PoliticsNation, Thursday, January 31st, 2013
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
January 31, 2013
Guests: Patrick Murphy; Jon Soltz; Cleo Cowley, Nia-Malika Henderson, Joan Walsh, Toure, Patricia Murphy
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, the Obama doctrine, erasing the mistakes of the Bush
presidency. Today, the president`s nominee for defense secretary Chuck
Hagel testified in his confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill.
Hagel was in the spotlight, but it was Bush`s war in Iraq that was
really on trial. Conservatives despise Hagel, even though is a Republican.
But they despise him because of the Iraq war. They reject Hagel because he
will implement President Obama`s bold new foreign policy. They fear Hagel
because he`s a warrior, a Vietnam vet with two purple hearts who knows how
war should be fought and should not be fought and how war should be the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: In my 12 years in the Senate, my one
guiding principle on every security decision I`ve made and every vote I
cast was always this, simply this. Is our policy worthy of our troops and
their families and the sacrifices that we asked them to make?
I saw it from the bottom. I saw what happens. I saw the consequences
and the suffering and the horror of war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Hagel seen the suffering, the horror of war up close.
President Obama wants him to help lead our country out of war and into
peace. And today, conservatives attacked him for it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: Senator Hagel`s record is deeply
troubling and out of the mainstream.
SEN. DEB FISCHER (R), NEBRASKA: You continue to hold, I believe,
extreme views far to the left of even this administration.
SEN. DAVID VITTER (R), LOUISIANA: My single biggest concern, senator,
about the nomination, is the traumatic flip-flops.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Our concerns pertain to the quality of
your professional judgment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Far to the left? Out of the mainstream? These Republicans
are clueless. This fight is really about the president`s vision for
America. It`s about whether we should look before leaping into war. It`s
about focusing more on books than on bombs. That`s what America wants.
That`s what they voted for. And the president is making it happen.
Joining me now is former Democratic congressman Patrick Murphy. He
was the first Iraq war vet elected to Congress and John Soltz, an Iraq war
veteran and chairman of votevets.org.
Let me start with you, congressman. Why are these senators today
really arguing about President Bush and President Obama on foreign policy?
PATRICK MURPHY (D), FORMER PENNSYLVANIA REPRESENTATIVE: They were,
Rev. And it was like neocon 101. They were re-litigating the Iraq war.
The Iraq war that had nothing to do with 9/11. The Iraq war that diverted
our attention from bringing bin Laden to justice and the Iraq war that
cause over 4,000 American troops their lives and just about $3 trillion. I
mean, it`s time to start nation-building at home.
And I will tell you that, you know, Chuck Hagel - you know, today
should have been a historic day because he`s the first enlisted man ever to
become sec def, Secretary of defense. And instead, it was put him on a
Now let me tell you something, too, they`re trying to make him look
weak about the Iraq war because it is not the right war. But look at what
happened in 1999. Chuck Hagel always puts his country first. Muslims were
getting murdered. It was the worst ethnic cleansing in Europe since
Germany since they kill Nazis. And then President Clinton, then the
commander in chief said we`re going to send our men and women into Kosovo
MURPHY: It was Chuck Hagel that said I`m supporting the president to
send our troops, an enough troops to get the job done. He`s one of only
two Republicans to do that. The man wears his heart on his sleeve for his
country. They try to dishonor him. But he, you know, listen, he`s been
through a lot worse in his life than given a hard time.
SHARPTON: Well John, the thing that amazed me about the exchanges
today is they were attacking Hagel as if there were weapons of mass
destruction there and he was wrong about his conclusions on the war. I
could see if they said he was wrong and he was proven to be wrong. He was
proven to be right. So, how do you attack someone that got it right and
you got it wrong?
JON SOLTZ, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: Well, senator Graham and senator McCain,
when you`re in the hearing, the way I was today, I mean, they have this
personal issue with Chuck Hagel. And the truth is that Chuck Hagel was a
Republican who opposed the Iraq war and that`s make him difference from
every other Democrat. That`s why our members love Chuck Hagel. It`s why
8,000 (INAUDIBLE) members have signed the petition for him, veterans and
all military families. That is why 6,000 of them sent 13,000 e-mails to
the Senate yesterday.
But, it is why republicans hate them. You know, him and John McCain
used to have a very close relationship. He endorsed John McCain as fellow
veterans in 2000. In 2008, you know, obviously, Chuck Hagel had taken
stances. In 2006, him and senator McCain went back and forth on the
search. Senator Hagel did not support during his presidency. Guess what,
John Kerry, he breezed through confirmation series. He had many of the
similar votes that they attacked senator on today`s in the search.
SHARPTON: But he wasn`t a Republican that broke records. See,
congressman, the way he was dealt with by senator McCain, let me show you
the questioning of senator Hagel, repeatedly today about why he opposed the
troop surge in 2007 that Jon was just referring to. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: Let me ask you a question, senator Hagel. The question is,
were you right or wrong? That`s a pretty straight forth question. I would
like to answer whether you were right or wrong and then you`re free to
HAGEL: I`m not going to give you a yes or no. It`s far more
complicated than that. Our war in Iraq, I think, was the most
fundamentally bad, dangerous decision since Vietnam. In the surge case in
Iraq, we lost almost 1200 dead Americans during that surge. And thousands
of wounded. Now, was it required? Was it necessary? I`m not sure. I`m
not that certain that it was required:
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, McCain just seems not to be able to get over him.
I mean, what is he talking and badgering him about? Clearly, the war was
wrong. Clearly, Mr. Hagel, even though he was Republican, put the republic
over the Republican party.
MURPHY: That`s right. And the American people have spoken only this
in 2006 and 2008 and 2012. And, you know, my issue is, is that you know,
there are some folks that are criticizing Chuck Hagel and about not being
strong with Israel.
Well, look at this strategically, Rev. Israel`s number one threat is
Iran. Iran`s number one threat and the counter balance to Iran used to be
Iraq. But because we invaded Iraq, now they`re buddies. Iran and Iraq are
buddies and they`re joining forces here. That was the strategic failure
that they refused to admit, these neocons. Day after day after day, they
think the American people are sleeping on this. But they`re not. And
that`s why Chuck Hagel is going to get through and I think he`s going to be
great sec def.
SHARPTON: But, let me raise another thing.
Jon, in "the Huffington Post" today, you write about the hearings and
you say you raise another dimension to this. You say I`m reading from the
This vote I believe is a referendum on neocon policy, not on Chuck
Hagel. Chuck Hagel, being confirmed would put a nail in the coffin of
neocon military policy and that drives senators on the right insane. Most
of them are neoconservative and therefore will vote against Hagel as a
means to preserve their own influence and the influence of other neocons
over or military.
This a bigger picture fight you are saying. Hagel is merely a symbol
of the end of the neocon era over dominating foreign policy.
SOLTZ: It is the end of interventionism in a sense that you`re going
to see people like me with hundreds of thousands of troops during multiple
deployments in far corners of the world because Chuck Hagel understands
that`s not, you know, a sustainable policy for our country, both from a
budget standpoint and a forced projection standpoint.
And I think that`s super important. You know, when I had to debate
the Afghanistan troop increase, something that I opposed, one of the last
people I went to see, I want to originally want to see Chuck Hagel and we
had been allies on the anti-surge in Iraq in 2007. And he just said to me,
be careful. You know, you could put thousands of troops in Afghanistan,
but what`s the real instinct? What is actually doable?
And you know, the fact that Chuck Hagel is a Republican. He is not a
neocon. I got to be honest and I`m sure Patrick can tell you this. There
is a lot of Democrats in town. I think they can just execute
neoconservative policy better than Republicans. And this is the end of
neoconservative policy. And this is a real referendum on Iraq. And
senator McCain has this sort of part of this personality where he has to be
right. And so does senator Graham --
SHARPTON: Let me say this, Jon. Let me show you, congressman, what
John McCain said, Mr. John "has to be right" McCain said in 2003 about the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I believe that (INAUDIBLE) presents clear and present danger
to the United States of America with his continued pursuit to acquire
weapons of mass destruction and there`s very little doubt that he would use
These weapons of mass destruction were a clear and present danger to
the United States of America. That`s why we`re attacking Iraq.
We are not going to give in to house to house fighting in Baghdad.
We`re going to find out massive evidence of weapons of mass destruction and
we`re going to find the incredible brutalities that this dictator has
inflicted upon the Iraqi people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We are going to find weapons of mass destruction. We`re
going to find weapons of mass destruction. Now, I don`t doubt he may have
believed it then, but it ended up wrong. So now how do you, on this side
of knowing that there were no weapons there, sit up there today and begin
badgering a man who happened to be right even though he was a member of
your party, congressman?
MURPHY: Right. And you know, most Americans say I want people to go
to Washington where there were Democrat and Republican and put the country
first. That`s what Chuck Hagel did. And because he did that, now he`s
getting attacked by his own. It`s like a Republican, Republican crime
right now. And it`s wrong. Because he did. He followed to convictions in
his heart and his mind to do what`s right for the country. And they`re
trying to make him pay the price now. And I don`t think -- I think the
Senate is going to do the right thing. And again, like I said, I think
Chuck Hagel is going to be an inspiration. Because you know, why, first
enlisted member ever to be sec def. There`s about 2.5 million troops in
the U.S. military right now who say man, one of our own is leading this
from the front.
SHARPTON: That`s who you want as secretary of defense and one who
does not abuse military power.
Former congressman Patrick Murphy and Jon Soltz, thank you both for
your time tonight.
SOLTZ: Thank you.
MURPHY: See you, Soltz.
SHARPTON: Coming up, a tragedy touching the nation. A 15-year-old
honor student killed in a Chicago park. This is America`s gun crisis. Her
mother joins us next.
Plus, President Obama is charging ahead with his second term agenda.
We`ll tell you why his team growing more and more confident. How about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Gorbachev,
tear down this wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Absolutely no. It`s his old house. The right is going
crazy. It has a new conspiracy theory. That story is coming up. It`s a
big show ahead. Come on back.
SHARPTON: We`re getting an overwhelming response to a tragedy that
touched the nation. The shooting death of Hadiya Pendleton, the bright
young teenager who was shot and killed two days ago, just days after
performing at President Obama`s inauguration festivities. Our facebook
communities shared their grief with us.
Shareese says, so heartbroken about this. When will it end?
John says there are no words just tears.
Doreen says, this is got to stop. My prayers to her family.
Coming up, we`re going to talk to her mother and try to figure out how
we fix senseless violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HADIYA PENDLETON, 15-YEAR-OLD: Hi, my name is Hadiya. This
commercial is information for you and your future children. So many
children are out there in gangs and it is your job as students to say no to
gangs and yes to a great future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Say yes to a great future. That was an anti-gang video
featuring young Hadiya Pendleton. The 15-year-old honor student was shot
and killed on Tuesday. An innocent victim of gun violence in Chicago. The
high school sophomore was murdered just a week after participating with her
band mates in festivities for President Obama`s inauguration. She just
finished her final exams and she was taking shelter from the rain in a park
near her school in the middle of the day when a gunman opened fire. Hadiya
was shot in the back and died. It`s a tragedy that has touched a nation.
A tragedy that has moved people from Chicago to the White House to the
halls of Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president and the first
lady`s thoughts and prayer are with the family of Hadiya Pendleton. All of
our thoughts and prayers are with her family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a matter of days after the happiest day of
her life, she`s gone.
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO: You look at her. You look at how
shed about her future. She took her final exams. She had dreams.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This has to stop. We have to end the epidemic of gun
violence in this country. We have to do it for our children. We have to
do it for all the parents who are grieving because they`ve lost their
babies. We have to do it for Hadiya Pendleton and the future she lost.
With all of her pain, her mother found the strength to come tonight to
share with us Hadiya`s story, the type of child she was.
In her deep mourning, she came to show this nation the kind of child
she was. I want to welcome to the show, Cleo Cowley.
Ms. Cowley, firs, I just want to again say to you how sorry I am for
CLEO COWLEY, HADIYA PENDLETON`S MOTHER: Thank you, thank you.
SHARPTON: Tell us the kind of child Hadiya was so the nation will
know from her mother the type of child she was.
COWLEY: She was amazing. She had a heart the size of -- she just had
a major heart. She had a huge heart. She was quirky. She loved to laugh.
She loved her brother. Family was everything for her. She was an avid
reader. She very much loved volleyball and being a majorette. It was just
-- she loved life. And she was a true, just a teenager. Just a kid. She
didn`t want to be anything more than what she was. And that was 15.
What I mean by that is --
SHARPTON: Go ahead, please.
COWLEY: She has aspirations for being an adult. But, you know, she
was just 15 and enjoying it. I used to talk to her about these years being
some of the best years of your life. Get in there and just enjoy them.
You know, you are going to make a difference. She was Hadiya. She was
SHARPTON: It seems she was excited about going to Washington and
being with the band and being a majorette for the president`s inauguration.
COWLEY: Oh, yes. She was so excited. She was ecstatic about going
to Washington and the experience there was amazing for her.
SHARPTON: What did she say when she came home?
COWLEY: When she came home, she said sow my goodness, mother, I had
so much fun. She was, like, mom, I saw the site. She did her performance.
That was amazing. She says, it`s so clean there, mom. She was like I
think I`m going into politics.
COWLEY: And I said you know what, baby, that`s just the reason why
I`m exposing you to different things. You know, I said because you need to
be aware that there is more than just this. You need to, you know, make
yourself available to the other opportunities out there, you know. She was
interested in studying abroad and, you know, I had her slated to go to
London, Paris and Dublin in March. And she, you know, won`t get there.
SHARPTON: And the reason why I was so happy you had the strength to
come, and I know it`s a heartbreaking experience, we`re not talking about
someone that did anything wrong. Not a gang member. She did ads against
gangs. This was a wholesome American girl and then all of the sudden,
after all of that joy, you get the call and find out she`s gone for no
COWLEY: I got the call at work.
SHARPTON: You were at work?
COWLEY: At work. I was at work. I was add work. And her friend,
who was there with her, called me to let me know what was going on. And I
left (INAUDIBLE). I hopped the first cab that come across. Never in a
million years did I ever dream I`d be getting a call that my baby would be
shot. She didn`t even like violence. She wasn`t a violent type. She
SHARPTON: Ms. Cowley, I want you to know the nation is praying for
you. And I thank you for coming. And I thank you for sharing with us.
And, believe me, we`re going to stand up in Hadiya`s name and try to make a
God bless you and your family. I admire your courage and your
COWLEY: Thank you, thank you so much.
SHARPTON: Thank you so much.
COWLEY: I want there to be an awareness. Thank you. Thank you.
SHARPTON: We promise. We`re going to keep it out front and the
awareness. Thank you. And we`ll see to it that you get home safely.
COWLEY: Thank you.
SHARPTON: I hope that you`re watching this witness the pain of
parents in Newtown or the pain you just saw, somehow they mustered the
strength to come and say to the country, this is my baby, fighting tears,
fighting pain. This is not about right wing or left wing. This is not
about Republican or Democrat. This is about our children. Have we become
so insensitive until we step over the bodies of babies to argue about
things that should be something that unites a country? And that is making
sure that we don`t put our children in harm`s way.
This lady, two days later, said I want to come and make awareness.
She found the strength. She mustered the courage. I hope we can mustered
the courage to stop this madness and get these guns off the street and
restore dignity to the streets and neighborhoods of this country. From
Chicago to Newtown, we must have the will to stop this.
We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Nothing in life is certain but death, taxes and Republicans
whining about spending.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, we have worked
all year to reduce our budget deficit and to cut spending.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have got
to reduce the size and role of government. We`ve got to cut spending.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: We`ll continue to work on
finding smarter ways to cut spending.
BOEHNER: Spend less. Bye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: How about that for an exit. They`re obsessed with spending
cuts. They say spend less, grow the economy. But in the last quarter of
2012, government spending, yes, government spending fell 6.6 percent.
Defense spending was down more than 22 percent. And how did that affect
the economy? Last quarter, the GDP, which measures the economy, fell 0.1
percent. And 38,000 more people filed jobless claims last week than the
This is serious. The economy is moving in the right direction. But
we can be the take our eye off the ball. We can`t just cut, cut, cut.
Republicans ignore the real impact cuts have on the economy.
Do they think we wouldn`t point it out? Nice try, but cut it out
because we got you.
SHARPTON: Elections have consequences and we`re seeing President
Obama`s vision for America play out in a big way. Today, growing consensus
of his pick for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is that he will be approved.
A complete dismantling of the Bush walks first policy on immigration.
The President is assuming the upper hand. Officials in the west wing
are convinced the politics of immigration and the issue of immigration have
firmly shifted in their direction. And, now, the President wants action
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I`m hopeful that this can get done and I don`t think that it
should take many, many months. I think this is something that we should be
able to get done certainly this year and I`d like to see if we can get it
done sooner in the first half of the year, if possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And remember that debt ceiling hostage taking? Well, today, Senate
Republicans passed the debt ceiling extension. So you`re seeing a
confident president determined to carry out his second term agenda and it`s
happening right now.
Joining me now is Nia-Malika Henderson and Joan Walsh, thank you both
for coming on the show.
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Thanks, Rev.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good to be here.
SHARPTON: Joan, two weeks into the second term, what do you think he
can get done?
WALSH: Well, you know, I`m semi-optimistic about immigration reform,
Reverend Al, although I`m starting to have a few more doubts. You know, if
Democrats were like Republicans, they would not help the Republicans out
with their demographic problems, and do immigration reform. But the
President is trying, Chuck Schumer has put together this bipartisan group.
But the thing that seems like a big sticking point to me is that even the
supposedly pro-immigration forces in the GOP are saying enforcement first.
And they`re ignoring the fact that this President has been all about
enforcement. I mean, you know it better than I do.
WALSH: There is some civil rights folks who are entirely happy with
some of the deportation policy, border enforcement has gotten a ton of
money and the net inflow of new, illegal immigrants doesn`t exist,
basically. So, the President has already really solved that problem to
great extent not entirely. They`re acting like he`s done nothing.
And so, this clamber for enforcement first ignores the political
reality and makes me wonder whether, you know, people like Marco Rubio are
actually just trying to have it both ways. Talk in a way.
SHARPTON: They`re saying enforcement as if there has not been
enforcement and it`s really distorting the record. But it seems like Nia,
the President is coming up stronger in his issues and his views and his
stances. New York Times, for example, reports.
Quote, "In legislative fights over health care and stimulus spending
in his first term, the President and his team earned scorn from their own
supporters for being too willing to compromise." But immigration advocates
and white house officials says the dynamic is different now, with his re-
election secured and the republican electoral problems obvious, the
President is more likely to stand his ground they say." Nia-Malika?
HENDERSON: That`s right. I think I`m surprised at how quickly this
is happening around immigration reform. Sure, there was that huge defeat
the Republicans face in November. But, still, the fact that we`re at a
point where there was this gang of aid talking about immigration, possibly
something coming out of the house, too, in immigration plan and that
Hannity and Limbaugh and O`Reilly are talking about immigration reform,
polls show that most folks in the GOP, something like 53 percent would like
to see some sort of comprehensive immigration reform, I think ultimately,
it will still come down to the house.
But I think still, in the house, they probably need, you know,
something like 20 or so Republicans to come on board for a plan. I think
the President is confident. He`s got essentially a sixth man. On
inauguration day when he looked out on that massive crowd, that`s a memory
that is I`m sure sticking in his head. Those are the folks who voted for
his plans, for comprehensive immigration reform. And so he`s going to go
out into the country around immigration reform as we saw him already do.
Around gun control. He`s got the momentum. He also seems to be enjoying
the job, as well.
HANNITY: Yes. He seems very solid and very comfortable in the job.
HENDERSON: That`s right.
HANNITY: And his approval, rating, Joan, is soaring. It`s at 60
percent. The highest since 2009. But our folks over at FOX and Friends
just can`t understand why President Obama has such a high favorability.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Unemployment, 7.8 percent, we`ve gotten used to
that high number. And the stock market is going high. And, yet, consumer
confidence is on the downside. But the President`s approval rating is 60
percent. It`s like he`s impervious to numbers.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So, I asked the question last hour, you know,
why do you think the President remains impervious to much of this bad news.
And some people had different thoughts on Twitter and e-mail, some people
said that it`s because, you know, a lot of people are now in situations
where they`re receiving government handouts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Oh, I`m sure everybody that answers their question are all
people getting a government handout. Because they all get up and watch FOX
and Friends in the morning, the handout crowd.
WALSH: They do, absolutely, Reverend Al. There they are again, the
47 percent. You know, I mean, these are the same people that didn`t expect
the President to win. These are the same people that on election night,
they had to be something wrong with the data from Ohio. The American
people are smarter than the folks at FOX. They know that the President
inherited a very, very tough economy and they know the he took steps to
keep us out of the depression and that now we`re climbing. We`re not where
we want to be, but they perceived the improvement in the economy and they
perceived that he convinced them, both in terms of his solutions as well as
he showed them what the republican obstruction was about. So people get
SHARPTON: Now, now, Nia-Malika, adding to the right`s outrage, I want
to read something from National Review, and I want you to listen to this
calmly. It says, I`m quoting them.
"Take away the Spanish surnames and Latino voters look like a great
deal like many other democratic constituencies. Low income households,
headed by single mothers and depended on some form of welfare are not
looking for an excuse to join forces with Paul Ryan and Pat Toomey."
Take away the Spanish surnames, Latino voters look like a great deal
like many other democratic constituencies. Low income households, single
parents, mothers and depended on some form of welfare.
SHARPTON: I don`t know -- I went to public schools, but that sounds
like stereotyping to me.
HENDERSON: It sounds like stereotyping. I mean, this is sort of
around the whole idea of the 47 percent, right? The makers and the takers,
all the things that Romney was talking about. All the things that in some
ways, you hear some Republicans pushing back against. This need that
Republicans are saying that they need to clean up their language and clean
up their rhetoric. Particularly, they`re around immigration. Because that
is something that has hurt them.
But there is some push-back, some Republicans say that this move to do
immigration reform ultimately won`t help Republicans. I think in some
ways, that`s true because Latinos, as well as the other folks in the Obama
coalition, do seem to see a more activist role for the government and
that`s been, I think continuing to be a problem for Republicans.
SHARPTON: But, Joan, when we went and did marches in Arizona when you
lead some of those marches, you have wholesome Latino families, middle
class and some even doing better than middle class, pulled over because
they were automatically a suspect. So this is not about people`s class and
welfare. This is about people`s rights.
WALSH: Yes. But you know, racism is appalling. And the association
of a Latino with low income is ridiculous. But, you know, as Nia-Malika
says, they`re right in the sense not about the taker part, but they`re
right in the sense that it`s not just about immigration or respect Reverend
Al, it`s also that the Latino, the emerging Latino population, supports
democratic positions on a greater role for government, a greater fairness
in government, they`re socially liberal after years of saying, oh, they`re
Latinos are the most pro-choice segment of the electoral, young
Latinos. So the Democrats have won this debate on social terms and on
economic terms, not because they`re takers or dependents or any of that
other racial stereotyping language.
SHARPTON: Well, I mean, Nia-Malika, you can`t hold people in a
contemptible kind of stereotype and then wonder why they`re not embracing
you. You just called me every class name you could think of and talked
about my family and then say, why don`t you come onto me and help me become
president. I mean, that`s a little crazy.
HENDERSON: That`s right. I mean, Ronald Reagan used to always say
that Latinos are Republicans, they just don`t know it yet. And that seems
to be still the case. So, they don`t know that the Republicans, they
obviously are voting democratic. We saw that in the last election and I
think Republicans have a lot of work to do in terms of changing the tone.
And as you said, stereotyping Latinos as if A, all Latinos are illegal
immigrants and all Latinos are poor or are in menial jobs. So, there, you
know, they obviously have Marco Rubio in a position where he`s going out
selling this to folks like Rush Limbaugh, but I think there also needs to
be some sort of an outreach in terms of Latinos and in cleaning up the
SHARPTON: Nia-Malika Henderson and Joan Walsh, I have to leave it
there. Thank you both for your time this evening.
WALSH: Thank you.
HENDERSON: Thanks Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Ahead, the new righty outrage. It involves President
Obama`s library and Ronald Reagan`s childhood home.
And honoring one of my heroes on his birthday, Jackie Robinson. Why
his incredible courage will never be forgotten.
SHARPTON: Up next, the GOP is up in a tizzy yet again. This time,
about President Obama and Reagan`s childhood home. You`ll want to hear
this one. That`s next.
SHARPTON: The right wingers are all worked up again. They have a new
conspiracy theory about this house. It`s President Ronald Reagan`s
childhood home in Chicago. And a conservative media says, it`s getting
demolished for a parking lot in President Obama`s library. Quote,
"Reagan`s childhood home to be bulldozed. Reagan`s home could become a
parking lot for Obama`s library." Wow, this must be some kind of liberal
plot to destroy Reagan`s legacy.
But here`s a big surprise. It`s not true. But here`s the real reason
for the freak out. The President is bulldozing Reagan`s policies. He`s
taking a sledge hammer to Reaganism. And they can`t handle it.
Let me bring in Toure and Patricia Murphy. Thank you both for joining
me. Toure, it seems the right is very sensitive about the President ending
Reaganism, want do you think?
TOURE, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": The right is very sensitive about
a lot of things these days, don`t you think? But I mean, you know, it`s
interesting that they`re so protective of this Reagan legacy because as we
know, Ronald Reagan couldn`t get through a GOP primary today. And he
raised taxes seven out of eight years, he was for amnesty for undocumented
workers, he raised the debt ceiling.
SHARPTON: He didn`t want certain weapons. He was against the use of
certain weapons that they`re now saying people need because they may run
out of bullets.
TOURE: Exactly. So if they don`t love Reagan, if Reagan couldn`t
get through a GOP primary, if Reagan is to the left of the modern GOP, then
why don`t you let us have him? Obama seems to wants to show love on him,
you know, respect him. So let us have him.
SHARPTON: But, Patricia, even though Reagan is to the left, they`ve
made him their symbol, like their political icon as Reaganism that really,
his policies have come to an end under President Obama. Let me give you an
example of three inaugural addresses to show you the difference. July
17th, 1980, President Reagan, then `81, President Reagan and then President
Obama. And if you listen to these statements, you`ll know the difference
in policy and visions of government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. PRES. RONALD REAGAN, UNITED STATES: Government is never more
dangerous than when our desire to have it help us blinds our great power to
In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem.
Government is the problem.
OBAMA: The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and
Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, in many ways, they recognize that what Reagan was
preaching about government is the problem, get government out, has now been
totally turned around by the age of President Obama. Patricia?
PATRICIA MURPHY, CITIZEN JANE POLITICS: Well, yes, I agree with that,
actually. And I agree, also, with Toure. I mean, Reagan -- even Reagan,
as Republicans paint him today, but Reagan was very clear. He did not want
to see government solutions to people`s problems. He wanted to shrink the
size of government even though in some cases, he increased the size of
His governing philosophy was to shrink the government, was to starve
it, was to get it out of people`s lives and that was very attractive to
conservatives then and extremely attractive to conservatives today. But
anybody who listened to President Obama`s second inaugural speech that we
just heard really was the exact opposite of that governing philosophy.
SHARPTON: And I think that`s what`s bothering them.
MURPHY: Yes, well, I was just going to say, it`s not that he thinks -
- I think it`s absolutely what`s bothering them. It`s not that Obama
thinks that government is the solution to every problem, but it is that he
believes government can be a piece of the solution to many problems. And
that is something that has conservatives so exercised to the point that I
think they buy into something that it seems like such a perfect metaphor
that Obama would raise Reagan`s childhood home just as his raising his
legacy. Neither one is really the case, but do they have radically
different governing philosophies and that`s what have conservatives so up
SHARPTON: But I think that part of it is just as they distorted
Reagan, Toure, I think they distorted President Obama because he`s not
saying government solves all the problems. He`s not going to what is
typically the liberal orthodoxy. But he has said government has a role in
certain things ought to be guaranteed. So I think they really have both of
them wrong, even though I think the vision of government under President
Obama is antithetical to the vision that was supported by Mr. Reagan.
TOURE: I look at the modern GOP as Clint Eastwood and yelling at an
empty chair and saying these are all of the things that Obama is doing
wrong. But you`re talking to an imagined Obama. And there are actual,
reasonable critiques that they could level at the President and perhaps,
he`s won some votes in 2012. But they didn`t do that.
They attacked an imagined Obama. Had they attacked the real Obama,
then they might get somewhere. But they`re not willing to do that, let me
say one more thing about Reagan. Can you imagine if Obama funneled arms to
Iran? What would the right do?
SHARPTON: Probably start the impeachment.
TOURE: Probably start impeachment. But that`s what Reagan did.
SHARPTON: Now, Patricia, the fact is that what the President Obama
has done has really gained the support of the American public, which is
also a part of the problem the right has with him. Fifty three percent of
people polled support same-sex marriage. Sixty two percent support a path
to citizenship for immigrants. Eighty percent say climate change is a
serious threat. Fifty eight percent want further gun safety legislation.
So it`s not only the president`s doctrine, it`s the popularity of his
doctrine that is driving them crazy.
MURPHY: I think that`s -- I think that is true, but I think if you
look at who is in the GOP now, particular the House republican caucus,
they have so specifically redrawn their own districts that there is almost
nobody who disagrees with them in their districts. But you broaden that
out to somebody maybe on the other side of their district, and certainly,
the American public, they`ve put themselves in a situation where they agree
among each other, but they don`t agree with the American people and the
American people don`t agree with them.
I think until they can speak more critically to themselves and listen
to the American people and hear some criticism of what they have been doing
in the past, they`re just not going to be able to rebuild their majority.
And the house caucus, again, they`re just talking to themselves. Once they
start talking to the American people, they`re going to be in a much better
situation. Obama has been very skilled at that. He knows who the American
people -- he`s got an out there.
He converses with them. He`s on social media. He knows who they are
and what they`re sayings. And I think that`s what the Republicans have
done. They`re so eliminated any discussion among themselves, that they can
no longer have a conversation with the American people.
TOURE: I think that`s totally right what she said. And the other
thing I would add to that is we`re a center left nation. We keep hearing
this madness about a center right nation. We are not. All the stats that
you just named, plus, most people agree that choice should be available for
women. So, I mean, you add up all of these things, immigration, gun
rights, gay marriage, climate change, and we`re a pro-choice nation and
we`re more Democrats that Republicans in this country and we`ve elected
Democrats have won the popular vote five out of six times. It`s a center
left country, it`s not a center right country.
SHARPTON: Well, we may be. But I`m a conservative. I`m trying to
conservative voting rights act, the civil rights act. I mean, if we could
just conserve what we`ve won in the last 50 years, you know, women`s right
to choose, let`s conserve these things. I`m a conservative, you may be
centered to that.
TOURE: But you know we have much further to go.
SHARPTON: And we`re going to get there, too. Toure and Patricia
Murphy, thanks for your time tonight.
TOURE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: By the way, catch Toure on "THE CYCLE," weekdays are 3 p.m.
Eastern Time here on MSNBC.
Coming up, honoring Jackie Robinson on his birthday. How a legendary
ballplayer became a symbol of the civil rights movement, next.
SHARPTON: Ninety four years ago today, an American hero was born.
Jackie Robinson. On April 15th, 1947, Jack Roosevelt Robinson put on a
Brooklyn Dodgers uniform and stepped on to Ebbets Field breaking the color
barrier in America`s past time. That one baseball game changed our culture
forever. But it wasn`t easy. In 1947, Jim Crow was in full force in the
south. Schools were still segregated and voting rights were not
guaranteed. Many of Robinson`s teammates didn`t want him in a Dodgers
Other players jeered him and even threw baseballs at his head. He was
attacked by fans who spat on him from the stands. His beloved wife, his
family and his home were constantly threatened. But Robinson persevered.
He refused to meet violence with violence. Robinson challenged himself to
disarm his attackers by proving himself on the field. And he did. In
1947, he was voted Rookie of the year. Two years later, he was the
National League`s most valuable player.
Eventually leading the Dodgers to a World Series victory. He was one
of baseball`s most thrilling players. Jackie Robinson changed baseball and
he changed America. He kept his focus in the face of adversity because he
had a higher goal. In studying him, I learned that Branch Ricky, who
decided to courageously break the color barrier, look for a black that had
the temperament and the focus to take all of the jeers, to take all of the
hostility and take all of the hate and still perform and rise above what he
Jackie Robinson showed a change agent but first changed himself. Must
have the temperament, the determination and focus that they can take
whatever it is necessary to take in order to make change happen. Those
that opened doors have to be stronger than those that walk through doors
that have already been opened. Happy birthday, Jackie Robinson.
Thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right
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