PoliticsNation, Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
January 2, 2013
Guests: Emanuel Cleaver; Jan Schakowsky; Nia-Malika Henderson, Frank Pallone, Ryan Grim, James Peterson
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks to you for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, done deal. This fiscal cliff is a big step forward in
the fight for fairness. No, it is not a perfect deal by any stretch. But
let`s be clear. For the first time in 20 years, taxes will go up for the
rich. The president`s call for more balance, more fairness, that is at the
hard of this deal. That`s what the house finally passed last night and is
what President Obama will sign into law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And today`s agreement,
in trying I think the principle in the wall that what will remain in place
as long as I am president. The deficit needs to be reduced in a way that
it is balanced. Everyone pays their fair share. Everyone does their part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Everyone pays their fair share and everyone does their
part. That`s what president Obama won in this deal for the country.
First, he forced Republicans to raise taxes on those earning more than
$400,000 a year. He also extended unemployment benefits to two million
Americans who are out of work, people who desperately need help now. And
he extended the stimulus tax break for working-class families all across
The president did this without cuts in our safety net. The deal
delays the automatic spending cuts for the start of the year and it doesn`t
include a single dime in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.
Republicans who know who won this debate have expressed it. Just listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all knew the president was going to get his
way. He campaigned in raising taxes. He wanted a raise taxes. He wins.
At the end of the day, we got whap.
CHARLIE KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: This is a complete
surrender on everything. It`s a complete route by the Democrats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The last time a Republican voted to raise taxes, George
Bush was president. The first George Bush. Vanilla Ice had a hit song,
"ice ice baby" and the fresh prince of Bel-Air made his debut on NBC.
That`s how long it`s been since Republicans voted to raise taxes.
But, now, 22 years later, they break down. It`s a big deal and the
president made that point today in a video to supporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Just recently, Republicans in Congress said they`d never agree
to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. We`ve now raised those
rates permanently. Making our tax code more progressive than it`s been in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: There are more fights ahead. There is a lot of work to do.
A lot of fights still to have. But 2013 is off to a positive start.
Joining me now, congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Democrat from Missouri
and chairman of the congressional black caucus who voted for the deal last
night and former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, now an NBC news analyst.
Let me thank both of you for joining me tonight.
ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR, PENNSYLVANIA: Our please.
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: It`s good to be here.
SHARPTON: Mr. Chairman, let me start with you. Why was this bill the
right deal for America at this time?
CLEAVER: There were a lot of good things in this deal. There was a
lot of sweeteners for the American public. We were able to overt a large
tax increase for a large percent of the American population. Two million
people, as you mentioned, will be able to get unemployment insurance. And
for those people who hate government, we were able to slice off a $900 a
year increase in salaries for members of congress. But we were also able
to do things like the estate tax. Make it permanent. And it creates an
exemption up to $5 million. That`s going to create a lot of people.
So, if you look at the bill, which was a thick bill, there is
something in there for everyone now. Members of the congressional black
caucus didn`t like everything in it. We only one member to vote against
it. But we all believed that this is as good a deal as we can get. And
democracy demands compromise.
SHARPTON: And that was the point, governor, that you`d been making as
one who has had to govern in the state of Pennsylvania and who has had to
compromise that rational people in government, at some point, compromise.
And this seems to be what finally happened here, even though we see some of
the right wing kicking and screaming after talking about amending the
Senate bill and all of that yesterday afternoon.
RENDELL: Well, I think this was a significant victory for the
president. As the chairman said, there were many good things in the bill.
And it went a long way towards the president`s pledge to make revenue
collection in this country fair. And not only the increase on the rich and
on income tax rate, but moving for rich people for people who earn more
than $450,000, moving the capital gains up to 15 to 20 percent.
It is the capital gains tax that allows people like Mitt Romney, as
you know, Reverend, to pay so little on taxes, 12, 13 percent, moving to
capital gains that was up 20 percent was very, very significant, and again,
only on the rich people, on an ordinary person who makes $100,000 and they
invest in the market, capital gain tax, it stays where it is. So there
some very important victories. And I`d like to ask the chairman, but I
don`t want to put him on the spot. What Democrat would vote against this?
SHARPTON: I want to put him on a different spot and then he can
answer both of us.
Besides being the chair of caucus, you are a member of Congress. You
are a pastor of church. I have civil rights group. I do talk radio as
well as this. People on the ground count differently than a lot of the
pundits that we hear on radio and television. When you look at the fact
that a lot of people on the left and the right were critical of this, I
find it people on the ground, Mr. chairman, were much more concerned about
unemployment, were much more concern about the college loans and about the
tax credit than they were whether we went up to 250 or 400 or not because
what we were really saying, and I`m talking about some of the elitist
liberals, is let the two million people on unemployment not get their
checks. I don`t care about this, I don`t care about that. I want all or
none. And that`s not what I was hearing on the ground, Mr. chairman.
CLEAVER: No, you are absolutely right, Reverend. People wanted to
have some kind of assurance that 2013 would be at least a year in which
they had great possibilities that exceeded those of 2012. They wanted to
compromise. The president compromise in spite of the fact that one of the
earlier voices on your show suggested otherwise.
Just think about this. The president campaign of $250,000 in terms of
the bottom for people who had not had the taxes impacted. But he
compromised to 400,000 for one and 450,000 for a couple. That`s
compromise. That`s the only place this is going to work and the public
supports that. Completely. And the polls are clear. And so the president
can fly back to Hawaii with some degree of comfort that right now, the
Republicans are back on their heels. And I know they`re planning an
assault later on in February. But that`s not going to work.
SHARPTON: Now, the other thing I wanted to say on that point, I want
to go to the governor and the debt ceiling because the president is talking
real strong on that. But when you count, as you said, Mr. Chairman, the
president campaigned on 250,000 went up to 400 single, 450 double. But
Boehner was at a million. Boehner went down 550,000. So it`s according to
whether you want to count from the top down or the bottom up whether who
won on that one. Both sides gave and I think the other side gave a little
But governor, when it comes down to the debt ceiling that the chairman
just referred to, president gave a warning to Republicans. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether
or not they should pay the bills that they`ve already racked up through the
laws that they passed. Let me repeat. We can`t, not pay bills that we`ve
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Sounds like he`s pretty strong and stern on that. What do
you think, governor?
RENDELL: Well, he is and he ought to be. Because the last time, it
was an international disgrace, not just a national disgrace, but an
international disgrace. We shouldn`t play politics with that. We owe this
money. We`ve got to pay it. We`ve got o to have the funds to pay it. And
I think the battle won`t be over the debt ceiling, Reverend. I think the
sequester comes up in two months, probably a week or two before the debt
ceiling. And we`re going to have to have some resolution of the broader
What the president should do when he gets back from Hawaii, is call
the Congress and the congressional leaders and let`s get to work on the
grand bargain, the big deal. And the big deal is going to require, as
chairman Cleaver said, more compromise. On everyone`s behalf. On the
president`s behalf and on the Republicans behalf. And we, progressives
have to understand that and we`ve got to give the president some leeway.
And the people on the far right have got to understand. It`s the only way
that this will work for the long term good of the American people.
SHARPTON: All right, Chairman Cleveland, Governor Rendell. I`m going
to have to leave it there. Thanks for both of your time tonight and happy
CLEAVER: Happy new year to you, Rev.
RENDELL: Happy New Year, Rev.
SHARPTON: Coming up, jersey strong. Chris Christie unleashes a
massive attack on speaker John Boehner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: It was disappointing and
disgusting to watch. This was the speaker`s decision? He is alone.
That`s why people hate Washington, D.C. That`s why they hate this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And the GOP crack up is Boehner`s number two. Eric Cantor,
is he planning to take his job?
Plus, good news about Hillary Clinton today. But I want to know when
the right will apologize for their deplorable behavior about her health.
You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
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I agree with all of those agenda ideas. And coming up, we`ll take a
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that keeps going long after the show ends.
SHARPTON: We knew that compromise was a dangerous idea to
Republicans. Now, it`s threatening to rip the GOP apart from the inside.
The man at the center of it all is house speaker John Boehner who voted for
the deal. His number two, Eric Cantor voted against the deal. So did most
of the house Republicans., 151 voted against it, 85 voted for it. And the
fight has torn them apart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m proud of my speaker.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the president did a great job in getting
the speaker to undo everything that he promised he would do, the speaker
would do, after the 2010 elections.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: What the speaker and the house
leadership did was to let the house work its will.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no spending cuts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I urge a yes vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much does it bring down the deficit? I
thought we were in a deficit crisis?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, Newt Gingrich is predicting the deal will set off a
profound fight in the GOP. The conservative web site redstate.com says
quote "house GOP is in disarray. It`s not liberal media span." And,
tomorrow, Republicans will vote on whether Boehner keeps his job as
speaker. This has been one less after another for Boehner.
And the pressure may be getting to him. Political reports that on
Friday, he walked up to senator Harry Reid, just steps away from the oval
office and unleashed an obscenity. Reid asked him what it was all about
and Boehner said it again. The GOP is falling apart. But we can`t let
that crack up hurt the country.
Joining me now is Congress won Jan Schakowsky, Democrat from Illinois
and chief deputy whip and Nia-Malika Henderson, political reporter for "the
Hello and Happy New Year to both of you.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman, how can Democrats deal with the Republican
party that`s in such disarray?
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Well, I actually liked what
happened last night. That is John Boehner said he didn`t need to follow
the rule of having the majority of the majority party. But, actually, did
let the house work its will. And a majority of Democrats, all but 16, and
85, Republicans were able to move the country forward. I`m hoping that
that will be a pattern and, actually, that will remain.
Now, whether or not the leadership is going to be able to stay as it
is or there`s going to be this internal battling. But, honestly, what we
have among so many of the Republicans and in the House of Representatives
and now, even Pat Toomey in the Senate, he wants to see on the debt ceiling
the government shut down.
You know, when you`ve got crazy people like that, there is no hope of
actually getting something done that`s good for the country.
SHARPTON: But congresswoman, give me a sense from inside the beltway.
When you see Boehner voting for the deal and Cantor voting against the
deal, how big a deal is that?
SCHAKOWSKY: Well, some say that John Boehner, tomorrow, may not win
on the first ballot in his caucus -- in his conference to be the speaker.
I don`t really know what that means. You have Paul Ryan and John Boehner
voting for it and Eric Cantor voting against it. Clearly, there is a
But John Boehner, let`s face it, is from kind of the old school of
politicians and a leader who wants to negotiate. The problem is he can`t
really hold his conference together. He`s not a great leader of his
SHARPTON: Well Nia-malika, let`s pick that up. Because right wing
media saying Boehner could be pushed out tomorrow. The headline on "Bright
Mark" (ph) says sources say there are enough Republicans willing to unseat
speaker Boehner. And then there`s been, like, a right wing freak out.
They`re like out in full force on twitter today.
FOX News commentator Todd Starnes said about Boehner. Quote, "this is
what happens when your political party is led by an emotionally compromised
Right wing radio host Bryan Fischer tweeted, Boehner has absolutely no
concept to the damage he`s doing to the heart and soul of the Republican
And Matt Drudge wrote Republicans raising taxes on 77 percent of
households surrenders guns next.
I mean, lots of venom out there on the right, Nia-Malika.
HENDERSON: There is a lot of venom. And what a reversal of fortune
that Boehner has seen he rode in on the tea party wave in 2010 and now
there is a full scale revolt. I think it`s pretty unlikely of anybody
that`s going to challenge him successfully for the leadership, the actual
But, again, I think in spirit, it`s hard to see that he is wielding
much authority and much leadership with that caucus. You have Cantor on
the one hand presiding, really, over a sort of separate caucus in the tea
party. There had been reports, initially, that he was backing Boehner and
backing some of the moves he was making on the fiscal cliff. But then he
comes out to vote against this bill, really solidifying, I think, his role
as maybe a speaker in wading or certainly of head of the tea party caucus.
SHARPTON: Now, congresswoman, the speaker`s spokesman, speaker
Boehner`s spokesman is say, they are confident, he will be reelected. But
there has been a lot of damage to the Republican brand. I mean, look at
NBC "Wall Street Journal" poll, 30 percent have a positive view of
Republicans, that`s real low, 45 percent have a negative view overall.
It`s negative 15 points. A lot of that at the work of this do-nothing
congress. He can be vulnerable, congresswoman.
SCHAKOWSKY: Well, he may be, but think about the results of that
poll. What it`s really saying is that the American people are sick of the
Republican party standing in the way of actually getting something done.
So Boehner is really on the right side of that.
Overall, the tea party Republicans and those who stand with them, they
are the ones that are jeopardizing the Republican party. And taking
positions that mean that the Congress is in gridlock that we can`t deal --
we stop people -- we help people get their unemployment checks right now.
We made sure that Americans did not get their taxes to go up. And there
are those now on the Republican party who say oh, well, we just shouldn`t
do that. I`m sorry. That`s why people hate the Republican Party.
SHARPTON: And in that light, Nia-Malika, you know the president even
came out saying he hoped that the next negotiations will be quite as
dramatic. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The one thing that I
think hopefully in the new year we`ll focus on is seeing if we could put a
package like this together with a little bit less drama, a little less
brink man ship, not scare the heck out of folks quite as much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Do you think Nia-Malika, a lot of view of the negative view
of Americans has the brinkmanship and the drama and the taking Americans to
the edge that the Republicans have done now with both the debt ceiling
negotiation and now, with the fiscal cliff of 2012, 2013 really?
HENDERSON: I think so, there was a Gallup poll just recently that
said, you know, by racial four to one American think that Republicans of
the Congress, specifically, are standing in the way of progress, of
American progress. And I think Republicans really have to look at going
forward what is their brand, mayors are saying they have leverage going
into this next ceiling debate and the sequestration debate as well. But I
think they`ve got to look at how they are viewed by Americans so far. And
it looks like they`re viewed in a pretty dim light.
Boehner, I think, to his credit is someone who is from the old school
who really wants to legislate. The question going forward is how he deals
with such a large caucus of it really is trying to prevent things from
happening. You have certain congress folks and folks on the hill saying
they want to shut down the government. And I certainly think that`s not
going to go over well with the American public.
SHARPTON: Well, congresswoman, if you and I wanted to see Boehner
remain, we could always say we hope Eric Cantor wins and support him
tonight. That would certainly help Boehner out in that caucus.
SCHAKOWSKY: Well, I`ll tell you. The Republican party`s problem goes
so deep. This is the party that wants to cut Social Security and Medicare.
This is the party that doesn`t want to, or at least some of them, pay the
bills of the United States of America that have already been incurred. So
this goes way beyond who`s speaker and who runs in the next election. This
is about the welfare of our nation. They are on the wrong side right now.
SHARPTON: And I think I`m going to have to leave it there. But I
think you`re right. This is more than, who is the speaker and what is
being spoken? That`s the problem with this crowd.
Congresswoman Schakowsky and Nia-Malika Henderson, thank you for your
time, both of you tonight, happy new year.
SCHAKOWSKY: Happy new year, thanks.
SHARPTON: Coming up, speaker Boehner, you`ve got a situation. Chris
Christie unload on Boehner for bailing on Sandy aid and he is not the only
Republican. You do not want to miss this.
And as the GOP cracks up, President Obama is focused on the future.
He`s talking big about the second term today.
Plus, governor ultrasound rings in the new year by quietly going after
abortion clinic. Don`t worry, governor McDonald, we`ve got you next.
SHARPTON: This just in, the state department has just released
secretary of state Hillary Clinton has been released from the hospital. We
will have more on the treatment of her by the right wing coming up.
SHARPTON: You almost can`t believe this actually happened. But it
did. Speaker Boehner bailed on voting for Hurricane Sandy aid to those
victims from Hurricane Sandy last night. So $60 billion in relief money
sits on the table. Millions of victims are waiting for help. Waiting in
the cold, waiting with their families. And they`ll have to wait for at
least two more weeks.
Today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came out and unleashed a
massive attack. And there was one party and one person he blamed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: There`s only one group to blame
for the continued suffering of these innocent victims. The house majority
and their speaker, John Boehner. Last night, the House of Representatives
failed that most basic test of public service. And they did so with
callous indifference to the suffering of the people of my state. It was
disappointing and disgusting to watch. This was the speaker`s decision?
He is alone.
Now, in this current atmosphere, everything is the subject of one-
upsmanship. Everything is a possibility of potential piece of bait for the
political game. And it`s just why the American people hate Congress. It
is extraordinarily frustrating to me that we have people down there who use
the citizens of this country like pawns on a chess board. That`s the way
the citizens of New York and New Jersey retreated last night. On a
political chess board of internal palace of intrigue and politics our
people were played last night as a pawn. And that`s why people hate
Washington, D.C. That`s why they hate this politics. Shame on you. Shame
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Shame on Congress. Governor Christie, you are spot on
here. Christie said, he was assured by house leadership all weekend. The
vote would happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: I was given though explanations. I was called at 11:20
last night by leader Cantor and told that authority for the vote was pulled
by the speaker. And our delegation asked for a meeting with the speaker.
At that time, they were refused. I called the speaker four times last
night after 11:20 and he did not take my calls.
I`m not going to get into the specifics of what I discussed with John
Boehner today. But what I will tell you is there is no reason for me at
the moment to believe anything they tell me. Because they`ve been telling
me stuff for weeks. And they didn`t deliver.
Wow. No reason to believe anything they tell me. Governor Christie
openly questioning Boehner`s honesty. He wasn`t alone. Republican
Congressman Peter King said, it was quote, "cruel knife in the back." This
is all about optics and politics. Speaker Boehner couldn`t stomach more
spending last night. But his political game affects real Americans,
Americans who have suffered. People who have lost everything. This is why
Boehner leads the worst Congress of all times. I agree with Governor
Christie. Shame on you.
Joining me now is Congressman Frank Pallone, democrat from New Jersey.
Congressman, first, thanks for being here tonight.
REP. FRANK PALLONE (D), NEW JERSEY: Thank you.
SHARPTON: The victims in your state are waiting for help. What is
your response to this political game this speaker is playing?
PALLONE: Well, it`s absolutely deplorable. I mean, the fact of the
matter is that the speaker got through that fiscal cliff vote last night.
And he decided to pull the Sandy relief bill because he was afraid of the
Tea Party and the right wing Republicans that they shouldn`t have to vote
for another expending bill. This is at the expensive New Jersey in New
York. I mean, this wouldn`t have happened if it was Louisiana or Alabama.
We`ve been waiting nine weeks for this relief funding.
And every other natural disaster, you know, Hurricane Katrina, Tornado
Alley, the other ones that we`ve had in the last few years, they`ve all
gotten the money much sooner than the nine weeks. Now, whatever happens
now, since this is not coming up today in the lame duck, we`re talking 12
weeks, 15 weeks before we finally get the funding. And, meanwhile, you
know, if you go into my towns, I mean, they`re suffering, you know.
They`re not getting the money that they need to put back the dunes, to you
know, for fisheries, disasters, for you know, for the businesses, for the
homes that need funding to rebuild. We can`t restore the shore unless we
get this funding.
Well, congressman, to show how correct you are, the cost of these
hurricanes in the past 20 years, Katrina aid was improved in ten days after
the storm and it was doubled the cost of Sandy. And I was one of those
that protested government response to Katrina. It`s only too long 10 days
to get approval. It was 105.8 billion. Sandy is only 60 billion and it`s
nine weeks and we`re told, wait a couple of weeks more. Give you an
example of Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor met today with House Republicans
from New York and New Jersey and came out with this statement.
Getting critical aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy should be the
first priority in the new Congress. The house will vote on Friday to
direct needed resources to the National Flood Insurance Program. And on
January 15th, the first full legislative day of the 113th Congress, the
House will consider the remaining supplemental requests for the victims of
Hurricane Sandy. Here at nine weeks, we should talk 11 weeks in before
they`re going to move. This is unheard of, congressman.
PALLONE: Absolutely. And there is no guarantee. Now, first of all,
if they passed this today or even tomorrow morning, the Senate bill passed,
we would have the whole $60 billion and the president would sign it. Now
we`re talking about starting it Friday and doing it piecemeal in three
different parts. And there`s no guarantee that even if those three bills
pass by the end of January, that the Senate is going to be able to take
them up. So, again, we`re talking a long time.
And it`s simply not fair. I mean, I have to tell you, they`re talking
about, you know, the flood insurance money that they`ve run out of flood
insurance to pay people who have flood insurance, we`re talking about the -
- the community block grants that would be used to give grants to
businesses and homeowners so they could rebuild. We`re talking about
reimbursing the towns that are practically broke. Some of these towns have
two, three thousand people.
They`re practically out of money. They`re going to have to raise
taxes in order to continue to operate. So, this is simply not fair. We`re
not going to be able to rebuild the shore unless we get this funding. And
we can`t wait, you know, until the end of January, February, March,
whenever it`s going to be. I think it`s totally because this is New York
and New Jersey. They would not -- Boehner would not have done this if this
was, you know, a red state. It wouldn`t have happened. Because these are
SHARPTON: Well, congressman, am I right that they only met with the
republican members of Congress of those two states? You and other
democratic representatives of those two states were not invited to this
PALLONE: That`s true. But I don`t even care about that. What
bothers me is that we`re not going to do this today in the Congress and get
it to the President`s desk. You know, I don`t care who they meet with.
That doesn`t bother me. But the fact that now we`re dividing this into
three different bills or amendments that it`s going to take until, you
know, sometime later in January, we don`t know when the Senate is going to
take it up. You know, this is -- they`re making this prolonged procedure
just because they`re afraid to have, you know, the Tea Party Republicans
and the right wing have to take a vote. If we have brought this to the
floor today, we had the votes. Just like we had them last night on the
fiscal cliff bill. This is -- we`re in session, we`re here, we can vote.
SHARPTON: And let me be clear to people around the country. Because
I`ve been there to New Jersey and in New York -- and other places. People
have lost everything. You have people living in shelters, you have people
that are in real media. We`re not talking about something that can wait
PALLONE: Exactly. But the whole process, it`s not American. I mean,
like I said, we`re here today. There`s no reason why we can`t have an open
debate. Vote this up or down. It will be passed. I guarantee you, we
have the votes on a bipartisan basis. And for the speaker to simply say,
well, we can`t do it today, it`s inconvenient because, you know, some of my
Republicans voted for too much yesterday. They can`t take up another
spending bill, it`s just not fair.
SHARPTON: Congressman Frank Pallone, thank you for your time tonight.
And we will be watching this.
PALLONE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, it`s a New Year. A time for change. A time for
renewal. A time for -- oh, wait a second, it`s the same old, same old for
the GOP. The war on women is alive in a big way. But, first, some good
news about Hillary Clinton. She`s out of the hospital tonight and making
Now it`s time for right wingers to apologize for trying to turn her
health into a joke. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: We`re back with more on that breaking news. Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton has been released from the hospital. This is new
video of Clinton`s motorcade leaving the hospital just a short time ago.
She had been there since Sunday recovering from a blood clot in her head.
Doctors now say she`s making good progress on all fronts and they`re
confident she`ll make a good recovery.
Today, photographers caught this shot of Clinton smiling while
traveling around the hospital complex. This is great news. And now that
Mrs. Clinton is out of the hospital, we`re waiting on an apology from the
right wing. After news broke two weeks ago that Clinton suffered a
concussion after fainting, they went on the attack saying that she was
faking it because of a hearing on Benghazi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You don`t want to go to a meeting or a conference
or an event, you have a diplomatic illness.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Why don`t we apply the same standards we apply to
school kids. I want to see a doctor`s note. A doctor`s note would be
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Charles, you had a good line. Hillary
has severe Benghazi allergy.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Yes. I`ve been doing a
lot of work on that. I`ve been investigating it. She is the first
reported the case and it`s a very, very severe one.
HANNITY: Very, very severe. Let`s see the medical report on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Marking the concussion. Calling it the Benghazi allergy.
This kind of behavior is deplorable. But where are all of those critics
now. Doctors say, several factors, including the concussion, may have
caused Clinton`s blood clot. And FOX News own Web site makes the
connection. No room for conspiracy this time around. We`re glad Secretary
Clinton is headed home tonight. But we will wait for the right wing
apology. Think about what you said, the silence is deafening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Winning an election won`t
bring about the change we seek on its own. It only gives us the chance to
make that change. What we fought for in 2012, we`ve got to fight just as
hard for in 2013.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We`ve got to fight just as hard in 2013. President Obama
in a video released today getting ready to take action this year and
beyond. We know the right won`t stop coming. We know they`ll try and
block and suppress and rig. But the fight goes on. The president is ready
to fight for tax reform, gun control, immigration reform and climate
change. It`s bold in its ambition. Ambitious. But I want this to be
about real people. Real Americans. Forget Washington, this is about
fairness. This is about keeping our streets safe. It`s about real
families wondering about their futures.
Joining me now is Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for "The
Huffington Post." And Dr. James Peterson, professor at Lehigh University
and a contributor to the Grio.com. Thank you both for joining me.
RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Thank you.
DR. JAMES PETERSON, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: How you doing?
SHARPTON: Ryan, let`s get right to the next big fight. The debt
ceiling. The President drew a line in the sand last night. How do you see
it playing out?
GRIM: You know, I part with a lot of people in Washington on this
question. And I think that the president is extremely serious about this
commitment not to negotiate over the debt ceiling. You know, if you read
Bob Woodward`s book, it`s something that comes through the entire time. He
thinks that if the Congress can continue to hold things up, can continue to
hijack the process by threatening to default that it tilt the balance of
power away from the president and onto Congress. And he thinks that as
part of his legacy, he wants to defend the White House`s power in this
GRIM: And so, I think he is going to lay down everything to stick to
that commitment to not negotiate on the debt ceiling. And I think he`ll
dare the Republicans to stop him. I mean, what are they going to do? Are
they going to sue him? Are they going to send like the capital police up
Pennsylvania Avenue? Are they going to threaten to impeach him if he just
pays the debts that the Congress itself racked up. That would be suicidal
and it`s political stupidity. And I think that Obama would relish that. I
think if they give him the debt ceiling as a part of package for nothing,
he`ll take it in there. But, other than that, I really do believe that
he`s not going to negotiate over this. And that he`s just going to find a
way to pay the debts, whether it`s the 14th amendment, whether it`s -- who
SHARPTON: I agree with you. And I did read Woodward`s book. I agree
with you. I think the president wants as part of his legacy to defend the
White House. Let`s look at some other things that we`re going to have to
deal with and see a fight over this year. Let`s look at immigration
reform, Dr. Peterson. After the dismal results, that GOP -- in the 2012
election, can they afford to block immigration reform, Professor Peterson?
PETERSON: I don`t think they can afford to do it, Reverend Al. In
fact, I think they`re own parties demographic deficiencies, so incredibly
put on display in this most recent election, I think requires to come in
the table for immigration reform and you`re seeing some of the signs and
some of the members of the house and some senators who are suggesting that
immigration reform is key to the future of the Republican Party. So, up
the three or four issues that we`re discussing here that are probably going
to be on the table for President Obama`s second term. My sense is that
some form of comprehensive immigration reform is probably from a political
perspective, one of the most sensible and also one of the easiest things
for us to work through. Now, saying something that is easy to do in
Washington is not easy at all.
SHARPTON: But can he use immigration reform debate as leverage to get
more than just the dream act passed?
PETERSON: I believe so. And I believe that the dream act is just one
part of what comprehensive immigration reform should be about. You have to
think about those previous generations, those folk who have been here for
PETERSON: If you think about undocumented workers. If you think
about the sort of corporate taxes or corporate sort of strategy that is
have been involved and how we incentivize both to come here and stay. So,
I think there`s -- all of those things have to be addressed in
comprehensive immigration reform. And because the Republican Party has
skin in this game, they actually have a stake in trying to make some kind
of communicative message to immigrant population to say hey, we`re here and
we can also speak to you politically, that the pressure is on them to come
to the table for comprehensive immigration reform.
SHARPTON: Ryan, what kind of strategy can the president use to pass
GRIM: Well, first of all, let me just compliment the phrase
SHARPTON: I like that one.
GRIM: That`s a terrific one. What the President has said is the same
thing that actually Dick Durbin said recently in the Senate. That there
will be as much momentum behind gun control legislation as the American
people provide. In some ways, that`s a cop out. That`s sort of blaming
the American people if they don`t pass it. But in other ways, it`s a
statement of reality that the problem with gun control politics has always
been that if you`ve asked people if they`re for it, overwhelmingly, they`re
But if you ask if they vote on the issue, very, very small number of
people vote who are pro-gun control policy. Whereas, if you talk to people
who are against gun control, a ton of them will say, yes, this is a voting
issue for me. And they really will go out. They don`t care about anything
else. They`ll go to the polls over gun controls. So that`s the dynamic
that has really helping up. As well as, you know, the manufacturers
pumping a ton of money into the NRA. You know, that helps, too.
SHARPTON: But Dr. Peterson, the president did say this on "Meet the
Press." Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Here`s the bottom-line. We`re not going to get this done
unless the American people decide it`s important. And so, this is not
going to be simply a matter of me spending political capital. With public
opinion, there`s nothing we can`t do. And without public opinion, there`s
very little you can get done in this town.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s so to Ryan`s point. The public has to make this an
issue. And I`ve been saying all through the holiday weekend to a lot of my
fellow activists, that we`re seeing Newtown come down in terms of public
outrage. And that`s not good. How do we have to rile people back up to
deal with the fact that we just bared 27 people, for no reason other than a
person mentally challenged could get automatic weapons?
PETERSON: Well, I think there`s a couple of things that we have to
consider here, Rev. Number one, I believe that those activists in inner
cities who have been dealing with the proliferation of guns and the
secondary sale of illegal guns, in places like Chicago, Newark, Camden, New
Orleans and Philadelphia have to sort of touch hands and partner up with
the folks who are victims of Aurora and Newtown, and the -- shooting, all
of those folks, we have to come together and kind of stitch a quilt
together around common sense gun safety.
But also, Reverend Al, and this is what`s important, and you`re
already doing this, but we`ve got to keep continue to say this. The media
has a very, very important role in making sure that gun control and common
sense gun safety and also, the terrible tally of murders at the hand of
assault weapons and handguns continues to be centered and sort of front
and center for the media discourse, as well. So, I think those things have
to happen to give the president`s administration the opportunity to
actually pass common sense gun safety laws.
SHARPTON: I suppose those of us that are opposed to guns are beating
out their semi-automatic weapons must have a movement that is not
PETERSON: Deficient, that`s right.
SHARPTON: Ryan Grim and James Peterson, thank you both for your time.
PETERSON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, New Year? Same old GOP. Why the fight continues.
SHARPTON: Finally, tonight, Happy New Year`s, POLITICS NATION. With
a New Year comes a new beginning. A time to reassess, to renew, to make
resolutions. But, in politics with the GOP, we`re seeing it`s the same old
same old. They continue to push a repressive agenda, agenda like on the
issue of voter suppression. West Virginia Republicans are already
promising to make voter ID an issue and voter ID laws will take effect in
South Carolina this year, as well. The war on women exploded in 2012.
Republicans push through 43 new restrictions on abortion. And they`re
promising to make more this year. This is why we must continue to fight.
And this year, for the first time since 1994, the violence against women`s
act is gone. Blocked by an extreme republican Congress who let it die
without a vote. And this year, the billionaire`s boy`s club stand ready
once again to try and buy elections. The Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson
spent hundreds of millions of dollars. And this New Year, they`re already
This is why the fight continues. We didn`t fight last year just over
an election, we fought for a direction. A direction of fairness, a
direction of democracy. The fight continues. Happy New Year. Keep
prepared to come to the battlefield.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL starts right now.
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