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PoliticsNation, Monday, August 19th, 2013

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POLITICS NATION
August 19, 2013

Guests: Jim McDermott; Michelle Cottle, Dana Milbank, Angela Rye, Eric Boehlert, Joe Madison


AL SHARPTON, HOST, "POLITICS NATION WITH AL SHARPTON": Thanks, Chris.

And thanks to you for tuning in. Tonight`s "Lead,: the GOP`s cruel
intentions. The Republican Party has a message for the uninsured, for
those struggling to get by, for those yearning to make a life here in
America. It`s called "you`re on your own." In town halls across the
country, GOP lawmakers are attacking the president`s health care law that
helps millions of Americans. Too bad for the GOP, they are getting some
unexpected response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DANIEL WEBSTER (R), FLORIDA: I believe that Obama care is bad
for America. I do. And the reason is -- and so does the president.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the seniors in your district?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about us?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about us?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me real quick. The congressman was very
respectful about --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell him to stop lying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Given that reaction, you would think the party might want
to rethink its plans to defund the health care law, right? Wrong.

Today, the right wing heritage group kicked off a defund Obama care
tour aimed at killing the law. And, get this, some Republicans even want
to shut the government down to do it, even though they themselves admit
it`s a terrible idea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, I don`t think shutting down the
government is a good idea. But I do think that we were elected,
conservatives were elected to try to stop this overreach, this government
takeover of health care. If we do nothing, we are just saying to the
president, hey, you get your way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I don`t think it`s a good idea, but let`s do it anyway.
How is that for cruel? It`s that type of failed logic the president called
out this weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Your health insurance
isn`t something to play politics with. Our economy isn`t something to play
politics with. This is not a game.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The GOP keeps playing games with the American people. The
only problem, the country is losing because of it.

Today, we learned that the Republican obsession with budget cuts has
kicked 57,000 children off of the head start program. Think of that.
Nearly 60,000 children, and the GOP`s relentless opposition to immigration
is having real effects on their constituents.

Listen, this little girl`s question as she questions a Republican
congressman. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED 11-YEAR-OLD FEMALE: I have a dad and he`s undocumented.
And what can I do so he can stay with me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What can you do?

REP. SCOTT DESJARLAIS (R), TENNESSEE: Joanna, thank you for being
here and thank you for coming forward and speaking. This is a big,
intimidating crowd and I appreciate you coming forward and asking your
question. But the answer still kind of remains the same that we have laws
and we need to follow those laws and that`s where we`re at.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s today`s Republican Party. Cheering at the idea of a
little girl losing her father. There`s nothing grand about that ole party,
just cruel.

Joining me now is Congressman Jim McDermott, Democrat from Washington,
and Joan Walsh, editor at-large for salon.com.

Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.

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

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Congressman, how can the GOP justify putting politics
before people like this?

MCDERMOTT: Well, it`s because they don`t know what people feel, I
guess. That`s the only way I can explain it. Because they`re all talking
about money and deficits and this kind of stuff. They`re not looking at
the people, like that little girl.

If you look at people who are in the waiting room or in the emergency
room and realize that they waited too long because they didn`t have health
insurance, you wish that they could have a health insurance system, and
that`s really what the president is offering to the country.

We`re not taking over the health care system in the government, we are
offering people an opportunity to buy in to private health care plans at a
cost that they can afford, and that`s really taking away that anxiety is
really what this is all about.

But the Republicans have no concern about the anxiety of the people.
They don`t care. They just want to win the next election.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan, you know, not only are they concerned about the
next election, Congressman McDermott says the people they feel don`t know.
And I`ll give you an example of how they get confused. Look at congressman
-- GOP Congressman Justin Amash. He tried to pretend this weekend that
people with pre-existing conditions were completely covered before the
health care law.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What`s the
alternative to those who now find that their pre-existing conditions don`t
matter, they can still get insurance? What do you say to the 25-year-old
that still needs to stay on his parents? What happens to them if Obama
care goes away?

REP. JUSTIN AMASH (R), MICHIGAN: Well, pre-existing conditions can be
covered. In fact they are covered by some insurance policies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, he says on national television that they are covered
by -- the pre-existing conditions are covered.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: What do you call that when somebody says something that
blatant?

WALSH: I think it might be lying or else he is completely ignorant.

SHARPTON: So he`s lying.

WALSH: Or he`s ignorant and we`re giving him the benefit of the
doubt.

SHARPTON: Now, if he`s given the benefit of the doubt for saying an
affirmative statement whether he knows he`s lying or not, what he`s saying
is a lie.

WALSH: It certainly is not true. I would believe that it is a lie,
Reverend Al.

But we`ve talked about this before. They are so afraid of this law
taking effect and of this law making changes in people`s lives, making
people`s lives better that they are lying about it. They are now being I`m
so thrilled to see people actually standing up in town halls and
confronting them on this. But they think that we are stupid. They think
that we don`t know what`s in the law. Some of us don`t, some of us do.
The more it kicks in, the more people will have visible, tangible evidence
of what`s in the law and the more popular that it will become. So they`re
so desperate they need to take back what they can take and in the meantime,
they need to lie about what`s actually in it.

SHARPTON: Congressman, isn`t this kind of misinformation is what is
leading to a lot of confusion with Americans? And isn`t the fact that they
don`t have their own plan leading them to distorting and misleading and
lying about the president`s plan? I mean even Scott Walker, the GOP
governor, scolded congressional Republicans for not offering their own
vision for the country.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: As governors, as state leaders
we`re more optimistic than our friends in Washington. We`re not just
against something, we`re laying out a plan, we`re playing out a vision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ve got to, right? You`ve got to.

WALKER: You don`t just sit back and nick the other side, you`ve got
to lay out a plan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s how you lead. You have to lay out a plan. What is
the Republicans health care plan in Congress, Congressman?

MCDERMOTT: Well, I told them in the ways and means committee, they
said they had a plan. And I said I`ve been sitting here for three and a
half years waiting for you to bring your plan out. There has never been a
plan laid on the table in the waste and means committee for us to vote on
or make amendments to or anything else. They talk but will not put their
money where their mouth is. And they simply try to confuse people.

Now, they tried -- this is what happened when we started Medicare.
They tried to confuse people and people signed up anyway. And that`s
what`s going to happen in 40 days from now. People in California and
Oregon and Washington will be flocking to sign up. And the rest of the
country is going to be standing around in Tennessee and Arkansas and all of
these places saying why can`t we have that? What do they have that we
don`t have? They are going to look to their governors and say what are you
doing to us?

SHARPTON: And when the rubber meets the road, Joan, people that are
in need forget about the partisan bickering.

I will give you an example. A headline that`s getting a lot of
attention today is a former Republican campaign operative says his struggle
with cancer has made him an Obama care supporter. He`s quoted as saying
"when you say you`re against it, you`re saying that you don`t want people
like me to have health insurance." Former Republican operative.

WALSH: Well, and there are going to be more and more people like him
and that`s what we`re seeing in these town halls, Reverend Al. People are
seeing that this is a change that they need in their lives and the
Republicans don`t have an answer.

I mean, you know, the congressman knows this better than I do. If you
go way back, the individual mandate, for example, for health insurance was
actually a Republican idea. The problem is they once did have ideas.
Democrats said why don`t we meet you in the middle? And why don`t we -- we
are going to accept some of your ideas. We are going to say let`s have the
marketplace work and let`s have government work with the marketplace. It
is not going to be a government takeover. We will do it your way and then
they back away from it.

So, this is what`s so maddening about being a Democrat is that you are
consistently trying to compromise with the other side and reach some happy
medium and then they walk away from their positions. And so, right now,
you`ve got somebody like Scott Walker saying it`s a bad idea not to have
something in its place, but he doesn`t have anything to propose to go in
its place either.

SHARPTON: Well, let me tell you one plan they do have, Congressman.
The new house GOP plan for food stamps would deny benefits to as many as
six million low income people. And this is part of a larger problem with
the GOP. I want to show you something. The editor of the "National
Review" talks about people on food stamps.

Listen to this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Government has gone out and deliberately eroded
the natural sense of stigma Americans feel about being on the dole in any
form and that`s a disgrace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Being on the dole that the stigma. So for people to be in
need, they should be stigmatized? We are talking about seniors and
children, Congressman.

MCDERMOTT: You know, if you have children, as I do, and you think
about what it would be like if you didn`t have a job and you had tried for
18 months, as many people have tried, and you`ve run out of unemployment
benefits and you`re losing your house to foreclosure and your kids sit at
the ding room table and there is no food in the cupboard, you will swallow
your pride and go get some food stamps and get some food to put on the
table. And that`s what`s happening to the middle class all over this
country. The crushing of the middle class by the right wing, by the tea
party, has been extraordinary.

SHARPTON: Yes.

MCDERMOTT: They want to take away every, every security.

SHARPTON: No question about it.

Congressman Jim McDermott and Joan Walsh, thank you for your time this
evening.

WALSH: Thanks, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the truth about all the ugly attacks from Bill
O`Reilly and the gang. My response tonight.

Plus, is Chris Christie the answer to the GOP`s problems? Big news
tonight about his plans for 2016.

And look out, Republicans, the birther crazies are turning on you too.
Ted Cruz releasing its birth certificate and what it says about the far
right.

Also what`s on your mind. E-mail me, friend or foe, I want to know.
"Reply Al" is ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Has the Republican Party found its knight in shining armor?
After getting totally crushed in two presidential elections, some think
it`s this guy, New Jersey governor Chris Christie. He`s heading for an
easy re-election in his home state, but "The New York Times" reports
Christie is already gearing up for a bigger race, 2016. His teams building
a sprawling 50-state fund-raising network.

Christie is also making some curious policy moves, like vetoing a ban
on 50-caliber military rifles, even though he proposed that ban just a few
months ago. It`s the kind of nimble two-step reverse that political
consultants dream about. But is anybody else buying it?

Joining me now is Michelle Cottle. Thanks for coming on the show.

MICHELLE COTTLE, WASHINGTON REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST, NEWSWEEK:
Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Michelle, is it just a coincidence as Christie gets up for
2016 he just happens to reverse himself and veto a gun ban that right-
wingers are against?

COTTLE: Very little in politics at this level is a coincidence, you
know. Talking to a veteran of Republican presidential campaign today, you
know, he points out there are some issues that you cannot get on the wrong
side of the base on and second amendment rights is one of those issues and
Chris Christie knows this. So, he has to be very careful as he`s going
forward here with his eye on the base in 2016.

SHARPTON: Well, he has got to have the base to get through the
nominating process. Another example is last year he praised president
Obama`s leadership on hurricane sandy.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I was on the phone at midnight
last night again with the president personally. He has expedited the
designation of New Jersey as a major disaster area. The president has been
outstanding in this.

I appreciate that call from the president. It was very proactive and
I appreciate that type of leadership.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But, this June, Christie slammed President Obama`s
leadership abilities. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: We look at Washington, D.C., right now and we shake our
heads in wonder, at a president who can`t figure out how to lead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean 180-degree turn is an understatement.

COTTLE: Well, look, one of Christie`s political benefits is people
see him as a straight-shooting, straight-talking guy. But he got a little
bit far out there as far as the base is concerned. He was seen as the guy
who was beating up his own party. And while that may be fine and running
as the governor of a blue state, it is not fine if you want to win the
primary for a presidential election.

So, he`s got to kind of dial it back a bit. And so, he kind of loses
that reputation as somebody who embraced Obama, which is, you know,
verboten in the party, and somebody who was beating up his own team.

SHARPTON: Well, he`s also got to worry about getting hit from those
heroes and (inaudible) of the right. For example, Sarah Palin went after
him last week and she attacked him like only Sarah Palin can. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, some
people look at him as, oh, man, he`s a governor who goes rogue. You know,
he`s got a shtick going there where he`s got a You Tube videographer
following him around kind of this set-up situation sometimes so that he can
be seen as perhaps a little bit avant-garde and going rogue on things. But
no, Chris Christie is for more government and his record proves that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Those kind of statements from those kind of figures on the
far right could be problematic in a Republican primary season.

COTTLE: Absolutely. And you know, he also got into a squabble with
tea party favorite Rand Paul.

SHARPTON: Right.

COTTLE: And this is the enduring challenge that he is going to have.
He can`t get to where he`s in a general election and appealing to the broad
kind of middle of America unless he can first get by a very hard-core in
the base in the primary.

SHARPTON: That`s the problem. Because for example, this month we
found a poll that said that among all voters, Chris Christie is considered
the hottest politician in the country, meaning that he has the highest
favorability rating.

But among Republicans he falls to number eight, so Christie is the top
Republican in the country, but he probably could make it through a GOP
primary. How long will that last?

COTTLE: Well, he is going to have to figure out how to do the dance
that everybody does, which is he`s got to find a way to kind of, wink wink,
nudge nudge, assure the base that he`s going to stick by certain Republican
values. And he is a conservative guy. We are not talking about a Rudy
Giuliani here in terms of moderate.

I mean, Chris Christie is very conservative but he`s got to kind of do
the dance where he stiff-arms Obama and doesn`t talk so much about
compromise and stuff in order to satisfy the base. And then if he makes it
through, he`ll do that pirouette like Mitt Romney tried to do again and go
back toward the middle.

SHARPTON: Michelle Cottle, thank you for your time tonight.

COTTLE: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the GOP a birther whiplash. One of the tea
party`s rising stars is forced to produce his own birth certificate.

And New York mayor Michael Bloomberg makes some revealing comments
about stop and frisk. You want to see this. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a revealing
comment about the city`s stop and frisk program. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK CITY: I think if I had a son
and that son was stopped, I would have some real questions about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He would have some real questions if he had a son. He`
would have some real questions if he was personally affected by it like the
hundreds of thousands of Blacks and Latinos who have been stopped by this
police force in New York city. A federal judge said stop and frisk
violates the constitutional rights of minorities, but New York officials
claim it`s needed in order to fight crime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLOOMBERG: There is just no question that stop, question and frisk
has saved countless lives.

DAVID GREGORY, HOST, MEET THE PRESS: If a program like stop and frisk
is abandoned, will people die?

BLOOMBERG: Well, I think no question about it, violent crime will go
up.

People across the country and around the world have come to learn
about how the NYPD has been so successful and how we`ve driven crime down
to record lows. We are the poster child that everybody wants to follow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Really? Without stop and frisk, the murder rate would be
higher? The facts just don`t back that up. New York`s murder rate dropped
29 percent starting in 2002 when stop and frisk program ramped up, 29
percent. That`s good news. But over that same time period, murders in Los
Angeles dropped 55 percent, and in Washington, D.C., they plummeted 66
percent. Those are two major cities that don`t rely on stop and frisk
tactics like New York. There`s no proof that stop and frisk lowers the
crime rate, period.

Did Mayor Bloomberg think we would ignore all of his misleading
statements? Nice try, but we got you

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: That`s the beautiful national anthem of Canada. I`ve been
thinking a lot about our neighbor to the north lately, because Texas Tea
Party hero Ted Cruz, was actually born there. And that made some people
ask whether he`s eligible to run for president. Senator Cruz wants to put
the whole thing to rest. So he`s released his birth certificate. I wonder
what people will look for.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: There`s one line called place of birth.
I`d like to see what he said.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We can actually see that right here. The place of birth is
Calgary, in Alberta, Canada. But legal experts agree, Senator Cruz is
eligible to run for president. Since his mother was a U.S. citizen, her
son was a citizen from birth. I`m sure that still satisfy everyone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You are not allowed to be a president if you`re not born in
this country. He may not have been born in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Well, that`s not what the experts say. But the Donald
seems pretty sure. What does the right think about this particular
document?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I cannot in good faith report to you that these
documents are authentic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Really? It looks authentic to me. But was this all
necessary? Did we really need to see the senator`s personal papers?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Why are all these people that just ask
to see it, why are they -- why are they crucified and beaten up and smeared
and besmirched the way they are?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, why are they smeared just for asking to see it?
Folks, let`s get real. All those sound bites I just played are Republicans
talking about President Obama. But now Senator Cruz is facing the same
birther hysteria, except it`s coming from his own party.

Joining me now are Dana Milbank and Angela Rye. Thank you for being
here.

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Reverend.

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Dana, do you think we can expect the Donald to send some
private investigators up to Calgary?

MILBANK: Oh, I certainly hope so, Reverend. I think this is a juicy
scandal here that Ted Cruz lived there until he was four-years-old. We can
only wonder what kind of dual loyalties he picked up there. Is he loyal to
the queen? Does he secretly go home to Texas and drink Molsons and say
words like eh? These are the questions we`re going to need to have
answered here, you know the truth is Ted Cruz went out and gave this to a
Texas newspaper to try to put this brewing controversy behind him, but he
actually created one that didn`t exist before because now it turns out he
is legally a dual citizen. He`s also a citizen of Canada.

SHARPTON: Now, Angela, Donald Trump was the king of birthers, but
listen to what he said about Senator Cruz.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ted Cruz, born in Canada.

TRUMP: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Is he eligible to be president of the United
States?

TRUMP: Well, if he was born in Canada, perhaps not. I`m not sure
where he was born.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He was definitely born in Canada.

TRUMP: OK. Well, then you`ll have to ask him that question, but
perhaps not.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ted Cruz`s mother was an American citizen. He
wasn`t an American.

TRUMP: Look, that will be ironed out. I don`t know the
circumstances. I heard somebody tell me he was born in Canada. That`s
really his thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s really his thing. I mean I`m sure it will be worked
out. This is the guy that was passionate about President Obama, but Cruz,
he`ll work it out. I don`t know if he`s eligible or not, Angela.

RYE: Well, Rev, I think this should have been your nice try but we
gotcha. I think you should have used this one. It`s clearly a huge
problem here. And I think there`s one factor that we know is kind of the
elephant in the room here. President Obama looks a whole lot different
than Senator Cruz. And even with the Republicans, you know, especially the
Tea Party folks and the birthers going on and on about this, even though
the president produced a birth certificate, we also saw this in 2008 with
Senator McCain. It wasn`t new with Barry Goldwater.

I mean, this is something that come up over and over again and even
the most recent presidential election. Mitt Romney`s dad also faced these
issues. The challenge that we have here is that there is the almost
identical fact pattern. The one distinction between President Obama and
Ted Cruz is that Ted Cruz really was not born here.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, you look at the elephant in the room, I
guess pun intended with the GOP, but you know, Dana, Sarah Palin endorsed
Trump`s birtherism, but she just about the biggest supporter you could fine
of Ted Cruz. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: I appreciate that the Donald
wants to spend his resources getting to the bottom of something that so
interests him and many Americans. You know, more power to him.

You know what I wish the Congress would do? Just for a week perhaps,
just put themselves on cruise control, and the Ted Cruz control.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s almost like she`s being hypocritical, Dana. I mean --

MILBANK: No!

SHARPTON: I mean, do you think that Palin will weigh in on Senator
Cruz`s eligibility?

MILBANK: Well, I mean, that Governor Palin can see Canada from
Alaska, so she has some things she might be able to say about this. Of
course everybody is going to be hypocritical. In their defense, they can
say, well, they weren`t really -- what they were talking about with
President Obama is they were accusing him or basically his parents of a
fraudulent birth certificate, whereas nobody actually disputed that Ted
Cruz said all along that he was born in Canada. And if he is in the
extremely unlikely event he`s to be elected president there will be a
lawsuit and somebody can decide whether that meets the natural born citizen
requirement of the constitution. But now it will just remain -- I don`t
think it`s the elephant in the room, it`s the moose in the room.

SHARPTON: You know, Angela, Cruz did certainly get his popularity
from pandering to the right. Listen to what he says about the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I think President Obama is the most radical
president we`ve ever seen. But I think an awful lot of Republicans fail to
stand for principle and contributed to getting us in this mess.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But ironically it`s these far right-wing bloggers and
pundits that are now raising the questions on Senator Cruz. Has he helped
to create a monster?

RYE: I think he absolutely helped to create a monster, and it`s very
strange that he`s calling this president radical. This president has
simply tried to create things like Obamacare to ensure that our nation`s
citizens would have access to health care. Work towards creating jobs.
Something that Ted Cruz and the folks that he aligns himself with the GOP
have blocked every step of the way. So, he`s far from radical, and yes,
Ted Cruz is absolutely created a monster and perhaps it`s a monster that
will rear its ugly head right before his decision to run for president in
2016.

SHARPTON: Dana, here`s what the president said, President Obama, when
he released his long form birth certificate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We`re not going to be able to
solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.
We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We`ve got better stuff to
do. I`ve got better stuff to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is Cruz going to say we don`t have time for this
foolishness to his colleagues on the far right?

MILBANK: I don`t think he`s going to have to, Reverend, because,
look, on the left people aren`t going to again get involved in this kind of
silliness. And on the right, yes, there will be a few of them, a few
cranks, but there will be enough willing to knuckle under and say, yes,
he`s one of ours, let`s cut him some slack on this, so I don`t think he`s
ever going to have to do it.

SHARPTON: Well, Angela, do you think as we look at the Republican
Party trying to come back after having an autopsy and other things, you
have Cruz, you have Rand Paul, all of these on the far right, people are
talking about the governor of New Jersey, Christie in the middle. Does
this hurt Cruz in a far right -- in the far right constituency that he
would need to be formidable in early primaries if he chooses to run?

RYE: It would hurt him if they were going to be consistent. The
problem with that, Rev, is very clear. They are far from consistent. When
you talk about the autopsy, though, this is the same party that said they
wanted to, you know, reintroduce themselves to people of color.

SHARPTON: Right.

RYE: So if they`re not consistent with Ted Cruz here, they`re going
to have another, yet again, major problem with people of color here because
they`re not going to be consistent with the birther movement.

SHARPTON: And just to be clear, I`m not raising these issues to
question his citizenship, I`m raising it to question some people`s
hypocrisy. Dana Milbank and Angela Rye, thank you both for your time
tonight.

MILBANK: Thanks, Rev.

RYE: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Bill O`Reilly and his far-right cronies are
demonizing their political opponents. They`re making some ugly personal
attacks. My response coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Tonight remembering a milestone for a pioneer of the civil
rights movement. Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of James Meredith`s
graduation from the University of Mississippi. Meredith integrated ole
miss back in 1962, becoming the first black student to enroll at the all-
white university in the heart of the Deep South. Segregation is rioted on
his first day in campus, forcing President Kennedy to send in the National
Guard to restore order.

But James Meredith would go on to graduate and continue to advocate
for civil rights. His courage is an example to all of us. We`re
celebrating that kind of courage this Friday in a special edition of
POLITICS NATION covering the march on Washington 50 years later.

Joining me, Martin Luther King III and Congressman John Lewis as we
look back on Dr. King`s dream and look ahead to the work yet to be done.
It`s all on the night before the march on Washington that I`ll lead with
Martin Luther King III. We hope you`ll tune into that show and join us for
the march.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Since the George Zimmerman murder trial, right-wingers like
Hannity, Sean Hannity and Bill O`Reilly have been attacking some of us in
the civil rights movement. For O`Reilly, it`s a nightly event.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Al Sharpton and the grievance industry
strike back. That is the subject of this evening`s talking points memo.
What the grievance industry does want is to divide the country along racial
lines. Maybe turning against the Sharpton and the race hustlers in
general, the race hustlers and their sympathizers have descended into the
gutter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, as I said on Friday, this kind of attack actually
shows his own hypocrisy, because Bill O`Reilly has donated money to my
nonprofit. He`s also spoken at one of our annual conventions of my civil
rights group, the National Action Network. So why would he give us his
time and money if we are so-called race hustlers in the grievance industry?
Maybe because that kind of smear is needed to make it in the right wing
today. These pundits have to launch personal attacks over matters of
policy.

They have to demonize and delegitimatize anyone and whoever disagrees
with them. But it`s wrong and it doesn`t have to be this way. For
example, I`ve worked with Newt Gingrich when we have found common ground on
education, but that didn`t stop me from criticizing him vehemently and his
political views when he ran for president. New York Mayor Michael
Bloomberg and I have always tried to seek areas of agreement where we can,
but I also helped lead thousands of people to march to his doorstep of his
house, to protest stop and frisk policies.

And a few months later, we put that aside as the mayor spoke at my
group`s headquarters this January for Reverend Martin Luther King`s
birthday. I`ve even met with President Bush, who I had profound
disagreements with most of his agenda. So these right-wing pundits can
huff and puff all they want but it just shows that they care more about
their own preening than they do about actually coming together to have a
real conversation.

Joining me now is Eric Boehlert, senior fellow with Media Matters for
America and Joe Madison, talk show host at Sirius XM radio.

Eric, let me ask you a very candid question. Does the right-wing
talkers make personal attacks for ratings or because they really can`t
argue the policy on the merits?

ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA: I`d say it`s about 50-50,
60-40. Look, I think, you know, everyone agrees this business, cable news,
talk radio, it`s a tough business, it`s a rough business. There are
allegations that are thrown around. It makes it a little more interesting,
let`s admit it, than having this wonkish discussion. But FOX News, Rush
Limbaugh, those people go so far over the line. It`s sort of non-stop
demonization if you`re talking about Obama. It`s sort of a cult of
personality. Usually that`s accused to people following a leader.

They have created a cult of personality around hatred, around
Democrats, around Obama and things like that. So at Media Matters, we talk
about this phony outrage machine that the right wing media is a part of.
And I think part of that is the phony outrage over demonization, hating
people. Not really just being upset about Obamacare or crime, but being
sort of furious about the people who are behind it and it`s the smearing
that`s nonstop.

SHARPTON: Joe, this last battle between me, if you want to call it
that, and Bill O`Reilly was last week he slammed food stamp recipients as
parasites. Let me show you what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: The Obama administration is encouraging parasites to come
out and, you know, take as much as they can with no remorse. And this is
how our country declines. This is how we become a weak nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, I disagreed with the allegation of parasites, I
disagreed with a lot of what was said on the food stamp stuff. And his
retort is that he once donated money to help us of what we do, which you
know we feed the poor and children every Christmas. I don`t know what
writing a check years ago does to justify you calling people parasites but
in his world that`s logical. But isn`t this really the point, that rather
than answer the questions, why you call people parasites, where is all of
this, you go off and attack someone that would dare raise a question as to
why you`re calling people in need these names?

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM PATRIOT HOST: It is. This vitriolic rhetoric
has a purpose, and it is to impact public policy. And the reason they want
to impact public policy is because -- and your show has done this for
mostly all this evening. No plan, no purpose and no vision.

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: The only plan they had was to defeat President Obama twice,
and they failed. The only vision they had was to defeat him and they have
failed. And so now what they have done is that they are attempting to try
to win public opinion by saying any money you spend on education, any money
you spend on the needy is wasted money.

SHARPTON: Yes.

MADISON: So, therefore, that`s how they impact public policy and
that`s really what`s going on.

SHARPTON: And even people saying that the President encourages this.
Why not debate how do you justify saying he encourages this? But again, my
real point, Eric, is why can`t we have adult dialogue like we`ve had with
other right-wingers. Let me show you something here. This is Bill
O`Reilly making a speech at National Action Network`s convention, my
organization. The grievance industry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: It`s a much more interesting country, America, if we stop
with the race business, I think. I mean I`m not black so I don`t know your
struggle. And you don`t know my struggle, all right, because you`re not
white. But after 9/11, we pretty much dropped that race stuff, did we not?
We pretty much were all Americans there, right? All right? I hear yes, I
hear no, but to me from my perch, there were blacks killed in that tower.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, I show that to say we`re not adverse to letting people
that we disagree with come. This is at full body of the convention. But
yet we`ve got to be everything but a child of God if we dare say why do you
call people in need parasites? Why do you say the President is encouraging
this?

BOEHLERT: Right. And the parasites -- the rhetoric about the poor in
the last couple of years from O`Reilly and FOX News has been really
amazingly degrading. You know, we`ve gone sort of beyond the stereotypes
of lazy. It`s now become sort of this need industry and Obama is going to
keep these people as voters for life by giving them free stuff and things
like that.

So it`s not even a public policy about welfare or poverty or anything
like that. It`s just sort of this relentless demonization of poor people
that doesn`t serve any purpose other than to rile up the audience. They
have got to get those people tuning in every half hour, every hour, and
it`s easier to do that if you just paint these people as immoral and get
really excited about it.

SHARPTON: You know, the personal attacks not just me, it`s anybody,
and it`s people in very serious and prominent positions. But if you`re on
the other side, they call you all kinds of names. Look at this, Joe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy over
and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What does it say about the
college co-ed 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 makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.

HANNITY: Four more years of Obama will end America, the country we
love as we know it.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Joe, when I was younger and more immature, I would
call people names but when you grow and really want to get something done,
you do a little more than just name call, particularly ugly names.

MADISON: Well, when you don`t have a plan, you don`t have a vision,
you don`t have a purpose, you don`t have a legislative agenda, you revert
to name-calling. It`s school yard mentality. You`re absolutely right.
That`s what kids do on the school yard when they begin to lose an argument.
You know, in our day, Rev, we called it playing the dozens.

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: I mean, that`s all this is. But I`m here to also say to you
that, you know, somebody ought to -- we should stop referring to them as
conservatives. Folks at Media Matters and I don`t mean to tell you how to
run your business, but these are regressives. These folks are trying to
turn back the clock, just like we are progressives. They are just the
opposite and we`ve got to call them what they are. They want to go back to
a time when they were in charge, and that genie is out of the bottle. It`s
not going to happen no matter how much name calling goes on.

SHARPTON: Got to go. Eric Boehlert and Joe Madison, thanks for
coming on the show tonight.

MADISON: Thank you.

BOEHLERT: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Friend or foe? I want to know. "Replay Al" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s time for "Reply Al." Remember, friend or foe, I want
to know.

Al T. writes, "What`s the true reason GOP leadership refuses to
confront extremism within their own party?" I think that they`re
intimidated by the extremists. They feel that they must say certain things
and bow to certain wishes. Otherwise they will be primary and could lose
because they don`t have the courage to stand up to what they know in many
cases they know is wrong and misguided.

Vivian wants to know, "What would you say to people who support voter
ID laws and believe voter suppression is a liberal lie?"

Two things. There`s nothing wrong with voter ID, but let`s use the ID
we always use. Why do we need new ID? Let`s use the same ID we used when
Nixon ran and Reagan ran and Jimmy Carter, all the way through. Why did we
get to President Obama and all of a sudden the ID we had was no good, when
there was no fraud? 0.0003 percent fraud found. So it was a solution
looking for a problem, not a problem looking for a solution.

Alvin says, "Do you see Trayvon Martin becoming the Rosa Parks of the
21st century?"

I think the reaction and the movement that has developed after Trayvon
is more like what happened to Emmett Till, a young man killed in the `50s.
Different circumstance, different case, but yet it was a blatant unjust
result that ignited people. Rosa Parks took a firm act, led to a boycott
but she lived, thank God, and helped to become a physical symbol of that
movement. Trayvon and Emmett Till, different matters, but lost their lives
and the fact that the value of their lives seemed to be brought down to
nothing is what made them very similar in the reactions.

Thank you 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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