updated 10/18/2013 11:01:54 AM ET 2013-10-18T15:01:54

POLITICS NATION
October 17, 2013
Guest: Chaka Fattah; Alan Grayson, Michael Hancock, Susan Milligan, Goldie
Taylor, Bill Press

REV. AL SHARPTON, POLITICS NATION HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks
to you for tuning in. I`m live tonight from Atlanta. Tonight`s lead, back
in business. After 16 days, the GOP shutdown nightmare is over. Today,
hundreds of thousands of federal government workers went back to work.
Vice-President Biden was up early to welcome Environmental Protection
Agency workers with some hugs and handshakes. He even brought along some
muffins for the crew.

And look at this, the National Zoo`s famous panda cam is back online.
And the National Monument is also open. Here some of the tourists at the
Lincoln Memorial. And no sign of Sarah Palin or Ted Cruz today at World
War II Memorial.

This morning, President Obama gave a heartfelt and emotional speech
from the White House, thanking government employees for their hard work and
patience. We`ll have more on that ahead. But he also spoke bluntly to the
party that got us into this mess.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That`s not a surprise
that the American people are completely fed up with Washington. At a
moment when our economic recovery demands more jobs, more momentum, we`ve
got yet another self-inflicted crisis that set our economy back. And for
what?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: For what? For nothing. Speaker Boehner, Ted Cruz, and the
tea party extremists held this country hostage for 16 day and got
absolutely nothing in return. Today the president said enough is enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: To all my friends in Congress, understand that how business is
done in this town has to change because we`ve all got a lot of work to do
on behalf of the American people and that includes the hard work of
regaining their trust. We come from different parties, but we are
Americans first. And that`s why disagreement cannot mean dysfunction. It
can`t degenerate into hatred.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Hatred. That`s exactly what this was. This was beyond
politics or policy, comparing Obama to slavery, calls for impeachment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You don`t like a particular policy or a particular president,
then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to
change it. But don`t break it. Don`t break what our predecessors spent
over two centuries building.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Go out and go out there and win an election. But guess
what? Despite record low polling, some on the right already talking about
doing this all over again. This drama is to be continued.

Joining me now is Congressman Chaka Fattah, a Democrat from
Pennsylvania and Krystal Ball. Thank you for coming on the show.

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

SHARPTON: Congressman --

REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Good to be back, Al.

SHARPTON: Good to have you.

Congressman, let me go to you first. Pretty blunt talk from the
president today. Let me ask you straight out. Are your colleagues across
the aisle finally getting the message?

FATTAH: Look, I think they are even though it takes a minute for it
to settle in. They had some problem processing the fact that he actually
got elected re-elected. So it takes a little while, but I intend to finish
my service in the Congress in about ten years if my district keeps me
there. And I hope we never spend another day in this kind of nonsense. We
spent three weeks on nothing. Getting the government open and paying our
bills that the president has not spent $1 that the Congress hasn`t
appropriated.

To act as if he`s the spender, all spending is authorized by the
Congress. And we need to pay our bills. I said on your show last week
that the president wasn`t going to compromise. He didn`t equivocate one
inch. And I think that he is making it clear that going forward the
Congress has to do its work and their job is to produce a budget. So now,
we had the budget committee and we have breakfast meeting this morning.
And they need to work through their differences between the Senate budget
and House budget. And if they can unify their position, then we can move
our country forward.

SHARPTON: Well Krystal, the president said exactly that. In fact, he
said that he challenged the Congress to stop lurching from crisis to
crisis. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Nothing has done more to undermine our economy these past
three years than the kind of tactics that create these manufactured crises.
There`s no good reason we can`t govern responsibly despite our differences,
without lurching from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Isn`t this really where we have to try and go, Krystal, to
go from this governing from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis as
the president said to where we get down to governing based on the needs of
the American people.

BALL: That`s exactly right. And is the problem with this Congress, I
mean, we could call them a do-nothing Congress, but they`re worse than that
because of the Republicans in the house and folks like Ted Cruz, they are
actually destructive. We didn`t just have a debate for the past three
weeks about nothing. We actually were destroying economic growth in this
country. I mean, that`s the thing is I`m glad the government`s reopened.
I`m glad the debt ceiling`s lifted, but we`re looking at another fight just
a couple of months down the road.

And so this all comes down to it. It doesn`t come down to the
president. It doesn`t come down to Ted Cruz. It doesn`t even come down to
the tea party Republicans. It comes down to John Boehner. What does he
want to do? What kind of a speaker does he want to be? Because there are
a lot of good folks in the Democratic Party who would love to partner with
moderate Republicans to actually get things like immigration reform and a
budget deal passed. John Boehner himself could make the decision to go in
that direction.

SHARPTON: But what`s troubling, Congressman, when you look at the
potential Republican presidential candidates, look how they voted. They
all voted no. That includes Congressman Paul Ryan, Senator Ted Cruz,
Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rand Paul. They voted no. They voted for
default. I mean, what does that say about where the party is, the
Republican Party?

FATTAH: Well, we can`t allow them to drive us into becoming a dead
beat nation. I want to agree with what Krystal said. You know, when the
best speaker of any House that ever served was Willie Brown in California.
When he took over, he created a bipartisan leadership team in the
California House, Democrats and Republicans. Boehner can lead the
Congress. He can`t lead the tea party wing of his party. He`s going to
have to leave them aside if he wants to help move our country forward. We
need to deal with our education challenges, our other challenges that
you`ve been so involved with, Reverend Sharpton. And what we can`t spend
our time doing is having these human-created catastrophes.

I was in Israel on Monday meeting with the president of Israel. He
was befuddled that we could be in a situation where our country shut down.
I mean, that we have such an important role to play in the world. And we
can`t afford to go to sleep at the switch.

So, Speaker Boehner has to do what he`s done yesterday. A majority of
Republicans voted no. But a majority of the House voted yes. Let`s open
for business the United States of America.

SHARPTON: But, Krystal, as you referred to about where we are in
terms of some Republicans, I mentioned earlier some refuse to admit they
lost. I mean, GOP Congresswoman Cynthia Loomis says she`s quote, "not
prepared to suggest this has been a complete loss." GOP Congressman John
Fleming warned, see, we`re going to do this all over again. And this
morning, GOP Congressman Matt Sileman said Republicans could have won if
they were more unified. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The party itself was very divided during amidst if
this. I think if we were unified in carrying one message, we would have
been a lot more successful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Krystal, this is not sounding like all of them have learned
a lesson from this.

BALL: No. And that`s what`s really frightening here. I mean, they
didn`t learn a lesson from the 2011 debt ceiling situation. They didn`t
learn a lesson from losing the election in 2012. And I don`t think that
the radical elements of the party, the ones who have been essentially
driving what the entire Republican caucus does, I don`t think that they`ve
learned a lesson from this either. In fact, what we really need to look at
is the forces that are driving this situation. Because these folks in the
house, this is in their political interest to vote for default, to vote for
the country to default is in their best interest. And that has not
changed. In fact you`re seeing folks coming out and saying on the right
like Eric Erickson that they want to see more primary challenges, enforce
more purity on the Republican Party in the House. I mean, that is a scary
situation. It could get worse before it gets better.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to have to leave it there.

Congressman Chaka Fattah and Krystal Ball, thank you for your time
tonight.

BALL: Thank you, Rev.

FATTAH: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Let me say I`m glad the government is back open. I`m glad
the debt limit has been dealt with, but I don`t think we can rest until we
have gotten past the next deadlines and we must remain focused on moving
the agenda of this country ahead.

Don`t forget to watch Krystal on "the CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 right
here on MSNBC.

Ahead, remember the guy who said President Obama bows down to Allah
and should drop the Koran? Well, now he`s apologizing. Well, sort of.
But not really.

And President Obama drops the mic on Rush Limbaugh. We`ll show you
how he called out all the right wing blow hards on the radio.

Plus pop some popcorn. Now Sarah Palin is attacking other Republicans
and it`s great news for Democrats.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will. President Obama has inspired a big
conversation today among many of our fans who are proud of him for refusing
to back down.

Sylvia says Mr. President, you stood your ground for us. Thank you.

David says, I`m proud of President Obama and Democrats for not folding
just because Republicans were throwing a temper tantrum over Obamacare.

Rosanne says, with everything they have tried to discredit him, he
still rises above.

What do you think? We want to hear from you and your take on things.
Please head over to facebook and search "Politics Nation" and like us to
join the conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s been less than 24 hours since the deal to end the
government shutdown. And the far right is in full crack-up mode. Sarah
Palin is hinting that she`ll primary establishment candidates. House
Republicans are turning on Ted Cruz. And business groups are standing by
John Boehner, but plotting against the tea party. And why are they in such
disarray? Because President Obama knocked out with one political punch
after another.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Let me repeat, I will not negotiate over Congress`
responsibility to pay bill its already racked up.

You don`t negotiate by putting a gun to the other person`s head or
worse yet, by putting a gun to the American people`s head.

We can`t make extortion routine as part of our democracy. Do what`s
right. Open the government and make sure we`re paying our bills.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The tea party wanted this fight and they got one. But the
president refused to let them dictate the conversation. Refused to
negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States. Refused to
give an inch. And it`s not me saying that, just ask John Boehner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We fought the good
fight. We did everything we could to get them to the table and to
negotiate. They just kept saying no, no, no, no, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: When the right wing was being unreasonable, the president
gave them a simple no. And guess what he`ll say if they try it again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Mr. President, isn`t this going to
happen all over again in a few months?

OBAMA: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So is it going to be easy for the tea party to bounce back
from this defeat? I`m going to channel the president here. No.

Joining me now is Congressman Alan Grayson, Democrat of Florida.
Thank you for being here.

REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Congressman, does the president have the tea party on the
ropes?

GRAYSON: I think so. I think that ordinary Americans are with the
president. They`re appalled by the tea party`s tactics where they come to
the president saying if you don`t let us steal your car, then, we are going
to burn down your house. They are appalled by the way the tea party
cheered on the shutting down of the government, cheered on the fact that we
put our credit at risk for a generation to come. And they`re appalled by
the enormous expense, the fact that this temporary shutdown ended up
costing America $24 billion. That`s almost $1 for every man, woman, and
child in this country. Frankly, they want their money back and the tea
party out of their lives. At this point the tea party is no more popular
than the klan.

SHARPTON: Now,. Congressman, some on the right are already
threatening those who didn`t push the defund movement all to the end.
Sarah Palin wrote on facebook, and I`m quoting it, rest well tonight for
soon we will focus on important house and Senate races. Let`s start with
Kentucky.

From sea to shining sea, Congressman, what will happen if the right,
not just the tea party primary, all primary fights all over the country?

GRAYSON: I think it`s already clear to people that the Republican
Party is on its way out. The Republican Party is going to go the way of
the wig party, the way the wig party disappeared in the 1830s in America.
And the reason is simple. They simply won`t do anything useful for
ordinary people. Whether the issue is jobs or housing or health care or
transportation, whatever the issue might be, they got nothing. And it`s
not our fault, but they`ve got nothing. They simply want to bring about
the end of days as quickly as possible. That is the ultimate tea party
Republican desire to bring about the end of days. The Republican Party`s
become the largest suicide pact in history. And I hope they don`t take us
with them.

SHARPTON: Now, you say they got nothing. The president says the
fever is broken. Has the fever been broken?

GRAYSON: No. Not yet. The fever will be broken when we vote them
out of office and take back the house next November. But in the meantime,
we have to protect ourselves. And we have to protect ourselves
specifically from their destruction that their desire for destruction that
keeps welling up over and over again.

Now, I`ve introduced the simple two-page bill, the Hr-213, called the
fiscal sanity act. It funds the government for the rest of the year. It
raises the debt ceiling until the end of next year until after the
elections when we can safely deal with these problems. And I`m hoping that
people will flock to it. We`ve h had over 20,000 people come to our Web
site end the lunacy.com because they want to end the lunacy. They feel the
same way the president does. They`re tired of this. They want their needs
met. They want Congress to listen to them and not get sucked into these
artificial crises that drag us lower and lower to the very bottom.

SHARPTON: Rush Limbaugh says the problem is there weren`t enough Ted
Cruz`s. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Can you imagine in this last
fight if we would have had five or ten Ted Cruzes? Can you imagine the
different dynamic? Can you imagine I we had five or ten Ted Cruzes, we`d
win a lot of debates. If we had 45 Ted Cruzs in the Senate, we`d come
close to winning every vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Clearly the right wing talkers aren`t giving up. But the
poll numbers for the GOP is in the tank. Will the leadership of the GOP
keep listening to these talkers?

GRAYSON: Listen, Boehner has to go. Boehner dragged this country
with its tea party allies through the mud for two and a half weeks,
completely unnecessarily. There was no purpose to this whatsoever.

The bill we voted on late last night was the same bill we could have
voted on two weeks ago, two months ago, two years ago. And the fact is
that John Boehner has become a short order cook for the far right wing.
Would you like some French fries or cheese with that? That`s what he does.
He takes whatever they want and he lays it out there as if that`s the right
thing to do.

And another thing about him is for nine times before this week, before
this month, he stepped back from the abyss and let Democrats do the
responsible thing which is to keep the government running and to pass bills
that needed to be billed. And this time he did not. And in doing so, he
became useless. At this point, Dr. Jekyll has become Mr. Hyde. He has to
go -- everyone who is willing to cater to the tea party has to go so
Americans finally get the government they deserve.

SHARPTON: Congressman Alan Grayson, thank you for your time.

GRAYSON: Thank you too.

SHARPTON: Coming up, what inspired some strong passion today from the
president. It`s a moment that goes to the heart of the difference between
him and the Republicans.

Plus the sitting congressman who compared hurricane Katrina to
Obamacare. We`ll tell you who said it and why it`s part of a disturbing
pattern on the right.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The right wingers like to try to mock President Obama`s
experience as a community organizer. Well, you know what? He`s still a
community organizer. But the community is America. The entire country.
And today he showed extraordinary passion talking about public service as a
force for good. We`ll talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The shutdown we saw over these past couple of weeks exposed
once again just how much the tea party hates government. These right
wingers vilify federal workers. They mock the very idea government can
help people. But today President Obama made a powerful and emotional
argument for why government is vital to this country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: One of the things that I hope all of us have learned these
past few weeks is that it turns out smart effective government is
important. It matters. I think the American people during this shutdown
had a chance to get some idea of all the things large and small that
government does that make a difference in people`s lives. And we hear all
the time about how government is the problem. Well, it turns out we rely
on it in a whole lot of ways. So let`s work together to make government
work better. Instead of treating it like an enemy, or purposely making it
work worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Government is not the enemy. We the people are the
government. We have made this together. To help each other. Government
is the FEMA worker helping victims of a natural disaster. Government is
the firefighter saving your homes from the flames. Government is the
teacher helping your children to read and write. So, today the president
had a message for those government workers who have been so maligned by the
right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I`ve got a simple message for
all the dedicated and patriotic federal workers who have either worked
without pay or have been forced off the job without pay these past few
weeks including most of my own staff. Thank you. Thanks for your service.
Welcome back. What you do is important. Don`t let anybody else tell you
different.

Especially the young people who come to this city to serve. Believe
that it matters. We come from different parties, but we are Americans
first. That`s why disagreement cannot mean dysfunction. It can`t
degenerate into hatred. The American people`s hopes and dreams are what
matters, not ours. Our obligations are to them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama says, government is part of the solution.
Conservatives say government is part of the problem. This question has
been at the heart of our political debate for decades. Progressives won
that argument during the 2012 election. And the polls show we won it again
during the shutdown.

Joining me now is Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. He`s part of the
mayors for educational excellence tour. A cross country initiative to
improve America`s education policies and programs. Also joining me is
journalist Susan Milligan. Thank you both for being here this evening.

SUSAN MILLIGAN, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Thank you, Reverend.

MAYOR MICHAEL HANCOCK (D), DENVER: Absolutely. Glad to be with you.

SHARPTON: Mayor, how has the shutdown made it clear to American
people how important the government really is?

HANCOCK: Al, I think you said it perfectly well. You know, when your
house is on fire, government`s responding. When your sidewalks are in
disrepair, government`s responding. When you have potholes on your street
or snow on your roads, government is responding. In reality, government
was created by the people for the people. And in reality, government
responding to protect and take care of the people. And so what we have
seen in Washington has been extremely disappointing. And I think has
shaken up the confidence of the American people in government. But one in
which you have seen time and time again the last three years that the
American people believe that government has a role to play and we expect
them to play.

SHARPTON: Susan, we have seen this argument government going back for
decades. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan crystallized the right`s view
about government. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, 40TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Government is not
the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is that the right wing`s assessment of government, Susan?
Is that where this stems from a basic belief that government is the
problem?

MILLIGAN: I actually think it`s much worse than that, Reverend.
Because now it`s very, very personal. I mean, there`s always been sort of
an anti-regulatory, anti-government tone to a lot of the Republican Party,
but now you have members of Congress who don`t respect the very institution
in which they`re serving, don`t respect their colleagues. Certainly, don`t
listen to their leaders. Don`t respect the office of the presidency.
Wanted to deny their own staff health coverage, treat federal workers like
they`re a bunch of parasites. Thought nothing of having them be without
work for 16 days.

I was on the hill, I was watching these capitol police officers go
into work every day, rush to protect these people who couldn`t pay their
salaries, rush to protect them when that woman was, you know, driving into
the capitol complex, and they`re not getting paid. And I don`t even know
how they looked at those capitol police and did that. But the problem is,
they`ve started to demonize and demean the whole idea of public service.
And what`s going to happen is we`re not going to get anybody good running
for office anymore. We`re not going to get anybody good who wants to serve
in the government anymore. Because why would you when you`re being
disrespected this much?

SHARPTON: You know, Mr. Mayor, when she mentions that Susan talks
about that, the whole country sort of venom, conservatives have for
government workers run a GOP congressman, blamed a park ranger for keeping
people from the World War II memorial that their shutdown closed. Watch
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RANDY NEUGEBAUER (R), TEXAS: How do you look at them and say,
how do you deny them access? I don`t get that.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s difficult.

NEUGEBAUER: Well, it should be difficult.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It is difficult. I`m sorry, sir.

NEUGEBAUER: Park services should be ashamed of themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m not ashamed.

NEUGEBAUER: Well, you should be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, fine. Fine. We can disagree about the role of
government, but the venom that has been demonstrated and the disregard for
government American workers, I believe Susan said treating them like
parasites. This is a new level of contempt, really, for government and
those that are doing government work.

HANCOCK: I think so. And I think the reality is, we saw or what we
hear as far as the venom as you described toward government workers or the
government, I really believe is the loud minority in this country speaking.
I think most people believe just as President Obama just spoke about, that
we`re proud of our federal workers. We`re proud of our state workers and
local workers. People have a great deal and respect for those men and
women who serve them every day in this country regardless of what level it
is. And that we seeing and hearing from minority quite frankly they have,
quite frankly stonewall and held up this country.

But in reality, the American people control this, Reverend. And we
got to be real about this. If we`re not proud of our Congress, if we`re
not proud of the way things are operating on any level, then we are the
ones who hold the power by the ability to vote and decide who represents us
in Washington. And if the members of Congress don`t want to go to
Washington and represent the people of America, then Americans must stand
up and make a change. We`re getting things done on a local level.

As a mayor, I cannot not balance the budget. As a mayor, I cannot not
respond when my people call on me to respond, or not have a police Porsche
ready and willing to go when they`re called upon. And that same kind of
sense of accountability must be transferred to the federal government that
disconnect the Congress that quite frankly just drove and drug to the
American people through the mud.

SHARPTON: Susan, has this shutdown changed in your judgment this
discussion on the role of government? Has the country moved or shifted in
any way as a result of these last 16 days on the question of government and
the role of government?

MILLIGAN: I think so, because I think before the shutdown, it was
this sort of amorphous concept for a lot of people. And they thought of
the government was just this institution which, you know, sent them
paperwork and tax forms and so forth. And once people realized what you do
without, and it`s not just going to the World War II memorial. It`s
getting your WIC payments, it`s going to a public library. It`s all sorts
of things that government does. And I think once people realize the reach
that, you know, the government have in just providing basic services to
people, I hope anyway they developed a little bit more appreciation for it.

SHARPTON: Mr. Mayor, let me ask you about something else that`s very
important to me. You and three other mayors are on a tour, an education
tour to share successful education policies that are closing the
achievement gap in your cities. Tell us about that.

HANCOCK: Well, there are four mayors all of which mayors of color who
are leading the city in which we were raised in and went to public school
in. And each of our cities kind of reflect the growing achievement gap
that occurs in our city. So we`ve decided to come together, kind of raise
the level of the conversation, and talk about the good things the mayors
are doing on the local level. Some of the practices we have going on. And
so, Mayor Johnson from Sacramento, Mayor Tavares from Providence Rhode
Island, and Mayor Julian Castro are joining me here in Denver and I`ll join
them in their respective cities to continue to talk about the promising
practices.

But raise the bar as far as the conversation is concerned about the
importance of working together to close the achievement gap. A lot of the
kids we`re talking about look like us and it`s important for us to reflect
the importance of the mayors coming together saying we get things done on a
local level. You don`t see what happened in Congress on the local level.
And we need to deal with the issues as important as education on the local
level in order to move the lever.

SHARPTON: Very important work. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Mayor Michael
Hancock and Susan Milligan, thank you both for your time tonight.

MILLIGAN: Thank you.

HANCOCK: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, they`ve compared ObamaCare to slavery, to
communism, and now one Republican is comparing it to hurricane Katrina?
That`s next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The GOP shutdown brought back some ugly talk about the
president`s health care law. Republicans compared it to slavery, to Nazi
Germany, to death panels. And now there`s a new line of attack. Tea Party
Congressman Tim Huelskamp says, quote, "To say this rollout is much
different than hurricane Katrina, they`re very similar." Similar to
hurricane Katrina? More than 1,800 people died during hurricane Katrina.
The country watched as their fellow Americans stood on rooftops begging to
be rescued. Tens of thousands sought refuge from the storm only to find
that life after it would have even been more horrific.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We need help!

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We need help, sir. We really do. We need help.
They`re not doing nothing. I`m telling you, there`s nothing they`re doing.
Nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, Jesus!

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s going to be all right. It`s going to be all
right. It`s going to be all right. Breathe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Katrina was a failure of the Bush administration to take
care of our citizens. It was immoral. And yet to Congressman Huelskamp,
that blight on this nation is the same thing as providing health care to
millions of Americans? It`s the same as a law that has literally saved
lives? That`s a shameful comparison. Even by Republican standards.

Joining me now are Goldie Taylor and Bill Press. Thank you both for
coming on the show tonight.

BILL PRESS, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Hi, Reverend.

GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Goldie, let me start with you. Hurricane Katrina is the
same as the health care law? I mean, what am I missing here?

TAYLOR: You`re not missing anything, really. You know, the fact is
there were thousands of people who were stranded in the rising waters
during Katrina and no one came to help for many, many days. So I just
think that to make this kind of comparison is really beyond the pale.
People died. You can`t have it both ways. You can`t say that ObamaCare is
going to kill people and not having ObamaCare is also going to kill people.
You have to make a choice here.

And the choice is that we`re going to extend affordable health care to
millions of Americans over the next several years through ObamaCare and
make certain that they can see a doctor for preventive care that we can see
a doctor in catastrophic care and -- that they can see a doctor when they
need it and their family need the most. That certainly didn`t happen in
Katrina where women died at the Convention Center. There were old people
who were caught in their attics and flooded out where they died there alone
and in the dark.

SHARPTON: Yes.

TAYLOR: There are people who still cannot find their loved ones today
after that flood. And so to make that kind of comparison is just frankly
immoral.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it. I was there and saw it. Bill Press, I
think the extreme language is what is real troubling. Because health care
isn`t the first thing the right wingers have dubbed as President Obama`s
Katrina. They said it about hurricane Sandy relief efforts, they said it
about the so-called IRS scandal, about the GM bailout. Even the shortage
of bird flu vaccine was called his Katrina. They use this extreme example
that really, really weighs on those of us that know how horrific the
examples they are using really were like Katrina.

PRESS: Yes. Reverend, this really ties into what you talked about in
the last segment about the Tea Party. First of all, Congressman Huelskamp,
he`s the same guy who said we got to get something out of this shutdown.
I`m not sure what it is, but we`ve got to get something. We don`t know
what we want, but we got to get something. I mean, these guys are idiots.
And there are no limits now to the tactics they will use or the language
they will use. And it does tie back -- this is a strain of extremism in
American politics that we may have seen on the fringes before. The problem
is right now they have stepped up to power and they`re members of Congress
some of them. And they`re running the House of Representatives and there
are no limits to what they will say and what they will do to bring down
this government.

SHARPTON: You know, Goldie, Rush Limbaugh says that Republicans are
too scared to criticize the president because they don`t want to be called
racist. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They are literally paralyzed
because Obama is African-American. Literally paralyzed. The Republicans
agreed to tie one hand behind their back because of Obama`s race. And it
really doubled down on that any criticism of Obama. Because now you`re
criticizing the first black presidential racist. So they`re not going to
go there. Not going to be critical. Doesn`t matter if he`s president.
Doesn`t matter if he`s transforming this country in ways it wasn`t never
founded to be. Doesn`t matter. We can`t criticize him because they`re
going to call us racist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They`re afraid to criticize him because they`ll be called
racist. Last weekend someone called health care slavery. Someone waved a
confederate flag in front of the White House, and they`re afraid to say
something about the president or they`ll be called racist, Goldie?

TAYLOR: Anyone who says the Republicans are afraid criticizes this
president on the basis of racism isn`t watching the television news every
day. They`re not reading the newspapers. They`re not listening to their
local congressmen and women. The fact is, we had Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and
Larry Klayman standing basically on the lawn of the White House criticizing
the president right there. You know, we turn on FOX News any given day of
the week and we`re hearing that President Obama wants to kill women, kill
old people, kill children through ObamaCare.

And so I just think to say that they are hesitant in any way is not
right. The fact of the matter is Ted Cruz pulled up his wagon, Republicans
hopped in and he pulled it over a ditch. And they are looking for a fall
guy, their fault is not going to be Ted Cruz. They want to make it
President Obama. And that is just not going to fly.

SHARPTON: Bill, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz -- talking about Ted Cruz at
a rally last weekend. One Tea Party activist said this about the
president. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KLAYMAN, FREEDOM WATCH: We are now ruled, quote-unquote, by a
president who bows down to Allah. This president is not a president of we
the people. He`s the president of his people. Demand that this president
leave town, to get out, to put the Koran down, to get up off his knees and
to figuratively come up with his hands out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, that man Bill issued a so-called apology today. This
is the apology. Quote, "While these references were intended to be
metamorphic -- metaphoric, rather, and not literal, they do ring true
nevertheless." That`s an apology, Bill?

PRESS: Well, wait a minute. If they ring true nonetheless -- in
other words he`s saying I stand by everything I said.

SHARPTON: He`s saying that it may be metaphoric, but it`s true so I`m
standing by it.

PRESS: Yes. It`s neither metaphoric nor metamorphic. First of all,
Larry Klayman is a nut job. Way back to days of crossfire, we`ve had him
on Reverend Al. He`s been saying crazy stuff since back then. But you
know, the idea that people are afraid to criticize this president, Goldie
is right. No president has been subject to the level of personal attacks
that President Obama has. And part of it is -- I wrote a book about it
called the Obama hate machine. Part of it is because they`ve never
accepted him as president of the United States. These people who were out
there at the World War II memorial, they go right back to the Tea Party
town halls. Remember they disruptive the Tea Party for three years, what
were they talking about? They had Obama in white face, they said he wasn`t
born in this country. And they said he was a Muslim because he`s black.
It`s all the same ugly rhetoric.

SHARPTON: And the guy may be as you say, a nut job, but he was
standing there with senators, elected officials, and vice presidential
candidates of that party. Goldie Taylor and Bill Press, I`ll have to leave
it there. Thank you for your time this evening.

PRESS: Reverend Al, thank you.

TAYLOR: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: If you can`t beat him, cheat him. Wait until you see what
Ken Cuccinelli is doing in Virginia. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with some very bad news for Ken Cuccinelli.
Remember him? He`s the far right attorney general in Virginia who`s
running for governor. One of the most extreme political candidates in the
country. But today, new signs that voters are rejecting his radical views.
In the latest NBC News/Marist poll, democrat Terry McAuliffe leads
Cuccinelli by eight points with less than one month to go. Cuccinelli is
in big trouble. So, now he`s trying to do what Republicans always try to
do when they`re losing. Change the rules. The state board of elections
recently announced plans to purge nearly 60,000 voters from the rolls in
Virginia.

And it was just revealed that 40,000 from that list have already been
kicked off. Even though the Virginia Democratic Party filed the lawsuit
two weeks ago to stop the purge, naming Ken Cuccinelli as one of the
defendants and citing, quote, "political motivations behind the purge."
Political motivations. You don`t say? And here`s another thing. Any
guesses about who`s the legal counsel in this state for the state board of
elections? The folks behind this voter purge. That`s right. It`s
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

This is another classic case of if you can`t beat him, cheat him. A
federal court is scheduled to hear the lawsuit tomorrow. And we`ll be
paying close attention. But Mr. Cuccinelli, did you think we wouldn`t
notice how you`re trying to game the system? Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, advancing the dream. Newark Mayor Cory
Booker is heading to the Senate. He won a New Jersey special election to
fill Frank Lautenberg`s vacant seat. It`s hard to believe, but Booker is
New Jersey`s first African-American senator. He`ll be just the fourth
African-American to ever be elected to the Senate. Today we have our first
black president, our first black attorney general, and now senator-elect
Cory Booker. In my new book "The Rejected Stone," I talk about how hard
work and sacrifice for the ultimate gain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: How to be the greatest is a chapter that talks about I was
around Muhammad Ali, I`ve been around Michael Jackson, I`ve been around
James Brown. Some of the people that became this greatest in their field.
But what we don`t ever do is weigh the cost. James Brown made a record
once, "pay the cost to be the boss." What is the price you`re willing to
pay for greatness? Greatness is not the result that you see on TV or that
you see in mass media. Greatness is the end product of a lot of
discipline, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of hard work. And the higher the
price, the bigger the return. And that chapter talks about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I`m excited about my new book. If you`d like to read an
excerpt, please go to our Facebook page. Facebook.com/POLITICSNATION. And
find details about my next book signing tonight right here in Atlanta.
I`ll be at Barnes & Noble at 2900 Peachtree road in about a half an hour.
At 7:30 p.m. I hope to see you there. Remember in life whether you`re
part of a group in society that`s rejected or in your personal life if
you`ve been rejected, my book deals with both. You must be willing to
fight and work hard and pay the price. Frederick Douglass said in life you
may not get all you pay for, but you will pay for all you get.

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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