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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

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POLITICS NATION
March 20, 2013

Guests: Jim Warren; Eric Schneiderman, Alan Grayson, Cynthia Tucker, Alex Seitz-Wald, Patricia Murphy


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

Tonight`s lead, President Obama leads as Republican look very small.

Today. The president arrived in Israel for the first time as
president, a three-day trip where he will meet with Israeli and Palestinian
leaders. For months, Republicans attacked his leadership and cynically
said this president doesn`t care about one of our strongest allies. But
what the world saw today was President Obama leading on the world stage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As Bibi mentioned, this
is our fourth meeting. We spent more time together, working together than
I have with an leader. America`s support for Israel`s security is
unprecedented and the alliance between our nations has never been stronger.
Israel`s security is guaranteed because it has a great deal on its side,
including wavering support of the United States of America. They got a
friend in me in the United States that we have your back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We have your back. Doesn`t exactly fit the Republican`s
effort to use Obama`s diplomacy as a battery ram against him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: On Israel, it`s never been worse
between the United States and Israel.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You skipped Israel
but you went to the other nations. And by the way, they noticed that you
skipped Israel.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: They see
president Obama and New York City the same day Bibi Netanyahu is and
instead of meeting with him goes on a daily talk show.

ROMNEY: Disrespectful of prime minister Netanyahu?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Disrespectful of prime minister Netanyahu? Really? Let`s
hear what that man said today, the prime minister himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER: I want to thank you for
the investment you have made in our relationship and in strengthening the
friendship and appliance between our two countries. It is deeply, deeply
appreciated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: In a visit important to our nation`s security, the
Republican attacks against this president`s foreign policy seemed puny,
especially when the president and prime minister were actually laughing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: And I want to express a special thanks to Sarah, as well as
your two sons, for their warmth and hospitality. It was wonderful to see
them. They are -- I did inform the prime minister that they are very good
looking young men who clearly got their looks from their mother.

(LAUGHTER)

NETANYAHU: Well, I can say the same of your daughters.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: This is true. Our goal is to improve our gene pool by
marrying women better than we are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is the reality. The GOP consistently tries to paint
the president as someone that he isn`t. They falsely accuse him of being
anti-American, of being lazy, of being born in another country. And then,
come is the reality, today it was there for the world to see.

Joining me now is Jim Warren, Washington bureau chief of "the New York
Daily News" and MSNBC contributor Joy Reid.

Thanks to both for being with us tonight.

JOY-ANN REID, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Nice to be here.

JIM WARREN, WASHINGTON BUREAU, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Hi.

SHARPTON: Jim, Iran, Syria, the peace process, these are really tough
issues. Is the president trying to reset relations with the Israeli
government?

WARREN: You know, I think as much as anything, Reverend, he`s trying
to slightly reset them with the general Israeli public. I mean, one
realizes that Netanyahu knows what the deal is. They`ve met ten times? I
mean, that`s far more than he`s met with Putin, it is far more than the
leaders with China and ironically perhaps even far more than some
particular congressional leaders. But reputations and images, as you know,
good and bad, are hard to lose.

And here`s a situation in which, I think, the image felt among
conservatives in this country and among the Israeli public fly in the face
of what are the facts. Never in history on many levels, intelligence
sharing, military aid, security information being shared has a relationship
been any stronger than it is today. And a little bit of news, if you`re
listening toward to that press conference was that this significant
military aid package that we have with Israel that we give Israel, looks
like it`s going to be extended by another ten years as of the year 2017.

Now, that doesn`t sound like mortal enemies at work. And when you
look at what played out today and it wasn`t just the joking about the good
looking sons. It was also rather poignant moment right after that when he
started reading some of the deceased prime minister Netanyahu`s brother`s
writings and Netanyahu tear up, one saw that the charm offensive, that the
genuine charm offensive that was off of display today makes what is going
on in Washington and been chronicled with all of the congressmen almost
look like mean-spirited backstabbing. This was genuine and effective.

SHARPTON: But I think the problem, joy, that I`m having with this is
that with all of the sensitivities and many of us have different views
about Middle East and about what should and shouldn`t be done and balance
and all. But with all at stake, Iran, what`s going on with Syria, whether
there`s going to be -- whether it was chemical warfare being used, it was
used for cheap political points by the right wing against this president in
very volatile times.

To give you an example. John Bolton, the former U.N. ambassador,
slammed President Obama for being hostile towards Israel. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED STATES: I think it`s
clear that President Obama is the most hostile president that America has
had since the formation of Israel in 1948.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The most hostile president since 1948 when Israel was
formed yet we find today, as Jim just said, he and Netanyahu have met ten
times. The highest civilian award given to any civilian is going to be
presented to him by Shimon Perez, the president of Israel.

REID: Right. And this goes back to when President Obama was running
in 2008. And many on the right, from Sarah Palin on, characterized him as
very close to a terrorist. It was all of his insinuation that he`s really
a Muslim, that he is lying about his Muslim faith, there were also
insinuation because of the identity of his father, because his father was
from Kenya, that he was a Marxist into low part attempting to exceed to the
thrown in the United States. And that characterization is carried overall
the way up until today. The right wing, for political expediency,
constantly tries to portray this president as being anti-Israel.

And of course, when we come up to elections, it gets more intense.
And by the way, Netanyahu, for all of the civility and all the warmth we
are seeing now, has not exactly walked away from I playing to the American
right wing for his own political purposes. There`s been a closeness, at
least perception, you know, in terms of perception, between him and some
elements of the Republican party.

And so, you get the sense from a lot of people that personally
Netanyahu and Barack Obama have not been close, that they have not been on
the same page about a lot of things. But they are on the same page.

SHARPTON: But, the difference, I think, and I couldn`t agree with you
more, but the difference is Netanyahu who can say I`m protecting Israel, I
thought Rodney was going to win and that`s what I do. I`m talking about
American politicians that is supposed to be protecting this country.

REID: Absolutely. Exactly. Republican politicians who have used for
political expediency, this false characterization of the president all the
way to his Cairo speech and trying to make it sound that he (INAUDIBLE)
terrorism are almost. And that extreme speech, I think, has impacted
Barack Obama`s -- the opinion of him on the ground in Israel. And part of
what he`s trying to doing now is to sort of go over the heads of kind of
the leadership and sort of the talking heads and get right to the Israeli
people and form a direct personal bond with them.

SHARPTON: You know, Jim, one of the things that was amazing to me is
with all of this about the president`s hostility to Israel and the worse
want to deal with Israel, you know the president that never went to Israel
in two terms in office, Ronald Reagan. The hero of the conservatives,
Reagan never went to Israel as president. And this president has acted in
ways that you`ve talked about with the ten meetings of Netanyahu, what more
adequate speech can he with deal with as a collective pursuit of peace than
a speech in Cairo, Jim?

WARREN: I mean, I think it`s more than Reagan, Reverend. I think
probably a majority of American presidents since Eisenhower did not trek to
Israel.

SHARPTON: Well, I raised him because he is their hero, so certainly -
-

WARREN: No, I agree.

SHARPTON: Something to note.

WARREN: I agree. And as a young senator during that short period of
time that he was representing the state of Illinois, Obama, you know, went
to Israel. For sure Joy is right on the mark about the bug up their butts
that a lot of folks have about the Cairo speech. But the context there was
one we can forget. The context was one in which a new administration
firmly believed, whether you agree with them or not, that its predecessor,
George W. Bush, had been fighting essentially a war on Islam. That was the
view on the Arab street and the Obama folks went out very directly in Cairo
in 2009 to rebut that.

Now, that had some collateral damage particularly among the Israeli
public which seems to have forgotten in large measure that the level of
cooperation, be it economic, military, intelligence sharing between the two
courts has never exceeded what now finds with President Obama.

SHARPTON: I`m going to leave it on that point.

Jim Warren and Joy Reid, thank you for joining us this evening.

REID: Thank you.

WARREN: Pleasure, Rev. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Michele Bachmann running from reality? Sorry
congressman. You can run but you can`t hide from the truth.

Plus, in tonight`s nice try but we`ve got you segment, Kennedy, Cruz,
the birthers, what could possibly go wrong? Don`t worry, we have got them.

And March Madness is here. College basketball going wild. But
Republicans have found another way to go after the president. I`ll be
stuffing their weak stuff coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will. Today, everyone was talking about gun
reform, especially the decision to drop senator Feinstein`s assault weapons
ban from the big gun reform package.

Ricky says we should be ashamed.

Angela says, I`m with President Obama and senator Feinstein. We must
keep fighting for this.

And Kara says I`m all for an assault weapons ban but we may have to
take baby steps here.

Colorado made a big step forward on gun reform today. We`ve got the
details coming up next.

But first, we want to hear what you think. 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: This morning I woke up to a powerful headline in "the New
York Daily News." Shame on U.S. Shame on us. These are the names and
faces of the 20 children killed in the Newtown shooting. Twenty reasons
why so many of us are still concerned about the Senate dropping the say
salt weapons ban from the gun safety bill but we`re not giving up. There`s
still a lot of work to be done.

Today, the governor of Colorado signed an important gun safety bill
into law, a series of bills into law. The new laws limit ammunition
magazines and requires universal background checks to be paid for by gun
customers themselves. They followed New York who just over a month ago
became the state with the toughest gun laws in the country. Outlawing
magazines over seven rounds and even requiring background checks to buy
bullets. Gun safety is a national problem but the states are leading the
way. None more than the state of New York.

Joining me now is the man who played the pivotal role in getting those
laws passed, New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman.

Mr. Attorney general, welcome back to the show.

You had a top law enforcement official in one of the biggest states in
the country. Tell us how you managed to get things done what Congress so
far has not been able to do.

ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think we ought
to give credit to my colleagues in government and really on a bipartisan
basis in New York. I think people seized the political moment. The
tragedy in Newtown was a galvanizing force and the New York safe law, the
bill that the governor and Senate and assembly passed and I`m now defending
in court is a terrific step forward.

But I have to tell you, in my experience, our office has reached a
deal, a collaborative deal with all of the gun show operators in the state.
The overwhelming majority of gun owners, sportsman gun enthusiasts that
I`ve talked and I traveled on the state a lot, they all support universal
background checks. They all support commonsense gun measures.

SHARPTON: No. See, that`s what I want to get to. This gun show
operators that you`ve been able to really make a breakthrough, you managed
to get rid of a deadly loophole in New York. And a majority of gun shows,
more than 80 percent, and New York state have agreed to firearm tracking
and sales. You worked with the gun show operators to get this done. Tell
us about this.

SCHNEIDERMAN: The experience was that we realized there were gun
shows that weren`t doing background checks and were assuring that sales
were followed by background checks. We did an undercover sting operation
and busted six different gun shows. But, when confronted the operators
with this information, instead of just making this decision we`re going to
prosecute a few people, we said, let`s work out model procedures and we did
cooperatively with the gun show operators. And now we only busted six.
Now we`ve got more than 20 that have already signed up. These people are
volunteering, signed up, saying --

SHARPTON: These are NRA members? These are pro-gun people?

SCHNEIDERMAN: This is the rank and file of the NRA. And people keep
saying that the NRA is opposed. I don`t know what the leadership is saying
in Washington, but I will you that the NRA members in New York state are
responsible gun owners, they do not want people with criminal background or
people with mental health problems and drunk guns, they have worked with us
collaboratively to make sure that we`re seamlessly sealed off. You cannot
buy a gun in a gun show in New York without a background check. And we are
going to not stop until that`s one pass.

SHARPTON: But see, this is what drives me bananas, because why can`t
Washington do this? If you can do this in the state, Colorado moving
forward, this should be a national model for them to get out of the beltway
and get out here 92 percent of the American people are supporting
background checks. What are they arguing about in Congress?

In congress, I think you`re right. I think people have to get out of
the beltway. I think yelling at each other from podiums and sound bites,
not doing the job. You know how I got to establish a line of
communications? I got out of Manhattan when I was a state senator. I went
up and met with sportsmen in Central New York, went shooting with them and
listened to their problems. We opened a line of communication that is now
enable us to close the loophole in New York state.

I hope the feds take advantage of this. I think people should be
getting out of Washington, talking with the sportsman and their states. I
think the sportsmen support honest, fair, background checks.

So let me get this right. You are perceived in some states as a
liberal New Yorker elected official. You went up and went shooting with
them?

SCHNEIDERMAN: Yes. When I took over the community in the senate, the
deal with justice issues, the NRA put out this warning, warning, antigun
senator takes over key committee. So, to deal with that, I just went where
the rank and file were and established direct lines of communication.

I got to tell you, the overwhelming majority of gun owners and
sportsmen in America, they are decent people. They don`t want to see kids
shot down. I think background checks are still something that Washington
can accomplish. I think that gun trafficking legislation can still get
done in Washington. If we can`t do this assault weapons ban, that doesn`t
mean it is time to give up.

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at New York state`s laws, some of the
toughest in the country, outlaws of broader array of military-style weapons
that restricts ammunition magazines to seven rounds. It creates a more
comprehensive database of people barred from owning guns. It requires
background checks to buy bullets, mental health professionals would be
required to report patient threats to use guns illegally. I mean, this is
just commonsense stuff that seized the moment after Newtown to say wait a
minute, we are burying six more babies in Chicago and we can`t get
background checks? What`s going on in Washington?

SCHNEIDERMAN: No. I think you`re right. And I do think certainly,
in New York, everyone I`ve talked with agrees with this and I think it`s
true of people nationally. I think this, after a series of these
disasters, Newtown was just one step too far and the governor and speaker
of the assembly and leaders of the Senate took advantage of this to pass in
New York. The gun, needless to say, there are people trying to challenge
the gun law but my office is defending it and I`m confident that we`ll
prevail and we will set up a model.

But, more importantly, it`s not that hard to actually do back ground
checks. What I`m trying to show people is the gun shows operators in knew,
New York, they are not so much more than eventual operators everywhere
else. I don`t think -- we just have a commitment to make sure that no one
who has a criminal background or who has a mental health problem gets a gun
in our state and that is something that I shared a gun enthusiasts,
sportsmen, NRA members, does not have a gun in our state and liberals from
Manhattan alike.

SHARPTON: Well, folks, there`s a way to do this. There`s a way to
get this done. The Schneiderman way might be what they need to look at in
Washington.

New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman, thank you for your
time tonight and thank you for what you`re doing.

SCHNEIDERMAN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, why Democrats loved the Paul Ryan budget. You
heard right. Democrats, wrong way, Ryan is dragging the GOP right over the
cliff.

But first, Sean Hannity has a brand-new birther theory. You`ll
definitely want to hear this one.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Tough guy senator Ted Cruz is the toast of the right wing,
but now they are worried about his future.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: There have been questions raised about
the issue of are you eligible to run for president. You were born in
Canada.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Well Sean, I`ll leave those questions for
others to worry about.

HANNITY: But your mother was a U.S. citizen? Just to clarify.

CRUZ: That`s correct. My mom was a U.S. citizen so I`m a citizen by
birth.

HANNITY: I hear birther cries building on the left that you have to
do run.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Oh, yes. Those birther cries are really building on the
left. Liberals are constantly asking for the long-term birth certificates.
Come to think of it, was senator Cruz really born in Canada? Or was it
Kenya? And he went to Princeton and Harvard law but I never saw those
transcripts.

But, back to Hannity, he`s right. It`s wrong to question a
politician`s citizenship. I mean, who would stoop that low?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: What`s the deal? Why can`t they just release the birth
certificate, you know, and just move on?

You don`t have a problem with people saying, can you see it?

He could just go get the birth certificate and it would be over and
I`m just curious why he wouldn`t do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I`m curious why the right wing would all of a sudden be
against birthers? Did they think we wouldn`t notice they are accusing
liberals of doing exactly what they did?

Nice try but we go you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, President Obama was in Israel almost 6,000 miles
from home but the scene back in Washington was definitely on his mind.
Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: It`s good to get away from
Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s good to get away with Congress. Can you blame him?
Today, House Republicans were gushing over the Ryan budget that would end
Medicare as we know it, cut aid to the poor, and lower taxes on the rich.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMES LANKFORD (R), OKLAHOMA: Give support to what is happening
for the past prosperity, reward those individuals who are creating jobs and
that`s what the republican budget does.

REP. JEB HENSARLING (R), TEXAS: I`m proud to support both the
Republican Study Committee Budget and the House Republican Budget.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s amazing. These are the very same ideas that voters
rejected in the election. Tomorrow, Republicans are expected to vote for
the Ryan budget overwhelmingly and that has some Democrats licking their
chops. "The Hill" newspaper reports that the Democrats are ready to slam
the GOP on the Ryan budget putting out this add on the 2014 election. So
go ahead, Republicans, vote for that Ryan budget. The American people are
going to have a very different vote for you very soon.

Joining me now is congressman -- democratic Congressman Alan Grayson
and Cynthia Tucker. Thank you both for joining me.

REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: Thanks.

CYNTHIA TUCKER, PULITZER PRIZE WINNING COLUMNIST: Good to be here,
reverend.

SHARPTON: Congressman, this will be the third time Republicans voted
on a version of the Ryan budget. And it might be the worst one yet. How
do you explain these Republicans in the House?

GRAYSON: Well, the budget should have been relegated long time ago to
the septic tank of history. But here it is to with us, it`s bad for
seniors, it`s bad for children, and it`s bad for everyone, even white guys.
And you wonder why they keep bringing it back over and over again, it
raises the debt by $6 trillion. That`s $20,000 for every man, women, and
child in this country for the sake of giving a $400,000 tax break to
millionaires. The Republicans are literally trying to bribe millionaires
with their own money.

SHARPTON: You know, Cynthia, a new poll shows that Paul Ryan`s
favorability rating with Americans if falling, look at this. Before the
election in August, his rating was 50 percent. Now it`s down to 35
percent. So, they are following someone who is falling in the eyes of the
American public.

TUCKER: Sinking like a stone. Among Republicans, his favorability
ratings have dropped precipitously among Republicans. They had a look at
what he has to offer, it was not something that the American public was
buying, and so now Republicans are ready to move on. Paul Ryan, however,
doesn`t seem to get it. You know, the Republican Party just went through
this exhaustive autopsy of all of the things that they did wrong.

SHARPTON: Right.

TUCKER: That has caused them to lose not just the last elections but
five out of six of the popular election votes and presidential elections
over the last several runs. But Paul Ryan believes that it was an
austerity that sank the Romney/Ryan ticket. He believes that they just
didn`t sell that austerity enough. He has said that. He believes, oh, we
just didn`t message it well enough. The American people knew exactly what
they were selling and they wanted no part of it. And yet here they come,
bringing back the same tired losing ideas again.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Congressman, today during the debate, House
Republicans actually insisted that government spending can`t create jobs.
Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LANKFORD: We`re not promoting additional stimulus spending as the
budget is being proposed right now is. A giant proposal for additional
spending did not help us several years ago. Jobs do not come from
additional federal spending long term.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But Congressman, new polls show Americans of both parties
wants the federal government to spend to create jobs. Ninety one percent
are Democrats and 63 percent of Republicans support a federal government
program that would put people to work through infrastructure repairs, is
what they support. And 93 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of
Republicans support the federal government spending money to create more
than a million new jobs. This is just a fact. And they are saying,
government doesn`t create jobs. Government spending will not do it.

GRAYSON: Well, I think that it shows that the public has a much
better grip on reality than the Republican Party does. Look at state after
state when the Republicans have been in charge. They have cut government
spending in those states and they have laid off firefighters, they`ve laid
of teachers, they`ve laid of police officers, they`ve laid off all sorts of
public servants and destroyed those jobs and in those states like mine,
like in Florida, unemployment has remained high.

I`m not going to get into some abstract debate about whether
government spending creates jobs because we`ve seen in our own eyes the
past few years and we`re about to see again with the federal sequester,
that cutting government spending definitely destroys jobs and that`s what
we`re going to see right now.

We have a $14 trillion economy with $13 trillion of demand. And the
government is not making up the difference. If the government stops and
this economy will collapse. Maybe Republicans will be happy because there
will be a reserved army of 25 million unemployed people but as for the
middle class in America, that`s going to be all over.

SHARPTON: And we`re not talking Cynthia about jobs that are not
necessary. I mean, when I come down your way, as I offered to come down to
Atlanta, you go right down I-20, we need infrastructure redevelopment.
We`re talking about bridges, tunnels, infrastructure that needs repair,
needs to be dealt with, jobs that are needed. We`re not just talking about
charity here.

TUCKER: Indeed not, I mean, this is --

GRAYSON: Look, I have five children -- sorry.

TUCKER: This is not like the works public administration where some
of the jobs that were created during the great depression weren`t
immediately necessary. I love some of those artworks but you can argue
that those weren`t necessary. But infrastructure spending is absolutely
necessary. We are running so far behind. Some of our biggest
international competitors, like the Chinese.

SHARPTON: Right.

TUCKER: Who are building high-speed rail, bridges, roads. We`re not
doing that. Our infrastructure is -- in disrepair.

SHARPTON: And we need to do it. Congressman, you know, we saw you
going to Boehner`s office with petitions for 300,000 signatures about
ending the sequester, but who`s going to fight them on these -- the need
for jobs, the need to stop this nonsense? I mean, are you going to take
them on? Who`s going to stop this nonsense in Congress?

GRAYSON: Well, I`m hoping that the 750,000 people at a minimum will
lose their jobs because of the republican sequester will take them on. I`m
hoping that the three million people who may end up losing their jobs
because the 750,000 people have no money left to spend on their rent, on
housing, on health care, on food, all of the things that keep other people
employed, I`m hoping that they are complaining about it, too.

And we did take 350,000 petitions directly to Boehner`s office to show
him that at least there`s 350,000 people in this country with their eyes
wide open who understands that if we stop this, if we cut these jobs, we`re
going to end up hurting ourselves. And this notion that the recovery act
didn`t do any good is just nonsense. In my neighborhood, the recovery act
paid to replace the trailers that my children are going to school, I have
five children who are in public school in Orlando. They were going to
school in trailers and we replaced that with a brick building.

SHARPTON: Well, the people that know the impact of the recovery are
those that needed to be recovered. The very wealthy have not to recover
from, so they don`t know what the recovery was. Congressman Alan Grayson
and Cynthia Tucker, thanks for your time tonight.

TUCKER: Good to be here.

GRAYSON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, is that Michele Bachmann training for a marathon?
Nope. It`s just a mad dash from the facts. What a story.

And it`s March tradition like no other. Brackets, basketball, and GOP
derangement. All that madness is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Let the March madness begin. President Obama`s back with
what`s become a fun tradition, filling out his bracket for the NCAA
basketball tournament.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: As president, we have a new term, previous term,
one in three.

OBAMA: But I think we can do better.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: OK. Four hundred years.

OBAMA: Four hundred years. Let`s see what we can do. Louisville
looks good, I think Pitino knows how to motivate his crew. St. Louis is
looking good.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You got two Cincinnati.

OBAMA: I still need to go with Duke. You know, coach -- knows what
he`s doing when it comes to tournament.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Notre Dame -- I don`t know if you saw the uniforms
that Notre Dame wore.

OBAMA: That`s one reason why they should go --

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.

OBAMA: I`m wearing a green tie today because we have got the Irish
prime minister visiting. But --

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You know, the Syracuse?

OBAMA: Good match, I like Syracuse. Mainly because Biden told me
that if I didn`t pick him he wouldn`t talk to me. For the championship,
I`m going back to the big 10. I think this is Indiana`s year.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Wow. All right, thanks.

OBAMA: Great to see you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The President picking Indiana to win it all. Filling out
his brackets just like millions of other Americans. It`s the sort of thing
that helps the President connect with the American people. The head of the
RNC says it`s something that Republicans need to copy, not criticize.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I think that
our party has divorced itself from 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 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: Get with it. That`s a great idea. Problem is, other
Republicans are not on board. Today, a top republican issued a statement
ripping the president for his basketball picks, slamming his, quote,
"Shocking failure of leadership," and saying the president should be,
quote, "Spending a little less time preparing his brackets and a little
more time doing his job." And some House Republicans actually made a web
video attacking his brackets. These guys are chucking air balls.
Americans like a president they can relate to. If Republicans don`t
understand that, they don`t belong in the game.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Do you remember Usain Bolt? He was the world-breaking gold
medal winning Jamaican sprinter who was the toast of London Olympics, the
guy who is considered the fastest person ever. Well, from Usain Bolt, we
go to an Insane Bolt.

Check out republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann running for her
life through the halls of Congress. Just look at her sprint. She can`t
get away from that reporter fast enough. Why? Because she was asked to
respond to this whopper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: A new book is out talking about
the perks in excess of the $1.4 billion a year presidency that we`re paying
for and this is a lifestyle that is one of excess. Now we find out that
there are five chefs on Air Force One. There are two projectionists who
operate the White House movie theater. We are also the ones who are paying
for someone to walk the President`s dog, paying for someone to walk the
President`s dog.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Bachmann`s allegations were totally bogus. "The Washington
Post`s" fact checker say, "Money spent on the presidency and the so-called
perks she describes appear to be no different for Obama than for Bush or
other presidents. It`s absurd to suggest otherwise." And it earned her
the prestigious four Pinocchios. But the marathon of Sprint wasn`t ending.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What I want to ask you about is the
fact that you said that he had -- you talked about the excess that he`s
engaged in, the fact that he has a dog walker, which is not true.

BACHMANN: The big point of my speech was about Benghazi. This was an
absolute disaster. You want to talk about dog handlers and there`s four
Americans killed? That`s an insult.

BASH: But congresswoman, you`re the one that brought it up!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And she`s gone. We shouldn`t be surprised. It`s not the
first time Bachmann`s ran away from a woman trying to ask her a question.
Remember this, this story we unearthed today when Bachmann bolted in tears
to escape two lesbians who were trying to talk to her in 2005. Republicans
want to live in a fact-free zone but when they get caught in the land of
make-believe, all they can do is run from reality.

Joining me now are Alex Seitz-Wald and Patricia Murphy. Thanks to
both of you for being here tonight.

ALEX SEITZ-WALD, SALON: Thanks.

PATRICIA MURPHY, CITIZEN JANE POLITICS: Hi.

SHARPTON: Alex, this is some kind of Olympic Sprint from Bachmann.
How can a member of Congress run from something she said in a speech?

SEITZ-WALD: Yes. Well, she`s like the raw uncut aide of the
conservative movement. Yes. There`s no filter on what she says and she`s
been doing this forever. But it`s really about fundraising for her I
think. It`s not about trying to make a point or trying to be right, it`s
about trying to throw out the most outlandish claim possible and hitting
our supporters up there in email and saying, look, I`m kissing off MSNBC
and Rev. Al, they are attacking me. Won`t you chip in $5 to defend me?
So, there`s a bizarre world where there`s no incentive for her to be right
and the more wrong she is, the better she does.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m not pissed off, I just pity, I mean, this is so
bizarre. But let me ask you, Patricia, you know, in a speech she said,
when questioned about a speech, it was all about Benghazi. But listen to
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN: Of every dollar that you hold in your hand, 70 cents of
that dollar that`s supposed to go to the poor doesn`t. It actually goes to
benefit the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. Seventy cents on a dollar.
That`s how the President`s caring works and practices. So $3 in food
stamps for the needy. Seven dollars in salaries and pensions for the
bureaucrats who are supposed to be taking care of the poor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, PolitiFact says that her claims about money for the
poor going to D.C. bureaucrats are quote, "ridiculously off base" and they
rule her claims to merit a pants on fire rating, Patricia.

MURPHY: Yes. I would also like to declare, I have also chased
Michele Bachmann through the -- of the capital. She`s extremely quick and
it`s incredibly hard to catch her. So, my heart goes out to Dana Bash
trying to --

SHARPTON: I mean, you actually had to chase her? Really?

MURPHY: Yes, I have chased her. She`s really very quick. She`s
really quick on her feet. If she doesn`t want to answer a question, it`s
just not going to happen.

SHARPTON: She`s quick on facts, too. But go ahead.

MURPHY: She`s more fast and loose with the facts and I think that`s
the problem here, and really if you look to her entire speech at CPAC, what
we`re talking about in terms of the dog walker and the presidential limos,
that`s the tip of the iceberg. Her biggest point was that republican
conservatives care about Americans, care about people in the audience.
Democrats do not. And saying that the president is living a lavish
lifestyle while Republicans want to take care of Americans, hope Americans
to take care of each other.

Her speech was so riddled with facts. She`s saying that we need to
fund Alzheimer`s research but the republican budget cuts Alzheimer`s
research by a billion dollars. The President wants to increase Alzheimer`s
research. So it`s almost impossible to know where to start with the fact
checking. I give all of the fact checkers out there a big hand for trying
to do it but there are not enough columns to fact check that entire speech
at CPAC.

SHARPTON: You know, when you look at getting face with reality, you
have to go back to this highlight-worthy clip from Bill O`Reilly. Watch
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: He has to say, here are the programs
that are going to go down, here`s how we`re going to reform Medicare and
Social Security, and the man refuses to do.

ALAN COLMES, FOX NEWS POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That`s not true.

O`REILLY: Yes, it is. Hold it. Hold it, because now I`m getting
teed off at you. Give me one damn program he said he would cut.

COLMES: He said he would cut entitlements.

O`REILLY: Entitlements?

COLMES: Why do you want to yell at me?

O`REILLY: Because you`re lying.

COLMES: I am not lying.

O`REILLY: You are lying here.

COLMES: Don`t you sit there and call me a liar.

O`REILLY: No, you are lying.

COLMES: Hey, you don`t like the President. You don`t like what he`s
doing but don`t sit there and call me a liar.

O`REILLY: I am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They can`t handle facts. I mean, they go berserk when
confronted with facts. And I think that`s the point, Alex of Bachmann and
O`Reilly and many on the right. Facts, they run, they get highly
irritated. They just can`t handle it.

SEITZ-WALD: Yes, I mean, yes. In Washington, we`re talking about
sequestration, how to deal with the budget and they refuse to believe that
Obama has put a plan on the table. You constantly hear them talking about,
you know, will Obama come forward with a plan. There`s a plan that`s on
whitehouse.gov, he`s put forward -- entitlements because they`re demanding
and they pretend that he hasn`t done that yet and even this week, you know,
with the RNC autopsy plan, the election was a big facts coming right after
that.

They couldn`t deny and they acknowledged some things and I`ll give
them credit for that. But on the economic issues, they just completely
ignore them in that report because they really don`t have an answer. They
want to cut taxes and cut the deficit at the same time. Those are their
two top economic agenda items. But there`s fundamental in conflict with
each other. You can`t do both. So, they are just trying to, you know,
ignore it and hope it goes away.

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at the reaction, Patricia, there`s no
wonder that they are being defeated at the polls and poll after poll show
that Americans are not going their way but I think this only further drives
the wedge between the American voters because people are offended when it
is clear you are not even being honest with them.

MURPHY: Well, yes. And I think what Americans really want is just an
honest discussion of the issues and if people come at an issue and they
have an honest disagreement and they use facts that are accurate, you can
have that discussion, you can have that debate. But when you come out of a
discussion with facts that are not true that "The Washington Post" says are
four Pinocchios, you just can`t even start to talk about things in an
honest way and I think that is why Michele Bachmann has gotten into so much
trouble.

She won her last race just by a point. She is a huge target for
Democrats coming up in the next election cycle. I think that as much as
she wants people to be on her side, if she would just start with the basic
facts that are true, she`d be a lot further ahead than she is right now.
She`s getting herself a lot of trouble.

SHARPTON: Patricia Murphy and Alex Seitz-Wald. Thank you both for
your time tonight.

MURPHY: Thank you so much.

SEITZ-WALD: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Republicans claim they are reaching out to minorities but
their actions tell a very different story. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: On Monday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus rolled out a
rebranding plan to expand the party, including engaging with Hispanic
communities to welcome in new members of our party, committing to a lasting
relationship with the African-American community, based on mutual respect
and a spirit of caring. The words sound great but today former RNC
Chairman Michael Steele gave his party a reality check.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: How does Reince Priebus reconcile his
approach and his agreement with voter registration policies that many in
the black community view as anti-black, racist? You can show up any time,
is what you say and do when you get there that matters most to people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s what you do that matters most. If Republicans really
want more people to vote for them, then maybe they should get more people
to vote, period. Instead, they are still suppressing the voter across the
country, in states like Arkansas, the republican legislation just advanced
a new voter ID bill. Since November, Republicans have been scratching
their heads trying to figure out why they lost so big on election night.
They lost African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos, young people and
women. Those are big problems but Republicans are ignoring the real
solutions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRIEBUS: Look, if you have market and brand your party in a regular basis,
I think that you`re going to
continue to have a problems.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The GOP`s problems aren`t rebranding a marketing is with
their policies. There is no nice way to tell seniors you`re changing
Social Security. To tell Latinos we`re profiling you, to telling blacks
who just two generations for not voting. We`re suppressing your vote. We
don`t need a smile. We need new policies.

Thank you 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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