Skip navigation

PoliticsNation, Friday, November 9th, 21012

Read the transcript from the Friday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

November 9, 2012

Guests: Colonel Jacobs; Dana Milbank; Abby Huntsman

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

Two big stories tonight. First, President Obama takes a tough stand
over taxes. He delivered a wake-up call to Republicans that he is
determined to make the wealthy pay their fair share in tacks. The other
big story, the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus and that is our
lead tonight.

General Petraeus step down today citing an extramarital affair. He
said quote, "after being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor
judgment by engaging in extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable
both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This
afternoon, the president graciously accepted my resignation."

But General Petraeus was the most respected military leader of his
generation. He`s been top commander of the wars in both Iraq and
Afghanistan, earning phrase from Republicans and Democrats.

President Obama nominated him as the director of the CIA last year.
His fall is a major challenge for the president just three days after the
election. It is a major shake-up to his national security team. Just as
he deals with the attacks in Libya, tensions with Iran and the end of the
war in Afghanistan.

Joining me now is NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel,
retired colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and an MSNBC policy
analyst and Carl Bernstein, the legendary journalist who helped break the
Watergate`s story, now a contributor to "the Daily Beast."

Thank you all for joining me tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Let me start with you, be Richard. This is a real shock.
I mean, late this afternoon, the news came out. What can you tell us?

what we`ve been able to confirm from multiple sources is clearly that the
CIA director resigned. He made that announcement and cited an extramarital
affair. He did not, however, say who may have been involved. He didn`t
name any woman`s name.

What we also know from the law enforcement officials is that the FBI
is currently conducting an investigation into Paula Broadwell. She is a
biographer who has written a book on general Petraeus, quite a goal in
account of General, a favorable account of general Petraeus. She talks
about having extensive access to the general. They`ve gone running
together, according to her accounts, she`s appeared many times on
television programs, including on MSNBC.

The FBI investigation is focusing on whether she had improper access
to general Petraeus` e-mails and may potentially have looked at classified
information. We have also been told that it doesn`t appear that any
charges are going to be filed. This doesn`t appear that it`s going to be
some sort of imprisonment and that general Petraeus himself is not being
investigated in this.

SHARPTON: But we don`t know if there`s an investigation between the
resignation and --

ENGEL: At this point we can`t definitively talk about a connection
between those two things.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you, Colonel Jacobs, you`ve known general
Petraeus. You have known him for years. What kind of person is he and
what do you think this -- what it does to him and his wife?


SHARPTON: And the family?

JACOBS: I taught international relations and comparative politics at
West Point years ago as a captain and a major when general Petraeus was a
cadet. I have known him at law since then and I knew his wife then, too.
She was the daughter of the superintendent of the military academy at the
time. Petraeus was a cadet there, general Nolton. So I`ve known both of
them for nearly 40 years.

And absolutely brilliant man. He was a spectacular student, very,
very perceptive, extremely articulate both in writing and speaking. And it
wasn`t a surprise that he grew to the top ranks of the United States army.
Hundred percent reliable person as a military officer was wounded in a
terrible training accident, shot in the chest. It`s really -- he was -- he
almost died and managed to survive. Did spectacularly well as a division
commander and later as a higher ranking officer.

The kind of reliable person other general officers would go to, to get
guidance and the interesting thing about this and what makes it all so sad
is that it makes his fall actually that much more precipitous, is that the
expectations of somebody like that are so high that any time anything
happens, especially something like this, it`s really, really catastrophic.

SHARPTON: Carl, let me ask you this. Ph.D. from Princeton, 37 years
in the army, top commander in Iraq, top commander in Afghanistan, rewrote
counter insurgency field manual, a man of great respect and clearly a man
that was considered the military hero of his generation, what will this do
politically to the president? How will this affect the president? This is
three days after his election, shakes up his team. He`s dealing with
foreign threats and Petraeus absolutely want one of the key figures there.
What does this mean politically?

CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST: Well two, things. One is the president`s
acceptance of his resignation was appropriately low key and expression of
sadness and that this is a personal matter in terms of the family of the
general. Meanwhile, the lunatic right, I don`t know how else to put it, is
already filled with posts all over the internet that this is somehow part
of a conspiracy to keep general Petraeus from testifying on Capitol Hill
later this week where he`s scheduled to be --

SHARPTON: He`s scheduled there for next Thursday.

BERNSTEIN: For the center of intelligence agency. -- of Benghazi.
It`s one more indication of how poisonous one aspect of our politics are,
particularly coming from the right, to think that this event is part of
some grand conspiracy that the Obama administration has dreamed up to keep
the truth from coming out about Benghazi.

This is a soldier, a great accomplishment. It`s a sad event and at
the same time whenever someone in a national security position like that
who has not only access to classified information but who literally sits
astride all of our secrets, and someone known to him is trying to get into
his computer, obviously you have to resign.

SHARPTON: Now Richard, this is a very sensitive testimony, not only
for Petraeus or but for the whole question of Benghazi. This is a very
troublesome spot for this administration.

ENGEL: The whole Benghazi -- the administration has struggled with.
They haven`t been able to put behind them and just going back to the point
that you were just making, there doesn`t appear, at this stage, any
indication that the investigation into Paula Broadwell was an investigation
that she may have been combing for secrets or anything like that. They
said that there`s no indication that would lead to that, that it was a
spying or patrol for national security information.

But Benghazi is something that they had not been able to go behind.
There have been missteps in the way that they are handling it, how it was
called a terrorist attack later but classified as a spontaneous event.
They did seem to fall on their explanation quite a few times but that is
also understandable.

SHARPTON: Carl, when you talk about the conspiracy theorists and
those floating out things from the right, they are saying that because he
was scheduled to go before the Senate intelligence committee next Thursday,
this comes out. Then, you have the other side saying that maybe somebody
set him up and exposed this to stop it.

BERNSTEIN: I don`t know if anybody said anything about setting him
up. I read a couple pieces quickly online.

SHARPTON: No, no, no. Not set up the affair but exposed the affair.

BERNSTEIN: To suggest that this is being used by the White House to
keep the truth from coming out on Benghazi. Look, obviously there needs to
be a real investigation. Non-politicized about what happened in Benghazi
and hopefully we are going to get it.

JACOBS: And he might participate. Just because he resigned doesn`t
mean that the House and Senate can`t drag him before it and grill him with
questions and he`s going to tell the truth.

SHARPTON: So he can be called even though he`s not --

JACOBS: Absolutely. They can call you and me if they want my opinion
or your opinion. And they -- I`ll be astonished if they don`t ask him to
come testify. And if they don`t, then they are probably missing the boat

ENGEL: Going back to his position. He is so highly respected in the
military. General Petraeus is the only person I`ve seen soldiers, just
average soldiers wait in line for an hour or two to take a picture with
him, his coin -- he hands a lot of coins, is the most valuable for

SHARPTON: We will have to leave it there.

Richard Engel, Colonel Jacobs, Carl Bernstein, thank you for your time

Coming up, the president as you`ve never seen him before. Emotional,
unguarded. An inside look at Barack Obama, the man, as he thanks his staff
after that historic victory.


I`m doing and I`m really product of that. I`m really proud of you and --
I`m really proud of you and we have big dreams.



SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet?

Today, everyone was touched by the photo of the president like we`ve
rarely seen him, tearing up as he thanked his campaign staff.

Earl said, these are tears of joy. Some things cannot be put into

Gilbert added, quote "these are the tears of someone who knows where
he came from."

We`ll have much more on the president`s emotional reaction later in
the show.

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


SHARPTON: Today, in his first public remarks after his historic
election, President Obama sent a shock message to Republicans who didn`t
listen for Tuesday`s results. He ran on raising taxes on those at the very
top and the American people supported that stance and not Rush Limbaugh,
speaker Boehner or his buddy Eric Cantor that they should stand in the way.
Either they get in line or they can get run over. And judging by the
resounding welcome he got, the president got a lot of wind at his back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president and vice president of the United


OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you very


SHARPTON: The support for the president`s economic ideas extend far
beyond that room. Americans want a balance solution to our fiscal
problems, not the one-sidedness that the GOP is pushing.


OBAMA: On Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans
agree with my approach and that includes Democrats, independents, and a lot
of Republicans across the country as well as independent economists and
budget experts. That`s how you reduce the deficit, with a balanced

I want to be clear, I`m not we weighted to every detail of my plan.
I`m open to compromise. I`m open to new ideas. I`m committed to solving
our fiscal challenges. But I refuse to accept any approach that isn`t
balanced. I am not going to ask student and seniors and middle class
families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me, making over
$250,000, are asked to pay a dime more in taxes. I`m not going to do that.



SHARPTON: He won`t do that. But he won`t compromise when it come to
the middle class. They need security right now.


OBAMA: So let`s not wait. Even as we`re negotiating a broader
deficit reduction package, let`s extend the middle class tax cuts right
now. Let`s do that right now.


OBAMA: In fact, the Senate has already passed a bill doing exactly
this. So all we need is action from the house. And I`ve got the pen ready
to sign the bill right away. I`m ready to do it. I`m ready to do it.


SHARPTON: He`s got the pen and he`s got the weight of the American
people behind him in this debate.

Joining me now is Krystal Ball, co-host of "the Cycle" on MSNBC and
E.J. Dionne, columnist for the "Washington Post" and an MSNBC contributor.

Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Krystal, let me start with you. What did you make of the
president`s speech today?

BALL: Well, I think the overall message was look, I`m ready and
willing to work with anyone who is willing to be reasonable, here are my
hands is outstretched. But, I`m not going to be run over and there`s
certain principles I`m not willing to compromise on.

You played the clip of him talking about, let`s go ahead and extend
the tax cuts for the middle class, for everyone up to the top two percent -

SHARPTON: He said, let`s do that right now.

BALL: -- let`s do that right now. And I think that makes a lot of
sense, both in terms of what the American people think and also
politically. You know, it doesn`t -- there is no argument that Republicans
can make against doing that. We all agree on going ahead and extending the
Bush tax cuts up to $250,000 and then let`s work out the rest down the
road. Now of course, they won`t do that because then it looks so bad if
they are just arguing for keeping tax rates low on the wealthiest
individuals in the country.

SHARPTON: Now, E.J., speaker bone, it was interesting today, he asked
go the GOP is still behaving like they think they had a mandate not to
raise taxes given the results on Tuesday. Listen to what speaker Boehner


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Obviously, the president won re-election.
Republicans were basically unable to get a seat in the Senate. More people
voted for Democrats in the House than Republicans. Why do you have
leverage whatsoever?

re-elected a Republican majority and I`m proud of the fact that our team in
a very difficult year was able to maintain our majority.


SHARPTON: Now, E.J., voters spoke at the polls on Tuesday and
according to exit polls, they want taxes to be raised to help deal without
fiscal problems. Sixty percent say, yes, they should be raised. Only 35
percent say taxes should not be raised.

E.J., are we looking for a battle between the Republicans and the
president on this? Or are they going to the -- are the Republicans going
to have to blink at some point ?

DIONNE: Well, I think they are going to have to blink at some point
but we may have to go over the cliff or as I see it it`s not really a
cliff. It`s a slow incline or a hill because all of the world doesn`t have
end on January 2nd.

All the leverage is with President Obama and it was really fascinating
to watch him today compared to where he was on the debt ceiling fight a
year and a half ago. Two big differences. One is, back then, he was
genuinely afraid that the Republicans weren`t going to pass the debt
ceiling and he ended up making quite a few concessions. And now, if
nothing happens, all the tax -- all the Clinton tax rates come back. And
so he can just say, you know, I`m going to veto anything that just
continues it all and it won`t get through the Senate anyway and he`s got
the election. You`re right to show that number.

You know, the president claim`s mandate that they don`t have. But in
this case, if there was anything the president was clear about, he said it
over and over and over again, is that he wanted to raise taxes on better
off people a little bit as part of a budget deal and the exit polls show
that the country is with him on this. Two-thirds of his own supporters
want to raise taxes on people raising -- earning over $250,000 a year.

SHARPTON: But do the Republicans get that or are they just bluffing?

DIONNE: Well, I think Boehner is in a tough spot. My hunch is, he
gets that. But he has a caucus that doesn`t want to pass any tax increase.
I think he`s also a smart enough politician to know that it looks real bad
after a while to say, I`m not going to extend it for middle income people
because I`m just holding out for the rich.

And, you know, Boehner is a lot of things but one of the things he is
basically a smart politician. And so, I think he knows that`s a bad
position. But he`s got a caucus that`s not going to make it easy for him.

SHARPTON: Well Krystal, I mean, and you have people saying don`t deal
with him. Paul Krugman is saying, let`s not make a deal. But at some
point, he knows that at some point, he being Boehner, that it`s hard to
sell that we`re not going to give a tax cut to the middle class unless the
rich gets it, too? Isn`t he like running up against a political clock

BALL: Yes, it`s a very, very tough position. Voters went to the
polls and said they don`t buy that position. And as E.J. pointed out, the
president has tons of leverage here because if nothing happens, all of the
Bush tax cuts expire and he can exhibit plain that the reason that middle
class taxes are set to go up is because Republicans held them hostage to
make sure they got tax breaks for rich people.

You know, another interesting thing from the exit polls is if you
looked at who voters thought Barack Obama`s economic policies would help,
there were many people who thought it was going to be the middle class or
the poor. For Mitt Romney, overwhelmingly, people thought his policies
would favor the rich. People already fill this way about the Republican
Party but their policies are not designed to help the middle class. They
are designed to help people who have already done well.

SHARPTON: Now, the president also made it very clear that the
American people wanted consensus on this. Listen to this.


OBAMA: The American people are looking for cooperation. They are
looking for a consensus. They are looking for commonsense. Most of all,
they want action. I intend to deliver for them in my second term and I
expect to find willing partners in both parties to make that happen. So
let`s get to work.


SHARPTON: Now, he`s using the momentum of his re-election and reach
out and have cooperation and consensus. Little different, E.J., and
Krystal from the first appearance that George Bush made after he was re-
elected in 2004. Watch this.


political capital and now I intend to spend it. It`s my style. It`s what
happened after the 2000 election. There is capital in this election and
I`m going to spend it.


SHARPTON: A little different than attitude and demeanor, wouldn`t you
say, E.J.?

DIONNE: It is quite different and President Bush ended up spending
his capital on exotic instruments and privatizing social security and it
didn`t work out so well.

You know, and again, that`s where I think the difference is. Obama
wasn`t claiming a big mandate. He was just saying, we had a big argument
on this particular thing. But he also said something else today that I
thought was important.

You know, Washington is obsessed with the deficit but the deficit
wasn`t the first issue that he talked about. The first issue he talked
about was creating jobs and the programs that he wants to push through for
job training and community colleges and the like to help raise people`s
income. And, again, I think that`s very true to the constituency that
elected him that, yes, people want the long-term fiscal problem solved.
But right now, they are still interested in making sure this economy keeps
moving forward.

And, again, without claiming he has political capital, that`s an issue
where I think he`s aligned not only with his own constituency but with a
lot of other people, too.

SHARPTON: Even in victory he reaches for consensus, Chris.

BALL: Yes. And that`s absolutely right. I mean, and he has gone
above and beyond, no matter what the Republicans say, he tried so hard to
get Republicans on board with health care to work with him time and time
again and they just rebuffed him from the beginning. We`ll see if they
behaved this time around.

SHARPTON: We`ll see. Krystal Ball. E.J. Dionne. Thank you for your
time tonight. Have a great weekend.

BALL: Thanks, you too.

SHARPTON: Be sure to catch Krystal weekdays on "the Cycle" at 3:00
p.m. right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, three days after his on-air meltdown, Karl Rove still can`t
accept losing. You will not believe what he is saying now.

Plus, Governor Chris Christie, power ball. He is giving the party a
harsh dose of reality. Today, we will tell you why an e-mail he sent is
making news.

And President Obama as you`ve never seen him before. What his
emotional speech to staffers reveal about him.

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


SHARPTON: Three days later and the Republican Party is in full crack-
up mode. They are finding lot of excuses for why things went wrong. They
say hurricane Sandy caused Romney momentum. They say conservatives never
liked Romney.

But this one takes the cake. Former political guru, Karl Rove, says
President Obama suppressed the vote. Amazing. But who`s delivering those
harsh doses of reality? None other than Chris Christie. Here`s what he
told reporters when they asked him if he talked to President Obama about
his big election victory.


CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), GOVERNOR, NEW JERSEY: We didn`t have a political
strategy discussion. I said congratulations on your win, Mr. President,
and he said thank you, governor, and then we went on to business.


SHARPTON: Now, we know Chris and the president have been in regular
contact, coordinating storm relief. Still, it`s very nice that Christie
congratulated the president by phone. But did he give Romney a call as
well, maybe, to offer a shoulder to cry on?


CHRISTIE: We sent e-mails to each other yesterday afternoon but we
have not spoken but we exchanged e-mails yesterday.


SHARPTON: They exchanged e-mails? The man that Romney chose to give
the keynote address at the Republican national convention has only been in
touch by e-mail? Ouch. I guess that`s Springsteen call went a long way.

But the rest of the GOP hasn`t moved on as quickly. We`ll have a lot
more on the GOP crisis, next.


SHARPTON: All this week we`ve been watching the Republicans deal with
their crushing loss on election night. They are going through all of the
classic stages of grief. First is denial. We saw it start while voting
was still under way.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Do you believe that Ohio has been settled?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don`t. I think this is premature.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The GOP future is quite bright,


SHARPTON: The GOP future is quite bright? Really? They must be
blinded by the right. After denial came anger. They lashed out after the


depressing the vote.

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

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The party of free stuff, they
are the party of Santa.


SHARPTON: The party of Santa. Ho, ho, ho. Looks like you have some
coal in your stocking, Rush. Next came, depression. As the grim reality
of their defeat sunk in.


ANN COULTER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: If Mitt Romney cannot win in this
economy, then the tipping point has been reached. We have more takers than
makers and it`s over. There is no hope.


SHARPTON: There is no hope? Don`t worry Miss Coulter, there is hope
and change. But the final stage of grieving is the only one the GOP hasn`t
gone through yet, acceptance. And they are having a lot of trouble with

Joining me now is Abby Huntsman, host and producer of "Hunts Post
Live" and Dana Milbank, columnist for "the Washington Post."

Thanks for your time.



SHARPTON: Abby, you tweeted the morning after the election, quote,
"GOP soul-searching begins, too old, too white, too male." Will the
Republican Party evolve?

HUNTSMAN: What you`re seeing right now is a state of shock. The
Republican Party is really going through the healing process. So that`s
why you`re seeing the finger pointing, a lot of angry people as they well
should be. A lot of them feel duped like they were tricked into believing
that Romney could win this thing by a landslide. But, you know, then
reality starts to set in, in this whole healing process and you take a step
back and say, look, the Republican Party hasn`t won the popular vote more
than one time in 2004 since 1988. If that`s not a signal that the party
needs to make some changes, I don`t know what is.

So, you are going to have to step back and say what do we do as a
party to really learn from some of the party leaders, such as Lincoln, such
as Roosevelt, such Reagan that were all about big, bold ideas that were
about bringing people together to really come up with solutions to solve
some of the nation`s greatest problems. And I really hoped that the party
moves in that direction because, frankly, Reverend, I don`t know how much
further right the party can go. I think we have gone as far right as we
can possibly go at this point.

SHARPTON: You know, Dana, in your article today in "the Washington
Post," you touched on that exact point and that exact topic. Let me quote
from your article. It says "before arriving at acceptance, Republicans
must go through another stage of grief, an extended period of finger
pointing known as the re-discrimination phase. Only after period of
excuses is it possible to arrive at the plain truth of the matter, the
electorate wasn`t buying what they were selling."

MILBANK: Well, that is the very sad situation that the party finds
itself in. Now, Reverend, to some extent this happens after every
election, as always, there is this round of recrimination that is going to

In this time though, it has got a little bit absurd. I mean, they are
literally blaming the weather, hurricane Sandy. Somebody came out and
said, well, it`s because the people are doing our get out to vote effort
wore blue hair. They are too old. They are blaming Todd Akin, they are
blaming the Romney staff, they are blaming the candidate.

They are basically, they are blaming everything but the actual thing
that is to blame for this and that is that the party has become this white
male coalition that`s largely based in the south. You can`t win elections
that way. And so, they`ve got to get through all of this finger-pointing
and circular firing squad until they can address that larger problem.

SHARPTON: You know Abby, let me ask you this. You`re a daughter of a
very important Republican leader in the country. As I listen to you and
read some of what you`ve been saying, it seems a little deeper than policy
to you. Is this personal? Do you feel that they have put some damage or
bad light on a party that you`ve grown and believe can be better and that
you`ve grown up in?

HUNTSMAN: You know, I think the party -- this is very natural for the
political cycle to see the party go back and forth like this. I look at
someone like my dad who stayed true to who he was during the primary
season. He stayed authentic. And that`s the challenge with the primary
season is that polls the candidate so far to the right and then they are
polled so far to the center and it causes people to look at them as a flip-

So, you know, I think moving forward the party is going to have to
realize that in order to win again, in order to actually win the popular
vote, which they haven`t been able to do, is to really open up the tent and
to bring in the key groups that we`re seeing get out to vote more than ever
before. I mean, the older - like we are talking about, the older white men
are not getting out to vote like they expected this last time. So you
really need to open the doors to Latinos, to women, and to the youth
because that`s really what is going to win you a general election.

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, you know, they have gone back and forward and
John Boehner has said something that is more striking. He`s almost acting
like the tea party doesn`t exist. Let me show you what he said about when
he was questioning about the tea party.


BOEHNER: We don`t have a tea party caucus toll speak of in the house.
All of us elected in 2010 were supported by the tea party. These are
ordinary Americans who have taken a more active role in their government.
They want solutions. We`ve all come a long way over the last two years. I
think we all understand each other a lot better.


SHARPTON: Dana, I mean, clearly the tea party raised a lot of
pressure, raised a lot of the attention and energy. In 2010 that elected
announced members of that party in the Republican Party as the new members
of Congress.

MILBANK: Well sure. And there`s something about what the speaker
says there that is accurate in the sense that there really is no
distinction anymore. There`s not some separate tea party caucus. The
Republican caucus is the tea party caucus.

SHARPTON: -- which is the problem.

MILBANK: It has been entirely a subsumed. So, that`s really the
problem that the speaker is dealing with. He can -- he`s starting to make
some noise about striking a deal. He`s going to get a whole earful from
his caucus, 75, 85 percent of whom are of the -- you know, the no
compromise variety. They are not going to let them do this. He`s got the
toughest job in Washington right now and I think we should be praying for

SHARPTON: And Abby, the challenges that there are those like your
father that stay true to themselves, whether I agree or not is not the
point, and there are those that are more mature and moderate and that could
be very competitive maybe in general elections but they can`t get through a
primary if this climate remains the same in Republican primary. Isn`t that
really the challenge?

HUNTSMAN: That is a challenge and I would think that you would find
that that`s a challenge for Democrats. This time around we didn`t have an
incumbent that was running on the left. So, I think in four years, you
will see a challenge for both sides.

But, you know, as from what we saw this last time during a primary
season, it was such a Looney time for Republicans. And I think you need to
convince the party especially the teat partiers that if you want to win in
general election, you have to not be an ideologue. You have to get passed,
the fact that you are not going to with certain candidates on every single
thing because you need someone that is actually going to win at the end of
the day. You need someone that has big bold ideas. You may not agree with
them on some of the social issues. But I think that the party needs to get
past some of that in order to be competitive.

SHARPTON: Abby Huntsman and Dana Milbank, thanks for your time and
have a great weekend, the both of you.

HUNTSMAN: You thank you, Reverend.

MILBANK: You too, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, what President Obama`s emotional speech reveals
about what really motivates him.

And three days ago President Obama won but today voter rights are
under a very real attack. The Supreme Court`s major announcement today is
a cause for action. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: President Obama as we`ve never seen him, his emotional
thank you to his campaign staff. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Today the Obama campaign released a video from the day
after the election of the president thanking campaign workers at the
Chicago headquarters. Take a look at this extraordinary video.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the re-elect president of
the United States.


OBAMA: You guys -- I -- you know, I tried to pinch myself when I was
your age and I first moved to Chicago at the age of 25 and I had this big
inkling about making a different. I didn`t really know how to do it. I
didn`t have a structure. And there wasn`t a presidential campaign that I
could attach myself to and I ended up being the organizer on the south side
of Chicago at a church that was willing to hire me and I didn`t know what I
was doing. And, you know, the work that I did in those communities changed
me much more than I changed the communities because it taught me the hopes
and aspirations of the resilience of ordinary people. And it taught me the
fact that under the surface differences, we all have common hopes and we
all have common dreams. And it taught me something about how I handle
disappointment and what it meant to work hard on a common endeavor. And I
grew up, be I became a man during that process.

And so, when I come here and I look at all of you, what comes to mind
is not that you guys actually remind me of myself. It`s the fact that you
are so much better than I was in so many ways. You are smarter than I am,
you are more effective. And so I`m absolutely confident that all of you
are going to do just amazing things in your lives and that`s why even
before last night`s results, I felt that the work that I had done in
running for office had come full circle because the work that I`m doing and
I`m really proud of that. I`m really proud of all of you. And -


OBAMA: What you guys have accomplished will go on in history and
people will read about it and marvel about it but the most important thing
you need to know is that your journey`s just beginning. You`re just
starting and whatever good we do over the next four years will pale in
comparison to what you guys end up accomplishing for years and years to
come. And that`s been my source of hope. That`s why I don`t want the last
four years -- when people ask me about, you know, how do you put up with
this or that, the frustrations of Washington. You know, I just think about
you. I think about what you guys are going to do and that`s the source of
my hope. That`s the source of my strength and my inspiration and I know
that you guys won`t disappoint me because I`ve already seen who you guys
are and you all are remarkable people and you`ve lifted me up, each and
every step of the way. Thank you, guys.



SHARPTON: Jonathan, Jonathon Alter.

Jonathan, we`ve never seen a president like that.

unusual event. I was in the headquarters during all day yesterday and
prepare it the day before. I missed that, unfortunately. They wanted it
to be just for staff. And they didn`t expect it to be released at all, it
wasn`t professionally shot as you could tell. Only late yesterday or even
today did they decide that they were going to go public with this because
this is the real Barack Obama. This was a private moment with people who
are fulfilling his earliest idealistic ambitions. This is a guy who went
to an Ivy League college and when got out, instead of trying to make a lot
of money, he expressed his idealism, his belief in a better world and
believe in working with ordinary people by becoming a community organizer.
And what this shows, Rev, is, this is who Barack Obama really is.

SHARPTON: Exactly. He went (INAUDIBLE), one of the most impoverished
low income housing in Chicago and you`re form Chicago and you`ve covered
President Obama for many years. He went there when he could have gone to a
white shoe law firm given his Ivy League background.

ALTER: Right. When I met him in the state Senate, he was trying to
use politics to further some of the things that he had started when he was
working. And so, what he`s saying to these folks is you don`t have to go
into politics, a lot of them are going to be teachers or do other things.
But, to believe in something larger than one`s own interest and to feel
another part of the video he talks about Robert F. Kennedy and the ripples
that are created in a pool when you just throw in one stone and his ability
to inspire other people, to not just get him re-elected but to make
improvements in their own communities.

SHARPTON: That`s what struck me. That`s what struck me. He talked
more about them, those young people, those volunteers, those people who
worked in his campaign and he talked about himself. He just talked about
himself as a way to have them address themselves. I think that`s what
struck me more than anything.

ALTER: Right after he became president in late 2008, he said to
friends, why did I want to do this? It`s so that a young, black kid but
also people of all races, all background who just want to make a
difference, can have some hope that they can and that they can succeed and
do something not just for themselves but for other people.

So, that is what this whole thing is about. And that is why that show
up because he saw his career, as he said, full circle back to when he was a
community organizer. And then later he registered 100,000 voters in 1992
in Chicago. So the kind of work that they did to re-elect him as president
and elect him the first time. This was a direct outgrowth of what he was
all about.

SHARPTON: All of his life, yes.


SHARPTON: Amazing speech, amazing time. Jonathan alter, we`ve never
seen a president like that. Thank you.

ALTER: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Have a grade weekend.

ALTER: You, too.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: Three nights ago President Obama celebrated a big win.
Today, cold reality. The Supreme Court announcing it will hear a challenge
to a key part of the voting rights act. That part requiring states and
counties with a history of discriminating against minority voters to get
clearance from the justice department before changing election rules.

But Shelby County, Alabama wants to get that provision overturned.
And some conservative justices have signaled they may be open to striking
that provision. A ruling against the justice department could lead to more
voter suppression. We can`t let this happen. We will be watching this
case closely. We`ve come too far to start now.

We`ve fought to protect voting rights and women`s rights and
immigration rights. We need those rights in place until they are no longer
necessary when we see voter I.D. laws and cut to early voting and ending
souls to the polls. We know we`re not where we want to be. We still need
the protection of the justice department. We must not change that until
they are no longer necessary.

Thanks for watching. I`m al Sharpton. Have a great weekend.
"Hardball" starts right 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