENENDEZ: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Ahead, no Elizabeth Warren. And still not enough.
Republicans won‘t be happy until Wallace Street runs wild again.
Congressman McDermott won‘t let it happen. That‘s next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SHARPTON: Today, President Obama picked former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He passed over progressive favorite Elizabeth Warren who proposed and developed the agency and took a lot of heat from Republicans because of that. But Republicans won‘t be satisfied until they have gutted financial regulation all together. Last week, a House Committee approved measures that weakened reporting on corporate salaries. Another panel voted to cut $200 million from SEC and the House GOP is also seeking to cut $129 million from the new consumer agency itself.
Joining me now is democratic Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington. He is also a member of the progressive caucus. Congressman, they lost their battle to stop financial reform but it seems like they are trying to do whatever they can to gut it anyway and they have said that no matter what, they are not going to support anyone the president proposes on to head this agency. Senator Shelby has said, and I put his quote up, until President Obama addresses our concerns for supporting a reasonable structural changes, we will not confirm anyone to lead it. Congressman McDermott, this is amazing.
REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D-WA), PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS: Well, it is not amazing Al if you really consider that the Republicans ran us into the ditch with the unregulated Wall Street and they have fought every step of the way against the Dodd-Frank bill when we tried to establish him some regulation. And that they go on after the bill is passed and signed by the law about the president and it goes into law that they are still fighting it. No surprise. They want to have unregulated Wall Street that can take us back down the same ugly path we went down two years ago.
SHARPTON: Isn‘t this beyond party though? This is about the American economy. This is about working class people. I mean, even Ms. Warren said, let me put up what she said about this her son—listen to what Elizabeth Warren said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH WARREN, SPECIAL ADVISOR TO SECRETARY GEITHNER: I just want to say, this agency is not partisan. Families across the country who can‘t read their credit cards because they think that the terms are written in some other language, that‘s not a republican versus democrat issue. That‘s a real issue about whether or not we should have a set of rules that work for regular middle class families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Congressman, how do we get the American people to understand, this is not partisan, this is about fairness in terms of financial regulation.
MCDERMOTT: Well, for all of the people who have had their homes foreclosed and the people who have lost their jobs, it is becoming increasingly clear that this is really not a republican or democrat question. It is question of whether the economy that we have known in the past will ever come back. And without the confidence of a regulatory agency, the banking system is never going to come back to what it was before. Businesses are not going to be able to get loans. And I really think that this is—this is probably the toughest and the most important issue that the president has to face and he‘s got to be absolutely rock hard against the efforts to undo what was done in the last Congress.
SHARPTON: Congressman Jim McDermott, thank you for your time.
One programming note, Representative Barney Frank will be on this show this Wednesday to talk about republican efforts to weaken his financial reform bill. Thank you for watching. I‘m Reverend Al Sharpton. “HARDBALL” starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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