updated 1/10/2013 10:00:36 AM ET 2013-01-10T15:00:36

POLITICS NATION
January 9, 2013

Guests: Bob Shrum; James Peterson; David Price, Joy Reid, Laura Bassett, Clarence Page


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in. I`m live tonight from Miami.

Tonight`s lead, the GOP in crisis. The Republican brand is at a
record low. But here comes their big solution. Are you ready? More of
the same. More blocking, more stalling, more getting nothing done. But
the answer is staring them right in the face.

Chris Christie is the Republican everyone is talking about. His
approval rating is surging, over 70 percent approval even after publicly
embracing President Obama. Wow, he actually lived to tell about it. The
cover of "Time" magazine simply calls him the boss.

And, today, he made it clear what works.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We`re getting things done and
we`re compromise where we need to. If places like my state, we got divided
government. You got to compromise and get things done. It`s not a dirty
word.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Compromise is not a dirty word. Pretty simple, right? But
speaker Boehner and Republicans in Congress just don`t get it. Boehner is
vowing to stop direct talks with president Obama in the future. And let me
introduce you to this fellow that he`s got with him now. He`s Tom Cotton
that he has got with him now. This Tom Cotton, a newly congressman from
Arkansas, today, he unveiled his big, new ideas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TOM COTTON, ARKANSAS: I think that the congress, as a whole, may
be able to say no to Barack Obama a little bit more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Genius. Say hello to the president. What could possibly
go wrong? Good plan, Mr. Cotton.

Over in the senate, new senator Ted Cruz is in lockstep.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I don`t think what Washington needs is more
compromise. I think what Washington needs is more common sense and more
principle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, sure. Why compromise? Washington is working so well
without it. Let`s just keep doing what we`re doing. I mean, why on earth
would a Republican want to compromise? What good can compromise do for a
politician?

Now, let`s be clear. Chris Christie is a conservative Republican. I
disagree with them on issue after issue. But on some things, he`s showing
a willingness to compromise and from the public`s reaction, you can tell
that`s what citizens want.

And we also just had a little thing called an election. Remember
that? You know, when just over a month ago, the country rejected
Republican ideology. But the GOP hasn`t learned a thing. They`re
threatening a government shutdown, threatening to block nominees, voting
against disaster relief, pushing radical anti-abortion measures. They
might actually be funny if they weren`t so contemptible.

With me now Bob Shrum, a Democratic strategist and columnist for "the
Daily Beast," and Abby Huntsman, host and producer of "Huff Post, Live."

Thank you both for joining us.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Glad to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: Bob, can the GOP learn the Chris Christie lesson? Or are
they drinking too much from the tea party?

SHRUM: I don`t think they learned the Chris Christie lesson. Look,
he`s conceivably a very strong candidate for them in 2016. But
increasingly, I believe he can`t be nominated. It`s not just that he
embraced or worked with the president during the hurricane, it`s not just
that he called John Boehner to account for denying hurricane relief. It`s
that he uses that word compromise. He actually believes in governing. And
he`d have to run in a party whose primary voters think the first
qualification to the presidency is that you hate the government. So I
think he`s a lock for reelection in New Jersey. I think he`s a way forward
for the Republican Party and he will have a very hard time getting a
nomination.

SHARPTON: Well, to your point, he`s being attacked from the right.
The former Iowa Republican Party executive director says Christie has
quote, "damaged his appeal to the people who determined who the Republican
nominee will be."

"The Wall Street Journal" editorial wants that he`s becoming the next
Charlie Crist. And one prominent national Republican complained to
NewJersey.com. This is the second time Christie has bucked the party. So
he`s getting hit in the party while the poll numbers are sorry for him
because he`s showing an ability to at least compromise on some things.

SHRUM: Yes, look, he`s got real problems looking forward to 2016.
You remember when we watched those debates last year and they asked people,
would you compromise? Would a dollar of increased taxes for $10 spending
cuts and everybody refused to do so? I mean, that`s exactly the kind of
question Chris Christie would answer and in the wrong way. And, by the
way, you know, he accepts civil unions. That will kill you in the Iowa
caucuses in this shrunken, extreme electorate.

SHARPTON: Now, Abby, your father, John Huntsman, he was recently
talking about the state of his party. And it wasn`t part of it. Let me
quote what he says. He says it`s really tough to define Republicanism
today because we don`t have a leader and we don`t have a platform. The
party right now is a holding company that`s devoid of a soul. And it will
be filled up with ideas over time and leaders will take their proper place.

Devoid of a soul, that`s pretty strong stuff from a Republican.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, PRODUCER, HOST, HUFF POST LIVE: He will tell you the
truth. And you know, when we talk about this modern day Republican Party,
I do think Chris Christy and even my dad should be the face of that because
they`re reformers. In the sweet spot of their leadership, Reverend, is
authenticity. You know, they live in reality. They live in the real
world. And they realize and understand, you know, they can embrace things
like civil unions and even gay marriage, heaven forbid, and even
immigration reform without sacrificing their core conservative principles.
And that`s exactly what the Republican Party needs - need right now. I do
think it`s too soon to say whether or not someone like Chris Christie is
electable or not come 2016 because if he is not electable or some like my
dad is not electable, then the Republican Party is probably going to lose,
unfortunately.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute, Abby. How can they embrace civil unions and
gay marriage and win Republican primaries in the tea party when you have
people like Rush Limbaugh comparing same-sex marriage with pedophilia?
Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: There is a movement onto
normalize pedophilia. And I guarantee you your reaction to that is
probably much the same as your reaction you first heard about gay marriage.
What has happened to gay marriage? It`s become normal. So, don`t pooh
pooh. There`s a movement to normalize pedophilia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: There is a movement to normalize pedophilia like mocking
the movement on same sex marriage. And, when Republican senator Ron John
son was asked about the comments from Limbaugh and given an opportunity to
denounce them or clarify them, let me show you what he did.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rush Limbaugh on pedophilia? (INAUDIBLE),
what do you got?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Not going to happen.

HUNTSMAN: Look, you know what -

SHARPTON: Calm down won`t respond? How do you deal with this party
when you say maybe they deal with civil union and same sex marriage when we
see what Mr. Limbaugh who has a lot interest in that party saying and you
have senators refusing to even deal with it.

HUNTSMAN: You know, I will say, I`ve been a life-long Republican.
But I am nothing like Rush Limbaugh. So, there are many in the party that
are just aching for more authenticity, they are aching for someone like a
Christie or like my dad.

But, I do want to point out that a poll came out recently in
(INAUDIBLE) that said only eight percent that call themselves a tea party
member. And that is down from 24 percent back in 2010. I mean, this idea
around hate can only last so long. And we saw this after the Vietnam War
with people being very anti-Vietnam war. But you know, this whole movement
we saw with anti-Obama, anti-government, it can only last so long.
Republicans can realize, in order to win, they`re going to have to embrace
this idea that, you know, civil unions and gay marriage, that is OK. And
this is the world we now live in. And you know, they can put that aside.

SHARPTON: But, they have a long list, Abby, civil right, women right,
I mean, we can keep going.

HUNTSMAN: But I do want to say, Chris Christie and people like my
dad, it gives people hope. It gives people, like myself, and other in the
party hope that hopefully, they can be successful.

SHARPTON: Bob, what does this do for the president, the president
starting his new term would be Republicans would disarray Republicans that
moderate Democrats really in a real awkward position because how they deal
with primaries? Does it give him the opportunity to do things or does it
put weights on his legs in terms of him really trying to run and dash and
get things done for the country?

SHRUM: Look. I think it puts real weights on his legs in terms to
getting things done. I think we better forget the permanent campaign.
We`re entering a kind of permanent political warfare and maybe a permanent
paralysis. I mean, all you have to do is look that Jack Lew gets nominated
the secretary of the treasury and five minutes later, Jeff`s session is out
there saying he can`t be secretary of the treasury. He`s a liar. I mean,
that`s the kind of politics we have now.

It is, by the way, and I`ll say this about Abby`s father, the exact
kind of politics John Huntsman was running against and calling the
Republican Party to a higher standard. And that`s why, by the way, the
Obama --

SHARPTON: But abbey, as we lost you Bob, but Abby, let me ask you, as
he was saying about your father and others. How will they have to survive?
What will they have to do to get around this -- the fact that the tea party
is at least there two more years in some numbers in the Republican caucus?
Do they confront them? Do they take them on? Or they try to weigh them
out?

HUNTSMAN: Well, and I think like we`re already seeing the tea party
diminishing, which, I think, in a way, it`s a good sign for the party. And
you mentioned in the beginning of this segment that, you know, Chris
Christie has a 73 percent approval rating. And that just goes to show.
And my dad won re-election and rather stays in the country in Utah as
governor, as governor, with nearly 80 percent of the vote. Which goes to
show that you`re not just governor of Republicans, you`re governing
independence, Democrats, yes, even liberal Democrats. You can show that
they`re there representing the people. And the important part about this
is people like, Reverend, is that people Chris Christie and my dad are not
in these big lobbying groups.

So, a good piece of advice my dad gave to the governor that took over
in Utah after him was that as governor you are the lobbyist for the people.
Remember that so speak to them and lead with authenticity. I think that is
exactly what the Republican Party needs. And unfortunately, we`re not
there today. But I do hope that we get there.

SHARPTON: Bob, real quickly, let me ask you. You`re one of the best
political strategists in modern times. What would you advise the president
to do?

SHRUM: Well, I think he`s got to push forward with his agenda. He
can`t give in on things like the debt ceiling. He`s got to put immigration
out there, immigration reform. He`s got to put gun control out there. But
what`s going to happen is that a lot of this could conceivably get blocked
in the house. These people are very bitter and I think the Republican
would pay a big political prize of it.

And I say to Abby, they might have to go through two or three more
cycles where they lose the presidency and lose it pretty decisively before
they come to their senses.

HUNTSMAN: I don`t disagree with that, unfortunately.

SHARPTON: Abby Huntsman and Bob Shrum, thank you both.

SHRUM: Thank you both.

SHARPTON: Coming up, can Joe Biden take down the NRA? Big news today
on how the American people feel about the NRA. It`s starting to feel
different this time.

And Paul Ryan gets back to that budget on the hill by signing onto a
radical anti-abortion personhood bill. He`s right back to the extreme.
The reporter who broke the story joins us. And the birther king is back in
the news. But this time, role is reversed. Why is he releasing his birth
certificate?

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Today, our fans were reacting to the new polls showing the NRA`s
popularity has dropped off.

Carol says it`s about time they were taken down a few notches.

Julian said the NRA does not truly represent gun owners. A lot of his
members support common sense solutions.

Coming up, we`ll talk about whether the White House can convince NRA
to support some of those comments and solutions.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Can the NRA be defeated? That`s the question everyone is
asking. Today in a meeting with gun control advocates, the vice president
said everything is on the table.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president is
going to act. There are executive orders, executive action that can be
taken. We haven`t decided what that is yet. But we`re compiling it all
with the help of the attorney general and all of the rest of the cabinet
members, as well as legislative action we believe is required.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The president is going to act. Tomorrow is the big show
down. The president meets with the NRA and this time, things seem
different. Gabby Giffords has launched a group to balance the influence of
the gun lobby. Even pro-gun right Democrat Senator Harry Reid is in a
quote "different place on gun control."

Today, New York governor Andrew Cuomo called on his state to approve
the toughest gun laws in the nation in a bold statement. And here is
Governor Christie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Would you support a federal ban on
assault weapons?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Depends on what they do, Matt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not just say yes or no?

CHRISTIE: Because it`s not that easy. I know in a short interview,
you`d like for me to give you quick answers. But, you know, that the fact
is these are complicated answers. And my point is, I`m willing to have
that conversation. That`s a lot more than a lot of other people are
willing to say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is different. And what`s more? A brand new poll
shows that there is a 10 point net decline in the NRA`s favorability since
the disastrous press conference where their solution to call for more guns.
Now is the time for movement. We`ve seen too many tragedies. And with
momentum on our side, it`s time to act.

Joining me now is Congressman David Price, Democrat for North
Carolina. He is vice chair for the House Democrats gun violence prevention
task force, and Dr. James Peterson, professor at Lehigh University and a
contributor to the grio.com.

Thank you both for coming on the show.

JAMES PETERSON, PROFESSOR, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: Thanks, Rev.

REP. DAVID PRICE (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Thank you, good evening.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me start with you. Will we be able to get
something meaningful accomplished on guns this time around?

PRICE: I believe the atmosphere has changed the environment. I think
there`s a good chance that we can push a positive agenda forward. If this
doesn`t do it, if this Newtown tragedy doesn`t do it, I`m not sure what
will. We just need to search our hearts and our souls and ask if there`s
not more what we can do as a nation to prevent this sort of thing, to
prevent this kind of tragedy heartache.

And I think most Americans sense that. Most Americans are willing to
think about some new ways of approaching this. And of course, we need
political leadership including some political leadership from perhaps
unexpected quarters to encourage us to come together on this.

SHARPTON: Congressman, you`re from North Carolina and polling says
that the public is understanding, it is moving toward more of a sensible
gun control kind of country. But what about your colleagues in the
Congress? Are you hearing or sensing any movement there? I mean, after
all, one of their colleagues, Gabby Giffords was shot and we didn`t see any
movement there. Why should we feel something would be different this time?

PRICE: Well, I have to say that Congress is more polarized and more
stuck on talking points than I`ve ever seen in my time there. But I do
believe if you just stop and think about this, you know, there`s widespread
acceptance. There has been for years for the idea of background checks,
the idea of keeping guns out of the wrong hands. And if the proposition is
that that`s just not working, that it needs to be made effective, we need
better data bases of criminals, of people with the history of violence that
we need to cover gun shows and other places this has not been applied,
surely, that`s not a divisive proposition or it shouldn`t be.

If we could just think very carefully about what it is that we`re
looking at here and avoid the rhetoric, avoid the talking points, I believe
there`s a potential to come together. It is going to require the NRA and
other organizations to be part of the solution, not to just dig in with
resistance and it`s also going to require some measure of bipartisan
accommodation, which has become harder in the house, but I think not
impossible.

SHARPTON: Now, professor, let me ask you, Professor Peterson.

The NRA spends huge amounts of money on elections and lobbying. For
example, in a 2012 election cycle, the NRA spent $24 million. By come
parson, the Brady campaign spent 5,800. The same can be said for lobby.
The NRA spent $4.4 million on lobbying in the first half of 2012, compared
to the Brady campaign, 60,000. So is part of the political fear, political
fear, that they will put a lot of money behind candidates against you and
that if we see people stand up boldly, like I said, Governor Cuomo, in my
home state, I commend him. He stood up today. Do they run the risk of
people trying to put that kind of money against them in terms of supporting
candidates or at least county candidates that will oppose them?

PETERSON: Well, Rev, they do -- they are going to be confronted with
those fears about being out flanked by NRA support contenders. I would
challenge all of our elected officials to rise to the occasion to try to
overcome those spheres because the states are a lot higher than any one
individual political election. And the one thing that people don`t
understand about the NRA is that, the NRA lobbies both Republicans and
Democrats. The NRA is very, very effective in local elections, and
municipal elections and statewide elections and they do it on both sides of
the aisle.

And so, this is a political process challenge, not just a party
challenge or a partisan challenge. So what I would challenge e elected
officials to do is to rise to the occasion. You might be afraid of being
out flanked by an NRA supported contender, but at the end of the say, the
issues here are just too overwhelming. And honestly, the solutions are
really too simple.

We`re not talking about taking away everyone`s guns. Everyone, I
think, at the table respects the second amendment. Obviously, the
congressman is from North Carolina where a lot of people hunt and people
want to be able to defend themselves. He understands those things as well.
But at the end of the day, what we need are universal background checks.
We need form of a robust assault weapons ban that`s fluid and that can keep
p with the phase of the manufacturers.

And then we also have to pay some attention to other things like the
construction of masculinity. We have to think really seriously about
entertainment. We have to take really, really seriously about the ways in
which we can wrestle with the proliferation of guns and the guns that are
already here. But the first step are these things that people have been
talking about a lot here, which is the universal background checks and a
robust assault weapons ban.

SHARPTON: Yes, and this is what you`ve been saying, congressman. If
we get reasonable things that don`t threaten people`s second amendment
rights that you think there`s a movement. But when you get extremists, for
example, the drudge report showed pictures of Hitler and Stalin next to a
link saying the White House may consider executive action on gun control.
Hitler and Stalin, when you see this kind of extremism thrown into the mix,
it only poisons an atmosphere for progress here.

PRICE: Absolutely. And the NRA, I`m afraid, engages in some fear
mongering and seeing every measure as a slippery slope or confiscating gun.
It`s absolutely not true. And they know it`s not true. I believe that
reasonable measures can be agreed upon by reasonable people. We`re not
talking about the ability to own guns for self protection or for sporting
purposes. But we are talking about keeping those guns out of the wrong
hands, keeping them away from dangerous people.

And as the professor says, we are talking about a certain category of
weapons and large capacity magazines; they really have no purpose except to
mow people down. The hunters that I know are -- they scoff at that, that
anyone needs that kind of weapon.

SHARPTON: Right.

PRICE: So I do believe there`s the potential to come together here.
But there`s going to need to be some real soul searching about that
rhetoric that`s been used to raise money and then used to raise fear. You
know, it`s not a slippery slope. It`s a matter of coming together to solve
a very real national challenge.

SHARPTON: Dr. Peterson, the president says it`s going to take a
movement from the bottom to the top. Are you sensing that movement
gathering?

PETERSON: I am sensing that movement, you know, moveon.org. You
mentioned the fact that Gabby Giffords` America`s for responsible solutions
is now in play and I think will be very, very effective at raising funds in
countering some of the fund-raising efforts in lobbying ever since the NRA.

Rev., we are going to need some executive action here. I hope people
who can understand why that`s important because we want a comprehensive
sense or we have more on comprehensive common sense gun safety.

And so, an executive action that pushes federal policy towards
universal background checks, I think would be a great compliment to
whatever the legislation is that comes out of VP Biden`s efforts and
through the congress. And so, we need all hands on deck for this issue
because again, we talk about these mass shootings and these spree
shootings. But we`re also faced with these challenges in inner city
America every day. And although it is not as sensational, it is continuous
and it is as painful as these other suburban communities for us to live in
inner city America.

SHARPTON: Chicago, the best example of that. Let`s thank both
Congressman David Price and Dr. James Peterson. We thank both of you for
your time this evening.

PETERSON: Thank you.

PRICE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming um, Paul Ryan says the deficit is our number one
problem. So why is he backing one of the most extreme anti-choice bills
we`ve ever seen in congress?

Big news about the president`s inauguration, a music superstar is
coming to Washington. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re less than two weeks away from President Obama second
inauguration. The grand stand is being built, the preps are under way and
the ceremony is coming together. We told you how Myrlie-Evers Williams,
the widow of civil rights hero Medgar Evers will deliver the prayer.
Today, we learned that Richard Blanco will be the first Latino poet and the
first openly gay man to read the inaugural poem. Kelly Clarkson and James
Taylor was singing "My Country `tis of Thee" and "America the Beautiful."
And Beyonce will sing the national anthem.

Four years ago, Beyonce brought down the house by singing the Etta
James Classic, "At Last" for the first couple at one of the inaugural
balls.

(BEYONCE PERFORMING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Republicans just don`t get it. Their war on women
backfired in a huge way last year. But they`re already back at it in 2013.
And Congressman Paul Ryan is leading the way. Today, he signed on as a co-
sponsor to the most extreme law, the anti-choice movement can come up with.
It`s a personhood bill that would give legal and constitutional rights to a
single-celled human embryo. The law would make all abortions illegal, even
in cases of rape, incest or to save the health or life of the mother. It
could outlaw some forms of birth control and even ban in vitro
fertilization. But pushing these extreme views on women is nothing new for
Ryan. This is the guy who signed on the debt infamous bill about forcible
rape. A bill he co-sponsored with Todd Akin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Well, look, I`m proud of my pro-life
record. And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress. It`s something I`m
proud of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Of course, Paul Ryan is not alone. The rest of this new
republican Congress is starting the New Year right where they left off in
the old one. Last week, Republicans introduced two separate bills to
defund Planned Parenthood and Republicans refused to renew the violence
against women act. This is incredible. Republicans have either forgotten
about Todd Akin, Richard Murdoch and the war on caterpillars or they don`t
care. Either way, the war on women is back, in Congress and in states all
over the country.

Joining me now is Joy Reid, managing editor of TheGrio.com and an
MSNBC contributor. And Laura Bassett, a journalist for "The Huffington
Post" who broke the story about Paul Ryan and the personhood bill today.
Thank you both for your time tonight.

JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM: Thanks to be here.

LAURA BASSETT, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Joy, let me start with you. Why are so many Republicans
determined to do all of this after losing women by 11 points on Election
Day?

REID: Well, Reverend, I think you have to remember with Paul Ryan,
you made the exact point which is that Ryan has always had these extreme
views on abortion. When he joined the ticket with Mitt Romney, he had to
of sublimate some of them. But this is always been in his background. And
-- number two that Ryan is still a potential presidential candidate in
2016. I know that seems a long way off, but he`s facing a potential
primary, having voted for the fiscal cliff deal which could call his
conservative into question. So it is in his interest in terms of primary
politics in this Republican Party, to go as far to the right as he can on
social issues.

SHARPTON: When you have someone like this, Laura, Paul Ryan, who
played the role he did in 2013 and comeback with something this extreme,
does this signal that there is no lesson at all that the Republicans, at
least the leadership learned as a result of last year`s election and some
major defeats in some of the key states?

BASSETT: Honestly, I think what`s going on is that the Republicans
that are still carrying out these battles against women`s reproductive
rights are Republicans who feel generally secure in their districts. I
don`t think that Paul Ryan is worried that if he were to run again for
reelection that he would win and I think the same with the two women who
introduced the anti-planned parenthood legislation last week, Marsha
Blackburn and Diane Black are pretty secure in their districts. I think
the Republicans that are still carrying out this war on women, so to speak,
are you know, more worried about the republican primaries than they are in
the general election.

SHARPTON: Now, Joy, let me introduce you to the Todd Akin of 2013.
Congressman Tom Cotton. He`s a new republican from Arkansas. And let me
show you what he said yesterday about women in the military.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: To have women serving in infantry
though could impair the mission-essential tasks of those units and that`s
been proven in study after study, just from a matter of, I mean, its
nature, you know, upper body strength and physical movements and speed and
endurance and so forth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Could impair the mission`s essential task for those units,
Joy?

REID: Yes, and women are already, you know, flying in those
helicopters and doing lots of functions in the military. I mean, look, we
have the -- the bottom-line is, and this is why I`m always sort of amused
when people talk about the Republican Party reinventing itself and this
sort of GOP 2.0 that people kept saying it`s coming any minute now. The
reality is the Republican Party is quickly retrieving into a very small
party, a very regional party and a party that has very hard core far right
views, whether it`s on women, whether it`s on abortion, whether it`s on gay
marriage, just on everything.

It is a very right wing, hard right party. And so, we shouldn`t be
surprised when somebody, even with the earnest face of a Paul Ryan or
somebody like Representative Cotton says what they do because this is what
the Republican Party is mostly becoming.

SHARPTON: Well, when you look at the landscape, Laura, this year
alone, they`ve got their ducks lined up in a row. Nineteen states have
both a republican state legislature with an anti-choice governor. And they
feel they can do anything they want when you look at the anti-choice
proposals already in 2013. In Mississippi and Virginia, strict new
regulations are going to shut down abortion clinics. In Texas, Arizona and
Wisconsin, legislators are pushing 20-week fetal pain abortion bans. And
in Wisconsin, taking a cue from Virginia, they`re going to introduce a
forced ultrasound bill. They`re moving forward, Laura.

BASSETT: Absolutely. They`re moving forward everywhere. And you
can go on and on. The heartbeat bill in Ohio, I mean, some of the bills
are getting even more extreme. Someone in Michigan introduced a bill that
would give a tax credit to fetuses. I think that they`re not slowing down
at all, but it`s really interesting that these anti-choice majorities were
reelected, considering that in some of these states like, for instance,
Ohio, there was an exit poll that show that the majority of Ohioans are
pretty pro-choice.

SHARPTON: Right.

BASSETT: And they managed to reelect this anti-choice majority in
both chambers. It seems to me that it has to do with the way that the
districts were drawn up.

SHARPTON: I mean, Joy, when you look at Texas Governor Rick Perry`s
pledge just last month, it showed where the GOP`s priorities lie. Watch
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: And now to be clear, my goal and the goal
of many of those joining me here today is to make abortion at any stage a
thing of the past.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, I mean, when we look at these kinds of straight out
commitments, there`s no -- it`s almost like the voter`s determination in
key races last year doesn`t matter to those that feel that their base is
going to covered in.

REID: Exactly. I think within the republican world, it doesn`t
really matter what was said in election of 2012. Because the point is
absolutely right. Gerrymandering means that they can essentially exert
minority rule over states that are even considered blue states like in
Michigan or states that have split -- like Ohio, it doesn`t matter what the
majority of voters want. It doesn`t matter what the majority of women
want, what the majority of America want.

You know, we have to take these folks at their word. It is their true
belief that they should bring about the end of abortion and make it illegal
in the United States. They`ll going to do whatever it takes and they
aren`t concerned about polls. They aren`t concerned about what we think.
They aren`t concerned about anything other than their prime directive which
is making it illegal. And they`re going to do it by any means necessary
even if it seems irrational to the rest of us.

SHARPTON: But Laura, beyond the politics, what about the fact that
you`re really impacting people and help of women in a negative way. In
Texas, I mean, the kind of headlines you`ll see when you take away major
resources for women`s health is thousands of women forced to find new
doctors now that Texas has defunded Planned Parenthood. People need to
understand they`re not just taking away women`s abortion rights, they`re
taking away cancer screenings and contraceptive services from low income
women. At what point do we understand what we`re doing to people beyond
the politics?

BASSETT: I think that`s exactly the question that we should be
asking. You know, Texas is a really sad situation right now. All of these
women have been forced to find new doctors. And we`re talking about low
income women that were in the Texas women health program that used to fund
Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood was the biggest provider in the
program.

And so, Texas has provided a list of alternative doctors for them to
go to, but, often, those doctors don`t even provide the services that the
list alleges that they provide. And so, these women are sort of, you know,
up a creek without a paddle. It`s just really unfortunate.

SHARPTON: It`s terrible. Joy Reid and Laura Bassett, thank you both
for your time.

REID: Thank you.

BASSETT: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the big daddy of the birther movement is
releasing his birth certificate. But I don`t think that`s good enough.
Show us the long form, Donald. Plus, a Republican is finally shamed into
doing the right thing on Sandy relief. Well, that`s one. But we have a
few dozen more to go. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Miracles do happen. A republican changed course and is
promising to do the right thing on Sandy relief. But what about the rest
of the party? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: A big change today from an extreme GOP lawmaker who`s being
forced to eat some humble pie. After voting against Sandy aid last week,
Mississippi republican Steven Palazzo decided to head north and see the
hurricane damage for himself. And surprise, surprise. He`s seeing the
light. Palazzo now says quote, "Now is the time for the federal government
to provide immediate relief to those affected by the storm. I`m fully
committed to providing the relief they so desperately need."

Wow. A big change of heart there from Congressman Palazzo. I wonder
what changed his mind?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Sandy is and was above politics.
In every other element except for what happened in the Congress a week ago.
There are people suffering in New Jersey. There are people suffering in
New York. And they need to be taken care of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Republicans face a big test next Tuesday with votes on the
next round of Sandy relief. They can either give it to -- give in to the
right wing or do what is right for the American people.

Joining me now is Clarence Page, columnist for the Chicago Tribune.
Clarence, thanks for being here tonight.

CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Glad to be here, Reverend.
Thank you.

SHARPTON: What do you make of Congressman Palazzo`s big reversal on
Sandy relief?

PAGE: Well, as you might say, Reverend, he saw the light when he saw
the blight. After he got up there to New York and New Jersey and really
saw how awful the devastation is. And it is awful. You know, when you
compare it to Katrina, Katrina was a terrible, dramatic tragedy we saw
unfolds on TV up in New York and New Jersey.

The population is so concentrated. You have some $80 billion
according to official estimates worth of damage. And apparently, the TV
footage hadn`t been good enough for him. He had to go up there and see it
in person. But this came after he took a lot of heat for his vote last
week.

SHARPTON: Yes, I don`t like to, as a minister, question anyone`s
aversion, but he was attacked pretty badly by his own hometown paper and
others. So, I don`t know if it`s all what he saw as the blight. He might
have saw a few headlines. But let me ask, when you look at some of the
Republicans, in the House, they`re still saying things, like, for example,
you have Tom McClintock of California said much of this money cannot be
classified as urgent and should be taken out of the bill.

It has nothing to do with disaster relief. Another republican, Paul
Ryan is guilty of relief fund hypocrisy. He voted no to Sandy in Congress
last week but in `08, he voted for additional disaster response funding in
flood-ravaged Midwest on June 19th, 2008. So a lot of this, you`re seeing
people that voted for relief when it was their constituents but seemed to
not care particularly when it`s northeastern blue states.

PAGE: Yes. And Ryan was one of 12 Republicans who voted for Katrina
relief and voted against Sandy relief. Some, what, 67 Republicans all
together who voted against Sandy relief. It`s sort of a reflex that
Palazzo was caught in, also.

They are always looking for some ways to cut spending, even when we`re
talking about something like major emergencies, which the public turns to
the government for health in those kinds of circumstances and in the past,
we`ve been putting bipartisan and kind of, you know, all-American on a big
disaster like this. But, now, this polarized politics are, once again,
stepping in. Like I say, we`ll see, next week will be a big test.

SHARPTON: But, again, if we`re talking about hypocrisy from people
like Congressman Duncan and others, the list go on. Some great people that
have voted for relief in the past but are voting against it now. But I
think it also comes down to Clarence, what do we feel the country stands
for when we`re looking at people who have had their homes, their earnings
wiped out with a natural disaster? I mean, do we want to be the kind of
country that turns our back on its citizens? I think that`s really what`s
at stake here.

PAGE: It really is. And the mantra of the republican members of
Congress and the Tea Party is, you know, go after waste, fraud and abuse.
That`s not what the issue is here. Those quotes you had earlier from the
congressman last week are talking about spending in the Sandy relief bill
that doesn`t go to Hurricane Sandy. That was stripped out Friday before
the vote was taken.

Now, they apparently weren`t paying attention to the -- process on
what`s happening there on Capitol Hill. This was for reimbursing the
National Federal Relief Program which everybody who is a flood victim
benefits from. Unless they`ve got their own flood insurance, which very
few people have and this is -- this kind of raising the debt ceiling, they
want to raise the debt ceiling on federal relief because, after Sandy, as
after Katrina, the flood relief program was in deficit. This is not
something that involves waste fraud or abuse of any means.

SHARPTON: Yes. Clarence Page, thank you for your time tonight.

PAGE: Always glad to be here. Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back with Donald Trump`s birth certificate.
Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally, tonight, remember when Donald Trump became the
birther king? He went all in on the crazy and got all kinds of attention
for it. But since the president won, we haven`t heard much. This was the
last prank.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: All he has to do to get $5 million for a
charity or charities of his choice is get his colleges to immediately give
his applications and records and, also, to release his passport records.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But now the rules are reversed. He`s getting his own
offer. This one coming from Bill Maher.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL MAHER, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: The color of his hair and the color of
an orange orangutan is the only two things in nature of the same color.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I wonder what that was for today. I`m not saying it`s true, I hope
it`s not true. But unless he comes up with proof, I`m willing to offer $5
million to Donald Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Well, Donald Trump has responded. Yahoo News obtained a
letter from Trump`s lawyer to Bill Maher, with it came Trump`s birth
certificate. And there it is, in all of its glory, Donald John Trump, the
date, June 14th, 1946, born in Queens.

And here`s the big one. He`s the son of Fred Trump, not the
Orangutan? Or is he? And by the way, Donald, where is your long form
birth certificate?

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

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