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PoliticsNation, Friday, February 8th, 2013

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POLITICS NATION
February 8, 2013

Guests: Wayne Slater, E.J. Dionne, Angela Rye

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris, and thanks to you
for watching on this snow wee evening in the northeast. My voice is gone,
but I`m going to power through it.

Tonight`s lead, change on guns. Today, we learned that the brother of
Victoria Soto, the Sandy Hook teacher who died a hero trying to protect her
students will be a guest of the president for the state of the union. It`s
part of a growing movement of lawmakers inviting victims of gun violence to
the speech putting the issue front and center before the American public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I received a letter from
Newtown Elementary -- from Sandy point elementary school. And she and her
mother will be coming as my guest on Tuesday.

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: My guest is a woman by the name
of Carol Pryce who lost her son to gun violence, many years ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And tomorrow, Michelle Obama will attend the funeral of
Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old honor student who was shot and killed
last month in Chicago. Change is hatching. It`s real. Today, former
president Clinton urged Democrats to act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s important
to take some action now that it is possible on the issue of gun violence.

I see this whole gun issue as an opportunity, not a toxic land mine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And now, in the Senate, two Democrats and two Republicans
are joining forces nearing a deal on background checks that could be the
blueprint for a new law. Next Tuesday, all eyes will be on the president
in his state of the union. But our hearts will be with those victims of
gun violence in the hall and around the country.

Joining me now, MSNBC`s Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry.

Melissa, you ever have a voice problem?

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR, MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY SHOW: Not
only that, I did two hours. I see you and I are both control freaks and
will not give up the show even if we can`t talk. We bring our power to it.

SHARPTON: My preacher voice is on.

Melissa, you know, some people thought this gun issue would go away.
But, instead, it`s like getting a new kind of momentum.

HARRIS-PERRY: You know, I think that`s both the sad and the glad
about this story. Part of the reason that it keeps getting new momentum is
because there are more horrifying stories. I mean, in a certain way, the
tragic death of Hadiya Pendleton there in Chicago was came at the crucial
moment in the news cycle. I mean, it is appalling to say it that way, and
there were deaths all along. But her innocence, her connection to the
inauguration having just been there and the fact that she was in a anti-
gang public service announcement, all of those things --

SHARPTON: Honor student.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. Make her, again, the kind of victim that will
turn our attention to what it means to have the guns in our communities
that we currently have.

SHARPTON: You know, Chris, I have Cleo Cowley who is the mother of
Hadiya on the show. I think it`s the only TV show that she did. Watch
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLEO COWLEY, MOTHER OF HADIYA PENDLETON: She had asked for it being
an adult. But, you know, she was just 15 and enjoying is because I used to
talk to her about being some of the best years of your life. Get in there
and just enjoy them, you know. You`re going to make a difference. She was
Hadiya. She was just special. And I want there to be an awareness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She wanted it to be an awareness. And, now, the first lady
coming to the funeral tomorrow will fulfill that.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, UP WITH CHRIS HAYES: Yes, I think what
Melissa said is absolutely true. I mean, I think that what`s fascinating
to me is that this is something that quietly happens, and it doesn`t
quietly happen to the people it happens to, but from the perspective of the
national news cycle, it quietly happens day after day, week after week,
month after month and year after year.

SHARPTON: Well, it was over 500 in Chicago, there was almost a media
blackout.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes.

HAYES: And there was nothing on it and I think Newtown, it was
Newtown on top of Gabby Giffords, who was on top of Aurora that kind of
broke something in the American spirit. I mean, there was something about
it and the moment of it, it was so horrific. And then since then, it has
now attuned us to what is happening day after day. And what I think is
fascinating about this is even the national review this week, conservative
magazine, their cover story is about gun violence in Chicago.

Now, they are making an argument totally different than the argument
the president is going to make, but the point is they are looking at it.
And that, to me, is the big change is that we are talking about it,
thinking about it and every headline that crosses the wires, it used to be
buried, about someone dying from gun violence is now front and center.

SHARPTON: But there are still deaths in Chicago, Melissa, even since
Hadiya.

HARRIS-PERRY: And there will continue to be. And look. And there
are deaths that are in part related quite clearly to policy. So this is,
in part, to Chris` point about now we have the media attention and once the
attention comes, then you`re going to get the so called both sides of the
story, different natures of blame. But the fact is, Indiana and the
availability of guns in Indiana, Mississippi, and the availability of guns
in Mississippi.

SHARPTON: Well, 200 miles outside of Chicago.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. It is just crossing that border, picking
up the guns legally, driving back into the city of Chicago. These are real
policies that are taking the lives of our children.

SHARPTON: The Obama family has taken this very personally, the first
lady going tomorrow. The president tear-up after Newtown. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The majority of those
who died today were children. Beautiful little kids between the ages of
five and 10 years old.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: When you look at how they`re in this, can they translate
this to law?

HAYES: Well, I think they can translate it to law. I don`t think
they`re going to get everything that was in the package the president
presented. But I think a few things that have happened are key. One, the
kind of bipartisan work that is happening right now that center on the
background checks.

The background check loop hole to the extent that it has a
justification is essentially an impossible justification to give to your
average voter, right? I mean, if the idea is we should have a background
check for guns and we have that in policy but then, there`s a certain carve
out, people who get around it, it`s really hard to make the case that this
carve out should exist, right? So, that`s what at their weakest,
rhetorically.

HARRIS-PERRY: And it is not just a little bit of a carve out, right?
This is, in fact, where most of the guns are being sold, right? And
particularly the kinds of guns that we`re looking at here. I mean, folks
are, in fact, buying them at these gun shows. That`s simply the easiest,
most straight forward place and for law-abiding citizens, also.

HAYES: And I think the other part of this is that the NRA`s power had
-- the NRA was caught in this kind of virtuous circle for itself, in which
its projection of power equaled real power. And the real power fed the
perception of its power. And now that`s been punctured, it really has,
people are now going against the NRA and they wake up in the morning and
there`s still members of Congress and they go back to their district and
it`s not the onslaught they thought. And I think that is a huge change in
the politics of the issue.

SHARPTON: Do you -- when you look at the president as proposed,
universal background checks, high capacity magazine limits, assault weapons
ban, strengthen penalties for gun trafficking, how much of that is
realistically possible?

HARRIS-PERRY: I think at this moment, we`ve seen real bipartisan
support for background checks. And I think we`ve seen probably some
support around assault weapons ban that we might likely get.

I`ve got to tell you, I think on the high magazines, the high-capacity
magazines, that to me, strikes me the most challenging in part because of
Chris` point not because of the common sense policy nature of it, but
because there`s a lot of income to be earned by some fairly powerful groups
around those high-capacity magazines.

HAYES: Yes. Well, in mass shooting, for most damaging. I mean, I
also think, to give - just strike one note of some dissent. I do think we
should be - we should subject any expansion of federal criminal law to a
pretty tight degree of investigation because expansions of crimes being
made federal have had the effect over the last 10 or 20 years of falling
most heavily among people of color, among people without resources and I do
worry about what the cost and benefits of increasing criminal penalties in
this area are.

SHARPTON: Yet, the head of the NRA, David Keene, he said in an
interview today on Pete, Keene, predicted failure on all congressional
measures related to guns, including expanded background checks. He said
we`re not getting anything.

HARRIS-PERRY: That is not accurate because at this point, the
American people, even in conservative districts, even in districts that are
strong second amendment supporting districts have an expectation for
Congress to do something.

HAYES: Yes.

HARRIS-PERRY: Now, the part of the challenge that Chris is pointing
out here is that, sometimes when we get excited about doing something, the
something that we do ends up encroaching on the very people we`re trying to
protect the most, we saw this post-9/11. So, I think we have to be very
careful. But, he`s wrong that nothing will happen because right now, it`s
too expensive as a matter of electoral reality for the congressmen to do
nothing.

HAYES: And the NRA could have taken the approach the financial
industry with Dodd-Frank which was, of course, we support reform. And
then, behind closed doors, they tried to gut it. Instead, they went out
publicly against it. And the problem with that is they have now set
themselves to further establish in people`s mind that they are paper tiger
and they are not the force that people thought they were by coming out so
publicly.

SHARPTON: What about moderate, southern Democrats?

HARRIS-PERRY: Who`s that? Mary Landrieu? There`s like one.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: I mean, there are many that, on a state level, that come
from states that they can`t be too progressive.

HARRIS-PERRY: I think that`s right. But, again, I think there`s
enough support. So, take Mary Landrieu, for example, coming out of
Louisiana. She, undoubtedly, a blue dog Democrat. She`s in a conservative
state and she`s got to be returned by coalition. That`s right. But the
thing is, in New Orleans, gun violence is so bad.

HAYES: Yes --

HARRIS-PERRY: That the people of New Orleans who are her base, right?
So, she`s got to build a broader coalition. But her base in the city of
New Orleans is a base that is going to require her to vote for something
around gun control. She can`t sort of walk out of there and say oh, no,
I`m only interested in my world, you know, part of my constituency. She`s
going to have to do something.

SHARPTON: The politics of it will be who is going to go after who in
the midterm elections. Does the NRA have enough juice left to really
threaten people in your opinion, Chris?

HAYES: Well, they do have -- yes. Do they have juice to threaten
people? Absolutely. I mean, we had a freshman member of Congress from
around Duluth, Minnesota, who talked about, you know, Wayne Lapierre in his
district in hundreds of thousands of dollars coming in, not all necessary
from the NRA, but around the gun issue. And so, yes, can they threaten
numbers of congress. But, again, there`s a gap between perception and
reality here, right. And I think -- yes, they can make life difficult for
members of commerce. Absolutely no question.

SHARPTON: Well, it means we will have to make life difficult from the
other side.

Chris and Melissa, thanks for your time tonight. Have a great weekend
with all of this snow in the northeast.

But you can catch "Up with Chris" Saturday morning and Sunday mornings
at 8:00 a.m. followed by "Melissa Harris-Perry" at 10:00 a.m.

Big Friday show on a snowy night ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN: You know, in
New York city, right now, it`s fashion week. Are you aware that it`s
fashion week? Are you?

I was stunned because of fashion week, Republican Party, did you
realize this? Republicans have their own line of clothing. Who knew that?
Did you know that? I didn`t. The problem is, it keeps coming apart at the
seams.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The GOP coming apart at the seams, all right. But there is
one thing that`s uniting them all. They`re all turning on Karl Rove.

Moderate Republican Jon Huntsman says I think rove is a kind of
yesterday`s ball game.

Today, Donald trump continued his twitter war calling Rove
incompetent.

And one tea party is launching their own rival super PAC to oppose
Rove.

I guess the architect doesn`t like seeing his house of cards collapse
because suddenly, he`s playing nice with the tea party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, AMERICAN CONSULTANT AND POLICY ADVISOR: We`ve spent over
$30 million on behalf of tea party Senate candidates and over $25 million
for tea party house candidates. It`s 2.9 from Rubio, 2.7 from Rand Paul --

BILL O`REILLY, ANCHOR, THE O`REILLY FACTOR: I believe you. Any time
you hold up your little sheet --

ROVE: Look, we gave more money, spent more money on behalf of these
tar party candidates than any group in America, any group.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Rove will have trouble dancing his way out of this one.
And, as we`ve seen, his moves leaves a lot to be desired.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me, what is your name?

ROVE: It`s a Rove

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out. He`s shooting quail look at him. He
will never stop. Look at him jumping up and down and ready to hop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Wayne Slater and he`s co-author of
"Bush`s brain, how Karl Rove made George W. Bush presidential."

Wayne, have Republicans stopped being afraid of Karl Rove?

WAYNE SLATER, CO-AUTHOR, BUSH`S BRAIN: Boy, you see some indication
of that with various tea party elements with Christian conservatives and
others who I think have realize after about the decade and a half of in
afraid to say very much about him because he was the king of the money with
all of the power and for eight years and president of the White House, I
think they`ve seen some of the limits of Karl. So you begin to see this
kind of criticism.

But I really, when you see people like Jon Huntsman and Christian
conservatives and tea party activists and columnists and so forth on the
far right who think they`ve been used by Karl over the years and have
gotten belittled as a result of it now criticizing it, I think they do so
at their own peril. Karl has been down before in 2006 after the 2004 re-
election of George Bush. It was a disaster of the Democratic Party, he
came back. If Karl can hold on to the billionaires and millionaires and
billionaires, at least some of them, who will bank rolled him for almost
two decades beginning here in Texas, then he`s not finished.

SHARPTON: Well, Mark Lever, the radio host, he says Karl Rove`s group
will only energize the far right base even more. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK LEVEL, RADIO HOST: I think Karl Rove`s name, I think his
organization are poison in conservative and Republican circles in many
respects. Bring it on, Karl, baby. Bring it on dough boy, bring on your
little white board. We`re ready.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Wow. Wow. What do you think?

SLATER: Yes, I mean, look. That`s a perfect example of a
constituency on the right, in this case, representing really tea party
activists who see Rove-Bush before him, who they fundamentally now see as a
big-spending Republican that many of these conservatives on the far right
of the Republican party don`t like. And they see Rove now as emphasizing
something he always has. And that`s electability over principle, at least
in their mind.

And so they see him begin to lose. And that meltdown on election
night last November in which he showed himself to be not a very good pun
dent and I think for the first time they now see that it`s time we look
behind the curtain in awes and maybe it is in such a big towering figure
after all.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you something that was interesting. His PAC
started an ad campaign against the actress, Ashley Judd. And she hasn`t
even announced yet whether she`s running against Mitch McConnell or not.
And he defended the move last night. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: Poor Ashley Judd. Come on now, you`re making fun of her.
You are saying that she is --

ROVE: Yes. But we`re making fun of her by using her comments. She`s
not going to be able to wait until, you know, the screen writers from
California and the producers can, you know, make her look good and prepare
the ads and give her lots of lines to memorize so that she can handle these
things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Why is he going after Ashley Judd when she hasn`t even
announced?

This is amazing. And it really is. People might want to make fun of
this, but what it really is an indication of, when he tries to make fun of
her, dismiss her, talk about the screen writers, they`re going to write
lines for her, Karl recognizes that Ashley Judd is a potentially
significant figure who if she runs in Kentucky, she could indeed win.
Polls, and it`s kind of early, indicate that she would do well if she would
do well if she runs in Kentucky against McConnell. McConnell is the
perfect kind of establishment candidate that Karl Rove cannot lose and the
establishment win in the party must not lose. And so if I`m Ashley Judd, I
am pleased to see that the great architect, Bush`s brain, the guy who maybe
some people will make fun of for going after Ashley recognizes she`s a real
threat.

SHARPTON: Wow, that seems to me like the mighty have fallen. When
you go from going after President Obama to now having the fight with Ashley
Judd, it`s quite a fall.

Wayne Slater, thanks for coming on the show tonight. Have a great
weekend.

SLATER: You, too.

SHARPTON: Ahead, President Obama`s plan to use that progressive
pulpit in the state of the union. I`m sipping my tea and honey. Stay with
us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Up, a powerful and historic place is slamming the
northeast. Some areas are expecting to get up to 30 inches of snow.
Governors have declared the state of emergency across the region.

Let`s go live to Jim Cantore in Boston.

Jim, what can you tell us tonight?

JIM CANTORE, WEATHER CHANNEL, METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Hey, Al. We
definitely are at the teeth of this thing right now. Snowy coming down at
two to three inches an hour. We have thunder reported with the snow across
Connecticut, across Long Island and Rhode Island as well. And all of that
is moving up right here toward the Boston area where as you can see, it`s
already snowing heavily. We`ve got at least three inches on the ground and
counting.

Let me show you around the whole region today because you mentioned
five states of emergency here. Some 25 million people that will be
impacted by these blizzard warnings here, as the teeth of this thing really
comes in overnight. But, it`s New York, it`s Connecticut, it`s Rhode
Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, all of these states
getting absolutely hammered right now.

The good news is there was a lot of preparation. The bad news is
there were cases where we ran out of gas. We ran out of supplies on the
shelves. Where people wanted to get food and batteries and what not
actually weren`t allowed to do so because basically, a lot of those shelves
were cleared on out. But the deal is the governor`s goal was reached. He
wanted everybody off the roads at noontime today. And such a rare sight to
see the Massachusetts turnpike at 4:00-6:00 p.m. pretty much void of cars.

I mean, this is a rush hour on a Friday night in Boston where the mask
pike is usually packed in both directions. And that was not the case
tonight. Just one or two emergency vehicles is just about all we can find.
And yet, the worst is not over. We`ve got three now and we`re going to
have 25-30 inches in the Boston metropolitan area. But for all that has
been said and done, this one will be one for the history books. It`s has
just written.
Back to you.

SHARPTON: Wow. Jim Cantore, thanks for your time. Be safe.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Time for "Politics Nation" pop quiz. Who`s the last person
who should talk about President Obama`s brand? This guy. RNC chairman
Reince Priebus who is leading the GOP into its darkest days yet. This
happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I think over
time, the Obama brand, over the next four years, the reality of what the
truth is going to be under his signature program, which was Obama care, is
going to go down in flames and people aren`t going to like it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The Obama brand is going down in flames because of Obama
care? Maybe the GOP governor should get on board with your talking points.

Six Republican governors are using the law to get more people insured
through Medicaid. So where are those frames, Mr. Priebus?

And you think we`ll take branding advice from someone who keeps Clint
Eastwood`s empty chair in his office?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRIEBUS: When I realized he was talking to the chair and the
teleprompters were off, I told him, I waived and a couple of folks that
were around me, let`s get that chair.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Take our seat. Did you think we`ll let you pretend
Democrats are the ones who can`t sell their policies? Nice try but we got
you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: What I think about what it
means to be a democrat, in this day and age, I start with the basic
proposition that we are all created equal. That we`re all endowed by our
creator with certain inalienable rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We are all created equal. It`s the driving theme of the
President`s second term. We`ll hear more of that in four days when the
President delivers his State of the Union. It will be a continuation of
the progressive agenda he outlined in his inaugural speech. The speech
will address gun control, immigration reform, education and climate change.

But the key focus is expected to be on the economy and job creation.
And that vision turns right to action. The day after the speech, the
President will go on the road to sell his agenda to trips to Ashville,
North Carolina and Atlanta.

Let`s bring in E.J. Dionne and Angela Rye, thanks for being here
tonight.

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thank you, Rev.

E.J. DIONNE, THE WASHINGTON POST: Feel better, Reverend.

SHARPTON: I will. I will. Let me ask you, E.J., how do you expect
the State of the Union to be different from his other State of the Union
speeches?

DIONNE: Well, I think this would be really different because let`s
think back. In 2009, he was dealing with an economic crisis that was
handed him. In 2010, he was embattled on health care. In 2011, the
Democrats had just been shellacked and he had to kind of dig out from that.

And in 2012, he knew, he needed to win reelection. This is a real
opportunity for an Obama strengthened by an election victory to lay out
where he wants the country to go. And I think -- and when you said in the
intro, when you talked about job creation in the economy, I think it`s
really important that he shift the focus of Washington.

I think the country`s focus has already shifted away from analyst
budget battles and toward the job of putting people back to work and
creating shared economic growth. And I think we`re going to hear something
strong from him about that. Because we just got to get out of these fake,
contrived crises.

SHARPTON: Angela, when you`re doing the State of the Union and you
know you worked The Hill, you`re not only talking to the people there,
you`re talking to millions of Americans. Don`t Americans want to hear
about jobs?

RYE: I think you`re absolutely right, Rev. They not want to only
hear about jobs but they want to hear the President layout a blueprint.
The State of the Union is an opportunity for President Obama to talk about
not only his legacy goals, but what direction America needs to take. So,
when we look at for example the last Congress and the fact that it was the
least productive Congress in history.

This is an opportunity for the American people to say, look, we need
to see movement because we`ve got some pressing issues, we got jobs, we`ve
got immigration reform, we`ve got gun control and we need you all to get on
the same page with the rest of the country because the President clearly
is.

SHARPTON: E.J., at the democratic retreat, former President Bill
Clinton, he said the politics Americans want are in line with this
President`s agenda. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. PRES. BILL CLINTON (D), UNITED STATES: I think the last election
was an election where the America people chose an inclusive rather than a
divided future. Now that you`ve won this race that was a reference of in
large measure on what the American people did not want, we had to create a
future that they do want.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is that what the President can build on in his State of the
Union on Tuesday night?

DIONNE: Well, I think that`s exactly right. What President Clinton
said. Because, you know, it was very clear that Obama created a referendum
asking the country to reject a series of Republican ideas, in particular
that government has no role to play in building our future and that tax
cuts are always, always, always wrong.

I think that the jobs for Democrats and progressives for general and
that`s true, progressives and other countries too, is that middle income
and lower income people have really been stuck in a difficult spiral,
really in some ways, for 30 years. And their task is to say we can move in
a different direction. We can have growth that includes not only the
wealthy people, of the people in the middle and at the bottom of the
economy.

And so, I hope he is not at all shy about doing a little bit of that
old Bill Clinton thing and laying out a bunch of specific programs. All of
those Clinton speeches that were very specific got panned by pundits, but
they were very popular with people because they said here is where I want
to move the country.

SHARPTON: You know, Angela, he also can be specific about what we`re
facing. The sequester. Because if the sequester goes in to effect, if it
goes through 10 percent, FAA would be furloughed, USDA food inspectors
would be furloughed, 25 percent coast guard operations would be cut up to
70,000 kids lose access to head start. Supplemental nutrition programs for
600,000 women and children would be cancelled. I mean, he can talk about
the real impact of those that are trying to not meet him and, in some
common ground, and force us into an unnecessary sequester.

RYE: I think that`s absolutely right as well. When you look at the
pattern, whether it`s the debt ceiling fight, the fiscal cliff, it`s most
definitely been crisis governance and it`s disruptive. And I think at this
point, the President really have to lay out an agenda for how we move
things forward in a way that makes really good common sense. The American
people are clearly on his side on this.

He can definitely win, not only the future, like the theme of the
speech was last time, but, really, he can win with being a really common
sense -- taking a common sense approach to political governance. I think
even though the President is not campaigning, Rev., he`s not on the ballot
this year, he`s certainly is campaigning for votes on the House and the
Senate floor.

And he`s campaigning for the support and the influence of the American
people. He definitely needs them on his side and he has a great
opportunity on Tuesday to lay out a good framework and a blueprint from
moving America forward.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, quickly E.J., a lot of gun violence,
family victims, will be there. Will this be a very awkward problem? An
awkward situation? For your pro-gun right wingers, when the President is
laying out his agenda and you have victim family members sitting there and
the right wing usually sits there without applauding, without responding,
how will they be affected by having victim family members sitting there
watching their reactions.

DIONNE: Well, I sure hope it will be an awkward moment for them. And
then I hope it turns, for at least a few of them, into a conversion moment.
And I think we`ve seen a lot of conversion on this issue. The NRA has gone
out great guns, if I can use that phrase, to try to stop everything,
including universal background checks, which are very popular. They`re
losing that fight.

A lot of people who have a ratings for the NRA are saying, we can vote
for something like this. And so, I think the tide has turned in a
substantial way. There`s still a ways to go. Still going to be hard to
get an assault weapons ban. But I think people who believe in sane gun
laws really are going to win some things this year and I think very soon.

SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to leave it there. E.J. Dionne,
Angela Rye, thanks for your time tonight.

DIONNE: Thank you, Reverend.

RYE: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, growing up Mandela. My interview with the
great man`s granddaughters. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Big news tonight. Senator Rand Paul will give the Tea
Party response to the State of the Union. He follows an illustrious and
distinguished line of speakers tap for that honor. It all started in 2011
with who else? Michelle Bachmann.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The Tea Party is a dynamic
force for good in our national conversation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Hey, congresswoman? Wrong camera. Look over here.

Then came the ever-elegant pizza man. Herman Cain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: With all due respect, Mr.
President, some of us are not stupid. The State of the Union is not good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So here comes Senator Rand Paul. Want could possibly go
wrong?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: There`s Mr. Mandela. Mr. Nelson Mandela a free man taking
his first steps into a new South Africa. His first public appearance in
nearly three decades. Seventy-two-years-old. Walking strongly, step by
step further into freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Twenty three years ago, South African freedom fighter
Nelson Mandela walked out of prison and into the arms of a joyous nation.
He had been jailed for 27-years. For demanding equal rights of black
people of South African. He later became the country`s first black
president. Now, 94 years old, Nelson Mandela has mostly retired from
public life.

The next generation of Mandelas are now in the spotlight. His
granddaughters are about to launch their own TV reality show, being
Mandela. It focuses on the life of South Africa`s most prominent family.
I spoke to them yesterday before I lost my voice.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

Joining me now, Nelson Mandela`s granddaughters Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway
and Swati Manaway. Did I say it right?

SWATI DLAMINI, NELSON MANDELA GRANDDAUGHTER: Swati Dlamini, Zaziwe
Dlamini-Manaway.

SHARPTON: All right. I tell you correct me because I mess up easy
names. So, I`m glad to have you with us tonight.

ZAZIWE DLAMINI-MANAWAY, NELSON MANDELA GRANDDAUGHTER: Thank you.

DLAMINI: Thank you very much for having us.

SHARPTON: Now, first of all, we know you`re coming out with the
reality show that will air Sunday. The Mandelas. And I saw a picture of
your grandfather, Nelson Mandela, with you and then I saw a recent one with
your son who is one-year-old. And the idea was to have the youngest
Mandela with the oldest Mandela.

MANAWAY: Yes, we were coming here, so we`ve decided to take a picture
of the youngest person in the family and the oldest person in the family so
we can show the world that, you know, our grandfather is OK.

SHARPTON: How is he? Because we keep getting reports. We`re very
concerned about him.

MANAWAY: No, he`s very, very well and that`s why we took that picture
to show the world that he`s very well. He`s happy. You, he seemed a lot,
he`s surrounded by the children, his grandchildren, and he`s in really,
really good spirits.

SHARPTON: Now, part of the reality show would be how you`re dealing
with being such an icon`s granddaughters.

DLAMINI: Yes.

SHARPTON: How have you had to deal with that? I mean, I know that
the celebrity is not merely as difficult as it was growing up in the
struggles that you had to go through as Nelson Mandela and --
grandchildren?

DLAMINI: Yes, I mean, you know, there have been a lot of personal
struggles we`ve had to go through growing up under this family name. But I
think, you know, we come from such strong iconic grandparents and families.
So, you know, we`ve learned a lot. You know, it`s put us through a lot.
But we`ve grown into very strong, independent women who are, you know,
carving their own careers, you know, we`re going into business, we`re
entrepreneurs, we showcase that on the show that you`ll see a lot of that
on the show.

But I think, you know, it does come with a lot of responsibility, this
name. So we`re very aware of that. And we`re very mindful of the fact
that, you know, people look at this name with such admiration.

SHARPTON: Right.

DLAMINI: And they put us on this pedestal. So, I know people have
this, you know, you`re doing a reality show, it`s not going to tarnish the
name in anyway. But our grandparents have said to us many times, this name
belongs to you, you guys are the next generation of the Mandela family.
You choose and you decide how you want to take this name forward.

So, you know, as long as you treat it with respect and integrity which
is very important to our grandparents and we feel that, you know, we`ll
guard the name with very much, you know, respect and integrity.

SHARPTON: I saw a clip, I`m going to play on the show. You actually
go to Robins Island where your grandfather was released in 1990, 23-years-
ago this weekend. Let me show this clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: No, I was a baby.

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`m not ready for this.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You`ll be fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, you`re going to the actual cell and building that he
was held at for 27 years. That must have been emotional for you.

MANAWAY: It was extremely emotional for us. We didn`t know what to
expect. We had never been there before. We didn`t want to go for so many
years. It`s a painful history in our lives, personal history in our lives.
So to actually see what my grandfather went through and how he lived was
just mind boggling. I mean, we were in there for about ten minutes. And
just to think that my grandfather spent 18 years of his life in that small,
confined space.

SHARPTON: Eighteen of the 27 years was in that little cell?

MANAWAY: Yes.

SHARPTON: Did he ever talk about it to you? Was that a discussion he
would talk about with his grandchildren about what he went through in jail?

MANAWAY: No, we haven`t had a chance to speak to him and talk to him
about those times in his life because, you know, we didn`t really have him
for long. You know, he came out of jail, he went, he was president of the
country, he formed the foundation. So, we really haven`t had that much
time with him.

Now that he`s older, we get to spend more time with him. When we`re
with him, it`s more about, you know, family history, it`s about how he grew
up. It`s what he wants us to remember, what he wants us to pass down to
our children about him. So, we don`t sit there and talk about his
political life in prison.

SHARPTON: So family is very important to the Mandelas which is why
you say, you have to hold up the name even during a reality show?

DLAMINI: Correct. I mean, you know, and the show is very much a
family show. You get to see many extended family members. Our grandmother
is very much on the show. Our grandfather won`t be directly on the show,
but we`ll make a lot of reference to him because he`s very much, you know,
the patriarch of the family. So, yes, you know, we`re very close knit.
We`re very tight. And, you know, we influence each other in a lot of ways.
And we`ve kind of had to keep him very close because, you know, we are so
public. And sometimes, that can be very difficult to deal with.

SHARPTON: Being public and making it difficult, mean you really only
understand each other and you kind of protect each other.

MANAWAY: We have to. Because, you know, it`s kind of hard, you know.
Most people don`t understand what it`s really like to be part of this
family. You know, people don`t understand that, you know, we have to live
our lives in a certain way, and we don`t really let a lot of people in our
lives because we really can`t trust a lot of people. You don`t know what
people`s motives have. So we are very, very close. You know, it`s
literally just us. And, you know, we`ve just always been that way.

SHARPTON: The emotions you must feel, though, when you hear people
with the praise for your grandfather and then to go and look at that little
cell, it must be emotional to think about how your grandfather, whose blood
is in your body, helped to liberate a whole country and open up new
possibilities, not only for you, but for young people all over the world.
Especially in South Africa.

DLAMINI: Which is one of the reasons why we actually wanted to do --
convince us to do the show. For us it`s very much a showcase of how far
we`ve come 23 years after our grandfather was released from prison and what
he fought for, and what that means and what that look likes -- what`s
Africa looks like.

And the fact that we`re young women and we`re afforded many
opportunities because of what our grandparents fought for. And that, you
know, we come from a very diverse country. And we come from a very rich
history. And there`s so many interesting things that happened in our
country. And we have a beautiful country and we celebrate that. And we
want to showcase that to the world.

SHARPTON: Let me show one more clip of the show so people can get a
sense of what we`re going to see starting Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It`s very, very tough being part of this family
because you`re always judged and you`re always compare to this world icon,
this perfect man. He can be difficult. He is larger than life now.
There`s statues built after him. He`s just been honored to have his face
on the currency of South Africa.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`m very honored that I can say that I come from
this family that has achieved so much and that has given so much. People
look at him and they look at him with this admiration and respect. To the
word, Nelson Mandela, he`s icon, but to us, he`s grandpa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And that is hard to convince people of how that feels, but
to you, he`s grandpa. To us, he`s this icon. And your mother, your mother
visited my National Action Network -- your grandmother, Winnie Mandela came
and spoke at National Action Network. Give her my love and tell her a lot
of people are going to be watching Sunday night to see what the next
generation of Mandelas do. I thank you for coming and talking to us.
We`re honored to have you.

MANAWAY: Thank you so much for having us.

DLAMINI: Thank you so much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHARPTON: And being Mandela premiers Sunday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
On Cosi, TV.

Tomorrow, the First Lady will attend the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton,
the young woman shot dead after attending the President`s inauguration.
It`s time for a change. I`ll talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We end tonight with what`s really at the heart of the gun
debate. The victims of violence. More than 1600 people have been shot and
killed in the 56 days since the Newtown tragedy. Twenty eight of those
deaths were children under the age of 12. Tomorrow, the first lady will be
attending the funeral of 15-year-old Hadiya Penldleton.

Hadiya was shot and killed in Chicago just a week after participating
in the festivities of the President`s inauguration. This fight for gun
safety is not about politics.

It`s about Hadiya and the countless other victims of gun violence in
this country. That`s why we must stand up for our children. We must put
politics aside. We must speak up, we must stand up even if we lose our
voices, we must continue to shout for our children. All the values that
this country should be built around. Nothing is more valuable than our
children.

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.
END

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