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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

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POLITICS NATION
March 19, 2013

Guests: Patrick Murphy; Richard Wolffe, Nia-Malika Henderson, Margie Omero


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

Tonight`s "Lead," 10 years after the start of the Iraq war, too many
on the right still don`t get it. Ten years ago tonight President Bush
announced the U.S. had started bombing Iraq. He did this despite the
millions of us who marched in the streets demanding that he stop beating
the drums of war.

The Bush administration sold the war using the worst kinds of
falsehoods and fear-mongering.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: But we don`t want the
smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.

RICHARD CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: The checks alleged that
Mohammed, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence
official five months before the attack.

GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD PRESIDENT: The British government has learned
that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from
Africa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Bush and his crew misled America about virtually every
aspect of this war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHENEY: My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re dealing with a country that can really
finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.

BUSH: In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have
prevailed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Mission accomplished turned into a national tragedy. With
unimaginable costs. Nearly 4500 Americans were killed in the war. Over
32,000 Americans were wounded. Left maimed or crippled by Bush`s war.

In 2002 before the war began, a young state senator named Barack Obama
came out to oppose the invasion of Iraq. At a time when few politicians on
the left were showing that kind of courage.

When he was running for president a few years later, he promised to
end the Iraq war, and in 2011, he did.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As president, I want us
to fight on the right battlefield. And what that means is getting out of
Iraq.

The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year.
Across America, our servicemen and women will be reunited with their
families. Today, I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home
for the holidays.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Our troops are home. The Iraq war is over. But today too
many Republicans haven`t learned the lessons of this tragedy. Dick Cheney
himself says he has no regrets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHENEY: It is a wartime situation and it was more important to be
successful than it was to be loved. If I had to do it over again, I would
do it in a minute.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And here`s what a new Republican congressman, a veteran
considered a rising star in the party, said just last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: Are we fighting too many wars? And I
would say no. We`re fighting one war. And it`s a war against radical
Islamic jihad. Final question is, can we afford this war? The answer is
yes, we can afford it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He`s wrong. The truth is, we are fighting too many wars.
And we can`t afford any more. Every dollar spent on a bomb in Iraq was a
dollar not spent here at home. A dollar not spent on books for our
children. A dollar not spent on food for the hungry or medicine for the
sick.

We spent 10 years trying to build a nation in Iraq. It`s time to do
some nation building here at home.

Joining me now is former Democratic congressman, Patrick Murphy. He
was the first Iraq war veteran to serve in Congress. And Richard Wolffe,
MSNBC.com executive editor.

Thank you both for joining me.

FMR. REP. PATRICK MURPHY, FIRST IRAQ VET IN CONGRESS: Thanks,
Reverend.

RICHARD WOLFFE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MSNBC.COM: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Congressman, you served there. What are your thoughts
tonight about this war that Bush and Cheney led us into?

MURPHY: Well, Reverend, it still breaks my heart. The fact is, when
I was there 10 years ago, I lost 19 men in my unit.

SHARPTON: Nineteen.

MURPHY: Nineteen men in my unit, of the almost 4500 we lost total.
And not one person in the Bush administration has been held accountable.
Not one. They haven`t even apologized. I mean, it was one of the biggest
strategic catastrophes in our nation`s history. Our troops did an amazing
job. They did the job, you know, that they could do. But they were
shorthanded.

The American public was misled in this war. They completely said that
it was about 9/11, a connection. Then they said it was about weapons of
mass destruction. Neither of which was true. Neither of which our own
intelligence agency said it wasn`t true. You know I served on the
Intelligence Committee in the Congress.

SHARPTON: Right.

MURPHY: And to hear --

SHARPTON: That`s -- I wanted you to walk through that slowly. You
were in the Intelligence Committee. The intelligence was saying it is not
true in terms of weapons of mass destruction. They went ahead anyway.
Forty-five hundred of our men and women lost their lives. And Mr. Cheney
says, I have no regrets?

MURPHY: Right. And of course, that`s Mr. Cheney who when it was his
generation`s war in Vietnam got four deferments and said, well, I had
better things to do. But it was my generation who was serving when he was
really quick to get us in wars that were unnecessary and had no connection
to 9/11 and Afghanistan.

SHARPTON: Now, Richard, I think that when I talked about the fear-
mongering, in the aftermath of 9/11, people were absolutely on edge.

WOLFFE: Sure, they were.

SHARPTON: Absolutely nervous. So you could understand people being
misled. And some of us that were out early against this war were looked
upon with great disdain.

WOLFFE: Yes.

SHARPTON: But here we are today 10 years later, and you still have
senators like McCain and Graham who today are saying that we should be part
of the same kind of policy in Syria.

Let me show you what they said. "The provision of arms to vetted
Syrian opposition groups, targeted strikes against Assad`s aircraft and
scud missile batteries on the ground and the establishment of safe zones
inside Syria to protect civilians and opposition groups."

Ten years after the start of Iraq war, they`re rattling the sabers
again.

WOLFFE: Right. So we`ve got to put this into a bit of context here.
Because Syria, look, there isn`t Iraq or nothing.

SHARPTON: Right.

WOLFFE: Iraq has to be put into its context. And John McCain and
Lindsey Graham were two of the cheerleaders even before Bush came in,
right? There was a whole group of them in the Senate saying we needed to
invade Iraq. And along the way when they realized there were no weapons of
mass destruction, when they realized this was a complete quagmire, the
thing they said it would never be, what they actually said was don`t worry
about it because we`ve got another rationale here.

We`re going to spread democracy. Remember?

SHARPTON: Yes.

WOLFFE: Freedom on the march?

SHARPTON: Right.

WOLFFE: And this is in a region they don`t understand. Language they
don`t understand. Culture they don`t understand. Where having a large
foreign invasion has a long and sad track record of failure. Now, that`s
not to say it cannot be done. You know, look at the different kind of
model that this administration took when it came to Libya. Right? We can
actually help people on the ground and do so in a way that does not
jeopardize American lives and can respect the culture. If you`re going to
push democracy it needs to come from people on the ground. So I don`t
think --

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: And we haven`t even talked about the amount of lives of the
Iraqi people that were lost.

WOLFFE: Right. So there are other ways that America has to stay
engaged in the world, promote democracy, including in the Arab and the
Muslim world, where we are dealing with Jihadi Syria. There may be a very
strong humanitarian case. But it most definitely isn`t the Iraq model.
And the first step for people like John McCain is to admit and to
understand how they went wrong and why they went wrong. America cannot
introduce democracy at the point of a gun.

SHARPTON: And to continue to try to do it even now. That`s why I
brought it up. But I want to go back to you, Congressman, because you
brought up about former Vice President Cheney getting four deferments and
not fighting in Vietnam. But sending your generation to war in Iraq.

There was a new documentary about him. I want you to look at this
exchange that he had with the interviewer in the documentary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you consider your main fault?

CHENEY: My main fault. Well, I don`t spend a lot of time thinking
about my faults, I guess would be the answer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now I don`t want to go back to our views on Cheney. But
what I do want to ask, when you mentioned your generation, in this new
generation of conservatives, do you think that they see Cheney`s faults, or
are they overlooking it and they`re ready to go into Syria or wherever and
the same kind of attitude that Cheney had?

MURPHY: You`re right. The new generation of Republicans and the ones
who served, they think Dick Cheney`s a hero. And that`s what gives me such
great discomfort. It`s like we didn`t learn our lesson from Vietnam or
Iraq. And it`s like Richard said, it has to be organic. We all want
democracy everywhere. But it has to be organic. We can`t go around
starting unnecessary wars.

And it`s like you said, Reverend. When you have John McCain and
Lindsey Graham cheerleading for us to go and bomb Iran, for us to be in
Syria and when our own military experts, if you know, the general -- the
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is General Martin Dempsey. I served
under him in Iraq.

SHARPTON: Right.

MURPHY: He has said we got to be careful before we send arms and put
our men in harm`s way in Syria, because it is a Syria war. And it`s
Hezbollah versus Hamas. Neither of which are friendly to us.

SHARPTON: Again, Richard, saying we don`t understand the culture,
when you look back 10 years ago tonight, was we went into this, look at the
costs. $1.7 trillion.

WOLFFE: Right.

SHARPTON: Benefits owed to war veterans, $490 billion. I mean, how
can Republicans who put this war on a credit card now say we need to
tighten our belt and cut programs for the poor and working class?

WOLFFE: That`s a great point. You know, the Bush administration
fired the economic adviser who said that the Iraq war would cost about $100
billion. Because they thought it was too much. They got it wrong about
Iraq. They also said, by the way, an Iraq that had been invaded by America
would become an ally against Iran. They got that wrong, too.

SHARPTON: Right.

WOLFFE: It`s not just about the cost their strategic judgments were
wrong. When Dick Cheney says it`s more important to be successful than to
be liked, he wasn`t successful. His premise failed. From the beginning it
failed. In the middle it failed and in the end --

SHARPTON: Well, he certainly wasn`t successful, and I`m not sure he`s
liked.

MURPHY: Yes, and when you talk about the costs, by the way, a lot of
those costs now are being borne on the back of our reverends.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

MURPHY: Just after sequestration happened they just cut over 330,000
veterans, current members of our military right now, they just cut their
benefits when it comes to tuition assistance.

SHARPTON: After they sent them to war.

MURPHY: After they sent them to war.

SHARPTON: They could -- and their family`s scholarships for children
of troops who died in Iraq or Afghanistan. Thirty-eight percent cut up to
$2,134 less per scholarship. That`s the thanks they get.

MURPHY: Right.

SHARPTON: In a situation that was totally unfounded. I`m going to
have to leave it there.

Congressman Murphy, Richard Wolffe, thanks for your time tonight.

Ahead, something happened today that nobody could have predicted a
year ago. How is Rand Paul helping the Obama agenda?

And big news on the gun safety fight today. A major development that
we really need to talk about.

Plus, a civil war of epic proportions is unfolding inside the
Republican Party. And Rush Limbaugh is on fire.

One more thing before we go to break today. On the 10th anniversary
of the Iraq war, I think it`s important we look back on the history that
was chronicled in a war zone. Something that has always struck me are the
photos taken by Samantha Appleton. She covered the first three years of
the war for "The New Yorker" magazine and "TIME" magazine.

And in my mind, very few have captured what came out of her camera.
And her work. No one better than Samantha. Her images are some of the
most memorable and searing snapshots. We`ve got more on why it`s a day to
remember, especially our brave men and women who fought for us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined the POLITICS NATION conversation on
Facebook yet? We hope you will. Today, people had a lot to say about the
legacy of the Iraq war 10 years later. Elizabeth says, "Makes me sick to
think how fooled many Americans were. So glad President Obama was not one
of them." Martin says, "It`s a sad day for many of us who served in Iraq."
Janet says, "So many died and so many have come home injured. Changing
their lives forever. This should have never happened."

We want to hear your thoughts about the war. 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: There`s big news today on the gun control fight in
Washington. Senate Democrats are dropping the assault weapons ban from
their main bill on guns. Instead, it will get a separate vote on its own.
But with lower hopes for success. Senator Harry Reid says he made the move
to avoid Republican obstruction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: I want people to have the
ability to vote on assault weapons, mental health, safety in schools,
federal trafficking, clips, everything. But I cannot do that until I get a
bill on the floor. I want something that will succeed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Something that will succeed. The rest of the country wants
that, too. In fact, a majority of Americans, 57 percent, support an
assault weapons ban. But apparently some in Washington thinks that`s not
good enough. Nearly 2800 people have been shot and killed since the
Newtown tragedy. 2800 reasons for our elected officials in Washington to
show some political courage.

The time is now. Americans want to move forward. Lawmakers in both
parties should move forward with the rest of the country.

Joining me now are Nia-Malika Henderson and Margie Omero. Thank you
both for your time.

MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good evening, Reverend.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Glad to be here.

SHARPTON: Nia-Malika, what was behind this development today on
assault weapons? I mean why did it happen? I`m not sure I agree with
this.

HENDERSON: Yes. I think you heard Senator Reid say it when he said
he wants something to succeed. The assault weapons ban in some ways was a
poison pill. If that was added to this bill, it`s likely that it would go
down to defeat. It`s likely that many Democrats, especially Democrats in
red states, would not support this bill.

Remember, the president in his State of the Union address, over and
over again, he said that what he wanted for those kids slain in Newtown,
and Hadiya Pendleton, and all those other people who have been killed by
gun violence, to at least get a vote. Bring a bill to the floor and get a
vote.

So that looks like what will happen. There`s still some disagreement
about what will be the main focus of the bill. Will it be gun trafficking
or will it be background checks? But the White House is certainly pleased
that there is movement on this. And I don`t think the White House is
surprised that the assault weapons ban has been dropped and will be able to
-- you know, people will be able to vote for it as a separate amendment.

And I think lots of Democrats, especially, again, those in those red
states, will actually vote against the assault weapons ban. But they will
support this bill in large part because of the background checks, because
of the tightening of restrictions around gun trafficking. And I think
you`ll be able to get some Republicans to support that, too.

SHARPTON: Well, Margie, you know, the Senate`s gun safety proposals,
here are the proposals that are heading to a vote on the floor next month.
Gun trafficking and straw purchasing. Expanding background checks. Money
for school security. Magazines carrying more than 10 rounds. Assault
weapons ban. These are things that are going to the floor either together
or separately.

Did Democrats sacrifice assault weapons in order to win support for
these other measures? If so, did they really need to do that?

OMERO: Well, I think you`ve heard the White House say a couple of
hours ago we`re still going to fight for this. So I would say it`s too
early to say assault weapons ban is off the table and it`s over. There is
still going to be a vote. The White House still has prioritized it. There
are still people really fighting for it.

I`m not surprised that this happened, but it`s unfortunate that the
politics hasn`t quite moved as quickly as we see public opinion. Because
public opinion actually, as a poll you showed.

SHARPTON: Right.

OMERO: "The Washington Post"/ABC poll, a majority support assault
weapons ban. Two-thirds of women and half of men support that ban from
that poll. And actually 43 percent of Republicans support an assault
weapons ban. So it`s really less controversial in the public than it is
here in Washington. And so it`s a shame that we`re having this debate.
Because this is something that actually a lot of people support.

So I think as you`re going to -- we`re going to continue to have this
debate, and I`m optimistic that we can continue to show that this is
something that people really support.

SHARPTON: Now we also have immigration moving forward. The GOP
Senator Rand Paul today implicitly endorsed a path to citizenship. And I
emphasize implicitly. But I think it`s significant. Let me play what he
said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think the conversation needs to start
by acknowledging that we aren`t going to deport 12 million illegal
immigrants.

(APPLAUSE)

If you -- if you wish to work, if you wish to live and work in
America, then we will find a place for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Nia-Malika, isn`t that a momentum when you start
seeing a right-wing senator like this using this kind of rhetoric? A Tea
Party guy like Rand Paul?

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, this is a big surprise. That you have
Democrats and Republicans really from both wings of the party, you have the
far right as well as the far left, singing from the same prayer book on
immigration. As you said, he implicitly seemed to support a pathway to
citizenship. I think his aides later on sort of backed off of that and
said they -- they support green cards.

And that really is the debate that I think you`re going to have happen
between Republicans and Democrats. Are they for a full pathway to
citizenship? The problem with that for Republicans is that Republicans
hear citizenship, and they hear amnesty.

SHARPTON: Yes.

HENDERSON: And then in their mind they also think that there are
going to be lots of immigrants who are getting welfare, who are getting --
who are getting government benefits, and they don`t want that to happen.

So I think the White House is certainly pleased with where this is
going. You have a bill probably that`s going to be introduced next month
in April, I think.

SHARPTON: Yes.

HENDERSON: It`s a surprise that we`re here. I think it`s a surprise
that we`re talking about immigration. I think it`s a surprise that we`re
still talking about gun control.

SHARPTON: But, you know, Marge -- Marge, you know, Reince Priebus,
the chairman of the RNC, he said yesterday on CNN that Romney`s anti-
immigration comments hurt the party. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: One of the issues that I think really
cut pretty badly within the Hispanic community is when Mitt Romney talked
about self-deportation. And, you know, it`s a concept that really doesn`t
-- it`s not our party`s position. But it was something that I think hit
every Hispanic kitchen table across America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But I just want to tell you that he`s wrong. It is the
party`s position. Because if you read the party`s platform, it says --
this is a direct quote from the Republican Party platform that was voted on
and approved by the GOP in August. Quote, "We will create human procedures
to encourage illegal aliens to return home voluntarily."

Sounds like self-deportation to me. But I`m going to have to leave it
there, unfortunately. I want to thank Nia-Malika Henderson and Margie
Omero for your time tonight.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Rev.

OMERO: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Rush says the GOP is being suckered into changing.
Pop some popcorn, folks. The GOP civil war is getting good.

Plus, Republican leaders tell a whopper about who the party is really
working for. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell wants everyone to
know, the GOP is not a party for the rich.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: Don`t tell me Republicans
are the party of millionaires and billionaires when Obama`s campaign arm is
charging people a half a million dollars for a meeting over near the White
House. We`re for millionaires and billionaires? Come on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Come on. How could anyone possibly think Republicans are
the party of billionaires and millionaires? Forget that a new study shows
Paul Ryan`s budget could cut millionaires` taxes by $200,000. And what a
coincidence, eight of the 10 largest individual donors of the 2012 election
were Republicans.

And the American people must have it wrong, too. A new poll finds 68
percent believe Republicans favor the wealthy.

Senator McConnell, this could be a problem. He`s heading to Palm
Beach this week for a fundraiser, hosted by Hillary and Wilbur Ross. And
guess what? Wilbur Ross, say it with me, is a billionaire. Did Senator
McConnell think all the Republicans` funny money would hide the truth about
who they`re really working for? Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Focus groups described our party as
narrow minded. Out of touch. And, quote, "stuffy old men."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It turns out the narrow minded, out of touch and stuffy old
men really didn`t like what RNC had to say about the party yesterday. And
now the GOP has a civil war on its hands. The conservative national review
is calling its recommendations shallow and opportunistic. Donald Trump is
in on the act tweeting that the report was written by the ruling class of
consultants who blew the election. Short on ideas, just giving excuses to
donors. That`s right. Even calling for the heads of the establishment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK LEVIN, RADIO HOST: Reince Priebus was the head of the Republican
National Committee when Romney lost. Why hasn`t he been fired? Karl Rove
ran the biggest independent PAC in America, or one of them. He won 1.3
percent of his races. These losers are not going to save the Republican
Party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Wow. They usually save that kind of hate for Democrats.
But, of course, the loudest voice is coming from the most narrow minded of
all the stuffy old men. You know who I mean.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: So the Republicans think that
what they have to do in order to stop being criticized or mischaracterized
is to get rid of what people are criticizing. They don`t understand that
they`re being suckered into participating in their own official demise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Republicans are being suckered into changing. Keep telling
yourself that, Rush.

Joining me now is Jonathan Capehart and Angela Rye. Thank you both
for coming on the show tonight.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Rev.

ANGELA RYE, PRINCIPAL, IMPACT STRATEGIES: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, let me start with you. How does the Republican
Party move forward if the far right really wants to prevent them from doing
so?

CAPEHART: It`s really unclear. You know, as I wrote today, the first
12 pages of the growth and opportunity projects report are really brutal
assessment of where the party has been, where it is right now and where it
needs to go if it`s not going to continue to lose presidential elections to
the Democratic Party. But they say a lot of good things. They also, I
want to point out, say that they`re not a policy committee. This is all
sort of tone, tenor and cosmetics.

But you know, diagnosing the problem is the first step to recovery.
It`s proactively doing something to heal yourself that is going to be --
that is the issue. And if folks are squawking at the diagnosis right now,
particularly the base of the party is squawking, I`m not quite sure and I
don`t have a whole lot of faith that the Republican Party is going to get
well or mend itself any time soon. Certainly not with -- not in time for
2016.

SHARPTON: Now, Angela, when the Tea Party group freedom works, it
slammed the RNC report saying the changes it suggests really would hurt Tea
Party candidates. The group`s director says, quote, "they`re trying to
close the process so that upstart candidates, the one that they tell us can
never with, can`t even compete. It`s a little bit like putting the genie
back in the bottle. It just can`t happen." I mean, Angela, is this really
what`s at play here? Is the establishment trying to break the Tea Party?

RYE: Perhaps the establishment is. I think even when you look at how
they released this report, the timing of this report, Rev, they just
finished CPAC. We spent all week looking at the sessions, what they were
called, the hatred being spewed at these different events, the way in which
people of color were treated there. You know, Donald Trump talking about
immigration and it needing to be expanded for Europeans and not so much
people of color.

And then, lo and behold, the Republican Party decides it wants to
rebrand itself the Monday after CPAC where all this hatred is being spewed
and they want to reach out to people of color that they spent the entire
last week berating and beating down. Demonstrating that their prejudices
are still right there intact and that nothing has really changed. And so,
even the messaging is wrong. So, perhaps the establishment and the Tea
Party and some of the more conservatives among them are not at all on the
same page.

SHARPTON: Now, Jonathan, in an interview with Politico, the RNC chair
said the party needs to get with American culture. Interesting. Take a
listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRIEBUS: I think that our party`s divorced itself of the American
culture. That me included would make fun of the president for going on
"The View." And you`ve heard me say these things. And going, you know,
talking hoops for a half an hour on ESPN. And that`s where a lot of
America is at. And I think we`ve got to get with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A lot of the republican Tea Party types didn`t like that.
But who`s right in this, Jonathan?

CAPEHART: Well, Reince Priebus is right. We`ve known this all along.
And when the President was being criticized for doing all these things, we
knew what he was doing. He was leapfrogging us in the media and going
right to the American people where they are. Watching, you know, "Sports
Center" and watching "The View" and watching "Leno" and "Letterman" and all
those things that, you know, every day people do who aren`t, you know,
trapped here in the Washington bubble.

Anyone who thinks that a republican presidential candidate or the
Republican Party can continue to win presidential or try to win
presidential elections without trying to be in sync with the American
people that they spend so much time saying that they speak for, then
they`re never going to succeed.

SHARPTON: Yes. Now, you know, Angela, just in case after watching
Reince Priebus, just before you think that maybe they`re all getting back
to some kind of sane position, let me show you Donald Trump weighed in
today and what he had to say. It says that Donald Trump tweeted, "Sarah
Palin did a great job. Much of what she said was plain old common sense."
So they haven`t recovered totally over there yet, Angela.

RYE: No, they haven`t. And he`s wrong. It was plain and old. You
know, Rev, at the end of the day these folks have got to acknowledge that
even if Reince Priebus goes all Jerry Maguire on us, now he loves black
people and everybody else of color, we don`t believe them. I know that
nowadays they`re really starting to understand Jay-Z and the lyrics. So,
I`ll give them a lyric. We don`t believe you. You need more people. I`m
just saying.

SHARPTON: Let me go back to you, Jonathan. But don`t quote Beyonce.
It seems like the only thing the GOP can unite on, though, Jonathan, is the
hatred for the president. One of the authors of the RNC autopsy said
today, quote, "We`ve got a socialist in office right now. How`s that
working for us?" So they`re still united in this venom against the
president. Just look at Governor Scott Walker. He was talking about the
president. It`s the same old makers and takers rhetoric even from the
establishment part of the Republicans. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What I`ve seen thus far suggests he does not care
about truly balancing the budget. What I think we`ve seen increasingly is
more of a political agenda and one in which he measures success by how many
people are ultimately dependent on the government.

SHARPTON: Same old kind of disparaging the president. That seems to
be the only thing that unites them, Jonathan.

CAPEHART: Yes. And it just shows how far the party has to go and the
authors of that -- of the GOP autopsy have to go to move their party away
from being the scary, mean, you know, stuffy old people party or stuffy
people party to one that, you know, accurately reflects the American people
that they say they want to lead. Where the party is right now, what Scott
Walker said, what Henry Barbour said, what Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump
are saying over these last few days will do nothing to help the Republican
Party in its quest and in its goals.

SHARPTON: Jonathan Capehart and Angela Rye, thanks for coming on the
show tonight.

RYE: Thanks, Rev.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, ten years after the Bush/Cheney war in Iraq, it`s
time to fight for those who fought for this country.

And the right wing won`t stop blabbering about this photo. And
President Obama. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Ten years after the Iraq war, Dick Cheney is talking about
his faults.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What do you consider your main fault?

FMR. VICE PRES. DICK CHENEY (R), UNITED STATES: My main fault. Well,
I don`t spend a lot of time thinking about my faults, I guess would be the
answer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Well, we do. Especially today. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the force behind the chaos inside the
Republican Party. The right wing entertainment complex. It`s the crew
that just can`t accept reality. They can`t accept that President Obama
destroyed them. Twice. So they continue the derangement. And despite all
the calls for change, they refuse to even think about it. If they want
real change, it starts with the party challenging the propaganda wing.

Joining me now, David Brock, founder of Media Matters for America.
And Joe Madison, Sirius XM radio show host. Thank you for your time
tonight.

DAVID BROCK, FOUNDER, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA: Thank you.

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO SHOW HOST: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Joe, let me start with you. Hours after the autopsy, Sean
Hannity went on the air and said this. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Republicans right now if they really
want to not just symbolically, if they want to repeal health care, Dr.
Carson, Obamacare, they`ve got to shut the government down and be labeled
the full faith and credit on the United States is in jeopardy, which is not
true, but if they really want to do that, that`s what it will take. I want
them to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He`s calling for a government shutdown? I mean, this is
the kind of talk that gets from TV to Congress. How can we make any
progress if no one denounces this talk? I mean, with this kind of
blabbering, can we get anything done, Joe?

MADISON: Yes. CPAC, crazy people acting crazy. That`s exactly what
the acronym should stand for. And I find it interesting, too, that they`re
talking to Dr. Carson. Who I admire the accomplishments. But, you know,
we ought to go back to his Detroit days. I believe public housing. I
believe public schools. I also believe he got into Yale on affirmative
action. All these programs, if he shut them down, there would be no Dr.
Carson.

And so the reality is that you`re dealing with people who honestly are
more concerned about sound bites, about appearing on television, as opposed
to winning votes. I will give Michael Steele credit. Thank you, Michael,
for denouncing what Rush Limbaugh said. And more people in the Republican
Party who we know, Reverend, who are good Republicans, who understand, two
parties need -- we need two wings for the bird to fly properly, for the
eagle to fly properly.

SHARPTON: Oh, no. We need -- we need balance in the country. We
need a two party system. No question.

MADISON: We need balance, absolutely.

SHARPTON: You know, Rush Limbaugh, David, and others out there -- but
I`m going to raise the same question to you. With all of this noise, can
we get anything done? Because this noise seems to penetrate on the hill.

BROCK: Oh, the noise definitely penetrates on the hill. We`ve seen a
number of examples in recent years where members of Congress, for example,
Senator Lindsey Graham on climate change, actually cited the role of FOX
News and talk radio in boxing the Republicans in and making it impossible
to reach across the aisle and to show any progress on these issues. So
there`s definitely a relationship between their -- their major spokes
people like Rush Limbaugh who set the tone for the Republican Party.

Don`t forget, around the President`s first inaugural when he said he
wanted Obama to fail, and still sets the tone as well as Sean Hannity. And
so, look, what everybody I think agrees here from Limbaugh to the RNC
chairman is that nobody wants to question the underlying philosophy that`s
at work and so the debate really is about tactics and it`s about window
dressing. But the folks who are out front like Limbaugh and Hannity are
really out of touch with this country.

We`ve seen this country change in so many major ways in the last ten
years. Particularly culturally. And they are -- they are not the first
candidates for your outreach to youth and your outreach to Hispanics,
that`s for sure.

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at Glenn Beck, Joe, he`s tweeting how
the Satan character in the bible miniseries look like President Obama. And
his quote was, anyone else think the devil in "The Bible," Sunday on
history channel looks exactly like that guy? And then Rush Limbaugh picked
it up on -- he picked the smear up. He says, it does -- well, let me play
him saying what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: It does look very, very, very much like a figure that we
see daily in Washington, D.C. The question that sprang to everybody`s mind
is if Satan had a son, would he look like the guy?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, this kind of venom is way beyond disagreeing on
politics. Even passionately disagreeing. Trying to demonize the president
over and over again. I mean, how in this climate do we take care of the
American people?

MADISON: Well, the American people have to take care of them. That`s
really the issue. The American people have to take care of them. They`ve
got a block of supporters, a block of listeners, a block that appears on
Arbitron or it appears on some rating. And it`s really a small block.
Most people will tell you that. It`s not the vast majority. All you have
to do is look at the polls on gun control legislation, same-sex marriage.

They are so far out of step. But, you know, this just goes to prove
something we always say. Apparently, all black guys look alike. I mean,
this is a Moroccan actor who had played this role before. I watched that
series. And I must tell you, sitting there watching it, "The Bible"
series, Obama never crossed my mind.

SHARPTON: No, no.

MADISON: Never crossed my mind.

SHARPTON: I didn`t get to watch it on the TV. But I saw and it never
crossed my mind either. But let me show, it`s not just the president.
Media Matters reports on how FOX News repeatedly reported on an alleged
prostitution scandal involving New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert
Menendez. But now several sources, including the Associated Press, report
the three women lied.

According to Media Matters, FOX News completely ignored the A.P.
report during the March 18th primetime programming after they had continued
over and over and over again to play up the alleged scandal before it was
discredited, Joe. David, let me go to you on this since it`s Media
Matters.

BROCK: Sure. What you have here is a kind of food chain. And the --
the lowest on the food chain is something like the Daily Caller. And the
Daily Caller prints opposition research from the Republican Party. We know
that because we know that this phony Menendez story was shopped elsewhere
before they dumped it on "The Daily Caller." "The Daily Caller" just ran
with it. Now the story is totally imploding. FOX gave lift and life to
that story once it was in "The Daily Caller." And now they`re ignoring the
retraction.

SHARPTON: Yes.

BROCK: And so, what you have here is, you know, there`s not a lot of
places for folks to go and get their reputation back.

SHARPTON: And that`s what`s the sad part. And we`ll have to leave it
there. We`re out of time. David, Joe, thank you for your time tonight.

MADISON: Any time. Any time.

BROCK: Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: Iraq, ten years later. Why I fought against the war from
day one. And why our brave troops who fought in the war need our help now.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally, we need to remember what happened both before and
after America went to war in Iraq ten years ago tonight. Many people were
fooled by President Bush`s falsehoods about the war. Posing that the
invasion was left to a smaller, but passionate minority. I was there from
the start. I can remember marching, urging President Bush to stop the war.
I can still remember comforting anti-war activists like Cindy Sheehan.

I met her near President Bush`s Texas ranch. At Camp Casey. Named
for her son. He was killed in action in the war. From day one, I didn`t
agree with the invasion of Iraq. But I always knew how important it was to
support our troops. Especially when they came home. The President talked
about it in his state of the union.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We will keep faith with our
veterans. Investing in world class care, including mental health care.
For our wounded warriors. Supporting our military families. Giving our
veterans the benefits and education and job opportunities that they have
earned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Over 1.1 million Americans served in Iraq, and over 32,000
returned home with severe combat wounds. It`s a big reason why 45 percent
of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are seeking disability assistant.
It`s a staggering number. The wait time for that help is even worse. On
average, it`s over 300 days for our newest veterans. Our veterans deserve
better. Yes, some of us marched against the war. But we did not march
against the troops.

We did not march against those that served the country. It seems that
some of us was against the war and some that were for the war are now
against the warriors that fought the war. You`ve got them in many cases
wounds that they didn`t deserve. To neglect them now is to pour salt on
those wounds. We cannot be a nation that would make mistakes like the war
and then turn around and forget those that we used to enact the mistakes.

Ten years later, let us at least have the decency to take care of the
veterans that stood up. As flawed as the policies were, they flawlessly
put their lives on the line and come home expecting this nation to stand up
for them.

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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