PoliticsNation, Monday, September 22nd, 2014
Read the transcript from the Monday show
September 22, 2014
Guest: Jack Rice, Joan Walsh, Mark Potok, Dana Milbank>
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: 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. I`m live tonight in Minneapolis.
Breaking news tonight, a danger to the president. That is what a federal
prosecutor said today about White House fence jumper Omar Gonzalez. An
army vet whose family says he suffers from PTSD. This afternoon, he was in
federal court, accused of being the first person to ever jump the fence of
the White House and get inside the executive mansion.
Here is the video from Friday night. You can see him running on the White
House grounds. There is no secret service seen on this video. He was
carrying a three and a half inch knife. And tonight, we`re getting brand
new details about what he had inside his car, parked just blocks away.
Prosecutors say he had a machete, two hatchets, and more than 800 pounds of
Gonzalez stood calmly in court today, wearing an orange jumpsuit, facing
charges of unlawfully entering a restricted area, while carrying a deadly
weapon. He`s being held without bail and will appear in court again next
week. Now the secret service is reviewing its internal procedures trying
to figure out how a man got across the north lawn and inside the White
House without agents or attack dogs stopping him. It happened just minutes
after the first family departed the White House for camp David.
Today, President Obama says he has confidence in the secret service.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Secret Service des a great
job. I am grateful for the sacrifices they make on my behalf and my
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But tonight, the disturbing new details about what this man had
in his car, and the security breach that we have never seen, has people
across the country demanding answers.
Joining me now, Chris Jansing, NBC`s senior White House correspondent, Jack
Rice, a former CIA agent who spent time as a special agent in his office of
security, and Richard Wolffe, MSNBC.com executive editor. Thank you all
for being here.
Let me go to Chris Jansing first. Chris, the president said secret service
does a great job. But how concerned are you hearing the president and the
staff are really about all this?
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They`re
absolutely concerned, Rev. This is not supposed to happen. As you well
pointed out, it`s never happened before. And I can tell you, as someone
who`s seen a number of these breaches just over the last couple of months,
I have for example seen those attack dogs at work. They can come out of
nowhere so fast. They are trained to knock a person down, to hold him
down. To put their teeth on an intruder. I`ve seen them go up close to an
intruder barking. It`s an intimidating as the guns that some of the agents
carry. Why didn`t that happen?
Members of Congress asking today, why wasn`t he taken out when he got that
close to the White House? And to get up the stairs and to find the door
unlocked. Well, it`s locked now. They`ve changed some procedures and
protocols, but obviously this is of great concern. And it comes in the
context that some of these other breaches and embarrassments that have
happened with the secret service in recent years.
And beyond that, obviously you have a president who has a young family.
And I can tell you, as someone who`s covered a number of presidencies and
talked in particular to first ladies about the decision to run for
president when you have young children, one of the things that gives you
pause is the security. And you want to know that your family is protected.
So I think that official term that the White House is using is that the
president is concerned. You can bet he is. He got a number of briefings,
both on Friday night, about what exactly had happened and throughout the
weekend. And he is being kept up to date on this investigation, which is
of some urgency -- Al.
SHARPTON: Is there a lot of fear around the White House? Is there actual
JANSING: You know, anybody who works here understands that besides being
the most heavily guarded home in the United States, it`s also a target.
We`ve learned that. You know, at one point, there was a small plane that
crashed here. There was a lot of concern, you`ll well remember, around
9/11, about whether or not the White House could be a target. So I think
it`s something that you live with on a day-to-day basis.
But you know, when I was here on Friday night and people are running in and
saying, someone has breached the White House, we`re doing an evacuation,
there were people who have been here not years, but decades and had never
been evacuated. Has never been evacuated through the west wing, brought
out on the other side of the old executive office building, which sits next
to the White House. So sure, it`s disquieting.
And I think, you know, the president expressing he has confidence in the
secret service, certainly they`re on hyper alert right now. But a lot of
concern right now about what happened here and how could this happen, Al.
SHARPTON: Jack, assess the secret service failure here. I mean, what
should have happened?
JACK RICE, FORMER CIA SPECIAL AGENT: Well, Rev., they screwed up. I mean,
let`s be clear here. There is a host sort of series of things that should
have been done. There are rings of security that the secret service should
have looked at. We are talking about everything from facial recognition
software from people outside of the fences, for actions that those people
may take outside of the fences. There should have been people watching the
fences themselves. There should have been people if somebody crosses the
This is all a series of mistakes that were made. This was not just one
mistake. This was a series of mistakes. And when Chris talks about
procedures and policies in place and failures, those were very real and
they have to reassess them because something like this simply cannot happen
for any sitting president.
SHARPTON: So there are different layers here that this guy was able to get
RICE: Certainly. I mean, there are things they missed about him before he
climbed the fence. They should have been watching and they might have
found something there. They may not have. But as soon as he touches the
fence, they should know it, As soon as he`s on the lawn, they should know
it. As soon as he gets to the front door, they should know it. How many
layers do you breach before you sit down and say, God, maybe we should
recalculate what it is that we`re doing?
SHARPTON: Richard, you know the White House. Your reaction to this
RICHARD WOLFFE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, MSNBC.COM: Well, I don`t know that the
first family will be really sort of terrified by all of this. They have a
great relationship with the agents. They come into close contact with.
Remember, as Chris said, it`s not just that they come to the White House
with young children, those children have grown up, not just in the public
eye, but with the presence of secret service agents at all times with them.
So, there is a lot of trust there with the personal protected details.
The Secret Service is much bigger than the personal detail around the
president. And here you have uniformed officers who, anyone who has been
around the White House, and I certainly have, has seen people being
approached on the perimeter by uniformed agents, saying, what are you
doing? Where are you going? Apparently according to the reports, this
intruder was approached. Why they didn`t follow through with procedures is
staggering and shocking. I`m sure that will be troubling to anyone around
the first family.
But again, what you just heard, when George Stephanopoulos leaned against
the tree, he recounts it in his book in the 1990s, it triggered an alarm.
Everything about the White House lawn is alarmed. Why those systems and
procedures failed is astonishing.
SHARPTON: Now, today the ex-wife of Omar Gonzalez has said he`s suffering
from post-traumatic stress disorder. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA BELL, OMAR GONZALEZ`S EX-WIFE: I know whatever happened in Iraq,
it affected him because it was the second tour when he came home, he would
walk around the house with a 45 on his hip. He`s not a bad guy. I think,
I want him to get treatment. He doesn`t need to be punished. He didn`t go
to the White House to hurt Obama. He`s not in his right mind. Who jumps a
fence knowing you could be shot and killed? Who goes and tries to tell the
president the atmosphere is collapsing? Who does that? He did. Because
he`s not -- he`s mentally unstable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Jack, doesn`t this highlight the need for better security that
is one person who may have been unstable can actually get into the White
RICE: Without question. It certainly does, Rev. When you look at what
this man was able to do. It highlights what somebody -- if they really had
the intent. We don`t necessarily know what it is that he wanted to do, but
if there was somebody actually trying to hurt the president, the first
family, or anybody else, look how close they were able to get.
I think we need to count ourselves lucky at this point. But if we need to
take a breath, think about the things that need to be done, reassess, and
then apply those principles.
SHARPTON: Chris, how deep is the White House going into his background?
How much are they assessing what is possibly in the background of this Omar
JANSING: Well, great question. And obviously, they`re looking at
absolutely everything. Some of what you saw, his background as an Iraq war
veteran, someone who was living in his car, somebody who was trained as a
sniper. But I think as we look at this investigation and what went wrong.
There are a couple of key things I want to tell you. One is that in late
August, he was stopped here outside the White House on the south lawn.
They noticed he had a hatchet in his waist band. He was questioned, but he
was not arrested or held. And then in July, so before that, he was the
object of a high-speed chase in Virginia, along interstate 81. He had a
vehicle filled with weapons -- 11 guns, a scope, the kind that a sniper
would use, and a map that had a line pointing to the White House and he was
arrested. The only illegal gun he had was a sawed-off shotgun. But
Virginia state police say they notified secret service about that arrest.
So if the secret service already had his name, that was in July, they
stopped him in late August outside the fence, didn`t detain him, and then
it comes to this. There are going to be questions asked about why those
dots were not connected, Al.
SHARPTON: The question ask, Richard. Congress is already scheduling
hearings into this. Here`s the GOP lawmaker Peter King and what he had to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: The fact that they said he wasn`t brought
down because they didn`t think he had a weapon. He could have had a body
bomb. He could have had a vest on. As we know, he did have a knife.
There can be a lot of conspiracies against the president, a lot of very
complex assassination plots. This is the most basic, the most simple type
of procedure. And how anyone, especially in the days of ISIS and we`re
concerned about terrorist attacks, someone could actually get into the
White House without being stopped is inexcusable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Serious concern to outrage is bipartisan in this matter,
WOLFFE: And it should be. Look, the secret service has gone through a
series of scandals, not the least of which on been on that foreign trips
where agents have been engaged in all sorts of behavior that is unbecoming
for any secret service agent. And so, I think there are really legitimate
areas, both for the president`s security, but also for the management of
secret service that Congress can and should and will be investigating.
SHARPTON: Chris Jansing, Jack Rice, and Richard Wolffe, thank you all for
your time tonight.
WOLFFE: Thank you.
JANSING: You`re welcome.
SHARPTON: Coming up, we have some breaking news tonight on that massive
manhunt for a cop killer on the loose. We`re live tonight in Pennsylvania.
And ISIS released a new audio tape calling on Muslims to kill Americans.
What is secretary of state Kerry saying today?
And the so-called kissing congressman is out with a new campaign ad,
featuring his wife. We`re debating that one ahead. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Our social media community is very active on our top story
tonight about the army vet who hopped the fence and walked into the White
House with a knife.
Janice said the whole security team needs to be replaced.
Jay wrote, in my 46 years on planet earth, I`ve never heard of such a thing
Melba posted, we cannot even get on an airplane without being searched
these days, but then the security at the White House is this pitiful?
We love when you chat with us, so keep the convo going on our facebook page
or tweet us @politicsnation.
SHARPTON: Developing news tonight on a new threat from the terrorist group
ISIS. ISIS has released a new propaganda audio tape, calling on Muslims to
kill Americans. It`s meant as a scare tactic. But it`s also intended to
push the U.S. to send ground forces to the Middle East.
One portion states quote "your forces will return greater in number than
they were before."
President Obama has repeatedly said the U.S. won`t send ground troops to
fight ISIS. So is ISIS trying to goad the U.S. into doing just that? It`s
a serious question. And it comes as a new report finds some Americans who
have fought with is, have returned to the U.S.
Stories like that show why the administration is taking ISIS so seriously.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is one of the most dangerous groups
that I have seen in my time in public life. Why? Because they have a
radical, extremist philosophy, cultish attitude. It`s not a religious
outlook. It`s a self-described cult that is evil. They are vowed
genocidists (ph). Unlike al-Qaeda, they`ve conquered major territory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: There`s no doubt about it, ISIS wants to scare people and
they`re good at it. The U.S. is launches more air strikes against ISIS in
Iraq today. In two days, President Obama will speak before the U.N. on his
plan to attack ISIS and his efforts to bring more countries on board. The
president is taking deliberate effective steps to undermine this group.
And he`s refusing to let fear guide his policy.
Joining me now is Joan Walsh, editor at large for salon.com. Thank you for
being here, Joan.
JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Thanks for having me, Rev.
SHARPTON: There`s no question the propaganda from ISIS is scary, but we
can`t let that intimidate us really, into making bad decisions. Am I
WALSH: I completely agree, Rev. I really am worried about this. I know
all of us are. And I think the president is trying to walk a line between
acknowledging a very real threat, but not being baited. I think it`s clear
that ISIS wants nothing more than to go one-on-one with the U.S., make us
out to be the great Satan, the opponent of Muslims worldwide, and we don`t
want that on a moral level, as well as a political level.
So, I think it`s very dangerous. You know, I understand why secretary
Kerry is making the pitch he`s making. The word "genocide" jumps out at
me. These people are equal opportunity killers. And you know, I think the
word "genocide" sometimes implies a great global, moral responsibility.
There`s that. But there`s also a responsibility of our allies and not so
much allies in the region, to deal with the threat on their borders and get
seriously much more committed to this. It can`t be seen as an American
SHARPTON: You know, Joan, some terror experts say we really haven`t gotten
a good grip on the threat from ISIS. The "New York Times" reported, quote,
"Daniel Benjamin, who served as the state department`s top counterterrorism
adviser during Mr. Obama`s first term, said the public discussion about the
ISIS threat has been a farce, with members of the cabinet and top military
officers all over the place, describing the threat in lurid terms that are
And Joan, you were on realtime with Bill Maher this weekend. I want to
play part of what Bill said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL MAHER, TV HOST: When you`re dealing with terrorists whose aim is to
bait us into overreaction and you oblige them, aren`t you the appeaser?
Get a grip. Would we be this terrified if ISIS didn`t make videos and wear
black and have a scary name. ISIS, sounds like they should be fighting the
x-men. ISIS. It`s simultaneously cool sounding and stands for pure evil,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, does everyone need to take a breath here, Joan, and not
be blinded by the grisly images that we`ve seen from ISIS?
WALSH: I think so. You know, and I think Bill made another great point on
the show. He really asked, you know, why journalists are sort of helping
ISIS by broadcasting propaganda like the videos. Yes, they`re out there,
but they are designed (INAUDIBLE) -- they are designed to say that. And
there are also, Reverend Al, they are designed to make us seen like the
kind of crazy selfish people who only act when two or three or however many
Americans to at this point or Europeans, westerners are killed and don`t
care when hundreds of thousands of people in the region are killed. That`s
not a good thing either.
And I also think, you know, the president knows this, but the more that you
have different people in the cabinet out there saying it`s a real threat,
it`s a threat to us, you know, here at home, then you have totally
irresponsible Republicans jamming the administration and insisting the
administration isn`t doing enough. So we really have to get a handle on
this war fever.
SHARPTON: We not only have Republicans jamming the president, some
Republicans are even using ISIS for political gain. I mean, quickly check
out this ad that the national Republican congressional committee is running
for an Iowa candidate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a dangerous world, judgment matters. David Young
would be tough on terrorists. Passports for terrorists. Staci Apple is
dangerously wrong for Iowa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, that`s pretty much out there, Joan, in terms of using
this in a political campaign, very blatantly.
WALSH: It`s just outrageous, and it is straight from the Karl Rove
playbook of 2002, and it worked then. And I hope it doesn`t work now.
It`s really irresponsible.
SHARPTON: All right, Joan Walsh, thank you for your time tonight.
WALSH: Thanks for having me.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, police closing in on an accused cop killer on the
run in Pennsylvania in the mountains. Why did he leave behind ammo and an
Also, the so-called kissing congressman, caught in the act, is back and so
is his wife. Our political panel weighs in ahead.
SHARPTON: Coming up, the so-called kissing congressman is out with a new
political ad, featuring his wife. Will it be the kiss of death for his
Also, Chris Christie is losing it, but not in the way you think. My
SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight from that Pennsylvania manhunt. Police
say they`re closing in on Eric Frein, the man accused of ambushing state
troopers in a deadly sniper attack. It`s an attack they say he planned
well in advance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Based on our investigation, we know that Frein has
prepared and planned extensively for months and maybe years, he planned his
attack and his retreat. However, we believe we are closing in on him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Police say Frein may have traveled 15 to 20 miles on foot.
Since he abandoned his jeep after the shooting. The area has tens of
thousands of acres of forest with lots of opportunities to hide. But
police are finding clues to Frein`s whereabouts. They found this AK-47
that Frein apparently left behind in the woods. They also found gun
magazines and ammunition. NBC`s Sarah Dallof is reporting live from
Blooming Grove, Pennsylvania. Sarah, what`s the latest on the search?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH DALLOF, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Reverend. You
talk about all the natural hiding places that the woods has to offer Frein.
But authorities now believe he actually may have built himself some hiding
places, some bunkers, places to conceal himself while searchers are looking
for him. That`s prompting authorities to ask anyone who is familiar with
the area, if they see anything man-made hiding spots, new shelters, things
like that, to immediately report it to authorities. As they say, they grow
closer and closer. The capturing Eric Frein right now.
Now, in addition to those items you mentioned, that AK-47 and that
ammunition, they say they found additional items that he feel he either
discarded or he actually hid and planned to return for later. It kind of
indicates how much planning and how much thought he put into his escape,
following these alleged attacks. Now residents are also being asked to
stay inside as much as possible, to lock their doors, to stay away from the
windows and also be sure to light their yards well at night. Authorities
admit Frein had the upper hand in the first few days of this ordeal because
he knew this area so well. It`s right near where he lived with his
But now with hundreds of law enforcement personnel on the ground and ten
days of searching behind them, authorities say they now have the upper hand
and they are closing in very quickly on Frein they feel, like you mentioned
this area that they`re searching about 15 to 20 miles from the state
police barracks where the attacks happened. They don`t believe he had any
help in getting there. They think he did it on his own on foot after he
ditched that jeep. Now schools in this area of the concentrated search
right now, they were closed today for the fourth day in a row.
About 9,500 students affected. However, police are so confident that he`s
in that area. Neighboring communities felt safe enough to reopen some of
their schools that were closed last week. I talked to one mom who is
dropping her son off at school, she said she was confident in the police
work that`s being done here, and yet at the same time, she still cautioned
her son to stay alert during the day. Reverend, that really illustrates
the unease that the community is feeling even as they express the
confidence in law enforcement abilities.
SHARPTON: Wow, Sarah, thank you. NBC`s Sarah Dallof, thank you for your
time and your reporting tonight.
Now let`s bring in Mark Potok from the Southern Poverty Law Center and
retired ATF agent Jim Cavanaugh. Thank you both for joining me tonight.
MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Thanks, Reverend.
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Jim, let`s start with this AK-47 that police found in the woods.
Did Frein intend to leave that behind, or is something else going on here?
CAVANAUGH: Well, it looks like to me that he`s probably staged it for a
tactical retreat. You know, he would use the AK-47 Reverend Al as a closer
in weapon than the 30H sniper rifle. Now he killed the trooper, wounded
the other with the 308 rifle. The troopers recovered spent brass at the
scene, matched it to some found in the jeep. And you know, this guy is a
sniper, he`s a marksman, he`s a shooter. And that gun is going to be like
his baby. That 308. He`s always going to be with that gun. Not so with
the AK. But it looks like he stashed it maybe, the magazine stir by
intending maybe to use it as he retreated up, you know, a drawer up a hill
to fight the agents off.
SHARPTON: You know, Mark, they`re saying that he only is targeting law
enforcement. In fact, officials addressed on Sunday why they believe Frein
is only targeting law enforcement. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TOM CORBETT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: He had the opportunity to shoot
civilians at the Blooming Grove barracks at the same time that he shot the
police officer. So it is our conclusion that he`s aimed totally at police
officers. Because there were unarmed civilians right in the exact same
location during the course of the shooting and he chose not to shoot at
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Mark, do you think it`s likely that the alleged shooter will
stick to the script and that he`s only interested in harming police
POTOK; Well, I can only go by what the officers on the scene are saying,
and yes, it does seem to be the case, that in fact he targeted police
officers, state troopers, and not other people. What that says about him
though, I think we really don`t know. Is he political in some way? Is he
a member of the radical right in some sense? Or is this a man who has a
personal grudge against police, or perhaps even a mental illness of some
kind that has caused him to fantasize and obsess about police? I think all
of those things are very much unknown, at least to the general public at
this point. We just don`t know if he`s similar to that couple Amanda and
Jared Miller that murdered police officers a couple months ago in Las
SHARPTON: I want to get back to that, but let me ask you this, Jim. Not
only is there a great deal of untamed forest in the area, Frein could have
also been aided by the fact that Pike County alone boasts more than 14,000
seasonal or recreational homes. Now, how easy is it to break into one of
those homes, to steal items, or to hide? And how tough is it for police to
make sure he`s not in one of those houses?
CAVANAUGH: Right. It`s very easy for him to get into a, you know, a
vacant cabin or mountain house and maybe get some provisions, some food, or
even sleep there for a few nights. But likely he`s planned this for a long
time. So he may have chosen one of those cabins and fortified it, or he`s
using some sort of a cave or improvised berm system with earth works and
logs. He`s got a place and that`s going to be his place where he keeps
some ammunition and food. He`s planned this a long time. And he`s likely
trying to draw the police back into that spot.
SHARPTON: You`ve done this, Jim. Is it likely, just quickly, is it likely
in your mind that they`ll capture him soon? Are they closing in? Is that
CAVANAUGH: I think so, Reverend, because I think he also wants the
confrontation as well. And I agree with mark, I think he`s maybe forging
his own new, radical, anti-government genre here as the military re-
enactor, you know, want to be sniper, obsessed government hater. Not
necessarily fits into one of our usual blocks, but has elements that come
from all. Sovereigns, militia, violent any government groups. That same -
SHARPTON: Let me go back to that, Mark. Because we`re out of time. But
investigators do say Frein has expressed anti-government sentiments similar
to those of a group called the sovereign citizens movement. Sovereign
citizens court cases, hit 1,200 this past year in New Jersey. There are
300,000 members in the U.S. and sovereign citizens have killed seven police
officers in the past 12 years. Now we still don`t know what motivated Eric
Frein, as you`ve said, but how serious is this anti-police rhetoric in
POTOK: Well, it`s very serious, but it comes from all quarters. You know,
it comes from all kinds of different people with different politics. You
know, what I have heard about his anti-government interests and opinions is
very vague. So whether he`s a part of the sovereign citizens movement, I
think, is very, very much questionable. Sovereigns have a very particular
ideology, they believe that federal laws essentially do not apply to them.
And certainly we`ve seen nothing like that, at least in public from this
person. So I think all of these questions are very much unknown still.
SHARPTON: All right, Mark Potok and Jim Cavanaugh, thank you both for your
POTOK: My pleasure.
SHARPTON: Coming up, a United States senator helps out with a keg stand at
a tailgating party. A 20-year-old raid at a strip club because of a hot
topic in the governor`s race. And the so-called kissing congressman is
back with an ad you have to see to believe. The political water cooler is
SHARPTON: Time now for the talk of the nation. The hottest political
stories that have people talking today.
Joining me now is Dana Milbank and Krystal Ball, thank you both for being
here this evening.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks for having us, Rev.
DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Rev.
SHARPTON: We start tonight in Louisiana where the so-called kissing
congressman is trying to make a comeback. You might recall back in April,
Louisiana Congressman Vance McAllister was caught on camera kissing a
staffer who was not his wife. That woman left her job. And McAllister
initially said he wouldn`t run again. But earlier this summer, he had a
change of heart, announcing he would run again. Today he released his
latest campaign ad, with an unlikely ally by his side. His wife.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VANCE MCALLISTER (R), LOUISIANA: Life is filled with ups and downs --
KELLY MCALLISTER, WIFE OF REP. VANCE MCALLISTER: but a man`s character is
based on how many times he gets back up and stands again.
VANCE MCALLISTER: I`m lucky to have been blessed with a great family and a
wonderful Christian wife.
KELLY MCALLISTER: And I`m blessed to have a husband who owns up to his
mistakes, never gives up, always fighting for the good people of Louisiana.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Krystal, this is a family values republican. Can you buy this?
BALL: Well, look, I`m never going to look at someone else`s marriage and
judge, right? We have no idea what`s gone on between them. We have no
idea what the conversations have been like, or what place they`ve come to.
But I think the tough thing for him has always been, when you are this
family values conservative, when you lead with that, and then you have that
kind of indiscretion become public, it`s not even so much the sex of it,
which we don`t know there was sex. We saw a kiss, that`s all that we know.
It`s the fact that he seems hypocritical. So it makes it harder for voters
to trust him. Obviously he thinks this ad will be an important part of
getting over that, of getting voters back on his side, but it`s a tough
thing to do.
SHARPTON: Dana, the staffer voluntarily left her job. Fair?
MILBANK: Well, look, I think this whole tale is getting more tangled than
a duck dynasty beard.
You`ll recall that the "Duck Dynasty" actually has two candidates in this
election at this point. Look, I certainly don`t fault his wife for taking
the position that she`s taking. But it does say something about the man`s
character. Not what he did in the first place, but the fact that he`s sort
of having his wife up there as a prop to take the hit for him. David
Vitter, also in Louisiana, did this, and got away with it. But she says,
look, he`s owned up to his mistakes. Yes, that`s true, but only after he
was caught making those mistakes on a videotape.
SHARPTON: All right, next we move to Kansas, where a candidate is catching
heat for his visit to a strip club nearly 20 years ago. Over the weekend,
the Coffeeville journal reported democratic candidate for governor Paul
Davis visited a strip club back in 1998, on the same night the club was
raided for a drug search. Davis was 26 and unmarried at the time and was
not found to be doing anything wrong by police. This weekend he told
Politico, quote, "I was taken to a club by my boss.
The club owner was one of our legal clients. I was never accused of having
done anything wrong, but rather I was in the wrong place at the wrong
time." The Coffeeville journal says they got the story from open records
at the sheriff`s office, but Davis is pointing a finger at his opponent.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, who is currently trailing Davis at the
polls. Krystal, is this ugly politics, or a fair attack on a candidate?
BALL: I think it`s a bit desperate quite frankly. And Kansas really
shouldn`t be in play at all. It`s a testament to just how terrible
Brownback`s policies have been for the state that this is really a close
race in any respect. Look, voters can judge for themselves, and if I were
to guess this sort of thing, where he was unmarried, he`s a young guy, he`s
not doing anything illegal. If anything, it`s going to make him more
relatable and more human to people. I have some personal experience in
this regard. What I`ve found is that voters don`t tend to judge, don`t
tend to demonize people when they`re doing something legal and that he`s
being quite up front about here.
MILBANK: Well, look, it`s politics. So anything`s fair game to bring it
up. I think I agree with Krystal. I don`t know how many people are going
to be offended that 16 years ago, this guy was 26 when he was unmarried,
had a lap dance, if there are people who are going to object to that,
they`re probably with Brownback already.
SHARPTON: Well, the polls show that Brownback is behind in the polls as
you say Krystal and that his policies, his dealing with the damaging social
and budgetary impact of his slash and burn fiscal measures have become
apparent. So is this some kind of maneuver in your judgment by Brownback`s
people, or is this a journalist that just dug it up?
BALL: I certainly wouldn`t be surprised. I don`t have any special
knowledge on that, but I wouldn`t be surprised if it came from his
opponent. I think Brownback is getting a little desperate at this point.
As I was saying, this should not be a race. But he`s devastated the
finances of that state to the point that you have a lot of crossover
voters, you also have a lot of crossover endorsers. Brownback has been
unbelievably hostile not only to democrats in the state, but even to
moderate republicans in the state.
SHARPTON: I want to get to a political keg stand. Yes, you heard that
right. Here`s a Louisiana senator, Mary Landrieu, helping a man do a keg
stand at an LSU tailgate party Saturday. The picture captured by several
onlookers show Landrieu holding a beer tap in a young man`s mouth as he`s
hoisted upside down. When asked if she`d do a keg stand for votes. She
replied, that`s all right, I`m not that desperate. Republicans piled on
the senator almost immediately. One republican tweeted that photo out with
the caption, no, really, senator? Mary Landrieu poured beer into the mouth
of a guy doing a keg stand today. Another saying, bright side, Mary
Landrieu will have plenty of time after losing her seat to help students
binge drink. Dana, good politics or poor judgment?
MILBANK: Well, I think we can certainly say it`s a good thing she didn`t
actually do the keg stand herself. It might have been slightly risky, but
the guy who`s competed in many keg sack competitions, Rev and I`m in a
glass houses position here.
Well, Krystal, I won`t ask you if you`ve done keg stands and I certainly
will not ask you, if you have pictures of Dana doing it, but what do you
MILBANK: She has, Reverend.
BACK: I mean, I`m a little surprised Republicans are even trying to make
something out of this. Because the whole attack on her is been she`s out
of touch with this state, she`s not one of us, she`s up in Washington doing
her thing and she`s not here with the people. And here they are, giving
her free publicity about being there on the ground, with her constituents
in the state, at a you know, a tailgating party at LSU. And I don`t think
that most voters are going to hold the fact against her that she put that
tap up to the nozzle of that guy who is well over the age of 21, to have a
drink of beer.
SHARPTON: All right, we`ll leave it there, Dana Milbank -- and we want
those pictures, Dana.
Krystal Ball, thank you for your time. Catch Krystal on "THE CYCLE"
weekdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.
Still to come, Chris Christie is speaking out about his weight and saying
exactly how much he`s lost. Does it mean he`s running? That`s ahead.
SHARPTON: It`s become a tell tale sign of political prognosticators to get
a sense if someone is thinking about running for higher office. Weight
loss. For years people have been watching Governor Chris Christie, the New
Jersey republican`s weight has been a major topic of conversation,
especially with the late-night comedians.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Thank you, Governor Chris
Christie, for winning a second term as governor of New Jersey and proving
that whenever you run, it ends in a landslide.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You`re welcome.
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": I`ve made jokes
about you, not just one or two, not just ongoing here or there,
intermittent, but --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But now, Christie is talking about losing weight. The "New York
Times" reports today about an exclusive meeting Governor Christie had with
GOP mega donors last Friday, where he revealed that he`s shed 85 pounds
since he underwent weight loss surgery last year. Christie reportedly told
donors he understood that if he ever wanted to go beyond New Jersey
politics, he`d have to shed some pounds. Now, I don`t know if Chris
Christie is running for president or not, but I want to congratulate him on
his weight loss so far. It`s a huge accomplishment. Take it from me, I
know how tough it is. And trust me, whether you`re running or not, you
feel better. So job well done on those 85 pounds. As for running, we`ll
be watching. When I ran for president, governor, I gained weight. And I
got more progressive and I didn`t use surgery afterward.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, right-wingers are reviving their shameful
assault on the poor in this country. Paul Krugman is writing about these
new attacks on what conservatives call those lazy jobless in the "New York
Times." Speaker John Boehner is leading the charge, suggesting that people
who can`t find work are happy to just sit around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think this idea that
has been born over the last, maybe out of the economy over the last couple
of years is that, you know, I really don`t have to work. You know, I don`t
really want to do this. I think I`d just rather sit around. This is a
very sick idea for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This kind of talk is divisive and it`s insulting to millions of
Americans doing their best to make ends meet. And now we`re hearing right-
wing pundits trot out another old favorite, that the poor aren`t really
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Poverty itself, when you look at the study
from the Heritage Foundation, and all the things that poor people have, and
when you consider that poor people can get $40,000, and more in some
states, in welfare payments, I don`t think we really have any destitution
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: There`s no destitution? Because the poor have stuff? This kind
of talk is totally out of touch with reality. They`re nearly 15 million
children in America living in poverty, 15 million. Over 14 percent of the
U.S. households are food insecure. Meaning they don`t have regular access
to affordable or nutritional food. A recent survey shows that 20 percent
of people going to food banks are current or former members of the
military. That`s the truth about the poor. They`re not lazy and they
don`t want a hand-out. They want a hand up. To have policies that don`t
help the poor is disturbing. But to denigrate and demonize the poor is
despicable. We are a better nation than that, even if your policies won`t
help lift people up, you don`t try and denigrate them and look down on
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, "HARDBALL": Trouble at the White House. Let`s play
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