Skip navigation

PoliticsNation, Friday, June 29, 2012

Read the transcript from the Friday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Guests: Cynthia Tucker, Thomas Perriello, Joe Madison, Nancy Altman, Natoma Canfield

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m Al

Tonight`s lead, helping those who are helping others. We begin with the
Colorado wildfires that have left one person dead and forced 30,000 to flee
their homes. More than 1200 firefighters have been working day and night to
contain the blaze. President Obama met some of them and hailed their
courage today.


see some guys who had just saved three homes in a community that had been
devastated. For those families, the work and the sacrifice of those
firefighters mean the world to them. And they are genuine heroes. They`re
putting their lives at risk to save us and to help us. We got to make sure
that we remember that 365 days a year, not just when tragedies like this


SHARPTON: These firefighters are heroes. That`s why it`s outrageous that so
many of them, thousands, don`t have health insurance. It`s a problem that`s
been getting more and more attention as the Colorado fires burn out of
control. There are some 15 to 20,000 federal firefighters who work
seasonally classified as temporary workers who do not get health insurance.


to buy health insurance like other permanent firefighters have, other
permanent federal employees have. And we feel that the work we do
protecting people`s homes and people`s property and their businesses
warrants that.


SHARPTON: The president`s health care law will help. "The Washington Post"
says quote, "it would guarantee access to health insurance for a
firefighter who, for example, might have bronchitis. Many earn relatively
low salaries, about $250,000 to $35,000 per year, meaning they would
qualify for subsidies. That`s what the affordable care act is all about.
Help in firefighters, helping kids with pre-existing conditions, helping
seniors on tight budgets pay for their medication. It`s about helping the
thousands of people wait in line for hours that free clinics to get medical
care, who, will soon get hands up from the federal government.

But too many Republicans don`t see it that way. They want to repeal it.
They want to block it even though it`s the law of the land. Tea party
Senator Jim DeMint even said quote, "I urge every governor to stop
implementing the health care exchanges that would help implement the
harmful effects of this misguided law."

Now, this is stunning. He`s urging them to ignore the law. And what`s
worse, some of them are listening. After the ruling, governor Scott Walker
said quote, "Wisconsin will not take any action to implement Obama care."
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal said quote, "we`re not going to start
implementing Obama care." And Kansas governor Sam Brownback said he`ll wait
and see what happens in November. Saying it`s about this false presidential
race whether or not you want to implement it.

The American people can`t afford to wait and see. They already know what
solution Republicans are offering. Nothing.

Joining me now, is two of MSNBC weekend warriors. Melissa Harris-Perry,
host of "Melissa Harris-Perry" and Chris Hayes host of "Up with Chris
Hayes." He is also the author of the new book, "Twilight of the Elites."

Thank you both, for joining me tonight.



SHARPTON: Now Chris, let me start with you. The choice to me seems clear.
How can Republicans justify putting politics ahead of people?

HAYES: Well, I think it`s -- Melissa can probably speak to the historical
resonances of a senator from South Carolina, which of course is the
birthplace of the doctrine of nullification.


HAYES: In 1820s and 30s, saying, essentially urging essentially that
governors in the states nullify a federal law. Essentially refuse to
implement it. And to me what`s been so crystal clear about this week, is at
the end of the day, there are two political coalitions in America. And one
has because of who is in that coalition, a desire and an interest in
covering people who don`t have health insurance and one who does not. That
is simply the stark facts that you see at this week. There is one political
coalition in America that does not, explicitly, they say themselves does
not care about that as an objective. And that`s a pretty stark difference.

SHARPTON: Melissa, you know, people talk about Martin Luther King, Dr.
King`s famous I have a dream speech, in it he talks about governors whose
lips drip with the words of into position and nullification. Opposing their
will, nullifying federal law. We just had the Supreme Court uphold this is
legal. It is constitutional. How can we have elected governors openly say
they`re going to disobey the law.

HARRIS-PERRY: Look. And I have been thinking about this - maybe not even
quite this far back 1954 and the brown board decision. And the Supreme
Court of the United States saying no longer was the Ferguson separate but
equals the law of the land. That is no longer going to stand. We are now
going to rule that separate is inherently unequal.


HARRIS-PERRY: But then the justices killed it because they said you must
implement this with all deliberate speed.


HARRIS-PERRY: And we know that as soon as they said deliberate speed, the
person is like I know what deliberation means. That means don`t worry about

SHARPTON: Deliberately didn`t operate the speed.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. But the -- the fascinating part of this
decision is nothing like that comes out of this decision. They do not say
all deliberate speed. And in fact, chief justice Roberts, for all of his
dislike of the law says look, we have no basis as a court to stand in the
way of this law. This law goes forward.

SHARPTON: And in fact, the Congress has the right to tax.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. Very clear deadlines and these folks are
actively saying we don`t care about the courts or about federal law.

HAYES: And we`re going to see -- luckily built into the law right, it
basically gives the states a chance to be laboratories of democracy instead
of the exchanges and if they don`t, the federal government comes in and
sets it up for them if limitation will happen, one way or the other.

The part of the law, though, that will depend on governors, and this is
really going to be an interesting test case particularly in the states of
the (INAUDIBLE) in southern states with a whole lot of poor folks who would
benefit from the Medicaid expansion, is that in the wake of this decision,
Republican governors in those states can say we`re not taking federal money
even though it is a paid for a 100 percent in the first three years. And
then it`s 90 percent, 10 percent split they are after. They can say, you
know what, we don`t care. We don`t want to see these people coming.

SHARPTON: But, it is the people in the states that are going to suffer. As
you said, a lot of poor people, as we have just shown firefighters. The
whole world is looking at these firefighters to put their lives on the
line. Yet we don`t care that they`re working in conditions they can`t get
health insurance.

HARRIS-PERRY: But if you spent 30 years crafting from dogcatcher to
president every single level, a message that says the Democratic Party is
against your interests, the people who are interested in expanding health
care are against your interest. People who want high quality public schools
are against your interest. People who would integrate your neighborhood are
against it. If you have actively spent time in the contemporary context
explaining to all of these ordinary Americans living in Louisiana and South
Carolina that these folks are your enemies, then it almost doesn`t matter
what is empirically true. Because you created kind of an infectious
understanding that says this is against my interest.

SHARPTON: Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday said that he had gotten a call from
Speaker Boehner. Listen to this.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Now, I got a call from speaker Boehner
last Friday. He made it clear that repeal and not repeal and replace, but
repeal was -- it will be the focus point for the house Republicans.


SHARPTON: So they`re not talking about repeal and replace. They`re not
projecting anything. Like I said in the opening, they`re projecting
nothing. What they`re saying is repeal, repeal, repeal, according to their
mouthpiece, Mr. Limbaugh.

HAYES: I mean, the right word march of the Republican party broadly is
something we talk about. But on health care it`s been remarkable. The
universal health care that Richard Nixon was willing to sign, the Democrat
thought was not progressive enough and so it died, was to the left of the
affordable care act.

When Bill Clinton proposed his health care solution, what they counter
proposed was essentially what became the affordable care act with the
mandate. Now the Democrats came back with the mandate and they say no, no,
no. That is theory, that is changing America forever, that is
unconstitutional. And now, they have even given up the goal of doing
anything about health care. They used to at least pay lip service. They
used to at least say of course we have a health care plan. Of course health
care is broken. We have to do something about it. Now they have gone so
far, they basically saying no, we want the totally broken and destructive
status quo.

SHARPTON: Yet, it`s working, Melissa. When you look at 54 million people
received free preventive services, 6.6 million young adults covered by
their parents` insurance, 5.2 percent - 5.2 million rather seniors saved
$3.7 billion on Medicare costs. I mean, it is working. Yet this means
nothing. We`re talking politics. We`re talking that party politics,
partisan politics are above senior kids, pre-existing conditions. Doesn`t

HARRIS-PERRY: It was the critical moment in President Obama`s address on
Thursday when he said he got ensured it and said well, nobody can say I did
this for politics. Right? Nobody can say I did this to get re-elected. In
fact, in a couple hours they`re going to hold my attorney general in
contempt, right? So, you know, kind where I am politically is not what this
is about.

That whatever president Obama was very clear about is that this was the
kind of generational moment. This was the thing that had to happen because
re-election or not, what president Obama and now the Supreme Court under my
goodness chief justice John Roberts has managed to do is to pass the one
piece of healthcare reform legislation that can even possibly stand in this
great right word march.

SHARPTON: Let me show President Obama making that statement.


OBAMA: It should be pretty clear by now that I didn`t do this because it
was good politics. I did it because I believed it was good for the country.
I did it because I believed it was good for the American people.

The highest court in the land has now spoken. We will continue to implement
this law. And we`ll work together to improve on it where we can. But what
we won`t do, what the country can`t afford to do is refight the political
battles of two years ago or go back to the way things were.


HAYES: You know, from a purely political perspective. You were just talking
about the human stakes here. And the human stakes are huge and they get
bigger as we go, right? I mean, this is just the tip of the iceberg what`s
implemented so far.

From a political perspective, what`s remarkable to me is every single day
that the news cycle is not dominated by the unemployment number and the
economy is a loss for Mitt Romney and the Republicans. Every day. If it`s
holding Eric Holder in contempt, if it is the Supreme Court decision,
whatever it is. Even if they think it`s dinging up the president here and
there, every day it`s about that and not about eight percent unemployment,
they are losing. And they are allowing themselves for because of what, you
know, what their base wants to hear them say, they are allowing themselves
to just drift massively off message.

HARRIS-PERRY: They`re going to take that whole week in July, right, the
July 11th week, they`re going to give that whole week to health care.
They`re going to lose it. They don`t have the votes.

So, next week is fourth of July week. Americans will be, you know, thinking
about their freedom and having hot dogs. And then the next week they`re
going back to health care. And then there`s going to be the Olympics. I
mean, it`s going to be August before they have a conversation about the
economy again.

SHARPTON: I rarely disagree with you Chris. They`re not off message. They
don`t have a message.


SHARPTON: Melissa, Chris, thank you for being here.

Be sure to catch up with Chris Hayes on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00
a.m. to 9:00 a.m. And tune in to "Melissa Harris-Perry." Tomorrow, she will
have an important with House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi starting at
10:00 a.m. Saturday here on MSNBC.

Coming up, Republicans have a new line of attack. The health care law is a
massive tax. But Willard shouldn`t be talking. We`re breaking out the tapes

Plus the right wing freak out after the big decision. Rand Paul hints at a
revolt. And Mike compares it to 9/11. We`re taking a close look at this

And the cancer survivor who let a hangs on the oval office joins me live

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Still ahead, Romney slams the health care law as a tax increase
on the American people. Guess he forgot all about the health care tax he
put in place at governor. Don`t worry, we`ll jog his memory next.


SHARPTON: We`re back to "Politics Nation" with the big pivot. Folks, I know
this is shocking, but they already have new talking points against the
health care law. Aren`t you shocked? Yes, me neither.

The newest attack is the law raises taxes on America, even Willard`s


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obama care raises taxes on the
American people.


SHARPTON: It raises taxes on the American people. Guess he forgot about
that presentation he gave to the heritage foundation in 2006 on his
Massachusetts health care law.


ROMNEY: We`re going to insist that everybody be covered one way or the
other. And that those who don`t comply have certain problems. They`re going
to lose their personal tax exemption. We will withhold any of their tax


SHARPTON: There`s even a tape Romney bragging act using attacks, numerous
tax and he did it on national television.


ROMNEY: For those who have higher incomes, we expect them to have health
insurance. And if they don`t, we`ll withhold their tax refund or put in
place other penalties to assure that everybody comes in the.

We said if people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay
your own way. Don`t be free riders.


SHARPTON: Folks, this is the definition of hypocrisy. In 2009, Romney even
wrote an op-ed that said quote, "Obama could learn a thing or two about
health care reform from Massachusetts," like quote, "using tax penalties to
encourage free riders to take responsibility for themselves."

Looks like the GOP has the wrong messenger for their message.

Joining me now is former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell and an NBC
political analyst and Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer Prize winning syndicated
columnist and now a visiting professor of journalism at the University of

Thanks to both of you for being with me this evening.



SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, let me start with you. The GOP is trying to use
health care to their advantage this election, but do they have the wrong

RENDELL: Yes, there is no question about it. First of all, the message is
all skewed. If you want to talk about taxes, let`s start with the fact that
President Obama since he`s been president, the average working family has
seen a tax cut of $3600. Then let secondly make clear that on the mandate
which the Supreme Court properly says is a tax, only two percent of
Americans will pay the tax penalty which is after the first year $666.
That`s what two percent of Americans will pay.

If you`re in a health insurance plan now and you`re paying into that health
insurance plan, you do not have to worry about the tax that comes from the
mandate. It`s only the people who are the free riders. So, it`s less than
two percent of the population. And they`re attacking a president whose cut
taxes to almost the two of $400 per family.

SHARPTON: Now, Cynthia, the governor is correct. Only two percent of
Americans will have to pay or buy into a plan or pay a penalty. Meanwhile,
94 percent will be totally unaffected. And these numbers come from Jonathan
Grover, the man who advised both Mitt Romney and President Obama on health
care law.

TUCKER: Well, Reverend, just a few years back when Romney was pushing
Romney care which is very much like the affordable care act in
Massachusetts, he was among many conservatives who said the individual
mandate is a conservative thing to do. Because you`re forcing people to
take responsibility for themselves.

The heritage foundation supported it, Newt Gingrich was an advocate of the
individual mandate. It was a conservative proposal, Romney said, to get rid
of free riding.

Back during the GOP primaries, Rick Santorum was the person who most often
pointed to Mitt Romney as the wrong guy to bring the message against the
affordable care act. And it has turned out to be the case. And I think
Chris Hayes was right when he said earlier this is not really something
that Mitt Romney wants to be talking about. He doesn`t have any choice.
But, you know, he`s got so much double speak on this issue. And in the age
of you tube, it`s just going to come back to bite him.

SHARPTON: Now, if you look -- clearly you`re right. If you look at the GOP-
- the bind they`re really in. When you look at the fact that their backers
are just tripping over each other. Let me show you some of how they`re
trying to juggle this, Governor and Cynthia.


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: There`s only one candidate, governor
Romney, who has committed he will repeal the Obama tax increase.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think what you`re seeing is it hasn`t worked in
Massachusetts. What he has said is that they did some things right. They
did some things wrong. That he learned from those mistakes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a guy who supports an individual mandate back in
Massachusetts. It is not going an issue from me?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: But what a big difference. He supported at a
state level. If you didn`t like it in Massachusetts, you can move to
another state.


SHARPTON: If you didn`t like it in Massachusetts, you can move to another
state. I mean, when you look at the fact, governor, that even the
conservative blog daily caller points out, that liberal justice Ginsburg
actually cited Romney care in holding up yesterday`s law. I mean, there is
no way of getting around it for Mitt Romney. You can`t have it both ways.

RENDELL: You can`t. And Rev., I never told anybody this. But in 1996 when I
was governor of Pennsylvania and Mitt Romney was ending his term, we went
up because President Bush was president. I never thought that it would be
national health insurance. We went up - and that was governor Romney and
his aides to study how Pennsylvania could adopt something along the lines
of Romney care that Massachusetts had done. And he was filled with pride
about how well it was going to work and how good it was and how structured
it was and how fair it was.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. You`re saying to me in `96 you actually went as
governor of Pennsylvania to learn from the Massachusetts plan and how the
governor of Massachusetts at that time Mitt Romney was proud and beaming
about this?

RENDELL: Sure. And he spent about three hours with us talking to us about
the plan. And he was proud of it. And proud of how he thought it would cure
Massachusetts problems. And by the way, 100 percent of Massachusetts kids
covered by health care. I think 96 or 97 percent of Massachusetts adults.
So, he had something to be proud about.

So, how he can even think of attacking Obama care or the affordable health
care act is staggering to me. It`s staggering to me.

SHARPTON: I mean, that`s amazing, Cynthia. When you look at the fact that
not only will he have to dodge that tax issue, he also love the mandate way
back then. Listen to this.


ROMNEY: With regards to the mandate, the individual responsibility program
which I proposed, I was very pleased to see that the compromise from the
two houses includes the personal responsibility principle. That is
essential for bringing health care costs down for everyone. And getting
everybody the health insurance they deserve and need.

Oh, no. I like mandates. The mandates work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beg your pardon?

ROMNEY: Let me --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t know you were going to admit that. You like

ROMNEY: Let me tell you which mandates I like, Fred.


SHARPTON: I like mandates. I mean, you heard Governor Rendell talked about
their visit in `96. You hear out of Mitt Romney`s own mouth. How does he
walk all of that back, Cynthia?

TUCKER: He can`t walk that back, Reverend. He can`t walk that back. I mean
he`s in a very different position here. That`s why I think Mitt Romney is
doing this, is talking about health care so much only because the
Republican base insists that he do so.

You know, up until this point, up until the ruling, Mitt Romney has run
away from his Massachusetts health care plan. He hasn`t wanted to talk
about it. He hasn`t wanted to mention it because it is so similar to the
affordable care act.

Now he`s stuck with it. He`s trying to spin it in a way that makes it
appear to be different, but it isn`t. And as Governor Rendell said, it was
something he should have been proud of. The people of the state of
Massachusetts were happy with their health care as Americans will be when
this goes fully into force.

SHARPTON: Ed Rendell, the governor, and Cynthia Tucker, thank you both for
your time this evening. Have a great weekend.

RENDELL: You too.

TUCKER: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, we all remember the heated tea party rallies. Now
there are signs they`re coming back. We`ll talk to a former congressman who
knows about their tactics first hand.

And President Obama`s emotional connection with a cancer survivor who wrote
to him asking for help. Her letter still hangs in the oval office. And
we`ll talk to her live.


SHARPTON: Folks, have you checked us out on Facebook? The conversation is
going all day long. Our fans have been applauding all day long the health
care ruling and the impact it`s had on their lives. Danielle is on
disability and she says it`s a relief to know that if she`s hospitalized,
she can`t be thrown out if she reached the limits.

We want to hear your story too. Head over to Facebook and search POLITICS
NATION and like us to join the conversation that keeps going long after the
show ends. We hope to see you there.


SHARPTON: We`re back with the right wing reaction to the Supreme Court`s
ruling. And folks, we need to keep our eye on this one. The rhetoric is
getting flat out dangerous. Today, republican Congressman Mike Pence is
apologizing after comparing the health care ruling to 9/11. A former
spokesman for the Michigan GOP is also apologizing after calling for a
quote, "Armed rebellion in an e-mail." Republican Congressman Mo Brooks
hasn`t yet apologized at hinting for at revolution. Quote, "America`s
founding fathers fought a rebellion for individual liberty. Today`s Supreme
Court decision is a heavy boot on the throat of that liberty."

And Senator Rand Paul suggested Americans should revolt and said Obamacare
should act as a wakeup call. Wakeup calls, rebellions, revolutions. They
have to be very careful with their wording. Let`s remember the Tea Party
movement built to a fury in 2009 and 2010. Outraged over the new health
care law. We all remember the scenes. And the violence always seemed to
bubble just beneath the surface. At one point after the law passed, ten
House Democrats reported receiving threats or acts of violence against

Joining me now is a congressman who saw that violence of the Tea Party
first hand. Former Congressman Thomas Perriello of Virginia. We`ll get into
his experience taken on Tea Party in a moment. We`re also joined by Joe
Madison, nationally syndicated radio host of Mornings with Madison. Thanks
to both of you for joining me.

JOE MADISON, HOST, "MORNINGS WITH MADISON": Thank you, Reverend. Thank you.

FMR. REP. THOMAS PERRIELLO (D), VIRGINIA: Thank you for having us.

SHARPTON: Let me go to you first, Congressman. Are you surprised by the
level of anger from Republicans including all these talk from elected
officials of revolution?

PERRIELLO: Nothing surprises me anymore after what we`ve been through the
last few years. But it`s one thing to have that rhetoric coming from across
the country. It`s another for leaders not to understand the importance of
the signal that they send. When you start using a language that something
is somehow illegitimate, that helped send a signal that illegitimate means
of response may be legitimate because of it.

And so, I think it`s so important that our leaders and elected officials
show respect for the rule of law, respect for the fact that a very
conservative Supreme Court has upheld this bill. And send a signal that the
appropriate way to handle policy disagreements is through public debate and
our elections.

SHARPTON: Yes. Politico had a headline saying Tom Perriello, gas line
intentionally cut. Tell us what happened to you after you voted for the law
and you faced some stiff Tea Party opposition.

PERRIELLO: You know, it was a very scary time for a lot of us. And there
was a Tea Party member who posted something saying, it`s time to take the
fight to Tom`s house. And unfortunately put my brother`s address. My
brother who has small children. And the next night he came home to find
that his gas line was cut and his back porch was full of gas. FBI still
hasn`t solved it. We`ve obviously seen other acts of violence and other
periods in our history. We`re obviously very blessed that everyone walked
away in our case OK.

But I think what was significant about that was how slow elected leaders in
the Republican Party were to respond in a serious way. You saw in some ways
the state Republicans in Virginia responded much more quickly than the
Congressional Republicans. So, you know, we have to take this seriously.
And we have to understand how important it is to have civil debate. I do
feel like we`re in a much more civil place than we were two years ago. I
think the fact that the Supreme Court has shown the legitimacy of what we

It`s a political process. Decide if it`s good policy. I think it is. It`s
the court`s job to be the final arbiter whether it`s constitutional. But,
you know, you have a lot of folks out there who are upset. Because frankly,
they have never liked the constitution that much. They always liked the
articles of confederation better than the constitution.

SHARPTON: Yes. No doubt about that.

PERRIELLO: And that`s a disagreement that`s gone on for 230 years in this

SHARPTON: Joe, on the civil rights side we`ve had to become very clear
that we`re against violence and to try to keep things down. Do the
leadership in the Republican Party and the right wing or those that have
dealings with this kind of Tea Party types have a responsibility to set a
tone and denounce anything like the Congressman just talked about he went

MADISON: Absolutely. Just like we have to. How many demonstrations have we
participated in when we have kept that tone calm? We just did it in
Sanford. As a matter of fact, you just showed a rally. I remember Ben
Gleck`s (ph) rally. And we had thousands, tens of thousands of folks who
showed up. And if you remember, it was an extremely peaceful demonstration.
And we were in opposition. But you know what`s also interesting is what
they`re not saying.

All of this debate -- since this debate has been going on, Reverend
Sharpton, President Obama has been a communist, a Marxist, and a socialist.
I Still don`t know how to be all three at the same time but isn`t it
interesting that now they have to include who? Conservative? Jurist?
Justice Supreme Court Roberts, is he now a socialist, a communist? Is he
now a.

SHARPTON: No, well, Joe, it even gets worse. According to Michael Savage,
he claims Roberts upheld Obamacare because of cognitive problems due to
epilepsy medication.


SHARPTON: Listen to this.


MICHAEL SAVAGE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Neurologists will tell you that
medication used for seizure disorders such as epilepsy can introduce mental
slowing, forgetfulness, and other cognitive problems. And if you look at
Roberts` writings, you can see the cognitive disassociation in what he`s


SHARPTON: So, you`ve got the president a communist, a socialist. But now
you have cognitive problems for the Supreme Court justice because he voted
for upholding the constitution.

MADISON: Let me add one other thing. We also -- and I know your staff will
find this, because they`re very good at this. Rush Limbaugh saying that if
this becomes law that he would, in fact, move to Costa Rica. And I tell
you, I will buy his ticket and I also I guess I`ll buy the Viagra to go
with it. But he can leave. All of them had this big talk going on. So, you
know, keep his word. Go to Costa Rica.

SHARPTON: Congressman, I`m going to let you come in. I`m not going to get
into the latter part of what Mr. Madison will buy him. The ticket is
sufficient. But Congressman, you want to weigh in on the civility of this?

PERRIELLO: Well, I did. You know, another disturbing event last week,
there`s a group of Catholic nuns going around the country trying to raise
awareness of the issue of poverty. They`ve gotten tremendous spiritual
religious support across religious lines. Been very critical of Paul Ryan`s
budget. But mainly raising the issue of poverty. And there was a right
winged talk show host who said they needed to be taken off the bus and
pistol whipped and a republican congressman laughed when this came up.

And I think what we remember is we obviously have to call this out. But we
also have to be inspired by the fact the nuns have kept going. They have
continued to be a prophetic voice against poverty. Health care reform
preceded. We are finally going to have the universal affordable health care
in this country. So, it`s very important that we call out these dangerous
things when they`re said. But that we also taken inspirations in a week
like this about great victories, when people have the courage to face up
against injustice and fight for a better world.

MADISON: And I think we also should thank you for voting. Because you`ve
been vindicated. You did the right thing. You can put your head down at
night, you can tell your children and your family. It might have cost you,
but it was a battle worth fighting. And we ought to also thank all those
other congressmen that fought and were drummed out.

SHARPTON: Former Congressman Thomas Perriello and Joe Madison, thank you
both. And have a great weekend. And I hope we can deal with this without
being ugly on either side. It is unnecessary. It`s unproductive. And it
could lead to more problems than solutions.

Still ahead, from FDR to LBJ to Barack Obama, we`ll look at the right`s
long sordid history of attacking our greatest social program. They were
wrong then. And they`re wrong now.


SHARPTON: We just talked about the right wing reaction to the health care
and the health care ruling. But, folks, they`ve been attacking our great
social program for decades. Began in 1935 when FDR signed the Social
Security act giving millions of Americans retirement benefits. At the time,
a republican congressman said it would quote, "threaten the integrity of
our institutions." Another GOP congressman said quote, "The lash of the
dictator will be felt."

And a GOP senator said quote, "It will go a long way toward destroying
American initiative and courage." Thirty years later, the GOP was singing
the same tune when LBJ created Medicare and Medicaid to ensure the elderly
and the poor. Ronald Reagan called the idea, you guessed it, socialism.


FMR. PRES. RONALD REAGAN, UNITED STATES: Behind it will come other federal
programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this
country, until one day as Norman Thomas said, we will awake to find that we
have socialism.


SHARPTON: And LBJ opponent`s in the 1964 election, Senator Barry Goldwater
thought Medicare would lead us down a slippery slope. He said quote,
"Having given our pensioners their medical care in kind why not food
baskets, why not vacation resorts, why not a ration of cigarettes for those
who smoke?" Folks, last time I checked, the government wasn`t handing out
cigarettes with Social Security checks. The fears were unfounded then. And
they`re unfounded now.

Joining me now is Nancy Altman, co-director of the Social Security Works
and advocacy organization, she also is author of "The Battle for Social
Security." Thanks for being here, Nancy.

having me.

SHARPTON: Are Republicans crying wolf in terms of how these social
programs will allegedly ruin America?

ALTMAN: Absolutely. They are trying to scare the American people. That`s
what they were doing back in the `30s and `60s and now. In fact, some of
the attacks are the same. The Republicans used to say that Social
Security`s reserves which by the way are $2.7 trillion today were IOUs.
They said you`d pay and pay and never see benefits. Some of those same
attacks today. They said about Medicare, there`d be a bureaucrat between
your doctor and the patient. That`s what they said about the affordable
care act.

The important message from today -- from yesterday`s decision is that the -
- that is only a skirmish in a battle. We have to stay vigilant about all
these programs which are so important. Our Social Security system, our
medical Medicare and the affordable care act.

SHARPTON: And part of the vigilance is seeing how the debate is cast and
what is discussed. You wrote in an Op-Ed piece in 2009 in "The L.A. Times."
In your article, you say, then as now opponents played the socialism card.
Unlike today, however the political rhetoric never gain traction in 1935.
Though nearly every republican in Congress was vehemently opposed to Social
Security, Roosevelt prevented them from controlling the debate. How do we
stop the control of the debate in 2012?

ALTMAN: Well, part of what you`re doing, I think, is part of that way. We
really have a moment to reintroduce, I think, the affordable care act to
people. People already know about Social Security and Medicare. And they`re
not fighting it front on. But even as we speak, there are politicians in
Washington who are talking about cutting Social Security, cutting Medicare.
I think the President should be a strong champion of Social Security, of
Medicare, and the affordable care act. They all provide needed economic
security to millions of American working families.

SHARPTON: And Americans are strongly in favor of it. When polled, the
question is raised, do you want to cut Social Security? Don`t cut it 76
percent. Don`t cut Medicare 80 percent. The public is with it. I think
we`ve just got to put the facts out and keep bringing the goods and
services to people in this country that need it. Because Americans know
that there`s a need for this.

ALTMAN: That`s right. The President -- I urge him to be a strong champion
and not just -- he`s a strong champion but speak the language. Explain that
these are earned benefits. These are not, you know, the Republicans like to
call Social Security an entitlement. It`s not welfare. It is benefits that
they`ve earned. And the -- and this program if anything should be expanded.
It`s very important. The American people, even the Tea Partiers are closer
to the traditional democratic position than the Republicans. And the
Democrats should make use of that.

SHARPTON: Nancy Altman, thanks for your time tonight.

ALTMAN: Thank you so much for having me.

SHARPTON: Up next, President Obama`s emotional story about a cancer
survivor whose letter inspired him in his fight for health reform. The
woman who sent it is with us tonight. We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Folks, the details of the health
care law can be hard to understand. But here`s all you really need to know.
It helps people. One woman`s struggle for health care touched President
Obama years ago. He often talked about her fight.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Natoma Canfield, self-employed
cancer survivor from Ohio. She wrote us a letter. Last year, her insurance
company charged her over $6,000 in premiums, paid about $900 worth of care.
Now, they`ve decided to jack up her rates 40 percent next year. Right now
she`s lying in a hospital bed paying for such an illness after she had to
give up her health insurance. She`s praying that somehow she can afford to
get well.


SHARPTON: Yesterday, President Obama shared Natoma`s story again.


OBAMA: Natoma is well today. And because of this law, there are other
Americans, other sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and
mothers who will not have to hang their fortunes on chance. These are the
Americans for whom we passed this law.


SHARPTON: If you fight the noise, the Washington echo chamber, this is what
the law is actually about. People like Natoma Canfield.

Joining me now is Natoma Canfield. A cancer survivor President Obama talked
about. Natoma, thanks for being here first of all.


SHARPTON: Let me ask you. What did the Supreme Court ruling yesterday mean
to you?

CANFIELD: I thought it was a great victory for the whole United States.

SHARPTON: And you wrote the President a letter, and the letter hangs in the
Oval Office. In fact, the White House tweeted out a picture of that letter
on the wall in his office on yesterday. And you have said, though, that
this is not about republican or democrat. This is in fact, you voted
republican, you said. This is about health care.


SHARPTON: Elaborate. That`s the letter that I`m showing people. Elaborate
then how you would want to see the country rise above the partisan divide
on this and why it`s important to deal with it as an issue above partisan
politics for health care for people like you.

CANFIELD: Well, I think people just have to do it. It`s a good thing for
our country. It`s a good thing for individuals. And once people find out
what it`s going to do for them in particular, I think they`ll have a better
understanding of why we need it.

SHARPTON: Now, you went through an illness. You had relatives who was at
the health care bill signing. But you as the President said when he spoke
yesterday had mentioned you that you`re doing better now. And he even
called you yesterday, I understand. How did that conversation go?

CANFIELD: Oh, it was just wonderful. It was just amazing. To have a call
from the President of the United States.

SHARPTON: What did he say to you and what did you say to him?

CANFIELD: Well, he asked how I was. Then he asked how my sister was.
Because she introduced him at Strongsville when he was here. Strongsville,


CANFIELD: And my sister and brother went to the bill signing. And I told
him what a good President I thought he was and what an honor. And also he
invited me to come and see my letter hanging on his wall.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m sure when you wrote that letter, you had no idea that
the President would even see it less know that it would be hanging on the
wall in the Oval Office. But it touched him, and this bill clearly is going
to be a lifesaver for a lot of people.

CANFIELD: Oh, it will be.

SHARPTON: Natoma Canfield, thank you so much for your time tonight and have
a great weekend.

CANFIELD: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: I hope that as we close with Natoma that we all remember that at
the end of the day, we can have different strategist, different tactics and
different analysis even different parties. But at the end of the day it`s
about the Natomas of this country.

Let`s compete for those who can serve them the best. Not who can come up
with the ugliest line most venom. Let`s compete for who can take care of
the Natomas of the country. It will make it a better country.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts now.


<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2012 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Transcription Copyright 2012 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of

Sponsored links

Resource guide