updated 1/6/2014 10:54:48 AM ET 2014-01-06T15:54:48

POLITICS NATION
December 27, 2013

Guests: Karen Bass, Corey Dade, Karen Finney, Alex Seitz-Wald, Angela Rye, Maria Teresa Kumar, Jimmy Williams

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": Welcome to POLITICS
NATION. Thank you for tuning in. I`m live tonight from Miami.

Tonight`s lead, the ax is about to fall. And Republicans don`t care
at all. In just six hours, over one million Americans will lose long-term
unemployment benefits. Why? Because House Republicans went on holiday
break without fixing this. Despite the economic recovery, long-term
unemployment is at its highest level since World War II. Every day we`re
hearing more stories from ordinary Americans. Bracing for the pain coming
at midnight tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What if we no longer have a place keep the baby?
You know? What if we, you know, no longer are able to offer her a safe
place to live?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Where`s my kids? I got three at home. I have to
feed them. I have to keep my rent.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I have 20 bucks in my wallet. I am at homeless.
I get you have to cut your bottom line. But if you`re cutting the bottom
line and starving people doing it, how does that make sense?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It doesn`t make sense. These are just a few stories of
the 1.3 million losing benefits tonight. This is about people, not
politics. In fact, in 2008 President George W. Bush signed long-term
benefits extension into law. This shouldn`t be a partisan issue. But
Speaker Boehner`s Republican House turned it into one. It`s a heartless
ideology that says if you`re out of work, you`re out of luck. Today
President Obama again demanded Congress act promptly on this in the New
Year. And he placed calls to two Senate co-sponsors of a proposal to
extend jobless benefits for three months.

Pushing his support for the measure. The fight is on in the richest
country in the world. There`s no excuse for this. I hope Republicans
think long and hard about these Americans tonight and come back to
Washington ready to act.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Karen Bass, democrat from California.
And Corey Dade, contributing editor at "The Root." Thank you both for
being here.

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

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

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, hours from now about 215,000 people in your
home state of California will lose unemployment benefits. What are you
hearing from constituents and what`s your response to Republicans failing
to act?

BASS: Well, first of all, my initial response was to vote no on the
budget for exactly that purpose. You know, you`re right. Over 200,000
people in California and many of the Republican districts you know that
there are tens of thousands of people that are unemployed. And they put
out this position that unemployment checks is a disincentive to work. Now,
you tell me how $300 a week could be is disincentive for anything. I think
it is very mean spirited that we would go or begin the year with people
being cut off. So I`m certainly going to do everything I can to push when
I get back not only that we extend the unemployment benefits, but we need
to address the reason why people are unemployed which means jobs.

SHARPTON: Right. Let me go to you, Corey. You know, the long-term
unemployment figures have remained high through the economic recovery. 4.1
million Americans have been out a job for 27 weeks or longer. It`s the
highest rate of long-term unemployment since World War II.

DADE: That`s right, Rev. And, you know, when we think about the full
unemployment universe, 40 percent of all the people who were unemployed are
in this long-term category. People have been out of work for six months or
longer. And here`s the scariest part about it. There`s a study out by the
Urban Institute that shows that if you have been without a job 27 weeks or
longer, six months or longer, you have about a 12 percent chance of getting
a job in any given month. And the longer you go without a job, the harder
it is. They`re finding that employers are actually discriminating against
people who`ve been out of work that long because they`re somehow not
employable. So it gets worse.

SHARPTON: Now the Urban Institute figure is 12 percent?

DADE: Twelve percent chance.

SHARPTON: You know, Congresswoman, when you hear that, Congresswoman
Bass and then you hear the statement by Tea Party Senator Rand Paul who
actually said, extending unemployment weakens Americans. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Does it make sense for a country to
borrow money from China to give it to the unemployed in America? That is
weakening us as a country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASS: You know, I just --

SHARPTON: But -- but the fact is -- before you answer, the fact is I
just want to put all this in front of you. You know, aid to unemployed
Americans would actually help the economy. I mean, economists say it would
create 200,000 jobs next year by boosting consumer demand. Meantime,
failing to extend the benefits could cost the country 300,000 jobs. I
mean, it is on its face factually incorrect, what Senator Paul is saying.

BASS: Well, absolutely. Because you are talking about money that
would be given to people who are unemployed that would go right back into
the economy. It`s the same logic around food stamps. When people have
food stamps, they are putting it back into local economy because they are
buying foods which keeps people employed. But, you know, if you think
about the fact that the unemployment has lingered for so long even though
the economy is getting better, can you imagine how the economy could and
should be roaring right now if it hadn`t have been for so many self-
inflicted wounds that Congress has done on the economy. We could have
passed the president`s job act. We could be investing in infrastructure.
There are so many things we could be doing right now to address
unemployment, but the Congress refuses to act.

SHARPTON: You know, there are some that are acting, Corey. A
progressive group that had planned a campaign, TV campaign nationally
slamming Republicans over unemployment benefits has launched. Look at
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You know who had a Merry Christmas? The richest
one percent, that`s who. Republicans in Congress made sure of that
protecting billions in taxpayer giveaways. And for those facing tough
times, Republicans stripped 1.3 million Americans of jobless benefits.
Folks who want to work but cannot find a job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Could this, Corey, have an impact on some of these
congressmen to move quickly when they come back because now their voters in
a midterm election will be seeing ads like this?

DADE: Rev, yes, this is where it does hit home. This kind of
messaging can help in those districts where you have vulnerable
Republicans. Take New Jersey for example, the land of Chris Christie. As
a share of its population, New Jersey is going to get hit the worst by
this.

SHARPTON: Right.

DADE: There are 90,000 people will lose those checks. That is one
percent of the population of New Jersey. That has real political power.

SHARPTON: Now, Congresswoman, if you look at the big picture,
Americans are with the president. And they`re with him on unemployment
insurance and other progressive economic --

BASS: Minimum wage.

SHARPTON: Right. Minimum wage. Fifty five percent support extending
jobless benefits. Sixty nine percent support him with the minimum wage.
Fifty seven percent say the government should take action to reduce the
income gap. So when Corey talks about states like New Jersey, Chris
Christie`s state who`s being touted as a potential candidate in `16 and who
has Congressional races in the midterm elections year next year, when we
look at that and look at the polling of how most Americans are with the
president on progressive issues, when the rubber meets the road, we may be
able to drive the car somewhere.

BASS: And let me tell you, we have to drive the car somewhere. I
mean, I think our responsibility and you do it so well every day, Rev, our
responsibility is to get that information out there. If we could organize
the unemployed in Republican districts and get them out to vote, I think
we could bring about the change we need which is new leadership in the
House of Representatives.

SHARPTON: Thank you Congresswoman Karen Bass and Corey Dade, thank
you both for your time tonight. And have a happy and productive New Year.

BASS: Same to you.

DADE: Same to you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, it`s been a record-setting year for Speaker
Boehner, but I don`t think he`ll be popping the champagne to celebrate this
one.

And it`s become a conservative talking point. That 2013 was a
horrible year for President Obama. We`ve got evidence proving them wrong.

Plus, breaking news tonight. The "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson
suspension has been lifted. Tonight. And more Republicans continue
defending him. But why is one now calling him a hero? It`s a big show
ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Ahead, breaking news on the "Duck Dynasty" star
suspension. It`s been lifted. And more Republicans are out supporting
him. More on that coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s an annual tradition, the way millions of Americans
around the country ring in the New Year. That`s right. The New Year`s Eve
ball drop.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(crowd): Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But the Times Square ball wasn`t the only thing that
dropped in 2013. So did Congress` approval rating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: Are you kidding me?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I wish I were, Speaker Boehner, but I`m not. This year
Congress` approval hit an all-time low of nine percent. Nine percent.
Single digits. Speaker Boehner`s Congress was less popular than a used car
salesman, than root canals, than cockroaches, than Brussels sprouts, even
less popular than Donald Trump. Wow. That`s saying something. But why
are they so unpopular? Well, for one thing, they didn`t really do
anything.

They only passed 66 laws this year. Lowest number in four decades.
And a lot of those laws did nothing more than name post offices. What
about gun control? What about immigration? What about passing a minimum
wage? It`s not surprising only nine percent approval of Congress. I think
someone has someone has resolutions to make.

Joining me now is Karen Finney. Thank you for being here, Karen.

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

SHARPTON: A record-breaking year for Speaker Boehner`s House. Nine
percent approval rating. What should his resolution be, Karen? What
should his New Year`s resolution be for 2014?

FINNEY: I think he needs to resolve to keep that spine that he seemed
to have found, you know, in those last weeks with that clip you showed.
You know, he did OK. He actually stood up and decided to be the speaker of
the house. So if he could resolve to just do that a few more times, I
think that would very much benefit the country.

SHARPTON: You know, something that was interesting to me is this
year, Karen, the Republican House of Representatives worked an average of
just 28 hours a week.

FINNEY: Yes.

SHARPTON: Now, this is a party who many of the Republicans as they
did little work, they relentlessly accused poor Americans of not working.
Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There is dignity in work.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Self-reliance means if anyone
will not work, neither should he eat.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Rather be having the dignity of work to provide for
their family.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The dignity of a job is what things should be about
in these programs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, these are people that work 28 hours a week as an
average. I don`t think I worked those hours since I left the maternity
ward.

FINNEY: That`s exactly right. Not only have they been working fewer
hours, they`ve been working fewer days. Where are they right now? They`re
at home. They`re on vacation. How many times have they taken vacation? I
mean, wouldn`t most of us all love to have that kind of schedule and make a
six figure salary?

SHARPTON: And over and over again, the House has refused to pass
legislation that was popular with the vast majority of Americans. It`s
like they`re not listening to the constituents that send them to
Washington. Ninety two percent supported universal background checks.
They did nothing.

FINNEY: Yes.

SHARPTON: Sixty nine percent support raising minimum wage. They did
nothing. Sixty three percent support a pathway to citizenship. They did
nothing. Will the midterm elections come in a way that would bring them a
message of doing nothing about the things that the vast majority of
Americans want is not the way you get re-elected or advance yourself
politically, Karen?

FINNEY: Well, I hope so. That`s the opportunity that every American
has right now. And I hope that people -- you know, you talked about the
polls where people are feeling so low about Congress. I hope people
remember that next year. They remember that things were not getting done.
And I think literally in a GOP caucus meeting, they held up a blank piece
of paper and admitted, that was their agenda.

People need to remember that next fall when they go to the polls that
when you let Republicans be in charge, you get nothing. And the only way
we`re going to move forward with a lot of the ideas that the president has
put forward, those ideas, those things that you just put up on the screen,
is if we have a Congress that believes in getting something done. Not in
the sort of politics of trying to block the president.

SHARPTON: You know, this year Speaker Boehner talking about blocking
the president, Speaker Boehner said the GOP should be judged by how many
laws it repeals. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS NEWS: Any way you cut it and whoever`s fault it
is, you have presided over what is perhaps the least productive and
certainly one of the least popular Congresses in history. How do you feel
about that?

BOEHNER: Well, Bob, we should not be judged on how many new laws we
create. We ought to be judged on how many laws that we repeal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FINNEY: OK.

SHARPTON: So don`t judge us by what we do. Judge us by what we stop
from being done or repealed that has already been done. It`s amazing.

FINNEY: Right. But they didn`t end up -- if that`s their goal, they
did not repeal the health care law. That is now law that is starting to
help people.

SHARPTON: That`s for sure.

FINNEY: But yes, they blocked a lot of very important things. But
again Rev, people have to remember that when they go to the polls next
November.

SHARPTON: Karen Finney, thanks for your time tonight. And be sure to
watch "Disrupt" with Karen Finney weekends 4:00 p.m. Eastern right here on
MSNBC.

Coming up, the right keeps declaring the end of the Obama presidency.
But he keeps proving them wrong.

And breaking news tonight on the "Duck Dynasty" controversy. The
star`s suspension has been lifted. There`s much more, next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Still ahead, major news tonight on the "Duck Dynasty"
controversy. The star suspension has been lifted. This as new voices on
the right are coming out to support him. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: As this year comes to a close, all we`re hearing from the
right is doom and gloom about the Obama presidency. The sky is falling.
He`s done. He`s finished. He can`t govern. And this has become their
favorite talking point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You better hope this is the worst year of his
presidency because if it gets any worse, next year`s press conference at
the end of the year he`s going to have to do it holding a bottle of whiskey
in one hand and a box of Kleenex in the other.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: His presidency in my view and a credibility of his
presidency, and the relevance of his presidency is dramatically in question
today and I think he can`t recover from it.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It was a terrible year for the president. And
we`ve seen his disproval ratings. And a lot of Americans do not have trust
and faith in the commander in chief.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Who thinks this was a year of Obama`s
collapse? Raise your hands. Got a shot. Wow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I`d wait just a second before raising your hands. Before
leaving for vacation, the president was asked about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Has this been the worst year of your presidency?

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I got to tell you, Julie,
that`s not how I think about it. We have had ups and we have had downs. I
think this room has probably recorded at least 15 near-death experiences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Fifteen near-death experiences. From the start they
counted him out and said his presidency was over. After the BP Oil spill
they asked, should President Obama resign over February 13? Benghazi was
supposed to cost him his presidency. They called Hurricane Sandy President
Obama`s Katrina. Oh. And did you hear ObamaCare was also his Katrina
moment? Not to mention it was worse than terrorism. And Jim DeMint
infamously said, ObamaCare was going to be the president`s waterloo. It
would destroy him.

Let`s remember, President Obama won the 2012 election by over five
million votes. But there`s no question the president has had a tough year.
Sure, his poll numbers are down. But just think about what the president
has accomplished this year. He`s just signed a bipartisan budget bill.
It`s not perfect, but it`s progress. He fought off the GOP hostage takers
over the debt ceiling and shutdown. ObamaCare is here. And not going
anywhere. It`s already helping millions of Americans even after a rocky
start. Despite all those so-called near-death experiences, he`s still
here. He`s still fighting, and I wouldn`t count him out.

Joining me now is national journal Politico correspondent Alex Seitz-
Wald. He`s recently wrote about President Obama`s resilience. It`s
titled, "Can Obama Recover? He Already Did." And political strategist
Angela Rye. Thank you both for being here.

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thank you, Rev.

ALEX SEITZ-WALD, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Alex, with all the talk about President Obama being
finished, how do you respond?

SEITZ-WALD: Well, I hate to break it to the critics here, but Obama
is still the president. He`s still got two more years. And that`s thanks
to a little thing called the constitution. And the president is still the
most powerful job in the world. There`s a lot of things that he can do
that other people can`t do. This seems like basic facts. But I guess we
need to remind people from time to time. So, yes, Congress is gone, but
Congress has been gone to him since Republicans, you know, took over in
2010.

Yes, he can`t get Republicans to do anything he wants but that`s been
the case since 2009 since the stimulus package. There are tons of things
he can do administratively on labor, on environment, cap and trade, on
immigration, all kinds of things he can do through the administration. And
the recent change in the rules in the filibuster is going to help him
confirm nominees and confirm judges to implement that agenda.

SHARPTON: You know, as Alex was talking Angela, not only are there
things he can do despite all of the obstructionists, there are some
concrete things that he has done.

RYE: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And as they keep acting as though he`s finished. He`s
managed to get things done. It reminds me of a reading of Mark Twain
saying rumors of my death are premature.

RYE: Sure, rev. You know, you just mentioned that there are some
things that he has done right. When you look at gun control, the president
enacted I think it was 24 executive actions right after Newtown. When the
Senate and the House failed to act. When there were real disasters like
our economy on the brink. Not as a result of anything that he`d done but a
thing that happened during George W. Bush`s administration. He sprung into
action with the American recovery in reinvestment act. He`s sprung into
action with the Lilly Ledbetter Act. So what`s changed from when he was
first elected, Rev, to the second term?

I would argue that very clearly it is that the GOP took control of
the House. And they made it their mission to as Senator Mitch McConnell
said to make him a one-term president. Mitch McConnell was on board with
that plan and to that end, the Senate has filibustered most of his
nominees. And yes, to Alex`s point saying, goodness for the reform change.
We can expect that there will be people in high places that are critical to
ensuring that his agenda is actually implemented. They will have to see
those changes happen.

But yes, it`s definitely premature. And I think there`s a lot that
can be done. He`s tried to enact several things relative to comprehensive
immigration reform, relative to minimum wage, the American jobs act, all of
those things that he`s tried that they have single handedly blocked and the
American people have been kind of bamboozled because the Republicans have
been successful in the narrative that it is a failure of a presidency
rather than the failure of the house-led GOP.

SHARPTON: Alex, in your article you wrote last month about the GOP`s
ObamaCare obsession and what would happen. Let me quote from your article.
Without doubt, "HealthCare.gov`s danger to Obama, Democrats, and the entire
liberal agenda are real. But just as real a possibility is that the
website gets fixed sooner or later, builds confidence and users, and we all
move on to something else by New Year`s day."

Now, there are still issues. But new numbers out estimate that
between private plans and Medicaid expansion, 5.75 million Americans have
either signed up or qualified for health insurance under ObamaCare. So
Alex, are they ready to move on? President Obama on the offense on
ObamaCare. Where do you see the fight going?

SEITZ-WALD: Well, you know, I think they`re so convinced that this
thing is a train wreck and that the American people one day are just going
to wake up and decide that it is a train wreck. Despite all the evidence
to the contrary. So I think they`re too invested and too locked in. And
that`s really going to be a problem for them moving forward. They`re so
convinced that this thing is a train wreck, that as soon as, you know, more
people sign up and we already have five million, there`s going to be even
more as we get closer. The future deadlines in March. It`s going to be
really, really hard.

Impossible, probably, to roll this thing back. That means taking
away people`s health care. And if Republicans want to run on that in 2014,
a lot of Democrats are really excited to take the other side of that
argument and say all right. You want to take away these people`s health
care, sure, we can have that debate. But I don`t think it`s going to go
too well for them.

SHARPTON: Now, Angela, before leaving for Hawaii, the president kind
of projected and looked ahead to 2014. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Two thousand fourteen needs to be a year of action. We`ve
got work to do to create more good jobs, to help more Americans earn the
skills and education they need to do those jobs and to make sure that those
jobs offer the wages and benefits that let families build a little bit of
financial security. We`ve got to build on the progress we`ve painstakingly
made over these past five years with respect to our economy and offer to
the middle class and all those who are looking to join the middle class a
better opportunity. And that`s going to be where I focus all of my efforts
in the year ahead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He`s going to focus all of his efforts to make these
things happen, a year of action he said, Angela.

RYE: Sure. And Rev, we know that the widening gap between the rich
and the poor is causing major challenges for our economy. So, he`s wise to
focus there. But I also want to remind your viewers that this is not a new
agenda for the president, Rev. He said this during the State of the Union
Address earlier this year. He has consistently worked on these things.
Again we talked about Lilly Ledbetter earlier on in this particular block.
And I just think you have to really focus on what he`s done. He`s make
some other changes relative to contracting reform.

So, he`s trying to make this an easier lift for all of Americans.
And I think that we can also see him starting with the push with
unemployment benefits. The only way that the American people can get on
their feet and really have a level playing field is to ensure that they
have access to economics. And you have to make sure that they are starting
from the same place or at least a similar one.

SHARPTON: Alex Seitz-Wald and Angela Rye, thanks for your time and
have a Happy New Year.

RYE: Happy New Year, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, looking back on a remarkable year of action and
a future full of new challenges and political fights ahead.

And up next, breaking news on the "Duck Dynasty" controversy. The
star`s suspension has been lifted.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight on that "Duck Dynasty" controversy.
The A&E Network lifted Phil Robertson`s suspension. The show will resume
filming in the spring. Despite the anti-gay, racially charged comments
Robertson made to a magazine that provoked a firestorm of controversy. In
a statement, A&E said it reached the decision after consulting with
advocacy groups. And it said it will use this moment to launch a national
public service campaign promoting unity, tolerance, and acceptance. The
network`s decision comes after Robertson`s comments triggered condemnation
from many corners. But also statements from right wingers defending
Robertson. Including Sarah Palin, Senator Ted Cruz, and Louisiana Governor
Bobby Jindal.

Joining me now is Maria Teresa Kumar and Jimmy Williams. Thank you
both for being here with us. I was making sure you had gotten there,
Jimmy.

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

SHARPTON: Let me ask you first, Jimmy, your reaction to the
suspension being lifted.

JIMMY WILLIAMS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, I`m not surprised.
No one should be surprised by this. I mean, this is the number one
moneymaker for A&E. Advertisers flock to the show. So, if anybody thinks
this has anything to do with first amendment or freedom of religion is
widely deceived by the fact that A&E is in the business of doing one thing,
and one thing only, that is to make money, just like our network and that`s
OK. They`re allowed to go and make money. Unfortunately they`re making
money off the back of a homophobe and someone who thinks that black people
were happy wielding hoes in fields and they`re being happy about it and
singing spirituals.

This guy is delusional. That`s fine. He`s welcome to be. But A&E
is now going to continue paying him to be delusional. He went into his
church on Sunday and said he was going to hold strong. And then he also
said that he`s going to love every man and every woman and respect every
man and he`s not a hater. Well, guess what. He hates me because he thinks
that I am less than him because the bible tells him so. And he seems to
think that a 1950s black person is the sort of 21st century view of how all
black people live. That is not reality. And that`s sad. And A&E is now
condoning that. Again, that their right. It is their right to make money.
It is also our right to not watch that network.

SHARPTON: And let me first Maria make it clear what he said. Let`s
remind people. This is his statement. Robertson said, quote, "Start with
homosexual behavior and just morph out of there. Bestiality, sleeping
around. Don`t deceive yourself. It`s not right." And here`s what
Robertson said about growing up in Louisiana in the Jim Crow era. Quote,
"I never with my eyes saw the mistreatment of any black person. I hoed
cotton with them. I`m with the blacks because we`re white trash. We`re
going across the field. They`re singing and happy. Pre-entitlement, pre-
welfare. You say, were they happy? They were godly. They were happy."

These are the statements he made. Now, A&E saying, they talked to
advocacy groups. I don`t know who they spoke with. But people were
offended insulting came out. And full disclosure, National Action Network
was one, I don`t know who they spoke to, but clearly the position everyone
took was that he had the right to say whatever he wanted, but people had
the right to say they were not going to watch as Jimmy just said. And they
had a right to go to sponsors and say, we`re not going to support sponsors
supporting this kind of behaviors.

KUMAR: And I don`t think this is the last to it. I think the fact
that A&E had come out strong in saying that we were going to suspend him
and then come back and say, actually we`re going to lose too much money if
we do so, I think that is actually something the network hasn`t really felt
the brunt of the majority of true advocacy groups that believe not only
freedom of expression but also, the right to make sure that you`re not only
condoning but also providing a platform of divisive hateful speech. And
that`s what he did.

Again, everybody has the right to have a conversation to have their
feelings. But when those feelings don`t have consequences and you provide
it to a broad audience and you start shaping other people`s views. Rev,
you`re in the business of media. You know how impactful media can be in
shaping people`s perspective and reshaping history. The fact that he`s
right now saying that, pre-you know, in the 1950s that African-Americans
were proud and happy singing spirituals while they were working basically
to share crops for other people, that`s not true.

But you`re reshaping history and the reality. And there`s a danger
in that. And the fact that he`s moving forward and saying the same thing
saying everybody is equal unless you`re gay, there`s a danger in that. And
when you start looking at the majority of Americans, he`s on the wrong side
of the way the majority of Americans feel. So, while they may have had a
sliver of the advocacy groups, I don`t think that they`ve seen anything yet
from the majority of Americans.

SHARPTON: Now, Jimmy, we`ve heard the defenders of Robertson. As I
said, Sarah Palin who hadn`t even read what he said when she defended him
at first, and Governor Jindal, and others. But now there`s a new defender.
Meet Alabama Republican State Senator Jerry Fielding. He`s introducing a
resolution in support of Phil Robertson saying he should be celebrated as a
hero. And, quote, "Phil Robertson`s family values are shared by the vast
majority of Alabamians who are rightfully concerned by the vitriol aimed at
his Christian stance."

WILLIAMS: Yes. I have a problem with that as a Christian. I think
that`s just absolutely wrong. I would like to see someone in the Congress
Republican or Democrat for that matter offer a resolution saying that the
"Duck Dynasty" people are wonderful, godly Christian people. And I would
like to see exactly how both sides of the aisle would vote on something
like that. Listen, there`s no difference between that State Senator Phil
Robertson or whatever the heck his name is, George Wallace, Bull Connor,
Anita Bryant, or anyone else that runs around using a platform whether it
be on TV or from a pulpit or a state Senate seat or whatever it is to spout
out hatred towards other people. And they use the bible to do it. That`s
my biggest problem with this. You can go be a bigot at home. Go be a
bigot at home. Go be a homophobe. Go be a misogynist. But don`t use
taxpayer money as a paid state senator or as a paid spokesperson for the
orange juice industry or as the governor of Alabama or as a sheriff elected
duly by the people -- sort of stuff. That`s my bigger problem here. And
A&E is now condoning it and I`m not going to watch A&E.

SHARPTON: Maria Teresa Kumar and Jimmy Williams, I`m going to have to
leave it there. Thanks for your time tonight.

KUMAR: Thanks, Reverend.

WILLIAMS: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Have a Happy New Year.

WILLIAMS: Happy New Year to you too.

KUMAR: Thanks to you, Reverend. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, this was a remarkable year for progress from
the inauguration from President Obama to fight for rights all across the
country.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Fifty years ago, Dr. King looked back on a remarkable
year. Fifty years later, it`s been another remarkable year of fighting for
rights and progress, that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Fifty years ago, Dr. King and other civil rights leaders
looked back on a remarkable year. The pain and resolve of the Birmingham
protest. The triumph of the march on Washington. The tragedy of the
church bombing. It was a year when the governor of Alabama declared
segregation now and forever. And a year in which Dr. King answered with
his soaring dream. Fifty years later, it`s been another remarkable year
for struggle. And for progress. The essential cause is the same. Its
scope now broadened. Nothing showed the shining progress this country`s
made more than on a clear day last January. The second inauguration of
President Obama. What a day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths
that all of us are created equal is the star that guides us still just as
it guided our forbearers through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall.
Just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left
footprints along this great mall to hear a preacher say that we could not
walk alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Women`s rights, civil rights, gay rights. Each issue was
front and center in 2013, each reminded us that the struggle goes on. And
if we truly want progress, we must keep fighting for it. We were reminded
of that when the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the voting rights
act. After that ruling, GOP governors rushed to restrict voting rights in
their states. But in their haste, they underestimated the resolve of this
administration. And it`s tough as nails attorney general who vowed to
secure this sacred right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We cannot allow the slow
unraveling of the progress that so many throughout history have sacrificed
so much to achieve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But this year we also saw so much that`s been achieved.
The Supreme Court delivered two landmark victories for same-sex marriage.
The number of states that allow gay marriage jumped to 18 this year. And
in 2014, at least a dozen states could follow. We also saw passage in the
Senate of the most comprehensive immigration reform in a generation. Now
the fight moves to the House. And it won`t be sidelined. Because too many
have given too much to the cause.

Like the immigration fasters who went without food to raise
awareness. Their resolve means this dream cannot and must not be denied,
2013 was also a year of activism. From the grassroots level to the state
House. Texas State Senator Wendy Davis became a household name after her
11-hour filibuster in the name of women`s rights. It was a stand that
echoed throughout that state and far beyond.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

We rallied for justice in every state and on our host of issues. In
Florida, it was for Trayvon Martin, an unarmed young man who was gunned
down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that
this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin
could have been me 35 years ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: While the verdict was disappointing, it inspired a
national movement against the unjust policy of stand your ground.
Including from Trayvon`s mother Sybrina Fulton who has become a leading
voice for just gun laws. And from the tireless dream defenders who brought
attention to the issue with a 31 day sit-in outside of Governor Rick
Scott`s office. Some calls for justice are getting answered. We see it in
the case of Marissa Alexander. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison for
trying to defend herself against her husband with a history of domestic
violence. And this year, she got a new trial. That gives us hope.

As does a victory against stop and frisk. New York City`s new Mayor
Bill de Blasio was elected on a vow to end that unjust policy. And in
Washington, President Obama and Attorney General Holder have committed
themselves to correcting the injustices of our legal system. A system
which for too long has unjustly targeted the poor and communities of color.
Fifty years later, we keep moving forward. While honoring the past as we
did in recreating the March on Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We believe in a new America. It`s time to march for a new
America. It`s time to organize for a new America. It`s time to register
and vote for a new America. We are on our way. We are on our way. We are
on our way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The work they started is unfinished, but we must work in
big ways and small ways to see it through. 2013 was a year that showed yet
again that regular people can do big things. It was a year that some say
was disappointing. We had our mix-ups with the website on health care. We
had our setbacks with Supreme Court decisions. But when I stood the where
Dr. King and others stood 50 years ago and thought about 50 years ago,
there was no health care act, there was no right to vote for all Americans,
there wasn`t even the dream of the rights of gays. And the rights of
immigrants.

I thought about how far we`ve come, and I`ve thought about how can we
complain to preserve things that just a half century ago were not even in
existence. So I end this year saying yes, we won some and lost some
rounds, but the fight is not over. And when I look at this 50-year
journey, I can say that we`ve made a lot of progress. We`ve got to hold
and keep going. I`m reminded of the words of one civil rights marcher in
Selma, Alabama, who looked at Dr. King and said, we ain`t where we ought to
be. We ain`t where we going to be. We ain`t where we want to be. But
thank God we ain`t where we was.

Thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. We`ll see you here for the
Revvies on Monday night. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,