updated 10/29/2013 4:34:04 PM ET 2013-10-29T20:34:04

POLITICS NATION
October 28, 2013
Guest: John Yarmuth, Cynthia Tucker, Bill Press, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: And thanks to you for tuning in.
Well, tonight`s Lead the GOP`s Ted Cruz problem. His camera loving crusade
against Obamacare drove the platy to record lows and it seems that Texan is
just getting warmed up.

He spent the weekend pretending to be a populist in Iowa. And what`s
better than having the right wing PR game of a little pheasant hunting trip
with the far right tea party Congressman Steve King. Great for the image.

Before hunting, Cruz received multiple standing ovations from the
rabid right where he continued his myth-telling campaign and the crowd
loved it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We are facing extraordinary threats to our
nation. We are seeing an administration that seems bent on violating every
constitutional protection we have in the bill of rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: An extraordinary threat? More of their trademark fear
mongering on display. And despite poll numbers sinking like a stone, the
GOP hasn`t learned anything over the past year. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: It`s the number one job killer in this country.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s this big
cloud hanging over small business right now. It`s Obamacare.

CRUZ: And it`s denying care to millions.

ROMNEY: Under Obamacare they`re cutting $716 billion from Medicare.

CRUZ: The way we`re going to stop Obamacare, it`s going to come from
the American people.

ROMNEY: When we elect me president of the United States, we`re going
to get rid of Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Memories. We`re going to get rid of Obamacare. How`d that
work out? Just like it was going to be his waterloo. Need more proof the
anti-Obama crusade is hurting the party? Look at the great state of
Virginia. A test case for far right conservatives.

Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor, and since the
shutdown he`s sinking down 11 points in the polls this summer. But today,
his big response was to call in tea party Senator Rand Paul who voted for
the shutdown. See the pattern? Their answer to rejection is to go even
farther to the right. How`s that for a winning strategy? Let`s put the
fire out with more gas. Good luck, Republicans.

Joining me now is Congressman John Yarmuth, Democrat from Kentucky,
and Joan Walsh from salon.com.

Thank you both for being on the show.

REP. JOHN YARMUTH (R), KENTUCKY: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Congressman, after Romney lost the election, the GOP swore
it was rebranding. But now we have Ted Cruz in Iowa continuing with this
myth campaign. What`s going on here?

YARMUTH: Well, Reverend, it`s amazing. John Boehner back in, I
think, November 7th of the election, after the election last year said
we`re finished with trying to repeal Obamacare. That battle`s been won and
that war`s been won. And now, the Republican Party is acting like many of
the Japanese soldiers who kept fighting months and months and months after
the Japanese had surrendered. The war is over, but they are continuing to
basically just to try and reap whatever political benefit they can from
their base to try -- from this fear of Obamacare, the fear of President
Obama. It`s irrational. It`s not in the best interest of their
constituents, but they keep at it.

SHARPTON: And you know, Joan, I mentioned in the opening it`s playing
out in the state elections this year. For example, in Virginia, Ted Cruz
and his Obamacare crusade has become a lightning rod in that race.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Right.

SHARPTON: It`s playing out there and when you look at Terry
McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee, and Ken Cuccinelli you see the
difference. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Just recently my
opponent Ken Cuccinelli was campaigning at a gathering of his supporters
with Ted Cruz. He refused to stand up for Virginia and against Ted Cruz`s
shutdown strategy.

KEN CUCCINELLI (R), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We need people to know
that November 5th -- that November 5th is a referendum in Virginia on
Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is the Ted Cruz nth event in essence.

WALSH: Yes. He, at one point, was afraid to have his picture taken
with Ted Cruz but he supports all of Ted Cruz`s policies. And it is really
been the shutdown effect Virginia was the hardest hit state, probably, by
the shutdown. He wasn`t looking out for his constituents and Terry
McAuliffe has taken advantage of this.

But you know, this is totally, Reverend Al, about 2016 for Ted Cruz.
There he is in Iowa, the first caucus state, appealing to the far right of
that caucus -- those avid caucus goers. Those people who are always
participate. They`re out of the mainstream, but they can conceivably make
him a president.

And so he`s out there. He is like an infomercial guy with his little
microphone clipped to his suit and he, you know, tossing out red meat,
tossing out platitudes. And really, looking like somebody thinking about
himself in 2016, certainly not his party.

SHARPTON: But Congressman, this is not only about 2016 for Ted Cruz.
It is bad for the Republican Party. For example, Rick Santorum is getting
headlines for saying that Ted Cruz`s shutdown and it has hurt the
Republican Party. Listen to Santorum yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would say that in
the end he did more harm. And I think it was not his objective. I think
his objective was an automobile one. I think he didn`t do a very good job
in pointing it out. I mean, there is one thing to have goal, the other
thing you have a plan to get you that goal and he didn`t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Four straight polls, four straight polls, Congressman,
since the shutdown all show the approval of the Republican Party`s at a
record low. So it`s not only about Cruz `16. He is bringing the party
down with his antics and those agreeable to them.

YARMUTH: He is. And you know, the most important factor is you have
Republicans like John McCain, like Lindsey Graham, like Karl Rove and
others that we`ve heard who are taking them on, who understand the damage
that he`s doing to the party and this extreme element in that party is
doing to their rebranding. Now there`s serious concern among house
Republicans that they will lose control of the House next year. And that`s
all part of this whole internal dispute that they`re having in the
Republican Party.

SHARPTON: But you called out the scare tactics on Obamacare. Here`s
what Americans have heard from the right wing. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: Men and women have looked me in the eyes saying I`m scared for
this country, I`m scared for my kids, I`m scared for my grandkids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hundreds of e-mails and phone calls expressing
real fear from folks about Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Businesses hate it. Individuals fear it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fear is that only the sick will pay to join
the exchange.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Which health care
plan can you afford so you can see your doctors? This is what keeps
parents awake at night fearful that life is not going to work out the way
they hope.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, these scare tactics, Congressman, and scare rhetoric
is out there. And there has been, in fairness, glitches in the rollout.
But in your state of Kentucky, Obamacare in Kentucky is a genuine success
story. The state committed to building its own site and it`s paying off.
More than 26,000 people in the state have enrolled, 50,000 applications
have been started, more than 300,000 people have visited the Web site. I
mean, this is happening in a state with 625,000 uninsured people. So this
is a real, real serious start, isn`t it?

YARMUTH: Absolutely. And I think more importantly 400 businesses
have already found insurance for their employees through the Kentucky
connect, KYNECT. And that`s all private insurance. And so, it`s really
not bad for businesses. It`s great for small businesses. And you know,
this is in a state in which for the last three years Rand Paul and Mitch
McConnell have done nothing but try to mislead my constituents and the rest
of the citizens of Kentucky about the benefits of Obamacare.

So next year when Mitch McConnell`s on the ballot next year, all of
his claims are going to run up against the reality and the experience that
Kentuckians have had.

SHARPTON: Isn`t that the fear, Joan, that as this thing comes into
fruition that it becomes successful and this becomes a great political
backfire for the Republicans?

WALSH: Yes. That is their fear. That`s why they`ve worked so hard
to stop it, you know, and they complain about Web site glitches but they`ve
thrown every obstacle in the way of the president doing what needs to be
done. So, they`re terribly afraid of it. It`s too early to say it`s going
to be a smashing success, but from what we know already is a lot of people
are getting care that didn`t have it.

SHARPTON: Congressman John Yarmuth and Joan Walsh, thank you both for
your time. And have a good evening.

WALSH: Thanks.

YARMUTH: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming we`ll have breaking news out of Texas tonight with
national implications. A judge blocked key parts of the Texas abortion
law.

Why Wendy Davis` courageous fight could have national implications.

Plus, their actions scream out that they`re rooting against President
Obama in every way. Now we have a Republican admitting it on live TV.

And why Halloween is not an excuse for poor taste and ugly racial
stereotypes. My commentary on this photo that`s getting so much attention.

And 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. Today the big topic of debate are
Republicans rooting against President Obama and the Affordable Care Act.

Magda says it`s absolutely obvious that they`re rooting for his
failure.

Dorothy says they have been from the beginning and they have done more
than just root for his failure. They`ve actively participated. Glad
they`ve not been successful.

What do you think? Let us know. 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: Today, the Republican war on women met its match. And
Texas Republicans led by Governor Rick Perry pushed through one of the most
restrictive abortion laws in the country. It came after a marathon
filibuster by state senator Wendy Davis in which thousands of pro-choice
protesters made it known they did not want their rights restricted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vote is being taken right now. This is what
it sounds like inside the rotunda. These screams are deafening.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Unfortunately for them, Governor Perry and the right wing
control Texas state house ignored their pleas. But today a victory. The
breaking news came late today. A federal judge blocked a key portion of
the law calling it, quote, "unconstitutional." The decision saved the
state from closing a third of its abortion clinics. And while today, there
was the victory, the fight is far from over.

Texas attorney general Greg Abbott says he`ll take this fight all the
way to the Supreme Court and we`ll all be watching.

Joining me now are Krystal Ball and Patricia Murphy.

Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.

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

PATRICIA MURPHY, EDITOR, CITIZEN JANE POLITICS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Krystal, this fight became national news because of state
senator Wendy Davis` filibuster fight. How big of a message did today`s
ruling send nationally?

BALL: I think it`s very important both in terms of the message that
it sends. You know, the ruling that these sorts of restrictions are
clearly unconstitutional. So it`s important in terms of the message. It`s
also important in terms of the substance because Texas is not the only
state, unfortunately, that is trying to take away woman`s right to choose,
what`s the best for her own body. There are a lot of states across the
country that have passed or are looking to pass similar provisions.
They`re usually called trap bills which impose unnecessary requirements on
abortion providers and that is to force them to close -- which is why a
third of these abortion clinics in Texas looked like they were going to
have to close. So, in that -- from that perspective, the legal precedent
also could be very important here.

SHARPTON: Now, Patricia, Governor Perry issued this statement about
the abortion ruling saying, quote, "today`s decision will not stop our
ongoing efforts." We will continue fighting to implement the laws passed
by the dually elected officials of our state. Laws that reflect the will
and values of the Texans.

So, he is going to fight on. And as I said, Abbott says he`s going to
fight up all the way up to the Supreme Court, Texas attorney general.

MURPHY: Yes. Well, I think that Rick Perry is certainly not alone
among Republicans who believe this is a winning political issue for the
Republican Party. There`s actually a lot of polling that shows that women
are not comfortable with the idea of abortion after 20 weeks. But there`s
more polling that shows they`re less comfortable with a panel of all men
deciding that. And women are much more likely to think that a doctor
should be making these kinds of decision. And when you look at the
specific piece of a bill that was struck down as Krystal was saying today,
this really had nothing to do about the health of women or anything really
anything to do with that as Republicans were saying. It really had
everything to do with making it almost impossible to have what is still a
legal procedure in the state of Texas and the United States.

And so, when you look at the specifics, it`s very clear this really is
all about politics for Rick Perry, absolutely. And I would say for a
number of Republicans will absolutely see this very same issue come up in
the Senate. And I think that we will start to see a lot of pushback from
women again who say that this is a decision that they should be making,
their doctors should be making and certainly no panel of male legislators
in often need to be making the decision for them.

SHARPTON: Yes, Patricia is right. This was around admittance and the
constitutional rights in terms of having certain -- having your health care
even taken care of starting with admittance into hospitals that would take
them.

BALL: That`s right. And what`s going on here across the country is
there`s essentially a legislative playbook that is being rolled out in
state after state. Where they`re going everything they can to pretend like
they have women`s health in mind. But really the goal is to just shutdown
abortion clinics and make it impossible to have abortion.

So you have certain states where it is almost impossible, where you
only have one abortion clinic still operating. And already in Texas before
these provisions, and by the way, these provisions were set to go into
effect within 24 hours. So even before that, you have women who it`s so
difficult for them to obtain the legal procedure of abortion in Texas that
they were having to go across the border to Mexico which is a very scary
situation. Yes.

SHARPTON: Now, Patricia, today`s ruling was a big victory for Wendy
Davis. Now that she`s running for governor, her focus on women`s issues
could affect the whole party. U.S. news and world report writes, a Davis
candidacy might not be successful in the Texas governor`s race, but the
high profile of the campaign will keep attention on the issues which helped
Democrats. The GOP may wisely convince its most gaffe-happy members to
shut up when it comes to matters like rape and contraception, but Davis
will be talking. Interesting.

MURPHY: Yes. I`m sorry, go ahead.

SHARPTON: No, go ahead.

MURPHY: No. I was just going to say, I really do agree with that
assessment. And because this is the issue that launched Wendy Davis to
national acclaim. And so, this will make Wendy Davis` single issue, the
biggest issue going on really across the country. Now, this is going to be
Wendy Davis` issue. This gives her campaign a big boost. Why is she
running? This is why. She`s tell you that. And I think for other Senate
races across the country, look at a race like the Senate race in Georgia.
Look at the Senate race in Kentucky. There are a number of places where
there are very, very conservative Republicans running against more moderate
Republicans and all Democrats want is for the entire Senate campaign to be
about abortion, contraception, what is real rape. Those are the
conversations that Republicans had in 2012 that absolutely sank their
candidacies.

Democrats, if they could have that playbook redrawn and just run the
whole play again, they would love to. And when you see something like this
decision coming out of Texas, we know it`s going to the Supreme Court.
That keeps these social issues on the conversations.

And Democrats know that they are in much, much better position. If
they let the Republicans beat each other up, make a huge gaffe and then let
a moderate Democrat come in and save the day, that is what they`re hoping
for. This decision, I think, gives them a lot of hope they have terrain
that could be very friendly to them in 2014.

SHARPTON: But, you know, Krystal, Governor Perry said we`re going to
make abortion a thing of the past. And you`re dealing with a 20-week ban
in Texas and 20-week ban in other states. Is this what a lot of `14 is
going to be about? These states with 20-week bans?

BALL: We`ve already seen this happening across the country. And
despite the fact that, you know, we saw a lot of attention around the war
on women in 2012 and 2011 with the comments about Sandra fluke and with the
transvaginal probes in Virginia. Republican governors did not get the
message, Republican state legislatures did not get the message.

So, in Ohio, with who is supposedly a moderate Republican, John
Kasich, he`s also been passing these very controversial abortion bills. So
they haven`t -- you know, they haven`t gotten the message here. They`re
still launching these extreme tactics.

And I just -- one note on Wendy Davis in Texas. You know, even if
she`s not able to succeed this time around running for governor, which it
is way too far out to know, but in terms of turning Texas blue, having a
candidate like her who is going to have a lot of energy, who is going to
start to build an infrastructure is important to the future Democratic
politics.

SHARPTON: Yes. And let me bring to somewhere in the country you know
well, Virginia. Cuccinelli is losing the Virginia governor`s race big
time. But women are hurting him the most. He`s down by eight points among
voters, but down by 25 points with women.

BALL: That is brutal. And he actually in the last polling I saw is
winning among men. So it is truly the women who are against his extreme
tactics. And I think it`s way more than just abortion. That is certainly
part of it, but this is a guy who just doesn`t know how to work with anyone
on the other side of the aisle who is way too extreme for most Virginians.

SHARPTON: Patricia, it`s no wonder the party is very anti-woman.
When you listen to the right wingers they listen to. Listen to this.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The chickification (ph) of
everything is taking place. Which what is that? Rush, what do you mean?
It means that feelings are triumphing over common sense.

LOU DOBBS, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I want to turn to research showing that
women have become the breadwinners in this country and a lot of other
concerning and troubling statistics. When we`re watching society dissolve
around us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something going terribly wrong in American
society.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look at biology, look at the natural world.
The roles of a male and female in other societies and other animals, the
male is typically the dominant role. The female is not antithesis or it`s
not competing. It`s a complimentary role.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What they have done, the Democrats, is they have
invented this phony war on women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, you would almost think it was a montage of "SNL"
skits. If it wasn`t so sad, Patricia.

MURPHY: It really feel more like a montage of "the Flintstones." I
mean, that is caveman conversation going on right there. And this is
exactly what I`m talking about. You cannot have a party that is being
dragged to the righty by talk radio and have a party that is also going to
win national elections. It`s just not going to happen. I can`t even
really process most of what I`ve just heard. Except --

SHARPTON: Chickification (ph).

(CROSSTALK)

MURPHY: And Republicans have a number of having talented -- actually
four Republican women governors in this country. You never see them on
national TV. You never see them being highlighted by the Republican Party.
This is a party at war with itself. If it was smart, it would put forward
some of its own women leaders to do the talking. But they really just let
Rush Limbaugh do the talking and let the chips fall where they may. We`ve
seen the results.

SHARPTON: Krystal Ball, Patricia Murphy, thank you both for coming on
the show tonight. And be sure to catch Krystal on "the Cycle" weekdays at
3:00 p.m.

Still ahead, a new epic flip-flop from Marco Rubio. Could his sudden
reversal have anything to do with President Obama?

But first, Dick Cheney is finally trying to set the record straight.
That`s coming up in today`s nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Big news tonight from former vice president Dick Cheney.
He`s clearing the air. Coming clean about a huge story. Cheney made the
admission over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just simply
not true. Never happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But what`s simply not true? What never happened? Is
Cheney finally admitting that a 9/11 bomber didn`t meet with an agent of
Saddam Hussein. Cheney used that meeting to justify the Iraq invasion even
though it didn`t happen. Nope. That`s not what he`s talking about. Is he
trying to tell us that he didn`t actually shoot one of his friends in the
face? Nope. That definitely happened. Is he saying it`s not true, that
he criticized how President Obama got bin Laden, the terrorist he couldn`t
get himself? Nope. The former vice president was weighing in, in one of e
great issues of our time, fishing. That`s right, fishing. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your daughter Liz running for Senate.

CHENEY: She is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in Wyoming has wrinkled a lot of feathers in
Washington. Most of the Republican senators supporting the incumbent, Mike
Enzi. He himself said this week that he felt a bit blindsided by your
whole family. Said he thought you were his friend. How do you respond to
that criticism?

CHENEY: Well, Mike also said he and I are fishing buddies which is
simply not true. It never happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They`re not fishing buddies. Not true. Never happened.
Well, glad he cleared that up. The whole country was worried about who
Cheney goes fishing with. The truth is Cheney doesn`t want to talk about
things that he really needs to get straight. So he can go on national TV
to plug his new book or plug his daughter`s campaign, but the American
people won`t forget what he is refusing to talk about. Mr. Vice president,
that wasn`t even a nice try, but we still got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Right wingers have been rooting for President Obama to fail
since before he was president. Rush Limbaugh was saying it as far back as
January 2009. Days before the president`s first inauguration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I would be honored if the drive-
by media headlined me all day long. Limbaugh calling, I hope Obama fails.
Somebody`s got to say it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: No, nobody had to say it. But it wasn`t long before other
Republicans picked up on the theme.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Should we hope that President Obama fails?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Absolutely we hope that his policies fail.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Our top political priority over the next two years
should be to deny President Obama a second term.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: We`re hoping that President
Obama`s policies don`t succeed, exactly as you said.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The GOP Senator Pat Toomey said Republicans blocked a bill
on background checks because they, quote, "Did not want to be seen helping
the president do something he wanted to get done just because the president
wanted to do it." They worked against a common sense proposal just because
the president wanted to do it. This has been the GOP`s number one rule for
years. But this weekend, President Obama had enough. He told Republicans
to quit rooting for his health care law to fail. It`s a theme that former
President Bill Clinton picked up on today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. PRES. BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: When President Bush
passed the Medicare, benefit program for seniors, it wasn`t paid for and it
was more unpopular than the health care bill was and there were horrible
computer problems when it was implemented. The people that voted for it
and the people that voted against it said it`s the law of the land, let`s
make the best of it. They weren`t rooting for America to fail.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You can disagree with a law, but you do what`s best for
your constituents. That`s not what we`re seeing from the GOP. And every
now and then the right wing politicians and pundits actually say it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Of course I want ObamaCare to fail. Because if it
doesn`t fail, it will just further entangle American society with the
government that is not up to this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Of course you want ObamaCare to fail? Well, of course.
This is what`s wrong with the Republican Party. And of course the American
people are fed up with it. And of course Republicans will pay the price
for it at election time.

Joining me now are Cynthia Tucker and Bill Press. Thank you both for
being here.

CYNTHIA TUCKER, PULITZER PRIZE WINNING COLUMNIST: Good to be here,
Rev.

SHARPTON: Bill, how can Republicans justify rooting for President
Obama to fail even when it hurts their constituents?

BILL PRESS, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Well, they cannot
justify it. And I think we`ve got to be clear about this and you heard it
in with what Rush Limbaugh said. They just don`t want President Obama to
fail, they want the country, they want health care to fail and they want
the country to fail. Remember, these are the people who were willing to
give a sequester and to shut down the government and even to default on our
debts in order to get back with President Obama. And they have been
against everything he has been for as you pointed out from the very, very
beginning.

It`s a no -- there`s nothing positive, I guess I want to say, about
what they have to offer. They can`t defend it. And notice they don`t want
to replace ObamaCare or health care with anything else. They just want to
kill it because it`s President Obama`s idea. And just one final point,
remember, this is a Republican plan. This is private insurance companies
getting this money. It was hatched by the Heritage Foundation and was
implemented by Mitt Romney, Republican governor in Massachusetts. They`re
against their own plan because now President Obama put it forward.

SHARPTON: Now, Cynthia, you know, Rush Limbaugh pounced on pundit
George Will`s comment that he wants ObamaCare to fail. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, if you want ObamaCare to
fail, you want Obama to fail. And it`s all I said. It`s the same thing
except I said it two weeks before he was immaculated. For the exact same
reasons he gave here on ObamaCare, I said I want the whole kitten caboodle
to bomb out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, rooting against ObamaCare according to Rush is the
same thing as rooting for the president to fail. Now, Cynthia, in a funny
way, do you agree with Limbaugh?

TUCKER: Well, yes. I mean, this is President Obama`s signature piece
of legislation. If it did not work effectively, it would certainly tarnish
his legacy. But let`s look beyond that Reverend Al. What about the
millions of Americans who have no health care at the moment?

SHARPTON: Right.

TUCKER: Is there absolutely no concern for them? You know, it is
clear that the only thing that unites the Republican Party is hating Obama
and trying to destroy his presidency. But if millions of Americans get
hurt while they`re trying to destroy Obama, that`s fine too. You know,
when Mitch McConnell made his earliest remarks and when Rush Limbaugh made
his earliest remarks, that was 2009. When the country was still in the
depths of a recession, employment in some states, unemployment was 10
percent and 11 percent.

And the very first thing that Obama did was come in and try to get a
stimulus package passed to get people back to work. To rescue people so
they would have jobs to put food on the table and roofs over their heads.
And what were Republicans rooting for? That to fail. So that means they
were rooting for Americans to fail as well.

SHARPTON: You know, bill, Laura Ingraham says another conservative
talker says that this is the House Republicans` mission. Listen to this.

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We elected them to block Obama.
That`s an important role of the House Republicans. Block Obama. You are
our ballast between progressivism and a growing economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You know, isn`t this why we`re seeing such gridlock?
Because the Republicans feel their mission is to just block President
Obama?

PRESS: Absolutely. And you know, you`ve got to look back at the
contrast where Democrats were in the minority, they were the opposition
party. You know, what they did was they fought for what they believed in
and worked with the Republicans to get things done. This gang of
Republicans, once they got in the majority, right? They say no, no, no,
no. Look, we are -- with President Obama in the White House, they said our
mission is not to work with him. From the beginning as Cynthia pointed
out, from the beginning they have felt that that their mission is to oppose
every single thing. I`ve got news for Laura Ingraham and these other guys,
they`re there to serve the country, they`re there to solve problems.
They`re there to fix things. They`re not there to block things. That
started with Newt Gingrich and the Congress and has been wrong ever since.

SHARPTON: You know, Cynthia, last week President Obama renewed his
push for immigration reform. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Everybody knows that our
current immigration system is broken. Across the political spectrum,
people understand that. We`ve known it for years. Let`s not wait. It
doesn`t get easier to just put it off. Let`s do it now. Let`s not delay.
Let`s get this done. And let`s do it in a bipartisan fashion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And what do you know, Cynthia? Days later Marco Rubio
backs away from the immigration bill that he worked on. I mean, is he
jumping ship because he doesn`t want to help President Obama succeed? If
Obama`s for it, they`re against it. Is that what we`re looking at here,
Cynthia?

TUCKER: Well, if Obama`s for it, they`re against it. I mean, that is
absolutely the code, the modus operandi of the Republican Party at the
moment. Let`s look at immigration reform here. There are a couple of
things going on here. One is, again, it would be a signature
accomplishment for the president.

SHARPTON: Right.

TUCKER: If he were able to get immigration reform because immigrants
people here without papers have been languishing in this country for
decades. The other thing Republicans fear, though, is that if they allow
undocumented immigrants to become citizens, they might vote for Democrats.
Because everything the Republican Party has stood for over the last decade
has been hostile to them, has been uninviting to them. So, no, you know,
they gave Obama about 70 percent of their votes in the last election. So
they don`t want Obama to accomplish anything and they fear that they can`t
win Latino votes either.

SHARPTON: Well, they fell of his foot. They have to be against it.
Cynthia Tucker, Bill Press, thank you both for your time tonight.

PRESS: Reverend Al, good to be with you.

TUCKER: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the dramatic new twist in the 30-year-old case
against Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel. The new trial is in the works.
We`ll talk about it with his cousin Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Plus, the Hollywood blackface controversy. This is definitely a case
of whatnot to wear for Halloween. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Tonight new developments in the murder case against Michael
Skakel, the Kennedy cousin who was convicted of a brutal crime in
Greenwich, Connecticut more than a decade ago. Last week a judge ordered a
new trial. And today Skakel`s lawyers file paperwork requesting that he
would be released from prison before the trial. In 2002, Michael Skakel
was found guilty of killing his neighbor, Martha Moxley. More than 25
years earlier in 1975 when they both were just 15 years old. He was
sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. But in a dramatic shift last
week, a judge ruled that Skakel`s lawyer did such a terrible job defending
him that Mr. Skakel deserves a new trial.

Skakel supporters say it`s a step toward justice, but the family of
Martha Moxley is frustrated and angry. Her brother says quote, there`s no
question that Michael`s guilty. And Martha`s mother says, I do believe
Michael Skakel killed my daughter. If there`s a new trial, I will be
there.

Joining me now is Michael Skakel`s cousin Robert Kennedy, Jr. who for
years has argued that Skakel did not kill Martha Moxley. Bobby, thank you
for being here.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR., MICHAEL SKAKEL`S COUSIN: Reverend, before we
talk about this, I just want to say one thing to you personally. About, I
don`t know, a couple of months ago a New York news print paper got a hold
of a 13-year-old diary that I had written and in -- and published it. And
I took a shot at you in that which I know must have been painful for you
because you and I have been friends for a long time. We worked on a lot of
causes together and were in jail together. And the next day, the New York
Post called you and tried to goad you into saying bad things about me. And
you were so gracious and classy and kind, and you refused to take the bait.
And that meant so much to me. And then you and I talked afterwards. And
you are just wonderful. So I wanted to thank you for that. You`re a big
man, and I appreciate it.

SHARPTON: Well, thank you. Thank you for saying that. And just
between you and I, I said things 13 years ago that we shouldn`t bring about
either. Let`s go on into this case. The judge`s order for a new trial, he
says Skakel`s defense lawyer made numerous mistakes including failure to
call an alibi witness, failure to identify other potential suspects in the
case, and not mentioning reasonable doubt in his closing argument. In your
opinion, would those things have changed the verdict?

KENNEDY: Absolutely. They would have changed the verdicts. The only
thing that the jury heard was testimony saying Michael Skakel confessed to
clubbing Martha Moxley to death with a golf club. They never heard the
testimony of the people who said he couldn`t have done that. He was 11
miles away. And I`ll tell you why what he was doing at that night. He had
a brother called Rush Skakel who had lived in London for a year. And Rush
Skakel while he was in London had watched Monty Python`s flying circus
which was on BBC in London but it had never been shown in this country.
And it was going to have a debut on a premiere on U.S. television.

So he loved the show and he invited Michael and Julie Skakel and
George -- and then a man who today is a famous psychiatrist who was an
acquaintance of his. And they all went over to that house and watched the
show. The show took place, the murder took place at 10:00. They were at
that house from 6:00 to midnight. So Michael was nowhere near. And if
those people had come in and testified and said he couldn`t have done this
crime, he was with us at the time, Michael wouldn`t have been convicted.

SHARPTON: Basically, Robert, this was about Michael`s lawyer was
incompetent or inept and didn`t call on witnesses and didn`t raise points
that were vital to the defense of Michael Skakel. That`s your argument.

KENNEDY: That`s right. And I -- you know, Mickey Sherman who I know
very well who is Michael`s attorney, he`s a very sweet guy. And he
actually is a good lawyer. He has the capacity to be a good lawyer, and he
won a famous cases before this one. But in this case he got distracted.
And he got distracted by the glare and the circus atmosphere and the
television. He told me at one point during the trial that what -- he
didn`t want to be a trial lawyer anymore. He wanted to be a television
lawyer. So I don`t blame the jury for this. I think judge bishop was
right in his assessment that, you know, at some point lawyering becomes so
inept and incompetent and bad that it`s just unconstitutional to call it a
trial. You`re not really giving the person a shot.

SHARPTON: Now, it`s 30 years later. Are you hopeful that 30 years
later that there can be a recreation of the facts here that would lean
toward your beliefs?

KENNEDY: Well, all I think Michael needs is the alibi witnesses who
were there who will say at the time that Martha died this terrible tragedy,
that Michael couldn`t have been involved because he was 11 miles away with
five eyewitnesses.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. Robert Kennedy, Jr.,
I promise we`ll be watching this case as it proceeds. Thank you for your
time tonight.

KENNEDY: Reverend Al, thanks for having me back.

SHARPTON: All right.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Halloween is right around the corner, but dressing up does
not give anyone a pass to be tasteless. Actress Julianne Hough is getting
a lot of attention today after these photos of her in black face emerged
over the weekend. She went as the character crazy eyes from the Netflix
prison comedy "Orange is the New Black." She apologized tweeting, it
certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone
in any way.

I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize.
But there was already another black face photo that`s worse. This one.
Taken in Florida. You can see a young man in black face wearing a blood-
stained gray hoodie to dress up as Trayvon Martin. His smiling friend is
dressed up as George Zimmerman. The only comment on that one, shameful?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s time for Reply Al. Remember, friend or foe, I want to
know. James writes Republicans want someone to be held accountable for the
glitches that the affordable care act website is having. Shouldn`t someone
be held accountable for the $24 billion the Republican shutdown cost?
Well, the answer to that is of course someone should be held accountable.
And the way to hold them accountable is in the midterm elections. Those
that shut it down should be shut down politically themselves. We should
not forget 800,000 federal workers furloughed, $24 billion to the economy
for no reason. They`re betting on we have short memory. I`m voting we`ll
have long lines waiting to vote and vote for the interests of the American
people.

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

Transcription Copyright 2013 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of
litigation.>

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,