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PoliticsNation, Monday, April 14th, 2014

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POLITICS NATION
April 14, 2014

Guests: Emanuel Cleaver; Richard Cohen, Krystal Ball, Abby Huntsman, Alicia
Reece, Ryan Grim

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: That`s "the Ed Show." I`m Ed
Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.

Good evening, Rev.

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

Tonight`s lead, truth or scare? More news today the affordable care act is
working. But forget real data, all you need to do is hear what Republicans
are coming up with now. Take it away, Congresswoman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They know they have a math problem with Obamacare,
and the numbers are not going to work out, so that the program is
actuarially sound and they`re going to have somebody to come to spin the
numbers. And this is something with Burwell coming from OMB. I think
they`re expecting her to be able to do for them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Spin the numbers? She wants us to believe that President
Obama`s new health secretary will of spin the numbers on the health care
law. You got hand it to them. They don`t stop with the conspiracy
theories.

Back on planet reality, 7.5 million people have signed up under health care
exchanges, and just today more news that it will save money. The
congressional budget office reports the most expensive provisions of the
law, things like insurance subsidies, will cost $104 billion less than
expected over 10 years. And overall, the health care law will reduce the
deficit. Let me repeat, reduce the deficit.

The Republicans can`t attack this law on its merits, it used to be about
death panels and job killer. Now it`s about cooking enrollment numbers.
And if you`re still questioning how desperate they are, I give you this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think it means anything, Chris. I think they
tier cooking the books on this.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Well, look. I mean, the numbers are a bit of
funny math.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: With millions of Obama care applicants
appearing out of thin air now in the last few days, Kathleen Sebelius is
fighting off allegations that they`re cooking the books.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The real question is when have they
not lied about Obamacare.

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN, CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: You know, they say they
had seven million start-ups. Now, does anyone really believe that? OK?
Just an impossibility. It is actually impossible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Wait a second. Wait a second. Who was that last guy? Donald
Trump? The birther king doesn`t believe the health care enrollment
numbers? I`ve got bad news for the Donald. President Obama is still
laughing about his last conspiracy theory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)\

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And just to be clear, I know
where my birth certificate is, but a lot of people don`t. A lot of people
don`t. I think it`s still up on a Web site somewhere. Do you remember
that? That was crazy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It was crazy stuff. And denying the affordable care act is not
working? That`s pretty crazy, too.

Joining me now, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Democrat of Missouri and
salon.com`s Joan Walsh.

Thank you both for being here.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me go to you, first. Republicans are accusing
the White House of cooking the books on health care. If you were a doctor,
how would you diagnose this condition?

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Well, I think it`s a sickness and
clearly there is a need for treatment. My great concern is that when you
hear people making these outlandish accusations, you know, their mistake is
greater than the mistake we made at the rollout because apparently, there`s
nothing that has opened more by mistake in Congress than mouths. And
that`s what we just experienced here.

If any of those people have any evidence, any empirical data to show the
country that somebody is going and cooking books, it would probably sink
Obama or the Affordable care act. If they really want to destroy , if they
want to tear it apart, come up with some evidence that somebody is trying
to cook the books and that would do it. They have no evidence. They are
now grabbing for strolls. They have nothing. And it`s killing them that
it`s working.

SHARPTON: Now, what would be your diagnosis? Same question, Joan. If you
were a doctor looking at this apparent condition, what would you say?

WALSH: You know, they`re delusional would be one thing, or else they`re
dealing with the seven stages of grief around their impending demise as a
party because this is some serious denial, Rev.

And I want to go back to what Marsha Blackburn said. Because first of all,
she doesn`t know what she`s talking about. And second of all, she`s
basically slandering Sylvia Matthews Burwell and saying that she`s coming
in to cook the books. This is a very well respected centrist numbers
person. She was confirmed 96-0 when she was put in charge of the office of
management and budget. She`s respected throughout Washington. John McCain
welcomed her appointment, her nomination.

So to just come out the gate and say this woman is going to lie to us
before she`s even been confirmed is bad for them. It definitely puts her
in the good company of Donald Trump, birther in chief, and now he`s
Obamacare truther in chief.

SHARPTON: You know, Congressman, Joan raises a good point. Because when
Ms. Burwell, President Obama`s pick to lead the health department, Sylvia
Matthew Burwell, she was confirmed unanimously to her post as budget
director. But Republicans look like they`re gearing up to fight her on
this nomination. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no doubt that she was a good choice for OMD,
but that`s not necessarily make her a good choice for HHS.

CRUZ: I think Burwell presents an ideal opportunity to examine the
failures that are Obamacare. Today, seeing the disaster, seeing the train
wreck that is Obamacare, in my view, the it`s the essence of pragmatism to
acknowledge this thing isn`t working, we need to start over, repeal every
word of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions even said Burwell was quote
"had a thin resume on health care and has never run anything on the scale
of HHS."

I mean, Congressman, will her confirmation hearing would get ugly in your
opinion?

CLEAVER: Yes, it will. Because I guess, it is not embarrassing to jump
that conclusions that are not there. And it seems to me that that`s
exactly what some are going to do. But her ultimate confirmation will be
in the Senate finance committee. They`re going to pass. They`re going to
unfortunately and tragically and to the detriment of the image of
government unleash a barrage of accusations at Ms. Burwell. They`re going
to, say she has done everything, including stealing the phone booth at
Clark Kent change into superman. And then, they have no proof of anything.
And then ultimately, because I don`t think senate majority leader Harry
Reid is going to allow her to not be confirmed. All we need is 51 votes in
the finance committee. They can scream and jump and embarrass themselves
for two or three months and then she`s going to become secretary of the
HHS. That`s a fact.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan, you know what would bothers me, though, is that they
seem to be ignoring the people affected by those obstructing the health
care laws. I mean, when we talked about the case of "Orlando Weekly` put
out about a young mother name Charlene Dell who passed away last month,
this was a quote from the article. It keeps bringing home what bothers
media.

Dell`s death was not unpredictable nor was it unpreventable. She had a
documented heart medication, for which she took medications. But she also
happened to be one of the people who fall within the gap created by this
2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to opt out of Medicaid
expenditure. A friend of Charlene`s recently shared her frustration.

Listen to this, Joan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She could not afford medications. She could not
afford to see a doctor. She did not make enough for a subsidy to get
Obamacare. My best friend died because Florida, my state, and I`m a fifth
generation Floridian, decided not to take the money that would have helped
her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, how many Charlenes are out there. Are we going hear
more Charlenes if we don`t break this obstruction move?

WALSH: We are, Rev. I mean, there is a very respective Harvard study that
estimated that 17,000 Americans will die every year if the states that have
not taken Medicaid expansion continue to refuse it.

This is coverage they`re leaving on the table. This money for their
economy that they are leaving on the table. And these are people that
they`re leaving uncovered and untreated. And the thing is, you know, they
used to pit welfare recipients against the working poor and they used to
elevate the working poor. We`re talking about the working poor. We`re
talking about people who are scraping by and who earn too much for the old
Medicaid rules. But they are covered under expansion, they`re doing
everything right but they can`t get coverage.

SHARPTON: Congressman, I see you are shaking your head about this Charlene
and the possibilities of how many other Charlenes.

CLEAVER: Well, you know, they`re going to find all kinds of people. I was
walk -- a woman walked upon me and told me in a store a couple of weeks ago
that I kept her from getting her health care. And it`s so sad that the
people are out making up things, and it`s even sadder that people are
pushing them.

You know, I now have a rural part of my fifth district here in Missouri,
and I have dairy farms and I have all kinds of farms there now. And one of
the things I found out is I take my staff out to look at these farms and
met the farmers. If you go to one of the cattle farms, you will find out
that the greatest amount of attention is always given to the bull.

SHARPTON: We have to leave it there, Reverend Congressman.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and Joan Walsh, thank you both for you time
tonight.

WALSH: Thank you.

CLEAVER: Good to be with you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, tragedy in Kansas city, a killing spree at a Jewish
community center leaves three dead and a community shattered. It`s being
investigated as a hate crime. We look at a dark past from the alleged
shooter.

And later, the reaction to this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If your strategy depends on having fewer people to show up to vote,
that`s not a sign of strength, that`s a sign of weakness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama hammered the right for a war on voting rights.
And wait until you see how they responded.

Plus, Scott Brown enlisted the help of a self-described crazy uncle. You
all know this guy.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s being investigated as a hate crime. A former clan member
accused of killing three people at the Jewish community center. We talk to
someone who knows the alleged shooter`s dark past. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Now to a deadly hate crime in Kansas city and a community still
searching for answers. It was a normal Sunday afternoon when this man,
Frazier Glenn Cross open fired at two Jewish facilities, a community
center, and a retirement home. He was armed with a shotgun and a couple of
handguns .the killings spree left three people dead. The alleged gunman is
an ex-Ku Klax Klan member with a long history of anti-Semitism and racism.
He was apprehended soon after the shooting and a local news crew caught
this moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heil Hilter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He was yelling hail Hitler as he was being taken away by police.
The victims included Dr. William Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson Reth
Underwood (ph). The teen was there auditioning for an "American Idol"
style singing contest. His grandfather was there to support him. Today, a
heartbroken mom shared her grief.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MINDY CORPORON, FATHER AND SON SHOT: It`s going to be very hard. And I
wanted to tell people that last night at the vigil. This isn`t easy and
people keep saying how come you`re so strong. And I`m strong because I
have a family. I`m strong because I have faith.

WILL CORPORON, FATHER AND NEPHEW SHOT: I know that my dad would have given
anything if it could have just been him. He would have stood up and said
take me. It takes no character to do what was done. It takes no strength
of character, it takes no backbone. It takes no morals. It takes no
ethics. All it takes is an idiot with a gun. I mean, that idiot, that
idiot absolutely knocked a family to its knees for no reason.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A third victim was a 53-year-old who was visiting her mother at
her Jewish assisted living facility a few blocks away. Today, police
announce they will try this case as a hate crime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL KASTE, OFFICIAL AGENT IN-CHARGE: In the last 22 hour, we`ve
learned that the acts that this person committed were the result of beliefs
and his actions -- were a result of beliefs that he had. Based on what we
were able to put together yesterday, the United States attorney`s office
will be filing hate crime violations against this defendant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Richard Cohen, the president of the Southern
poverty law center, a group that track hate groups and radical extremists.

Richard, thank you for being here.

RICHARD COHEN, PRESIDENT, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Tell us what you know about this man and his history?

COHEN: Well, Rev., let me start by saying our hearts really go out to the
families of the victims in Overland park. We feel a connection to them
because we know Glenn Miller so well. His real name is Glenn Miller, not
Glenn Cross.

SHARPTON: Right.

COHEN: And you know, we confronted him in court in the 1980s. Afterwards,
his followers threatened to blow up our building. He threatened to kill
Morris Dees (ph). And you know, he went to jail for three years. And you
know, we were lucky that he was caught. Unfortunately the people of
Overland park, Kansas, were unlucky. They only spent three years in jail.

We`re talking about a long time neo-Nazi leader, someone who in the `80s
had a group of 2,000 followers. He had gotten 200,000 of stolen money. He
was training with active duty military people for, you know, the revolution
that he thought was going to come. You know, a lot of people are dead
because of Glenn Miller, not just yesterday but in the `80s as well in
North Carolina. Very, very dangerous person.

SHARPTON: As you say, Richard, Frazier Glenn Cross who is Glenn Miller, he
was a grand dragon of the Carolina knights of the KKK in the `80s. Founder
of the white patriot party, he had 2,000 followers and did three years in
prison on weapon charges. And he was indicted of an assassination plot of
the founder of your association, Southern Poverty Law center, Morris Dean
(ph).

And we also know the party, the White Patriot Party was an anti-Semitic
paramilitary political party. It began as the Carolina Knights of the Ku
Klux Klan in the `70s. The group received $200,000 in stolen money from
the order, another white master organization. The group collapsed after
cross was indicted in the assassination plot.

So, we`re talking about extremism that was organized, absolutely necessary
because these are not just random people. These were organized units that
were planning to do things.

COHEN: That`s exactly right, Rev.

You know, Glenn Miller was following the blueprint of a novel, a race war
novel called the Turner Diaries. That`s same novel was the blueprint for
the Oklahoma city bombing killing 168 people.

And so, you know, it was all part of a racist fantasy of, you know, the
country collapsing because of the nefarious Jew and people like Miller and
others going to take over. You know, we helped put a stop to their
organization. And, of course, a lot of other people in the government
helped as well. So I think we were lucky and -- that there wasn`t more
damage done in the `80s.

SHARPTON: Now, in 2005, NBC affiliate KYTV interviewed 73-year-old Frazier
Glenn Cross, or Glenn Miller, about the publication and distribution of the
racist newspaper, "Aryan Alternative." During that interview, cross talked
about the paper and its anti-Semitic writings. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re fed up, white people, believe me. We`re going to
take our country back. White people are third class citizens now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, this is a guy who went to jail for planning an
assassination and the founder of your group and was arrested yesterday
actually killing three people.

COHEN: It`s unbelievable. You know, there`s been a big increase in the
number of hate groups in our country over the last decade. Really, driven
by our country`s changing demographics. People like Miller feel like the
country is slipping away from them. And people like Miller often, you
know, use the oldest conspiracy theory, namely that the Jews have done it.

You know, in the last five or six years since President Obama has been the
president, we`ve also seen this tremendous increase in these radical anti-
government groups, militia types for example.

And you know, Miller was, you know, he rand and raved about President Obama
every day. You know, for him, the president was a symbol of, you know, the
country going to hell in a hand basket. And you know, I`m afraid that
there are more Millers out there, quite frankly.

SHARPTON: Well, that`s why Southern Poverty Law center is so important.

Thank you, Richard Cohen, of the Southern Poverty law center. Thank for
your time tonight.

COHEN: Thank you, sir.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, President Obama called out Republicans on voting.
And now they`re freaking out. I guess the truth hurts.

Plus, who are the GOP going to call for help with its women problem? Would
you believe Donald trump? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Republicans know the gender gap is a huge problem for them at
the polls. So what can they do about it? Who can they turn to for advice?
How about this guy? That`s right, the celebrated woman`s rights advocate,
Donald Trump. He`s offering his own advice to the GOP. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: 2014 was supposed to be the year of the woman for the GOP. They
were going to run more female candidates than ever. Just one little
problem. Republicans found their recruitment drive to be a struggle. So
today, the GOP announced its new strategy. They`re searching for an army
of female volunteers to help get other women out to the polls in 2014. And
they`re instructing Republican candidates to include their wives and
daughters in campaign ads. What a plan. The truth is, the GOP`s problem
isn`t pr. It`s policy. Voters know that too many Republican lawmakers
oppose things like fair pay laws, even while claiming to support equal pay.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I find that this war on women rhetoric just almost
silly. It is Republicans that have led the fight for women`s equality.
We`re all for equal pay.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There was plenty of talk in Washington this week about
equal pay. The thing is, it was just that -- more talk. I have always
supported equal pay for equal work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Republicans have led the fight for women`s equality? They both
really do support equal pay? Then why have they repeatedly voted against
fair pay laws for women? Along with most of the GOP members of Congress.
That hypocrisy revealed the real problem for the GOP. It`s not an image
problem. It`s a policy problem.

Joining me now are Krystal Ball and Abby Huntsman. Thank you for being
here.

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

SHARPTON: Krystal, do Republicans really think they can win women voters
by showing wives and daughters in campaign ads?

BALL: I guess they think it`s worth a try. But as the thing that`s funny
to me is it`s not like Republicans have never used wives and daughters in
campaign ads before. I don`t know any republican daughters who`ve been
featured in television ads.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Terrible strategy, it`s
terrible.

BALL: So this is not actually a revolutionary strategy. And it`s either
for Cathy McMorris Rodgers or Marsha Blackburn to get on there and say, of
course we support equal pay for equal work. They support that right up
until the point that it conflicts with their business donors who don`t
want to have anything to do with the transparency that`s involved with this
and the potential litigation that comes from discrimination if you do
uncover an incident where a woman is unfairly being paid less than what a
man is earning. So that`s where the conflict comes in. They want to say
that they`re for equal pay, but there`s absolutely no willingness to do
anything about it.

SHARPTON: Abby, help us out here. You`re a republican, though I would say
a traditional republican, rather than the radical republican. But do the
Republicans have a plan for women? I mean, other than this cosmetic stuff?

HUNTSMAN: I think they laid out their economic plan, but I think it`s
clear that it is not at all aimed at women. But the question is, do they
actually need one to win big in the midterm elections? The reality is they
might be able to win big without even having an agenda for women. If you
look at gerrymandering, if you look at the way the map is drawn today, and
the fact that the turnout in midterms is very different from a general
election. You have women that are older, that are married, not the young
unmarried women, a key demographic for Democrats.

So their whole strategy is let`s get out on the vote, let`s hunker down on
this repeal ObamaCare and blame the fact that women are struggling today on
President Obama`s economic policies. They feel like that`s enough for them
to win big, and that might be the case. But there are very serious long-
term effects to that. I think 2016, that will not be a good strategy. And
I wish they would focus on that more because they don`t know yet how to
talk to republican women.

SHARPTON: But that sounds to me, Krystal a lot like the midterms is a low
turnout and they can win with no agenda and history does give a lot of
validity to that, that Abby is raising. That is why the challenge is for
the Democrats to turn out their vote and change demographics like they did
in 2012.

BALL: To change demographics to turn out their folks. And also Democrats
in tough states across the country and in tough districts are looking at,
we have to have a good margin among female voters. And I was speaking to
Senator Mark Pryor`s campaign last week who is locked in a very tough
battle in Arkansas and they said, equal pay is a really great, really
important issue that even republican women are very concerned about and
it`s an issue where Republicans are clearly vulnerable. So, it`s something
that they`ve used, they`re going on the attack on it and you`re saying,
Democrats across the country doing the same thing.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Abby, Donald Trump says he knows what women
really think about President Obama. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I saw the President about a week ago starting with the
women. He`s trying to now get the women against large factions of people,
including Republicans and conservatives, by the way. But the race card is
being played to a -- well. The women card now they`re starting. But a lot
of women are very angry about it by the way. They`re extremely angry about
being used.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The women`s card? Women are extremely angry about being used?
Talking about equal pay. Talking about women`s right to choose, that`s
using women?

HUNTSMAN: Yes, I`m not sure Donald Trump is the right person to be talking
about what women actually care about. If you look at recent polling
actually, the majority of women feel like the GOP doesn`t understand that
many of the problems that they are facing. And the intro to the segment
was all about the lack of policy. And I think that`s a real challenge for
Republicans, they`re not putting anything forward to have a real debate.
We talk a lot, Rev, about the fact that we aren`t having a debate in this
country.

SHARPTON: Right.

HUNTSMAN: Not ultimately hurts all Americans when it comes to the paycheck
fairness act, why not put forward your own bill. You know, making tweaks
here and there where there is less of a burden on businesses but it still
gets the ball rolling and it moves the conversation forward. It may not
actually get voted on by Democrats but put something forward. You know,
you could say the same thing about ObamaCare. And the fact that they`re
not putting anything on the table, then many people think well, the
Republicans are just against, against, against. They`re not for us.

SHARPTON: You know, a recent poll, Krystal, 59 percent of women say the
Republican Party doesn`t understand the needs and concern of women.

BALL: Yes. It`s a real problem for them. And this issue, I think,
highlights the overall problem that Republicans have with women, but it`s
really across the board. I think their stance on health care is also
extremely challenging for women. You know, one of the provisions in the
health care law is that insurance companies can no longer discriminate
against women. So, that is something that is popular among women. Even
things like the minimum wage, right, women disproportionately make up low-
wage workers. So supporting minimum wage is also something that appeals to
women. As you`re saying, Republicans have a range of issues, policy
problems where they have no solutions that are compelling to women at all.
And they also have an image problem of being a largely male, white party.

SHARPTON: And in that environment, Abby, you roll out Donald Trump.

HUNTSMAN: Why not? Why not? No, that`s one of the biggest challenges.
You actually need women out there talking on your behalf. I think they
should get advice for them. And I think they should be utilizing the women
that they have. And that`s clearly a struggle. They`re thinking very
short term instead of how this is going to affect the party down the road.

SHARPTON: Krystal Ball and Abby Huntsman, thank you both for your time.

BALL: Thanks.

SHARPTON: And I got advice. They can catch Krystal and Abby every day on
"THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Still ahead, President Obama defends voting rights and the right wingers go
nuts. How Democrats are fighting their attempts to block the vote?

Plus, the President`s powerful words about fighting for justice. And
against poverty at today`s prayer breakfast. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I appreciate the idea of being an
"action" President, although I do also have style. I just want to point
that out. It`s not about it, but I do have it. Al is not the only guy
with style.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was President Obama having a little fun while speaking at
my civil rights organization, National Action Network on Friday. We had
some laughs. But the President`s larger point was a very serious one. In
some of his strongest language to date, he called out Republicans for
waging a war on voting rights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Some of them have not been shy about saying that they`re doing this
for partisan reasons. It is wrong to change our election rules just
because of the politics. It is wrong to make citizens wait for five, six,
seven hours just to vote. It`s wrong to make a senior citizen who no
longer has a driver`s license jump through hoops and have to pay money just
to exercise the rights she has cherished for a lifetime. America did not
stand up and did not march and did not sacrifice to gain the right to vote
for themselves and for others only to see it denied to their kids and their
grandchildren.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It is wrong, but that hasn`t stopped lawmakers in 19 states from
introducing bills to scale back voting rights. In key swing states,
they`re pushing strict voter ID laws. They`re limiting early voting.
They`re even making it more harder to register people to vote. The
President called this effort deadly wrong. But the RNC certainly doesn`t
see it that way. A spokesman said, quote, "Democrats want to create an
issue out of nothing. The only way they can win is by scaring their base
into voting." Democrats are creating an issue out of nothing? That`s
almost as laughable as what Governor Huckabee said this weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

When I go to the airport, I have to get into the surrender position, people
put hands all over me and I have to provide photo ID and a couple of
different forms and prove that I`m really I`m not going to terrorize the
airplane. But if I want to go vote, I don`t need a thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What`s he suggesting? That people should be patted down when
they want to vote? These new laws are brazen, and so is the right`s
defense of them.

Joining me now by phone is Ohio State Representative Alicia Reece who`s
been leading the charge for a voter bill of rights in her home state. And
from the White House, Ryan Grim from the Huffington Post. Thank you both
for being on the show tonight.

RYAN GRIM, HUFFINGTON POST: Thank you, Reverend.

REP. ALICIA REECE (D), OHIO STATE: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Representative Reece, let me start with you. The RNC says,
Democrats are trying to create the issue out of nothing. What`s your
response?

REECE: Well, Reverend Sharpton, I`m on the ground here in Ohio, the
battleground state, and I will tell you that the issue is real. In Ohio,
the Republicans have eliminated golden week where you could register and
vote the same week that 56,000 people who participated then. They`ve taken
away the days of early voting, cutting those days down, taking away souls
to the polls where we had major turnout of African-Americans to the polls -
-

SHARPTON: On Sundays.

REECE: The issue is real.

SHARPTON: And Ryan, as you look at what she is saying in Ohio alone, when
you`re dealing with ending Sunday voting, which clearly helps working
people, ending the -- or at least cutting back on early voting days, which
also helps working people, and then the strict voter ID laws, even putting
the voter ID laws aside, what would be the logic of cutting back on days to
vote when it proved that a lot more people could then vote. That had
nothing to do with anything. And then when you deal with the ID question,
there was no fraud and people always had to have ID to register to vote.
Why do we need new ID now when there`s nothing wrong with the ID process
that was already being used?

GRIM: I think it actually goes back to that old cynical bumper sticker
that a lot of people have seen that says something like, if voting could
change anything, they would make it illegal. Well, voting can change
things and so they are actually trying to make it illegal. I would even
quibble with the phrase that -- was using calling it an issue. You know,
it`s not really an issue. It`s a scandal. You know, this is a concerted
effort by one party to disenfranchise a vast bloc of voters. You know, the
President actually did put it pretty well when he said that`s not a
platform. If your platform is to try to make it harder for people vote,
you`re not offering very much to voters.

SHARPTON: You know, Representative Reece, you were there Friday with all
of us when the President hit Republicans for trying to attract voters, all
while restricting the right to vote. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This recent effort to restrict the vote has not been led by both
parties. It`s been led by the Republican Party. And in fairness, it is
not just Democrats who are concerned. You know, you have one Republican
state legislator point out, I`m quoting here, making it more difficult for
people to vote is not a good sign for the party who wants to attract more
people. If your strategy depends on having fewer people show up to vote,
that`s not a sign of strength, that`s a sign of weakness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: To bring down a number of people voting Representative Reece, is
an anti-democratic strategy if that`s what behind it.

REECE: Well, voting is not a partisan issue. This is now the partisan
issue. This is the new civil rights issue, and as President Obama said on
Friday at the National Action Network, we were there, he talked about folks
who marched so their children will have these opportunities. Well, we are
the children now and we`re standing up and that`s what we`re trying to do
here in Ohio and take it across the country to fight for a voter bill of
rights to put in the constitution. So that we can have some permanent
rights. And one of the things President Obama said, it`s up to everyday
ordinary people. And that`s what we`re trying to do here in Ohio, get
petitions signed, put it on the ballot, let the people decide and take
partisanship out of this. This is the new civil rights movement of our
lifetime.

SHARPTON: Now, Ryan, this weekend the right wing speakers repeatedly
claimed that the new laws were not meant to disenfranchise voters. Take a
listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There are no examples of people being turned away like
the President says. So, this concerns is purely speculative, this whole
argument is a complete souffle. It`s collapsing it on itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Why was African-American turnout so much greater in
2012? I mean, it has had zero effect on turnout.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I would like to show up to the White House and said,
just come and look around, so, do you have an appointment? No, I don`t
have a photo ID either but I just like, come and look around, I figure if I
can go without one -- come and there and look around, without one too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But these laws target groups Ryan that overwhelmingly back the
President and Democrats in the last election. Ninety three percent of
African-Americans voted for Obama in the last election, so did 71 percent
of Hispanics, 60 percent of young people. And what they`re not talking
about is there are requirements for ID. We had ID when we voted every
election since John Kennedy through Reagan and all. Why do we need new ID
when there has been no fraudulent use of the ID that we`ve already used to
get registrations for voters?

GRIM: They don`t explain why. You know, they more or less moved past the
voter fraud argument because with several years worth of time to try to
find examples, they were unable to find any. So they`ve kind of been
passing -- now they`re just talking about the integrity of the vote. But
the arguments are remarkably similar to the ones you hear from spokesperson
for a poll tax or a literacy test. They would say, look, we`re not trying
to stop any particular person from voting. In fact, anybody who pays their
poll tax and who passes this literacy test can vote.

SHARPTON: Right.

GRIM: And what`s wrong with? Don`t we want, you know, the most informed
citizen`s voting? Don`t we want people to have a stake in their community
voting? So, you know, there are plenty of ways to, you know, to dress up
what they`re doing -- but what are the chances that every single policy
that they would proposed would hurt democratic voters. You know, if they
were actually concerned about the integrity of the vote, you would think
that, you know, by sheer chance of randomness, some of their proposals
would hurt Republican voters, some would hurt Democratic voters. But
that`s not what we see. This is very tightly targeted on Democrats.

SHARPTON: State Representative Alicia Reece and Ryan Grim, thank you both
for your time this evening.

GRIM: Thank you.

REECE: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Up next, Senator Scott Brown`s campaign needs a little geography
lesson. He`ll get one in tonight`s "gotcha." And later, prayers for the
season. I was at the Easter prayer breakfast this morning. President
Obama talked about getting off the sidelines to help the community. Stay
with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Scott Brown is having an identity crisis. The Massachusetts
Republican is now running for Senate in New Hampshire. But he`s been
criticized for not really being a New Hampshire guy. So does he have the
best credentials? He said, quote, "probably not, because you know,
whatever. But I have a long and strong ties with this state." Because you
know whatever? You got to love it. So the Brown campaign could really use
a boost. Who`s the person to turn this thing around? How about John
Sununu? You remember him, the former Republican governor of New Hampshire
who called himself the, quote, "Crazy uncle of the Romney campaign" while
saying stuff like this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN SUNUNU, SENIOR ADVISOR TO ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: I wish this President
would learn how to be an American. He has no idea how the American system
functions and we shouldn`t be surprised about that. Because he spent his
early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in if
Indonesia. What people saw last night, I think, was a president that
revealed his incompetence, how lazy and detached he is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes. When in trouble, bring in the crazy uncle. And he and Ted
Brown`s opponent -- at a rally over the weekend saying, quote, "It`s going
to be great to have a senator that was born virtually in the state of New
Hampshire. Jeanne Shaheen, by the way, was born in Missouri." Scott Brown
was virtually born in New Hampshire? Just like he virtually knows how to
relate to New Hampshire voters?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS: What I heard from the
Republicans is they`re thankful that I`ve been around for year and helping
them raise money, helping them raise awareness as to the issues that are
affecting people there in Massachusetts -- I mean New Hampshire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Uh-oh. He virtually doesn`t even know what state he`s in.
Scott Brown may have virtually been born in New Hampshire, but he was
literally born in Maine. Oops! Did John Sununu and Scott Brown wouldn`t
think they`re living in a virtual reality? Nice try, but we gotcha.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the power of faith. Earlier today, I along
with over 100 other Christian leaders attended the White House fifth annual
Easter prayer breakfast. The President called on Americans of all faiths
to unite. And help take care of those less fortunate than ourselves. He
also talked about meeting the new pope, a spiritual leader who`s inspiring
people of all faiths.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Now, some of it is his words -- his message of justice and
inclusion, especially for the poor and the outcast. He implores us to see
the inherent dignity in each human being. But it`s also his deeds. Simply
are profound. Hugging the homeless man and washing the feet of somebody
who normally, ordinary folks would just pass by on the street.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s about words and deeds. The President urged religious
leaders in attendance to continue their work for justice and equality.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: My main message is just to say thank you to all of you because you
don`t remain on the sidelines. I want to thank you for your ministries,
for your good works, for the marching you do, for justice and dignity and
inclusion. That includes a cause close to my heart. My brother`s keeper.
An issue that we recently launched to make sure that more boys and young
men of color can overcome the odds and achieve their dreams.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Whatever your faith, whenever way you relate to the creator,
your deeds, your actions, determine how much you really practice your
faith. And that is as we are in this week of Easter and Passover and other
things, become the important thing to gauge. A quick program note,
tomorrow I`ll be hosting the show from the world famous Yankee Stadium
here in New York City. The Yankees are hosting special events to honor two
trail blazers, Jackie Robinson and Nelson Mandela. That`s tomorrow at 6:00
p.m. Eastern, right here on MSNBC.

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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