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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

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POLITICS NATION
June 11, 2014

Guest: Jan Schakowsky, Patrick Murphy, Michael Tomasky, Rosanell Eaton

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks to you. Thank you, Dr. Dyson,
and thanks to you for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, after shock, confusion in the Republican party after
majority leader Eric Cantor`s defeat, and his announcement late today that
he`ll step down next month from his job as number two leader in the house.

His defeat reignites the struggle for the heart and soul of the party.
Remember, it was Congressman Cantor who fed the tea party beast and who led
the charge of obstructing president Obama`s agenda.

But as President John F. Kennedy famously said, those who foolishly sought
power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

So, how did it happen? Early analysis said immigration reform. But
really, Cantor has lost touch with his district and a wave of conservative
economic popularism took him down.

A poll from Cantor`s district shows voters cared more about economic
issues, 25 percent said they cared most about the economy, 15 percent said
government spending, 11 percent said reducing the deficit. Just three
percent said they cared mostly about illegal immigration. Cantor`s
opponents hit him on all of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s how long Eric Cantor has been representing us in
Washington, D.C., 14 years. And in that time he`s given us Obamacare,
tarp, ten debt ceiling increases, $13 trillion of new debt and now is
working behind the scenes to push through amnesty. He`s become another
power hungry Washington insider.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Whatever the cause, we know the impact of this defeat and what
it will have on Republicans. The far right is emboldened today.

Senator Ted "shutdown" Cruz said Cantor`s loss shows quote "the
conservative base is alive and well," then raced off to Glenn Beck`s radio
show to say this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We`re seeing liberty under assault. We`re
seeing an administration trampling our constitutional rights, disregarding
the rule of law. It is waking people up. You look at the results in
Virginia last night. Dave Brat was outspent almost 50 to one, and yet the
people woke up and said, we`re tired of business as usual.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The GOP family feud is about to get ugly. Just remember, when
you ride that tiger, you might end up inside.

Joining me now is MudCat Saunders, Democratic strategist in Virginia, who
knows Cantor`s district well. And Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for
"the Huffington Post."

Thanks to both of you for being here.

RYAN GRIM, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, HUFFINGTON POST/MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:
Thank you, Reverend.

MUDCAT SAUNDERS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Mud Cat, you`ve had nearly 24 hours to process this political
earthquake. What`s your analysis?

SAUNDERS: My analysis is, that Eric Cantor`s arrogance took him out. He
had, you know, an air of invincibility about him and has had for some time.
He`s been AWOL from the district. He did not have town hall meetings
except when he could invite the guests. No open town hall meetings. He
didn`t show up at football games. He didn`t show up at fairs.

Whenever he showed up anywhere, he had a whole entourage of black
suburbans, you know, with the secret service people. The district didn`t
like him, and have been that way for awhile. When we did the campaign in
2012, our polls showed then that across the district, that his favorables
were only 41 percent with 43 percent to replace him.

And I think that this air of invincibility that he told himself for so long
that he was invincible that it was like told so many people he had a horse,
he went and bought a saddle. But this has nothing to do with tea party
stuff. This has nothing to do with a shifting of politics in America.

What this has to do is with a guy who forgot the people back home and was
gallivanting around the country being a big ticket.

SHARPTON: Ryan, it was a local race and may have been local reasons, but
it`s serious national ramifications in terms of the national politics and
policy. Are they reeling down there in Washington?

GRIM: They sure are. And the leadership team that`s likely to come in as
a result of this is going to be an exceedingly weak one. You know, Eric
Cantor, even though he set out this strategy of just say no, you know,
fight everything that Obama and Democrats do, he also was the one that they
would go to at the very end they finally needed the tea party. Hey, we
actually do need to fund the government at some point, guys. So Eric would
then go and bring the tea party in. Each time he did that, he`d get dinged
more and more.

There`s not going to be anybody to do that, which means the house is that
much more ungovernable. You know, Democrats are saying they are going to
run on the idea they are adults. And I think what you`re going to see from
house Republicans over the next year, then, you know, starting in 2015, is
the same thing.

SHARPTON: You know, Mudcat, in some ways Cantor`s campaign fed into the
narrative that you`re laying out about he was out of touch in his district.
For example, his campaign spent more at steakhouses than Brat spent on his
entire campaign, $167,000 on steakhouses, compared to $123,000 that Brat
spent on his campaign. I mean, it is amazing and very graphic there on
what was being done.

And we also have GOP congressman name getting tossed about to become the
next majority leader. He said quote "there are many ways to advance the
causes of freedom and free enterprise, and I am prayerfully considering the
best way I conserve in these efforts." How do you react to that, Mudcat?

SAUNDERS: Well, I think we`re in a new age, you probably say a lot, Rev.
We are in a new edge of economic populism. What I like to call Jim Webb
democracy. And the deal is, what took Eric Cantor down, other than the
fact that he was AWOL all the time, is that Dave Brat did a great job,
first off, it was a shoe leather campaign. He did a great job on hitting
on a lot of doors, but he talked about economic fairness, or the lack
thereof.

And right now, I think that you`re going to see the issue of economic
fairness, and I don`t know how they do it, but I think you`re going to see
the Republicans start bringing this up more, because right now in America,
where the middle class is going away right in front of our eyes, I mean, it
is the issue. It is the absolute issue.

SHARPTON: And that`s the issue, Ryan. I mean, let`s look at the bigger
picture here. How will this affect president Obama`s agenda? Obviously,
these Republicans are going to fight it out, but at the end they are going
to be weaker. How will this impact the president`s agenda?

GRIM: I mean, the irony here is that this means that doing immigration
quickly would actually be the smartest thing for Republicans. I`m not
saying they are going to do it. But it proved, you know, this is a toxic
issue for them. They would like to get this done with. They are not going
to do it before the election.

There is an opportunity for them to do something in the lame duck so they
don`t have to keep dealing with this riled up base, and I don`t think this
election was particularly about immigration, but it fuels the resentment
against the Republican establishment, and if they could take that off the
table, I think they`d be well served.

SHARPTON: Mudcat, you know, in the battle for replacing Cantor as the
majority leader of the house, again, Congressman Hensarling has launched
his share of ugly attacks on president Obama, like this one. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JEB HENSARLING (R), TEXAS: I`m not sure how much more damage one man
can do. I mean, bless his heart, he`s clueless when it comes to what it
takes to create a job. Ultimately, I fear he doesn`t believe in the same
American exceptionalism we do. Ultimately, I believe he`s putting us on
the path to becoming a European-style social democracy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, this guy could be the new majority leader, the number two
guy in the house. Are we going to see a mad grab for leadership with ugly
attacks on President Obama, Mudcat?

SAUNDERS: Well, the first thing they better realize is this election had
nothing to do with Barack Obama, absolutely nothing. I mean, here`s been -
- here`s one of the president`s number one critics, Eric Cantor, and he
gets the hell beat out of him in a primary in his home district. This was
a referendum on Eric Cantor. This race was the a, b, c, race, anybody but
Cantor. It wasn`t about immigration.

SHARPTON: We`re going to run out of time. I want to throw this one to
you, Ryan.

Looking ahead at what this means for the Republicans in 2016, NBC`s "First
Read" wrote, do Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio think twice about 2016? Quote
"Cantor`s loss last night is yet another sign that the Republican Party is
fractured heading into next presidential election 2016."

GRIM: Any Republican connected to the establishment right now is looking
at that and wondering, goodness, what is my route through a primary here.
And I think the anger across the country is bipartisan here, and I think
even Hillary Clinton probably watched this election. Wow, there`s an
intense amount of anger out there at the establishment, at Washington, and
to the extent she`s associated at, it could hurt her, too.

SHARPTON: Very interesting with both of you saying, but I also have to
wonder, will this energize a lot of the tea party people around the country
and we see a lot more fighting, a lot more ugliness in these primaries,
whether or not Cantor`s was local or not, it may energize a real national
battle that will change the landscape of the Republican party 2016.

Mudcat Saunders and Ryan Grim, thank you both for your time tonight.

GRIM: Thank you.

SAUNDERS: And everybody needs to read Jim Webb`s new book, "I heard my
country calling." it`s fabulous.

SHARPTON: I hope to have Jim Webb on the show to talk about his new book.

SAUNDERS: It`s a fabulous book. It`s a great piece of American
literature.

SHARPTON: Great plug. Tell him to come and bring it himself. We`ll talk
about it.

SAUNDERS: I`ll do it.

SHARPTON: Coming up, he was the architect of obstruction leading a
campaign to block president Obama. What is the reaction inside the White
House today? We`ll talk live to Bill Burton, who saw it firsthand.

Plus, defense secretary Chuck Hagel defends the Bergdahl deal, but so many
on the right just don`t care. Who are these Republicans disrespecting a
war hero?

And from Jim Crow to today, we`ll meet a 93-year-old in North Carolina
leading a movement for voting rights. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Eric Cantor`s stunning defeat has thrown the GOP into chaos.
And it`s our question of the day. Does Cantor`s loss show the GOP has lost
control of the tea party? You can answer yes, no, the establishment is
still in charge, or, no, the GOP has become the tea party. 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: From day one, this Republican Party has blocked and obstructed
president Obama. This architect of that obstruction was Eric Cantor. On
the night of the president`s first inauguration, as the president was
dancing at a ball, Cantor was just blocks away at a private meeting
plotting ways to obstruct the president. And just weeks later, he set the
tone. And that plan went into motion.

As minority whip, he made sure no house Republican voted for the stimulus
package. If president Obama was for it, they were against it. Then came
health care and Eric Cantor brought props.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Mr. President, thank you,
again, very much for having us and staying with us for the six hours.
Appreciate that. I don`t know if you will after the six hours or not, but
--

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me just guess, that`s
the 2,400-page health care bill, is that right?

CANTOR: Actually, Mr. President, this is the Senate bill, along with the
11-page proposal that you put up online.

OBAMA: These are the kind of political things we do that prevent us from
actually having a conversation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He was never interested in a conversation. In 2011 we had a
debt ceiling standoff and it was Eric Cantor who pulled out of budget talks
with Vice President Biden. When Cantor was in the meeting with the
president on the debt limit, one democratic aide said, quote "Cantor rudely
interrupted the president three times." Cantor denied that, but he didn`t
deny that when Speaker Boehner was working on a big deal with the
president. Cantor sabotaged it. With Cantor even telling a reporter, it
was quote "fair assessment that he talked Boehner out of accepting Obama`s
deal." if President Obama was for it, Eric Cantor was against it. The
obstructionist in chief. I don`t think any tears were shed at the White
House last night.

Joining me now, Bill Burton, former deputy White House press secretary for
President Obama and MSNBC Krystal Ball. Thank you both for being here.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks for having us, Reverend.

BILL BURTON, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA:
Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Bill, you were there to witness it firsthand. What was it like
for the White House to try to work with Eric Cantor?

BURTON; Very difficult. Let me say two quick things. Number one, we`ve
got a lot of time to talk about Eric Cantor, but I will say, he had a lot
of people working for him who came to Washington, driven by a purpose they
thought they were trying to achieve and I feel bad for my buddies, I wish
them all the best.

But working with Eric Cantor was never an easy thing. And I was in the
room, this has been reported before, so this is not betraying any
confidences. But I was in the Roosevelt room when the president brought in
congressional leadership early on in his presidency and Eric Cantor was
going on and on about how the stimulus wasn`t going to work, all these
different things and the president looked him square in the eye and said,
elections have consequences. And Eric Cantor never really wanted to
believe that and last night we had an election where he`s truly going to be
living the consequence.

SHARPTON: Let`s talk, Krystal, about president and Cantor`s first meeting.
"The New Yorker" described it like quote like -- let me read the quote.
Three days, and this is what Bill was just speaking of, three days after
Obama`s inauguration, Cantor and Boehner went to the White House to discuss
the economic emergency and Cantor handed out copies of the Republican plan
and the president and his team at the meeting, the president told Cantor,
elections have consequences, and, Eric, I won."

This is what Bill was just recounting. Do you think that he really never
got it until last night, or do you think he was just such a zealot for a
lot of the tea party stuff?

BALL: I think it was not so much being an ideological zealot as being
power hungry. He saw after the election of Obama and particularly after we
saw the rise of the tea party, he saw an opportunity for himself to get
higher in the Republican leadership, to capture the energy of that tea
party.

First they were happy to use that to take back the house in 2010, and then
he found it convenient to be the foil to John Boehner, to be the tea
party`s mouthpiece in the Republican leadership, so, yes, he blew up the
grand bargain that Boehner was very close to striking with President Obama.
He was constantly there, disagreeing with Boehner, and it`s interesting
after the 2012 election there were some signs that maybe he wanted to
present a more coherent front, maybe he had realized that elections, in
fact, do have consequences, but he was always going back and forth between
being the mouthpiece for the tea party, looking to position himself for
leadership, and it was always about what was convenient for Eric, rather
than what was good for either his party or the country.

SHARPTON: But Bill, millions of people, forget the politics, forget the
beltway chatter, millions of people were affected by these obstructionist
moves. I mean, we`re talking about real people that lost real services and
things they need. I mean, just this past April the president and Cantor
spoke on the phone about immigration reform. And Cantor put out a
statement saying, quote "after five years, President Obama still has not
learned how to effectively work with Congress to get things done. You do
not attack the very people you hope to engage in serious dialogue." But
President Obama remembered their conversation differently. Listen to what
he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Well, I actually had a very pleasant conversation with Mr. Cantor
yesterday. I did. You`re always kind of surprised by the mismatch between
press releases and the conversation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, it sounds like you couldn`t trust Cantor too much, Bill.

BURTON; Yes, I think that`s right. You know, the truth is, you know, I,
obviously, disagree with Eric Cantor on basically every position he holds
on issues that matter in Washington, but it`s going to make it, hopefully,
this will help elevate, and this might sound counter conventional, so stay
with me for a second. Hopefully, this will help elevate some conservatives
in leadership who have some credibility among the tea party crowd inside
the house. And the advantage to that, maybe Boehner will go away, too, and
you`ll have a couple of tea party guys at the head of the house, the
advantage to that, which may sound crazy is that at least the president has
somebody who he can work with. Because John Boehner can want to make a
deal all day long, but he can never make a deal that the conservatives in
the house will trust in any significant way. So now maybe we`ll have some
leadership over in the Republican Party that`s actually willing to get down
and get into the dirt and get some work done.

SHARPTON: But Krystal, the very night of the first inauguration, while the
president`s at an inaugural ball dancing with his wife, they are meeting
that night, the night of the first inauguration, planning on how they were
going to obstruct this president and Eric Cantor was in that meeting. A
lot of us just can`t forget that night, from the very beginning.

BALL: It`s unbelievable that while he`s being inaugurated, not just what
can they do to sabotage this president, but really what can they do to
sabotage the economy, right, that`s what we`re talking about here, which is
unreal that any elected public official would have that thought and then
put action into motion to make that a reality.

You know, in terms of getting different leadership, better leadership in
the Republican Party, I certainly hope that Bill`s optimism there is
warranted. But the problem is, that even with Eric Cantor as far right as
he was, right, as tea party aligned as he frequently was, it`s never enough
for the most ideologically pure in the Republican party, so it`s hard to
see how anyone in the Republican party can have a leadership position and
want to govern and not be railroaded by the tea party. There`s no loyalty
there.

SHARPTON: Bill, I realize you have hope, but suppose this energized a lot
of the far right now feeling they have a tea party victory and they forced
the party, the Republicans, to even go further right to protect themselves
in primaries.

BURTON; Well, the truth is, there`s not much more that Republicans in
Congress can do to try to stop progress. They`ve done everything they can
to stop judges in the Senate, to stop any kind of legislation, to stop
immigration reform, to stop issues -- to stop legislation that deals with
income inequality.

They`ve already done everything, and the truth is, you know, only Nixon can
go to China, right? And so, on the Republican side, my hope, is that if
you elevate a conservative, and the truth is, even though Cantor tried so
hard to align himself with the tea party, they never trusted him. They
never thought that he was doing anything except trying to elevate himself.
If they elevate someone from their own ranks, maybe we`ve got a chance.

But I do want to say, Krystal made a very good point. That it wasn`t just
the Republicans got together on inauguration night and were plotting on how
to try to stop the president because you know what, this is Washington.
There`s politics, that`s going to happen. You are going to try to stop the
opposing president. But the fact they were doing it at the expense of the
economy, at the expense of middle class Americans, that`s what matters and
why it was so damaging to our country that they did that.

SHARPTON: And that is the reason, the real reason it`s important, what it
does to the country.

Bill Burton, Krystal Ball, thank you both for your time tonight.

BALL: Thank you, reverend.

BURTON; Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: And be sure to watch Krystal on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00
p.m. eastern right here on MSNBC.

Still ahead, a stunning new report that could demolish GOP talking points
about sergeant Bergdahl.

Also this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the age of 92, I am fed up! And fired up!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Fed up and fired up. My interview with the woman that beat Jim
Crow in her youth and is fighting voter ID now. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, defense secretary Chuck Hagel went toe-to-toe with
Republicans, trying to smear sergeant Bergdahl and things got hot. That`s
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK HAGEL, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: And they are full of imperfect choices.
America does not leave its soldiers behind. We made the right decision,
and we did it for the right reasons, to bring home one of our own people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today slamming GOP critics of
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl`s release. Many conservatives have attacked
Bergdahl as a deserter, even a traitor, and they`ve attacked President
Obama for getting him freed, but a new "Washington Post" article could
demolish some of the right wing`s talking points. "The Post" reports on
Bergdahl`s mental health before he was captured by the Taliban. Quote,
"before he ever joined the army, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was discharged from
the U.S. coast guard for psychological reasons. Furthermore, a trove of
Bergdahl`s writings paint a portrait of a deeply complicated and fragile
young man, who was by his own account, struggling to maintain his mental
stability from the start of basic training until the moment he walked off
his post in Eastern Afghanistan."

By these accounts, Sergeant Bergdahl wasn`t a traitor or a Jihadi, he was a
troubled young man, but that hasn`t stopped Republicans from attacking
Bergdahl with loaded questions, asking why he hasn`t been sent home yet.
Check out what happened in the hearing today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JEFF MILLER (R), FLORIDA: Wait a minute, wait a minute, why hasn`t he
been returned to the United States? You`re trying to tell me that he`s
being held at Landau, Germany because of his medical condition?

HAGEL: Congressman, I hope you`re not implying anything other than that.

MILLER: I`m just asking the question, Mr. Secretary.

HAGEL: I don`t like the implication of the question.

MILLER: Answer it, answer it.

HAGEL: He`s being held there because our medical professionals don`t
believe he`s ready. This isn`t just about a physical situation,
congressman. This guy was held for almost five years in God knows what
kind of conditions. We do know some of the conditions from our
intelligence community, not from, by the way, Bergdahl, this is not just
about can he get on his feet and walk and get to a plane.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: At the end of the day, this young man is an American soldier,
why have so many on the right forgotten that fact?

Joining me now are former Congressman Patrick Murphy, the first Iraq war
vet to serve in Congress and Michael Tomasky from "The Daily Beast." Thank
you both for coming on the show.

MICHAEL TOMASKY, "THE DAILY BEAST": Thank you, Reverend.

FMR. REP. PATRICK MURPHY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Thanks, Al.

SHARPTON: Congressman, today`s report suggests Bergdahl was a troubled
young man, but Republicans continue smearing him when they don`t know all
the facts.

MURPHY: That`s right. It`s scandalous, Reverend, and it`s really libel,
because here you have a young American who was kept locked up for over five
years by the Taliban. We get his release, they`ve been nothing but bashing
him and his parents since we`ve gotten him back and now "The Washington
Post" just reports this young man had a lot of issues. This young man
could not last one month of basic training in the coast guard. And two
years later got a waiver to enlist in the army. And because at that point,
you know, it was the surge, President Bush`s surge in Iraq where goals
needed to be met by the Pentagon, so you know, my heart goes out to him and
his family. I`m glad that there`s an investigation and I`m glad, frankly
that Secretary Hagel stood up for himself and --

SHARPTON: Well, not only Secretary Hagel, Congresswoman Jackie Speier tore
into Republicans for their inflammatory rhetoric against Sergeant Bergdahl.
Listen to this, Congressman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: I would just ask us to think for a
moment how we would be responding if Bowe Bergdahl was our son. I really
fear for his return to this country. With the kind of rhetoric that is
being spewed in this very room.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She really went after him, Congressman.

MURPHY: She did. Listen, I served with Jackie Speier, she`s a tough
cookie and I`m glad she gave it to them, and that`s absolutely right.
Here`s a young man who served this country, you know, and there`s obviously
mental issues here in play, Reverend, but we do not treat one of our own
this way. We don`t know all the facts. We shouldn`t have a rush for
judgment, but unfortunately, the other network and the Republican Party
don`t understand that and have now treated this young man and his family to
the integree (ph).

SHARPTON: You know, Michael, repeatedly today, repeatedly, Republicans in
the hearing blasted the administration for negotiating with terrorists.
Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BUCK MCKEON (R), CALIFORNIA: This transfer sets a dangerous precedent
in negotiating with terrorists.

REP. MICHAEL TURNER (R), OHIO: Do you agree that it has been the standing
policy of the United States that we do not negotiate with terrorists?

REP. JOHN KLINE (R), MINNESOTA: The United States did set a precedent, did
break the policy of negotiating with terrorists.

REP. TRENT FRANKS (R), ARIZONA: There are terrorists watching this hearing
in complete jubilation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But you point out today, Michael, that the right didn`t mind
when Bush paid a ransom to terrorists back in 2002. You write, and I
quote, "Republicans are howling with no proof that Obama paid a ransom for
Bowe Bergdahl`s freedom. Funny, they weren`t howling when Bush actually
did it."

TOMASKY: This was a situation, Reverend, in 2002 in the Philippines
involving the Abu Sayyaf network, now that is a group that is an Islamic
fundamentalist terrorist group, officially designated so by the State
Department back in 1997, has al-Qaeda ties, that`s why they accepted and
agreed upon and this is a group that kidnapped in 2001 a couple, an
American couple, missionaries working in the Philippines, and asked for
ransom for them.

By 2002, the United States government, the Bush administration, did not
directly pay, OK, did not directly pay, but did indirectly facilitate a
payment of $300,000 to the Abu Sayaff network to win the couple`s freedom.
Now very tragically, the man, Martin Burnham did not make it back. The
wife Gracia Burnham did make it back and she`s still alive today. But my
point here is that, this did happen and this whole thing about how we don`t
negotiate with terrorists, that`s something every president says, you and I
know this, the congressman knows this very well, better than we do, this is
something every administration says, because you have to sound tough, so
and so forth, but negotiating with terrorists is also something that every
administration going back to Ronald Reagan`s does when they feel they need
to.

SHARPTON: You know, also, Michael, Defense Secretary Hagel specifically
called out those on the right who have been attacking Sergeant Bergdahl`s
parents. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAGEL: Like most Americans, I`ve been offended and disappointed in how the
Bergdahl family has been treated by some in this country. No family
deserves this. I hope there will be some sober reflection on people`s
conduct regarding this issue and how it relates to the Bergdahl family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: His dealing with them on the family, what is the bigger picture
on this in terms of how Americans, whatever their views, look at the attack
on the families and the secretary they are bringing this out that this
man`s family has been under attack, not only him, and now we`re finding out
a lot about his mental history and other things are coming out in.

TOMASKY: Well, I think it just shows that they`ll politicize anything and
they`ll look for any advantage they can to turn it against Obama, make
Obama look weak, try to say all that kind of stuff that they love to say
all the time. I bet we don`t even know the half of it about what that
family has gone through, Reverend, in terms of the threats they received.
We know that they had to cancel that parade and all these other things, and
it is, it`s really, really unseemly, you know, their son. It`s their son,
for gosh sakes.

SHARPTON: Former Congressman Patrick Murphy and Michael Tomasky, thank you
both for your time this evening.

MURPHY: Thank you.

TOMASKY: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, I`ll interview a 93-year-old woman who has been
denied her right to vote because of new republican voter I.D. laws. It is
an outrage.

And one year after the George Zimmerman trial, Rachel Jeantel is back in
the news for achieving a dream she promised her friend Trayvon Martin.
Part of my interview with her is ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: A big victory today in the fight for voting rights. A federal
judge ordered Ohio`s election chief to restore the final three days of in-
person early voting. Ohio`s republican Secretary of State Jon Husted has
been trying to limit voting in his state for years. He`s cut early voting
on Sundays and weekdays, including souls to the polls on the Sunday before
the election. So today`s ruling is a big defeat for him and a huge step
forward, but there`s more work to be done. Already this year, lawmakers in
19 states have introduced bills to scale back voting rights.

In North Carolina, protesters are fighting that state`s vicious new voter
suppression law. The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit is a 93-year-old woman
Rosanell Eaton. The name on her birth certificate doesn`t match the name
on her driver`s license and it will cost both time and money to fix that
under the new law. Eaton faced a literacy test when she first voted 70
years ago. She had crosses burned on her lawn and gunshots fired into her
home for helping register African-Americans to vote. Today, she`s still
fighting for her right to vote.

Joining me now is Rosanell Eaton. Thank you for being here, Ms. Eaton.

ROSANELL EATON, VOTING RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Now decades after Jim Crow, could you have ever imagined
fighting for the right to vote again after all these years?

EATON: No, I can`t imagine that I`ve got to go through the same thing that
I went through 80 years ago, at least 75. I can`t imagine going through
that again. But I am going through it, and it`s actually worse than it was
then.

SHARPTON: Why do you say it`s worse?

EATON: I think it`s worse, because I know what to expect. Then I didn`t
know, so it wasn`t surprising. But it`s a very difficult task, it`s
difficult situation now. And we have got accustomed to different -- and
different ways of life, and now it is so horrible to think about going back
where we came from when we were marching in Alabama and older state.

SHARPTON: You know what struck me to my core about your story, you had to
be subjected to literacy tests, had to deal with cross burning on your
front lawn and fire shots through your house, and now you`re the lead
plaintiff because you were denied the right to vote and you`re lead
plaintiff at 93 years old. You never were afraid even with the cross
burnings and the shotgun blasts through your house. I mean, you went
through this stuff personally.

EATON: No, I wasn`t afraid. I always had nerve and I had ambition, and I
had intuition, and I believe we could make it, the lord would help me
through it. I was real young then, and now I`m old. I realize the people
maybe didn`t understand what we were doing, but now I know they understand.
It`s just something they want to do anyway to set us back.

SHARPTON: The governor of North Carolina and others that have come with
these laws that you and others are fighting in the state and around the
country, if they are listening tonight as someone who`s given a life to
this country and civil rights, what would you like to say to them?

EATON: To him?

SHARPTON: Yes.

EATON: I would like to say that he should reconsider and think about
things and think about the declaration of independence, that states that
all men are created equal and that we have the right to be participating
and not finding fault about everything in trying to make this a fraud
state, because it`s not. And I would just like to tell him to realize the
fact that we are people and that we are human, and that we, the lord
enables us to be alive and my grandfather worked for his company and worked
for this country and was sold as a slave and my father was a young guy, but
he wasn`t old enough to go to be a slave, but he cleared this land and we
should have the right to be free.

SHARPTON: You said you`ve worked at the polls over 60 years. Have you
seen voter fraud, Ms. Eaton?

EATON: No. It wasn`t any fraud going on. I mean, at all. We were very
sincere in what we did. I worked the polls 40 years as an assistant and I
worked over 25 years as a judge. We sincerely check the ballots, and
everything was going good. This was not fraud. They didn`t find any
fraud, just a little mix-up on two votes. All over the state, but they use
that as a manner to defraud the voting rights and make it harder so we
couldn`t -- can`t vote and be successful as we were, because I`ve been in
this election ever since I was very, very young, and as a child, and I
started my intention to carry through and that`s why I`m out here today
fighting for our rights, because it`s not right the way they are treating
us and trying to just make a dish out of us.

SHARPTON: Rosanell Eaton, I want to thank you so much for your time
tonight and really God`s blessings and good luck with your fight against
this law.

EATON: Thank you so very much, Reverend Sharpton. And may God ever bless
you and let us keep the lord in front of us and he will guide us and direct
us.

SHARPTON: Yes, ma`am.

EATON: Thank you so very much and look to see you soon.

SHARPTON: God bless you, thank you.

EATON: Thank you. Bye-bye.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Trayvon Martin`s friend Rachel Jeantel is speaking out
one year after the George Zimmerman trial. We`ll have part of my interview
with her and a very special guest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The world got to know Rachel Jeantel last year when she took the
stand in the trial of the man who killed her friend, Trayvon Martin. Last
week, after many months of hard work, she achieved her goal of getting her
high school diploma. Trayvon`s mother, Sybrina Fulton, was there in the
front row, and I spoke with both of them and asked them what Trayvon would
say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL JEANTEL, FRIEND OF TRAYVON MARTIN: He`d say, you did it. You
finally did it. So, you did what you came for and you fought.

SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: He would probably be saying
that, you know, people thought that she couldn`t do it, you know, but she
believed in herself and she had a village of people that believed in her,
and they continue to push her, they continue to encourage her, and so he
would be very proud of her. He would just tell her, you did it. You did
it. You made it.

JEANTEL: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, she made it. The full interview airs tomorrow night.
Please, tune in.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, many Republicans are drawing exactly the wrong lessons
from Eric Cantor`s defeat. We are hearing them say they need to be tougher
on immigration, that they need to crack down on the border and kick out the
11 million undocumented workers who are already here. They are wrong,
their policies are wrong, and so is their rhetoric, which has become
increasingly ugly and mean-spirited.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They`ve got calves aside of cantaloupes because they are
hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: My father had a ranch, we used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks
to pick tomatoes.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And I think the issue that you`re referring to is the
issue of anger babies.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Some people would say, we`re already
under attack by aliens, not space aliens, but illegal aliens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Have they forgotten we`re a nation of immigrants? Unless you`re
a native American, everyone came here from somewhere else, either willingly
or unwillingly. Immigrants helped build this country, despite centuries of
prejudice and intimidation. There was a time when the Irish were told they
need not apply. There was a time when Americans were urged to say no to
Chinese immigrants. We`re hearing the same kind of rhetoric now, but
against different groups of people, and it must stop, too.

Finally, it`s time for the results from tonight`s question. Does Eric
Cantor`s law show the GOP has lost control of the Tea Party? Forty two
percent said yes, four percent said no, the establishment is still in
charge. And 54 percent said, no, because the GOP has become the Tea Party.
Thanks to all who voted. You can join the conversation by heading to our
Facebook page to weigh in on this topic and more. We want to hear what you
think.

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

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

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