PoliticsNation, Thursday, September 1, 2011
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
Guests: Donna Edwards, Jonathan Capehart, Melissa Harris-Perry, Kasie Hunt, Michael Eric Dyson, Dana Milbank
REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Here`s a call to the Democrats -- get behind
Tonight, President Obama takes the high road. And it`s never been
more clear. Republicans are not honest brokers. It`s time to supersize
this jobs plan.
And Michele Bachmann isn`t a big fan of the Rick Perry hype. Wait
until you hear what she`s saying about it.
Plus, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is pretending to care about
an unjust voter I.D. law, but I`m not buying it.
And folks, I`ll give you Rick Perry`s vision for America -- hunting
hogs with helicopters. I`m serious. We`ll explain that coming up.
Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton.
Tonight`s lead, it`s clear the Republicans are not honest brokers in
the fight to get Americans back to work. Speaker Boehner`s insistence that
the president move his speech is just the latest example of his party`s
Senate historians know of no other instance, none, in which the
Congress refused the president permission to speak before a joint session
of Congress. And the lack of compromise could not come at a worst time for
Today, the Obama administration announced that unemployment will
likely remain above 9 percent through next year. Because things are so
dire, the president will move his speech and move beyond partisan
bickering. But I think it`s time --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The sideshows don`t matter.
The economy matters. The American people matter. Jobs matter. And that`s
what we`re focused on. You know, if Thursday`s the day, Thursday`s the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But even if the White House is willing to put aside
politics for the sake of the economy, there`s little proof that the
Republicans would do the same.
Just this afternoon, Tea Party-backed freshman Joe Walsh, the guy who
called the president a liar, said he would skip the speech, saying, "I
don`t see the point of being a prop for another of the president`s speeches
asking for more failed stimulus money and more subsidies for his pet
Wow. At this point, it`s clear, GOP is in lockstep against the
president. The question now is, will Democrats get in lockstep with the
We`ve had our tours, our fun, our holding the president accountable,
our taking shots. But now it`s about the presidency, the respect of the
office. They`re now, for the first time, saying no, we`ll tell you when
you can speak. And one of them that did a YouTube calling the president a
liar says, "I`m not even going to show up."
When will the Democrats show some backbone? Will they walk in there
Wednesday and take Boehner to task the way they`ve taken President Obama to
task? How can you win a game if your team keeps leaving you vulnerable?
And more important, how can the American people get jobs if we allow
the stonewallers to set the tone in this country?
Joining me now is Congresswoman Donna Edwards, democrat from Maryland.
Congresswoman, you`ve been fighting on this issue of jobs, but I`m
fighting mad that a lot of the Democrats seem to be very courageous and
strong with the president, but seem to be wimps when it comes to the
Speaker and this Republican Congress.
REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Well, I haven`t been a wimp. I
mean, I have to tell you, this business about the speech and the date and
everything, it`s actually a little unseemly and kind of embarrassing.
And I think, as you`ve pointed out, I mean, there`s not ever been a
time when a president has asked to meet with a joint session of Congress
that the president hasn`t been afforded the respect of accommodating the
date that he indicated. And so I think it`s a little embarrassing.
I do think the president is probably right in -- you know, in stepping
up and saying, you know what? I`ll do it on Thursday.
I think there are many of us out there who are glad he is doing it at
7:00 and not in time for the NFL kickoff. And so that`s good for the
American people. But I think people want to hear about jobs, and the
president is going to deliver that message. I think it`s an important one.
The president actually hasn`t even come before a joint session of
Congress except for on health care and the regular State of the Union
message. And so it is actually a rare opportunity, and I cannot imagine
any member of Congress representing people in a congressional district just
saying, I don`t think I`ll go. I mean, it`s just hard to bring words to
SHARPTON: It`s unbelievable. I mean, for this congressman, one thing
when he did his YouTube calling him names, but now to say, I`m going to
boycott the speech given this economy, given where we are, and given that
they kept saying, where`s the jobs? That`s how the Tea Party ran, and then
saying, where`s the plan? Well, he comes to address them on the jobs and
on the plan.
He says he`s not going to even attend. This is the height of
EDWARDS: Well, it really is. And let`s keep in mind that the
Republican majority in the House has been in control since the beginning of
January. And we haven`t had a single jobs proposal.
I`m actually very excited to hear what the president has to say,
because I think I feel really confident that it`s going to be something
that is really robust, investing in infrastructure. And I`ve been talking
about infrastructure for years now, and I`m really glad to see this.
To come out with a proposal where you spend a billion dollars on
infrastructure, you create 35,000 jobs, everything from the electricians,
to the person who has to bring up the -- you know, the businessperson who
has the wagon to serve lunch. And so, I`m excited about the job creating
possibility. I`m excited about the idea, potentially, of investing in the
nation`s innovative capacities and research and development and technology.
I hope the president speaks about the need to make serious investments
in R&D and domestic manufacturing, recreating our manufacturing sector,
rebuilding all of our roads, bridges, water, sewer, rail, all of our
infrastructure which is so necessary. And so the idea that somebody would
SHARPTON: And schools, and all that you`ve been talking about.
EDWARDS: Yes. I mean, the idea that a member of Congress
representing people who are, no doubt, unemployed -- because I have people
in my district and districts all across this country that are unemployed.
And you decide that you are just going to bag out of it? I mean, I don`t
know what kind of representation that is, but the people in his district in
New York need to take a really hard look at whether that`s what they`ve
SHARPTON: No, he`s in Illinois.
EDWARDS: Yes, Illinois.
SHARPTON: And I think that some of us may have to, you know -- well,
let me -- stay with us a minute. I want to bring Jonathan Capehart, a
editorial writer for "The Washington Post" and MSNBC contributor, on with
Jonathan, I`ve been talking with Congresswoman Edwards. I`m outraged
that we`ve not heard more from many of the Democrats now.
Congresswoman Edwards has been very vociferous on this job stuff for a
while. But the outrage of what Speaker Boehner has done, and now Walsh,
I`m looking for some of the people on the other side of the aisle to show
some real outrage here, because enough is enough, as far as I`m concerned.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Rev, my hope is that the
Democrats who you are calling on to show outrage will hold it until after
the president gives his speech so they can couple the outrage with support
for something substantive.
And when it comes to Congressman Walsh, I just think that this guy,
this congressman from Illinois, he`s inconsequential. He is not in the
Yes, he came in with the Tea Party freshmen, but this is a guy who,
yes, he put out a YouTube video, and that`s the only reason why we know his
name, because he went the extra step, crossing the line, calling the
president a liar, and then road that 15 minutes of fame as far as he could.
Saying he`s not going to go to the joint session speech is another
opportunity to get more on that 15 minutes of fame clock.
But I do think you`re right that the battle will be joined after the
president gives his speech, and certainly a week later, when Speaker
Boehner gives his jobs speech. That`s when we will see, one, whether the
president has the willingness -- the will to fight for his plan, and
whether Democrats are willing to stand up -- stand up behind the president
and support him on those issues and proposals that he will talk about next
SHARPTON: But I think it`s even bigger than the president. I think
it`s the presidency. And I hope somebody stands up and says the presidency
should not be held to a different standard based on who the president is at
a given time.
And I also -- I agree with Congresswoman Edwards. We are all going to
be excited about hearing the president`s speech and his plan. But to think
that we are going to listen to the president address these dire times,
unemployment, people really suffering, and then we sit back and watch some
millionaires play football, it`s really going to be a comforting evening
for the unemployed.
CAPEHART: Yes. I agree with you on that.
You know, Rev, when it comes to respect for the presidency, I wrote
about this, this morning, and that`s what has been troubling me about this
whole kerfuffle over the joint session speech date.
This is not the first time Speaker Boehner has thumbed his nose at the
president. You will recall during the debt ceiling debate, the president
called Speaker Boehner twice to follow up on a conversation they had about
the possibility of additional revenues to be added to the secret grand
bargain that they had been working on. The president couldn`t get his
phone calls returned. When he called the second time, they said, we`ll
call you at 5:30.
It`s the president of the United States. It`s not some staffer. It`s
not some low-level person. It`s the president.
And I think that when we start showing disrespect to the president,
you don`t have to like the person who sits in the Oval Office, but you
should show respect for the office itself. And I see that being eroded
little by little.
SHARPTON: And that`s my point.
Let me say this, Congresswoman Edwards. Even former Republican
Senator Hagel -- let me show you what he said about Republicans so they
can`t accuse you and I -- well, at least you of being partisan, because you
know I don`t care what they accuse me of, but I`m trying to protect your
Let`s look at former Senator Hagel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK HAGEL (R), FMR. U.S. SENATOR: The irresponsible actions of my
party, the Republican Party, over this was astounding. I`ve never seen
anything like it in my lifetime.
Think about some of the presidents we`ve had on my side of the aisle -
- Ronald Reagan. and George Bush Sr., and go right through them --
Eisenhower. They would be stunned, I think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s an astounding statement, wouldn`t you say,
Congresswoman, from a former Republican member of the U.S. Senate saying
he`s never seen anything -- he doesn`t think any of the former Republican
presidents would be comfortable with this kind of behavior that we are
EDWARDS: Well, I think Senator Hagel has really hit the nail on the
head. I mean, it really is incredibly disrespectful and it is astounding.
And I don`t really sort of care who was on first. The fact is, the
president asked to meet with a joint session. And the response was, we
have logistics and other issues.
I mean, that is just so unbelievably silly. And I think you know, the
reality is, we`ll probably come back, and I know we will come back and vote
on post offices or something, which is actually as silly.
And so the idea that somehow there couldn`t be a security sweep, or we
couldn`t get the logistics right to just do the meeting on the date that
the president requested, is not very credible. And I hope that -- what I`m
really concerned about, and I know the American people are, is that
president stays focused, stays on message, delivers for us a message about
a robust jobs plan that involves both infrastructure and training and
manufacturing and research and development and all of those things that we
know are going to get this economy rolling again.
And I think that you will see me and others out there really beating
the pavement on behalf of the president, on behalf of the American people
who want to work and get beyond this silliness. And I think, as Jonathan
has pointed out, it`s not the first time that the president has, in effect,
been snubbed. I mean, there was a lunch date or a dinner date and things
like that. And I can`t imagine --
SHARPTON: Phone calls. I mean, he wouldn`t return the president`s
EDWARDS: Exactly. But, I mean, as I said, I`ve been invited to the
White House when I`ve had other kinds of things on my schedule? And you
know what I do? I wipe them all out and I`ve gone to the White House. And
so I think that there is a level of respect for the office of the
presidency, whomever holds that.
And I really, truly believe that. And I know that the American people
And I hope that we`re going to get beyond this kind of silliness,
because we have really important work to do on behalf of the American
people to create jobs, to grow the economy. And we can`t do it if
everybody is busy playing games about who said what and when about a date.
SHARPTON: Well, I agree with you, Congresswoman. And I think that
that is true. But I also think that there`s a part from where it stops
being silly and just downright disrespectful to the presidency.
And I do hope when you and your colleagues convene, that maybe one of
them should ask Mr. Boehner when he finishes voting on whatever, the post
offices, why did you do this to us today? Just make a record of that some
people respect whoever is sitting in the seat of president of the United
Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Jonathan Capehart, I thank both of you
for being with us.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Coming up, the disrespect for this president started long
before he took office. We`ll dig into the ugly effort to de-legitimize
this president`s status as leader, of patriot, of Christian and an
Plus, remember Michele Bachmann? She was all the rage before Rick
Perry rolled on to the scene. Now she has to bring that cowboy down.
Also, fighting the GOP`s unprecedented war on the poor and working
We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: We`ll learn the details of the president`s jobs plan next
week, but we already know it will likely include programs to help poor and
working class Americans. And that`s exactly why many Republicans will
The GOP has always protected the rich. But recently, it`s begun
attacking the poor, too. One complaint, the poor don`t pay enough taxes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Part of the
problem is today, only 53 percent of Americans pay any federal income tax
at all. Forty-seven percent pay nothing. Everyone should pay something
because we all benefit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re dismayed.
We`re dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all Americans don`t
even pay any income tax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Of course these Americans actually do pay through Social
Security taxes, property tax, and payroll taxes. President Obama wants to
ease that burden a bit by extending a payroll tax cut, something that
benefits mostly poor and working class Americans. But at least five
prominent Republicans oppose it.
I guess they finally found a tax cut they don`t like. And some
Republicans, like Michele Bachmann, even wonder if working class Americans
don`t deserve to get paid as much as they do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOLOUS, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": So you`re saying that
the minimum wage is one of those regulations you would take a look at,
you`d try to eliminate it?
BACHMANN: Well, what I`m saying is that I think we need it look at
all regulations, whatever ones are inhibiting job growth. That`s what we
need to do.
STEPHANOPOLOUS: And the minimum wage is one of them?
BACHMANN: All regulations, George.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: With me now is MSNBC contributor Melissa Harris-Perry.
She`s a professor of political science at Tulane and a columnist for "The
Professor Perry, am I going crazy here? Are we actually talking about
the minimum wage being lowered by a presidential candidate?
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, TULANE UNIVERSITY: It really does feel like
upside down, backward, bizarro world for so many reasons. I mean, really,
the basic economic facts here are being misrepresented by the GOP.
I am a strong believer in the diversity of political opinion. And I
think that, you know, in a democracy full of diverse ideas, people are
going to have different concepts about how we get to the end game.
But at this point, they are literally misrepresenting what our
economic situation is. They`re misrepresenting who pays taxes and who
doesn`t, what the nature of the problem with Social Security is. You know,
we can have an argument about how to fix things, but if we can`t be honest
about what the problems themselves are, then we really are in bizarro world
at this point.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this. First of all, let`s clear up
some things that are being, in my opinion, given wrong to the American
When we look at the extension of the payroll taxes, if the Republicans
block this, I want to show this graph so people understand. The taxpayers
could pay up to $2,136. This is real money.
And as you just said, the taxes that are paid by the poor, well, let`s
look at this graph. Only 18 percent of Americans pay no payroll or income
taxes. Most elderly are those that earn $20,000. This is absurd -- 47
percent, half the American people.
These people are just outright distorting the facts.
HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely. Right. Look, a couple of things.
The first is, our biggest problem with revenue is not that poor people
aren`t paying enough into the tax pot, if you will, it`s that there aren`t
enough people with jobs to pay into it at all. So the first issue is an
employment issue --
HARRIS-PERRY: -- people having wages and earning them.
Now, the second is, let`s take, for example, the payroll taxes which
are paying into our entitlements. Now, I`ll tell you, Reverend Al, as much
as I knew about economics from graduate study and all of that, it wasn`t
until I became an adult and was actually earning an income, and for the
first time in my adult life, earned enough money -- and this was in my 30s
-- earned enough money to actually be past that cap. Right?
So when you are paying into those entitlements, you only pay up to a
certain income level. For me, it was my November paycheck. And then I got
a December paycheck that was larger.
And I thought, wait a minute, what`s going on here? I literally had
not known coming from a working class family that there was a point at
which people could earn enough that they then no longer had to pay into our
payroll taxes, pay into our entitlements.
Do you know that we can literally solve the solvency problem of our
entitlements? We could take care of seniors for decades to come, make sure
that Social Security was solvent for our young people, if we simply taxed
everyone`s earnings the entire 12 months?
And do you know that most people would not even feel that? They
wouldn`t experience much difference at all in their household income?
But instead of making that kind of choice, which is not class warfare,
it`s just basic fairness, everybody pay all 12 months, instead what the GOP
has decided to do is claim that a little bit of relief given to the most
marginal, the most vulnerable, the most poor, relief which, by the way,
gets consumed immediately because poor people take that extra money, they
spend it on food, they spend it on clothing, they spend it on education --
SHARPTON: That`s where you get your consumer money from.
HARRIS-PERRY: And it literally is backwards.
SHARPTON: That`s right. And they complain that the consumers are not
spending. That`s how you get consumers to spend.
And the other thing that I think that I want to quickly bring to you
is that this assault they did immediately on unions, when we look at the
facts, I have a graph here where, with unions, we have seen the increase of
the middle class, increase of people with incomes -- look at this graph.
And as unions have gone down and membership and in clout, so have those
So, I mean, this class warfare and those that are on the front lines
fighting for the working class are the ones that have had the real fight
here. And when you look at who approves of the unions, only 26 percent of
Republicans do, 78 percent of Democrats do.
This is a real battle of those that are working class and poor that
have a war, in my opinion, been declared on them by those that want to
protect those at the very top of the income gap in this country.
HARRIS-PERRY: And let`s be clear. The very, very top.
I mean, part of what`s wrong with kind of the American political
system right now is that people that are sort of in the middle think that
they are at the top because we have such a skewed notion of what poverty is
or what the middle class is. We are talking about policies that really
massively benefit the uber-wealthy.
Look, if you give an extra hundred dollars in a paycheck to a poor
person, that gets consumed. If you give an extra hundred dollars in a
paycheck to a middle class or wealthy person, it likely doesn`t get
consumed. So tax breaks for the poor is actually good for our consumption
And on this question of labor unions, look, I have as much criticism
of the way that labor unions have sometimes shut out certain kinds of
workers, but the fact is that the weekend, Saturday, Sunday, that came to
you from labor unions. It is only by having collective rights --
SHARPTON: And minimum wage.
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. It`s only because of collective writes
that workers have any freedom, you know, to make lives, to make normal
lives around them. An unregulated, unchecked economy eats human beings.
We need to invest in human beings.
SHARPTON: And that`s the only way we are going to be able to lift
this country and have Americans live the American dream, from the bottom
up, not from the top, or the uber-top, as you say, down.
Melissa, thank you for joining me this evening.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, a frightening glimpse of Rick Perry`s America.
If you like hunting hogs from helicopters, and bringing your gun to work,
he`s the man for you.
But first, Governor Nikki Haley really thinks a carpool -- she thinks
a carpool will stop me from criticizing her with her outrageous voter I.D.
law in South Carolina. She really believes that. That`s next.
SHARPTON: South Carolina republican Governor Nikki Haley apparently
thinks a car pool will drive away all of the criticism over her outrageous
new voter ID law. Haley says, for one day only, one day only now, the
state will drive voters without photo IDs to their local DMV office. But
that doesn`t help folks without birth certificates, or people who have to
work that day. And there`s no way for the state`s 68 DMV offices to
possibly handle all 178,000 voters who don`t have official IDs. Each
office would have to process more than 2600 people in just one day. But
somehow Governor Haley thinks this is a great idea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Find me those people that think
this is invading their rights, find and I would go take them to the DMV
myself and help them get that picture ID.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Governor Haley, giving one day of free rides doesn`t make
up for the fact that this voter ID law is unfair, unjust, and unnecessary.
Nice try, Governor, but we got you.
SHARPTON: Michele Bachmann`s starting to see the writing on the wall.
Rick Perry seems to be stealing her steam as he rides the wave of Tea Party
support. And Bachmann`s gasping for air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL CAVUTO, FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR: In general, is he hurting you?
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it is
great to have people come into the race. And of course, this is natural
when you have a new candidate come in, that sucks a lot of oxygen out of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now Bachmann herself might not be ready to attack Perry too
hard yet. But a pro-Bachmann pack is striking hard at Perry`s.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Rick Perry is spending more money than the state is
taking in. Covering with deficit with record borrowing. And he is
supposed to be the Tea Party guy? There is an honest conservative and she
is not Rick Perry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The Perry camp today calls this ad patently false. But a
day after Perry`s 1993 love letter to Hillary camp resurfaced, comes this
news. He proposed a buy national insurance plan with Mexico in 2001.
That`s not exactly proper Tea Party etiquette. It`s clear Bachmann`s
strategy is to pump up the fact she`s the real Tea Partier. Joining me now
is Kasie Hunt, political reporter for the Associated Press and A.B.
Stoddard, associate editor and columnist for The Hill. A.B., is there any
oxygen left for Bachmann?
A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL: You know, it is rapidly dissipating, that`s
for sure. Governor Perry is really big-footed or big-booted her right
after her win on August 13 at the Ames straw poll. She has really having
trouble getting attraction. He is all over the news and all over the
polls. Among the voters she is targeting the most, the voters most likely
to call themselves Tea Party supporters. The voters most closely watching
the primary and most active. And so, he`s excited the base that she needs.
And she has got to take him down. She has got to attack him in a way that
Pawlenty did not attack Romney that Romney won`t attack Perry. She`s got
to start cutting into momentum now if she wants that coalition back.
SHARPTON: Kasie, when we look at the polls, it seems that Governor
Perry has a Texas size lead over Romney. He`s the 24. It seems that he is
way ahead and when we look at the Tea Party support for the candidates, we
see that Perry`s 35 to 14 ahead of Romney and Bachmann. How does Bachmann
KASIE HUNT, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, it`s unclear that she
actually can. I mean, I think one of the things that we were watching
before Ames, was just exactly how far can Michele Bachmann take the appeal
that she has. Or is her appeal too narrow and too specific to this Tea
Party group phenomenon that you are mentioning. And I think that`s what
Perry has brought to the race and what you are seeing reflected in the
polls. Now granted he is not as popular with moderate Republicans as say
Mitt Romney is but he certainly has a much broader base of folks than
Michele Bachmann who are saying, you know, OK, I can see that guy being my
SHARPTON: Well, she`s correct there, Kasie, because a poll of
republican insiders very clear that they think Romney is the better choice
to face President Obama. There are 69 percent of the republican insiders
as opposed to 31 percent say that Romney would be the one to beat the
president. So, let`s say Perry continues this surge and holds on to the
lead. The republican establishment thinks he may be too narrow to beat the
president in terms of his base of support.
HUNT: Well, potentially there are some concerns that some of the
things certainly that he has had to say lately are too extreme for a
general electorate. But on the other hand, Perry does have ten years
experience as governor of Texas. He`s running huge state. He`s courted
business interest, pretty aggressively over that period of time, so he does
have some appeal to, you know, both sides of what is the traditional
Republican Party, both you know, social and evangelical conservatives on
the one hand and business conservatives, tax conservatives on the other.
So, I think that while you make an interesting or good point that Romney is
potentially in a better position to beat Obama in November, I don`t think
we can count Perry out at this point.
SHARPTON: Now, the other factor that is still keeps looming around is
my favorite topic, Sarah Palin. She can come in still and potentially take
some of the steam away from Rick Perry. What is the likelihood of that
STODDARD: Well, I think we`re going to find out this weekend. She
has a planned speech at a Tea Party event on Saturday. And she is supposed
to -- she promised Iowans in her last video that she made at the State
Fair, even though she wasn`t contesting in the straw poll. She went and
grabbed up the spotlight and visited with voters and promised them she
would be back September 3rd. And she`s going to come to -- and then
immediately go to New Hampshire before she goes overseas for a foreign
trip. So, she is definitely trying to remain in the conversation. We
continue to talk about how Sarah Palin is, you know, ranks in the sort of
number three in the polls, in the republican primary.
Clearly still has a lot of sway. And she is now trying to, you know,
to show with her schedule that she wants to be in the conversation. We
still just do not know if she is a candidate. I don`t think she is. But
she still wants to be a contender in the conversation. And I don`t know if
that is something she plans to do throughout the entire process. Or if she
is going to go right up to the edge in October which is pretty much when
the experts say, with getting on state ballots and stuff, that`s kind of
the hard deadline. And that point, I think she`s going to have to say yes
or no. And I think at this point it looks like no.
SHARPTON: Well, we`ll see. Kasie Hunt and A.B. Stoddard, thank both
of you for your time tonight.
SHARPTON: Coming up, the republican snub over the President`s job
speech is part of a pattern of disrespect that began before he even took
office. We`ll see what lies beneath it.
SHARPTON: Republicans are sinking to a new low. Enforcing President
Obama to change the date of his jobs speech next week. But we shouldn`t be
surprised. Republicans have been insulting this president before he even
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Our opponent is someone who
sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists.
BACHMANN: We look at the collection of friends that Barack Obama has
had over his life. It calls into question what Barack Obama`s true beliefs
and values and thoughts are.
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The reforms I`m proposing
would not apply to those who are here illegally.
DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: If you are going to be the President of
United States you have to be born in this country.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: President Obama, quit lying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Republicans talk like this because they don`t care about
working with the President. They just want to replace him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Our top political priority over the next two years
should be to deny President Obama a second term.
Joining me now, is Michael Eric Dyson, MSNBC political analyst,
Georgetown University professor and you an author of the book, "Can You
Hear Me Now?" And Dana Milbank, national political reporter and for The
Washington Post. As well as, I wanted to say to you Dana, that you are the
one that say to me, I do hear you now, Reverend. So just talk straight to
me. But it didn`t get out.
Let me say this to you, Dana, Joe Walsh. I`m a little beside myself
that Joe Walsh has said, he will not attend the Obama jobs speech. We have
Boehner forcing the president really to go on another night that has never
happened in the history of the Congress that anyone can find. I mean, how
do we deal with this disrespect for the presidency?
DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, Reverend, I think that`s the
key and that is how do you deal with it because it is -- look, it has
gotten worse progressively over the last decade or two. But it`s really
reached a point now where it is not just disrespecting the president, it is
disrespecting the presidency. I have a feeling that some of it is that the
president`s opponents detect weakness and I think President Obama likes it
feel that he is above the fray. I think if he were to get back in their
faces a little bit more, you saw President Bush more willing to mix it up,
to some extent, even in some ugly ways at times but to get in his
opponent`s face and say, I will not let you do that to me, I`m going to be
just as tough as you are.
SHARPTON: But Professor Dyson, it has gone even beyond the politics
of who is in his face and trying to lure him into a fight. Newt Gingrich,
who the President was willing to work with education, Newt Gingrich and I
went on education tour together to request of the President. Look at what
Newt Gingrich said about the President. This is way beyond politics. Newt
Gingrich says, "What if and the Obama, is so outside our comprehension,
that only if you understand Kenyan anti-colonial behavior can you begin to
piece together his actions." I mean, what is it that mean?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know what, Reverend
Sharpton, what they are trying to do, the people who oppose Mr. Obama,
President Obama, is they are trying to, as they say in the academy
otherizing (ph), what is that barbaric term mean? They`re trying to make
him seem so far beyond the pale of mortal ken as Barney Fife used to say it
on Andy Griffith, they are trying to make him appear so different than any
other human being, any other president that we can`t possibly vote for him.
We can`t understand him. Our vocabularies are in commensurable. That is,
they can`t be reconciled.
We don`t know what language he is speaking. They are implying he is
from Kenya. He is not American. He`s not all American. He`s not
patriotic, the lists of negatives against this president are stunning. And
I think Mr. Milbank is right that it`s gotten progressively over worse over
the last decade. But let`s not deny it here. There is a deep and profound
and disturbing racial element that is layered attack of the vitriolic
tendencies are partisanships here. So, I think what`s going on here, is
that they are denying his very humanity and his utter ability to be
American and this is the most un-American thing I can imagine. The Sarah
Palin`s and Joe Walsh`s and perhaps Mr. Walsh is trying it figure out
transfer of payments between his bank and those of his perhaps children,
that he`s been accused of not paying attention to. I don`t know what is he
doing that day. But this is extraordinary disrespect for the presidency
and for the President. And I think we have to call it out for what it is,
it is deeply and profound un-American and it besmirches the character of
SHARPTON: Now, Dana, the thing that bothers me is that nobody was
more opposed to George Bush than I was. I marched in Florida. I felt the
election against Gore was wrong. But we respected the presidency. We set
a lot of things about him. But if he had any -- at the White House, I
went. Voting rights acts, and other activities. And we respected the
presidency. Even though, well, let`s look. Look at the figures. Over
nine million people more voted for President Obama than his opponent
George Bush, 543,000 people less voted for him than his opponent and
we still respected the presidency even though in terms of the popular vote,
he lost. And many of us question how he got there. So there`s no excuse
for someone disrupting the State of the Union Address and doing all these
kinds of things, to a president who won by this huge margin when no one
behaved like that, when the president that lost the popular vote and some
of us question the electoral vote but still, not did not in their face
disrespect the presidency.
MILBANK: Yes. Reverend, I think what happening here, certainly there
were people, when after the contested election in 2000, really didn`t think
that George W. Bush was rightly the president. But we are in a whole other
realm here now. And people are -- have been questioning with the birther
issue from the very beginning, the legitimacy of this particular man to
hold the office. And that`s what the Kenyan colonial quote from Gingrich
that you just played. There`s this, you always want in politics to make
your opponent look, something different from the average person. That he
is not in touch with the ideals of the common man. But this goes beyond
that just to say that, that he is not one of us, that he is something
SHARPTON: What many of us, Dr. Dyson said that George Bush was
selected not elected, we question the elections, we question a lot, but I
don`t know of any time that he made a speech and the state of the union,
someone disrupted. I don`t know anyone that has done this. I think that
this is way beyond taking a political position.
Michael Eric Dyson and Dana Milbank, thank both of you for being with
me tonight. We`ll be right back.
DYSON: Thank you.
MILBANK: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Rick Perry says, he has a vision for America. He wants to
do for the country what he`s done for Texas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: And I have a record. And I got a record
I`m proud of. I`ve led the state of Texas over the last decade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But looking at laws he signed that take effect today, I`d
say this vision is a bit blurry. For example, there`s new legislation that
allows Texans with a hunting license to shoot wild pigs from a helicopter.
The law is designed to thin out the state`s wild hog population. But don`t
fear, the head of a company that supplied these choppers says hunters have
to take a safety course first. First, because quote, "Flying below 50 feet
at high speeds and shooting semiautomatic rifles from helicopters is
inherently dangerous." Boy, do I feel better now. If that doesn`t scare
you, Texans can now bring their guns to work too. Employees can bring
firearms to the workplace. So long as they leave them concealed and locked
in their cars.
Speaking of that, speaking of those cars, cars can go faster now, much
faster. The new speed limit is a whopping 85 miles an hour. But the best
law might be Perry`s support for a tax increase. Yes, you heard it. I
said, tax increase. The Texas Supreme Court gave a go-ahead to a 2007 law
that requires most strip clubs to charge a $5 quote, pole tax on every
patron. Now, as a civil rights leader, when I hear pole tax, I get
concerned. As a minister, when I find out what this pole tax means, I`ll
think about it. Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. Thanks to everyone
here at the Golf Channel for their help today. "HARDBALL" starts right
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