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PoliticsNation, Friday, May 17th, 2013

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POLITICS NATION
May 17, 2013

Guests: Joe Crowley; Bob Shrum, Joe Madison, Lauren Ashburn, Cuba Gooding, Jr.


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

Tonight`s lied, Republicans creating so-called scandals instead of
jobs. Republicans are on a mission to make a scandal out of anything. But
at a factory in Baltimore today, the president made it clear that he`s not
using controversy to play politics. Instead, he`s trying to try to fight
for jobs in the middle class.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know it can seem
frustrating sometimes when it seems like Washington`s priorities aren`t the
same as your priorities. I know it often seems like folks down there are
more concerned with their jobs than with yours. Others may get distracted
by chasing every bleeding issue that passes by but the middle class will
always be my number one --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Fixing the economy, getting people back to work, that`s
what Americans want again and again we see that in the polls. But the GOP,
they abandon any interest in jobs. And really in getting anything done.
They have got no real agenda so they hunt for scandals, despite the facts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DAVID CAMP (R), MICHIGAN: This appears to be the latest example
of a culture of cover-ups and political intimidation in this
administration. It seems like the truth is hidden from the American people
long enough to make it through an election.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: The president didn`t have clean hands
in this because, as I said yesterday on the floor of the Senate, this
organization of his, this administration has created a culture of
intimidation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People may be starting to use the "I" word before
too long.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. I word meaning impeachment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

MIKE HUCKABEE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I believe before it`s all over
this president will not fill out his full term.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These questions are unbelievable. This is Nazi
Germany.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Nazi Germany? The real culture of cover-up? In this
Republican shameful silence on jobs and the economy, the unemployment rate
is the best in five years. And this week we learned that the deficit
dropped by $200 billion, more than expected. It`s at its lowest since
2008. Look at that drop.

But the GOP deficit hawks apparently didn`t care about that story.
Beaten at the ballot box, the Republican party is unified around one thing.
The hunt for scandal. That`s so sad. And so is their once proud party.

Joining me now is congressman Joe Crowley, Democrat from New York and
member of the ways and means committee. And Melissa Harris-Perry, host of
Melissa Harris-Perry.

Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR, MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY SHOW:
Absolutely.

JOE CROWLEY (D), NEW YORK Thanks, Reverend:

SHARPTON: Congressman, is the GOP more focused on finding a scandal
than fixing the economy?

CROWLEY: Well, I got to tell you, Reverend All right, you have to
give them credit, they are all on message.

SHARPTON: Yes.

CROWLEY: Not on one them diverted from the message of today and that
was to somehow link anything --

SHARPTON: Right.

CROWLEY: An accident on the street, an ant gets crushed by a man,
linked it to the White House whatever it may be. And it was really sad
today, sitting in the committee, we all were anticipating, working in the
bipartisan way. What happened at the IRS was outrageous, outrageous.

SHARPTON: You were there. You are on the committee and you were
dealing with it as they kept -- I mean, all of us are outraged about
anything done improperly by the IRS, by the justice department. But I
think you made the point that we have all been trying to hear somebody
made. Let me play how you came into the hearing today, I think with some
sanity among those that were there with hysteria. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: The president has been very forthright and very strongly
condemning that type of action. As to the entire administration, that is,
as is Mister Lew. So, I would really ask the chairman, and my colleagues
here on the side, let`s get the answers. Ask the questions, get the facts,
and then we can draw our own conclusions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, the fact that they are trying to make this the
president -- like the president in some way it is green lighted an IRS
agent to do this solid, the president was consulted about an investigation
and he says oh, we`re going to send out subpoenas? I mean, this is absurd
on his face and I think you brought that home today because they are
talking about impeachment? I mean, are we serious?

CROWLEY: Right. In fact, Mr. George, who was the inspector general
for the treasury, who produced a report, who was a Bush appointee himself,
a George W. Bush appointee said there were no outside influences, this was
all contained wholly within the IRS. It means --

SHARPTON: And this is Bush appointee?

CROWLEY: That`s correct. He said he is not linked to anyone, not
remotely link to the White House and yet the chairman of the committee, Mr.
Camp, my friend, said that it`s all about the White House. It`s all
emanates somehow from the White House. They are desperate to find a smoke
gun, Reverend Al. There just simply isn`t one.

SHARPTON: They don`t even have smoke.

Melissa, when you look at the right-wing heritage foundation sent a
letter to the Republicans, telling them to focus on scandals rather instead
of passing laws. I mean, it makes me angry that when people a really
suffering, it just outrights and forget about all of that, keep on
scandals, keep digging for scandal, keep linking it where it doesn`t link.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I think part of what is important here is, we`re
not being an apologist for a scandal laid in president. That`s not what is
happening here, right? There is very little scandal at all happening.

Now, the one scandal and I think that might be going on is the
question about the DOJ and the AP stories. But on the IRS, I mean, as much
as we are all expressing outrage, even the president is expressing outrage,
as far as I can tell, at least right now with the information we have, it
may not even be particularly political. Like what we`re being asked to
believe is that somehow long-term bureaucrats are like so for President
Obama that they were purpose doing things against a key party, which may
not be what it is. that`s the first thing.

The second is, I think what we see here with the right is a strategy
to keep pushing, pushing, pushing on the president and pushing on the
administration, hoping to produce a scandal so there is no scandal yet, but
get them off sort of doing what they are doing, get them to say one thing
that might be slightly not true and all of a sudden you can move towards
these other things. So, I think it`s a strategy to actually generate the
scandal.

SHARPTON: Well, I think that you are right. I mean, clearly in terms
of the IRS let`s not forget Schulman who is the commissioner at the time
was a Bush appointee. And for someone to act as though these Republicans
would supervise and look the other way while somebody is doing something
for the president, when as you say a Bush appointee said it was no one on
the outside.

But I mean, let`s deal with the real fact here. Eight people went to
jail under George Bush. That`s a scandal. I mean, we`re talking about --
I mean, if you want to talk about scandals under the administration of his
predecessor of the president`s predecessor, eight people went to jail.
That`s scandalous.

CROWLEY: Even if Schulman and his predecessor who is also a Bush
appointee, they were going after NAACP. There were going after to
progressive church groups that were opposed.

SHARPTON: At war.

CROWLEY: They were going against a number, a myriad of left-leaning
or progressive leaning groups and yet nothing materialized on that. There
was nothing -- and incidentally, Reverend Al, it needs particular cases.
Every one of the so-called tea party or conservative groups, they got what
they wanted. They got the status. It was a left-leaning group or
progressive groups that were denied.

SHARPTON: The only one denied was a left-wing progressive group. So
they were doing work for somebody, they certainly don`t know what they are
doing.

HARRIS-PERRY: Look, it is clearly a midterm strategy to believe that
the government is worthless, this is all sort of too painful to watch, no
one cares and it doesn`t take any difference. Because if you don`t believe
it makes any difference, you don`t show up and vote. And guess what
happens when not a lot of people show up to vote? Republicans win. So,
you don`t even have to make a counter argument. You just have to make
people feel disgusted with the government.

SHARPTON: But the other thing is, it`s a distraction, congressman.
Because the fact of the matter is, we are making some gains in the economy.
Looking at the lowest jobless rate since 2008, which experiencing the
fastest deficit reduction that we have seen since world war II, that is not
good for them going into the midterm.

CROWLEY: In fact, despite their involvement in all of this.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

CROWLEY: The American people, our country is moving , the economy is
getting better and it is based primarily, on the work that we did and prior
congresses, when Democrats control the House of Representatives.

But I agree with Melissa, what this really is about is to show the
rest of the American people that government is bad, that Congress is evil,
that there`s something amiss in Washington to the point we can`t get
anything done. They can`t get anything done because they don`t want to do
anything. They want to pass legislation. And they would end up blaming
the president.

SHARPTON: We are against government. So put us in charge of the
government.

Congressman Joe Crowley and Melissa Harris-Perry, thank you for your
time this evening.

And be sure to catch Melissa Harris-Perry on Saturday and Sunday at
10:00 a.m. eastern time.

Ahead, the mama grizzly is out of hibernation and making a new
ridiculous attack on the president. What is Sarah Palin`s problem with
this picture.

Plus, Friday ministry. We have a big surprise from the first lady to
tell you all about. And then, there`s this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show me the money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Money!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. is here to talk about Obama,
Oprah and starring on Broadway.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Hey, folks. If you have a question you want to ask me,
send me an e-mail, whether it`s about politics, policy, or anything on your
mind. All you have to do is ask. Send your question to askrev@MSNBC.com.
And I might answer it right on the show. It`s up to you, friend or foe, I
want to know. Ask rev.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: You have got to hand it to the Republicans. In a week when
they have obsessed over scandals, they have managed to miss an actual
scandal. That`s their 37th vote to repeal the president`s health care law,
trying to deny a law that would literally give health care to millions of
Americans is not just a waste of time, it`s an outrage.

But speaker John Boehner says he may not be done yet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Is this the only time the house will vote
on repealing for you to find another vote over the next two year, a year
and a half?

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: When we have further
votes that we`ll take, we`ll let you know. The issue is Obama care and
we`re going to keep the focus on Obama care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Keep the focus on Obama care, the scandal here is that
there is a real urgent health care crisis in America right now. Forty-five
thousand Americans die every year because they don`t have health insurance.
Nearly, 50 million are uninsured and more than seven million of those are
children.

But the Republicans just don`t care. They just want to play the
political game of repeal, repeal, repeal that will go know where it`s ugly
politics and shows the tea party extremism governing today`s Republican
party.

Joining me is E.J. Dionne and Bob Shrum.

Thank you both for your time this evening.

E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Glad to be with you,
Reverend.

SHARPTON: E.J., repeal, repeal, but for what reason?

DIONNE: Well, you know, Reverend, I think we can all agree,
Republicans enjoy voting to repeal Obama care. And if they did it a few
times, you know, it unifies the base and most of them vote the same time
but 45 times becomes a case of self-parody. And I think what we should
remember is this is a very different Republican party from the past.

In the past, all kinds of Republicans, from John Chafee to Bob Dole to
Richard Nixon, all recognize that having this many uninsured people is bad
for the country and they were all willing to acknowledge a government role
in it.

And the other shame here is, you know, the Obama care can be improved.
The Social Security act was amended many times to make the program better.
But we can`t even have a conversation about how to make Obama care work
better because all we are going to get are votes to repeal and it`s just
not the way the government should work.

SHARPTON: Bob, it is the la it is going to be implemented fully by
next year, yet they keep going back over this when you -- I mean, Michele
Bachmann is now linking the IRS controversy to the health care law. Watch
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELE BACHMANN (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Could there
potentially be political implications regarding health care, access to
health care, denial of health care, will that happen based upon a person`s
political beliefs or their religiously held beliefs?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And it`s not just her. I mean, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Steve
King, I mean, they won`t stop trying to take away health care from the
American people that need it.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, look. She is the real face
of the Republican party right now. And E.J. is right. All of that
diversity is gone. All of that sense of reality is gone. I would argue
that the self-parody is the Republican reality.

Look. John Boehner after the election said this issue is settled.
Now he`s holding his votes. Why? He`s got a fractured Republican party,
torn between the tea party types, the establishment, the neo cons like John
McCain, the isolation is like Rand Paul. And the thing that is holds them
together is negativity. Their animating principle, it`s ominous towards
Barack Obama, fear of Hillary Clinton. So, they are going to keep holding
these votes.

What they want to do is investigate. They don`t want to legislate.
They want to remonstrate against health care. They are not going to repeal
healthcare. They are not, in my view, probably going to pass much of
anything this year.

Now, if I were them, I would look ahead and say we are kind of
maneuvering our way internally through our own party difficulties. But, we
could pay a big price for this, just as Republicans obsessed with
impeachment ended up paying a big prize in the 1998 midterms.

SHARPTON: But you know, E.J., when you lead the beltway, I understand
the politics back and forward and the pundits looking at the political
players. But people are hurting. I mean, people are actually hurting.
People are sick, some dying because of this and I gave the numbers.

When you look at the fact that the political gain is breaking a lot of
confidence and misinformation, let me give you an example what really
bothers me because it is having a real effect. "The Washington Post"
reports last month, the Kaiser family foundation polled Americans on
whether the affordable care act is still law. Twelve percent of Americans,
that is about one in eight people, think that the Congress repealed the
affordable care act. Another 23 percent aren`t sure or refuse to answer
the question.

So this political game, E.J., is having some impact because if people
think it`s been repealed or they are not sure, they will not do what they
need to do to become part of it as it goes into full implementation and
that is absolutely a shame.

DIONNE: Well, I think this puts just a bigger burden on the
administration to make sure this rollout works. My understanding is that
when those Democrats, Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats had dinner with the
president, house Democrats raised this issue and they were worried early on
if the administration was really putting enough energy behind the campaign.
They are going to need not only to implement it but to talk about how they
are implementing it and how people will engage. And they came out of that
meeting much more satisfied that the administration really knows what a
large job it has to do because this is one of Barack Obama`s historic
achievements. And it will only be successful if they do a good job of
implementing it and remind people that there are going to be glitches but
there are a lot of benefits here for a lot of people who need help and they
are going to ha t stay at it all year long no matter how many times the
Republicans try to repeal it.

SHARPTON: You know, Bob, when you look at the fact that they always
talk about spending and waste, the GOP has wasted 80 hours, 80 hours on
this repeal knowing good well they were not going to get it repealed by the
Senate. $55 million in taxpayer money. That`s what they have spent on
this political gain that they keep playing on the president`s affordable
health care act.

SHRUM: Well, sure. Because, look, they are not there at this point,
as E.J. says, to make the health care bill better. They are not there at
this point to probably actually pass immigration reform. I fear that`s
going to bog down in the bitterness and anger. You know, the house is
where these good ideas go to die.

They are there, I think, to survive. In Boehner`s case as speaker.
That means he has to cater to his tea party caucus. If the prize of a
speakership is spending $55 million of taxpayer money on these repeal
votes, he`s going to pay it. But look, this law is going into effect in
2014. I think the administration understands how important it is that they
do a good job.

And the Kaiser family foundation poll also says that people like all
of the individual elements of Obama care, it`s just that Republicans have
managed to pin a label on it that makes a lot of people -- and by the way,
a shrinking number, uncertain about it. They are catering to their
ideological base. When that number goes into effect, they are in trouble.

SHARPTON: E.J. Dionne and Bob Shrum, thank you for your time and have
a great weekend.

SHRUM: Thank you. You, too.

SHARPTON: And this program reminder, we`ll have a special edition of
"Politics Nation" on July 3rd live from a free healthcare clinic in New
Orleans.

There are many ways you can get involved. You can go to our Web site
at on.MSNBC.com/urgentcarepn. There you can donate to the cause, get
information on volunteering or sign up for an appointment.

You can also go to the national association of free clinic site at
nafcclinics.org. These clinics save lives. Please get involved.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We have news tonight on how Republicans doctored Benghazi
e-mails in order to smear the Obama administration.

CBS News reports that last week Republican sources claimed a White
House official wrote quote "we must make sure that the talking points
reflect all agency equities, including those of the state department and we
don`t want to undermine the FBI investigation."

But the actual e-mail is very different. In reality, the official
wrote quote "we need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the
relevant equities, particularly the investigation".

The actual e-mail made no mentioned of the state department.
Republicans added it to hide their criticism of secretary state Hillary
Clinton.

And check out the new cover of the conservative "National Review"
magazine. It shows Mrs. Clinton literally fizzing while Benghazi burns and
Americans die. This is the same kind of vicious personal attack that the
Republicans launched against our ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice.

Mrs. Rice was on track to be Mrs. Clinton`s successor, until the GOP
scandal machine drags her name through the mud. Did the right wing forget
how they smeared these dedicated servants? Nice try, but we got you and we
will get you over and over again until we hear an apology.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Watergate, Senate hearings here from Washington is
NBC Correspondent Garik Athley (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The scene ads to the sense of drama as this Senate
open that is likely to become the most serious investigation that has ever
made, the investigation of the American political system and the presidency
itself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was 40 years ago today. The start of the Watergate
hearings. We`ve heard a lot about Watergate lately and tonight we have a
big announcement. Republicans think they found the new Watergate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I am going to go ahead and ask
folks, why don`t we get a couple of marines, they are going to look good
next to us just because I want -- I`ve got to change suits but I don`t know
about our prime minister. There we go. That`s good. You guys I`m sorry
about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The President didn`t want another world leader to get
drenched. Seems courteous to me but FOX News doesn`t buy it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC BOLLING, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Check out the picture of the marines
holding the umbrella for President Obama as it rained and the metaphor
being, hey, they have him covered. Wouldn`t it be nice if he had them
covered the way they have him covered.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: They were protecting him. Maybe in
this case he should have been protecting them and the people of Libya.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Exactly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Exactly, Newt. Any tiny, little excuse to attack the
president. The picture made the cover of Rupert Murdoch`s "New York Post"
and Sarah Palin tweeted, "Mr. President, when it rains it pours but most
Americans hold their own umbrellas." She thinks this is a scandal, too.
Well, miss half governor, I hate to rain on your parade but lots of
politicians don`t hold their own umbrellas, including a certain half
governor from Alaska. President Reagan had someone else hold his
umbrella and so did President Bush. Look. It`s John Travolta, apparently
President Bush went to Hollywood for help because when he tried to hold the
umbrella all on his own, it didn`t work out so well. Forty years ago,
Watergate was a real crisis but today the right wing takes anything this
president does and make it is into a scandal.

Joining me now are Joe Madison and Lauren Ashburn. Thank you both for
your time.

JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hi, thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Joe, doesn`t umbrella gate show just how desperate the
right wing is for anything to try and make the President look bad?

MADISON: Yes, and it shows you that they ought to open up a few
history books and read what Watergate was really about.

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: It also shows what you were talking about earlier in the
program. You have mothers who don`t know if their children are going to be
going to head start and early childhood education. You`ve got people
unemployed who don`t know if they will be able to have food stamps to feed
their children. We`ve got tremendous unemployment.

We`ve got graduates that the administration, the first lady will be
speaking to that will be looking for jobs. And the leadership of the
republican -- wait a minute. Someone who was nominated for vice president
of the Unites States tweets about an umbrella?

SHARPTON: Well, I mean, when you look at the fact -- I mean, Lauren,
it is crazy as I`ve been saying and Joe just repeated, but all the
seriousness is going on. They use the most petty, trivial thing. I mean,
it`s almost humorous how petty they have become. I mean, look at this
moment got a ton of attention from the right, is President Obama in 2009.
Watch this. This gives you an example.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I`m going to have just your basic cheddar cheeseburger, medium
well, mustard, you like have a spicy mustard or something like that or
Dijon mustard or something like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That sounds like a normal thing to me, the President -- you
know, burger and whatever he wants on it. But look at what the right wing,
they went crazy. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Plain old ketchup, well, it didn`t quite cut it for the
president.

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What kind of man orders a
cheeseburger without ketchup but Dijon mustard?

MARK STEYN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Eats a hamburger with Dijon
Mustard. Dijon Mustard. John Kerry can get away with that stuff. He
makes it seemed like, just like a regular thing to do.

HANNITY: All right. I hope you enjoy that fancy burger, Mr.
President.

SHARPTON: I mean, we`re talking about a burger. A burger. I cannot
believe it. A burger becomes a sensational scandal to them -- Lauren.

LAUREN ASHBURN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "THE DAILY DOWNLOAD": Umbrella gate.
I mean, people are really, really petty. I do have to say, though, it was
quite a photo of President Obama that was splashed across all of the
newspapers and I think that if I were an editor, I probably would have ran
the photo, too. But as far as all of the carping is concerned, it`s just
sad that we have come to this in our society and that Sarah Palin, of all
people, who has been beat up on the media, who probably couldn`t get anyone
in this town to stop for her if it was pouring and she was waving her
hands, for her to beat up on someone, as she has had happen to her, it
seems odd that she would choose it that way.

And I also think that this really hurts mainstream Republicans, to
have people like Sarah Palin and like other loud mouths talking about
things that are insignificant, like umbrellas and cheeseburgers, instead of
focusing on things that are real issues, like Benghazi and the IRS.

SHARPTON: You know, Joe, I saw you laughing as I did. I mean, you
can`t keep a straight face with these people. But, you know, this week on
Bill O`Reilly, a FOX contributor talked about the extent of the right
wing`s hatred for the president. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There were people on the right who, if Barack Obama
came up with a cure for cancer, wouldn`t give him credit for that. And by
the way, I mean that literally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, and I don`t usually agree with him. But he`s
right. This is -- this is way beyond politics. This is real hatred. They
are really -- some of them have lost their political minds.

MADISON: Well, you`ve said what he said over and over again. You are
absolutely right. Think about it. You vote 37 times, you get the same
result every time you vote. That is the classic definition of insanity. I
mean, it really is. But this is political insanity. But I will say this.
You know, I remember when Obama, we were in Grant Park and we said, my God,
the dream has come true and for millions of Americans, black and white,
that was true. But for these folk, their dream was a nightmare. And this
is a living nightmare.

They cannot handle it and I think someone on MSNBC said it. They
simply cannot handle the thought of someone who looks like us named Barack
Obama is now not only the most powerful man in the United States
politically but the world and they just can`t come to grips with it so they
end up talking about what kind of mustard he puts on a hamburger or whether
a real man has ketchup on a hamburger. How silly can you get? Legislate,
legislate, legislate.

SHARPTON: Lauren, it`s everything, his vacations, his playing golf,
the NCAA brackets, and some of the right, even made it a scandal when flies
landed in his face -- I mean, when a fly landed in his face, they actually
see the lord of the fly. It`s incredible. And you can only expose it but
I think Joe is right, they are having a nightmare and the only way to help
people with nightmares is what we tried to do every night, wake them up.

ASHBURN: It was like Bill Clinton. It happened with Bill Clinton
before he gave people a lot of ammunition, people called him slick wily
even before that, they criticized his jogging, they criticized his run to
McDonald`s and it happens even before anything really big does happen.

SHARPTON: Joe Madison, Lauren Ashburn, both of you have a great
weekend. Thank you for your time tonight.

MADISON: You, too, Reverend. You, too.

SHARPTON: What do you do -- what do you think about umbrella great?
If you have a question about that or anything on your mind, ask me. It`s
time to ask Rev. Send me an e-mail to askrev@nbcuni.com. As I said
before, friend or foe, I want to know.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It was January 17th of this year, four days before the
President Obama`s second inauguration. It was also the day First Lady
Michelle Obama nearly stole the show. It was the day we found out about
the bangs. For her 49th birthday, she tweeted this picture, revealing her
new look, and it instantly was all anyone was talking about. It was fodder
for Washington. It was fodder for the talk shows. The first lady joked
about what inspired her to make the change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: This is my mid-life crisis, the bangs. I
couldn`t get a sports car, they won`t let me bungee jump, so instead I cut
my bangs.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So, you went for the bangs. You`re the boss of
your face.

OBAMA: I can do this. This is all mine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But today, big news. At the Bowie State commencement, the
First Lady stepped on stage and her bangs were gone. The news, once again,
has everyone talking. I say it`s another great look for the first lady.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s hard to believe it`s been over 25 years since Cuba
Gooding Jr. made his first appearance on the big screen. There he is
making his Hollywood debut in Eddie Murphy`s baba chair in the 1988 hit
comedy "Coming to America." Three years later, he starred as Trace Stouse,
a young man trying to survive the mean streets of South Central, L.A. In
"Boyz n the Hood." But it was his performance as a football star Rod
Tidwell. In the 1996 blockbuster, Jerry McGuire that made Cuba Gooding,
Jr. a household name. Forever linked to for little words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Show me the money.

Show me the money.

Yo. Show me the money! Jerry, doesn`t that make you feel good to say
that? Say it with me one time, Jerry.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Show you the money.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I want you to say is like you believe it, brother.
Hey, I`ve got Bob on the other line.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. Yes. Show you the money!

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Not show you. Show me the money.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Show me the money.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. Louder.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Show me the money!

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, brother, but you`ve got to yell it.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Show me the money.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I need to feel you, Jerry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Cuba felt the love. He won the academy award for best-
supporting actor for that performance and went on to give critically
acclaimed performances in many film since then, including last year`s red
tails, which told the story of "Tuskegee Airmen" in World War II. But now,
Cuba`s left Hollywood for the bright lights of Broadway where he`s making
his professional stage debut alongside Sisley Tyson and Vanessa Williams in
the acclaimed revival of "The Trip to Bountiful," a drama about an elderly
woman who tries to run away from her son and daughter-in-law, back to the
home where she grew up to recapture her youth.

It`s a pleasure to welcome Cuba Gooding, Jr. to POLITICS NATION.
Cuba, let me start with politics. I want to get to the play-in and I want
to get to the bottom of what --

CUBA GOODING, JR., ACADEMY AWARD WINNING ACTOR: Yes, sir. Good to be
here.

SHARPTON: You go way back with President Obama and the campaign. You
helped campaign for him as far back as 2007.

GOODING: That`s correct.

SHARPTON: I want to show you this picture. It`s you, President Obama
and I`m in it.

GOODING: Yes.

SHARPTON: And this is some journey. How do you think he`s done?

GOODING: I think he`s done an incredible job. I mean, you`ve got to
think about all of the problems that he had to face when he first started
and I think he`s making his way through a lot of tough decisions and tough
situations. Yes, I think he`s doing phenomenal.

SHARPTON: What would you like to see done before he leaves office?

GOODING: Well, you know, I continue to just better this whole
economic situation we`re in, you know, be nice to tackle some more of the
fiscal things that we have coming up in terms of our deficit and all of
that stuff. I mean, the broad stroke stuff, if we could continue to bring
some of that stuff down, that would be great, get people back to work as
much as possible.

SHARPTON: Now, that night when we were at a dinner in Washington and
he came over, was talking to us, you guys were teasing about you playing
him in a movie.

GOODING: Yes. You were sleek about getting him over here. You were
like, come with me. You grab me, we`re going to get you in this and say hi
to the president. That was wonderful.

SHARPTON: Do you really -- would you like to play Barack Obama in a
movie?

GOODING: I would -- any great African-American man I`d play in a
movie. It doesn`t matter who it was. If it was a phenomenal director like
Lee Daniels or someone like that that said, this is the role you`re going
to play, I just start to research it and get into the character.

SHARPTON: What would an actor have to do to put themselves in the
right frame of mind to play President Obama?

(LAUGHTER)

GOODING: Well, there`s a sense of confidence and gravitas in just a
certain charisma that you have to capture in the face of, you know, in
tagging nation and just the coolness that you have about your demeanor, I
think.

SHARPTON: Cool?

GOODING: Yes.

SHARPTON: Well, if you get the part, I want to play John Boehner.

(LAUGHTER)

Now, you`re getting ready -- the movie that you just did was "The
Butler"?

GOODING: "The Butler," yes, sir.

SHARPTON: Now, here we are, you, Oprah Winfrey is in it, Lee Daniels
did it. This is the 50th anniversary for the march on Washington.

GOODING: That`s right.

SHARPTON: We have a black president and you played a butler?

GOODING: I did, I player a presidential butler in the White House
through eight different presidents. So you`ll see a little bit of
everything from LBJ all the way up to Obama`s inauguration.

SHARPTON: Is that right?

GOODING: Yes, sir. You`ll actually see some before that. It`s based
on the life exploits of Eugene Gains, who was one of the butlers in the
White House played by Forest Whitaker, an army movie from the time he was
in the cotton fields seeing his father executed by the -- plantation owner
in front of him, all the way up until when he was in the White House, Lenny
Kravitz plays another butler, among side Forest and I, Oprah Winfrey plays
the wife of Forest Whitaker`s character --

SHARPTON: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey.

GOODING: Vanessa --

SHARPTON: Robin Williams plays the president -- plays the president,
Allen Ripen (ph) plays the president and Nixon is played by John Cusack.
And his performance and revelation is really is, there`s a lot of amazing
performances in this movie. And David Oyalo (ph) plays the son of the
butler in the White House, who eventually becomes a Black Panther in the
movie. So, we cover a lot of topics.

SHARPTON: A son becomes the Black Panther. This is going to be
great.

GOODING: Yes.

SHARPTON: Now, you are on Broadway. The thing that got me, they say,
this is the first live play you`ve done since high school?

GOODING: That`s right.

SHARPTON: You`ve never done a Broadway play.

GOODING: That`s right.

SHARPTON: You were on the stage with Sicily titan.

GOODING: That`s right.

SHARPTON: The icon -- and Vanessa Williams. I went to see it and it
was absolutely amazing.

GOODING: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: I mean, how do you feel -- it`s amazing. The story is
grounded, it`s fantastic.

GOODING: It`s a dream come true. It really, really is a dream come
true. We do eight shows a week and they say the hardest part of the two-
day shows and those are the days that I look forward to because we get to
create from the late morning all the way into the evening. We do two shows
back to back. The first show is you`re getting the creative juices flowing
and the second show, you`re just in it. And like you say, the iconic
Sicily titan, to watch her perform the energy that she has to have to
propels the two-plus hour plus play, and she`s on stage almost the entire
time, and hear her singing these hymns and as funny is she is, I didn`t
know she`d be that`s funny.

The title inferred by the author Horton Foote (ph) is a trip to
bountiful, bountiful being the city that my Louie my character and mama
wants are from. And that is the house that she`s been trying to get back
to the entire play. So, there`s a lot of themes of home and what home
means you to and what family means to you and that seems particular a
mother and son, you know, expressing their love not just for each other but
for the existence that they feel that God has created for them.

SHARPTON: What made you decide to do it?

GOODING: Sicily Tyson and Broadway. You know, my wife and I, we have
three kids, two boys, soon off to college and one little girl that is seven
and Sarah and I know that how over indulgent it is to be away from the
family on stage for, you know, this is a seven or eight-month commitment
for me since the play has just got extended to September.

SHARPTON: Congratulations.

GOODING: Thank you.

So, she knew it would going to be hard for me to be in the lives of
the kids as much as I always have been but she knew it was time and I said
to her, this has been a life stream and now I get to finally get to realize
it. So, I love her and I love my family for allowing me indulgence but it
really has. And I started on stage in high school, like you say, doing
Shakespeare festivals and what not. So, to be back in this creative place
is really something special for me.

SHARPTON: One last question, I`ve got to ask, do people still come up
to and say, show me the money?

GOODING: Every day. No. Show me the money. And you just did.

SHARPTON: I had to do it.

(LAUGHTER)

GOODING: Love you to death.

SHARPTON: Cuba Gooding, thank you.

Thank you. Love you.

All right.

Today, President Obama gets personal, that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Hello, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Here`s our special guest.

OBAMA: Hi.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: How are you doing?

(CHILDREN): Hello, Mr. President.

OBAMA: Good to see you guys. How is everybody doing today?

(CHILDREN): Good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was President Obama today arriving at an elementary
school in Baltimore. He stopped by a pre-k class to check in on an early
childhood education program to see young kids get a head start in school.
Later the President went to a community center and community activist just
like he used to be, working to change lives. One man talked about how the
Senate helped him turn his life around, after he got out of jail, so he
could take responsibility for his billboard, the President gave this very
personal response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: One of the biggest challenges
that I grew up without a father. So, you know, I always felt that as great
of a heroic job as moms do, particularly for boys and men. That`s a hard
situation. And for your sons to be able to see you taking this path,
that`s just going to make all of the difference in the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: After a week of scandals and accusations and all kinds of
reckless and squirrelish charges, we see what America should really be
about. It`s really about turning people`s lives around. It`s really about
giving children a future. It`s really about making the country work. When
you can see a young man growing up in a single parent home become the
president of the United States, that`s what makes the country work.

That`s what will make us great. Not taking petty shots of each other.
Not trying to play games on a partisan side and not have concern for the
American people, it`s about living up to the highest dreams of the
Americans down the furthest, that`s what makes the country work and that`s
what we must continue to fight for.

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.
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