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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

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POLITICS NATION
January 7, 2014

Guests: Jim McDermott; Dana Milbank, Joe Madison, Bill Nye


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, fighting for fairness against a heartless and gutless GOP.
Today, the Senate advanced the key measure to extend unemployment benefits
to over a million Americans. It would be a critical lifeline to families
across the country suffering without aid for over one week.

And yet, just minutes after it passed, House Republicans turned their
backs. Speaker John Boehner raced to put out a statement blocking the
bill, demanding spending cuts as an offset. They`re making it about
politics instead of people.

Today, President Obama met with a group of Americans who lost benefits.
Here is just one of over a million.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHERINE HACKETT, UNEMPLOYED: My cuts include heating my house to 58
degrees, wearing a hat and a coat to stay warm because oil is expensive.
Both of my sons are serving in the U.S. military. It was very hard for me
to let one of my boys serve a year in Afghanistan, but I did. And he was
proud to serve his country. I hope our leaders in Washington can find a
solution to help families like mine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The Republicans can put an end to it right now. Today, the
president called for action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not an abstraction.
These are not statistics. These are your neighbors, your friends, your
family members. It could at some point be any of us. That`s why we set up
a system of unemployment insurance. We`ve got to get this across the
finish line without obstruction or delay. And we need the House of
Representatives to be able to vote for it as well. And that`s -- that`s
the bottom line.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s the bottom line. No delay and no obstruction.

First Republicans said jobless aid does a disservice to workers. Now
they`re demanding offsets, saying the $6.5 billion price tag is just too
much. Remember President Bush`s prescription drug bill cost, $180 billion.
His wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost over $800 billion. And his tax cuts
cost $1.8 trillion. What do they all have in common? None of them had
offset cuts. And guess who voted for those very policies? The same House
Republicans now demanding offsets. Speaker John Boehner, majority leader
Eric Cantor, and Congressman Paul Ryan. And what do they all have in
common? None of them demanded offsetting cuts.

So what is the excuse? They don`t have one. It`s a heartless ideology
that puts politics ahead of people. And that`s why President Obama and
Democrats are ready to fight for fairness bringing the heat in the dead of
winter.

Joining me now is Congressman Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington, and
MSNBC`s Abby Huntsman. Thank you for being here.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me good to you first.

Speaker Boehner wants to offset the cost of unemployment aid, even though
he voted for Bush policies without any spending cuts. What`s your
response?

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Well, you don`t expect him to be
honest and even handed. This is about an attack on the poor. Now one of
the myths, Al, that they`re operating under is they say people sit at home
and don`t go out and look for a job. But in the last five years, the
number of college graduates who are working for minimum wage jobs has
doubled. That means that people who went to college and did everything
right, lost their job and have been looking and looking and looking,
finally have taken a job that is a minimum wage job. And there are three
people out there looking for every job that comes available.

So, the myth that these people are not trying is simply wrong. And in
seven degree below zero weather, to say to somebody we`re not going to give
you any money for your oil or no money for your rent or no money to feed
your kids is simply inhuman. It is the worst kind of society.

SHARPTON: And saying it when you have as the lady that spoke with the
president today in the east room of the White House where she is talking
about sleeping in her overcoat.

And then, Abby, the president himself addressed the same issue that
Congressman McDermott said this whole thing is bad enough that I`m
unemployed. Even worse, you`re going to take my unemployment coverage.
But now you call me lazy?

Listen to what the president said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: That really sells the American people short. I can`t name a time
where I met an American who would rather have an unemployment check than
the pride of having a job. The long-term unemployed are not lazy. They`re
not lacking in motivation. They`re coping with the aftermath of the worst
economic crisis in generations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now Abby, let me ask you a question. I mean, you`re a moderate
Republican, and I`m a moderate Democrat by my own definition.

HUNTSMAN: Self-definition there.

SHARPTON: Right. Do you honestly believe that the right wingers that are
saying that the long-term unemployed are lazy, really believe that, or is
this just to try to get the base up? I mean, do they honestly belief this?

HUNTSMAN: It`s all ideological. That`s my personal opinion. What we`re
talking about is at the heart of what it means to be an American, you know.

SHARPTON: Right.

HUNTSMAN: Americans want a job. They are motivated. They want to work.
They want a purpose and a passion in life. And I think this represents
we`re in a new year now. And this represents for Republicans one of many
opportunities where they can show that they are actually thinking about
reforming the platform, a platform that speaks to a broader group of
people. And this one in particular, unemployment benefits is one that
women in particular care a lot about. Minority groups care a lot about.

And it`s one in my mind we should not even be debating at this moment in
time. You look at the reality of our economic situation, right.
Unemployment is higher than it`s been since the great depression. So it`s
really hard to look at the situation and say we don`t have the jobs that we
need to have right now. We don`t have the opportunity. We don`t have the
growth. And look at that and say let`s just let this go on and let these
people live without having, you know, the jobs that they need. I think the
focus should be growing the economy. How do we help people develop the
skill sets they need to get a job.

SHARPTON: I agree with that.

And not disparage the people, but something, Congressman, Abby said. She
talked about what the Republicans ought to be addressing, and she mentioned
the concern of women. I remember that there were talking points and things
that were put out by the Republican party on how to try to deal with women,
if you remember that, how to talk to women.

Well, let me tell you something that happened tonight. This is amazing and
very, very new development. "The Washington Post" obtained a memo that
House Republican leaders sent to their rank and file members. It tells
them how to talk about unemployment. Reminds us how the folder on how to
talk to women.

It tells them according to the post, the memo reminds GOP lawmakers to be
empathetic towards the unemployed. To remember that it`s a personal crisis
for individuals and families, and to always they`ll gave proper
consideration to an extension if there are spending cuts.

So be nice, but no spending cuts, we`re not moving forward, Congressman.
But say it nicely.

MCDERMOTT: We`ve offered them lots of spending cuts. We could take away
subsidies to the oil industry. There are all kinds of tax loopholes we
could close to find -- to get $6.5 million. The Republicans do not want to
give anything in the way of social safety net. They want everybody to be
out there on their own with no help from the government. That`s the Koch
brothers` whole theory of what they`re energizing this bunch in the tea
party to do. And they simply do not -- they`re not honest when they say we
have haven`t offered ways to make cuts.

Let`s cut the oil industry $6.5 billion. Have they made enough money in
the last ten years? You bet they have. They could easily give it. And we
could feed the people in this country that need food, that need housing.
We could take care of them.

SHARPTON: But Abby, the fact of the matter is, I mean, let`s talk reality.
The deficit has been steadily falling for years now. I mean, this year
it`s projected to be less than half of what it was in 2011. So when we`re
talking about spending cuts, we`re already going down in terms of the
deficit. And they never demanded spending cuts for the litany of things
that I named that President Bush went ahead and spent money on.

HUNTSMAN: Well, speaking of President Bush, I mean, I think what we`re
seeing here, and as we have talked about over the last year is really a
shift in the agenda for the GOP, which is far different even from the Bush
days. If you remember back in 2002, increased unemployment benefits and at
that point in 2002, unemployment was at six percent I think it had gotten
too. Now, obviously it`s much higher than that. So we`re looking at a
very different Republican party even from 2002.

I think we can all say the economy could move faster than it`s moving
today. But we`re not even able to have that debate around how we get the
engines of jobs moving faster because we can`t even get past this
ideological debate about extending unemployment benefits. I think that is
the biggest challenge we face today.

SHARPTON: Congressman Jim McDermott and Abby Huntsman, thank you both for
your time.

I agree with both of you. We need more Huntsman Republicans, Abby, not
Jon. I`m not endorsing your father.

And be sure to catch Abby on "The Cycle" weekdays right here at 3:00 p.m.

Coming up, day one for the House Republicans, they`re back in Washington
with a plan -- repeal health care. Fight against fairness, block and
obstruct. What could possibly go wrong?

Plus, 15 years ago today, President Clinton`s impeachment kicked off.
Fifteen years later, Republicans are still obsessed with the "I" word. Why
they never, never quit.

And right now, we are witnessing an incredible weather experiment, the
polar vortex`s affect on right wing brain. It has them denying climate
change. Bill Nye, the science guy, takes them to school tonight.

And live from New York, there is a new cast member getting ready to see
more Michelle Obama on "SNL." Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on Facebook
yet? We hope you will.

Everyone has been fired up about jobless benefits today. Calling out house
Republicans burning for offsets.

Cara says they have no idea how to balance a budget, except on the backs of
the most vulnerable among us.

Gregory says the reason the GOP doesn`t want to extend them is they hope
Obama will be blamed for their plight and will harm the Dems in the next
election.

We want to hear what you think too. Please head over to Facebook and
search "Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps
going long after the show ends.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: House Republicans are doing something rare today -- they`re
working. It`s day one of the new GOP agenda. Yes, the house is back in
session. It`s a new year. They`ve got a clean slate, a chance to turn
things around from literally being the worst Congress ever.

Last year, that`s what they were. So that`s on tap for 2014 -- attacking
Obamacare. Majority leader Eric Cantor`s schedule shows two of the first
items of business are anti-Obamacare bills. Way to go. New Year, same old
far right agenda.

What about immigration reform? Cantor says immigration bills may be
brought to the floor over the next few months there is that Republican
urgency.

And nowhere on the January agenda is increasing the minimum wage or
extending unemployment benefits. The real leader of the party weighed in
on that today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The president`s been speaking for
the last 20 minutes, 25 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever. On the morality and
the economics of extending emergency unemployment benefits, anything to get
Obamacare off the front page to get Obamacare off the radar. It`s nothing
more than a distraction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Helping people is a distraction and a trick to get Obamacare off
the radar? How about Republicans get anything else on their radar? After
all, the house is only planning to meet 112 days this year. We`re just 97
before Election Day. It might be another record setting year for Speaker
Boehner. But President Obama and the Democrats are ready for the fight.

Joining me now are Richard Wolffe and Goldie Taylor. Thank you both for
being here.

RICHARD WOLFFE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, MSNBC.COM: Thanks, Reverend.

GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Richard, it seems Republicans want this year to be a repeat of
the do nothing Congress of last year. How do Democrats fight that?

WOLFFE: Reverend, the Republicans would like the clock to be frozen at the
end of last year. They want the health care Web site, the health care Web
site still to be broken because they thought, you know, that was it. And
unfortunately, you don`t get to pick when elections happen. So, how do
Democrats fight that? You know, there is this thing called events there is
this thing called the economy that needs fixing still to this day when
you`re walking about the long-term unemployed. Other things will crop up,
and it won`t be the midterm elections for many, many months.

So, Republicans can try not working, but that doesn`t freeze the clock.
And as long as the Obama administration is playing policy and not politics,
it will be in a better position.

SHARPTON: You know, Goldie, we really thought 2013 was the year of the do
nothing Congress. Just 72 bills became law, which "the Washington Post"
calls easily the lowest tally for any year.

But "The New York Times" says, quote, "the do nothing Congress is preparing
to do even less." Why is their strategy -- I mean, why is this their
strategy you think? Is it about obstructing the president or avoiding
tough voting? I mean, what is the strategy here?

TAYLOR: Well, it really is a bit of both. If you look back to history in
the days and months leading up to a midterm election, you know,
congressional action tends to slow down on its own. But you couple that on
top of this idea that they need to obstruct each and every policy move that
the president attempts to make, and you have not just a do nothing
Congress, but a do even less kind of Congress as "The New York Times"
described. And so, I`m not surprised by any of this.

What I am surprised is that the American people seem to be allowing them to
get off the hook when it comes to not extending unemployment, when it comes
to cutting SNAP benefits, when it comes to not putting forth a
comprehensive immigration strategy for this country.

So it seems to me that the American people, and let`s hope this doesn`t
last, seem to be allowing them to get off the hook without being a party
with solutions, but really being a party of nope.

SHARPTON: You know, another thing that I took note of, Richard,
Republicans are not only pushing anti-Obamacare bills, Wisconsin senator,
Ron Johnson, filed a lawsuit because the government helps pay for
congressional staffers` insurance.

Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: I think this lawsuit will hopefully
provide a very long overdue check on presidential power, expanding
presidential power, particularly with this administration. We are
certainly seeing it and I think we`ll see it over the next three years a
real abuse of executive authority by this president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, they never, ever miss a chance to accuse the president
of abusing his authority. Even Republicans say this lawsuit is a waste of
time. I mean, Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner called it, quote,
"frivolous." And he said Senator Johnson`s lawsuit is an unfortunate
political stunt. He should spend his time legislating rather than
litigating. Spend his time legislating, isn`t that a crazy idea?

WOLFFE: Yes. I don`t know what the play is for Wisconsin Republican.
We`re not talking about someone from the south here. A Wisconsin
Republican to try and for start not be on point for where Wisconsin is at
in terms of jobs and the economy. I know Republicans keep on trying to say
that stopping Obamacare is going to free up the economy somehow. But you
can`t have it both ways. You cannot say Obamacare is a complete failure,
it doesn`t work, and at the same time it`s crashing the entire economy.

I mean, beyond the Web site, what have they got here? And it`s not an
agenda to go statewide. For the House Republicans, it`s something else.
They don`t need to go statewide. They don`t need to bring in the
moderates.

SHARPTON: But Johnson does.

WOLFFE: He really does. In a piece of legislation it`s something you
would expect from Ted Cruz who really doesn`t have to worry about moderates
at all.

SHARPTON: You know, Goldie, though the president sounded despite all of
this, he sounded optimistic today because of the bipartisan vote to at
least advance the bill before the Senate and on if it gets past that to the
House. And the senators voted for unemployment benefits.

Listen to the president`s optimistic statement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Congress should pass this bipartisan plan right away, and I will
sign it right away. And more than one million Americans across the country
will feel a little hope right away. And hope is contagious. When Congress
passes a bipartisan effort to start a year, right at the beginning of a new
year, who knows, we might actually get some things done this year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, he is still pushing for minimum wage increase and
immigration reform. I mean, are these reasons to be hopeful that we saw a
little movement today, Goldie?

TAYLOR: You know, I think it is the president`s duty, and he is carrying
it well to keep pushing for an agenda that raises the tide and all boats
for Americans in this country. And so, for him to be on the phone
personally whipping votes to extend the unemployment benefits for some 14
million Americans who may very well lose that check at some point this
year, for him to be on the phone personally whipping those votes is the
thing to do.

I`m glad that the Senate got to vote on it. I hope that the house comes
together and comes to their right minds and decides that Americans who are
getting a benefit that they certainly worked hard for and earned, that
we`re not going to rip that safety net from underneath them so that they
don`t have to turn to things like welfare and Medicaid and other, you know,
social programs to keep their houses moving along, and that they can return
to, you know, looking for a job in a meaningful way.

You know, I`m glad the president is behind that. Let`s hope that this
house gets behind it as well. But the president is right to push forth his
agenda in this way. It`s a positive agenda and it`s one that is right for
this country.

SHARPTON: All right. Well, it`s certainly headed to the house and we`ll
be watching.

Richard Wolffe, Goldie Taylor, thank you both for your time tonight. And
thank you and happy new year to both of you.

WOLFFE: Thank you.

TAYLOR: Happy New Year.

SHARPTON: Coming up, 50 years after President Johnson`s war on poverty,
President Obama is fighting a new battle in the war on the poor.

And 15 years after president Clinton`s impeachment began, they just won`t
quit. Why the right-wingers in Congress love the word impeach. Stay with
us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: On this day 15 years ago, the GOP took aim at impeaching
President Clinton. And now Republicans are still partying like it`s 1999.
They`re still using the tired old impeachment trade book against President
Obama. But if the Clinton presidency is any lesson, all this I word talk
is bound to backfire on the Republicans. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The world may have changed a lot since 1999, but the Republican
Party not so much. Fifteen years ago today the GOP`s impeachment trial of
President Bill Clinton began in the Senate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s a virtual design for the first impeachment trial in
the Senate almost 200 years ago, and it`s been updated since then.
Thirteen Republican House members who will act as prosecutors in solemn
procession arrived in the Senate chamber.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Republican Henry Hyde, the president`s chief accuser
reads the charges.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: William Jefferson Clinton willfully provided perjurious,
false and misleading testimony.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It was part of a witch hunt to oust the president from power,
and it began a GOP blood sport. Stop at nothing to overturn a presidency
you don`t like. Back then, the cast of characters bent on taking down the
president included Lindsey Graham. There he is, delivering the articles of
impeachment to the Senate this day 15 years ago. And here he is just last
year talking about the Obama administration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The bond that`s been broken,
Mike, between those who serve us in harm`s way and the government they
serve is this huge, and to me, every bit as damaging as Watergate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Forget Clinton. Lindsey Graham thinks President Obama is as bad
as Nixon. With President Obama, the GOP is still partying like it`s 1999.
Heck, the right wing has even a how to guide at this point. But the
website World Net Daily is out with seven easy steps that will land Obama
in jail. Because, really, if you can`t beat them, just impeach him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He continues, could that build up to make a case for
possible impeachment?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: All options should be on the table.

If we were to impeach the president tomorrow, you could probably get the
votes in the House of Representatives.

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: People may be starting to use the I-word
before too long.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I-word meaning impeachment?

INHOFE: Yes.

REP. KERRY BENTIVOLIO (R), MICHIGAN: I`ve had lawyers come in, well, PH.Ds
in history. Tell me how I can impeach the President of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You have to establish the criteria that would qualify
for proceedings against the president. And that`s called impeachment.
Barack Obama is a personal friend of mine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A friend? With friends like these, who needs enemies? Joining
me now Dana Milbank and Joe Madison. Thank you both for coming on the show
tonight.

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thank you, reverend.

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Dana, let me start with you. Why hasn`t the Republican playbook
changed in 15 years?

MILBANK: You know, it has changed in a sense that they`re using the
impeachment even more liberally, if you will. There have been maybe three
dozen members of this Congress, Republican members of Congress by my count
who have suggested impeachment for the president, for the attorney general,
or for others in this administration. What seems to have changed now is
they`ll use it for just about any ordinary policy disagreement. So people
have suggested impeaching this president over Benghazi, over Syria, over
gun control, over gay marriage, over the debt. You know, I mean probably
right now somebody is cooking up articles of impeachment related to Jay
Carney`s beard and the First Lady`s birthday party.

SHARPTON: Yes, you know, Joe, you know, over the last couple of months
though, we`ve heard the right wing make only one argument about why they
can`t impeach the president. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD (R), TEXAS: We`ve also talked about the I word,
impeachment, which again I don`t think would get past the Senate in the
current climate. Am I missing anything?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: To successfully impeach a president, you need
the votes in the U.S. Senate. And with Harry Reid and the Democrats
controlling the Senate, it can`t succeed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But the National Republican Senatorial Committee makes it clear
that they want to control both chambers of Congress. Quote, "The 2014
election will be a showdown for control of the Senate, and Republicans are
in a strong position to win." So my question, Joe, is could extremists in
the GOP aim for impeachment if they get control of both parts of Congress,
Senate and the House?

MADISON: I think you`re absolutely right. And that`s what it appears the
game plan is. They`re thinking ahead. This is 2014. This is an issue
that riles up their base. And if, in fact, and people ought to understand
this, if they get control of both, both houses, chambers of Congress, then
I guarantee you that there will be articles of impeachment. And people
need to understand. An impeachment is a trial. This is where you make an
accusation. Now you then have to have a trial and prove it. And that`s
part of the issue too. This is a group of people, and we might as well say
it, who can`t get over the fact that President Barack Obama, you talk about
they don`t know the I-word. They don`t know the e-word, election. And
what has happened is that they want this man to go down in history as
having been embarrassed, even though he beat them twice in a fair and
legitimate election.

SHARPTON: Maybe not even though. Maybe because he beat them twice. But
the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing last month, Dana, about how
the president has failed his constitutional duties. They offered up a
laundry list of issues they had. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FARENTHOLD: Then you can insert whatever you want, Benghazi, Fast and
Furious, the IRS targeting of advocacy groups, NSA overreach. If you like
your health care, you can keep it.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: The president had order Anwar al Awlaki
killed by drone strike.

REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R), VIRGINIA: The president effectively enacted the
dream act himself.

REP. TRENT FRANKS (R), ARIZONA: The deep-water drilling ban, Mr. Holder`s
attempt to reform criminal justice by selectively enforcing our laws. Mr.
Obama`s unilaterally ignoring immigration laws in many cases.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, Dana, you wrote about this hearing. It`s like a
complete grab bag, wasn`t it?

MILBANK: Right. And I think the Republican leadership recognized they
look a little crazy, to be having an impeachment hearing. Because Joe is
right. If both chambers were controlled by Republicans, they may well
attempt to do it. But there is another thing out there called the public,
and the public would say that`s a bunch of nonsense there is nothing
approaching high crimes or even misdemeanors here.

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: Right.

MILBANK: But I think what this represents, it`s not a serious effort to
remove the president. But it`s a certain frustration, and they said as
much in that hearing having lost these elections, what do you do to count
their president. I think that`s in a way what politics has become now.
It`s not just about defeating your opponent, it`s about taking him out.

SHARPTON: Yes.

MILBANK: And I think that`s sort of this revenge killing almost that has
become part of our tribal politics right now. And I think that`s what
we`re feeling.

SHARPTON: But you know, Joe, the focus on impeachment hasn`t really hurt
the GOP as much as it has of late, you know, before we saw the GOP use this
with Clinton back during the Clinton impeachment era, the GOP`s
favorability hit an all-time low of 31 percent. The only time that it`s
been that bad has been to fast forward when it dropped to 28 percent. So,
this is not a good strategy for them.

MADISON: They can`t get much lower. I mean, but think about this,
everybody. Here is a Congress, at least the House, that says they`re only
going to work 97 days this year. So where are they going to find time for
impeachment?

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: Ninety seven days. Wait a minute. They can find time to shave
one percent off of working veterans, cut their money.

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: Cut their money. They can find time not to help poor people and
elderly people with fuel when the country is caught in this winter freeze
we`re in. But then they can actually spend time with only 97 days working
to talk about putting up articles of impeachment. What are they going to
do? Add time to their work schedule?

SHARPTON: No, no, no. They`re going to do it within the 97 days, I would
imagine.

MILBANK: Yes.

SHARPTON: But you know, Dana, the I need the whole thing, is the president
keeps saying I`m not a king. I can`t do anything without working with the
members of Congress. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I am not a dictator, I`m the
president. So ultimately, if Mitch McConnell or John Boehner say, we need
to go to catch a plane, I can`t have secret service block the doorway. If
in fact I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress,
then I would do so. But we`re also a nation of laws. That`s part of our
tradition. It is not simply a matter of us just saying we`re going to
violate the law. That`s not our tradition.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So he`s clear. I don`t understand what is so unclear to them,
little things like elections, vote, winners, losers. You know, it`s
amazing.

MILBANK: But Reverend, if he were a king, he would be doing a particularly
bad job since he can`t actually force this Congress to get anything done.
So, that would seem to refute the argument right there.

SHARPTON: Dana Milbank, Joe Madison, thank you both for your time this
evening.

MADISON: Thank you, Reverend.

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the polar vortex is giving right-wingers brain freeze
on climate change. Bill Nye the science guy brings the heat and the facts,
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks, I have a news flash for you. It`s cold outside. This
deep freeze has brought record low temperatures to much of the country.
The coldest in a generation in some places. It`s all the result of an
arctic chill from the north. But some of the climate change definite
deniers, it`s proof they`ve been looking for, that climate change is a hoax
there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

INHOFE: There has been a concerted effort of people to believe that global
warming is taking place, that we`re all going to die and all of that. At
the same time, the evidence out there is almost laughable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So let me get this straight. It`s cold during the winter. So
that means global warming isn`t real. That`s ridiculous. Nobody else
thinks that. Right? Wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Global warming is a great example.
It`s a full-fledged now documented hoax.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This whole global warming hoax. This winter is brutal.
I mean, I`m in New York right now. The airports were closed, everything is
closed. It`s freezing.

STUART VARNEY, FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR: So it looks to me like we`re looking
at global cooling. Forget this global warming.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The age of the dinosaurs was dramatically warmer than
this is right now. And it didn`t cook the planet. And in fact, life was
fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Life was fine during the age of dinosaurs? Maybe for the
dinosaurs, but not for the humans. There weren`t any humans around. And
anyway, the dinosaurs died off because their climate changed. It`s times
like this that you want a scientist around to explain things. Well, I got
one.

Joining me now is the one and only Bill Nye The Science Guy. Bill, thanks
for your time tonight.

BILL NYE, "THE SCIENCE GUY": It`s good to see you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: First off, Bill, how is the temperature there in balmy Los
Angeles?

NYE: It`s crazy. It`s fabulous. It`s beautiful. It`s in Fahrenheit it`s
probably 62 or three. For Christmas Day here, Isaac Newton`s birthday
here, it was 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That`s a little unusual.

SHARPTON: You know, just one of those adjectives would have done. You
didn`t have to keep rubbing it in.

NYE: But the idea that because it`s cold for a few days back East negates
the idea or the concern about climate change is -- I`ll say is not right.
Is wrong.

SHARPTON: Well, explain. I mean, because you`ve heard some people out
there saying it. Explain to us how the weather getting cold really has
nothing to do with the idea and scientific conclusion that there is climate
change.

NYE: No, no. It has to do with it, almost certainly. But here is what I
mean. We use the expression climate change or global change to describe
what we believe or predict will be the future, where the warming of the
earth`s atmosphere, more energy held in the earth`s atmosphere will create
nontraditional weather patterns. And so this -- in this case is very
reasonable that this polar vortex or arctic whirlpool, whirlwind is dipping
so far south because the motion of large air masses in the northern
hemisphere have changed the weather over North America, especially for a
few days. And I think many people back east may be equally surprised come
Friday or Saturday this weekend when temperatures say in the Atlanta area
will now be 60 degrees Fahrenheit, in just a matter of a few days. And
this is consistent with climate models. Whether or not it`s especially
cold.

SHARPTON: So what you`re saying is that it does have something to do with
it. Quite to the contrary, and that these going from one end to the other
end, because it was 71 in New York just two weeks ago. It`s like nine
degrees now. It`s this back and forth, in fact shows there is climate
change is what you`re telling me.

NYE: Well, it`s very reasonable that this is a result of climate change.
As we say, and this is what is so difficult for so many people. Tying one
specific event to these larger decades long change is very difficult
mathematically, or by computer programs or by weather, by satellites.
However, it is consistent with what we would expect. Now keep in mind
Senator Inhofe was a guy that was at least in one quotation, he was
concerned about climate change until as he said, he found out how much it
would cost.

Now, when you also -- when you tie this idea to the ancient dinosaurs, I
mean, we can spend all day trying to debunk these spurious ideas. But when
it was warmer, the concern is not that the world was not once warmer, or
that there was not once more carbon dioxide in the air than there was now.
It`s the rate. It`s the speed at which we`re adding these greenhouse gases
that is of deep concern, because we have now instead of in 1750, let`s say
about a billion humans on earth, now we have well over seven billion humans
on earth.

And so pumping out all this carbon dioxide and other green house gases as
we all try to live the way we do in the developed world is going to be very
difficult for large populations to make adjustments. And this is why we`re
concerned. So this is a teachable moment, this very unpleasant cold snap.
So I`m sorry it`s so cold where you are. And a big concern if you like to
worry about things is the electrical grid. It`s not clear that we`re
making enough electricity to keep everybody warm when it happens this fast.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s great to have the science guy on tonight. And I will
worry about that after I worry about if my scarf is full enough to get me
to the car.

NYE: I`d recommend the scarf. The scarf will buy you 10 degrees
Fahrenheit like that.

SHARPTON: I`ll take your word for it. Bill Nye The Science Guy, thanks
for your time tonight.

NYE: Thank you, Al.

SHARPTON: Coming up, "Saturday Night Live" makes a big move. We`ll
introduce you to her.

And how the movement of millions pushed the country and a president to
start the war on poverty 50 years ago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Live from New York, it`s a new cast member. A few months ago,
"Saturday Night Live" came under some criticism for not having a black
woman in the cast. Rather than duck the diversity issue, they dealt with
it head-on, making fun of itself. Guest host Kerry Washington opened the
show playing multiple women. First she impersonated First Lady Michelle
Obama and then it was Oprah Winfrey. And then I made an appearance to open
the show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Good evening. I`m the Reverend Al Sharpton.

(APPLAUSE)

What have we learned from this sketch? As usual, nothing. Live from New
York, it`s Saturday night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But they did learn. They fixed it. Meet Sasheer Zamata, the
newest cast member starting January 18th. She is a 27-year-old sketch
comedian based here in New York City. And get ready to see more of First
Lady Michelle Obama because she likes to play that role. But her favorite
person to play is reportedly Beyonce. So this is going to be fun to watch.
I applaud Loren Michaels for this move. "SNL" is a great show, and it`s
funny, sometimes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Jim, those in the GOP want to talk about helping people
-- with wrong camera? Well, which one is it? The red light. There`s red
lights everywhere. On the top. OK. So this one? Wait, you just switched
it on me now. No, that`s what I need to be asking you. Have you ever been
on TV before?

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Like I said, sometimes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, one war we should fight, the war on poverty.
Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson`s speech to
Congress announcing America`s commitment to fighting poverty. January 8th,
1964.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. PRES. LYNDON JOHNSON, 36TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This
administration today here and now declares unconditional war on poverty in
America. It will not be a short or easy struggle. No single weapon or
strategy will suffice. But we shall not rest until that war is won.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The speech that sparked a wave of government programs that
provided a lifeline for those in poverty, Medicare, health care for the
elderly, Medicaid, health care for the poor, head start, pre-k education
for low-income children. And snap, formally known as food stamps. Over
the last 50 years, these programs, yes, government programs, have helped
literally hundreds of millions of Americans. They have been the difference
between putting food on the table and going hungry. Between being healthy
and being dead. And they`ve worked.

In 1967, the poverty rate, factoring in safety net programs, stood at 26
percent. Last year that poverty rate had dropped down to 16 percent. Yes,
still too high. There is more work to do. President Obama continues the
fight to close the income gap and deal with unfairness in this country.
But this extreme crop of Republicans even getting a bill to extend
unemployment insurance is a fight, and we`re ready for it. We`re ready to
fight.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


END


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