updated 11/21/2013 11:41:13 AM ET 2013-11-21T16:41:13

POLITICS NATION
Date: November 20, 2013
Guest: Joy Reid, Eric Boehlert, Erik Sandoval, Clint Van Zandt>

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, HOST: Good evening, Ed, and thanks to you for tuning
in.

Tonight`s Lead, they just can`t help themselves. Today, another Republican
let the cut out of the bank. It`s not just they don`t want President
Obama`s health care law to succeed; they are actively rooting for failure.
Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann smells opportunity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN: I think we have an opportunity of a lifetime right now because
just as Jeff said, "We are watching liberalism crumble in front our eyes.
What we have is, the fantasy thinking of what ObamaCare was going to be
versus reality."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now denying health care to millions who need it is the
opportunity of a lifetime. How`s that for a Republican campaign ad?

But the reality is the affordable care act is now starting to work across
the country. Yes, there are problems. But this isn`t about liberalism
crumbling. It`s about a Republican playbook of sabotage. Their tactics,
fear factor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: The American people are
very, very worried, you know. Moms and dads are worried that they`re going
to lose their health care plan.

REP. TIM MURPHY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Right now, healthcare.gov screams who
are trying to break into the health care system, if you like my info, maybe
you can steel it.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), CALIFORNIA: This is going to raise the cost, you
won`t be able to keep your doctor.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It`s just one more reason
why this health care law needs to be scrapped now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The law needs to be scrapped. Way to go. Let`s turn our back
on millions of Americans to score some political points. And the kings of
fear, the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers, the same guys behind the
crazy Uncle Sam ads are attacking Obamacare with more scare tactics. The
Americans for Prosperity group they support is launching a $3.5 million ad
campaign. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Millions are paying more and getting less. Obamacare
doesn`t work. It just doesn`t work. People don`t like political ads. I
don`t like them either. But health care isn`t about politics. It`s about
people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes. The health care is about people. People they are trying
to scare. But they`re the ones who are scared. Here`s why.

As of this week, 50,000 people have chosen health care plans from the
federal exchange Web site. That`s up from 27,000 at the end of October.
The number of people signing up has almost doubled in just a few weeks.
Enrollment is up in many of the states running their own health care sites.
Since the law passed, health care spending has risen at the lowest rate
ever. A Republican who ran on expanding Medicaid won a congressional seat
in Louisiana. And nearly half a million more people will be covered in
January.

Right now this law is helping real Americans. But Republicans can`t admit
that. That`s why they`ve compared the Web site struggles to hurricane
Katrina. That`s why the political arm of Jim DeMint`s Heritage Foundation
says the law was terrorizing the country.

What`s scary about Americans getting health care? Nothing. They`re just
scared the new law will work.

Joining me now are Ryan Grim and Karen Finney. Than y both for being here.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC HOST, DISRUPT: Hey, Rev.

SHARPTON: Karen, the health care rollout is the opportunity of a lifetime
for Republicans. Can you believe that one?

FINNEY: I can believe it coming from Michelle Bachman, but it is really,
truly disgusting and it is one of the things, it is just one of the areas
where, again, Democrats need to be calling this stuff out, because you have
the all these shenanigans going on in Congress. You have all this stuff
we`ve seen in the states with real efforts to block the navigators who are
trying to help people seen up for health insurance. And then you have
those Republican governors who are cruel enough to deny poor people in
their states Medicaid. I mean, it`s really disgusting.

SHARPTON: You know, Ryan, it amazes me how the Republicans keep talking
about the people who will pay more for insurance. But let`s look at the
break down. Let`s go to the tape. Eighty percent of the Americans will be
unaffected, 15 percent are uninsured so the law can only help them, 2.5
percent will be able to get out a similar plan, and just 2.5 percent will
have to buy a better health care plan. And some of them may be able to get
subsidies. So Republicans care about their 2.5 percent. But what about
the other 97 percent, Ryan?

RYAN GRIM, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, HUFFINGTON POST/MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: The
nice thing about the way that this will ultimately play out is unlike most
issues in Washington, this will actually be driven by the reality on the
ground. In other words, like you said, are people getting access to health
care? Are people getting insurance who don`t have it now?

SHARPTON: Right.

GRIM: Are people getting good, affordable coverage who had lousy coverage
before. And if the answer to that is yes, then this is going to be a
political winner for Democrats. And if the answer is no, it`s going to be
a political loser for them. you know, the Koch brothers can spend as much
money as they want in these swing states trying to drive these Democrats
out on the issue of Obamacare, but if it works, if people are happy with
it, then there are millions of dollars that are going to be wasted. But if
it doesn`t work, they`re not going to put a dime in there.

SHARPTON: Exactly.

You know, Karen, you know, we sometimes forget who really is blocking
Americans from getting insurance. Republicans in 25 states are blocking
the Medicaid expansion. They`re stopping 4.8 million people from getting
coverage. They are blocking people from health coverage. How can they
justify these priorities?

FINNEY: They can`t, and it`s politics. And, you know, he want to take us
back to, you know, our colleague, David Axelrod. Last week he made a
really poignant point about his daughter who is a special needs child. And
the experience that his family went through early on in her life. And if
you think about it and you think about that 4.6 million you just talked
about, for many people, that is life and death. Their governors are making
life and death decisions that they don`t deserve an opportunity to have a
better health and be better. And we know that life with good health comes
the ability to contribute to society and go to school and do all those
things. So, it is really -- I mean, you know, yes, they`re denying them
health care, it happens through Medicaid, but they`re denying them life in
many ways.

SHARPTON: You know, Ryan, Republicans went crazy, I mean crazy, because
some insurance policies were canceled. But here`s what they`re saying now
that the president proposed a fix. Take a listen, again, to Michelle
Bachman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: It`s unconstitutional. It`s
legislating from the oval office, and it has to stop. That`s one thing I
was talking to colleagues about last week, the potential of members of
Congress filing a lawsuit against the president based upon a violation of
the separation of powers doctrine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She wants to sue the president, I mean, really? How can we take
this seriously? Does show that it`s all politics to them, Ryan?

GRIM: Yes. Yes. It really does show you that whatever the president is
for they`re against.

SHARPTON: Right.

GRIM: You know, this is the president rolling back a key piece of
Obamacare, which they hate, but they hate the president more. So they`d
rather that that piece of Obamacare go back into effect and they`ll work
with trial lawyers to make it happen. That`s how passionate they are about
this.

SHARPTON: They refuse, Karen, to accept that something can work. They`ve
got to make it a failure. They complain about so many insurance policies
canceled, something none of us want. But then they turn around when the
president proposes a fix and they talk about suing him for fixing it.

FINNEY: Right, exactly.

Well, first of all, does anybody really believe that Michelle Bachman has
actually read the constitution and the declaration and really understands
what as in there? Given the fact that she throws around words and phrases,
I`m not convinced to that.

Number two, let`s remember that the plan is working for a large number of
Americans. And every day it`s working for more and more people. It goes
to Ryan`s point that the facts on the ground are going to belie the lies
from the Republicans in Congress.

And then, the third piece of this is, you know, Americans, if you look at
the polls, they don`t want a repeal of this plan. People want it to
succeed. So the Republicans can continue to play politics as much as they
want, but I think the majority of Americans are going to continue to say
can`t we fix it, can`t we make it better rather than just do away with it.

SHARPTON: But that`s what they are afraid of, Ryan. They don`t want it to
work and it`s beginning to work. And they have no plan of their own. Any
time you ask what is your health care plan -- well, listen. Let me show
you what they say their health care plan is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What is a viable alternative that really
solves the problem?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I would say let`s get to the table in a
bipartisan basis. Let`s make sure that we have a plan that has more
choice, not less.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: You don`t think that you
have a responsibility as a U.S. senator to do better than that in terms of
offering a solution for what to do next?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Well, I appreciate you`re trying to lecture me
in the morning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: All of this time, they had nothing, nothing, no plan. Ayotte,
Cruz, they have no plan.

GRIM: And they can`t have a plan, because, you know, the free market
cannot take care of, you know, 300 million population where you have people
that are living paycheck to paycheck. You know, the majority of Americans,
you know, cannot afford to cover, you know, cancer or heart disease or some
other type of health care crisis. They are not paid enough. Wages have
been stuck since the 1970s. You can`t have a system like that and not have
some, some way of kind of socializing the risk kind of social insurance
against these heal c prices. It`s just not possible with that free market
ideology so they can`t present something.

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

Thank you, Ryan Grim, Karen Finney. Thank you both for your time tonight.
And watch "Disrupt" with Karen Finney, weekends at 4:00 p.m. eastern right
here on MSNBC.

Ahead, disturbing new accusations about George Zimmerman behavior after the
Trayvon Martin trial, his fascination with guns and his alleged suicide
attempt. We`ll talk to the reporter who broke the story.

Also, the right-wing smear campaign against Oprah Winfrey. They`re getting
ugly. They`re getting personal. And they don`t know what they`re talking
about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Oprah, if black people in this
country are so mistreated and so disrespected, how in the name of Sam Hill,
did you happen?

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: This is not the first time that liberals
have played the race card, and I`m sure it won`t be the last either.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: First lady Michelle Obama reveals something about her husband we
did not know before. It`s a big night on "Politics Nation." Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: I`ve spent the last few months working on a documentary about
the epidemic of gun violence in this country. Fifty years after President
Kennedy was killed by a sniper`s bullet, 50 years of guns, as this Friday
at 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Tonight, new proof that more Americans think the GOP and the
monster they created, the tea party, are one and he same. A new poll shows
that Americans give virtually identical answers about whether Republicans
and tea partiers are too conservative or too liberal. Voters can`t tell
the difference between the two. And 43 percent say the tea party has too
much influence over the GOP. That influence has driven the Republican
Party to record low approval rating.

Americans are fed up with the party that has no agenda of its own, that`s
obsessed with trying to block everything President Obama does.

Today, we learned Senate Republicans may try to filibuster his choice to be
the next Federal Reserve chairman. And they`ve already blocked three
straight judicial nominees. It`s gotten so bad, some Senate Democrats say
they may use the so-called nuclear option to limit these Republican
filibusters.

Americans want a positive agenda that builds the country up. They don`t
want tea party Republicans whose only mission is to tear down the
president.

Joining me is Abby Huntsman.

Thank you for being here.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: It is great to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: Abby, when will Republicans realize what the rest of the country
already knows and that is that the tea party is bad news for them and for
the country?

HUNTSMAN: I think that polls suggest that people obviously don`t know the
difference between the tea party Republicans and the establishment
Republicans. I think that just tells you how much significance the tea
party actually has.

And it`s interesting. I read a little bit about the nomination process
because you could make the argument that both sides over the years have
tried to block nominations. But if you compare it to Bush, for example,
you had Miguel Estrada, then you had a number of the Democratic senators
and you only need just two extreme. And we have concerns about ideology,
we have concerns about qualifications. In this case, it`s simply the
opposite of that. Before names are even released, you have Republican
lawmakers who are saying we are not even willing to look at this. I think
this --

SHARPTON: It`s not about the nominations, about who`s giving the
nomination.

HUNTSMAN: Right. And it speaks to a much bigger problem, I think, within
the party, whether that be Obamacare, whether that be immigration or
nominees, are saying, we`re just going to say no regardless of what it`s
about. And then, you become the party of no. And how do you actually
advance society if you just stand for nothing?

SHARPTON: You know, what bothers me is the ugly rhetoric from these tea
party rallies has actually invaded all the Congress. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE STOCKMAN (R), TEXAS: We want all tools available to use,
including that impeachment.

BACHMANN: It is treasonous. And I think that`s why you hear more and more
people calling for the impeachment of the president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Are you a birther then?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not going to comment on it.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: This administration has so many Muslim
brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong
decisions for America.

BACHMANN: Let`s repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills
children, kills senior citizens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, Abby, don`t Americans want more from Republicans than,
than repeal and impeach? Don`t they want more than that?

HUNTSMAN: I think they deserve more than that. We`re not even seeing a
debate today because they are the party of no, the anti-party, that there
really is no conversation being had today. And that poll also showed there
is unhappiness among Americans on both extremes.

I think especially speaking on behalf of millennials, we very much want
things to be solved in the middle. That`s the only way to get things. And
we talked about this all the time, Reverend, that you need two strong
parties to get anything done.

The Republican Party used to be a big tent party. You had Reagan who spoke
very optimistically about the future of the country. He was inclusive.
And what we`ve seen with the tea party, it basically grab hold of these
poles tents and it completely collapse. And they are, right now, standing
on nothing and that generally will create a problem going to 2014, 2016 if
you don`t have anything to stand on.

SHARPTON: But it is also caused of sadness in the Republican Party. For
example, a Republican strategist sold "Huffington Post," the tea party
needs to decide on a long-term strategy. Quote, "are they interested in
toppling Republicans or winning elections? If they don`t win some
elections, they`re probably going to die on the vine."

I mean, this is something you`ve talked about, your father`s talked about.
Don`t Republicans need to divorce themselves from the fringe if they want
to say relevant to the party?

HUNTSMAN: Or either divorce themselves from finding things they can
actually come together on. And I think you are seeing with someone like
Chris Christie who will likely run on a message that was very similar to
what my dad ran on 20012. The Republican Party is going to have to make
this decision moving forward, what direction do we want to go in? Are we
going to want to support someone that can actually appeal to a broader
group of voters or are we going to stick with this tea party message that
clearly isn`t appealing. I`d love to see a poll among the younger people`s
approval, the tea party I guarantee will probably be in the single digits.

SHARPTON: But the problem is, does the tea party want to win? What is
their commitment? Do they want to win or do they want to stay to their
philosophy.

HUNTSMAN: I think what we`ve seen, that`s not their goal, unfortunately
for the Republican Party.

SHARPTON: Well, if that`s not their goal, they`re doing a great job.

Abby Huntsman, thank your time. And catch Abby on "the Cycle," weekdays at
3:00 p.m. right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, why is the right wing media complex attacking Oprah Winfrey?

And later, we are hearing from George Zimmerman`s girlfriend for the first
time. She is telling a stunning story of witnessing suicide attempts of
violent threats of deep depression, all since his acquittal of killing
Trayvon Martin. The reporter who talked to his girlfriend joins me live.
Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, Republican Congressman Trey Radel appeared in court to
plead guilty to cocaine possession. He was arrested in an undercover drug
sting last month after buying 3.5 grams of cocaine. And today he was
sentenced to one year probation.

Congressman Radel released a statement apologizing and saying, quote, "I
struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely
irresponsible choice." He also said he plans to seek treatment.

Addiction is a serious medical disease. And this story offers a reminder
of that. But it also reminds us that Congressman Radel was one of the many
House Republicans who voted to allow drug testing for recipients of food
stamps. In fact, 217 Republicans voted for it and for slashing $40 billion
from the food stamp program.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi talked about it last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: And this particular case, I
feel very sad for his family and that, but it`s really interesting right
soon on the heels that day on the heels of the Republicans voting to make
sure that everybody who had access to food stamps was drug tested. It
just, it`s like, what? You get food stamps, you have to be drug tested?
And so, you know, I hope that it will humanize, shall we say, the thinking
about that subject.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She has it exactly right. What`s lacking in today`s GOP is
empathy. Maybe Radel`s drug arrest will prompt his GOP colleagues to
rethink some of the assumptions they have about people in need.

Today, this is isn`t a nice try. And we don`t want to get anybody. We
just want Republicans to try to get what life is like for people who are a
little less fortunate and who make some mistakes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Early in Oprah Winfrey`s
career, her bosses told her she should change her name to Susie.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: I have to pause here to say I got the same advice. They didn`t say
I should be named Susie, but they suggested I should change my name.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama today getting some laughs as he presented Oprah
Winfrey and others with the Medal of Freedom, the nation`s highest civilian
honor. He saluted her as someone whose greatest strength has always been
her ability to help us discover the best in our self. For many Americans,
that`s exactly what Oprah represents. But to the right, that`s just not
the case. As we speak, they`re in a fury over these comments she made
about racism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, OWN NETWORK: As long as people can be judged by the color
of their skin, the problem`s not solved. There are still generations of
people, older people who were born and bred and marinated in it in that
prejudice and racism. And they just have to die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Oprah is making the point that racism still exists, but it`s
getting smaller and smaller with each generation of course. Rush Limbaugh
is outraged.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Oprah, if black people in this
country are so mistreated and so disrespected, how in the name of Sam Hill
did you happen? Would somebody explain that to me?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I will. How did Oprah happen? Through decades of hard work.
That`s how she happened. But right wing radio host Mark Levin took it one
step further.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK LEVIN, RADIO TALK SHOW: Let me tell you something, folks, Oprah
Winfrey has no idea. Oh, I know she`s black. But she has no idea, no
idea. Most of us have no idea what it`s like to live in a country that
really is brutally racist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Right wing radio host Mark Levin thinks Oprah has no idea about
racism? A black woman born in rural Mississippi during the `50s has no
idea about race, yet apparently he does? That`s laughable, even by the
right`s standards.

Joining me now are Joy Reid and Eric Boehlert. Thank you both for coming
on the show tonight.

JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks for having us.

SHARPTON: Joy, why is the right so angered about Oprah`s comments about
race?

REID: You know, it`s fact. It`s sort of a Rorschach test into way the
right thinks. I mean, the Mark Levin quote that you just played. And I
think what bothers the right about what Oprah said is the same thing that
bothered them when Barack Obama talked about Trayvon Martin. The right
expects African-Americans who have been successful to essentially be
Christmas ornaments.

SHARPTON: Right.

REID: To shine brightly and affirm the awesomeness of America and that`s
it and to leave behind the breath that they experience. Never talk about
it because it will make people on the right feel badly. The reality is,
and you know this very well, Rev, the state where Oprah Winfrey comes from,
Mississippi, is the place where Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney were killed,
were hunted down by the deputy sheriff.

SHARPTON: Yes.

REID: Where no judge and no officer would arrest more than a dozen people
who were involved in that murder. Now, when they were finally convicted in
1966, I believe, the judge in the case who convicted them said, well, these
guys just killed one "n" word, one white man and one Jew. He gave them
three to ten years for murder.

SHARPTON: Right.

REID: And at the same time, right, and those same years when that was
happening, you had Ed Brooke, 1966 with a United States senator from
Massachusetts. You had NBA players like Elgin Baylor that were playing,
that were popular, that were NBA stars, you had wealthy African-Americans
in Bill Russell, you had African-Americans around the country. Not every
African-American was poor. Not every African-American was being --

SHARPTON: No. There`s always been some --

REID: These things happened at the same time.

SHARPTON: And there was, but one did not excuse the fact that others were
experiencing racism.

REID: Exactly.

SHARPTON: But this has become a real campaign with the right wing against
Oprah, Eric. And they are like just jumping all over her. The FOX
strategy that you talk about?

ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA: You asked, what did she do
wrong? She talked about race. I mean, that`s the starting point for all
these people. You don`t talk about it even when she couched it saying
obviously things have gotten better. You know, the fact that she brings up
any criticism whatsoever. The key point that she I thought was -- 80
point, she was saying that Barack Obama has been disrespected the way no
other president has.

SHARPTON: Yes.

BOEHLERT: And that, that`s the FOX strategy right there.

SHARPTON: Let me show you what she said. Oprah was -- she was asked if
it`s crossed her mind if this president had been treated differently
because he`s African-American. Listen to what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WINFREY: Just the level of disrespect when the senator yelled out you`re a
liar. Remember that? Yes. I think that there`s a level for the office
that occurs. And that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases
because he`s African-American.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The right wing however does not agree with Oprah`s assessment to
put it lightly. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Unfortunately, this is not the first time
Liberals have played the race card, and I`m sure it won`t be the last
either.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And so, if Hillary Clinton gets elected, then are we
all anti-women.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If disrespect means racism, then how can you explain
George W. Bush who I think was the beneficiary of more disrespect than
Obama every encountered?

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Winfrey is indicting this country in Great
Britain for being a racist country which objects President Obama because of
his skin color. Flat out false. Not true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, I don`t think if any one starts asking Hillary for her
birth certificate and things like that, yes, I would say, they would be
sexist.

BOEHLERT: Yes, you know, Oprah talked about him being heckled during his
speech address.

SHARPTON: Right.

BOEHLERT: A daily caller reporter heckled him during a Rose Garden
ceremony. You know, we`ve had other instances, governor of Arizona sort of
wagging her finger in the face of Obama in the tarmac a few years ago.

SHARPTON: Right.

BOEHLERT: And FOX News, I mean, and Rush Limbaugh, all the time. You
know, their mantra when Bush was in the White House, you can disagree but
you have to respect that office.


SHARPTON: Right.

BOEHLERT: That`s what patriots do. We`re going to have a civil
disagreement.

SHARPTON: And people mostly do.

BOEHLERT: And the day Obama was inaugurated, all of that was sort of flash
down the memory hall. And they basically at this point, they sort of treat
him like a criminal, like a hoodlum.

SHARPTON: But Joy, the point that Oprah was making is the larger point is
that many older Americans are less tolerant. And she`s right. Look at
this Gallup poll from this year. This year, 96 percent of 18 to 29 year
old approval of marriage between blacks and whites. But just 70 percent of
those 65 years and older to do. I mean, it`s just a fact, older people are
still more intolerant when it comes to issues of race. That`s the only
point she was making and that statistically is proven.

REID: Yes. And I think she even said, it`s not everybody that objects
everything Rock Warner (ph) does. But, you know, Stan Greenberg has done a
great work in this area where he`s talked about in Greenberg and Klayman
(ph) have done this research. We`re talked about there was an older
cohorts of Americans mostly white Americans very conservative, for whom the
election of Barack Obama did represent a symbolic change in the country.

SHARPTON: Right.

REID: And a losing of control over a country that they feel is turning
against them and offering benefits and extras to everyone except them. And
there`s a resentment. If you look at the attitude of some on the right
toward Barack Obama, it isn`t just disappointment that he won the election
in `08 and 2012. It`s anger, it`s deep seeded anger and rage. And people
like the Sean Hannitys of the world, the people at FOX News, they want to
trade in that rage because it`s very deep for their business. It`s great
for Rush Limbaugh`s business to trade in anger and rage of the people. But
they don`t want to be called on the consequences of ginning up people`s
deep seeded hatred that are on a lot of levels but on some levels are about
race.

SHARPTON: But I think Eric, what else is the problem, and I definitely
agree it`s their business and they`re ginning it up. But I think that what
bothers them is when someone is popular and they`re successful and accepted
as Oprah by whites says, yes, there`s a problem, then it`s harder for them
to marginalize those of us that say the same thing, because the average
American then says, well even Oprah says, there`s still a problem. So why
are you acting like activists are crazy? I think that`s also part of their
problem.

BOEHLERT: They get very upset when there`s a larger cultural, pop cultural
discussion on issues like this. They like it sort of on the margins as you
say.

SHARPTON: Right.

BOEHLERT: And Oprah, clearly, if you look at the polls, one of the most
recognized, one of the most admired people in America.

SHARPTON: And the world.

BOEHLERT: .and the world. When you talk about the age, the older white
Americans, you look at the demographics through Rush Limbaugh`s audience,
and Sean Hannity`s audience, I mean, it`s no exaggeration, you know, the
mass majority of Sean Hannity`s audience is over 70 and white. So, he is
catering to that audience and you know, that`s why we see the sort of
freak-out.

SHARPTON: Joy Reid, Eric Boehlert, thank you both for your time this
evening.

REID: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead. New accusations from George Zimmerman`s
girlfriend, talking about his violent behavior and his fascination with
guns. We`ll talk with the reporter who broke the story.

Also Michelle Obama reveals which member of the first couple is a better
dancer and singer. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: George Zimmerman`s girlfriend is breaking her silence. We`re
learning some stunning information about what she says was going on inside
the house where George Zimmerman allegedly pointed a shotgun at her,
including explosive new details about their relationship in the days
leading up to his arrest this week and his state of mind after the Trayvon
Martin verdict. She`s telling a stunning story of witnessing suicide
attempts, violent threats and deep depression, all since his acquittal for
killing Trayvon Martin. For three weeks, Samantha Scheibe and her mother
have been telling all to a local Orlando TV station.

Joining me now is WKMG`s Erik Sandoval, the reporter who`s been speaking
with her. Thanks for coming on the show, Erik.

ERIK SANDOVAL, WKMG-TV ORLANDO: Yes. Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Now Erik, let`s start with that last point I mentioned.
Witnessing suicide attempts, what did she say?

SANDOVAL: Well, she said that Zimmerman had spiraled into a very, very
deep depression after he was acquitted by that jury here in Seminole
County. And as a part of that he was prescribed medication that, you know,
he refused to take over the course of time. She says that there were
several occasions where he was so depressed that he would take sleeping
pills. And one morning she walked in and the entire bottle was gone. And
he was very, deeply asleep. And she just made sure he was breathing and
just let him sleep it off --

SHARPTON: Wait a minute, the whole bottle of sleeping pills was gone?

SANDOVAL: That is what she claims.

SHARPTON: Wow.

SANDOVAL: That is what she claims. And she doesn`t know how many were in
there at the time. There could have been just one more left in the bottle.
But he did sleep for an extended period of time she tells me. And after he
slept if off, she says that she went into the room, he was distraught,
crying. And it was at that point, she says, he took a gun, put it in his
mouth and threatened to end it all right there.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. He put a gun in his mouth, according to her,
stuck it in his mouth and threatened to end it all?

SANDOVAL: Yes, that is what Samantha Scheibe tells me.

SHARPTON: What about the, you know, she says he`s changed a lot since the
verdict. All of this is all after the Trayvon Martin verdict.

SANDOVAL: Yes. And I think it`s important to point out that this isn`t a
woman who, you know, went after George Zimmerman after this verdict was
rendered. This is a woman who says that she`s known George Zimmerman for
12 years, she`s known him since before Trayvon Martin was shot that day in
Sanford, Florida. So she knows, she says George Zimmerman was before the
shooting. And she says after this verdict was rendered he became, as I
mentioned before, very distraught, very depressed. At times he felt
invincible. You know? And that carries over to the instances where he was
pulled over by police, where he was seen photographed at that gun
manufacturing plant in Florida.

And, you know, she says the George Zimmerman after the verdict, the
distraught, the depressed, the very angry at times George Zimmerman is not
the man she met 12 years ago, who she described as a lot of people did
during this trial, as a man who would do anything for you, had a warm
heart, the person they called gorgy. And she said, she was trying to find
gorgy in the man that he`s -- today.

SHARPTON: Stay right there, Erik. I want to bring in former FBI profiler
Clint Van Zandt who`s been listening to our conversation. Chris, what can
you tell us that you are hearing? Does any of this inform you of an
opinion on George Zimmerman?

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, there`s a number of things,
Reverend Al. Number one, we`re talking about post offense behavior. We`re
talking about somebody who was in the limelight who may have enjoyed the
limelight that he had and then when the trial was over, when the acquittal
took place, he wasn`t getting that level of attention, and that may have
been very challenging. What I think is equally important is what Erik
found out in his interview where this young woman says that on the night of
the shooting that Zimmerman and his wife had argued, that she had left the
house, that it had been a heated argument. What that tells me is --

SHARPTON: The night of the shooting of Trayvon Martin?

ZANDT: The night that Trayvon Martin was shot, that Zimmerman was angry.
He could have been upset. He may have felt powerless because his wife left
him, and he may have sought to regain some of that power and importance as
a neighborhood watchman. That`s when he confronted Trayvon Martin. That`s
the mind set he may have carried into that terrible evening when the
shooting took place.

SHARPTON: So Erik, she told you, the girlfriend, told you that she was
told by George Zimmerman he`d had a big argument with his wife the night of
Trayvon`s killing and that she had left.

SANDOVAL: Exactly. And it`s also important to point out, Reverend, that
at this point, Shelley Zimmerman, his estranged wife now, and George, for
all intents and purposes, Samantha says they were not a couple. At this
point, they may have shared this address, this condominium in Sanford,
Florida, but Shelley was not sleeping there every night. They were not a
couple in the traditional sense that we would know today. Yes, she did say
that they got into a very heated argument about their separation that
night.

SHARPTON: Now, Chris, what about this fascination -- Clint, with guns?
What is, what does that tell you about George Zimmerman? She`s saying he
had this fascination with guns and this flirtation with suicide.

ZANDT: Well, you know, so much of the time during the trial many people
dismissed that he carried a gun. Well, he had a right to carry a gun. We
have that, you know, right under the constitution. But when you take that
further, Al, when you take this fascination with guns, when this gun
becomes an extension of your personality, something that you use to level
the playing field, that`s where it becomes an issue. And that`s where all
of these things, to me, that state of mind was so important in the trial
that I`m not sure that was necessarily considered by the jury at the time
they reached that verdict.

SHARPTON: Yes. Now, Eric, you say she says that he got more depressed as
he fell out of the headlines, that the attention was going away from him
and he got more and more depressed, is that right?

SANDOVAL: That`s right. And you know, basically she says, it ebbed and
flowed. You know, he would feel invincible one moment and do something
like, you know, being caught on that dash cam, being caught speeding, or
you know, Kel-Tec photo that we all saw at the gun manufacturing plant.
The media paid attention to him. But when that died off, Samantha Scheibe
says that`s when he would spiral into that deep depression. It`s almost
like he was feeding off the attention at times.

SHARPTON: What does that tell you, Clint?

ZANDT: Well, I think Erik has hit it on the head. That he was feeding on
that attention. It`s like somebody who is an overeater. And all of a
sudden you take food away from them. I mean, they literally feel they`re
starving. In Zimmerman`s case, you take that media away, and he may well
have been emotionally starving. And look, the young woman that Erik
interviewed, this is a young woman who Erik, you correct me if I`m wrong,
but she thought she could help him or she thought she could fix him.

SANDOVAL: Yes.

ZANDT: There may be a 15 minutes of fame in this for her, too.

SHARPTON: Oh, yes.

ZANDT: But I think the main consideration is the behavior of Zimmerman at
the time and now this post incident behavior.

SHARPTON: Erik Sandoval and Clint Van Zandt, we thank you both for your
time this evening.

ZANDT: Thank you.

SANDOVAL: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, First Lady Michelle Obama reveals something about her
husband that we didn`t know. It was surprising. And it has to do with
this video. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: First Lady Michelle Obama is spilling the beans on what happens
in that private residence at the White House. She appeared on BET Show 106
and Park, and was asked about President Obama`s singing. That`s when we
learned something new about President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: I always think, my husband`s got sway,
you know?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes, Michelle.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He`s got sway.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He definitely does.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He`s really sweet.

MICHELLE OBAMA: But he sings all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh!

MICHELLE OBAMA: Oh, yes. He`s in the bathroom all the time singing. He`s
always willing to sing. You want me to sing something for you? But he`s
got a good voice and that was very sweet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Singing in the bathroom. Who knew? But we all know he has a
great voice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I`m so in love with you.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So he`s the better singer. But what about dancing?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: All right. One more. One more. One more. One more.
Who`s a better dancer, you or the president?

MICHELLE OBAMA: That`s easy. Me. Without a doubt.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hey.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Without a doubt.

MICHELLE OBAMA: He can sing, I can dance. I think that divides the talent
evenly across the family tree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Well, that`s a tough call. Let`s see the president in action.

(PRESIDENT OBAMA DANCING)

SHARPTON: OK, OK, OK, it`s no contest. She takes this one.

(MICHELLE OBAMA DANCING)

SHARPTON: You be the judge of this one. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the Medal of Freedom, President Obama awarded
the country`s highest civilian honor to 16 recipients at the White House
today. For me, a high point was the posthumous award given to a civil
rights hero Bayard Rustin. He was a close friend and adviser to Reverend
Martin Luther King, Jr., standing by his side at critical moments. Rustin
helped Dr. King spread the principles of non-violent resistance. And he
almost single-handedly organized the march on Washington. Rustin was also
openly gay. A fact that cause him some friends in the movement. He had to
wait on history to catch up to its bias ironically even those in the civil
rights community.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: For decades, this great leader often at Dr. King`s side was denied
his right for place in history because he was openly gay. No medal can
change that, but today we honor Bayard Rustin memory by taking our place in
his march towards true equality no matter who we are or who we loved.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Today, Rustin`s life partner Walter Naegle accepted his medal on
his behalf. I knew Bayard Rustin as a youngster. When I was 16, he gave
me the money to start my national youth movement. So I heard some of the
unkind things said by oldest civil rights leaders about Bayard. I am glad
Bayard was finally given his due with the top medal today.

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.
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