updated 1/25/2013 11:13:14 AM ET 2013-01-25T16:13:14

POLITICS NATION
January 24, 2013

Guests: Dana Milbank; Simone Campbell; Diane DeGette, Marcia Fudge, Ed Rendell, Patricia Murphy, Toure


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, President Obama won. This president has no time to
waste and he`s using it to push for change on gun control, on immigration,
on climate change, on ending the ban on women serving in combat. He`s got
a full agenda. And it was on full display today.

Remember all of that bluster from governor Romney about undoing Wall
Street reform, letting consumers fend for themselves? Yes, not going to
happen. Today, the president nominated hits to both the SEC and the
consumer protection bureau. The message? We`re moving forward. Anyone
guess where we`ll be if the other side were in charge?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: What do you want me to tell Romney? I can`t
tell him to do that: he can`t do that to himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That chair, that chair was the symbol of everything wrong
with the GOP. An embarrassment on the biggest stage. The GOP literally
became a joke. Wonder where that chair is today? Here it is, the Clint
Eastwood chair. It`s been given a place of honor in the RNC chairman`s
office. Is this unbelievable? Wouldn`t they want to destroy that chair?
They just don`t get it.

This week, the RNC is laying out its plan for a Republican renewal
meaning they`re going to renew exactly what they`re already doing. RNC
chair Reince Priebus says quote "our principles are sound. They just need
to articulate them in ways that are modern."

Just modernize talk of legitimate rape. That`s the ticket. And Mr.
Priebus is looking for feedback. So he`s posted a survey on gop.com, aimed
at getting to the root of the problem. Think of all the diverse opinions
they`ll get on gop.com. Maybe even congressman Paul Ryan will fill out one
for him. Here`s his wisdom on why he and Romney lost the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it`s
closer than you think. There`s the big debate that revolves, is you know,
they really did a phenomenal job on technology and turn out. I don`t see
this as a rejection of our principles. I think we need to do a better job
of applying our principles to the problems of the day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: No, no way it was a rejection of principles. This is Karl
Rove level of denial here. So Republicans, take a seat. I know where you
can find one and watch whose moving America forward while you sit down.
Just like he did today.

Joining me now is Joan Walsh, editor at large at salon.com, MSNBC
analyst and Dana Milbank, editor for "Washington Post."

Thanks to both of you for coming on tonight.

DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Reverend.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Thanks, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Dana, let me go to you first. Weren`t President Obama`s
nominations today a perfect example of how elections have consequences?

MILBANK: Well, sitting where I`m sitting, not in the Clint Eastwood
chair, I would say yes, it does. It`s a continuation in many ways,
literally in the case Richard Cordray and continuing a very tough policy of
enforcement at the SEC.

So, the president is sending a signal that at least in this area of
regulation enforcement, he`s not going to be backing down at all. And
surely, that`s exactly what Wall Street and corporate America expected when
he won that election.

SHARPTON: And that was the way he campaigned. In many ways, we`re
looking at, Joan, him continuing the path that he campaign on, got votes on
and won. And many voters just seem the GOP - seem the GOP is extreme and
out of touch with issues. Look at the poll, on rights for gay people, 60
percent, on aid to the poor, 59 percent, on tax levels for millionaires and
big corporation, 59 percent, women`s issue, 55 percent, immigration, 55
percent. I mean, these are high numbers of people feeling the GOP is out
of touch on these issues.

WALSH: Yes, I mean, Reverend Al, the shocking thing is, as you just
laid out, the support for Democratic policies is even higher than support
for Democratic politicians. The president won a decisive victory, but the
support for the issues and policies is going to push is even higher.

So, the Republicans are delusional to be saying that the issue is just
a matter of reaching out or the issue is modernizing technology and that
their principles are sound. It`s their principles and their policies that
were rejected by the voters and that continues.

And you`re right, too, to point to that symbolism of that awful chair.
I mean, that was the worst moment of a terrible convention.

SHARPTON: In the chair of the GOP`S office. I mean, it is
unbelievable. What could you be thinking about?

WALSH: Right, a cranky old man lecturing our first African American
president in prime time in Tampa helped take the party down. But while Mr.
Priebus is saying we`re going to modernize, we`re going to change our
message, we`re going to reach out, we`re going to change, he`s enshrining
that symbol of the demographic reality of why his party lost. It shows
that they really don`t get a get.

SHARPTON: I mean, Dana, the only reason I would have that chair is
the election of what people ought not to do and I don`t know how he does
that without alienating those that thought something was right about that.

But listen to me, Dana, tell me what this means. Bobby Jindal, the
governor of Louisiana, who has set many to say run in the GOP primaries in
2016, he is set to slam the GOP at an RNC gathering tonight. We`re told
that he`s supposed to slam them on Akin and Mourdock comments.

He will say quote "we had a number of Republicans damage the brand
this year with offensive and bizarre comments. We have enough of that."

And we are told that he is going to send at the stroke of the cordon,
non-white voters quote "the first step is in getting voters to like you is
to demonstrate that you like them."

What is the politics of the attack? And what is -- is this an opening
for there to be a new direction among some Republicans?

MILBANK: Well, a lot of that has to do with 2016 politics. But there
really is a rift here in the Republican Party. And that is there`s all of
these successful Republican governors around the country and then there`s
this wildly unpopular Republican Party here in Washington. And part of the
Jindal critique is that the politics should not be this green eye shade
debate about how many zeros in the federal budget. It should actually be
about real people which is what these Republican governors have been able
to do, taking much more moderate, reasonable conditions.

As if to answer that, Paul Ryan is now saying well, I`m going to have
the federal budget balanced in ten years instead of his previous like 25
years. So now, he`s literally going to have to cut the federal government
by 20 percent, more in some areas, over the next ten years.

So, they just can`t seem to get themselves out of this debate. And
where you stand on this depends on where you sit and the folks in
Washington are still sitting in Clint Eastwood`s chair.

SHARPTON: But, Joan, when you look at the fact that they keep going
from one to another crazy theory, I mean, Rush Limbaugh came up with a new
theory on president Obama today. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: 2016, waiting to happen. That
is -- that is if Obama decides to abnegate. Obama may not give up the
crown, just like Queen Elizabeth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Obama may not give up the crown, all of the sudden he`s not
going to leave office. I mean, and to think that these are the people
setting the tone. They`re already talking about 2016. We`re not even out
of the week of the inauguration. We did just re-elect the president who is
going to be the president the next three or four years. We have a mid-term
election before we get to 2046. Are they trying to fast forward us so we
will forget about the midterm and forget about making sure that promises
made are promised kept with the re-election of the president?

WALSH: Well, it`s shocking. You know, they`ve gone from saying that
he wasn`t a legitimate -- the birthers said that he wasn`t born here and he
shouldn`t be president. And, now, you`ve got them calling him a tyrant on
guns. And Rush Limbaugh suggested that he might not give up power, which
really does validate the worst impulses of the Republican power because you
know what you do to tyrants. You rise up against them.

I also want to just say one thing quickly about Bobby Jindal. I mean,
Dana is right. Some of the Republican governors are a little bit more
realistic. But, Bobby Jindal is fresh off the humiliation in his home
state. He tried to cut hospice funding for poor people in Louisiana.

Now, backtrack yesterday. But Bobby Jindal talks nice about people,
but I guess he doesn`t single out minorities for his programs. He singles
out everybody. Everybody can suffer without having hospice care when
they`re dying. So I`m not sure that a whole lot to emulate coming out of
Louisiana, either.

SHARPTON: No, I think he`s going to have a problem when they go to
Louisiana.

Let me ask you this, Dana, many of us were concerned about the
filibuster. It`s been used for years to stop things. It certainly hurt
the president`s ability to get things done. And today, the Senate agreed
on some limits to the filibuster, though it falls short, far short in my
opinion, of what a lot of progress I have wanted. How do you view this?

MILBANK: Well, it`s a dangerous thing to play with the filibuster
because, of course, in a future time, you could wind up when it`s actually
the Democrats and the minority and the same rules could be used against
them. The fact of the matter is this particular minority is going to be
able to use a wide range of tools to keep things bottled up. And, in a
sense, it doesn`t even matter because the house is not going to let any of
the president`s policies get through that way, as well.

So, there are so many fail safe mechanisms to prevent anything from
happening in this government right now that I`m not sure there`s any one
reform that would do it.

SHARPTON: But, Joan, at least getting to the speaking filibuster, I
mean, stopping this call in to just bottle things up, wouldn`t that have
been important?

WALSH: I think so. I`m disappointed. I think it was a missed
opportunity. Dana is right. We`ve got the problems in the house. But
this was a chance to fix the problems in the Senate and, you know, I think
it was a missed opportunity.

Two against one, Dana, you lose.

Joan Walsh and Dana Milbank, thanks for your time this evening.

WALSH: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a big next step on gun safety with huge support from
the American people. That spells trouble for the NRA.

Plus, the Republican plan to steal elections, peeling back the curtain
on the right wing voting scam.

And then, I`ll finally weigh in on this Beyonce thing. I have a few
things to say about it. You won`t want to miss it. We have a big show
lined up. Come on back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Our fans had a lot of fun imaging what secretary Clinton was thinking
during yesterday`s hearing.

Donna says, bring it.

David says next time you gentlemen want to get schooled, I`ll be in my
office.

And Vince says Rand Paul would have fired me if he had been president?
Well, I guess we don`t have to worry about that ever happening, do we?

We`ve got some more on the attacks against Clinton and what`s driving
her later in the show. We want to hear what you think, too. Please head
over to facebook and search politics nation and like us to join the
conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, we saw a key moment for the fight in gun safety, 41
days after the shootings in Sandy Hook, elementary. This morning, senator
Diane Feinstein surrounded by police officers, mayors and crime victims,
reintroduced an assault weapons ban on Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DIANE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: We should be outraged by how
easy it is for perpetrators of these horrific crimes to obtain powerful,
military-style weapons.

No weapon is taken from anyone. The purpose is to dry up the supply
of these weapons over time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The new bill would ban the sale, transfer, import, or
manufacture of more than 100 million military-style assault weapons. It
would create a stricter definition for these types of guns. It would ban
imports from outside the country and it would limit magazines to ten rounds
or less.

The bill is just part of a larger push from the White House. Today,
vice president Biden was keeping the pressure on with an online appearance
to spread the word. This is a real plan for real change. The American
people support it. A broad coalition is pushing forward. And the
extremists who oppose it are out of step with the times.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Diane DeGette, Democratic from
Colorado, whose district includes Columbine. She`s the co-sponsor of a
house bill targeting high-capacity magazines. And sister Simone Campbell,
executive director of Network of Catholic social justice group. She`s part
of a group of 64 catholic leaders who signed a letter calling on
politicians who consider themselves pro-life to support new gun safety
measures.

Thank you for your time tonight.

SISTER :SIMONE CAMPBELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NETWORK: Great to be
with you.

REP. DIANA DEGETTE (D), COLORADO: Hi, Rev.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, this assault weapons ban is just part of an
overall push for safety. But do you think it has the support to become law
with the make-up of this new congress?

DEGETTE: Well, Rev, I`ve been working on these issues now for about
20 years. And we have a good coalition in the house. We`ve already
reintroduced the magazine and we`re getting ready to introduce the
companion bill to senator Feinstein`s bill.

What we really need, though, is the voices of the American people to
be heard. You can not underestimate the lobbying power of the NRA in
congress. And even my office, even though people know that I am a strong
advocate for gun safety legislation, I get calls every day from NRA
members. And so, what really needs to happen to change this debate in
Washington, in congress, is the moms and dads, the aunts and uncles and
husbands and wives of America need to call their members of Congress and
they need to tell them that they support this ban on the assault rifles and
the ban on the assault magazines.

SHARPTON: Well, let me tell you why, congresswoman, I think that that
is extremely a feasible strategy of getting people to call it a people
movement from the bottom up. Look at these startling numbers that polls
show us, 91 percent want universal background checks for all guns, 82
percent want increased spending on mental health programs for young people,
and fully 60 percent want a re-instatement of the assault weapons ban.
These are not close figures. I mean, 91, 82, you`re talking about the
overwhelming majority of the American people are with these proposals.

DEGETTE: So what they need to do, what those overwhelming majorities
need to do is make their voices heard. Because we have many members of
congress, mostly Republicans, but some Democrats, too, who are afraid of
the NRA`s campaign contributions and of their influencing campaigns.

I`m not afraid of them, obviously. But I think that if people would
hear from their constituents that would really help us pass this
legislation. I do think public opinion has shifted. I think the tone and
the debate have shifted. It`s been enormously helpful having the president
and the vice president there in our corner. Now we need to get the voices
of Americans calling their members of congress.

SHARPTON: Well, helping to get the voice of America, I don`t know of
anyone better in these times of sister Simone. Sister Simone, your
organization campaigns for health care, immigration reform campaign. Why
is gun control a part of your mission?

CAMPBELL: Well, we realized, Reverend, that gun control is really a
critical issue to move forward. Actually, it`s the gun violence that got
us. The violence comes from the same place as all of these other fear-
driven policies. This idea that we don`t have enough money to care for
each other. This idea that we have to just take care of ourselves that I
need guns to protect my family. The fact is, we`re better as a community.
And we realized, if we speak out against gun violence, that we`re speaking
out against the fear that has paralyzed our nation.

And, hopefully, as congresswoman clearly spells out that we`ve got to
free our voices to speak up for what our communities need. And that is
safety by limited access to these horrible weapons that we do not need.

SHARPTON: Now, you -- your letter to leaders said pro-life citizens
and elected officials have a responsibility to show greater moral
leadership and political courage when it comes to confronting threats to
the sanctity of life posed by easy access to military-style assault weapons
and high capacity magazines. Very interesting that you called it pro-life
because pro-life is usually not used in this context.

CAMPBELL: Well, I know the argument in our nation has really become
pro-birth when you say pro-life. The fact is that our church has taught
for decades, over a century, that pro-life is this broad away of everything
that supports the sanctity of leaf. And certainly, when you look at Sandy
Hook elementary school and the 20 young children that were gunned down,
that was an anti-life action that we need to end.

And the fact that since Sandy Hook, over 900 people have died because
of gun violence? This is wrong. Our nation is better than this. And a
pro-life stance would embrace a responsible approach to gun ownership.

SHARPTON: Now we feel firmly, a lot of us that what happened in Sandy
Hook became a game change in the sense of the public. But congresswoman,
1,221 people have been killed. That number included 23 children have been
killed since the Newtown shooting. So we need legislation. We really need
to move from the rhetoric to the real concrete.

DEGETTE: Right, you know, Rev, we need to figure out if our mental
health programs are working in this country. We need to look at the
background checks and the gun show loopholes. But we also really do need
to pass legislation.

For example, if you pass the legislation on the assault magazines
saying we can`t have these magazines with 30 or a hundred clips, then the
victims would have a fighting chance to get away from the shooter, or like
in Gabby Gifford`s case, they could tackle him and prevent him from
shooting other people. So, this can have real result.

And the thing is, these bills have been around for years. Now it`s
time to pass them. And that`s exactly right.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there, congresswoman DeGette
and sister Simone. Thank you for your time and good luck to both of you in
your efforts.

DEGETTE: Thank you.

CAMPBELL: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead from Glen Beck to senator Rand Paul. We`re following
the evolution of a conspiracy theory. And revealing the Republican plan to
steal elections is happening right now in America. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: In the middle of all of those vile attacks on secretary
Clinton in her Benghazi hearings, there was one question that left a lot of
people confused. It came from the tea party Republican senator Rand Paul.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Is the U.S. involved with any procuring
of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring
weapons to Turkey out of Libya?

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: To Turkey? I will have to take
that question for the record. Nobody`s ever raised that with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Weapons to Turkey? What? Secretary Clinton clearly had no
clue what he was talking about. But, senator Paul was so proud of his
cooky question that he went on FOX News to brag about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: I think arms are being sold and have been sold out of Libya to
Turkey. I don`t have proof of this. No one is giving me any information.
I have no briefing of this. but there have been articles in news print and
in the press.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: No proof. No information. No problem. But I`m still
wondering where Senator Paul came up with such a nutty theory. Who is
paranoid enough to come up with something so outlandish? Who could it be?
Folks, there`s only one man for the job.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Over 400 tons of weapons.

GLENN BECK, RADIO HOST: They put it on a ship. He uses Ambassador
Stevens as the point man with this guy. And they funnel through Turkey the
weapons to the jihadists on the border where we are currently funneling
weapons to radical Islamic groups who wanted to destroy America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Of course, now it all makes sense. From Glenn Beck`s chalk
board to the United States Senate. Beck started pushing these theories
back in October claiming that President Obama was funneling weapons from
Libya to Jihadists in Syria.

From there, it jumped to FOX News and then to the GOP senate. That`s
exactly how extreme right wing theory`s move into republican mainstream.
Senator Paul, did you think we`d let you get away with all of that Turkey
talk? Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: You know the old expression if you can`t beat them, join
them? But Republicans have a new twist. If you can`t beat them, cheat
them. Six GOP-controlled states are pushing to rig the Electoral College
to help Republicans win. Even if they lose the popular vote. Under the
current system, if a candidate wins the popular vote in the state, he`s
awarded all the state`s electoral votes.

Under the republican plan, the winning cabinet wouldn`t take all.
Instead, electoral votes would be awarded according to the Congressional
districts. So why would Republicans be doing this? Here`s why. In
Virginia, Barack Obama won the popular vote, so he got all 13 electoral
votes. And under the GOP power grab, he would get four electoral votes.
Romney would get nine.

In Florida, President Obama won the popular vote, so he took all 29
electoral votes. With the new scheme, he would win 12. Romney would take
17 electoral votes. In Michigan, President Obama won. So he took all 16
electoral votes. But with this scam, he gets seven. Romney gets nine.
Over to Ohio. President Obama won all 18 electoral votes. Now he gets
six. Romney gets 12.

In Pennsylvania, President Obama received 20 electoral votes. But
under the GOP plan here, electoral votes would be awarded proportionately
based on the popular vote. So that number shrinks to 12. Governor Romney
would get eight. Trying to win elections when you win fewer votes. That`s
just wrong. Nice time to fight back.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, democrat from Ohio and
new chairman -- chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus and Former
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, now an NBC News analyst. Thank you both
for being here tonight.

REP. MARCIA FUDGE (D), OHIO: My pleasure.

FMR. GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Thank you so much for having
me.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, this is a blatant grab. Can Democrats fight
this?

FUDGE: There`s no question that we can. And we will fight it,
Reverend. Just this week, Democrats led by John Lewis dropped the bill in
the House. It`s called the voter empowerment act. And it is designed to
stop some of these deceptive practices. We are not going to sit by and
allow them to steal elections just because they can`t win fair and square.

SHARPTON: Now, Governor, you`ve seen this up close in Pennsylvania.
The ramifications of this is to really undo the whole democratic process
that has been used since we started with the Electoral College.

RENDELL: There`s no question, Reverend Sharpton. And it would have
disastrous and unfair consequences. Particularly if you did it only five
or six states. For example, in Pennsylvania, go back to the 2008 election.

SHARPTON: Right.

RENDELL: Barack Obama carried this state by 11 points, almost a
historic landslide. But Senator McCain would have gotten 10 electoral
votes to President Obama`s 11 at the time. That`s, you know, almost
disenfranchised people. But I think the Congresswoman, we all should be
aware that states have the right to proportion their electoral votes in any
way they want.

In fact Nebraska and Maine already do this. They do it by
Congressional districts. So, it would be hard to be back -- I`d be
interested in seeing the federal legislation. But I will tell you this.
We`re going to fight it tooth and nail in Pennsylvania. They tried to do
it before the last election and we beat it back because we scared the local
Republicans into thinking that there would be savage repercussions from
voters around the state. And I think there would. But I will tell you
what the eventual cause is, we`re going do this, play these game.

SHARPTON: Yes.

RENDELL: Then the popular vote project which already isn`t listed,
the nine jurisdictions that represents 132 electoral votes. That`s a law
which says that the states pass a law saying, they`ll give their entire
electoral votes to whoever wins the popular vote. That movement is gaining
steam. And as soon as it gets 271 electoral votes, the electoral -- is
done. As soon as states who 271 electoral votes sign on, the popular vote
controls who wins the election in America, as I believe it should.

SHARPTON: Now, Madame, Chair Lady.

FUDGE: Yes.

SHARPTON: The American prospect reports on what the bill sponsors in
Virginia saying. And I`m reading the quote, "the bill`s sponsor republican
senator Charles W. Bill Carrico says the change is necessary," listen to
this, "because Virginia`s urbanized areas can outvote rural regions
weakening their political strength. In other words Carrico thinks winning
land is more important than winning people when it comes to presidential
elections."

So the goal is to win elections with less votes.

FUDGE: Reverend, let me just say to you that the Republican Party has
determined that because of the change in demographics in this country, more
and more young people, more and more minorities moving to urban areas,
that they can no longer win the White House. So they are doing everything
in their power to make sure that they have an unlevel playing field.

I mean, you know, what Reverend, we teach our children about fair
play, about good sportsmanship, we teach them about how you have a level
play until these people are teaching them how to cheat, these people are
deceptive, they are sinister. And they have determined the only way that
they can win the presidency is to cheat. And so they are making it clear
to us that they want to win at all costs.

And so, if that means that they`re going to try to discount the votes
coming out of the urban areas, so let`s figure out a way to do that.
They`re going to do everything possible to make sure that what happened in
2012 will never happen again.

SHARPTON: Governor, when you look at this, what I just read in
Virginia, you`re talking about empty land space will out vote human beings.
And it`s supported by the RNC Chair Reince Priebus who says, quote, "It`s
something that a lot of states have been consistently blue, that are fully
controlled red ought to be looking at." This is outrageous.

RENDELL: Well, if it`s so fair, you know, the Republicans are saying
it`s fair to the voters, well, what about in Texas? Why aren`t they doing
the same thing in Texas? Why don`t they split it by Congressional votes in
Texas? The answer is because they win all of Texas electoral votes now.
If they split it by Congressional districts, Democrats would pick up eight,
nine, ten electoral votes. It`s interesting they`re only interested in
giving this fairness to the voters in blue states, presidential blue
states. It`s an interesting coincidence, isn`t it?

SHARPTON: It`s called selective democracy.

RENDELL: Absolutely. Madame Chair Lady, Governor, thank you both for
being here tonight.

FUDGE: Thank you so much for having me.

RENDELL: Thanks, Rev.

HANNITY: Coming up, the mud slingers are back at it. New ugly
attacks on Hillary Clinton that are crossing the line. And then, Beyonce
and what really matters. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The old attacks on Hillary Clinton are back. I wonder why?
That`s next.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Right now, as we`ve been talking about, it`s focused on big
issues. Jobs, guns, immigration. But some Republicans aren`t thinking
about that. They think 2016 has already begun. How can you tell? Just
watch how they went after Hillary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: I would have relieved you of your post. I think it`s
inexcusable.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That was stunning. That was really stunning.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is the Lance Armstrong principle of when
you`re in trouble, yell at the person asking you a question.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If there is one politician in the
country who should be advertising Teflon, it`s Hillary Clinton.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Every powerful democrat man
depends on Hillary Clinton going out and lying. The democrat party treats
Mrs. Clinton like an abused wife.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: An abused wife? Lance Armstrong? And here`s the headline
in the conservative "New York Post." No wonder Bill`s afraid. Hillary
explodes with rage at Benghazi hearing. Republicans are back to one of
their favorite hobbies. Clinton bashing. It was all the rage back to the
`90s when they felt threatened by First Lady Clinton. Now they feel
threatened again. Instead of helping to solve the problems of today,
Republicans are running around scared about something that may or may not
happen tomorrow.

Joining me now, Toure, co-host of "The Cycle" here on MSNBC. And
Patricia Murphy, editor of Citizen Jane Politics, and contributor for "The
Daily Beast," thank you both for being here tonight.

TOURE, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks.

PATRICIA MURPHY, CITIZEN JANE POLITICS: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Patricia, what has the hibernating republican hatred of
Hillary Clinton? I mean, we just inaugurated the president this week. We
have a lot of work to do.

MURPHY: Well, listen. The time you start looking at the next
election is when you have got the other one right behind you the day after
the inauguration. The question was, what`s Hillary going to do? Who is
going to be the democratic nominee? And when you look at Hillary Clinton`s
popularity, I think Republicans have every reason to be very worried. This
woman has a 69 percent approval rating and that is including everything
that`s happened with Benghazi. The only controversy that she`s really had
to deal with our secretary of state.

Otherwise, she has had an absolutely incredible run running that
department where people can routinely get themselves into a whole lot of
trouble. So, I think Republicans knew this was their last chance, they`re
going to be really be able to get a swipe at her until she goes off the
public stage, goes away to think about what she`s going do in the future
and she`s going to be an incredibly formidable candidate if she decides to
run. They know that and I think we saw the results of what happened
yesterday at that hearing, both of the hearing.

SHARPTON: Toure, it does appear that they`ve been on this fight with
Hillary Clinton or at least trying to bring her down. When you look at the
National Review ripping Senator Clinton`s testimony apart, they write
quote, "indifference was just one of the poses Secretary Clinton struck
joining it as it turns with strained revisionism and professed ignorance.
Deflection was also Mrs. Clinton`s preferred tack."

Indifference, revisionist, ignorant, deflection? She testified for
over five-and-a-half hours yesterday. How is that possibly used words to
describe the Secretary Clinton in her testimony? Indifferent? Five-and-a-
half hours?

TOURE: Yes, she doesn`t put a lot of energy into five-and-a-half
hours of testify. Look, I think the indifferent point comes from -- when
she actually said what everybody on the democratic side of these would like
to say about the Benghazi stuff, it doesn`t really matter. You`re still
focusing on Sunday morning talk show talking points. Rather than who
killed these people and what we can do to protect our people in the field
going forward. We don`t really want to talk about who said what on the
Sunday shows and why it doesn`t matter will these people had a protest or
whether they just decided let`s kill some Americans. So, she said the
exact right thing.

SHARPTON: What matters is to find out how to get it done and then we
would say worth the cost.

TOURE: Exactly. And I mean, I think part of her indifference is,
well, her frustration is that part of the problem is Congressional
Republicans refusing to fund the security of these embassies and these
consulates. So she`s totally right. Everything Patricia said is right.
They see that she is the leading democrat in the country, that she`s
probably going to run for president. So, they have to try to get as much
mud on her as fast as possible and dirty her because she goes at the door.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s also a back board shot because if they can muddy
her up and use her as a back board and score muddying up and smearing
Patricia President Obama`s State Department and then try to get two-for-one
on two people they have an intense dislike for. And when you look at her
favorable ratings, as you`ve referred to, favorable, 67 percent,
unfavorable, 28 percent. That is a huge number. And who do they have on
the bench that could be formidable against this, Patricia?

MURPHY: Well, I think that Chris Christie isn`t obvious choice.

SHARPTON: But then he get to a primary.

MURPHY: Well, that`s the thing I think Chris Christie has become so
popular among voters across the country because he`s not afraid to take
swipes at Republicans and the Republican Party. And when he came out and
said that it was Republicans who are blocking Sandy aide people said,
finally, there was a man in America who would willing to talk straight.

And by the way, he happened to be a republican. So, I think that he
has a very A, political approach that is very attractive to American
voters. It may not be very attractive to GOP primary voters and I think
they`ll going to have another chance to have this internal debate, really,
a civil war within themselves. Are they going to be able to put somebody
forward who is popular with the greater population or only popular with the
GOP base?

And that is when they`ve gotten and solve them to trouble at every
level of the election in the last cycle and I think at the state
department, I think they were concerns.

SHARPTON: Yes.

MURPHY: I think that Hillary Clinton had an independent
investigation, it was very negative. She took full responsibility of both
of those hearings. When you then see the republican congressman say, what
does responsibility mean to you? Why won`t you take responsibility? And
she said, I did take responsibility. I think that`s when they damage
themselves instead of damaging the woman --

SHARPTON: Isn`t that the problem, Toure on the political side, what
Patricia said? The primaries, if the far right continues to guide the tone
of the primary, a winnable republican whether it`s against Hillary Clinton,
Vice President Biden whoever, can`t win the nomination. Isn`t that the
real problem?

TOURE: No, that`s absolutely right. The far right will continue to
guide the GOP primary. That`s just the way the primary system is set up.
Until we do something like Australia where everybody votes then the
extremes will guide what the primaries do and the far Right is far farther
right, then the far Left is left. So, I mean that far Right is going to
guide the primaries, they`re going to ask those crazy questions about, you
know, are you going to kill babies when they`re in the womb?

You know, they`re going to do all of these sorts of crazy things. Are
you willing to kill people on death penalty -- on death row? All of these
crazy things that they did in the last one and it`s going to create
candidates that who are unpalatable.

SHARPTON: Yes.

TOURE: For most of the nation. Look, the conservative movement is
afraid of Hillary for two reasons, the success of a woman would be damaging
to them and the success of a Clinton would be frightening and damaging to
then. So, there`s both full ways that they`re afraid of her.

SHARPTON: Well, I`ll tell you, Patricia, when you look at the fact
that favorability ratings break down by party, 91 percent favorable among
Democrats. Sixty five among independents. Thirty seven percent among
Republicans. That`s higher than some Republicans. They have reason to be
afraid. But I also say, I went to public schools, but I can count, and 14
comes before 16. Let`s not forget the midterm elections. Let`s not move
so fast.

Patricia Murphy and Toure, thanks for your time tonight.

MURPHY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And be sure to catch Toure on "The Cycle" weekdays at 3:00
p.m. Eastern Time.

We`ll be right back with Beyonce, the National Anthem and what really
is important. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: This week, we saw history in the making. The second
inauguration of President Obama on Martin Luther King Day. The President
laid out such a strong progressive vision for the country. Civil rights.
Women`s rights. Voter rights. Gay rights. But some have been trying to
say Beyonce`s performance was the big story. Was it live? Was it lip
synced? Both. Who cares?

It`s not what to remember about the inauguration. One million people
waited for hours in the cold to watch history. And we saw again today, the
President is already moving ahead. In his fight to protect Main Street
against Wall Street. He`s already moving on gun safety. Immigrant rights,
women`s rights. That`s the big story this week. These issues are too
important for any of us to get distracted now.

If Beyonce did pre-record a song because she couldn`t record with the
Marine Band and didn`t want to disparage the National Anthem, she should be
applauded for that. That`s the patriotic thing to do. But the big thing
out of inauguration was a president sitting across for fairness saying that
he wanted to make sure that a poor little girl would have the same
opportunities as anybody else in America.

Let`s focus on the change that we need the change that we voted for,
the change that we fought for. Do not allow them to have us majoring in
minors and minoring in majors.

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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