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Politics Nation, Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

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POLITICS NATION
May 20, 2014

Guest: Angela Rye, Jan Schakowsky, Dana Milbank, Joe Madison, Bill Press


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed, and thanks to you
for tuning in. I`m live tonight from Washington, D.C.

Tonight`s lead, election night in America. It`s the biggest primary day of
2014. Americans are heading to the polls in six states. Control of the
Senate in key state houses are in play, setting up battles in November.
One of the biggest stories tonight, the struggle for the soul of the GOP.

In Kentucky, senator Mitch McConnell has scrambled to fend off tea party
challenger Matt Bevin. McConnell is leading in the polls, but only after
running hard to the right. Even hiring Rand Paul`s campaign manager.
Leading the charge and waving a rifle around onstage at this year`s
conference.

The similar story unfolding in Georgia where seven Republicans are clawing
for the Senate nomination including three who raised their hands at a
debate when asked if they`d impeach President Obama. It`s becoming clear.
The tea party hasn`t lost and it hasn`t gone away.

In many ways, the tea party has become the GOP. Speaker John Boehner
talked about it today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It`s not that big a
difference between what you all call the tea party and your average
conservative Republican. You know? We`re against Obamacare. We think
taxes are too high. We think the government`s too big. So I wouldn`t
continue to sing that same song.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: There`s not a big difference between the tea party and the GOP.
The far right agenda has become the GOP agenda. And that`s what Democratic
candidates will face in the fall.

Joining me now is NBC`s Kasie Hunt, who is live in Louisville, Kentucky.
And Angela Rye. Thanks to both for being here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Rev.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Kasie, this primary take on senator McConnell`s with Democratic
Alison Grimes waiting in the wings form.

KASIE HUNT, NBC REPORTER: This primary clue a couple of a lot of senator
McConnell`s money and attention over the course of the past few months. He
really learned the lesson of some of the other Republicans who have lost
races in previous years because they weren`t paying attention to tea party
candidates.

He tried very hard to keep Matt Bevin out of this race initially. When
that didn`t work, he went out of his way to tried to hire the campaign
manager of Rand Paul as you mentioned. They spent a lot of time on radio
ads attacking Matt Bevin and they spent a lot of money on the air. And
they were also very focused mostly on the primary, because other
Republicans made the mistake of not focusing on their primaries and
ultimately losing.

So at this point, he`s now left to turn to Allison Grimes, who in the fall,
polling is showing them neck and neck. Now, McConnell`s team will argue
that the polling that shows them very close is still reflecting some of
what`s been going on in the primary. And that Republicans who are
unwilling to support McConnell are showing up in some of those numbers for
Grimes. So we`ll see over the course of the next few months if that turns
out to be the case.

SHARPTON: But Angela, in Kentucky, the so-called establishment Republican,
senator McConnell, the strongest Republican in the Senate, he looks a lot
like the tea party candidate. He opposes minimum wage hike, background
checks on gun sales, same-sex marriage, and the Affordable Care Act. He
opposes all of that. His challenger Matt Bevin has all the same views.
So, is the tea party losing here or has it simply taken over?

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Well, in a lot of ways, again, per
speaker Boehner`s point, there is no real dissension anymore between the
two candidates. I think that you also have to imagine that most of these
folks will do whatever at all is possible for political expediency. They
will say that they don`t support Obamacare, but they`ll rename it something
else and support that, especially in Kentucky, we know that to be the case.

So I think that it`s just one of those things where he`ll do whatever is
necessary to get to this primary season. And of course, when it comes time
to the general and he has to veer a little bit more to the left to win some
left-leaning votes, he`s going to probably do that.

SHARPTON: But Kasie, isn`t the problem when he veers to the center maybe,
in November, he`s got to deal with all of the videotapes and the items that
he sent here to try and hold off Bevin, and the fact is, like for example,
his opposition to the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky is what is the health
care act in Kentucky has had many people sign up and are benefiting.
Wouldn`t that become a problem for him in the general election against
Grimes?

HUNT: Well, you`re right that in some ways, the health care law here in
Kentucky has been more of a success story than it`s been anywhere else.
I`m not sure that I would say McConnell`s going to head to the left any
time soon, but he certainly is going to -- we`ve already started to see him
broaden out his lens a little bit and start to talk about what he can bring
back to Kentucky as potentially the majority leader if he`s re-elected and
that`s the argument he`s making.

That`s a contrast to how you`ve seen him conducting himself as the minority
leader in the Senate over the course of the past year or so. He`s been
very careful to make sure not to step out of the box on conservative
issues. You saw it was a very tough vote. He ended up taking to lift the
debt ceiling that he took with other GOP leaders.

So, you know, I think that you are going to see that change a little bit.
I talked to Allison Grimes yesterday and she actually accused him of not
participating in an earmark project that benefited a dam project and that
was something that at the time was explained as something that he did
because he was worried about this tea party challenge.

SHARPTON: So, again, we`ll know if all these stories about the tea party`s
lost is in fact true. In fact, Angela, this morning on "the Daily
Rundown," Matt Bevin argued that Mitch McConnell isn`t really conservative
enough. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT BEVIN (R), KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: He is not a conservative. He
just pretend to be one every six years in order to try to trick his way
back into the U.S. Senate. That`s pretty much what it boils down to,
unfortunately. And the voters of Kentucky are becoming weary of this.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And Rand Paul, would
you call him a conservative?

BEVIN: I would say he`s a conservative, no question about it.

TODD: Then why do you think -- why do you believe he supported McConnell
over you?

BEVIN: Have you listened to his support for McConnell in recent days and
weeks and months? It`s a little less than convincing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So there`s the issue that I think we have to deal with, Angela.
Will Republicans like McConnell have to keep proving their tea party
credentials, even after tonight`s primaries? Could that hurt them in the
general election if they do?

RYE: It absolutely could. And, you know, we`ve seen this story before.
What we know about Mitch McConnell is that he is in leadership in the
Senate, and when you`re in the leadership in the Senate, regardless of the
demographics of your district, or for a Senate primary, you have to be
evaluated on your record, but two, you have to demonstrate that you can
compromise.

He, every time he gets close to a primary, says things like we want to make
Barack Obama a one-term president. That is the type of campaign that he
runs. So he`s going to the extreme right. I know that other contributor
mentioned that he`s not going to go too far to the left. But he is going
to do what`s politically expedient.

SHARPTON: What is the big thing we ought to be looking for tonight, Kasie?
What`s the big thing that we should look for tonight?

HUNT: I think at this point, we`re going to be looking for any surprises
on the margin here. I mean, We know what the polls show. They show Bevin
trailing with about 35 percent of the votes, depending on what you look at.
If he were to take a significantly higher chunk than that, or alternatively
come in much, much lower, I think that would be interesting and tell us
something about the race.

SHARPTON: All right. We`ll be watching. Kasie Hunt and Angela Rye, thank
you both for your time tonight.

And be sure to keep it tuned here to MSNBC for all night coverage of
today`s big primaries.

Coming up, Rush Limbaugh revised the death panel smear in a despicable way,
trying to score some chief political points off America`s veterans.

Plus, new Republican attempts to gut the first lady`s push to get our kids
eating healthy. What`s this really all about and why are they targeting
urban kids?

Also, conservatives hailed this right wing film maker as a hero and claimed
he was on President Obama`s enemies list. Well, today, a big moment in
court has them eating crow. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: President Obama is fed up with the party of no and called them
out in a speech last night. He said quote "the debate we`re having right
now is about what, Benghazi, Obamacare? And it becomes this endless loop.
It`s not serious. It`s not speaking to the real concerns that people
have."

And that brings us to tonight`s "Politics Nation" question. If the GOP
would work with President Obama on just one issue, what would you like it
to be? Jobs, debt reduction, immigration, voting rights, or something
else? Respond to our poll on our facebook page, or on twitter. So vote
now. We`ll get the "politics nation" response later in the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s a problem that`s got President Obama madder than hell.
Allegations of misconduct at an Arizona Veterans Affairs hospital. A
former clinic director says 40 veterans died while they were waiting for
care at the Phoenix center.

The VA is investigating, and today the White House announced it was sending
a top aide, deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors to investigate as well. It`s
a serious problem and the White House is working to fix it. But some on
the right, it`s just an excuse to attack the Affordable Care Act, an
opportunity to revive the debunked myth that the health care law includes
death panels.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sarah Palin and a couple other people on the right said
there will be death panels, there will people deciding who gets what
treatment and when and that`s going to put long waiting lines on certain
types of treatment. The VA isn`t proving that right now and nothing is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Socialized Medicine never falls of its own weight
because you put people on lists. They die waiting to get the treatment and
care.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We`ve still got to find a way to
convince people that this Obamacare can`t work and that everybody`s headed
for similar potential as these debts in the VA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: There`s no connection between misconduct and the VA and the
Affordable Care Act. But the right wingers still can`t accept that the
health care law is working. They refuse to acknowledge that eight million
people signed up through the state exchanges. And millions more got
covered through Medicaid. Instead of facing this reality, they`re grasping
at straws. Desperately trying to link this tragic story to the president`s
health care law. And if that`s not sick, I don`t know what is.

Joining me now, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and "the Washington Post" Dana
Milbank.

Thank you both being here.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you, Reverend Al.

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

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, trying to link the VA controversy to the health
care law. I mean, do they have anything but scare tactics left?

SCHAKOWSKY: No, they don`t. I think they are absolutely grasping at
straws, the very idea. You would think that the president in the
administration was sitting down and selecting people who simply weren`t
going to get health care at the Veterans Administration and this was part
of some grand scheme to choose people who live or die. It`s absolutely
ridiculous. And deserved to be completely discredited.

The president is mad as hell, and he`s done nothing except take it really
seriously, and we`re going to have an investigation. But this is a party
that is really desperate for a scandal, and they`re going to try out
anything they can to make sure that they blow up whatever they can into
some sort of a scandal. Yes, we need to get it right. And everyone agrees
with that.

SHARPTON: You know, Dana, it seems like every day, there`s more signs of
the law working. In a new survey of 42 Arkansas hospitals found out that
laws -- since the law has been in effect, emergency room visits are down
two percent, down two percent. And a number of uninsured emergency room
patients is down 24 percent. I mean, is that why they`re talking death
panels again? Anything to distract people from the good news?

MILBANK: Well, I think that is what`s going on here. And I was writing
today about Mike Pence, a former colleague of Congresswoman Schakowsky`s,
very conservative fellow. And he acknowledged yesterday that things are
looking better now. He still thinks they won`t in the long run, but in the
meantime, he`s taking the Medicaid money that the Obamacare has offered and
using it under a program that he wants to have in his own state.

So you see even the law`s harshest critics now, some of them saying OK,
maybe we can work within this law after all. Maybe we can get the kind of
reforms done that we wanted to do in the first place. So I think the good
numbers that we`ve seen in terms of the statistics and the fact that some
of these most stubborn critics are reluctantly acknowledging that the thing
has some beneficial components are coming together right now.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, let me pick up on that, because 24 states still
haven`t expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but we`re starting
to see cracks like your former colleague Indiana governor Mike Pence.
They`re trying to find a way to work a compromise.

Dana has written that the Indiana governor is taking the Obamacare money
and running with it. He wants -- this is Dana`s writing, Congresswoman.
He wants to help expand health care excess in his state, and quote "as more
conservatives realize that the law they hate allows them to implement
policies they like, they may have a problem recalling what all the fuss was
about."

Congresswoman, if Governor Pence`s plan works, will other states follow his
lead in your opinion?

SCHAKOWSKY: I do think so. And Dana, what you pointed out is absolutely
correct, that the law is flexible. That waivers are not uncommon, allowing
states to adapt to their own state plan. And that`s what Obamacare allows
for. That`s what the administration has allowed for. And I am hoping that
millions of more people will be able to get the benefit of an expanded
Medicaid program when other governors look at what even Mike Pence, who
calls himself a solutions conservative now, meaning he`s willing to work
with Obamacare with the administration. I`m hoping that they will take
that as a lead and expand Medicaid.

SHARPTON: Dana, you know, a right wing watchdog group is out touting
documents that show just one person enrolled in the health care Web site on
his first day. And North Carolina Congresswoman Renee Ellmers tweeted a
link to that story, seeming to taunt that there was just one enrollment on
day one. I mean, eight million people eventually signed up. Aren`t the
first day problems beside the point now, Dana?

MILBANK: I think what the assumption here seems to be that the American
people and voters are just so ignorant of what`s going on that they can be
persuaded by that sort of thing. Similar to what you led into this about
the problems in the Veterans Administration.

These go back well before the Obama administration even came into place.
They predate Obamacare. They predate Obama. You can say that this
administration hasn`t responded quickly enough, if you want, but you can
say that it has anything to do with Obamacare. It`s just factually
impossible.

But I think people are assuming that a low information voter out there is
just going to accept this little tidbit thrown out there and not bother to
check it out.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. Thank you, Congresswoman
Jan Schakowsky and Dana Milbank. Thank you both again for your time
tonight.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, why is this anti-Obama conspiracy theory riddled film
maker faced in jail tonight? Reveals what a GOP scandal mongering is.

And it used to be off-limits, but the right have made a habit of attacking
first lady Michelle Obama. Now they`re going after a healthy school lunch
program. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: For years, the right wing has ridiculed the first lady`s attempt
at fighting childhood obesity. They`ve mocked her let`s move campaign and
they`ve attacked her push for a healthier school lunch program.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Taking the United States to a new level,
Michelle Obama is suggesting what you should feed your children.

LIMBAUGH: This is Michelle, she knows better than anybody else about
healthy foods because she has a garden. Big whoop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would you want to raise your own kids when Michelle
Obama will do it for you? She`ll do it at gunpoint.

LIMBAUGH: She is a hypocrite. Leaders are supposed to be leaders. If
we`re supposed to go out and eat nothing, if we`re supposed to eat roots
and berries and tree bark, show us how. Dare I say this, it doesn`t look
like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Those attacks were ugly. But now, the right wing has taken
their war against the first lady`s healthy school lunch program to a new
level. A new house GOP bill would roll back school lunch rules, letting
some schools opt out of healthier school lunch and breakfast programs.

Forget the obesity epidemic in this country. Republicans want healthy
options gone, and it doesn`t end there. The house GOP is literally trying
to take food from the mouths of poor children. The bill specifies that
only rural areas can benefit from a summer program helping children from
low-income households. Urban areas are excluded. A shameful move by house
Republicans.

Do Republicans think urban kids don`t get hungry or urban kids somehow less
deserving than rural kids? Why would Republicans single them out? This is
just the latest assault from a party that`s become hostile to the poor,
against the minimum wage, against unemployment benefits, and now, against
giving poor kids a helping hand simply because they live in the wrong zip
code.

Joining me now are Richard Wolffe and Goldie Taylor. Thanks for coming on
the show.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC.COM EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Thanks, Reverend.

GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Goldie, denying urban kids access to summer lunch program, isn`t
this just one more example of how the right has become increasingly callous
to the poor?

TAYLOR: Well, you know, I think that`s exactly right. But unfortunately,
our nation`s food policy, you know, what`s housed in the five-year farm
bill, is broken. It doesn`t serve families. It doesn`t serve children.
It doesn`t even serve farmers appropriately. In terms of, you know, how
this farm bill is crafted, it`s all about where the lobbyists` money lie.
And so, that`s what they want to put on our children`s plate. So, that`s
the most unfortunate part about this. But, you know, in terms of educating
children about healthy eating, about, you know, increasing their quality of
life through increasing their own personal health, that ought to be, you
know, geographically blind. It shouldn`t matter where you live, it should
matter what kind of information you have access to and government ought to
be about filling in those gaps.

SHARPTON: Right. But, you know, Richard, this isn`t the first time the
House GOP -- those on the right have gone after programs for poor school
children. Listen to some on the right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Should students have to work for their school meals?
Send those comments over to us.

REP. JACK KINGSTON (R), GEORGIA: Why don`t you have the kids pay a dime,
pay nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a
free lunch. Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: When you get a new pet, what is the
first thing you do to try to bond with it? You want to be one to feed it.
Right? Well, same thing here.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Have one master janitor and
pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do
work. They would have cash. They`d have pride in the schools.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, this is outrageous stuff, Richard. But it`s really
being said.

WOLFFE: Yes. And it goes back a long way, Reverend. I mean, this is not
a new debate about the deserving poor against the undeserving poor.
Charles Dickens wrote novels about this kind of stuff. The idea that
people should work their way to get their kind of charity handout runs
counter to the experience of most of the 20th century. By the way, you
know, a lot of the most important nutritional steps this country has ever
made came out of wartime, came out of the needs of the military. And
what`s the military saying right now? Is that too much of the younger
generation is not fit to serve.

They are actually pushing alongside the first family for better nutrition
to go through public education, so that there are better people who can
serve this country. It actually could fit if Republicans expanded their
mindset a little bit. It could fit really patriotic goals for this
country, and instead, I don`t know what they`re pandering to. It`s not
like, you know, apart from the Congressman from Idaho, who wants French
fries out there being put into our kids` mouths every day?

SHARPTON: And Goldie, the GOP is still refusing to extend unemployment
benefits, despite a bipartisan bill in the Senate. At this point, nearly
2.8 million Americans have lost their jobless aid on top of what they`re
talking about doing to free school lunches and breakfast programs.

TAYLOR: And what they don`t understand is this runs absolutely contrary to
their message of job creation. When you get closed down unemployment
benefits, those are fewer dollars rolling into the economy. When I get my
unemployment check every week, I spend that money immediately. It`s so
little to begin with. I spend it on food, on gas, on a job search, on
rent, on the necessities of life. I`m putting that money immediately back
into the economy, thus fueling more jobs.

If I`m on unemployment, I`m more likely to be shopping at Wal-Mart, for
instance. And so that`s putting more money back into the market. And so I
don`t understand where the Republicans are coming from on this. You know,
the idea that an unemployment check is a hammock is a farce, given how
little that check is and it`s a benefit that I have paid for over time with
my hard work. And so it just really runs contrary to every so-called
republican value that I`ve heard in terms of job creation and in terms of
earned benefits. This is not a free ride. This is money that I have
earned by paying into an insurance system.

SHARPTON: Richard, it`s the free lunch, it`s the breakfast program, it`s
unemployment benefits. They`re still opposing also raising the minimum
wage. While the gap between CEOs and workers is astounding, I mean, an
average CEO makes 774 times as much as one of their minimum wage workers.

WOLFFE: You know, it`s going to be really interesting. They`re not going
to deal with anything to do with CEO pay, let`s face it. And Democrats
have just as much trouble dealing with it, too. But on the minimum wage
piece of it, if you are a Rick Santorum and you`re trying to reach out to
working folks who you think lean at least culturally republican, if you`re
Paul Ryan and you`re trying to say well, I`ve got a different view of how
to deal with poverty, come up with a better plan than the minimum wage.

Come up with something that polls better. Come up with something that the
states or even private employers are not already embracing. Tell us what
the alternative is, and then let`s have a debate about it but don`t just
leave it like the status quo and say anything to do with the minimum wage
is going to kill jobs. It`s not been experience in this country, it`s not
even the experience for a conservative government in the UK where they`ve
embraced it, too.

SHARPTON: But Goldie, let me push on that point before we have to go, that
Richard just made. Paul Ryan said maybe he`s not going to change the
policies, but let`s change the tone of the discussion of poverty in the
country. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Policymakers from all sides of the aisle
need to take a look at whether we are fighting poverty successfully or not,
and I think we can learn from these exchanges with one another and I think
what we`re trying to accomplish here is improving the tone of debate so
that more people are invited to this debate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, he didn`t promise policies, he said let`s change the tone
of the debate. Has the GOP delivered on tone, Goldie?

TAYLOR: They haven`t. But gun flapping doesn`t cause substantial policy
changes. Gun flapping doesn`t raise the quality of life in communities
across this country. And so I think that for him to believe that it`s only
tone, that it is only how they craft their messages, he`s dead wrong.
People going to the polls and they`re voting on substance. They`re voting
on whether or not these policies are actually working in their communities
to raise the quality of life for them and for their neighbors. And so I
think that Paul Ryan and his fellow Republicans ought to start going on
and listening tour and getting into a two-way conversation with everyday
real people living real lived lives and what they go through on a daily
basis, you know, to really understand that it`s not necessarily their
tone, although that`s bad, too. You know, it`s absolutely what`s
underneath their policies.

SHARPTON: And they can find some of those people to listen to right in
their own districts.

TAYLOR: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Whether they want to accept it or not. Richard Wolffe and
Goldie Taylor, thank you for your time this evening.

WOLFFE: Thanks, Reverend.

TAYLOR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, right wingers hailed this anti-Obama filmmaker as a
hero, but what are they saying now that he`s entered a guilty plea in
federal court?

Also, Vice President Joe Biden makes a big move for a young lady attending
her high school prom. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`ve heard a lot of hateful talk directed toward President
Obama. But nothing quite like the smear movie about the President that
came out in 2012.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Obama feels weirdly sympathetic to Muslim Jihadist
captured in Afghanistan or Iraq, wanting to close on Guantanamo, giving
them constitutional rights. We now know why.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That man behind that little bit of nastiness is Denish D`Souza,
he`s a longtime conservative writer, a star at CPAC and on FOX. The film
was a hit in conservative and cuckoo conspiracy circles making millions of
dollars. And D`Souza has been back in the headlines recently. In January,
he was arrested and indicted on campaign finance for a charges. He
allegedly made campaign contributions under the names of others. That`s a
serious legal issue. But to the right wing spin machine, it was payback
from the spiteful Obama regime, targeting D`Souza because of his hateful
film. They claim his arrest was just more evidence of the Obama
administration knocking off its enemies list.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: The enemies list in the administration seems
to be growing day by day. And the latest victim, Dinesh D`Souza.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Conservatives under attack. D`Souza of course indicted
for campaign finance reportedly targeting conservative Hollywood groups.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We are criminalizing political dissent in the United
States of America.

LIMBAUGH: They are, the justice system as run by Democrats, is out trying
to criminalize as many Republicans and conservatives as they can.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Criminalize conservatives. The goal here is to criminalize
potential crimes. But don`t take my word for it. You know whose word you
can take on this? Dinesh D`Souza, he pled guilty today. Here he is
leaving the courthouse this morning as a part of a plea deal. D`Souza pled
guilty to one count and prosecutors dropped to others. But he could still
face up to two years behind bars. I wonder what all those conservatives
who went to bat for him back then will say about him now. This is just one
more scandal conspiracy theory that`s gone up in smoke.

Joining me now are Joe Madison and Bill Press. Thank you both for being
here tonight.

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hi, Reverend Al.

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Joe, we`ve talked about this guy D`Souza. This is so funny.
You can`t make this stuff up. Everyone was defending the guy. Ted Cruz
called the indictment an abuse of power, and D`Souza himself even said back
in January, the indictment could be, quote, "payback" for his film. And
today plead guilty, what`s your take?

MADISON: Well, and I understand how he pled guilty. He pled guilty of all
the things you`ve said. He made the contribution through his mistress and
her husband. And by the way, he also remember was fired or had to resign
from a university because he went to give a speech at a Christian family
value conference, and introduced the mistress as his fiancee while he was
still married, and he said he didn`t realize that that was against
Christian values to have a fiancee -- to be engaged and have a fiancee
while still married, even though they had not, you know, been divorced.
So, this is what they did.

SHARPTON: But Bill, let me say this. Because I think what really caught
our eye was all of this conspiracy about this was the enemy`s list. And
that they were setting him up. This is what Joe alluded to. This is what
gets with. According to "The New York Times," last fall a recording was
made by the husband of a woman D`Souza was involved with romantically. The
woman was recorded saying D`Souza told her he might plead guilty, but at
first he would plead not guilty because that quote, "Gives him a window of
opportunity to get his story out there." And prosecutors obtained a copy
of this recording. Now, the reason is important. I`m not getting into
his, you know, personal rumors or whatever. Is that this smacks dead in
the face of a conspiracy by the Obama administration on enemies lists, if,
in fact, his alleged mistress` husband turned in this tape.

MADISON: Well, yes, in fact, they`re trying to play D`Souza as the victim.
I think the victim in this case is the husband of the mistress who`s not
only his wife was cheating on him, but D`Souza was getting him to break the
law by writing these checks. The point, though, is Reverend Al, and you
showed this, the Republicans, this is what they do. They try to paint
anybody that has done something wrong as a victim of the Obama
administration, and look who was in on it and they were all using the very
same words.

You know, Rush and Mark Levin and Laura Ingram and Sean Hannity, and
D`Souza, who was lying, he knew he was lying. He knew they were lying and
they were using this to try to bring Obama down. Just like they tried to
make that dingo rancher out in Nevada, Clive Bundy, you know, a victim as
well. This is what they do. They just lie.

SHARPTON: Now, Joe, I mentioned earlier in the show, last night President
Obama addressed the GOP scandal obsession. Watch this. He said, quote,
"The debate we`re having right now is about, what, Benghazi? Obamacare?
And it becomes this endless loop. It`s not serious. It`s not speaking to
the real concerns that people have. Isn`t that the real point? Everything
that we`re hearing is conspiracy, enemies` lists, Benghazi as he says,
ObamaCare, and not dealing with critical economics issues, jobs, things
that people really want to hear debate and some solutions about.

MADISON: And you`re absolutely 100 percent right, and they`re doing it,
even during an election year, a midterm election year when their own
constituents are impacted by all the issues you just brought up. I mean,
this is what is so absurd about what they`re doing, but what I don`t
understand is how their supporters, how their own constituents, the people
who are being asked to vote, can sit there and see grandma, who needs a
Medicare -- Medicaid, for example, goes to first children, secondly those
who are disabled, and third, elderly people. And then you have these
governors and senators and Congressmen who are doing all the things you
said and they go out and vote against their own interests.

SHARPTON: You know, Bill, yesterday former Vice President Dick Cheney, he
trotted out one of the right wing`s favorite talking points. Listen to
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I really feel as though Barack Obama
is ignoring the law in many cases. Much of what`s been done is does, in
fact, skate up to the edge of violating the constitution in terms of the
way he`s interpreted his executive power.

SHARPTON: Bill?

PRESS: First of all, I want to tell you again. I want to remind people,
you hear the same talking points from every republican spokesperson. Mitch
McConnell has said that word for word. So has Rush Limbaugh. So has Sean
Hannity. This is her latest mean that Obama is breaking the law. And I
keep asking them, what law exactly? And you know what they say? Well,
ObamaCare. Let`s remember, ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act is the law
of the land and the people who are ignoring the law are the governors who
won`t put Medicaid in their states or this House Republicans who tried to
repeal it 54 times.

This is just another big lie. But, you know, on the conspiracies, you`re
right. They went after ObamaCare. They were going to run on that issue.
That ran out of gas because it`s doing so well. So now they turned to
Benghazi. This is soon going to run out of gas. What`s next? The VA. I
bet it. That`s what they`re going to run on next.

SHARPTON: Well, they`re trying to make the VA. It`s conspiracy. It`s
fear mongering. And Joe, when they bring up as former Vice President
Cheney skirting the law, the Affordable Care Act as bill say is the law
upheld by the Supreme Court.

PRESS: Yes.

MADISON: Let me tell you. I`ll say it one more time. I said it in a
speech. And they said in this past weekend. They are priming the pump for
impeachment. That`s what they`re doing. And they don`t care whether or
not it`s the law. They want to ruin this man`s legacy. And that`s what
this is about. And they can get a twofer. Because they can go after his
legacy, and then turn around, and you`ll see these same points brought up
if Hillary Clinton decides to run. These folks are playing chess, and I
think what President Obama said is, we`ve got to stop playing checkers and
start understanding what`s happening here with their scheme.

SHARPTON: Well, good discussion. We can leave it there. Joe Madison,
Bill Press, thank you both for your time this evening.

PRESS: You got it, thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, I join silver and labor rights leaders today, pushing
Congress to act on a bill that can save 700,000 jobs and rebuild our
highways. Why it`s the moral thing to do. And shouldn`t be partisan. But
first, it`s prom season, prom season, prom season. And Vice President
Biden is somehow involved. It`s a great story. And Speaker Boehner is
also involved in this, too. You`ll want to see this one. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: A high school student in Connecticut had a dream celebrity date
for the prom. So who was he? Harry Stiles? No. Jaden Smith? No.
Justin Bieber? No. It was Vice President Joe Biden. Yes, 17-year-old
Talia Marcelli (ph) wrote a letter to Vice President Biden asking to be her
prom date.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most girls invite their celebrity crushes and I don`t
have a celebrity crush, but Joe Biden cracks me up so I thought he would be
a good person to ask.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She wrote the Vice President, quote, "Dearest Mr. Vice
President, man of many chuckles, I would like to formally invite you to my
senior prom. I could only tolerate a high school dance if I were to be
escorted by the most delightful man in all of America, Joe Biden. I fear
if you turn me down, I may have to invite Speaker John Boehner, and we
can`t have that now, can we?" Speaker Boehner never made it to the prom,
but unfortunately neither did the Vice President.

He declined saying he couldn`t make it. But the day of her prom, a corsage
showed up at Talia`s doorstep with a handwritten note from the Vice
President. And he tweeted from his official account, "I hope you will
accept this corsage and enjoy your prom as much as I did mine." He also
invited Talia to be his guest at the White House as soon as she was
available. Talia didn`t go to her prom, but it`s an event she`ll never
forget.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, paving the way for jobs, I joined civil rights
leaders, labor leaders and politicians and more than 1,000 public
transportation workers from 40 states, urging Congress to pass the bill.
The legislation would save 700,000 jobs. This is not political. This is
happening in red states and blue straits. Yet Republicans are gutting
money from transportation programs. I talked about that today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I marvel at how those in Washington can hang up Dr. King`s
picture and then turn around and discriminate against transit workers.
What do you think Dr. King stood for? He didn`t stand for monument on the
Potomac. He stood for those that drive the mass transit through
Washington, D.C. Through New York, through Detroit, through Atlanta. You
can`t honor him and dishonor the folks he gave his life for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The civil rights movement, the labor movement, the human rights
movement, it is all one thing. It`s about fairness. It`s about looking
out for those that make this country work. And who are more fundamental to
seniors, to the disabled, to children going to school, to workers every
day, than those that conduct our transit system and work in it. The need
for infrastructure development, for mass transit, we must do the right
thing and pass that bill. And I will stay with them because they are the
ones that keep us rolling.

Finally tonight, our account POLITICS NATION poll. We asked you if the GOP
would work with President Obama on just one issue, what would you like it
to be? The number one answer is jobs. Fifty four percent of you picked
that one. Twelve percent named debt reduction and another 13 percent named
immigration. And another 14 percent said voting rights. Eighteen percent
of "POLITICS NATION" said other. The minimum wage was a popular write-in
here as well.

Thanks for voting and you keep the conversation going on our Facebook page
and twitter. And thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. A special
election edition of "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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