Skip navigation

PoliticsNation, Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

POLITICS NATION
May 1, 2014

Guests: Eleanor Holmes Norton, Susan Milligan, Goldie Taylor, Kareem Abdul-
Jabbar

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

Tonight`s lead, the right wing scandal machine revving into high gear,
diving deep into the political muck. Today, it was full-out mud throwing
assault. A desperate effort to distract from GOP`s failures in this do-
nothing Republican congress.

Today, conservatives attacked the White House by going back to Benghazi,
distorting a memo written by a White House staffer, Ben Rhodes. Darrell
Issa reconvene his kangaroo court throwing around wild accusation against
the Obama administration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: It is
disturbing and perhaps criminal in violation of any reasonable transparency
or historic precedent, at least since Richard Millhouse Nixon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Criminal? Just like Nixon? It`s a level of the distortion and
hysteria that can`t survive scrutiny. And the right wing knows it. Just
watch what happened on FOX News when the ranking democrat Started to speak.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Recognize the ranking member.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much. More than three years ago, a wave
of political change --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, we have Senator John McCain with us and we
only know he`s here for a couple more minutes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They cut away. They didn`t have time for what the Democrat was
saying. But they did find time to repeat Republicans` most extreme
charges.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, as you mentioned, the Nixon administration
and your service in it, it strikes me that there are some parallels here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We now know that the White House had a conspiracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s a felony.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A felony? All day today, the scandal machine cranked out vile
attacks and outlandish accusations. And some of the worst came from
elected Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Ben Rhodes who we now see is -- used to be
the spokesperson for the NSC, obviously was the political hack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The IRS targeting to affect the outcome of an election
is criminal. This is just sickening.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: These scumbags are the people in
the White House who lied about this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This vulgar language has no place in the halls of Congress. And
yet, Republicans have nothing to say Unless they`re talking about fake
scandals. The same house committee that held today`s hearing on Benghazi
has held 16 hearings on the IRS, and overall, house Republicans have held
55 votes targeting the new health care law.

But in the same period, they passes passed zero bills on the minimum wage,
voting rights or fair pay. Instead, it`s all scandal, all the time --
Solyndra, fast and furious, ACORN, the IRS, Benghazi. No proof, no facts,
no problem.

Republicans know they don`t have a positive agenda to build up America, so
they`re obsessed with trying to tear down President Obama.

Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. She`s on
the oversight committee and was in today`s hearing and "Washington Post`s"
Dana Milbank.

Thank you both for being here.

DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Reverend.

REP. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), WASHINGTON D.C.: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, a lot of ugly attacks from the right today. Is
this just an effort to avoid talking about their lack of any real agenda?

NORTON: Yes, Reverend, you`ve got to fill the space with something. And I
have to tell you, Benghazi has filled the face way beyond its life.
Benghazi is a corpse. They tried to arouse it today, and it fell right
back down. This time we saw something really interesting. We`ve seen the
visions in the Republican party before, but we have never seen one chairman
go after another chairman. Apparently these witnesses, certainly the
military witness who appeared before us, was jointly -- they were jointly
investigated. And then Chairman Issa pulled back and decided to go on his
own.

Understand whose jurisdiction this is. It`s Bud McKeon`s jurisdiction.
Bud McKeon did issues a statement today saying that General Lovell offered
nothing new and added nothing to what the committee already knew, which was
that the state department had done the best it could under the
circumstances. How`s that for a new Benghazi story?

SHARPTON: Dana, I mean, a memo. I mean, I don`t get it. What is the
significance that they`re trying to use this memo and even use language
like criminal and bring back Richard Nixon. I mean, connect the dots for
me. I don`t get it.

MILBANK: It`s being said this is the smoking gun, Reverend Al. but if you
look back over the last couple of years, they assembled more smoking guns
than a troupe of civil war re-enactors. But they have not actually
produced anything here.

The telling component here is that what are they looking at? Are they are
looking at what could have been done to prevent that attack to save those
Americans in Benghazi? Are they looking at what could be done to prevent
such a thing from ever happening again? No.

They`re looking at what contributed to what Susan Rice said on the Sunday
talk shows, which by definition happened after the people in Benghazi had
already been killed. Now, the White House by not pout putting out all the
documents earlier gave them this opening to do this today. But ultimately,
even if they prove that the White House had some involvement in drafting
these talking points to try to dissuade people from thinking it was a
terror attack, that`s a pretty lame kind of a cover-up. Because this
administration said within days of the attack it was a terrorist attack.
So were they having a cover-up so they could hide it from the public for
three days?

SHARPTON: And Congresswoman, it was bizarre, even over at FOX. They
talked about Benghazi. It was open season over there, and listen to the
attacks on Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How Hillary Clinton could stand there and watch these
caskets be brought in and fake this emotional response while lying to their
faces.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So there`s a political direction these attacks are going,
Congresswoman.

NORTON: Oh, my goodness. And why do you bring up Hillary Clinton again
for? She`s been vindicated by the committee that did an independent
investigation that shows none of this came to her --

SHARPTON: No. She is not vindicated. But to say she was faking her
response, faking a sympathy for the deceased, I mean, that`s vulgar.

NORTON: It`s vulgar and everybody can see it and that`s why it has no
credibility in the public. It does show you that they really are at the
dregs now. There`s nothing else to say, but they`re going to keep on
saying it anyway.

SHARPTON: You know, Dana, a funny thing happened today when one GOP
congressman was talking about Benghazi and the truth just popped out.
Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LYNN WESTMORELAND (R), GEORGIA: I think that we know exactly what
happened. It`s getting the proof to prove what happened that has been the
biggest undertaking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So he knows exactly what happened. He just need the proof to
prove it. Doesn`t that reveal what`s behind all this scandal mongering,
Dana?

MILBANK: That`s almost exactly what Chairman Darrel Issa said about the
IRS. He said we know that there`s some link between the White House and
the scandal and we`re getting to proving it. So, it`s almost exactly the
same language here. It is kind of Alice in wonderland here that you have
the sentence before the verdict.

NORTON: We have the answer, let`s go find the facts.

SHARPTON: Yes.

But you know, Congresswoman, the real thing that really, really troubles me
is the important work that`s not being done. Since the GOP took the house,
we`ve seen a steep decline in congressional productivity. This chart dates
back to 1947. So far the 1113th Congress has passed just 98 bills, the
fewest ever. I mean, are Republicans more interested in creating scandals
than creating laws, Congresswoman?

NORTON: I tell you, Reverend. They`re on their way to breaking another of
their own records. Last year they set the record for the lowest
productivity. They`re trying to beat that record this time.

The country is crying for policy. Another of my committees is the
transportation and infrastructure. Due to come up with a service
transportation bill. When you go out there, everybody -- that`s the kind
of all-American kind of bill. Not sure if we`re going to get anywhere
close to it, we`re running out of money in August. Unemployment insurance,
as the numbers rise, no interest, and that one is going to get them in
trouble in November.

SHARPTON: Dana, what -- give me the politics of this. I mean, they`re
playing to their base, but they`re not really expanding beyond that, it
appears to me. What is the politics here?

MILBANK: Well, as the congresswoman was saying, basically the whole idea
of legislating this year has been cancelled. I think the house is going to
be in for another 60 days, the entirety for the rest of the year. But very
simply, November is going to be a base election, which means you fire up
your base to get out as many of your own most loyal supporters as you can.
So you do that by making them believe that the president is some sort of
criminal and some sort of illegitimate character, and to boost the
conservative Republican turnout.

It`s an old tactic, but it`s one that`s going to be particularly tiresome
since we`re so early in the year and we`ve already abandoned any pretext
that they`re here to get some work done.

NORTON: But it certainly is a challenge to us. Barack Obama is not on the
ballot. Can we get our people to understand that the 2014 elections is
almost as important as the 2012.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it.

NORTON: Because if they don`t come out, the rest of the president`s term
may well be a loss.

SHARPTON: Well, I think you`re right. Thank you so much to both of you.
I`ve got to hold it there.

Let`s also remind the people that in 2009, right after Congress -- well,
Senator, then president Barack Obama was inaugurated, that night they met
and was plotting to undermine anything he did. And scandal after scandal
after scandal in my judgment is part of that plan. And they will undermine
everything he does if they`re able to take the Senate. People need to know
what`s at stake this year.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Dana Milbank, thank you for your
time tonight.

Coming up, they just can`t stand the president`s health care law, but what
therefore it has a name. It`s called the affordable care act. Yes, that
hypocrisy ahead.

Plus, Dick Cheney is blasting President Obama on foreign policy, but here`s
what I want to know. Who thinks he`s credible on this? Who is inviting h
him to Capitol Hill?

And NBA owners hold the first meeting to discuss the next step for removing
Donald Sterling as owner. As the excitement builds for Oprah Winfrey to
step in and buy the team, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the greatest NBA
players of all time is here to talk about all of this.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: All they want to do is repeal the health care law. It was going
to destroy America, except when we find out they actually like what`s in
the affordable health care act. Dr. Sharpton has a diagnosis next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Since the day the affordable care act passed, House Republicans
swear they repeal it. But lately, didn`t want to have it both ways.
Repeal the law, but magically keep all of its popular provisions.

The "Huffington Post" found the House GOP anti-health care message doesn`t
always come through on its members` websites. Take Ohio`s Pat Tiberi.
Here`s what he says about the law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAT TIBERI (R), OHIO: This is not a common sense bill that became
law. Let`s repeal the bill and replace it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But his Web site says nobody should be denied coverage because
of a pre-existing position. Too bad, he`s against a law that covers them.
And check out New York`s Tom Reed. He`s all about repeal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TOM REED (R), NEW YORK: When the votes are cast tomorrow, I think
ultimately the record will be clear. Where each and every one of us stands
and I stand and I hope all my colleagues stand with me to repeal this
legislation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes. He`s standing strong. But on Reed`s Web site, he writes,
I support coverage for young adults up to age 26 under their parents`
policies. If you repeal the affordable health care act, guess what? It
goes away. But I think my favorite is Illinois` Rodney Davis. He can`t
put out a campaign ad without mentioning repeal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RODNEY DAVIS (R), ILLINOIS: Failed policies from Washington are
devastating small businesses and Obamacare is the worse of them all.
Repeal and replace Obamacare. I`ll fight to repeal and replace Obama care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And Davis` Web site manages to squeeze repeal and pre-existing
conditions into the same sentence. Quote "by repealing this law, we can
begin to build on some of the good provisions in the law like covering pre-
existing conditions and allowing young adults to stay on their parents`
insurance by the age 26."

No, by repealing the law you would lose those provisions. These guys are
really struggling, so I`ll help them out. There`s a health care plan that
includes people with pre-existing conditions, and lets young adults stay on
with their parents plans. It`s called the affordable care act. So here`s
my diagnosis. The party is suffering from a severe case of hypocrisy.

Joining me now is Karen Finney.

Karen, they hate the health care law so much but somehow they want to cover
young adults, people with pre-existing conditions. Think they support
sunshine and kittens, too?

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC HOST, DISRUPT: Probably they do. And puppies and
rainbows, of course.

You know, it`s a very interesting strategy, Rev. And I think it`s part of
what we started to see last week as we saw when Republican members were
home in their districts having to try to explain to their constituents why
they don`t deserve health care under the affordable health care act. And
as you know, many of the provisions are very popular. So while they
continue to demonize Obamacare, they`re trying to cherry pick the things
that they know people like and say well, of course I`m for those things.

SHARPTON: Now House Republicans aren`t the only ones trying to pull this.
Listen to Scott Brown who first ran for office, railing against the health
care law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT BROWN, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR: I always felt that people
should get some type of health care options or pay for it with a nice
competitive feed. That`s all great. I believe it in my heart. In terms
of pre-existing conditions, catastrophic coverage, covering kids, whatever
we want to do, we can do it. As a matter of fact, in New Hampshire, I
would encourage everybody to do a New Hampshire plan that works for New
Hampshire, that deals with individual freedoms. It doesn`t have mandates
put on by bureaucrats in Washington. A plan that is good for New
Hampshire, which can include the Medicaid expansion folks who need that
coverage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We are joined by Michelle Cottle.

Michelle, what Scott Brown is laying out there is basically the affordable
health care act. I mean, does he hope people won`t notice?

MICHELLE COTTLE, WASHINGTON REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST, NEWSWEEK: It`s the
rose by any other name here, Reverend. I mean, as they describe it, it`s
just so easy to bring about all these great reforms that everybody likes,
but just do away with the parts that they`ve been railing against, like the
individual mandate or whatever.

But if you get rid of the individual mandate and the parts they like to
complain about, you don`t have a system that works for the other things.
And this is why they were really worried about it comes into effect.
Because once people get all of these things that are popular, if you then
go, well, we`re going to take those away from you, it`s not going to be
such a pretty picture.

SHARPTON: You know, they did this, Karen, in 2009 with the stimulus bill.
They fought about it, they argued, they did everything they could to
castigate it, and then they went home and took credit for it.

FINNEY: Absolutely. And remember, we saw the press releases they would
send out to local media in home states or home districts saying very
different things than what we heard them saying here in Washington. You
know, though, Rev., I think this is a real important moment for Democrats
in this election season. You know, the tide is really turning as more
people are covered by the affordable care act or know someone who`s covered
by Obamacare. You know, it becomes less and less of a bad thing --
something to run away from and really something that people should be
running towards and feeling, as the president has said, very good about
having accomplished this.

And really, I think pushing back on the Republican, particularly those who
voted for the Ryan budget, because remember, the Ryan budget would cut all
of this. You can`t possibly say that you`re for these things if you then
voted for a budget that would cut those things.

SHARPTON: You know, Michelle, you know, one of the right`s favorite
talking points was that only older sicker people would sign up. They
called it the death spiral. Remember that? Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Changes don`t work and you wind up going into what
they call the insurance death spiral.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would you call it, death spiral? Scary.

ALLEN WEST (R), FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSWOMAN: Obamacare is going towards a
death spiral.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is that death spiral.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Death spiral.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Death spiral.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s called the insurance death spiral.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: You get into what they call that death
spiral.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We got updated enrollment numbers, Michelle. More than eight
million people enrolled in exchanges, including 2.2 million between the
ages of 18 and 34. I mean, doesn`t that debunk that whole death spiral?

COTTLE: You know, it does. And it`s run of the reasons that the
administration worked so hard in the final days of the run-up to when this
went into effect to do things like get sports teams to pitch the sign-up
plans, get celebrities to pitch it. They were in places where young people
pay attention, you know, social media. They knew that if they didn`t hit
those young number, that you would be hearing even more about the death
spiral. So in that way, they were prepared. And they did a good job.

And, you know, that doesn`t mean we`re not going to hear about it anymore,
because it`s not really a political attack grounded in the reality right
now, but it makes a good talking point. But I think that the numbers are
really going to help out the administration.

SHARPTON: Karen, give me the politics of this. The affordable care act is
still not popular on the campaign trail, but the provisions are. What`s
the politics of this?

FINNEY: Well, the politics are, you know, again, I think people have got
to stand by supporting the affordable care act and talk, you know, about
the things that people like in it. I mean, because we know that`s -- in
every poll that we`ve seen, people like a lot of what`s in it, even if they
have been sold this bill of goods by, you know, conservatives and others to
reject the label Obamacare. So I think the politics are that Democrats
should really be running towards this and standing up for this.

I mean, you know, there`s like example this weekend of Rick Scott couldn`t
even find people who don`t like the affordable care act. He was trying so
desperately. And that should give people a lot of confidence that this
plan is actually working. And people are actually getting the health care
that they need and they should stand by it.

SHARPTON: You know, in West Virginia, Michelle, even the Republican
running for the Senate is a little more moderate on this.

COTTLE: Well, it`s one of those things if you`re in a state that`s kind of
tricky or a swing state, you`re not in a state where basically you were
elected based on your hatred of Obamacare and your pledge to repeal it,
you`re going to have to toe a very careful line here, especially in states
where a lot of people are going to benefit from this plan. I mean, these
are people who are going to have affordable health care for the first time.
And you can`t just go running around saying hey, I`m going to take that
away from you. You have to be a lot more subtle about it in some cases.

SHARPTON: Michelle Cottle and Karen Finney, thank you both for your time
tonight.

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

Still ahead, a Republican senator`s stunning admission about the minimum
wage. Are they really willing to roll back 70 years of progress?

But first, who gets tonight`s got you? Dick Cheney for attacking the
president`s foreign policy or the Republicans who listen to him? Find out
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: I would say he`s back. But the truth is, he never really does
go away. Dick Cheney was the invited guests for the Republican studied
committee`s meeting this week. It was a closed door meeting. But in an
interview, after he told the hill, quote, "the Obama administration is
taking a lot of steps to diminish our influence and ability to effect the
course of affairs.

Excuse me? If anyone should talking about diminishing America, it`s Dick
Cheney. The man who lied to us -- lied us into a war in Iraq on false
pretenses, has no place, none, giving advice on foreign affairs. Someone
else has something to say about that recently, too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For some reason, many people
who were proponents of what I considered to be a disastrous decision to go
into Iraq haven`t really learned the lesson of the last decade. And they
keep on playing the same note over and over again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Mr. Cheney is playing the same note over and over again. But
what about the House Republicans who begged him to come to political in the
first place. One republican said Cheney has, quote, "a lot of credibility
when it comes to talking about foreign affairs." Is that some kind of bad
joke? Do those House Republicans think we wouldn`t notice they`re the ones
losing credibility? Nice try. But you`re now invited to this POLITICS
NATION club because we gotcha.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: How extreme has the Republican Party got on the issue of
fairness? Yesterday, the party blocked a vote to raise the federal minimum
wage. And today a top republican senator says, we should get rid of it all
together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: I don`t believe you ought to interfere in
the market. If there`s to be a minimum wage, my theory is, if Oklahomans
want a minimum wage, we ought to have it. I don`t believe there ought to
be a national minimum wage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Get rid of a livable wage all together? Leave it up to the
states? Senator Coburn thinks that if his constituents want to raise it,
let them vote on it themselves. Except they can`t. Literally. Just last
month, Coburn`s home state of Oklahoma banned an increase in the minimum
wage. Oklahomans couldn`t raise the minimum wage if they wanted to.
Currently an average minimum wage worker earns just over $15,000 a year.
Coburn must think that`s too much. And he`s not alone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do you think we`re abolishing the minimum wage?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, I think that we need to look at all the factors
that goes into job creation and I think that`s something that obviously
Congress would have to take a look at.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I want people to make as much as they can, I don`t think
a minimum wage law works.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: So, you do not believe in the concept of
a minimum wage?

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENNESSEE: That`s correct.

SANDERS: You would abolish the minimum wage?

ALEXANDER: Correct.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Correct. Here`s what`s ironic about the whole issue, the GOP
doesn`t like raising the minimum wage, but they also hate people using the
social safety net.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: We need to make sure our government
programs encourage work, not dependence.

REP. MICHELLE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Self-reliance means if anyone will
not work, neither should he eat.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Teach a man how to fish, he can feed
himself for a life. Don`t simply feed fish.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Don`t feed fish. Well, how about giving poor Americans a
fishing pole? If we raise the minimum wage to $10.10 cents an hour, we
would reduce food stamp spending by $46 billion over the next 10 years.
The GOP isn`t just heartless on this issue, they`re hypocrites. They`re
hypocrites, too.

Joining me now are Susan Milligan and Goldie Taylor. Thank you both for
come on the show tonight.

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

SHARPTON: Susan, if the GOP is so opposed to the safety net, why won`t
they help lift people out of it by raising the minimum wage.

SUSAN MILLIGAN, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Well, it`s an interesting
question. There`s a strong conservative argument to be made for raising
the minimum wage. And that, there`s a study out of the UC Berkley and the
University of Illinois showing that in the fast food industry alone it
costs the American taxpayer $7 billion a year in Medicaid, in food stamps
and the earned income tax credit because they`re making so little money
that they can`t possibly support their families on it.

And in addition to which, there`s an impact in the economy as a whole. Our
economy, of course, is overwhelmingly consumer driven. So when you have
people making that little money and it`s all they can do to try to put food
on the table and pay rent, they`re not out buying things. That`s not
helping other businesses in the economy. So, it`s really, I mean, aside
from just a moral question of creating this permanent underclass of people,
you know, there`s a broader economic question there about how it affects
all of the rest of us.

SHARPTON: Goldie, Senator Coburn, he really almost seemed like he was
mocking the idea of raising the minimum wage. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COBURN: The benefit is small, the cost of lost jobs is great. It goes
against the free market principles. We don`t know what the minimum wage
should be. How did they pick $10.10? Why not 22? Why not $100? That
makes everybody make $200 a year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean why not $22? Why not $100. If they can`t get $10.10,
that might not be why they`re not going for $22. I mean, he acts as though
it`s just some numbers out there. Not considering one what is viable, and
two, what is passable. We can`t get $10.10 past the Republicans in the
House.

TAYLOR: Well, you`re certainly right about that, but what Tom Coburn
doesn`t say is that if you rip away the minimum wage standard -- and by the
way, the minimum wage standard and a number of our employment laws and
practices in this country are really the embodiment of our American values.
And to say that we want to remove the minimum wage is to say that we want
to depress wages in a way that we never have before. So, if Tom Coburn be
all right, if someone were earning $3 an hour? Four dollars an hour? You
know, like 40 hour work week, is he OK that a full-time worker at today`s
minimum wage makes about $15,000? But that our poverty level in this
country is about $11,600. Is he OK with that?

I don`t think he ought to be. He ought to be OK with paying an extra 20 or
30 cents for his hamburger so that worker behind the counter can have a
meaningful job and a meaningful ways and that person can feed a family.
That person can go home at night and sleep well knowing that they won`t
have to work a second job and take more time away from their family life or
for whatever other work-life balance thing they want to invest themselves
in. That ought to be the mark of our American values. What we really
ought to do is tie our minimum wage to, you know, the cost of living in
this country. Cost of living in this country has risen sharply while the
minimum wage has really remained stagnant over the last 15 to 20 years.
And we really need to do something about that and do it quickly.

SHARPTON: Let me go back to you, Susan. Yesterday, the Senate Republicans
blocked the vote on raising the minimum wage. But back when George W. Bush
was president, 17 of the same GOP senators voted for an increase in the
minimum wage. Same senators?

MILLIGAN: Well, yes. This is -- I mean, the Senate and the House
especially are much more partisan than they used to be. You see less of,
you know, this trend of people going across the party line. I think the
Republicans are under a lot of pressure from people in the business
community not to raise the minimum wage because they`re worried that they
would have to cut jobs and that would actually probably be the case. I`m
not sure that -- you know, you have to weigh it against what kind of jobs
are being cut.

I do think this is a pretty powerful issue for the Democrats in the fall.
I mean, they have a tough road this fall, just because of the way the
numbers are and because of the state where incumbents are -- have retired
and so forth, but this and the extension of unemployment insurance I think
are two of the most powerful tools the Democrats have going in the fall.

SHARPTON: Yes. What, Goldie, do you think are the politics of this?
Susan thinks it`s a strong thing for the Democrats. How do they translate
that into turnout and votes? Tell me, for example, in Georgia where you
are.

MILLIGAN: Well, I do believe that it`s a strong thing for Democrats. Here
in Georgia, Jason Carter is running ahead of incumbent Governor Nathan Deal
who has been a strong republican in this state. And part of that is
because this governor failed to expand Medicaid. This governor is not in
favor of raising the minimum wage. And so Jason Carter has shown himself
to be someone on the side of the American worker here in this day. I think
governors and people running for governor across this country can really
take a cue from that.

You know, the fact of the matter is an overwhelming vast majority of
Americans want an increase in the minimum wage because they know how much
it helps working families and how much heat it will take off of us as
taxpayers as we supply the social safety net. No one wants to subsidize
Wal-Mart or subsidize national multibillion dollar business like McDonalds.
I think they ought to be paying their own way. If workers are going to
work and earn their own way, then these companies ought to pay their own
way.

SHARPTON: You know, you mentioned how things have gotten more partisan,
Susan, you`ve also got billionaires pouring a lot of money into this.
Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group backed by the Koch
Brothers urged senators to vote no on the minimum wage hike yesterday.
Here`s what the disgraceful -- what`s disgraceful about that fact. That we
are seeing the Koch Brothers are worth a combined $80 and they`re opposed
to a full-time minimum wage worker earning just around $21,000 a year. I
mean this is really disgraceful to me.

TAYLOR: Yes, I mean, they`re certainly getting a lot of the pressure
there. I think that the recession went on for so long and was so painful
that there`s this sense among some people that they can, you know, get
workers into a mindset where they`ll take any job no matter how badly it
pays, and no matter what the benefits are and that they won`t have any
expectation of really being able to live decently. The problem is you`ll
eventually eliminate the middle class if you do that. Keep in mind, when
the minimum wage goes up, it has a sort of ripple effect on other wages as
well.

Just as when, you know, a labor union fights for certain standards like a
40-hour work week or the weekend, that spills over into the private sector
and place where they don`t have unions. Because that becomes the standard.
So, I think one of the reasons they don`t want to raise the minimum wage is
that they know that that would actually have an impact even beyond just
these, you know, these fast food workers and Wal-Mart workers.

SHARPTON: Susan Milligan and Goldie Taylor. I`m going to have to leave it
there. Thank you so much for your time this evening.

MILLIGAN: Thank you.

TAYLOR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up. NBA owners held their meeting today to discuss the
plan to remove Donald Sterling from the NBA ownership. So who would
potentially buy the team? And who should buy the team? Oprah Winfrey`s
interest is getting a lot of attention today. Kareem Abdul Jabbar, one of
the greatest players in NBA history joins us, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: NBA team owners took their first step towards removing Donald
Sterling as the owner of the L.A. Clippers today. The NBA`s advisory
finance committee comprised of owners of ten teams met for the first time
via conference call to discuss their next steps and the NBA has just
released a statement. The committee unanimously agreed to move forward as
expeditiously as possible and will reconvene next week. And the number of
celebrity suitors lining up to bid for team ownership is growing rapidly.

The biggest name in the mix, Oprah Winfrey, confirming that she`s
interested in becoming part owner of the team. So what happens next?

Joining me now is one of the NBA`s greatest players of all time, Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar. He`s worked as a special assistant coach for Sterling at the
Clippers in 2000. And in this week, he wrote an article about the Sterling
scandal and the biggest issue of racism in this country. The one and only
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It`s an honor to have you with us tonight.

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, NBA HALL OF FAME PLAYER: Thank you very much,
Reverend. Good to see you.

SHARPTON: You know, if you were in the meeting today, what would you have
said about moving forward with Sterling?

ABDUL-JABBAR: Geez, I don`t think there was probably a lot of discussion
in the meeting. I think there`s pretty much a consensus of what Mr.
Sterling exhibited was reprehensible and has no place in the NBA family.
And I think they probably got through with that meeting rather quickly.

SHARPTON: Yes, I was -- you know, a hall-of-famer called me Saturday
telling me about the tape and asking us to look at it and get involved.
And I was very happy to see how it moved so quickly. Because clearly those
of us would have been ready to dig in. But it seems as though Silver and
the owners understood the gravity of what was on the tape. What happen do
you think, though, will happen as we move forward from now and get into the
fact that you`ve got to deal with the votes, the constitution says the
commissioner has to present written charges to Sterling within three days.

Sterling has five days to respond. If he doesn`t, it`s considered an
admission to the charges. The board of governors will hold a special
hearing. No more than ten days after the reply and a vote on whether to
force Sterling to sell three fourths of the board must vote to sustain the
charges. So we`ve got to go through the constitution now, but looming is,
assuming all that goes well, who gets the team or who are the leading
candidates? Do you have a view on that, Kareem?

ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, you know, I really don`t think it`s going to be a --
make much difference who gets the team. It`s just the fact that we`ve been
able to get Mr. Sterling away from the franchise and whatever happens with
the franchise will happen. But the Clippers fans are really happy about
that. The players are happy about that. People can support the team now
because there`s a clear demarcation between the team and the owner of the
team. And I think that`s really the best thing that Commissioner Silver
achieved. You know, he laid down the law and he has made it possible for
people to see this in a different light. And maybe for some healing. So I
think a very good job was done. And I commend everybody involved.

SHARPTON: Now, he seemed firm about it when I spoke to him after the press
conference. He seemed very firm about it. But let me ask you this, when
you see people like LeBron -- let me play what LeBron said yesterday.

ABDUL-JABBAR: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: The next step is for the owners to vote and get
him to sell the franchise. And obviously it`s not going to be as night and
day. You know, it`s not going to be like that. And we just wake up
tomorrow and the team is in someone else`s hand. But, you know, we need to
get the next step going. It can`t be something that we just drag on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, how important was it to hear from players and former
players like LeBron, the hottest name in the game. Kevin Johnson, I worked
with him on education. He`s out there. How important was that?

ABDUL-JABBAR: It was a key to having this work, Reverend Al. You know,
the whole idea that everybody got behind it, management, players, fans,
just everybody saw that this was, really something that had to be dealt
with, and everybody was able to agreed that the way it was handled made
sense and we will move things forward. And, you know, that`s what we need.
We need progress here and the progress is happening and the activism of all
the people that decided to stand up and speak is admirable. And just a
great thing to see. Nice to see everybody coming together in this way.

SHARPTON: It really is. And moving so quickly. Three or four days, we
were able to get the league to take the position of the association. But I
have to raise something else that is very near dear to my heart, your
"Time" magazine op-ed has gotten a lot of attention because you`re critical
of a lot of people, not just Sterling. But your basic point is that racism
exists and you`re right, let`s use this tawdry incident to remind ourselves
of the old saying, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Instead of
being content to punish Sterling and go back to sleep. We need to be
inspired to vigilantly seek out, expose and eliminate racism at its first
signs.

ABDUL-JABBAR: We don`t have any other choice. You know? And it`s for
everyone. It`s everyone`s problem. It`s not just the problem of the NBA
or basketball players or sports owners or anything like that. It`s every
American`s problem to make sure it`s a problem for every American and we
all need to work together to the make sure that it doesn`t get worse.

SHARPTON: Well, Kareem, I`m going to have to leave it there. And I know
you and I have worked together on a football -- I mean on a basketball
film that`s coming out and I`m looking forward to it.

ABDUL-JABBAR: Oh, yes. The greatest team.com, Rev. You got to check it
out. Talks all about these issues about how the -- were involved in
integrating the game so early on and back in the 1940s.

SHARPTON: Well, I enjoyed doing it with you and I hope a lot of success, a
lot of people watch it. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, thank you very much for
joining us tonight.

ABDUL-JABBAR: Great talking with you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, a U.S. senator goes to the floor of the Senate and
makes some really awful comments. Our response, stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Developing news tonight in the Chris Christie George Washington
Bridge mystery. According to a source in the "Bergen Record," the pace of
the federal investigation appears to be picking up. Federal prosecutors
have summoned or expressed interest in talking to nearly half a dozen Port
Authority officials, including Phillip Kwan, the Port Authority deputy
general counsel who is also a Christie appointee. Tonight, we learn Mr.
Kwan has been subpoenaed. And this is very significant.

Because "The Wall Street Journal" reported Kwan spent parts of four to five
days helping to prepare Bill Baroni, the authority`s deputy executive
director for testimony in front of the New Jersey legislature. It was that
testimony where Baroni said the lane closings were part of a traffic study.
The traffic study claim is just not true. You can see Mr. Kwan sitting in
the room. We will continue to watch this story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma went to the Senate floor
yesterday and made some really awful comments. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: Oklahomans regularly ask me and I don`t
really think this is unique just to Oklahoma. I think it can be almost any
state, but how they regularly ask me why we have an administration that
suppresses our Judeo-Christian values while praising Islam.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Suppressing Judeo-Christian values while praising Islam? We
know what the senator is doing here, this is a blatant divisive, ugly
tactic. It is playing on the fears of some with Islamophobia while
outright lying on the values of this administration when it comes to what
is stood for across all religious lines, but particularly a president that
says he is personally committed as a Christian. Why do we have anything,
anything close to trying to play religious divisiveness and trying to
castigate people`s basic beliefs? Win on the merits, not by playing these
kinds of games.

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

<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2014 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Transcription Copyright 2014 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of
litigation.>






Sponsored links

Resource guide