updated 1/6/2014 10:50:42 AM ET 2014-01-06T15:50:42

POLITICS NATION
December 18, 2013

Guests: Karen Bass; Corey Dade; Angela Rye, Cade Bernsen, Faith Jenkins, Joe Madison

REV. AL SHARPTON, POLITICS NATION HOST: Tonight`s Lead, people over
politics. That`s the message from the President and the first lady today
after they met with a group of mothers who have been helped by the
Affordable Care Act.

And later today, I talked to the first lady on my radio show. She was very
personal and passionate. Telling me why health care hit so close to home
for her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I want to get into this because this is such an important
message that you`re giving. And what really was striking to me is that you
got very personal. You talked about 12 years ago with Sasha. Tell us
about that.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. When Sasha was
about 4-months-old, you know, we were blessed with healthy babies. I had a
healthy pregnancy, you know, Malia was, you know, issue free. But I will
never forget, it was a day when, you know, one hour she was fine. She was
normal. She was happy, doing everything I was used to her doing. And in
the next hour, she was crying inconsolably, and that just wasn`t like her.
And I did everything I could do. I tried to rock her, feed her, burp her.
Finally, I just thought I need to call my pediatrician. And that`s the
first point is that I want to make is that we had health insurance which
meant I had a really good relationship with our pediatrician. So, he knew
me. And he knew I wasn`t the kind of mother to call up just because my
baby was crying.

SHARPTON: Right.

OBAMA: So when I described the symptoms, you know, the fact that she had a
slight fever but she seemed to be in pain in a way I`d never seen in a
baby, he said get her to the emergency room. I don`t like the sounds of
it. Just go, do not pass go. Just get to the emergency room. And as it
turned out, she had meningitis. And they had to do a spinal tap. She
turned out, obviously, as the story end, she is fine. She`s healthy.
She`s a beautiful young lady.

But if we hadn`t had insurance and access to pediatrician and access to a
hospital where we didn`t have to worry about the cost of care, if we had
waited overnight, if we had postponed acting, there`s no telling what the
outcome would have been.

And that`s why, for me, as a mother, I am just, you know, I just can`t put
into words how important it is for every American, for every mother, for
every person in this country to have health care because you just never
know what kind of curve balls life are going to throw you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You never know what curve balls life will bring you. That`s why
this law`s so important. It is personal. And this is what`s gotten lost
in the political debate. People need help. This law is protecting real
people from those curve balls.

137,000 people signed up through the federal Web site in October and
November. And more than 100,000 enrolled just in the first week of this
month. Enrollments are surging also in some of the states, running their
own exchanges.

Fifteen thousands are signing up each day in California, 4500 each day in
New York and 1400 daily in Connecticut. There is no denying the demand.
And despite what we hear from the right, the first lady says this is an
issue that`s bigger than politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The thing that strikes me is you bring a passion and a
perspective to this that is really beyond the partisan bickering we hear in
Washington and we hear on talk radio. OK, I`m doing both now or in civil
rights where I do. You talk as a mother. And you talk as someone who said
I`ve been there, and I know what ordinary Americans are facing, and this is
why they need to deal with this.

OBAMA: Yes. And we, Barack and I just met with a group of mothers because
we`re talking to mothers. Mothers are the ones who make the decisions
about health care in their families. They`re the ones dealing with
sickness on a regular basis. They`re the ones who have the ear to their
kids, their teenagers and the young adults who think they`re invincible and
don`t need insurance.

We`re talking to them because they`re the ones with the stories just like
me. In a room full of women who, you know, had young people with cancer
that they never imagined, you know. Sons and daughters who are working
part-time jobs and don`t have insurance but, you know, but are, you know,
running across these curve balls that I`ve talked about. And they tell
their stories with tears in their eyes, you know, that until this act was
passed.

There was one mother who said she cried herself to sleep every night
because her son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in his early 20s.
And she didn`t know how she was going to pay for it. So she was praying
every night that the act wouldn`t be repealed, you know. So that`s the
kind of personal, you know, story that`s often missed in that back and
forth that turns this issue, which is pretty plain and simple issue,
Reverend Al.

This is about getting people health care who didn`t have it and can`t
afford it. And now, we have Obamacare and it is affordable. Most people
can get a plan for as little as $100 a month. They could be assure,
insured. They can go to a doctor on a regular basis. When they get sick,
they won`t go bankrupt. It`s as simple as that. But health care is so
confusing to most people, that it`s easy to confusion the situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s easy to confuse the situation. And that`s what Republicans
are trying to do. Like Congressman Darrel Issa, smearing the navigators
who help explain the law to people getting signed up. Or groups backed by
millionaires trying to scare young people out of getting insurance. Or
Republican leaders who have no health care plan besides repealing the law.
They want to confuse us.

But like the first lady said, this is a simple issue. It`s about taking
care of our fellow Americans and putting people before politics.

Joining me now are Congresswoman Karen Bass, Democrat from California and
MSNBC contributor Maria Teresa Kumar.

Thank you both for being here.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT, CEO, VOTO LATINO: Thank you, Reverend.

REP. KAREN BASS (D), CALIFORNIA: Thanks for having us on.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, you heard the first lady today.

BASS: I did.

SHARPTON: This is personal. It`s about helping people. What is your
reaction to her story today?

BASS: Well, first of all, it`s certainly personal to me, you know. I have
many experiences myself. But it reminded me of when I worked in L.A.
county`s emergency room. Because she mentioned the very important words.
She said that she was able to get a response immediately.

When I worked at the emergency room, it was for the hospital for people
without insurance. It`s not that people don`t get health care. The
problem is, is it they wait. They wait and what wound up being something
that could have been completely treatable, you know, I can`t tell you how
many times I had to go in a room and tell a person that basically they were
now terminal because they had waited too long for their health care.

And so, when you`re talking about the affordable care act, you are truly
talking about legislation that will and already has saved people`s lives.
When you have provisions like no pre-existing conditions can be used to
exclude people, these are life-saving measures. And it is very personal,
because everybody has somebody in their family or themselves who has faced
a serious illness.

SHARPTON: You know, Maria, when we talk about wait, young people are so
vital and usually the ones who say I`ve got time, they think health care is
not an immediate concern, and it`s crucial to this law that young people
sign up. And the first lady and I discussed that today. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: And that`s where my passion comes from. Because I want for the
rest of America what my family has, you know. I want people to have the
peace of mind that I have, because it`s hard enough being a mother trying
to raise kids and then worrying about whether if they get sick whether you
can help them.

There is nothing more powerless than being a mother who can`t help their
child when they`re sick. That`s just to me untenable. But we now have the
resources. But we have to be educated about it. We have to do the -- we
have to reach out. We have to get signed up. And then we have to sign up
others. We need young people signed up, too, for this because it`s not
just about moms and babies. It`s about young people who feel invincible,
right?

SHARPTON: That`s right.

OBAMA: Who feel like I`m never going to get sick. I`m healthy now. Well,
young people are the ones who are driving around late at night and they can
get in a car accident or slip at a club, you know, or playing pickup games
and get a black eye or, you know, cooking for the first time and cut a
finger and, you know, bust an artery, you know.

Health care is something that every American of all ages, particularly
young people, because one of the things that we learned from one of the
women that we talked to who had a nephew that she cares for, she worries
just as much because he wouldn`t get health care because she knows if he
didn`t get health care, if something happened to him, she`d have to pay for
it, right?

SHARPTON: Yes. Yes, yes.

OBAMA: You know, young people are not just living out there on their own.
If they get sick and can`t afford it, who`s going to come in and clean up
that financial mess but the parents and grandparents who about them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Maria, she really laid it on the line, and not only did she talk
about the are not invincible, she talked about the burden that they put on
their parents, grandparents, and they need to think about this. I mean,
this was plainspoken, right to the point.

KUMAR: She was incredibly clear. And I think something that she
highlighted earlier and something that Congresswoman Bass just mentioned is
that this is about preventative care, number one. So, you want to make
sure that you are healthy. But also, you don`t know what curve life is
going to take you. And unfortunately in our family, we had a tragedy and
luckily she was 26 and was able to get on her parents` plan. But she was
26, healthy, a she had a brain tumor, something she would never have
guessed. And it`s these types of cases that it is matter if it is you are
20s, you are 50s, or 60s, you don`t know what life holds, what kind of
cards you have. So the best thing you do is get preventative care.

And she`s absolutely right because if we don`t get young people who for the
most people are incredibly healthy right now, if we don`t get t them
enrolled, what is going to happen is that everybody`s premiums are going to
go up. And then, one day, they`re going to wake up and say, you know, I
want insurance and all of the sudden their premiums are going to go up.
That`s why you have the Republicans such as the heritage foundation
discouraging young people because they want this policy to fail. They want
people`s premiums to go up. And we want to make sure that the young people
are enrolling so that they basically have fair prices.

SHARPTON: But, you know, congresswoman, Republicans will say anything, and
I mean anything to try to fear monger over this law. On Monday,
Congressman Darrell Issa was attacking the navigators who explain the law
and help people sign up. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: These
individual, these so-called navigators don`t follow any of the rules that
every state in the union has for insurance people. This is basically just
a, another form of community organizing paid for with your tax dollars, an
Acorn revisited, if you will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Never misses an opportunity to compare anything to Acorn, just
something to Acorn. But then last night, Congressman Issa tried to scare
people away from the Web site, saying it was not secure. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISSA: We have a lot of investigations. But the privacy of the American
people is paramount, and this is one where the jury is not just out, but
the information continues to come in, telling us that we`re not secure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Democrats say that Issa`s just cherry picking
information and trying to make the Web site seem bad. And the security is
fine, Congresswoman.

BASS: Well, I think it absolutely is, but Darrell Issa has been on this
crusade for the last three years that I`ve been in congress. Every month
or so he comes up with some new issue to attack the president for. It is
really shameful. I mean, Darrell Issa is the richest member of Congress,
worth over $100 million. And so I`m sure --

SHARPTON: Yes. But, say that again. Wait a minute. Rewind that.
Darrell Issa is what?

BASS: He is the richest member of Congress. He is worth over $100
million. And I think that it is just not within his thinking that he can
imagine. I wished I could take him to spend a day in the emergency room
with me so he can see what happens when people don`t have insurance.

I think, you know, I think about ten years from now, and I just can`t
believe that some of my Republican colleagues aren`t going to be shamed and
embarrassed at what they did, what efforts they went through to prevent
people from getting health insurance. It`s really shameful, and I know
they`re going to look back at this with regret.

SHARPTON: They are definitely, well, they should, anyway, Maria, look back
at this with regret.

KUMAR: Well, and I think what the Republican party you actually have folks
such as Representative Coburn come out and actually say this is actually
working. The Web site is working. And now, they`re trying to find other
problems with the Web site.

But fundamentally, in what Darrell Issa is talking about the navigators.
He is right. They are grassroots organizers. Why? Because the only way
we can make sure people are getting enrolled is by word of mouth by trusts
sources and that is not wrong. That is exactly what we need.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Karen Bass and Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you both
for your time.

BASS: Thanks for having us on.

KUMAR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: And you can hear my full interview with first lady Michelle
Obama tomorrow on my radio show. Check your local radio one affiliate.

Coming up, President Obama fighting for unemployment benefits. There`s a
new plan, the new numbers calling for fairness.

Plus, too rich to jail? Our last ditch legal effort to put the teen in the
affluenza case behind bars. We`re live in Texas.

And Mitt Romney as you haven`t seen him. An amazing look behind the scenes
on the night he lost the election.

And President Obama and Steve Harvey crash a White House tour. You have to
see this. I`m guaranteeing a smile tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Got ears just like me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes.

B. OBAMA: Has anybody ever said that? That`s good, man. That gives you
some special power.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: That music means one thing. Your political favorite awards show
is coming soon. The Revvies are coming. What was the biggest story of the
year? The best political move of the year? And the worst? It`s time to
vote.

Voting is open right now. Head to our facebook page to help us decide who
gets a Revy this year. We can`t wait to hear what you have to say.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: A new plan to fend off attacks from right wing budget hacks. In
just 10 days, over one million Americans will lose unemployment benefits.
But Senate Democrats are fighting back, revealing a new plan that calls for
a three-month extension for now.

Republicans are blocking it, but the White House is on record today, saying
it will push the measure in coming weeks. This plan should be bipartisan.
The American people want action. They want economic fairness.

Today we learned 57 percent think government should take steps to reduce
the gap between wealthy and less well-off Americans and 66 percent support
an increase in the minimum wage.

But right-wingers in Congress are out of touch with reality. Today, the
Senate voted to pass the new budget, and congressman Paul Ryan is actually
gloating that it doesn`t extend jobless benefits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I got 70 percent of
what we wanted. Over the life of the sequester we keep 92 percent of it in
fact. They wanted a big unemployment extension. They did not get that.
No stimulus spending. No 13th extension of the emergency unemployment
provision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Blocking jobless benefits is what he wanted, but it`s not what
Americans want. And President Obama and the Democrats are fighting back.

Joining me now are Corey Dade, contributing editor at "The Root," and
political strategist Angela Rye.

Thank you for both for coming on the show.

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thank you, Rev.

COREY DADE, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, THE ROOT: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Angela, the White House is pushing this three-month extension of
jobless benefits. What do they need to do to pressure Republicans?

RYE: Well, I think they have to continue to tell the truth. This is a
political problem that really shouldn`t be one that is partisan, right? I
mean, economics benefit the country in total, whether you are a Democrat,
Republican or somewhere in between. So, the fact that people need to have
funds to buy groceries, to buy other things. The fact that they have not,
the fact that there is a condition of have-nots makes business have less.
So, it absolutely an economic imperative for both parties.

SHARPTON: And isn`t Cory, that the point because the more that you have in
the hands of citizens, the more they`re going to consume, the more money
there is for everybody. It helps the economy. And when we look at the
details of this plan it would extend long-term unemployment benefits for
three months. It`s designed to buy Congress time so it can create a
longer-term fix. And it would cover 1.3 million unemployed Americans.

DADE: That`s right, Rev. You have more than four million Americans now
who have been without work for more than six months. And so, while the
unemployment rate keeps going down, steadily, you still have about 40
percent of the unemployed universe is made up of people who have been
unemployed for more than 37 weeks.

So, we are not talking about quick fixes that can be done. And you know,
in the meantime, you know, Republicans continue to grumble about extending
these unemployment benefits, but they know that it`s politically popular
that it effects Republicans, independents, Democrats. There is no
partisanship around the people who are out of work. And that`s going to be
a key issue when they start campaigning in some of those battleground
districts and some of those states where Republicans are under pressure.

SHARPTON: You know, Angela, in the first segment I was talking about how
health care is about real people. In ten days, 1.3 million real people,
real people, forget Republican and Democrat, will not be getting coverage,
unemployment that they have in many cases depended on. Listen to real
people how this will impact.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sick, I was almost sick to my stomach. I`m like, how
can they do people like this. My family is, our basis financially. I
mean, we`ve exhausted our savings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you ready to see me on the street begging for
food? You know. I know I`m not ready to. I can be a very contributing
member of society.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know what we`ll do. My husband is not
working. He`s unable to work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Angela, these are real people. I mean, how can, I don`t care
what side of the aisle you sit, or what your politics. How can you ignore
that?

RYE: You shouldn`t ignore it and you shouldn`t be able to in good
conscience. I think the challenge is at some point along the way, they
forgot that the folks who are needing unemployment benefits now, were at
one point employed and tax-paying Americans. And because they were
taxpayers, they should be able to benefit from those tax dollars.

Again, we`ve talked about this ad nauseam that it`s not a partisan issue.
But then, why today, when ejected or rejected retry to introduce this
proposal, this amendment, was it merely rejected by the GOP on the Senate
side?

What is going on? Where is the conscience in, OK, these folks are
unemployed and we don`t have an immediate solution and we`re not even
trying to have one. We`re on to the debt ceiling fight to figure out where
we can get cash in some more partisanship.

SHARPTON: You know, Corey, the president said this month that confronting
income inequality is the defining challenge of our time. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

B. OBAMA: A dangerous and growing inequality in 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
decreased mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American dream, our way
of life and what we stand for around the globe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: How do we get this Congress to deal with the beginning steps of
dealing with this challenge of our time?

DADE: Rev., not to be pessimistic, but I don`t see them doing that. This
is a do-nothing Congress. They are now going to go on to history as being
one of the least productive in history. There is this cognitive distance
between the what they are doing in Washington and their supporters in their
districts who are actually hurting and there`s not enough of a ground swell
of independents, Democrats who are going to come out in the midterm who are
going to force them to take this to account next year. So --

RYE: They actually, can, though, Rev. Because this is polling very well,
fairness polls very well. So, if they push back on the fairness issues, it
could happen.

SHARPTON: Well, that is why we have to keep fighting. That is why we
will.

And Corey, you said one of the most -- least productive Congress.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Angela Rye and Corey Dade, thank you both for your time this
evening.

RYE: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, big news tonight in the so-called affluenza case.
There`s a new push for prison time for the teenager who some say was too
rich for jail.

And a White House tour gets a presidential surprise. And there was a
special guest with him. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Imagine being on a White House tour and the president drops in.
Well, it happened. The president was spreading the Christmas cheer, and he
brought along a special guest -- TV personality, Steve Harvey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

B. OBAMA: Hey, guys. I got Steve Harvey here. How are you? What`s your
name, Sweetheart?

What`s going on, man? What`s your name? You got ears just like me.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Yes.

OBAMA: Has anybody ever said that? That`s good, man. That gives you some
special power. Good to see you. Oh that`s so sweet. Thank you.

(INAUDIBLE)

Happy birthday.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, my god.

OBAMA: How are you? What`s your name?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Janea.

OBAMA: Hi, Janea. All right. Merry Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I love you too.

OBAMA: You know, Steve --

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`ve never been ignored these many times ever.

OBAMA: They just can`t see you behind the decorations.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: No, no, no. This is really cool. How are you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What a memory for those on tour. Merry Christmas to them.
Merry Christmas to the president. And Merry Christmas to you, Cedric, I
mean, Steve.

And coming up, we`re staying with the Christmas spirit. The right wing
declares an end to the war on Christmas. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: There`s a major breakthrough in the case of the Texas teen who
some say was too rich to jail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Tonight there is a new effort now to put a teenage drunk
driver behind bars.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: They could have a new shot at putting Ethan Couch
behind bars.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: New developments in the drunk driving case of the Ethan
Couch. Overnight, the DA`s office announcing it will push once again for
the teen`s incarceration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Just this week, prosecutors had said that there was no way to
appeal Ethan Couch`s ten year probation sentence for killing four people
while drunk driving, but now the district attorney in the case has turned
his attention elsewhere. He wants Ethan Couch to serve time for the two
teens who were severely injured in the crash. They include Sergio Molina
who was left paralyzed when he was thrown from Couch`s truck as well as
another young man who suffered broken bones and internal injuries. The
D.A. says, there has been no verdict formally entered into the two
intoxication assault cases, every case deserves a verdict. If sentenced,
Couch could get up to three years in Texas juvenile justice facility.
Another shout at justice for all the families, including that of Sergio
Molina whose brother joined me last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX LEMUS, BROTHER OF PARALYZED IN ACCIDENT: Look at the lost ones. Look
at my brother, you know. My brother has a life sentence, a conviction of
something that he obviously did not plan for. You know? And this man, or
this child, I mean, he doesn`t even have one day in any kind of jail or
anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Finally, a new shot at justice for those victims.

Joining me now is Texas Attorney Cade Bernsen and Faith Jenkins, a former
prosecutor. Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.

FAITH JENKINS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Thank you.

CADE BERNSEN, TEXAS ATTORNEY: Hi, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Cade, let me start with you. What do you make of this latest
news?

BERNSEN: I find some hope in it. I do think it was a little strange that
there has not been judgments, punishments levied for all of the crimes that
were put against him. You know, he had the four vehicular manslaughter,
and then he`s got now the two vehicular assaults, I`m surprised they didn`t
give sentencing out for those two other crimes. But now is the opportunity
to do it. And I hope, I`m sure the families are very, very hopeful that
the judge will do the right thing this time and put him behind bars.

SHARPTON: Now, Faith, the official investigative report from the Ethan
Couch case shows that on the night of the crash, friends told him he was
too drunk to drive and then immediately prior to the crash, a friend told
him to slow down, but he speeded up to 70 miles per hour.

JENKINS: Right. I mean the behavior was completely egregious. And those
are fact that the judge should have taken into accounts when she render
punishment here, I`m not as optimistic as my colleague. Ethan pleaded
guilty to six counts here, the four counts of manslaughter and also the
intoxicated assault counts. I think perhaps there was an oversight if she
didn`t render a verdict on those last two assault counts. Because clearly
she looked at the most serious charges, the manslaughter charges where four
people were killed, and decided that this case warranted probation.

So, to me, that says she`s not going to look at those lesser counts and
think that they warrant jail, because she`s already decided against the
most serious charges. Judges have a lot of latitude. What she did was
within the statutory parameters. And that`s when you look at a judges
discretion and you start questioning it. Because here I think she made the
wrong decision.

SHARPTON: Now, Cade, one thing is not in dispute is the civil suit. And
there is some new developments, at least in my, brought to my attention
that there`s new attention being directed at Ethan Couch`s family. Because
his defense was that he was wealthy from a wealthy family and didn`t know
the consequences. Would that involve the assets and wealth of his parents?
He also had access to a 4,000 square foot house where he often stayed
alone. It was available for him to party in unsupervised. This also
brings in his parents -- Cade.

BERNSEN: Yes, Reverend, you`re right. I think his defense may have
overlooked this and may have opened the door for some enterprising
plaintiff attorneys to come through. If you`re going to claim that his
defense and why he shouldn`t go to jail is because his parents, he wasn`t
supervised properly and he was able to drink and drive with no consequences
time and again, they have basically handed the victims` plaintiff attorneys
a strong, strong case to go against his parents in civil court.

And unfortunately, sometimes, as Faith knows, we don`t get justice in the
criminal courts, and we have to rely on the civil courts to try to seek
justice, although no amount of money will ever bring back a family member
or heal a paralyzed person. But because of this junk science affluenza
defense, I think the criminal defense attorneys have handed the plaintiff
attorneys a very, very strong case against his parents.

SHARPTON: What do you think, Faith? I mean, clearly, I agree you will
never be able to replace with any amount of money the four lives lost or
the young man paralyzed. But haven`t they opened the door to these parents
and their assets and their wealth now being fair, fairly brought in to this
civil proceeding?

JENKINS: Absolutely. And normally, parents aren`t just automatically
responsible for the sins of their children, but here, the plaintiffs`
attorneys are going to argue that the parents` negligence contributed to
Ethan`s behavior and his criminal behavior that resulted in the loss of all
of those lives and people being seriously injured. They`re going to argue
that they knew he had a propensity to drink, but they still gave him a
truck to drive every single day. They knew that when he lived alone in
this 4,000 square foot house that he partied. He had unsupervised parties
and kids were drinking at those parties. Those are going to be the
arguments that the plaintiffs` attorneys make to say, these parents are --
they negligently contributed to the downfall of this young man and the fact
that he committed these crimes.

SHARPTON: And Cade, it wasn`t like this same young man had not had
encounters at least with the law where he was, we understand from reports,
had been talked to before about drinking and found one time passed out in
the car with a naked 14 year old female. And there`s also new attention
being directed at the family. Ethan Couch`s father, Fred Couch, had up to
23 police records. They included charges of criminal mischief, theft by
check and assault. All the cases were dismissed.

BERNSEN: Reverend, this story just keeps getting more interesting by the
day, but in Texas, you know, we call it negligent entrustment. And Faith`s
right, just because a child goes out and gets in a wreck and hurts someone,
you can`t just get the parent for that, because it may not be their fault,
but if you show a history that these parents were on notice that their
child was acting in this irresponsible manner then they`ve got a case.
They`ve got a strong case. And this affluenza junk Science defense may
actually backfire on them.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. Cade Bernsen and Faith
Jenkins, thank you both for your time tonight.

JENKINS: Thank you.

BERNSEN: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the election night video you didn`t see, until now.
What Mitt Romney said when he realized he`d lost?

But first, what`s really behind the right wing`s phony war on Christmas?
Ho, ho, holy cow, you`ve got to see it. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Good news, America! Bill O`Reilly has won the war on Christmas,
according to Bill O`Reilly. Just watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Then the ACLU, as you know, over the years
has spent an enormous amount of money trying to terrorize certain school
districts into browbeating the public schools that you can`t have Christmas
carols or you can`t have a Christmas wreath or a Christmas scandal or
menorah or whatever it may be. We`ve beaten those packs. They`ve lost
almost everyone in the courts. Then the state of Rhode Island as you
pointed out last year said, no more Christmas tree, holiday tree, today the
governor, this season, the Governor Chafee reversed. All of those things
happened because we, we attacked them. We challenged them. So therefore,
it isn`t a mythical war on Christmas. It`s real. And we just won.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The war on Christmas is over? Well, somebody tell the folks at
FOX Nation website. Today`s headline, the war on Christmas. FOX Nation`s
full coverage of the untold stories. Oops. The truth is right-wingers
invented the war on Christmas solely as an excuse to attack people, mostly
on the left, who they claim don`t respect true religious, the true
religious meaning of Christmas. But the right`s hypocrisy`s put them on
the politics nation`s naughty list. Here are some examples of our facts
has covered the important religious holiday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Tis the season to be jolly and for rum maker Bacardi
that has many spirits under its umbrella, that can mean huge sales. People
like to imbibe and imbabe. I`m mispronouncing everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You haven`t been touching --

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I haven`t been touching the Bombay sapphire.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The ugly Christmas sweater trend isn`t just here to
stay, it seems to be growing as well.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do you like you ugly Christmas sweater?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, it is ugly.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Those are ugly.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Those are uglier.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Norad wants to have escorts jets, they`re not armed,
there`s no bombs. It`s a matter of honor, it`s an honor guard for Santa.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: For the holidays, I would go with handshake and --
because it`s very easy to make.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: OK. It`s also very good for you because all you need
are lines, sugar and Bacardi rum. Healthy and easy to drink.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`m a mojito girl with the Bacardi rum.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Nothing says respect for Christmas like a little rum. Or this,
FOX Nation`s photo of the day, a Victoria`s secret model on the beach
wearing reindeer antlers. So, tonight, we have to wonder, who`s really
waging a war on Christmas?

Joining me now is Joe Madison. Thanks for being here.

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Joe, this war on Christmas people have a holier than thou
attitude. But it`s not like they`re always talking about the reason for
the season.

MADISON: And the reason for the season is that I was naked and you clothed
me.

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: I was hungry and you fed me. We forget Jesus was homeless and
Mary was homeless and Joseph was homeless. They didn`t have a place to
stay on Christmas. They had to stay in a manger. The reason for Christmas
is not whether Santa Claus is black or white, Reverend Sharpton, it`s the
spirit of Santa Claus. So I would ask the people at FOX, what color is the
spirit? Spirit has no color.

SHARPTON: But I think also, when you deal with the hypocrisy, where
they`re attacking others, and, well, let me show you something as
blatantly. You heard them talking about the holiday tree rather than
Christmas tree at all. Well, sometimes FOX News seems to be part of the
war on Christmas. Watch this clip carefully to see what FOX News shows
after Bill O`Reilly teases his war on Christmas segment. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: Next on the run down, Crowley and Colmes react to that to the
epidemic of lying to the USA. Then Bernie Goldberg on how corporations
including big media are handling the massive Christmas commerce. Factor`s
is coming right back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: Now he just promoted this war on Christmas. How people won`t
say, Christmas are -- religious only holidays. And right after, FOX goes
to break on happy holidays.

MADISON: Yes. That`s because they`re commercial venture.

(LAUGHTER)

That`s exactly right. Look, it`s almost, you wonder, what do Jewish people
and Muslim people think when you want to greet them? I mean, they respect
us. They will say to me --

SHARPTON: And we respect them.

MADISON: Yes. And let`s be quite honest. The reason people say --

SHARPTON: But you have Jewish holidays around the --

MADISON: That`s why you say Happy Hanukkah.

SHARPTON: And you have Kwanzaa. And I believe in Jesus, I believe in the
birth of Jesus. I also believe in Kwanzaa.

MADISON: And I also believe that I respect everyone else`s right in their
belief.

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: And it`s all inclusive. If there`s anything this holiday time
does, it makes us all inclusive. That`s really what this is all about.
This, it`s also a distraction. It`s a distraction because if you really
believe in the spirit of Christ, you don`t get rid of unemployment. You
don`t get rid of food stamps and have people hungry three days after
Christmas with nowhere to go. You don`t do that. You bring the spirit of
Jesus into public policy.

SHARPTON: Well, it seems very strange that you would celebrate as I do,
the coming of someone, but not celebrate why he came. So, I mean, the
reason that you celebrate his coming is because of what he did in coming
and what he did after he came, not just that he came. So I think that
there`s a little hypocrisy and posturing going on.

MADISON: Let the church say amen.

SHARPTON: At least twice. Joe Madison, thank you for your time tonight
and Merry Christmas.

MADISON: And Merry Christmas and happy holiday and Kwanzaa and anything
else you`d like.

SHARPTON: All right. Coming up, a remarkable look behind the scenes the
night Mitt Romney lost. It will surprise you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SHARPTON: How did Mitt Romney react the night he lost the election to
President Obama? We have a remarkable look behind the scenes tonight.
That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, a remarkable look behind the scenes of the 2012
election. A new documentary goes inside Mitt Romney`s campaign, including
election night when he realized he`d lost.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I just can`t believe you`re going to lose.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So what do you think you say in a concession speech?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: By the way, somebody have a number for the president?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I do.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: OK. Hadn`t thought about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If you don`t win, we`ll still love you. The country may
think of you as a laughingstock, and we`ll know the truth, and that`s OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Just get beat up constantly, Mitt Romney`s a flip-flop,
constantly -- is it worth it?

ROMNEY: It`s like trying to convince people that Dan Quayle is smart. And
maybe I`ve got to live with that. In which case I think I`m a flawed
candidate.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: A year as we told you no matter how this thing turned
out.

ROMNEY: Now you`re not so sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Now we`re not so sure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Sometimes in the heat of a campaign, it`s hard to remember.
People are people. Everybody should be respected. On election night, Mitt
Romney gave a very gracious concession speech. And President Obama had
some kind words for Romney in his speech as well. It was a lesson in
democracy and good manners. You can disagree with policies, and I disagree
with pretty much all of Mitt Romney`s, but you can do it without being
disagreeable. Politics doesn`t have to get personal.

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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