September 20, 2013
Guest: Jim Moran; Joe Conason, Joe Conason, Amy Kremer
REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST OF POLITICS NATION: Yes, Ed. Thank you. And
thanks to you for tuning in.
Tonight`s Lead, Republicans lead into the abyss. And they`re trying
to take the country down with them. Americans have had enough. And so has
Today, President Obama (inaudible) Republicans for their reckless vote
to shut down the government. If the Health Care Law isn`t defunded,
they`re bragging to shut it down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: They`re not focused on your. They`re focused on politics.
They`re focused on trying to mess with me. They`re not focused on you.
They`re not focused on you. I mean, I don`t mind them disagreeing with me.
They don`t like the affordable care act, they would rather have people not
have health insurance, you know. I`m happy to have that debate with them.
But don`t have threaten to blow the whole thing up just because you don`t
get your way. One Republican senator called shutting the government down
over the affordable care act, the dumbest idea I ever heard. I agree with
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Yes. It`s a dumb idea and a sick one. More tea party few
madness that would take away health care from millions of people. So
congratulations, house Republicans. You just voted to take away coverage
for people with pre-existing conditions.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
SHARPTON: Congratulations. You just voted to make seniors pay
millions more for prescription drugs.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
SHARPTON: And a special shout out to you, Speaker Boehner. It takes
genuine political cowardice to let the tea party run this country into the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Republicans are playing a dangerous, demented game
threatening to shut down the government and maybe even send the nation into
default in the name of killing health care law that will save lives. The
bill that Republicans pass today has no chance of passing the Senate.
None. Zero. But time is running out. The government shuts down in ten
days. This isn`t a game. It`s people`s lives.
Joining me now is Congressman Jim Moran, Democrat from Virginia and
Dana Milbank of "the Washington Post."
Thank you both for being here.
DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Reverend.
REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: Sure.
SHARPTON: Congressman, how do you explain what the house Republicans
MORAN: Well, I think they are assuming that FOX News and, you know,
Rush and his gang are going to explain this because they live in their own
echo chamber. They are probably assuming, too, that none of their
constituents are watching your show or Ed`s or whatever. And they are
hoping they get away with this.
I think they know that this is irresponsible, that it`s not on the
level. They know they can`t repeal Obamacare. They know that they can`t
default on our debt ceiling. They know where this is headed, but they
think they can get away with being irresponsible. So as to appease
constituents who is misinformed largely in some cases simply ignorant or
biased with regard to the president`s agenda.
And somehow we have got to find a majority of responsible minds in the
House and Senate to move forward. You know, this is the worst the Congress
has ever been. And this is a reflection of how bad it can get. Just when
you think it can`t get worse, it does and it did again today.
MORAN: You know, you are right, Congressman.
And you know, Dana, a new poll shows little support for the GOP`s
shutdown strategy. Just 27 percent say they oppose the health law and
support Republican shutdown efforts.
MILBANK: Yes. Reverend, the only disagreement I would have with what
the Congressman just said is I think he may be giving the Republicans too
much credit there to suggest there is some cogent thought going on here.
That there is some purpose to all this. Because it does seem as if
nobody`s in charge here and they don`t really have an end game. They don`t
really know where they`re going with this. There`s a dispute among
Republicans within the House, between Republicans in the Senate, and in the
House contradicting each other.
And it`s not just the shutdown. Within weeks after that, they are
also threatening to put the United States into default over this and other
issues. I don`t think it`s so much a deliberate plan as is a primal
screen. You have a lot of people in that party in some very safe
Republican districts who is really don`t like the president. They are very
angry and this is their way of protesting.
SHARPTON: You know, Congressman, we have not only seen the attacks on
the president, but Dana`s right. They`re fighting among themselves. We
saw new attacks from house Republicans who went after a fellow Republican
in the Senate, Ted Cruz. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Hopefully it`ll be a major step in
letting people know that Ted Cruz is a fraud and he`ll no longer have any
influence in the Republican Party. I hope he can get the message, this
guys is bad for the party.
REP. SEAN DUFFY (R), WISCONSIN: You should have been on the floor in
the cloak room. There was so much anger, so much frustration because
again, we have been abused by these guys for so long. What I see happen
now is people coming out and calling them out for the hypocrisy of these
big tough conservatives who know how to fight but will never get in the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Congressman, this party seems to be in crisis internally.
MORAN: Well, it does. And I can`t take issue with Dana. He is
absolutely right. I look forward to reading his next column.
But you know, I think when we walk in Wednesday in the capitol, we are
likely to see a sign that says due to circumstances beyond our control, the
light at the end of the tunnel has been temporarily disconnected.
I don`t think they have any plan. I don`t think they know where
they`re going. And maybe they will figure it out over the next few days.
But Dana is absolutely right, Reverend Al. And we have got this debt
ceiling that is certainly as important right now as funding the government.
And they don`t have a plan for how to do so.
SHARPTON: You know, Dana, when you look at what is affected if there
is a government shutdown, we`re talking about military pay, veterans
benefits, unemployment benefits, new home and business loans. These are
very serious things. It doesn`t even impact the funding of the health care
plan or Obamacare. But they are willing to sacrifice veterans, the
unemployed, military personnel. I mean, this is nothing short of crazy.
MILBANK: Well, that`s one of the ironies here is in fact that they
are going to hit all of these government programs. But Obamacare is going
to continue on just as it did before. And in some ways, I think there are
some on the left, and my colleague Ezra Klein at the post has made the case
this could in fact strengthen Obamacare in the public eye because people
will realize when there are the inevitable hiccups as they implement this,
well, people are going to blame Republicans because of all the things
they`ve done to try to slow it from getting implemented in the first place.
So you know, again, we can dig and look under each rock and try to
find a strategy here, but this isn`t really about strategy. This is about
protest. And as one congressman at the House Republican said, you know,
the base has been asking for this fight, we are going to give them this
fight. They don`t know what to fight least, but they are going to get in
SHARPTON: Yes. But Congressman, Rush Limbaugh, now, he has been
responding to the fact that people like me have been saying this is the
law. Congress passed it. There was a huge debate last year about this in
the presidential election. President won. The Supreme Court upheld it.
Here`s how he responded to those of us that raised the point this is the
law, we need to move forward.
MORAN: I can`t wait.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: So, it`s the law of the land,
right? Well, let`s see. What else at one time was the law of the land?
Slavery. And there was even one time the Supreme Court upheld it. Yes,
slavery used to be the law of the land.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Thirty million people will get health insurance, and he
compares this to slavery being the law of the land. As tempted as I am,
Congressman, I will let you respond. I won`t even touch that one.
MORAN: No. I think that`s just as well that you not. But you know,
you have to wonder why they are getting so extreme, so far out on this. I
think it`s probably because they are so afraid it`s going to work. That`s
why they`re trying to stop it. They are deathly afraid that when it goes
in, it`s going to show that all of these scare tactics and so on, they were
for naught and in fact, it was in everyone`s benefit. And it is -- when it
does become not just the law of the land but engrained in our culture that
everyone is entitled to get decent health care. The children shouldn`t
suffer because their parents can`t get affordable insurance, that they`re
going to realize this is what America is all about and it`s not what they
want America to be all about.
So, you know, we just have to get through this period. We had a
similar period after Medicare. And you know, I think ultimately you`re
going to be proven wrong and Rush will come up with another excuse for why
he was so wrong and so far out.
SHARPTON: I`m out of time, but quickly, do you think, Congressman,
there will be a shutdown or not?
MORAN: I don`t think . I don`t think so. Certainly not until
November or December, then we have to fight obviously over the debt
ceiling. And we are going to have even lower numbers as of January 15th.
So, I can say there was not going to be a government shut down, but I doubt
it will happen as of October 1st.
SHARPTON: Congressman Jim Moran and Dana Milbank, thank you both for
your time tonight. Have a great weekend.
MILBANK: You too, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Coming up, we are witnessing something new. Political
arsonists trying to derail our government. So how will it end?
And the tea party rallied around defeating Obamacare. So now what? I
will talk live to a tea party leader and you don`t want to miss this.
Plus, more on President Obama like you rarely see him, on the road and
unloading on House Republicans.
What do u in all of this? E-mail me. Friend or foe, I want to know.
"Reply Al" is ahead.
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Kelvin says look at her standing there waiting all patiently, so cute.
Tina says love this president. Anyone else would have had someone
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Kevin says it`s an unforgettable moment for this little girl and her
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long after the show ends.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The affordable care act has been in the law for three and a
half years. It passed both House of Congress and Supreme Court, ruled in
as constitutional. It was an issue in last year`s elections. The guy who
was running against me said he was going to repeal it. We won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Yes. He did win. But we are watching a group of political
extremists trying to up end the system that our country is built on. A
party trying to derail our government.
Last night I had had a tea party congressman on my show. I want
everyone to watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: What people don`t understand, Congressman, is how we pass
laws, the Supreme Court upholds and you guys come in and say we`re not
going to fund it and if money comes in we`re going to oppose. We thought
we lived in a democracy. Come on Congressman. That`s not what this
country is supposed to be about.
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R), GEORGIA: Hey Al, just a reminder, this isn`t a
democracy. It`s a republic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This is not a democracy. This is a republic. This is a
democratically elected republic. For a man to run for office and be
elected on the principles of democracy to tell us something, maybe he was
really saying something that strikes at the problem of how they see
Joining me now is Melissa Harris-Perry.
Melissa, I mean, can you believe this? They can`t admit this is a
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR, MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY SHOW: Yes.
I mean, at this point, you know, if you would asked me two years ago,
could I believe this? I would say no, this is shocking. This is
unbelievable. But at this point, can I believe it? Yes. Like it is
astounding that we are not in a policy debate. We are not even an
ideological discussion anymore.
At this point, we are coping with that sort of central existential
crisis to the nation where we are going to have to decide as a people, what
we are about? What it is we want it to be? And that will always include
You know, the president said that today. Of course, people are going
to disagree. Of course we`re going to have multiple parties and
perspectives and viewpoints. But the fact is we have to have some way of
making a decision. The way we make a decision is free and fair and regular
elections. And then actually governing, not shutting the system down.
SHARPTON: But you know, a couple weeks ago at the Apollo, I said you
are my tutor. So, I wanted you to come in because maybe I`m missing
something. But, have we ever seen this before? I mean, this is almost
like a political coup.
HARRIS-PERRY: We have seen this before. And we saw it in the late
1850s heading up to 1860. I mean, the answer is of course we have seen
this before. And the last time that we saw this, this level of
dysfunction, this level of unwillingness to implement the laws of the land,
it led to the civil war.
Now, I don`t think we are on the brink of a civil war. I want to be
really clear. But the kind of behavior that we are seeing here where a set
of states and individual Congress persons have such ideological
disagreements with the fundamental laws of the nation that they are willing
to literally secede from those laws, to not implement them, to not be part
of them. Yes, we have seen it before and it nearly destroyed us.
SHARPTON: And to really question the decisions of government,
judicial Supreme Court, the Congress both Houses, and the election last
year, none of it means nothing to them.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. And only selectively, right? I mean, this is
what`s key. It`s not as though they are making a claim that they don`t
believe anything the Supreme Court says. For example, on Citizens United,
the tea party is perfectly happy to take that ruling. But the fact that
that same Supreme Court with the similar majority makes the decision around
the affordable care act and they are unwilling to abide by it is evidence
that this is fundamentally about their unwillingness to submit to the
realities of a national government that through free and fair elections,
elected representatives who made a law.
SHARPTON: Including them?
SHARPTON: And it`s not just the budget. They seem so have a similar
strategy when it comes to the debt ceiling. Look at this, 53 percent of
Republicans believe not raising the debt ceiling would cause serious harm
to the economy and would still want Congress not to raise it anyway. I
mean, Republicans won Congress not to raise the debt ceiling even if it
would cause widespread economic harm. They know it`s bad and they still
want to do it.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. But this is in part the complete campaign of
misinformation that the Republican Party has been extremely good at on two
major issues. The economy and Obamacare or the affordable care act.
And so, on the debt ceiling, the reason that so many people are
willing to basically suggest doing something that`s not even in their own
interests is because they don`t know what the debt ceiling is despite us
spending years talking about it now on television, folks still think the
debt ceiling is basically like our credit card, right? And so, they say,
just like I wouldn`t in bad economic times call at bank and ask to raise my
credit ceiling but that`s not what this is. Exactly.
SHARPTON: Now, in this whole fight which we are seeing which really
is questioning government, questioning democracy, how much is -- of this is
fuel by just their personal dislike for a number of reasons for this
HARRIS-PERRY: So, I am still enough a political scientist to believe
(INAUDIBLE) says that congressmen of single minded seekers of reelection.
And what that means is anytime you seek congressional behavior, you have to
go back and ask why is it that this Congress person in this moment believes
that behaving in this way will get them re-elected.
So certainly, part of it may be personal animist, but the fact is they
believe that these actions will be supported by their home districts. And
that is because of the 2010 gerrymandering and redistricting, which means
that these folks are running in very, very narrow districts.
SHARPTON: Melissa Harris-Perry, thanks for your time this evening.
And you be sure to catch Melissa Harris-Perry weekends at 10:00 a.m.
Coming up, President Obama goes after this Republican house. Wait
until you hear him unload on them today.
SHARPTON: President Obama said today that Republicans are trying to
mess with him. How the president plans to mess with them back. That`s
SHARPTON: Hey, Republicans, you want a fight? You got it.
While the GOP was in cracking up in Washington today, President Obama
was on the road letting them have it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: They are not focused on you. They are focused on politics.
They`re focused on trying to mess with me. They are not focused on you.
They are not focused on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: They are not focused on you because if they were, they
wouldn`t threaten to shut down the government or refuse to pay the bills
they wrecked up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The American people have worked too hard for too long digging
out of a real crisis just to let politicians in Washington cause another
crisis. This is the United States of America, we`re not some banana
republic. This isn`t a dead beat nation. We don`t run out on our tab.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And the president wasn`t done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: They wake up, maybe pack a lunch for their kids, kiss them
good-bye, go to work, live up to the responsibilities, do their jobs, pay
their bills. Shouldn`t you expect the same thing from people in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Just do your job. It isn`t complicated. The president`s
doing his. Will Republicans do theirs?
Joining me now are Maria Teresa Kumar and Joe Conason, editor in-chief
at the NationalMemo.com.
Thanks for being here tonight.
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT, CEO, VOTO LATINO: Thank you, Reverend.
JOE CONASON, EDITOR IN-CHIEF, NATIONALMEMO.COM: Thanks.
SHARPTON: Joe, the president really went after the Republicans today
telling them do your job. Where is this fight going?
CONASON: Well, you know, Rev, the President is right when he says he
won the election. It`s very clear that the majority of the country is
behind him if not all the way on Obamacare which is an unfolding process as
Medicare was as someone earlier mention.
CONASON: And certainly on this issue of jobs, the debt ceiling, not
shutting down the government. That is a really unpopular position the
Republicans have boxed themselves into now. And I think the President has
to push this home and make sure everybody understands what is really
happening here. You know, the last time they threatened to shut down -- to
not pay the debts that the country has to refuse to refuse to raise the
debt ceiling, the effect on unemployment was very bad for a few months.
The mere threat if they went through with this, if they shut the government
down, if they refused to pay the debt, we`re going had to have a real
effect on economic growth. And President and I think the Democrats have to
make sure everybody understands where this came from.
SHARPTON: I think Maria, this is the real problem. Just the threat
and the ripple effects, let`s know if there`s a shutdown has very serious
consequences to the American public.
KUMAR: And that`s the reason why the President is going directly to
the American public and talking to them and that`s why he`s going to this
states that historically may not be the ones that he`s talked during the
election. But he`s talking to them in plain English saying, look, you
know, we`re here doing the job that you want. We just need to make sure
that we are fiscally responsible to make sure that you have job creation,
make sure that you actually have access to your health care, and the
Republicans are trying to shut down.
And this is where Boehner is having such a hard time. He remembers
that the last time that the GOP basically tried to shut down government,
they lost massively during the midterm elections under Clinton and that`s
what he`s trying to prevent. But they`re being held hostage right now by a
very small faction of the Republican Party, the Tea Party that is doing
exactly what they promised they were going to do when they were elected.
And that is basically make government unfunctional.
SHARPTON: Joe, is this personal? I mean, you`ve seen personal
attacks on presidents first hand. Same thing they`re doing today.
Threatening shut downs, refusing to negotiate. You have covered this very
closely with the Clintons.
SHARPTON: Is this personal?
CONASON: I think there`s a degree of it that`s personal. They have
ginned up an image of the President as demonic figure among bare base. You
know, there are people in the Tea Party base who believe all kinds of crazy
stuff about President Obama and it does become personal that way. I don`t
think the President has done anything to merit this kind of personal animus
from them or their base. But they do treat it personally.
And after awhile the President has to, you know, take the hint and say
yes they`re trying to mess with me which he said today. And I think that
was right. I think he was right to say that make it clear that what
they`re doing is not about policy, it`s not about what`s good for the
country because they know what happened the last time. All you have to do
is look at the bar graph that shows, what happened to employment and growth
the last time they played this game. If they looked at that, they would
know they must not to do this.
SHARPTON: Maria, because when you look at what happened as Joe
Conason raises, when you look at the political price they paid in the `90s
when you have Newt Gingrich saying don`t do this, what happened before.
Only serious personal animus would leave them to doing what doesn`t even
politically make sense.
KUMAR: You`re absolutely right. And that`s one of the things that
former Speaker Pelosi said today that they`re making this incredibly
personal. And this is actually the worst hate they`ve ever seen. Any
Congress conducts themselves against the President, even -- when they were
trying to impeach President Clinton. And that just gives, you know, gives
you pause in saying what are they in for? Are they in for to actually roll
up their sleeves and kind of get the job done for the American people or
are they making this so personal that all of a sudden every single American
has to pay their consequences for their level of the maturity?
SHARPTON: Talking about Pelosi, Joe, she said today when she was
questioned about Politico whether or not they could lose the elections, the
Republicans in the midterm election next year. She says we can win back
the house. I`ll know a little bit better in a couple of more months. If
Republicans force a shutdown, could it help Democrats take the house back?
CONASAN: I think that`s one of the only things in the gerrymandered
Congress that could help the Democrats take the House back. I think it`s
an uphill climb for the Democrats, everybody agrees about that.
CONASAN: The question is, how many marginal districts are there where
this could make a difference. If people understand what really happened
here. If people understand that the Republicans, their Republicans
congressman or congresswoman put this animus, this ideological hatred of
the president above the interest of the average person in those districts.
If they know that, then there are probably 20 districts where you have a
marginal seat and it could swing the other way.
SHARPTON: Now, the President also Maria wasn`t just attacking
Republicans. He also laid out what he`s accomplished. Let me show you
what he was saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: In less than two weeks,
millions of Americans who have been locked out of the insurance market are
finally going to be able to get quality health care. The American auto
industry has come roaring back. When the middle class does better, we all
do better. Shareholders do better, CEOs do better, workers do better.
Everybody does better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Saving the auto industry, health care, getting fairer
taxes. I mean, these are very real accomplishments, Maria. How does the
Republicans counter this kind of record?
KUMAR: Well, I think this is one of the reasons why the President is
going around the country because he in the beginning while he was having
these incredible accomplishments had a very difficult time claiming them.
And so the more you get into the local areas and talking about it person to
person, they can hear what he`s had to say not necessarily from the media
but from him the President themselves. And he`s going into districts where
the Republicans are very vulnerable. So, I think what the Republicans need
to do now is try again to put their head down saying, you know, we can`t be
the obstructionist party. We have to get something done if we have a shot
at maintaining the house come 2014.
SHARPTON: You know, Joe, the threats of a republican shutdown, they
just seem so tone deaf. You know, people are struggling. We also saw this
weekend example, Georgia Congressman Phil Gingrey complaining and I`m
quoting him now, I`m stuck here making $172,000 a year. I mean, how to
touch out these guys?
CONASAN: Well, he should resign and become a lobbyist like some of
these guys. I mean, if he`s that worried about his income --
SHARPTON: He`s worth $3 million by the way.
CONASAN: Right. And he`s not interested in public service which, you
know, he may well have demonstrated already in his career. He can always
leave. Nobody has changed them to his desk on Capitol Hill. He can go and
then come back and lobby for whatever set of corporations, you know,
whatever they want to sell or buy on the hill including his fellow members.
But, you know, this is the -- I saw it the statistics on his district.
CONASAN: People there make a third of that much on average.
CONASAN: They`re struggling. The median income in that district in
Georgia is not high. So it`s really tone deaf for him to sit around
complaining. And by the way, what he was complaining about was he`s trying
to stop people who work for him on the hill from getting a better deal on
health insurance. So even his own staff he doesn`t care about. That is
SHARPTON: But isn`t that their undoing, Maria, at the end of the day
they really are not connected to the struggles and the accompanying fears
of the average American while they`re talking all of this based on their
own rage against the President.
KUMAR: Well, the fact that this congressman said that he couldn`t
make it on $172,000 a year just basically shows that all politics is local
and he doesn`t get his constituency who`s making literally closer to
$50,000 a year on average.
KUMAR: And that just talks about how disconnected they are to their
own local constituency and that they`re not providing the services and
providing them the leadership that they needed in order to make sure that
these people, make sure that they are getting jobs, make sure they`re
getting the quality education. And more importantly that they`re getting
out of the rut that most of Middle America still is in. Yes, Wall Street
is roaring and doing a fantastic job. But unfortunately the rest of the
country hasn`t caught up to that.
SHARPTON: Joe, how does this play out? You wrote, studied, was up
close during the `90s with the Clintons. How does this play out? What do
you predict in terms of a shutdown, in terms of the debt ceiling?
CONASAN: Well, I think in the end the Republicans will blink. I
think Speaker Boehner will blink. I think Eric Cantor will blink. I mean,
they`ve made it clear they don`t really want to go all the way down this
road. But they`re captive to a minority certainly in the country that`s
driving this now. The other factor here is -- the other thing that worries
Republicans is if you ask any economist, they`ll tell you the economy is
going to be better in 2014. Who`s going to get the credit for that or who
will get the blame if it`s not? That`s what`s really going on here.
SHARPTON: So if the economy is better or worse, the credit or the
fault will be --
CONASAN: To who?
CONASAN: That`s the question of the midterms.
SHARPTON: And that`s what`s going to determine the midterms. Maria,
how do you think it plays out?
KUMAR: I think that`s absolutely right. I think that one of the
biggest issues that the Republican Party has right now is that they`re kind
of eating their blueberry pie, to quote, "you`re rend."
They have basically claimed with the economic policies that the
President was going to put in place four years ago weren`t going to work.
And in fact, not only that they are working but you have Middle America all
of a sudden saying, you know, what? I actually see getting my job back, I
see keeping my home. If all of a sudden they do go toe to toe with the
president and there is a government shutdown, that is almost -- we lose
that economic gain. And then all of a sudden the Republicans will have to
pay a price come the midterms
SHARPTON: All right. Joe Conason from thenationalmemo.com and Maria
Teresa Kumar, thank you both for your time.
CONASON: Thank you.
KUMAR: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Ahead, remember how the Tea Party movement was going to
derail President Obama? How`d that work out? My live interview with the
Tea Party leader is next.
SHARPTON: Today`s republican vote to defund Obamacare was a clear
sign of that the Tea Party now dominates the Republican Party. How did the
Tea Party gain such a big influence within one of the national parties?
And what do they hope to gain by shutting down the government?
Joining me now is Amy Kremer, chairperson the Tea Party Express. Once
a flight attendant with Delta Airlines. She got interested in politics and
has been called the most influential person in the Tea Party movement.
Amy, first of all, thanks for being here.
AMY KREMER, TEA PARTY EXPRESS CHAIRPERSON: Well, thanks for having
me. I`m excited to be here.
SHARPTON: Now, the House voted today to stop funding the government
unless Obamacare is defunded. Is that a good thing in your mind?
KREMER: Well, I look at it differently. The House voted today to
fund the government completely but also to defund Obamacare to delay
Obamacare because it`s not ready for primetime. It`s a law that was passed
three years ago and it`s not ready for primetime. And so why do we want to
subject Americans to something that is not ready? It`s like buying a car -
- paying for a car that you`re going to get in 2015. And you`re not going
to get it. You`re not going to do that. And so it`s not ready. Let`s
delay it and let`s see how we have that discussion, how things play out.
And that`s what we want to do. And I think that`s what many Americans want
SHARPTON: But the Congress, both houses passed the law. The United
States Supreme Court upheld the law. You had an election last year where
the president opponent ran against the law and there were any number of
rallies you guys had all over the country. And you lost. It`s the law.
Don`t you believe when a law is made and when you lose elections, lose
Supreme Court cases, that you have to thereby go by the decisions that you
subjected yourself to? That if you had won, the other side would have had
to subject themselves to?
KREMER: Well, you know what? Yes, it is the law, but that doesn`t
mean it can`t be overturned. And let me make a statement here.
SHARPTON: You`re not overturning here. You`re defunding. You`re not
KREMER: Wait, wait, wait. Defunding. Delaying. No, but the thing
is everybody keeps saying it`s the law. Laws are overturned all the time.
I`m not saying that we`re trying to overturn it right now.
SHARPTON: You tried to overturn it. You went to the Supreme Court to
overturn it and you lost.
KREMER: Let me finish. Let me finish. You, you, I didn`t go to the
Supreme Court, but you have a bill that was passed today in the House with
bipartisan support. Bipartisan support. Democrats and Republicans voted
for that bill today and it passed overwhelmingly. Obamacare, when it was
passed into law three years ago, it did not have one republican vote.
Furthermore, it didn`t -- they didn`t pass it through the normal process.
They had to use a parliamentary trick to get it passed. So in -- since
August of 2009, ABC has done 16 polls and not one time has Obamacare been
above 50 percent.
SHARPTON: Amy --
KREMER: The American people don`t want this --
SHARPTON: Amy, they went to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court
did not find -- wait a minute. They did not find any trick. They said it
was constitutional. They went to the American public. And the republican
candidate ran on all of that, and he was defeated. And defeated by a large
margin. You can`t defund it --
KREMER: You know, what? I`m not going to -- Mitt Romney --
SHARPTON: Just a second. I let you finish. You can`t defund it
without the Senate voting. You only had two Democrats vote today with the
House that if you call that bipartisan, I call it two Democrats. But --
KREMER: It was still Democrats.
SHARPTON: Republican Congressman Tom Cole said that the futility of
trying to get rid of the health care law, it`s awfully hard to repeal
Obamacare when a guy named Obama is the president of the United States.
Senator Ted Cruz, he says that even he doesn`t believe they can pass the
Senate. Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the
continuing resolution, and right now he`s likely to have the votes to do
so. So are they wrong? Do you see some path to victory that fellow
Republicans don`t see?
KREMER: Actually, what I see is that if the American people rise up
enough and put enough pressure on them and if they true -- these senators
truly represent the people in their states. Yes, it can be defunded. Two
months even a month ago, no one thought that the leadership in the House
would bring it to the floor. And I praised the leadership in the House for
listening to the American people and standing up and bringing it to the
floor. But I want to say something here. Everybody is -- let me finish.
SHARPTON: Wait, wait. Wait a minute. Can I ask you something on
that? Wait a minute. Let me ask you something on that.
SHARPTON: You said if they listen to their constituents. The
majority of the U.S. Senate is democratic and they were elected by their
constituents in their state. Can you tell me one democrat that you think
will vote with you on this in the Senate? Just name one.
KREMER: Well, I can tell you that several that should be voting with
us and that`s mark --
SHARPTON: No, no, no, name one that you think will vote for it.
KREMER: Well, no, there are several that should be voting. They`re
in red states. They`re conservative states. And their people, I`ve been
in those states and they don`t want Obamacare. Mark Begich, Mark Pryor
from Arkansas, Mary Landrieu from Louisiana, Kay Hagan from North Carolina,
there are a number of them --
SHARPTON: And do you believe or have any indication that any of them
will vote with you on this?
KREMER: I haven`t talked to any of them. I haven`t heard from any of
them, but I know that now the fight goes to the Senate. And I`m sure
there`s going to be a volley back and forth. And we`re happy to have that
discussion. We had no input when this law was even crafted. It was
crafted behind closed doors and shoved down our throats. That`s not the
way this democracy, this republic is supposed to work. These people in
Washington work for all of us.
And the most important thing that American should be concerned about,
the President says that we don`t care about the middle class? There`s
nothing further from the truth. The President has exempted big business,
he`s concerned about special interests and then his magical powers, he
exempts Congress. Well, it`s what`s good for thee but not for me? Why is
it that the middle class average Americans are going to be the one to pay
SHARPTON: Yes. But they`re going to pay for it in the shutdown. If
you have a shutdown, you`re exactly right, they`re going to pay for the
KREMER: I never heard anybody advocate for a shutdown.
SHARPTON: Military people will pay for it. Let me ask you something.
You talked about the President --
SHARPTON: You were quoted as saying, I just don`t believe he loves
America the way we do. What do you mean by that and who is "we" in the "we
KREMER: You know, I mean, look. I`m not going to go back and debate
this with you.
SHARPTON: We`re not debating. I asked you a question about a quote
KREMER: -- and I just said the President said that he fundamentally
wants to change America. What I`m here to discuss is --
SHARPTON: But that doesn`t mean he doesn`t love America.
KREMER: A defunding Obamacare. Well, you know what? I don`t know.
Maybe he does. Maybe he doesn`t. But what is important is that he
represents the American people not just Democrats, but Republicans too.
And all of these members in Washington, they are elected officials. They
work for us. And they should not exempt themselves from this. If we`re
going to have to, you know, go through this, and they should as well. But
I think we need to have a conversation about this. And I don`t see what
the problem is with delaying it for a year. It`s not ready for primetime.
What`s the problem for delaying it for a year --
SHARPTON: If the Senate does not vote along with this, that is the
majority of the U.S. Senate which is required in order to defund it. Then
why would you then say we should shut the government down if you believe
they work for us and that is how the vote goes.
KREMER: I have never said to shut down the government.
SHARPTON: I`ll ask it another way. Then if the Senate does not go
along -- if the Senate does not vote to take the funds or delay Obamacare,
do you then support that we should therefore go forward and fund Obamacare
and everything else that`s on the budget?
KREMER: Well, I mean, we`re going to have to see what they bring to
the table. Like I said, I`m sure it`s going to go back and forth.
SHARPTON: They`ve vote no.
KREMER: But I`ve never advocated -- but wait. I`ve never advocated
for a government shutdown. At least now the discussion has started. No
one is talking about the fact that weeks -- months ago before this debate
even started that the president and Harry Reid were talking about shutting
down the government if the sequester was not rolled back. We have
compromised. We have sent a bill that totally funds the government and
actually continues the President`s deficit spending but we want to fund
delay Obamacare until 2015. I don`t think that`s a problem.
SHARPTON: I`m going to try one more time. If the Senate votes that
they will not support what was just passed in the house, are you saying
therefore since you lost the vote and since they work for all the American
people and they voted based on as you say democratic republic, therefore
you lost the vote and therefore they should go forward and pay the
government`s bills including the Affordable Care Act?
KREMER: What I am saying is that we have started this discussion. I
do not advocate for shutting the government down.
SHARPTON: So we should pay it. If you lose the vote, then you are
not for shutting it down.
KREMER: Furthermore, let me say this. Furthermore, the House of
Representatives is our most direct form of representation in Washington.
That`s why the --
SHARPTON: Oh. So the Senate doesn`t -- so the Senate vote therefore
would not be direct if it goes against you?
KREMER: No, the House controls the purse strings. And that`s why
this bill has originated in the house. It`s the law.
SHARPTON: But according to the law and this way this country runs,
you have to have the Senate and the House, Amy. Thanks for coming on. Amy
Kremer, I`ve got to go. Thank you. We`ll be right back.
KREMER: The question is, why does Harry Reid and President Obama want
to force the law --
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the horrific shooting last night in
Chicago. Thirteen people were shot in what police say was a gang-related
incident at a basketball court on the south side. The victims included ten
adults, two teenagers, and a three-year-old boy. That child Deonta Howard
was the most seriously injured. Suffering a gunshot wound to the head.
His relatives were devastated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I guess they say he`s going to be OK. He`s doing
better. That`s -- man with this master plan. That`s what grandma gave
him. Strong man. Three years old, strong survivor. But it needs to stop.
It needs to stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It needs to stop. Gun violence, mental health problems
from the Navy Yard shootings to Chicago, it must stop. I preached a four-
year-old boy`s funeral last year. Three-year-old kid in the hospital
tonight. It needs to stop. And we all need to come together across our
differences and stop it.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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