PoliticsNation, Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
April 23, 2013
Guests: Eugene O`Donnell, Wayne Slater, Dick Harpootlian
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. Thanks to you for
Tonight`s lead, playing politics with terror. Today, we saw critics on the
right revive their old playbook using a national tragedy as a new excuse to
attack the president. And they did it on a day of profound grief for
everyone touched by the Boston bombings.
This morning, 8-year-old Martin Richard, the youngest bombing victim, was
laid to rest. Also this morning, friends and family gathered for the
funeral of MIT police officer Sean Collier who was gunned down allegedly by
the suspects last Thursday night.
The funeral mass began at 10:00 a.m. It ended around 11:30. But while
that funeral was still under way, a top Republican senator went on national
television and said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: When it comes to Boston, how in
the world could we have missed these two guys? The Russians told us about
the older brother. My problem with this administration is that their
policies are failing. They do not believe that we`re at war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The Obama administration is failing? What you see there is the
senator pivoting from legitimate questions about the FBI to using those
questions to undermine the president and his entire national security
policy. It`s unfair and, more than that, it`s wrong. While a terror
victim, a fallen police officer, were being laid to rest, senator Graham
was on FOX News to use the Boston tragedy as an excuse to dredge up tired,
old complaints about Benghazi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: What do I mean by upping our game? Making sure that when the
ambassador in Libya tells the state department and the department of
defense that Al Qaeda flags are flying over Benghazi, I can`t defend my
consulate against a coordinated attack, that you do something about it.
That when a consulate is under attack and an ambassador is missing for 7
1/2 hours you have the ability to go to their rescue. And after the fact
you don`t lie to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Lie to the American people? What does Boston have to do with
Benghazi? That`s not a clip from last year. That`s a clip from this
Critics on the right are now using the Boston attacks to attack the
president, to slow down immigration reform, even to talk about Trayvon
Martin. It`s not right.
Joining me now are Krystal Ball and Joan Walsh. Thank you both for joining
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks for having us, Rev.
SHARPTON: Krystal, are you surprised that just eight days, just eight days
after the bombing we are hearing stuff like this from a top Republican like
BALL: I think the only thing you need to know about Lindsey Graham right
now is that he`s running for re-election. And so, he feels like this is
the good political point for him to score, to sure up his right flank. So,
even though he knows better, even though he knows that, you know that
Dzhokhar, for example, is not going to be tried as an enemy combatant, even
though he knows his allegations against the president are ridiculous, it`s
a way of him scoring political points. I will say, you know, I don`t think
there`s anything wrong as you were pointing out asking questions about, OK,
did the FBI follow the right course here?
SHARPTON: The investigation attack.
BALL: Absolutely. But when you go for this nakedly political point
instead, you actually undermine those sorts of honest investigations.
Because it turns it into political football rather than a real inquiry into
what happened and if there was anything we could do or anything we could
SHARPTON: No. And I think, Joan, there is a legitimate questions one
could raise, whether I agree with them or you agree with them or not.
JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Right.
SHARPTON: But to rev up Benghazi, too? I mean, it is clear that they are
trying to get all kind of old political points, mixing in with new
questions because what Benghazi and Boston has to do with each other is
WALSH: All it has to do with each other, Rev, is what Krystal said. That
this man is running for re-election in a conservative state and all he
cares about is scoring those points. Benghazi brings back Susan Rice. He
is proud of bringing down Susan Rice. He is so proud of politicizing
Benghazi when he hasn`t really raised a single legitimate question about
it. Now he`s turning this into the same kind of spectacle.
And I want to say, I mean, I don`t like comparisons between this and 9/11
because the scope was very different, but it is unimaginable that in a week
after 9/11, that Democrats would be calling for house and Senate hearings
on what the Bush administration might have known might have gotten wrong.
To use a time like this to score naked political points, I`d say it was
surprising except it`s what we have seen in their dealings with this
SHARPTON: But, I think it`s got to be pointed out and it`s got to be
questioned, because clearly it pollutes the atmosphere. And then you go
from that into just outright an eruption on the right of Islamaphobia (ph)
and the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric on Monday. Listen to some of
the right wing as they went into this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If people are coming from countries where,
perhaps, they grew up under Sharia law, I think we can make a safe
assumption they have been radicalized.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lindsey Graham was on some show this week saying this
shows how we need better tracking. I`m thinking this shows how we need
LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO SHOW HOST: How do we give asylum to people from
Islamic countries, or Islamic territories? I would submit people shouldn`t
be coming here as tourists from check Chechnya after 9/11. Dagestan,
Chechnya, Kirgizstan, as George Bush would say, none of them stands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, let me get this right, Krystal. Asylum is not based on
those that may be in desire of leaving countries that we think their
policies are no good. Asylum is based on who you are. Now, have you ever
heard anything more biased and in many ways profiling people just based on
their nationality? I mean, it`s the exact anti-thesis to what asylum is.
BALL: Well, it`s the exact antithesis of everything this country stands
for. I mean, judging people, not allowing them into this country because
of their religion is unbelievable. And I would love to know how many of
these individuals who have now decided that no one from Chechnya, no one
from Dagestan, no one from any of those stands, as she put it, I would love
to know how many of them even knew they were on the map or what was going
on geopolitically in those countries. It is a disgusting, naked attempt to
use the rawest and basest of human emotions to stoke fear and resentment of
the other. It`s unbelievable.
SHARPTON: But they didn`t stop there. Mr. Rush Limbaugh, he even went to
go with another one of his old points, at least a year old point. Listen
to how Mr. Rush Limbaugh made this ridiculous claim, Joan; hold on to your
seat, about the Boston suspect and Trayvon Martin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The news media are doing to Dzhokhar
what they did to Trayvon Martin. They are regularly showing a photo of
Dzhokhar that was taken when he was about 14 -- soft, angelic, nice little
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, aside from the fact that I could deal with the merits of
what they did to Dzhokhar, as he calls them, or not, how do you compare man
under indictment for weapons of mass destruction, for a terrorist attack at
Boston, with a young man that was killed in Sanford, Florida? I mean, how
do you even connect that he`s -- that Trayvon Martin was anything other
than the victim and whether or not whatever happens in his case, he`s
certainly not accused anywhere near of a crime, let alone what Dzhokhar is
standing accused of.
WALSH: Right. One is accused of murdering people and terrorism. The
other is a crime victim. But, this is what they did or tried to do to
Trayvon. There`s a whole parallel universe on the right that was dedicated
to tarnishing his image and making him out to be someone who deserved to
die. But to fuse these two things is just so outrageous.
SHARPTON: To make them the equivalents is just totally outrageous.
SHARPTON: Even for Limbaugh. When you look at the fact that they would
bring the immigration bill into this, now we are going to deal with
Islamaphobia (ph). We are going to deal with anyone from a certain
country. And we are at the day they just had the funerals. I mean, just
step over the mourners and let`s just get the parade of hatred and bias
going here, Krystal.
BALL: It`s bringing out really some of the ugliest aspects of the right.
And look, again, if there are legitimate policy issues here, if there are
legitimate things you can say about what can we learn to move forward,
that`s one thing. Scoring political points, drawing parallels to Trayvon
Martin and even the immigration debate, I think, is quite tangential.
SHARPTON: No. I mean, fair game. Question the FBI. Question the
SHARPTON: Question what happened, w this young man, the first -- the
suspect one was not held or not put on a list. All that I think is fair
game, whether I agree with it or not. But Benghazi? Trayvon martin? I
mean, it`s crazy.
WALSH: Also, can I just point to Peter King in this whole thing? Peter
King has made himself an expert on terrorism, particularly Muslim
terrorists. He wants to basically profile them. This man supported the
IRA. And he literally called them freedom fighters back in the day, in the
hay day of IRA bombings.
We are talking about Rand Paul doesn`t want to let Chechens into the
country. Well, what if someone said back then we shouldn`t let any Irish
into the country. Whether it`s for asylum or whatever reason because they
fit the profile of a terrorist. Somehow when they are white Europeans, it
all looks a little bit different to them. But that Peter King has any
credibility to be Mr. Terrorism after his history is really galling.
SHARPTON: Well, Krystal Ball, Joan Walsh, thank you both for your time
Be sure to catch Krystal on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m. eastern on
MSNBC. And check out Joan`s book "what`s the matter with white people?"
It`s out in paperback this week.
Ahead, the investigation, we are learning what motivated them and how they
learned to make bombs.
But days before the George W. Bush library opening, we know what`s inside
and how they`re rewriting the history books.
And Mark Sanford, trespassing and a full page newspaper ad. It all adds up
We are live in South Carolina tonight. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Have you joined the POLITICS NATION conversation on Facebook
yet? We hope you will. Today, our fans were buzzing about the new George
W. Bush library and its exhibit that lets visitors choose if they would
have made the same decisions as Bush.
Barbara says, it`s just a first step to rewriting history.
Patricia says, history is history. And no amount of interactive displays
will change what he and his cohorts did.
And Phil says, it will be the only library where if you have an overdue
book, you can blame it on the next person coming in.
Later, we will take you inside the new George W. Bush presidential library.
But first, we want to hear what you think, too.
Please head over to Facebook and search POLITICS NATION and like us to join
the conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.
SHARPTON: Eight days after the Boston attacks, we are learning more about
the suspected Boston bombers. Hospital officials say the surviving suspect
has been upgraded to fair condition. And he`s talking to investigators.
Under questioning from his bed, he told investigators that he and his
brother acted alone, that they had no connection to any terror network
overseas. He said they were motivated by the U.S. wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan. And they learned their bomb making from an online al-Qaeda
magazine. We have also learned the older brother bought two large motor
kits from a New Hampshire fireworks store in early February.
Also today, new photos show the two suspects in the middle of what -- that
fire fight with police early Friday morning that left the older brother
dead. But the suspects` mother still insists there`s no truth to any of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZUBEIDAT TSARNAEVA, MOTHER OF BOMBING SUSPECTS: I am mother. I have --
you know, I know my kids. I know my kids. I really, my kids would never
get involved into anything like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Many questions remain, but every day we are learning more about
how and why these young men allegedly committed these terrible crimes.
Joining me now is Eugene O`Donnell, professor and law of police study at
John Jay College of criminal justice. And live from Boston, investigator
correspondent, Michael Isikoff.
Thank you both for being here.
Michael, do authorities think they have the suspect -- that they have --
that he`s telling the truth about acting alone? Do they believe him?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, NBC NEWS NATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: They are
certainly checking out his story. But they seem to be increasingly
confident that this is a case of self radicalization. He has said that he
and his brother had no accomplices, that they were inspired to do this, to
defend Islam against U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But probably most
significantly they have begun to exploit their cell phones and computers
and e-mails that they`ve gotten access to, and at least so far have found
no indication of any accomplices or connections to international terror
groups. No signs that they were in touch with somebody immediately before
the bombing to discuss the details of the plot.
Now, that doesn`t mean that they weren`t in touch with others who were of
radical Jihadist beliefs and might have been encouraged in the process of
radicalization. I did visit the Cambridge mosque today where they attended
and where Tamerlan in particular had been disruptive on two occasions. And
in fact, as it was, at one point ordered to leave the mosque if he didn`t
start behaving himself because he was disrupting sermons. And was told the
mosque has been cooperating with the FBI. That the FBI has begun
questioning members of the mosque, asking them about these incidents,
looking to see if there were signs of connections to others, that he had
colleagues or cohorts who were sympathetic to his views. But by and large,
they say it`s a moderate Islamic mosque. That it very much feels in the
American mainstream, it celebrates American --
SHARPTON: You would think, Michael, that it`s moderate if he was sat down
and if he was warned there. Certainly doesn`t seem like a radical mosque
to me, which is why being anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic is so absurd.
But let me ask you something, Eugene. I mean, you are the expert here.
Take me inside the investigation because now this has come down to the
ground as a regular, very intense police investigation. What`s happening?
EUGENE O`DONNELL, PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE: Well, obviously as Michael
indicates, they`re taking what they say are the greatest -- they would
never just accept that because they have a motive to lie to make a self-
serving statement. So, corroborating what they say and making sure you pin
it down will be essential.
You are not only trying to prove the details of this case, which I think
sometimes we fast forward over that. The FBI, law enforcement, has to make
this case out piece by piece, have to lock out claims, has to anticipate,
perhaps they would try to use a mental health defense in the trial. You`re
getting so far along in this case you`re thinking about the death penalty
So, at some point probably sooner rather than later you are going to end up
looking at their childhoods, where they came from. It`s a sweeping, really
unparalleled investigation other than the 9/11 investigation. There`s a
blank check. It`s a full-court press. It`s a criminal investigation. But
also obviously you need to ascertain that there`s nobody else afoot with
these kind of designs associated with these folks.
SHARPTON: And investigators would be looking at cell phone records, credit
cards, photographs, all of that?
O`DONNELL: There is essentially an unlimited supply of information they
can get. Travel records and the like. So, there will be an autopsy of
these people that`s really unparalleled. If they didn`t pay a light bill
on time, that will come up. They`ll absolutely thoroughly go through this
and rightfully so.
SHARPTON: Now, Michael, from what you`ve given us, we know they`re saying
they acted alone. We know that you`re reporting that they said it was a
religious motivation. What`s also interesting is they said they used
online Al Qaeda magazine to build a bomb. I mean, anything can learn to
make a pressure cooker bomb online. Is there any way to stop that from
ISIKOFF: Well, that`s a really good question. Remember, the magazine, the
online magazine that Tsarnaev has told investigators that they read and
learned how to make the bomb was inspire. The Al Qaeda and the Arabian
Peninsula, branch in Yemen, very -- was actually, that was the magazine
that was very well connected with Anwar Alaki (ph), the radical Jihadist
that was targeted and killed by a U.S. drone strike two years ago. As was
killed in a drone strike, Samir Khan, the American operative who was the
editor of that magazine as it were, who was the sort of inspirational
figure in putting that magazine together.
The magazine is still publishing despite the killing of the people who were
behind it. So that`s a pretty good indicator that it`s very difficult to
eliminate these things just because you use U.S. drones to kill off the
people who are behind these things. There`s still going to be people
putting them together. I think this whole case is an indicator of just how
difficult it is to eliminate these inspirations for radicals in the United
SHARPTON: And then, you know, what is amazing --
ISIKOFF: We whack them with drones, yet it doesn`t stop them.
SHARPTON: It`s amazing, because you say it`s still the magazines are still
And Eugene, you are a policeman. I mean, it seems very frightening to me
that someone can go online and learn how to make bombs that can do this
kind of damage. I mean, would they have to know something? Are you just
saying anyone can just get on and just go through the steps easily?
O`DONNELL: I think that`s what`s being checked out today. This whole
statistic to fireworks factory up in New Hampshire, were they trying to --
were they improvising? How much training did they have? How much
expertise did they have? But, if you talk to bomb experts, it`s not
terribly difficult. It`s not easy, but it`s not terribly difficult this.
And it concern larger than political ideology is unhinge people also who
can be -- who can so nod in their own way online and get crazy ideas about
things like this.
SHARPTON: It`s amazing and frightening.
Michel Isikoff and Eugene O`Donnell, thank you both for your time.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, how would you like to go back in time and make the
decisions George W. Bush failed at? Well, now you can. We`re inside the
Bush library, ahead.
And here they go again. The latest bogus attack on President Obama is
taking flight. Buckle up. That`s next.
SHARPTON: When it comes to boosting the economy and creating jobs, GOP
leaders have stuck to one solution. Cut spending.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It`s time to cut spending.
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Try and reduce the level
of spending here in Washington.
BOEHNER: Our goal here is cut spending.
CANTOR: The sequester, it does cut spending.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Cut spending. Oh, sure, that will fix everything, right?
President Obama repeatedly warned that last month`s automatic budget cuts
would hurt our economy and slow down our recovery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My budget also replaces the
foolish across the board spending cuts that are already hurting our
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But speaker Boehner, majority leader Cantor, and the other far
right wingers wouldn`t budge. And now the cuts are hurting air travelers.
The FAA has been forced to slash hours for 47,000 employees including
15,000 air traffic controllers. And we are seeing airport delays all
across the country. Surely, Boehner and Cantor are -- would be flying
high. After all, they got those spending cuts they wanted to badly, didn`t
they? Not quite.
Instead, they`re still on the attack against the president, pushing the
twitter hash tag Obama flight delays. There it is tweeted by speaker
Boehner. Majority leader Cantor is on board, too. He`s tweeting, why is
President Obama unnecessarily delaying your flight? FAA could have cut
other spending. Boarding call for Mr. Boehner and Mr. Cantor, you can`t
support something, then turn around and blame it on the president. Any
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: It`s time to cut spending here in Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Good one, Mr. Speaker. It`s time to delay the takeoff of this
Nice try, Republicans. But we got you.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION and its pop quiz time.
Anyone recognize these pets? They`re two very famous Scottish terriers.
And the answer is Bonnie and Miss Beasley, George W. Bush`s pets. And
those are the statutes of the favorite Bush dogs inside the new Bush
Yes, we are now getting a peek inside what that library will look like when
it opens in two days. The little dogs will be on full display. But guess
who doesn`t get much mention in the exhibits?
"The New York Times" reports former vice president Dick Cheney, former
defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, and Karl Rove generally make only
cameo appearances in news footage.
Give the dogs a statue, but those guys who misled us into war, forget about
them. After all, this day the president won`t apologize for Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Was there ever any consideration of
apologizing to the American people?
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I mean, apologizing
would basically say the decision was the wrong decision. And I don`t
believe it was the wrong decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I don`t believe it was the wrong decision?
Speaking of wrong decisions, we are learning the new library will have an
interactive decision point`s theater inside. Visitors are presented with
the stark choices that confronted the nation`s 43rd president. Invade Iraq
or leave Saddam Hussein in power. Deploy federal troops after hurricane
Katrina or rely on local forces? Bail out Wall Street or let the banks
Before voting on whether they would make the same choices that Mr. Bush
did, can you believe this, they`re asking Americans to make the decisions
President Bush failed at which this interactive theater was in place before
the Bush presidency.
Joining me now is Wayne Slater, senior political writer, "Dallas Morning
News" and co-author of "Bush`s brain." And David Corn, Washington bureau
chief for "Mother Jones" and co-author of" hubris: the inside story of
spend, scandal and the selling of the Iraq war."
Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.
WAYNE SLATER, CO-AUTHOR, BUSH`S BRAIN: Good evening.
SHARPTON: Wayne --
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good evening.
SHARPTON: Wayne, I want to start with you. You toured the library. What
are your impressions of some of these exhibits?
SLATER: Well, with respect to Barney, you mentioned that Barney never did
give the president bad advice. So, it`s expected, I guess, the slight
reference to Rove, Rumsfeld and Cheney.
The thing you mentioned, the decision point`s theater where people are
invited to make choices, that suggests and the Bush library people say its
evidence that Bush is not trying to hide from the controversies of his
administration. And, in fact, there are references to those controversies,
the wars, the surge, the economic collapse, Katrina, all over the library.
But it only is a suggestion of a debate. It`s not really a debate.
SLATER: Because at the end of decision point theaters, there`s a reference
to Bush coming back and explaining why he did what he did. In other words,
justifying the decisions. The library in each exhibit and as a whole is
fundamentally a justification of the Bush years.
SHARPTON: Well, you know, David, your book "Hubris" focuses on the
administration`s spending and selling the Iraq war to the public. Here`s
how the Bush library covers it, following up what Wayne said.
Here`s how they cover the WMDs. "The New York Times" reports, quote "it
does not ignore controversies like the weapons of mass destruction that was
never found in Iraq. But it doesn`t dwell on them, either. In the Iraq
display, it says flatly, no stock part-times of WMD were found. But, then
it adds, post invasion inspections confirmed that Saddam Hussein had the
capacity to resume production of WMD." That`s very cute.
CORN: It`s cute by two half. And I`m looking forward to seeing the
undisclosed location display where they put all the Dick Cheney stuff.
On weapons of mass destruction, I mean, the thing is, how you frame the
debate, how you put the question, is the key thing here. If you say, do we
invade Iraq or do we leave Saddam Hussein, brutal tyrant, in place?
There`s your decision point. Right there you`re rigging t deck. Because
at the time we had inspectors in there, weapons of mass destruction weans
inspectors from the U.N., who were doing their job. And there was a lot of
people -- actually, not a lot of people. There was some of us in
Washington at the time who said before you even get to talking about an
invasion, we should see what they find or instead of an invasion, if you do
believe there are WMD facilities, why not have strategic attacks just on
those? Why have an invasion you have no plan for afterwards?
And to say that, hey, they have the capacity to resume, well, anybody who
can, you know, who can go to the Internet and, you know, read a bomb plan
has the capacity to resume making WMDs. What the weapons inspectors found
at the end that we sent in after the invasion was that there was no WMD
program whatsoever. And it had completely deteriorated. So there`s a lot
SHARPTON: Which is the opposite of what -- the opposite of what we were
told is the reason that we were going to war.
You know, also, Wayne, it`s interesting that the library seems to forget
his own mistakes as president. For example, the Katrina exhibit features
from Bush in September of 2005 the statement, "I want to know what went
right and what went wrong, what went wrong? Just ask the president at the
time." Oh, wait. That was you. You were the president at the time. I
mean, it`s crazy, but you toured it, Wayne. Did you find the "mission
accomplished" banner hanging in the library?
SLATER: No mission accomplished banner there.
SHARPTON: Did you check the closets? Are you sure?
SLATER: I`m pretty sure it`s not there. It is not there. But no, these
libraries, Reverend Sharpton, these libraries are always an expression of
the president. This is the 13th presidential library. They are all at the
beginning clear, if not clear positive expressions and full out
hagiography, at least the world as the administration saw it.
There was no evidence, no reference to the Iran contra crisis in the Reagan
administration in the Reagan library as an example of walls being broken.
There is no blue dress in the Clinton library. And there is, you are
correct, no mission accomplished banner.
But let me just say one other thing. These libraries develop over time.
They evolve. The Lyndon Johnson library here in Austin, Texas, when it
opened in 1971, had a very different Vietnam exhibit. Now if you go today,
you see a much more honest portrayal of Vietnam and the nation divided. I
think if we go to the Bush library, my guess is 50 years from now it will
be a somewhat different set of exhibits about the wars.
SHARPTON: But it is important, Wayne, because, for example, George Bush
raised more money for the Bush library than he raised for the 2000 and 2004
campaigns. He raised $500 million plus for the library, more than both of
the elections. So, the presidents` legacies and how they want to be
remembered is extremely important to them.
SLATER: You bet you. And that`s one of the things Bush always talks
about. When he was -- the last months of his administration, and frankly
the four years, the few times we have talked to him or he`s talked
publicly, he`s always expressed the idea that he doesn`t care. That it`s
not important to him.
The fact is just the opposite. If you look at our interview with Bush
which we published last week, Bush said things like, you know, nobody likes
to be criticized all the time. And when we raised issues, Tom Benning (ph)
of our staff, raised issues with the president about the economic crisis,
he was quick to compare mathematically the size of the deficit to the point
in which a way in which he said it wasn`t that much worse than during
Ronald Reagan`s period. So he`s sensitive.
SHARPTON: David, let me ask you this. I noticed that former President
Bush is going up in popularity. It was -- he was at in a poll 23 percent
in October 2008. Now he is up to 47 percent. Now, is that because people
haven`t seen him a lot?
SHARPTON: Does absence make the heart grow fonder here?
CORN: Yes. His popularity went up when he disappeared and started doing
pictures and portraits of dogs and himself taking a shower.
SHARPTON: You wrote the book reminding everyone of President Bush as he
provided over the country.
CORN: Well, you know, you know this, Reverend Al. History is always a
fight. It`s always a struggle. We go back and forth. And, you know, I
think Bush was probably good PR advice. You are pretty despised when you
left the presidential office. A majority of Americans actually believed
that he had lied the country into the war in Iraq. Not just that it was a
mistake, but he purposely said things that were false to get the war going.
And so, the best thing he could do was to take a powder, to lay low, and
you know, it`s kicking in. In the long run, though, as Wayne mentioned
about Watergate -- he didn`t mention Watergate with Nixon, Vietnam with
LBJ, these things you can`t run from. Presidents can`t run from what they
did when it comes to no action on global warming, climate change, when it
comes to doing nothing about the subprime industry before it all crashed
and brought down the economy. Those are things that Bush can`t spin away
by having a little interactive display that sort of falsely frames the
SHARPTON: Well, David Corn and Wayne Slater, I think you can run, but as
long as there`s guys around like us, you can`t hide.
Thanks for your time this evening.
Ahead, ex-husband versus ex-wife, how a busted marriage might bust a
political career again? Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Forget the alimony. Mark Sanford`s ex-wife may have put the
brakes on his political comeback attempt. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Mark Sanford is blazing a new trail this week. Earlier this
month, the former South Carolina governor won the Republican primary for a
house seat he held in the `90s. It was a big return to the public stage
since Sanford is known best for this moment in 2009.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK SANFORD (D), FORMER GOVERNOR, SOUTH CAROLINA: As much as I did talk
about going to the Appalachian Trail, it was one of the original scenarios
that I`d thrown out. The bottom line is this. I`ve been unfaithful to my
wife. I developed a relationship with a what started out as a dear, dear
friend from Argentina.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But that was then. And this is now. He`s done the media blitz.
All the baggage is out in the open. But now we have this. It`s a full
page ad in a Charleston, South Carolina, newspaper. The headline "a person
message from Mark Sanford." He`s defending himself against his ex-wife`s
charge that he trespassed on her property. This is not from the onion,
Jenny Sanford filed court documents in March accusing her ex-husband of
entering her house without her permission. She says she found him using
his cell phone as a flashlight as he left out her back door. And now the
national Republican congressional committee will not be engaged in this
special election. There`s not enough ad space in the world for Sanford to
explain this one.
Joining me now is Dick Harpootlian, the chairman of the South Carolina
Thanks for being here, Dick.
DICK HARPOOTLIAN, SENIOR DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Al.
SHARPTON: How are people in South Carolina reacting to this ad?
HARPOOTLIAN: You know, Mark Sanford has humiliated, embarrassed the state
for most of his political career. We thought we were done with him. And
then, just like Freddy Krueger, he is back. This is, again, a national
humiliation for the state.
And I think, though, that the state is going to prove that it is smarter
than Mark Sanford and many of the Republicans think we are. And they are
going to send him back home to wherever that is -- Argentina, Charleston,
and who knows. And elect Elizabeth Colbert-Bush to the United States
SHARPTON: Now, let`s get back to this ad. I mean, Sanford says he was at
his ex-wife`s house to watch the super bowl with his son. And he tried to
tell Jenny Sanford before he went. But he also compares his campaign to
the Alamo. He says, I`d ask you to cross the line and fight with me.
Comparing his fight to the Alamo? I mean, really?
HARPOOTLIAN: Well, I think just like the folks at the Alamo, he`s going to
end up dead. I think that he`s - that maybe that is the comparison.
You know, here`s -- Mark Sanford is the best liar to camera I`ve seen in 40
years. He said, for instance, he just went over there to watch the super
bowl with his son. What he doesn`t mention is he had gone to this house
many times before. His wife had to get a letter from the Charleston police
department telling him not the comeback. And then he comes back again.
He said he went over there to watch the super bowl with his son so he
wouldn`t be alone. Today, we find out from the "Buford" newspaper that his
other son or sons were there. So his son wasn`t alone.
This guy is a serial liar. And, you know, he`s gotten away with it for his
entire term as governor and a few terms as congressman. So he`s caught.
SHARPTON: But, Dick, it seems like this trespassing news has taken its
toll on the house race. When you look at the fact that in March, Sanford`s
opponent, Elizabeth Colbert-Bush, had 47 percent of the vote. Now she`s up
to 50 and Sanford`s fallen from 45 to 41. Colbert-Bush went from a two
point to a nine-point lead. So, it seems like it`s not working for him
HARPOOTLIAN: Well, I think two things are happening. One, Elizabeth is
just an extraordinary candidate, has worked very hard, has great TV op, has
knocked on a bunch of doors.
But -- and what I guess folks on a national level don`t see is this. This
is probably the dagger in his heart. The night of the primary when he won
in the runoff, his mistress, now fiancee, shows up on the stage. And
apparently according to what Jennie Sanford has said now, was the first
time her children had met Mark Sanford, their soon to be stepmother,
And I think -- the talk in Charleston and Buford prior to this, you`re
telling me they`ve been engaged for six months and the first time this
narcistic (ph), self-centered S.O.B. decides that his kids ought to meet
her is on the stage? Look at his face in the picture you saw a moment ago.
Look at the total sort of depression and disgust on this kid`s face.
I think that`s what drove Jenny Sanford to distraction. And that`s why I
think she`s gone on the offensive to protect her kids. Everybody in the
district understands that. He needs to fade out of the public scene and go
back to doing whatever it was before he got into politics.
SHARPTON: Now, Sanford`s ex-wife Jenny denies leaking this story. But,
she also says his congressional race is not her concern. Jenny also did a
media blitz of her own in 2010 after her husband`s scandal came to light.
Let`s listen to some of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From the wife`s standpoint, thumbs down. From the
political adviser standpoint, thumbs down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s nobody cheaper than this guy. I mean, this
guy can pinch a penny better than anybody. So, he stayed true to his
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You did not stand next to your husband. Did you
think of doing that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I didn`t, really.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you have if he asked you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, is this scandal from back then still have some traction
in the district and in the state, Dick?
HARPOOTLIAN: Absolutely. Al, he`s -- I mean, people might have been
willing to give him a second chance, believe it or not. But he has stepped
all over that with trespass charge. And one of the things that is not
being talked about on the national level is in the same petition where she
asks the family court judge to hold him in contempt, he could be going to
jail rather than to congress, she points out that he failed to pay money to
help with his son`s college tuition. After she filed that, he paid it.
But up until her going to court, he was a dead beat dad.
So, I mean, I just think this is just too much for even the Republicans to
swallow in this district that went 60/40 for Romney over Obama. Elizabeth
Colbert-Bush is at 50 percent in most of the public polls.
SHARPTON: All right. Dick Harpootlian, thank you for your time tonight.
HARPOOTLIAN: Thank you.
SHARPTON: We will be right back.
SHARPTON: In the wake of the tragedy we`re seeing a rise of Islamaphobia
on the right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: How is it after 9/11, how do we give asylum to people from
Islamic countries, or Islamic territories who are claiming that they`re
somehow deserving of this? I don`t even understand that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to have to cut off Muslim students from
coming to this country for some period of time so that we can at least
absorb what we`ve got, look at what we`ve got and decide whether some of
the people here should be going -- be sent back home or sent to prison.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t care if she knew about this. She ought to be
in prison for wearing a hijab.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This has no place in America. Just think about the news today
from Canada. An Al Qaeda plan to attack a passenger train was foiled after
an imam in Toronto went to authorities last year about a man he considered
Yes, there are valid concerns about the influence of radical Islamists
around the world. But there`s no place for Islamaphobia in America. No
place to profile people on their race, their ethnicity, or their religion.
We cannot play that game. We are better than that. Let`s behave like we
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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