Skip navigation

PoliticsNation, Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

POLITICS NATION
June 4, 2014

Guest: Jack Rice, Margie Omero, Jamaal Simmons

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: Howard Dean, great to have you with
us on "the Ed show." Thanks so much.

That`s "the ED Show." I`m Ed Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al
Sharpton starts right now.

Good evening, Rev.

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

Tonight`s lead, the GOP`s hypocrisy on sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

Today, the Taliban released video showing Bergdahl`s handover to American
special forces. After five years as a POW, we know this video`s being
closely examined by intelligence officials. We know there`s still a lot
that we don`t know about how Bergdahl was captured, and whether to search
for him put fellow soldiers at risk. That`s what the army`s investigating,
but today we also know there`s been a stunning reversal from many
Republicans on this exposing their political motives.

Back in February, Senator John McCain explained why he used to oppose
releasing Taliban leaders but came to support it to free Bergdahl.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, at that time the proposal was they
would release Taliban, someone really hard core, particularly five really
hard core Taliban leaders as a confidence building measure. Now this idea
is for an exchange of prisoners for our American fighting men. I would be
inclined to support such a thing, depending on a lot of the details.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Back then, senator McCain favored releasing five hard core
Taliban leaders because it meant securing an American`s freedom. But
here`s what he says now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: The problem that I have and many others have is what we paid for
that release, and that is releasing five of the most hardened, anti-
American killers, brutal killers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Suddenly, suddenly senator McCain is against trading hardened
Taliban leaders.

Now other Republicans are literally trying to erase their past statements.
On Saturday, GOP Congressman Mark Amadei tweeted, best news I`ve heard in a
long time, #standwithbowe. Fifteen hours later, that message was deleted.

GOP Senator Thad Cochran initially tweeted, "welcome home, sergeant Bowe
Bergdahl. A grateful America thanks you for your service." That message
has also been deleted.

This is political. It`s obvious and it`s taken over the right`s reaction.
We now know a Republican consultant has been helping to fan the flames by
arranging media interviews with his fellow soldiers who view Bergdahl as a
critical manner. We`ve seen this before, where GOP operatives arrange the
swift boarding of John Kerry.

The stakes today are too high to rush to judgment when we don`t know all
the facts, and GOP lawmakers should know better. They should know better
than to play politics with something like this.

Joining me now is MSNBC`s Goldie Taylor and salon.com`s Joan Walsh. Her
recent article is, "the right`s unhinged Bergdahl hypocrisy: the ultimate
way to savage Obama."

Thank you both for being on the show tonight.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Thanks, Rev.

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

SHARPTON: Joan, why are Republicans like John McCain reversing themselves
so blatantly? I mean, this is not even subtle, just blatantly on this.

WALSH: I don`t know, does senator McCain know Anderson Cooper is actually
on TV, like we could see that interview, it`s not hidden, it really
happened. I don`t know if Thad Cochran knows that twitter is public and
once something is out there, it can be seen by others.

SHARPTON: I watch Chris Hayes, but I get your point.

WALSH: True, me too. You know, I just think it is a terrible kind of
hypocrisy. And we all know, the three of us know, that there remain
questions about the circumstances of sergeant Bergdahl`s disappearance, his
capture, and the army and, you know, the President, everybody wants to get
to the bottom of that. But the point is, that we don`t leave soldiers
behind, and the point is, we were very likely going to have to free those
five men at some point very soon anyway. We got something for him. And
these people are second guessing the President on details they don`t even
know yet.

SHARPTON: What bothers me, Goldie, is if everything that some of the
critics are saying is true, are we saying that if this man, if this
officer, if this member of the military, was a deserter that, therefore, we
should have left him dead to die? Is that what we`re saying, without an
investigation, without evidence, without a hearing, we should have just
said looks funny to us, let him die, leave him alone. Is that what we are
coming to in this country?

TAYLOR: You know, Reverend Sharpton, I`ve said it once and I`ll say it
again, the very moment that we begin to issue summary judgment before we
get all of the facts and when we decide to leave a man or woman behind
because of what we believe he or she may or may not have done without a
sure, fact-finding mission. When we begin to do that, we put in jeopardy
our troop readiness, our troop cohesion, our troop morale. We put in
jeopardy the readiness of our fighting force, because when I signed up for
services, I did, whether you serve a day, a thousand days, or 10,000 days,
I`ve got to know that if I am wounded, if I find myself in harm`s way, that
my brethren are going to come and get me, whether I am dead or alive.

And so that is a core principle of our service men and women for a reason,
because that, indeed, helps us sort of push forward in terms of what we do
on the battlefield. On the other hand --

SHARPTON: You`ve been in the military. And you can`t be in that kind of
situation of saying, I hope nobody makes something up on me or somebody
makes an allegation, because they may not come get me. Can you imagine
what message we`re sending to our military?

And Joan, it`s not just McCain. Look at Senator Kelly Ayotte released a
statement about ongoing efforts to, quote, urge the department of defense
to do all it can to find sergeant Bowe Bergdahl and bring him home safely.
This was issued two weeks ago. Two weeks ago that was her statement. But
after Bergdahl was freed, Senator Ayotte, the same Senator Ayotte, went on
the attack. Quote "the administration`s decision to release these five
terrorist detainees endangers U.S. national security interests." I mean,
did Republicans think we wouldn`t notice the flip-flopping on this, Joan?

WALSH: Well, right. We want the defense department to do all it can to
get him home, but not what they did. And they are trying to have it both
ways. You know, this was becoming a cost on the right. I mean, look.
There were these rumors that he was a deserter when he first left. There
were horrible things said about him and people over on that other network
who suggested, as Goldie said, they really did suggest, hey, let the
Taliban, you know, do its business, this guy doesn`t deserve to come home.
That`s disgusting.

But after that, a lot of folks on the right were beating the drums to bring
him home. This has been a cause.

SHARPTON: Ayotte, McCain.

WALSH: So it`s just another excuse to bash this President. And I saw
people, you know, we`re playing the video of his release today and I saw
people on twitter and elsewhere today suggest we can look at that video and
we can say he was fine, he could have waited another 30 days for Congress
to approve this deal. How dare people look at a video and say they know
more than our military leaders about the condition of this young man. I
mean, it`s just crazy.

SHARPTON: Goldie, their questions tonight also about the claims that the
search for Bergdahl led to the deaths of fellow soldiers, which is another
thing that has been put out there. The New York times says the facts are
quote "far murkier than definitive." And "the Times" says, the military
logs about the fatal Taliban attacks quote "do not mention any link to
Bergdahl`s search operations."

So, isn`t this why the military`s investigating, if this murky and not
definitive, don`t we need an investigation rather than a rush to judgment
here, which clearly we`re hearing?

TAYLOR: You know, that`s what the uniformed code of military justice is
for. That`s what military tribunals are for. We need to go and bring this
young man home as we did and then let the facts fall where they may. You
know, if he found himself in harm`s way through some fault of his own or if
he had a mental crises or breakdown, you know, if there were other lives
lost and we`re not sure about that as a result of the search, then all of
that has to come into the equation, and we deal with him as he presents
himself. But the very notion that we should have left him five years or
more in Afghanistan without going back to get him, listen, if a man falls
off a ship or if he`s pushed off, we turn that ship around and we go back
and get him and then we go and find the facts. That`s how we work this
thing out.

What I have found most disconcerting today, is that I`ve been looking
across the web and I have found individuals, not just elected officials,
but grassroots Republicans, who two days ago, four days ago, 138 days ago,
were calling for this administration to do whatever possible, calling this
President a traitor because he would not bring Bergdahl home. And now that
he has, he`s a traitor to them all the same. We`ve even got congressman,
former congressman, Allen West calling for the impeachment of Barack Obama
because he did not so-called consult Congress.

SHARPTON: Let me give you one that really gets to me, Joan, and I know
we`re out of time, but I have to do this one, because it really, really,
this is surreal.

Oliver North, FOX News host Oliver North, who was at the center of the
armed for hostages Iran contra fare under president Ronald Reagan is
actually on the attack. Listen to this, Joan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OLIVER NORTH, FOX NEWS HOST: Was there a ransom paid? Did the government
of the United States, either directly or indirectly, finance a terrorist
organization that is a criminal enterprise?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, again, this is Oliver North, Oliver North, does it get
anymore absurd than that, Joan?

WALSH: No, it doesn`t get any more absurd than that. But it kind of
underscores they will say anything. They will wipe their own slate clean
in order to attack this President. And we can`t let them get away with it.

SHARPTON: And I think that all we`re saying is, let`s, one, be consistent,
and, two, let us not in something as serious and sensitive as this risk
somebody`s life without knowing the facts at least let`s know the facts
before we sentence someone to just perish.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: Goldie Taylor and Joan Walsh, thank you both for your time
tonight.

Coming up, Republicans are using the Bergdahl release to call for the
President`s impeachment. Surprised? Me neither. We look at what`s really
behind it.

Also, it was a scene straight out of a Hollywood movie. What are
intelligence officials looking at as they examine the Taliban video of
Bergdahl`s release?

Plus, the tea party`s newest darlings are creating big headaches for the
GOP.

And we`ll expose the right`s new conspiracy theory about this magazine
cover.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The debate over sergeant Bowe Bergdahl`s release has been
dominating our social media for days. Everyone seems to have an opinion on
this one. What about his homecoming?

Late this afternoon, we learned organizers in Bergdahl`s hometown of Haley,
Idaho, cancelled the bring back Bowe event due to public safety concerns.
We want to know what you think on this one. Does sergeant Bergdahl deserve
a hero`s welcome? Yes, no, or are you not sure, need more information?

The poll is live on our facebook page and on twitter, so vote now and be
sure to leave a comment. We`ll have your answers later in the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s a big week for the right. They cook up a new reason to
call for President Obama`s impeachment. They already want to impeach him
for everything from not being born here, to old bizarres. Now they`ve
added the return of sergeant Bowe Bergdahl as another excuse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The question becomes, does this become an impeachable
offense?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Andy McCarthy, a friend of this program, has got a new
book out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says the President should be impeached for this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s what he does say. He says it`s crimes and
misdemeanors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my view, it`s a very, very valid argument that
people are going to start talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether it`s impeachable or not, it`s not the way the
American people deserve to be treated by their President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Wanting to impeach the President because an American soldier was
brought home?

And GOP Senator Lindsey Graham says the President would face impeachment if
more prisoners are released from Guantanamo Bay.

Quote "it`s going to be impossible for them to flow prisoners out of Gitmo
now without a huge backlash. There will be people on our side calling for
his impeachment if he did that."

And if they are not throwing around the word "impeachment," they are
accusing the President of acting like a king.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: This is a pattern of behavior by this White
House. He has -- he believes somehow that he`s become a monarch or an
emperor that can basically ignore the law and do whatever he wants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, some Democrats have said they wish they`d been informed of
the deal earlier. It`s a legitimate issue, but saying the President`s
acting like a monarch or an emperor, it`s just silly. In fact, it may be
the silliest criticism of the President we`ve heard since Bergdahl was
released, or maybe not.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am very, very concerned about the mental stability
of this President at this point. It really seems to me like this President
is demonstrating behavior that is not only anti-American, but irrational
and erratic and perhaps not exactly what we might want to deem sane.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Erratic, irrational, insane? Seems like a pretty accurate
description of how the right wingers are responding to Bergdahl`s release.

Joining me now, Jonathan Capehart and Bill Press. Thank you both for being
here.

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

JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, they practically want to impeach the President for
waking up in the morning. Is this more of the same?

CAPEHART: Yes, this is more of the same. When I heard -- started hearing
the calls for impeachment, first from former Congressman Allen West of
Florida, I thought, haven`t I seen this movie before? Haven`t we been down
this road before, and so I started looking because yes, calls for
impeachment, I think you put up a graphic for all of the controversies and
faux controversies and scandals and non-scandals, where it seems to be the
Republican default position, call for impeachment and then worry about the
rest later, to the point where impeachment, which is a very serious thing
to do to a President, takes on no meaning at all. They called for
impeachment when it came out when former Congressman Seth Sax said that
someone from the Obama administration approached him about not running in
the Pennsylvania primary for Senate against then-senator -- oh, my God, I
forgot his name.

SHARPTON: Arlen Specter.

PRESS: That`s right, Arlen Spencer. Thank you very much, Bill. They
called for his impeachment then. It`s incredible.

SHARPTON: You know, Bill, some on the right are also accusing the right of
the President being un-American. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama does not have the will of the American
people. Americanism in his soul. You have a leader that doesn`t affiliate
with patriotism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, the President, he disdains our troops.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During the government shutdown, the President said he
wouldn`t negotiate during the shutdown. But yet, obviously, won`t
negotiate with you guys, but negotiated with the Taliban.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President may very well have committed a federal
crime by giving material assistance to a terrorist organization.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Giving material assistance to a terrorist organization. I mean,
this is way beyond the pale. How much are we going to take? Here`s a
President that restored this country, took bin Laden out, and I live in a
city where we lived under that terror, that has done everything to try and
uphold this country, and because you don`t like his politics, you`re going
to accuse him of materially aiding terrorists and we`re not going to
respond to that? I mean, Bill, this is way, way, way too far.

PRESS: Now look, this is politics at its worst. I don`t think we`ve ever
seen it so disgusting and despicable as this, but I think we have to keep
coming back to the big picture. The big picture is, and Jonathan is
absolutely right, the fact they are talking impeachment proves this is all
politics. The Obama hate machine at its worst.

But we come back to the big picture, yesterday, American soldier who had
been held by the Taliban for five years. Today, there`s an American
soldier who is a free man home on his way home to see his family. As the
President said, stop, period, end of story. What`s un-American about that?

The President didn`t break the law. The President is commander in chief.
The President did his job as commander in chief. I suggest all of these
people, starting with Lindsey Graham, should read article two of the
constitution of the United States.

SHARPTON: But what also is troubling, Jonathan, is it reminds me what they
did when he was running in the first place, this over, this pattern of
trying to make him seem different. Remember all of this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Our opponent is someone who sees
America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted
their own country?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A fist bump, a pound, a terrorist fist jab? The
gesture everyone seems to interpret differently.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wish this President would learn how to be an
American.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: See, this pattern, Jonathan, I mean, why do they keep returning
to this thing?

CAPEHART: Because it seems to work. It seems to work with the people who
support they care about, it seems to work with their audiences, who have
hated Barack Obama since he started running for President and most
definitely after he became President, and for whom, you know, anything that
he does is terrible. I think probably the most damning thing that`s out
there is the video of -- I think you showed it in your first segment, that
video of Senator John McCain on with Anderson Cooper back in February
saying he would support exactly what the President did back -- what he did
last week.

SHARPTON: Then he cut it out and says I won`t support it, almost using the
exact same words of what he won`t support that he said he would support.

But Bill, help me here, you wrote the book on this right wing machine and
what they are doing. Take me inside. What is this about? Is this about
party politics, is this about politics, is this about money, I mean, what
is really happening here?

PRESS: I think what`s really happening is, first of all, there`s a good
part of the right wing, I should say, not the American electorate, but this
right wing that cannot still accept the fact there`s a black man who`s
President of the United States. They cannot accept the fact that Barack
Obama, a democrat, is President. They know they can`t go after his
policies, because he`s not some extreme left winger and they decided from
the very beginning, the day he was sworn in, to go after him personally
with a whole series of the ugliest personal attacks we`ve seen against any
President of the United States since Abraham Lincoln, which I talk about in
my book, "the Obama hate machine."

And Reverend Al, this is their new IRS. This is their new Benghazi. And
after this is gone, there will be another reason. And they always come up
with Jonathan pointed out, the same arguments, he`s un-American and we`ve
got to impeach him. I mean, seriously, a high crime and misdemeanor to
bring an American prisoner home to his family?

SHARPTON: Again, this is one of many, there`s a litany now from all the
ones that you named and more. I have a news flash for them, the President
got up this morning, didn`t make his bed, impeachable offense.

Jonathan Capehart, Bill Press, thank you for your time.

PRESS: Tell Lindsey Graham.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, we break down every angle of the incredible Taliban
video showing the release of sergeant Bergdahl. Why is everyone talking
about the handshake? That`s next.

And later, think the tea party`s dead? Think again. Why Chris McDaniel in
Mississippi`s bizarre primary runoff is a major headache for the Republican
party.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Coming up, we go inside the extraordinary Taliban video showing
the release of Sergeant Bergdahl. The controversial handshake, the pat-
down, the planning. We break down every angle of this tape with a former
CIA agent. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: An extraordinary new video released by the Taliban is giving us
a front row seat to the dramatic rescue of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. His
release from his Taliban captors on this video, the Department of Defense
now say, there`s no reason to doubt the authenticity of this Taliban video.
The video shows several armed Taliban men holding a white flag, standing
around a white truck. Bergdahl sits inside blinking his eyes rapidly,
while talking to a Taliban member.

He`s wearing traditional Afghan clothes. Several other Taliban members,
armed with rocket-propelled grenades, are stationed in the hills. And
then, suddenly, helicopters appear on the horizon, one lands and the men
disembark and approach. The exchange is over in seconds, as the
participants hold up their hands to one another, the men, three from the
helicopter and two from the Taliban force, engage in quick handshakes, then
wave their farewells. A dramatic video and a window into an operation we
never see.

We`re going to break down the entire video now with Jack Rice. He`s a
former CIA officer and was embedded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jack, thanks
for being here tonight.

JACK RICE, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Great to be with you.

SHARPTON: First, what is your first impression of what are intelligence
officials looking at in this video?

RICE: I think like anybody else, it`s something extraordinary to watch.
You don`t see this very much. The one thing that I think you`re going to
see from the intelligence community is identity. They are looking for who
these guys are, and I think it should be very, very clear here that there
weren`t just Blackhawks in the sky, you think about drones that are up
there following these guys in, and certainly following these guys out. If
they are looking for them now, they are going to keep their eyes on them in
this region and wherever they go. That`s part of the benefit of having
this close encounter.

SHARPTON: Now, take us through the handshake, because some reports say the
Taliban saw the Americans as, in some way doing something rude.

RICE: Well, I understand, and I`ve heard this from all sides here, if this
were me and I were in Kandahar, if I were in Peshawar, if I were Riyadh, if
I were anywhere else in the Muslim world and I just met these people, that
would be rude. This was a military operation. This was about timing, this
was about exposure. Here`s a reality, the longer you`re on the ground in
this situation, the more likely exponentially that you and everybody else
on that plane will die, and they know it. This was about speed, get the
package, this guy, put him in this helicopter, and get off the ground as
fast as possible. That`s what their goal was. That`s what their intention
was.

SHARPTON: Now, I took note as they walk away from the Taliban with
Bergdahl, one of the men is walking backwards. What was he watching for?

RICE: He`s watching for anything. I mean, let`s remember, this is a
military operation. There`s everybody in this operation. Every Special
Forces guy, everybody is trained for this. They all have their lane.
Everybody is responsible for that lane. They are picking out certain
people that they are responsible for. What this man did, his job, was to
watch that lane, and that`s why he turns this way. Any military operation
that you have, everybody has a particular person, a particular group of
people, a particular lane of operation for themselves. This is what they
were trained to do and this is what they did very, very well.

SHARPTON: Now, as soon as they reached Bergdahl, you can see one of the
Americans pat him on the back. Then before they get on the helicopter,
they do a more thorough pat down. What struck you about this?

RICE: I wasn`t surprised at all. One of the things that they need to be
concerned about is whether or not he`s a suicide bomber. The idea that
they actually have a vest strapped to him, that they could actually
remotely target, they could actually remotely explode, or something that he
could do himself. So this is about not just getting the package home, it`s
about getting everybody else in the -- home, as well. You want to make
sure there`s nothing underneath those clothes and they were extremely
thorough, and they should have been. It was important.

SHARPTON: Now, you can see in the video Bergdahl is carrying what appears
to be a plastic bag. The Americans toss it aside without even looking into
it as they approached the helicopter. What can you tell us about that?

RICE: I think it establishes one thing, they don`t care. They don`t care
what`s in the bag. Their job was very specific, their job was to bring
this man home alive. Whatever`s in the bag is something that`s
inconsequential compared to that and anything that may actually provide
additional exposure to them, because you don`t know what`s in the bag, is
something that is unnecessary. And so, therefore, you drop it to the
ground, because it is unnecessary.

SHARPTON: Now, the Taliban also had a message for Bergdahl and the
Americans. At the end of the video, they wrote, don`t come back. What`s
your take on that?

RICE: When I saw that, I wasn`t shocked, because this entire video was
about one thing, this is about recruiting. This was about establishing
that the Taliban is as good, no, wait a second, the Taliban is better than
the U.S. They won. That is what this is about. It`s about pushing this
across the world now to establish that they beat the Americans and now they
are going to taunt them by saying, now, get the hell out of my country, and
that`s essentially what they did.

SHARPTON: What about the meeting point itself? They met near the home of
a prominent tribal leader in the area. Why there?

RICE: Well, I think in this case, this has been a hot region for a long
time, more than ten years. They fought back and forth about this, and it`s
close to an area where they control anyway, and at least control right now.
But they also want to establish that they can pick the region. This is
their country. I mean, I`m not suggesting they are correct. I`m saying
this is part of the psyche, this is a part of the approach, and to sort of
make this point very clear to the Americans for the tape. Remember, this
is about public consumption, is really the most important thing for these
fighters at this point.

SHARPTON: This is very, very interesting to watch. Something we never get
to see. Thank you so much, former CIA Officer Jack Rice. Thanks again for
your time tonight.

RICE: Thank you very much.

Still ahead, the GOP`s extremist Tea Party problem. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: For weeks we`ve been hearing this, the Tea Party is dead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL GIGOT, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Some signs of trouble for the Tea
Party, whose candidates took a beating in Tuesday`s primaries.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The republican establishment has fought back and they
have in every key election keep out of ground state, keep back Tea Party
challengers.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Republicans turned away from Tea Party favorites, and
embraced the party establishments.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They are turning away from the Tea Party, well, not exactly.
No, not exactly. After last night, this woman could be the next republican
senator from Iowa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`m Joni Ernst. I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa
farm, so when I get to Washington, I`ll know how to cut pork. Washington`s
full of big spenders. Let`s make them squeal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She ran away with the GOP primary in the Iowa Senate race, and
hog castration isn`t the only thing she`s offering. Ernst also backs
personhood, which would essentially ban abortion and some forms of birth
control. She also vowed to abolish the Department of Education. And, oh
yes, she insisted that Saddam Hussein actually possessed WMDs. And the Tea
Party is alive in Mississippi, where we`ve seen one of the strangest and
dirtiest campaigns of all time. It appears that neo-confederate ally Chris
McDaniel has forced a runoff against establishment candidate Thad Cochran
in the GOP Senate primary. McDaniel has made a name for himself by
criticizing, quote, "The welfare dependent citizens of New Orleans after
Hurricane Katrina." And the McDaniel madness comes as this scandal erupts
around him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Authorities say, they are sending out more subpoenas in
connection with Clayton Kelly, he`s the man accused of taking photos in a
local nursing home of Thad Cochran`s wife, who has dementia.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Three new suspect facing criminal charges in that Thad
Cochran`s photo scandal.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Police arrested prominent Attorney Mark Mayfield on
conspiracy charges Thursday. Mayfield is a high ranking member of the
Mississippi Tea Party and a real estate attorney. We found out today that
Mayfield has been an outspoken supporter of State Senator Chris McDaniel`s`
campaign against Thad Cochran.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: For all that talk in moderation, the GOP is far from moderate.
The Tea Party beast is alive and well, and that`s a big problem for the
GOP.

Joining me now, Margie Omero and Jamal Simmons. Thank you both for coming
on the show tonight.

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you, Rev.

MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good evening, Reverend.

SHARPTON: I thought the GOP was trying to moderate. What`s going on here,
Margie?

OMERO: Right. I mean, they turned away from the Tea Party by becoming the
Tea Party. Even John Boehner said, there`s no real difference between the
Republican Party and the Tea Party, and you could see in these candidates,
I mean, if you look at Joni Ernst, she is against the clean water act,
she`s against any federal minimum wage, not just raising it, she`s against
it altogether. She is against -- she`s in favor of a personhood amendment.
She is a climate change denier. I mean, if she`s the electable moderate,
I`d hate to see what their extremists look like.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, Jamaal, the GOP establishment is worried. I
mean, they are showing signs of real concern about these candidates. Real
clear politics writes, quote, "Some Iowa Republicans have fretted quietly
that Ernst may have positioned herself too far to the right." And "The
National Review" says, this about Chris McDaniel. Quote, "Republican
strategists worry that he is apt to stumble verbally the way candidates
such as Todd Akin did." Are Republicans setting themselves up for more
candidates like this one? Listen to this.

CHRISTINE O`DONNELL, FORMER SENATE CANDIDATE: I`m not a witch. I`m
nothing you`ve heard. I`m you. None of us are perfect, but none of us can
be happy with what we see all around us.

SHARPTON: I mean, are they setting themselves up for some more candidates
like that?

SIMMONS: Oh, those were good times. I think they are in danger of that.
If you look at Mississippi in particular, it looks like a democrat Travis
Childress, former congressman, may even end up having a shot against
McDaniel because the numbers there could end up being so narrow that
McDaniel scares away even some moderates who might be thinking about who
would normally vote for a republican.

SHARPTON: Right.

SIMMONS: If that happens, that would be an earthquake. We haven`t had a
democrat elected in the Senate in Mississippi since 1982, so this could be
a phenomenal thing. And if you look at Iowa, for as conservative as they
are trying to make it out to be, Senator Harkin, whose seat they are
running for, was really one of the most stand-up, staunch progressives in
the United States Senate. So I`m not sure the electorate in Iowa is as
conservative as Joni Ernst might think it is.

SHARPTON: You know, go back to that McDaniel`s race a minute, Margie. The
Mississippi race has been downright dirty, and the district attorney still
hasn`t cleared McDaniel`s campaign from being involved in the photographing
of Senator Cochran`s wife. That`s a real dirty race there.

OMERO: Yes, I mean, it`s a race that I think a lot of people want to look
at as the future of the Republican Party versus the Republican Party`s past
and I think there are many Republicans who see McDaniel`s as part of a new
future republican candidate, but he really looks like the party of the
past, of politics of the past, because he says -- he uses language like,
I`m offended and fearful and reject this new foreign culture that`s taking
over America. Language like that. I mean, that doesn`t really sound like
a modern candidate. That sounds very much an old fashioned candidate, and
if the Republican Party wants to rebrand, they are going to have to move
away from that kind of language.

SHARPTON: But here we are 50 years since freedom summer in Mississippi,
Jamaal, and we see this kind of candidate that is possibly, probably with a
runoff, going to be the republican candidate in Mississippi. Very, very
troubling.

SIMMONS: Oh, it`s very troubling. Listen to some of the language that
Margie just referred to and it all sounds eerily familiar to the types of
things we`re used to hearing from Mississippi from a few decades ago. At
the same time, we can`t just gloss over what happened with this nursing
home scandal. I mean, this is a woman who`s had dementia for 14 years,
they are going into her hospital bed, her room, photographing her in bed to
try to prove some case against this senator. This senator is 76-years-old.
I mean, there`s about nothing more disgusting than going after a couple of
senior citizens because one of them has dementia and the other one may be
trying to figure out how to live his life without his wife.

SHARPTON: Now, Margie, the bigger picture is, the GOP said they wanted to
moderate these candidates clearly have hurt their trying to rebrand
themselves. What opportunity does this give Democrats?

OMERO: Well, I think it just reminds Democrats. Democrats should take
this opportunity to remind candidates and voters around the country how far
to the right the Republican Party has been dragged, and it`s not just
Democrats and independents who feel this way, even a majority of
Republicans say they are not supporters of the Tea Party. The Tea Party
has been unfavorable for a long time. Republicans are losing trust in the
Tea Party, and when you have these Tea Party candidates, whether they call
themselves Tea Party or they say they are sort of like the Tea Party or in
some places they say they are the Tea Party, other places they say they are
moderate, their views are far to the right of the Republican Party of just
even a decade ago.

SHARPTON: Margie Omero and Jamaal Simmons, thank you both for your time
this evening.

OMERO: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Hillary Clinton on the cover of "People" magazine.
Plus Mac Drudge (ph) equals one massive conspiracy theory. We got you,
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The right wingers are back at it with attacks on Hillary
Clinton`s health. Mrs. Clinton is on the cover of "People" magazine and
conspiracy theorists think they`ve spotted something. Drudge report
tweeted, quote, "is Clinton holding a walker?" That`s right, the kooks on
the right think Clinton is holding a walker on the cover of "People"
magazine. Of course, it`s not true. "People" Magazine says, it`s just a
patio chair, but it fits the GOP`s desperate attempts to undermine her
health. Last month, Karl Rove suggested she had brain damage and tried to
raise doubts about her age.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: Look, she`ll be 69 by
the time of the 2016 election. She will be 77 if she serves two terms, and
this ends up being an issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Brain damage, walkers, what`s next, the ICU? Mrs. Clinton`s
spokesman said, quote, "Dr. Rove tried this already, the world immediately
saw it for what it blatantly was. He blew it. So nice try, but enough is
enough." Nice try, that`s my line. Did Drove (ph) think he`d be able to
peddle his sludge without getting called out for it? Nice try, but we all
got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The Department of Health and Human Services announced today that
enrollments in Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act surged to six million
since September. In April, 1.1 million people signed up for coverage, but
18 republican governors still refuse to expand Medicaid in their states.
Six million Americans would be covered. They are putting politics over
saving people`s lives. Here`s what Jonathan Gruber, who helped create the
law, said on the show recently.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN GRUBER, HELPED DESIGN AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: The fantastic study
came out looking at what happened when we expanded health insurance in
Massachusetts. We saved lives. In fact, the numbers suggest that for
every 820 people who got health insurance, one person`s life was saved, so
to put that in context, these states that are not expanding Medicaid and
not covering five million people, are killing about 6,000 people a year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Today, Senate Democrats kept the heat on, sending a letter
urging governors to put politics aside and expand Medicaid. And all over
the country we`ve seen people power. In North Carolina, expanding Medicaid
has been a major part of the state`s moral Monday protest. In Georgia,
dozens were arrested and protests -- at a protest in March demanding
action. In Missouri, protesters shut down the state capitol, pushing for
the Medicaid expansion last month. And just last weekend in Alabama,
protesters demanded Governor Robert Bentley expand Medicaid now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You think about what if something really serious were
to happen, you know, I mean, what if she needed a major surgery or
something like that, you know, it`s heart breaking.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: My daughter gets sicker and sicker and sicker.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: As long as it`s one person in our state, in America,
who`s suffering, we suffer, as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We must make these governors expand Medicaid. We must fight
like our lives depend on it. Because it does. Now the results from our
question of the day, does Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl deserve a hero`s welcome?
And this was a good debate on social media, 18 percent said yes. Fifty
eight percent said no. And some still aren`t sure. Twenty four percent
said they need more information.

Thanks to all who voted and please keep the debate going. Head to our
Facebook page and post your comment.

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

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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






Sponsored links

Resource guide