PoliticsNation, Thursday, December 27th, 2012
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
December 27, 2012
Guests: Michelle Cottle, Randi Weingarten, Tamika Mallory
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, the GOP is in denial and they`re scrambling to make a
deal. The only problem? They still haven`t learned that they`re going to
have to compromise.
Just hours ago, President Obama returned home from Christmas vacation.
Looking to jump start negotiations and protect millions from seeing their
taxes go up. The news comes after a conference call that Mr. Boehner held
with GOP house members, telling them to return to Washington this Sunday.
But just because they`re coming back doesn`t mean they`re looking to play
Today, Senator Harry Reid blasted the speaker for refusing to even
vote on a Democratic plan that would protect 98 percent of Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: Everyone knows, including
the speaker of the House of Representatives today, that if they had brought
up the house -- I`m sorry, the Senate-passed bill that would give relief to
everyone making less than $250,000 a year, it would pass overwhelmingly.
But, the speaker, he says, no, we can`t do that. It`s being operated with
a dictatorship of the speaker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A dictatorship of the speaker. And here`s house speaker
Boehner office responded. Quote "Senator Reid should talk less and
Legislate more? What legislation has speaker Boehner been working on
while on vacation?
While we`re about to go over the cliff, the GOP has been pointing
fingers at the president. One GOP aide says talks have failed because
quote "the president made a strategic miscalculation and overreached. He
picked a fight."
Picked a fight? Sorry, that`s not going to fly.
The president has come to the table with numerous proposals. He isn`t
picking a fight. He`s fighting for the American people. We all want a
deal. But we will not give up our core principles. The president ran on
families and has the American people on his side. That`s why speaker
Boehner and Mitch McConnell are cracking up with the clock ticking.
Joining me now is former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, now an NBC
News political analyst, Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the center on
Budget and policy priorities and Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for "the
Washington Post" and an MSNBC contributor.
Thank you all for coming on the show tonight.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thanks, Rev.
JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, let me start with you. Have you ever,
ever seen anything like this? I mean, where is the leadership?
ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR, PENNSYLVANIA: Yes, this is amazing.
If I were the president, I`d be tremendously frustrated because, and I sat
across the table from union leadership and legislative leaders hundreds of
times. You have to have somebody to negotiate with. There`s nobody across
the table for the president to strike a deal with. And the president has
been forthcoming. He`s been expansive. He`s already moved. He`s moved
from 250 to 400. He`s made significant steps. He`s laid out some of the
entitlement reforms that he`s willing to accept. He`s moved about as far
as he can move because there`s nobody coming back to him and saying we`ll
do this and we`ll do that. It`s really irresponsible.
SHARPTON: No, it`s very irresponsible.
And Jonathan, you look at the fact that they`re not being honest about
it. Senator Scott Brown wrote in his facebook page today quote, "heading
back to D.C. just learned the president reached out to Senate GOP
leadership with a proposal. It is the first such proposal to be put
First proposal? The president put multiple proposals on the table.
But he`s not the only one, Jonathan that has said this. Just listen to
senator McConnell today. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I say I`m a little
frustrated because we`ve been asking the president and the Democrats to
work with us on a bipartisan agreement for months, literally for months.
The president chose instead to spend his time on the campaign trail. Now,
Republicans have bent over backwards. We stepped way, way out of our
comfort zone. We wanted an agreement. But we had no takers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Jonathan, out of the comfort zone? And just to be factual,
on November 29th, the president made his opening offer to the GOP.
McConnell actually burst into laughter at the deal. You can`t laugh at a
On November 17th, the president made a second offer to speaker Boehner
with concessions on taxes and entitlement. And last Friday, the president
has repeated his support for standalone tax break for the middle class.
So here`s three occasions. Yet, they claim no proposal or this is the
first proposal. How do you deal people no leadership and that are not
telling the truth, Jonathan?
CAPEHART: Right. And to think the president cut short his Christmas
vacation to come back and deal with all these folks and to deal with this
situation. You know, look, the president ran -- Mitch McConnell is the
minority leader, you know, smacks the president for being out on the
campaign trail instead of negotiating with them. But what was the
president doing on the campaign trail aside from running for re-election?
He was telling the American people that he wanted a fair and balanced
approach to the nation`s fiscal problem. That he thought that taxes should
be raised for those with income above $250,000 and that 98 percent of the
rest of the American taxpayers should have their tax rates stay level, stay
where they are. And the American people went into the voting booth and day
voted decisively to reelect the president.
So, Mitch McConnell, as (INAUDIBLE) says, Mitch McConnell, speaker
John Boehner, they have to deal with the fact that President Obama was
reelected to raise taxes on the top two percent and if speaker Boehner and
the Republicans can`t get their hands around their caucus to make them do
this, then the blame is on them.
SHARPTON: Jared, what do you think about all of this? I mean, you
deal with the policy. You deal with the numbers. There has been some
offers from the president, even to the chagrin of many and his base. I
mean, how do you make where we are? What do you make them?
BERNSTEIN: Well, listening to the three of you and your introduction,
I`m just struck by a real low point in American politics over a period when
there`s been pretty good competition for the lowest of the low points. I`m
also really kind of moved by the really political malpractice going on vis-
…-vis the economy. I mean, we have an economic recovery on going, but it
is fragile. The unemployment rate is still too high.
By the way, you don`t really hear people talking about the
unemployment rate anymore. What is it that you actually would like your
Congress to be doing now, working to build on the momentum of this
recovery. Help them prove it so that American households can get actually
get ahead on their own through working hard. Not through any tax breaks or
anything like that. But through getting back to work and getting their
paychecks back up. That`s what they want to do. And instead, we are
dealing with one self implicated wound after another. It is pure political
SHARPTON: Now, governor, you have had to deal with people of opposing
parties. You`ve had to compromise. You`ve seen them compromise. That`s
what government does. But when you get inflexible people that seem to not
understand the pain of the ordinary American, how do you break this
RENDELL: Well, it`s very hard. And the point you made, Rev, is a
very good one. The president did move with entitlements and with the CPI,
and it did anger a significant portion of his base. But the president
understands that you can`t make a deal that is going to set this nation`s
economy on a healthy path that cease going to take care of our deficit and
is going to make our debt a manageable part of GDP without concessions on
both sides. He knows we can`t asked the Republicans to raise it 1.2, 1.3
trillion in revenue without some concessions on our sides. And he`s
reached out and made significant concessions, significant concessions and
the response to that was nothing. There is no response to it. It is
SHARPTON: Jared, let me ask you, and very quickly. If we go over the
cliff, what happens? Because people keep acting as if we have time. But,
is there not an immediate impact on people like with unemployment insurance
and other things? I mean, what happens if we go over this cliff?
BERNSTEIN: Well, you really have to distinguish between going over
the cliff and quickly reversing the damage, meaning in a matter of weeks,
which is still impossible and going over and staying over. If we go over
and stay over, a couple of million people will lose their unemployment
benefits. Eventually, taxes will increase for millions of others. The
payroll tax holiday will probably be gone either way. So, once we go over
the cliff, if we stay over, the economic pain will be forthcoming if we
don`t correct the damage pretty quickly.
SHARPTON: And can be significant. Give me a yes or no. Are we going
over the cliff or will it be a last-minute deal? Governor Rendell, you
first. Yes or no.
RENDELL: I think we`re going over.
BERNSTEIN: Yes and I`m hope it`s a bungee jump and not a cliff dive.
SHARPTON: Jonathan Capehart?
CAPEHART: I`m with Jared.
SHARPTON: All right, Ed Rendell, Jared Bernstein, and Jonathan
Capehart, we`ll be watching to see if your predictions come true. Thanks
for being on with me tonight.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Coming up, where is the leadership? With the clock
ticking, speaker Boehner is nowhere near Washington. And today, a very
prominent Republican is blasting extremism running the party.
Plus, the NRA push to arm teachers is picking up steam all over the
country. We cannot let it happen.
Plus, avenue 40 years of service in government, the always quotable
Barney Frank is retiring. Wait until you hear what he will miss most. My
exit interview with the chairman is coming up.
You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Here we go again. We`ve seen this movie before. The tea
party is calling the shots instead of speaker Boehner. You think they
would have learned their lesson by now. That`s next.
SHARPTON: We`re less than 102 hours from going off the fiscal cliff.
Five days from tax hikes on the middle class and spending cuts. And
speaker Boehner is, once again, at the center of this mess. He refuses to
stand up to the tea party. He refuses to compromise. We`ve seen this
Last year, it was the debt ceiling, the country`s credit rating was
downgraded for the first time. And the American people are sick of it.
Sixty eight percent want to compromise on a deal and they`re blaming
Republicans if they don`t get one, 53 percent say they`ll blame the GOP.
Boehner can`t control his party much less compromise. The nonsense
going on shows the tea party still runs the speaker.
Joining me now is Michelle Cottle, Washington car respondent for "the
Daily Beast" and Toure, co-host of "the Cycle" here on MSNBC.
Thank you both for being here.
TOURE, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thank you.
MICHELLE COTTLE, WASHINGTON REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST, NEWSWEEK:
SHARPTON: Toure, this is a bad joke. I mean, who is running this
TOURE: Well clearly, the tea party is running is this party. I mean,
we had a nation that voted majority for Obama`s plan to raise taxes on the
wealthy. Even a lot of Republicans said, that is a good idea. We should
raise taxes on two percent wealthiest people in America. But there`s this
group of Republicans on the far right who will primary any Republican who
votes for a tax increase, they will vote them out of office. They will put
up somebody farther right than the people we have in Washington and get
them out of office. So they`re all afraid to vote for a modest tax
increase of people who can totally afford it. And that small group of
people is dominating this discussion --
SHARPTON: They are afraid of the primaries.
TOURE: Absolutely. To the detriment of the entire nation.
SHARPTON: But Michelle, when you look at, you even have strategist
like Mark McKinnon, former aide to George W. Bush and John McCain said this
about the party`s refusing to compromise and I`m quoting it.
"Interesting it has interestingly become clear that the party is
against everything and for nothing. Nothing on taxes. Nothing on gun
control. Nothing on climate change. Nothing only gay marriage. Nothing
on immigration reform on incremental piece-by-piece approach which will
result in nothing. It`s a very odd situation when the losing party is the
party refusing to negotiate. It may be how you disrupt, but it is now how
you govern or how you ever hope to regain a majority."
McKinnon is not the only Republican frustrated by the extremism of his
party. Listen to these strategists and pundits from the right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: We cannot be coward by them. We
have to -- when they say things that are culturally insensitive and stupid,
we need to go after them and say this is not right. We got to stand up.
We need some real leadership over the party and say, you know, you are
alienating voters that we want to attract. Knock it off.
MIKE MURPHY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: We got to get kind of party view
of America that is not with Rush Limbaugh`s (INAUDIBLE).
STEVE SCHMIDT, FORMER MCCAIN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Should not be defined
around who agrees with whatever outrageousness comes out of the mouth than
his talk radio host. Enough is enough.
DAVID FRUM, FORMER BUSH SPEECHWRITER: The conservative powership has
been pleased exploited and lied to by the conservative entertainment
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, Michelle, when you look at these are strategists,
pundits, some worked campaigns on the right, when they or saying it`s time
to stand up, how long will it be before Boehner and some of those in the
Congress say I just got to say this is killing our party and is hurting the
COTTLE: I think John Boehner is well aware of the pickle that the
party is in. I mean, this is a guy who is a pragmatist on some level. But
the question is what can he do? You have a base. And ideological purists
are in control of the primary elections and you wind up with a house that
doesn`t agree with compromise. That see compromise as a filthy word. And
any time Boehner gets too close to some kind of compromise that they don`t
like, they are standing there with knives ready to kind of oust him and put
somebody else in there.
TOURE: She`s absolutely right. That idea of ideological purism at
the Republican Party in particular being against compromise for a lot of
Democrats want people to work together. And you`re starting to see this.
You`re starting to reference the gun debate, right? They don`t want any
change, even with 20 babies dead in Newtown. They want no new laws. And
the laws we have are very weak, of course. We really have almost no laws
restricting guns at all. But they want no new laws, no new change.
So, they move from the party wealthy, party of legitimate rape, now to
the party of Glocks. They say don`t want people to have the right to bear
arms, but they want to have people have the right to bear killing machines
that can kill people with 20, 30, 40 round clips. This is not big ten
politics. Almost all of these policies that you quoted from mark McKinnon
and Mike Murphy, are insulting some large group of people to where --
SHARPTON: Which is why they lost the election.
TOURE: Absolutely. They don`t have that rainbow very small
coalition, right? They have a very small coalition.
SHARPTON: Well, they don`t even have the reign.
But when you look at the polling even on the fiscal cliff stuff,
President Obama, Michelle, on a new poll, 54 percent approve of his
handling of the fiscal cliff. Only 26 percent support John Boehner. So
the politics of it is not even working for them. They`re purists, but
they`re not being practical, even politically. Even as they don`t stand
for what you and I may think is the right thing. They`re not even being
practical about this.
COTTLE: Well, with taxes, it`s so complicated because the Republican
Party has basically got taxation at the heart of its ideology. So what
they`re almost in a position -- they`ve force d themselves into a corner
where what they almost have to do is let the cliff kick in so that then
they can vote to go back and reinstate some tax cuts as opposed to somehow
translating any kind of vote they take, you know, Grover Norquist was going
to stand up and say they raised taxes on the wealthy. I mean, I think at
this point, they are going to have to come to terms with this. But at this
point, they`ve got the situation so kind of backwards and complicated that
they`re going to have to let the cliff kick in and then go backward.
SHARPTON: Toure, let me ask you this quickly. We`ve got some good
economic news today. Weekly unemployment claims have fallen to the lowest
since March, 2008. We`ve seen signs of recovery and Republicans are just
willing to throw that away?
TOURE: Well, you know, I mean, when we talk about it as a fiscal
slope or what have you. And some things will take a while to kick in. But
you talked before about unemployment insurance, unemployment benefits. On
January one, if we go over, there will be millions of people who will be
hurt and will remain hurt. They never get it back if we do a make good
deal, a couple of months down the road.
SHARPTON: And some of that is immediate.
TOURE: Yes. And the people who have no say, people who live check-
to-check, they can`t have their pay --
SHARPTON: Can`t have their unemployment benefits cut. Even a small
bit. There`s going to be a lot of pain for millions of people. People who
we know, who we live among, who will be hurt it.
SHARPTON: Toure and Michelle, I`m going to have to leave it there.
Thanks for joining us.
Be sure to catch Toure on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m. eastern.
Ahead, the NRA`s chief, the chief`s plan, to arm teachers across the
country is happening right now all over the country. We cannot let this
And the Obamas reveal some secrets from behind the scenes, including
the story behind the most shared photo of all time. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook? We hope you will.
Today, our facebook family was commenting on this picture. It`s a
familiar one showing the Obamas hugging on the campaign trail. You
remember it was tweeted right after the election was called with the
caption, four more years. It quickly became the most re-tweeted photo of
all time. Now, the Obamas are talking about what inspired the moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because I love my wife.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, and, also, I
hadn`t seen him in a while. I mean, you know, when you`re campaigning,
they have two ships passing in the night. And the first time I saw him was
when I walked on stage to greet him. And that`s my honey giving me a hug.
BARACK OBAMA: I`ve given you plenty of hugs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Janine says everyone wants to be hugged like that.
Terry says in a world full of fakes and lies, this moment was genuine.
While his hugs may be a hit, President Obama`s singing is causing some
controversy. But it`s not what you think. We`ll tell you about that
And 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA CEO: If it`s crazy to call for putting police and
armed security in our school to protect our children, then call me crazy.
I`ll tell you what I think the American people, I think the American people
think it`s crazy not to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Yes, Mr. Lapierre, you`re crazy. Having armed guards and
armed teachers in our schools is a crazy idea. It`s wrong and it`s
dangerous. But the NRA chief thinks more guns will make it safer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAPIERRE: If we have a police officer in that school, a good guy, if
a good guy with a gun had been there, he might have been able to stop him.
It`s a pretty darn good argument for putting a good guy in the system
somewhere with a gun to help our kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A pretty darn good argument? A recent Harvard University
study shows where there are more guns, there is more homicide. But
already, some state school officials are rushing to put guns in the hands
of teachers. In Arizona, the Attorney General is proposing a program to
arm an employee in every school and give school staff free guns and free
training. In Ohio, a gun association is offering a firearms training
program for teachers. Twenty four have already signed up. In Utah, a gun
group is offering free concealed weapons training for teachers. The
training starts today.
In Texas, a gun store owner is giving teachers a 10 percent discount
on handgun classes. In Minnesota, a teacher was put on administrative
leave after bringing a loaded pistol into her school violating a state law
to ban weapons in public schools. In New Jersey, the mayor of Marlboro
Township is sending armed security guards to schools starting next week.
This is crazy. Arming teachers and school officials is dangerous. Now is
the time to take action against this. The teachers and civil rights
communities are planning joint rallies against it. This cannot become a
Joining me now is Randi Weingarten, president of the American
Federation of Teachers. And Tamika Mallory, executive director of National
Action Network, the civil rights organization are founded more than 20
years ago. Thank you both for joining me tonight.
TAMIKA MALLORY, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Thank you,
RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Thanks.
This is really nuts.
SHARPTON: Randi, I mean, teachers with loaded guns? I mean, what do
WEINGARTEN: So, look. Some of these very same states have strict
teachers` rights to actually have a voice in a classroom. Have any
latitude over what they do with students, have any latitude over their
conditions at work. But, yet, they are rushing, the NRA is rushing to arm
teachers and rushing to arm schools. This is really dangerous,
irresponsible. What we need -- and a huge diversion from what`s going on.
We actually need to make kids safer. We actually need to take guns away
from kids. We`ve had 34,000 kids injured this last year because of guns.
SHARPTON: Thirty four thousand?
WEINGARTEN: Thirty four thousand. Almost 6,000 kids died at the
hands of guns. What we need to do is actually make schools into safe
sanctuaries for kids. Not into arm purchases. And let me just talk about
in realistic terms, all these folks who are rushing to arm teachers,
they`re rushing to make a buck off of this. Because what are they really
talking about? In Columbine, there was an armed guard. It didn`t help.
In Virginia Tech, there were armed guards across the campus. It didn`t
help. When you talk about schools, we have wing after wings. So, where is
the NRA going to stop? Do they want an armed guard in every classroom? In
every wing? Where are they going to stop?
SHARPTON: If there had been an armed teacher in Newtown, would it
have made a difference after seeing what happened in Virginia tech in
WEINGARTEN: The gun that Mr. Lanza used was an assault weapon that
was capable of firing hundreds of shots every two minutes.
SHARPTON: The kids who were killed had three to ten shots in them.
What is a teacher after maybe three hours after training going to do with a
gun? What is an armed guard who`s not a police officer going to do with a
gun? What the NRA is doing is deflecting attention from the fact that we
have too many guns in our streets. You can`t harmonize the second
amendment and say there`s too many guns. If we regulate driving, if we
regulate Wall Street, why can we not regulate guns? If we regulate data,
the teachers collect on kids? Why are we not regulating gun sales? So
we`re seeing here in the last few days, and I understand the mayor in
Marlboro, he`s scared. But what we need to do is have real gun control.
Real mental health workers in schools. Real ways of having a conversation
to make sure that schools are safe havens for kids, safe sanctuaries for
kids, not armed fortresses.
SHARPTON: Tamika, why is the civil rights community up in arms about
this? And is this just now that we`re starting to see some of us in the
civil rights community become concerned about assault weapons?
MALLORY: Well, absolutely not, Reverend Sharpton. National Action
Network and other civil rights organizations have been engaged in this work
to prevent gun violent and to deal with the deregulation of gun laws and
dealing with this issue for very, very long time. We have from National
Action Network detective have engaged in occupy the corners. We are over
this summer. We were out on corners all across the city.
SHARPTON: Yes, you would be on all night every weekend.
MALLORY: Absolutely. Trying to stand in the way of violence on
Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. We also are engaged in a task force
against gun violence in New York City right now where we`ve allotted $5
million to go towards gun violence prevention. In Atlanta, our young
people led by Mary Pat Hector have to shake off the violence campaign where
they`re working in schools and with other young people. Reverend Charles
Williams in Detroit, Michigan has been working on this issue.
MALLORY: So, we have been engaged for many years in dealing with
SHARPTON: But let me ask you this. Because I want to ask Randi about
the budget. You come as the executive director for us with a personal
commitment because in our communities of minorities, we have a
disproportionate problem of assault weapons and many of it coming from
members of our own community. And you`ve personally had to deal with this?
MALLORY: Well, absolutely. My son`s father was murdered 10 years ago
at the hands of an illegal weapon and I also deal with victims through my
work at National Action Network on a consistent basis. I`ve been working
recently with the mother of Lloyd Morgan, Jr. who is a four-year-old boy,
shot and killed in a park in the summer time on a playground dealing with
his mother and his 10-year-old sister.
There`s a real human side to this issue of gun violence and we cannot
allow politics to get in the way and money that is being sent all around.
This money is being spent. That is the real, only meaningful contribution
that the NRA and others have been giving and have been offering is to
spread money around and keep people silent so that there is business as
usual. And that cannot continue to happen.
SHARPTON: Randi, the money. You fought since you`ve been president
at AFT and before that, the UFT in New York, trying to get teachers a
better pay. Trying to get things -- they`re going to come up with money to
buy guns? To arm people to train them to buy bullets? But they don`t have
money for our teachers to do a better -- to have better pay and have better
things to work with our school? We don`t have money for that.
WEINGARTEN: We don`t have money for kids to have art and music. We
don`t have money for kids to have supplies. We don`t have money for
teachers to get a decent salary. We don`t have money to have smaller class
sizes. But all of the sudden, in a hot little minute, we can find
millions, billions of dollars to arm teachers? When what teachers want is
to be able to teach. What kids want is to make sure that their schools are
safe and nurturing. Enable to have a real nurturing environment.
I mean, you know, we have had and to make us totally right, there has
been violence, gun violence, that needs to be abated. And city after city
after city. Now, what we`re seeing, is in rural communities all across
America, we see the use of illegal guns or guns in the wrong hands. We
need to find a way to harmonize the second amendment which one can do and
have common sense regulations around guns. Israel has done it. Canada has
done it. Australia has done it. We can do that in the United States of
SHARPTON: Well, you`ll be hearing a lot about that. I think that it
is high time that we deal with this in a way that protects people`s rights.
But children have the right to become adults. And I think the teachers and
civil rights communities and others must find and rally around common
ground for the good of everyone from the Harlems in the South Side Chicago
all the way to the Newtowns. And I`m glad Randi Weingarten, Tamika Mallory
and others are beginning to do that. Thank you both for joining me
MALLORY: Thank you. Thank you.
WEINGARTEN: Thanks, Tamika.
SHARPTON: Coming up, the one and only Barney Frank is leaving
Washington. But not before his POLITICS NATION exit interview. You`ll
want to hear what he`s saying about the GOP future. And a scandal is
brewing around the Revvie Awards. All kinds of outrage. We`re addressing
the worldwide outcry ahead. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: There`s a growing controversy to tell you about tonight.
And it has something to do with this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I am so in love with you
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s right. All the outrage involves President Obama
singing. And Chris Christie is also involved. Probably not what you`re
thinking, though. We`ll fill you in ahead. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: With the New Year comes a new Congress. Politicians come
and go, but there are few who will miss more than Congressman Barney Frank.
He`s retiring. For 17 terms and 32 years, he`s been a fighter for
fairness. The chairman and the man always good for a sound byte or ten.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Trying to have a conversation
with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table.
Think about this. Somebody hurt my feelings, so I will punish the
country. I`ll make an offer. Give me those 12 people`s names, and I will
go talk uncharacteristically nicely to them.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is why Americans don`t trust the government.
FRANK: No, this is why your stupidity gets in the way of rational
One of the advantages to me of not running for office is, I don`t
even have to pretend to try to be nice to people I don`t like. Now, some
of you may not think I`m good at it, but I`ve been trying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I caught up with Chairman Frank last week on one of his
last days on the hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
You are leaving Congress after 32 years on Capitol Hill. Are you
optimistic about the direction that the country is headed?
FRANK: Very much so. And I think the 2012 election shows it. We
have this remnant, these Tea Party people who held onto 2012. By the way,
the Democrats made gains for the house and we`ve got more votes for the
House and they did. And I`m talking about the extremists you`ve taken over
the Republican Party who used to have a more reasonable approach and it was
because of the Congressional merriment. We have bad luck. The best
republican year in recent history happened to be 2010, which was the year
that the governors and the legislatures elected who did Congressional
And they tell the Democrats, probably would have picked up even more
seats, maybe six more. We wouldn`t have controlled the house, but it would
have been a significant increase. I think the American public has made it
clear that they do not agree with the republican right wing. The American
public wants higher taxes on the very rich. They don`t want Social
Security and Medicare to be taken about the two most successful -- in
They`re not hung up on other people`s private lives and emotional
lives and they`re supporting increasingly the people with the same sex
right to marry and the right to women to be in control of themselves. Now
on gun control, they`re on the wrong side. So I am optimistic that we are
going to see the elections of 2012. I think that`s the forerunner.
Because in every important issue right now, I believe we`re on the popular
SHARPTON: You fought and fought very gallantly for equality for gays
and lesbians. Tell us where you see gay issues now as opposed to when you
came to Washington and whether you think that we have made a transformation
in this society in terms of the civil rights of gays and lesbians.
FRANK: I do. You summarized that very well. I think 40 years ago,
I filed the first gay rights bill in Massachusetts. And I`ve seen enormous
progress. And this is probably, you know, for years, I had to deal with
people who said oh, yes, we agree with you, the politicians. But it`s
going to hurt us politically. I was delighted in 2012, to see the Romney
people complaining that Obama got votes because he was supported of legal
equality of this. I think we are on the verge within 10 years of getting
full legal equality for LBG two people.
It`s mostly because we started being honest about ourselves. But I
will tell you one very important part of it, Al, which you know. There was
an effort by the right wing through the Republican Party to marginalize
this and go to African-Americans and Hispanics and saying don`t associate
with those people. And I`m very proud that I`ve been one of those who have
worked hard. And the relationships among those of us who were gay and
lesbian, the Congressional black caucus, and Congressional Hispanic caucus
have been very strong. And I think that that solidarity has been a major
part of our ability to win.
SHARPTON: Many Americans look at Congress and they just see gridlock.
Can it be fixed, Mr. Chairman?
FRANK: Yes. In the gridlock, it`s true. But it`s a very specific
reason for it. We weren`t gridlocked in 2007 and 2008 when George Bush was
president and the Democrats were in Congress. We disagreed with them on
some issues, but, in fact, 2008, September, just before the election, I and
others work with the Bush administration to deal with the financial crisis.
Earlier that year, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi gave George Bush a stimulus
(INAUDIBLE) George Bush has the democratic leadership for stimulus because
the economy was hurting.
What happened was two things, Al. First of all, Barack Obama got
elected. And for a variety of reasons, the Republicans never gave Barack
Obama the kind of cooperation we gave George Bush. Of course you should
disagree where you have issues and differences. But then in the end, you
try to work things out. When George Bush came to Harry Reid and Nancy
Pelosi, we worked with him, there was some harsh word but we worked with
him to go and to come to an agreement. Mitch McConnell, the republican
leader, said my number one agenda item is to defeat Barack Obama.
And then in 2010, people were elected who don`t believe in governance.
Who don`t understand reality. And so, that`s what -- it`s not like we`ve
had it forever. We didn`t have it before the partisanship and the
opposition of Obama. And there was some people so offended by the notion
that Barack Obama could win for a variety of reasons, that they decided to
delegitimize it. Now, he`s been reelected. And I think the Republicans
understand the increasing numbers of them that they were punished for this
right wing take over that Barack Obama has got four more years and I think
you`re going to see a gradual relinquishment of this kind of obstructionist
death grip they have on the party.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you, you`re leaving Washington after serving so
long and so well. What will you miss about Washington? And what will you
FRANK: Well, I will miss the chance to affect public policy -- and
make this a fairer country. And I`ll miss the friends there. Other
members of Congress, and, by the way, you know, one of the great bargains
the American people get, they don`t know it, are the people who work for
the members of Congress and the stuff, the committees. We have a
wonderful, intelligent, thoughtful, dedicated group of people, they don`t
get a whole lot of money. And it`s great to be able to come to work every
day and interact with bright committed people.
What I won`t miss is one, the travel. And two, to be honest at this
point, the sense of responsibility. For 45 years, I`ve been working in
government, first in the city hall of Boston and then the last 32 years in
Congress. And two often, when the phone rang is because somebody else did
saying, she shouldn`t have done it. He should have done. And people want
me to try and fix it. And I`m sorry people will still be doing those
things, but I need a little rest.
SHARPTON: Your proudest moment. What are you feeling is your
proudest achievement? Is it Dodd-Frank?
FRANK: Well, that`s one of them. One of them, frankly, has been the
successes we`ve got on getting legal equality for LGBT people. And I`ve
had a major repeal of Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell. And I was so proud of my role
in defeating the effort to throw Bill Clinton out of office, which was a
right wing coup effort. And I was on the judiciary committee working on to
John Kanye (ph) mutual good friend and great leader and that they may fill
SHARPTON: What are your plans for the future Chairman Frank? I just
can`t see you sitting by the beach with your feet in the water.
FRANK: I`m going to write a couple books. The first book about what
I think what I should do. I`ll be giving some speeches and I`ll be honest,
I look forward to getting paid fairly significant amounts of money for what
I used to do for free. And then I hope to do some college teaching and,
also, maybe a little bit of your line of work. It looks like you`re having
a good time.
SHARPTON: All right, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for your time tonight.
Best of luck in your next endeavor and please come back on the show any
time. Any time.
FRANK: Absolutely. Thank you, Al. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama singing. The Revvie Awards and
one big out cry for change. You`ll want to see this next.
SHARPTON: We`re back with a big controversy. Brewing about our
special show last night, the Revvies. It`s our annual year-end show where
we dress up and give out awards from the high and low points in politics
for the year. It was a lot of fun. But there`s one award that`s drawing a
ton of outrage. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: But, first, earlier today in a secret, undisclosed
location, the Revvie was awarded for best musical performance. The
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Governor Chris Christie, everybody.
OBAMA: I`m so in love with you
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
ANNOUNCER: And the Revvie for best musical performance went to
Governor Chris Christie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, Chris Christie beat out President Obama. I`ll admit, a
big upset. Some of our viewers are furious. And they went to Facebook to
tell us. Sandra says, "Chris Christie? You`ve got to be kidding me."
Kevin says, "Come on, Rev. Chris Christie for best musical performance? It
should have been the president. Hands down." And Yvonne added, "Obama was
robbed in the musical category. I`m going to let you finish, but Obama had
the greatest musical segment of all time."
You can just sense the outcry. Look at the headlines from around the
globe. Revvies rocked. Backlash. And this one from China reads world
outcry. In the long, two-year history of the Revvies, we haven`t seen this
kind of backlash, so we decided to investigate. Here`s the scene at the
Revvie Headquarters today in New York City. A full review of the best
musical performance vote. And even got word of Revvie voters stuck in long
lines and being turned away by so called Revvie voter ID laws.
Time to in the controversy for the sake of the Revvies. So, now, for
those who feel the President was robbed, our honorary winner of the best
musical performance is President Obama. And we have an immediate reaction
to report. The crowds are going wild.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And it looks like Chris Christie is being a good sport in sharing his
award. You can win a Revvie for bipartisanship. But let`s hear it one
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I so in love with you.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: What a classic. I have to say our Facebook fans are
right. The President did a great job doing Al Green. And so did Chris
Christie doing Bruce Springsteen. But both should be glad I wasn`t in this
category. I`ve got a mean James Brown. Hit it, guys.
Wait a minute, wait a minute. Second thought, I`ll save it for 2013.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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