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PoliticsNation, Thursday, February 14th, 2013

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POLITICS NATION
February 14, 2013

Guests: Ryan Grim; Nia-Malika Henderson, Kerry Kennedy, Toure, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto


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

Tonight`s lead, breaking news in an unprecedented, shocking move.
Republicans have filibuster a final vote on Chuck Hagel, President Obama`s
pick to head the defense department. Just four Republicans join 54
Democrats to support a vote on the nomination. Now, you must know this is
the first time in American history that a defense secretary nominee has
been filibustered. Forced to clear a 60 vote threshold. The president
himself responded just minutes ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Chuck Hagel, who, by
the way, was a member of the Republican caucus, a colleague of all of these
folks who the Republican leader Mitch McConnell and others consistently
praised when he was still in the Senate, has two purple stars -- two purple
hearts, was an extraordinary soldier, was the head of the U.S.O., served on
the Senate floor relations committee.

He is imminently qualified to be secretary of defense. And the notion
that we would see an unprecedented filibuster, just about unprecedented.
We have never had a secretary of defense filibustered before. There`s
nothing in the constitution that says that somebody should get 60 votes.
The Republican minority in the Senate seemed to think that the rule now is
that you have to have 60 votes for everything.

Well, that`s not the rule. The rule is that you are supposed to have
a majority of the 100 senators vote on most bills. The filibuster
historically has been used selectively for a handful of issues to extend
debate. But we don`t have a 60-vote rule. And, yet, that`s become common
practice. And this is just the latest example.

It`s just unfortunate that this kind of politics intrudes at a time
when I`m still presiding over a war in Afghanistan and I need a secretary
of defense who is coordinating with our allies to make sure that our troops
are getting the kind of strategy and mission that they deserve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Republicans are playing politics with national security.
It`s despicable. It`s offensive. It has nothing to do with Hagel`s
qualifications and everything to do with blocking President Obama.

Joining me now are Nia-Malika Henderson and Ryan Grim.

Ryan, let me go to you. Does the GOP know how to do anything other
than say no? I mean, are they even really a governing party?

RYAN GRIM, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, HUFFINGTON POST: Well, they`re
certainly not a governing party. You have to win national elections to
govern and they haven`t done that. And so, they are not going to be a
governing party until they figure out how to do that, win national
elections.

But, what Mitch McConnell is being very good at here is being an
advocate for filibuster reform. And I was glad to see the president come
out and say that there is no 60 vote threshold written in the constitution
and that most bills, and is definitely you know, secretaries, deserve an up
or down vote.

If Obama had done that during a filibuster debate, then we might not
be having this debate right now. The deal that Harry Reid cut with Mitch
McConnell a couple of weeks ago is now coming back to bite them because
they could have gone for a lot more. They backed off. They shook hands
again and they went with something milder and then boom, two weeks later,
he gets clowned in their filibustering secretary of defense.

SHARPTON: No, and a lot of us wanted to see a lot more.

But Nia-Malika, I want to be real clear that the filibuster has been
around for decades. But its use has exploded in this past few years. In
fact, two of the three sessions of Congress with the worst filibuster abuse
have happened under President Obama. So let me just cut to the chase. Is
the GOP`s obstruction about policy or is it just something personal about
President Obama.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well,
it`s probably a little bit of both. It`s about policy. It`s about this
president whose policies they vehemently disagreed with. Harry Reid had,
of course, had a chance to go for a more full-throated reform of
filibuster. But his reasoning was that when the Democrats are in the
majority -- in the minority and that could happen this next election that
they want to have that same leverage that Republicans have been using with
this filibuster reform to block many of the president`s actions.

But this is a real surprise that Hagel has essentially been
filibustered. It looks like ultimately, he will be confirmed. Republicans
wanted to make a stand around Benghazi and really drag this out. They have
been pretty successful in forcing the president`s hand to release more
information on that.

But, ultimately, I think they are giving away some of their standing.
They`re supposed to be the party of national security, the party of defense
in this way by blocking this very important post. I think they`re doing
some damage --

SHARPTON: Yes, we`re talking about secretary of defense. We`re
talking about who`s going to head the Pentagon.

And let me tell you this, Ryan, tell you how blatantly inconsistent
and unprecedented this is. The Republican leader, the filibuster leader,
minority leader Mitch McConnell, he said in 2005 that presidential nominees
shouldn`t be filibustered. Quote, this is McConnell now, "I think the
president is entitled to an up or down that is a simple majority. Voter
nominations both to his cabinet and to the executive branch and, also, to
the judiciary."

2005 up or down vote, nominees for cabinet and judiciary and executive
branch. Now, he`s leading a filibuster, Ryan.

GRIM: Yes, that`s exactly right. If the Republicans want to pick who
the cabinet secretaries are, then they have to elect a president. You
know, it is very difficult thing to do, but it is also a very simple thing
to do. They didn`t win the presidential election, therefore, they don`t
get to pick the cabinet secretaries. I guess they should be thankful that
he is even picking a Republican to be in is.

But John McCain just said earlier that, you know, this is partly about
Benghazi which happened and felt five months ago. But it`s also about the
simple fact that they don`t like Chuck Hagel. Not that they don`t like his
policies necessary. They said they don`t like him. They say you can --
McCain said you can disagree without being disagreeable but Hagel is
disagreeable. So, this is a personality thing. They just simple don`t
like the guy. And so, they are going to melt the filibuster.

SHARPTON: They don`t like him, Nia-Malika, but he was a Republican
senator. And they`ve smeared him. You would think this guy is somebody
they didn`t know. He was one of their own, a Republican senator. Listen
to the things they have been saying about him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We saw with his nomination, something truly
extraordinary, which is the government of Iran formally and publicly,
praising the nomination of the defense secretary. That is unprecedented to
see a foreign nation like Iran publicly celebrating a nomination.

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: I`d say he`s endorsed by them. But
you can`t get any cozier than this.

CRUZ: We do not know, for example, if he received compensation for
giving paid speeches at extreme or radical groups.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, this is outrageous stuff here. Is this a smear or
is this trying to weaken him so he can`t do his job.

HENDERSON: I think it`s all of the above. In that exchange, you have
cruise a really imputing Hagel`s character. Here is a man who has two
purple hearts for his service in Vietnam. And, in that instance, you did
have McCain stepping forward to say listen, Ted Cruz, you have gone a
little too far in terms of trying to impugn his character.

But, it is deeply personal. You saw that McCain and Hagel used to be
a band of brothers, a two folks who served in Vietnam but there had been a
huge split in terms of their friendship. It was personal. You saw that
Hagel obviously, backed Obama and refused to endorse McCain in 2008. And
so, this is, you know, you have Harry Reid saying this isn`t high school?
Well, yes, it is. And it feels very personal and they feel very petty.

SHARPTON: Hagel came out against the war in Iraq as a Republican
senator and he`s appointed President Obama in 2008. That`s when all of a
sudden he became all of this bad stuff. Before that, they were all peas in
a pod.

Let me ask you this, Ryan, with only moments left, how does the
president deal with this now? Does this change in how he deals with the
Senate, in your judgment?

GRIM: I don`t know. It did seem like, you know, he is getting a
little bit fed up with the filibuster. That is the most aggressive that he
has even been on it. And they are using it in such an irrational way that
maybe he will move on. And I mean, if they really do believe that he is
some Iranian mole who is waging jihad, why didn`t they tell us about this
when he was in the Senate, you know, and so you can root him out at that
point?

But so, maybe - but, it`s too late. The time to change the Senate
rules has passed. Unless they want to do it in the middle of the session
which is pretty radical but not illegal. They certainly could it if they
want it.

SHARPTON: Would it be any more radical and filibuster defense
secretary in the middle of a war in Afghanistan.

Ryan and Nia-Malika, thanks for your time tonight.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

GRIM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the NRA CEO`s despicable response to the president`s
call for gun control. I want to know where the GOP leadership is? I`ll
talk about it with my very special guest, Kerry Kennedy.

Plus, the right wing talkers think nothing is wrong. Nothing. With
this 102-year-old woman waiting for hours to vote. Well, I`m calling them
out tonight.

And you know it was coming, the late night comedians have a field day
with Rubio`s water fail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Nothing has frustrated me more than
false choices like the one the president laid out tonight.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE COLBERT REPORT: Don`t worry, senator
Rubio. Nobody noticed that you gave a speech.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s a big valentine`s day show. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will. Everyone is talking about president
Obama`s push to increase the minimum wage.

Johnny says raising the hourly wage is a step in the right direction.

Chris says raising the minimum wage helps the 47 percent.

And Carol says I say it`s time to put the Senate and Congress on
minimum wage.

Not a bad idea, Carol.

Coming up, more on the minimum wage battle ahead. What`s your take?
Share it with us. 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: President Obama was back on the road today schooling the
GOP on a better America and selling his plan to level the playing field for
low-income and middle class Americans. He visited an early childhood
education facility in Georgia promoting his plan to invest and expand in
our country`s kids and our country`s future. One little boy even asked him
are you our teacher?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is like I spy.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I remember I spy.

All right, let`s see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Who wouldn`t want to help kids like this? Who could
possibly be against this? How about speaker Boehner? He says getting
involved in early childhood education is quote, "a good way to screw it
up". Wow. If they`re against 4-year-olds, you can imagine what they think
about president Obama`s call to raise the minimum wage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUBIO: Minimum wage laws have never worked in terms of helping the
middle class attain more prosperity.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve never
been a fan of that idea. I think it`s inflationary. It is actually
counterproductive in many ways.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: At a time when
American people are still asking the question where are the job, why would
we want to make it harder for smaller employers to hire people?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: In the greatest nation on earth, we shouldn`t be fighting
about helping kids in America. This is basic. And the Republican response
is pathetic.-

Joining me now, salon`s Joan Walsh. Joan Walsh is writing about the
president`s education plan and also with us is Jonathan Capehart of "the
Washington Post."

Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.

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

JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Joan, I want to start on this minimum wage issue. They
have a problem with raising it. I mean, it`s madness to me. What are your
thoughts?

WALSH: It`s madness, Reverend Al. I mean, raising the minimum wage
is an anti-poverty program that doesn`t cost the government anything. It
is the simplest way to live families out of poverty. It doesn`t do enough,
but it`s a great start.

And if the minimum wage, the federal minimum wage kept pace with
inflation since the 1960s, it would be up around 15 or $16. So, we have
been - we have logged in our commitment to low-income families. We let
corporation ran a rough shots over people. And we have neglected this way
to help people.

And you know, for the government -- for Republicans who are always
rallying against the deficit and are always rallying against the increase
in federal aid to low income families, to oppose this, it`s really counter
intuitive. They`re really saying we`re not interested in helping low
income families in anyway.

SHARPTON: Now Jonathan, you know, the GOP has become known for
attacking those welfare and food stamps. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: We don`t want to turn this safety net into a hammock. That laws
able body, people relies to dependency and complacency.

MICHELE BACHMANN (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Self reliance
means if anyone will not work, neither should he eat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need people working with jobs, not saving food
stamps.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Really poor
children, in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have
nobody around him who works.

RYAN: Teach a man how to fish, he can feed himself for life. Don`t
simply feed fish.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIM: OK. So, we have that. That`s their mantra. But now, they
don`t want to help do things that would take people off of government aid
from young, early childhood education. All the way to minimum age. I
mean, so you don`t want to get anything from the government and you don`t
want to help make them independent. It just doesn`t make sense, Jonathan.

CAPEHART: No, it doesn`t make sense. But, it is in keeping in the
overall Republican party view that, you know, they`re about business.
Remember, the speaker Boehner`s argument against raising the minimum wage
is that it would then make it difficult for businesses to hire people
because it would then become more expensive. So, it`s this weird, vicious
cycle that basically ends up having poor people, working class people end
up getting nothing from all of the hard work that they`re doing.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: Exactly. And, Joan, just so that we are clear, the reason
the president wants to raise minimum wage, a single parent with one child
working full time, if the parent is working full time, at minimum wage now
earns just $14,500. The poverty line is $15,130. How is that right? How
is that right in anybody`s world?

WALSH: It`s not. And the American people know it`s not. So these
two proposals funding pre-school, as well as raising the minimum wage,
Reverend Al, they`re poll incredibly. They are incredibly popular. They`re
at two-thirds of the American people support these programs, the
Republicans are running against that popular tide.

But as Jonathan said, it`s more important for them to cater to their,
you know, wealthy employer audience than to care about working in middle
class families. And you know, they are really going toward a situation.
We know they don`t care about this. But we know when they raise the
minimum wage, there`s a negligible, if any, effect on employment. People
still hire when they need workers because we are not raising it that much,
to be honest. It doesn`t have an inflationary effect, a major one at all,
if any at all.

So, research over the years, over the years, we have seen that
research shows that everything that they`ve warned about when we raise the
minimum wage, and we have this debate every peer years, it doesn`t come to
pass. But, that doesn`t affect their argument.

SHARPTON: Well, talking about research, Jonathan, we checked.
Speaker Boehner who is barking at raising the minimum wage, he`s more than
$224,000 a year. We are talking about single parent at one job making
14,500, he makes over $224,500 a year while he is barking about people that
are making below poverty level.

CAPEHART: And think about it, Rev. If you want to raise the minimum
wage to $9 an hour, as the president is proposing, that`s extra money in
the pockets of people who aren`t going to take that money and throw it into
a bank account and save it and sit on it. These are people who are going
to take that money and use it to buy food, buy groceries, pay the rent, buy
clothing for their children, buy clothing for themselves, i.e., spend money
in the local economy.

And Republicans talk about growth all the time. Well, this is a sure
fire way to improve local economies, improve state economies. And when you
do that, you pull families up a little further out of poverty. And when it
comes to early childhood education, there`s an incredible stat that was
part of the enhanced broadcast of the state of the union that the White
House put out from the few charitable trusts. Forty two percent of
children who are born to parents who are poor are likely to stay poor. So,
if you to improve the lives of the American people, you have got to --
you`ve got to spend money on it. And spending money on pre-school
education is a sure fire way of ensuring that the future generations rise
out of poverty.

GRIM: And it`s an investment in the country.

Joan, Jonathan is right. They spend their money in the economy. And
you said, it`s not that much money we`re talking about. But it means the
difference in their lives. And they`re not going to be sending this money
to the Cayman Islands. They barely have enough to go to Coney Island.

WALSH: Right. It`s a stimulus program, too, and it doesn`t cost us
anything.

SHARPTON: Joan Walsh, Jonathan Capehart, thank you both for your time
this evening.

WALSH: Thanks, Rev.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the NRA just responded to President Obama. They
deserve a vote moment. And it was nothing short of disgusting. I will
talk about with Kerry Kennedy.

But first, the right wing talkers have no issue with a 102-year-old
woman waiting in line for hours to vote. She`s a hero, but not to the
right. My response is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: In President Obama`s state of the union, he talked about
ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things. And one woman`s story
really stood out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We should follow the example of a north Miami woman named
Desiline Victor. When Desiline arrived at her polling place, she was told
the wait to vote might be six hours. And as time ticked by, her concern
was not with her tired body or aching feet, but whether folks like her
would get to have their say.

Hour after hour, a throne of people in line supported her because
Desiline is 102 years old. And they erupted in cheers when she finally put
on a sticker that read, "I voted."

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: 102-year-old Desiline Victor got a standing ovation at the
speech. She`s a hero. But that`s not how they saw it over at FOX.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, that 102-year-old woman should not be
online.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree with you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why not? What`s the big deal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What else is she doing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was happy. She waited on line. She was
happy that she was there to vote. Boy, I mean, this is such a nice --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They held her up as a victim, what was she a
victim of?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What was she a victim of? Are they serious? She was a
victim of a republican plot to suppress a vote. The plan created these
long lines. And made it harder for people like Desiline to vote.

In fact, lines kept more than 200,000 people in Florida from voting at
all. Luckily, Desiline Victor was able to make her voice heard and she
received a hero`s welcome this week when she got back home to Miami. But
did the gang at FOX think we`d let them get away with saying this story was
no big deal? Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The NRA is going from bad to worse. From clueless to
offensive. Just moments ago, NRA President Wayne Lapierre said this in
response to the President`s State of the Union Address.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA CEO &EXEC. VICE PRESIDENT: It`s not about keeping
kids safe at school. That wasn`t even mentioned in the President`s speech.
They only care about their decade`s long, decade`s old gun control agenda.
Ban every gun they can. Tax every gun sold and register every American gun
owner. The President is taking the art of public deception and
manipulation to a whole new level on this one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Public deception and manipulation. Unbelievable. Lapierre
went onto blast universal background check which an overwhelming number of
Americans support, including gun owners.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAPIERRE: His proposal for a so-called universal background check, at
first glance, it sounds like a reasonable, good idea. But there`s nothing
universal about it at all. Think about it. Criminals won`t be part of
that universe. That`s common sense, they`ll steal their guns or they`ll
get them in everything else they want on the black market.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Common sense. How about nonsense? The NRA`s lunacy is out
of control. Americans has had enough.

Joining me now is Kerry Kennedy, president of the Robert F. Kennedy
Center for Justice and Human Rights. Last week, she stood with Martin
Luther King, III and invoked her own powerful history to demand action on
gun violence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY KENNEDY, RFKCENTER.ORG: I was four years old when my uncle,
President Kennedy, was killed by a man with a gun. You know, I was eight
years old when my father, too, was gunned down. It is almost impossible to
describe the pain to losing your father to a senseless murder. Or the
anger and fear of knowing that that murder might have been avoided if only
our leaders had acted to stop the violence.

Since my father`s assassination, we`ve lost more than a million
Americans to gun violence. In the last two months since Sandy Hook, we`ve
lost 1600 more, including 26 children. In 1968, in the wake of my father`s
and Martin Luther King`s assassinations, we mourned as a nation and so did
members of Congress. But they also took action and passed gun control
legislation when our nation needed it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Kerry, it`s an honor to have you here. And you know, I
watched you in that press conference with Mark, in fact I`ve got with Mark
right after. And when I hear Lapierre calling the President`s campaign on
guns, quote, "a charade," what is your reaction to that?

KENNEDY: Well, I mean, first of all, as you heard in that clip, last
week, 1600. As of today, I went and looked this up. They`re not now
another hundred people, Americans have died of gun violence. Just in the
last week alone. This is insanity. This is what`s insanity. And you
know, 74 percent of the members of the NRA itself agree -- support
universal background checks. So, it`s just Wayne Lapierre and his
corporate cronies who were against this. And we have got to fight them.

SHARPTON: You know, then he`s using every fear tactic and trying to
push buttons. He wrote this bizarre, offensive piece in the Daily Caller
saying -- and I`m quoting the piece. After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the
hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. Looters
run wild in South Brooklyn, there was no food, water, electricity. And if
you wanted to walk several miles and get supplies, you better get back
before dark or you might not get home at all."

I mean, what is he talking about? He goes on, "Latin American drug
gangs have invaded every city of significant size in the United States.
Phoenix is already one of the kidnapping capitals of the world." So
Latinos, riots, I mean, they`re coming to get you. This is shameless.

KENNEDY: Well, it`s fear mongering. And it`s also it`s actually
untrue. That did not happen in Brooklyn after the hurricane. So it is
fear mongering. And it`s the type of thing we really have to stop. You
know, he has spent his entire career trying to stop the sensible gun
controls. And as I said in 1968 after Martin Luther King and Malcolm X,
and my uncle and my father died. The Congress came together and passed
reasonable gun legislation.

SHARPTON: Yes.

KENNEDY: He fought and fought and fought to take that back. And he`s
been successful. And then, ten years ago, when the Clinton administration
and Andrew Cuomo, in particular, brought Smith and Wesson to the table and
they were agreeing to put child safety mechanisms onto triggers, Wayne
Lapierre just desecrated them. And that was his campaign and it was
successful. That`s why these kids can pick up a gun and shoot it today.

SHARPTON: It`s amazing, and the challenge you put out to that
conference I think is important. Because I remember, I was about nine when
your uncle President Kennedy was killed. It traumatized everybody. And
then, in `68, Dr. King killed in April, your father Senator Robert Kennedy
in June. And there was action taken. Now we`re seeing all of these
killings, the Newtown, Chicago, and there`s no legislative response. And
for you to call the nation`s attention to that, I really think it was a
great moral as well as legislative wake-up call.

KENNEDY: Well, I appreciate that. We had Martin Luther King, as you
pointed out. And so many families of people from Virginia Tech and the
others. And you know, one of the mothers from Virginia Tech was really
strong. And what she said is real courage is not standing up to the NRA.
Real courage is standing in a classroom as a kid, as a guy comes through
with the gun and start shooting all of your classmates and having the guts,
as her daughter did, to get on the phone and talk to the police and bring
them to the site. That`s courage. So, let`s be real with the legislation
and members of Congress in the Senate. We`re not asking them -- we`re
asking them to save American law.

SHARPTON: Ninety two percent of Americans say they support background
checks. I mean, we talk about the will of the country, 56 percent say, ban
assault weapons, 56 percent say, ban high capacity magazines. Where is the
republican leadership? I mean, you would think responsible leaders of both
parties could stand up for the will of the American people to save American
lives.

KENNEDY: Yes. I absolutely agree. And we need to -- we need to let
the gun owners across our country need to let their senators know where
they feel and let their congress know where they stand. And I will vote
for you and I will work for you. But you have to pass this legislation.

SHARPTON: Before I let you go. I have to ask you about the RFK
Center which you had raising awareness, radical bill in Uganda that makes
being gay a crime. Now, you`ve been petitioning the Uganda parliament to
end the bill and Harry Belafonte was here with you as I was talking about
it. Tell me how it`s going and how viewers can get involved?

KENNEDY: Well, it`s the anti-homosexuality bill which would make
homosexual punishable by life in imprisonment without parole on the first
offense and the debt penalty on subsequent offenses. We have a Valentine`s
Day campaign, it`s Valentine`s Day today, and just go to the RFKCcenter.org
web site and we`ll show you how to get involved.

SHARPTON: RFKCenter.org.

KENNEDY: RFKCenter.org. And I hope you`ll sign as well.

SHARPTON: I`m going to do it today, for Valentine`s Day.

KENNEDY: All right. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Kerry Kennedy. Thank you. Thank you for your time, always
an honor to have you. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Up next, Rubio`s epic swigging a miss goes late night. You
need to see this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with more fallout from Senator Marco Rubio`s big
gulp. You know, it was coming, Rubio swigging a miss gave the late night
comedians all kinds of material.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No, no, no, don`t wipe. You`re only drawing
attention to -- no, don`t forget the spin-off. The driver can`t and will.
Well, as long as you don`t lunge.

Oh, let me tell you from experience. It is not easy being on TV. I
mean, you`ve got the sweltering lights, you`ve got the audience, you`ve got
the cameras, you know. Now you`re being watched by millions.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Why was the water so far away? It would have been
less awkward if he reached down the front of his pants to get it.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: A true professional knows you know how to cover,
you just cover your problem by always maintaining eye contact with the home
viewer. And connecting with the audience.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It would have been less awkward, had he been
wearing one of these on his head during the speech.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So I got him. My lips were just so -- hmm.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No one would notice. You know --

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Let`s bring in Toure and Victoria DeFrancesco Soto. Thanks
for being here.

TOURE, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thank you.

SHARPTON: Toure, was this just a dream come true for the comedians?

TOURE: Well, absolutely. And I will now credit to you, you beat all
of those professional comedians when you pull out the gigantic Poland
Spring and drag from that. Those are the funniest things I`ve seen. But
look, we take so much from other human being just based on body language,
look at you, just crushing at you. Are you ready for SNL?

But we take so much from other human beings just based on body
language. And it`s not that he took a drink of water in the middle of his
speech. It`s the way that he reached for it. It was so awkward and it was
so the opposite of being an alpha male. We`re talking about like, what
would Chris Christie do if he wanted a drink of water, if he needed one.
He would just turn his whole body, grab it like a man, swig it up and we
would be like Chris Christie keeps it real.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

TOURE: He`s dipping and diving and try to keep his face to the screen
as he`s going and he just looked bizarre.

SHARPTON: Well, Victoria, we won`t ever forget that swig. But it is
obscure in a more serious discussion we should be having about Mr. Rubio,
isn`t it? I mean, in many ways, he`s getting away with some of the most
outrageous policy stuff by us talking our about the swig.

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You`re right, Reverend.
And again, it was incredibly awkward. I do want to make the point however,
to be fair to Rubio, his Spanish language rebuttal was a lot less awkward.
It was still awkward but a lot less. But back to your point Reverend, in
terms of what this means for the GOP, the GOP has not let this flop be a
state of flop, they`ve come to his defense. And they`re coming to his
defense because the GOP is -- all of its hope on courting Latinos on Marco
Rubio. Because the GOP knows that it doesn`t have the time or frankly the
ability to build a bridge to the Latino community.

SHARPTON: Yes.

SOTO: So, they`re just hanging on to Rubio as a life -- do you think
this is our shortcut to the Latino community.

SHARPTON: But Toure, let me ask you this, Bill O`Reilly was outraged,
he`s just outraged by saying that the media has covered this all wrong and
he has a theory about what`s really going on. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: When there is a legitimate point that
the Left fears, they divert attention.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Right.

O`REILLY: All right. That`s what happened in this case. The
diverting attention from Rubio`s speech into his water. This is so
foolish. But does it show desperation on the part of the Left to actually
highlight this? What does it show?

SHARPTON: I mean, that`s how they spinning it. I mean, what are we
afraid off? I mean, what is exactly --

TOURE: I mean, I actually watch that segment on O`Reilly and they
laughed about the Left teasing Rubio for that. So they are focused on us
focusing on Rubio drinking. So they`re actually focusing much attention on
it, as well. But there`s nothing for the Left to be afraid of in this
speech. Romney could have given the exact same speech except of the
immigration fees. Romney could have said the exact same thing. Why would
we be afraid of that? A nice chunk of 47 percent of America is ready to
vote for that speech and lose another election.

SHARPTON: And when people do things, we were mocking. I mean what
Howard Dean was screaming. The Left and the Right do it --

TOURE: But the thing is, that if they put Marco Rubio out and he
can`t defend immigration reform to his own community.

SHARPTON: Right.

TOURE: Any better than that, just giving some personal anecdotes
about that he still lives in the community, that`s not going to be enough
to sell immigration reform to that group. And if he can`t do that, then
they have no chance to come together on that issue.

SHARPTON: Well, Victoria, let`s talk about his middle class ties and
saying, he lives in the same middle class, Miami neighborhood he grew up.
Look at this. Senator Rubio is selling that middle class home and is on
the market for $675,000, that same he was talking about. He seems a little
disingenuous and hypocritical to be selling his nice middle class over
$675,000 that he was talking about just two nights ago.

SOTO: That is a bit of a stretch when it comes to being in the middle
class. And I keep coming back to the issue of substance with Rubio. So,
he gives the anecdote and he says that we need to pass immigration reform.
But really beyond immigration reform, what else does he and his party have
the offer the Latino community. We care about immigration, but we also
care about the economy. We care about education. So, there has to be
something there. And right now, there`s no one there, there.

TOURE: You`re absolutely right. It`s just the party of no at this
point, they`re just against everything. I noticed how he said, we have to
fight against Obama`s obsession with raising taxes. Is that the person you
heard give a speech on Thursday night? Somebody who is obsessed with
raising taxes. That`s not the speech I heard. And the whole GOP seems to
be like Clint Eastwood yelling at a chair, yelling at an imagined Obama,
that does not actually exist.

SHARPTON: Well, he obviously just needed a sip of water. Toure and
Victoria DeFrancesco Soto. Thanks for your time tonight.

TOURE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And catch Toure on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
Eastern Time. Coming up, love is in the air. Speaker Boehner is throwing
up kisses. The Republicans are sending out cause. I`m returning the love.
Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Happy Valentine`s Day to POLITICS NATION. Things are going
so well for the Republicans. They`re taking time away from rebranding to
write some snarky Valentine`s Day cards. President Obama`s valentine
reads, "I told my jobs council, let`s just be friends this Valentine`s
Day."

What difference at this point does this Valentine make? Joe Biden
says, Hillary, this is my last Valentine until 2017. Not bad. Not bad I
have to say. Some of them are pretty funny. But we hear POLITICS NATION
are also here to spread the love.

That`s right. We have our own POLITICS NATION Valentine`s Day cards.
Let`s get right to it. RNC Chair Reince Priebus has a card, he says, this
year, I`m changing my card to look exactly the way it did last year. And
Paul Ryan is in the spirit. He says, I love my party as much as I love my
guns. Mitch McConnell gets right to the point. I`m ready for a big night
of filibuster.

Sounds about right. Oh, and look at new TV star Scott Brown has won
this Valentine`s Day, let`s do buck whatever world. Nice one, Scott.
Sarah Palin says oh, my Valentine card must be lost in the mail.

Political commentator Dick Morris card reads, "I predict the best
Valentine`s Day ever. So, basically it`s going to be terrible!"

Oh, and look at Karl Rove`s card, "Instead of on-air meltdowns, let`s
melt some chocolate candies."

Even Mitt Romney has a card. "Wherever you`re celebrating, may the
trees be the right height." Thanks, Mitt.

And finally, I have one. This goes out to all of my republican
friends. Forget the candy. Here`s a blueberry pie. The one from last
year is all over your face. 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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