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PoliticsNation, Thursday, April 25th, 2013

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POLITICS NATION
April 25, 2013

Guests: Jim Hightower; Lou Dubose, David Corn, Joe Madison, Jonathan Dienst


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

Tonight`s lead, omission accomplished in Texas. The dedication of the
Bush library was news for what wasn`t said as much as it was for what was
said. To be sure, the event provided a unique picture, all five living
presidents and their wives on the same stage, political differences were
put aside to focus what we all shares Americans and what they shared as
president, the toughest job in the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And what I know is true
about President Bush and I hope my successor will say about me is that we
love this country and we do our best.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are here t
celebrate a country we all love, a service we all rendered.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: An honor of a
lifetime to lead a country as brave and as noble as the United States.
Whatever challenges come before us, I will always believe our nation`s best
days lay ahead. God bless.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We saw president Clinton tweeting this private moment on
stage away from the TV cameras. And we saw President Obama laughing at a
joke from Barbara Bush, wife of one president, mother of another.

There was a lot of talk today about the positive he did in the world.
For example, his commitment to fighting aids in Africa. The money our
government provided literally saved millions of lives. But there wasn`t
much mention of the disastrous Bush decision to launch a war of choice in
Iraq, to torch prisoners, to conduct secret wire tapping, nor was there
talk about the financial crisis, the mortgage meltdown or hurricane
Katrina. Will this country turn a blind eye to one of our great cities?
That`s the legacy and we can`t ignore it, even or especially on a day like
today.

Joining me now are Joan Walsh and E.J. Dionne. Thank you both for
being here tonight.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: E.J., has the GOP ever really had an honest reckoning of
the Bush years? I mean, what he did to this country and to their party?

E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think the short answer
is no. I mean, ironically, the -- to the extent that the Republicans are
being critical of Bush, they have been critical of him for being a big
spender. They don`t tend to note that a lot of that money was spent in
Iraq. But, I`m not all that concerned that Americans are going to forget
that legacy.

Yes, President Bush`s numbers have improved since he left office, as
we saw in "the Washington Post" poll, ABC poll this week. His approval
rating went from 33 when he left office to 47 now.

But a majority of Americans still remember the economic downturn, 53
percent still disapprove of his handling of the economy, 57 percent still
disapprove of his decision to go to war in Iraq. So I`m not sure, the
Republicans have fully come to terms with Bush, but I think the country has
on a whole and hasn`t forgotten those two core things.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan, when you look at the fact, E.J. said something
about irony. Well, let me give you an irony. "The Washington Post"
headline today says U.S. intelligence believes Syria`s Assad used chemical
weapons on small scale. Isn`t it ironic that we learn about real WMDs in
the days when the Bush library is dedicated? I mean, and this is maybe
we`re not sure about Assad.

WALSH: We`re not sure.

SHARPTON: But we haven`t declared war in that yet either. Let`s just
say we`re hearing about what is possible, real WMDs on a day that we have
the president that went after WMDs that were not there.

WALSH: Right. It`s as though history wants to remind us even though
on this day we are not supposed to be talking about that, Reverend Al.
There is a sense of irony, although we don`t know exactly what is going on
in Syria. But, you know, we do know that President Bush, one of his low
moments was joking about looking for WMDs under the couch and some video
for --

SHARPTON: Yes. He did a joke at one of the last correspondence --

WALSH: Yes, one of those fancy dinners. And it`s not funny at all.

And I think Americans, to some extent, we like to see this. And I had
that sensation of myself, of seeing the father and the son, eldest
President Bush is obviously not, you know, not in great health. There`s
something among about that, especially at a time when we have so little
bipartisanship. There`s something very nice about seeing that tabloid. He
gets his day.

But I agree with E.J., he got his day and we will move back and he
will recover his place as one of the worst presidents in history.

SHARPTON: And I agree with that, E.J. I agree when you look at the
fact that much of the world could not have five heads of states standing
there that had a nonviolent succession of power. I mean, it shows a
greatness of this country, despite all of the flaws and despite all we`ve
gone through. And I think that`s good.

I was one that, you know, opposed Bush. I marched on the war in Iraq
early. I marched on -- I went with Cindy Sheehan`s home. I marched on
Hurricane Katrina. But, I thought what he did with aids in Africa was
great. I thought some of the things he talked about in education was good.
So it`s not personal.

But the country`s financial problems started because of his policies.
The Iraq war took trillions of dollars out. I mean, if we are going to
stop and talk about the Bush years, E.J., we are going to have to talk
about the Bush years, all of what happened.

DIONNE: Well, you know, first of all, I agree with you and Joan that
there is something nice about this. I also think that there`s a trade
union among presidents and former presidents and the cardinal rule of that
trade union as you always say nice things about each other in public and
President Obama lived up to that.

And I thought it was interesting what President Obama chose to praise
President Bush for. He praised him for the bull horn moment at 9/11 which
was an iconic moment. her praised him on aids in Africa, for which he
deserves praise. He praised him on education reform and went on at some
length about Bush`s effort to get immigration reform.

What was interesting about that was it was a contrast between George
Bush and the contemporary tea party on all of those issues, Bush was in
some sense much more progressive than the current Republican Party.

SHARPTON: Yes and that was interesting. That was interesting because
rather than the party going back more towards the center they went further
right. And the irony, E.J., and Joan, is that as E.J. talks about what
President Obama said, ironically who came and we`re using the word
ironically a lot here, but ironically, again, the one that came a little
closer to the truth was the joke that President Clinton said about
presidential libraries and what they are all about. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I told President Obama that this was the latest, grandest
example of the eternal struggle of former presidents to rewrite history.

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: That`s a little more candid in my opinion, Joan.

WALSH: That has a little sting to, was I thought, you know. And the
rest of his speech went on the be very funny and very warmth. But, that
was quite an opening that said, wow, you know, he`s going to acknowledge
what we`re doing here.

I think there`s one other thing that I shockingly want to give
President Bush credit for. And in addition to immigration reform and
showing how far to the right his party has moved, he also was pretty
careful in the days and months and even years after 9/11 not to demonize
Muslims, to really say this is not about a religion. This is not about a
group of people. We will not profile. And we, you know, going to Muslim
services. And, you know, that`s also --

SHARPTON: He went out of his way.

WALSH: He went out of his way to do that and that`s something we`re
not seeing in the wake of what happened in Boston and it`s really striking
to think about how quickly so many Republicans are all about, yes, let`s
straight out profile. Let`s really blame the people. Let`s not give their
students visas. Let`s not let them come here. And President Bush resisted
that. So --

SHARPTON: That was part of your point, E.J. I interrupted you when
you were saying some of the things that he has done. The tea party would
be outraged by George Bush doing that if he was president today.

DIONNE: Right. And I`m glad Joan brought up Muslims. President Bush
went out of his way to visit the Muslim center here in D.C. about a month
after nee 9/11. That sent a very important signal to the country.

But I think for those of us who are critical of president Bush on
things like Iraq on his handling of the economy, the one thing we didn`t
expect is that the lesson that the Republican party would draw, is that
well, the way to deal with the problems that Bush had is to move further to
the right. And that`s what we face now. And it`s almost as if President
Obama was saying Republicans on immigration reform, this won`t be my
legacy. This would be George W. Bush`s legacy so maybe he`ll pick up some
votes on immigration reform from what he said today.

SHARPTON: Well, and I want to ask this though, Joan. You know, the
President Bush, the former president talked about seeing the character of
the American people. I want you to listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I saw the people in New Orleans who made homemade boats to
rescue their neighbors from the floods. I saw service members who lay down
their lives to keep the country safe and make other nations free.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, this is the one that kind of bothered me a little.
He`s talking about the people in New Orleans that he left stranded. He is
talking about the troops he sent to war that didn`t have t fight, there
were no weapons there.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: I mean, are you a little surprised as I was that he would
even bring them up so directly?

WALSH: I wasn`t so surprised about the troops because he`s proud of
his wars. He thinks he did the right thing. Katrina is really an eternal
blemish on his legacy. And for him to even raise it, I think, and not
apologize, you know, not find some way to say, that`s one I could have
handled better, was a little jarring. That didn`t seem entirely right to
me, Rev.

SHARPTON: No. I think it was a little E.J., I think it was a little
-- that like, you know, I was kind of like don`t be too hard on him,
Reverend Al, he said New Orleans in my head and I kind of snapped. And I
think that, again, we got no one is all good, no one is all bad. But, I
mean, there`s some glaring things here that many of us in this country are
trying to still recover from the Bush years. That`s just the honest truth.

DIONNE: No. I think that`s true. I was surprised he brought up New
Orleans. I think he knows in his heart of hearts that he might usefully
have said something apologetic because that was really a turnaround moment
for his presidency. He lost some ground when he supported privatizing
Social Security. The war in Iraq was turning bad at that point. But this
really was the moment when large numbers of people in the court said, wait
a minute, this isn`t working. And so I was surprised that he brought it up
in that way.

Joan Walsh and E.J. Dionne, thanks for your time tonight.

DIONNE: Good to be with you, Reverend.

WALSH: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a secret tape reveals what a top Republican really
thinks of Rush Limbaugh. And it shows how cowardly they are.

And we are learning more about the suspected Boston bomber`s next
target. New York`s mayor Bloomberg talked about it today. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Everyone is buzzing about Barbara Bush`s comments that we have had
enough Bushes in the White House. After George W. said his brother Jeb
should run in 2016.

Daniel writes, mother knows best.

And Robin says, I hope Jeb runs and gets the nomination. That will
seal a democrat in the White House in 2016.

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.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, we saw former president George Bush and his allies
unveil a brand new mission to accomplish. With the Bush library, they are
trying to rewrite history and rescue his legacy. For the country, for the
Republican party, and for the Bush family itself. A key part of that
mission seems to be getting yet another Bush in the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: If your brother Jeb decides to run.

BUSH: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What advice would you give him?

BUSH: My first advice is run.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure. He would be terrific. He would be a
wonderful president.

BUSH: He would be a marvelous candidate if he chooses to do so. He
doesn`t need my counsel because he knows what it is, which is run.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Run, Jeb, run. The whole family seems to be on board,
right? Wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Mrs. Bush, would you like to see your
son Jeb run?

BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: He is by far
the best qualified man but, no, I really don`t. I think it`s a great
country. There are a lot of great families and it`s not just four families
or whatever. There just -- there are other people out there that are very
qualified and we have had enough Bushes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`ve had enough Bushes. It`s astounding. Most candidates
don`t have to worry about getting support from their mom. But whether
Barbara Bush realized it or not, today she summed up the thoughts of
millions of Americans, including Republicans. We have had enough Bushes.

Joining me now is Lou Dubose of "the Washington Spectator." He also
is the co-author of "Bushwhacked, life in George W. Bush`s America" and Jim
Hightower, commentator and author.

Thanks to you both for being here.

LOU DUBOSE, THE WASHINGTON SPECTATOR: Good to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: Jim, what do you make of Barbara`s comments that we`ve had
enough Bushes?

JIM HIGHTOWER, RADIO COMMENTATOR, AUTHOR: Well, she`s right. And I
think that`s the damage that`s being done to Jeb Bush right now by this
library extravaganza that took place up in Dallas. By the way, that`s $250
million can of whitewash, is pretty much what that library represents.

And here`s Jeb Bush trying to run for president and he got endorsed by
their own family member, as you showed there, W. himself said, yes, run,
run, run. But what W. has done with this extravaganza in Dallas is to
create a massive flashback for the American people. You know, Bush has
been out of sight for awhile. And by the way, I give him credit for that
for ducking down a little bit. But then here comes Bush again, reminding
people that mission accomplished banner that you`re talking about, that
heck of a job brownie in New Orleans and the privatization of Social
Security and again and again and again. Oh, my God. We now remember who
he was and we`re going to have another one of them? I don`t think so. I
think Barbara Bush was right.

SHARPTON: The fact is, when you look at it, Lou, the Republican
party, the brand under George Bush`s favorability ratings for the party
tanked. In 2002, 58 percent of the American saw the GOP favorably. That
plummeted down to 33 by 200, down to 31 percent today. In 2001, only 37
percent of American had an unfavorable view of the GOP. By the time Bush
led office, that was up to 61 percent, Lou.

DUBOSE: Yes. The brand is for the party`s brand that is really
tarnish and it has been tarnish by George W. Bush, of course, you know.
Two wars a choice, a huge tax cut that left the country bankrupt, left us
where we are today and he exits on a huge financial scandal which was
partially in his creation, although you have to give credit for bank
regulation. So, I think the brand is really tarnished.

Also, Reverend, the un-thing with Jeb Bush is that the nation has
moved to the center or to the left and his party that is going to nominate
him has moved to the right. If you go to CPAC, you won`t -- you know, the
annual Republican conservative gathering, you won`t see much of George
Bush`s name. It`s a cult of Reagan. But George Bush and Karl Rove are
persona non grata there.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, when he mentions that, Jim, I mean, you have
to deal with the fact that Americans have changed their views from agreeing
with Bush on very key issues when he was president. Bush wanted, for
example, to privatize Social Security, as you said, 62 percent of Americans
thought it was a good idea under Bush. Now, only 33 percent thought it`s a
good idea. Not even just now. In 2010 it dropped to 33 percent. Bush
opposed same-sex marriage, 55 percent of Americans agreed with him back
then. Today, only 39 percent oppose it. Bush wanted to extend tax cuts
for everyone, including the wealthy in 2005, 51 percent of Americans agreed
with them but in 2012, only 28 percent thought tax cuts should be extended.
Bush pushed American into a war with Iraq. In 2003, 72 percent of
Americans supported that. Today, only 43 percent of America today say that
it was a smart choice. So, America has gone away from their agreement with
George Bush.

HIGHTOWER: Well, America lived with Bush for eight years and they saw
what that was like. I think the old button had a picture of Bush`s face
and said like a rock, only dumber. And they now say that the stupidity of
those policies and we`re still trying to live with those things.

And by the way, I just point out that Lou was mentioning, the buildup
of the debt under Bush, thanks primarily to the two wars and tax cuts for
the wealthy, not to mention the giveaway o the -- on Medicare to the
pharmaceutical giants, but, that he`s continuing that. Because while this
is a library that is paid for by wealthy interest, they won`t reveal the
names of the people who put the money up. The half a billion dollars going
into that library.

But then, we, the taxpayers, still get to pay for the mightiness of
that operation. So, you know, he continues -- he has lived a life of
entitlement. I said in 1998 at the democratic convention that his Friday
was born on third and probably hit a triple. But Bush is very much in line
to that. He is a child of privilege and hasn`t changed at all. He thinks
he`s entitled to these things.

SHARPTON: You know, in line with that, Lou, you know, a lot of
Republicans fear that Jeb Bush`s last name could bring him some trouble if
he decides to run. For example, former Mississippi governor, Hailey
Barbour says, if Jeb Bush`s last name was Brown instead of Bush, he`d
probably be the front-runner for the Republican nomination. And
congressman Patrick McHenry who was national coordination director for
George Bush`s 2000 campaign, he says the biggest thing to hold him back is
his last name.

DUBOSE: It`s a liability, Rev. You know, he was actually, if you
remember the Bush family chronicle, it was Jeb that was being groomed to be
president, but he was in the wrong state and Karl Rove latched on to George
W. and made him the president and the rest, of course, is history.

You know, the whole family has another, you know, the family can
sometimes be described as a white collar criminal conspiracy. You know,
when these -- when George W. was elected -- was nominated president, they
all took off selling oil deals in Argentina. That was Neil Bush, had
nothing to do with Argentina. George W. was on the phone with the
Argentine interior minister settling an Enron deal. And the person with a
political future, that is Jeb, he was in Nigeria selling water pumps to
president (INAUDIBLE).

So, you know, they all went there in a shoe shining a smile on dad`s
name as children of privilege and he took advantage of that moment to
enrich themselves. I think that comes back to Jeb if he runs again. It`s
different running for governorship of Florida, a lot different than that
this could be from the national press. So, there`s more than one
liability.

SHARPTON: Well, I tell you, thank you, Lou Dubose and Jim Hightower.

I don`t know whether there was a criminal conspiracy, I certainly know
that it was not all that this half a million project is pumping it up to be
in terms of the policy that affected this country.

Coming up, what do Republicans really think about Rush Limbaugh? The
secret tape ahead.

And a very serious story we are following today. New York mayor
Michael Bloomberg says the suspected Boston bombers were headed to Times
Square. More on the investigation ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The Boston tragedy brought the country together but some on
the far right are using it to play ugly politics and advance ridiculous
conspiracy theories. Rush Limbaugh continued to spew the hate on the air
this week.

(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 boy, harmless.

They are all Democrats. Well, of course they are Democrats. Dzhokhar
with a tweet celebrating Obama`s re-election. I`ve got the tweet. Of
course they are all Democrats. You think these guys are voting for Romney?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Classy, right? But now a top republican is speaking the
truth about Rush and he didn`t want anyone to know about it. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: GOP, you`ve got a problem. You know it. You`re just too
cowardly to face it. Meet Frank Luntz, he`s the very visible Republicans
strategist and commentator. The FOX News political pollster, a guy who is
known to speak his mind. He`s known to tell the truth about what is going
on in the conservative parties. But not when it comes to Rush Limbaugh.
Not until now.

Mother Jones revealed the secret tape today, is reportedly Mr. Luntz
is on tape speaking to college students. At one point Luntz was asked
about political polarization, he replied that he had something important to
say on this matter but was apprehensive about speaking openly, doing so he
explain could land him in trouble. The tape could not be independently
confirmed by NBC News, but we believe it to be Luntz`s voice. He didn`t
know it, but one student was recording as he slammed conservative talk
radio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Great ratings and they drive the message and it`s
really problematic. And this is not on the democratic side. It`s only on
the republican side. They`ve got every other source of news on their side
and so that is another way to driving it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That is. Talk radio is, quote, "problematic to the party."
Again, let`s remember, he would only say this behind closed doors. And
then he revealed the names.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Marco Rubio`s getting his (bleep) kicked. Who`s my
Rubio fan here? We talked about it. He`s getting destroyed. (INAUDIBLE).
He`s trying to find a legitimate, long-term effective solution to
immigration that isn`t the traditional republican approach and talk radio
is killing him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So Rush Limbaugh is the problem. He is hurting the party.
But Luntz like so many republican politicians and pundits refused to say it
out loud. They refused to denounce the trash talk. Why? Because they are
scared and it says a lot about the character of today`s GOP.

Joining me now is David Corn, a Washington bureau chief for "Mother
Jones," who broke the story. And Joe Madison, Sirius XM radio show host,
thanks to both of you for being here tonight.

DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES" WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Thank you.

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

SHARPTON: David, why did the student who gave you this tape feel
compelled to record them?

CORN: Well, I should say that the student did so and allowed his name
to be used. He`s name is Aakash Abbi, he`s a third-year student at
University of Pennsylvania. He attended the talk that Frank Luntz did and
most of the talk was open for public consumption. But at one point he was
asked, what do you think about the steep political polarization in the
country? And he said, well, I have a very important thing to say about
that but if I did, it could get me into trouble and he certainly referred
to as professional business.

And he asked a reporter who was there for the school newspaper to turn
off his recording device and go off and allow this to be off the record.
The reporter said yes, but the student Aakash thought something important
might happen and he said I don`t see why he should get away with going off
the record on this. And he started to record, and indeed, it was Frank
Luntz saying that it was mainly right-wing radio, and he named Rush
Limbaugh, Mark Levin referred to others, who are driving the polarization
and -- the country and the party and destroying people like Marco Rubio
who`s trying to come up with the compromise and immigration.

SHARPTON: So Aakash said that he recorded it because he felt he did
not deserve to go off the record and he came brought you the tape and gave
his name. Now, Joe Madison, let me give you as example of the kinds of
things Rush Limbaugh has said. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke who
goes before Congressional Committee and essentially says that she must be
paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right?

There is a game mafia that is inflicted the fear of death, political
death in the Republican Party.

What do you call Planned Parenthood if that`s not a death squad?

Has the CDC ever published the story about the dangers of catching
diseases when you sleep with illegal aliens? That`s an interesting take
that the President inspires it, inspires racism. It may well be the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The President inspires racism. Sandra Fluke, a young
student, was a slut and no republican, Joe Madison, none of the republican
leadership stood up to this man. None denounced him, even now Frank Luntz
says, cut the tape off. In fact, after he had made this outrageous
statement about Sandra Fluke, let me show you what George will went on
national television and said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. Boehner comes up and says, Russia`s language is
inappropriate, using a salad fork for your entree. That`s inappropriate.
I mean, and Rick Santorum says, well, what he said was absurd but an
entertainer is allowed to be absurd, it was depressing because what it
indicates is that the republican leaders are afraid Rush Limbaugh. They
want to bomb Iran but they are afraid of Rush Limbaugh.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, they are afraid of Rush Limbaugh. Why are they
afraid of him, Joe?

MADISON: Well, because you have a nucleus of supporters that listen
to his show and they in essence have taken over the heart and soul of the
Republican Party and this is why they will not ever be in power again.
When you are afraid to speak truth to power, then how can you lean the
United States Congress? If you can`t stand up to a talk show host or host,
then how do you lead in the most powerful governing body on the planet?

The reality is, and here`s something else that I find interesting,
that a consultant, a highly paid consultant for the Republican Party would
think that you could tell, none media type that you`re off the record.

(LAUGHTER)

I mean, that is absolutely absurd. So, the reality is that what this
tape has done is validate, quite honestly, reverend and David, what we
have all know and have said for a long time and the reality is the
Republican Party is run by and directed by these guys on radio and it`s
going to mean that they will never, never expand beyond it. Listen to what
he said, though, that it`s not the traditional approach on immigration that
the Republican Party would take and that`s exactly what you have.
Nontraditional Republicans.

SHARPTON: Now, David, off the record, how did they get out of this
bind, David?

CORN: Well, you know, Frank Luntz -- and I`ve got to say, Frank is
one of my favorite guys on the republican side. Because I`ve got, really
good, you know, conversation with them. I disagree what he said about
Obama`s health care system being a government takeover. I think, you know,
he is in some way is a propagandist and then he tries to find killer
political words to serve his ideological soul mates. But you know, he got
caught here. He`s not saying anything, they`re going to try to duck and
run away from this.

And interestingly enough, today on the Rush Limbaugh radio show, he
said nothing about this. So, maybe they are just going to duck and cover
and hope it blows over.

MADISON: No, I disagree. I think what they are going to do is
demonize this young student. That`s what is going to happen tomorrow.

SHARPTON: Well, we`ll see. David Corn, Joe Madison, thank you both
for your time tonight.

MADISON: Thank you.

CORN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, were the Boston bombers planning to hit Times
Square? News on that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, officials confirm that the Boston bombing suspects
had another target in mind after the attacks. New York.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), NEW YORK: Last night we were informed by
the FBI that the surviving attacker reveal that New York City was next on
their list of targets. He told the FBI apparently that he and his brother
had intended to drive to New York and designate additional explosives in
Times Square.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They had built additional explosives. The suspects had
five pipe bombs and another device similar to the pressure cooker bomb used
in the marathon attacks but their plan was stopped.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAY KELLY, NYPD COMMISSIONER: They discussed this while driving
around in the Mercedes SUV that they had hijacked after they had shot and
killed an MIT police officer in Cambridge, Dzhokhar said. That plan,
however, fell apart when they realized that the vehicle that they hijacked
was low on gas and ordered the driver to stop at a nearby gas station. The
driver used the opportunity to escape and call the police.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A short time later, the pair was spotted by police. A
photo of their standoff with authorities even shows what appears to be a
bomb at their feet. Perhaps it was the one they planned to use in Times
Square but thankfully they never did.

Joining me now is Jonathan Dienst, WNBC chief investigative reporter.
Jonathan, you`ve been covering this story all day. What can you tell us
about this plot?

JONATHAN DIENST, WNBC CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, they were
talking about it. They got this information from questioning the surviving
brother in that hospital room and he allegedly first said they just wanted
to come to New York to party and then upon further questioning and
interrogating, he allegedly confesses and said, we actually were talking
about wanting to come here to New York, they had the car, they had the
device as you said in the trunk, and they talked about wanting to come here
and it`s only because of that gas issue, only because the victim had called
911 that police were able to confront him and perhaps change their plans.

Now, their law enforcement officials were saying, look, they talked
about it, but there`s no evidence they did any scouting here in New York,
that they had any help here, that they were lone wolves but the
investigation is now continuing broad name to see if they had any New York
connections.

SHARPTON: Now, walk us through how authorities obtained the
information. Weren`t the initial reports, as you said, that they were
planning to party?

DIENST: Right. The way that the police commissioner Kelly explained
this is, the first day the suspect is more drowsy, he`s on more medication,
given the injuries that he suffered. So the questions are more sporadic.
Then the second day, he`s much more lucid. They are able to question him
in much more detail and they are able to work to get more information out
of him and he says, that`s the explanation and that Sunday into Monday --
of course, we have this information just coming out today as to how this
got passed off from the GTT up in Boston down to FBI officials here in New
York.

The thinking is there`s no credible threat to New York at this time
because, as you know, one brother is dead, the other one is in custody but
the New York Police Department and the FBI have officials up in Boston
tracking all of the developments to make sure that there are no connections
in New York City.

SHARPTON: Your sources, are they telling you that the law enforcement
thinks this is a spur at the moment kind of decision that the two brothers
may have had in the car or was this a thought-out plan that they were going
to do Boston marathon and then go to New York?

DIENST: The best information we have is that it was a spur of the
moment, that it was not planned out. There`s no indication at all that
there was any reconnaissance done. We know the younger brother visited
here on two occasions but there`s nothing to suggest there was anything
nefarious about that trip. Well, this all came up because the carjacking
victim said, he heard the suspect speaking in a foreign language but he
kept hearing Manhattan, New York.

SHARPTON: Right. Right.

DIENST: And so he alerted that to police and that`s why they were
able to question the younger brother about this possible New York
connection.

SHARPTON: Jonathan Dienst, thank you for your time this evening.

DIENST: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Up next, an inspiring example said by a survivor of the
Boston attacks. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: From Boston tonight, a powerful story of healing and hope.
Heather Abbott is a 38-year-old Rhode Island woman who survived the bombing
attacks. She had her left leg amputated below the knee and today she spoke
about the attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEATHER ABBOTT, BOMBING SURVIVOR: If someone had told me that I was
going to have half a leg, basically, at the age of 38 before this happened,
I think I would have never believed it. I think I would have been
devastated. And I really haven`t had a moment yet of being devastated
because I`ve gotten so much support from the hospital. I haven`t watched
TV since the incident. And I think that`s one of the things that has been
helping me get through this, to just focus on my recovery and, you know,
how to proceed with my life.

I`m sure at some point I will be interested in the details and have an
opinion about, you know, the individuals that did this. But I haven`t let
my mind go there at all. I walked maybe ten feet today on a walker and,
you know, everybody was so proud of me. And I thought, oh, gosh, this is
going to be a long time. If this distance is something that people are
proud of me at this point for. You know, I`m recognizing that, you know,
I`m going to have some pain that is not going to be controlled and it`s
going to take a long time to get to where I want to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It might take a long time, Heather, but you`ll get there.
You define Boston strong and you`re an inspiration to all of us. If you
would like to help Heather and the other victims affected by the tragedy,
go to onefundboston.org. All of the information is there for donations and
it`s linked to our POLITICS NATION Facebook page.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: One of America`s greatest political qualities is the lively
exchange of ideas. We can disagree without being disagreeable. And year
after year is how we achieve a peaceful transition of power from one
administration to the next. It`s a triumph of democracy and that`s what we
saw on stage in Dallas today. Presidents, past and present, all
acknowledging that the office -- is much bigger than anyone person. We
also saw them enjoying the fellowship of their exclusive club, competitors,
confidants, and sometimes even friends.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We`ve been called the world`s
most exclusive club and we do have a pretty nice clubhouse. But the truth
is, are clubs are more like a support group.

FMR. PRES. BILL CLINTON (D), UNITED STATES: People began to joke that
I was getting so close to the Bush family I had become the black sheep`s
son.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m filled with admiration for you and greet
attitude for you about the great contribution you`ve made to the most needy
people on earth.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s a great pleasure to be here to honor our son,
our oldest son and it`s very special for Barbara and me.

CLINTON: We do a lot of speeches together and I like it when we have
disagreements. He`s disarmingly direct.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And finally when President Bush became president,
they had the inauguration in Washington on schedule, and I think my wife
and I were the only two volunteer Democrats on the platform.

CLINTON: George Bush would call me just to talk politics. And a
chill went up and down my spine when Laura said that all their records were
digitized. Dear God, I hope there`s no record of those conversations.

OBAMA: Raise two remarkable, caring, beautiful daughters, even after
they tried to discourage them from running for president saying, dad,
you`re not as cool as you think you are. Mr. President, I can relate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It was a great moment. Something we don`t see very often.
I disagreed with President Bush on almost everything. We rarely found
common ground. I fought him on bombings in Viejo, Puerto Rico, I
criticized his economic policies, I call his response to hurricane Katrina
inexcusable, and I adamantly oppose the war in Iraq. Today, President Bush
acknowledged that his decisions created plenty of controversy and
disagreement. But despite our passionate --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. PRES. GEORGE BUSH (R), UNITED STATES: Neighbors help neighbors.
And the strong protect the weak, and public policies promote private
compassion. As president, I tried to act on these principles every day.
It wasn`t always easy and it certainly wasn`t always popular. One of the
benefits of freedom is that people can disagree. It`s fair to say I
created plenty of opportunities to exercise that right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We had passionate disagreements. But despite that,
President Bush would invite me to the White House, invite me to the
ceremonies, meetings, his last public policy speech in a school in
Philadelphia. He commended me for doing something with education with our
National Action Network, even though I didn`t agree with all of his
policies. That is why the venom and the kind of inflexible polarization
that we face now is so unpardonable to me, because you don`t have to tear a
country down.

You don`t have to tear it apart in the name of building it up. We
have always had disagreements in this country but we didn`t try to destroy
it. We have always voted for our candidates but we didn`t try to suppress
votes. It is time for civility again. That`s what we saw in Dallas today.

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

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

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