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Msnbc Live at 6 p.m. ET, Thursday July 21

Read the transcript from the Thursday 6 p.m. hour

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Host: Al Sharpton
Guests: Michael Steele, Rep. Tom Cole, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Dana Milbank, Gwen Moore,
Jonathan Capehart, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Maggie Haberman, Josh Trevino

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Grand bargain or grand illusion?

Tonight, Washington may be getting closer to a deal on the deficit.
But is it a deal worth having? Let‘s make sure it has shared sacrifice.
And Congressman Allen West is under fire for his attack. But he says he‘s not sorry.
Plus, there‘s more to the story. The real impact migraine headaches may have had on Michele Bachmann‘s job performance.
And Rush Limbaugh, hot air, hits a new high. His latest attack on big government is our con job of the day.
Welcome to the show. I‘m Al Sharpton.
Tonight‘s lead: are we closer to a deal or disaster?
President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner may be nearing a deal for a new grand bargain on debt limit. The president is meeting with Democrats right now at the White House, presumably to talk about the deal.
But any agreement would have to get past the Tea Party Republicans in the House. And Democrats say they have a problem.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: The loudest shrillest voices from the Republican Party are not leaders but Tea Party extremists.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: This group of ideologues has grabbed the reins, and now refusing to let go. It is the group who alone wants to drive the car off the cliff.
SHARPTON: But now, even Boehner is saying Republicans must compromise.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I believe that Congress must act before August 2nd and I hope that we are prepared to do that. At the end of the day, we have a responsibility to act. If the United States of America‘s debt rating gets downgraded, every interest rate in America will go up.
SHARPTON: Joining me now is Republican Congressman Tom Cole from Oklahoma.
Congressman, first of all, thank you for your time tonight.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you first. Do you think—I mean, there is serious. This is beyond the politics and the screaming back and forth. We‘re 12 days out from the August 2nd deadline.
Do you think the economy will suffer if the debt ceiling is not raised, sir?
COLE: Yes, I actually do, Reverend Sharpton. I think this very serious time and the United States never failed it pay its bills in 235 years. If we were to fail now, I think that have really negative consequences for the economy.
SHARPTON: Now, you heard Congressman Boehner, your speaker, the speaker of the House say, these consequences are grave and you‘ve heard everybody say there must be shared sacrifice.
Why is it so difficult for people to come to an agreement on shared sacrifice? Which means that it has to come from the upper income levels, as well as the working poor—not just the working and the poor class opinion. I mean, what is the problem with dealing with revenues as well as dealing with some of the entitlement programs?
COLE: I think that part of—we will deal with revenues eventually. But part of the problem is here as you recall. The president cut a deal in December of last year on taxes that were supposed for last two years. It‘s pretty hard to come in July and change a deal that was not supposed to be looked at for another 18 months.
Most of the problem we have is a spending problem. We know that even if the president got everything he asked for in tax increases, he‘d still have to do 2/3, 90 percent of this deal in terms of entitlement reform and spending reductions.
We ought to focus on that part now. That‘s actually the toughest part to do. We got an opportunity to make significant progress on that. Negotiations have put some things on the table that both sides agree ought to be cut. It seems to me we ought to get that done and move on.
SHARPTON: Yes. But if you look at this as a pie—if you looked at
what the tax cuts that president Bush put through, if you look at what that
just that part is, you deal with $424 billion, you‘re not trying to act like that‘s not a significant part of the deficit.

COLE: No, it‘s actually a very significant part. But remember, actually President Obama, Democrats, accept 80 percent of the Bush tax cuts for 59 percent of the people. So they‘ve actually sort of said, number one, most of these tax cuts weren‘t for the wealthy and we have accepted that. There‘s no proposal to repeal all the Bush tax cuts that I have heard from any Democrat, certainly from the president.
SHARPTON: We certainly have heard the president say that he would not extend the Bush tax cuts any further. But then if there‘s no problem then why—why is your side of the aisle, why the party balking then? Why are they backing up on tax cuts, shared sacrifice is shared sacrifice.
COLE: We‘re not backing up a bit. Again, we‘ve made our position abundantly clear. But again the president agreed that all of the Bush tax cuts should be extended for two years in December, that‘s six months ago.
SHARPTON: The president said that he would extend the tax cuts to get the unemployment insurance. What I‘m asking you --
COLE: He didn‘t want to raise taxes.
SHARPTON: We can talk about tonight. We are 12 days out. This country could default and we need to be able to strike a balance here that would save the country. Your own speaker is saying there‘s got to be some compromise.
Is it that you can‘t get Tea Party members? Is it that you can‘t get some freshman? I mean, let‘s look at the quote that you said yourself, sir, maybe this is the problem. This is what you said in “The LA. Times.”
“It‘s inconceivable, some of the members who haven‘t been here, don‘t appreciate how much John Boehner has gotten them.”
I mean, you seem like you are frustrated that some of your crowd is being inflexible. Let‘s be honest—we‘re too close to the end here not to put it all on the table.
COLE: You either trust your negotiators or you don‘t. I trust John Boehner to negotiate a fair and good deal. He is yet to come back with a deal that he thinks is appropriate.
And I do agree. He is a reasonable guy. He‘s a master negotiator.
He‘s an excellent legislator.
So, let‘s give him a chance to do his job.
But again, as he will be the first to tell you, he‘s never voted for a tax increase. He believes very strongly this is a spending problem and this is an entitlement reform problem. Those are the areas we ought to focus on. Nobody thinks you ought to be raising taxes in the middle of a down economy and that‘s what we‘ve got.
SHARPTON: But nobody who thinks that to stop extending tax cuts is raising taxes, that‘s restoring taxes.
But let me ask you, Tom, you say that Speaker Boehner is reasonable? Are the Tea Parties unreasonable? Many of them openly—even right on this show, has questioned his leadership. Are they unreasonable? And will some of the senior members of the party and some who have been there a while like you, stand up to them and defend a compromise here?
COLE: Look, I‘ll wait and see what the deal is when it comes back. But I‘ve been supportive of the speaker. I think he will bring us back a good deal. And if he does, I will certainly be supporting it.
In terms of those Tea Party members, they actually are getting a big victory here. And frankly if they weren‘t here, it wouldn‘t be happening. This is the first debt ceiling where there‘s going to be spending cuts of some of magnitude accompanying them. And I give them both the president and I give particularly John Boehner credit for that.
But the Tea Party—it wouldn‘t happen without Tea Party members. And remember, (INAUDIBLE), he was elected unanimously as the Republican leader. He had every Republican vote for speaker. That‘s something, frankly, Leader Pelosi couldn‘t do in the special election.
So, I think the party is united behind the speaker. I think he will bring us to a deal and then we‘ll be fine.
SHARPTON: I‘m glad you said that, Congressman. Every night I learn that from a Republican, because you voted three times to raise the debt ceiling.
COLE: I did.
SHARPTON: Now you say this is the first time that it is doing something. So it just makes me wonder why you voted before.
Thank you, Congressman Tom Cole, Republican from Oklahoma.
COLE: I actually voted five times.
SHARPTON: Thanks for your time.
COLE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Joining me now is independent senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders.
Senator, you heard the Republican congressman just now. Do you see any sign that this party is willing to budge an inch?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: I‘m not sure. But the bottom line is, it‘s not whether they are going to budge, how the American people feel about this, Al. Let‘s be clear, when they talk about, quote-unquote, “spending is the problem,” let me translate that into English. That means savage cuts into Social Security, savage cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, education, environmental protection.
And when they talk about you can‘t do increase taxes right now, or what they are really talking about is making sure that millionaires and billionaires continue to enjoy the lowest effective tax rate in modern American history and corporations that make billions paying nothing in taxes.
SHARPTON: And maintaining loopholes like the corporate jets and all of that.
SANDERS: Exactly.
SHARPTON: As I told you, we‘re not talking about increasing taxes. We are talking about letting the tax cuts that they‘ve been given and has not worked, has not created jobs, has not done what they said it would do, let it run out.
SANDERS: Al, let‘s remind the people that on the Clinton, when you had taxes at 39 percent, we created for upper income people 22 million jobs. We have lowered taxes under Bush. We gave more corporate loopholes. We lost 600,000 private sector jobs during eight-year period.
So, the trickle-down theory of economics does make the rich, richer, does well for large corporations, it does not help median, middle income people or working class people who have seen their incomes go down.
SHARPTON: But when you look at the polls where the American people are saying, even some polls, credible polls, saying that even majority of Republicans, must become revenue here. I mean, people get it. Do they think people are stupid and that we can‘t see we didn‘t get the jobs or we didn‘t get the benefits that we were told these tax cuts would give us?
SANDERS: What the polls tell us, every poll that I have seen, is the preferred way forward, for deficit reduction, is to ask the wealthy to pay more in taxes.
SHARPTON: Exactly.
SANDERS: Now but when you talk about revenue, i.e., what‘s in the “gang of six” proposal, for example, revenue could mean that you are telling somebody who makes $25,000 a year and owns a home, that we‘re going to cut back on their home mortgage reduction and they‘re going to have to pay more. We‘re going to tax their health care benefits. That‘s revenue, too.
So, when we talk about revenue, we have to be careful about what is being talked about.
SHARPTON: Well, the devil is going to be in the details. I think you are absolutely right.
The real question is how strong the Democratic side is going to be? How strong the leadership is going to be at the table? And how bullied the Republican leadership is by the Tea Party extremist?
SANDERS: Well, you know what? I think that what the people of this country have got to demand is that Democrats stand strong and say, excuse me. You‘re not going to cut Social Security. You‘re not going to get Medicare. You‘re not going to cut Medicaid.
You are a going to demand that the wealthiest people in this country start paying their fair share of taxes. You are going to bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan sooner so we can save some money and save some lives there as well.
In other words, the president cannot just feel the pressure from the extreme right wing. The average American has got to stand up for justice and for common sense as well.
SHARPTON: What is the climate there in Congress? Are you saying that kind of backbone growing in the Congress among the Democrats? Or are you seeing go along to get along?
SANDERS: Well, I just left but I‘m going to return to a meeting with 10 other more progressive Democrats to map out a strategy.
So, there are some of us who want it stand up and fight back. I can‘t say that that‘s everybody in the Democratic Caucus.
SHARPTON: I mean, I don‘t understand how shared sacrifice could be
only from seniors, only from veterans, only from students, only from those
that need it the most. And those on the other side get more, more and
more. And we call that shared sacrifice. I mean
SANDERS: Because, Al --
SHARPTON: -- it would be a joke if it wasn‘t so tragic.
SANDERS: Because you have an epidemic of greed in the society. And some people think that $1 billion is not enough. They need even more.
Some people think five homes is not enough. They need even more—and to hell with the children living in poverty. To hell with the people who are hungry.
I could go on and on and on. But you‘re absolutely right. The greed out there is incredible. I‘m afraid that some people in Congress are representing that greed at the expense of the vast majority of Americans.
SHARPTON: And not only the children and their own mothers. I mean, Social Security, when I‘m talking to seniors who invested in Social Security that are watching us tonight, Senator, that are frightened, that are watching day by day saying what is going to happen to me and why did I invest all of these years to have the security blanket and you‘re snatching the blanket away from me to give to people that are comfortable, warm, and have no problem? How can we look at these seniors in the face and explain this and say this is shared sacrifice, you have to give a little, when they have nothing to give?
SANDERS: Yes. So, you‘re not arguing with me. I agree with you.
SHARPTON: Senator Bernie Sanders, thank you very much for your time this evening.
Ahead, the Michele Bachmann headache story may be getting worse.
Plus, Congressman Allen West under fire after calling a congresswoman vile and despicable. You won‘t believe the defense he gave today.
And is Rush feeling the heat? His latest liberal conspiracy theory is our latest con job of the day.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: The Obama administration says there is no deal. But at this hour, Democratic leaders are at the White House. How will it all play out? That‘s next.
SHARPTON: John Boehner singing for reporters this morning. Maybe he thinks the debt deal is going, going his way, or maybe he‘s just having a light-headed moment.
White House spokesman says there is no deal.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is in deal. We are not close to a deal. There is no progress to report.
SHARPTON: Joining me now, former RNC chair and MSNBC analyst, Michael Steele and “Washington Post” national political reporter, Dana Milbank.
Dana, where do negotiations stand right now?
DANA MILBANK, WASHINGTON POST: I wish they would invite me in the room, Reverend, but they tend not to.
But what—as you‘ve been reporting, Democrats on Capitol Hill got a briefing from Jack Lew, at OMB today. And they are not pleased if what they are saying is not true the president has basically entirely caved to the Republican demands and not getting a guarantee of up front a tax increases in exchange for serious cuts to spending programs including entitlements.
So, it‘s—I can understand why the White House would be pushing back against that. That would be a disastrous cave-in for the White House, particularly at this point when they seem to have a decent amount of leverage in this. So—but they are walking that back. They are talking to the leaders.
SHARPTON: A lot of people, including me, were very concerned with early reports. But then I heard the president say this. Let me play for you what he said on NPR himself today.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We‘ve got to make some tough decisions on things like defense spending, as well as domestic spending. But we‘re also going to have to have more revenues, with that acknowledgement that we need a balanced approach, that Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are going to be willing to engage in the kind of compromise that can resolve this problem.
SHARPTON: Mr. Steele, a balanced approach, we‘ve got to have some revenues.
SHARPTON: Republicans have got to be willing to compromise.
SHARPTON: I mean, can your party get it together and understand that they cannot put it all on grandma‘s back?
STEELE: Well, yes, and they‘re not. And I think to Dana‘s point, the interesting thing about what the clip you just played of the president is that he wasn‘t necessarily talking about right now.
Remember, this is now, Washington has come to the conclusion that this is going to be a two-step process. The first is to get something done by August 2nd and the second piece is going to get into the real deep substance of what the longer term effort is going to be.
So, I think this is a very interesting, you know, challenge right now for the White House. As you noted, Reverend, they had the momentum going in to a few hours ago. And I think a lot of folks in Washington, particularly the progressives on the Hill, are beginning to get their hair up a little bit and get a little concerned.
Republicans, on the other hand, are also equally as concerned because they want to know for sure whether or not this is going to be a deal, whether there‘s going to be some level of revenue in the first part of this or something that we‘re going to talk about afterwards. Both sides are a little nervous right now.
SHARPTON: Let‘s be serious. Have you freshman Tea Partiers, whether it‘s now or later, whether it‘s by the 2nd of August—
STEELE: Right.
SHARPTON: -- or next August in ‘12, they are not going to support ending these tax cuts. You‘re dealing with people that have bullied your party into a point where they are inflexible. They are going to protect those billionaires and those corporate jets no matter what. And it has nothing to do with the date. Let‘s be honest with each other.
STEELE: Well, since we‘re being honest, let‘s be honest because you have v have folks on your side, Reverend, who made it very clear they‘re not going to support anything that touches near—yourself articulated this, those entitlements that affect grandma, as you like to put it. So, both sides have their respective corners that are locked in.
SHARPTON: Well, Dana, he is --
STEELE: And the president and the trying to move it to the middle.
SHARPTON: If he is saying I would choose grandma over corporate jets, he‘s absolutely right. I‘ve been accused of a lot worse. But let me ask you, Dana, how do you think they come out of this, dealing with those on each side that have an extreme in terms of the Tea Party and then some Democrats that will say, no matter what, we‘ve got to see revenues and we have to protect these entitlement programs?
MILBANK: Well, there is just a hint of an opening here for the conservatives. They all worship at the altar of Grover Norquist who is the enforcer on taxes. In an interview with my colleagues on “The Post” editorial page, he said, now, wait, if you actually don‘t renew, don‘t extend the Bush tax cut, that does not count as tax increase—they would not be violating the pledge. Now, he doesn‘t want that to happen.
But it seems to give them a little bit of wiggle room, which is what -
consistent with what‘s being described in this deal here. So, it‘s possible we‘ve seen a pivot here and all the heat has been on the Republicans. Now, you‘re actually going to hear progressive getting really angry about what the president has done.

SHARPTON: Mr. Steele, are you ready to concede that many of your colleagues worship at the altar of Grover Norquist? And I‘m quoting Dana there.
STEELE: I know. I appreciate that, you know, Dana‘s religious
reference there. But the reality of it is that with or without a Grover
Norquist, there are a lot of Republicans consistent with our platform and more importantly our philosophy going back to our founding, that talks about a free enterprise system, free market system. And so, those things that touch on taxes and spending, really do matter to folks and that was made very clear as we discussed before reverend in this past election.
SHARPTON: We see a problem, Michael Steele, and, Dana, when this was all over. And the Republicans and Democrats go back to their districts. And a few months stand for reelection. People are going to say, where are the jobs? I mean, there‘s all of the fiscal language, all of the technicalities. The Tea Party people promised jobs last year. The Democrats need to provide jobs.
At the end of the day, where are the jobs? Is that not going to be the problem for both sides here?
STEELE: Go ahead, Dana.
MILBANK: It‘s a problem mostly for the incumbent president here. Had he succeeded in this debate, and he may yet succeed in putting the Republicans back on the Hill, had the Republicans forced the country into default, Mitch McConnell himself said Republicans would share the blame for the bad economy with Obama. If he gets them a way out of this now, then I think the joblessness problem is going to be more on Obama‘s shoulders than before.
SHARPTON: But, Michael, wouldn‘t it with be a hard case for the Republicans to say, we picked up 61 seats and we couldn‘t provide jobs? How do you defend that?
STEELE: No, I think—Reverend, I think—
SHARPTON: The great election of 2010 produced nothing but jobs for 61 Republicans?
STEELE: I think you‘re absolutely right. I think the equation here is not just the president. It‘s also the Republicans elected last fall who ran on that promise of creating jobs. And so, I think, while we deal with this particular crisis right in front of us, the longer term one is sitting at a number called 9.2 percent.
And by this time next summer, someone better have made a move on that number, otherwise both parties will have a little to pay for come that election.
SHARPTON: Somebody freeze that tape, because you can use that in a commercial somewhere next year. Former RNC chair says not just the president, it‘s the Republicans, too. And I got him it say it.
Thank you, Dana Milbank, from “The Washington Post,” former RNC chair and MSNBC analyst Michael Steele. Thank you very much for joining me.
Ahead, Rush‘s latest target: those infamous liberal weathermen. You won‘t believe the hot air he is blowing now.
And take a look, folks. That‘s Rick Perry in cowboy mode, chaps and all. But is the real Texan ready for prime time? We‘re taking a hard look at his record in the Lone Star State.
Stick around.
SHARPTON: Rush Limbaugh thinks the heat index is a conspiracy cooked up by the left. That‘s our con job of the day. A heat wave is baking big parts of the country. And that has a lot of people talking about the humidity. Now, the heat index tells people what it feels like when heat and humidity are added together. Rush Limbaugh thinks the heat index is made up by the government.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They‘re playing games with us on this heat wave. Heat index manufactured by the government. They tell what you it feels like when you add the humidity in there, 116. When is the last time the heat index was reported as an actual temperature? It hasn‘t been. But it looks like they are trying to get away with doing that now.
SHARPTON: Wow. I wonder what he thinks of the wind chill. Now, Rush seems to be the only one hot and bothered by this. The index has been used across the country for decades, including just yesterday by FOX News meteorologist.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The big story here Martha, they have been seeing heat indexes like this for days. So, very dangerous, as certainly.
SHARPTON: Does this mean FOX is in on the liberal conspiracy too? Even if they are, I don‘t think it will stop Rush from using the weather to suit his agenda.
LIMBAUGH: Rise in global temperature equals colder winters. People used to buy this. The earth, as I have just explained is cooling. It has been cooling since 1997. Who care what people think. They know this isn‘t global warming.
SHARPTON: Rush Limbaugh doesn‘t sweat the facts when it comes to the summer heat waves. And that‘s our con job of the day.
Ahead, Michele Bachmann‘s political headaches are getting worse. And they‘re not going away just yet either. Will they follow her along the campaign trail? And Allen West‘s latest excuse for his despicable comments. I‘m not convinced. You won‘t believe what he is saying now. That‘s next.
SHARPTON: Today republican Congressman Allen West is refusing to apologize for the e-mail he sent democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz. West called her, quote, “vile, unprofessional, and despicable” and wrote that she‘s not a lady. But West says, don‘t expect him to say sorry any time soon.
REP. ALLEN WEST ®, FLORIDA: That‘s not happening.
I do have the right to stand up and defend my honor and make sure that this type of activity does cease.
SHARPTON: With me now, is democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore from Wisconsin. She and other congresswomen are calling for the GOP leadership to condemn West‘s word. Also, here is Jonathan Capehart, editorial writer for The Washington Post and an MSNBC contributor.
Jonathan is writing about Congressman West in the Post today. Congresswoman, let me ask you, you and I have been in some battles together. Why do you think West will apologize and why do you think he‘s insisting he didn‘t do anything wrong? Despite the fact that some of his colleagues in the Congress who were women are saying, they are offended by what he said.
REP. GWEN MOORE (D), WISCONSIN: Hello, Reverend Sharpton. So, great being with you again. I have no idea why this man does not apologize. Had he uttered those words on the floor rather than in an e-mail, the words would have been quote unquote, “taken down.” There would have been a long discussion and his words, he would have been reprimanded right there on the floor. You know, it seems to me that had he had any experience being an elected official before he came to this party, he would have realized how important civility and cordiality even between the two parties is necessary to get anything done. And I think that he has really started his career out on a very rocky road. We did approach the leadership because he chose to spread his e-mail right across to all of the leadership.
SHARPTON: He kind of distributed it. And I think one of the things Congresswoman Moore that I want people to understand is that he was responding to Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz, questioning how he representing the district he does, would vote against Medicare and Social Security, that from what I understand, she wasn‘t calling him any names or giving any personal way at all, this was about policy. He‘s the one that made this about name calling.
MOORE: You have said it very well, Reverend Sharpton. Our rules don‘t allow us to bring in personalities. She was simply commenting on the geography and the demography of that region where there are a lot of older adults. They are really questioning why someone wouldn‘t defend Medicare, which is such a great benefit to the constituent in that area. And so, you know, when Representative West said, I had to defend my honor, it certainly is not about his honor. We are facing huge cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the programs is that literally have kept elders out of poverty, we are having a huge debate regarding tying this vote to a debt ceiling vote. Which could literally bring our financial system to a collapse, increase interest rates to a gargantuan amount. And he is really made this personal about him.
SHARPTON: No, I think that the act is he‘s defending his honor when I think his honor was not in question. It was his position. He would have done himself a better service if he defended his position, if he can defend it.
Jonathan Capehart, the thing that bothered me more than that though, is today, he decided that he would go further and bring in race. Now, the reason that‘s interesting to me, is that guys like me who fight civil rights causes, are always accused of the race card. Here, nobody was talking about anybody‘s race or gender but him. Listen to this.
WEST: People who are black conservatives, what we do is we totally invalidate the liberal social welfare policies and programs. And, you know, I‘m the threat because I‘m the guy that got off of this 21st century plantation.
SHARPTON: So, let me get this right. When he brings up race or Herman Cain brings up race or even Clarence Thomas talks about high-tech lynching, that‘s fine. If we deal with cases of legitimate discrimination brought to us in some race organizations is to raise cut. Somehow, I think that‘s ridiculous, Jonathan.
MOORE: This so harmful Reverend Sharpton.
SHARPTON: Yes. Let me let Jonathan respond, I will come back to you Congresswoman.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. I think he, look, he started raising money off of this. The moment that controversy started. And I think by now playing the race card, he is trying to further a controversy that he started. Look, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congresswoman Schultz, Wasserman Schultz was just, you know, giving a for speech, basically giving the democratic talking points against cut, cap and balance. Against the cut, cap and balance bill that they voted on earlier this week. Anyone who is paying attention to the debate knows what she is talking about. She didn‘t call him out by name. She said the gentleman from Florida. She pointed out, the demographics of his district. And she questioned how he could support something like this. And then he goes off the deep end with this e-mail.
SHARPTON: She called him, what? The gentleman from Florida and that offends his honor?
CAPEHART: Right. He has to defend his honor. I don‘t know, look, I said in my piece, the dude needs a Xanax after reading that e-mail. And he does. I don‘t know what he gains or what benefits he gets by going toe to toe, maybe, you know, going toe to toe with the chairperson of the Democratic National Committee may play well back in his district.
SHARPTON: I‘ll tell you something, maybe it is that he can‘t defend his position. Sometimes when people raise issues you can‘t answer, it just makes you want to holler, throw up both your hands. Congresswoman Gwen Moore and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart, thank you both.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Al.
MOORE: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.
SHARPTON: Ahead, Bachmann‘s new headache. She said those migraines won‘t keep her from getting the job done. But it turns out, they already have.
And who is really running the Republican Party? It‘s not who you think. We debate, next.
SHARPTON: Take a look at an old piece of tape we found. Texas Governor Rick Perry, as you have never seen him before. Getting on his horse and ready to ride into Washington.
ANNOUNCER: Sometimes your instincts tell you when man is right for the job. Texans across the state know that Rick Perry is the man whose right for agriculture commissioner.
SHARPTON: He may be good at riding a horse. But he‘s also good at cutting education funds. His real record, coming up.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to the show. Now to discuss some of the day‘s biggest political stories, we bring on our Power Panel. Joining me now is Georgetown University professor and MSNBC political analyst Michael Eric Dyson—Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.
SHARPTON: Also with me, Ms. Maggie Haberman, senior political writer for Political. And finally, Josh Trevino of Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Let me start with this. First question, we have been hearing all about the big headache in the Bachmann campaign. The story of Michele Bachmann‘s migraines exploded earlier this week. And today, Politico is reporting some new details, including the fact that they cause her to miss eight house votes last July and another full day of votes last May. The story is prompting questions from republican pundits and rivals.
KARL ROVE, AUTHOR, “COURAGE AND CONSEQUENCE”: It‘s going to be important for her to get her doctors out there quickly to provide the medical records.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If you‘re going to be president of the United States, you have to be able to do the job, everyday all the time. There is no real-time off in that job.
SHARPTON: Now, Dr. Dyson, some has said, this is sexist. That they are doing this because she‘s a woman. Do you think this sexiest all legitimate?
DYSON: Well, initially Reverend Sharpton, I must confess, I felt that context within which these charges were brought up were for political advantage. Karl Rove, Tim Pawlenty and the like. And I thought had more than attempt of sexism because many man have endured a lot of physical pain and sit backs in order to do their job. On the other hand, I think there are some legitimate concerns and one must be open about them to suggest that yes, if these headaches indeed prove to be a problem, then there are ways which you can reassure ourselves and her doctors can reassure us that you know, Congresswoman Bachmann is able to do her job and his potentially president that she would be able to carry forward. So there‘s a legitimate sphere of concern on the one hand but I think a lot of this has been spun in such a patriarchal and sexist fashion.
SHARPTON: Now, what about that Josh, you are the conservative here.
Is this sexist or is this legitimate?
JOSH TREVINO, TEXAS PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION: Yes, you know, I‘m not one to be prone to charges of sexism but look, the initial reporting on this, the initial caller daily story on this actually did even make me think that it had kind of the overtone of the delicate female who can‘t handle herself and a stressful job. And look, the reality is that Michele Bachmann has had five children. She‘s fostered over a dozen more. She‘s run multiple races on Congress. She is now on the national stage. I think she has proven she can handle the heat and handle the spotlight. And frankly, as somebody who myself suffers from migraines, it sounds like very much what she has to go through. I can tell you firsthand, it is not an impediment to leading a full and productive life. And I think that it‘s not a disqualifier for her to be president at all.
SHARPTON: All right. Since we‘ve talked about sexism with the two men, from the Power Panel, let me talk to you Maggie, who might have a word or two to say about this. Aside from being the woman here tonight, Politico, detailed actual votes that she missed and the day she missed. So, now we are going now from just a broad brush to some specifics. What did the story say?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: It said exactly as you just said. That she missed eight House votes on one day, there was another day that she was incapacitated and missed some votes. That‘s all that we know about. There maybe more, this is why there are calls on her thoroughly through records, to shows whether she was hospitalized, how many times. I think the miss votes gets to a real issue in terms of performance. And I do think that is where you start seeing legitimacy. I do think a lot of people, and I think there was reason, the first day of the story seemed like blind quotes from disgruntled former aides. And it goes to the mainline against her, right? Which everyone has heard privately, as suspect everyone in the panel has heard privately, that she is emotional or she is unstable. And this is the charge that people whisper about her constantly. It was a way of throwing that out there. That said, I think she now does have serious points of this that she does have to address.
SHARPTON: Well, now that the specific questions come out, we saw a letter from a doctor. But now, she‘s going to have to come up with a lot more than a general doctor‘s note.
HABERMAN: I think that‘s right.
SHARPTON: Because you raised some specific votes and specific days, that‘s going to have to be addressed now.
HABERMAN: I think that‘s right. I think or the story will not go to bed. I think part of the problem for her campaign was they didn‘t just sort of dealt with it all right away. There has been some drip, drip, drip of information. There was the first day story in The Daily Caller, then there was the Politico story, then there was the doctor‘s note. So, that does open the door for it well. Give us everything else that‘s out there. I think at some point, she‘s going to have to try to finally put this to bed. What we don‘t know yet is how people in the ground in Iowa are hearing this and how much is this resonating.
SHARPTON: It could back fire and give her some martyr status.
DYSON: Yes. Right.
SHARPTON: Next question, does Grover run the GOP? No, not that Grover. This Grover. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for tax reform. The tax enforcers in the GOP for over a quarter century. He‘s gotten 234 House Republicans, and 41 GOP senators to sign his pledge not to raise taxes. He‘s the reason we see Republicans saying, the same thing over and over again.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We should not be raising taxes.
REP. ERIC CANTOR, (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: Now is not the time to raise taxes.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I‘ve never voted to raise taxes and if don‘t intend to.
SHARPTON: Josh, isn‘t Grover‘s no-tax pledge the reason we‘re in the mess that we‘re in with the debt talks right now?
TREVINO: I don‘t think so at all. I think excessive federal spending is the reason we are in the mess we‘re in right now. But look, any answer your question, you know, does Grover Norquist run the GOP? You know, I‘m happy to give Grover credit for doing more than any other single individual to advance anti-tax orthodox here in the Republican Party. And frankly, you know, I‘ll tell you here, as a conservative and personally, as a republican, I am happy on the issue of taxes to follow Grover Norquist lead.
SHARPTON: So, Ronald Reagan was a bad president because he raised the taxes 11 times. So, you and Grover would say, let‘s get away from Ronald Reagan‘s legacy?
TREVINO: Yes, I‘m just going to reflect quietly on the irony of Ronald Reagan appearing on this show as an example of democratic left orthodoxy. I think it‘s wonderful.
SHARPTON: This is an example of republican hypocrisy. There is a difference when I‘m pointing out hypocrisy, and when I‘m quoting something saying.
Dr. Dyson, I think if I said that I came in the tradition of someone then I ought to be consistent with that person. Am I right? I never claim.
TREVINO: I‘m just going to wager, Al, that Grover Norquist and I are an aggregate more on the traditional Ronald Reagan than anybody else here on this show at this moment.
DYSON: Well, but the point is though, if you subscribe to an orthodoxy, if it‘s imposed on the kind of factious fashion and one toss the line because you say that you are legitimately faithful to that position. The point is that yes, if Ronald Reagan did it, and that Ronald Reagan is the scene as the origin of the modern revolution within the Republican Party, then you‘ve got a contradiction going on here Reverend Sharpton.
SHARPTON: Well, let me say this because we‘ve got to go. Maggie, the fact of the matter is that Ronald Reagan raised taxes. We are just talking about stopping tax cuts. So, we wouldn‘t even be in the Reagan tradition. We would be talking about stabilizing taxes the way they were. He actually raised them.
HABERMAN: I think part of the reason that you are seeing such popularity of the Grover Norquist doctrine with a lot of the members of the Republican Party right now is that it resonates with people. Because people hear taxes and people are suffering. And so, consequently, they don‘t look at the specifics of what you‘re talking about.
SHARPTON: Well, people shouldn‘t use things that they can‘t live up to.
Thank you for great panel. We‘ll be right back.
GOV. RICK PERRY ®, TEXAS: Sometimes your instincts tell you when a man is right for the job. Texans across the state know that Rick Perry is the man who‘s right for agricultural commissioner because Rick Perry was born a leader.
SHARPTON: That is Rick Perry selling himself as the man for the job back in 1990. These days, some Republicans think the governor should ride his horse up to the White House. But they might want to take a closer look at his real record in Texas. Perry built up a deficit between 15 and $27 billion. He is now making huge cuts, like chopping $4 billion from education. And now, schools are suffering. For example in the fall, kids in Keller, Texas School District will have to pay to ride the school bus. It will cost families $370 a year for the first child to ride the school bus. And $270 more for each additional child. But what‘s Perry‘s plan to fix the economy? Prayer.
PERRY: With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God‘s help. That‘s why I‘m calling on Americans to pray and fast like Jesus did.
SHARPTON: Jesus? I believe in Jesus. Are you talking Governor, about the Jesus that St. Matthews said, in his chapter, bring unto me a little child because unless you can humble yourself like a child you can‘t enter the kingdom of heaven? Jesus said, they were the greatest in the kingdom. Well, in Keller, that shall would have to have a family that can afford his school bus fare.
A program note, syndicated radio host Tom Joyner will be on the show with me tomorrow. Thanks for watching. I‘m Al Sharpton. “HARDBALL” starts right now.
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