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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, January 21st, 2012

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: January 21, 2015
Guest: Joan Walsh, Karen Bass, Jan Schakowsky, Randal Hill, Jordan
Schultz, Julia Cunningham, Jonathan Capehart, Midwin Charles

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks for tuning in.

We start tonight with breaking news. President Obama moments ago wrapping
up a speech in Idaho. The first of two red states he is visiting this week
where he`s selling his vision of a stronger, more progressive America.
After historic state of the union address aimed at shifting the political
debate to focus on issues of fairness and equality.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Number one, it means helping
working families feel more secure in a constantly changing economy. It
means helping folks afford child care and college and paid leave at work
and healthcare. We don`t want to just make sure that everybody shares in
America`s success. We actually think that everybody can contribute to
America`s success. And when everybody is participating and giving it a
shot, there`s nothing that we cannot do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It was the same tone the nation heard from the president in his
state of the union address where he laid out a progressive agenda for the
next two years and beyond promoting middle class economics, building from
the middle out, not the top down, telling Republicans who are attacking his
policies on immigration and health care, I will veto it. And on foreign
policy saying that the U.S. must combine military power with strong
diplomacy.

And his confidence was palpable dashing any Republican hopes that he would
roll over as a lame duck president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If you truly believe you can work full time and support a family of
four on $15,000 a year, try it. If not, vote to give millions of the
hardest working people in America a raise.

We seek the fastest economic growth in over a decade. There`s good news
people.

I have no more campaigns to run. My only agenda -- I know, because I won
both of them --

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That last line was the president drop the mike moment driving
more traffic on twitter than any other. And in his final two years,
President Obama is trying to shift the debate to focus on a progressive
legacy for America. And today in Idaho, he demanded that Republicans step
up and work with him for the good of the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Watching last night, some of you may notice, Republicans were not
applauding for many of these ideas. They were kind of quiet.

My job is to put forward what I think is best for America. The job of
congress, then, is to put forward alternative ideas but they`ve got to be
specific. It can`t just be "no." I just want -- I`m happy to start a
conversation. Tell me how we`re going to do the things that need to be
done. Tell me how we get to "yes." I want to get to "yes" on more young
people being able to afford college. I want to get to "yes" on more
research and develop funding. I want to get to "yes" for first class
infrastructure for help our businesses to succeed. I want to get to "yes,"
but you`ve got to tell me. Work with me here. Work with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congresswoman Karen Bass, Democrat of
California and salon.com`s Joan Walsh. Thank you both for being here.

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

REP. KAREN BASS (D), CALIFORNIA: Thanks for having us.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, it`s an energized confident tone from the
president. How much pressure is on the Republicans to help the president
get to "yes"?

BASS: Well, I think there`s a lot of pressure because, as you recall, in
his speech yesterday he really didn`t put forward specific pieces of
legislation. He talked about values, he talked about, you know, the
American dream. He talked about things that were very hard to disagree
with.

And so it was kind of interesting and we kept looking over at the
Republican side wondering how they could not stand up when you`re talking
about equal pay for women, how you couldn`t stand up when you`re talking
about education, k through 14. So I think my Republican colleagues had a
difficult time last night.

SHARPTON: You know, Joan, here`s what you wrote about the president`s
speech. Let me quote you to you.

WALSH: Thank you.

SHARPTON: "President Obama delivered his second to last state of the union
address with an epic combination of sweet talking and trash talking,
cajoling and trolling. Anyone who tuned in expecting a conciliatory lame
duck president was disappointed."

To what degree can the president`s confident and bold demeanor galvanize
Republicans, Joan?

WALSH: I think it means everything. I think that`s what you saw on
twitter last night, Reverend Al. I think people were really excited to see
this president. I do believe we caught him in a fib, though. I hate to be
the one to say it. Because he said he had run his last campaign. He has
not. That is him on the campaign trail today. He`s going to campaign for
these ideas, he is going to campaign for this agenda, his agenda and the
Democratic Party is going to be a lot stronger for it. So you know, he is
still out there. Don`t write him off.

SHARPTON: Well, I can handle that kind of fear.

WALSH: OK.

SHARPTON: You know, the president talked about that famous speech he made
in Boston, Congresswoman, where he said there isn`t a liberal America or
conservative America. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than
once that my presidency hasn`t delivered on this vision. How ironic, they
say, that our politics seem more divided than ever.

But I still think the cynics are wrong. I still believe that we are one
people. I still believe that together we can do great things, even when
the odds are long.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You know, Congresswoman, I said last night when I heard him
uttering those words that I remember in 2004 when he said I ran for
president in that convention. But last night it was even more powerful
because here`s a man who has been the subject of more unfair venomous
attacks and yet he still believes in that message.

BASS: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: It took a new kind of strength last night.

BASS: I absolutely agree. I think he put out a program. He put out a
series of ideas that really resonate with the American people.

You know, after the address, rev, I went to my office and I did a telephone
town hall. I talked to thousands of residents from my district and people
completely identified with his message and they asked me repeatedly, what
can we do to make these ideas, policy and bills that he can sign so that we
can have education k through 14?

We know we have a big problem in our country with a lot of positions that
we can`t fill because we don`t have people with the skills. And so, having
education k through 14 will absolutely make a big difference in that.

SHARPTON: Joan, how do you feel about this optimism that all he`s gone
through unfairly, I mean, birth-less, I mean, everything unimaginable, some
things I couldn`t even imagine, yet he`s still optimistic.

WALSH: I think history`s going to look back and agree with you, Rev., that
this president has suffered so much disrespect and yet he does keep that
vision. I love hearing Representative Bass talk about k-14. I think, you
know, our kids are going to talk about k-14, that is what is expected of
us, not k-12, not k-8 like my grandmother. K-14 is going to be the new
norm.

He`s laying out what should be the new norms and new progressive agenda.
And I think, you know, he`s done everything he could to bring us together.
He has got to have some help on the other side. He`s not going to get it.

BASS: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, a new poll finds the majority supports President
Obama`s proposal. Fifty one percent back his call for community college,
58 percent support his tax plan to close loopholes on the top one percent
and give the middle class a break and 66 percent support his proposal on
paid sick leave.

I mean, this encouraging if the Congress listens to the public.

BASS: Absolutely, because his proposals are common sense proposal that
relate to the majority of America. And so, we wouldn`t even think twice
about education and having to pay through education k-12. So why can`t you
add two more years?

I actually remember in California when community college was free. So you
know, that was about 20 years ago. But this is not really a new idea. And
so, the idea that we should go back to that I think is exactly what is
needed right now in our country.

SHARPTON: Joan, isn`t he really pushing, though, the agenda? I mean, even
Republicans now are talking about income inequality and fairness.

WALSH: He is. I think that the -- it`s good. It`s a good thing. Let`s
give them credit for acknowledging that there really is a problem. We have
a recovery for some people haven`t kept up and wages have been stagnant for
a lot of American families for 30 years under the trickledown policies that
they have embraced and they have nothing more than trickled down. And I
know Joni Ernst was trying to show us that she`s a regular person with
bread bags on her shoes and everything. But regular people need more than
bread bags and it`s all insanely popular with the American people.

SHARPTON: But Joan, let me ask you, right away we see them go back and do
things that just, to me, just smacks of the ultimate trying to be
disrespectful. The speaker, John Boehner, inviting prime minister of
Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address the Congress about new sanctions on
Iran, which breaks all protocol. Usually the head of state invites the
head of state.

WALSH: It`s really shocking. I mean, seriously. You know, I`m not that
old but as far as I know, it`s unprecedented. And it is a kind of
disrespect that I just cannot imagine a democratic speaker, Nancy Pelosi,
inviting a head of state to address the Congress under George W. Bush. I
mean, my brain just won`t even get around that idea that she would show any
president that kind of disrespect. So when I heard this, I wasn`t sure it
was true. I really -- it really is that bad.

SHARPTON: Well, I can say this, as I`ve said throughout the last several
years. It`s one thing to disagree with the president, it`s another thing
to undermine a presidency. If you believe in the republic, why would you
do anything that would desecrate the highest officer in the land?

Congresswoman Karen Bass and Joan Walsh, thank you both for your time
tonight.

BASS: Thanks for having us on.

SHARPTON: Straight ahead, what Republicans stood for last night. And it
wasn`t much.

Plus, a major controversy erupts in the sports world. Did the Patriots
cheat to get into the super bowl?

And is Joe Biden ready for a 2016 run? Wait until you hear what he`s
saying.

And Hillary Clinton`s Putin impersonation. Who knew she was ready for
"Saturday Night Live." It`s all ahead. Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Facebook says the top social moment of the state of the union
was this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I have no more campaigns to run. My only agenda -- I know, because
I won both of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And our "Politics Nation" social media community was all over
this today.

Fergi wrote, oh my God, the state of the union speech was awesome. The
look on Boehner`s face the entire evening was priceless.

Judith says, very well done. He certainly can think on his feet.

Sigmend posted, he got you.

Hey Sigmend, that`s my line.

Coming up, we`ll talk about the significance of his response. But please
keep this conversation going on our facebook page or tweet us
@politicsnation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`ve heard a lot of talk from Republicans that they want a
compromise. But their actions seem to say the opposite. Just check out
how they responded to the president at last night`s state of the union.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: In the past year alone, about 10 million uninsured Americans
finally gained the security of health coverage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Ten million more people insured. But Speaker Boehner doesn`t
think that`s the reason to clap. And that wasn`t all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is
paid the same as a man for doing the same work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Speaker Boehner won`t applaud equal pay either. And his members
all stayed in their seats. What about minimum wage?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You truly believe you can work full time and support a family on
less than $15,000 a year? Try it. If not, vote to give millions of the
hardest working people in America a raise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A huge cheer from Democrats and the president`s cabinet while
Republicans just stood in their shoes.

But even that wasn`t the worst disgrace that we saw last night. One of the
first lady`s guest was an undocumented college student who is benefiting
from the president`s executive action on immigration and Republican
congressman Steve king sent out this tweet about her.

Quote "Obama perverts prosecutorial discretion by inviting a deportable to
sit in a place of honor at the state of the union with first lady."

That kind of smear has no place in our politics. The American people don`t
want insults. They want solutions. And instead of sitting on their hands,
Republicans should be reaching out across the aisle.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois.
Thank you for being here.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: My pleasure, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: So Congresswoman, a sitting member of Congress calling a young
woman a deportable. I mean, how can the party that -- how could they allow
that, first of all, in the party and then also claim they want to work on
issues like immigration?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, two things. First of all, Steve King is notorious for
that kind of anti-vicious, anti-immigration sentiment. Of course, this
young woman was what we called a dreamer. One of the young people that was
given protection against deportation, allowed to get permit and a driver`s
license, certainly not made a legal resident of this country, but deferred
action on any deportation in this country.

But number two, this really is the Republican policy because they offered
and passed an amendment to the homeland security bill that actually would
have rolled back this deferred action for our young people who came here as
children with no choice of their own and have really grown up as Americans.

So Steve King was in fact representing the view of the majority of the
Republicans who voted for that amendment.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, help me out here. There were two official
responses from the GOP to the state of the union. And one was in Spanish,
the other in English. In the Spanish language response, the congressman
said that the party would work to, quote, "create permanent solutions for
our immigration system." In the English language version, nothing on
immigration. I mean, was it just lost in translation?

SHARPTON: No. Joni Ernst who gave the official official. Let`s remember,
there were about five replies to the president.

SHARPTON: Yes, but these were the same speech and just spoke in One in
English and one in Spanish.

SCHAKOWSKY: And reported to be the exact translations.

SHARPTON: Right,

SCHAKOWSKY: But Joni Ernst, an adamant opponent of immigration left those
words out. But in the Spanish version they talked about as if they wanted
to do something about immigration reform.

And how much more cynical can you get than that? They wanted to actually
tell something that was just not true. The Republican party is so far from
wanting to do anything about immigration but they wanted to pander to the
special language listeners.

SHARPTON: Now, some of the Republicans who responded last night were
actually talking about fairness and income inequality and struggling
Americans. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We see our neighbors agonize over stagnant wages and
lost jobs.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Income inequality is worsened under this
administration. And tonight, President Obama offers more of the same
policies, policies that have allowed the poor to get poor and the rich to
get richer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So apparently, they want to talk about it but they don`t want to
do anything about it, like voting for minimum wage.

SCHAKOWSKY: Exactly. The nerve of them to say that it`s because of
President Obama whose policies they defied at every single turn. Anything
that would lift people out of poverty that would bolster the middle class
they were opposed to. Despite them, the economy has begun to take off and
wages are even beginning to creep up a bit. But they have been against all
of the policies and, of course, when he presented some ideas last night,
instead of offering any ideas of their own, they said no. No, no and no.

SHARPTON: I`m out of time but I want to mention, I read an op-ed that you
wrote AT "USA today" about raising the millionaire tax.

SCHAKOWSKY: Yes. You know, there are seven tax brackets leading up to
$400,000 and none after that. So if you make $400 million, you`re still in
the same tax bracket as someone who makes 400,000. We should raise the
taxes on people between a million and a billion. Yes, Reverend, there are
people who make a billion dollars a year in the United States of America
and they should pay a higher tax.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Schakowsky, thank you for your time tonight.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the controversy that is casting a shadow over the
super bowl. Did the most successful team in the NFL cheat on its way to
the big game?

Also, new comments from vice president Biden leaving the door wide open for
2016.

But first, the flub by Senator Cruz that he didn`t want you to see. That`s
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: It`s time for Reverend Al`s prompter tips.

SHARPTON: Senator Ted Cruz gave his own state of the union response last
night. And it didn`t go so well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: And yet today, medium incomes have stagnated for
over a decade.

Let me start over.

Tonight, America saw a powerful demonstration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Senator Cruz had a little trouble with the speech. But, don`t
worry, Senator, trust me, it happens. We all know I`ve had my share of
prompter issues, right Kenan (ph)?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans are mad because the tea party has been
targeted by the -- excuse me, the IRS. All Republicans want to do is spout
conspiracy -- I`m sorry. Oh, I`m sorry. Excuse me. Conspiracy theories.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s enough of that.

So Senator Cruz, let me offer some help. Some teleprompter tips.

Tip number one, take it in stride. Mistakes happen but it`s always better
to just keep going. And we all know you like to read. It might not be
green eggs and ham, but for number two, always have a hard copy of your
script in hand.

And I`m on live where you take your speech. Last night, you taped it so
here`s tip number three and it`s a basic one. Make sure you upload the
right clip to You Tube. But you know what else you should start looking
over? The rest of the speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: The president tried to paint a rosy picture of an economy that --.

Let me start over.

Stop the president`s illegal and unconstitutional amnesty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I guess 58 straight months of private sector job growth is doom
and gloom for the economy? And I guess the uninsured rate at a record low
is a train wreck? And that unconstitutional amnesty is actually a very
constitutional executive action, helping nearly five million people.

Does Senator Cruz think we wouldn`t notice his policy flubs are far worse
than his video flub? My response to that is right in that prompter. It
says, we got you.

Wait. Let me start over.

We got you again.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: A Super Bowl size controversy is grabbing headlines nationwide.
Did the New England Patriots cheat to get in the big game? It`s known as
deflate-gate. The Patriots accused of taking air out of the footballs in
the game against the Colts. NBC has not confirmed this. But ESPN reports
that 11 out of the team`s 12 footballs were two pounds of air pressure
short of the league`s standing. Some sports analyst say a deflated ball is
easier to grip, especially in the rain. The NFL tells us their review is
continuing and they will provide an update as soon as possible. Patriots`
Coach Bill Belichick, it says, he`s cooperating fully with the
investigation but that investigation continues and there are many questions
left unanswered. Who did it, who ordered it and who might have known about
it?

Joining me now is former Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver Randal Hill and
Huffington Post sports Columnist Jordan Schultz. Thank you both for your
time tonight.

JORDAN SCHULTZ, SPORTS COLUMNIST: Thank you.

RANDAL HILL, FORMER MIAMI DOLPHINS WIDE RECEIVER: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Randal, what`s your reaction to this? If true, is this
cheating?

HILL: Yes. It is cheating. And it does give the receivers an added
advantage and even the quarterback for being able to grip the ball. You
know, it`s really strange because it kind of reminds me of, you know, back
in the day with Watergate, you know, the Patriots are going to win the game
anyway, you know, just like Nixon is going to win. So why you have to, you
know, stoop to these levels?

SHARPTON: Randal, we know where Jerry Rice stands. Arguably the greatest
NFL player ever tweeted -- greatest player ever, he tweeted this. Eleven
of 12 balls underinflated. Can anyone spell cheating?

HILL: You know, without a doubt, you know, that`s definitely an added
advantage for the receivers and for the quarterbacks and, you know, it`s
going to waken some of the eyes of people who gambled on this games legally
and illegally. And it`s going to, you know, it`s going to have people to
question, you know, all these games fix and hopefully the NFL come back and
respond and write the wrong.

SHARPTON: Jordan, a Boston radio show asked Tom Brady about this
controversy Monday morning before the ESPN report came out. Listen to what
he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There is some reports post-game last night that the
league is looking into that the Patriots, your team, were deflating the
balls within the game. Have you heard about this story? Do you know the
story I`m talking about?

TOM BRADY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: No, I don`t.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Would you care to tell me if you were deflating balls
then?

(LAUGHTER)

BRADY: No. I have no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Did you get the sense that you were able to grip the
ball better than the Colts last night?

(LAUGHTER)

Would you care to weigh in on that?

BRADY: I think I`ve heard it all at this point. Oh, God.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We were trying to figure out whose job it is to take the
air out of the ball. I`m pretty sure it`s Dod Kraft`s.

BRADY: It`s nobody`s.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s not Jonathan Kraft? No?

BRADY: No, God, it`s ridiculous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Jordan, your reaction?

SCHULTZ: Listen, Bill Belichick has been in the news for this before,
2007. Spy gate and when you look at back that when he cheated by, you
know, recording of posting coaches, defensive signals, this hurts the
legacy of him. It does not hurt the legacy of Tom Brady. He`s been to a
record now. Six Super Bowls. To me, it`s really upsetting because it does
impact the integrity of the game. Dan Marino today, he said the impact of
a deflated ball, correctly inflated ball really isn`t much a personal
preference. It`s worth noting that Indianapolis Andrew Luck had his own
set of 12 balls. So, you know it`s hard to understand --

SHARPTON: Yes. I think a lot of people are surprised both teams use
different balls.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

SHARPTON: How did this investigation even come about?

SCHULTZ: Well, there was an interception and the second quarter,
Indianapolis ironically intercepted to past.

SHARPTON: Right.

SCHULTZ: And the linebacker and the Colts stat, something wasn`t right,
the way that he was able to make that play. And it`s ironic because it
wasn`t a New England touchdown. But in the Super Bowl is the only game out
where each team uses the same 12 balls. So it is worth noting that. But I
think the bigger question here is, Roger Goodell, the commissioner, what is
his responsibility? He wants to be that hammer. This is a time to lay a
suspension down. I don`t think it`s going to happen before the Super Bowl
but at some point I think Bill Belichick will be suspended in all these
graphics.

SHARPTON: Randal, what are players, former players and present players,
what are they saying about this?

HILL: Well, when you talk about, I mean, you brought it up correctly.
There are 12 balls on each side. And, you know, a lot of people don`t
know. The fans don`t know, that the offense have their balls on each side
and then there`s a kicking ball. And, you know, some of the players have
come back and said, you know, this is not necessary, when you talk about
the integrity of the game, you know, just go out there and catch a ball,
you know, whether it be all the same balls, you know, all deflated
properly. There`s just no call for this. You know, especially in today`s
age and with the technology the way it is now.

SHARPTON: When you were playing, have you ever heard of anything like
this, Randal?

HILL: I would like to say, no comment. But you know, it does happen,
things like this do happen but, you know, you try to, you know, play by the
rules. You want to play by the rules because you know, you have the fans
watching the game and it`s all about the integrity of the game. You know,
I`ve always tried to put, you know, I was a character on the field but I
was trying to play within the rules. But, you know, playing with, you
know, deflated balls, you know, no way, because I had Dan Marino throwing
me the ball.

SHARPTON: Now, Jordan, after the Ray Rice thing, I mean, the NFL really
doesn`t need another controversy.

SCHULTZ: No. Especially on the hills of after what was one of the best
games in conference championships history, Seattle and Green Bay. This is
a sour note and, you know, it`s unfortunate because we probably win that
game anyway, Al. And you`re going into the Super Bowl with this, this is
the last bit of negative pr the league would want. That`s why I say
Goodell has a real responsibility here to do something right and deem it,
you know, really unfortunate for the rest of the league.

SHARPTON: Well, this is an ongoing investigation. We`ll certainly be
watching it and Jordan Schultz and Randal Hill, and Randal, don`t feel bad,
I`ve been called a character on the field too. But something tells me
though, we`ll both be all right.

HILL: Yes, sir.

SHARPTON: We`ll be following. Thank you for your time tonight.

HILL: Thanks for having me.

SCHULTZ: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama`s drop the mike moment. What can we
expect to hear in the next two years? Is Joe Biden gearing up for a
presidential run even if Hillary gets in? And speaking of Hillary, who is
she impersonating today?

"Conversation Nation" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Time for Conversation Nation. Joining me tonight, Julia
Cunningham, Jonathan Capehart and Midwin Charles. Thank you all for being
here tonight.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thanks, Rev.

MIDWIN CHARLES, ATTORNEY: Thanks, Rev.

JULIA CUNNINGHAM, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thank you for having us.

SHARPTON: We have to go back to that zinger hurled around the country last
night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I have no more campaigns to run.
My only agenda -- I know, because I won both of them.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Jonathan, that was a comeback to remember. What do you think?
Are we seeing the President break loose a little?

CAPEHART: Break loose a little? Man, he is off the chain. Look, my
favorite part was not just the I want both of them, it was the quick turn
after he said it. I mean, that was so cutting, it`s fantastic.

SHARPTON: And then the pause and the smile. Midwin?

CHARLES: Absolutely. One of the things I love most about it is it`s
accurate. And I think that that`s kind of why --

SHARPTON: It wouldn`t have had the punch if it wasn`t accurate.

CHARLES: Okay. I think that`s why it drew the applause that everybody,
you know, that you heard. And I think people recognize that this is a
president who is comfortable in his space, comfortable in his skin and he,
you know, rightfully so, has a lot to glow about in the sense that we have
come a long way in the past six years. I think we can all recall in 2008,
2009, the sky was literally falling.

SHARPTON: Right.

CHARLES: Many many people were suffering. The economy was just not doing
well at all. And it is undeniable at this point that we are clearly much
better off now than we were six years ago.

SHARPTON: But Julia, I also think and I was sitting at this table when I
was watching it in the studio last night. I also think it was because the
republicans was using a line that he was saying to try and get a little dig
at him, clapping that he wouldn`t be running again and he like turned it up
on its own head. I think that`s what even made it more of a poignant
moment.

CUNNINGHAM: Oh, President Obama is sort of a chess player in the sense
that he knows what moves are ahead. He knows when he`s saying that line
that republicans are going to make a comment and he has a strength to turn
his -- basis like nailed it. And it`s the same time I put on the show as I
can say. President Obama has a straight mic drop moment and he does such a
great job.

SHARPTON: And it wasn`t the first time we`ve seen him disrespected.

CUNNINGHAM: Right.

SHARPTON: And I mean, we are talking about the State of the Union and they
call themselves collectively on these -- at least a large number of them.
But he really turned it around and those of us that have been in private
meetings with him, and you have, Jonathan, he has a sharper with than most
people know.

CAPEHART: Exactly.

SHARPTON: The whole world saw it last night.

CAPEHART: Yes. The greatest thing about that, you lie moment. Remember,
that was at the beginning of his term and he turned the other cheek on
that.

SHARPTON: Right.

CAPEHART: Last night, another zinger came at him and this time he smacked
it right back.

CUNNINGHAM: Full force.

SHARPTON: And I think that a lot of his supporters and just general
Americans like that because it was an unnecessary use of applaud because he
was making a point and then I think they saw how sharp he was, I think, you
know, that was his drop mic moment.

CHARLES: That`s right. And I think in the past he has often come under
fire for being sort of reserved and not sort of reacting when he rightfully
should react.

SHARPTON: Two purpose.

CHARLES: Exactly. In other words, the facts aren`t on his side. Timing
is on his side and oftentimes people say, you know, he doesn`t act enough,
he`s a lot more passive than he ought to be. Particularly in times when he
should be aggressive and I think that that`s one other reasons why
everybody just loved this. Because it was, like you said, just one of
those drop the mic walk off the stage moment.

CUNNINGHAM: It deflates the jeers.

SHARPTON: Yes. Let me go on to Vice President Biden. He`s making news of
his own this morning. He made the morning show rounds, stumping from the
policies the President laid out last night. But might he be stumping for
himself soon?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Secretary Clinton is lining up staff and support. Is
there any chance that you can challenge her?

VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN (D), UNITED STATES: Yes. There`s a chance. But I
haven`t made up my mind about that. We have a lot of work to do between
now and then. There`s plenty of time. Secretary Clinton is a really
competent and capable person and a friend. The person who is going to be
the next president of the United States is the one who is going to be able
to articulate the clearest vision to the American people where they`re
going to take the country. I don`t think you have to make up your mind
until the summer. I think there`s a -- I think this is wide open on both
sides.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Julia, this got my attention. Could he challenge Hillary
Clinton?

CUNNINGHAM: Oh, absolutely. I think it`s shocking that we`re all shocked
about the fact that he made this sort of light announcement today. I mean,
he is the sitting vice president.

SHARPTON: Right.

CUNNINGHAM: We shouldn`t be shocked that he is possibly going to run and
he has the name recognition. I don`t think it would be an issue to help
start pushing things forward over the next year and I`ll see this actually
takes shape or take place.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, if he runs, he`s got a gap to close because, according
to the recent Washington Post poll, your paper, Clinton was the clear
democratic front-runner with 61 percent. Biden was at 14 and Elizabeth
Warren right behind him at 13. And Bernie Sanders at four. How does he
make up that gap if he ran?

CAPEHART: Well, I mean, that`s not a gap, Reverend. That`s a chasm. I
mean, he is, and it`s not like the American people and particularly
democratic voters don`t know who Joe Biden is.

SHARPTON: Right.

CAPEHART: What we`re seeing here is an enthusiasm gap and enthusiasm chasm
between himself and Secretary Clinton. What people do remember is that,
yes, they both ran for president in 2008. Clearly Senator Clinton,
Secretary Clinton went a whole lot farther than he did.

SHARPTON: Yes.

CAPEHART: And I think there`s also just a thirst and a hunger,
particularly within the Democratic Party base for her to run again. One,
because half of the base, of the party thinks that she lost out the last
time and folks want a woman to get the nomination and to take the White
House.

SHARPTON: Midwin though, if he runs, what will he do to the party? If you
have a Hillary versus Biden in the primaries, what would that do to the
primary?

CHARLES: Well, it would be interesting to see whether him running would
fracture the party. I mean, the question is, as a sitting vice president,
is he the heir apparent and most importantly, who will President Barack
Obama endorse? Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. So, I think that`s one of
the reasons why your question is --

CAPEHART: I think we know the answer to that question, I think --

CHARLES: Well, I think the American public is just like, well, I don`t
know. You know? And I think that that`s why your question bodes well
because it`s true. It is something that could fracture the Democratic
Party.

SHARPTON: Everyone, stay with me. When we come back, Hillary Clinton, the
impersonator. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel. Julia, Jonathan and Midwin, I want a
show of hands. Who here eats while driving the car?

CAPEHART: A what, food in my car?

SHARPTON: Well --

(LAUGHTER)

CUNNINGHAM: In the back of a taxi?

SHARPTON: You may find yourself slapped with a ticket for distracted
driving. That`s what happened to Madison Turner who was ticketed for
eating a cheeseburger while driving.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MADISON TURNER, ACTOR: The officer said to me that I wasn`t speeding or
driving erratically. I was extremely careful and did not get a bit of
mustard on my shirt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, Midwin, is this legal or out of line?

CHARLES: I think it`s out of line. I understand the reasoning behind why
he would want to give a ticket to someone who is distracted. When you`re
operating a motor vehicle, obviously you have to sort of make sure that you
are abiding by the rules and that you`re not distracted. So, but the
problem is, this becomes one of those slippery slope things. If you`re
going to ticket someone for eating while driving, what about if they are
admonishing a child, what about if a woman is applying makeup? I mean, at
what point does this stop is the problem. And then of course it goes down
to the very issue is, was the person truly distracted?

SHARPTON: But you raised your head. Maybe you`re a little biased, Midwin.

CHARLES: I raised my hand this way.

(LAUGHTER)

Like maybe it`s not me raising my hand.

CAPEHART: I mean, a law may be ticketing a woman putting on makeup while
driving, and that actually should be a ticketable offense. I mean, how are
you driving, keeping your eyes on the road and doing all the stuff you need
to do. But that being --

CHARLES: Women know how to multitask.

(CROSSTALK)

CHARLES: Women know how to multitask. That`s how.

SHARPTON: Let me move on to Hillary Clinton, Julia. We all know comedians
love impersonating her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Thank you for coming. I love your outfit.

(LAUGHTER)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I love your outfit.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, thank you.

CLINTON: But I do want the earrings back.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, okay.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: Do I really laugh like that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But today the tables were turned at a speech in Canada, Clinton
was asked if she had plans for 2016 and instead of answering she did a
Vladimir Putin impersonation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If for some reason you decided to be leader of the
United States or actually run for that, because there is a process.

CLINTON: Yes. There`s a process.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And you got elected and people said, you know what --

CLINTON: I mean, you can imagine the conversation with Putin, you know,
his prime minister after he was president and then one minute said,
Vladimir, do you think you would like to be a president again? I think I
would, actually.

(LAUGHTER)

Why don`t we just announce it? We`ll tell Demetri that he could be prime
minister. Excellent, excellent idea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Julia, who knew? I mean, how do you rate her, Putin?

CUNNINGHAM: I mean, it`s no Amy Poehler but I think it`s pretty, God, I
mean, I think he kind of lighthearted and fun. And I love that, you know,
she`s known a little bit a sense of humor, she`s sort of known for being a
little bit more stiff and withdrawn and not necessarily kind of fun and I
like it.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, a lot of people in twitter said, she sounded more like
she was impersonating Bill Clinton.

CAPEHART: Exactly. I mean, think her Putin impersonation is, well, needs
improvement but I agree with Julia that showing her light side, her funny
side, which, again, I mean, you`ve been with in situations where you get to
see her real personality, that`s her. She`s a fun, lighthearted person who
is quick with a joke, great sense of humor but her impersonation skills
needs some work.

SHARPTON: Midwin?

CHARLES: I think it never heard for a woman of her stature to show that
she`s a real person. In other words, she has a sense of humor and she`s,
you know, on top of what other world leaders are doing or saying or what
have you. I don`t see a problem with it at all.

SHARPTON: I have to go. I wonder if Putin liked the impersonation.
Julia, Jonathan and Midwin, thank you all for your time tonight.

When we come back, five years ago today our politics changed forever.
We`re following the money. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Five years ago today the Supreme Court handed down a decision in
the Citizens United case, dramatically changing the political landscape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The U.S. Supreme Court today overturned laws on the
books for nearly a century and ruled that corporations can spend freely now
on political campaigns. Those who liked this decision say it`s a victory
for free speech. Those who don`t say campaigns will now be drowning
incorporate cash and influence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The critics have been proven right. This chart shows outside
spending in midterm elections since 1990. Look how it exploded in 2010
when the Citizens United decision was made. In presidential elections, the
numbers are even worse. Under Citizens United, outside spending exploded
to just over $1.2 billion in the last election. And look at this. Last
year, the top 100 donors to Super PACs spent almost as much as all 4.7
million small donors combined. One hundred people spending as much as
millions. Conservatives always claim they don`t like activist judges until
those judges` makes decisions they agree with. Until those judges tap
campaign finance laws or gut the voting rights act. We must fight this
battle on the bench and at the ballot box. That`s why we must vote, that`s
why we much come out. We cannot let money dominate American politics. It
is anti-thetical to a democracy that money outweighs people.

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.
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