updated 3/28/2013 10:15:54 AM ET 2013-03-28T14:15:54

POLITICS NATION
March 27, 2013

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

Guests: Jeffrey Rosen; Drew Courtney, Ben LaBolt, Patricia Murphy, Wayne Slater, Dana Milbank

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

Tonight`s lead, the right all wrong, a crucial day at the Supreme
Court where it looks like the defense of marriage act may be on the ropes.
It`s a discriminatory law that turns gays and lesbians into second-class
citizens. And as I`ve said many times, if you`re going to be for certain
rights, you have to be consistent about defending those rights and speaking
up when they are violated.

But the increasing possibility that gays could have federal marriage
rights is driving extremists on the right into a fury. They are resorting
to vial language, petty attacks, and absolutely repulsive arguments, simply
because they are opposed to gay marriage. Just listen to Rush Limbaugh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: There is a gay mafia that has
inflicted the fear of death, political death in the Republican Party, for
example. If same sex fits the bill of the contract, then everything fits
the bill. And at some point, who`s to say you cannot have sex with a
child? At some point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Come on, Rush. Even for you that`s ugly stuff.
Conservative Eric Erickson tweeted about gay marriage. Quote "you are not
really loving with your neighbor when you are cool to him staying on the
road to hell."

So much for loving that neighbor. It is just as bad over at FOX News
where the rights later starved the moment, Doctor Ben Carson, resorted to
mentioning relations between animals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOCTOR BEN CARSON, PEDIATRIC SURGEON: Marriage is between a man and a
woman. No group, be the gays, be the NAMBLA, be the people who believe in
bestiality, it doesn`t matter what they are. They don`t get to change the
definition. So, it`s not something against gays.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Oh, no. Of course not. Nothing against gay people. You
just compared their relationship to bestiality. The right knows their
arguments are tied and that`s why their logic has just become more and more
absurd.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: If love becomes a definition
of what the boundaries of marriage are, how do we define that going
forward? What if someone wants to immigrate to this court from a country
that allows multiple spouses?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Beware of gay marriage, it will lead to invasion of
immigrant polygamists. It`s almost laughable as these statements are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TODD STARNES, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You know, it`s as if we are
second-class citizens now because we support the traditional, biblical
definition of marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The same idea of same-sex marriage is the death of
capitalism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There isn`t that much interest in marriage. There
isn`t that much interest in commitment and monogamy. It isn`t there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now it is under attack. A few people want to
have their way of doing sex affirmed by everybody else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The right is on the wrong side of history when it comes to
ending this discrimination in our country. It is not a wonder they are in
a furry about it.

Joining me is former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell and Drew
Courtney from the People for the American way.

Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.

DREW COURTNEY, PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, let me start with you. What do you make
of the right`s rhetoric on this issue?

ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR, PENNSYLVANIA: Well, it`s the last
gasp of group of very bitter people and they have run out of good
arguments. Yesterday, in the Supreme Court the lawyer actually argued that
two 55-year-old`s who wanted to get married, heterosexual, 55-year-old`s
could pro create, could produce a baby and that`s one of the reasons why
they shouldn`t throw out Prop 8. Ludicrous. I mean, ludicrous. Does
anybody think a 55-year-old woman and a 55-year-old man is going to have a
baby? Their arguments are pathetic, don`t make any sense. And all it`s
doing is destroying the Republican Party when Republicans hue the line.

The best thing they can do is let this happen, let it go away as an
issue. They should support gay rights in many other fields because it`s
not just gay voters. It is independent voters. It is thoughtful suburban
voters. It is college-educated voters. It is evangelicals under the age
of 35 who favor gay marriage and it look at the Republican Party and look
at these Republican commentators, Rev., and they think they are nuts. They
think they are bigoted. They think discriminatory.

SHARPTON: I think you`re right.

And Drew, don`t you think it`s really sounding like desperation? I
mean, some of this stuff is so far-fetched, it just - I mean, desperation
is the only way you can explain it.

Yes. I mean, we follow this stuff every day and have been following
it every year and the right wing watch that org. And I have to say they
are taking the shrill desperations, same old lies and they turning them up
to 11. And I wish I could tell you that the clips that you just played
were the only clips that were available but that`s not true.

COURTNEY: We have all sorts of people seeing those same things. One
of my favorites was Jim Garlow (ph), one of the anti-gay leaders who helped
push Prop 8. He is pushing this idea that gay people don`t want to get
married at all. This is just a nefarious plot to destroy marriage for
everybody that it`s going to be the death knell of capitalism that is going
to destroy the country. These are people who are not really linked up with
the reality at this point, but for various structural reasons in the party,
they kind of can`t help themselves.

SHARPTON: Now, governor, you know, let`s go to Bill O`Reilly, for
example, at FOX News. He has claimed that gay marriage would lead to many
things. He said that it would lead to plural marriages, to people marrying
goats or marrying ducks or turtles or dolphins. He even said it would
cause the abolition of marriage. But then, O`Reilly last night sounded
very differently on gay marriage. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The compelling argument is on the
side of homosexuals. That`s where the compelling argument is. We are
Americans. We just want to be treated like everybody else. That is a
compelling argument. And to deny that, you have to have a very strong
argument on the other side and the other side hasn`t done anything to jump
the bible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, that was O`Reilly last night. Quite different from
the O`Reilly you heard in the past. But Rush Limbaugh took a lot of
offense at O`Reilly`s argument. Listen to Rush.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: Do you think they are "bible thumpers," quote unquote, that
watch FOX because last night you were sort of marginalized on "the Factor"
s not having a compelling argument and is being a bunch of bible thumpers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, I mean, it`s not enough to go get my popcorn,
governor, because we`re seeing Rush Limbaugh take a shot at Bill O`Reilly,
I mean, and they are going to fight about this issue, O`Reilly clearly
taking a different line and saying that you got to have more to deal with
this issue than bible thumping. And all of a sudden Rush Limbaugh becomes
the defender of the bible thumpers and really, they are sarcastically and
directly goes after Bill O`Reilly.

RENDELL: Well, this is all music to our ears. But I think O`Reilly
is the most pragmatic of the right-wing commentators and he understands
where the push is on this issue. And he`s right. There hasn`t been a
compelling argument. I mean, when that lawyer made the argument about two
55-year-olds wanted to pro-create, there was laughter in the Supreme Court
chamber and most of their arguments are laughable rather and it is - if you
are the Republican Party, you better hope this goes away as fast as it can
be. If you`re a suburban Philadelphia or suburban New York or Cleveland
Republican congressmen, you want this to go away as fast as you can.
There`s no reason for it. It`s hateful. It`s discriminatory, and
hopefully the Supreme Court will do away with it.

But I will tell you, rev, Republicans don`t seem to learn. When the
national Republicans are trying to get issues like this and abortion put to
the back burner, when state legislatures, they go ahead and push extreme
legislation. It is nuts. I can`t figure it out. I just sit back and
enjoy it.

COURTNEY: Now Drew, you at right wing watch, you monitor and kind of
watch what is going on with the evangelicals. What do you think their next
moves after the arguments are over now?

COURTNEY: That`s the really big question. And I think that people
are waiting to see. I mean, we heard things like Tony Perkins say that
there`s a possibility of a revolution in this country if the Supreme Court
upholds same-sex marriage equality. The thing I think that is really
fascinating is the members of the GOP elite, the power brokers on the far
right, who are pushing as far as they can against the trends that governor
Rendell was talking about. So, you have people like Tony Perkins, like
Mike Huckabee, saying that if the GOP goes soft on marriage, they are going
to run away from the party. Evangelicals are going to run away from the
party.

Now, I don`t really think that they are really going to give up on
politics and they are going to stay home. But, what I do think is that
every Republican on Capitol Hill hears that loud and clear.

SHARPTON: Yes.

COURTNEY: So, if they are looking at the possibility of a divisive
nasty GOP primary, they are going to remember that maybe they need to hold
the line on this issue. So the GOP is between a rock and a hard place on
this. And I`m not sure exactly what they are going to do.

SHARPTON: Governor, the politics on this though, I`m over time but
let me ask you this, quickly. The politics of this is interesting. You
have to hear Drew say that because will the ruling of the court energize
the base of the left or the right depending on how they rule? I mean,
either way you run the risk of really energizing a base turnout in the
midterm election based on this decision.

RENDELL: Yes, you do, Rev. And to that end maybe the Republicans
would benefit by the court throwing out all these acts and saying that
there`s a right to same-sex marriage. But, again, in the long run there
are Republicans who are in moderate districts that have won and the whole
those seats. They are in big, big trouble if this becomes an issue. They
want 14 to be fought on taxes, on spending. They don`t want it to be
fought on social issues. They will get crushed.

SHARPTON: Well, thank you both, Ed Rendell and Drew Courtney.

Let me say this. Beyond the politics, beyond the trying to find out
who is ahead and who is not, there`s a thing called right and wrong. You
and I should ask ourselves, do we want anyone deciding what we will believe
is right and wrong between us and consenting adults? And if you and I
don`t want others telling us how to live our lives, then maybe we ought not
get to historical and try to run others.

In a new interview, President Obama reveals more on this progressive
push and why the country is with him.

Plus, America, we have a George W. Bush sighting. We will tell you
why the GOP might be crying foul.

And Sarah Palin is out of hibernation and loaded forebear. Oh, what
could go wrong?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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Today, the president was fighting hard from his progressive agenda.
We will tell you what he`s saying, coming up.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today could go down in the history of milestones in the
fight for equal rights in the fight against discrimination of any kind.
For a second straight day, big crowds gathered outside the Supreme Court as
the justices heard arguments over marriage equality. And there are strong
signs that court will strike down the so-called defensive marriage act.

In 1996, federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a
woman. That kind of blatant discrimination is unacceptable. It`s a basic
question of equal rights, applying the same law and standards to everybody.
We have to win this fight and it looks like we might.

Joining me now is Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington
University and legal affairs editor of the New Republic.

Jeffrey, you said the most dramatic moment in court today was when
Justice Elena Kagan revealed that lawmakers passed the 1996 law to
explicitly make the moral judgment against gay people. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT: Is what happened in 1996 -- and
I`m going to quote from the house report here -- is that Congress decided
to reflect an honor, a collective moral judgment and to expect moral
disapproval of homosexuality? Is that what happened in 1996?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the house report say that? Of course the
house report says that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And then the attorney defending the law shrugs it off like
it`s no big deal. Why was that such an important moment, Jeff?

JEFFREY ROSEN, LAW PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: It was a
remarkably dramatic moment. And you can actually hear on the clip a gasp
in the courtroom. It was even louder when you were sitting right there
because the attorney had been saying this law was just passed to ensure
federal uniformity and respect to the democratic process. And just as
Kagan quoted from a House`s own words and said, no, we want to express
moral disapproval of homosexuality. Of course, the Supreme Court has said
that moral disapproval is a constitutionally impermissible purpose. It is
a must for anti-gay animist.

So, in some sense the entire case was up right there, the jig was up
because it showed that although, all of these innocent reasons were given
for the law. The real reason was actually this constitutionally
impermissible one. And the lawyer just had to backtrack and just the way
you heard to said, well, even though they said that, they didn`t really
mean it. And there were these other purposes and so forth.

But, and as the other justices were pressing him, he found it hard to
identify a single rational reason for denying the validly even marriage
spouses of gay and lesbian couples access to 1,100 federal laws that
provide various kinds of benefits from Social Security benefits, sick
benefits, the ability to be buried in the military cemetery.

Justice Ginsburg finally was so impatient she said, you are creating
too separate categories and marriages, real marriages and skim milk
marriages and that is just doesn`t make any sense.

SHARPTON: Now Jeff, when you say the court has found the
impermissible to have moral judgment, in effect now, they would have to
really vote against this saying this is impermissible to uphold this law at
this point?

ROSEN: Well, they might. Now, of course, there are some justice like
Justice Scalia who think that moral disapprovals are perfectly fine reason
for laws an. And Scalia predicted in that 2003 (INAUDIBLE) decision, this
effectively means the end of morals legislation. We won`t be able to ban
prostitution and all sorts of terrible things. And Scalia, I`m sure would
be happy to recognize moral disapproval as a legitimate a state function.

But it did seem, you know, Justice Anthony Kennedy was the one who
wrote that decision saying moral disapproval is not permissible. He was
very troubled by aspects of this law, not only the fact that it was must
for anti-gay animists, he was especially concerned about the intrusion on
state`s rights. Kennedy said he was very troubled that the federal
government was intruding on the state`s core police power to define its own
idea of health, safety, and morals. And Kennedy thinks state rights are
involved. He is very, very likely to rule against the law in question.

SHARPTON: Now, let me go back to your reference about skim milk
marriage. Justice Ginsburg talked about the restrictions this law put on
same-sex marriage. It was in that context she made is the statement that
you referred to. Let me play that statement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG, SUPREME COURT: For the federal
government then to come in to say no joint return, no marital deduction, no
Social Security benefits, with that set of attributes one might well ask,
what kind of marriage is this? You were saying, no, state said two kinds
of marriage, the full marriage and then this sort of skim milk marriage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And I hear there`s a reaction from the crowd when Justice
Ginsburg compared what she called the real marriage or the skim milk
marriage. Very, very poignant point.

ROSEN: It was very poignant because the court spent an entire hour
discussing this very dry questions of federal jurisdiction does that the
power to hear the case. And Justice Ginsburg just cuts to the heart of the
case. She said imagine you have a sick spouse of a validly married couple.
Why would you create this separate category? What possible reason could
you have for denying all of these benefits that would create such
inequality and that just kind of exploded the case because all of the
reasons given, that it would promote procreation and federal uniformity and
democracy and so forth, did not really justify creating the second class of
marriages and denying these kinds of benefits. So, she really change the
tenure of the debate. And that was almost a relieved form of laughter as
much as anything else.

SHARPTON: But isn`t that the bottom line to this whole argument, is
not whether one is pro gay or anti-gay or have moral problems or not, the
answer is whether we`re going to have different standards and different
definitions for people? It`s just that simple, Jeffrey.

ROSEN: Well, I think it is. And in some ways, this case it is even
simpler. And it should be for the conservatives or opponents of gay
marriage than the one yesterday because the question here is, once the
state valid and recognizes as a marriage, what interest could the federal
government possibly have fore denying full benefits to the spouse that is
not married that are given to the spouse and heterosexual marriage. And
because the state couldn`t come up with any - really, there are
libertarians, there are plenty of conservative people who don`t like the
power of the federal government and think that it`s an intrusion on state`s
rights to prevent this marriage which validly recognize from being just as
much of a first-class marriage as every other one.

SHARPTON: Very interesting. People that want state rights on
everything until states rights and to fear what they biases and they are
wanting everyone to live according to their will rather than according to
what is fair in a society with one standard for everybody.

Jeffrey Rosen, you`ve been a great guide for us on the court this
week. Thank you for your time and thank you for being on tonight.

ROSEN: Thank you. It`s been a real pleasure.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a brand-new interview reveals the president`s
progressive push.

Plus, Sarah Palin is not going away. She`s got something big brewing.

And Karl Rove better watch out. And Glenn Beck us rushing to defend
Michele Bachmann with an over the top conspiracy theory. Run, Michele,
run. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Glenn Beck is coming to Michele Bachmann`s defense and in
true Beck fashion, it`s a big conspiracy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, RADIO HOST: We have been sold to radical Islam. It has
infiltrated and we`ve documented it since George Bush was in office. It`s
not just this guy. It was the last guy, too. And we knew it. The minute
we saw George Bush standing in a mosque saying, you know what guys, Islam
in a religion of peace. We knew something was wrong. You see what they
are doing to Michele Bachmann? Michelle back man is under all kinds of
ethics` investigations now. Why do you suppose that is? She`s evil. Yes.
She is uber clear on what`s going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: One second he`s talking about radical Islam and the next,
an ethics investigation into Michele Bachmann? Its making people think
Beck`s saying Bachmann`s ethics probe is just a plot coming from radical
Islamists. How does that make any sense?

Congressional investigators are looking to allegations of improper
payments to Bachmann`s presidential campaign. Now, we don`t know the facts
and she deserves a fair investigation. But one thing should be clear,
radical Muslims aren`t behind a house ethics investigation. But don`t tell
that to this fear-mongering team.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s connected with radicals, Islamists,
communists, and socialists.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: It appears that there has been
deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim
brotherhood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to show you a little bit of Sharia, some of
the laws that are being passed here in America.

BACHMANN: Just wait if Sharia is adopted or utilized by justices in
the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, Sharia law everywhere. You look and who can forget
this bogus theory?

They claimed Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton`s former top aide, was
connected to the Muslim brotherhood.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BECK: You say Anthony Weiner`s wife is -- has connections to the
Muslim brotherhood. Now, this is important because she works for Hillary
Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, she is the chief aide for -- to the
secretary of state. All we did is ask, did the federal government look
into her family associations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Oh, no big deal. You know, all we did was ask if her
family had terrorist connections. There is absolutely nothing to back
these claims but this rumor gained so much traction it was picked up in the
Middle East and Senator Clinton`s motorcade was pelted with tomatoes when
she visited Egypt because of it.

Right-wing fear mongering has real dangerous consequences. Did Beck
think we`d let him get away with this latest ridiculous claim? Nice try,
but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Two months into his second term, two months into the
President`s push to fulfill America`s progressive promise, on gun control,
on immigration reform, and on equal rights for everyone. And a brand-new
poll shows the president`s favorability rating now stands at an impressive
57 percent. That`s largely unchanged from the inauguration. And in a new
interview, the President is talking about his push for equality.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I think that not only is it
right and fair but also consistent with our constitution to recognize same-
sex couples. It doesn`t mean that everybody has to agree from a religious
standpoint about this issue. It does mean that it is very important for us
to remember we`re a nation in which everybody is supposed to be equal
before the law. I`ve known a lot of same-sex couples who are committed,
who are raising kids.

For them to be treated differently I think it`s not fair and I think
an increasing number of Americans agree with that. My hope is that the
court reaches these issues and that we end up living in a country where
everybody is treated fairly. That`s what I think is the most important
thing about America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s the most important thing about America, is what the
people in this country want. And the President won`t stop fighting.

Joining me now is Ben LaBolt, former national press secretary for the
Obama campaign and Patricia Murphy from Citizen Jane Politics. Thanks to
both of you for being here tonight.

BEN LABOLT, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: Thanks, Rev.
Thanks for having me.

PATRICIA MURPHY, CITIZEN JANE POLITICS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Patricia, it does seem the President is ignoring inside the
beltway crowd and he`s pushing hard on some of these very tough issues.

MURPHY: Well, yes. Well, he`s also doing, I think, what a lot of
these interest groups wanted him to do, which is complete a lot of the
unfinished business from his first term. He was able to get health care
across the line. He was able to start to deal with the economy, start to
bring down the unemployment rate, but there were a number of interest
groups in Washington and you have to put Latinos at the top of that list
who were frustrated by the progress.

And I think also gay Americans, frustrated by the lack of progress.
And in his inauguration speech, President Obama basically laid out the
case, I`m going to finish the job I started and I think that is really what
he`s doing and I think he knows, I think his team knows. He doesn`t have a
lot of time to do it. He`s going to start getting into other people`s
elections cycles from a year from now.

So, this is the time for him to move particular on the immigration
reform. The Supreme Court looks like they`re going to make some moves on
gay marriage. And it`s very clear that there were things that people
wanted him to do, voters wanted him to do and in his first term he didn`t
get them done and he`s moving forward to do that. Republicans, in the
meantime, seem to be trying to set up road blocks to a number of those
issues. I think they do that at their own peril.

SHARPTON: Now, Ben you were inside the campaign. You saw the
President campaign on a lot of these things and the American public backed
him and so far he`s being backed even as he embarks on doing this. On
immigration, 72 percent support a pathway to citizenship. Twenty five
don`t. Twenty five percent don`t same sex marriage. Fifty eight percent
support it. Thirty six percent say, should be legal.

On gun reform, 88 percent support universal background checks. Ten
percent say they don`t support them. Today he talked to immigration. But
he was pressed for a timetable as Patricia talked about, there was some
people in the Latino and in the gay community -- he pushed for a timetable
on even his moves on immigration. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We`re seeing a strong commitment to finally solve this problem
in a way that strengthens our border security, make sure that there`s a
pathway to citizenship, an earned one, a tough one but a pathway so that
people can live out their dreams and make sure that they have a better life
for themselves and their kids. I`m concerned about the people whose actual
lives are going to be impacted by it and I want to make sure that they have
the capacity to move forward and live out the dream of immigrants that has
driven this country for so many years. That`s my number one priority.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, he`s been able to move a lot of Republicans and you
have seen from the campaign a year ago that ended in just November and now
there has been some movement and those that were anxious, you know, and
progressive for us, including yours truly that`s been pushing him, now have
to say, well, maybe his way that seems to be too slow and deliberate has
picked up some allies because it`s been less confrontational than some of
us like.

LABOLT: Well, that`s right. He`s asked the gang of eight that
bipartisan coalition of senators to draft their own legislation, he way
down the principles and made those principles clear during the campaign but
he`s got a much better chance of passage if it comes from within Congress
and the President submitting it to Congress.

Here`s the good news. It`s a political imperative for the Republican
Party to pass comprehensive immigration reform. They can`t afford seven-
tenths of Hispanics voting for the next democratic presidential nominee in
2016 or they`re going to lose the election by a significant margin once
again. And so, you see those Republicans who`ve got a stake in 2016,
whether it`s Marco Rubio, whether it`s Rand Paul, whether it`s Jeb Bush
entering the fray in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.

Because they know the party`s got to do it, it was in that republican
autopsy report, and it`s a political imperative. In terms of the big
ticket items of the second term agenda, I think this is one that has a very
strong chance of passive, but a stronger one if it comes from within
Congress.

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at that Patricia, you also have to see
the day that we see on gun reform, Ted Cruz threatened to filibuster that
part of the progressive agenda. He threatened to filibuster on gun reform
and Senate Democrats say, he`s flip-flopping. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: One of the things we could do is we could
improve the quality of the federal database. Right now a lot of states, a
lot of local jurisdictions are not reporting criminal conviction, not
reporting mental health barriers to ownership and so the federal database
is not nearly as good as it should be. That would be a commonsense
improvement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, that`s what he said then. Now he wants to filibuster
moving forward on any gun reform. So he was making an argument for
background checks in effect before. Now he wants to filibuster it.
Interesting, Patricia.

MURPHY: I think that Ted Cruz`s voice is one that could cause the
Republican Party as a whole, some real headaches going forward. He is
somebody who is extremely conservative. It`s nothing wrong obviously with
thing extremely conservative but he has a tone, he has a tenor that is very
sharp. And if you even look at his exchange again on the gun debate with
Senator Dianne Feinstein, she has to push him back and say, look, I went to
sixth grade. I don`t need a lecture on the constitution.

His own relationships within the Senate I think do his own cause a lot
of harm and when you look again, then talk about that republican autopsy
report, absolutely remarkable document. Ninety seven pages of them looking
at themselves and saying things like young voters roll their eyes at the
Republican Party. They think that this is a party that is out of touch,
that is mean-spirited, that does not care about him. That is in
transition.

That`s Republicans talking about Republicans. They`ve got a lot of
healing within their own party to do before they can go forward but a
voice like Ted Cruz is I think is going to make that more difficult for the
more moderate Republicans to do. It`s a very loud, it`s a loud strong
voice and those are the types of voices that are breaking through right now
for the Republican Party.

LABOLT: That`s right.

MURPHY: He`s an example of the problem inside the party.

SHARPTON: Ben, you think, is Ted Cruz the perfect kind of opponent
for the president on this issue since he is so polarizing and fits such a
stereotype of an extremist that is way off the charts and to the American
mainstream?

LABOLT: Well, you`ve got the establishment Republicans in the party
calling Cruz a wacko bird.

SHARPTON: Right.

LABOLT: That didn`t come from Democrats. The people competing to be
the face of the Republican Party today are people like Rand Paul and Ted
Cruz. In that autopsy report that Patricia talked about, I don`t think
that was the recommendation on how to modernize and moderate the party to
bring it back into the mainstream with these filibusters that is certainly
not the way that they are going to get out of being called the party of no
if they are filibustering something like background checks that has
supported 90 percent of the American people and a majority of the NRA
members.

SHARPTON: Ben LaBolt and Patricia Murphy, thank you both for your
time tonight.

MURPHY: Thank you so much.

LABOLT: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, former President Bush turns up at a basketball
game and you will never guess who is by his side.

And Todd legitimate rape Akin gets turned into a law & order episode.
The GOP`s problems are now a must-see TV. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: America we have a George W. Bush citing. Yes, it`s very
rare but the former president was spotted at a Baylor University Women`s
basketball game last night. There he is high fiving the mascot. And look
who he is with. That`s Baylor University President Ken Starr. The same
Ken Starr who spent years investigating President Clinton as the
independent counsel. Looks like they had a great time hanging with the
Baylor bear.

Turns out, we`re about to see a lot more of George W. Bush. Next
month is the opening of the George W. Bush presidential library at Southern
Methodist University. The 24-acre site includes a library, a museum and a
public policy institute. Just what the country needs. More public policy
from W. It opens to the public on May 1st, which happens to be the 10th
anniversary of President Bush`s mission accomplish speech. All I could say
to that is, wow.

Joining me now is Wayne Slater, senior political writer for the Dallas
Morning News and co-author of "Bush`s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W.
Bush Presidential." And Dana Milbank, a Washington Post political
columnist. Thank you both for being here tonight.

DANA MILBANK, WASHINGTON POST POLITICAL COLUMNIST: Hi, rev.

WAYNE SLATER, CO-AUTHOR, "BUSH`S BRAIN": Great to be with you.

SHARPTON: Wayne, we saw another glimpse of President Bush. It`s
rare. How big a problem is the -- is he going to still be for the
Republican Party?

SLATER: Well, I don`t even want to suggest that being seen with the
Lady Baylor`s basketball team is a negative. It`s a great team. It`s
going to win the women NCAA. But this is a problem because he`s largely
stayed out of public sight, which is been happy note for some members of
the Republican Party who would just assume that he stay in the background.

And so every time he`s seen publicly as he was with Ken Starr who
represents a number of Democrats that very partisan political period during
the Clinton administration, every time he`s seen publicly, then it`s only a
reminder to voters, including republican voters, of the Bush legacy,
whether it`s spending the war, Katrina, or mission accomplished.

SHARPTON: Now, how much of this is a problem, as you see it, Dana? I
mean, and his appearances, I mean, what will it mean?

MILBANK: Well, Reverend, I think he can salvage everything if he
shows up for the library opening wearing the flight suit and perhaps
popping out of an aircraft just to remind us of the good old days. It`s a
problem for the party in the sense that, look, every former president in
the glow of distance, people forget the bad things, it becomes more
popular. This has happened for Bush. But only to some extent, he`s around
46 percent in the polls which makes him the least popular of living former
presidents, and for obvious reasons, and as more time passes, maybe that
will get better, but it`s going to take some time until that happens.

If Jeb Bush is running for president, that`s going to thrust his
brother in the news all of the time. The Republicans would like to still
ignore him. That`s why he wasn`t in evidence at the convention and other
public forums for Republicans. But you can`t really keep this guy down
forever.

SHARPTON: Well, I mean, the presidential library, let`s talk about
some of its details, Wayne. It`s a 226,560 square foot center. It has a
freedom hall, which has a 67-foot tower with a glow in the dark lantern.
There`s a decisions point theater named after the President`s book and a
life-size oval office made to look exactly like it did during Bush`s two
terms in office. That`s how the library is going to be. This is why we
don`t see much of George Bush lately, though. Watch.

SLATER: Well, look --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You really talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why
is that? You can tell the American people, if you have any more
information, if you know he is dead or alive?

FMR. PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), UNITED STATES: I don`t know where he
is. You know, I just don`t spend that much time on him, to be honest with
you.

Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere.

(LAUGHTER)

We must stop the terror. I call upon all nations to do everything
they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this
drive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Those are the things, Wayne, that makes Republicans
nervous, that you just don`t know what Bush is going to say and you just
don`t know how he`s going to come across and those are just examples of
some of the most insensitive and bizarre things and he was president then.

SLATER: Well, you know, I know one thing, Reverend, that video real
will not -- definitely not be playing at the library but when it opens on
the 1st. I think that really raises a more fundamental question about the
librarian, the president, post presidential expression, how do you in a
library like this and the museum and the displays talk about the war, a
pre-emptive war that`s lasted now a decade. How do you talk about the
spending that this administration did, that the Republicans even folks in
the Republican Party aren`t very proud of, the increased deficit or the
economic downturn or Katrina, as I said, or these other episodes during the
Bush -- how do you cast those in a positive light, which is what a
presidential library does, without simply reminding voters in the future
all about those things that happened in the Bush administration that many
voters and certainly many Republicans would like them to forget.

SHARPTON: Dana, though, a decision`s point theater?

MILBANK: Well, it`s better that the strategy center where you could
play some of those the blooper reel that you just played. Look, it`s good
in our line of work because it keeps some of those glorious moments in
American history alive. And that`s why the Jeb Bush candidacy could be so
interesting to us. I mean, think about it. Jeb Bush, the poor guy
actually was the more serious Bush, as a potential presidential candidate.
His brother got there first. You know, he crashed the car and now the
brother is asking that he can get the keys.

SHARPTON: Well, I thank you both for being here tonight. I just want
you to know, I mean, when Bush came in we had 23 million jobs created. He
left us, we had lost 646,000. President Clinton left us with $280 billion
surplus. Bush turned it into to $11 trillion debt. Maybe that`s why it`s
so hard to forget W.

Ahead, Todd legitimate rape Akin goes primetime. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Read from the headlines, the GOP`s downfall is now must-see
TV. Flaw & order SVU released a promo for tonight`s episode and it sounds
eerily familiar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Tell the jury why you decided to keep a baby who
was conceived in rape.

ANNOUNCER: Ripped from the headlines. Words that set-up on national
controversy.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s nearly impossible for a victim of legitimate
rape to become pregnant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Legitimate rape. A national controversy. I know why I`ve
heard that before.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If it`s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways
to try to shut the whole thing down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The GOP`s views on women just about killed their chances in
the 2012 election. So they ordered a political autopsy on what went wrong.
Well, our very own POLITICS NATION crime unit has also been working the
case. Take a look at the evidence we`ve uncovered.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The Democrats said we had a war on caterpillar and
said every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans
of a war on Caterpillars and then we`d have problems with Caterpillars.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think even when life begins in that horrible
situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And they brought us
whole binders full of women.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: This is the latest plank in the so-
called war on women, entirely created by my colleagues across the aisle for
political gain. Give me a break.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The evidence is clear, but the perpetrators are still out
there. North Dakota just became the worst state in the country for women
rights. Yesterday, the GOP governor signed a bill banning abortions at
just six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant.
He also signed a regulations bill meant to shut down the last remaining
abortion clinic in the state.

We don`t need a GOP autopsy. We don`t need a CSI unit to figure out
whose fingerprints are all over this crime. Republicans claim they are
trying to reinvent their brand but it`s just another rewind from last
year`s episode.

So Judge Sharpton finds the 2013 edition of the GOP, guilty, guilty of
tampering with rights, resisting progress and obstruction of justice. Case
closed.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

END

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