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PoliticsNation, Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

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POLITICS NATION
April 3, 2014

Guests: Jim McDermott; Karen Bass, Eric Guster, Faith Jenkins

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

Tonight`s lead, GOP freak-out. Millions of Americans are getting insured
under the president`s health care law and the right can`t handle it. Today
House Republicans voted for the 55th time to attack the affordable care
act. That`s right, 55 votes to undermine this law. And they trotted out
some bizarre talking points to justify today`s vote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: Obamacare itself, which is a fraud against the
American people, calling the affordable care act the affordable care act is
not true. George Washington could not utter these words.

REP. JOE WILSON (R), NORTH CAROLINA: It is obvious the president`s broken
health care promises, have made lives more difficult.

REP. RENEE ELLMERS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: This law, this so-called law is a
complete and total assault on women.

REP. RODNEY DAVIS (R), ILLINOIS: I will not move on. I will not quit
talking about the complete failure of Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We know these guys aren`t moving on, but the health care law is
working.

This week, the president announced 7.1 million Americans have enrolled
through the health care exchanges. Millions more young adults were able to
stay on their parents` health plans, and more got covered through Medicaid.
You`d think all those who predicted failure would be pretty embarrassed.
But instead, the success has driven them completely off the rails.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Now, I`ve been contending from the
beginning this is a Ponzi scheme, and that they expect the young and the
healthy to be paying premiums and to be paying for the sick, the elderly
and the uninsured.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy, you put him in a military uniform, I`m not
kidding you. You put him on a balcony in a military uniform, this guy is a
full-fledged dictator. This is a complete, bogus fairy tale. This is
completely made-up. This is nonsensical.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: How many people are signing up
because they`re doing it out of abject fear of the authorities tracking
them down if they don`t?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Health care is a ponzi scheme? The president a dictator?
People are only getting insurance out of fear? It`s like the greatest
album, the hit album of the GOP conspiracies. They`re so desperate. One
pundit even attacked movie star Bradley Cooper for helping to spread the
word about the law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you imagine if they supported the troops in this
manner, troops in conflict, I mean, if they supported troops the way they
supported government programs. Imagine that in Hollywood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, if only celebrities like Bradley Cooper would stop telling
people to get health insurance and starts supporting our troops. Except he
does support the troops. Here he is visiting soldiers in Afghanistan.
Here is a shot from one of his USO trips. And I guess they forgot about
when he talked about mental health at Walter Reed hospital.

It`s just one more conservative attack that doesn`t add up. And fighting
this law is an uphill battle. The congressional budget office projects 24
million people will enroll in health care exchanges by 2017. It`s great
news for America, even if it`s bad news for the GOP.

Joining me now are Congressman Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington, and
"Washington Post`s" Nia-Malika Henderson.

Thank you both for being here.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thank you,
rev.

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Good evening.

SHARPTON: Congressman, 55 votes against the health care law? I mean, are
your Republican colleagues having a hard time accepting reality here?

MCDERMOTT: They are really apoplectic at this point. They don`t know what
to do. It turned out exactly as Ms. Sebelius predicted and they don`t know
how to deal with success. They have lost and they can`t admit it. So they
keep throwing all kinds of crazy ideas against the wall, hoping something
will stick.

But I`ll tell you what`s going to happen. They`re ultimately going to
admit they failed, and they`re going to pivot and start to say they`re here
to help fix it. And they`re going to try and love it to death. That`s
going to be their next trick.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Nia-Malika, the Republicans are trying -- they`re
just tying themselves up, really. In all kinds of knots, trying to say
they don`t like the health care law and this and that about the health care
law. But they do like what is in it. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Let`s start with the idea that
preexisting illnesses should not deny you coverage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their marching theme is let`s protect the most
vulnerable, those with preexisting conditions, those that have trouble
accessing health care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact of the matter is that no one is against, you
know, trying to cover people with preexisting conditions. No one is
against removing lifetime caps on medical coverage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You know, it`s almost like Obamacare light.

HENDERSON: Right. I mean, I think that`s a good way to describe it. In
talking to Republican strategists specifically about what Republicans might
do going forward with some of the new numbers out, they do suggest that
some Republicans might come out with their own plans. And you`ve seen some
of that.

Bobby Jindal, for instance, out of Louisiana had a four-page plan of what
he would do around health care. He would repeal Obamacare and replace it
with certain other items that conservatives like.

Ben Carson was on the hill today talking about the way he would reform
health care as well.

So I think you will see that from Republicans in anticipation of Democrats
saying, OK, what if you do repeal it, what are you going to replace it
with? So I do think this week is something of a reset on both sides. On
the one hand, you have Democrats for the first time being able to tout the
these numbers of seven million, a signups that will probably go higher over
the next couple of weeks.

And Republicans are figuring that this point, they also have to change
their tune around health care, and in some ways also diversify the
portfolio of things that they campaign on. It can`t be just about being
against Obamacare. It probably will have to move also to the economy as
well.

SHARPTON: You know, Congressman, as Nia-Malika talks about they`re going
to have to change their tune, and you said the same in your last answer, we
are hearing a different tone from some Republicans.

One congressman told "The New York Times," quote, "the law is real. It`s
there. You`re seeing a recognition that the law`s in place."

And Nevada senator Dean Heller says the health care law can`t be the only
election issue. Quote, "if we think we`re going to win or lose a majority
based on one single piece of legislation, I think we`re mistaken."

You know, this the first step toward acceptance, congressman?

MCDERMOTT: Well, I think it is, Al. What they realize is that we`ve got
six months until we get to election. And during that period of time,
people are going to be talking all across this country back and forth from
one state that has it to one state that doesn`t. They`re calling their
sister who lives in Tennessee or their brother who lives in Alabama, and
they`re going to say we got this great thing in California. And pretty
soon people are going to start to say to their members of Congress, well,
what have you done about it? You said we were against this. You said this
was a bad thing. But my sister says it`s really great for her.

And that`s going to turn the American people, because they`re gradually
getting the idea. There is seven million people who got something they
didn`t have before. And they are safe and secure. And they`re going to
tell their family about it. And that`s going to drive the Republicans
crazy. They`re going to have to come around to accepting.

SHARPTON: You know, I can`t help but think about all the gloom and doom
we`ve heard before these enrollment numbers. Take a listen to this, Nia-
Malika.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: This could be a setback for the
entitlement state and the liberal arrogant idea that could set them back
for a decade.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: President Obama will not recover from the
health care debacle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no way they`re going to get anywhere close to
enrolling seven million new people who have paid for their plans. It just
isn`t going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Kind of didn`t work out that way, Nia-Malika.

HENDERSON: That`s right. It didn`t work out. And privately at that time,
Democrats themselves were fuming about all the roll-out. But of course,
things have turned around dramatically. In just these last couple of weeks
there will make-up that gap between six million and seven million. It will
probably go up much higher as well.

Well, I think Democrats in the state races have to figure out how they`re
going to run on this. You have somebody like Mary Landrieu in Louisiana
where Bobby Jindal doesn`t want to expand Medicaid. She is going back and
forth with Bobby Jindal around Medicaid, of wanting him to accept this
federal money that would allow residents there to get Medicaid.

So it will be interesting to see how Democrats actually play this. So far
you do have the president very much out there, very much having a bit of a
victory lab. But the state by state races with the very vulnerable
Democrats, they haven`t quite figured out what their talking points are
going to be around health care, even though it feels like the president has
given them something of a blueprint with the first speech he gave at the
White House, and also that speech in Michigan on yesterday.

SHARPTON: Congressman Jim McDermott and Nia-Malika Henderson, thank you
both for your time tonight.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

MCDERMOTT: Good to see you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, should rich people be allowed to essentially buy an
election? My colleague, the one and only Chris Matthews joins me live on
that and much more.

And imagine Rush Limbaugh having the congressional power over the safety
net. It`s not so far off.

Plus, Scott Walker signs a bill allowing poll watchers three feet from
voters. Why we won`t stand for intimidation.

And should this homeless mom lose her two kids after leaving them in a car
while on a job interview? You be the judge tonight. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Are America`s billionaires just a bunch of misunderstood regular
Joes? Well, today Charles Koch wrote in an op-ed to try to set the record
straight. We`ll talk about that and how Americans can fight back against
the big money with the one and only Chris Matthews. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Congressman Paul Ryan`s new budget is ruthless. It destroys the
social safety net. But here is what makes it scary. Next year Congressman
Ryan hopes to chair the powerful ways and means committee, which has power
over the tax code and safety net. "The New York Times" says, quote, "that
would put a man with a very dangerous ideas in a position to do serious
damage." Because while congressman Ryan might look like a harmless budget
wonk, his dangerous ideas are right out of the right wing talkers playbook.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: The wealthy, the rich, the achieved ought to be the role models
for everybody.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The more aid you give, the more excuse they can to
ratchet up the tuition.

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: We need to have a president who will sign
a measure defunding, repealing, getting rid of and replacing Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you`re hungry, you`re going to figure out a way
to eat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are we giving "sesame street" money. Why won`t we
give them a nickel?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: All of those radical beliefs, they`re in the Ryan budget. He is
just like Limbaugh. He thinks our rich role models deserve tax breaks.
Apparently, he also thinks the poor will eat if they`re really hungry,
because he guts food stamps. And he might as well be a FOX News
contributor, because he also has some issues with "sesame street."

Let`s face it. These ideas are dangerous, even if all they do is push the
conversation farther and farther to the right. Because as the president
made clear yesterday, we`re better than a winner take-all society.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, it does create
opportunity for a handful of people who are already doing really, really
well. But we believe in opportunity for everybody. Mortgage ops for
everybody. More workers to fill those jocks, a world class education for
everybody, hard work that pays off with wages you can live on, and savings
you can retire on and health care you can count on. That`s what
opportunity for all means.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`ve got to give opportunity, even if Congressman Ryan and his
fellow Republicans think otherwise.

Joining me now are Congresswoman Karen Bass, Democrat from California, and
MSNBC`s Krystal Ball.

Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.

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

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Bass, there are some dangerous ideas in this
budget. What are you going to do to fight it?

REP. KAREN BASS (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, what we`re going to do is first of
all inform everybody about it. Remember, now, Mr. Ryan just put out a plan
a couple of months ago about poverty. He said that he had this huge
commitment to attack poverty. But yet he wants to cut funding for food
stamps, Pell grants, child nutrition, SSI for elderly and disabled. He
wants to cut health care for low income folks. So, 69 percent of the
revenue that would be raised to fund the tax cuts for the rich are done by
essentially decimating the safety net. And this is how we address poverty.

SHARPTON: This is his legislation to -- or his budget to help the poor,
help poverty.

BASS: Exactly.

SHARPTON: You know, Krystal, President Obama yesterday really laced into
the GOP for its new budget. And the party`s failed priorities. Listen to
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: It was their economic plan in the 2012 campaign. It was their
economic plan in 2010. It`s like that movie groundhog day, except it`s not
funny.

Talk the talk about valuing hard work and families, or walk the walk and
actually value hard work and families. You got a choice. You can give
America the shaft or you can give it a raise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So the president went right at them. Is this what Democrats
need to start doing, particularly in this midterm election year?

BALL: Yes. It was striking to me that literally a day after Paul Ryan`s
new budget comes out, it`s already in the president`s speech, because it`s
the perfect contrast between what Democrats want to do, what the president
wants to do, giving millions of people a raise with the minimum wage, and
really focusing on fairness for working people and for the middle class
versus the priorities of the Republican party, which it`s unbelievable to
me that in this budget, the first thing he does, this so-called deficit
hawk, Paul Ryan, it is to blow a hole in the budget by giving huge tax
breaks to the wealthiest among us. Then he seeks to make it up, as he
always does, on the backs of the poor.

Well, then again increasing spending on the military. It`s unconscionable.
And you`re right to point out the fact that even though this budget is not
going to become law because we have Democrats in place like Congresswoman
Bass to stop it, even without it becoming law, though, it is dangerous.
Because it does drive our conversation to the right. And we`ve seen this
obsession with deficit cutting. We`ve seen the damage that sequestration
has done. So Paul Ryan`s budget absolutely is dangerous and damaging.

SHARPTON: You know, Congresswoman, the right wing talkers and Congressman
Ryan agree on something else, and that is that we should not raise the
minimum wage. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: If you want to spur teenage hiring, lower the minimum wage or
get rid of it.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we start talking about minimum wage of $15 an
hour, what we`re trying say is to that mediocrity should be rewarded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: We will you support or block to increase
minimum wage?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It`s bad economics,
Andrew.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Ryan says it`s bad economics. Clearly, we`ve seen any
number of studies that indicate differently. And he is clearly following
the line these right wing talkers are saying on a daily basis,
Congresswoman.

BASS: Yes. You know what? And I really do think that`s pretty sad.
Because on the one hand, he wants to wipe out the safety net. On the other
hand, he does not feel that people should be making a livable wage. So I
think one of the things that they are confused about is they think the
minimum wage is for teenagers, is for people who are just breaking into the
workforce.

The reality is that the way the economy has been moving now, you have many
people who are making minimum wage, middle aged people. You have people
who are married who are making the minimum wage. And so, I think they are
so out of touch. They don`t recognize that one of the reasons why people
need food stamps is because they are working full-time jobs. They just
don`t make enough money to buy the food. And they think the way to address
poverty --

Paul Ryan on the first page of his poverty report says you can really
address a lot of poverty through marriage. I mean, how ludicrous is that?
So two poor people who make minimum wage, all they have to do is get
married and instantly they`re not poor anymore. It just represents them
consistently being out of touch.

SHARPTON: And, you know, talking about out of touch, Krystal, the Ryan
budget also turns Medicare into a voucher program, like -- it`s voucher,
like for senior citizens. But 69 percent support the program as it is.
So, isn`t the move just as much bad politics as it is policy, and won`t the
Democrats capitalize on this?

BALL: I think they absolutely will.

BASS: Oh, yes.

BALL: And another piece -- I mean, the Medicare changes we know are deeply
unpopular, that the voucherizing of Medicare, deeply unpopular. The other
piece of this that is amazing to me, he repeals the affordable care act in
his budget. So strips health care away from millions of Americans who have
it now for perhaps the first time.

Meanwhile, he keeps the taxes in place. So you have all of the Obamacare
taxes and none of the health care. It`s not feasible. The whole budget is
based on a lot of accounting tricks and gimmicks like that so it doesn`t
even make logical sense. And it is a truly heartless, immoral document.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Karen Bass and Krystal Ball, thank you both for
your time tonight.

BASS: Take care of yourself.

BALL: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: And be sure to catch Krystal on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00
p.m. eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, should billionaires get more influence on elections than other
Americans? Chris Matthews joins me live, next.

And outrage in New Mexico. Should New Mexico police be charged for killing
a homeless man?

And Donald Rumsfeld doesn`t remember anyone in the Bush administration
linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11. We have the tape. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: One day after the Supreme Court opened the floodgates to rich
people buying elections, GOP billionaire Charles Koch is defending all the
money he`s invested in Republican groups and candidates. He surfaced to
write a new op-ed in "the Wall Street Journal," trying to set the record
straight about what he believes.

Charles Koch wants you to know that he likes liberty, freedom, and Thomas
Jefferson, naturally. So what does he oppose? A lot, actually. He is
against collectivists, big government, Saul Alinsky, the health care
debacle, people who promise heaven but deliver hell. And of course, the
current administration.

This quite a list. Now, of course, Charles Koch has the right to say
whatever he wants, but should he and his brother have the right to spend
practically unlimited amounts of money, to buy influence that normal
Americans don`t have? This isn`t about free speech. It`s about democracy.
And making sure we don`t turn into a country where politicians care more
about the guys who spend millions on elections than the millions who vote
in elections.

Joining me now is my colleague Chris Matthews, host of "Hardball" here on
MSNBC.

Thanks for being here, Chris.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR, HARDBALL: Thank you, reverend.

SHARPTON: What`s your reaction, first of all, to the Charles Koch op-ed
today?

MATTHEWS: Well, I first thought about whether he thought about the liberty
of Sally Hemings. Weren`t you thinking that? I was thinking that. I
mean, I think Jefferson said beautiful things. In fact, probably the most
important sentence in our history, all men are created equal. Probably the
most important sentence ever spoken in the 20th century or many centuries.

But yet when he went to write that sentence, he was shack up with Sally
Hemings who was a slave, you know. And her brother was a slave. And his
idea of liberty is somewhat limited. It`s just somewhat limited. That`s
all.

SHARPTON: He forgot to mention, that Chris. You know, you`re speaking
next week at our national action network convention. I`m sure that line
will be a big hit with my delegates from around the country.

MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t know what their love relationship was, but we know
their financial relationship. She was a slave, which is a starter for any
relationship in some weird world of that century they lived in.

Anyway, I think Charles Koch, you notice in that op-ed that was supposedly
for the national interest, he makes a case against supporting the -- what
is that stuff called? Now I`m getting confused here. Using vegetables
basically for fuel.

SHARPTON: Right.

MATTHEWS: And I thought, well, that was something of interest for a guy
that basically believed in oil and gas. Of course he wants oil and gas to
beat without any of that stuff. So I mean, I think it`s interesting that
he would even throw in a commercial in his own ed.

My point is you could have a million coca-cola commercials over and over
and say things go better with coke. It`s the real thing. That`s not free
speech. That`s advertising. You run most of the TV ads for your
politicians. Left or right, they`re promotional. They`re not arguments.
They are just repeating the person`s name over and over again saying how
much they like people, how they`re the real thing among a bunch of phonies.
They`re basically slogans. It`s money. It`s money talking. It`s commerce
to call it speech is ridiculous.

You`re not paying for somebody to help you write the Gettysburg address or
the king`s speech. You`re basically saying I`m going to get your name out
there and I`m going to spend a ton of money smearing the other person and
getting your name out front.

SHARPTON: Now, he in his op-ed, Koch lashed out at critics of the millions
that his groups are spending to attack democratic candidate and causes.

MATTHEWS: Right.

SHARPTON: He said, quote, "They engage in character assassination." This
is the approach that so many despots have infamously practiced. I mean,
how do you respond to that?

MATTHEWS: Well, character assassination from the day this president was
elected, he wasn`t here. He wasn`t a legitimate president over and other
again, whether it`s Donald Trump or it`s Louie Gohmert or any one of the
dos of others out there, spreading the word with John Boehner underwriting
it saying I can`t disagree with these guys. It`s not my job. Pushing the
idea and talk about character assassination. They act like he is not
president to this day. He is always a liar or something. They go after
his character. They don`t just say he is more liberal than me or he is
bigger on government than me. These are legitimate arguments. Or he has a
different budget than me. No, it`s always character. Talk about character
assassination with Charles Cook and that crowd, give me a break. That`s
what they do.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, big money donors of the GOP are playing a bigger
role than ever, Chris, in 2012, the Koch-backed network raised $407 million
and Sheldon Adelson himself spent 98 million. And all that buys a lot of
love. Check out the Republicans talking about the Koch Brothers and
Sheldon Adelson. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hey, listen, Sheldon, thanks for inviting me.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The Koch Brothers. Because the two of them have
stood up and expressed their views are subject to vilification and personal
attack.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It would be impossible for
me to be here and thank everybody without mentioning Sheldon and Marianne
Adelson.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: I just thank God that there is a
billionaire or two on our side.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Say Sheldon and I owned a restaurant together.

SEN. DAVID VITTER (R), LOUISIANA: God bless the Koch Brothers. They`re
fighting for our freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: God bless the Koch Brothers. So these guys are loving them as
they give all this money.

MATTHEWS: Isn`t it great when you`ve had relations with professional sex
workers in both Washington and New Orleans that you can give blessings? I
thought you had to be at least a minister like yourself, Reverend. I
didn`t think a guy like Bob Miller can start issuing blessings. I mean,
that kissing booth you just put together there is so embarrassing. I mean,
it`s one thing to take the guy`s money. But do you have to kiss him? Do
you have to bow down before him? I mean, it`s embarrassing in a democracy.
And this is what -- I`m older than you, Reverend.

I grew up where the communists would say, would say we`re all run by the
Rockefellers, it`s always a sham democracy. We`re getting closer to that
sham all the time. We`re getting to a country we don`t want to like
because democracy is one man, one woman, one vote. What is this, one buck,
one vote? And they`re open about it. I don`t know why they`re so proud of
this system. I would be saying necessary evil or that`s the way the
constitutional rolls. We got to live with it. No, they`re out there
today. They`re the happiest people in the world today, the Republicans,
saying this is a win for our side. And you know what I think?

I do respect the opinion of the Supreme Court. I like Judge Robert`s
decision as chief justice on health care. I like a lot of the decisions
Anthony Kennedy takes. They`re very tough on social issues. You know what
I`m talking about.

SHARPTON: Right.

MATTHEWS: But sometimes they just go to their corners. They just go to
the Republican side. Does anybody think if there weren`t five republican
appointees on the court we would have gotten this decision? It`s pure
Republican politics. It`s money. It`s money talking. And I hate to see
it.

SHARPTON: How about Democrats in this midterm election --

MATTHEWS: Get more justices. Win presidential elections. Outlive the
conservatives. They pick young people, if you notice. Do you see how
young they are, Reverend?

SHARPTON: Yes.

MATTHEWS: I mean, Scalia is going to be there for 30 years. And Alito is
going to be there for 30 years and Clarence Thomas is going there forever.
You know, they just keep, they picked very young Democrats so they pick
these seasoned people who don`t have 30, 40 years to go. And so it`s going
to take a real to a long time to get back the Supreme Court. But they have
to work on it. They just got to get a presidential licensed under their
belt and hold on to as many seats and win as many as they can, because
there are some decisions on the Supreme Court that are just based upon
sheer partisan politics like this one. They really are.

SHARPTON: Chris Matthews, thank you so much for your time tonight.

MATTHEWS: Hey, thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: And of course, you can catch "Hardball" with Chris Matthews
weekdays at 7:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC. And as I mentioned, I`m
honored that Chris Matthews will be joining us at the convention for my
civil rights group the National Action Network. President Obama is going
to be one of our main speakers. We`ll be talking about everything from
criminal justice to women issues to economic equality. That`s April 9th
through the 12th, right here in New York City.

Coming up, it`s a fatal shooting being compared to the Trayvon Martin case.
Should defense lawyers be allowed to question the victim`s past?

Should this homeless mother lose her kids after leaving them in a car to go
on a job interview?

And should the Albuquerque police be charged for killing a homeless man?
You be the judge, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAL)

SHARPTON: Donald Rumsfeld is a man of many words. Only a lot of those
words turned out not to be true. The former defense secretary sold us the
war in Iraq, all because Saddam Hussein supposedly had weapons of mass
destruction. Well, we know how that turned out. A new documentary out
tomorrow by Oscar winner Errol Morris called "The Unknown Known" features
hours of interviews with the former defense secretary, and one of his
answers in particular gave me pause.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: In 2003 in a "Washington Post" poll, 69 percent said
they believe it is likely the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the
attacks carried out by al Qaeda.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I don`t remember anyone in the Bush administration
saying anything like that, nor do I recall anyone believing that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Hmmm, you don`t remember anyone in the Bush administration
linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11? No one said Iraq ties to al Qaeda.
Really? Well, here is the clip the director rolled next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: In a broadcast interview, Saddam Hussein said there is
only one truth. Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction whatsoever. And
he went on the say I would like to tell you directly we have no
relationship with al Qaeda. And Abraham Lincoln was short.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Looks like Secretary Rumsfeld forgot to remember to that little
press conference. Did he think Errol Morris and everyone else wouldn`t
notice? Nice try, but he got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s time for the justice files. The big criminal justice
stories making headlines today.

Joining me now, criminal defense Attorney Eric Guster and former prosecutor
and MSNBC legal analyst Faith Jenkins. Thank you both for being here.

ERIC GUSTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you.

FAITH JENKINS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.

SHARPTON: We start tonight in Detroit, and the fatal shooting of Relisha
McBride. Last November the 19-year-old was intoxicated and crashed a car
into a parked vehicle around 1:00 a.m. She walked to Theodore Wafer`s
house. Her family says to seek help. But the 55-year-old shot McBride in
the face after she went on his porch. He is charged with second-degree
murder, but he claims self-defense, saying McBride was trying to break into
his house.

Today, the Associated Press reports his defense lawyers are planning to
question McBride`s past, asking a judge to let jurors see photos of
McBride`s phone that show her with wads of money, alcohol, and marijuana.
One is a blurry photo of McBride holding what appears to be a gun. The
lawyer says it`s relevant to whether Ms. McBride had a character trait for
aggression. A hearing on some pretrial motions is set for tomorrow.
Faith, should these records be admissible?

JENKINS: No. And I don`t think they will be. And if you can recall in
the George Zimmerman case, there were photos from Trayvon Martin`s phone
that the defense also wanted to introduce. They said that he had drugs or
perhaps a gun in those photos. And the judge didn`t allow it in, for good
reason. This is a self-defense case. And the issue surrounding what
happened are really about what happened that night.

SHARPTON: Right.

JENKINS: And this is between strangers. The defendant did not know
Relisha McBride. So, he didn`t know anything about her past. So what is
really relevant is what happened that night there is an exception. In a
self-defense case when it`s a homicide and you have an allegation that the
other person was the initial aggressor, you can bring out evidence that
that person had a reputation for violence in the community. So if they can
find somebody that knows her reputation that is willing to testify that she
had a violent past in the community and that`s what she is known for in the
community, then that will be an exception. But these specific prior bad
acts, I don`t think the judge will allow them in.

SHARPTON: But Attorney Guster, this man that shot her had no idea of her
reputation, whether she had money, any of these things they want to put in.
Isn`t this case based on why he shot through the door at this woman that
night?

GUSTER: It is based upon that. And that`s one of the problems that the
defense will have in this particular case. Because she was unarmed and
outside of his house. He shot through the door. And what they need to
look at in this particular case is, number one, what did she say to him?
Did she have anything in her hands, which she did not? So, I don`t believe
they will get any of those records in. And those things are not
admissible.

SHARPTON: And isn`t it also going to be relevant, Faith, that he did not
make any claims in his statements to police about her saying anything or --
I mean, the initial statements he made doesn`t seem to cover laying a
foundation for any of this.

JENKINS: The initial statement he made was he shot her by accident.

SHARPTON: Right.

JENKINS: And that is going to be a huge factor for him to overcome,
because over time, after some reflection and thought, then he came back and
said that it was self-defense. But I tell you another reason why the
defense attorneys are putting all of this information out there about what
is on Relisha McBride`s phone. Because they know people are watching,
they`re watching this case, there is a potential jury pool out there. And
just like they did in the Zimmerman case.

They want to get this information out there. So people can make an
assumption to say, oh, this young lady, she is not perfect. She has some
things going on in her past. Maybe he is telling the truth. Maybe she
really was trying to break in. So, that`s the message that they`re trying
to get out there to the potential jury.

SHARPTON: Trying the victim rather than dealing with the accused?

GUSTER: Absolutely. And that`s what they`re trying to do. They`re trying
to taint the jury, in an effort to put information out there that may not
be admissible in court. They know that jurors are watching TV programs.
They`re watching the news. And they`ll go into the jury pool with this on
their minds. So that is their purpose of putting that out there now.

SHARPTON: And now to the outrage in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Last night
friends of a homeless man shot and killed by Albuquerque police held a
candlelight vigil at the site where the man was killed. They were there to
remember 38-year-old James Boyd, a homeless and mentally disturbed man
camping in the Sandia foothills. The disturbing incident was caught on
police helmet cameras. But a warning. The video you`re about to see is
disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES BOYD, SHOT BY ALBUQUERQUE POLICE: In the private world, if you were
down at a bar or a bus stop, I have the right to kill you right now because
you are trying to take me now. Don`t get stupid with me.

OFFICER: I`m not going to get stupid.

BOYD: You said we were walking out of here, now you`re bringing up assault
and everybody is going to get hurt again? All right. Don`t change up your
agreement. I`m going to try to walk with you.

OFFICER: Alright.

BOYD: (INAUDIBLE) try to harm you, keep your word. I can keep you safe,
alright? Don`t worry about safety. I`m not a (bleep) murder. Alright?
(INAUDIBLE) to harm you. Alright?

OFFICER: Do it.

Get on the ground, get on the ground now! Get on the ground! Get on the
ground! Get down!

OFFICER: Hey, buddy?

OFFICER: Move it up.

OFFICER: Get up.

OFFICER: He has a knife in his hands.

OFFICER: Still got knives in his hands.

OFFICER: Stepping up behind you. Is he moving?

BOYD: Please don`t hurt me.

OFFICER: His hands, he is still armed.

BOYD: I can`t move.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Police then set a dog loose on Boyd`s motionless body and
handcuffed him as he laid facedown bleeding. He was pronounced dead at the
hospital the next day. The Albuquerque mayor is now asking the Department
of Justice to help overall its troubled police force. The police chief
says it was justified because he threatened officers with knives. Eric,
should we see charges here?

GUSTER: This is a case where the police officers could possibly be
charged, Rev. When you have a case where a man turned around, he did not
have a gun, and he was shot in the back, that is a problem for the police
officers. That is a violation of his rights, and it`s a clear manslaughter
case at minimum.

SHARPTON: And he was saying to the police, I`m not hurting you, don`t hurt
me. I mean, I don`t understand how they say they were justified when you
hear the audio and see the video of their own tape.

JENKINS: Right. And police officers have a very dangerous and difficult
job. But you have to really look at the circumstances here. They were
called and they were told in advance that this is someone who was mentally
ill. When they responded, they should have been responding not to a person
who they thought was a dangerous criminal, but someone who they knew was
ill. And they should have responded accordingly. They seem to escalate
the situation themselves there is a spectrum of force that police officers
can use. And on the very end of that spectrum is deadly force. It is
their last option. They should exhaust every other use of force they can
to detain someone before deadly force. When you look at that tape, it just
doesn`t look like they did that.

SHARPTON: And the gentleman was clearly away from the police. He was
certainly no imminent threat to them, and was talking peacefully about
this, Eric.

GUSTER: He was. And he was walking away, with a knife. He did not have a
gun. There is no way he could have harmed those police officers to the
point where they needed to use a gun and shoot him. And, Rev, when they
let the dogs loose on him.

SHARPTON: On him laying there.

GUSTER: Yes. That was horrible that was when the police officer should
have tried to restrain him if they thought he was still a danger without
doing that.

SHARPTON: Let me go quickly to Arizona and a distraught mother who had her
kids taken from her. Thirty five year old Shanesha Taylor, a homeless
single mother was arrested in Scottsdale on felony child abuse charges for
leaving her 2-year-old and 6-month-old in the car when she went inside for
a job interview. She was in jail for 11 days and is out on bond. Her
children are still in the custody of child protective services. Thirty
seconds here, Faith. Should she get her kids back?

JENKINS: Absolutely. I don`t think this is a case for the criminal
courts. This is a woman who had to make a judgment call that most us know
absolutely nothing about it. She wasn`t at a bar. She wasn`t at a club.
She was at a job interview. And they need to consider that.

SHARPTON: Eric, 30 seconds.

GUSTER: She should get her children back. And that`s why we have such a
problem with homelessness in the United States. Well need to address that.
Get these people help, get them day care if they`re looking for jobs. She
wasn`t doing something that was immoral. She was trying to make a better
use of her life and get her family back together.

SHARPTON: Eric Guster and Faith Jenkins, thank you both for your time
tonight.

JENKINS: Thank you.

GUSTER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, intimidating voters. Wisconsin Governor Scott
Walker just signed a bill letting poll watchers stand as close as three
feet from voters. Why we won`t be bullied, next.

When you only have one hand, you`re not doing anything as fast as you used
to, which is funny, because I still do it better than her.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re still seven months from the midterm elections, but the GOP
is already working overtime to scare Americans away from voting booths.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker just signed a bill that will let so-called
poll watchers stand as close as three feet from perspective voters. Three
feet. How close is three feet? It`s as close as this. This is how close
poll watchers in Wisconsin will be able to stand next to voters. This
isn`t about poll watching. This is about poll intimidation. For years,
voters in minority districts have complained about being intimidated by
poll watchers from groups like "True the Vote." And that`s exactly what
those groups want.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL OUREN, COORDINATOR, "TRUE THE VOTE": For any of you that have seen
qualified, capable poll observers in action, it`s kind of like driving down
the road and looking up in that rear view mirror and seeing that there is
an officer of the law following you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s the same mentality that put up billboards like these across
minority neighborhoods in Wisconsin and Ohio, aiming to scare away people
from the polls. We will not be bullied or intimidated by these groups.
Voting is one of our most basic rights, and we must fight to preserve that
right for every citizen of this country.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, fighting to make sure our democracy is not for
sale. The Supreme Court decision stripping away key limits on political
donations could have a devastating impact on our elections -- secret money,
dark money, and billionaire money can and will distort our political
process. We`re moving from one person, one vote, to $1, one vote. It`s
not fair and it`s not right. But we don`t have to take it laying down. If
you want to fight for what you believe in, there is no price on taking
action. In 2012, a genuine people`s movement rose up despite big money and
voter suppression to make their voices heard at the polls.

That`s what we needed then. That`s what we need even more now. Now is the
time to get up and work for it. They may have the billionaires, but we can
mobilize people that want to protect their vote no matter how they vote.
But they do not want the integrity of a democracy to be up for sale or be
overridden by billionaires and laws that give them what they want. We must
build a people`s movement starting now so that we will let them know once
and for all that we are not for sale, and we`re not for intimidation. We
must protect what others gave so much to begin to give us the right to
have.

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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