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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

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POLITICS NATION
March 11, 2014

Guests: Karen Bass;

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

Tonight`s lead, the GOP`s alternate reality on Obamacare. With less than
three weeks until the deadline for Americans to sign up for health
insurance, the right wing is in overdrive to do something, anything to try
to undermine the law. House Republicans have announced they will hold
their 51st vote against Obamacare, yes, sure, 51st time is the charm. Give
me a break.

And outside Washington, many conservatives are trying to spread as much
misinformation as possible. The billionaire Koch brothers have supported
groups that have spent millions attacking Obama care in political races
this year. That includes this ad, which features a Michigan woman with
cancer who says she can`t afford her treatment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My insurance was canceled because of Obamacare. Now
the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it`s unaffordable. Congressman
Peters, you decision to vote for Obamacare jeopardized my health.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Of course, we all feel for the woman`s plight. We all have
feelings about that. But the Detroit news reports the facts don`t support
that ad. The woman will save at least $1200 a year under her new plan.
But she says the idea that her plan is cheaper, quote, "can`t be true."
And, quote, "I personally do not believe that."

That makes sense that she doesn`t believe it, because right wingers` talk
have spread false stories about this law for years and fill the airwaves
with nonsense like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The government`s making the decision
who lives and dies. That`s what Obamacare is.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: When it comes time to schedule your
grandmother`s cancer surgery, what happens then?

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: There is new evidence to suggest the
Obamacare death panels are alive and well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It allows the federal government to have all of your
medical records. They`ll know all of your deepest secrets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds more like Obama scare to me than Obamacare.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Let`s repeal this failure before it
literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s literally not going to happen. This law is helping real
people. Just today the Obama administration announced 4.2 million
Americans have enrolled in health care plans. A quarter of them are young
adults. But the right won`t talk about that. Instead, they`ll say
anything to scare people away from the law, even if it means convincing
sick people that they`re worse off.

Joining me now are Congresswoman Karen Bass, Democrat of California, and
Michelle Cottle of the daily beast. Thank you both for being here.

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

SHARPTON: Now I should note, we reached out to Koch industries about that
ad, and their spokesman said the Koch brothers were unavailable for
comment.

Congresswoman, they lost in Congress, in the courts, and the election.

BASS: Right.

SHARPTON: Now it seems their tactic is to lie about health care. I mean,
do you see it that way?

BASS: Absolutely. And you know what? I think this is really a tragedy.
Because a few years from now, we`re going reflect back on this. And the
fact that they spent almost half a billion dollars in the last election
cycle to do misinformation around this law is really sad. You know, in
California, the Republicans even went so far as to set up a fake Web site,
because, you know, we don`t have this issue in California. We have covered
California. We weren`t a part of the national Web site. So to see them
doing this, it`s actually going to result in people losing their lives
because people won`t realize that there is actually health care that could
protect them.

SHARPTON: You know, Michelle, the debunked ad that was put out was put out
by a group called Americans for prosperity. Now, they`ve spent $30 million
on states with competitive Senate races like Michigan, Louisiana, and North
Carolina. And right wing watch found audio of the Koch industries
spokesman talking about the Americans for prosperity, or AFP last week.
Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make no mistake, Charles Koch and David Koch are very
simpatico with everything that AFP does, as well as any one of a number of
organizations that they support and try to help flourish.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They`re very simpatico. I mean, what does that say about this
latest ad?

MICHELLE COTTLE, WASHINGTON REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST, NEWSWEEK: Well,
look, this latest ad is part of a much bigger kind of effort they`re making
to get into places like North Carolina and help out in races where they
think they can turn the tide. And the Democratic Party has finally started
responding, you know. They`ve got this addicted to Koch campaign. They
want to make it very clear to voters in these states that a national group
is coming in and trying to influence local elections, you know, how this
pans out, we don`t know yet. But you know, at least the Democratic Party
is trying to make clear kind of what is happening here with outside groups.

SHARPTON: Now Congresswoman, you know, the Democrats have been more
aggressive, and people like me are glad about that, about going after the
Koch brothers.

BASS: Me too.

SHARPTON: And dealing with their political support. But here is what GOP
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann says about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN: I just thank god that there is a billionaire or two on our side.
All the billionaires seem to be on the radical left. So I`m glad we`ve got
a couple on ours. I hope we have a few more that are willing to come out.
But realize also this is an intimidation movement. I`m sure that the
donors on our side don`t like to have their names vilified.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nope.

BACHMANN: And just remember, that`s really what this is about.
Intimidating people from giving money to our cause. That`s it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So first of all, she thinks they`re being vilified. And second
of all, they need more billionaires, she says.

BASS: Well, you know, I think that that`s just completely false, because
if you look at the Koch brothers, and a lot of times the comparison is made
with labor, and there is no way in the world you can compare two
billionaire brothers with the several million members who are in labor
unions. And if you compare the dollars that are spent, the Koch brothers
spend three to four times as much money trying to influence elections.

But I think what is really important, it`s one thing to spend money to
influence elections. But they`re spending money lying to people about
their health care, which prevents people from being covered. That is a
tragedy. And frankly, I wonder whether or not it should be a crime.

SHARPTON: You know, Michelle, the right doesn`t mention the people that
are benefiting from the health care law. I mean, let`s listen to some of
their stories.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Russell Fuller worked at a plant for 40
years. And once he retired, he didn`t have insurance. And as a diabetic,
he says he desperately needed it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the affordable insurance saved me, saved my life,
because the fact I couldn`t afford to pay $800 a month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one has been harder to reach than the 20-somethings
like (INAUDIBLE) law student Allenn Zillenger (ph). He was hit by a car
riding his bike in December. He signed up in the days following, no longer
willing to take chances.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At $40 a month, that`s less than -- that`s less than
almost every bill I have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) has been without health insurance for five
years. With the help of the translator and a health care market place
navigator, she found and purchased coverage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now I`m feeling -- I`m protected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: These people don`t quite fit the GOP narrative, Michelle, I
suppose.

COTTLE: They don`t fit the narrative. But they are exactly what opponents
of the bill have been concerned about. You know, when Senator Ted Cruz
would talk about how people, once this went into effect, people would get
addicted to it and they would get hooked on it. And the more people that
get signed up, the harder it is to do anything to roll it back. And this
is why there was such a push before the implementation to kill it. Because
once a lot of people get signed up and start benefiting from it, it becomes
that much harder to do anything about it.

SHARPTON: But here is where the insensitivity comes in, Congresswoman.
Here is what bothers me. We understand political parties. We understand
partisan feelings. We understand different feelings in terms of
ideologues. But shouldn`t all of us in the public arena put a separation
between when we really want to see healthy people do better and when we
want to score political points? I mean, at what point do we really stop
being what we claim we`re out here for? We can disagree on how to better
serve people. But when serving people doesn`t matter anymore, isn`t that
time for us to leave the public arena altogether?

BASS: Absolutely. I mean, can you imagine what it would have been like if
after this law had passed, the Republicans said OK, it`s the law. Now
let`s all join together to make sure that it works right. Because that`s
what happened when the Democrats opposed, you know, what was done during
the Bush administration years. Everybody came together and they figured
out how to make it work. You know, as you mentioned at the top of the
program, I`m getting ready to take my 51st vote.

SHARPTON: 51st?

BASS: Every couple of months, we all walk down to the floor. And I vote,
of course, against the repeal. And my Republican colleagues vote to repeal
it. If all of that effort and all of that money had been put into making
the system work, can you imagine what that would mean?

SHARPTON: That`s the point. Well, we`ll be watching for the 51st time.

BASS: Exactly.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Bass and Michelle Cottle, thank you both for your
time this evening.

COTTLE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, did the central intelligence agency spy on U.S.
senators? Today a bombshell from the head of the intelligence committee,
who says lawmakers may have been broken.

Plus, a key hearing in the Bridgegate scandal. Governor Christie`s former
aides trying to stonewall investigators?

And the President Obama interview that is lighting up the web. Check out
his satirical sit-down with the star of "the Hangover" movies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It must kind of stink, though, that you can`t run three
times.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, actually, I think
it`s a good idea. You know, if I ran a third time, it would be sort of
like doing a third hangover movie. It didn`t really work out very well,
did it. Now, I have to say that I`ve seen the show before, and some of the
episodes have probably been a little bit better than this. For example --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`ll tell you why this parody had a serious purpose. Big show
tonight. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Is the CIA spying on Senate Democrats? It`s an explosive story
on Capitol Hill today. But what it`s really all about is President Bush`s
so-called enhanced interrogation program. Will we ever know the truth?
That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Did the Central Intelligence Agency spy on United States
senators? It`s an explosive allegation, and it burst into the public view
this morning when Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate
intelligence committee, went to the Senate floor and suggested the CIA
broke the law. She says the CIA removed classified documents being used in
the Senate investigation into the Bush era detention and interrogation
program.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Without prior notification or
approval, CIA personnel had conducted a search that was John Brennan`s
word, of the committee computers. I have grave concerns that the CIA
search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied
in the United States constitution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The justice department is considering an investigation. But the
CIA director John Brennan, who headed the detention and interrogation
program during that time told NBC`s Andrea Mitchell the agency has done
nothing wrong. All these years later, will we ever learn about what the
Bush administration called enhanced interrogation techniques and what
others have called torture? Is the story behind this story that the CIA is
still trying to hide what happened?

Joining me now is NBC`s Kasie Hunt, who has been covering the story all
day.

Kasie, the CIA spying on U.S. senators, I mean, how did these allegation
come about?

KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: So this goes back, as you said, to the
Bush era enhanced interrogation techniques and to the Senate intelligence
committee`s investigation of those techniques. So Senate intelligence
committee staff were at an offsite location that was controlled by the CIA.
They were reading documents as they were trying to put together their own
report about these enhanced interrogation techniques.

The problem comes in when Senator Feinstein says the CIA removed from this
pile of documents that the committee had access to an internal review that
was conducted when Leon Panetta was the director of the CIA.

SHARPTON: Let me hold you right there. So they`re at an offsite location.
The Senate investigators are reviewing documents the CIA has turn over.

HUNT: Yes.

SHARPTON: Which means they`re no longer the CIA property or no longer in
their possession?

HUNT: At the point where they were at this facility, there were CIA-
provided documents. There were also notes that the senator`s staff had
taken that were supposed by behind a firewall.

SHARPTON: OK.

HUNT: So at this point, they were computers as this these staffers were
using to work every day. And that`s what Feinstein`s allegation
essentially is, that these computers were inappropriately searched. And
she alleges that the search may have violated the fourth amendment. It may
have violated the separation of powers clause in the constitution, it may
have violated several different laws. And that`s what she took to the
Senate floor today and aired these grievances.

Now, you mention the department of justice. And one of the things that
Senator Feinstein highlighted today is that a CIA lawyer referred this
investigation into how the committee had obtained this internal review over
to the justice department. And Senator Feinstein interpreted that as
something that was aimed at intimidating the staffers on her committee and
potentially shutting down their investigation of these techniques.

SHARPTON: Now Senator Mark Udall, who is a member of the Senate
intelligence committee, he had voiced his concerns on "now with Alex
Wagner." Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARK UDALL (D) COLORADO: There are a lot of smart, dedicated
patriotic Americans who protect us through our intelligence operations.
But there has to be confidence that the CIA also respects the balance of
powers and the separation of powers. And that respect has not been shown
by the CIA`s actions in accessing our computers illegally. It`s spying,
unfortunately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, there is a lot of anger around. What kind of reaction
are you getting?

HUNT: And you know, it`s bipartisan anger. It`s not just Senate
Democrats. I spoke to John McCain earlier today. And he said that it`s
possible that an independent inquiry might need to be started to figure out
exactly what happened in this case.

Now, McCain, of course, has a long history with Brennan. But you will
remember there are Republicans who opposed the enhanced interrogation
techniques programs. McCain was one of them, as somebody who endured
torture at the hands of America`s enemies in the Vietnam war. So, this is
something that cuts across all lines.

And the next stage of this is going to be in the Senate intelligence
committee. And they have to decide whether or not they`re going to vote to
declassify a portion of their enhanced interrogation technique report, the
report that they were writing when all of this supposedly took place. And
they`re discussing declassifying the executive summary of that report.
It`s a 6,000 page report. They`re talking about declassifying about 300
pages of it.

SHARPTON: I think the real question, though, is will we ever find out
about this enhanced interrogation program. I mean, will we ever know the
facts of what really happened and didn`t happen?

HUNT: If you listen to the way Senator Feinstein tells this story, it`s
pretty clear that the CIA is very reluctant, even now, to put this out.
And Senator Feinstein is not somebody who is -- has typically come out
against what the CIA has been doing. She is typically a defender of the
CIA.

SHARPTON: Yes.

HUNT: And that`s what makes this so remarkable.

SHARPTON: No. It is different for Feinstein.

HUNT: It is.

SHARPTON: Well, NBC`s Kasie Hunt, we`re going have to leave there it.
Thank you for your time tonight.

HUNT: Thank you so much, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the woman at the center of the Chris Christie
bridge scandal heads to court. We`ll have a live report on what happened
at that crucial hearing today.

And a man who made headlines talking about women`s libidos is now coaching
the GOP on how to run against women. Governor Huckabee will be tonight`s
got you and that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: They say the first step on the road to recovery is admitting you
have a problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have got to be advising our male candidates how to
talk about these things. We cannot have any stupid comments this year, OK?
No stupid comments.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: No stupid comments. That`s the answer to the GOP`s women`s
problem. No more legitimate rape. No more caterpillar wars, and
definitely no more uncle sugar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: If the Democrats want to
insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless
without uncle sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each
month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their
reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Talking about women`s libido, Mike Huckabee? That may be the
best way to win their votes. Governor Huckabee just sat down for an
interview about his presidential aspirations. He talked about how running
against a woman is different than running against a man.

Quote, "for those of us who have some chivalry left, there`s a level of
respect. You treat some things as a special treasure. You treat other
things as common." He said a male opponent is, quote, "common." And a
woman requires a sense of pedestal.

Special treasure? Pedestal? Is he talking about women candidates or an
art gallery?

Did Mike Huckabee think we wouldn`t know he is a bump in that Republican
road to recovery with women? Nice try, but no pedestal for you. We got
you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Bridget, any comment you want to make right
now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Can you tell us how you`re feeling, Bridget?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was Bridget Kelly today right after a critical hearing in
the Bridgegate scandal over her refusal to hand over documents, including
texts and e-mails to investigators. She`s the author of that now infamous
e-mail, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." And investigators
want to know why she sent that. Today her legal team strategy was simple.
Continue to block and deny and fight tooth and nail not to release those
documents.

Her attorney, along with a lawyer for Bill Stepien, who is Christie`s
former campaign manager, they both argued today that handing over the
information would violate their clients` rights. Outside the courthouse,
protesters demanded answers. Today they didn`t get those answers. The
judge said she would make a ruling, quote, "sooner rather than later." The
stonewalling from Kelly and Stepien is a far cry for what Christie said he
would tell his staff to do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Listen, I have absolutely
nothing to hide. And I have not given any instruction to anyone yet. But
my instruction to everybody will be to cooperate and answer questions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Cooperate and answer questions. Today that`s the opposite
of what Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien are doing.

Joining me now is NBC News national investigative correspondent
Michael Isikoff. He was at today`s hearing. And former prosecutor Paul
Butler. Thank you both for being here.

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Great to be here.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, NBC NEWS NATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Good
to be with you.

SHARPTON: Michael, Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien are really fighting
tooth and nail to withhold these documents, aren`t they?

ISIKOFF: They are. And we had three hours of argument during this
court hearing today, which actually turned into quite an intense and at
times fascinating discussion about the contours of the Fifth Amendment.
This was not by any means a slam-dunk for the committee. In fact, the
judge made it clear at the end that she -- that the issues raised here are
very serious constitutional ones, and she is going to take her time to make
a ruling. And, look, the basics are, though, that Reid Schar, the counsel
for the special committee said Bridget Kelly is essential to this
investigation, finding out what was behind that e-mail is -- the committee
cannot do its job without getting her e-mails, text messages documents that
might explain that.

On the other hand, her defense lawyers argued -- her lawyer and
Stepien`s defense lawyer argued that the committee subpoena was not
specific enough, and that it required them to make decisions about what
might be relevant, what might not be relevant. It talks about all e-mails
and documents regarding the traffic lane closures, what is regarding the
lane closures. They in making that decision could be in effect testifying.
And there is a Supreme Court ruling involving Web Hubbell, a former law
partner of Hillary Clinton that says, if somebody has to make a decision
about which documents are relevant to a subpoena, that could be a form of
testimony, and it`s covered by the Fifth Amendment. So this is going to be
a very interesting legal argument. And I think it`s pretty clear to say
that it`s not going to end here. Whoever loses will likely appeal. This
could drag on for quite some time.

SHARPTON: But Paul, Bridget Kelly is the author of the e-mail as I
said, you know, "Time for some traffic problems." Now, here is what
Bridget Kelly`s attorney said about that e-mail. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL CRITCHLEY, BRIDGET KELLY`S ATTORNEY: Everybody says my God,
this does it. This is the document. Reduce the lanes. OK. So when I
look at this document, I look, on its face, on its face, does it regard the
George Washington Bridge? Nope. On its face, does it regard the reduction
of three lanes to one, access lanes to the George Washington Bridge? No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, is this stretching the argument to the breaking
point, Paul? I mean, he won`t even concede the e-mail is about the lane
closings.

BUTLER: Well, Reverend, it`s his job to represent Bridget Kelly to
the best of his ability. And he`s really got a decent argument. You know,
the Fifth Amendment says, you can`t be the agent of your own destruction.
You can`t be forced by the government to testify against yourself.
Normally, it doesn`t apply to things like text messages and e-mails. But
what he is saying is if my client has to go through all of her texts and
say, well, this applies to Bridgegate, this doesn`t, that`s kind of like
testifying. And I have a constitutional right now to do that. It`s not
that lawyering. We really wish that most of the people in the criminal
justice system were mainly poor people, minorities charged with crimes, we
wish they had the benefit of this kind of lawyering.

SHARPTON: But you see, when he puts it that way, Michael, you know,
you deal with council of state lawmakers. He argued that Kelly and
Stepien`s attorneys will find fault in any subpoena, no matter what it
says. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REID SCHAR, ATTORNEY FOR NJ LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE: I didn`t hear
anybody articulate what a valid subpoena would be in this case. Nobody.
Because they don`t want there to be a valid subpoena.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, do investigators think Kelly and Stepien are just
searching for reasons not to comply?

ISIKOFF: Yes, basically. And, look, there is a very good reason for
that. They are both facing a criminal investigation by the U.S. attorney.
And that`s what they`re worried about here. You know, in some respects,
this legislative committee is for them a sideshow. You know, it`s Paul
Fishman, the U.S. attorney in Newark, who is conducting the investigation,
who could indict Stepien and Kelly. And one important concession that Reid
Schar, the special counsel for the legislative committee made today is
that, yes, that that is a reality. He had previously argued that they
didn`t have to worry, they didn`t have grounds to invoke their Fifth
Amendment claims because there was no -- no real likelihood of them being
indicted, no evidence that they were the targets of a grand jury
investigation.

Today he stepped back from that argument and said, he wasn`t going to
vigorously defend it in light of some of what the defense lawyers put into
their motions, that federal agents have questioned -- sought to question
Kelly`s ex-husband, her in-laws, in Stepien`s case, his landlord. It`s a
pretty clear sign there is an aggressive federal investigation going on.
And that`s what they`re worried about.

SHARPTON: Paul, what is your guess? What will this judge do about
these documents? What is your -- what would be your guess?

BUTLER: You know, at the end of the day, judges usually end up siding
with prosecutors. So I think this is going to be a long process. It could
well stretch into the Republican primary season. But I think at the end of
the day, Kelly is going to have to turn over these documents. And then
what she is looking for, Reverend, is to make a deal. She is going to go
to the federal prosecutor and say if I give you the goods on Christie, will
you give me a break. And that will be really interesting.

SHARPTON: Very. And we`ll be watching. Michael Isikoff and Paul
Butler, thank you both for your time tonight.

BUTLER: Great to be here.

ISIKOFF: Sure enough. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Paul Ryan went after poor kids receiving free
school lunches. And now it`s becoming an ugly trend on the right.

Plus, President Obama heads to the gap to pick up a few things for the
girls and First Lady Michelle Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Two down and one to go.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Now Michelle, I have no idea
what to get.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: OK.

OBAMA: Maybe I should buy her some sox.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Our socks are so cute. But I think you could get
her a little bit better.

OBAMA: We can be a little more creative.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But what was the bigger message behind today`s shopping
spree? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: What they`re offering people is a
full stomach and an empty soul.

JON STEWART, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: Full stomach, empty soul? Full
stomach, empty soul? People on food assistance have empty souls. As Jesus
once said, if you give a man a fish, don`t, period. End of bible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Paul Ryan`s recent speech at CPAC has become a joke,
literally. Last week Congressman Ryan told a story about a young boy who
wanted to bring a brown paper bag lunch from home, instead of getting
school lunch. That way he would know someone cared for him. Too bad it
wasn`t true. Well, it wasn`t true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART: Paul Ryan told a powerful story about a woman who met a boy
who doesn`t want food assistance. But some sort of state or local based
soul program.

(LAUGHTER)

And even though the woman in that story never actually met that boy
because she took the actual story from a book, and even though the actual
boy in the story Paul Ryan was telling was not complaining about getting
food assistance, but asking that when he got food assistance, could he get
that food assistance in the brown paper bag because it could help him avoid
the stigma of getting food assistance. And even though that actual boy who
is now an adult and the author of the story regularly make public
appearances to advocate for free school lunches, point taken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But while Ryan`s story is a joke to Jon Stewart, it`s a
talking point on the right. The National Review said, Paul Ryan`s moving
story that explains the difference between hard work and dependency. It`s
all part of a growing trend from some on the right, attack kids on free
lunch programs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Should students have to work for their school meals?
Send those comments
over to us.

REP. JACK KINGSTON (R), GEORGIA: Why don`t you have the kids pay a
dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is in fact no such thing
as a free lunch. Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: When you gate new pet, what is
the first thing you do to try to bond with it? You want to be the one to
feed it, right? Well, same thing here.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Have one master
janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would
actually do work. They would have cash. They would have pride in the
schools.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It`s a valuable resource for families who are
struggling, and critics say a nice freebie for those who are not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A nice freebie? Since when is it OK to degrade poor
children? The answer is it should never be. But welcome to today`s GOP.

Joining me now is MSNBC`s contributor Goldie Taylor and Joel Berg,
executive director of the New York City Coalition against hunger. Thank
you both for coming on the show tonight.

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

JOEL BERG, NEW YORK CITY COALITION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Goldie, denigrating poor children on assisted lunch. I
mean, why has the right adopted this new line?

TAYLOR: You know, I think the problem for the right is instead of
adopting policies and narratives that sort of fit the American story,
they`re out there looking for American stories to fit their policies and
narratives rather than the other way around. At the end of the day --

SHARPTON: Even if the stories are not true?

TAYLOR: Even when the stories and especially when the stories aren`t
true. The more interested in supporting their narratives and crafting
their policies that will support real people. And so what they have to
begin to do is begin to listen to what is happening now in communities.
Here is radical idea. Why not provide breakfast and lunch in our public
schools, knowing what hunger has to do with outcomes in education, why not
solve it across the board for any child who wants it? And let them opt
out, rather than having them opt in. Why don`t we just provide breakfast
and lunch for every schoolchild who wants it.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Joel, the right acts like this is no need
for school lunch program. Let`s start there. But children that are
receiving the free lunch, they come from families making less than $31,000
a year. And three out of five teachers report kids regularly come to
school hungry. So it`s necessary. We`re not talking about something that
is not necessary, Joel. Goldie, let me bring that to you. Something is
wrong with Joel`s mic. We`ll get it straight.

TAYLOR: You know, what absolutely is necessary. You know, my mom
worked a 48-hour workweek. She wasn`t frankly home in the morning to make
my lunch to go to school. And on top of that, she was among the working
poor. And so I got free and reduced lunch for all of my public school
years.

SHARPTON: Oh, yes, I`ve got a lot of free lunch.

TAYLOR: A lot of free lunch. And I certainly was not ashamed of my
free lunch. But I knew other students that were. We should not be
stigmatizing poor people. My mother was doing the hard work that this GOP
was calling for. But she was still poor because she wasn`t working for a
meaningful wage. They ought to focus on wages.

SHARPTON: But that`s what got to me. And I`ve said on the program
before, I had free lunch and food stamps and all. What got to me is that
if you were trying to be sensitive when Ryan told a story that ended up
being false.

TAYLOR: That`s right.

SHARPTON: The real story was that this young kid at the time wanted a
brown bag so he would not be stigmatized.

TAYLOR: That`s right.

SHARPTON: How do you walk over, step over, ignore his feelings of he
didn`t want to be stigmatized to just redo the story to make your point
without everyone knowing this real isn`t about you having a different view
of public policy. You have no regard for the feelings of a human being who
happens to be a child.

TAYLOR: Well, for so many, it`s even worse than that. For Jack
Kingston, our congressman from South Georgia who by the way is running for
U.S. Senate in a very conservative GOP primary, he took $4200 in free
reimbursed Congressional lunches. But he wants children to scrub floors,
sweep floors, paint walls in Georgia schools in order to get their free
lunch. And so, I think there is a level of hypocrisy here that I haven`t
seen really in a very long time.

SHARPTON: But, you know, this is just a variation of what we have
heard from the right for years now. A demonization of the poor. Listen to
some of 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: Yes. The minimum wage makes no sense whatsoever to
me. I mean, honestly, it`s just the 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.

LIMBAUGH: People in poverty are washing their own dishes, half of
them are. The reason why only 45 percent have a dishwasher is because
things like chicken mcnuggets don`t come with dishes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, just denigrate anything. These are people that
just are less fortunate. And many of them work every day. They just don`t
make enough. So why do they have to be the ones that have to bear these
insults, these ugly kind of references?

TAYLOR: You know, the problem for the GOP is that they seem to
believe that the poor in this country are only black and brown, when in
fact the new face of the poor, the growing rate of food stamp dependency is
mostly in red states.

SHARPTON: Right.

TAYLOR: It`s in their very own backyards. And so the poor we saw
yesterday aren`t all the poor we`re seeing today. We`re seeing people who
lost their homes during the housing bust, who lost all of their wealth, who
suddenly have long-term unemployed and now cannot afford school lunch for
their very own children.

SHARPTON: You know, President Obama just made a surprise appearance
at the Gap, a Gap store here in New York. And that company is increasing
its minimum wage. And the president wants to see that nationwide. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I`m here at the Gap, A, because it never hurts to bring
something back when you`ve been on a road trip. You get points when you go
home. So, gentlemen, I just want you to all take that tip. Not only am I
continuing to push Congress to pass a federal increase in the minimum wage,
but what I also said was that businesses could take, and they should have
as well as states and local governments to make sure that if folks are
working full-time, that they`re not living in poverty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They`re not living in poverty. Minimum wage. So they
ridicule people that live in poverty. But they don`t want a minimum wage
that would really guarantee a certain income for people that are working
every day now who can`t bring home enough to take care of their families.

TAYLOR: You know, the minimum wage ought to at least be tied to the
cost of living, the rise and cost of living in this country.

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

TAYLOR: It certainly hasn`t been. But companies like the Gap,
companies likes Costco who pay well above the minimum wage also count on
more productive employees, employees that stay with them longer. When you
invest in people, people turn around and invest in your business. So the
president was right to ask private enterprise to step where this Congress
would not.

SHARPTON: Goldie Taylor, thank you for your time tonight. We
obviously had some issues with Joel Berg`s studio. We`ll have him back
very soon.

Coming up, the parody interview that has everyone talking and
laughing. President Obama goes toe to toe with the star of the hangover
movies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZACH GALIFIANAKIS, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: Is it going to be hard in two
years when you`re no longer president and people will stop letting you win
at basketball?

OBAMA: How does it feel having a three-inch vertical?

GALIFIANAKIS: It`s a three-inch horizontal. I have to know. What is
it like to be the last black president?

OBAMA: Seriously, what is this like to be the last time you ever talk
to a president?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Folks are laughing. But there was a serious purpose
behind that video. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Well, less than three weeks left to sign up for ObamaCare,
the President and First Lady are going all-out to make sure people get
covered. We saw Mrs. Obama do a skit on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy
Fallon and Will Ferrell in drag. And now President Obama`s doing a spoof
interview with "Hangover" star Zach Galifianakis who does a satirical web
show where he and guests do their best to be as insulting and awkward as
possible. It`s funny and weird all at once, especially when there is a
president involved. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GALIFIANAKIS: It must kind of stink, though, that you can`t run
three times.

OBAMA: Actually, I think it`s a good idea. You know, if I ran a
third time, it would sort of be like doing a third "Hangover" movie. It
didn`t really work out very well, did it?

GALIFIANAKIS: Is it going to be hard in two years when you`re no
longer president and people are going to stop letting you win at
basketball?

OBAMA: How does it feel having a three-inch vertical?

GALIFIANAKIS: It`s a three-inch horizontal. Where do you plan on
building your presidential library? Hawaii or your home country of Kenya?

OBAMA: That`s a ridiculous question.

GALIFIANAKIS: Well, you know, not to bring up the birth certificate
thing which you never really produced?

OBAMA: Where is your birth certificate? Why don`t you show it to us
right now?

GALIFIANAKIS: I don`t want to show anybody my birth certificate.
It`s embarrassing.

OBAMA: What`s embarrassing on it?

GALIFIANAKIS: My weight on it. It says that I was born seven pounds,
800 ounces. You know what I would do if I were president, Mr. President?
I would make same sex divorce illegal. Then see how bad they want it.

OBAMA: I think that`s why you`re not president. And that`s a good
thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The President gave as good as he got. But there was a
purpose, getting the word about ObamaCare to young people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GALIFIANAKIS: So do you go to new websites that are dotcoms or
dotnets, or do you mainly just stick with just dotgovs?

OBAMA: No, we go to dot govs. Have you heard of healthcare.gov?

GALIFIANAKIS: Here we go. OK. Let`s get this out of the way. What
did you come here to plug?

OBAMA: Well, first of all, I think it`s fair to say that I wouldn`t
be here with you today if I didn`t have something to plug. Have you heard
of the Affordable Care Act?

GALIFIANAKIS: Oh, yes, I heard about that. That`s the thing that
doesn`t work. Why would you get the guy that created the zune to make your
website?

OBAMA: Healthcare.gov works great now, and millions of Americans have
already gotten health insurance plans. And what we want is for people to
know that you can get affordable health care. And most young Americans
right now, they`re not covered. And the truth is that they can get
coverage all for what it costs you to pay your cell phone bill. If they
get that health insurance, it can really make a big difference. And they
have until March 31st to sign up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That video has been viewed more than five million times so
far just today. And the White House says, it sent nearly 200,000 people to
Healthcare.gov. And that`s a feel-good story. Not a punch line.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: America`s becoming more diverse, more tolerant, and more
open-minded, and that`s driving some right wingers right into freak-
outmode. Here is what Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said about the veto
of an Arizona bill that would have made it legal for businesses to
discriminate against gays.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The gay community, they have
so bullied the American people and they`ve so intimidated politicians the
politicians fear them. And so they think that they get to dictate the
agenda everywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Bullying? Congresswoman, that`s called activism, not
bullying. And the polls show Congresswoman Bachmann is on the wrong side
of history. Only 30 percent of older Republicans approve of gay marriage,
but that`s double to 61 percent among younger Republicans. Those under the
age of 30. The tide is turning. Attitudes are changing, and we`ve seen
this before. In 1958, only four percent of Americans said they approved of
interracial marriage. Four percent. But last year that number had climbed
to 87 percent. Times change, and so do the American people. If the
Republican Party has any hope for the future, they must change too or get
left behind in the past. Don`t worry about growing and don`t get caught
trapped in old thoughts. Expand and think, or at least realize the world
will not be stuck in your trap with you.

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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