updated 12/6/2013 10:28:33 AM ET 2013-12-06T15:28:33

POLITICS NATION
December 4, 2013
Guest: Chaka Fattah; Neera Tanden; Jim McDermott, Karen Finney, Abby
Huntsman, Joe Madison, Bill Press


REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Good evening Ed, and thanks to you for turning in.

Tonight`s Lead, a dangerous and growing inequality. Today President
Obama`s spoken one of the poorest areas in Washington D.C. delivering a
passionate 15-minute speech on economic fairness. A speech that was a
times highly personal.

The president wanting that deep income inequality is threatening the
countries economic foundation and a social public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: A dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that
has jeopardized middle-class America`s basic bargain. That if you work
hard, you have a chance to get ahead.

I believe this is the defining challenge of our time. The combined trends
of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat
to the American dream, our way of life and what we stand for around the
globe.

But the idea that a child may never be able to escape that poverty because
she lacks a decent education or health care or a community that views her
future as their own, that should offend all of us and it should compel us
to action. We are a better country than this. The basic bargain at the
heart of our economy has frayed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We are a better country than this. The president knows because
he`s lived the American dream himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I take this personally. I`m only here because this country
educated my grandfather on the G.I. bill. When my father left, my mom hit
hard times trying to raise my sister and me while she was going to school,
this country helped make sure we didn`t go hungry. When Michelle, the
daughter of a shift worker at a water plant and a secretary, wanted to go
to college, just like me, this country helped us afford it until we could
pay it back.

So, it drives me as a grandson, a son, a father, as an American is to make
sure that every striving hardworking, optimistic kid in America has the
same incredible chance that this country gave me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The same, the same incredible chance that this country gave him.
It`s a vision of fairness, jeopardized by a growing gap between rich and
poor.

Look at this chart. This blue line shows the average income of the bottom
90 percent since 1960. In that time, the average income has grown by 22
percent. Now look at the red line showing the income of the top one
percent. Look at that dramatic difference. The top one percent has grown
by 271 percent in the same period of time, 271 percent.

This is what President Obama is fighting to change. And today he laid out
his vision for the future, a vision of fairness, of equality and of
opportunity in education, in worker`s rights and a fair shot for everyone
getting this done, but it won`t be easy.

On the other side, it`s a vision of cuts, cuts to food stamps, cuts to the
unemployed, cuts to minimum wage and cuts to Medicaid. And the GOP plan
would make inequality even worse. The American people want fairness. We
had an election about this. Why? Because we are a better country that
this.

Joining me now is Congressman Chaka Fattah, Democrat from Pennsylvania and
Neera Tanden. She is the president of the Center of American Progress.
She introduced President Obama at his speech today.

Thank you both for being here.

REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Thank you for having me, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me go to you first. The defining challenge of
our time, that`s the quote from the president, isn`t it something that
Congress has the moral duty to address?

FATTAH: The Congress and the country, this is the most important speech of
all of the speeches in the entire career of Barack Obama. This is the most
important speech he has given and will be recorded, I think, as so.

It is also one of the most important speeches I think ever given by t
American president because he really laid out that our country cannot stand
with a circumstances of haves and have-nots, that we have to see things
more not about charity, but he was really arguing about an enlightened
self-interest on behalf of our country that we need to educate our young
people. We need to provide employment and entrepreneur opportunities for
those who are in the shadows.

He made this argument a very compelling. He wove it together by focusing
on two other presidents, one, the son of a very poor person and one the son
of a rich Teddy Roosevelt, but laid it out in the common sense economics
that you understand and I understand and I think all of our viewers tonight
have to be able to understand that.

You have to have a situation where this is not a zero sum game in which
everyone can see themselves in a position through their effort and work.
He says we`re not trying to guarantee outcomes, but we need to provide an
opportunity for every single American.

SHARPTON: Neera, you were in the room. You introduced the president. And
it was not just about the two presidents, but he got very personal himself.
Give us a sense of how him sharing, his sharing of himself and his wife and
their own story, how that kind of punctuated this speech.

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT,. CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: You know, I
thought that was part of the, that was really the most emotional element of
the speech. And I think the reason why the president`s personal story is
so important, and let`s all just be reminded, the president has lived the
American dream himself. He`s not a person who`s wealthy, grew up wealthy
or well connected. He had some tough family circumstances. Father left
when he was very young. So he, as he himself admitted, he had the benefits
of people expanding opportunity, giving people student loans, ensuring that
college was affordable. You know, he has even mentioned how his
grandfather used the G.I. bill to go to college himself.

And so, he`s really laying out how the decisions we`ve made to expand
opportunities have helped millions of Americans, including himself. And
that`s why it`s so tragic that we face so many decisions by people,
frankly, across the aisle who want to constrict that opportunity.

SHARPTON: Well, yes. Let me deal with that conflict across the aisle,
Congressman. Because one of the biggest applause is the president got
today is when he addressed the question of minimum wage.

TANDEN: Right.

SHARPTON: Listen to this, something that we can do something about. Isn`t
that all just theory and history? This is about some real, right now,
contemporary things that can be done. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: There are airport workers and fast food workers and nurse
assistants and retail sales people who work their tails off. And are still
living at or barely above poverty. And that`s why I well past the time to
raise a minimum wage that in real terms right now is below where it was
when Harry Truman was in office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I want to put the minimum wage in perspective with the charts.
If you take inflation into account, the real value of minimum wage is
$7.25, about where it was in 1960, but if you had to grow it at the same
rate of the income of the top one percent, it would be $25.18 today,
Congressman. We can`t get your colleagues to bring it up to $10.

FATTAH: Look, the minimum wage, and I think the U.S. Senate is going to
act on a minimum wage increase, and then it will be on the house to
hopefully take it up. But we have a problem. Because we have a majority
in the house that doesn`t seem to understand that we need to have, if we
want to sell cars, the car dealer can`t benefit if people can`t afford to
buy the car or sell groceries or Christmas toys.

I mean, we, people need to be able to earn a decent living. We`ve seen
this effort around minimum wage increases, our fast food workers across the
country, but in states that are enlightened, you see action being taken.

In Washington state, even in New Jersey in the last election, just a few
weeks ago, they voted to, an increase in the minimum wage and put it into a
constitutional process in that state to try to get it out of the political
process because this really should be an economic issue.

We know by raising the minimum wage we enhance the overall economy. And we
also know that if we don`t do something by the end of next week, about a
million and a half Americans are going to lose their unemployment benefits.

SHARPTON: Yes, I`m going to get into that. I think that we`ve got to deal
with the minimum wage. We`ve got to deal with the whole Republican agenda,
Neera.

When you look at the fact that their whole economic agenda calls for
blocking an extension of long term unemployment, blocking the minimum wage,
imposing new cuts to Medicaid in the 2014 budget and cutting $40 billion
from food stamp, this cut, cut, cut.

And let me give you the context, Neera. A worker earning the federal
minimum wage makes just $15,000 a year. On average, America`s CEOs made
$9.7 million last year, personally. This is the gap. And in the middle of
this gap, they want to cut. They want to not extend unemployment
insurance. It`s everything that is geared toward the bottom of the 90
percent, not even just the 90 percent. It`s outrageous.

TANDEN: And so, and I think this is really the most important point the
president was making, which is that when we grow the whole country, when
people have an opportunity to move from poverty into the middle class, when
we have a poor mobility, we all grow and grow more strongly.

We`ve had the highest growth rates when we`ve expanded the middle class,
when we`ve given people a ladder of opportunity into the middle class. And
so, it was vital to make clear to people that, you know, cutting food
stamps isn`t just hurting some group over there. It`s hurting our ability
to build demand in this economy. It`s going to end up cutting jobs in the
long run, because people can`t, you know, they can`t buy things they can`t
feed themselves. It`s going to actually constrict the economy.

So, all these assaults on government and what the government does are
really, you know, efforts to hurt ourselves to constrain it growth. And
that`s what was so important about the president`s speech. He`s making
clear how we`re all better off when we ensure that everyone can reach their
opportunity, that everyone can reach their full potential. And I thought
that`s why I agree with Congressman Fattah. It was such an important
speech because he is making clear that what the Republicans are doing is
really hurting economic growth, hurting jobs for all of us.

SHARPTON: For everyone, at every level of the country. I`m going to have
to leave it there.

Congressman Chaka Fattah and Neera Tanden, thank you both for your time
tonight.

Coming up, it`s working! New Obamacare numbers show a surge. And
Republicans can`t take it. So they`re recycling their old tactics.

Plus, get this one. Speaker Boehner is blaming Democrats for obstruction.
Sounds out of this world, right? Well, today a real connection between the
party and outer space.

And poor logic from cutting food stamps to Bill O`Reilly saying Jesus would
not be down with welfare.

And first, dog Sunny is making big news today. Wait until you see why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: With just seven days of work left this year on Capitol Hill, you
won`t believe what Republicans were focused on today. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back. Ladies and gentlemen, aliens have invaded Capitol
Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The very latest information on an amazing phenomenon.
The arrival of a spaceship in Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s right. We`re not talking about the people that
Republicans disparage as illegal aliens. We`re talking about actual
aliens. Martians, little green men, E.T. phone home, those kinds of
aliens. Forget all of the pressing issues facing this country.

Today, the House science committee held a hearing to determine if other
planets may harbor life. This is how the GOP is spending one of the final
seven workdays they have left, aliens. And despite this, Speaker Boehner
took to the floor of the House today to blame Democrats for the lack of
action in Washington to quote former President Clinton, this takes some
brass.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The American people work
hard, and they`ve got a right to expect their elected representatives to do
the same. House Republicans are listening. The Senate, the president
continue to stand in the way of the people`s priorities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The people`s priorities? Let`s take a look at some of those
priorities. Seventy-six percent want an increase in the minimum wage. How
about focusing on that? Seventy-seven percent want a path to citizenship
for illegal immigrants. There`s a priority you should focus on. And
nearly one year after the Newtown tragedy, 89 percent support background
checks.

Earth to Speaker Boehner. Those are the people`s priorities.

Joining me now is Congressman Jim McDermott, Democrat from Washington.

Thanks for coming on the show tonight.

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Good to be here, Al.

SHARPTON: You know, the GOP is holding hearings on aliens with just seven
workdays left in this year. What do you make of that, Congressman?

MCDERMOTT: Well, it`s amazing to watch them while away the hours doing
nothing. Not only did they have a hearing on that, today, they had another
hearing in the ways and means committee on health care, trying to destroy
the Affordable Care Act. They still want to destroy it.

SHARPTON: Wow.

MCDERMOTT: They don`t want anything for the people. They aren`t doing
anything about unemployment benefits. Milk is going to go to $6 a gallon
if they don`t pass the farm bill. There`s all kinds of things that need to
be done. And what are they thinking about? What`s out millions of miles
in space. It makes no sense at all.

SHARPTON: But today, Speaker Boehner went to the floor, and he called on
Democrats to come together and work with Republicans. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: Now we`re trying to come to an agreement on the budget and on the
farm bill. Amongst other issues that are in conference, Chairman Wright
and Chairman Lucas have made serious good faith efforts to send to
Democrats. When will they learn to say yes to common ground?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Common ground, say yes. Now this is the same Speaker Boehner
that didn`t like the word compromise not too long ago. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Governing means compromising.

BOEHNER: It means working together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: It also means compromise.

BOEHNER: It means finding common ground.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: So you did compromise.

BOEHNER: We found common ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, what are we talking about here? They won`t move forward
on things that matter, like minimum wage, like immigration, like jobs.
Yet, he says well, let`s find common ground while they`re having hearings
on killing the health care bill that they tried to vote out 46 times and
having hearings on aliens? I mean, common ground, where, about what,
Congressman?

MCDERMOTT: Well, you know, what`s really startling is here we are at
Christmas time, and we`re talking about all the things that a lot of people
are going to have, but a lot of people are going to have nothing.

1.3 million people are going to lose their unemployment benefits. They`re
talking about cutting $40 billion out of the food stamp program, which
means people who have no other source of money to put a turkey on the table
at Christmas time will have nothing.

They simply will not face the problems of the ordinary, middle-class
American who`s struggling in this society. It is absolutely unbelievable
that they can talk about finding common ground.

What they mean is common ground for the one percent. They try to figure
out how to give them a bigger gift at the end of the year because they
won`t take any revenue and spend one nickel on the middle class of this
country. It`s absolutely unbelievable.

SHARPTON: Now congressman, I should make it clear that they set the
calendar since they`re in the majority, and there could have been a lot
more working days between now and the holiday. And they decide where the
hearings are going. So that people understand that this is just imposed on
Speaker Boehner.

MCDERMOTT: We would gladly work on the issues, if the speaker would bring
them to the floor, we could pass immigration tomorrow at 10:00. The
Democrats would come up with 180 votes easily. And all we need is about 30
reasonable Republicans. We could pass that issue out of the House. There
are infinite numbers of issues, if they would simply accept a reasonable
kind of a -- when they want to say the things they want to do and cut $40
billion out of the food stamp program, we`ve never done anything that bad.
We have always given unemployment benefits. Last year, we were here at the
same time with the same issue, and this year they say well, this year we`ll
let it expire. So they don`t care.

SHARPTON: Congressman Jim McDermott, thanks for your time this evening.

MCDERMOTT: Good to see you.

SHARPTON: Coming up. The health care law is working, and Republicans
aren`t. Some new good numbers tonight on Obamacare. They`re spending and
sending the Republicans over the cliff. This is a new one.

Right-wingers are now declaring that it`s un-Christian to take care of the
poor. Claiming that Jesus would not support programs like food stamps.
You know I`ll set them straight tonight with chapter and verse. Stay with
us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Now you got good ideas? Bring them to me. Let`s go. But we`re
not repealing it as long as I`m president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We are not repealing it. Obamacare is the law of the land.
It`s working. But that`s not stopping the Obamacare lies from coming. You
know, the ones we heard from the beginning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Now, we`re seeing a loss of full-time
jobs.

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Of course, there are death panels
in there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The loss of jobs is going to be extraordinary.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Guess what, the death panels are back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I have nostalgia for the days of the death panels and how it
would be a job killer. But even as the law is working the right wing media
is still peddling the lies.

Remember this one, when Salon fact-check Sean Hannity? He had this panel
on the show complaining about how much Obamacare would hurt their small
businesses? But it turned out it just wasn`t true. They hadn`t even
visited the Web site. And just their week the "New York Post" ran a story
about parents who couldn`t get their toddler covered under Obamacare, then,
it went on TV.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is it possible that you go to look for an
insurance plan and baby Erin is not covered? Can you walk us through that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being a parent, of course, and having four children,
to find out that your baby is not going to be on the plan is quite
distressing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This story was all over the place. Even John Boehner got in on
it tweeting quote, "I couldn`t believe what I was being told. A dad who
learned Obamacare wouldn`t cover his baby." But that turned out to be
totally false too. Why? The father`s application listed only three
children, turns out he has four.

Now, we come to expect these bogus stories from conservative media. But
from the speaker of the house?

Speaker Boehner, did you think we wouldn`t notice you are stuck inside the
right wing media bubble? Nice try, but it`s bursting, because we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: As Republicans struggle to keep up their attacks on the health
care law, we`re seeing more evidence that the website`s improving. And
real people are getting help. Twenty nine thousand people signed up for
insurance through the site on Sunday and Monday. More than the entire
month of October. And the demand`s even higher on Monday. A million
people visited the site. Yesterday 950,000 logged in. Consumer reports
says, it`s working. Their health care expert says, quote, "It`s terrific.
I`ve tried it. It`s, it was working yesterday through the busiest times."
Terrific. So what`s the Republicans complaining about now?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Today when we discuss once again
HealthCare.gov rollout, which has undeniably been an inarguably a disaster.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Still, the website? It`s working. You`ve lost that talking
point. As they grasp at straws, President Obama`s talking about the law`s
benefits. Highlighting one woman`s story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: She was one of the 3.1 million
young people that this law helped cover because they could join their
parents` plan. And that means that when she was diagnosed with a
potentially deadly autoimmune disorder she got the care she need. In the
letter she wrote, "I`m grateful because the Affordable Care Act saved my
life, saved my family from bankruptcy and it gave me a future."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This law is saving lives. How does the Republican National
Committee counter that? Quote, "The White House is trying to woo young
people, really? It`s offensive that the Democrats think that they can make
things right with a social and some warm up talking points."

I`ll tell you what`s offensive, when the Republicans call the website
President Obama`s Katrina or that when the right wing groups said,
ObamaCare was terrorizing the country, or when a group backed by
billionaires used a creepy Uncle Sam to try to scare young people not to
get insurance. That was offensive, but helping millions of Americans get
health insurance is working, and they can`t handle it.

Joining me now are MSNBC`s Karen Finney and Abby Huntsman. Thank you both
for being here. ]

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

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

SHARPTON: Karen, calling a White House event offensive, is the GOP really
that easily offended?

FINNEY: No, of course not, but they are that desperate, I mean, look, we
knew we would get to this point where the website would be fixed. And, you
know, I`ve always contended that I don`t even think the website is the
right metric as to whether or not the program and the policy is effective.
But fine, inside Washington, the RNC got everybody whipped up about that.
But now it`s fixed. And now it`s working. They have nothing else to go
on. So of course they have to, you know, sort of throw stones at that, and
yet, they still don`t have an answer for what they`re going to do for all
those people who are now in the health care system.

Millions of people, from even before the whole website went online. What
are they going to do for those people when they repeal and take it away? I
know they`re not saying repeal anymore, but when they take ObamaCare away,
what are they offering those people?

SHARPTON: You know, Abby, today we learned the National Republican
Senatorial Committee using this attack line against Democrats that are up
for reelection. Quote, "By voting for ObamaCare, Democrats cut $717
billion from Medicare." Now that`s been totally debunked and was debunked
when Mr. Romney ran on it last year. I mean, are they that out of material
that they`ve got to use debunked, recycled stuff?

HUNTSMAN: No, you think that is the Republican plan. Right? That
originated I think at the Heritage Foundation.

SHARPTON: Right.

HUNTSMAN: There has been this quiet nervousness though among a number of
Republicans around the idea of the website beginning to work a little bit
better, because then what is the strategy? You know, what do they tell
voters at that point, but you know, you look at the past two months which
have been sort of like an early Christmas present or Hanukkah present for
Republicans who have been able to at least take a little bit of the
political advantage there and say, OK, we`re not the political punching bag
for a moment.

There is an opening for us to at least shift the narrative the way we want
to. If you remember, it was just a few weeks ago where you had a number of
House Republicans file into Eric Cantor`s office with a blank sheet of
paper entitled 2014 agenda. That has yet to be filled I think but this is
been, at least they -- if they need to fill blank sheet of paper or with
something. But this is the problem that they realize they don`t have an
alternative. So I think the strategy for now is going to be what we`re
seeing. Let`s focus on the sad stories out there. Let`s not talk about
the enrollments.

SHARPTON: But Karen, the Democrats are not sitting around not preparing
their own offensive in fact. House Democrats have targeted 60 Republicans
for the opposition to the Affordable Care Act, sending out e-mails saying
repeal would hurt preventative care and ending things like free
immunization and cancer screenings. So, it looks like the Democrats are
going on the offensive finally.

FINNEY: They are and by the way, the Democrats have just this nice little
thing I like to call the truth on their side, because what they`re talking
about is factually correct. What the NRSC is doing is a bald-faced lie. I
mean, that lie has been debunked over and over and over again. They`ve
tried that strategy about the $717 million. They know it`s not a cut the
way they talk about it as a cut. The money goes back in to help seniors to
strengthen Medicare, but that is their level of desperation. And so
Democrats, yes, they are able to be on offense. And on offense with a plan
and a strategy that actually, as I said, is based in fact.

SHARPTON: Abby, just between you and I.

HUNTSMAN: Always, Rev.

SHARPTON: The Republicans who oppose Medicaid expansion of getting, or at
least were dragged into it by their feet, they`re getting attacked too. Is
opposition to the least part of the health care law, is that beginning to
turn into a political liability?

HUNTSMAN: I think it is, because you think the midterms are what, less
than a year from now. So they really need to figure out what their message
is going to be and right now they don`t have much to run on, other than,
you know, the troubled stories that they continue to talk about of people
that are losing their plans, that are losing their doctors, so I think
that`s going to be really problematic for them, and they think well, what
is our plan, and how do we move forward?

And I think the way we move toward in my opinion, as I guess I would say
more moderate Republican as the president point out, this is the law, this
is the time to let it resonate, this is time to let it breath. Look, the
federal website still has its issues.

SHARPTON: Right.

HUNTSMAN: There are still has underlying problems with identity
verification and enrollment data that we`ve had to figure out. But this is
the time when Republicans and Democrats need to come together and figure
out a way to move forward. That is the in best interest of the American
people.

SHARPTON: But, you know, when you look at the fact Karen, the president
today made a case for young people. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: There was a time when I was a young invincible. After five years
in this office, people don`t call me that any more. I do remember what
it`s like being 27 or 28. And aside from the occasional basketball injury,
you know, most of the time, I kind of felt like I had nothing to worry
about. Of course, that`s what most people think, until they have something
to worry about. But at that point, oftentimes, it`s too late.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now Karen, young adults, young adults are the key to making this
law work.

FINNEY: Yes.

SHARPTON: Is this battle really about them?

FINNEY: Well, I mean, it is. Because at the end of the day, this is about
their future. I mine, health care and having access to health care is not
just life saving. It is life changing. I mean, when you are sick and you
can`t afford to go to a doctor, I don`t care how old you are? Young or,
you know, middle aged or what have you, I mean, that actually inhibits your
life and your prospects for your life, right? So this is life-altering and
life changing.

And I think the president has always known that young people are important
to this, not just because of, you know, they`re healthy and, you know, the
sort of balance within the pool of patients, but also because we`re talking
about a vision for a future where people have access to health care as a
basic right. I mean, that`s a very different vision than what we`re
getting.

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

HUNTSMAN: Thanks, Rev.

SHARTPON: And watch "DISRUPT" with Karen Finney weekends at 4:00 Eastern
and Abby on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. Both right here on
MSNBC.

Still ahead, Rush and O`Reilly start talking about Jesus and the pope. And
the results at pretty. It`s a new low on their war in the poor.

And the First Lady`s Christmas` advantage is making news tonight because of
first dog Sunny. Wait until you see why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARTPON: With just three weeks until Christmas, right-wingers are now
declaring that it`s un-Christian to take care of the poor. Claiming that
Jesus would not support programs like food stamps. Here`s Bill O`Reilly
last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: The nanny state versus Christianity. You`re
helping one group by hurting another group. And a bigger group. And so I
don`t know if Jesus is going to be down with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Jesus wouldn`t be down with helping the poor? There`s nothing
in the bible to back that up. But to make his case, O`Reilly rolled some
tape of Jesus himself. Look, there it is. Well, gosh, if O`Reilly is
running tape of an actor playing Jesus, then I guess his argument must be
right, right? Wrong. Here are some real quotes from the real Jesus.
Quote, "Blessed be ye poor for yours is the kingdom of God." Quote, "Sell
whatever thou has and give it to the poor." Quote, "it is easier for a
camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the
kingdom of God."

O`Reilly`s probably really worried about that one. Folks, here`s the
truth. Caring for the poor is something that people of all religions care
about. It`s not about Christians or non-Christians or about Democrats or
Republicans. It`s about doing the right thing for those who need help the
most.

Joining me now are Joe Madison and Bill Press. Thank you both for being
here.

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Reverend Al.

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: So Joe, instead of what would Jesus do, now right wingers are
asking, what would Jesus cut when it comes to the safety net.

MADISON: I don`t even know how to begin except to tell you it`s not only
in reference to Christianity, but I don`t think there`s a religion on the
planet that would do what would be considered the gospel according to what,
Bill O`Reilly? The reality is that, the gospel means good news. So, it`s
good news for the rich, bad news for the poor.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Bill, one of the things that kind of got me is he
went way out there last night. He repeated another right wing smear
against the poor. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: Some of the people who don`t have enough to eat, it`s their
fault they don`t have enough to eat. You`re asking people who may be
struggling themselves to put food on the table to give their tax money to
you, and then you`re not even going to buy food with it. You`re going to
buy booze and drugs with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, now, first of all, I know he has to know better, because
he`s helped us with National Action Network feed the poor on Christmas
time. And has talked about it on his TV show. So why smear and bring this
up to try and act as though people really don`t need help, because there
may be some that abuse it. When clearly, there are some in every economic
ladder that abuses wherever they are.

PRESS: I mean, this just is echoes of Ronald Reagan talking about welfare
queens driving around in Cadillacs.

SHARPTON: Right.

PRESS: I mean, there is zero evidence to support anything he says. But
here`s what gets me Reverend Al, here`s a guy, Bill O`Reilly who has
invented this whole, crazy idea that we`re declaring war on Christmas, and
he has declared war on what Christmas is all about. You know, when I was
growing up, our family didn`t have much money, but we were always taught to
give what little we could to help people who were less fortunate than we
were. Especially now at the holiday season.

We never considered that class warfare. And I went to Catholic School just
like Bill O`Reilly. But Joe is right. It doesn`t matter what religion,
that`s what you do. And the idea that this is somehow wrong or that Jesus
would not be doing this. I think Bill O`Reilly should read four books over
the holiday, Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, you know, and I want to deal even bigger than just
O`Reilly, because it`s a lot of this kind of feeling in the name of
religion, in the name of Christianity and other religions. But the truth
about food stamps, Joe, is 87 percent of food stamp households have
children, disabled, or the elderly. Are these the people that right-
wingers are accusing of buying booze and drugs?

MADISON: Well, absolutely not, you know, this is what`s so ridiculous
about it. And your statistics speak to it over and over and over again,
Reverend. I mean, the reality is this. No human being on the planet
deliberately starves themselves to death. No one. Unless they`re on a
fast, like those who are fighting for comprehensive immigration. That`s a
protest. But let me tell you what happens when you don`t feed children.
In any country, including the United States of America and it was a
Catholic priest, Father Cunningham they taught me this. Children get
angry. Hunger brings about anger. This time is about salvation. You`re
the minister, but I learned in Sunday school, God gave his only son so that
we could all be saved.

SHARPTON: Right, well, we ought to be angry about children hungry. Not
only are hungry children angry, we ought to be angry about that. But Bill,
let me tell you this, not only have those of us who are considered
progressive been under attack. They`re attacking the pope, now, for
speaking up on issues like this. The pope. Listen to what Rush Limbaugh
had to say about the pope.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The pope is ripping America. The
pope is ripping capitalism. Their pope ripping with all these madness.
The pope ripping trickledown economics. And Obama`s having an orgasm. I
tell you the way he means that. We`ve got too many rich people. We need
more people who are poor and lower middle class. That`s the only way we
can have equality and fairness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, this ugly, vile, obscene kind of talk about the pope and
the president is amazing to me. Why are you so hostile when people are
saying let`s help poor people.

PRESS: First of all, Reverend Al, you know what? I love the fact that
Rush Limbaugh is attacking the pope, he is maybe next to Bill Clinton the
most popular person on the planet today and the reason is because --

SHARPTON: And there`s no doubt about it, but for the head of the
Republican Party to attack him is not good politics.

PRESS: Oh, yes. Now, well, I`m just saying, they`re going to suffer
because of that. I want to see how many Republicans stand up and support
Rush Limbaugh for attacking Pope Francis. What this pope has done, he`s
put the focus of faith back where it belongs, on helping the poor. That`s
what Jesus was all about, that`s what every faith ought to be all about,
and this pope is going out at night, by himself, without any fanfare,
without any TV cameras.

SHARPTON: Right.

PRESS: And serving the poor. That`s what we all ought to be doing.

SHARPTON: And let me tell you. We, you know, we respect everybody`s
beliefs or non-beliefs on this show. Clearly, I`m a minister, but I
respect people and respect their rights to choose things I don`t agree
with, but I had to deal with this distortion like my mama said, we can
debate about politics, but don`t mess with my Jesus. Joe Madison and Bill
Press, thank you for your time.

PRESS: Thank you, Rev.

MADISON: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the first lady revealed the White House Christmas
decorations today. But first dog Sunny stole the show. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: For years, Bo Obama has been top dog in the White House. He was
the first family`s first pet, the star of the show, but this summer, the
Obama`s adopted another dog, Sunny. And today, she`s the one making
headlines. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: And finally, tonight, it was a big day at the White House.
First lady Michelle Obama welcomed military families for the unveiling of
the White House holiday decorations. And for some arts and crafts. It`s
become an annual tradition. First dogs Bo and Sunny both made appearances
in the state dining room to bring some holiday cheer to the children. But
then it took an odd turn. Two year old Ashton Gardner had an encounter
with Sunny she`ll never forget.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(INAUDIBLE)

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: Are you OK, sweetie?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The cute two-year-old girl was knocked down by Sunny. Michelle
Obama yanked Sunny back by the leash but Ashton couldn`t hold her balance.
She wasn`t hurt. And she quickly forgave Sunny by petting on her. But you
know what this means, right? I can just see the right wing media headlines
now. We had a little fun here. The Drudge report, shock video President
Obama`s dog even turns on him.

FOX Nation, Sunny Obama forced to knock down cute toddler by executive
order. World Net Daily, first dog spread Sharia law at the White House
Christmas Party. Rush Limbaugh says attack dogs at the White House. Sean
Hannity wonders, who`s behind the dog attack? Eric Holder? So we made
those up. But if right-wingers go after Sunny, they might want to remember
what happened with President Bush`s beloved dog Barney upon leaving the
White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Look over here, Barney.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Is Ms. Beasley sleeping?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. Nap time for her.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: How you doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He totally got me.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh my God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Barney bit a reporter. We had the tape. But I think this
adorable little girl has herself a new Christmas card this year. Merry
Christmas to you to the first lady, and of course to Sunny.

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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