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PoliticsNation, Thursday, November 8th, 2012

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POLITICS NATION
November 8, 2012

Guests: Wayne Slater; Hogan Gidley; Meghan McCain; Douglas Brinkley>


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Thanks, Chris, and thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead. The end of an era. One way to view President Obama`s
big win Tuesday night is, of course, as a big win for him and the
Democratic Party. But along with that big win for the Democrats, Tuesday
was also a big loss for Republicans and for ideas they had been pushing.
It`s the Ronald Reagan philosophy. Low taxes are the solution to
everything. And government is always the problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In this present
crisis, government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the
problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: For 20 years, Republicans have pummeled Democrats with that
philosophy. But on Tuesday, in re-electing President Obama, Americans by
the millions rejected those ideas. On taxes, 60 percent of voters said
they should be increased. Clearly the president is wins that argument in
the eyes of the country, but not just taxes. Ronal Reagan`s Republican
Party went hard right on social issues. But now, that the dusk is
settling, we are seeing the magnitude of what Democrats and the president
did Tuesday. Their broad victory is coming into shot focus. Voters said
enough of politician`s squabbling over the definition of rape. They
elected strong female representatives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Despite the odds, you
elected the first woman senator to the state of Massachusetts.

SEN. TAMMY BALDWIN (D), WISCONSIN: I am well aware that I will have
the honor to be Wisconsin`s first woman U.S. senator.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: There is no way that Claire
McCaskill can survive. But you know what happened? You proved them wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: On Tuesday Americans decided to send a record number of
women, 20 women to the Senate. And it didn`t end there. We stood up for
marriage equality after 32 straight defeats at the ballot box. It won in
Maine, won in Maryland, won in Washington. In state after state, Americans
stood up for liberal values.

In Minnesota it came in to rejection of voter ID amendment. We are a
more inclusive society than the Republican party understood. As President
Obama eloquently said --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you`re willing to
work hard, it doesn`t matter who you are or where you come from or what you
look like or where you love, it doesn`t matter whether you`re black or
white or Hispanic or Asian or native-American or young or old or rich or
poor, able, disabled, base or straight, you can make it here in America if
you`re willing to try.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s that vibrant coalition that elected President Obama.
African-Americans, Latinos, women, all supporting him, and pushed for a sea
of change at the state level, too. Republicans won the governor`s race in
North Carolina, but lost in Montana, Washington, New Hampshire, Vermont,
West Virginia, Delaware and Missouri.

And remember the overreach of the tea party in the states where many -
- so many anti-women, anti-voting laws first began? Well, voters shut that
down too. California and Illinois now have Democratic super-majorities in
both chambers. Democrats flipped both chambers in Maine. Republicans lost
their super majorities in Arizona, and Democrats claimed new majorities and
statehouses in Colorado, Minnesota and New Hampshire. Americans stood up
for progress, and that`s what elections are all about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: That`s why we do this. That`s what politics can be. That`s
why elections matter. It`s not small, it`s big.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This election was big. It signaled that the Reagan view of
government and politics is fading into the past. We are more diverse,
hopeful nation, and viewers voted that way on Tuesday.

Joining me now is Richard Wolffe, vice president and executive editor
of MSNBC.com, and Alicia Menendez, host and producer of" Huff Post Live."

Thank you both for being here tonight.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Let any go to you first, Richard. Do you agree that
Republicans` loss Tuesday would weigh way beyond the parity of Mitt Romney?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, they lost on the
issues. They lost on the positioning, the branding of the party. They
lost on the makeup of the country and the mindset of the country. And you
know, you can look at it state by state. You can look at it issue by
issue. But, the biggest to me, just if you look at the national piece of
t. The biggest failure was their entire view of President Obama.

They said he was incompetent. They said he was a fluke. They said he
was some kind of aberration, and he was a disaster who would surely fail,
because all the data they had and all the gut they had said he would fail.

You know, President Obama told me when he was a candidate in 2008,
that he really had the aspiration to be like Reagan, not in terms of the
politics, but change the landscape or at least be part of a changing
landscape of American politics.

This election has shown he was right in that judgment. Whether it`s
his leadership or he`s riding the wave of something that`s moving through
this country, the Republican view of him and what he represents was
completely wrong.

SHARPTON: Now Alicia, let me stay there a minute. Because I remember
in talking to then candidate Obama, him saying it publicly, he wanted to be
a transformative president and a transformative political personality in
American history. This election Tuesday, really was that. It was a
transformative in the sense that it was not just the president that won,
but initiatives won on balance that were openly very progressive and
liberal. Voter ID laws defeated in at least one state, marriage equality.
I mean, we saw a transformative election, a mandate that I don`t think
Republicans were in any way prepared for.

ALICIA MENENDEZ, HOST, HUFF POST LIVE: A transformative presidency
and transforming nation. I think the two things happening at the same time
are not coincidental. And I think the thing that Democrats can learn from
it is when they run on their policies, they win. You take something like
Obamacare, for the longest time they weren`t calling it that name, at the
pejorative. They were running away from it. And you have Florida state
where repealing Obama care is actually on the ballot. And you have Bill
Nelson running, touting his support of Obamacare and winning. So, the
lesson for Democrats needs to be a lot of these policies, they can`t run
away from, they need to lean into them.

SHARPTON: And if they lean into, they will get the voters lining up.

MENENDEZ: Yes.

SHARPTON: A lean for line.

WOLFFE: How many years have we heard Republicans say, if we run
promising to cut taxes, and Democrats promise to raise taxes? We`re going
to win. This election turns all that on its head. So, just in terms of
electoral politics and strategy, Democrats can say, we have a campaign to
raise taxes and it won`t kill us. In fact, we`ve got majority support for
it. That changes politics in this country. That changes how election,
afford. Because it`s not just a promise to raise taxes for the sake of it.
Its taxes an investment, taxes to deal with big issues like the deficit in
a fairway. But you know, that just -- the conventional wisdom for the last
30 years, at least since Reagan is that Democrats cannot do this thing.
That`s what just changed this week.

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at the Republicans and they have a tough
time viewing this as a mandate, at least. The Republican party has lost
the popular vote in the last five of six elections, and it hasn`t won as
many electoral votes as President Obama did in 24 years. I mean, this is
amazing, since Reagan, we have not seen this electoral vote yet.

MENENDEZ: We have not seen numbers like that, and yet I am not sure
they`re totally getting the memo. I mean, you have speaker Boehner talking
about the fact that as they approach January, they`re not going to vote for
anything that puts additional tax revenue on the table. If you are in fact
right, which I believe you are, then, that could be the number one takeaway
beyond demographics from this election. And I simply don`t believe it is.
Then you look at the tea party element, you know, only four of the 16
candidates endorsed by the tea party expressed one in this election. So
they should be able to marginalize that element, not simply cave to it at
every turn.

SHARPTON: But is it at some level, Richard they delusional politics,
because again, you didn`t have electoral votes like this since I think it I
said Reagan. I think it was Bush in `88, not Reagan. Reagan is `84. But
isn`t it delusional when they say, no we`re not going to raise taxes when
in fact if the tax cuts -- the Bush tax cuts expire, it`s the same thing?
I mean, is somebody going to send them a memo that you don`t have the same
climate you had last year, because all the president has to do is let the
Bush tax cuts expire.

WOLFFE: There are three cards on the table with this whole fiscal
debate by the end of the year. Two of them Republicans cannot stand,
letting all the tax cuts expire, and these steep, steep cuts to defense.
The third one is in their hands. That`s raising the national debt ceiling.
That means for Republicans, to get everything they want, if they really
think they have the mandate for this, they are going to have to push this
country to the brink of defaulting on its credit again.

I don`t know that they were already perfected. It didn`t exactly work
great for them last time, and their approval ratings hit rock bottom. The
markets tanked. You know, they got all the business CEOs now saying you`ve
got to do something about this. So, maybe they`re prepared to say we don`t
care about the people who pay our fund-raising checks anymore. They could
do this, but --

SHARPTON: They have a lot of explaining, those guys anyway. I don`t
know if they want to increase it.

But in the middle of all of this, Alicia, we are seeing for the first
time, since Tuesday, some Republicans are beginning to come out and deal
with the extremists in their party. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had Republican candidates who got very high
profile and said some very stupid things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Akin and Mourdock.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that really tainted the party --

SOLEDAD O`BRIEN, CNN HOST: Is tea party America`s next best hope?

REP. STEVE LATOURETTE (R), OHIO: Well, listen to me. There`s a one-
word phrase we use for that in Ohio -- crap. That`s nonsense. The
Republican party cannot be a national party if we give up the entire east
coast of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And the last guy was a Republican, now talking about the
crap. I don`t know where their courage was before Tuesday, but slowly
you`re beginning to see lower-profile figures, but people elected, people
in Washington members of Congress that are beginning to come out openly and
question these extremes.

MENENDEZ: I still worry they`re missing the point. It`s not just
that they say stupid things, it`s that they have policies that don`t work.
And so, it`s not simply talking about women in a pejorative way. It`s
about the fact that their policies simply don`t line up with the needs of
women in this country. And then, same can be said at the immigration
reform, yes, self-deportation, that famous Romney line got a lot of play.
But it`s really now about whether or not Republicans are willing to come to
the table on comprehensive reform. So, I hope that Republicans are
learning their lesson. I`m not yet convinced that they are.

SHARPTON: She`s like a hard-nosed preacher. She doesn`t want you to
stop getting caught, she wants you to stop sinning.

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: Richard Wolffe and Alicia Menendez, thank you both for your
time this evening.

WOLFFE: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, we now know what was going on right before Karl
Rove`s on-air election night meltdown. It raises serious questions about
his role at FOX News. You`ll want to hear this.

And what was Mitt Romney planning if he won? We`ve got the story
tonight, and what he`s doing now, that he`s lost the campaign. We`ll tell
you about that, too.

Plus Florida`s fiasco, two days later, and they`re still counting
ballots. Wait until you hear what governor Rick Scott is saying now. My
open letter to him tonight.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on the place for politics, MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything OK? You seem a little down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s just that I really wanted to be president. I
was going to create 12 million jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look. Look. Buck up, you created one job, except
it was for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Very funny. You got me. You know, I
can laugh at myself. Ha ha ha.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined the Politics Nation conversation on
facebook yet? Today everyone was talking about the Romney campaign finally
conceding Florida.

Elton says, it`s about time.

Sharonda is sympathetic. She says, if you see a Republican today,
give them a hug, because they probably need it.

I`m concerned about what`s going on with the voting in Florida. Why
are they still counting? More on that coming up.

But, we want to know what you think first. Please head over to
facebook and search "Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation
that keeps going long after the show ends.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Everyone is still talking about Karl Rove`s on air
meltdown. He has pushed his brain. The architect. The GOP king maker.
The man where all the billionaires
Catch. And the FOX News purge. The guy Democrats feared.

But on election night, after the race was called by FOX News and other
networks, he became the second biggest loser in this election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEW ANCHOR: Do you believe that Ohio has been
settled?

KARL ROVE, AMERICAN CONSULTANT AND POLICY ADVISOR: No, I don`t. This
went from being -- when we started this conversation three or four minutes
1,995-vote margin for President Obama to just now 991.

WALLACE: And the out so, you`re not saying that Obama isn`t going to
win --

ROVE: No, I think this is premature. We have a quarter of the vote.
I don`t know what the outcome will be. But we`ve got to be careful about
calling things when we have like 991 votes separating the two candidates
and a quarter of the vote yet to count.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: There you see what denial looks like in real time. And
today, we`re learning more about what led up to it. The "New York Times"
reports the moment FOX made the call that Obama had won Ohio, quote, "Karl
Rove stood just off camera, his phone glued to his ear. On the other end
was a senior Romney campaign official who insisted that the network had
blown the call."

Folks, let`s get this straight. He`s standing on the set with his
mike still on, and he`s talking to someone in the Romney camp who`s telling
him what to say on the air? Rove`s tantrum led to this awkward moment, in
unseemly interrogation of the fellow who calls the numbers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re way down the hall. We`ll do a little
interrogation and see if they stand by the call, notwithstanding the doubts
that Karl Rove attempted to place.

This is the decision desk. Now we are in the heart of the decision
desk room. You tell me whether you stand by your call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are actually quite comfortable with the call in
Ohio. Basically right now there`s too much Obama vote that`s outstanding
there that we know is going to come in that will be Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, sorry, Rove. It is going to be Obama, but it`s no
wonder Rove was taking the loss so hard. Here is two super PACs spent $300
million on this election. And check out the return on the investment. One
had a one percent success rate. The other a 13 percent rate of success.

And now Rove has to answer to his billionaire buddies who fronted him
the money. "Politico" reports that rove held a phone call today for the
big donors to sum up the race and to explain what happened to donors who
complained. Obviously, somebody made a mistake and didn`t do things right.
There`s no question about that. So will they believe Karl Rove`s excuse
that is this the end of the king maker?

Joining me is Wayne Slater, senior political reporter for "the Dallas
Morning News" and author of two books about Rove, "the architect" and
"Bush`s brain."

Wayne, thanks for being here tonight.

WAYNE SLATER, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS:
Great to be with you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: You`ve covered Karl Rover maybe more than anyone. What was
going through his mind on election night after that call we have made?

SLATER: Remarkable. And you had the word exactly right. It was
denial. Much of what I`ve seen Karl, when he`s been in action in the last
25 years is as an analyst, where he looks at the numbers. He`s a supreme
Aristotelian nerd.

But, what we saw that night in that meltdown was someone in absolute
denial. He was effectively looking at the situation and not realizing, not
accepting the reality of the moment. It was as if he, like so many people
have been watching conservative media, FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, Peggy
Newman, you look at other people who have said it would be Romney in a
landslide, they had an alternative reality that they were watching.

I think Karl may have bought into that. And at the moment when it was
clear that it was all falling apart, and that he had taken millions of
dollars from several billionaires, he was in denial.

SHARPTON: Now, the last part of what you said, he had taken millions
from several billionaires, do you think that helped encourage hi denial
when he realized all this money he had raised and they were losing it all?

SLATER: Absolutely. I mean, my, God. He has been cultivating some
of these people for 15 or 20 years, some of whom are involved as biggest
funders of the cross roads PACs, American Crossroads and crossroads of GPS,
the dark money. Those people that have given him money have been given him
money, many of them, for a long time. There is a Houston homebuilder named
Bob Perry, there is a Dallas financier named Harold Semis (ph), there is
Boone Pickens, these were the three Funders of the swift boat veterans
against John Kerry. These are the people would call long time. He clearly
promised them something in the 2012 race you, and he had not delivered.

SHARPTON: Now, he wrote and op-ed today and he doesn`t issue a mea
culpa. Instead, he gives this unbelievable excuse on why Romney lost. He
writes. I`m quoting him now. "Mr. Romney - Mr. Obama, rather, Mr. Obama
was ruthlessly efficient in executing an early negative campaign. The
president was also lucky. This time the October surprise was not a dirty
trick but an act of God. Hurricane Sandy interrupted Mr. Romney`s momentum
and allowed Mr. Obama to look presidential and bipartisan."

So let me get this right. The -- Mr. Romney was soundly beaten both
in the popular vote and the electoral college and the swing states that
mattered the most? And it was all because of hurricane Sandy?

SLATER: Yes, I think a less charitable person might be saying "and
the dog ate my homework." Look, in the 1980s, Karl Rove, a young political
operative working in a Democratic environment put together a memo. And in
that memo, he explained how he was going to make the Democratic Texas
political establishment a Republican electoral gold mine, which he
succeeded.

In that memo, he wrote the words, when things are going badly, attack,
attack, attack. And that has always been his motif. In this case, things
went very, very badly, involving many very wealthy, very influential
people, and his reaction is just attack the other guy.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this quickly. You`ve written two
books, you know it very understanding, does this tarnish the brand of Karl
Rove? Is this the beginning of the end of Karl Rover as the major player?

SLATER: That he punishes the brand. It is not in my estimation the
end of Karl Rove as a major player. Remember in 2004 he was the hero, the
architect who lifted George Bush for re-election against difficult
situation. But by 2006, he was the goat when the Democrats came back.
He`s been in this position before when people say he`s finished.

I think anyone who thinks that Karl Rove is finished, his days are
over, that he has been, are people, whether Republican enemies or
Democratic opponents, are wishing for something that not likely is going to
happen. They are wishing for something at their own peril.

SHARPTON: Well, he may be around for a while. And I personally wish
him the same success that he had on Tuesday night. Wayne Slater, thanks
for your time this evening.

SLATER: Great to be with you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the GOP is still reeling from the big loss, and
Rush Limbaugh is fanning the flames today.

Plus Florida`s voting fiasco two days later, governor Rick Scott
finally answers questions, but he`s refusing to give explanation. He
changed the law. Where are the answers? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Two days after the election and they are still counting
votes in Florida with President Obama leads by 58,000 votes.

Today, governor Rick Scott finally spoke up about the state`s voting
fiasco taking reporters` questions about why he refused to extend early
voting hours.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Obviously, now a secure state.
Soon to go through all the issues that might have come up during the
election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Issue that is might have come up during the election? You
were behind those issues. Voting this year in Florida was chaos. People
waiting at an early voting line, five, six sometimes seven hours. One
county election board shut its doors in voters` place. But Rick Scott
seems to have missed all that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT: I think the great thing that happened in this election is
people got out to vote. That`s what we wanted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, governor Scott, people got out and voted, but no
thanks to you. For the past years, Scott has done a lot to suppress the
vote. Limiting voter registration drive, purging voters, slashing early
voting days from 14 days to eight. Today reporters tried to get answers
from the governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: It`s been over 24 hours since the
election. Why can all the other states get it done in a timely fashion?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Do you regret not extending early
voting? People are upset.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: People are upset. They feel like you
put politics before the people of the state of Florida.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: People are upset, governor. Did you put politics before
the people? What do you have to say about the voting mess?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT: Well, the right thing happened. We did the right thing. What
we are doing is the right thing. The right thing happened. So, we did the
right thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We did the right thing? The right thing happened? Are you
talking about this election, governor?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Two days and counting literally Miami-
Dade co-workers still have not certified the November election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Governor, you are the person in charge. You are cutting
back earl yes voting caused the mess of long lines. And there is no sense
that you even realize you did anything wrong. Did you think we would let
you get away for taking no responsibility?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT: We did the right thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The country is watching. We are watching. Nice try,
governor, when we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, President Obama was back at work in the White House,
but of course Mitt Romney? It`s a very different story.

He was last seen Wednesday night leaves hi campaign headquarters in
the rain. He was in the backseat of his son`s care with his wife Ann in
the front. An adviser tells CBS News that Romney was, quote, "shell-
shocked" on election night when he realized he lost. "The Boston Globe"
said the campaign had planned a big fireworks show that night to celebrate
his victory.

For a few moments, the Romney transition Web site was actually online
and ready to go. It calls him the president-elect. Calls Paul Ryan the
vice president-elect. And it includes plans for the inauguration. And it
says he`s working on a smooth transfer of power.

But now Mitt Romney is a private citizen. He doesn`t have secret
service protection. His campaign aides say the credit cards have been cut
off and supporters say he`s likely to move to his home in California.
Quote "I think he just fades," one top donor who is close to Romney told
the Boston Globe. I think we have seen for the most part the last of Mitt
Romney.

But for the party he`s leaving behind, the debate is only beginning.
Does the GOP adapt itself to a changing America or does it fade into
relevance? Is this the party of Lincoln or the party of Rush Limbaugh.

Joining me is Megan McCain, columnist for "the Daily Beast" and an
MSNBC contributor. On election night she tweeted, quote, "my party has to
evolve or it`s going to die. And Hogan Gidley, senior strategist for Brave
and the cocks. He has worked for both Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee.

Thank you both for joining me.

MEGHAN MCCAIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.

HOGAN GIDLEY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Megan, let me start with you. What else the Republican
party, in your opinion?

MCCAIN: I think we haven`t gone a job of reaching out to minorities,
reaching out to women. I think gay marriage is an issue that is a
generation issue that is quite fairly trending towards passing in all
states in America. And for whatever reason, this obsession with social
issue is killing us. And it was a very difficult night. I tweeted and
that was one of the most popular things I`ve ever tweeted, and in almost
two and a half years I have been tweeter. And I think people, this is a
harsh reality that we`re facing right now. But I`m not shocked or
surprised. I knew this when my father lost. I`ve been ostracized from my
party, but I`ve discussed this with you in this show before. Ad I don`t
know what people want anymore. I don`t know what people in this party want
anymore. They are not going to start accepting people like me, this party
is going to die.

SHARPTON: Now, Hogan, let me first start with the same question.
What in your opinion is ailing your party?

GIDLEY: I think really one of the stats from election night shocked
me. It was George H. W. Bush won 60 percent of the white vote in 1988.
And he got over 400 electoral votes. Mitt Romney did the same thing. He
won 60 percent of the white vote and he got crushed.

I think there are three reasons this thing went so badly for us. And
one is because we have some type of -- we have decided either to ignore or
to not try and court the changing faces in the electorate in this country.
I think that`s a huge problem.

But also, we have an antiquated method of getting out the vote.
McCain did an OK job in `08. Obviously he was outdone by Barack Obama.
But other methods have just gone up to the `08 standards, and Barack Obama
wasn`t sitting still for four years. He was growing his base, and going
out and courting voters, something we obviously haven`t done.

And third is the candidate. I mean, he`s going to take some blame,
and he should. It was a tough race for us to win, and I don`t know that
this was the best candidate to put forward to try to court a lot of the
voters, the new voters in this country that we have so egregiously ignored
the last few years.

SHARPTON: Now Hogan, you worked with Mike Huckabee, and Mike Huckabee
and I don`t great on much, but he`s proven to get in Arkansas, a lot of
African-American votes. So, it`s not even just whether one is conservative
or not. It is about reaching out, and relating and dealing because I
wouldn`t in the middle of the night sleep call Mike Huckabee a progressive,
but he got double-digit black votes in Arkansas.

GIDLEY: Right, double digits. He got 50 percent of the black votes.
Not once --

SHARPTON: I was trying not to tell everybody that, but go ahead.

GIDLEY: I know. But you know, I asked him one time. And I said,
governor, how did you do that? And he said, look, I`ve never caught a fish
sitting on my couch talking about fishing. You have to get out and talked
to the people no matter who the demographic is and try and sell your
message.

And one of the problems we have I think in the party obviously on
display now, we have so few good messengers that can deliver the message of
conservative. Now, I know you don`t agree with conservatism, and that is
fine.

But the fact is, if we can articulate it well, at ;east would give us
a fighting chance and right now, there are not many people out there like
Mike Huckabee. You can articulate that message or vision to the people.

MCCAIN: And he is right. What conservatism really means has been
diluted so much by - I mean, we lost the single-woman vote, 66 percent of
single women voted for President Obama. I mean, you`re not telling me that
all this discussion about if rape is really rape or not that happened in
the last six to nine months didn`t affect that? It did. I don`t know why
we`re doing. I don`t know why we are doing this. But it really has -- I`m
sorry.

SHARPTON: But, how are you going to make -- you mentioned
generational. How will you and Hogan, who obviously a different
generation, are going to deal with voices like these. Let me play you some
people who don`t seem like they want to evolve.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: America in some ways is changing. And
it is changing this way is that, you know, is the lure of freak.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They don`t see themselves as
moochers, has what they are entitled to. Hispanics are voting for
Democrats because any other reason, people vote Democrat to the party of
free stuff. They are the party of Santa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are 50 percent of the voting public who want
stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President
Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The idea that we have to become more moderate to
win national election, that`s a pig in pope.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, when you call people accusing that they just wants
stuff and all kinds of things, how do you expect people are going to hear
your message?

MCCAIN: I think that we are going to have to face reality. We are
just going to continue losing elections. The party is just continue
getting smaller. And I don`t know what problem everybody has, the face of
America is changing. And it is no longer an old white man. We are all
going to have to face this reality whether they like it or who these
pundits who are talking like -- I like Bill O`Reilly a lot, but I think
they`re way off the mark. And I think for whatever reason, people seem to
be getting angrier at this instead of just facing the cold, hard reality
right now.

SHARPTON: Hogan? How do you deal with this forces?

GIDLEY: Well, I`ll use another Huckabee-ism, if I could. He used to
say and even in `08 he said it. I`m a conservative, but just not angry at
everybody about it. And if you watch his show now, you can see that.

We need somebody out there who can go to all types of people and talk
about the issues we love and we believe in as conservatives, but not turn
them off. And quite frankly, we have to quit cannibalizing our own, and if
you`re not conservative enough, you`re out of the party. I mean, look.
Megan and I probably don`t agree, but she is not less a Republican than I.
She might be less conservative. She might be more conservative on some
things. But the tent needs to be broader, it needs to be wider and we need
to welcome more people and go out and try to attract those people to come
to conservatism.

SHARPTON: And then, there`s some issues that there`s common ground
even with progressives and conservatives. I mean, I`ve worked on education
with Newt Gingrich and President Obama has us on tour together. And we
don`t great with anything. We don`t agree on the weather, but we dealt
with that.

Jeb Bush, your father, Meghan, in `04 Bush got 40 percent of the
Latino vote, your father in 2008 got 31 percent of the Latino, were down
to 27 percent. I mean people just -- I don`t understand why this hostility
and this denial of the changing demographics of this country.

MCCAIN: All you have to say is, I grew up in politician. My dad ran
for the first time when I was 14 years old. And I was on the trail with
him. I grew to love politics, hearing him talking about reaching across
the aisle, compromising with Democrats. If at this point as Republicans
we`re not going to learn to compromise and meet in the middle, we`re
hurting America. We are hurting Americans.

I`m sick of this polarization. I`m sick of this anger. I feel like
I`ve been doing this the past five years. And if this hasn`t been the
whole hard cold dose of reality, this party is just - it is going to die,
and I assume the libertarian party will rise up instead. I mean, we are
going to face reality or we`re going to die.

SHARPTON: Well, and we have to leave it there. But, I do want to
correct you , Hogan. I am a conservative. I`m trying to conserve of civil
rights act, voting rights away and Roe versus Wade. I`m really a
conservative.

GIDLEY: Of course you are.

SHARPTON: Meghan McCain and Hogan Gidley. Thank you for your time
tonight.

MCCAIN: Thank you both.

SHARPTON: Coming up, we`re learn about dinners meetings that the
President Obama had with presidential historians. One of them joins me
tonight to talk about what the president wants his legacy to be.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: As President Obama looks ahead to his second term, he`ll be
planning for the future by absorbing the lessons of the past. "New York
Times" says he held three dinner meetings with historians during the first
term, to talk about where past presidents succeed and fails. "The Times`
said becoming the 44th president of the United States or even the first
African-American president to hold the post had never been enough for
Barack Obama. He spoke unabashedly of becoming one of the greatest
presidents, a transformative figure like Abraham Lincoln or Franklin D.
Roosevelt.

The president held (INAUDIBLE) would be enough to secure his place in
the history book. But he`s not even halfway done and has big plans for a
second term.

Joining me is Douglas Brinkley, one of the historians who attended one
of those dinners with the president. He`s a professor at Rice University.

Thanks for joining me.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PROFESSOR, RICE UNIVERSITY: Thanks, Reverend, for
having me on.

SHARPTON: Those sound like remarkable dinners. What do you think the
president was looking to learn in those dinners with scholars like you?

BRINKLEY: It`s a great honor just to be at those dinners and be with
mea colleagues like Michael Beschloss and (INAUDIBLE) and others. And it`s
really like a book club. Out president is almost encyclopedic on past
presidents. He mentioned Abraham Lincoln and that his touch stone figure
and Doris Kearns` team of rivals had influenced him a lot in 2008. In fact
it has contributed perhaps to him picking Hillary Clinton, his rival, as
secretary of state.

SHARPTON: Yes. Because Lincoln had some of his opponents and
adversaries in his own cabinet.

BRINKLEY: Yes, exactly. And Gates, a Republican, he kept as defense.
I mean, we are looking at it right now. Maybe, somebody like Chuck Hagel
will come in as defense. Theodore Roosevelt came up a lot as the president
ad I agree about most recently. Doris Kearns` too. And T.R. is for
President Obama very important, because Theodore Roosevelt stood up for
universal health care. And he was able to go after corruption in Wall
Street and, you know, become a trust buster.

And you see the power that an executive has. You know, Reverend Al,
just a few weeks ago in California, President Obama saved Cesar Chavez`
home in Kean (ph) California where Chavez is buried. Executive order did
that. And a lot of Latino newspapers celebrated it quite a bit. There are
many things you can learn from past presidents of how to use executive
power.

SHARPTON: Now, what was his demeanor like in those meetings? What
was the kinds of things he was questioning you all about?

BRINKLEY: Well, I mean, you`re listening to having somebody like Bob
Caro there, who is great writer and Lyndon Johnson. And, you know, you get
to recognize for all the great society accomplishments that Linden had,
Medicaid, Medicare, civil rights and voting rights. He also had about 67
senators to rubber-stamp a lot of legislation. And this president had to
grapple with Obama care, affordable care act around 60. So, you just kind
of look at the time and Ronald Reagan interested him a lot, particularly
that Reagan could do business with people like Tip O`Neill and Ted Kennedy,
and he felt with Mitch McConnell that there was nobody to do business with,
perhaps now with Boehner you`ll see him -- Boehner taking a historic role
with his -- the fiscal problem we have. And maybe they will be able to
work together, better in a second term.

SHARPTON: Now, was his interest more on the personal characters and
personal trades of the preceding presidents and their weaknesses and
strengths in terms of their personalities and characters? Or was it more
on policies and how they dealt with the crisis at their time?

BRINKLEY: I think more on the crisis in policy. These are very
relaxed dinners having a lot of fun. It is really as I said, like a book
club. And you get to hear from scholars. He was very gracious, just going
around and letting people talk about what they`re working on, and ask
different questions. And you know, realizing that he can`t repeat the
past, that things are different, but what can you learn from them? Then,
you realize that somebody like Franklin Roosevelt is endlessly important to
talk about. Can we now, if you have T.R. had a CCC, can we have a climate
conservation corps now? Is that doable? And so, there`s just a lot of
things about - I think he`s looking at history to, you know, to may be a
bit of a guide here in the second term.

SHARPTON: Now, some of the key items on the president`s agenda for
the second term, deficit reduction, tax reform, immigration, climate
change, alternative energy. Do you have any sense of where you think he
may go?

BRINKLEY: Well, you know, climate never even got brought up in the
presidential debates, but it means a great deal to President Obama. I
think we might be seeing John Kerry become the secretary of state, it seems
likely. And Kerry has spent his Senate career last decade pushing the
climate issue, in the sense of a global cooperation on climate. It`s
something that when you`re trying to win swing voters that didn`t play
well, but with hurricane Sandy and New Jersey still hurt like it is now, I
think the second term is going to deal with the climate issue in a way they
didn`t in the first.

SHARPTON: All right. Thank you, Douglas Brinkley. Thank you for
your time.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: The election is over, and somebody Romney staffers are
saying has me very hopeful for the future. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: On election night, we saw scenes of joy at the Obama
headquarters, but of course things were different for team Romney. They
were understandably disappointed,. But I`ve been impressed since then with
how tweets from some of the staffers don`t reflect one ounce of negativity.

One aide tweeted, it has been a great joy and privilege to work for
Mitt Romney.

Another tweeted, it`s been quite a ride. Grateful to have been part
of it all.

Some Romney staffers had nice things to say about the president.

One tweeted, congratulations to team Obama, to team Barack Obama.

Another wrote, politics can wait another day. Congratulations to team
Obama.

And aide Kevin Sheridan tweeted this photo with the caption, left
everything on the field. Quoting Romney himself on election night.

These staffers worked for months for a cause they believed in. We are
the United States of America, as a nation, now is the time to think bad, so
we can tackle the challenges before us. But we needed to do it together.
We must be generous, inclusive and gracious. We have core beliefs and must
defend our core beliefs. But we must also be willing to give ground and
make progress.

And we must stand by what we believe, but not with rancor and acrimony
we, on the other side, cannot become ugly. You can`t fight ugly and like
and bitterness with ugly and right at bitterness. We should not be the
flip side of some of what we complained about from the tea party.

I learned long ago that Mahatma Gandhi was right. We must become the
change we seek. And that means we must behave as change ages and not just
the other side of the barricades screaming ugliness rather than trying to
transform society. Then change will come and we will all grow for the
better. And build what the president has said that United States of
America. Not giving an inch, but growing a lot.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton.

"Hardball" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
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