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The Ed Show for Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Guest Host: Al Sharpton

Guests: Michael Isikoff, Chris Hayes, Joan Walsh, Scott Keyes, Lynne Torgerson, Cesar Vargas

REV. AL SHARPTON, GUEST HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  Welcome to THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Reverend Al Sharpton, in for Ed Schultz.

Breaking news tonight, NBC has learned that the health clinic run by Michele Bachmann‘s husband received over $161,000 in Medicaid payments in the past six years.  This comes after Bachmann was questioned in recent days on receiving federal funds for the clinic, as well as a family-owned farm.  More on that—as well‘s Bachmann‘s history lessons coming up.

This is THE ED SHOW.  And as Ed would say—let‘s get to work!





MICHELE BACHMANN ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, what I‘m saying is that I think we need to look at all regulations.


SHARPTON (voice-over):  On day two of her campaign, the media is beginning to uncover a few problems with Michele Bachmann.  They‘re called her policies.

Michelle Goldberg, Chris Hayes, and Joan Walsh are here.

Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison has a new challenger from the right, calling him a radical Islamist.  Tonight, the candidate is here, and I‘m going to confront her on her bogus charge.

And Herman Cain plays the race card on Jon Stewart.


HERMAN CAIN ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Jon Stewart does not like me, in my opinion, because I am an American black conservative.


SHARPTON:  Tonight, I‘ll tell you what I don‘t like about Herman Cain.


SHARPTON:  Congresswoman Michele Bachmann keeps saying she wants to be taken seriously, so let‘s do that—beginning with the truly stunning exchange she had with ABC‘s George Stephanopoulos today.  He asked her if she stood by a statement that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery.

When she tried to dodge the question, this came next -- 


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS:  But that‘s not what you said.  You said the founding fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery.

BACHMANN:  Well, if you look at one of our Founding Fathers, John Quincy Adams, that‘s absolutely very true.  He was a very young boy when he was with his father, serving essentially as father‘s secretary.  He tirelessly worked throughout his life to make sure that we did in fact one day eradicate slavery from our nation and I‘m so grateful for that work.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  He wasn‘t one of the Founding Father.  He was a president, he was secretary of state.  As a member of Congress, you‘re right, he did work to end slavery decades later.  But—so you‘re standing by this comment that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery?

BACHMANN:  Well, John Quincy Adams most certainly was a part of the Revolutionary War era.  He was a young boy, but he was activity involved.


SHARPTON:  Congresswoman Bachmann is clearly guilty of historical revisionism.  It‘s not limited to her ideas about the country‘s Founding Fathers.  She‘s guilty of repeated obvious misstatements of fact.


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN:  The other, though, is that you‘re prone to misstatements.  And, which is a Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking Web site, examined 26 statements that you made and they found only to be fully true, and 18 to be false.  Several of them relating to your criticism of President Obama.

Did you mean to make false statements intentionally?  Or were you just misspeaking?

BACHMANN:  Well, of course, they were just misspeaking and that happens.  People can make mistakes.  And I wish I could be perfect I say something, but I can‘t.  But one thing people know about me is that I‘m a substantive, serious person.  I have a very strong background.


SHARPTON:  Let‘s bring in “Daily Beast” contributor Michelle Goldberg.

How are you, Michelle?


SHARPTON:  Michelle, Congresswoman Bachmann says she has a strong background.  I read a very interesting piece you did.  Tell us some of the pertinent things you uncovered to tell us who she is today, and where her background brought it from.

GOLDBERG:  Sure.  Well, pertinent to these comments about the Founding Fathers and their, you know, apparent work to end slavery, one thing I think that‘s important to understand about Michele Bachmann, and in certainly it‘s not just Michele Bachmann, but a lot of the modern right, is that there is an entire parallel reality that much of the right wing and particularly, the religious right, have constructed, you know?  So, they have—we have science, and they have kind of creation science or intelligent design.


GOLDBERG:  They also have an entire canon of revisionist history often devoted to proving that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.  One of the things I wrote in the book is that when Michele Bachmann was a student at Oral Roberts University, she worked very closely with a professor named John Eidsmoe.

SHARPTON:  Now, Eidsmoe wrote a book really talking about that.  The idea of the book was that this was a theocracy.

GOLDBERG:  Right.  And Michele Bachmann was actually the research assistant on that book.  It‘s called “Christianity and the Constitution.”  And, yes, it argued that the United States was founded as a theocracy and that it should be again.

And where slavery comes into this is that if the United States had a sort of “Immaculate Conception,” that some of these people would have it, then how do you explain away slavery?  How do you explain away the many sins of the Founding Fathers?

SHARPTON:  Well, I think the way he explains and others—and again, she was his research assistant, is the slave masters were doing this for the slaves‘ own good.  They were protecting us.  To chain us and beat us was really protect us for our own good.

GOLDBERG:  Well, they really have to go through, you know, some fairly amazing kind of logical contortions to make this ideology internally consistent.  So, yes, they basically argued on the one hand that the Founders desperately wanted to end slavery, that they were morally opposed to it, but that it would have been cruel to release slaves at that time into that economy, or at least that‘s what John Eidsmoe -- 

SHARPTON:  It was better to keep them enslaved.

Let me ask you about a past—what have you learned that deals with her whole trying to sell this as a social and fiscal conservative image, trying to sell that to the voters?

GOLDBERG:  Well, again, I think that, you know, this—there‘s an internal consistency to what some people call the Christian world view, which is this arch-fundamentalist ideology that I sometimes call Christian nationalism.  You know, it basically holds that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, that if we can just undo, you know, everything that‘s been done in the centuries since the early days of the republic, then we can get back to some imagined Eden.

You know, so if you look at some of the people that she‘s close to, some people that she cites as influences, you know, it‘s not just that she said recently she would be open to getting rid of the minimum wage.  She‘s been in videos where she talks about socialism being, you know, again not just fiscal incorrect, but Satanic—you know, they have the whole kind of theology, not just the social conservatism, but up extreme free market economics.

SHARPTON:  Can she reintroduce herself and disassociate herself from some of those extreme statements?  Because you‘re saying she‘s still saying them.

GOLDBERG:  I don‘t think she wants to disassociate herself from those statements.  I think—I mean, to a certainly extent she‘s obviously trying to repackage herself as somebody who is sober and responsible and respectable.  But that‘s her base, and that‘s also the base of the Republican Party.

I mean, you know, as crazy as she might seem, as extreme as she might seem, I don‘t think she‘s that much—she‘s that far from many of her voters or from any of the other candidates.

SHARPTON:  Well, you know, Michelle, I have to say, as a minister, I‘m a Christian, too, but I think it‘s for the Christian right to be the right Christians.  Thank you for your time.

GOLDBERG:  Thank you so much.

SHARPTON:  Michele Bachmann has also taken some seriously extreme positions, but when she‘s called out on them, she often tried to soft-pedal or not answer the question at all.


STEPHANOPOULOS:  You said back in 2005, taking away the minimum wage could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment.  Where‘s the evidence for that?

BACHMANN:  People are very upset that the president has us at 9.1 percent unemployment.  That is not acceptable.

He promised us that we wouldn‘t see unemployment go above 8 percent. 

We‘ve lost millions of jobs.

People are suffering right now.  They‘re hurting, and I feel their pain and I want to make sure that what we do going forward is actually to address this, and turn the economy around.


SHARPTON:  George Stephanopoulos actually took another crack at getting an answer to that same question.


STEPHANOPOULOS:  Let me try one more time.  So, you‘re saying that the minimum wage is one of those regulations you‘d take a look at, you‘d try to eliminate it?

BACHMANN:  Well, what I‘m saying is we need to look at all regulations, whatever ones are inhibiting job growth.  That‘s what we need to—

STEPHANOPOULOS:  And the minimum wage is one of them?

BACHMANN:  All regulations, George.  I think every department—we have just too much expansion of government.  So what we need to do is tamp that down so that the American people can keep more of what they make.


SHARPTON:  When Bachmann was asked about government money going to her business, she said this:


BACHMANN:  First of all, the money that went to the clinic was actually training money for employees.  The clinic did not get the money and my husband and I did not get the money either.  That‘s mental health training money that went to the employees.


SHARPTON:  Hmm, but NBC‘s investigative reporter Michael Isikoff has breaking news on the money that Bachmann‘s clinic has gotten.


MICHAEL ISIKOFF, NBC NEWS INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER:  NBC has new some details about the extent to which Michele Bachmann has benefited from government programs.  Bachmann, of course, has denounced the Medicaid program for swelling the welfare rolls, but it turns out the mental health clinic run by her husband has been collecting annual Medicaid payments totaling over $137,000 for the treatment of patients since 2005, according to figures obtained by NBC News.  These previously unreported payments are on top of the $24,000 in federal and state funds that Bachmann & Associates, the clinic founded by her husband, Marcus Bachmann, received under recent years in a state grand to train its employees.

The $161,000 in payments from the Minnesota Department of Human Services appears to contradict some of what Bachmann has said when she was first asked about the extent to which her family has benefited from government aid.

When questioned by Chris Wallace on “FOX News Sunday” this week about her husband‘s counseling clinic, getting federal and state funds, she said it was a one-time training money that came from the federal government, and it certainly didn‘t help our clinic.  At another point, she said, “My husband and I did not get our money and that it was mental health training money that went to the employees.”

But state records show that Bachmann & Associates has been collecting payments under the Medicaid program every year for the past six years.

And when asked about that question about the grant being a one-time grant going for the employees, a state official told me tonight that that‘s not the case, the contract was with the clinic, not the employees.  And as far as the state knows, the money went to the employees.


SHARPTON:  That was NBC News investigative reporters Michael Isikoff.

Let‘s bring in the editor at large for Salon, Joan Walsh; and “The Nation” magazine‘s Chris Hayes.

Joan, how big a problem is this to Bachmann trying to push herself as a small government conservative?

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM:  I think it‘s a big problem actually.  You know, Michele is right.  She probably won‘t get into trouble for some of her crazy ideas about this country being a Christian theocracy.  Her believers—her supporters believe that.

But this is either hypocrisy at best and maybe lying at worst.  It really seems hard to believe that she didn‘t know that her husband‘s firm was getting this kind of Medicaid money.  She‘s also not telling the truth at all about the subsidies to her farm because she‘s actually—she says it‘s her father-in-law‘s, but she‘s actually claimed the income on her disclosure forms.

Luckily, she told the truth there.  So, I think this is emerges as a big deal because one thing, voters on the left and the right don‘t like is hypocrisy, and they certainly don‘t like lying.

SHARPTON:  Chris, let me get back to her remarks about the Founding Fathers and slavery.  It seems to say a lot about how she likes to fabricate ideas and mix up facts.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  I think what it shows is there‘s this bizarre Founding Father fetishism that‘s taken over American politics, in particular the last two years.  At the same time that Barack Obama, the first African-American president was elected, a certain portion of the population decided that what they wanted to was to swear fidelity to the vision of a certain group of white men who signed the Constitution and crafted it in 1776, 1787, with absolutely, you know, no wavering from what that original vision was.

And that has now become a kind of hallmark.  Everyone is trying to like out-Founding Father each other.  And it‘s a completely preposterous means of crafting the government, governing vision for the country.

But it‘s tremendously popular, I think for both Bachmann supporters and the right more broadly.  And it‘s a way of appealing to authority, to support in this almost kind of biblical sense that the original visionaries of the country were behind whatever your particular policy preference is now.

SHARPTON:  Yes.  Joan, just how radical is Bachmann‘s position on the minimum wage, particularly when you compare past Republican candidates‘ positions on this?

WALSH:  Oh, it‘s really out there.  But, sadly, you know, they‘re all moving out there.  But, you know, listening to her—it‘s not just the minimum wage.  It‘s health and safety regulation.  It‘s the FDA.  It‘s anything that interferes with business.

And, you know, her ideas, to some extent, have been tested in deregulation, certainly financial deregulation.  We would like some of those regulations back.  They actually protected us.

The minimum wage is something that we fought for and that people value.

So, these ideas are unpopular with the broader electorate, but they‘re right square in the middle of the Republican point of view today.  It‘s kind of scary.

SHARPTON:  Yes, that‘s your point, Chris.  Bachmann, Chris, is trying to soft pedal some extreme positions, but not so much on other ones.

How is she picking and choosing which ones to blur?

HAYES:  Well, I think—I think the things she‘s not going to soft pedal, right, are the sort of Christian conservative credentials she has.  The places in which she has to has to tap dance—and we saw in the Stephanopoulos interview and the things Joan alluded is on this sort of extreme vision of a strip-down state, this hostility towards the government all its various terms for all the things it does is incredibly difficult to square with Medicaid payments, and particularly the farm subsidies, which is a really odious piece of legislation generally.

But I think that‘s the place where there‘s the core paradox at the heart of the Republican coalition right now which is fundamentally, there‘s ideological loyalty to this vision of a radically reduced role for government that if implemented would be loathe by the very base that claims to like it, because a lot of those folks are on Medicare.

WALSH:  Right.

SHARPTON:  Well, Joan Walsh and Chris Hayes—thanks for your time tonight.

WALSH:  Thank you.

SHARPTON:  Coming up: Goldman Sachs made nearly $3 billion in the first three months of this year.  So, why is the company cutting 1,000 jobs?

And Congressman Keith Ellison‘s 2012 Tea Party challenger is running on an anti-Muslim platform, calling the congressman a radical Islamist.  I‘ll ask the Tea Party candidate about her absurd claims.  Stay with us.


SHARPTON:  NBC, MSNBC, and THE ED SHOW are teaming up with the National Association of Free Clinics to hold a health clinic on August 29th at the Ernest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Your donations have funded seven previous clinics around the country, providing care for over 13,000 patients who may not have received it otherwise.

To make a donation or learn more about volunteering at the New Orleans clinic, visit their Web site as  You can also text the word “health” to 50555 to make a $10 donation by cell phone.

Later on our show, Democrats try to renew hope on the dream act.  And Goldman Sachs is creating new jobs in Singapore, while cutting them here in the U.S.  We‘ll have the details, next.


SHARPTON:  At a time when Goldman Sachs is making report profits, the investment firm is firing 1,000 workers in the United States and elsewhere.  But the company isn‘t actually downsizing.  It‘s expanding.

Goldman plans to add 1,000 new jobs to its offices in Singapore, as well as a 20 percent expansion in Brazil this year.

FOX Business Channels spilled the beans yesterday.


CHARLIE GASPARINO, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK:  Goldman Sachs is so concerned about this juxtaposition, cutting here, expanding overseas.  They‘re also expanding in Brazil, I believe, India, particularly, Singapore.  This is undisclosed, unannounced.  We are first to get this.

They‘re so concerned about the fallout of this, sources tell the FOX Business Network they‘re actually been spending time, their representatives, in Washington, alerting lawmakers, even before it becomes public, to sort of soften the blow.


SHARPTON:  Goldman Sachs recruited an insider to help them out in Washington, just hired former Republican Senator Judd Gregg as an adviser.

The company is spinning the idea that it has to reduce the American workforces because of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill singed last year.  This comes less than three years after Goldman Sachs got $10 billion American taxpayers dollars because it was allegedly too big to fail.

Joining me now is Scott Keyes, a reporter with “Think Progress,” who is following this story.

Good evening, Scott.

SCOTT KEYES, THINK PROGRESS:  Thanks for having me, Al.  Appreciate it.

SHARPON:  Tell us what kind of jobs is Goldman Sachs is creating in Singapore?

KEYES:  Well, you know, that‘s pretty interesting thing about it.  We often hear with outsourcing—supporters of outsourcing would say that it‘s an opportunity for low-skilled workers, you know, to go back to school, and learn new highly skilled 21st century jobs.

But what we‘re finding is Goldman Sachs is actually shipping these high skilled, high paying jobs off to Singapore.  So, really the entire thing breaks down.  When they‘re shipping thinks highly skilled, highly paid jobs overseas, no job is really safe anymore.

SHARPTON:  But how are lawmakers that are conservative reacting to this?  I mean, they just voted to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

KEYES:  That‘s right.  You know, we‘ve seen a lot of legislation come up on Capitol Hill targeting these exact tax breaks for companies, you know, the companies like Goldman Sachs and others receive, when they ship jobs overseas.  But every single time this legislation comes up, we‘ve seen Republicans in the Senate, for instance, last fall, vote in lock-step against this legislation, and they‘re doing so, you know, for instance, you mentioned Judd Greg, who is a senator back then.  Now, he‘s actually working for Goldman Sachs as an international divorce, helping advise these job transitions.  It‘s really something.

SHARPTON:  Well, are other companies doing the same thing as Goldman Sachs?

KEYES:  There are.  You know, over the last decade, the top American corporations—I say that, you know, with a bit of facetiousness, the top American corporations have collectively shipped over 2.4 million jobs overseas.


KEYES:  We‘re at a time of really high unemployment.  You know, we all know people who are looking for work, and here are places like Goldman Sachs just shipping jobs off to foreign lands.  It‘s a shame.

SHARPTON:  But let me go back to something we were talking about, because Goldman is saying it‘s doing this to prepare for the Dodd-Frank regulations.  Is that true?

KEYES:  Well, I‘ll tell you something about it that‘s interesting. 

Like you mentioned, Goldman had taken $10 billion in bailout money in 2008.  They went and turned around, used the bailout money for lobby Congress and get Dodd-Frank and other financial regulation reform and stuff watered down.

So, what happens is they took billions of American taxpayer money, turned around, used that to get more freebies from the American taxpayer, and now they‘re shipping jobs overseas.  You know, I mean, I‘ll keep it P.G. for your listeners, but they‘re hoaxing the American taxpayers, much like they hoaxed their own investors, you know, with a sorry deal here.

SHARPTON:  You know, Goldman‘s CEO is on the way out.  How much of that company is going to change with his leaving?

KEYES:  Gosh!  You know, it‘s hard to man that a lot is going to change.  You know, thankfully, I think we are obviously going to see a change at the top there.  Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, used to say he was doing God‘s work.  But, you know, I‘ve read my Bible, I don‘t remember anywhere Jesus saying that, you know, Jesus promoting shipping American jobs overseas.

SHARPTON:  A lot of Bible talk here, maybe because I‘m sitting in for Ed.

Scott Keyes of—for joining us.

KEYES:  Thanks, Al.

SHARPTON:  Mitt Romney repeated his favorite attack on President Obama while campaigning in New Hampshire.  We‘ll tell you why it‘s an absolute lie.

Herman Cain says it‘s not about color, but about the content of ideas. 

I‘ll tell you why Mr. Cain‘s ideas are bad for America.


SHARPTON:  Mitt Romney is not letting the truth get in the way of his favorite line from his stump speech.  At a campaign stop in New Hampshire yesterday, Romney told the Lincoln Financial employees that President Obama is a failure.


MITT ROMNEY ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The Obama administration has not been able to deal with the number issue that the country was concerned about as he became president, which was the economy. He did not cause the recession, but he made it worse. 


SHARPTON:  If that sounds familiar to you, it‘s because Romney has said it before. 


ROMNEY:  Barack Obama has failed America.  When he took office, the economy was in recession, and he made it worse, and he made it last longer. 

What this president has done is slowed the economy.  He didn‘t create the recession, but he made it worse and longer. 


SHARPTON:  Just because Romney keeps saying it doesn‘t make it true.  In fact, the National Bureau of Economy Research said the recession ended in June of 2009.  As for job growth, unemployment may be high, but President Obama presided over 15 straight months of job growth.

The country‘s GDP has also rebounded under President Obama.  And Wall Street has down really well.  Check out the rise of the Dow Jones Industrial average under President Obama. 

Americans are still facing tough economic times.  But President Obama did not make the economy worse.  And that‘s a fact. 

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison‘s 2012 Tea Party opponent claims Ellison is a radical Islamist who favors Sharia Law over the Constitution.  She joins me next to explain that absurd charge. 

Democrats are pushing for immigration reform.  Will they succeed this time around?  That‘s coming up.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.


SHARPTON:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Anti-Muslim fear mongering is already at the front of one 2012 congressional race.  One of the two Muslim members of congress, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, is being challenged by a candidate who is calling him a, quote, “radical Islamist,” and accuses him of being pro-Sharia Law. 

Lynne Torgerson first challenged Ellison in 2010 with the support of the Tea Party Nation.  She ended up with just four percent of the vote, while Congressman Ellison easily won reelection with 68 percent.  But Torgerson is trying again in 2012, accusing Ellison of, quote, “failing to oppose Islamic Sharia Law in the United States.  He also failed to support that the Constitution of the United States should be supreme over Islamic Sharia Law.” 

Congressman Ellison responded to the attacks, calling his challenger‘s campaign one of hate, division and fear.  To discuss her campaign, let me bring in Lynne Torgerson, the candidate challenging Congressman Ellison. 

You say Congressman Ellison doesn‘t think the Constitution should be the supreme law of the land.  You recently asked him about it.  Let‘s listen to his response. 


REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA:  I believe in the United States Constitution, which has been amended well over 25 times, is the bedrock of American law.  Just so you know, there‘s no state, there‘s no county, there‘s no city, there‘s no village, there‘s no hamlet, there‘s no unincorporated area that has introduced an ordinance or a bill to establish Sharia as the law of that area. 

So to ban it suggests that you‘re banning something that doesn‘t exist, that no one is calling for. 


SHARPTON:  The first thing he said was the Constitution is the bedrock of American law.  I mean, what evidence do you have that shows he‘s not committed to the Constitution? 

LYNNE TORGERSON, TEA PARTY CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS:  Well, good evening, Reverend Sharpton.  Thank you for having me. 

SHARPTON:  Good evening. 

TORGERSON:  I would—I would just like to give a bit of background.  I have been practices law for 25 years and have devoted my adult career to protecting the constitutional rights of people of all races, nationalities, walks of life and religions. 

SHARPTON:  That‘s fine, but I‘m asking you, you made a very serious charge on a very respected congressman.  What evidence do you have that he does not respect the United States Constitution as the bedrock of American law? 

TORGERSON:  Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.  And to answer your question, I do want to mention that I am not anti-Muslim in any way, shape or form.  Mr.—Congressman Ellison has long been associated with the most extremist groups around. 

He has close ties to CARE, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which was a named co-conspirator to funding terrorism in the Holy Land Foundation trial, which resulted in convictions for funding terrorism. 

SHARPTON:  Miss, let me ask you again, third time.  Do you have any evidence that Congressman Ellison has in any way, in shape or form, supported Sharia Law over the U.S. Constitution?  That was your charge.  Or were you just fear mongering and demagoguing to get votes? 

Do you—you saw you‘re a lawyer.  You gave the background.  Evidence I‘m sure is something you have had to come through in court.  Do you have any evidence that Congressman Ellison, in any way, disregards, disrespects or undermines the regard and respect of the United States Constitution? 

TORGERSON:  Yes, sir.  He was asked approximately a month ago in a public forum what he believes—whether he—does he believe that the U.S. Constitution should be supreme in the United States or Sharia Law?  What Mr. Ellison did is actually refuse to answer the question. 

If anybody asked me that question, of course, what I believe should be the supreme law in the United States, the first thing I would say is the U.S. Constitution. 

SHARPTON:  Well, he just did.  I just played you the tape where he said that to you.  So you were very clear.  He said that.  He said that to you, and we just played the tape.  What do you mean, you would say that he said that? 

TORGERSON:  Well, no, actually what he said is that the U.S.  Constitution is the bedrock of American law.  That does not answer the question of what should be supreme currently?  That‘s a very different question and very different answer. 

Mr. Ellison actually evaded the question, then went on to talk about an entirely different subject. 

SHARPTON:  So you are trying to say that Congressman Ellison, that we just played on the tape, that said the United States Constitution is the bedrock of American law and should be regarded above all law, is not actually saying what he did say. 

So we should not believe what we just saw and heard him say, that he didn‘t say that? 

TORGERSON:  Well, the question posed to Mr. Ellison was what should be supreme, the U.S. Constitution or Sharia Law?  He will not say, and I would invite many others to question him in a public forum—he will not say that the U.S. Constitution should be supreme over Islamic Sharia Law. 

SHARPTON:  I think everyone saw the tape.  Let me ask you this, only four percent of the people in your district voted for you last time; 68 percent voted for Congressman Ellison.  Is 68 percent of your district radical Islamist sympathizers? 

TORGERSON:  No, sir, I would not say so. 

SHARPTON:  Then why did they vote for him? 

TORGERSON:  I don‘t believe people yet know his associations and what his actual agenda is. 

SHARPTON:  Let me ask you something, you say you want to protect the United States Constitution.  What about the constitutional protection of freedom of religion?  Does that apply to Islam and those that believe in it? 

TORGERSON:  Yes, sir, it does. 

SHARPTON:  And you would fight to protect that? 


SHARPTON:  All right.  Well, thank you for your time in joining us tonight Lynne Torgerson. 

Earlier this evening, Congressman Ellison sent us the following statement in response to Torgerson‘s candidacy.  He said, “I took an oath to uphold the United States Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion for all Americans.  Religious acceptance is a deeply rooted American value.  And regardless of political persuasion, it‘s a value we must protect. 

“It‘s too bad that someone can obtain such attention based on intolerant rhetoric, especially when unemployment is above nine percent.  On the other hand, the nation will be able to see how extreme the rhetoric has become.  I call on all Americans to reject religious intolerance and embrace our Constitution, which upholds the promise of liberty and justice for all people.” 

I agree with the congressman, and I hope he‘ll be able to join us tomorrow night to discuss what he and his fellow Democrats are doing to address unemployment in this country. 

The Dream Act remains just a Dream for so many in this country.  We‘ll discuss that next.



SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS:  This is a land of opportunity and fairness.  And in our fairness, we will not penalize the children of parents who came to this country and did something wrong. 


SHARPTON:  It‘s called the Dream Act.  It would give some two million young people in this country a chance, by offering the children of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.  Those eligible would either have to serve in the military or to attend college. 

Today, Senate Democrats renewed their efforts, even though the legislation has little chance of passing.  Earlier, Obama administration officials testified before a Senate subcommittee.  They argued the Dream Act will benefit the nation on three fronts: economic, educational and security. 


JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY:  It simply doesn‘t make sense from a law enforcement perspective to expend limited law enforcement resources on young people who pose no threat to public safety. 

ARNE DUNCAN, EDUCATION SECRETARY:  I think in this country, we need as much talent as we can get.  We need, again, the innovators, the entrepreneurs, the folks who are going to create jobs. 

I think we have a room full of young people here who have those skills, who have that capacity. 


SHARPTON:  Republicans are firmly against the legislation, even though comprehensive immigration reform was something the GOP used to believe in.  Just ask George W. Bush or John McCain. 

Last year, after passing the House, the bill failed in the Senate, after the Democrats were unable to get enough support to stop a filibuster. 

Joining me now is Cesar Vargas.  Cesar immigrated illegally with his mother to the United States from Mexico when he was five years old. 

He attended the Dream Act hearing on Capital Hill this morning. 


CESAR VARGAS, DREAM ACT SUPPORTER:  Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON.  Why did you attend today‘s hearings? 

VARGAS:  Because it‘s something very personal.  It‘s a struggle that I face, and thousands other undocumented students face as well.  So this was very personal.  This is our struggle.  And we need to show up to demonstrate support. 

SHARPTON:  Talking about personal, do you consider yourself an American? 

VARGAS:  I consider myself full blood and soul that I‘m an American. 

SHARPTON:  You just graduated from law school.  If this legislation would pass, what would what would that have meant to you? 

VARGAS:  It would mean the biggest difference.  It actually means the difference between being a productive citizens, as well as representative of my community, to represent my community in so many ways, in terms of foreclosures, and to be there for my family, my friends, especially for my country. 

SHARPTON:  By not having citizenship, what is it like to go through every day as an illegal immigrant?  Give me the human side of what you‘re going through? 

VARGAS:  Well, during graduation, a law degree, when I was walking on the stage—a law degree is supposed to make you feel like a productive citizen, like you‘re a member of society.  You work hard—I have worked hard for my first year.  It has been a struggle.

But apparently without the Dream Act, even with the law degree, I‘m seen as a criminal.  I‘m seen like an outsider.  That‘s not who I am.  That‘s not who we are. 

SHARPTON:  You couldn‘t speak at the hearing today.  But if you could have spoke and if you could have said something to those Republican senators, what would you have said? 

VARGAS:  I would say that no legislation is perfect, nor is a system perfect.  That is why it‘s so important for Republicans and Democrats, and for the House Speaker and the majority leader to come and sit at the table and actually bring a solution, and to actually finally put political pandering aside and actually focus on what‘s best for this country. 

We‘re not asking for handouts.  We‘re asking for an opportunity to serve our country, to give back.  There‘s thousands—thousands of way more exceptional students than I am.  Whether they‘re straight-A students or not, they are the force behind this whole movement.  They gave me strength.  That‘s who I‘m fighting for. 

SHARPTON:  Do you think the president and the Democrats are doing enough on this? 

VARGAS:  We definitely agree within ourselves that President Obama should be stepping up more.  He committed a promise in 2008.  He hasn‘t fulfilled that promise.  We‘re asking him to step up and to—meanwhile, while the Dream Act is pending, and to demonstrate to the Latino community, and to the American nation and to Republicans that if he‘s serious, to exercise administrative relief. 

That‘s not bypassing Congress.  It‘s just exercising something that

Congressman Lamar Smith has supported before.  So what he‘s doing is to

actually give us an opportunity while Dream Act is pending, while political

politicians sit down at a table and get work done. 

SHARPTON:  What will happen to you now?  You‘re sitting here, passed law school, obviously articulate, trying to do something positive.  But how long can you be here?  What happens to you?  What is your future if the status is not changed? 

VARGAS:  At this moment, I‘m actually studying for the Bar.  I actually brought my Bar stuff with me, just in case I don‘t miss any stuff.  But at this moment, I‘m just focusing on the Bar exam and making sure that I‘m going to study hard for the Bar exam.  And I guess at the end, it‘s still uncertain, still a shadowy future for me. 

SHARPTON:  Even as you study for the Bar, you still have this uncertainty hanging over you? 

VARGAS:  For me, it feels like it‘s just so unfair.  I have worked so much.  And at the end, despite passing the Bar, despite my efforts, I‘m still left with nothing.  That‘s why we‘re asking Congress—that‘s why we‘re asking the American public to come and support us, because this is not for us.  This is going to be a victory for the nation. 

SHARPTON:  Cesar Vargas, thank you for joining me. 

VARGAS:  Thank you so much for having me. 

SHARPTON:  Coming up, Jon Stewart and Fox News continues their war of words.  And now Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain wants to join in.


SHARPTON:  Fox News and Jon Stewart have engaged in a war of words ever since Stewart went on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace two weeks ago.  It hasn‘t let up.  Perhaps wanting some publicity of his own, frequent Fox News guest and Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain is also joining in the fray. 

Cain got the Stewart treatment earlier this month. 


HERMAN CAIN ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Don‘t try to pass a 2,700-page bill.  You and I didn‘t have time to read it.  We‘re too busy trying to live.  That‘s why I am going to only allow small bills, three pages. 

JON STEWART, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  Bits will be three pages.  If I am president, treaties will have to fit on the back of a cereal box.  From now on, the State of the Union Address will be delivered in the form of a fortune cookie. 

I am Herman Cain, and I do not like to read. 


SHARPTON:  Cain has taken issue with Stewart‘s comedy.  He criticized Stewart in front of a group of Iowa supporters, and then doubled down on Fox News last night. 


CAIN:  Now, when he mocked me in the dialogue of the Old Amos and Andy

dialect of the Old Amos and Andy, I think that was a bit much. 


SHARPTON:  But Cain insists he‘s not playing the race card. 


CAIN:  I‘m not playing the race card.  Some people in the media are playing the race card.  I didn‘t complain. 


SHARPTON:  Yet moments later, Cain said this—


CAIN:  The thing more so than the whole race issue, which I don‘t want to get into, Jon Stewart does not like me, in my opinion, because I am an American black conservative.  Because I‘m black and conservative, I think he probably has a bigger problem with that than he does the whole race thing. 


SHARPTON:  But Cain did make one point that I agree with. 


CAIN:  It‘s not good color.  I keep saying that.  It‘s about content of ideas, and it is about character. 


SHARPTON:  You see, he‘s right.  It‘s not about color.  It‘s not black or white, but the content of ideas.  Mr. Cain‘s ideas are not good for America.  This week, Mr. Cain said he doesn‘t think minimum wage is necessary. 

Mr. Cain, I‘m proud to see you as a black become successful.  I‘m proud to see you lift yourself up.  But I‘m not proud to hear you say minimum wage is not necessary, to say President Obama grew up in Kenya, when you know better, and playing to the Birthers, when you are trying to say that Muslims and others shouldn‘t be tolerated in your cabinet, or that they should be screened. 

I don‘t like your policies.  I‘m as black as you.  I‘m not mocking you.  I‘m saying what you‘re saying is wrong. 

Jon Stewart is a comedian.  Your policies is the joke. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW..  I‘m Reverend Al Sharpton.  I‘m in for Ed Schultz.  You can find me on the radio every day from 1:00 to 4:00 Eastern time.



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