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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

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POLITICS NATION
March 12, 2013

Guests: Chaka Fattah; Nia-Malika Henderson; Ginny Burdick, Charlie Crist, Caroline Heldman, David Corn.


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

Tonight`s lead, is he serious? Paul Ryan unveiled his latest war
against the poor, I mean, his latest budget plan. It`s a proposal that
shreds the safety net while giving massive handouts to corporations and the
rich, exactly what Americans rejected in the last election.

Make no mistake. 2012 was a referendum on the key issues of our time.
And Paul Ryan knew it. Hey, he himself made that point over and over
again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We want this
debate. We need this debate.

This is a debate we want to have.

We are giving the country a very clear choice and that`s what we are
asking you. November 6th is a time we choose.

What we are offering is to give you, our fellow countrymen and women a
clear choice.

And the choice is yours on November 6th.

An boy, is it a clear choice?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And, boy, did America make that choice. The choice was to
reject wrong way Ryan`s way. But the congressman just can`t seem to
understand that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: He won that election. House Republicans
lost seats in the house, got a million fewer votes than Democrats. Senate
Republicans lost seats in t Senate. And people outside this process might
wonder if elections have consequences on the budgets process. Do you
think?

RYAN: So, the question is, the election didn`t go our way. Believe
me, I know what that feels like. That means we surrender our principles?
That means we stop believing in what we believe in?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It means you take a hint. But apparently Mr. Ryan`s not so
good with hints. His budget cuts spending by $4.6 trillion over the next
ten years. Now, who do you think he`s making pay for all those cuts?
Anyone want to guess? The poor and the middle class, of course.

Fifty nine percent of the cuts come from vital programs like Medicare,
Medicaid and affordable health care, the affordable care act. That means
35 million people would lose the health care coverage coming to them.

And while Ryan takes the knife to their safety nets, he`s actually
spending money to increase the military spending and to give massive tax
breaks to the rich. He would actually lower rates for the richest people
in the country from 39.6 percent to 25 percent. And corporations would get
a big cut, too. Gee. I wonder why he`d make these choices given that his
idea lost in the election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: This, to us, is something that we`re not going to give up on
because we`re not going to give up on destroys the health care system for
the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Not going to give up on destroying the health care system
for the American people. A slip of the tongue? Sure. But it`s what his
plan does.

Joining me now is Congressman Chaka Fattah, Democratic from Illinois,
and Krystal Ball, co-host of "the Cycle" right here on MSNBC.

Thank you both for coming on the show.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks for having us, Reverend.

SHARPTON: And I meant Congressman Fattah from Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia if I may.

REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: And I love Illinois, too. But,
the people of Pennsylvania have been very good to me.

SHARPTON: You know how well I`ve been around Philadelphia with you.

FATTAH: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: But any way, let me start with you, Philadelphia
congressman Fattah. Congressman Ryan, did he learn anything from the
election?

FATTAH: Well, you know, all I can tell you is that he acts as if with
his presentation that there was no election. We already debated these
issues. We are not going to create a voucher system in replacement of
Medicare or Medicaid. We are not going to lower rates for the wealthiest
people in our country from 39 percent to 25 percent. At a time when we say
we`re trying to balance our budget.

He wants to -- he really -- really what he wants to do now is to -- I
guess when the president reached out and had lunch with him, he felt that
the correct response was to offer to repeal President Obama`s affordable
care act. That that somehow was a gesture in response to the lunch.

But the good thing is, is that we are going to have some serious
business taken care of here on the hill. But, the president is coming over
this week. The Senate is going to be positioning its budget. And we are
going to get down to a debate. I think Republicans in the house haven`t
figured out the results in the last election yet. But they`re going to get
to understand that. They`re not going to have their way. The American
people have spoken. And we`re not going to gut the middle class and
working families. And poor people --

SHARPTON: I think that`s the point, Krystal. When you look at "the
Wall Street Journal" this morning. Ryan wrote an op-ed piece today that
he`s defending his plan. And he writes, the most important question isn`t
how we balance the budget, it`s why.

What do you mean it`s not important how we balance the budget? Of
course it`s important how we balance the budget. It`s very important how
we balance the budget.

BALL: Yes. And I don`t even think he answers the question of why,
either. But you`re exactly right. I mean, 70 percent, 7-0 percent of
these cuts from health care. That shows 35 million Americans would be
uninsured if you actually went forward with this plan which -- let me also
say, not only is this plan in my view immoral because of the suffering that
it would inflict on the poor and middle class, it`s also a fraud. It
doesn`t do what it purports to do which is to balance the budget.

Remember, back in the election there were all these questions about
Mitt Romney`s tax plan, which loopholes are you going to close? And
basically, when you looked at the math it did not work out. You could not
close enough tax loopholes to make up his plan without raising taxes on the
middle class. It`s the same exact deal here. The math does not work out.
He does not specify the loopholes. He assumes a balanced budget but
doesn`t even accomplish that goal.

SHARPTON: No, that`s exactly right.

And Congressman, Krystal talks about what he does to health care. But
he is not just taking an ax to health care for 35 million Americans. Oh,
no. His budget also reduces the federal workforce by 10 percent. It would
cut food stamps, and it would also gut Pell grants for students.

FATTAH: This is the debate that we had. And Ryan`s proposals lost on
Election Day. The idea that we`re going in this direction, this is not the
America that we want. It`s not the America that people voted for. He
wants to spend $41 trillion over the next ten years. He just doesn`t want
to focus on the priorities that we need to focus on. He thinks smart bombs
are more important than smart children. We need both to protect our
country and our national security. He wants to cut and gut programs that
working families need. It`s not going to work. And I think when the
president comes over, he`s going to be able to talk to Democrats and
Republicans about a way to go forward. The way that people voted for last
November, which is a balanced approach in which everybody pays their fair
share in which we do what we need the do to set the right priorities for
our country.

SHARPTON: Now Krystal, the chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus was on
"Hannity" last night. And he actually compared the president of the United
States to a used car salesman. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: We hold used
car salesmen to higher standards, I think, than we hold this president.
This is sort of our lemon law. He promised that the cost of health care
would go down. It`s false. We need a lemon law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We need a lemon law.

BALL: Unbelievable. And the interesting thing is, Republicans have
continually said, you know, if the president would just be specific. If he
would just say that he was willing to give on entitlements. When, in fact,
the president has said he would be willing to give on entitlements.

SHARPTON: And has.

BALL: And has been specific, and has. And I think that`s one of the
things that`s lost here, too. It`s been pointed out that Paul Ryan`s
budget while it seeks to repeal Obama care keeps the Medicare savings from
Obama care and the taxes from Obama care to try to make this thing balance.
So, essentially, he keeps all the stuff that people don`t really want and
gets rid of the things that people do want.

It`s unbelievable that they forget that the president has actually
reformed entitlements as you`re saying, those Medicare savings. That was a
real reform that didn`t cut people`s benefits. He has put specifics on the
table. The Republicans just have no interest in reaching across. What I
think is really sad here, because this budget will never become law, I
think it sets us backwards in terms of being able to find common ground and
actually work together.

SHARPTON: That`s really the point. And when you look at the fact,
congressman, you know, Krystal here referred to it. I mean, the hypocrisy
in the budget, on the campaign trail Ryan was relentless in slamming the
$700 billion worth of savings that the president found in Medicare. Now,
he`s including those savings to balance his budget proposal. And then,
meanwhile, despite all of this devastating cuts, it finds a way to increase
military spending by $500 billion over the next ten years.

FATTAH: Well, it`s a lot of contradictions in what he has proposed.
But, you know, you can`t get away from the facts. 3.9 million job openings
in our country today based on the labor department report. The greatest
openings we`ve had in years. Small business enthusiasm is up at a 2 1/2
year high. The president is moving our country forward. The only real
issue is, is that if the GOP would just -- rather than trying to tackle our
quarterback, would actually be on the same team to move our country
forward, how much more progress we could really make, reverend.

SHARPTON: Congressman Chaka Fattah, we have to leave it there, and of
course, my friend Krystal Ball, thanks for your time this evening.

BALL: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And catch Krystal on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, five years later and still showing no respect. New details
on how a big presidential invite and the insulting response.

Former Florida governor Charlie Crist joins us on what happens when
the GOP goes on attack.

Plus, a gun story you have to hear. How the intimidating local
officials want gun safety. We will hear from a lawmaker getting threats.

Things get better when the right wingers just refuse to accept
reality. We are going back inside the bubble tonight.

It`s a big show ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Today, gun laws was a hot topic. A Senate committee approved a bill
that would require nearly all gun buyers to pass a background check.

Ramonda says, let`s take more steps to walk this to the finish line.

Hagatha says, it`s urgent that we act on this.

I agree.

Laura says, this is just the beginning. We shouldn`t settle for just
background checks.

That`s right. We shouldn`t and we won`t settle. More on the fight
for gun safety laws and the intimidation we`ve seen against local officials
across the country, coming up.

But first, we want you to join the "Politics Nation" conversation.
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)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COREY BROOKS, PASTOR, FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: Seeing little kids is not
a good thing, you know.

GARRY MCCARTHY, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: This is another
tragedy. Because no child, and certainly not an infant, should be the
victim of gang violence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Another unimaginable story from Chicago today. A 6-month-
old baby has become a victim of gun violence. Jonilah Watkins died early
this morning after being shot five times while her father changed her
diaper in the front seat of the family van. A baby, a baby killed by gun
violence. A sad and sober reminder of the gun epidemic.

Also today, another reminder. James Holmes, the man accused of
killing 12 people inside an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater appeared in
court to enter a not guilty plea.

But the fight for change was alive today. A moving picture as
cyclists who biked from Newtown, Connecticut, arrived in Washington, D.C.,
to raise awareness for common sense gun legislation. Their four day, 400-
mile ride was in honor of 26 children and adults killed at Sandy Hook.

And right as they arrived in D.C., a key Senate panel approved two
bills on background checks and school safety. This is real progress. It`s
the first hurdle to becoming a law.

And outside the beltway, we`re seeing a movement, we`re seeing
activism. The Colorado state Senate just approved bills on magazine
ammunition limits and expanded background checks.

And mothers from over 30 states are expected to attend a common sense
gun laws event tomorrow in D.C.

But in Oregon, a troubling trend is hurting the chances for real
reform. Pro-gun advocates are intimidating lawmakers with threatening e-
mails and video surveillance. It`s forcing them to back off legislation.
It`s politics by intimidation. And nobody in this fight will be
intimidated.

Joining me now is Oregon state senator Ginny Burdick. She is pushing
for gun safety and is the target of intimidation.

Thank you for being here tonight.

GINNY BURDICK (D), OREGON STATE SENATOR: Thank you for having me,
Reverend.

SHARPTON: Now, what kind of gun legislation were you trying to get
passed in Oregon?

BURDICK: I`m trying to get passed some very common sense measures
that have widespread support from Oregonians and specifically from gun
owners. The people who are causing all the problems in Oregon are a very
small fringe. Most gun owners are perfectly fine with what I`m proposing
which is universal background checks and also elimination of an exemption
that currently allows people with concealed handgun licenses to bring
loaded guns into schools.

SHARPTON: Now, you`ve been a target of intimidation and attempted
intimidation. Tell us what happened.

BURDICK: Well, I had a town hall scheduled. And I got wind that the
gun extremists were planning on crashing the town hall. And it was at a
university, it was at Portland State University. And I did not want to
subject students to that kind of event because when that happens, and it`s
happened to me before where town halls have been crashed, and not only are
they able to legally bring in loaded guns, which is very intimidating, but
their behavior is extremely intimidating.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. They bring in loaded guns?

BURDICK: Yes.

SHARPTON: And then they behave -- when they say their behavior is
extreme, what do you mean? What do they do while they have these loaded
guns?

BURDICK: They`re very rude and disruptive. And again, this is the
fringe. This is not your regular gun owner. This is the fringe. But,
unfortunately, they are dominating the discussion right now and it`s very
unfortunate.

SHARPTON: Now, let me show these extreme group as they came into the
state capitol with guns. H is actually in the state capitol in Oregon,
this extreme group who do not represent the majority of the gun owners in
Oregon, but they are an extreme group.

Now, you canceled the town hall meeting. Then what did they do?

BURDICK: I did. And when I canceled the town hall meeting, I didn`t
want to say anything inflammatory. So I just said the standard scheduling
conflict. Well, they showed up at my house, and they stayed in front of my
house for 2 1/2 hours, taping everything I did, doing my recycling, getting
my mail.

SHARPTON: We`re showing the video of what they did at your house. Go
ahead.

BURDICK: And then they put it on the web. Their point was that I
didn`t, in fact, have a scheduling conflict. So they thought that they
would get a lot of mileage from that. But they ran my address and they ran
very, you know, threatening comments about it.

SHARPTON: So let me get this straight. You canceled a town hall
meeting because you knew that what it was like for them, these type of
extremists, to crash a town hall meeting on gun safety. You decided to
cancel it in the interest of the students at the university. And they went
in front of your house, videotaped your house for 2 1/2 hours and put it on
the internet? I mean, you can take all kind of inferences for putting a
public official`s house on the internet. We got -- this is a copy that
we`re showing of your house being put out there for any nut to see. And
this is you, actually, going to the garbage on the video and moving your
garbage pail. This is what they put out.

BURDICK: That`s it. It`s not very exciting. But it`s a little
intimidating.

SHARPTON: Now, you said a little intimidating. Were you worried?
Did you feel a little afraid?

BURDICK: No. I was not aware they were doing it. Nobody told me
they were taping it. This is all done in secret.

SHARPTON: How did you feel once you knew and found out or even viewed
what they had done? It had to shake you a little.

BURDICK: I thought it was very, very creepy. It creep me out. I`ll
be honest.

SHARPTON: I would absolutely understand that. And then you have --
you look at the two men roaming the neighborhood carrying guns in mid-
January, two men in Portland began carrying semiautomatic rifles on their
backs, walking around the neighborhood. This was less than a month after
the Newtown shooting. It even prompted a learning center to go on
lockdown. The men said they were just educating the public on their second
amendment right to bear arms.

And this is not about the second amendment. We all support the second
amendment, I`m sure, you and most of your constituents do. But this
extremist, this kind of intimidation, this kind of demanding that they can
do anything they want in the name of second amendment, this is the thing
that is very, very frightening. And, to me, it is what is polarizing about
this issue.

BURDICK: Well, what`s really frightening about it, reverend, is that
it seems to work. That is the truly frightening thing. Is that
politicians back down just because they don`t want to take the harassment.
And that is what results in no change. And I just refuse to be
intimidated, because I can`t in good conscience, after Newtown, back down.
I simply cannot do it morally.

SHARPTON: Well, good for you. And no public official should, even
though I understand what you`re saying. But, I wish everyone had your
courage.

Let me bring in from the "Washington Post" Nia-Malika Henderson.

Nia-Malika, let me ask you. Are lawmakers in Washington feeling the
pressure from these extreme pro-gun groups?

HENDERSON: Well, I think they are in the sense that the NRA remains a
pretty powerful lobbying group for the gun lobby. And they are obviously
looking at the 2014 elections. You saw these recent bills come out of the
Judiciary Committee very much along partisan lines. The vote was 10-8.
The Democrats who didn`t support the stricter gun control laws are from
states that already have pretty strict gun control laws as it is. The
eight Republicans mostly from southern states, places like Texas, Iowa,
South Carolina.

So, I think a lot of what we knew coming into this, those factors
about region, about senators who are from states that are more sort of pro-
gun, more southern, those factors are still going to be in play as the
president wants to see these bills work their way through the Senate. I
think he still has to worry about whether or not he`s going to be able to
keep the democratic coalition together.

There are 55 democratic senators in the Senate. They would need five
Republicans to get anything passed. But I think the question on whether or
not any of these senators, these democratic senators will be in tough
fights in 2014, are they actually going to back any of these bills.

SHARPTON: Well, Nia-Malika, the public is there. When you look at
the polls, 82 percent support making illegal gun sales of federal crime, 91
percent support universal background checks, 57 percent want an assault
weapons ban. The public is there. I don`t know what the politics is in
the Senate. But, the public seems overwhelmingly there.

HENDERSON: That`s right. And even if you look -- if you drill down
among gun owners. If you drill down among folks who are in the NRA, many
of those folks also support tighter restrictions around background checks.
But so far that hasn`t made a difference. At least on the Senate side out
of this particular committee.

I do think you`re going to see increased movement in the state. So
far there are about 1,000 gun control laws that are pending around the
difference states in this country. Some of those bills would seek to
nullify whatever comes out of the federal -- the federal side of this. So
there is some movement on the state side.

SHARPTON: Well, senator Burdick, she says there are laws around the
country and in different states. You say you are not going to be
intimidated. Do you think you`ll be able to get anything through the
legislature in Oregon on gun control?

BURDICK: Well, if the legislature pays attention to the public
because it`s absolutely correct. The public is with us on reasonable gun
laws including the gun owning public. So if we can get the public to speak
up, if we can get people`s voices heard, then we`ll be able to do it. But
if people remain silent, then I`m not very optimistic.

SHARPTON: All right. You`re a very courageous person. Thank you
state senator Ginny Burdick and Nia-Malika Henderson for your time tonight.
Both of you.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Rev.

BURDICK: Thank you, reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, we`re learning more about President Obama reaching
out to Republicans months ago. And the disrespect that followed.

Plus, what former Republican governor is warning Chris Christie to
look out, buddy.

And the story today that has our entire staff laughing. It involves
Mitch McConnell and lunch. You will want to hear this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Coming up, the governor who took a bold stand for the
people of his state. Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist knows what
happens when a Republican dares to embrace the president. He joins us on
that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Here`s a question. What would you do if you got an
invitation to a very special party? Would you go? Check this out. You`re
invited to a private screening of "Lincoln," the most talked about film of
the year. Where is it? At the White House. This does sound like a great
invite. And who will be there? All the stars including Lincoln himself,
Daniel Day-Lewis, and director Steven Spielberg.

And who is hosting? That would be President Barack Obama. Wow, what
a party! The President, the star. This event actually happened. It
happened last November 15th. Who would say no to that? Senator Mitch
McConnell got an invite. The President trying to reach out for a movie
night. But he declined. What`s the matter, Mitch?

At a bluegrass concert that night? How about House Speaker John
Boehner, he wouldn`t miss a good party, right? Actually, this one he
would. He passed. Come on, Mr. Speaker, there`s no nighttime golf. And
three other top Republicans also just happened to have scheduling
conflicts. Scheduling conflicts instead of going to the White House. This
is a pattern long before his latest job offensive.

The President`s reached out. He`s extended an olive branch. And they
continue to snub him. From state dinners to rides on Air Force one to
Super Bowl parties. They talk about respecting the office of the
presidency. Now it`s time to show it.

Joining me now is former republican Governor of Florida Charlie Crist.
Governor, it`s a pleasure to have you with us tonight.

CHARLIE CRIST, FORMER REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: Great to be
with you, Reverend. Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Now, I want to show our viewers a picture. It`s from 2009.
It`s the hug seen all over Florida and the country. You were thanking the
president for the stimulus plan. And then your party went on the attack.
You eventually left the party, and now you`re a democrat.

CRIST: Yes, sir.

SHARPTON: How toxic is it to embrace the President? Have you seen
the party react? How have you seen it?

CRIST: Oh, I`ve seen it. I`ve seen it up close around personal. And
in 2009 when I went to Ft. Myers, Florida, and embraced the president and
the recovery act that he was trying to get through to help police,
firefighters, public schoolteachers here in the sunshine state and
throughout the country, you`d thought I had done something terrible. And
it really shocked me to see that reaction by so many Republicans.

And the reason it surprised me as much as it did, I think it`s because
how my mother and father raised my three sisters and me, Reverend. And
they raised us to be decent to others, to be kind to other people and
respectful. Particularly if that -- that person happens to be the
president of the United States of America. And so I was really taken aback
by the reaction of it.

But that`s why I think you see some of the examples you said about
coming over to see the movie "Lincoln" at the White House. That, you know,
some of these Republicans who may be up for, you know, re-election next
year are concerned about a primary. They have primary fear. It`s a real
thing that is happening. But they have to have more courage than that.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: But this is the president. This is the White House. I
mean, there was no one more opposed to President George Bush than I was.
But when he invited me to occasions, I would go. You do not disrespect the
office and the White House. This is unthinkable. And in your case, you
were embracing him for stimulus that was helping people in your state.
Regardless of party.

CRIST: Absolutely true. And I was a republican at the time, he a
democrat. He came down and he helped my state in that way, and I think
that`s what people expect. That public servants will work together for the
greater good and for the good of the people they`re supposed to be working
for. The people of the state or the people of the country. The president
did it again, Reverend. He came down here when we had the BP oil spill.
He and his administration, Vice President Biden also, and others in the
administration. Valerie Jarrett. We were on phone calls day after day. I
mean, they`ve reached out. Believe me, they have.

SHARPTON: Now, another republican governor, Chris Christie, arguably
the most popular republican in the country today, he walked with the
president, commended the president, the same style as Charlie Crist. And
he`s gotten nothing but venom for it. Listen to how one far right-winged
conservative radio host went after him just for signing on to the Medicaid
expansion under Obamacare. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is why when you have republican governors like
Krispy Kreme signing on to this, it`s going to be financially ruinous for
your states. Absolutely financially ruinous. But they`ll be gone, see.
I`m a conservative, why don`t I get to speak at CPAC? Have a doughnut and
shut up, will you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, this kind of personal venom, name calling, the man
worked with the president because his state was absolutely in ruins in
parts due to a hurricane.

CRIST: Yes. Yes, sir. It`s shocking. It`s really shocking to see
that kind of behavior and that kind of ridicule of, you know, two public
servants working together. You know, Governor Christie was courageous to
do it. But it was also simply the right thing to do. And the President
has been doing it all along. I mean, he started back in 2009 with us here
in Florida. He continued to do it through the oil spill.

He did it with Governor Christie just last year up in New Jersey and
the northeastern states. I mean, this is what`s consistent about President
Barack Obama. He reaches out. He cares about people. He`s willing to
work with Republicans, Independents and Democrats. He`s going to go up and
see the Republicans tomorrow on the hill.

SHARPTON: Right.

CRIST: I mean, he`s got that kind of heart and that kind of grace and
he does the right thing, and he ought to be credited for it in my opinion.

SHARPTON: Now, you and I have been around a while. And we know the
difference with partisan bickering. But there seems to be much of a
hostility, there seems to be much more of a hatred in this. Why do you
think this is with this president more than we have seen in terms of
partisan bickering before?

CRIST: Well, I really don`t know the answer to that. And it breaks
my heart to see it, though. I can tell you that, Reverend. And you know,
when you live in a society where, you know, you have people of the cloth
like yourself that serve our God and try to teach us to be good to each
other, and you see the kind of venom that comes out when, you know, it
shouldn`t, it makes you wonder why that might be the case.

And I feel badly for the president that that occurs. But I got to
tell you, the grace and the way he comports himself in the face of that
kind of difficulty is inspiring to me, and I think an awful lot of our
fellow Americans. He rises above it. And that`s not easy to do. But it`s
a great role model for all of us in this country to have a president like
Barack Obama.

SHARPTON: Well, I -- I think you`re right. And he handles it well.
I think it`s bad for the country. It`s bad for the children of the
country. And whoever`s the next president. You and I support this
president. I hope we will respect the office even if it`s not a person we
select. And I hope you see you back in politics.

CRIST: I appreciate that.

SHARPTON: As you`re now a democrat. Charlie Crist, thank you for
your time tonight. And you have a good evening.

CRIST: You, too, Reverend. Thank you so much. God bless you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, it happened again. The right-wing media confronted
with their enemy. Facts. The professor who went head first into the
bubble joins us. And I`ll tell you why Mitch McConnell will need some
napkins. The best story of the day is coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The woman who took on Sean Hannity and the right wing
bubble over President Obama`s achievement. She joins me on her bold
journey.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: As I always like to say, you`re entitled to your own
opinion. Not your own facts. But the right wing doesn`t see it that way.
When it comes to President Obama and his accomplishments, they can`t accept
the truth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAROLINE HELDMAN, OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE: Unemployment has dropped to 7.7
percent. We see growth in both service sector and manufacturing, the
housing crisis has turned around --

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: HANNITY: Caroline, Caroline, nine
million fewer Americans in the work force, nine million fewer.

HELDMAN: Yes. No one is saying that that is not the case, but
remember, when President Obama took office in January of 2009, we were
hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs a month.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

HANNITY: Five years ago, I know, bored, I`m sick of hearing it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes. In the President`s first full month, 800,000 jobs
were lost. But does he remember what happened? A little something called
the stock market crash? And now we have 36 straight months of private
sector job growth under President Obama. There`s work to be done. But
there`s no denying things are getting better. Unless, of course, you are
in that right-wing bubble.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Eighteen million more Americans, one in six Americans are in
poverty. Now, to hear Nancy Pelosi and others talking about the stock
market. Do any of those people on food stamps, are they investing in the
stock market, Caroline? Anybody there?

HELDMAN: You know, Sean, I`m really impressed -- I`m impressed that
you`re now concerned about the poor. Thank you for that, but the fact of
the matter is.

HANNITY: You know what, I don`t, only Democrats care about poor
people. Only Democrats want clean air and water, only Democrats care
about, not killing old people. You`re right.

HELDMAN: Well, you know, unfortunately I would agree with you on
most of those points. But what you`re doing is, you know, like the coast
guard going out to rescue a boat and then blaming the coast guard for not
rescuing it quickly enough, you`re placing blame.

HANNITY: Listen to me. Caroline. Caroline.

KERRY PICKET, BREITBART.COM COLUMNIST: The boat`s going down right
now.

HANNITY: Five years. Get over it.

PICKET: The boat`s going down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The boat is going down? A quarter of a million jobs
created and the boat`s going down? Come back to planet reality.

Joining me now is Caroline Heldman, the professor who dared to tell
the truth inside the bubble last night. And David Corn, Washington Bureau
Chief of Mother Jones. Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good evening.

HELDMAN: Great to be here, reverend.

SHARPTON: Professor, quite a battle that you survived it. Why do
they have so much trouble with the truth?

HELDMAN: You know, I have never met a group of people who is so upset
that the economy is rebounding than the folks over at FOX. I mean, the
signs are really clear. Not only the unemployment rate dropping, but
housing starts, new housing starts, housing prices. The fact that the
stock market has doubled since 2009. That private wealth has been fully
restored. Of course, now it`s in the hands of wealthier individuals. And
it`s important to keep in mind that blacks have an unemployment rate about
14 percent and Latinos and Latinas around 10 percent. But it is getting
better. And we can`t be in denial about this because that actually affects
consumer confidence.

SHARPTON: And Blacks and Latinos suffer because of the
disproportionate amount of their jobs are in the public sector that they
are cutting these programs and cutting the public sector. But David, the
denial is not only around at FOX. The reality is that some lawmakers are
in denial, too. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Noticeably absent from this equation has
been growth. And the biggest economic problem of the last four years has
been the dismal economic growth. Under Barack Obama --

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We are still 3.1 million jobs below the high point
of November 2007. 3.1 million jobs. And the fact is the average, the
average growth after 13 quarters post World War II recession or recovery is
over 18 percent. Under Ronald Reagan, 19 percent. Under Obama is about
seven percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He has no effective plan to create better jobs,
more hiring or rising wages. That`s what`s missing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: David, the fact is that unemployment is at a four-year low.
7.7 percent. Two hundred thirty six thousand new jobs created just last
month alone. And even "The Wall Street Journal," certainly no liberal
paper, calculated that unemployment rate, if it -- if we take out the cuts
to the public sector, the jobless rate without the government cuts would be
at 7.1 percent. And we`d have 950,000 more jobs in the U.S. economy.
David, it`s because the republican policies that the cuts were made. So
how can they say the President isn`t making progress?

CORN: Well, first, let me congratulate the professor. Although, I
think she was not in the right weight class. He was shrinking down last
night. But nevertheless, good job. The Republicans here are caught in
this incredibly contradictory, hypocritical position in which they say we
favor growth, we favor growth. You know, things aren`t growing fast
enough. And, yet, they favor austerity. Which is the opposite of growth.
Their large economic theory is that the Wall Street somehow crashed because
of government spending.

Which is completely false. That`s not why we have the crash in 2008
that led from Wall Street to Main Street sort of collapsing. And now they
come and say, OK, if we squeeze more. We throw people off food stamps and
head start and squeeze Medicaid and voucherize Medicare, we will have
growth. There is really no evidence of that. It`s sort of -- it
contradicts mainstream economics.

And yet, you know, they argue both propositions at the same time. So
they really have nothing other than sort of a fairytale, magical thinking
view on the economy. They don`t have the diagnosis right about what
happened. They don`t have the prescription right. Yet they just keep
sounding off on this.

SHARPTON: Professor, do you think what we need is more people that
will get out there like you are and confront this false claims and really
put the facts out there no matter where you have to go to do it?

HELDMAN: Well, I do think that it`s important to engage the other
side. I think that Sean Hannity is a perfectly likable person. I happen
to know that he tips 100 percent in his private life. I just wish his
public stances and the stances of Republicans didn`t go after the poor, the
elderly kids with Pell grant cuts, Medicaid cuts, job training cuts. I
mean, you really do have to put your money where your mouth is.

And I think that David is absolutely right that we have this recent
history amnesia right, where we get to blame the President for the
deregulation of Wall Street that has led to the largest transfer of wealth
from the public sector to the private sector in the history of our nation.

SHARTPON: And I agree with you, Professor. I don`t have a problem
with any of them personally. They just seem to have a problem with facts.
Caroline Heldman and David Corn, thank you for your time tonight.

CORN: Sure thing, Reverend.

HELDMAN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, my favorite story of the day. President Obama,
Mitch McConnell, and a lunch menu you can`t even make up. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: On Thursday as part of his reaching out effort, President
Obama`s having lunch with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill. The main
course? A university of Maine lobster salad. Delicious. And how about a
nice side dish to go with it? They`ll have FOX family potato chips. Now,
hold on. I know what you`re thinking. It`s not that FOX. FOX family
potato chips come from a mom and pop chip shop based in Mapleton, Maine.

The FOX family have been growing potatoes since the 1800s. Sounds
like a great meal. But the dessert might be the best course. It`s wild
Maine blueberry pie. Blueberry pie! And we all know about blueberry pie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: When I look at the GOP, they talk about the economy`s bad
and we didn`t do it, we were the ones fighting! But they got the blueberry
pie all over their face! They were the ones eating the pie!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Of course they were eating the pie. These are the folk
whose number one goal was to make President Obama a one-term president.
The folks who brought us two wars and the Bush tax cuts. These guys aren`t
just serving blueberry pie, they`re wearing it. The pie will be all over
Senator McConnell`s face when the president arrives for lunch on Thursday.
But don`t worry, Mitch. He`ll give you a chance to clean up if you`re
willing to make a deal.

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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