PoliticsNation, Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
May 21, 2014
Guest: Brian Schweitzer; Chaka Fattah, Ryan Grim, Tara Dowdell, Ron
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. Don`t worry, Ed,
I`m still doing three hours of radio, you can come on my show any day you
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: You are the working machine,
SHARPTON: You come on any time you want. We love you, Ed. We love you.
SCHULTZ: I do, too. Thank you, Rev. Appreciate that.
SHARPTON: Thank you. Thank you. And thanks to you for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, the GOP runs right off the cliff. Today, establishment
Republicans are celebrating the demise of the tea party at the primary
victories last night. And on one level, the so-called establishment did
win. But headlines like this, "GOP establishment strikes back," really
only tell half of the story.
The GOP establishment won by becoming the tea party. And the far right
extremism is as strong as ever.
In the 10th Georgia congressional district, Republican Jody Hice got 33
percent of the vote. He`ll face a runoff vote, despite saying things like
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JODY HICE (R-CA), HOUSE CANDIDATE: A town that has a secular world view.
What do you get in secularism? You get higher divorce rates, you get
greater crime issues, you have problems with STDs, you`ve got folks on
drugs. You`ve got folks that don`t -- you`ve got crime. You have to lock
your doors at night when you go to bed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A secular world view increases STD and crime? That radical
rhetoric is still very much alive on the right.
Tootie Smith won the primary in Oregon`s 5th congressional. She helped
raise money for one campaign by raffling off a 9-millimeter glock handgun.
Bob Barr will be in a runoff in Georgia`s 11th district. Back in the `90s,
he led the charge to impeach President Clinton, and now he`s back at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB BARR (R), GEORGIA HOUSE CANDIDATE: Pulled out of a file in my office,
the house resolution, the house resolution that I introduced on November
5th of 1997 that was the very first official inquiry of impeachment filed
against Bill Clinton. I took that document, figuratively kind of dusted it
off, added a little bit of language to it, and darned if it doesn`t sound
pretty good with Barack Obama`s name in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, the big establishment win is really a win in name only. And
here`s where it really matters. The battle for the Senate.
Three Republicans who advanced last night, Mitch McConnell, Tom Cotton, and
James Risch, all oppose the minimum wage, all oppose background checks for
gun sales, all oppose abortion and federal funding for it, and all oppose
the affordable care act. These are popular policies, even majorities of
Republican voters are for the minimum wage and background checks.
There`s your establishment GOP, ladies and gentlemen. So how can Democrats
win? How can they politically attack, and how can they save the Senate to
protect the Obama agenda?
Joining me now is former democratic governor from Montana, Brian Schweitzer
and national journal`s Michelle Cottle.
Thank you both for joining me.
MICHELLE COTTLE, WASHINGTON REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST, NEWSWEEK: Thanks,
BRIAN SCHWEITZER, FORMER MONTANA GOVERNOR: Good to be back, Rev.
SHARPTON: Governor, let me go to you first. What do you think, has the
GOP establishment sold its soul to become more and more like the tea party?
SCHWEITZER: Well, the GOP establishment created the tea party. They
astroturfed (ph) this. Koch money came out and they focused on some of
these people who are Republicans, but to the right of the Republican
mainstream. And so. they got all these people organized and they got them
boiling tea and they got them talking about being against the government
and spending and they got stronger and stronger and stronger. And now they
are just a bunch of crack pots, but that is now the center of the
SHARPTON: You know, Michelle, I mention Tom Cotton, a Republican, right?
He won the Senate nomination in Arkansas. Now, earlier this month he said
the president is anti-constitutional. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TOM COTTON (R-AK), ARKANSAS SENATE CANDIDATE: I want to discuss the
anti-constitutional excesses of the Obama administration. The prefix
"anti" though, means opposed to or hostile to. And this term, I think,
better captures our president, the spirit of his administration, and, in
fact, the spirit of modern liberalism.
Barack Obama`s anti-constitutional attitude bench come as little surprise,
since he denies the moral foundation of our governing charter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, is this the establishment winning last night?
COTTLE: Well, look, I think anti is also the central prefix we need to
deal with here in terms of who`s winning these races. I mean, Anti-
Obamaism is still driving the party. And if you talk to tea party leaders,
they are pretty up front about the fact that, well, of course, they would
want their chosen ideal candidates to win, but they are actually pretty
happy with where they are taking the party in general. You know, they talk
about how the party is now discussing the budget and the deficit much more
on their terms than it was before. So they see a silver lining in this,
even if they don`t always get their particular candidate.
SHARPTON: Now, Governor, let me go back to about the Democrats winning.
Focus on the Democrats and what they can politically fight. What is the
strategy? There`s widespread support for key parts of the progressive
agenda. Sixty nine percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage,
65 percent support extending long-term unemployment benefits, 68 percent
support a path to citizenship, 85 percent support stricter background
checks on gun sales. Can Republicans really pivot back to the center after
running so far right in these primary elections, Governor?
SCHWEITZER: Well, the vast majority of America, the middle part of
America, believes in public education, believes in these safety nets for
people with disabilities. They believe that we ought to have a higher
minimum wage. They believe that the middle class needs to be stronger.
But the Republicans have had this message that Democrats are not good with
money and your taxes are going to go up.
Now, they didn`t complain when Reagan blew the top out of the budget and
raised taxes and George H. Bush raised taxes, George W. Bush blew the top
of the budget and they didn`t complain about any of that. Now they are
complaining that Democrats aren`t good with money and they are trying to
make that stick. I think the Democrats who say, look, we are for efficient
government, we are going to have the size government that you need for your
safety net, those are the ones that are going to be successful. Do not
allow the Republicans to say they are good with money and we are not.
SHARPTON: That`s how you run against Republicans, I mean, because you`ve
run against them in your state of Montana. You`ve gotten a lot of votes.
How do you run against them in 2014?
SCHWEITZER: Same way. You are a Democrat who`s responsible, that believes
in these safety nets, that believes in good government and these
Republicans are extremists. They are extremists on social issues, they are
extremists on the safety net for the vast majority of America, and you just
have to tell that story.
SHARPTON: Michelle, you know, the battle for the Senate is the big story
line. I mean, Republicans only need six seats to take control of the
Senate. So far they`ve avoided nominating disastrous Senate candidates
like they had in 2010. I mean, people like Christine O`Donnell in Delaware
who infamously had to tell everyone that she isn`t a witch. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINE O`DONNELL (R), FORMER DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE: I`m not a
witch. I`m nothing you`ve heard. I`m you. None of us are perfect. I`ll
go to Washington and do what you`d do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, I mean, we don`t see any disasters like that so far in the
lineup, but, I mean, with the spotlight, do you see any flubs coming,
COTTLE: Well, I think the party`s worked really hard to weed out the
people they think are most likely to have a moment like that. But you
still have a lot of candidates who say a lot of things that could get them
in trouble. You know, in the Georgia primary for Senate, there are two
guys running. And Jack Kingston has said things like he thinks poor school
children should have to sweep floors so that they learn there`s no such
thing as a free lunch.
You know, you have very conservative candidates running, which plays
extremely well with the Republican base. But they are going to have to
kind of watch themselves as they go forward, because you`re not seeing
moderates. I mean, the establishment won, but we`re not talking about a
moderate establishment. We`re not talking about Mike Castle, who Christine
O`Donnell beat out in that primary. We`re talking about very conservative
candidates, who in a lot of these districts, they`ll be fine, but
especially for Senate when you`re running statewide, you have to watch
SHARPTON: All right. I saw you nodding your head, governor.
SCHWEITZER: Well, you know, the Georgia primary has nine more weeks for
these two cats to say some crazy things. Michelle Nunn is just going to
step back and watch this cockfight go on. And they are going to fight back
and forth, go further and further to the right. And they are going to say
some pretty whacky things down there. And a lot of the rest of these
Republican candidates, they`ll say some whacky things if people ask them
some questions. They try and hide what their real agenda is, but if you
keep pushing them and you keep asking enough questions, they`ll run out of
answers and they`ll start saying the stuff they really believe.
SHARPTON: Now, you know, Michelle, the governor`s point I want to go back
to a minute, and that is there is a progressive agenda here for the
Democrats to run on, including the affordable health care act and the fact
that if they get these six seats, the Republicans, they can, in effect,
stop everything this president would want to do, confirmation from judges,
to cabinet positions if they become available. If a Supreme Court seat
becomes available, they could stop him from confirming it.
Couldn`t the Democrats, Michelle, run on the progressive agenda and on what
happens if they lose the Senate?
COTTLE: Well, you know, you`ve seen Republicans, like Mitch McConnell in
Kentucky, trying to nationalize their races, saying that their opponents
are just an extension of Obama. But there is an argument to be made that
the Democrats who are trying to run away from Obama are missing an
opportunity here, because Americans tend to like divided government a lot
of the time. They are not going to like the image of a Republican Senate
and a Republican house and then, you know, the spectrum of Republican in
2016 kind of controlling everything and undoing the progressive agenda,
which as you point out, is extremely popular in many cases, you know, from
minimum wage through the health care act.
SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. Former governor Brian
Schweitzer and Michelle Cottle, thank you both for your time tonight.
COTTLE: Thanks, Rev.
SCHWEITZER: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Ahead, Paul Ryan recently talked about a problem with work in
our inner cities. Now house Republicans are trying to take food away from
Plus, a story you have to see to believe. You`ll hear from a former person
who once went undercover as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
And talk show host Pat Sajak is having a lot of trouble solving the global
warming puzzle. We`ll take a few spins at his wheel of distortion tonight.
SHARPTON: Now it`s time for the "Politics Nation" question of the day. We
want to know, do you think the taxpayer is on the decline? The answers
are, no, some candidates lost but others are still strong. Maybe, but it`s
pulled other Republicans further to the right. Or, yes, the tea party is
weakening or, it`s too early to say. Check back after 2016.
Well, you can vote on facebook or on twitter. So vote now. We`ll have
your answers later in the show.
SHARPTON: We live in the richest country in the world, and that`s what
makes this statistic all the more shameful. Nearly 16 million children are
food insecure, 16 million. And now house Republicans are deciding which
ones should eat and which ones shouldn`t is because of a new bill they are
pushing. It specifies that only rural areas in Appalachia can benefit from
a summer lunch program helping children from low-income households.
Urban areas are excluded. Now this only affects this particular lunch
program. But are we supposed to tell poor kids that a lifeline can be
denied because of their zip code? Kids like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Department of public health and human services says
one in five kids across the state are hungry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: For another year, cities like Rio Rancho in
Albuquerque are offering summer meal programs to kids, getting kids the
proper nutrition they need to grow, nutrition that otherwise --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They might not be eating at all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s a little bit of money issues now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Students like Laura say the meals are really
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It cuts expenses on my family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Are we supposed to tell that little girl she should go hungry
simply because she lives in an urban area? That`s wrong. And here`s
what`s worse. The person whose name is on this bill is this man, Alabama
congressman Robert Aderholt. Would you believe it, his district is 65
percent rural and it just happens to include the Appalachian counties that
benefit under this new program.
We reached out for an explanation, but so far his office has declined to
comment. My guess is that this is pretty hard to justify, even by GOP
Joining me now is Congressman Chaka Fattah, Democrat from Pennsylvania.
Thank you for coming on the show tonight.
REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, Reverend, as always, you`re
doing the work of angels.
Now that you pointed this out, they are running in full retreat. I`m sure
you`re going to see them correct what they, obviously, you know, want us to
believe is a slip-up, but they have been targeting so many efforts, you
know, the first lady`s effort in terms of trying to get nutritious foods to
kids. They want schools to be able to opt out. They`ve been trying to cut
a number of these programs. So, you know, this seems to be a situation
where, you know, the shoe is kind of fitting in the sense that they haven`t
shown the same level of empathy for children in our cities like New York or
Atlanta or Chicago or Philadelphia as they want to show in terms of rural
The summer lunch program is critically important, because our young people,
some will admit to you and the experts will tell you for certain, that the
best food they get each day is when they are in school. When they are out
of school in the summer, these programs run by churches and faith
organizations and city governments and youth camps are very important.
SHARPTON: Now, can you imagine they are trying to justify how they cut out
urban areas, how they cut out certain people by zip code? I mean, how
could they possibly justify this?
FATTAH: Well, it can`t be justified, and that`s why it has to be
corrected. And that`s the usefulness of using the public airways to make
sure that we point this out so that the majority party will correct it, if
not, it will be corrected in the Senate. The president would not sign a
bill that would cut this program for urban areas and just provide it for
We`re very concerned about kids in rural Appalachia. But we`re also
concerned about kids in our large or urban cities also.
SHARPTON: Absolutely. And we`re not advocating they choose one or the
other, we`re saying all of the kids need to benefit. And, you know, the
right has repeatedly blasted the need for summer lunch programs. Listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: These free summer lunches come with a side
of controversy. Critics who wonder if this come one come all invitation
won`t have taxpayers feeding every child, whether they are needy or not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president really has transformed America from a
dynamic, prosperous growth economy into a bureaucracy that redistributes
wealth. Women, infants, and children, the WIC program, eight million
there. The milk and summer food program goes to two million people.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: There are videos that have been
produced to show you how to healthfully dine and how to dumpster dive and
survive until school kicks back up in August. Can you imagine the benefit
we would provide people?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, Congressman, isn`t this really part of the larger
demonization of the poor? I mean, look at the Ryan budget, 69 percent of
the cuts targets from low-income programs, yet 219 House Republicans voted
for it this year, Congressman.
FATTAH: Well, it`s part of a theory, right, that poor people have too
much, so let`s take something from them. And, you know, the wealthy have
too little, so let`s give them some more. It`s a reverse economics that
nobody can understand. But I can tell you that in a real judgment, those
who would take food from starving or hungry children, there`s a place
that`s probably reserved for them that none of us want to go.
SHARPTON: You know, but I think that the questions that we must all deal
with is, yes, there`s politics, yes, there`s Democrats and Republicans, but
there ought to be some things that go above partisan politics and taking
care of children, feeding children, should be one of those things. How do
you exclude children based on their zip code?
FATTAH: Well, I think you`re going to chalk this one up as a victory for
your show, because I think now, that the spotlight`s on it, you`re going to
see them running for retreat to get this fixed.
SHARPTON: And you mentioned the first lady`s program. They don`t like
that either, about telling people, children particularly, to eat healthy.
What can be wrong with that?
FATTAH: Well, we had a major reduction in obesity among children in my
hometown directly in response to this effort to get more nutritious food to
our children. We know that if only candy`s available, they are going to
eat candy. But if you provide fresh fruit, they`ll eat fresh fruit and
they`ll enjoy it.
So, you know, we need to provide more healthy choices and the federal
government can be an impetus for it and the first lady has done an
extraordinary job of getting the country to focus on trying to raise a
healthier generation of Americans.
SHARPTON: Well, Congressman, I thank you for being on tonight. I thank
you for what you said about what we`re doing with the show.
I grew up urban youth in the inner city and we had roaches. One thing I
found out about roaches, if you turn the light on, they run, and we try to
chase roach legislation here every night on "Politics Nation." Congressman
Chaka Fattah, thank you for your time.
FATTAH: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, the year`s biggest election fight. How will the
democrat try to take down Senator Mitch, one-term president, McConnell?
Also, our live interview with the African-American police officer who went
undercover as a member of the KKK. How did he do it?
But first, I`d like to buy a vowel from Mr. Pat Sajak. His ridiculous
comments on twitter put him in tonight`s got you.
SHARPTON: Yes, yes, it`s time for wheel of distortion. And our special
guest tonight is Pat Sajak. He`s the much-loved host of "Wheel of
Fortune," and here`s a fun fact. In his free time, he`s a climate change
denier. Who knew?
Yesterday he tweeted, quote "I now believe global warming alarmists are
unpatriotic racists, knowingly misleading for their own ends."
Oh, no, Pat, you lose a turn on this one. Climate change is very real.
Let me help them out with this puzzle.
A brand new report found, quote "climate change once considered an issue
for a distant future has moved firmly into the present."
You see, Pat, climate change is already having an impact. But maybe we
should explain this in a way you`re more particular with.
Let`s play the wheel. Our category tonight is phrase. I`ll go ahead and
take a spin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 800.
SHARPTON: Is there a "T," Pat? OK, OK, great. I`d like to buy a vowel.
An "A," please, Pat. I think -- I think, OK, I think I`m ready to solve
this puzzle. Pat --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, go ahead.
SHARPTON: OK, we got you! Pat, this one`s for you. Nice try, but there`s
no spinning this one, because we got you.
SHARPTON: One of the top Republicans in the country is in the political
fight of his life. I`m talking about Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.
The man who spent the last five years obsessed with attacking President
Obama. Remember his top political goal?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: Some have said it was indelicate of me
to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should
be to deny President Obama a second term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s all he cared about, fighting President Obama, refusing to
negotiate with him, filibustering his nominees, blocking his bills, and
then blaming the President when they didn`t pass. And last night after
beating a primary challenger, McConnell made it clear he wants his re-
election to be all about the President, too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: My opponent is in this race because Barack Obama and Harry Reid
want her to be in this race. Look, Barack Obama`s allies have one goal
this year, one goal, just one, to cling to their power. A vote for my
opponent is a vote for ObamaCare and the President who sold it to us on a
mountain of lies. Alison Lundergan Grimes is Barack Obama`s candidate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: McConnell is so preoccupied with smearing President Obama, he
barely mentioned his opponent, but Alison Lundergan Grimes kept the heat on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D-KY), SENATE CANDIDATE: Senator McConnell, this
race is between you and me. That`s the name that appears on the ballot.
As you said, as you said so many years ago, it is my number one priority to
make sure Mitch McConnell doesn`t see another term.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: How did McConnell`s number one priority work out? President
Obama`s in his second term and Mitch McConnell is fighting for his
Joining me now are Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for "The Huffington
Post" and democratic strategist Tara Dowdell. Thank you both for being
RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Thank you, Reverend.
TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ryan, let me go to you first. Senator McConnell is running
against President Obama. Is that enough of a strategy, and what can Grimes
do to attack that?
GRIM: You know, it might actually be enough strategy, just because
everyone in Kentucky is so deeply unpopular. People there are angry at
everyone across the political spectrum. Mitch McConnell`s approval rating
is absolutely in the tank. The only thing you could possibly compare it to
in Kentucky would be President Obama`s approval rating, so he doesn`t want
people to look at this kind of, you know, fresh faced new voice coming in
to politics. He wants people to say, look, this is between President
Obama and me, so Grimes` challenge is to flip that and say, no, as she
said, my name is the one that`s on the ballot. This is between me and
Mitch McConnell and if it is between her and Mitch McConnell, she stands a
very good chance because he`s so deeply disliked there.
SHARPTON: Tara, you`re a democratic strategist, how would you take him
down, he being McConnell?
DOWDELL: Well first, she needs to keep this race local. She cannot let
Mitch McConnell nationalize this race. It has to remain a local race about
Kentucky, because people in Kentucky are suffering. So one thing she needs
to do is attack into some of the angst that`s out there about the fact, and
this is happening all over the country, you see it with moral mandate.
People are making less and they are seeing that they are not able to have
what they used to be able to have, and that`s a source of angst across this
country that she needs to tap into. The other thing she needs to do is
realize that Mitch McConnell is a ruthless campaigner. People may not know
this about him across this country, but he will attack and he will attack
hard. She needs to respond quickly and effectively when he
mischaracterizes her positions and attacks her.
SHARPTON: Does she stay on pocketbook issues?
DOWDELL: Absolutely. Because if you look at a state like Kentucky where
Kentucky connect, which is the local version of the Affordable Care Act,
that`s actually pretty popular. There`s a democratic governor in Kentucky.
The house in Kentucky is actually controlled by the Democrats, the Senate
is controlled by the Republicans, so there is opportunity for Democrats,
but she has to focus on what people care about, and that is how their
wallet is and she needs to ask Mitch McConnell, what have you done for them
SHARPTON: Ryan, the race is turning ugly and expensive. A pro-McConnell
super PAC just launched a $575,000 ad by attacking Grimes. The race is
expected to cost $100 million, which would make it the most expensive
Senate race in history. The most expensive race in Kentucky, I mean, what
does that tell you?
GRIM: Right. And interestingly, they are fighting over a very small
number of voters, because you know, you`ve got your folks who are in both
camps. The McConnell campaign`s thinking here is that Grimes has a
ceiling, that somewhere around 45, 46, 47 percent that she just simply
can`t get over because there aren`t enough voters out there willing to vote
for a democrat. That`s the theory, so that means one of two things, either
Grimes has to do something to up her turnout, or persuade a few voters, or
Mitch McConnell has to make a big mistake. McConnell is, whatever you want
to say about him, extremely disciplined candidate, so if I`m somebody
waiting on Mitch McConnell to make a mistake, that`s a really difficult
position to be in.
SHARPTON: Yes. That`s not a good strategy. You know, Tara, there`s also
going to be some money, in fairness, that goes to Grimes, and she`s covered
her latest ad. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It seems no matter how many elections we have, nothing
gets better in Washington, it only gets worse. A lot of that is because of
the people at the top in both political parties. If we keep sending them
back, nothing will change. I approve this message because it`s time
Washington put the good of our people ahead of the bad that comes from
acting petty and small. We`ve had too much of that for too long.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Is that what she needs to do, Tara, make him, Washington
McConnell, top of Washington, run against him being ineffective in
Washington for the people of Kentucky?
DOWDELL: That`s one of the things she needs to do. She does need to do
more than that, but she does need to attack him on that because he wants to
talk about Washington, he`s part of Washington. He`s the Senate minority
leader and she needs to remind people, this is part of what you don`t like,
and he represents that and has represented it for 30 years. And so, yes,
she needs to do that, but at the same time she also has to hit back at him
hard. He is going to come hard for her, because remember, he said this
himself personally, he said, hit them early, hit them hard. That`s his
He`s a pressure politics kind of guy. He`s going to try to force her to
make a mistake by attacking her non-stop. She needs to be on the offensive
going right back at him.
SHARPTON: Ryan, there was a poll out that had the race at this point razor
thin with Grimes at 43 percent, McConnell at 42 percent. I mean, this is
real, real close, Ryan.
GRIM: Sure, and you can see why, you know, Grimes camp might be optimistic
there because the thinking would be, OK, these people have had decades to
get to know Mitch McConnell, so if they are coming into this poll and they
are not supporting him yet, what on earth could he possibly do between now
and Election Day to convince him? On the other hand, you know, that might
be a lot of low information voters who just said that they were unsure, so,
you know, the theory that she has a cap at 46 percent, 47 is not blown up
by that poll, and you know, being down at 42 or 43 percent is tough,
because she has to get much closer to 50 percent, if not right over it.
SHARPTON: You know, the Senator McConnell has been just vociferous in his
attacks on the President, and personal, as well. I mean, watch this from
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: The President seems to have forgotten that he was elected to
lead all Americans, that he was elected to be President of the United
States, not the occupy Wall Street Fan Club, so if I were President Obama,
I`d keep the champagne on ice. This is not an economy to be proud of. And
after that he`ll have enough, bunch of time to play golf as he wants to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, there`s a lot of talk about the Senate being in
jeopardy, Republicans only need to pick up six seats. Give me an example,
Tara, of what would it mean if Mitch McConnell was the majority leader.
DOWDELL: Well, I think if Mitch McConnell becomes the majority leader, he
will be further emboldened. Look how difficult he`s been as the minority
leader. Imagine if he amasses that kind of power. He`s going to continue
to obstruct and he`s going to continue to fight the President. He`s been
fighting him for six years. What should make us think that`s going to
change? This will only embolden him more.
SHARPTON: Ryan Grim and Tara Dowdell, we thank you both for your time.
Coming up, the amazing true story of a former police officer who went
undercover as a member of the Ku Klux Klan. He`s telling his unbelievable
And one of the biggest champions of voter I.D. laws forgets his own I.D. at
the polls. Wait until you hear what he did next. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Now, a story about the KKK you have to see to believe. In the
1970s, Colorado Police Sergeant Ron Stallworth decided to go undercover and
infiltrate the group. He answered a newspaper ad by phone and was invited
to join them. There was just one small problem, he was black. Sergeant
Ron Stallworth was the first black detective in the history of the Colorado
Springs Police Department. And in 1978, he risked his life to go
undercover and become a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Over the next five months, Ron Stallworth kept in regular contact with the
KKK, even having phone conversations with grand wizard David Duke. While
he was primarily gathering intelligence, Stallworth was also able to stop
crimes. And now he`s sharing his incredible story in a new book with the
only title it could possibly have, "Black Klansman."
Joining me now is retired police Sergeant Ron Stallworth. Thank you for
being here tonight.
SERGEANT RON STALLWORTH (RET.), AUTHOR "BLACK KLANSMAN": Thank you,
Reverend. One correction, though, I was a detective, the first black
detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, but I
retired as a sergeant with the Utah Department of Public Safety.
SHARPTON: OK, thank you for that correction. Let`s put up your KKK card
again, and it says right there, member in good standing, and here`s your
KKK certificate, signed by the grand wizard himself, David Duke. So, Ron,
why did you decide to do something so risky?
STALLWORTH: Well, for one thing, it was my job. I was intelligence
detective, and part of my job was to stay on top of subversive groups that
might arise in the city, and the KKK has a long history of being known as a
domestic terrorist group. And they were emerging in the cities, so it was
SHARPTON: What did you do when the KKK wanted to meet you in person?
STALLWORTH: Well, obviously, I couldn`t meet them in person, as everyone
can tell, so I had to come up with an alternative plan, and that
alternative plan was to find someone to stand in my place, so I got a white
officer, a white detective, from the narcotics division to pose as me.
SHARPTON: That`s who --
STALLWORTH: For face-to-face meetings.
SHARPTON: That`s who we`re seeing in this picture here. You know, what
were your conversations like with the grand wizard, David Duke?
STALLWORTH: Believe it or not, I had a variety of conversations with him,
some of them were just basic hi, how are you, how`s the wife and kids?
When he wasn`t talking his Klan nonsense, David Duke was a very pleasant
individual to have a conversation with, and suddenly when he got off talk
about the Klan that he became the Mr. Hyde to his Dr. Jekyll persona. The
one interesting conversation we had was when he told me -- I asked him one
time, aren`t you ever afraid of some smart alecky "n" word person calling
you pretending to be white wanting to gain information on the Klan? He
said, no, I never worry about that because I can always tell when I`m
talking to one of them.
SHARPTON: He said he could always tell when he was talking to one of them
and he was talking to you then.
STALLWORTH: Yes. And I said, how can you tell? He said, by the way they
pronounce certain words in the English language. He said, they don`t talk
like educated white people like you and I. I said, I don`t understand,
give me an example. He said, for instance, take the letter or the word
"r." He said, educated white people pronounce English the way it was meant
to be, like you and I do. He said, with the letter "r," we say it the
proper way. We say "r." "r." But a -- one of them, the "n" word, they
will say "ra," "ra." He said, so from now on, when you talk to someone on
the phone that you don`t know who they are, talk to them for a little bit
and get them to say that particular word.
It`s a dead giveaway that they are one of them. So from that point on, I
said, Mr. Duke, I want to thank you for that. From now on when I talk to
someone on the phone and I`m not sure who they are, I`m going to make sure
I ask them to say that word in some way, shape, or form, and from then on
when I talk to David Duke, I would always find a way to incorporate that
word in my conversation, so I would say, Mr. Duke, how are you doing? How
are the wife and kids, are you coming to Colorado Springs, and he never
once figured out that he was talking to one of them.
SHARPTON: Wow. How did you feel about having to use the KKK and deal with
the offensive language when they talked about minorities?
STALLWORTH: It didn`t bother me at all. In fact, it was kind of comedic
in some occasions, because I was playing the role of a white supremacist,
white racist, and I would be talking on the phone, my sergeant who was
white would be sitting in his chair listening to my end of the
conversation, so I`m talking the language, the buzz words of hate, to these
guys on the phone. My sergeant would be listening to me and he would be
cracking up with laughter, turning red in the face, sometimes practically
falling out of his chair, and in some cases he would be choking up with
I would be laughing at my sergeant laughing at me pretending to be a white
racist. My sergeant, in some cases, would be running out of the office
laughing so hard, and I would be laughing at him while trying to maintain a
professional decorum and talking to these guys. It was quite funny.
Sometimes it would resemble a "Saturday Night Live" skit, but they never
SHARPTON: What kind of information did you learn while you were
STALLWORTH: Well, they talked about bombing -- we had two gay bars in
Colorado Springs at that time. They talked about bombing the two gay bars,
and it`s interesting to note that the majority of the Klansmen I was
dealing with were Fort Carson Army Base personnel, a couple of whom had
reconnaissance training, so they were familiar with explosives. They
talked about bombing the gay bars. They aligned themselves with an ultra
right wing survivalist group called The Posse Comitatus and the Posse
Comitatus wanted these army personnel to steal automatic weapons from Ft.
Carson, so that gained our interest.
SHARPTON: So these guys were no joke. These weren`t just some guys
running around in these silly kind of hood and uniforms. They were
STALLWORTH: They had the potential to cause a lot of heartache and pain
for us. I also identified two members of the Klan who were sign -- they
had top security clearance and were signed to Norad in North American
Aerospace Defense Command and they were manning the console that monitored
North American Air Defense Systems. I had a meeting with the deputy
commander of Norad, who made a phone call to the Pentagon after I showed
him my investigation book with the names, and he talked to somebody at the
Pentagon. I was told he was talking to a high ranking general, and as a
result of that phone call, these two personnel were removed from their top
SHARPTON: That`s scary. Well, I`m going to have to leave it there. I
could talk on and on and on. This is an amazing story. Ron Stallworth,
thank you for sharing this story. And again, the book is "Black Klansman,"
and you can order it yourself at blackklansman.com. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Up next, some poetic justice for a republican politician at the
polling booth. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, an ironic case of voting inconvenience out of
Arkansas. GOP Governor nominee Asa Hutchinson made one crucial slip-up
yesterday. This politician, who talked a big game about voter I.D., forgot
his own identification. A staffer had to retrieve the I.D. from
Hutchison`s office and bring it to him so he could finally vote.
Hutchison`s called the situation, quote, "A little bit of an inconvenience
but still believe the law is necessary." Now I get it. This is how
Republicans will solve voter I.D., they`ll just assign a staffer to
That way if you don`t have the right photo I.D., your staffer will take
care of it for you. Maybe this could double as the GOP`s jobs program,
too. Folks, let`s get real. These voter I.D. laws are on the way out all
over the country. Republicans like Hutchison may forget their I.D.s, but
we won`t forget how they`ve tried to suppress the vote. Finally tonight,
your take on the Tea Party movement, is it on the decline, 29 percent of
you said, yes. Forty one percent said, it`s pulled other Republicans
further right. Twenty percent said, no, and nine percent aren`t sure yet.
Saying check back after the 2016 election. Alive or dead or on life
support, the Tea Party surely has been a big negative for our politics
these last four years.
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
<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
MORE FROM POLITICSNATION
Add PoliticsNation headlines to your news reader: