updated 1/28/2014 2:48:28 PM ET 2014-01-28T19:48:28

POLITICS NATION
January 27, 2014

Guests: Mark Hannah, Krystal Ball, James Peterson, Joe Madison

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, and happy birthday,
brother Ed.

SCHULTZ: Thank you, brother Al. You`re not there yet, but you`re getting
there.

SHARPTON: I`m right behind you, but I`m glad to be on a planet. But you
have a great birthday this evening, Ed.

SCHULTZ: I am, too. Thank you, Rev. I appreciate that.

SHARPTON: All right, let`s get busy. Thanks to you for tuning.

Tonight`s lead, the GOP`s new disaster in the war on women. Now, we`ve
heard Republicans talk about legitimate rape, libidos, and uncle sugar.
And now they`re talking about Monica Lewinsky. Here is Senator Rand Paul.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The Democrats, one of their big issues is
they have concocted and says Republicans are committing a war on women.
One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses
shouldn`t prey on young interns in their office. And I think really the
media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this. He took
advantage of a girl that was 20-years-old and an intern in his office.
There is no excuse for that. And that is predatory behavior.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is he serious? I mean, is he really talking about something
from 1998 in order to defend the GOP`s attacks on women in 2014? It`s
ridiculous and very revealing. Because Republicans still don`t have a clue
about how to deal with this issue.

Here is what Senator Paul said about the war on women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This whole sort of war on women thing, I`m scratching my head
because if there was a war on women, I think they won. You know, the women
in my family are incredibly successful. I have a niece at Cornell vet
school and 85 percent of the young people there are women. So, I don`t
really see this that there is some sort of war that is, you know, keeping
women down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So women have already won the war on women, and Senator Paul
knows this because the women in his family are successful. You got to love
that logic.

Meantime, what is the GOP doing about the other guy who put his foot in his
mouth last week, talking about libidos and uncle sugar? Here is the
chairman of the party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: It`s not where
our party stands. It really isn`t even what Mike Huckabee meant to say. I
mean, he had a pretty good message --

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I`m just curious,
though.

PRIEBUS: And overshadowed by a choice of words that it was just a little
bit off. That`s all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Actually, Mike Huckabee completely meant what he said. Here he
is defending his comments this weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE, FOS NEWS HOST: I think they wanted to change the subject.
Because if they were honest, they would have to admit that Democrats are
the ones who have denigrated women and demeaned them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course.

HUCKABEE: By the way, the uncle sugar comment, some of them were
scratching their heads. What does that mean? Is there something hidden?
If you lived in the south, you have heard the term, Uncle Sugar, Uncle Sam.
When he becomes a sugar daddy, he becomes uncle sugar.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Good. Now that we know who uncle sugar, it isn`t offensive at
all. But the war on women isn`t about word choice. It`s about anti-women
policies. Tomorrow, the house will consider yet another anti-choice bill.
At the state level, more abortion restrictions have been enacted in the
last three years than in the entire decade before that. And women still
earn just 77 cents for every dollar that men earn.

These are serious issues. And Rand Paul thinks voters will forget about
them, if he just rehashes 15-year-old scandals. That`s going to be a
serious problem.

Joining me now are Jesse McIntosh and Joan Walsh.

Thank you both for being here.

JESS MCINTOSH, EMILY`S LIST: Thanks for having me, Rev.

SHARPTON: Jess, Senator Paul is invoking Monica Lewinsky to defend the GOP
war on women. I mean, it`s so odd. What`s your reaction?

MCINTOSH: Well, there is no way for him to substantively talk about the
Republican war on women, because it is accurate and it is policy-based, as
you said. When women say war on women, we mean Republican efforts to
oppose equal pay, the violence against women act, and access to women`s
health care. It`s very specifically about a policy party agenda. And
that`s what women are reacting to.

It`s not about any one person. It`s not about any one remark, although I
do think a lot of this rhetoric like we heard last week from Mike Huckabee
really does remind women that Republicans don`t understand them at all.
And don`t particularly trust them to make their own decisions.

So in that sense, we have one party that is not very comfortable with women
and doesn`t know how to talk to them, and another one that is really
proposing solutions that is going to help their daily lives and the
contrast couldn`t be clearer.

SHARPTON: But Joan, you know, Senator Paul was asked direct if Bill
Clinton`s past would be an issue for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Let`s
listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GREGORY, HOST, MEET THE PRESS: I mean, that Hillary Clinton should
be judged on if she were a candidate in 2016?

PAUL: No. I`m not saying that. This was with regard to the Clintons.
And sometimes it`s hard to separate one from the other.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, he says you shouldn`t judge Hillary because of Bill, but
you can`t separate them. Am I missing something? Wasn`t Hillary the wife
here? I mean, how does Hillary get blamed or for that matter any woman get
blamed for the behavior of her husband? I mean, I`m missing something
here.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: No, you`re not missing anything.
I mean, it`s so offensive, Reverend Al. It`s hard for us to really take it
in and we do wind up thinking what was he really saying? But it is like
you say libido. I say Lewinsky. And between the two of them, they`re
idiots when it comes to women.

And Jess is exactly right. It`s not about rhetoric, although rhetoric
matters. It`s also about a world view. So, this man has actually has the
audacity to think he is reaching out to women by insulting a woman over her
husband`s choices. She has a long track record. She is an eminently
qualified woman, but he is insulting her over her husband`s choices. Then
he is saying that women are doing great --

SHARPTON: Choices that he was impeached for, by the way, and she suffered
going through all of that. I mean, this is absolutely offensive.

WALSH: She has been through hell. She was put through hell. The media
did not give him a pass there was wall to wall coverage, if you`re old to
remember back then.

SHARPTON: Live wall to wall.

WALSH: I don`t know what he was doing back in the late `90s. I don`t
really want to venture to say. But there was wall to wall coverage. He
got no pass. But also, maybe even worse is to suggest the entitlement that
is required to suggest that women are winning the war on women because,
quote, "my family, the women in my family, are doing great."

Women in many families are not doing great. Two out of three adults in
poverty are women. Two out of three minimum wage workers are women. To
extrapolate from your own privileged family, it`s just the essence of
privilege and entitlement. It`s wrong.

SHARPTON: But going to policy, Jess, since you brought it up, when Senate
Republicans blocked an equal pay bill, something that I referred to and
Joan has referred to, Senator Paul compared it to a soviet policy. He
said, quote, "in the Soviet Union, the politburo decided the price of
bread. And they either had no bread or too much bread. So setting prices
or wages by the government is always a bad idea."

So, I mean, this is the policy that Rand Paul is saying. He is comparing
this to the soviets to deal with equal pay for women.

MCINTOSH: The communists are bad at selling bread. And so women shouldn`t
earn as much as men. It makes perfect sense to me. I don`t know what
everybody else is having a problem with.

SHARPTON: I knew it was me, Jess. I knew it was me. I knew it was me. I
mean, it`s just absolutely tone deaf, and arrogantly so when it comes to
women, Joan.

WALSH: It really is. I mean, the idea that it`s not that the paycheck
fairness act does not set wages. It does not have the government set
wages. I don`t really know if he is stupid or if he is deliberately
misstating what it does. Maybe he really doesn`t know what it would have
done. Maybe he doesn`t pay close enough attention to what it would have
done.

But, again, it`s this entitlement and it`s this tin ear. And you know,
he`s always got -- he is like this perfect combination of nepotism as well
as sort of 21st century Republican echo chamber. Because Rand Paul acts as
though his every utterance is brilliant. And he is going to come at this
in a way that Mike Huckabee didn`t get it right. But he is going to give
it a shot. He is going to say something really profound that is going to
move the debate forward and help Republicans. And it`s just as stupid in a
different way than what Huckabee said.

SHARPTON: Jess, I`m not finished with his profundities. He also talked
about talked last week about possibly cutting government benefits for
single mothers with several children. He said, and I`m quoting, "maybe we
have to say enough is enough. You shouldn`t being having kids after a
certain amount. I don`t know how you do all that because then it`s tough
to tell a woman with four kids that she`s got a fifth child, we`re not
going to give her any more money. But we have to figure out how to get
that message through because that is part of the answer."

Now here is how the senator defended those comments over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: It`s kind of tricky to say exactly what I did say. I didn`t come up
with a policy prescription. I would say I mused about what are we going to
do and does government have a role in it and I mused concluded by saying
it`s a community, it`s a religious, it`s a personal problem. But it is a
problem. And I mused about how you would have a government policy, but
actually came down saying it would be very difficult to have a government
policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, Jess, your reaction to his musings?

MCINTOSH: Personally, I prefer offensive musing to offensive policy. But
I am, in fact, still offended. I think there is a strain in the Republican
party that comes across as really quite heartless. And telling a woman
that, you know, you don`t believe that her birth control ought to be
covered by insurance and you don`t think she ought to have access to that,
and also, you don`t think that single moms deserve assistance for -- like
there is just an entire world view that doesn`t understand the daily
realities of women living in America, single mothers especially. And I
think that we see this in the gender gap in elections.

I mean, Ken Cuccinelli lost the single women`s vote. He was a very anti-
woman, very anti-choice candidate, lost the single women`s vote by 42
points. But women could not possibly be louder about rejecting this
agenda. And we`re going to see it -- remember how long it took in 2012 for
the rhetoric to get amped up this far? It`s only January, and we already
can`t count the gaffes.

SHARPTON: It`s not February yet, and we`ve already learned that the
government that you and I pay tax to are nothing but sugar daddies to some
women.

Joan Walsh, Jess McIntosh, thank you both for your time.

WALSH: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Coming up, is there a political press in New Jersey? A new
super committee formed to investigate bridge gate. But a Republican on
that committee is raising all kinds of new questions today.

Plus, President Obama`s state of the union speech will focus on fighting
inequality, and is sending the billionaire boys club into freak-out mode.

And one right wing group is out with this ad showing president Obama as
Joseph Stalin.

And why is Seahawks player Richard Sherman talking about John McCain today?

Big show coming up. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight. A grand jury has just indicted a North
Carolina police officer for shooting unarmed student athlete. Officer
Randall Kerrick was indicted for voluntary manslaughter in the shooting
death of Jonathan Ferrell. Last week a partial grand jury refused to
indict, but prosecutors vowed to try again today with a full jury.

Last summer, Jonathan was driving home late at night when he crashed his
car. Police were called to the scene after a woman called 911 to report a
possible burglar. And that`s when officer Kerrick fired 12 bullets at
Jonathan, killing him there is no date set for trial, but we`ll be watching
this story very closely.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Is there political press from Republicans going on for Governor
Christie in New Jersey? Today, the New Jersey Senate and assembly voted
unanimously to create a new super committee to investigate the George
Washington bridge lane closings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A key step forward toward learning what happened with
this threat to public safety and abuse of government power.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The committee reissued the 20 subpoenas it sent out earlier this
month, and documents are due one week from today. But on day one of this
new committee, there appeared to be seeds of resistance planted by
Republicans. There are 12 members on the committee, four are Republican.
And after that unanimous vote, things seemed certainly to change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reiterating the concerns that our party has expressed
about the bipartisan nature of this commission.

STATE SEN. AMY HANDLIN, NEW JERSEY: There is what I see as a glaring
omission here. It seems to me under these circumstances, anybody could
investigate anything.

STATE SEN. KEVIN O`TOOLE, NEW JERSEY: There is a concern that most of us
would have when you take on a lawyer whether there is ever a conflict.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there are any documents which are not disclosed to
the minority party, we`ll received a privileged log or a list of those
documents that are not provided to us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A funny thing happened on the way to the super committee. How
will this play out? And will it be a fair investigation?

Joining me now is former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell.

Thank you, Governor, for being here.

ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR, PENNSYLVANIA: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: What is your take on what happened today, governor? I mean,
were Republicans laying the groundwork here to turn this investigation into
a political battle?

RENDELL: Well, if they are, it`s a bad strategy. They should cooperate
with the investigation because I think the public wants to get to the
bottom of this. It is a serious question. It`s not just a bridge closure.
It`s a deliberate bridge closure with abuse of power that endangered public
safety. And they should deal with it as such. And it`s in their interest
in finding out what happened.

I think Republican senators at their own peril get out there and try to
politicize this. If it were to come out, and we don`t know if this is
true, but if it were to come out that governor Christie personally ordered
this, then they maybe be hanging out there looking terribly political and
terribly insensitive to the needs of the people in New Jersey.

So I think that their best move would be to cooperate to make sure that
this gets done in a fair manner, but make sure all the questions are
answered.

SHARPTON: You know, today the co-chair of the new committee said the
Republicans appear to be trying to slow things down. Listen to this,
Governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I`m hearing are suggestion after suggestion on how
we ought to tie the hands of the committee. We have an obligation. Based
on information that came to the committee to find out why this happened and
how it could happen. And I keep hearing time and time again, let`s make
sure that we don`t essentially do too good a job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, wouldn`t one think that any legislator in the state of
New Jersey would want to, with no hesitation find out what happened since
it impacted so many citizens for no reason at all?

RENDELL: Sure. And it`s not just a case of looking back to find out what
happened. It`s finding out what happened to make sure we can put in place
fail-safe mechanisms to make sure it doesn`t happen again. Because the
harm, the potential harm was done. But the job of the committee is to make
sure that things are put in place and decisions are made that will make it
very difficult to replicate what was just an absolutely outrageous
situation. I mean, think about it.

SHARPTON: Yes.

RENDELL: Think about if there was a fire and fire trucks couldn`t get
through because of this politically motivated traffic jam.

SHARPTON: Now, I want to bring something to your attention. I have to ask
you about. Republican state Senator Kevin O`Toole, he is a Christie ally
who is on the new committee. On the first batch of subpoenas, the name
O`Toole appeared in an e-mail from David Wildstein, the official who shut
down the bridge. On December 5th, Wildstein sent an e-mail. Quote, "spoke
with O`Toole this morning, and he will talk to you later today." The next
day, Wildstein resigned from the port authority.

Now, we don`t know for sure the e-mail is referring to Senator O`Toole.
When reporters asked him about that e-mail, he said I don`t know what this
means. Would it not be a glaring conflict if the O`Toole on Wildstein`s e-
mail is the O`Toole on the committee?

RENDELL: There is no question. In fact, if I were the chair of the
committee, I would ask Senator O`Toole directly did you speak to Wildstein
as his e-mail seems to suggest. Is that you? And if the answer is yes, he
spoke to Wildstein, whatever he claimed the conversation was about, it`s an
inherent conflict to be on an investigating committee when you`re a
potential witness in the investigation itself.

Senator O`Toole should do the right thing and back out and resign from the
committee with the understanding that another Republican senator would be
appointed to replace him.

SHARPTON: Thank you very much, Governor Ed Rendell. Thank you for your
time.

RENDELL: Nice talking to you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, a billionaire`s jaw-dropping comments about
President Obama`s fight against inequality. I mean, you`ve got to hear
this one.

But first, senator shutdown Ted Cruz says he had nothing to do with the
government shutdown. Oops. He`s in tonight`s got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Remember Senator Ted Cruz and his crusade to shut the government
down over Obamacare? No? Well, apparently neither does he?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Can you conceive of any situation in which you
would do that again, try to shut down the government in exchange or in
demand for some action by the president?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Well, Bob, with all due respect, I don`t agree
with the premise of your question. Throughout the government shutdown, I
opposed a government shutdown. I said we shouldn`t shut the government
down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He opposed the government shutdown. I could hardly believe my
ears. And I wasn`t the only one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: And the question I ask you was would you ever
conceive of threatening to shut down the government again?

CRUZ: Well, as I said, I didn`t threaten to shut down the government the
last time. I don`t think we should ever shut down the government. I
repeatedly voted to fund the federal government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Well, senator, if you didn`t threaten to shut
down the government, who was it that did?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s right. If it wasn`t Senator Cruz, who was it? Who stood
on the Senate floor reading "green eggs and ham" in an epic phony
filibuster? And who vowed to oppose any government budget unless Obamacare
was defunded?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: Under no circumstances will I support a continuing resolution that
funds even one penny of Obamacare. I will not vote for any continuing
resolution that funds even a single penny of Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It was Ted Cruz and his shutdown was a nightmare for
Republicans. Even John Boehner admitted that the other night. He called
it, quote, "predictable disaster." But Ted Cruz is still in denial.

Senator, you can have your own opinions, but you can`t have your own facts,
and you can`t rewrite history. Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The gap between the rich and the poor has reached a level we
haven`t seen since the 1920s. In the past 50 years, the top one percent
has seen its income skyrocket 270 percent. And yet the vast majority of
Americans have barely made any gains. That`s alarming. Americans should
be outraged by that. And finally, we`re seeing some of that outrage. Only
it`s coming from the top one percent. Tom Parkins, a businessman worth $8
billion wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal comparing the treatment
of the rich to the holocaust.

Saying quote, "I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi
Germany to its war on its one percent, namely its Jews to the progressive
war on the American one percent, mainly the rich." Now that`s just
offensive. But the sad thing is that this has become a theme for the far
right. Any discussion of income equality is illegitimate, wrong, or worse.
Today Rush Limbaugh attacked the president for focusing on it in the State
of the Union tomorrow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: And you know what the theme of the
state of the coup is. Inequality. The president is going to complain and
whine and moan about inequality. This is his route to further punish
achievement, to stigmatize it, to stigmatize the rich.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The president isn`t trying to stigmatize the rich. He`s trying
to make this country more fair. That`s why tomorrow night income
inequality will be a major focus of the State of the Union. He is re-
igniting a conversation that this country needs to have, whether or not the
right wants to have it.

Joining me now are Mark Hannah and Krystal Ball. Thank you both for coming
on the show tonight.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks for having us, Rev.

MARK HANNAH, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Krystal, since when did a focus on income inequality become akin
to Nazi Germany?

BALL: It`s absolutely insane. And that`s what your pointing out, I mean,
this guy is way out there in terms of what he is saying, and he has gotten
a lot of criticism from across the board. But the mentality that they are
being persecuted, that it`s the rich who are being treated unfairly and
getting the short end of the stick is quite pervasive, and it`s absolutely
insane. The people who are doing the best in this economy far and away are
the rich.

SHARPTON: Right.

BALL: The stock market is doing just fine. Corporate profits doing just
fine. Meanwhile, workers are struggling. The majority of the jobs created
out of this recession have been low income jobs. So, even as corporations
are prospering, workers are unable to feed their families and are having to
rely on the government for assistance. You know, it can`t persist in this
mentality of persecution. It`s just bizarre.

SHARPTON: And Mark, I want to make it clear, this is not just a partisan
or progressive view. The focus on inequality by the president matches the
concerns of most Americans. Sixty eight percent of Democrats say the gap
between the rich and the poor has increased. So do 67 percent of
independents, as do 61 percent of Republicans. This is not even a partisan
or ideological issue when you deal in mass.

HANNAH: No. Senator Patrick Moynihan said you can argue about the
opinions, but you can`t argue about facts.

SHARPTON: Right.

HANNAH: The poll numbers you just showed demonstrate that people feel the
reality of this economic inequality in their bank accounts, in their
wallets, with their inability to spend money and pump money back into the
American economy. I think what Krystal said was really smart. This
recovery has been steady and slow, and the Obama administration deserves a
certain amount of credit for stabilizing the economy.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of that stabilization has gone into the
pockets of wealthy people. The -- there is no question whatsoever that the
rich in this country have disproportionately benefited from the increase in
the stock market, doubling the Dow, for example. That hasn`t trickled down
there. There is no evidence that has trickled down. It`s a real problem
we face as a country. And I think the president shows a lot of courage in
confronting that in the State of the Union on Tuesday.

SHARPTON: We`ve been hearing this trickle-down theory since 1980. And
we`ve got the down. We never did get the trickle. But Krystal, the right
is angry with the focus on income inequality. But they`re also angry with
any measures that would help poor people. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: What is unemployment insurance? It is paying people not to
work.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s like a paid vacation for people.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The minimum wage makes no sense whatsoever to me. I
mean, honestly, it`s just the teenaged -- black teenaged unemployment act.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: A lot of people are lazy, and a lot of people are
becoming lazier.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When you`re hungry, you`ll figure out a way to eat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: When you`re hungry, you`ll figure out a way to eat. That`s the
social policy. And the black unemployment act. I mean, so you don`t want
to deal with the disparity in income, and you`re angry at any proposal to
try to help lift those at the bottom.

BALL: Right. And I think if folks on the right are being honest, they`ll
say they don`t care about income inequality. It`s not important to them.
They don`t think it matters. They think, you know, the richer the one
percent, the more motivation it is for those poor starving people to get up
and get a job. Well, the problem is the jobs don`t exist. They aren`t
there. Unemployment insurance is because -- it actually encourages people
to work. Studies have shown that there are incentives in there to do that.

SHARPTON: Right.

BALL: But it`s because we have a huge problem of long-term unemployment in
this country that Republicans have stood in the way time and time again of
dealing with it. So, that`s why they cry class warfare, any time you talk
about income inequality, because they have no solutions. They have nothing
to say other than slinging accusations and insults.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s not even class warfare anymore. It`s you`re biased.

BALL: Right.

SHARPTON: We`re operating like Nazi Germany. I mean, this is -- you are
talk about going from the absurd to the bizarre. I mean, it`s amazing.
But let me get to the fact that the president is going the address this,
Mark, despite this political lunacy. One White House senior adviser
previewed a major theme of the state of the union, making this a year of
action, he says. And I`m quoting him. He is very focused and very excited
about all the ways we can move the ball forward if Congress isn`t willing
to go along. He`s energized by the creative thinking going into the ways
to move forward. And this is something that the president has been
hammering home all month. Listen to this, Mark.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I`ve got a pen and I`ve got a
phone. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive
actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.

Long-term, the challenge of making sure everybody who works hard can get
ahead in today`s economy is so important that we can`t wait for Congress to
solve it. Where I can act on my own without Congress, I`m going to do so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I`ve got a pen, I`ve got a phone, and we all refilled his pen
last year, Mark. It seems like it`s on.

HANNAH: You bet. Look, the White House`s line is we`re going to work
cooperatively with Congress when we can, and we will bypass Congress if we
must. If there is this kind of level of obstruction, you know, this 113th
Congress is on track to be the least productive Congress in the history of
the United States.

SHARPTON: Yes.

HANNAH: I`m not exaggerating. This is more unproductive than the do
nothing Congress under Harry Truman. So I think the challenges we face in
this country are great. The president doesn`t just have an economic
obligation to make sure that economic inequality is something that we
confront, but also a moral obligation for people who are working at the
minimum wage, who are working full-time jobs and are taking home under
$20,000 a year for their family. This isn`t just an economic problem in
our country. It`s also a moral problem.

And the president I think realizes the urgency of the moment. And I think
he realizes that, you know, and the Republican Party isn`t just intent on
obstructing the president. Let`s be clear. They`re also intent on
obstructing each other. There is an official State of the Union response
that is going to be given by this woman, this congresswoman, Republican
congresswoman. Now you have people like Rand Paul are going to come out
and give their competing response. You have Mike Lee giving the Tea Party
response.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it.

HANNAH: They can`t agree on how best to obstruct the president. They`re
obstructing each other on how best to obstruct the president. It`s
ridiculous.

SHARPTON: Mark Hannah, Krystal Ball, I`m going to have to leave it there.
Thank you both for your time this evening.

BALL: Thanks, Rev.

HANNAH: Good to see you, Rev.

SHARPTON: And be sure to catch Krystal on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00
p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, they can`t help calling him a dictator. That`s right.
Conservatives have a brand-new conspiracy theory, the president`s executive
actions.

And he is the NFL player who has been called a thug. Tonight he responds
to some of his critics right here on MSNBC. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: One night before the State of the Union, right wingers are
ramping up their latest ridiculous talking point that President Obama is a
dictator. Here is an ad for a State of the Union watch party in Michigan
sponsored by a Koch-funded Tea Party group. It thanks comrade Obama for,
quote, "Saving the children from the menace of guns, family, liberty, work,
and other outdated values." And here is the original soviet ad on which it
appears to be based, featuring none other than Joseph Stalin. Comparing
the president to a dictator is the right`s new favorite talking point, even
when he is just promising to take executive action if Congress refuses to
do its job. Well, of course that must mean he is a dictator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m deeply troubled by the president`s use of his
executive authority.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It sounds vaguely like a threat. And I think it also
has a certain amount of arrogance.

LIMBAUGH: Now, we might have a pen, and he might have a phone. But what
he does not have is the constitutional power to run this country like a
dictator.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now are James Peterson and Joe Madison. Thank you
both for being here.

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

JAMES PETERSON, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: So, Joe, when did signing an executive order turn an American
president into a dictator?

MADISON: It hasn`t. And I don`t know where, you know, Limbaugh is coming
from. If he had been around when Roosevelt was president, he would have
had a serious problem when he signed the executive order that gave African-
Americans the right to work in defense plants. And he certainly would have
opposed Abraham Lincoln I think who signed a few executive orders. So he
really doesn`t know what he is talking about.

SHARPTON: Well, but let me say this, Professor Dr. Peterson. It`s not
just in areas for African-Americans or blacks. Look at the fact that
Ronald Reagan, let me give you the list, call the roll, as we say, Ronald
Reagan signed 213 executive orders. George H.W. Bush signed 166. George
W. Bush, who I believe Karl Rove worked for, we played a clip of, George W.
Bush signed 173. President Barack Obama has only signed 147. So how is he
a dictator when he has signed the least of any of the preceding Republican
presidents in the last two decades?

PETERSON: Yes, well, Rev, as you and Joe point out, he is not a dictator.
It`s somewhat strange in some ways that when Obama has done things that
other presidents have done, it`s sort of colored in a different light. And
I think Rush Limbaugh is a great example of that in this particular case.
Progressives, though, Rev, are very much interested in Obama raising those
numbers of executive orders. Remember, the executive order process is
within the constitutional processes of our governments.

To say that it`s outside the constitution doesn`t make much legal or
political and policy sense. So I think progressives want the president to
take action. The American people want the president to transcend the
gridlock that has been sort of limiting what he has been able to do as a
president since he got into office. So let`s hope for more executive
action and hope that it applies pressure on the Congress to sort of come to
the table and actually work on some policy for this nation.

SHARPTON: But Joe, you know, accusing the president of being a dictator is
nothing new for the GOP. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: My next guest has decided to stand up to King
Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m afraid that President Obama may have this king
complex sort of developing.

GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: He has all of the earmarks of a Marxist
dictator. He does. He doesn`t like anybody to challenge him.

LIMBAUGH: Did you happen to see the size of the flags behind Obama? Those
flags are getting bigger and bigger and bigger every speech he makes. And
you know, that`s what dictators do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, I mean, Joe, do you think maybe they should therefore call
Reagan and Bush senior and Bush Junior our former kings?

MADISON: I, you know, I`m only smiling and half laughing to keep from
crying. I hope everyone, I don`t care you are, what demographic you belong
to, what gender, do people really understand how childish these folks just
sound? I mean, it is it`s childish. And when you consider the fact that
the president, most of us, and I think the professional was alluding to
this, most of us have asked for the president to be more forceful, to use
what power he has.

SHARPTON: Yes.

MADISON: And presidents do have limited power. But what we`ve finally, I
think we`re getting the president we really wanted, even in the last term.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, Professor Peterson, Republicans seem to love an
imperial president unless it`s a Democrat.

PETERSON: That is exactly right. You heard no cries of King Bush. And
when you think about the ways in which the Bush administration operated
with Dick Cheney and others, to sort of hide certain things from the
American public and to sort of avoid due process, especially around torture
laws, especially around the prosecution of the Patriot Act and the
prosecution of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, using secret contracts,
there`s no-bid contracts, I mean, there is so much to think about there.
But this is not about that, Rev. You know, we should not be distracted by
the Republican entertainment complex on this. The president is doing what
he has to do in an environment where obstruction is the rule. It`s not a
tool that is used politically. It`s actually the rule. And so, in that
environment, executive action is the way to go, I think.

SHARPTON: Well, and Joe, when you look at a new poll, for example, when
people were asked how they felt about the president bypassing Congress and
taking action by executive order to accomplish their administration`s goal,
52 percent which is over half of the respondents, supported it. Forty six
percent opposed. People are fine with the president taking executive
action.

MADISON: And on both sides, both sides. And independents are fine. No.
He is in a win-win situation on this. This is not only a do nothing
Congress, but I think I made reference to the fact that it`s a shutdown
party. They shut down a bridge in New Jersey. They shut down a
government. They tried to shut down Medicare. They tried to shut down
ObamaCare. All they have tried to do since he has been president is shut
this presidency down. They tried to shut him down with the reelection, and
they couldn`t.

SHARPTON: Thank you so much. I`m going to have to leave it there. James
Peterson, Joe Madison, thanks again for your time tonight.

MADISON: Thank you, Reverend.

PETERSON: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, President Obama`s big statement at the State of the
Union. We will reveal the guest of honor who will be sitting with the
First Lady.

But first, NFL star Richard Sherman has been called a thug and labeled a
loud mouth. Tonight he responds to some of his critics. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: He is the trash talker from Seattle, the football player
everyone is talking about. He is Richard Sherman. The cornerback from the
Seattle Seahawks has been the center of controversy since his post-game
interview once week ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIN ANDREWS, SPORTSCASTER: Joe, thank you so much. Richard, let me ask
you the final time play, take me through it.

RICHARD SHERMAN, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Well, I`m the best corner in the game,
when you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that`s the result
you`re going to get. Don`t you ever talk about me.

ANDREWS: Who was talking about you?

SHERMAN: Crabtree. Don`t you open your mouth about the best or I`m going
to shut it for you real quick!

ANDREWS: All right. And, Joe, back over to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Those 25 seconds launched a racially charged debate in America.
The day after that interview, the word thug was said 625 times on TV, more
than has been used on any day in the past three years. Richard graduated
second in his high school class. He went to Stanford and got a degree in
communications. And is widely reported he is very charitable. Today, just
six days away from the Super Bowl, he sat down with my colleague, Chris
Hayes. Chris asked him about being labeled a loud mouth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Senator John McCain had this quote the other day,
which I`m just quoting because he said it. But a lot of people I feel like
have this. You know, everybody is such a Manning fan that loud mouth from
Seattle sort of epitomizes the Seattle team to me. Do you feel like the
story that`s getting built in the run-up to the game is like Peyton Manning
is the hero and Richard Sherman is the villain? It`s like, that`s the good
guy and that`s the bad guy? You`re the bad guy?

SHERMAN: I don`t think -- I don`t see it that way. Maybe in his circle.
But I`m sure he said worse than that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Never thought I`d see Richard Sherman trash talking Senator
McCain. I`ll be watching tonight. The full interview airs at 8:00 p.m. on
"All in with Chris Hayes" right here on MSNBC. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, a presidential invitation. Some of the
president`s guests for tomorrow night`s State of the Union were announced
today. Boston marathon bombing survivors Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman
will be there. Carlos became a hero and Jeff played a vital role in
identifying the bombers. They define Boston strong. Joey Hudy will be
there, the 14-year-old inventor who showed off his new invention at the
White House science fair, the extreme marshmallow cannon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOEY HUDY, INVENTOR OF THE EXTREME MARSHMALLOW CANNON: I`ll probably angle
it this way so it doesn`t hit that person`s poster.

OBAMA: Yes, I think that`s a good idea. Oh! Let`s go look at the
marshmallow, see what happened to it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: More. Oklahoma fire Chief Gary Bird is invited. He worked
around the clock after the deadly tornado leveled their city. Also
invited, Jason Collins, the groundbreaking NBA player who became the first
male athlete in any American team sport to come out as gay. The president
remarked he couldn`t be prouder of Collins for coming out. And Kathy
Hollowell- Makle who will be there. She is Washington, D.C.`s teacher of
the year. And she is seeing amazing results from her students. These are
ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

They represent President Obama`s year of action on equal rights on
education, on fairness, and on thinking big. And that is how we hope to
build, expand, and uphold the even better State of the Union. When
ordinary people find a way in their lives to do extraordinary things, not
from an extraordinary or lofty position, but from wherever you are and
whatever stage you are in this country, to do what you can to give action
to a better and more fair and just nation. It`s not on the president
alone. It`s all of us.

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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