updated 10/31/2013 4:40:03 PM ET 2013-10-31T20:40:03

POLITICS NATION
October 30, 2013
Guest: Karen Finney, Abby Huntsman, Sheila Ireland, Joyce Bacon, Donna
Edwards, Jonathan Gruber, John Yarmuth, Madison Kimrey

REV. AL SHARPTON, POLITICS NATION HOST: Good evening, Ed. Thank you so
much.

And thank you for tuning in. Tonight`s Lead, the president hits back on
health care. Today, President Obama went toe to toe against all those
Right Wing critics who have been slamming the Affordable Care Act.

Just a short time ago in Boston, the President addressed to those critics
head on and told them to explain themselves.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s no surprise that some
of the same folks trying to scare people now are the same folks who`ve been
trying to sink the Affordable Care Act from the beginning.

And I`ve said before, folks had actually good ideas, better ideas than
what`s happening in Massachusetts or what we`ve proposed, for providing
people with health insurance, I`d be happy to listen. But that`s not
what`s happening. And anyone defending the remnants of the old broken
system as if it was working for people -- anybody who thinks we shouldn`t
finish the job of making the health care system work for everybody,
especially when these folks offer no plan for the uninsured or underinsured
or folks who lose their insurance each year. Those folks should have to
explain themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Or if Republicans have a better plan, they should put up or shut
up. But they can`t. Because the heart of Obamacare was originally a
conservative idea. And today, the president made sure Republicans
remembered that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This is the hall where seven years ago Democrats and Republicans
came together to make health reform a reality for the people of
Massachusetts. Many of the folks who are here today joined forces to
connect the progressive vision of health care for all with some ideas about
markets and competition that had long been championed by conservatives.
And as Deval just said, it worked.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

It worked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Gee, I knew that hall looked familiar. Back in 2006 that`s
where then Governor Romney signed the Massachusetts health care law. The
same law that become the framework for the Affordable Care Act. I don`t
remember conservatives complaining about the law then. Back then everyone
was all smiles, even this guy. A top official at the conservative think
tank, the Heritage Foundation. Look how happy he is.

But now suddenly the Heritage Foundation is the group leading the charge
against the president`s health care law. It`s even sponsored Senator Ted
Cruz`s anti-Obamacare tour this summer. And today Senator Cruz continued
that crusade at the headquarters for the Heritage Foundation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: It is a particular privilege being here at
Heritage. Heritage plays such an important role in helping articulate and
defend conservative principles across this country. And in no fight has
that been more apparent than in the fight over Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But Republicans were on the other side of that fight just a few
years ago. They`ve completely flip-flopped. Now the whole right-wing is
against it. Why? Because President Obama is for it. But he`s come too
far to back down now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: And if it was hard doing it just in one state, it`s harder to do in
all 50 states. Especially when the governors of a bunch of states and half
of the Congress aren`t trying to help. Yes. It`s hard, but it`s worth it.
It is the right thing to do. And we`re going to keep moving forward.

What can happen here in Massachusetts could happen all across the country.
And for them and for you we are going to see this through.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Democrat from
Maryland, and Jonathan Gruber, MIT economist and he`s also advised both
President Obama and Governor Romney on the health care laws.

Thank you both for being on the show tonight.

REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Thank you.

JONATHAN GRUBER, DESIGNED ROMNEY HEALTHCARE PLAN: Good to be here, Al.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, this isn`t about Web site glitches. It`s about
the basic right of health care for everybody. And that was the president`s
point in his speech today, right?

EDWARDS: Well, I think that`s right. I mean the Web site is going to be
fixed. These are technical problems and they`re working through them. The
key point, though, is that now today with the Affordable Care Act people
can have quality, affordable and accessible health care, and that will be
true for millions of people and for millions more who has substandard
health care plans that now have to meet some minimum standard so that they
can meet the needs of the American people.

SHARPTON: Now, Jonathan, you advised on both the Romney plan in
Massachusetts, and you`ve advised President Obama. Are these plans
similar? Is there any major differences?

GRUBER: Al, the federal law is based on the Massachusetts law. It`s
really the same basic structure. It`s a great structure. It`s worked
incredibly successfully here. We`ve covered 2/3 of our uninsured. We`ve
lowered prices in the individual insurance market. And it`s been broadly
popular. Just like it will be once Americans actually understand what`s in
this law.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: But the main difference is -- but the main difference is the
mandate, right?

GRUBER: No. The mandate was put in place here in Massachusetts. We
pioneered it. And the president basically --

SHARPTON: Oh, wait a minute. There was a mandate in Massachusetts? So
all this criticism about the mandate now federal, they forgot about the
mandate in Massachusetts?

GRUBER: The basic framework of a mandate was developed by the Heritage
Foundation -- in the early 1990s as opposition to the Clinton health care
plan. It was then adopted by Governor Romney, became the law. President
Obama who, remember, was initially opposed to the mandate, came around to
understand this is the right way to do things. And to his credit he
adopted it and maid a part of his plan.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, that`s breaking news. They were the ones that
wanted a mandate as an alternative to Clinton. They were the ones that
came with the mandate. And now they`re the ones that are all over the
place criticizing the mandate in the Affordable Care Act. That`s got to be
a news flash. I`m sure people don`t know that.

Let me ask you this, Congresswoman. People are being kicked off their
current plans is grossly misleading the president said today. Listen to
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: For the vast majority of people who have health insurance that
works you can keep it. For the fewer than 5 percent of Americans who buy
insurance on your own, you will be getting a better deal. So anyone
peddling the motion that insurers are canceling people`s plan without
mentioning that almost all the insurers are encouraging people to join
better plans with the same carrier and stronger benefits and stronger
protections, while others will be able to get better plans with new
carriers through the marketplace.

And that many will get new help to pay for these better plans and make them
actually cheaper. If you leave that stuff out, you`re being grossly
misleading, to say the least.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Grossly misleading, Congresswoman. They misled us on mandates
because they advocated it. Now the president is saying it is not accurate
when they say that people are getting cancellation notices.

EDWARDS: Well, I think that`s right. And I mean, really, if I had had my
way we`d have a single-payer plan or at least the public option. Instead,
we accepted the Republican plan that was put in place in Massachusetts.
And what the president said is absolutely clear, and I`m really
appreciative of him today of clarifying that for 95 percent of us who have
an employer-provided plan we keep our plans.

For some of us who had plans in, you know, 2010 when the law was enacted we
keep our plans. They were grandfathered in because they meet minimum
standards. What changes is for people who had plans that really didn`t
meet minimum standards for basic health care, they will get upgraded plans.
Their insurers providers. We`ll provide them for them. It`s a better set
of health care for people.

SHARPTON: Now, Jonathan, the day the president talked about how enrollment
was initially slow for the Massachusetts health care plan. He said just
123 people enrolled in the first month. But more than 36,000 signed on by
the end of the year-long -- into the year-long enrollment period. So even
the Romney plan had some bumps in the road early in its going into effect
and picked up over time.

GRUBER: Yes. Al, this is a -- this is a hard thing to do. It`s a big
lift. You`re trying to transform a lot of people`s lives in a positive
way, but that involves work and it was a slow ramp up. As you said, the
first month, 123 people. Then throughout the year we got more and more
people, more and more healthy and young people, and by the end of the year
we had almost 37,000 folks.

We are absolutely panicking over short-term days and weeks news, that`s not
what matters. What matters is months and years. And over time how this is
going to transform people`s lives. And they`re freak out over one week`s
numbers versus another week`s numbers is totally irrelevant.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m right to leave it there. Congresswoman Donna Edwards
and Jonathan Gruber, thank you both for your time this evening.

EDWARDS: Thank you.

GRUBER: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the GOP`s glitch hunt against the woman leading the way -
- against the woman leading the way on Obamacare. The Republican ugliness
was over the line and so was their hypocrisy.

Plus Ted Cruz makes a stunning accusation against President Obama. It`s
not about policy. It`s personal and it`s got to stop.

And my live interview with the young lady who`s fighting for change and
calling out the GOP.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not leadership. The young people of North
Carolina deserve better. I am not a prop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Republicans went over the line, way over the line, during the
testimony today of Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, but they only
exposed their own hypocrisy. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today the woman leading the way on Obamacare Health and Human
Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spent hours on Capitol Hill testifying
about the law`s new Web site and how she`s going to fix it. But
Republicans didn`t care about that. They just wanted to point fingers and
play games.

And since Secretary Sebelius is from Kansas, they seem to think it would
just be hilarious if they made a bunch of jokes about the "Wizard of Oz."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOE BARTON (R), TEXAS: Madame Secretary, while you`re from Kansas,
we`re not in Kansas anymore.

REP. MIKE POMPEO (R), KANSAS: What do I think about it? Those folks
worked awful hard to go down that yellow brick road. As we pull back the
curtain on the Affordable Care Act, I think people are finding that it`s
exactly what they`re going to have worked so hard to find their way to as
well.

BARTON: And some might say that we were actually in the "Wizard of Oz"
land given the parallel universes we appear to be habitating.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Republicans want to turn the secretary into the wicked glitch of
the west. But it won`t work. And while they want to click their heels
three times and make this law go away, it`s not going to happen. These
Republicans know they can`t change the law. So they decided to get ugly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: Why aren`t you losing your insurance?

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HHS SECRETARY: Pardon me?

GARDNER: Why aren`t you losing your health insurance?

REP. CATHY MCNORRIS-RODGERS (R), WASHINGTON: You promised the system would
be ready on October 1st. You`re clearly wrong --

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: Who is in charge, Madam Secretary?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s not an answer. That`s not a yes or no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But this wasn`t really about attacking the health care Web site
or even attacking the secretary. If you follow this yellow brick road all
the way, you can see that it`s really about attacking the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. GREGG HARPER (R), MISSISSIPPI: Who is ultimately responsible? It is
the president, correct?

SEBELIUS: For the Web site? I would say that --

HARPER: The president, the president is ultimately responsible for the
rollout, ultimately. You were --

SEBELIUS: No, sir. No, sir. We are responsible for the rollout.

HARPER: Right. Well, the president is ultimately is responsible. While I
think it`s a great that you`re a team player and you`re taking
responsibility, it is the president`s ultimate responsibility, correct?

SEBELIUS: You clearly -- whatever. Yes, he is the president. He is
responsible for government programs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Whatever is right. It`s not even worth engaging these right-
wing critics. Because they`re not serious. They`re just not serious.
They did everything they could to undermine the law. And now they`re
pretending to be upset when the law shows any sign of trouble. If only
they had the brains, the heart and the courage to admit it.

Joining me now is Congressman John Yarmuth, Democrat of Kentucky.

Thank you for being here.

REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D), KENTUCKY: Absolutely, Reverend. I wish I`d written
that intro. That was a brilliant intro.

SHARPTON: Well, Congressman, you had to hear it today. Were Republicans
interested in learning what`s actually going on with this law?

YARMUTH: No, of course not. All they`re doing is trying to do -- is
sustain this narrative that this is bad for the American people and that
President Obama is some kind of a socialist. It hasn`t worked so far.
It`s not going to work now. And, you know, what`s wonderful about the
controversy over the last few weeks is that the popularity of the
Affordable Care Act has increased in the polls.

In my state, we have literally -- over 30,000 people have already enrolled
in coverage who would never have had coverage before. We have 350,000
people who are exploring coverage in our exchange. So things are going
well in many parts of the country. And as soon as we get these glitches
rolled out they`re going to go -- they`re going to go very well nationally.
And all of these Republicans are going to -- just going to be -- start
eating their words because people are going to realize how great a program
this can be.

SHARPTON: You know today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, he`d
tried to make it seem as if he was sad about glitches in Obamacare.
Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: I wish the president and
Washington Democrats had listened back then. I really do. I wish we`d
been wrong about Obamacare, too, but because of the failings of this law
are about so much more than a Web site, it really about real people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He tried to make the law fail, now he claims he wishes they were
wrong about it. Doesn`t seem like they`re wrong in Kentucky, Congressman.

YARMUTH: No. Mitch is in a very difficult spot in Kentucky because the
more he protest about how bad it is, the more Kentuckians are finding that
this is really going to improve their lives, again, incredible response to
the program. Our exchanges work very well. The governor`s embraced it.
And we`re having just a remarkable response.

And people are now waking up to the fact that for the last three and a half
years Mitch McConnell`s been lying to them about the Affordable Care Act
and what it means for them. So he`s going to pay for this next Election
Day, but, you know, his crocodile tears aren`t going to impress anybody.

Everybody knows the Republicans never wanted to be part of this, never
wanted to own any part of it, never wanted to provide health care for the
American citizens. They were in control of Congress for a long time. And
-- and all of these problems existed, higher premiums.

SHARPTON: Yes.

YARMUTH: All of the bankruptcies and so forth. They existed while they
were in control and they never did the first thing about it.

SHARPTON: You know, one of your Republican colleagues who ripped the
health care law made a strange request in the hearing today. Here`s Cory
Gardner of Colorado.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARDNER: I would also like to submit a waiver from my district from
Obamacare and hope that you will consider waiving Obamacare for the fourth
congressional district.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He wants to exempt his district from the law. But more than
102,000 people in Congressman Gardner`s district or 14 percent are
uninsured. So he wants to stop them from getting coverage or getting
benefits like free preventative care and cheaper prescription. It`s
outrageous on the face of it, Congressman.

YARMUTH: Well, of course it is. And then you have people just like him,
like Ted Cruz in Texas. Texas has the largest percentage of uninsured
citizens in the country. Their Medicaid program only covers 40 of the
poverty level so if you make over $8,000 a year, you can`t even qualify for
Medicaid in Texas. And yet he remains adamantly opposed to any kind of
assistance for his citizens. It`s just outrageous. There`s no question
about it.

SHARPTON: Congressman Yarmuth, thank you for your time tonight.

YARMUTH: OK, Reverend. Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, all the Obamacare noise from the right is not about
policy. It`s personal. Ted Cruz`s latest ugly statement about President
Obama proves it.

And activism can come in any form. It`s the 12-year-old fighting voter
suppression in North Carolina. Madison Kimrey is here live. And I can`t
wait to talk to her. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: North Carolina is ground zero in the attack on voting rights.
Two months ago right-wing Governor Pat McCrory signed the nation`s most
extreme voter suppression effort. A law with strict voter I.D.
requirements. It bans same-day registration, cuts early voting by a week.
Ends extended polling hours. Bans people under 18 from registering.

Huge protests have been held across the state since the law was signed.
Attorney General Holder is fighting it, filing a lawsuit under the Voting
Rights Act. Opposition to this voter suppression comes in many forms and
sizes.

Please meet Madison Kimrey from Burlington, North Carolina. She`s 12 years
old, and she`s making her voice heard far and wide.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MADISON KIMREY, 12-YEAR-OLD ACTIVIST: We have leaders here in our state
who have shown that not only do they want to reduce the amount of
participation by young people in our government, they also want to dismiss
and belittle our voices.

I wanted to meet with our governor to discuss preregistration but he called
my request to meet with him ridiculous and called me a prop for liberal
groups.

This is not leadership. The young people of North Carolina deserve better.
I am not a prop. I am part of the new generation of suffragettes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: North Carolina does have a serious leadership problem in the
governor`s office, but not when it comes to this activist.

Joining me now is Madison Kimrey.

Madison, it`s great to have you with us. I mean, thank you for coming on
the show tonight.

KIMREY: Thank you so much for having me.

SHARPTON: Tell me what it`s like to give a speech and get that reaction at
12.

KIMREY: Well, it`s -- I was so nervous before I started my speech with
some of people that were up there with me. And I just was thinking how can
I compare my speech to any of these people because they were so amazing,
but when the crowd started reacting like that, I was just like wow.

SHARPTON: Wow. I was so thrilled watching you, because I started very
young. Why did you get involved in this fight?

KIMREY: I didn`t like what I saw happening to my state, so I wanted to
take action and see what I could do to stop it.

SHARPTON: Well, what part of this law disturbs you the most?

KIMREY: The fact that 16 and 17-year-olds aren`t able to preregister
anymore.

SHARPTON: What happened the time when you went to the governor`s mansion?
Tell us about that.

KIMREY: The first time I went to the governor`s mansion, I went earlier in
the day. And I had to leave because I had a voice lesson. And I was
scrolling through my Twitter afterwards, and I saw that there were people
still out there after my voice lesson, and I pleaded my mother to take me
back to the mansion, and she did, and I were -- I was out there for a
couple of hours or so.

And that`s when the staff person came out to close the doors at the
mansion, and we were like oh, hey, those cookies were really good, because
he had given the protesters earlier in the day cookies after I left. And
so we were like oh, those cookies were really good. We want some brownies.

And the staff person was like oh, hold on just a minute, and he walks
around the corner and comes back out to the gate with these little to-go
containers of vanilla cake.

SHARPTON: Wow. Well, if you had met with the governor, what would you
have said to him? What would you tell him?

KIMREY: Well, I feel like if I said what I would say to the governor then
there would really be no point in meeting with him, but I really just want
to talk to him about preregistration.

SHARPTON: Now how popular are you around school now since you`ve had your
speech and all of this attention?

KIMREY: Well, I`m home-schooled, but, like, I act and stuff and all of my
friends are just like Madison, this is so cool. And a lot of them don`t
have the same views as I do. But they`re still like Madison, this is so
cool. We support you in whatever you do. And it`s really nice to have
that.

SHARPTON: Well, you definitely are no prop. You know exactly what you`re
doing, and you know how to articulate it. And you really are exciting to
me as someone who started in civil rights very young. I wasn`t nearly as
cute as you are, though.

Madison Kimrey, you are an inspiration. Thank you for your time tonight,
and thanks for all your work.

KIMREY: Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Ted Cruz is going over the line with his new
attacks on the president. It`s part of a disturbing pattern on the right,
and it`s got to stop.

Plus the first lady gets some special company at the White House.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: All of the fear mongering about the Affordable Care Act is
really about one thing -- President Obama. From day one, Republicans have
rooted for him to fail. They`ve said he`s not from here. Said he doesn`t
belong in the White House. Ted Cruz was asked if President Obama is like
Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. He admitted there are some differences. But
it wouldn`t be Ted Cruz, if he didn`t follow up with this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I think he is absolutely been abusing his power.
And when you have a president who says regardless of whether Congress acts,
I`m going to force my agenda on the American people. That`s wrong. That`s
not consistent with our constitutional protections.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Abusing his power? The God who held our party hostage discourse
some personal political wins. He is talking about abuse of power? This
isn`t about policy. It`s about demonizing the president. He`s a tyrant, a
communist, a dictator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: In an effort to speak --

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: I am not going to take the thuggery
of this president much longer. You are not a dictator.

GLENN BECK, TALK RADIO HOST: He has all the earmarks of a Marxist
dictator. He does. He doesn`t like anybody to challenge him.

MICHAEL SAVAGE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Executive order one after the other.
Watching a dictatorship emerge in front of their eyes.

FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE (R), ARKANSAS: In every society and culture where
dictators take cover, one of the things I have to do is make sure the
citizens are disarmed and can`t fight in the streets.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Knowing who he is, knowing the kind
of authoritarian quasi-dictator mentality he has.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Quasi-dictator mentality. It`s the vicious politics of personal
hate. And that`s why we see Ted Cruz again today attacking ObamaCare. We
really know what it`s really about. It`s not about the policy. It`s about
the president.

Joining me now are Karen Finney and Abby Huntsman. Thanks for coming on
the show tonight.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC HOST, "DISRUPT": Thanks, Rev.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Karen, Ted Cruz is talking about abuse of power. What`s behind
this?

FINNEY: Well, I mean, this is a mean that the conservatives started a
while ago talking about the president or somebody. He`s a constitutional
law professor and so they have said, he`s trying to skirt the constitution
and abuse this power and then he`s this dictator. Part of that I think is
about inciting their audience, right? And riling up their audience because
that sort of Tea Party we`re fighting this evil dictate language, it`s very
bombastic though.

And the other thing that Ted Cruz likes to do is he uses very apocalyptic
language as well. And this kind of dog tails with this. Right? Like that
the Affordable Aare Act is the end of days. I mean, it`s very dramatic
language that they like to use. And that is both about demonizing the
president, and activating the base and raising money, quite frankly.

SHARPTON: And you know, Ted Cruz back at it again today accusing the
president of failing to respect the rule of law. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: This administration has not respected rule of law. And has
consistently flouted the constitutional limits on the authority of the
president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Abby, I might have missed something, but I thought the
Affordable Care Act was law, and I thought the Supreme Court upheld that it
was constitutional. So he couldn`t have been talking about the Affordable
Care Act.

HUNTSMAN: And I`m pretty sure Ted Cruz knows that himself. We`ve all
acknowledge that he`s a very smart man. Opinions are opinions but
Reverend, you can`t dispute the facts. And if you look at the definition
of what a dictator is, it`s someone who does not rule by Democratic miens.
If you look at ObamaCare, it was passed through democratic miens. It
passed through the Congress. It passed the Supreme Court. So he`s going
to have to wake up in reality one of these days and recognize that this is
the law. No matter how many times he tries to repeal it, this is the way
it`s going to be and it`s already in effect.

This is a man that really makes me boil. He`s made a name for himself in
the Senate for being a complete phony. And he has no platform, he has no
agenda. No idea that he is actually bringing to the table. If you think
about what he was elected to do to actually govern. If you think about
what he`s done so far in the Senate, the only thing I can think of is
filibustering a bill that he knew would not get repealed in a quasi 24 hour
filibuster. I mean, it`s frankly embarrassing and he makes me incredibly
upset because he has a microphone for the Republican Party. It`s no
wondering, you`re seeing such low poll numbers.

SHARPTON: You know, Karen, right wingers call the president a dictator.
But as Abby says, we can have different opinions, not different facts.
Let`s look at the facts. In President Bush`s first five years at office,
he issued 197 executive orders. In President Obama`s first five years in
office, he`s issued only 163 executive orders.

FINNEY: Uh-mm.

SHARPTON: And they want to portray President Obama as a dictator?

FINNEY: Well, how about George W. Bush lied us into a law thwarting
Congress that 12 years later, we still have men and women dying in
Afghanistan. If we want to talk about who`s a dictator, I actually think
we ought to take a look at that. You know, Ted Cruz loves to threw around
the constitution, and because he went to Harvard a lot of time, he doesn`t
get checked, but a lot of the time, if he would ring the constitution would
recognize that a lot of what he sort of preaches and talks about is not
actually consistent with what the founders intended in writing the
constitution.

SHARPTON: You know Abby, you`ve been outspoken, and some other Republicans
are now calling out Ted Cruz, he interviewed GOP Congressman Scott Rigell.
And quote from The Hill was, they asked if Ted Cruz recognized this
political reality, Rigell`s calmly responded, no. And I think that there
can be Republicans. You and I have had this discussion. I think it`s
healthy to have a two-party system, but when you`re dealing with no
programs, all bombasting, personal attacks, it does a disservice to those
that really have some substantive disagreements with the president.

HUNTSMAN: You even have Santorum. Santorum that`s come out and said this
guy is hurting the party. I mean, that really says something. You look at
the narrative today around ObamaCare with, you know, the website glitches
and the folks that are having to switch their plans. You would think that
this would actually or should be rather a blessing for Republicans. It
masks their, you know, ideological struggles, they`re deep divided and
allows them to maybe take some control of the narrative and maybe put
forward some ideas of their own, instead, though, Reverend, they continue
to litigate the past, which is really sad, because this an opportunity for
Republicans to take hold again.

I mean the public is not happy with the website. This is really a chance
for them, and instead they just harp back on the old rhetoric. You`re
listening to Cruz, I mean, it`s embarrassing and I think that the party
deserves more than this.

SHARPTON: Does the overreached Karen, ultimately help President Obama?

FINNEY: You mean the rhetoric from --

SHARPTON: The overreach and the rhetoric. Yes.

FINNEY: Absolutely because people see it`s ridiculous. I think it further
discredits Ted Cruz that it is such bombastic extreme rhetoric. I don`t
think anybody really sees the president abusing his power. I mean, how
about Syria where he decided, you know, what? I`m going to go to Congress.

SHARPTON: Right.

FINNEY: So, I think that`s a tough charge to make and when they make those
kinds of charges, it really does reduce their credibility.

SHARPTON: Well, in many cases, a lot of progressives and people on the
left felt the president would always go for compromise.

FINNEY: And should have been more of a dictator. Right?

SHARPTON: Right.

FINNEY: They wanted him to seize more power.

SHARPTON: You know, Abby, when you look at the fact that Ted Cruz today
even started going after Hillary Clinton with the fear mongering and he
said I`m not going, I have time for -- but he talked about imagine what
President Hillary Clinton would do. Is he now trying to shoot to a 2016
argument?

HUNTSMAN: That`s been the plan the whole time. At least that`s what it
appears like. And, you know, I don`t know if you`ve heard Reverend but
it`s just been announced that he`s going to be on Jay Leno in a couple of
weeks. I mean, this is the guy that`s really just in it for himself. He`s
loving every moment of this. He`s loving the rollout of ObamaCare and the
complications. It`s not at all about the American people, not at all about
what`s best for the American people, what`s best for the Republican Party.
This is all about him, all about this guy. And as you can see, it really
makes me angry. And as you said, I think it makes a number of Republicans
angry that really do want a positive future for the party and a positive
future for the country.

FINNEY: You know, what? If Ted Cruz thinks can he take on Hillary
Clinton, I say game on. I would love to see that.

HUNTSMAN: That would be entertaining.

SHARPTON: Karen Finney, Abby Huntsman, I`m going to have to leave it
there. Thank you for your time tonight.

Ahead, advancing the dream with the story of gaining skills and hope from
the City of Brotherly Love, that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Here`s a confusing fact about the jobs picture in America. The
unemployment rate has fallen to 7.2 percent. That`s about 11.3 million
Americans. But there are more than three million open jobs out there right
now. That doesn`t make sense, right? Millions of people who need jobs at
the same time millions of jobs are available. Turns out there are many
reasons why. The biggest is the skills gap. Not enough people with the
skills to do those open jobs. That`s why we must come together to find
smart answers, including retraining workers and providing education later
in life.

The good news is there are places where this important work is already
being done. In Philadelphia, they`re confronting the problem head on with
a program that is giving people new skills and new hope. So tonight, we
begin a new phase-in our "Advancing the Dream" series with the focus on
training, on education, on finding common ground to close that skills gap.

Joining me now are Sheila Ireland, director of the program I just
mentioned, the West Philadelphia skills initiative and Joyce Bacon who`s
participated in the program. Thank you both for being here.

JOYCE BACON, EMPLOYED AT CHOP: Thank you.

SHEILA IRELAND, WEST PHILADELPHIA SKILLS INITIATIVE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Sheila, you`re able to really help people get skills and get the
jobs that they need. How?

IRELAND: Well, over the time that we`ve been able to be doing the West
Philadelphia Skills Initiative, what we`ve come to understand is, is that
in West Philadelphia specifically, we`ve been mining local gold. There`s
talent in this ranks of unemployed people that you`re talking about in
terms of the skills gap. And what we`re able to do is to provide the
connection to major institutional employers. By having a program that
actually puts the job first and gives us the capability to really train
people to be successful in the occupation that they`ve chosen to compete
for, we`re able to effectively connect them to work.

SHARPTON: Well, Joyce, you went through the program. Tell us.

BACON: Yes, I did.

SHARPTON: In plain language, what this program meant for you. You`re a
mother of four I understand. What has this meant for you?

BACON: This program is a dynamic program. Not only do they give you the
soft skills needed to gain and maintain employment but they give you that
door of opportunity at the end by connecting you with the employer. I`m
currently employed at children`s hospital of Philadelphia, one of the most
prestigious children`s hospitals in the nation. And after going through
the program, gaining the necessary skills and just enhancing some of the
skills I already had and just giving me that boost of confidence to, once I
got to that interview, just being able to walk through that door and having
the confidence to do that, you know, I`m now working for this awesome
institution.

SHARPTON: Well, let me put you on the spot, do you think you could have
landed that job without this program?

I must say with institution like children`s hospital, no. What they did
was they connected me. They gave me that open door. And, you know, they
enhanced my skills. And once that door was open with the connection, with
the employer and the opportunity for the interview with the employer, you
know, I had to go through that door with those skills that I, you know,
that I gained from the West Philadelphia skills initiative program and gain
that opportunity. Now me, on my own, I could have submitted resumes and
applied for jobs online. But getting that interview is what`s important.
And I don`t think I would have been able to score that interview as quickly
on my own as I was able to do with the West Philadelphia initiative.

SHARPTON: And I understand now that you`re going for a BA degree in
psychology.

IRELAND: Yes.

SHARPTON: Sheila, this really goes against the grain that so many people
are ascribed to of saying that people don`t want to work. People want to
work. They need some kind of way to be connected, to be trained and
prepared. And I think this is what your group there, your initiative there
is trying to do.

IRELAND: That`s absolutely true. I mean, it is our experience with the
participants that we have in our programs that it`s the small, soft skills
gaps that actually prevent the connection to work. It`s not that people
don`t want to work. It`s not that people don`t want to have gainful
employment. It`s that sometimes the issues that they have that prevent
them from being connected to employment can be terribly opaque to them. So
what we do is help them evaluate what it is that they want to do, how it is
that they want to go about doing it, give them the confidence to do so and
give them a little push towards that door that we`ve opened with the
employers.

SHARPTON: Well, where do you see your career going, Joyce?

BACON: Well, I absolutely love working with the children there at
Children`s Hospital. I`m working towards, like you mentioned, I`m working
towards my degree in psychology. So, you know, I think I`m going to be,
you know, working in child and adolescent psychology in the future. Right
now I`m just loving the, you know, just working for such a dynamic
institution and being able to learn so much. You know, I started the
program in April -- I mean I started working there in April as a patient
sitter, you know, one on one individual there for patient safety. And I`ve
been recently promoted to inpatient clerk. And so I`m just excited about
the opportunity, I`m thankful to the West Philadelphia School Initiative
Program because without that push that Ms. Ireland mentioned it just would
have been kind of hard getting in such an institution.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m excited just hearing about you Joyce and about the
program. Sheila Ireland and Joyce Bacon. Thank you both for your time
this evening. And we will keep up with you and your program. And let me
say, the reason why we are doing these segments about skills gap in
"Advancing the Dream" is that there are tens upon thousands, upon hundreds
of thousands if not millions of people out there just like Joyce that just
need that push, that just needs that skills training. They are not sitting
around, lazy and watching big screen TVs. They just need a push. They
just need a little skills training. And they can make a productive
contribution to society and themselves. We`re going to put a spotlight on
them. We need to move this country forward so that everyone`s dream
becomes part of America making the American dream a reality. We`ll be
right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: One year ago this month, Sesame Street was in big trouble.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m sorry, Jim, I`m going to
stop the subsidy to PBS. I`m going to stop all the things that I like PBS.
I love big bird. I actually like you too. But I`m not going to keep on
spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Willard Romney was going after Sesame Street. He was ready to
take the knife to big bird. But people started rallying for big bird. But
the man who said he liked being able to fire people was the one sent
packing. He never made it to the White House. But what about big bird`s
Sesame Street pals? They`re still working. And today they were at the
White House. Yes, Elmo and Rosita were the first lady`s special guest in
the garden today. They were joined by Washington, D.C. School children to
promote healthy eating for kids. And an announcement on marketing
healthier food to children.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELMO: Let me see your muscle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Don`t worry, Elmo. If they come after you, big bird`s got your
back, and so do we.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Carl writes, "Does it seem odd that every Republican in Congress is against
the Affordable Care Act? They must all have wonderful health care for all
their constituents."

Well, actually Carl, the opposite is true. Many Republicans, some whom
I`ve had on this show, I`ve pointed out right in discussions with them, the
large percentages in their districts that are uninsured. That`s what makes
this so egregious to me. We`re now talking about unemployed Democrats,
unemployed Republicans, they`re talking about people they represent that
have no plan until this Affordable Care Act. It`s disgraceful.

Karen says, "A Koch Brothers commercial says, don`t let government in your
health care. If that`s true, why should women accept all those state
government laws to stop abortion?"

Well, these commercials saying don`t let government in your life, don`t let
government run your life, don`t let government in your healthcare, it
really contradicts them saying on one hand, government should not help
seniors. Government shouldn`t help people provide the need to provide for
their families, but government can regulate your personal life. There`s
something very, very strange about people that don`t want government to
have food, put food on the table in your kitchen but want to regulate what
you do in your bedroom. That`s a little strange to me.

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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