PoliticsNation, Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
May 1, 2013
Guests: Ryan Grim, Joe Madison, Wayne Slater
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you for
Breaking news tonight. Three college friends of bombing suspect, Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev, have been arrested and charged in a Boston federal courthouse.
This is brand-new video showing the suspects being led from the courthouse
to a detention center where they are being held right now.
Two of the suspects were charged with obstructing a federal terrorism
investigation. They are also accused of knowingly destroying, concealing,
and covering up a laptop and backpack containing fireworks. Here`s a photo
released of the fireworks recovered from that backpack inside a dumpster
near their apartment.
A backpack also contained a jar of Vaseline and a u-mass Dartmouth homework
assignment sheet from a class Dzhokhar was currently enrolled in. Two of
them in charge are seen here with Dzhokhar in a picture taken in Times
Square. They are Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev. Both from
Kazakhstan. The third man charge is a U.S. citizen identified as Robel
Phillipos. He is charged with making false statements.
Police emphasis there is no threat to public safety. But this is big news
for the investigation. Three men charged with helping a terrorist cover up
Joining me from Boston, NBC News national investigative correspondent,
Michael Isikoff, and Don Clark, former special agent in charge of FBI field
office in Houston. He managed the investigation of the 1993 bombing of the
world trade center.
Thank you both for being with us tonight.
DON CLARK, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Good to be with you, Al.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, NBC NEWS NATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Good to be
SHARPTON: Michael, let me go to you first. What are you hearing on the
ground about what happened inside that courtroom today? .
ISIKOFF: Well, according to our colleague (INAUDIBLE) who was actually in
the courthouse, it was a very brief court appearance. Judge Bowler, who is
the same judge who presided at that hospital bedroom hospital hearing for
Tsarnaev was the presiding magistrate here, read the -- there were two
hearings, read the two Kazakhs students their rights, told them --asked if
they could afford a lawyer. They did. They said yes and they actually do
have separate counsel. And were advised of their rights and then that was
it. The court hearing now has been scheduled for May 14th for both of
And then the third one, Robel Phillipos, he was also read his rights in a
separate court here. You know, there was some -- an incident there where
the judge became somewhat displeased that he had his head down and didn`t
appear to be listening to her and he admonished her for not listening.
SHARPTON: The judge --
ISIKOFF: A hearing has been scheduled.
SHARPTON: The judge admonished him?
ISIKOFF: Yes, Phillipos.
SHARPTON: All of these charges, Michael, are after the bombing. They are
not being charged with any involvement with the bombing or prior to the
bombing. All of these are subsequent events?
ISIKOFF: Absolutely. There`s no indication here from anything in the
criminal complaints that these individuals had prior knowledge of the
bombing or assisted with it. But that said, there`s some pretty bizarre
behavior outlined that is going to be very difficult for their lawyers to
explain to the jury. The key events start that night, right after the FBI
shows those photographs to the world of the suspects that they are looking
SHARPTON: I want to get into that, because speaking of bizarre, I want to
ask you about some chilling details in this part of the criminal complaint.
After seeing the FBI release photos of the suspect, Kadyrbayev then text
Tsarnaev and told him that he look like the suspect on television.
Tsarnaev returned text contain "lol" and other things Kadyrbayev
interpreted as joke such as, you better not text me and come to my room and
take whatever you want. What are you hearing about this?
ISIKOFF: Well, look, I mean, especially that last line, come to my room
and take whatever you want, you know, could easily be interpreted as some
sort of code to go do it.
Now, the FBI does not allege that. We have no evidence that that`s what it
was but right after those text exchanges, they do go to the room. They go
to his room, the room that all three of these individuals go to the room.
The roommate let them in. They see the backpack with explosives in it.
They take it and then they also notice the laptop computer and because they
do not want -- there`s a roommate there, because they do not want the
roommate to think that they are stealing the backpack, they also take the
computer, at least that`s the account that these individuals gave to the
FBI and hardly seems exculpatory but that`s what is in the complaint.
SHARPTON: Now Don, let me ask you. You are a former FBI agent. You run a
lot of these investigations. How do you view the statement, is it a code
what he says, you go to my room and take what you want, how will the
prosecutors in the investigators sell this to a jury that in fact, this was
criminal behavior on their part.
CLARK: Well, Al, you ask a good question and you make a good point. I
mean, the key is exactly what you said is that all of these things that we
are talking about here, we have the law enforcement community, they have to
take this information and take everything that they have gathered out there
and so that they can go to court and it can be feasible enough for them to
make charges against them.
Keep in mind, they have to have facts and that`s everybody knows that.
They have to have facts about everything that they are doing, but they have
enough information at this point to be able to make some arrests and to
have some individuals there. And once you get that, it`s a process where
you continue on moving forward.
And as you mentioned, 1993 and some of the other investigations that we`ve
gone through, we`ve gone through the same type of process. We`ve got to be
deliberate and we`ve got to be definitely correct on the directions that
we`re going to move with.
SHARPTON: Now, an interesting footnote, Don, in the criminal complaint.
During these interviews, Tazhayakov also informed the FBI agents that while
eating a meal with Dzhokhar and Kadyrbayev approximately one month prior to
the marathon bombing, Dzhokhar had explained to Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov
that he knew how to make a bomb. I mean, that`s a big wow for me. What
does that tell you, though?
CLARK: Well, you know, normal people don`t sit down at a table eating and
decide how to make a bomb. That`s just not a conversation that is taking
place. This is somebody that is involved with people who have been talking
about this activity and activities such as this and talking about what they
are going to do with it and how they are going to do with it.
Al, as you mentioned, you know, we go back and we know a long time ago that
you don`t just walk out here when these things explode and say, oh, my
goodness, it just happened right now. The only time it happens is when
it`s purely an accident. Other than that, there was someone working up a
plan as to what is the best thing to use to disrupt activities and to cause
SHARPTON: Yes. Now, I want to go back to something that Michael Isikoff
said. He said about the backpack, I want to ask you about that. The
friends allegedly took the backpack and laptop from Dzhokhar`s dorm -- the
room in the dorm back to their apartment and threw it in the dumpster
nearby. How key is this piece of evidence?
CLARK: Well --
ISIKOFF: I think it`s very key.
SHARPTON: Don, and then I`m coming to you, Michael. Go ahead Don.
ISIKOFF: OK, sure.
CLARK: I think it`s very key. Let`s face it. We live today in the
electron neck world and to be able to obtain that in a lawful manner to use
that, that could be a lot of information that`s contained within that to
help this investigation and it may move it into directions that we don`t
even know about at this point.
I mean, you know unfortunately, for using the computer system and so forth
there`s a lot of storage facility for information that is in there. And
I`m sure the experts will be able to really go through and analyze and get
what they need out of that of what`s in there, I should say.
SHARPTON: Michael, how key is it that you are hearing and do you know
where the laptop is?
ISIKOFF: Well, actually, I do have a little bit of news on that. Because
what the FBI affidavit says is that the backpack was thrown in the garbage
and then found in the landfill and that`s what Kadyrbayev is accused of
concealing from the FBI. The FBI affidavit doesn`t say anything about what
happened to that laptop but I just had an e-mail exchange with Kadyrbayev`s
lawyer and asked what happened to the laptop and he said the laptop was
Now, remember, the lawyer for Kadyrbayev has said that his client has
cooperated with the FBI ever since he was detained right after these
events. So, in that, the turning over the laptop would be consistent with
that line of defense. That once asked by the FBI about all this, his
client came clean and told the FBI everything and turned over relevant
It is worth noting that only the last defendant, Phillipos is charged with
lying to the FBI. He was questioned four times, changed his story in
several of those interviews and it is only in the last interview he
confessed of being present and being aware with what happened.
The other two are not charged with lying so that could be consistent with
what the lawyer is saying, that once they were asked by the FBI about what
happened, they came clean. Now, clearly, that wasn`t enough for the FBI
because they are charged with removing that evidence. But it is important
SHARPTON: Don, go ahead.
CLARK: I`m sorry, Al. I didn`t mean to break in to that. But, you know,
the fact that they said that they gave everything out of the telephone and
all of the information that they have doesn`t necessarily mean that they
actually did do that, you know. Because there may be significant amount of
information that`s withheld and maybe some did get out but I doubt if all
of it got out at this point.
SHARPTON: Now, they are looking, Don, the investigators and prosecutors,
they are they looking to find out from the laptop from these materials that
they`ve been able to confiscate where there is a bigger conspiracy here,
who they are in contact with, what the communication could be? Could this
lead to whether it was just him and his brother or whether they were, in
fact, in touch with some larger groups, a foreign group that was involved
in guiding them through this?
CLARK: Well, you know, Al, to be honest with you, what you said is that
they are looking for all of the above. You know, they are looking for
everything you`re looking at to see who is connected with it, is there
someone else providing different things and so forth. So nonetheless, that
this is a piece by piece investigation and it`s not just, OK, we`ve covered
this part and that is the total part of this investigation. We have
arrested three guys so that`s it and now we can go home and we can all rest
in peace. That`s not the case.
You know very well that these investigations go on and as they investigate
and they talk to people and they look at other information that they have,
they will find that there are other people who have some information either
to provide or have some connection with it. It just happens that way.
SHARPTON: Michael Isikoff and Don Clark, thank you for your time tonight.
CLARK: Pleasure, Al. Good to see you, man.
SHARPTON: Ahead, a top Republican is spilling the beans about why they
really oppose President Obama`s policies. You will definitely want to hear
Plus, does the tea party still like Sarah Palin? You bet you. There`s a
new push to get her back into public office.
Plus, ten years after mission accomplished, Republicans have failed to
learn the lessons of Bush and they are still beating the drums of war.
You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on Facebook
yet? We hope you will. People had a lot to say about the Newtown victims`
daughter who confronted Republican senator Kelly Ayotte at a town hall for
her vote against background checks.
Michael says, good for her. I love it when people like Ayotte get
confronted with the truth.
Truscha says this is what we all have to do and we have the opportunity.
Call them out on their votes.
And Joe says, they will be held accountable for their votes with our votes.
HE is right. And now top Republican is spilling the beans on why so many
of his colleagues voted against the gun bill. We will explain that one
But first, we want to hear what you think. Please head over to Facebook
and search "Politics Nation" and like us to keep the conversation going
long after the show ends.
SHARPTON: I`ve heard Republicans offer a lot of lame excuses for why they
voted against background checks for gun violence. But now, the truth has
finally come out. GOP senator Pat Toomey who co-sponsored the bill says
quote "in the end, it didn`t pass because we`re so politicized. There were
some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do
something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do
Now, let`s think about that. It`s really stunning. Blocking a gun bill
just because they didn`t want to be seen as helping the president?
Opposing 90 percent of the American public because the president wants it
too? This is an absolute betrayal of public trust. He is putting politics
over people. It`s what President Obama has said all along. In fact, he
said it again yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They are worried about their
politics. It`s tough. Their base thinks that compromise with me is
somehow a betrayal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: They think compromise is a dirty word. They are just worried
about their own personal politics. As "The New York Times" explained it,
Republicans have made it clear that erecting hurdles for Mr. Obama is, if
anything, their overriding legislative goal.
Mr. McConnell said the GOP`s top priority was stopping President Obama.
Turns out, it`s their only priority.
Joining me now is Joy Reid and Bob Shrum. Thank you both for being here
JOY-ANN REID, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be here.
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Glad to be here, Rev.
SHARPTON: Bob, what are we seeing here with senator Toomey`s comments? I
mean, is this a peak behind the curtain?
SHRUM: Well, Pat Toomey committed the truth and the truth is that if the
president is for something, the Republicans are against it. Obama said it
right. The fact is, they are terrified of a tea party primary in their
districts so it`s very hard to get anything done.
It`s very different from, say, 1986 when rd Reagan could work with a
Democratic Congress on tax reform. Those days are long gone. And as I
look ahead to something leak immigration reform, I`m not particularly
optimistic. All you have to do is listen to Marco Rubio, one of the gang
of eight in the Senate, waffle in the last day or two saying he would want
to end discrimination against immigrants unless he could continue
discrimination against gays. And even if the bill gets through the Senate,
it goes to the House where there`s a very good chance it`s going to get
Look, you have a Republican Party right now that is so adamant that every
day in Washington is Groundhog Day.
SHRUM: Every day is another day of gridlock.
SHARPTON: But Joy, we`ve heard a lot of pundits blame President Obama for
the inaction of congress.
SHARPTON: Just today, Maureen Dowd wrote this. It is his job to get them
to behave. The job of the former community organizer and self-styled
uniter is to somehow get this dunderheaded Congress to do the stuff that he
wants them to do.
Now Joy, senator Toomey`s admission doesn`t that really prove a point, if
Republicans are only interested in obstructing the president, how can he
possibly get them to do what he wants?
REID: Feed them more dinners. Like that was the idea, right? There`s
been this thing among the media, not just Maureen Dowd, but it is something
about Barack Obama that`s causing this obstruction. He`s not feeding them
enough. HE is not talking to them enough. HE will hang out with them. He
should get drinks with them, as if there`s something about his personality
that is stopping them from behaving.
But we saw it from Kevin Draper`s book that came out. The minute he was
inaugurated, literally the night of President Obama`s inauguration in 2009,
you had Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy and other members of the so called young
guns in the Republican Party needing to plot total obstruction. You heard
Mitch McConnell saying their first priority is to make him a one-term
There`s a reason why you`re seeing pundits calling it`s a post policy party
because the only thing they all agree on is that they dislike, despise and
wants to dislodge this president. That`s their only policy agenda. You
see it with everything, with immigration where he can`t touch it otherwise
it can`t pass. This is not about dinners. This is about a party that
dislike the president.
SHARPTON: I also sense this some condescending attitudes with some of
these Washington pundits, that you know, that the problem is never the
senators, many who are committed to no matter what oppose this president is
his fault and these are people committed to obstructionism. But nobody is
saying to them, "the New York Times" editorial did, what is wrong with you
guys, it`s his fault.
And you know, I think that -- I hear a lot about how good Lyndon Johnson
was as president, Bob, when handling a lot of the Senate and a lot of
Let me show you this picture where he was getting an A for this in his
face. He`s known for leaning in and getting in people`s face and
(INAUDIBLE) wasn`t a senator but that was Johnson`s style.
But you also had to deal with the fact that Johnson had a style that
everyone knew for many years in the senate. His speaker was Sam Rayburn
who he and Rayburn came up to the ranks together in Texas. You`re not
dealing with John Boehner when you look at a relationship between the
speaker doing Lyndon Johnson and as presidency now. And I think the
comparison are crazy when you look at the differences that they were
SHRUM: Well, it`s not just a matter of style. And the Lyndon Johnson
comparison is completely wrong. He had two-thirds majority in 1965 and 66
in the House and Senate.
SHARPTON: And still was opposed by a lot of the Republicans just wasn`t
enough of them.
SHRUM: That`s correct. And after 1966, he had a lot of trouble because he
lost seats in the midterm. Look, this whole meaning that`s been created,
and Maureen Dowd did start it. "The Washington Post" picked it up. It`s a
total misreading of the situation, in my view.
And the president had a good -- pretty good response to it at the
correspondents` dinner. Say what -- they looked at me and say, why don`t
have you go have a drink with Mitch McConnell? He looked up so, why don`t
you go have a drink with Mitch McConnell. Maybe Maureen Dowd should go
have a drink with Mitch McConnell.
These folks are determined not to move and the only thing that is going to
change is that the president, Nancy Pelosi, Steve Israel who runs the
Democratic congressional campaign committee, they are out there recruiting
good candidates, raising a lot of money. They have to break this
unprecedented gridlock with unprecedented gains in the mid-term elections
and they are going to need the help of the Obama organization to turn out
those voters who don`t normally turn out in midterm elections.
SHARPTON: Now Bob, you wrote the best way for the president to get
something done in his second term is to keep the senate and retake the
house in 2014. And Bob wrote Joy, the president will have to invoke the
full persuasive power of the bully pulpit and sustain the full firepower of
his vaunted political organization in 2014. In effect, you will have to
run all out for third term in the mid-terms and this is what he just said.
And I think when you read those pundits that look down their nose and tell
him to be different, they were the ones who were predicting he would not
win re-election or it was going to be so close or he blew it this time, and
the night that the first debate and he didn`t do well, why don`t we concede
now? He has beat him every time.
REID: Yes. There`s always some flaw in Obama`s personality character
side. There is something about him. And Maureen Dowd must thinks maybe he
was more like the black person on 24, maybe all of a sudden he bring the
Congress to heal.
No president, no TV president would be able to do it. I think Bob Shrum
made the most important point. FDR had 75 Democrats in the United States
Senate at one point. He had 70 Democrats when he started off his term.
Lyndon Johnson had 68 Republicans in the Senate when he passed the civil
rights act. He had 64 with the voting rights act.
You know what presidential mojo empower is? It`s not being a TV
personality. It is having majority in the house. That`s how it works.
SHARPTON: And even then, Bob, some of the southern Democrats and
Republican voted against him on that. I mean, a president has to deal with
the time he is in and the hand he`s dealt and Barack Obama did not set this
hand. He received his hand, in many ways, because a lot of the Democrats
did not deliver the vote in the mid-term election and he couldn`t energize
the country to do it.
SHRUM: Well, and by the way, Lyndon Johnson also had, now he had those
southern Democrats who joined in the Filibuster, led the filibuster of the
civil rights bill. But you had Republican moderates and liberal like Jacob
Javers (ph) from New York, Matt (INAUDIBLE) from Maryland who were -- John
Lindsey, a congressman from New York at the time, who were strongly for
civil rights. So, he had big majorities. He could break that filibuster.
SHARPTON: And Republicans not as far t the right, like you said, Jacob
Javers, Nelson Rockefeller to John Lindsey`s, you don`t have anyone in the
party like that now and I think I lot of them are being na‹ve to act as
those the same kind of client.
SHRUM: I agree with that. Absolutely. And the truth of the matter is
that if you look at the composition of the Republican Party in the 1960s,
it was a much more diverse party than it is today.
It was not a small party over on the reactionary ride. And the way they
headed by the way, they may do OK in 2014. Although, I think we can break
present, we can push back in getting those seats. But the way they are
headed, I don`t know how they are going to win a presidential election in
2016, 2020 or 2024. They are on the wrong side of all the demographics and
most of the major issues in this country.
SHARPTON: We will see where it goes. And Joy, just so you know, it is not
that Bob and I are old enough to remember all of that. We just read a lot.
REID: Read up on it.
SHARPTON: Joy Reid and Bob Shrum, thank you for your time.
REID: Thank you.
SHRUM: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, why the war hawks on the right still haven`t
learned the lessons of mission accomplished.
Plus, a tea party in control? A stunning new poll that shows how the GOP
is more extreme than ever, with some even talking about an armed
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: There`s some wild new video out today and we`re trying to figure
out just what it is. Did Karl Rove and Sarah Palin run into each other at
a breakfast buffet? Did John McCain learn his famous whacko bird Ted Cruz
might run for president?
Is Rich Priebus idea of getting Republicans to self brand? Nope. It`s
actually a brawl in Venezuela`s Congress. But there`s plenty of -- in the
GOP right here at home. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Meeting idea of how extreme the Republican Party has gotten?
Try this on for size. Forty four percent of Republicans think an armed
revolution may be necessary in the next few years in order to protect our
liberties and arm rebellion. Can you believe this? Maybe you can because
it`s the same party where 30 percent believe the president is a Muslim.
And today, we learn GOP Congressman Steve Stockman`s campaign flyer asked
voters to help him stop President Obama`s radical take over Texas schools.
Then, there`s Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz who called President Obama the
most radical president we`ve ever seen and marked fellow Republicans for
being squishiest on gun control.
Pretty crazy, right?
But in this GOP, he`s considering a run for president. Just what the
country needs. This is a party off the deep end. Armed revolutions,
calling the President a radical, yet the President is being asked if he`s
out of juice to pass his agenda? He knows who is to blame.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You seem to suggest that
somehow these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is
to somehow get them to behave. That`s their job. They are elected --
members of Congress are elected in order to do what`s right for their
constituencies and for the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Joining me now are Ryan Grim and Joe Madison. Thank you both for coming on
the show tonight.
JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.
SHARPTON: Joe, 44 percent of Republicans think an armed revolution may be
necessary. I mean, how can the President deal with this party?
MADISON: Well, he`s the only adult, apparently, in the room. This is
McCarthyism multiplied maybe by a thousand. And we thought we went through
this in history. You know, you didn`t even mention -- and I imagine you
might later on, the fact that they are even talking about having
Congressional hearings on conspiracy theories and the one amazing
conspiracy that`s out there and being promoted is that the First Lady is
hiding the real Boston terrorist. It`s absolutely absurd. And who do I
You know, I don`t blame the clowns for behaving the way they do in the
circus. I blame actually the people who buy tickets to the circus, the
people who buy into this, the people who vote for this, and most important
of all, particularly on the other side -- and I`m not trying to provided
advice for the Republicans -- but my God, where are the responsible adults
in the Republican Party to come together and put an end to this
SHARPTON: Ryan, talking about conspiracy theories, the President addressed
some of them in the White House Correspondents` Dinner last weekend.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: These days I look in the mirror and I have to admit, I`m not the
strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be.
My administration put out a photograph of me going skeet shooting at Camp
David. Do you remember that? And quite a number of people insisted that
this had been photoshopped but tonight I have something to confess. You
were right. Guys, can we show them the actual photo? I`m also hard at
work on plans for the Obama library and some have suggested that we put it
in my birth place but I`d rather keep it in the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So Ryan, President Obama chose to make humor out of it and kind
of laugh at it. But enough people polled and are supportive of these
theories that it`s kind of scary, even though it is hilarious, it`s still
RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Right. And what`s striking to me is that
these people invest so much energy in thinking about these conspiracies and
these imagined future fantasies of, you know, federal agents kicking in
doors and black helicopters floating around. But in reality, we already
have that. You know, it`s called the drug war and it`s called the American
Criminal Justice System that has been expanding for the last 30 years. We
now have, you know, more than two million people in prison.
GRIM: You know, the second amendment seems to be the only one of the bill
of rights that they actually want to keep around. You know, there are very
real civil liberty issues going on right now. You know, people are getting
their doors kicked in by SWAT teams right now but where are these folks
when it comes to drug war? You know, if you want to actually protect civil
liberties, you could actually do something right now.
But instead, they are going around, talking about, you know, the Department
of Homeland Security is hoarding all the bullets because they`re trying to
keep bullets from people, things like that that don`t have any connection
to what is actually happening.
SHARPTON: No. But civil liberty is not the issue. Guns and all kinds of
things on the right becomes the issue. Now, looking at that, Joe in all
fairness, all Republicans are not being unreasonable. Look at Chris
Christie, someone I don`t agree with his policies but he`s touting his
ability to compromise. Even in his new campaign. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Working with Democrats and Republicans, believing that as long
as you stick to your principles, compromise isn`t a dirty word.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, that`s his campaign ad, first one for his re-election this
year for the governor of New Jersey. The question is, will the Republican
Party follow the likes of Chris Christie or the likes of Ted Cruz?
MADISON: Well, I`m afraid that what they will do is probably follow the
likes of Ted Cruz because what tends to happen -- and we`ve seen this
throughout history -- three years after the civil war, the rise of the Ku
Klux Klan. Why? Because the south was broken and disarray, suffering.
Then let`s fast forward to the `30s. There were a lot of members then.
They were at the height. Why? Because of the depression. What tends to
happen is that when you have economic uncertainty, people look for escape
MADISON: The President makes a great target. The poor demonized. I mean,
you know, look what they`re doing. You`re talking about civil liberties.
They are now saying that people on welfare ought to have drug tests. They
ought to be testing the people who make those kinds of laws. You know, if
you want to be fair about it. I did a show today about the fact that there
may be $34 trillion -- trillion dollars stashed offshore and around the
world, $34 trillion. I mean, this is absurd. So, we are watching
scapegoating going on and I`m afraid that it`s the cruzes, it`s the talk
show personalities on the right, they are the once that get the attention
and scare the hell out of everybody.
SHARPTON: Ryan Grim, and Joe Madison, I`m want to have to leave it there.
Thanks for your time this evening.
GRIM: Thank you.
MADISON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, ten years after mission accomplished. Republicans are
still beating the drums of war and rushing to judgment. And why was a
voter stifled at Kelly Ayotte`s town hall? Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Ten years ago President Bush said mission accomplished. The war
in Iraq was a mistake and ten years ago it was far from accomplished. Not
by a long shot. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Today hawks and the GOP are once again beating the drums of war
demanding action against Syria. But for getting the lessons of the past.
It was on this day ten years ago that President Bush pulled off the most
notorious PR stunt in recent political history. He landed on the deck of
an aircraft carrier, strutted around in a flight suit and told the American
people that we had won in Iraq. The banner said, "Mission Accomplished"
and President Bush said these now infamous words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended and the battle of Iraq,
the United States and our allies have prevailed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But, of course, the mission was not accomplished. More than
35,000 American troops would be killed or injured after that claim. In a
war that started with false claims about the need to invade.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: But we don`t want the smoking
gun to be a mushroom cloud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now we`re hearing the same kind of rhetoric again, fear
mongering and sable rattling when it comes to Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The chemical weapons enough to kill millions of people
are going to be compromised and following the wrong hands and the next bomb
that goes off in America may not have nails and glass in it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The smoking gun may be a mushroom cloud. We`ve heard it before
but we won`t get fooled again.
Joining me now is Wayne Slater, senior political writer for "The Dallas
Morning News" and co-author of "Bush`s Brain."
Wayne, today the Bush library officially opened to the public. The
"Mission Accomplished" banner is not part of the exhibit, right?
WAYNE SLATER, "THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS": Absolutely. It`s not there. I
looked around and couldn`t find it.
SHARPTON: Now, I mean, when you look at the toll of the war in Iraq, I
mean, the human toll, nearly 4500 Americans was killed in the war. The
Iraq civilian death toll estimated at between 112,000 and 122,000. More
than 32,000 Americans were wounded, many of them maimed or crippled and
cost it $1.7 trillion in taxpayers money. I mean, that`s a huge toll to be
going after weapons of mass destruction that was not there.
SLATER: Absolutely. Extrinsically, you look at this anniversary today,
ten years after the mission accomplishment accomplished landing by Bush, we
had lost 139 American military at that point. And as you suggested, in the
decade that followed, nearly the decade that followed, we lost more than
4,000 military. George Bush acted like it was Paris 1944 when he landed on
the deck of the "Abraham Lincoln."
SLATER: In fact, it was Saigon 1965. And this was a war that was going to
continue. You would think -- and you really raised the question, you would
think that we learned from history, Americans -- to Vietnam and elected
that jumped back in to a war and yet, you`re hearing the echoes of exactly
the same kinds of arguments from many of the same people in the rush to war
SHARPTON: No doubt about it.
SLATER: I wonder if anybody learns anything.
SHARPTON: Well, no doubt about it. They want the President to take
military action in Syria. Listen to what some of them are saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Be prepared with an international force to go in and
secure these stocks of chemical and perhaps biological weapons.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is not a president who wants to start another war.
That`s the way he sees it. I think it`s totally irresponsible for a
president to have that. No one wants to start wars but you have to do what
you`ve got to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And the President has laid down the line. He, you know,
it can`t be a dotted line. Some action needs to be taken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, the President said that he wants to have all of the facts
before he moves, that he does not know how the gas that has been used in
Syria, where it came from, how it was done, what is so irrational about
making sure that you`re making moves that are, A, necessary, and, B, based
on verified confirm information, particularly when we just got out of a war
that we didn`t do that?
SLATER: That`s one thing to be irrational or to jump in too quickly if we
don`t have our most immediate history, which obviously we do with respect
to Iraq. So, there`s nothing irrational about it at all. You know, you
asked if anyone had learned anything. I guess from the "Mission
Accomplished" and the subsequent years. It looks like the Obama
administration certainly has learned something and that it`s that you don`t
do what Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Pearl, and the rush to war crowd did
by beating the war drums ten years ago.
But to say, wait a minute, let`s be sure. Because not only do we want to
send troops willy-nilly into a dangerous situation, but we have learned
from the history of the implications of what we do and the law of
unintended consequences that often comes after this kind of thing. So
Obama obviously the administration is fighting for this. Has got to make a
decision but there`s nothing irrational but looking at the facts and making
a decision based on those facts.
SHARPTON: You know, Wayne, today is also the second anniversary of the
capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. But I`m sure that`s not in the
Bush library either. He didn`t do that. President Obama did.
Wayne Slater, thank you for your time tonight.
SLATER: Good to be with you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, how lawmakers who refuse to do the right thing are facing
the wrath of voters. That`s next.
SHARPTON: After a brutal last year of gun deaths in the city of Chicago
dropped dramatically so far this year. That`s some good news for sure.
But hours before police planned to announce that news today, gunfire rang
out at nine separate places in the city. Twenty people were hurt and three
were killed, according to NBC Chicago. In this country, guns are
everywhere, including toy boxes. This is a .22-caliber rifle called a
cricket. It`s made just for kids. It comes in bright colors and it`s sold
as, quote, "my first rifle."
Yesterday in Kentucky, a 5-year-old boy was playing with this cricket rifle
when it accidently fired, killing his two-year-old baby sister. The local
sheriff called it, quote, "just one of those crazy accidents." What is
crazy is our gun laws and the politicians who stand against them and
sometimes a regular citizen says enough is enough, like this man out of
town hall with New Hampshire republican Senator Kelly Ayotte.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I have a question.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We`ll have a process and get to as many questions as
we can. So --
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You don`t want to regulate guns.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Senator Ayotte made her choice to vote against background checks
and it`s costing her. Her approval rating is down 15 percent. Fifty
percent of voters said they would be less likely to vote for her because of
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake is catching hit too. His job approval is down
just 32 percent. Flake recently joked that he`s less popular than he`s
less popular than Punskan (ph). You see, though politicians are voting for
politics but their average citizen is voting for their children to preserve
safety for those they love.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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