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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

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April 15, 2014

Guests: Dana Milbank, Margie Omero, Drew Courtney, Joe Madison

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

Tonight`s lead, the GOP`s tax day giveaway to millions. Today, Republicans
have a message for many Americans filing their taxes -- you should be
paying even more! Unless, of course, you happen to be a millionaire.

Conservatives are embracing congressman Paul Ryan`s budget, which shreds
the safety net, while lavishing massive tax cuts and tax breaks on the
wealthy. If Ryan`s budget were in evident today, millionaires would get an
average tax break of $200,000. Corporations would enjoy tax cuts of 10
percent at a time of record high profits. And all companies would keep $45
billion of tax breaks. And all this paid for by gutting the safety net.
And actually raising taxes on the middle class.

Under Ryan`s budget, middle class families with kids would pay $2,000 more
in taxes. It`s an ideology that ensures billionaires won`t pay their fair
share and top Republicans love it. Listen to them this past weekend.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We haven`t talked about fundamental tax reform.
And I`ll tell you the most important tax reform, we should abolish the IRS.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: Just imagine what you would be out
there doing if you didn`t have to go write that check next week to the IRS
and pay those hefty taxes.

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: We need to pass a tax policy that stops
punishing productivity.

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: And tax day is always a reminder of
how government has grown too large and too intrusive.


SHARPTON: Republican after Republican complaining about hefty taxes. But
check out where they were at a summit sponsored by the conservative
Americans for prosperity. It`s a group backed by the Koch brothers.

They`re worth $40 billion, making them the sixth richest feel in the world.
That`s the audience for the Republican message on taxes? And that`s the
GOP base, the one percent.

Joining me now are Karen Finney and Jared Bernstein. Thank you for coming
on the show.



SHARPTON: Karen, isn`t it the timing of tax day awkward for Republicans,
coming just days after they voted to give a massive tax breaks to
millionaires and raising taxes on the middle class?

FINNEY: Well, it should be. And it`s an opportunity for Democrats to --
you know, Paul Ryan says that he saw this budget as a vision. So it`s an
opportunity for Democrats to really show the contrast between the kind of
vision, as you laid out, that Paul Ryan and the Republicans have versus the
kinds of investments the Democrats have been talking about in terms of
infrastructure, in terms of, you know, pre-K and you know, education. I
mean, these are two very different visions for the country.

SHARPTON: Jared, talking about this vision, here we get this tax cut for
the rich, shredding of the safety net, big conference sponsored by
billionaires. I mean, this plan seems to be sponsored by billionaires.

BERNSTEIN: Right. I mean, one of the things I`ve observed, if you look
into the economic data is that over the course of this recovery, and
believe it or not, the economy has been expanding since 2009, it just habit
reached most people. But 95 percent of the growth has gone to the top one

"The New York Times" had an article over the weekend about corporate
salary. The median CEO in their survey, his home run her salary -- and
it`s mostly his -- was $13.9 million. That`s the median. And that`s up
nine percent over the last year.

I went and I looked how the median paycheck did over the past year, it`s up
one percent, and that`s before inflation. So where is the growth going?
It`s going to the top. It`s doing an end run around the middle and the
bottom. So the idea that you would actually cut taxes on the folks who are
claiming all of the growth and raise them on everyone else is just
antithetical to common sense.

SHARPTON: You know, Karen, the Web site "Media Man" has found that FOX
News spent a lot of time this past year complaining about taxes on the
rich. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a loophole that lets the rich get out of them.
Well, close that loophole. Tax them to death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eliminate the corporate tax, money would pour into this
country. Governor Cuomo says I have enough money to help you all with
this. He said they still want to raise taxes, what`s the message you get
if you live in New York?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Imagine a tax free $500 billion spending plan no one
would have to participate in.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The president has not been a friend to
corporate America. He advocates high taxes to pay for an entitlement


SHARPTON: So it`s a relentless campaign over and over and over again,
Karen, for the rich.

FINNEY: It absolutely is. And that last clip, for an entitlement culture,
right? I mean, here they are, this is class warfare where they are trying
to defend these tax breaks and the loopholes for the wealthiest and they
don`t want to make the kinds of investments that we need to be making to
strengthen and build the middle class. I mean, it is classic Republican
economics. This trickledown economics. They`re trying to protect the so-
called job creators, while at the expense of everybody else.

SHARPTON: But, you know, Jared, Elizabeth Warren, senator from
Massachusetts, she recently hammered Paul Ryan making that very same point
when she was hammering his budget and his economic vision. Listen to this.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Paul Ryan says, keep the monies
flowing to the powerful corporations, keep their huge tax breaks, keep the
special deals for the too big to fail banks, and put the blame on hard-
working, play-to the-rules Americans who lost their jobs.

Well, let me tell you, that may be Paul Ryan`s vision of how America work,
but that`s not our vision of this will great country.


SHARPTON: I mean, she really went after him in ways that I think a lot of
Democrats are starting to become emboldened.

BERNSTEIN: Right. I mean, I think that the -- some of the facts that
Karen mentioned are worth digging a little deeper into here. Corporate
profitability as a share of national income is about as high as it`s ever
been. And the data go all the way back to the 1920s. You heard me talk
about CEO compensation.

If, in fact, corporate profitability, and I don`t have a problem about
corporate profitability, if it`s actually reaching everyone else. If, in
fact, all this profitability were reaching down the way all these folks say
it is, we would definitely know that by now and we don`t see that.

Secondly, if you actually look at the share of taxation that`s falling to
corporations these days, it`s close to an all-time low. So corporate taxes
as a share of federal revenues are way, way down. If anything, President
Obama has been too friendly to these folks, if you look at the bottom line.
So the idea that he`s somehow serving the entitlement class is completely
belied by the evidence.

SHARPTON: But let me ask you this, Jared. Paul Ryan justifies slashing
the safety net by claiming that spending is out of control. Listen to


serious about helping working families or serious about getting families
out of work back to work, then it needs to get serious about our national
debt. How do we do it? First we stop spending money we don`t have.


SHARPTON: I mean, give me your response to that point.

BERNSTEIN: Look, it is patently wrong on the numbers. They call Paul Ryan
a numbers guy. He gets them wrong as often as not. The budget deficit is
a shared GDP was 10 percent in 2009, last I look it was four percent headed
down to three percent. That`s the largest four-year decline in the budget
deficit since the mid 1950s. So, he is completely off about that and
almost 80 percent of those cuts have come from the spending side, not the
revenue side.

SHARPTON: But Karen, when you look at the other side of it, under
President Obama, the deficit has fallen year after year. I mean, new
projections this week show it`s falling again in 2014 to less than half of
what it was just two years ago.

FINNEY: That`s exactly right. And it is exactly what the president has
been talking about all along in terms of a balanced approach, in terms of
let`s make an investment, but we can also be mindful of our deficits and
mindful of spending.

But you know what, the Republicans were just not interested in that. I
mean, they have this fairy tale that they like to tell, and you know, it`s
particularly offensive when you consider that Paul Ryan himself benefited
from Social Security as a young man and now wants to, you know, cut that
kind of program for young people -- for people in this country who might
also find themselves in the very same situation that he found himself in.

BERNSTEIN: Just a quit comment about that. Look, I understand the need
for a balanced approach to getting on a stable budget path. I talk about
that a lot. In the near term, we have actually cut our budget deficits too
quickly. And it`s undermined economic growth at a time when we actually
need fiscal support to help grow employment right now.

SHARPTON: Well, we do need to grow employment, but I think my point was
that as they do all of these attacks on the president, the facts show --
the numbers show the deficit has gone down. I was addressing that narrow

Karen Finney and Jared Bernstein, thank you both for your time tonight.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you, Reverend.

FINNEY: Thanks.

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

Another day, another major piece of good news for the affordable care act.
I`ve got to admit, it`s fun watching the Republican reaction.

Plus, murder charges. A white supremacist in court today after alleging
gunning down three in a hate-filled rampage.

Plus, this ought to help the old rebranding campaign. A Republican
congressman is questioning the constitutionality of the civil rights act.
And it`s on tape!

And later, more of this.


where my birth certificate is, but a lot of people don`t. A lot of people
don`t. You remember that? That was crazy. That was some crazy stuff.


SHARPTON: If you thought that was crazy, wait until you hear what theories
right wingers have now. Think lunar eclipse and flying shoes. Stay with


SHARPTON: President Obama`s health care law is working and the GOP`s
entire election message is falling apart. It is almost enough to make you
feel sorry for them. Well, almost. That`s next.


SHARPTON: In the four years since the affordable care act passed, we heard
all kinds of crazy predictions from the GOP and the right wing. Talk about
death panels and job killers. even Armageddon.

But now, more proof that this law is working. A new report from the
congressional budget office finds in 2014 the health care law will cost $5
billion less than projected. Over 10 years, it will cost $104 billion less
than expected.

And overall, the law should reduce deficits. That`s right, in case any
Republicans didn`t hear me, the law will lower deficits. The CBO also
projects 12 million more people will gain health insurance this year
because of the affordable care act. And that will climb to 26 million by

Cold, hard numbers. Showing this law is working. So how would our friends
on the right going to react? I bet they`ll say the same things they said
when they learned 7.5 million people signed up for health care exchanges.
Deny, deny, deny.


BLACKBURN: They know they`ve got 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 spin the numbers.

CRUZ: The Obama administration is using funny numbers when it`s touting
the enrollment numbers.

NEWT GINGRICH, CNN HOST, CROSSFIRE: Obamacare has been the single greatest
lie I`ve ever witnessed.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They need a fall guy when the truth
comes out that they don`t have 7.5 million enrollees.


SHARPTON: Well, Limbaugh`s got a point there. They don`t have seven
million enrollees. They have 7.5 million enrollees. It`s time for
Republicans to face facts. The health care law is working and no amount of
denial can change that.

Joining me now is David Corn.

Thank you for being here, David.


SHARPTON: What is the Republican`s plan, to close their eye, cover their
ears and wish the law would fail. Is that their plan?

CORN: I think that is their plan. I think that`s about it. We`re done
here. You know, this is not a matter of debate for them. Having the CBO
numbers and all the facts that you just cited, I hate to break this to you,
will not really have much impact. This is a question of theology.
Political theology perhaps for the Republicans. Obamacare is a disaster
and that`s all they`re going to say over and over again. It`s going to
work up their base. It`s destroying America. It`s taking away American
freedom, and they`re just not going to change their tune.

They may sort of not rush to repeal it if they should have another vote
again because millions are signing up, but in terms of the rhetoric,
they`re going to keep blasting away, and that is their strategy. Just the
other day, Ted Cruz was out there saying he wants to repeal every word.
Even the parts that give people mammograms, preventive care, keep your kids
on, deal with pre-existing conditions. I mean, it`s, you know, to some of
us, it does sound like crazy talk, but this is where they are.

SHARPTON: Yes. But Republicans have no plan to help people who have
gotten coverage under the health care law. I mean, take Arkansas
Congressman Tom Cotton.

CORN: Yes.

SHARPTON: He`s running for U.S. Senate. Here`s what he says about the


REP. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: So in the long term, we do have to repeal
Obamacare entirely, but ultimately we need to replace it with reform that
trusts patients and doctors, not bureaucrats in Washington.


SHARPTON: But when Cotton was asked what he would do for all the people
who gained insurance through the Medicaid expansion, he said quote "we want
every Arkansan to have quality affordable access to health care. Once we
repeal Obamacare. Arkansas, like every state, will address its own need.
Hopefully we`ll return to a Medicaid system that`s returned to them and let
them address their need for the entire state."

That`s not exactly a straight answer.

CORN: No, but he`s also in favor of American flag, apple pie, maybe even
God. I mean, you know, the Republicans have switched to talking about the
need for health care, which is a big change for them, but there are no
details. How long has house Speaker Boehner been in power? It`s been
several years now. How many votes on repealing Obamacare, 51. How many
votes on what they`re going to replace it with. I think the answer is

SHARPTON: And that`s the real problem, isn`t it, David? You can`t go out
here and just run on I`m against this while people by the millions are
signing up for the first time, getting relief.

CORN: I disagree with you a slight bit, because actually I think they can
and they will. Because they`re count on these red states where there`s
such a political bias against the Democrats and against Barack Obama. The
well has been poisoned so well by the Republican attacks the last few years
that I don`t think in the next eight months or less that the Democrats are
going to be able to totally sell the benefits of Obamacare. It may take
years for people to sort of actually, for this to take root.

So, you know, I`m guessing their focus groups are telling them that it`s
still an effective attack. As long as you also sound positive and talk as
if you have a plan, whether you have one or not.

SHARPTON: You know, but we are seeing signs that the Democrats make on the
offensive. Check out this ad. A group that is supporting Alaska
democratic candidate Mark Begich who`s running there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was lucky. I beat cancer. But the insurance
company still denied my health insurance, just because of a preexisting
condition. I now have health insurance again because of Mark Begich,
because he fought the insurance companies so that we no longer have to.


SHARPTON: Now they actually touting Begich`s support of the health care
plan. Will we see more of this from Democrats?

CORN: I hope so. I think it`s a great ad. It`s the type of pitch that
Democrats and the Barack Obama should have been going from the get-go again
and again and again, put a human face on it talking about what`s happening.
Ultimately, because of what`s happened the last few years with Republican
obstructionism, I`m not sure Democrats can gain an edge on Obamacare, but
what they need to do to have any chances this coming November is at least
fight to a draw. You know, get people seeing these positive benefits and
not just let the Ted Cruzs of the world and their rhetoric dominate the
political debate. So ads like these are exactly what they should be doing.
And hopefully they are going to be doing this and hopefully they will have
the money to do this because we know what the ads will be on the other

SHARPTON: David Corn, thank you for your time tonight.

CORN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the right wingers are cooking up a new conspiracy
theory about Hillary Clinton and the shoe.

Also, a key court hearing for the white supremacist accused in the Kansas
city hate crime shooting.

But first, 50 years after the civil rights act, you won`t believe what a
Republican lawmaker is saying about this landmark law.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the civil rights act,
one of the landmark laws in all of American history. It banned many forms
of discrimination, it transformed the country. It was a triumph of the
civil rights movement. But just yesterday, a GOP congressman said he`s not
sure if it`s constitutional.


REP. TED YOHO (R), FLORIDA: Is it constitutional the civil rights act? I
wish I could answer that 100 percent. I don`t know if all the things that
have passed with are constitutional, but I know it`s the law of the land.


SHARPTON: He wishes he knew if it was constitutional? Fifty years later,
why are we still having this conversation? It`s stunning. But he`s not
the only Republican uncomfortable with the civil rights act. Remember what
Senator Rand Paul told my colleague Rachel Maddow in 2010?


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: There are ten different titles to the civil
rights act, and nine out of ten deal with public institutions, and I`m
absolutely in favor of. One deals with private institutions, and had I
been around, I would have tried to modify that.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Should Woolworth lunch counter should have been
allowed to stay segregated? Sir, just yes or no.

PAUL: I think would happen -- what I`m saying is that I don`t believe in
any discrimination.


SHARPTON: He would have tried to modify it? Really? What we`re seeing is
this GOP anti-government rhetoric taken to new extremes. Next month, the
Wisconsin State GOP will hold a vote on whether to secede from the country.
In Mississippi, a leading Tea Party candidate has been connected to the
neo-confederate movement. And in states across the Country, conservative
lawmakers and sheriffs are arguing that they can just nullify federal laws
that they don`t like. Isn`t this the same party that keeps calling the
President lawless? Republicans like to claim they`re a law and order
party, but now it`s only the laws they agree with.

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



SHARPTON: Dana, let me start with you. We reached out to Congressman Yoho
for a statement he said the civil rights act is, quote, "the law of the
land." Our country is better off and stronger because of the civil rights
act of 1964. Certainly a little different than his statement just
yesterday, isn`t it, Dana?

MILBANK: Yes, I think some advisers got to him pretty quickly. What`s
going on here Reverend is Congressman Yoho is facing a primary challenge
from all people, a guy who likes to dress up as a vampire at night. And
when you`re trying to run to the right of Dracula you`re going to run into
problems like this, and that`s what happened. He`s got to be absolutely to
the furthest extreme of the conservative base there. And so he gets
himself into this sort of trouble even in more of a clumsy way than Rand
Paul did earlier. I don`t think anybody seriously questions the legitimacy
of the civil rights act any more than we question the legitimacy of the
constitution itself. But I think when you`re involved in a republican
primary, all bets are off.

SHARPTON: You know, Margie, Congressman Yoho questioned the
constitutionality of the civil rights act, but he had no problem invoking
civil rights leaders in his fight to repeal ObamaCare. He said, quote, "It
only takes one with passion." Look at Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King,
people with passion that speak up. They`ll have people follow them because
they bleed the same way and smart leadership listens to that. Very
interesting how he uses figures of the civil rights movement while he
questions the constitutionality of the civil rights act itself yesterday.

OMERO: Right. I mean, it`s the hypocrisy of just picking and choosing
what laws you want to follow, what law enforcement you want to uphold and
who you want to elevate to be a folk hero. So, there are some folks who
are lawbreakers and they`re being held up as folk heroes by some on the
right. Although if people were flooding into this country saying look, I
don`t need to follow the law of the land, I don`t need a pathway to
citizenship, I don`t care of a federal law. I don`t approve a federal law.

So, I`m just going to abide by it. Those people would have been heroes.
But you see a lot of folks on the right really catering to this very fringe
element. They are spending more time trying to cater to the fringe on the
right than trying to understand the women and minority voters and younger
voters that they keep losing election after election.

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, the right wing has increasingly rallied behind a
Nevada rancher who threatened a range war with Feds. You know, the rancher
Cliven Bundy has been illegally grazing his cattle on government land for
decades. Yet -- well, let me play this for you.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The sovereign people of this nation, we`re standing, and
we`re going to stand until we take the guns away from those bureaucracies,
and then we`ll start making America great one more time.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: In my mind, I`m not a rancher, but I would
think the federal government would be thankful because you`re cutting the
law for free.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He said, look, the cattle, they are doing their jobs.
My family has been on this land before the Bureau of Land Management was
even formed.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We`re pro-logic and tradition.

ALEX JONES, RADIO HOST: So, your bottom-line, like Paul Revere, you`re
making your stand, you`re telling folks we`re being overrun by an out of
control tyranny.


SHARPTON: So, he`s given a platform on Fox, talking about disarming
government enforcement agents. I mean, this is the party that calls the
President lawless. These are the folks that talk about they`re law and

MILBANK: Well, Reverend, this is where you have limited government run
over into no government. When you`re illegally having your cattle graze on
government land and refusing to pay taxes even though the government and
indeed the court say that the law requires it, you`re not a symbol of
limited government, you`re a symbol of anarchy. And I think that`s where
this sort of thing bleeds over to, like in the idea of secession as you
mentioned in Wisconsin. And we heard earlier in Texas. This is the idea
of, we don`t like it, we don`t like the law, not that we`re going to work
to change it. We`re just going to take our toys and go home.

SHARPTON: Now, but Marge, I think what gets me is when you hear the
constant over and over again talking point that the president is lawless,
but they will stand up for a rancher like this, they will question these
civil rights act constitutionality, but in that climate, they talk like
this about the president of the United States.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: There is the pattern of lawlessness in this
administration. Ignoring law after law after law. If this president
doesn`t agree with the law, he refuses to enforce it.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We have an increasingly lawless presidency.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think the President has changed the constitution.
He`s decided that it`s optional and he`s going to obey it when he feels
like it.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What he does not have is the
constitutional power to run this country like a dictator.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We`ve never had a president with that level of audacity
and that level of contempt for his own oath of office.


SHARPTON: So he is lawless, he has contempt of office, but they give
platform for a rancher on government property who talks about disarming
federal agencies.

OMERO: It is such extreme language. It`s really unbelievable. It`s just
certainly not the language you hear from regular voters. It`s a real
fringe element. And you saw Mike Huckabee this last week who says, I think
they have more freedom in North Korea than the United States, thinking
about airport security. I mean, the language is just really, really far
out there. And it`s going to be -- it`s continually rejected. I mean, you
saw with the range war, some of the folks out there have said. Well, what
we`re going to do is put the women out front so people can see the women on
the frontline of this skirmish. That`s what some of the folks out there on
the ground are saying. And then I think as a symbol of what the right is
doing in this debate altogether.

SHARPTON: But Dana, we`ve always had this kind of rhetoric, but it seems
to have gotten very, very much more heated and intense under this

MILBANK: Without a question, Reverend, it has, as we`ve observed at
various points over these last several years. You could point out the
contradiction. Sometimes we have the conservatives saying, this President
is lawless and a dictator. And at other times they`re saying this guy is
too weak and being run over by the rest of the world. It really has
nothing to do with the constitutional or the law. The whole notion is to
discredit this President, to see that he is something other than what`s
operating in the system.

Obviously if the complaint were just about law and order, well, then they
might have something to say about the Nevada rancher, about people who are
talking about secession, about people who question the constitutionality of
the civil rights act. But it`s not really a constitutional argument
against this president. It`s a disagreement, it`s a policy disagreement
and they`re trying to discredit him from being a part of this system.

SHARPTON: Well, they`re trying to discredit him, they try to make his
presidency illegitimate. Even tried to raise things about he and the
Attorney General, are they illegal? All while they give platforms to
ranchers on government property which talks about disarming government
agencies. I wonder if hypocrisy fits in there somewhere.

MILBANK: Maybe, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Dana Milbank, Margie Omero, thank you both for your time this

MILBANK: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, that white supremacist who went on a deadly shooting
rampage gets his day in court. When are hate crime charges coming?

Plus -- think you`ve heard out the outlandish right wing conspiracy
theories? Well, this next one takes the cake. It involves shoes and
Benghazi. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: I got a little nostalgic when President Obama recently
remembered how crazy the birther movement was. So who`s ready for a good
old fashioned right wing conspiracy theory? After that birther scam, the
pollers game who claimed the polls were skewed leading up to the 2012
election, then came the jobbers saying the administration cooked the books
on positive job numbers. But now we have the shoe-ers. Yes, the shoe-ers.
It all has to do with this last week. Hillary Clinton was in Las Vegas
speaking when she was nearly hit by a flying shoe. It was a startling
moment, but she laughed it off.


that a bat? Is that somebody throwing something at me? Is that part of
Cirque du Soleil. My goodness, I didn`t know solid waste management was so
controversial. Thank goodness she didn`t play softball like I did.


SHARPTON: She handled the situation with grace and there should be nothing
political about this, right? Wrong. Wait until you hear the latest kooky
conspiracy theory. I gave you the party`s leader.


LIMBAUGH: I can totally relate to people who think that everything the
Clintons do is staged or choreographed. And I haven`t seen it. I got
people telling me her reaction wasn`t natural. Maybe it`s because in my
subconscious, I think it was staged or set up or whatever. I don`t know
why anybody would be throwing a shoe at Hillary unless -- you know, maybe
it`s an attempt to make the Benghazi people look like nuts and lunatics and
whackos if it had nothing to do with that.


SHARPTON: I need to applaud this one. This is a new level of crazy.
Somehow he goes from a flying shoe to Benghazi? A stage shoe, a staged
shoe throwing to make the Benghazi people look like nuts and whackos. And
count the pizza man as a shoe truther. Herman Cain, the one-time front-
runner for the GOP nomination thinks the shoe toss was staged. He tweeted
today, "fakery from the clips." Are these right wingers completely
divorced from reality? As they say, if the shoe fits, you know the rest.

Joining me now is Drew Courtney, director of communications at People for
the American Way whose blog right wing watch monitors the far right
activity. And Joe Madison, Sirius XM radio host. Thank you both for being


SHARPTON: Joe, here comes the shoe truthers. I mean, how do you explain
this ongoing conspiracy theory obsession?

I mean, you know, I was saying this morning, they`re like weeds. They just
keep popping up in the garden. I mean, or else they`re smoking weed. I
mean, I don`t really know which one it is. You know, all one has to do,
and just common sense rules. Is asked the woman who threw the shoe who has
been, what, arrested, probably by federal agencies. She`s been charged,
and charged with a felony. Now if this were staged you would think she
would be the first to speak out and have something to say about it. I
mean, it`s absurd and, you know, and you know, I`m in the talk radio
business like you and I`ve been doing it a long time. But, you know, I
should tell Mr. 999 that that`s not how you do talk radio. You really are
just playing to low-hanging fruit.

SHARPTON: Lessons heard. But you know, Drew, there was a lunar eclipse
last night and of course, the right wing had to find a way to tie that to
the President. Right wing watch reported that World Net Daily says, the
lunar eclipse was a divine warning to Obama and that, quote, "Right wing
Pastor Mark Biltz told World Net Daily today that the blood moon is a
divine warning to Obama that that God has more than a pen and a phone in
his hand."

These things are really absurd. It sounds down right to medieval to blame
a lunar eclipse on the policies of the president. But the problem is that
these things, as whacky as they are, they end up having, you know, real


COURTNEY: At the end of the day, we have elections, we spend people to
Washington and we ask them to do the messy, hard business of governing.
And that can be tough, but at the end of the day that requires compromise.
That`s how a democracy works. Well, if you`re pretty sure that God himself
is opposed to President Obama and his economic agenda, there`s not a lot of
reason to compromise with President Obama and that`s really problematic.
You know, we face a lot of really big problems, not as progressives or
conservative, but Americans. And the more that this conservative, you
know, conspiracy theory takes over, half of our political discourse, the
less prepared we are to deal with them. And that was really problematic no
matter where you stand.

SHARPTON: You know, Joe, right wing conspiracies over the years have
latched into every possible crazy idea they could. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The President`s dangerous sorts for expanded powers
appears to be endless.

LIMBAUGH: This is not about health care. It`s not about insuring the
uninsured. It`s about the total control of a free people under the guise
of health care.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s all part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive
voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the second amendment in our

GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: He uses Ambassador Stevens as the point
man with this guy, and they funnel through turkey the weapons to the
jihadists on the border.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: President Obama was born into the Islamic faith,
raised as a Muslim as the child.

LIMBAUGH: Obama says he`s a Christian but where`s the evidence.

DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: If you`re going to be president of the United
States, you have to be born in this country. All I want to do is see this
guy`s birth certificate.


SHARPTON: Birtherism, dictatorship, he`s a Muslim, it`s endless, I mean,
the attacks are crazy but they are also dangerous, Joe.

MADISON: Well, they are dangerous, and here`s the dangerous part. Is
that, what they do is there`s a stream of things. So, it`s like a menu of
craziness. So, it`s like going into a restaurant and here are all these
menus, these things on the menu. So there`s something there for everybody.
You just pick one. And that`s how they`re playing the game. And then as
it relates to Hillary Clinton, this is just the forward to what`s about to
come if she does decide to run.


MADISON: We forget the conspiracy theories that they put forth when
President Clinton ran for president. And they`re going -- they`re just
priming the pump and they`re just getting -- they`re going to continue
this, even after the Obama administration is out of office. But this --
here`s how you overcome this.

Keep winning elections and particularly off-year elections like the one
coming up this year. We have this win this election and that quite them
and makes them the nuts that they are.

SHARPTON: Did you know, Republicans are more likely to believe government
conspiracy theories than Democrats. Look at this, you cover a lot of
these. I`m sure you see these polls. A recent poll, 62 percent of the
Republicans thought the Obama administration was secretly trying to take
everyone`s guns away. Forty two percent believe Sharia law is making its
way into the U.S. courts. And 44 percent think President Obama plans to
stay in office beyond 2017. The Gallup poll shows just 25 percent of
voters identify as a republican. That`s an all-time low. Are the
extremist views hurting the GOP brand, Drew?

COURTNEY: Well, I think the extremist views are hurting the GOP brand
broadly speaking. But there are clearly still people within the GOP who
believe that they are politically well served, at least in the short term
by pushing these kinds of conspiracy theories, and we know that because
they continue to push them or allow them to be pushed. I think that`s one
of the most disturbing things about this, is how deeply cynical it all is.


COURTNEY: You know, there are a lot of people on the far right who I
disagree with. I disagree with the Kochs on just about everything. But at
the end of the day, these are people who are smart people. I mean, they`re
not idiots. And yet they continue to allow groups like Americans for
Prosperity which they continue to support to push just lies about the
Affordable Care Act or the President Obama`s administration.

SHARPTON: It really is. But, you know, at least the President takes it in
stride, Drew and Joe, at my convention on Friday, watch how he`s going to
handle it. I mean, he takes it in stride.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Do you remember a few months ago,
that my administration put out a photograph of me going skeet shooting at
Camp David? Do you remember that? And quite a number of people insisted
that this has been photoshopped. But tonight, I have something to confess.
You were right. Guys, can we show them the actual photo? And just to be
clear, I know where my birth certificate is. But a lot of people don`t.
Do you remember that? That was crazy. That was some crazy stuff.


SHARPTON: You got a laugh, Drew Courtney and Joe Madison, thank you for
your time.

MADISON: Thanks, Reverend.

COURTNEY: Thanks for having us.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, a court appearance for the white supremacist
accused in the Kansas City hate crime shootings. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Today, the white supremacist who allegedly went on a hate-filled
shooting rampage outside a Jewish community center in Kansas had his first
day in court. Frazier Glenn Miller was arraigned at a hearing appearing on
a video feed and wearing a protective vest. Bond was set at $10 million.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do you have the financial resources to hire your own
attorney or are you requesting a court appointed attorney?

have any money.


SHARPTON: He`s facing one count of capital murder and a second count of
premeditated first degree murder. He could face the death penalty. Miller
could also face federal hate crime charges but the U.S. attorney says,
those charges are likely a week or more away.


SHARPTON: One year ago, three people were killed and more than 260 hurt in
the horrific bombings at the Boston Marathon. Today, their families
returned to the finish line where police officers laid wreaths honoring the
victims. At 2:49 p.m., a moment of silence was held the same time the bomb
went off.

At a tribute service today held just around the corner from the marathon`s
finish lines, survivors focused on resilience. Survivors like Patrick
Downes and his wife Jessica who both lost legs as they cheered runners on
near the finish line. And Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a professional dancer who
lost her lower left leg in the bombing.


philosophically about the capacity of the human spirit. It is right here
in the city of Boston. Whether our families have been here for generations
or recently called Boston home, we know that we have written another
chapter in a rich history of revolutionary people.

not something any of us have chosen to be a part, yet we were just that --
a community. There were many moments we could have not made it through,
had it not been for one another.


SHARPTON: A year ago today, we all were filled with fear, anxiety, not
knowing what to do and how could things like this happen. But today,
watching those victims reach down and have the strength to bounce back, for
those that were lost and those that were wounded made us all feel we need
to reach down and keep fighting back against those that would do harm to
innocent people.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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