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PoliticsNation, Thursday, August 1, 2013

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POLITICS NATION
August 1, 2013
Guests: Clint Van Zandt; Wendy Murphy; Marc Klaas, Scott Taylor, Eugene
O`Donnell, Joe Madison, Krystal Ball


CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Chris Jansing, in for Al
Sharpton, who will be joining us shortly. Tonight`s lead, face to face
with her captor. Remarkable drama unfolded inside a Cleveland courtroom
today. The Cleveland kidnapper, Ariel Castro, stood just feet away from
one of his captives as he was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years.
In a chilling scene, Castro appeared to turn around and look directly at
Michelle Knight, the first woman he abducted. But she didn`t waver. After
years of imprisonment, she would not be silenced.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE KNIGHT, KIDNAPPED AND RAPED BY ARIEL CASTRO: Never got
shorted, days turned into nights, nights turned into days. Years turned
into eternity. I knew nobody cared about me. He told me that my family
didn`t care. I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning.
I will overcome all this that happened, but you will face all for eternity.
From this moment on, I will not let you define me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANSING: I will let you define me. Those were the words from a woman
who was lured into in the Castro`s house of horror back in 2003. Today,
prosecutors revealed new and horrifying details about how he abducted the
three women. He lured Ms. Knight there by promising a puppy for her son.

Prosecutors showed just how gruesome it was inside the torture
chamber. Here you can see pictures of a hundred feet of chains Castro used
to imprison his captives. The extent of the evidence was jaw-dropping, but
Castro himself shocked the courtroom when he stood up and gave riveting and
rambling testimony.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARIEL CASTRO, ACCUSED OF KIDNAPPING THREE WOMEN: What I`m trying to
get at is these people are trying to paint me as a monster, and I`m not a
monster. I`m sick. My sexual problems so bad that I`m compulsive. But
eventually I married, I have four children. Led a normal life. But I
still practiced the art of touching myself and viewing pornography.

I believe I am addicted to porn to the point that it really makes me
impulsive. And I just don`t realize that what I`m doing is wrong. I know
it`s not an excuse. I`m not trying to make excuses here, because I know
when I told David at sex crimes that I will forever, I`m not contesting it.
I have been a musician for a long time, 25, 30 years, and to be a musician
and to be a monster that they are trying to say that I am, I don`t think I
can handle that. I`m a happy person inside. I am not a violent predator
that they are trying to make me look a monster. I`m not a monster. I`m a
normal person. I am just sick. I have an addiction, just like an
alcoholic has an addiction. Alcoholics cannot control their addiction.
That`s why I couldn`t control my addiction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANSING: Well, he said that several times today, that he is not a
monster. But today an Ohio court decided otherwise.

Joining me now is former child sex abuse and sex crimes prosecutor
Wendy Murphy, and Marc Klaas, who is president of the Klaas Kids
foundation, a group he formed after the murder and kidnap of his daughter.

And thanks to both of you for coming on tonight.

Marc, I honestly don`t know how anyone could sit and watch this and
not be both horrified and shocked by what we saw and heard today. But in
another way I thought it was remarkable. It was life affirming when we
heard from this young woman and from the family members of the other two
who lived in this hell for a decade as someone who lost a child, as someone
who deals with families all the time. What went through your mind as you
watched this today?

MARC KLAAS, PRESIDENT, FOUNDER, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: Well, Chris,
actually, I was physically shaken by his testimony because it really sent
me back to a time about 17 years ago when I sat in a courtroom and listened
to the killer of my daughter make his own excuses and justifications. And
it just -- it`s mind-boggling that these guys are even given an opportunity
to speak when they denied their victims that opportunity for so long.

But I think Michelle has shown a remarkable amount of grace and a
remarkable amount of dignity throughout her ordeal, from the moment that
she has been released until now she stood up very tall, and she has made us
all very proud of her.

JANSING: And he talked about harmony in that home.

Wendy, this is a place with an alarm on the back door, a place where
we saw 100 feet of chains, a place where there was a helmet for these young
women to wear when he raped them.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes.

JANSING: It was beyond.

MURPHY: Well, you know, I think about the dictionary. It`s full of
how many words and that would be the last one I would come up with,
harmony. But, I so agree with Marc that this was so repulsive, and not
just repulsive because of his words and his behavior and his attitude, it
was repulsive that in the American legal system we have to tolerate that.
Because not only was it undignified, but his victim, one of his victims was
sitting right there, and he turned to her and said not only did she consent
to sex -- it`s like a prison guard saying that rapes of prisoners is
delightful. He said not only did she consent, but her family didn`t even
care about her.

Now, this is what bothered me in addition, Chris. There were two
lawyers for two of the three victims sitting in that courtroom today, and
there is a right that victims have by Ohio law, a right to be treated with
respect and dignity throughout the process. What were they there for if
not to object right then and there and say, I object, shut him up. That is
not respectful of this poor girl.

I was so angry watching him speak. And when he did that, boy, if I
had been in that courtroom, I would probably be in jail for contempt.

JANSING: And she actually spoke about how she could forgive Castro,
which I thought was remarkable, although she also said she couldn`t forget.
Let me play a little more of her incredible statement today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KNIGHT: I will live on. You will die a little every day. As you
think about the 11 years and atrocities that you inflicted on us. What
does God think of you hypocritically going to church every Sunday, coming
home to torture us? Death will be -- penalty will be so much easier. You
don`t deserve that. You deserve to spend life in prison. I can forgive
you, but I will never forget.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANSING: And Marc, when you watch that and heard what had happened to
her and these two other women, not to mention the child, the 6-year-old
child, you do wonder what is punishment? There is no punishment to me that
fits this crime, is there?

KLAAS: Well, first of all, Michelle`s got a much greater capacity for
forgiveness than I have ever had. There is no way that I could have even
said the words that she said.

There is no punishment bad enough for this guy. I think in an ideal
world, he should be executed. But that would have meant a trial. It would
have meant the women had to testify. They certainly didn`t want to
testify. They have been spared that. This is absolutely the best we can
hope for. He should never be seen nor heard from again.

JANSING: I also thought -- go ahead.

MURPHY: Can I just add one quick thing, Chris? Because here is the
thing that felt underdone to me as well because there were certainly plenty
of charges. And you know, he is there for his life plus a thousand years.
Obviously that`s the max plus, plus, plus.

I thought what was underdone was the characterization of him targeting
young women based on gender for sex-specific crimes, for gender-specific
crimes, the enslavement of it all, ten years, chains. Why were we not
hearing the prosecution call this a civil rights violation? There is a law
in Ohio that if you target people based on who they are in society, based
on race, gender, ethnicity, whatever, that is a civil rights violation.
This should have been framed as such.

It also in my opinion should have been prosecuted at least a piece of
it under the human trafficking law, which is brand-new in Ohio as of 2010.
Why pass a law about human trafficking and not use it for this case? This
is quintessential human trafficking. I don`t understand it.

I feel very frustrated that the human rights nature of this crime, the
civil rights nature of this crime has been ignored by the people in
positions of power in Ohio. And they wanted to act heroic today. I did
not see them as heroic.

JANSING: Well, the one thing I did see as heroic w this young woman.

MURPHY: Yes.

JANSING: The statements from the family members. The people had to
go up there and speak, because obviously these family members were very
much victims as well.

From Gina De Jesus` cousin, she said to the Castro family, we do not
hold you accountable and pray you can one day be whole again. Our family
recognizes it is not for us to judge.

That just literally, Marc, took my breath away. And if it says one
thing about this in the statements that all of these young women or their
families made, I thought to myself, they do seem to be getting help.
Someone is helping them to cope with this. The resilience, I think the way
it was put in the report by the psychiatrist who talked to them was
fortitude, courage, grace. I would add resilience. Remarkable.

KLAAS: There is no question she is a remarkable young woman, that
society`s response has been remarkable. But that doesn`t mean that their
recovery is going to be any easier. I`ve known victims who have been held
captive for only days, and it`s taken them years, if not decades to
recover.

I, very quickly, though would like to read something I received in a
note from Michelle just a couple of weeks ago. And this is just a very
small part of it. She said just when the caterpillar thought the world was
over, she became a butterfly. I just am in awe of this young woman and her
capacity for understanding and the depth of her reasoning.

JANSING: Well, I couldn`t agree with you more. She made a similar
statement to police in thanking them. They have all been very thankful.
And I should point out, Marc Klaas, and correct me if I get this wrong.
But I believe that she is the first recipient of the Klaas family housing
fund. What can you tell us that?

KLAAS: Sure. This is something we put together earlier this year.
It was -- it`s funded by a woman named Tracy McLaughlin (ph), who is a real
estate professional where I live. And she wanted to do something to help
the victims of kidnapping with their housing costs, realizing and
understanding that when a child is kidnapped, that everything else falls
out the window, and you can very quickly slide into financial ruin. She
wanted to be there to help them specifically with housing costs, because
that`s her profession. We decided that Michelle would be an excellent
choice for our first recipient. So that`s exactly what we did.

JANSING: Well, bravo, Marc Klaas. Thank you for coming on. Wendy
Murphy, thank you as well for being on the program tonight.

MURPHY: You bet.

JANSING: And coming up more on Michelle Knight`s face-to-face moment,
her strength, and a long road to recovery.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KNIGHT: After 11 years, I`m finally being heard and it`s liberating.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANSING: And inside the house of horrors, new pictures from the
torture chamber. Graphic new details emerge. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: We are back. And my thanks to my
colleague Chris Jansing for hosting the first segment.

We continue now with the powerful statement today from Michelle
Knight. She`s the Cleveland kidnapping victim who was held the longest,
and perhaps suffered the worst physical abuse at the hands of Ariel Castro.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KNIGHT: Ariel Castro, I remember all the times that you came home
talking about what everybody else did wrong and acted like you wasn`t doing
the same thing. You said at least I didn`t kill you. You took 11 years of
my life away and I have got it back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, she has her life back. Despite all the torment she
endured, her court statement today ended on a note of triumph.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KNIGHT: With the guidance of God, I will rebuild and help others who
have suffered at the hands of others. Writing this statement gave me the
strength to be a stronger woman and know there is good. There is more good
than evil. I know that there is a lot of people going through hard times,
but we need to reach out a hand and hold them and let them know that
they`re being heard. After 11 year I`m finally being heard, and it`s
liberating. Thank you all. I love you. God bless you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Michelle Knight is finally being heard and it`s liberating.
After these unimaginable horrors, all three of these young women still face
a long road to recovery. But today`s sentencing may help them step forward
to a new life.

Joining me now is former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt, and back here
with me is Chris Jansing who knows the story better than anyone else.

Thank you both for joining me. Thank you, Clint, for joining me, and
thank you for staying with me. Let me go to you.

Michelle Knight said, Clint, that she will overcome. And she says
that she is liberated. She even says there is more good in the world than
evil. I mean, it was very inspiring after 11 years of what she went
through to hear her talk in that kind of positive tone. What does her
appearance today tell you about her recovery so far and in the years to
come?

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, realize, Al, she has only
been three months. She has been held, as you indicate, 11 years. I mean,
she had a decade stolen from her. She had her youth stolen from her. And
that can never -- society, Castro nobody can ever pay that back to her.
So, you know, she looks good. She talks good. She is getting good counsel
right now.

But, you know Al, we all know what post traumatic stress disorder is.
And that`s something, Al, it comes creeping back, many times at night. You
hear sounds, you sense smells, you taste something and it takes you
screaming back to one of these 3,600, 3,800 days that she was held in this
terrible thing.

SHARPTON: Should we be concerned about flashbacks, things that can
come up that would bring them back into the depth of the torment that they
endured?

VAN ZANDT: That`s just one of many things, Al. We have to be looking
for that. But how do you learn to trust somebody all over again? How do
you learn to identify, in her case, a significant other, and then maybe
share your life, share the intimate part of your life with that person.

Realize Castro today said that was a house of harmony. I think Chris
Jansing tagged it. That was a house of horrors. And that`s what these
women put up with for this long decade.

SHARPTON: Chris, you know, he talked about -- Clint, talked about
finding someone to share life with. And I was struck by Michelle Knight
today talking about her friendship with Gina, one of the other that were
held captive. Listen to her statement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KNIGHT: Gina was my teammate. She never let me fall. I never let
her fall. She nursed me back to health when I was dying from his abuse.
My friendship with her is the only thing that was good out of this
situation. We said we will someday make it out alive, and we did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, you almost get teary-eyed watching this. How
important will it be going forward for them to maintain that friendship and
how unusual is this?

JANSING: We were watching this in the newsroom, and I don`t think any
of us had ever seen anything like the drama that unfolded in that courtroom
which was riveting and heartbreaking. And I think in the word of Michelle
Knight, in some ways so life affirming.

The relationship that they formed, Reverend, I think was so critical
in getting them through this. They talked about it. Michelle Knight
talked about how Gina nursed her back to health when Ariel Castro left her
dying from his abuse. We know that they have had time together. No one
understands what they have been through the way they understand it. And so
they best can help each other to move forward. And it will be a long
process.

SHARPTON: And including how they adjust to the world outside, because
they though where they are coming from. You know, Clint, Amanda Berry`s
sister spoke on her behalf today. Let me play this to you and ask a
question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is impossible to put into words how much it
hurts. Amanda is not here today. She is strong, beautiful inside and out
and is doing better every day. She is not just my only sister, the best
friend I have, the best person I know. She does not want to talk about
these things. She has not talked about these even with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Clint, Amanda has not even talked to her sister yet
about the ordeal. She wasn`t in court today. I mean, how does she move
forward from a day like today? And what does her not talking about and not
being present if anything tell you.

VAN ZANDT: Well, you know, a number of things, Al. Sometimes you
want to be in court. A victim wants to be in court because in this
particular case Castro had the power over them for ten years. Now they see
him disempowered. Now the criminal justice system had the power. At least
one of the victims wanted to be there, wanted to witness. Others are just
not ready. And it`s just like when you come back from any type of
traumatic event, you don`t want to force somebody to talk about it. You
want to let them talk about it, because what happens is that person, when
they start talking, they`ll tell you over and over and over again about the
different incidents, and you have to coach the family that when this
person`s talking, they may want to talk a lot, and you have to listen. And
you can say you said that already. And al, just as you said, you can`t say
I understand, because none of us understand.

SHARPTON: You know, Chris, Elizabeth Smart, she was abducted for nine
months when she was just 14-years-old. She had this advice for the
Cleveland survivors. She said it will be it will be to not allow this man
to ruin another second of their lives. He`s stolen so much from them
already. They don`t need to relive everything that happened. Nothing has
occurred should ever stop them from fulfilling their dreams, from living a
happy life, from moving forward.

JANSING: I was in the courtroom, Reverend, when Elizabeth Smart first
faced her captor. It was one of the most remarkable things I have ever
seen. She was determined. She was forceful. She was clear. And in that
way I think she was much in the way we saw Michelle Knight. I think she
was inspirational. She is my hero.

Seeing her today, seeing her face him down, hearing the words of these
other women saying from this moment, this will no longer define me, saying,
you know, that they are going to move on, that this is the last time that
it`s going to be about him, I just think that we look at these three women,
and we have to draw some strength and some inspiration from them.

SHARPTON: And I`m sure that she didn`t have any idea. But I think
she inspired the whole nation.

JANSING: I couldn`t agree more.

SHARPTON: Who could complain what they have been through, seeing what
they went through and to see her stand there and say that, I almost makes
you ashamed of even complaining or not trying to do your best, because she
really was inspiring.

Chris Jansing and Clint Van Zandt, thank you both for your time
tonight.

Coming up, inside the house of horrors and inside the mind of a
madman. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It was a story made for the movies, but it was all too
real. Three women kidnapped simply as teenagers ten years ago, all rescued
from a house in Cleveland. Amanda Berry made the frantic phone call to
police.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 911.

AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAPPED AND RAPED BY ARIEL CASTRO: Hello, police.
Help me, I`m Amanda Berry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you need police, fire, or ambulance.

BERRY: I need police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And what is going on there?

BERRY: I have been kidnapped and I have been missing for ten years,
and I`m here. I`m free now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She is free and we are learning more about what happened
inside that house next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: One of the most chilling things about Ariel Castro`s house
of horrors was how ordinary it looked from the outside. For more than a
decade, neighbors walked b this home, never imagining that three young
women were being held inside against their will.

Today in court, through firsthand testimony of investigators, we went
inside that home, and we got a vivid picture of what its walls contained.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There were a number of modifications to the
interior of the home to fortify certain areas. Those are a series of alarm
clocks. And they`re wired in a makeshift manner to create a -- essentially
an alarm system to the house. There was a contact switch at the back door
that appeared that it would activate this alarm. That`s a chain. It`s in
the room that Amanda -- I`m sorry, Gina de Jesus and Michelle Knight
shared.

The pole is what the investigation has shown was used to restrain the
women in the early stages of captivity. The investigation showed that on a
limited number of times, that some of the survivors were allowed outside,
they were instructed to wear a wig.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Three women were held captive in that house for more than
ten years. Today the world is a little closer to understanding the
unimaginable suffering they endured.

Joining me now are Eugene O`Donnell, professor of law, and police
study at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Scott Taylor,
investigative reporter with WOIO-TV in Cleveland, who got the first video
from the backyard and the garage when this story broke.

Scott, let me go to you first. These are horrific details. But when
someone first goes inside, it looks normal, right?

SCOTT TAYLOR, WOIO-TV CLEVELAND: It sure does, Al. When you open up
that door, and Ariel Castro knew what he was doing on that first floor.
You would see toys. You would see a couch. You would see a lazy boy. But
when you start to go into the dining room which you can`t really see from
the front door, that`s when things started to get weird. He really turned
that into a bedroom. If you tried to go upstairs, well, you couldn`t do
it.

There was a porch swing that he barricaded the upstairs with down at
the bottom of that staircase. He had curtains. You walk up those stairs,
that`s when things got really spooky. Because there were a couple of
bedrooms, Amanda and Jocelyn, Amanda`s little girl stayed in one, the
larger bedroom, and the window was actually barricaded believe it or not
with a closet door.

SHARPTON: Now, Eugene, here is some of what we know about life inside
that house. The women ate one meal a day. They were given plastic toilets
that were emptied infrequently. The windows on their rooms were nailed
shut, and investigators found about 100 pounds of chains and padlocks, 100
pounds. I mean, this is really, really some weird and troubling items.

EUGENE O`DONNELL, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Yes. The FBI
behavioral folks must be all over this, because there is so many indicators
of cruelty. It`s new dimensions really in cruelty and apparently disabling
the free will of these women. He worked on all these things, learned
helplessness, just an elaborate set of devices, evil devices to convince
these women that they would be harmed. And also I think importantly it`s
not uncommon that people blame themselves.

So he played very much on their self-blame. And that`s why today is
important. It`s important for them -- believe it or not, it`s important
today in a courtroom for a judge to say the victims are on this side and
the bad guy is on this side. You`d be surprised, many people would be
surprised how affirming that is to victims who say to themselves none of
this would have happened if I did A, B, C, or D.

SHARPTON: Now, Scott you and the station that has been on this from
the beginning, what stood out to you --

TAYLOR: Sure have.

SHARPTON: -- once you saw what was in the house? What kind of really
stood out to you and caught your attention?

TAYLOR: Well, I think the elaborate tunnel system that he had through
upstairs. Eugene mentioned 100 pounds. You mentioned 100 pounds of
chains.

SHARPTON: Right.

TAYLOR: About 99 feet. And he put little holes like little mouse
holes where just that chain could go through. And we have never seen these
chains before. There was some possibility of -- Prosecutor Tim McGinty
pulling those chains out today. But the judge quickly said no, we`re not
going to do that. But they did, Al, show those photos. And that`s really
stood out for me.

Now, I also know that there were metal stakes in the top of the
bedroom floor screwed in so they could actually chain Amanda or Gina or
Michelle, and could only reach over to the bed, couldn`t reach to a door
and we also know there as you mention, no bathroom on that upper floor.
They used those plastic toilets. And they weren`t able to empty them if
they misbehaved. He also punished them up in the attic when it was really
hot out in the summer, and punished them down in the basement too, Al,
during the winter when it got really, really cold.

SHARPTON: Now, talking about punishment, Eugene. The prosecutor
spoke about the daily torture that Ariel Castro inflicted on the captives.
Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNA FARAGLIA, PROSECUTOR: Slapping them, punching them, stomping
them on their stomachs. He dictated. He dictated what they ate, when they
slept, when they could talk, when they could interact. He dictated when
they could go to the bathroom. He bartered food. He gave them money and
then took it away. He made them clean to earn their keep. He provided no
medical attention.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, it just gets uglier and uglier, Eugene.

O`DONNELL: And he essentially taunted them in court and declared
himself the victim.

SHARPTON: Yes.

O`DONNELL: He is the person we should all feel sorry for. In that
sense, it`s not very different than some other criminal cases. But it`s an
extraordinary set of manipulations. And, again, if there is any good part
out of it, we`ve clearly established here today he is not deserving of any
mercy. And the victims are these ladies.

SHARPTON: Scott, the one good thing we can come away with from
hearings today is the rescue. Let me show you what the first police
officer to go inside the home talked about going upstairs with a partner
and finding Michelle Knight. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFFICER BARBARA JOHNSON, CLEVELAND POLICE: He hollered up or the
police again. And then you hear some pitter steps, someone running, but
stopped. And when we shined the flash light, I remember I kind of shined
the flashlight so whoever could see that we were the police. We later
found out it was Michelle Knight as she literally launched herself into
officer Espada`s arms. Legs, arms, just choking him. And she just kept
repeating you saved us, you saved us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, a touching story of rescue. But an absolute
portrait of real, real mad situation.

TAYLOR: It sure was, Al. And, you know, that was officer Barb
Johnson. She went upstairs with officer Anthony Espada, and then Barbara
brought them all down. Officer Johnson brought them all down. Amanda,
Michelle and Gina stayed with them for five hours from the house to the
hospital. And she told me when she got home, Al, she sat down, and the
tears just started to pour out.

SHARPTON: Wow.

SHARPTON: Eugene O`Donnell and Scott Taylor, thank you both for your
time tonight. Just a remarkable story. And today justice finally
prevailed for those three and that little girl. Ariel Castro sentenced to
life plus more than a thousand years. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Coming up. Why today marks the most important day for the
Republican Party since Ronald Reagan was inaugurated? Next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with a big day in political history. It`s
August 1st. A lot happened on this day 25 years ago. It was 1988, and
this was the number one song in the country.

Roll with it by Steve Winwood. The song of the summer in 1988. And
this was the top movie in the country 25 years ago.

Yes, it was a young Tom Cruise starring in "cocktail." There was Bill
Cosby as Dr. Huxtable dancing into our living rooms every week on the
number one show on TV. But something else happed on August 1st, 1988,
something that would change the Republican Party forever. It`s not what
you`re thinking. Ronald Reagan was near the end of his term. But somebody
else`s reign was just beginning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: August 1st of 1988 is when this
program began on a national scale.

Happy anniversary, happy anniversary, happy anniversary, happy
anniversary

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, yes. Happy anniversary, Rush Limbaugh. Twenty five
years ago today, he started to take down his party. So bring out the
stogies, Rush. Congratulations. Now you all know how I feel about Rush.
But 25 is 25. It is a remarkable feat. But it`s how he has done it that
is toxic and relentless and downright ugly criticism of the left.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: Undeniable truth of life number 24, written back in 1987.
Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to
the mainstream of society. The Democratic Party does not want anybody --
they have a photo ID, because that would have a very negative impact on
cheating. I would be honored if the drive-by media headlined me all day
long. Limbaugh calling, I hope Obama fails. Somebody`s got to say it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Nobody had to say it. But that`s what really sets Rush
Limbaugh apart. The personal attacks he launches on not just political
figures, but their families too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: We have a name for Michelle, Moochelle. Mooch, mooch,
Moochelle Obama.

Now Hillary has reached a pinnacle, and all she is a secretary. Obama
says he is a Christian, but where is the evidence? But in Obama`s America,
the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering yay, right on,
right on, right on, right on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yep, that`s the kind of talk Rush is celebrating. So Happy
Anniversary, Rush. Here is wishing you good health and hoping that in your
next 25 years, be more fair, more inclusive, more big-hearted, more of
what this great country is all about.

Joining me now is Joe Madison and Krystal Ball. Thank you both for
being here.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks for having us, Rev.

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

SHARPTON: Joe, like me, you don`t agree with anything Rush says. But
25 years is a long time. How does he do it?

MADISON: Well, from strictly professional, one, originality. Every
Monday he has a very original way of presenting his propaganda, his
ideology. And then by Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, B level, D level, talk
show personalities around the country are repeating what he says. Number
two, he has really great radio skills. Radio is theater of the mind. And
what you just heard was exactly what a good talk personality will do. The
other thing that he does is that --

SHARPTON: Let me hold there it too, because I want to ask Krystal to
weigh in on something. I`m coming back to your other points. Because you
said something that touched something that I want to address crystal.
Krystal, the outrageous things. It`s original, but it`s outrageous. But
he got into a lot of hot water for his attacks on Sandra Fluke last year.
Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, as outrageous as that was, hardly any Republicans were
willing to condemn him. Here is how conservative George Will explained it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE WILL, AUTHOR AND COLUMNIST: It was depressing because what it
indicates is that the republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh. They
want to bomb Iran, but they`re afraid of Rush Limbaugh.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, Krystal, why are Republicans so afraid to take Rush
on?

BALL: Well, as you`re pointing out, I mean, even Mitt Romney at that
time just said those weren`t the words that he would have chosen. That he
wouldn`t have called her a prostitute, presumably, he would have called her
a lady of the night or something else. You know, Rush has been --

SHARPTON: How do you say slut nicely.

BALL: In a nice way.

SHARPTON: I mean, that`s what it`s called.

BALL: Exactly. That`s exactly right. And Rush has had so much power
in the Republican Party, really, since the early `90s. He was very much a
part of the Newt Gingrich revolution. And there is still a hangover there
where people are afraid that if they cross Rush and he turns against them
and turns all of his listeners against them, there is going to be a price
to be paid. I think that`s a misconception at this point.

SHARPTON: Yes.

BALL: I don`t think that he wields the power that he used to, which
is a very positive thing. At this point with his outrageous and horrible
comments, he`s really more of a benefit to the Democratic Party.

MADISON: Absolutely.

BALL: Because people look at him and say this is what you`re party is
all about.

SHARPTON: Yes. But, Joe, it`s not just the rank and file. The
leaders of the party, the powerful of the party also seem to bow down to
Rush. President George H.W. Bush invited him to the White House and made a
show of carrying his bags to the Lincoln bedroom for him. In 1992, Ronald
Reagan wrote him a letter saying, quote, I don`t mind that you have become
the number one voice for conservatism in the country. I mean, this is not
just rank and file. These are presidents.

MADISON: And they are presidents that unfortunately, as you know,
appealed to those individuals who facts don`t make any difference. I mean,
it`s the lowest level of thinkers when you really consider what Rush does.
He tells you. For example, remember, he used to say I have ditto heads.
Now what is a ditto head? A ditto head is somebody that says don`t think
for yourself, I`ll think for you. And facts don`t make -- that`s right.
You just ditto what I say. And remember, he started off humorous. Some
people used to say he was maybe the Jon Stewart of the conservative
movement. But what has happened is he has become mean-spirited.

BALL: Right.

MADISON: And not only did he attack individuals, adults, but when you
start attacking children who can`t defend themselves, whether it`s
Clinton`s daughter or the Obama`s children or -- and women.

BALL: Yes.

MADISON: And let me tell you what is going to be the downfall.

SHARPTON: -- The first lady. I think that he is raising a critical
point, Krystal. It is not being opinionated or conservative.

BALL: Right.

SHARPTON: Or compassionate. It`s the mean-spiritedness. It`s the
calling people names, it`s defacing people`s families, people that are not
necessarily in the political arena. It`s calling people the most
disparaging kind of names that no one calls ladies, children. That`s where
I think people are offended. I have no problem he disagrees on issues.

BALL: Right.

SHARPTON: But why do people have to be these kinds of names and their
family not even be out of bounds to you.

BALL: No, that`s exactly right. He is offensive in every way you can
be offensive. He is racism in the big sense in terms of whole classes of
people. There is sexism in the big sense, and then there is the direct
personal attacks, which are also unbelievable. And what we have seen for
the first time over the past year since his attacks on Sandra Fluke are
that advertisers are finally saying, you know, what? We don`t want to be
associated with this kind of talk in this kind of rhetoric.

Going back to something that Joe was saying about why he has been
successful in the ditto heads, I think he tells people the liberal elites
out there, they think you`re stupid. But I think you`re right. And here
is what we believe, and you`re the ones that really know what`s going on.
That`s sort of the theme behind his show.

SHARPTON: But let me tell you.

BALL: Let me tell you. That`s exactly right.

SHARPTON: Because I know better than you.

BALL: That`s exactly right.

SHARPTON: Joe, let me ask you this quickly. Are you beginning to see
any pushback? I think Krystal talked about some of the advertisers
leaving. Some of the more moderate Republicans understanding that the
damage he is doing to their party?

MADISON: Oh, yes. There is no if, and, butts about it. You are
seeing it. And that is happening. Let me tell you, you used the term
leaders. These are not leaders. That`s the most important thing. Because
leaders, you don`t see this in the Democratic Party. You don`t see this
with progressives.

BALL: No.

MADISON: They will take you on if you say something, they take me on
if I say something. Because we tend to be here is the word, the phrase,
critical thinkers. And that`s what you really want from your constituents,
people who question, they`re critical thinkers, and they come to a
conclusion.

SHARPTON: Yes, you`re right.

MADISON: Remember, 60 percent of the people voted for President
Obama. So you`re not just talking about him. You`re questioning the
intelligence of the people who voted for the man.

SHARPTON: Yes, you`re right, Joe. And the difference is that in a
Democratic Party, they will take you, me, anyone on if we say something.
The right wing will take us on even if we didn`t say it. They`ll make it
up. Joe Madison and Krystal Ball, thanks for your time.

BALL: Thanks, Rev.

MADISON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: You can catch Krystal on "The Cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
Eastern right here on MSNBC. And Krystal, congratulations on the birth of
your son.

BALL: Thank you.

SHARPTON: It`s great to see you back here at MSNBC.

BALL: It`s nice to be back, thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Lowell is the name, right?

BALL: Lowell Maxwell, yes.

SHARPTON: Congratulations, Lowell. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s time for "Reply Al." Remember, friend or foe, I want
to know. Carlie wants to know, "Reverend Al, why do you give Rush Limbaugh
and the likes of him air time?"

Because they have dominated a lot of the conversation in this country.
They were the ones that drove people to the polls in 2010. That gave us
this do nothing Congress. If they`re not confronted, exposed and their
points not exposed to be as wrong for America as they are, they will keep
galvanizing people for lack of exposing what they really are all about.

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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