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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

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POLITICS NATION
May 14, 2014

Guest: Deval Patrick, Arthur Delaney, James Peterson, Goldie Taylor,
Krystal Ball

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

Tonight`s lead, Karl Rove gets schooled. Today, former president Clinton
went after Karl Rove`s dirty suggestion, that Hillary Clinton might have
brain damage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, first of all, I
got to give him credit, you know, he did that embodies that old saying that
consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

First, they said she faked her concussion, and now they say she`s
auditioning for a part on "The Walking Dead."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He openly mocked Rove and exposed just how absurd these attacks
is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: She works out every week. She is strong. She`s doing great. As
far as I can tell, she`s in better shape than I am. She certainly seems to
have more stamina now. I was sort of dumbfounded. They went through all
this trouble that said she stayed, terrible concussion that required six
months of very serious work to get over. Something she never low balled
with the American people, never tried to pretend didn`t happen.

Now they say she`s really got brain damage. If she does, then I must be in
really tough shape, because she`s still quicker than I am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The president`s tone was light, but make no mistake, this was a
warning to the right wing spin machine, that machine is in full spin cycle
right now. Others in the right wing media are pushing Rove`s false claim
that Hillary Clinton was in the hospital for 30 days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Thirty days in a hospital, is that true?
Whoever spends 30 days in the hospital these days?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a chance something deeper happened, like a TIA
or something like that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Actually, she was in the hospital for three days. Yes, it was a
serious health issue, but these attacks are about one thing, dirty
politics. Trying to raise doubts about a Clinton candidacy.

Joining me now are Clarence Page and Michelle Cottle. Thank you both for
being here tonight.

CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Thank you, Reverend.

MICHELLE COTTLE, WASHINGTON REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST, NEWSWEEK: Thanks,
Rev.

SHARPTON: Clarence, Clinton was light on it today. But there`s nothing
funny about what Rove`s saying. What do you think he`s up to?

PAGE: Well, I think Bill Clinton`s attitude, a bit light hearted, was the
right way to approach this, just ridicule it, demean it, because it`s,
obviously, a sign of weakness on the part of Karl Rove and the Republican
right.

Naturally, they don`t like Hillary Clinton, and this is a great way to fire
up the base, making any kind of attack against her, but this is such a
cheap shot that it only enhances her status as being a real threat to
Republican victory in 2016. So I can certainly understand why Bill Clinton
responded the way he did.

SHARPTON: What do you think they are up to Karl Rove, Michelle, and
Clinton obviously former president thought it was enough to respond to.
What do you make of this?

COTTLE: I think you do have to respond, though, because as much backlash
as Karl`s getting over this, it is one way he`s going to inject this issue
into the conversation and always age comes up when you`re talking about a
presidential candidate. You know, we saw it with McCain, we saw I with
Dole, you saw it with Reagan. This is an issue that Karl wants people
talking about sooner rather than later.

SHARPTON: But is it different, Michelle, because it`s a woman now?
Because I`ve heard some suggest sexism, as well as ageism in this.

COTTLE: Well, you know, you`re going to have that come up because you`ve
had people over the years say things like I don`t want to watch a woman
grow old in the White House for eight years, and you do have to be more
careful with female candidates because it`s so easy to step over that line.

You know, that said, age and health are always an issue, but I think Rove
handled this a little bit over the line here in that he`s going to engender
sympathy for her. And it is always dangerous for Republicans when they
start going after the Clintons personally, because then people start
feeling like the Republicans have gone too far. And Clintons have always
benefitted from the fact that their enemies just always kind of go a little
mad.

SHARPTON: Now, Clarence, you know, talking about enemies going a little
mad, president Clinton said, get ready for more and more of these ugly
attacks. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: This is the beginning. They`ll get better and better at it. I
mean, you know, I`m still waiting for them to admit there was nothing to
white water. It is just part of the deal. you can`t -- when a question is
asked, it has to be answered in a serious fashion. If it raises a serious
issue, even in a ridiculous way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Karl Rove, Clarence, he justified his speculation about
Hillary Clinton`s health by pointing to her age, something Michelle and I
touched on. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Look, she`ll be 69 by the time the 2016
election. She will be 77 if she serves two terms, and this ends up being
an issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, she raised -- he raised, rather, about her age being 69,
but that was Reagan`s age, was it not, Clarence? I mean, where`s that?

PAGE: Yes. She`s actually younger than Reagan was when elected and it
didn`t bother Republicans then.

Look, we could expect this sort of thing, and Bill Clinton is right, and he
ought to know about how this is only the beginning. I remember eight years
ago when Karl Rove was bragging about the big opposition research book they
already had on Hillary Clinton. And, obviously, we remember back in the
1990s when the Clintons were accused of everything, including running a
drug underground and murder, et cetera, et cetera, but a lot of other
people, this is only the beginning.

And as we have seen, the Clintons are well accustomed to this sort of thing
and the rest of us in the public are well accustomed to this sort of
attack. And it looks rather weak, actually, for the Republicans to be
launching a negative campaign against a woman who is certainly not even
announced she`s going to run yet.

SHARPTON: You know, Michelle, when we look at the fact that rove didn`t
raise age around Reagan and media matters dug up something from 2008 today,
he did raise it about John McCain. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They conclude that the age of John McCain is hurting
him with some of these moderate voters. What is your take on that, as they
take on McCain?

ROVE: You know, look, I think this is really reprehensible on Dean`s part.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, it is reprehensible for Democrats, some Democrats, have
raised it in 2008 about John McCain, but it`s acceptable for him to bring
it up today about Hillary Clinton?

COTTLE: Yes. And, you know, Karl`s got some very delicate sensibilities
that have been offended here. Nobody`s ever can, you know, accused him of
being too consistent. And I thought Bill Clinton`s joke about the
hobgoblin of small minds was a pretty good one, because, obviously, this
was a big issue with John McCain, not just because of his health, but not
just because of his age, but because he`d also had, you know, skin cancer
and he`d had kind of a hard health run, and this will be an issue with
Hillary. She will have to release health records, just like every other
presidential contender, and this will be an early gut check to her of kind
of whether or not she`s committed to going forward with this, because it
will get worse.

SHARPTON: You know, Clarence, Michelle mentioned Karl Rove going over the
line. Well, Jon Stewart got a-hold of it, and he got the Jon Stewart
treatment, and it was funny. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROVE: On the 30th of December she goes in and turns out to have had a
blood clot. They won`t say where.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Unanswered questions, an attempted cover up. My
God, it`s brainghazi! (ph). How many -- when did you start caring so much
about the brain fitness of those who have to hold the oval office? I
assume it was right after your boss fell and banged his head after losing
the battle with the pretzel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Brainghazi, Clarence.

PAGE: Brainghazi, I love it. you know, that`s appropriate comparison,
because this is a lot like birtherism, no matter how many answers you
provide, the question keeps coming back, why aren`t you telling the whole
truth? That`s the same thing with Benghazi, after over half a dozen
hearings, they are saying we want to get to the truth.

You know, the fact is, they don`t like the truth they are hearing and
that`s the case with Hillary Clinton, that people who don`t want her to
run, don`t want her to be president, don`t like the truth that they are
hearing.

SHARPTON: But Michelle, I don`t want to end this too light. Bill Clinton
says it`s going to be dirty. Do you agree it`s going to be dirty, isn`t
it?

COTTLE: It`s going to be so dirty. I`ve already talked to a couple of
PACs whose entire race on detract (ph) is to attack Hillary and stop her as
early as they can. If not, by destroying her reputation with voters, by
making it so uncomfortable for her that she decides not to run. I mean,
that is the stated goal of a lot of Republican operatives.

SHARPTON: Clarence --

PAGE: Good luck with that.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, I agree.

Clarence Page and Michelle Cottle, thank you both for your time tonight.

PAGE: Thank you, Reverend.

COTTLE: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama`s tough message for Republicans. You
want to create jobs? Prove it!

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s time for folks to stop
running around saying what`s wrong with America. Roll up your sleeves and
let`s get to work and help America rebuild.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`ll talk about it with Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick.

Also, are Republicans having second thoughts about their Benghazi
obsession? Top leaders are worried this whole bogus scandal thing could
backfire.

And first dog sunny Obama is making a big splash tonight, literally. She
might be going to Hollywood. We`ll explain that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Republicans keep pushing their phony scandals while President
Obama today pushed his plan to rebuild the country and create jobs. We`ll
talk the hunt for jobs with the democratic governor of Massachusetts, Deval
Patrick. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The Republican party loves to pretend they are a party of jobs.
Well, today the president offered them a chance to prove themselves. Just
a short time ago, the president came here to New York to push a bill that
would add millions in infrastructure spending. The legislation would
literally save jobs and our country`s crumbling roads and bridges. And it
comes at a time when Republicans are gutting money from the transportation
program.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: So far at least, Republicans who run this Congress seem to have a
different priority. Instead of putting more workers back on the job, they
put those workers jobs at risk. Instead of breaking ground on new projects
that improve quality of life to millions of people, they have already gave
tax cuts to households making more than a million a year. Instead of
making investments to grow our economy by growing the middle class, they
are still convinced that prosperity trickles down from the very top.

If you want to tell them what you think about that, don`t worry, because
usually they show up at ribbon cuttings for projects that they refuse to
fund.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s bold-face hypocrisy. The truth of the matter is, this
shouldn`t be a partisan issue, and in the past, it hasn`t been. Under
president George W. Bush, 47 Senate Republicans backed an infrastructure
bill, as did a whopping 217 house Republicans. So why is the GOP against
bills like this now?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: They are more interested in saying no, because they are worried
that maybe, you know, they`d have to be at a bill signing with me, than
they are at actually doing a job that they know would be good for America.
It`s time for folks to stop running around saying what`s wrong with
America. Roll up your sleeves and let`s get to work and help America
rebuild. That`s what we should be doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That is what we should be doing. This should be a no-brainer.
This should be an easy call. The question for Republicans is this, do they
care more about petty politics than they do about rebuilding America and
about getting Americans back to work?

Joining me now is Governor Deval Patrick, Democrat from Massachusetts.

Governor, first of all, thanks for coming on the show tonight.

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Al, nice to have me, thank you very
much.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you a question. How can Republicans in Washington
oppose a plan to create jobs in your state and in states all over the
country?

PATRICK: How can they do it? That`s what they call a rhetorical question,
Al.

I mean, look, infrastructure investment works. We`ve had a very
disciplined strategy over the last almost eight years here in Massachusetts
of investing in education, in innovation, and in infrastructure, which I
always describe in the latter case as the unglamorous work of government,
but it supports everything else. And that strategy is the reason why we
came out of recession faster than most states. In 2013, we added more jobs
in a single year than in nearly 14 years, and it`s the fourth straight year
of strong job gains.

SHARPTON: This weekend, Governor, during the Republican weekly address,
GOP lawmakers repeatedly called for job creation. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans are relentlessly focused on building a
strong economy that chooses good jobs as fine jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Compete for in-demand jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 42,000 direct and indirect jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: American and manufacturing jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help them find good jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To promote innovation and job creation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s destroying jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep good ideas in good jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But if Congress fails, Governor Patrick, to act on the
president`s infrastructure bill, nearly 700,000 jobs are at risk.

PATRICK: That`s right. And that`s just talking about projects that are
currently in the pipeline, including many, many projects here in
Massachusetts. We have certainly as a state been doing our share and then
some, but the federal government since the 1950s has been an incredibly
important partner with states in investing in our collective future.

And that`s what infrastructure is about. You know, as strong as businesses
are and we wish them to be, they are not going to build their own road,
their own airport, their own school, their own public laboratory space, or
affordable housing. That`s something we do together, and when we do those
things together, it`s called government.

SHARPTON: It`s been bipartisan. I mean, the president today blasted
Republicans for standing in the way of what is always been a bipartisan
issue. Listen to this, governor.

PATRICK: Right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Here`s the sad part. Rebuilding America, that shouldn`t be a
partisan issue. My favorite president happens to have been a Republican,
guy named Abraham Lincoln in my home state of Illinois. And it was Lincoln
who committed to a railroad connecting east to west. Even while he was
struggling mightily to hold together the north and south.

It was a Republican, Dwight Eisenhower, who built the interstate highway
system. It was Ronald Reagan who said that rebuilding our infrastructure
is an investment in tomorrow that we must make today. Since when are the
Republicans in Congress against Ronald Reagan?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s always been bipartisan, Governor.

PATRICK: Well, you know what, this notion that you can grow an economy in
the modern information age by just cutting taxes, crushing unions, and
wait, is a failed strategy. It`s a stale rhetorical point.

SHARPTON: I have to ask you one question.

PATRICK: Yes?

SHARPTON: Have you ruled out running for president in 2016?

PATRICK: You had to ask, didn`t you?

SHARPTON: I had to ask.

PATRICK: I will finish my term in early January next year, Al, and I
promised my wife that we don`t have term limits here, that that would be
the end of my time in public life, at least for a little while.

SHARPTON: A little while, so next year, 2015, so 2016 could be a little
while.

PATRICK: It maybe not a little while, not enough of a little while. Maybe
too little a while.

SHARPTON: What about if someone asked you to join their ticket?

PATRICK: No, listen, thank you for the question and, you know, I`m
embarrassed by it because I`m still a kid from the south side of Chicago
and people ask me questions like that, it still kind of blows my mind, so
thank you.

SHARPTON: Well, I talked to another guy that had been to the south side of
Chicago about this time in 2008, so maybe I`m in the habit of trying to
look down the road a little bit.

Thank you, Governor.

PATRICK: Thank you, Al.

SHARPTON: Governor Deval Patrick, thanks for your time this evening.

Coming up, cheer up, congressman Ryan, we figured out where your bizarre
theories on poverty come from, and we`re getting the "Politics Nation" time
machine ready.

Plus, you`ve got to love this one. The party that`s perfected the art of a
good conspiracy theory is now worried about them.

And first dog sunny Obama is making a big splash tonight. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Is there a doctor in the house? I think the GOP is allergic to
telling the truth about the affordable care act. And who`s been suffering
the most, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Obamacare as we know is the crown
jewel of socialism.

The number one job killer in the United States, do you know what it is?
Obamacare.

It will be very unpleasant if the death panels go into effect.

The president of the United States effectively becomes a health care
dictator.

Let`s repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children,
kills senior citizens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And this health law fever hasn`t gone down, even though eight
million people have now signed up.

Just this week, Bachmann got into a heated debate over the popularity of
the health care law with DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN: So they want to change. That`s really what the result is. They
are not --

DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: This
now is why.

BACHMANN: They want it changed, and now just in the last day or so --
Debbie, you had your turn, now it`s mine. In the last two days --

SCHULTZ: But don`t want you to run out the clock.

BACHMAN: How this is hurting the bottom line of major businesses, from GE,
to UPS, to dollar general. This is hitting their earnings, because the
affordable care act --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new one. Now the affordable
care act is hurting businesses` bottom lines. Nice talking point, but
sadly it`s not true.

"The Washington Post" fact checker looked at Bachmann`s claim and wrote,
quote "given the employer mandate was delayed until 2015, it`s unclear what
additional cost these companies face now." And there was more. Quote
"when a company such as UnitedHealth group says that the law is affecting
its profit in part because it now must accept clients with preexisting
conditions, most Americans probably would not weep."

Congresswoman Bachmann has another misdiagnosis on her hands. Did she
think we`d ignore her phony prescription? Nice try, but here`s a dose of
reality. We got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": Folks, do not adjust your
television sets. We`ve taken a trip back in time to find the source of the
GOP`s backward policies. We went all the way back to the 1950s, but it
turns out we didn`t go far enough. So now, welcome to the 1870s. Just
like today, there were all kinds of curious theories about how to help the
poor. One reformer said, quote, "It is not bread the poor need, it is
soul. It is not soup, it is spirit." The poor don`t need food, they need
a soul? That was then. This is now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: The left is making a big mistake here.
What they are offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The
American people want more than that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s the same talking point, nearly 150 years later, and then
there`s this one, quote, "The best means of doing the poor good is found in
friendly intercourse and personal influence." You just need friends to get
out of poverty. It was a silly idea then, and it`s silly now. Paul Ryan
says the poor should be, quote, "Embracing the attributes of friendship,
accountability, and love. That`s how you fight poverty."

Wow. A real original thinker, that Paul Ryan. The GOP might think not
much has changed in the last century or so, but I`m here to say their
policies aren`t just bad, they are ancient history. It`s time to snap out
of it. And join the 21st century.

Joining me now, Arthur Delaney, reporter for "The Huffington Post." His
article today details how Paul Ryan`s policies can actually be traced back
to the 19th century. And also with us, James Peterson, professor at Lehigh
University. Thank you both for being here.

JAMES PETERSON, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: Thanks, Rev.

ARTHUR DELANEY, HUFFINGTON POST: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Arthur, great piece today.

DELANEY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Tell us how Congressman Ryan`s ideas to help the poor go back to
the 19th century.

DELANEY: Well, a model for Paul Ryan has always been the welfare reform of
1996 in which Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton teamed up to make our welfare
system for mothers with children a lot less generous, and at the time, a
big inspiration for Gingrich and Congressional Republicans was the charity
reformers of the late 19th century, the people who were talking about
indiscriminate soup being the problem that`s causing this phenomenon of
tramping. There was a tramp crisis at the time and they were saying we`ve
got to quit giving out all this soup. It`s making the tramps worse, and
instead we need to be their friends, give them love and friendship.

SHARPTON: Now, this is in the 1800s?

DELANEY: That`s right. You know, this is an idea that was popularized at
the time by Marvin Olasky, who wrote a book called "The Tragedy of American
Compassion" that is still popular both today. Now, to be fair to Paul
Ryan, I don`t think he will propose, we abolish every federal welfare
program that`s gone up since then and return us to a soup-based safety net,
but this is a source of inspiration for Republicans today.

SHARPTON: I mean, James, the today`s Republican Party sounds amazingly,
though, like some of these 19th century quotes that we`re hearing from
Arthur Delaney`s "Huff Post" piece today.

PETERSON: They do, Rev. I mean, they`ve taken nostalgia to an entirely
different extreme and you can see how this cuts across a swath of issues
that they are interested in. But Mr. Ryan and his colleagues, first of
all, they`ve got to know that poor people have friends, poor people have
souls, they go to church, poor people are accountable, and the reality is
that there are structural limitations to reducing unemployment in this
society. There aren`t enough jobs, so to moralize them and to overly
moralize them seems inappropriate. The reality is here, Rev, they should
take that moral compass argument and let`s apply to the one percent.

SHARPTON: Yes.

PETERSON: Let`s apply it to the wealthiest amongst us and see if there are
morals accuracy, if they`re giving back enough, see how they conduct their
lives in an everyday sense, is consistent with what they believe or should
be the morals of this country. To sort of blame poor folk seems here, not
only misdirected, but also inaccurate in terms of adjusting the issues of
structural poverty in our nation.

SHARPTON: And you know, Arthur, there`s not only soup or welfare, it`s
other issues. FDR, he signed the first minimum wage law way back in 1938.
Just listen to what Republicans are saying about it now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MATT BEVIN (R), KENTUCKY: This is a state-level concern and issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So does that mean, is the federal minimum wage then, is
that unconstitutional in your mind?

BEVIN: I don`t see anywhere that it has been constitutionally defined.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Where are you on the minimum wage?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I believe that minimum wage decisions need to be made by
the state. Instead of focusing on this sort of defeatist mentality where
we`ve got to up the minimum wage, why don`t we focus on creating better
paying jobs?

KAREN HANDEL, FORMER GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: The federal government
has absolutely no business being involved in mandating salary and wages in
the private sector, none whatsoever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So it`s shocking, Arthur, what you point out, but James, this is
a law that FDR signed in `38. What are they talking about?

PETERSON: Again, this is, you know, there`s a series of throwback
politics, Rev. It`s the minimum wage, it`s access to health care, it`s tax
policy, and remember, within the Republican Party, Rev, as you`ve
documented on this show, there is a sense that since Obama has emerged as
president, their constituents of the Republican Party who feel like America
is no longer America, and there has to be some kind of overarching
reclamation process. I mean, that to me just seems to be absurd. The
reality is, is that we do need a federal minimum wage because the federal
government to lead the way for the private sector. Part of the reason why
poverty is so pervasive right now is simply because the minimum wage is too
low.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Arthur, what about these poverty tours that
Ryan is going on, where he`s going around the country to see the poor and
what can be done about poverty, what is your feeling about that?

DELANEY: I think this is something that really does differentiate Paul
Ryan and makes it worth looking at his rhetoric all the more closely. This
is not something any other Republicans, to my knowledge, are doing right
now for the past year. Really ever since he had that photo op in the 2012
campaign where they were watching pots and pans and people said, well, are
those pots and pans even dirty, Paul Ryan? He`s embarked on a totally
different approach with no media.

It`s been other people telling us about these visits he`s done, going into
poor neighborhoods and looking at nongovernmental programs that help poor
people help themselves, and he`s working on some new proposal that he`ll
bring out this summer. We don`t know what it will be, but presumably
something that will help these kinds of groups, maybe a voucher that poor
people can take and get this kind of faith-based counseling to help them
get their lives back on track, but it`s not really --

SHARPTON: Or maybe we`ll have to read more 19th century reformers to find
out what he`s coming up with, because so far, it sounds very, very much
like stuff that we`ve heard 150 years ago. It`s not only this, you know,
James, when you look at the fact in 1973, Roe versus Wade happened, `65,
President Johnson signed the voting rights act, yet you have 11 states that
have made abortion illegal after 20 weeks. You have other states claiming
that they are doing things that are really violating and rolling back the
effects of the voting rights act. It`s almost like they are acting as if
what is established is not established, and what is ancient becomes new to
them.

PETERSON: It is, Rev, they believe that their political viability going
forward is going to be situated in this kind of retrograde looking
backwards kind of politics, and what they used to sort of underwrite a lot
of this policy changes is this whole sort of ideology with the doctrine of
states` rights, which also, by the way, is a throwback to sort of civil war
era federalism versus state sovereignty kinds of politics.

IMUS: Absolutely.

PETERSON: What we know about states` rights is unfortunately sometimes
when you allow states to make policy that the federal government should be
responsible for, oftentimes it`s easier for states to discriminate against
certain protected classes without the sort of oversight of the federal
government.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, that`s been the problem and the fight and the battle
states` rights against a strong federal government for a long time. Arthur
Delaney, James Peterson, I`m going to have to leave it there. Thank you
for your time tonight.

PETERSON: Thanks, Rev.

DELANEY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, are Republicans getting cold feet on Benghazi? Top
leaders worry the phony scandal could make them look ridiculous in this
election year.

Also, a rough homecoming for the number two republican in the house, Eric
Cantor.

(Booing)

Why are Republicans booing a fellow republican?

And we have a first for first dog Sunny Obama tonight. The Hollywood
agents are lining up. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s a time honored republican tradition, in bending conspiracy
theories. Karl Rove`s new one suggesting Hillary Clinton might have brain
damage is all coming out now because the GOP is scared of Hillary`s
potential presidential run. It`s also why the fake Benghazi scandal has
been everywhere. Why the GOP is putting together yet another committee to
investigate it, and now some Republicans think their strategy may actually
backfire. Eli Lake in The Daily Beast reports, the new investigation is
spooking some GOP leaders. With three congressmen who chaired committees
that looked into Benghazi, all against the new committee.

Congressman Mike Rogers was saying, this could be a rabbit hole and was
warning us that we should not let this investigation get into conspiracy
theories. I`ve got a news flash for you, Congressman, the conspiracy
theory started a long time ago, and good luck finding party leaders deep
down in that rabbit hole.

Joining me now are Goldie Taylor and Krystal Ball, thank you for being
here.

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

GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Krystal, this is exactly what the GOP scandal machine was hoping
for.

BALL: No, it`s not. And I do think that there was a concern among the top
leadership that they were becoming too focused on Benghazi and it was an
issue that only the base was interested in. Now, the flip side of that is
they are the reason that the base is so interested in Benghazi, because
they have been spinning these conspiracy theories since it happened, and
first this started really as an attempt to tarnish the president, right,
and to keep him from winning the election. I think part of the reason --

SHARPTON: And block Susan Rice.

BALL: Absolutely, absolutely, that was part and parcel, too, but I think
part of the reason why they are having so much trouble letting go of
Benghazi as an issue is, number one, they have nowhere else to go,
especially with health care now becoming more and more of a success. And
number two, they still can`t admit to themselves that this president won
re-election fair and square. So if he somehow cheated with Benghazi, he
lied about Benghazi, then their world can make sense again because he`s not
rightfully the president. He cheated and that`s the only way he could get
there.

SHARPTON: Goldie, you know Republicans have already done a ton of
investigations on Benghazi without finding anything, really. I mean, the
seven Congressional committees have investigated, there`s been 13
Congressional hearings, 25,000 pages of documents, and the Pentagon said
the investigation`s cost is in the millions of dollars. I mean, won`t one
more committee make this look like it`s even more of a waste?

TAYLOR: You know, the unfortunate part of all of that Reverend Sharpton is
that they did not take the time to ask the most salient, the most critical
questions, what must we do in terms of our security apparatus around the
world to make certain that our embassies and other facilities are safe for
our personnel? They didn`t ask the questions about that. They are not
asking the questions about what might have prevented Benghazi. They did
not ask the questions about what might have kept Ambassador Stevens and
three other Americans safe that night.

What they are asking is about talking points on a Sunday morning talk show,
and I think that that is, you know, the most unfortunate part about this,
but even still, Speaker Boehner did a little math and he said, if I just
talk about Benghazi a little bit longer, I can reset the narrative for 2014
and I can keep another democrat, namely Hillary Clinton, out of the White
House in 2016. And so they believe that this is the gift that keeps on
giving. Unfortunately, it is stinging them right in the butt.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, I mentioned to you and Goldie, Krystal,
Congressman Rogers and him being worried about conspiracy theory, and, you
know, it`s funny that he`s worried about that, considering all of the right
wing conspiracy theories about the president. They said he had a fake
birth certificate, that he didn`t write his memoir, that he faked going
skeet shooting, that he fakes job numbers, that he works with the Muslim
Brotherhood. Some claimed he was sworn in on the Koran, that he won`t say
the pledge of allegiance, and he`s coming for your guns and your gold. I
mean, what is he talking about he`s worried about them going into
conspiracy theories?

BALL: They are already there, and they`ve been there on Benghazi. I mean,
the ridiculous things that we`ve heard coming out of the right about this
grand conspiracy going all the way to the top. Most of the American public
overwhelming majority of the American public just finds on its face to be
totally ludicrous, but it is interesting that they are finally coming to a
place, where they`re saying, no, we don`t want to go forward with these
conspiracy theories, because when they are convenient for them politically,
they are perfectly happy to indulge in them.

When it was motivating the 2010 fervor and the wave that they saw, then
they were perfectly happy to let folks have their conspiracy theories. And
they would say, well, we never said, you know, that the president won`t say
the pledge of allegiance or that he wasn`t born here in America, but they
tacitly let these conversations go on and never stood up for basic facts
and decency in our civil discourse.

SHARPTON: But they are trying to have it both ways, Goldie, but the
President knows how to deal with them. Look at how he handles the
conspiracy theories. Watch this at the White House Correspondents` Dinner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: While we`re talking sports, just
last month a wonderful story, an American won the Boston marathon for the
first time in 30 years.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Which was inspiring and only fair since a Kenyan has been president for the
last six.

(LAUGHTER)

Let`s face it, FOX, you`ll miss me when I`m gone. It will be harder to
convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s the way to handle it, Goldie, just acknowledge it, but
make light of it and show how ridiculous it is, some of these things?

TAYLOR: Sure. I think there`s always a time and place for levity, and I
think that night was a perfect time to sort of bring it front and center,
but there`s a real danger to this kind of thing. This kind of language,
this kind of narrative that keeps swirling its way in the grassroots of the
GOP is also paralyzing what`s happening inside the beltway. It`s the
reason we don`t have comprehensive immigration reform. It`s the reason we
don`t have a nationalized energy policy that really works for businesses
and for the safety of Americans, you know, it`s the reason why, you know,
we can`t get meaningful legislation through to raise the minimum wage for
working class people in this country.

And so while these narratives can be funny and sometimes it will off
putting and sure, they live inside their rabbit hole every day, I think
they are digging new tunnels and building homes down there, but on the
other side of this, it`s incredibly dangerous to our republic that we can`t
move forward together in a meaningful way to raise the quality of life for
everyone.

SHARPTON: Yes. But isn`t it diminishing return for them, Krystal?

BALL: I think it already has been diminishing returns. I mean, it
obviously didn`t work in 2012. The President was re-elected. I think they
realize that they have to at some point steer the party back to at least a
reasonable place where we are all dealing with the same set of facts, or
else they are never going to win a national election again.

SHARPTON: Well, Goldie Taylor, Krystal Ball, thank you both for being here
tonight.

BALL: Thanks for having us, Reverend.

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

Coming up, Eric Cantor helped build the Tea Party monster, and now it`s
back coming to haunt him in a big way.

And first dog Sunny Obama is making a big splash, literally. We`ll tell
you some exciting news about the first dog, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We have a rising star emerging in Washington, D.C. First dog
Sunny Obama makes her big debut in a brand new PSA to help promote First
Lady Michelle Obama`s drink up campaign, encouraging people to drink more
water.

She brings a whole new meaning to Portuguese water dog. Sunny has had
quite a busy first year in the White House. She`s been having a great time
playing with her new pal Bo, but she got a little too excited for her first
Christmas at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(INAUDIBLE)

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: You, OK, sweetie?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Don`t worry, though, everyone was OK. Sunny and Bo even got
dressed up for the big state dinner earlier this year, and they stole the
show at the White House Easter egg roll. Looks to me like Sunny is having
a great first year at the White House, and it`s going to be a great summer,
too. Just be sure to drink up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Four years ago, the mad scientist in the GOP created the Tea
Party Frankenstein Monster, and Republicans like Eric Cantor fell all over
themselves talking about how much they loved the Tea Party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: The Tea Party`s been a tremendously
positive input, I think, in this election, they`ve been a tremendous force
and look forward to their continued energy as we get into some of the very,
very difficult challenges ahead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He boiled over with praise for the Tea Party. They are
tremendous force. Too bad that tremendous force is turning on him now.
Cantor is in a tough re-election fight with a Tea Party challenger named
Dave Bratt, and at a GOP convention this weekend, Cantor tried to call out
his opponent, and the Tea Party monster he helped create went right after
him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR: When I sit here and I listen to Mr. Bratt speak, I hear the
inaccuracies. My family is here --

(Booing)

-- When you throw stones -- my opponent served on an economic advisory
board to liberal Governor Tim Kaine.

(Booing)

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Here`s the point. Here`s the point --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Ouch. I`m pretty sure they are getting booed and echoed in your
own district by members of your own party is not a good sign if you`re
seeking re-election. But, of course, if Cantor or any Republicans run into
trouble with the Tea Party, they only have themselves to blame. I learned
a long time ago, you can play to the extremists, but the extremists will
remain extreme and come back to haunt you. An old activist once told me,
don`t invest in those that carry mess, not if you really have a message.
The Tea Party is going to remind some Republicans of that.

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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