updated 11/29/2012 11:12:33 AM ET 2012-11-29T16:12:33

POLITICS NATION
November 28, 2012

Guests: Ana Marie Cox; Ben Cardin, Ed Rendell, Cynthia Tucker, Douglas Brinkley, Dr. James Peterson

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

Tonight`s lead, the winning argument. President Obama won the
election. He won the debate on fairness and he`s winning this fight in
Washington and now even some Republicans admit it. In the election, 65
million Americans voted for fairness. They stood with the president who
says everyone should pay their fair share, that there`s just something
fundamentally wrong with the millionaire paying less in tacks than his or
her secretary.

President Obama drove that point home again today demanding that the
rich pay more so the burden doesn`t fall on the middle class.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our first job is to
make sure that taxes on middle class families don`t go up. And since we
all theoretically agree on that, we should get that done. I know some of
this might sound familiar to you because we talked about this a lot during
the campaign. This shouldn`t be a surprise to anybody. This was a major
debate in the presidential can campaign and congressional campaigns all
across the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s what this election was all about, Americans were
with him on Election Day. And they are still with him now. A new
Washington post poll says 60 percent support raising taxes on those making
more than $250,000, just 37 percent oppose it. And now we`re starting to
see signs of the GOP, signs that they are feeling the pressure.

Today, powerful Republican congressman Tom Cole said that they should
just take the deal that the president is offering.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TOM COLE (R), OKLAHOMA: In my view, we all agree that we`re not
going to raise taxes on people who make less than $250,000. We should just
take them out of this discussion right now. Continue to fight against any
rate increases, continuing to try to work honestly for a much bigger deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The former spokeswoman for President Bush, Dana Perino,
says Republicans have lost the argument.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA PERINO, FORMER SPOKESWOMAN FOR PRESIDENT BUSH: From a political
PR standpoint, if I were President Obama, I`d be doing the exact same
thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why?

PERINO: He`s got Republicans on the rope and they knows it. And
Republicans seem to be a little bit in disarray. And not for a good
reason. They did lose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Exactly. The Republicans lost this election. And what
we`re witnessing is them losing the fight over fairness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The Senate`s already passed a bill that keeps income taxes
from going up on middle class families. Democrats in the house are ready
to vote for that same bill today. And if we can get a few house
Republicans to agree as well, I`ll sign this bill as soon as Congress sends
it my way. I`ve got to repeat, I`ve got a pen, I`m ready to sign it. I`ll
go anywhere and I`ll do whatever it takes to get this done. It`s too
important for Washington to screw this up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Millions of Americans agree with the president, Republicans
better get with the program or get out of the way.

Joining me now is Joy-Ann Reid, and MSNBC contributor and managing
editor for "the Grio" and Ana Marie Cox, Washington correspondent for "the
Guardian."

Thank you both for joining me tonight.

JOY-ANN REID, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Ana Marie, let me start with you. Do Republicans see the
writing on the wall in this tax debate?

ANA MARIE COX, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE GUARDIAN: I think they
do. Obviously, at least, some of them do. And I have to say, this is like
a very weird place to kind of like stake your claim, like this is what
you`re going to commit political suicide over.

There are actually other conservative ideals that I understand the
philosophical principles behind and I understand why you might kind go to
the mat on this one. But the American people -- this was, as the president
said, this was something that was decided by the election. This is not
something that people were wishy-washy on. This is something that polls
show over and over again, Americans don`t mind if you raise taxes on the
very wealthy.

Not only do they not mind but they want this. I think it only makes
sense for Republicans to at least do what Tom Cole has said, which is to
settle for this now and then if you want to have that fight later, if you
want to make your debate points later, go ahead and do that. But, at this
point, with the memory so fresh with what the mandate is in the election,
it`s kind of hard to understand why you would fight so hard.

SHARPTON: No, it is hard to understand but, Joy-Ann, one person
doesn`t agree with Tom Cole who I showed in the opening and that`s speaker
John Boehner. Let me show you what the speaker had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I told Tom earlier in
our conference meeting that I disagreed with him. The goal here is to grow
the economy and control spending. You`re not going to grow the economy if
you raise tax rates on the top two rates. We`re willing to put revenue on
the table as long as we`re not raising rates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, Joy, Boehner is not exactly ready to go along with the
American people, it seems.

REID: I think what you just saw there, Rev, was a man waiting with
bated breath on January 3rd, hoping and praying that every day gets shorter
and shorter and shorter. As long as we are still in the lame duck Congress
and those tea party members are still there. I think John Boehner still
has an ounce of fear that he will lose that vote to be re-nominated as
speaker. So he`s always watching his right flank.

I think that Boehner will actually be in a stronger position if we get
to January 3rd and there isn`t a deal and he can force a deal on his tea
party members, but this is a guy who still has to message to the right.

Look. This deal would have to be made essentially by the Congress
that just lost the election, by the Congress that headed by the tea party.
And it`s ironic that it is the Mitt Romney wing, that plutocratic-wing of
the party that lost faith. Mitt Romney in this idea that the rich should
pay less and less. That is what lost this election, but Boehner has to
cling to it for now because he still got those tea party.

SHARPTON: But the American people are clearly with the president on
this. Every poll and the election showed that.

REID: Absolutely. But I think if John Boehner would have waved the
white flag of surrender right now as Tom Cole essentially did, I think that
it would weaken his bargaining position because remember, he still thinks,
he still has, quote/unquote "leverage" with the death ceiling. He withdraw
all his leverage away if he admitted defeat, but really, they are kind of
defeated.

SHARPTON: But Ana Marie, when you look at the president telling
Americans to put pressure on the congress. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I`m asking Americans all across the country to make your voice
heard. Tell members of Congress what a $2,000 tax hike would mean to you.
Call your members of Congress. Write them an e-mail, posted on their
facebook walls. You can tweet it using #My2k. Not Y2K, My2k. We figured
that would make it easier to remember.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You have the president mobilizing the citizens to put
pressure on the Congress, Ana Marie.

COX: Well, you know, this is actually something pretty familiar to
people who have been watching the White House for any number of election
cycles. Going back to, at least in my memory when I started in 200, there
is always talk of trying to mobilize your campaign apparatus in order to
make things happen in Congress.

This is the time to do it, if you`re going to do while people are
still very engage. And you have Obama supporters willing to kind re-tweet
anything that the president says. I do hope that they can use this at this
point. I`m not optimistic that this is something that can continue.
People aren`t going to remain as engaged.

I want to say, I think Joy is correct about Boehner sort of fear of
losing control of his caucus as long as the tea party is well-represented
in it. I do think that`s probably what is going to happen, if anything.
Of course, it`s still from a logic perspective hard to understand. It`s
only sort intelligible if you kind buy into the weird social and political
calculus that is the Congress.

SHARPTON: But if he waits until January 3rd --

COX: Right.

SHARPTON: -- we will be over the so-called fiscal cliff, Joy.

REID: Right. Yes.

SHARPTON: So, I hear you say he`s holding baited breath until January
3rd.

REID: Yes.

SHARPTON: But, where are we January 3rd if there is no deal may be
forfeit?

REID: Well, I think that the fiscal cliff is really more of a curve
and we have been saying a lot on this networks, right? Because it wouldn`t
be some catastrophic thing that would kick in right away. They would
actually even have until the 15th of January before let`s say, most of the
first paychecks were coming out, right? They can actually have time to fix
this because then, everyone would be voting for a tax cuts. And what
Republican want is to always be voting for tax cuts.

So, if all of the tax cuts from the Bush era went away, then, what
they would be voting on with the middle class tax for everybody, $250,000
and less. That actually is something that Boehner could get substantial
republican votes for. It still not clear, even as crazy and in logical as
it sounds, that he could actually deliver significant numbers of
Republicans to get to 218 on the deal. Now, it`s crazy if a guy from
Oklahoma is saying, not even in a swing state, Oklahoma is in hold, if he`s
saying its over, it`s over. But Boehner just can`t admit it.

SHARPTON: Now, there is also, as always as talk about fill but about
filibustering, but today, Ana Marie, the White House came out and said they
support majority leader Harry Reid in the senate saying he wanted to do
something about making it harder to filibuster. Let me read a quote from
Dan Pfeiffer in the White House. He says the president has said many time
that the American people are demanding actions. They want to see progress,
not partisan delayed games. That hasn`t changed in the president`s
supports majority leader Reid`s efforts to reform the filibuster process.
It`s pretty heavy.

COX: It is pretty heavy. Of course, this is something of a constant
matter of debate, of course, in it depends on who is in control of Congress
and who is in control of the Senate as far as how far a debate goes.

I think it`s interesting, and you know, there have been some
interesting research projects done that we think reported, especially when
they say it`s the worst that it`s ever been. But, when it comes to
delaying tactics in the Senate, it is the worst it`s ever been.

SHARPTON: Yes.

COX: The filibuster is now been used as much something called the
filing tree which is kind a fills up a number of amendments that can added
to a bill again which hurts the minority as used more often than ever. It
would be nice if something was done about that. It would be nice if
Congress work a little bit more like people see negotiation work in their
everyday lives.

I`m not optimistic about something happening. I don`t know what the
tipping point is going to be. Maybe as things get worse and worse there
will be a tipping point on it.

SHARPTON: Ana Marie Cox and Joy-Ann Reid, thank you for your time
tonight.

COX: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Breaking news, secretary of state Hillary Clinton`s first
public comments about Susan Rice and the GOP keeps up its smear campaign.

And table for two? President Obama`s having lunch with Mr. 47
percent. I wonder if humble pie is on the menu.

And the first lady and voter dog are getting into the holiday spirit.
But tonight I have a new twist on another annual tradition. I`m looking at
you, FOX News.

This is "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, some Republicans are abandoning the anti-tax
pledge as fast as they abandon -- oh, what`s his name? Don`t tell me.
Don`t help me. Don`t help me. (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that`s my personal trainer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will.

Today, a lot of people were sharing their views about the president`s
decision to invite Mitt Romney to the White House for lunch tomorrow.

Norman calls it, a classy move on the president`s part.

Ron says, this speaks volumes about the president`s willingness and
intent to bring the parties together.

Becky says, a smart man listens to the ideas of others regardless of
politics.

We will have more on the big lunch later in the show. But, as always,
we want to hear what you think, too. Please head over to facebook be and
search "Politics Nation" and "like" us to join the conversation that keeps
going long after the show ends.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Susan Rice is extraordinary. I couldn`t be prouder of the job
that she`s done in US.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was President Obama today in his cabinet meeting
praising his ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice.

And we have some breaking news. Just moments ago, secretary of state
Hillary Clinton made her first public comment about her potential
successor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Susan Rice has done a great job
as ambassador to the United Nations. And, of course, this decision about
my successor is up to the president, but I`m very happy he has the
opportunity with a second term to make a decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A strong praise of support from Hillary Clinton. For
weeks, Republicans have desperately been trying to draw gin up controversy
over Ambassador Rice`s comment on the Benghazi consulate attacks, but they
have a big problem. Ambassador Rice had absolutely no role in embassy
security and Republicans know this basic fact, completely destroys their
bogus argument. So today, GOP senators cooked up a whole new talking point
and it might be their most offensive attack yet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: What troubles me so much is the
Benghazi attack, in many ways echoes the attacks on those embassies in 1998
when Susan Rice was head of the African region for our state department.

SEN. AYOTTE (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: My colleague from Maine raised some
very important questions about her role in the 1998 embassy bombings as
well. Those are questions that should be answered as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They are exploiting another national tragedy just to smear
Susan Rice? The 1998 embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania killed more
than 200 people, including 12 Americans over 1,000 people were hurt. And
now Republicans are using these tragic bombings to score political point?
To try and disrupt a potential cabinet nomination, to smear the name of a
dedicated public servant who has given nearly two decades to government
service?

This is a new law. It`s time for lawmakers to put politics aside and
focus on the real national security interest of the country.

Joining me now is Senator Ben Cardin, Democrat from Maryland and
member of the committee on foreign relations.

Senator, first of all, thank you for being here tonight.

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Al, it is a pleasure to be with you.
Thank you.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, is it appropriate to use the 1998
bombings to criticize Susan Rice over what happened in 2012?

CARDIN: Not at all. They are looking for fight. The Republicans are
trying to make controversy where controversy is not really there.
Ambassador Rice should be judged by her record. Her record at the United
Nations as the ambassador for the United States. She is world renowned
known as a great diplomat. She`s represented our country very well. And
she should be judged on her record.

SHARPTON: Now, senator, your colleague, Senator Collins, also accused
Ambassador Rice of playing a political role in the Benghazi aftermath
today. Listen to her criticism here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: I continue to be troubled by the fact that the U.N.
ambassador decided to play what was essentially a political role at the
height of a contentious presidential election campaign by agreeing to go on
the Sunday shows to present the administration`s position.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, she says she went on the Sunday show, senator. It was
political. But just four seconds after Susan Rice appeared on one of these
Sunday morning shows, John McCain appeared on the same show. Was he being
political?

CARDIN: Well, Benghazi was a tragedy, loss of human life. And while
that tragedy was unfolding, the Republicans making political statements
that were totally inappropriate.

Susan Rice was given a responsibility. She responded to information
that she had. I think the facts of Benghazi speak for themselves. I think
Susan Rice`s role is well known, that she was out there with information
that had been provided to her and that to hold her accountable for the
aftermath when the facts became known, I think it`s just wrong. And the
Republicans from day one were wrong on this and it`s a situation where
Americans should come together. On foreign policy issues, we shouldn`t be
playing politics.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you, senator, if we can, let`s go to the bottom
line. Can they block her? Can she be can confirmed?

CARDIN: You know, the confirmation process is a very serious process.
It involves hearings and she should be judged on her record. She should be
judge on what comes out at the hearings. I think so many senators have
already prejudged her based upon information that I don`t think is relevant
to her capability to be secretary of state or whatever confirmation
appointment that the president were to make. I would hope that the
senators would withhold, allow the confirmation process to go forward,
allow her to present her record. I think she has an outstanding record to
present to the American people.

SHARPTON: Are you willing to fight for that record? Are Democrats
ready to dig in and fight if the president chooses to nominate Ambassador
Rice?

CARDIN: I can tell you, we want President Obama`s team in place as
soon as possible. He won the election. He is entitled to have his team
employees. And we believe his team is entitled to the courtesy of the
United States Senate. Yes, there will be confirmation process. There
should be a confirmation processed and she should be judged on her record.

SHARPTON: Senator Ben Cardin, thank you for your time tonight.

CARDIN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, meet the new GOP, same as the old grand old
boys club in the back. Didn`t they learn anything from the election?

Plus, it`s great to see the first lady in the holiday spirit. But not
so great to see the annual freak out in the right wing media. That`s
coming up here next on "Politics Nation."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with a disturbing story from Jacksonville,
Florida. A 45-year-old Florida man has been charged with murder in the
death of a 17-year-old Jordan Davis who, according to police, Michael Dunn
pulled up to a convenience store last Friday and told a group of teenagers
in an SUV to turn down their music. Police say an argument broke out, Dunn
pulled a gun and fired eight or nine shots. The young man, Jordan Davis,
was in the back seat of the car and died after being shot twice. Police
say Dunn then drove away from the scene. He was arrested the next morning.
So the legal process is taking its course. Dunn has plead not guilty,
claiming he acted in self-defense but police say the teens were unarmed.
This all happened in Florida, the state that brought us the stand your
ground law, a law that the NRA pushed hard and has now spread across the
country it`s a law still playing a central role in the Trayvon Martin case.
We will be watching this case very carefully and keep you updated.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: After the disastrous showing at the polls, Republicans have
learned their lesson. That`s right. The GOP`s going to change its ways.
And their party chairman is going to get to the root of why they lost.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I don`t
think you can draw any quick conclusions other the fact that we lost and we
know that. But I think in order to get back in the game, you`ve got to
look and do a full autopsy of what happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, I`m not a doctor but I don`t think you need an autopsy
to figure out the problem. Republicans lost the African-American vote by
87 points. The Hispanics vote by 44 points, and single women by 36 points.
So the first step is to do outreach to those groups, right? Put diverse
people into positions of power. Really broaden their reach. Great ideas.
So, here`s their first move.

These are their 1920 chairs in the House GOP picked so far. Can
anyone guess what they all have in common? If you guessed, they are all
white men, you win. So let`s take a look at these uniquely qualified
candidates. There`s Congressman Royce. They`re picked to head foreign
affairs. Let`s just say he`s not exactly welcoming different communities.
Here he is at an anti-Muslim rally last year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: A big part of the problem that we face today is
that our children have been taught at schools that every idea is right,
that no one should criticize other positions, they call it
multiculturalism, and it has paralyzed too many of our fellow citizens to
make the critical judgment we need to make to prosper as a society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Multiculturalism paralyzes. Top notch choice for foreign
affairs. And here`s their pick for the financial services committee.
Congressman Jeb Hensarling. His main campaign contributor, financial
services industry. No conflict of interest there. And nothing says
Science, space, and technology like Representative Lamar Smith. He`s a
climate change skeptic. So what was that that the GOP chairman said about
this election?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRIEBUS: I don`t think you can draw any quick conclusions other than
the fact that we lost and we know that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: About that, I think I have a couple of quick conclusions.

Joining me now is former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, now an NBC
News political analyst and Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist
and visiting professor of journalism at the University of Georgia. Thank
you both for being here this evening.

FMR. GOV. ED RENDELL (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Our pleasure.

CYNTHIA TUCKER, PULITZER PRIZE WINNING COLUMNIST: Good to be here,
Reverend.

SHARPTON: Cynthia, let me go to you first. Why didn`t the GOP get
the message? I mean, what are they thinking about with these committee
chairs?

TUCKER: Well, that`s a great question, Rev? Why didn`t they get the
message? For one thing, if they wanted to present people of color as
committee chairs, they don`t have -- they have very few to call on. They
have a very small handful of Latino men in the house and now that Allen
West is still there for the rest of this year and that leaves Scott of
South Carolina as the remaining black republican in the House.

So they don`t have a whole lot of choices if they wanted to make
people of color committee chairs. And now, they could have put some women
in positions of power. They could have showcased some republican women.
But they would have had to move over some of these long-serving men who
have taken these positions by -- because of seniority. They have been
there a long time. They would have had to explain to them that we are in
trouble.

SHARPTON: Yes.

TUCKER: Because we look like a party of old white guys. You need to
move over so we can showcase some more faces and clearly nobody wanted to
do that.

SHARPTON: But Governor, we heard a lot of people say right after
election, they`ve got to change, they`ve got to reach out, they`ve got to
represent America and they`ve got to understand the demographics have
changed and that is not to be pro or anti any group is to be inclusive of
all America. What happened to that spirit that we were just hearing two-
and-a-half three weeks ago?

RENDELL: Well, lip service. And Cynthia is right. They could have
easily put some republican women in Congress, men into positions of
leadership. They would have had to explain to some of the people who had
got seniority that this is something we have to do for the benefit of the
party. They could have begun the process. But when you combine this
shocking thing, it`s almost as shocking as when they had the hearing on
contraception and they had all men witnesses. They didn`t have any female
witnesses.

But when you combine this act with their attack on Susan Rice for what
happened in Libya when Susan Rice had nothing to do with what happened in
Libya, when you combine that superfluous gratuitous attack on her like
this, it looks like they are right back to their old ways, attacking women,
ignoring women, ignoring minorities, ignoring people of color. So, they
give little service to it. And let me even say one of the thing. And I
think Cynthia would agree with me, you don`t make points just by putting
people of color or women in positions.

SHARPTON: Right.

RENDELL: You have to change the under lying policy.

SHARPTON: And otherwise it becomes meaningless window dressing.
Because Cynthia, when you hear people say things that make you understand
they really have no clue. Let me give you the chief strategist for the
Romney campaign wrote of losing poll voters in the Washington Post in an
Op-ed today. Stewart Stevens wrote this. I`m quoting what he wrote in the
Washington Post.

"On November 6th, Romney carried the majority of every economic group
except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income. That means
he carried the majority of middle class voters. Let`s remember that any
party that captures the majority of the middle class must be doing
something right."

This is what he writes. But he didn`t stop there. He also wanted to
explain the blow without that Romney faces at the hands of minorities,
young voters and women. This I explained it. President Obama was a
charismatic African-American president with a billion dollars. No primary
and media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical. How
easy is that to replicate? I mean, this is what he wrote, Cynthia. They
don`t get it.

TUCKER: Well, this is the guy who lost the campaign, so he sounds a
lot like Mitt Romney in that sour grape telephone call to his big donors,
you know, who wanted to know what happened to their money, well, Obama
handed out gifts. This is a guy saying, well, it`s just those, you know,
takers, those moochers who voted for Obama. For heaven`s sakes, people who
make most of the people who have served in our armed forces come from
households making less than $50,000 a year.

That is the sole of America. So he is being completely dismissive of
those voters in the same way that Romney was when he spoke of the 47
percent so, no, this is a group of people that has learned absolutely
nothing at all about how to appeal to a broader cross-section of Americans.

SHARPTON: Now, I think that that`s the problem. Governor, when you
look at the fact that as of September, this Congress had 55 anti-women
votes by House Republicans, I mean, maybe some of their, as you said,
policies and stand is what has caused their problem.

RENDELL: No question. Even more than the lack of diversity and
elected in a point of positions. But better evidence that they haven`t
learned Rev. is what is happening in Ohio. In Ohio, within days of the
presidential election, resounding victory for the president. Within days,
they pass essentially a personhood amendment, the same amendment that
Mississippi voters defeated overwhelmingly, they passed it and sent it to
the floor. Now, only the Senate president there who is a republican, he
had the good sense to table it and say, we`ve got to worry about jobs. But
can you imagine the thought process to do something like that?

SHARPTON: No, it`s hard to imagine.

RENDELL: It`s unbelievable.

SHARPTON: Governor Ed Rendell and Cynthia Tucker, thanks for your
time tonight.

TUCKER: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Mitt Romney is coming to lunch tomorrow. Will
he be eating humble pie?

And the first dog Bo stole the show today unveiling the official White
House Christmas decoration. And there`s another holiday tradition going on
today and it`s coming from the right wing media. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: President Obama makes good on a promise. Mitt Romney is
coming to lunch. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We may battle fiercely but
it`s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about
its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family
have chosen to give back two America to public service and that is a legacy
that we honor and applaud tonight.

(APPLAUSE)

In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor
Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country
forward.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Tomorrow, President Obama will sit down for lunch with Mitt
Romney at the White House. It will be a private lunch, no press, no aides.
Just two ex-rivals in the President`s private dining room. The White House
won`t say what is on the agenda. But we here at POLITICS NATION have a
guess about what is on the menu.

The 47 percent burger because 100 percent is just too filling and the
you-who chaser and for desert, might Mr. Romney be enjoying a large slice
of humble pie? And some guess bring gifts, no, not the kind of gifts Mr.
Romney talked about. Perhaps he`ll bring some binders, or maybe a good
book, all about Bain. All the kidding aside, there`s a serious side to the
meeting. This is politically smart and is a big step forward toward
bipartisanship.

President Obama showing once again, he`s willing to set aside
differences to foreign common ground. Is it all atmospheric or is there
something at work here? Whatever it is, I`d love to be a fly on the wall
for this one.

Joining me now, Douglas Brinkley, presidential historian and professor
at Rice University. He`s also the author of a new biography, "Cronkite."
And Dr. James Peterson, professor at Lehigh University and a contributor to
the Grio.com. Thank you for joining me.

DR. JAMES PETERSON, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: Thanks, Reverend Al.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, JAMES BAKER INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Doug, let me start with you. There`s an interesting
history with these meetings of rivals. Tell us about this.

BRINKLEY: Well, you know, if you go back as far as the early
republican 1800 Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were at each other`s
throats. By the end of their lives, they were corresponding with each
other. You can go check out of a library. They are collected letters and
became very fond of each other. But in the modern era, this is really what
we call a photo op lunch tomorrow. John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in
1960, they met in Florida, it was a close election. Kennedy barely won.
And it shows a kind of bipartisan spirit doing that. So, President Obama,
as he does with everything, is showing a lot of grace and style by inviting
Mitt Romney, Romney is accepting, and a lot like sports Reverend, you shake
hands after you lose and then life will move on after tomorrow but it`s
good to have the photo op.

SHARPTON: Now, James, the president actually said on election night
in his speech, let`s put our differences in the past. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: There may be ideas that he has with respect --

We`re not as cynical as the pundits believe, we are greater than the
sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red
states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of
America and together with your help and God`s grace, we will continue our
journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the
greatest nation on earth. Thank you, America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is the president, James, by having the lunch tomorrow that
he said he would do, is he continuing to try to set a new tone, a higher
tone in America or is it just the traditional photo op of two ex rivals?

PETERSON: Well, Rev, I think the optics are important as Professor
Brinkley just pointed out. Historically, you know, whether there`s a
transfer of power or not in these presidential elections, they are somewhat
divisive along electoral lines and it`s important for us to try to heal
around these kinds of meetings and sort of show that the union is more
important than any sort of political maneuvers that go on during the
election season. And so, President Obama is doing what I think is the
right thing to do historically here.

And although, we might get focused on the photo op piece of it. It is
an important gesture towards bipartisanship at an important time. I mean,
in order for us to deal with our fiscal challenges and the different things
we have to do in terms of managing Medicare and working through the
different issues that we have in terms of our economy and social issues,
it`s going to be very, very important that we signal cues and sort of make
messages that are bipartisan and consensus-oriented, so we can actually get
something done in Washington.

SHARPTON: But as a historian, sometimes, David, these meetings --
Douglas, these meetings can be a little awkward. When you look at
Bush/Gore, for example.

BRINKLEY: Bush/Gore was a bit awkward for the very reason it was, you
know, Gore thought he had lost the presidency because of the Supreme Court
that he won but had he to do it and that`s the main thing. You did have
that meeting between Gore and Bush. The worst one for awkwardness was
Ronald Reagan when he beat Jimmy Carter in 1980. I mean, Carter and Reagan
had zero chemistry and you have times when, you know, like FDR, back in
1944, refused to even talk. Said, I want to see that, you know, SOB --
period, and he wouldn`t meet him. So, it all depends on the moment, the
most generous of all I ever heard of was Richard Nixon in 1968 after
beating Hubert Humphrey, visited with Humphrey and offered for him to be
the ambassador to the U.N. like Adlai Stevenson had been and of course,
Humphrey said no.

SHARPTON: Now, talking about offering a job here, the President did
say, James, that Mr. Romney had some good ideas in his post-election news
conference. Watch what the President said about Mr. Romney`s idea.

BRINKLEY: Sure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: There may be ideas that he has with respect to jobs and growth
that can help middle class families that I want to hear. So, you know, I`m
not either prejudging what he`s interested in doing nor am I suggesting
I`ve got some specific assignment. But what I want to do is get ideas from
him and see if there`s some ways that we can potentially work together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So he was complementary of some of the ideas they may find
common ground on, James. But we don`t expect him to offer Mr. Romney a job
tomorrow.

PETERSON: I would be very surprised if Mr. Romney is offered any kind
of official position in an Obama administration. The opportune word there,
Rev, is that he said, he may have some ideas. I think President Obama is
fully aware of the kinds of ideas that Mr. Romney has. And I think even if
you think about Romney`s business acumen and his business experiences,
those are not the kind of business practices that we need in this kind of
economic environment. And so, the President is fully aware of what needs
to happen going forward.

And I think the gesture towards bipartisanship again is what is most
important in this particular meeting. I don`t think too much substantive
will come out in terms of Mr. Romney is having some kind of a position or
even in terms of Mr. Romney being able to see some of his ideas about how
to move forward in the economy into an Obama administration`s plan for the
future of America.

SHARPTON: Well, Douglas Brinkley, James Peterson, thanks for your
time tonight.

I think it`s a healthy thing. I`m very firm and clear on my positions
but I also think it`s very important until a divided country that we show
none of it is personal and that the American people are far more important
than any of our partisan views. That`s why it was good the president met
even today with CEOs who had opposed him, Marriott, State Farm,
Caterpillar, AT&T. Let`s have a tone of not having the country at each
other`s throats but let`s be firm on how we move forward. We`ll be right
back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back. The holiday spirit is in the air tonight.
The annual traditions are getting under way. Here at "30 Rock ," people
are gathering waiting for the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas tree
later tonight. It`s a tradition that goes back to the 1930s. The
unofficial start to the holiday season. But it`s not the only tradition
we`re seeing. And today, First Lady Michelle Obama and first dog Bo
unveiled the official White House Christmas decoration. It feels so much
like Christmas, it`s snowing in the studio. But we wouldn`t really be able
to say `tis the season` without the return of another holiday tradition.
That`s right. I`m talking about the right wing media`s annual war on
Christmas outrage. You can hear their angelic voices already.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What the heck is going on with Christmas in Rhode
Island?

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Now, this is insane, of course.
There`s no reason to mess around with the word Christmas?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Why does Christmas have to be attacked? We don`t
attack any other religion.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Christmas was made an official holiday to honor
birth of somebody called Jesus Christ.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Exactly.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So, you know, it`s unbelievable to me that we try
to cover that up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Oh, yes. They are horrified that Rhode Island`s governor
almost didn`t have a tree lighting ceremony. And can you believe they
called the official state tree a holiday tree? Just like Eggnog,
Mistletoe, and Good Shear (ph). It wouldn`t be the holidays without this
heartwarming outraged.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: I think it`s all part of the secular progressive agenda to
get Christianity and spirituality and Judaism out of the public square.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Just this week, Santa was thrown out of a cancer
center in South Carolina.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Thanksgiving of course is just around the corner
and that means the war on Christmas is under way.

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: We`ll have Christ back in
Christmas and hopefully it won`t offend you.

O`REILLY: To deny that there`s an attack on Christmas in America is a
flat out lie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Those liberals are always attacking Christmas and for
getting what the season is really about. Peace. Togetherness and guns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Nothing says Christmas like a family picture with
Santa and AK-47s. Perhaps, maybe that`s in your Christmas list, maybe it`s
not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s right. FOX hosted the manager of the gun club.
That let people get their Christmas pictures taken with machine guns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is our third year doing this at the -- gun
club, and every year it continues to grow larger and larger. A lot of
folks turning this into a regular holiday tradition.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A regular holiday tradition. Just like the war on
Christmas. What other time of year do we get to hear things like this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: A lot of people, for whatever reason, will look
at this interview today and they`ll say Gretchen Carlson and Dereen Casta
(ph) are nuts, OK? They are so nuts because they think that there`s this
made-up war on Christmas. We`re not nuts, are we?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: No.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There is a war on Christmas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Are you nuts? It really must be the holiday season because
that question was gift-wrapped. 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.
END

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