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PoliticsNation, Thursday, March 6th, 2014

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POLITICS NATION
March 6, 2014

Guests: Marcia Fudge, Krystal Ball, Dana Milbank, Russell Simmons


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: When chairman Darrell Issa ended the
hearing without letting a single Democrat speak, cutting off their
microphones, he didn`t count on this response from ranking Democrat Elijah
Cummings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: If you will sit down and allow me to
ask a question, I am a member of the Congress of the United States of
America. I am tired of this. We have (INAUDIBLE) you represent 700,000
people. You cannot just have a one-sided investigation. It is absolutely
something wrong with that, and it`s absolutely un-American.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Chairman Issa cut off congressman Cummings` microphone twice,
refusing to let him speak. Today in the house, outraged Democrats
introduced a resolution condemning Issa`s actions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUMMINGS: Not only were chairman Issa`s actions an abuse of authority,
they were in fact counterproductive.

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: You see Republicans simply trying to
shut down and suspend democracy in the House of Representatives.

REP. LOUISE SLAUGHTER (D), NEW YORK: What happened was so outrageous, so
demeaning, so un-judicial, so awful in every respect that we just
absolutely have reached the boiling point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They`ve reached the boiling point. And today the congressional
black caucus wrote to Speaker Boehner, demanding he remove Issa as chair of
the oversight committee. For three years, Issa has used his gavel to
launch one witch-hunt after another. To make one baseless accusation after
another and it`s time for that to stop.

Joining me now is the lawmaker who is leading the charge guest ice sack,
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, chairwoman of the congressional black caucus
and MSNBC`s Karen Finney.

Good to see both you have tonight.

REP. MARCIA FUDGE (D), OHIO: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, was this the last straw for you?

FUDGE: No question about it, Rev. Any time you allow one lawmaker to not
only violate committee rules, house rules, but the official code of conduct
of the United States Congress and do nothing about it, something has to
give.

SHARPTON: Now, Karen, believe it or not, chairman Issa has blamed it all
on congressman Cummings and claims he is just looking for truth. Listen to
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: After an
adjournment, he then perked up and said I want to ask a question. I said
what is your question? And then that exchange occurred because he didn`t
have a question. He was simply endlessly slandering the efforts of the
committee. But having said that, we want to get to the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, after 16 hearings and millions of dollars that have been
wasted on this, I mean, isn`t it clear he is not interested in the truth,
Karen?

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC HOST, DISRUPT: Well, absolutely. I mean, I think it`s
very clear chairman Issa is not exactly a source that one would go to in
search of the truth, nothing but the truth, and the whole truth. Because
as we know, thanks to congressman Cummings, frankly, in the past, look at
some of the other stages in this process where he withheld certain
information in order to support a narrative in the media, rather than like
the fact that progressive groups were also investigated. So we know this
is someone who has manipulated the facts, manipulated the information time
and time again.

SHARPTON: You know, Congresswoman, you`ve been in the Congress and in
state legislator. You`ve been a legislator for a while. Have you ever
seen this kind of behavior before by a chairman to ranking committee
members?

FUDGE: I`ve never seen this behavior by anyone, not just a chairman.
Representative Issa brought dishonor on the House of Representatives. He
only wants his truth. He only wants to have one side of it. And he wants
to be a bully.

Enough is enough. We are not going to sit by and allow him to bully
representative Cummings or any other member of Congress. It is time for
the leadership, the speaker to take the appropriate action and discipline
someone who has violated the rules. And we are going to continue until we
make him do it.

SHARPTON: Now, have you heard from the speaker since you sent your letter?

FUDGE: I have not heard personally from the speaker. I understand that he
thought that the actions of representative Issa could be defended. I don`t
know how they could be, because if they were defendable, they would have
allowed us to debate on the house floor our privileged resolution. But
because they knew they could not defend it, they tabled it.

SHARPTON: Yes, they did not allow that debate on the house floor. You
raised a resolution and it was tabled.

Karen, isn`t that really something of note that they refused to let the
debate about the activities of this chairman even be debated? They tabled
it when you had scores of members of Congress say let`s bring this to the
floor to discuss this behavior.

FINNEY: Well, absolutely. And by the way, Rev., this is coming from the
same people that are accusing President Obama of being an imperial
president, of trying to be king.

SHARPTON: Right.

FINNEY: Only a dictator would shut down speech like that.

SHARPTON: And no doubt about it. Chairman Issa also says he is the one
who deserves an apology, Congresswoman. He says that congressman Cummings
should be apologizing to him. Let me read his statement.

He owes me an apology. I think he should be dealt with by his leadership.
His conduct was inappropriate and rather shocking.

FUDGE: Let me say this. If Darrell Issa believes that anyone, Republican
or Democrat, believes that Elijah Cummings should be doing any kind of
apology, he really is delusional. Every single member of the House of
Representatives know she`s wrong, no matter how they voted. We are
outraged, and we are not going to continue to allow him to act the way he
has acted. He should be reprimanded, and we intend to make sure that he
is.

SHARPTON: Now, Karen, this same chairman Issa has been searching for a
scandal, any scandal, I mean any one. You know, Fast and Furious,
contraception, Benghazi, IRS, Solyndra, World War II memorial. I mean,
just any scandal he can try to create into a scandal.

FINNEY: Well, that`s exactly right. And as you know, in each of these
instances, he has made up scurrilous, wild accusations that sometimes not
obviously based in fact. But, again, as we have learned from time to time,
based on only a piece of the fax and his willingness to withhold
information I think is incredibly troubling in conjunction with this kind
of behavior. But you`re right, Reverend. I mean, they have tried -- Issa
in particular has been on a witch-hunt ever since the beginning of this
presidency.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Congresswoman, you said on my radio show earlier
today that you felt that it was important people understand this is not
just about Congressman Elijah Cummings, a member of your caucus. This is
about how you allowed certain behavior and not allowed certain behavior in
the House of Representatives.

FUDGE: There is no question about it. This is bigger than Elijah
Cummings. He has brought dishonor upon the House of Representatives of
which all of us are members. He is a person that believes in fiction. We
believe in facts. If he thinks he has not violated the rules, then he
needs to read them. He has done everything possible to try to make it seem
as though Elijah is the bad guy. But he is the bad guy. And at some
point, the entire country will see it, because if he continues his witch-
hunt, if he continues to make up facts, people are going to see him for who
he is. And until he does that, until we do that, we will have lost any
credibility at the House of Representatives if we cannot reprimand and
discipline our own.

SHARPTON: Well, let me play some of the tape of what he did. Let the
country see some of it now. This is some more of the actual actions that
was taken by chairman Issa on yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISSA: Therefore we adjourn.

CUMMINGS: Chairman, chairman, I have a statement. I have a procedural
question, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I have a procedural question.

ISSA: We`ve adjourned.

CUMMINGS: Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this. You just
cannot do this. This is -- we`re better than that as a country. We`re
better than that as a committee. Have I asked for a few minutes to ask a
procedural -- and now you are cutting me off.

ISSA: We`re adjourned.

CUMMINGS: I don`t care. The fact is I`m asking a question. I am a
ranking member of the committee, and I want to ask a question. What are we
hiding? What is the big deal? May I ask my question? My I state my
statement?

ISSA: You are all free to leave. We`ve adjourned. But the gentleman may
ask his question. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The witness had just pled the fifth, and no Democrat had spoken.
You saw there Congressman Cummings, the ranking Democrat politely ask can I
ask a question. He turned his back on him. He got up and walked away.
Then he told him to turn off his mic. Then he dismissively said you can
ask a question, but everyone can leave. I mean, this doesn`t go on in
elementary school in student council meetings, Congresswoman.

FUDGE: And you know what, Reverend? It`s not the first time he has done
it. He has done it to other members of the committee. I think it just got
to be a tipping point. And we have just decided as an entire Democratic
caucus that we are no longer going to sit back and allow any member to
treat us the way that Mr. Issa treated our ranking member.

SHARPTON: Chairwoman Marcia Fudge and Karen Finney, thanks to both of you
for your time tonight.

FUDGE: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Be sure to watch "Disrupt" with Karen Finney weekends at 4:00
p.m. eastern right here on MSNBC.

Up next, we`ll play a little game of who said it. Darrell Issa or Rush
Limbaugh? Republicans have been hijacked by the right wing media, and now
they`re paying the price.

Plus, how low can they go? Some of the GOP`s biggest names gathered today
to see who could say the worst possible thing about President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have long thought and said this president is a smart
man. It may be time to revisit that assumption.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s ugly, and it`s got to stop.

All that, plus the one and only Russell Simmons live here in our studio.
Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: How did we get here? How did it get to Darrell Issa`s ugly
display on Capitol Hill? Why it`s harder and harder to distinguish
Republican members of Congress from talk radio hosts, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUMMINGS: I`ve asked for a few minutes to ask a procedural -- And now you
are cutting me off.

ISSA: We have adjourned.

CUMMINGS: I don`t care. The fact is I`m asking a question. I am the
ranking member of this committee. And I wanted to ask a question. What
are we hiding?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It was an unbelievable moment. Republican congressman Darrell
Issa cutting off a Democrat`s microphone. It showed the extremes of
disrespect among some in the GOP. They`ll say or do anything. They sound
more like conservative radio host than members of congress.

For example, did Rush Limbaugh or Congressman Issa call President Obama one
of the most corrupt presidents in modern times? Yes. That was Issa.

And was it Rush or Senator John Cornyn who said he wasn`t impressed with
attorney general Eric Holder`s intelligence? You guessed it, that was the
senator.

And it was Limbaugh or congresswoman Michele Bachmann who accused the
president of impeachable offenses? Well, that was kind of a trick
question, because both of them have.

The ugly talk isn`t just on right-wing radio anymore. And the words coming
from members of Congress, they`re a little harder to tune out.

Joining me now are Joe Madison and Bill Press. Thank you both for being
here.

JOE MADISON, HOST, MORNINGS WITH MADISON: Thank you.

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Great to be here, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Joe, it is just me, or do you have trouble telling the right
wing pundits from the politicians apart?

MADISON: No, I don`t have trouble telling them apart, only because they`re
inseparable twins. I think that`s the actual truth about it. And the
reality is that I think, Reverend, they have maybe flat line is a medical
term. But I think they have reached bottom. They are no longer converting
anyone.

First of all, Congress is at its lowest rating period. It has been for a
long time. But I believe if a poll is taken right now, we would see the
fact that they`re losing support among independents. They`re losing
support among various demographic groups. And so, to put it in a term that
a lot of people understand, they`re just preaching to the choir.

SHARPTON: And the choir doesn`t sing in tune.

MADISON: That`s right. That`s right. That`s right.

SHARPTON: Bill, let me ask you this. This week we heard the right wing
bubble`s ugly, very ugly attacks on the president over the crisis in
Ukraine. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We have a weak and indecisive
president that invites aggression.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Are you saying that because of President
Obama`s weakness, that there is -- we are undergoing, the world right now,
a geopolitical shift?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Putin is playing chess, and I think we`re
playing marbles.

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN, CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: You look at what he is
doing with President Obama, he is like toying with him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He makes a decision and he executes it. Quickly. Then
everybody reacts. That`s what you call a leader. President Obama, got to
think about it.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You have a top KGB officer, Vladimir
Putin, versus a failed community organizer, Barack Obama. Who do you think
is going to come out on top in this?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, it shouldn`t even be a political issue in the first place,
Bill. But, I mean, isn`t it hard to tell the talkers and the lawmakers
apart?

PRESS: Yes. Well, first of all, there used to be a difference. I mean,
look, Joe and I are both talk show hosts you. You don`t hear that kind of
ugly talk coming from the left that you do the right.

But even on the right, there used to be a difference you. You would expect
some -- no standards at all. Anything goes for the talk show hosts. But
there was always some respect for the truth or some civility for members of
Congress. No longer today. Rush Limbaugh is Michele Bachmann. Rush
Limbaugh, Steve King is Rush Limbaugh. They are one and the same, as Joe
said.

But on this attacking Obama and blaming him, you know what this is,
Reverend Al, it`s blame Obama first. It`s blame America first. I mean,
the whole idea that Putin decided he would invite Ukraine because he thinks
Barack Obama is a weak president. You know, just last week Republicans
were complaining that Obama was a bully. They were accusing him of acting
like a king and like a monarch in using executive power too strong. Now
they`re saying she a weakling. So they can`t even make up their mind about
which he is. It is always whatever happens, blame Obama.

SHARPTON: And isn`t this the reason why they can`t win a national
election, Joe? They`re kind of caught, trapped in their own bubble?

MADISON: Yes. And it`s also a reason, if we look at what has happened in
some district elections, I think Texas where there has been some tea party
challenges, the tea party has not won. That`s what I mean. They`re not
winning converts. You know, if you`re going to do this, you want to grow.
They`re not growing. And that`s why I say, I think even people in the
Republican party are embarrassed.

I mean, what Issa did was he really -- you know, quite honestly, he really
blew his own chance to make his own point there was something called a
proffer, which basically means that the attorney -- and he knew, the
attorney was prepared to answer his ten questions.

Here is the point, America. He didn`t really want to hear the answer
because the answer would have for all practical purposes ended the
investigation.

SHARPTON: Now, Bill, you know, Republican lawmakers are obsessed. I mean,
just obsessed with smearing this president. Here is one of their favorite
lines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: This makes Watergate look like
child`s play.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Somebody the other day said to me this is
as bad as Watergate. Nobody died in Watergate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is far worse than Watergate. Nobody died in
Watergate.

GRAHAM: Get to the bottom of it like we did in Watergate and Iran/contra.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you add Watergate and Iran/contra together and
multiply it by ten or so, you`re going get into the zone of what Benghazi
is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, you see Watergate left and right all over the place.

PRESS: Yes. Well, you know, it`s so sickening. If they`re not comparing
everything to Watergate, they are comparing everything to Hitler or to the
Nazis. I mean, they pull anything out of the, you know, the fire that they
can.

But you know, back to Ukraine for just a second. I mean, I think we used
to speak with one voice, one American voice when somebody else would invade
another country. It wasn`t that long ago Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
Americans united behind George H. W. Bush to push Saddam Hussein out of
Kuwait.

Today, if that happened today, do you think they would blame George Bush?
Probably not. But they`re blaming Obama rather than uniting and saying
this guy attacked one of our allies. We ought to unite and behind our
president and do what we can to force him out of there.

SHARPTON: Well, even beyond blaming the president on the Ukraine
situation, Joe, they actually started praising the machos of Putin. I
mean, they actually started acting as if Putin were some invincible macho
man, and that Obama should learn leadership from him.

MADISON: Yes, well, tell that to bin Laden. And all the other people that
the president has captured. I mean, it was Ron Christie (ph), you know,
who has been on our show a couple of times, he is nice brother. But you
know, he is sitting up there tweeting about the fact that the president was
wearing jeans on a Saturday talking to Putin on the telephone, as if Putin
cared what the president was wearing.

I mean, this is childish when you really think about it. so, you know, he
-- so Putin`s bare-chested. Obama is fully dressed, but he is wearing
jeans. I mean, how silly can you get when two super powers are about ready
to square off with each other, and you`re talking to the American people
about who is wearing either -- who is either shirtless or who is wearing
jeans?

PRESS: Right.

PRESS: One final point, Reverend Al. Lindsey graham says we have a weak
and indecisive president that invites aggression. What about in 2008 when
Putin invaded Georgia? What did George W. Bush do? Nothing. And what did
Lindsey Graham say about it? Nothing.

MADISON: Nothing.

PRESS: Yes. Blame Obama first.

SHARPTON: Well, nothing like a good old double standard.

Joe Madison and Bill Press, thank you both for your time tonight.

MADISON: Any time. Have a great weekend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Russell Simmons joins me live tonight to talk about
Republicans, rap culture. His new book, and what it feels like to be on
the NRA`s enemies list.

But first, a massive dose of hypocrisy from senators voting against one of
President Obama`s nominees. It`s tonight`s got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: President Obama`s calling it a travesty. Yesterday Senate
Republicans and a few Democrats voted down his nominee to lead the civil
rights division at the justice department. And what was supposedly wrong
with (INAUDIBLE)? He was the head of the NAACP`s legal defense fund when
the group defended a man accused of killing a police officer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: His advocacy on behalf of
the nation`s most notorious cop killer glorify, glorify an unrepentant cop
killer.

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R),PENNSYLVANIA: His record and what he actually has done
create serious doubt.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Go out of their way to advocate for, to
celebrate, to lionize convicted cop killers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He didn`t celebrate or lionize his client. He defended him. He
provided a constitutional right. There is a difference. Maybe Senator
Cruz and the Republicans can use a little history lesson. In 1770, an
American lawyer defended British soldiers following the Boston massacre.
He called it, quote, "one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my
country. That man was John Adams, who later became president.

Another lawyer two centuries later defended a convicted murder on death
row, and he did it pro bono, for free. That man was John Roberts. GOP
senators didn`t seem to have any qualms about confirming him as chief
justice back in 2005.

And then, there is the lawyer who defended a client in the kids for cash
scandal. That client was accused of bribing judges to send children to
jail. And that lawyer is now a U.S. senator named Ted Cruz.

Do we blame Senator Cruz for the crimes of his client? Of course not. But
that`s exactly what Cruz himself and all the other senators did yesterday.

Did they think we would ignore their blatant hypocrisy? Not a chance. We
got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: People like to say the Republican Party is fractured, that the
GOP can`t agree on anything these days. Well, that`s just wrong. They`re
unified in one thing, their opposition to President Obama. Today kicked
off the big annual meeting of conservatives, CPAC, and the attacks on
President Obama were personal and ugly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: You know, we have long thought and said
this president is a smart man. It may be time to revisit that assumption.
We`ve got a constitutional scholar as president. It strikes me he might
benefit, we might benefit if he actually reads the constitution every now
and then.

(APPLAUSE)

This president graduated from some of the best schools in the country. If
I were him, and if he would like some free advice, if I were him, I could
consider suing Harvard Law School to get his money back, because I`m not
sure what he learned in three years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This from the man who told the GOP to stop being the stupid
party. Even so-called moderates like Governor Christie joined in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The leader of the government, you see
something ready to go off the rails, and what you decide to do is stay as
far away from it as possible. If that`s your attitude, Mr. President, what
the hell are we paying you for?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Governor Christie`s administration is embroiled in scandal, and
yet he is questioning the president`s leadership? Forget substance, forget
policy. Today`s speakers were only interested in popping off one-liners
about President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The president of the United States is treating our
constitution worse than a placeMat at Denny`s.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We need to stop the lawlessness. This president
of the United States is the first president we`ve ever had who thinks he
can choose which laws to enforce and which laws to ignore.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: We can overcome these economic challenges
because the good news is the primary cause of them is a president who is
done in three years.

DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: Russia and Putin. You know, you look at what
he is doing with President Obama, he is like toying with him. He is toying
with him.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: President Carter, I want to issue a
sincere apology. It is no longer to fair to say he was the worst president
of this great country in my lifetime. President Obama has proven me wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Republicans talked a lot about leadership today. It`s about
time they showed some themselves.

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

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Reverend.

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

SHARPTON: Krystal, judging by CPAC today, is opposition to the president
about the only thing that unifies the GOP these days?

BALL: Yes. Pretty much. It certainly looks that way. And you have to
ask yourself, I mean, this president is not going to be in office forever.

SHARPTON: Right.

BALL: What are they going to do after he moves on? And I think these
lines are obviously easy punch lines for their base who they`ve said this
rhetoric that this president is the worst human being on the planet. So
they`re easy laugh lines. They`re easy applause lines. But they mask the
fact that the Republican Party has no ideas of their own. One of the
things that I just found unbelievable is Paul Ryan talked about how they
were the party of ideas. Really? Like what? Their entire economic
philosophy has been debunked. They have nothing to stand on. So the only
thing that they can come back to is hatred of this president.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Dana, the names of the panel discussions at CPAC
just give you a taste of where the GOP is these days. There is one called
health care after Obama, a practical guide for living when no one has
insurance and America runs out of doctors. I mean, it`s the actual name of
a panel. Another is the American dream versus the Obama nightmare: income
inequality. Yet another, Obama`s IRS: Political arm of the left, question
mark.

MILBANK: Yes.

SHARPTON: I mean, these don`t exactly require scholars to chair these
sessions.

MILBANK: Yes. I actually sat in on the ObamaCare apocalypse session
today. It was very lightly attended, Reverend, and I think that says a lot
about where things are at CPAC right now, because the conservative movement
is very fractured. I mean, consider that the Speaker of the House John
Boehner was snubbed, was not allowed to come and speak to CPAC, the highest
ranking Republican in the land. And you know, it was so dis-unified, that
in fact across the street from this, Breitbart news was running a rival
convention because they thought that CPAC was not anti-Obama and not
conservative enough.

So the idea of focusing on Obama actually makes sense from the point of
view they disagree on so very little there, they need to focus on the one
thing they disagree on. And in fairness, there actually is another. Each
of them were bashing the media, which is always a safe thing to do in this
environment, so --

SHARPTON: Let me get this right. Some people thought CPAC was not anti-
Obama enough?

MILBANK: That`s right. It was the voice of moderation. So across the
street --

BALL: Wow!

MILBANK: You had Breitbart having even more extreme crowd. Although Ted
Cruz spoke to both.

BALL: I would like to see the panel names for that other conference.

MILBANK: We couldn`t put them on TV, Krystal.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, Krystal. Senator Mitch McConnell took the
stage holding a rifle. He later says, he carried it out to present to
Senator Corbin as an NRA achievement award. I mean, was this his best
attempt at winning over the far right crowd he is being challenged by in
Kentucky?

BALL: I think that`s right. I mean, he is being challenged from the right
in Kentucky. He is being challenged from the left and the center in
Kentucky. He is in a very tough battle. And so, a lot of times
conservatives, because the party is so fractured, and because they stand
actually on so little, their economic philosophy doesn`t stand up to
scrutiny, they have very little to offer that the country actually wants
from them, they fall back on these cultural symbols like a gun. You know,
this is a symbol to his base that he is one of them, without having to say
a word. So, that`s a lot of what they rely on. And I think Obama bashing
has become one of those cultural symbols for the right.

SHARPTON: You know, Paul Ryan said today, Dana, the liberals are only
offering people a full stomach and an empty soul. And then he told this
story about a kid receiving school lunch. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: The left is making a big mistake here.
What they`re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The
American people want more than that. Every day at school, he would get a
free lunch from a government program. He didn`t want a free lunch. He
wanted his own lunch, one in a brown paper bag just like the other kids.
He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown paper bag had
someone who cared for him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And I used to get free lunch in school, because that`s the only
way my mother could give me lunch. Maybe he wanted his mother to have a
job. I mean, the absurd logic to that is like mothers choose not to give
their kids lunch for the most part if they can.

BALL: Poor mothers, anyway.

SHARPTON: Poor mothers.

MILBANK: Right, right. I guess he can solve the problem by giving all
these children an empty stomach. Paul Ryan has put out his budget now,
which is of course decimating the social welfare net as his previous
budgets have done. This is what Paul Ryan has been all about for some
period of time. You know, it was interesting. Paul Ryan also was saying
in this speech that he did not see that there was a civil war within the
conservative movement. I think he is right. It wasn`t really the
establishment versus the conservative. It was more of a free-for-all we
saw there.

SHARPTON: You know, Krystal, one of the things that I think undermines
their message, and people have the right to agree and disagree.

BALL: Sure.

SHARPTON: And I think that`s what the country should do. But the complete
insensitivity to the poor and almost mocking their poverty and mocking them
for their being less fortunate and taking one or two bad apples and acting
as though all of them were like that, and if people choose to be poor. I
really think it hurts them politically. And it certainly must hurt them
morally.

BALL: Well, how are we supposed to take Paul Ryan seriously when he says
he cares about the poor and he wants to help address poverty? And they
just released this big report on poverty this week. How are we supposed to
take him seriously when he says something like that about school lunch that
shows he has utter contempt for the poor, that he would think that a poor
mother chooses not to send her child lunch, rather than that she is doing
the best that she possibly can, and that we should help them out by
providing free lunch, by helping the mom get a leg up. I mean, he and his
caucus are standing in the way of creating jobs for that mother so that she
can afford to buy a lunch for her son. It`s infuriating.

SHARPTON: After they go and vote against free lunch and against a jobs
bill.

BALL: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Krystal Ball and Dana Milbank, thank you for your time this
evening.

BALL: Thanks, Reverend.

MILBANK: Thanks, Rev.

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

Still ahead, the growing mystery about the mother who drove her children
into the ocean. Everyone survived. And now we`re hearing what happened
before this dramatic video.

Also, Elizabeth Warren takes down a key right wing talking point.

But first, Russell Simmons joins us live here in studio to talk about
Republicans, culture, and his new book. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: He`s the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, a legendary media
mogul entrepreneur, activist and philanthropist, and author. And he is out
with the new book. It`s titled "Success Through Stillness." He is the one
and only Russell Simmons, and he joins us here on "Politics Nation."
Russell, always great to see you and have you in the studio.

RUSSELL SIMMONS, AUTHOR, "SUCCESS THROUGH STILLNESS": It`s a great
pleasure to see you again, as always.

SHARPTON: Now, I want to talk to you about the book. I heard it`s number
one on one of the religious --

SIMMONS: The wellness chart and a few others. It`s only a few days old.
I hope to make the best-sellers list overall this week. Because, you know,
one thing is I give all the money away. But the gift is not what I would
be able to do for charity with it, is that I want all kids to meditate.
Every morning I get up, I take my kids to school. I meditate with them for
20 minutes, and then take them to school. And all the schools that we have
kids meditating --

SHARPTON: You have the kids meditating?

SIMMONS: My kids, I meditate every morning with my kids.

SHARPTON: And what does that do?

SIMMONS: Well, there is lots of research. And some of that research is in
the book. You know, when you`re eight, the left side, the right sides of
your brain start to separate. And it`s very important to have these two
brains function together. And so it brings those back in line, for one.
It also strengthens the nervous system which strengthens the immune system,
which improves brain functionality.

SHARPTON: Right.

SIMMONS: We all are searching for clarity. And you as a minister know
this idea of Christ consciousness. This idea of being fully awake. You`ve
been there. You know, I`m sure at some point you played basketball.

SHARPTON: Right.

SIMMONS: You`ve been in the zone.

SHARPTON: Right.

SIMMONS: And when the world is moving at the pace that should be moving
at, but the fluctuations of the mind, which is the cause of sickness and
sadness in every one of us, we have hundreds of thoughts at a time. But
when you`re in that zone, it`s only one thought. So you can`t miss that
rim. You know, you`ve been in car accident.

SHARPTON: Right.

SIMMONS: So meditation is a tool. It`s the greatest tool we know of for
thousands of years to have a person become fully focused. And I think
that`s what we all need is focus. And in fact, all of your happy moments,
all of your creative moments, all of the moments that really promote well-
being come in the present moment. And you want to work to moving to a more
present state of consciousness.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this. Because the world know you helped bring
rap music to another level. I was at the White House last week when the
president announced his "My brother`s keeper".

SIMMONS: Yes, sir.

SHARPTON: And later that day Bill O`Reilly said that the problem was
gangster rappers were poisonous. What do you think about that?

SIMMONS: An old claim. They said that about rock `n roll, about blues,
about jazz. You know, the sad truth is artists -- not the sad. The truth
is artists always express the realities of our society. Sometimes they`re
harsh realities, and we don`t want to face them. For instance, if you said
rappers were sexist, I would say that -- and rabbis were more sexist. If
you said rappers were racist, I wouldn`t say they weren`t as racist as
their parents. If you say they are homophobic, I wouldn`t say they weren`t
as homophobic as their parents.

And if you say they`re gangster, I wouldn`t say they are gangsters --
they`re just telling us our truth. They`re sharing what is going on in our
communities. Some of it, when 80 kids get shot, you know, in one weekend
in a community, and it doesn`t make the news, and you hear a poet talk
about it, then it should help you address it. But they shouldn`t ignore
it. So rappers, that`s what they`ve been doing for many years.

SHARPTON: But let me ask. When you say the wrong thing, because you and I
have debated the "n" word. And we`ve agreed to disagree.

SIMMONS: Yes.

SHARPTON: What do you think about the NFL now saying now we`re going to
put penalties on their words?

SIMMONS: I don`t spend a lot of time on language. Reverend, I`m concerned
with -- so much suffering and so much unconscious behavior, I think
meditation -- it`s why I talk about the book. When you wake up and decide
what you think is important. Language is not important to me. Forty
billion animals born into suffering, which I consider to be the worst comic
disaster in the history of the world, the same 40 animals -- the greatest
cause of global warming, two times -- the same 40 billion animals that take
up all the oil, the water, and the grain, and all it does is cause sickness
and cancer, I say well, why would we do that? Why can`t I work on that?
Why can`t I work on gay rights? Why can`t I work on the prison industrial
complex and what it`s done in the fabric in the black community. I don`t
worry about language.

SHARPTON: You should -- but we`ll still debate later. Let me ask you
something before we run out of time about the book. You said that you
would love to get this in school systems.

SIMMONS: Absolutely. I`m going to Chicago, and I want Rahm Emanuel to
work with the chancellor to work with the principals as we have done in
other cities to get meditation in the schools. What I do --

SHARPTON: What would it do? Would it help with the violence?

SIMMONS: Well, you must know and in the hood, in the battleground of
Washington, he has quiet time in schools. And it has transformed the
school dramatically. The fact that kids need quiet time. All of us need
to let our brains rest. We work out. We do things for our muscles. But
the most important muscle, the brain, we don`t do anything for it. Quiet
time is critical in a child`s development. It promotes creativity. It
promotes happiness and focus. And kids need that. And so this is why I
want to -- it`s a big mission to me to put meditation in all the schools.
This is a simple, simple guide. I wrote it for those who are worried about
meditation. It demystifies meditation.

SHARPTON: Gives them a guide?

SIMMONS: It`s a simple guide. You can read that book. I could teach you
to meditate in ten minutes.

SHARPTON: Well, Russell Simmons, it`s always great to have you. And the
right wing ought to know, he may be the only one in America that can get me
silent for 20 minutes. And again, the book is "Success Through Stillness"
available now wherever books are sold.

SIMMONS: That was pretty good, Rev. Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Elizabeth Warren. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re learning more about the mystery, about what might have led
to a pregnant woman driving her van into the ocean with her three children
ages three, nine, and 10 inside. Thankfully, some heroes ran toward the
van and helped pull the three kids to safety. Tonight we know the mother,
Ebony Wilkerson, is still under mental evaluation. We also know two hours
prior to the incident, Ebony`s sister called police, worried.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: My sister was getting abused by her husband. I tried
to take her to the hospital yesterday. She signed herself out today.
She`s getting a little bit better, but she is still not all here. So she
is trying to drive, and I`m trying to stop her. And she has her kids. I
took her keys.

DISPATCHER: I don`t understand why you need a well-being check.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Because she is having psychosis or something. Or a
postpartum.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Her sister just released a statement saying the kids are now
under judicial supervision, and that the mother came to Volusia County to
seek the safety of family after fleeing South Carolina to get away from
domestic violence. The sister also said the family thanks the brave men
who risked their lives to save the mother and the children. We`ll be right
back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Billionaires or students? That`s the choice Elizabeth Warren is
asking America to make. Today Senator Warren laid out a new plan to expand
opportunity for the next generation. It would tax millionaires and use
that revenue to help students refinance loans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I think about it this way
because I think about the choice that America makes. Think about this.
Right now in order to finance the United States government, we take in
billions of dollars of profits off student loans, but permit billionaires
to have another loopholes that they pay at tax rates that can be lower than
those of their secretaries. So this is a straight forward choice. We can
take $75 billion and either say, we`ll use it to protect tax loopholes for
billionaires, or $75 billion can be used to help students refinance their
outstanding student loan debt. It`s billionaires or students.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Billionaires or students. Sometimes it`s easy to see. I`m glad
Senator Warren is in Washington fighting. That`s what I call another good
investment. I learned in Sunday school when I was a kid where your
treasures lie, lies your heart. Where is our heart? In future with the
students or taking care of billionaires that have already been blessed?

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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