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Friday, December 23, 2011

Read the transcript from the Friday show

Guests: Richard Wolffe, Michael Steele, Alex Wagner, Maria Teresa Kumar

ANNOUNCER: Tonight, from world-famous Rockefeller Center, New York
City, welcome to the POLITICS NATION first annual Revvie Awards for the
best and worst of politics 2011.

A glittering array of stars is already gathering. No, not him. Not
her either. But crowds of fans are forming.

Guys, that`s the Wisconsin tape.

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our host,
and host of POLITICS NATION, the Reverend Al Sharpton!

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Good evening, and welcome to the Revvie
Awards. I`m Reverend Al Sharpton, the host of POLITICS NATION, and your
host for this evening`s festivities.

We have got a great show for you tonight, as we give out our awards
for the highlights and lowlights of politics 2011.

And to do it, we have a great group of judges. Alex Wagner is here
and Richard Wolffe. Michael Steele is here, and Maria Teresa Kumar.

Richard Wolffe dusted off his tux to be here, and of course it
wouldn`t have -- we wouldn`t have had the Revvies without a strong opinion
or two from Michael Steele.

Let`s get right into it tonight with our first category.

First up, it`s the Spotlight Award, the award for the best thing that
happened in politics this year. And I doubt it`s Herman Cain`s 9-9-9 plan.

Alex, who is your pick?

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANALYST: The best thing that happened in politics,
I think it`s the sea change going from the midterm elections, where it was
all about deficit and debt-cutting, to a real, honest, big, broad national
conversation about income equality, which is something America has been
suffering from for the last 30 years. And this year really feels like the
turning point.

SHARPTON: So the turning point was the sea change?

WAGNER: Well, the turning point, I think you could credit Occupy as a
major sort of catalyst for it. But I think, finally, our elected leaders,
from Obama down to Congress, are really wrapping their arms around the

SHARPTON: So going from talk of deficit to going to talking about
income inequality.


point out that I wear this every day, so I didn`t have to dust off

But two things, domestic and international.

Internationally, the Arab Spring. Revolutions, democracy taking hold.
Without America having to invade any countries, democracy takes hold across
the Arab world. Enormous story. Best thing to happen in international

Domestic, we`re going to go right back to the start of the year, the
president`s speech in Tucson and the reaction to the speech when people
could put politics aside for something bigger than themselves.

SHARPTON: Michael Steele -- talking about Arab Spring, let`s go to
domestic revolutionary, Michael Steele.

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC ANALYST: That`s right. I`m a revolutionary all

No, the best thing about politics for 2011 is it`s over. It`s over.


SHARPTON: Well, if I was a Republican I would feel like that, too.

STEELE: No, I think just as a citizen I feel that way. But I think
more importantly, that it really was a combination of the flow from 2010
with the Tea Party and the movement getting picked up, if you will, by
Occupy Wall Street.

And what we saw in Wisconsin really was the catalyst I think that
launched that kind of new spring here in America, where we had a
conversation about jobs and workers, whether they were union workers or
non-union workers. They were out there saying, we want to work and we
don`t want government to decide winners and losers, regardless of whether
you`re a Republican or a Democrat. And I thought that was pretty telling
for the year.


MARIA TERESA KUMAR: I think one of the biggest issues is the civil
rights decisions of gay marriage. I think that right now we`re living in a
very historic time.

There are two civil rights issues. One is immigration, how do we
integrate the immigrants into our American fabric? And also gay marriage.
And we told a bold step despite the fact that Congress is broken. The
American people decided that that was something that was at the forefront
for them.

SHARPTON: Well, I think all of you have touched on things I agree
with, but I would say that probably the main thing that happened was the
changing of the discussion from deficit to income inequality, and the
protest movement. I think the defeat of SB-5 in Ohio, after the sweep the
Tea Party and the Republican governors did, I think protests from top to
bottom, including international, was probably the Spotlight of the Year.

OK. Up next, we have The School for Scandal Award, for the most
shocking scandal of 2011. And we had a few.


WAGNER: I mean, how does Anthony Weiner not run away with this by a
long shot? The scandal that played out in the most 21st century fashion,
which is to say, on Twitter.

It was prolonged. He was such a blustery character in the national
dialogue. He went down in flames.

It was a scandal that sort of cannibalized itself. It was intriguing,
it was terrible, we had visual evidence. I mean, it just, I think,
dominated the national conversation, and was truly the first cyberscandal.
Really, it was of the moment in a way that only a Twitter scandal can be.

SHARPTON: Richard?

WOLFFE: Well, I think it`s appropriate that the Revvies should be a
golden goblet, because I would give one to the people who know how to use
one, which is Rupert Murdoch`s tabloid journalists. My old brothers and
sisters in tabloid newspapers -- yes, I did start out in tabloid
newspapers. They were the only people --


WOLFFE: No, we all aspired to be Murdoch papers in those days. No
voicemail, by the way. No cell phones.

WAGNER: Just pigeons and woolly mammoths.

WOLFFE: Quills, but that was a scandal -- that is a scandal, because
it`s still rolling, that takes in power, corruption, at the highest level
through law enforcement. And the idea that anyone in the public eye is OK
to spy on, whether the public eye is on a victim of murder, or they`re just
famous, I think it was a moment when the otherwise, you know, quiet
majority, the people who buy these things every day, and may find it a
little voyeuristic and titillating, wherever they`re buying these papers,
here or in Europe, where they said, you know what? We actually have some
values and some standards, and it`s about time it stopped.

A big scandal.

SHARPTON: Michael Steele?

STEELE: Fast and Furious for me was the scandal that I think will
have some legs going into 2012, simply because it really speaks to a couple
things. One, what the government is willing to do without thinking,
thinking it through. We see that on debt and deficit, but we also see now
the devastating impact it can have when a U.S. citizen is killed because of
the negligence where the government doesn`t pay attention. And two, as we
learned from Watergate, it`s always the cover-up that trips you up every

And when you`ve got e-mails and documents that contradict the
administration`s official position, or at least within the Justice
Department, it opens it up to a great deal more scrutiny. And I think
you`re going to see that in 2012.

But in `11, it was a shame the way this thing unfolded, and certainly
the loss of life involved. So I think it was a big scandal and a black eye
for the government and, most importantly, for the American people.


KUMAR: I would actually agree with Richard, but for a slightly
different reason. And the phone-hacking scandal not only brings us to the
brink of Murdoch failing, but more importantly, we forget that he`s at the
crux of one of the biggest conservative movements in the world.

And the fact that he`s on the verge of actually falling and actually
betraying not only the media values, but also betraying the conservative
movement that he established and has held so highly, I think that`s the
biggest scandal of the century -- not the century, of the year. Because
it`s trickled not only in England, but also his empires in Australia. You
also have the trickle effects here in the United States as well.

So it will be curious to see how that --


SHARPTON: I think that -- I hear what you`re saying about Fast and
Furious, Michael, but I think it`s inconclusive yet of who did what.
Clearly, something was done.

And though I would agree with you Alex that nothing was as dramatic as

WAGNER: Weinergate?

SHARPTON: -- Mr. Weiner and Weinergate, but maybe I`m old-fashioned.
I don`t understand a sex scandal where there`s no sex. He never had sex.


WAGNER: That`s the 21st century part of it, Rev.

SHARPTON: That`s why it made it cyber. Well, I have to go with the
hacking scandal.

I think that -- and I think Maria was right. I think because of the
impact that Murdoch has on the public mind, and public opinion around the
world, and for them to be engaged in that and really to catch them like
that, I think that`s the scandal of the year.

The next Revvie, Best Performance in a Lead Role. This Revvie goes to
the person or group that really drove the agenda in 2011.

Alex, who stood out for you?

WAGNER: I have to answers to this, one of which is boring and
predictable. The other one is maybe sort of predictable.

WOLFFE: Boring.

WAGNER: Well, obviously it`s the -- I mean, the "TIME" magazine cover
of the year nailed it. It`s the protester, whether it`s the Arab Spring
protester or the Occupy Wall Street protester. It drove the national
dialogue for all the reasons I enumerated earlier.

But I think if we`re talking about a singular person, let`s give some
props to Hillary Clinton, who has managed to deal with seismic changes in
foreign policy with aplomb, with grace, largely under the radar, and has
been sort of -- it`s a thankless job, being secretary of state, it`s an
exhausting job. And she has done it incredibly well.

She has the trust of the nation, she has -- she commands herself on
the international stage, and I think deserves some Revvie love for the work
that she`s done in 2011.

SHARPTON: She though she deserved some in 2008.


SHARPTON: Richard?

STEELE: That was good.

WOLFFE: That was good. That was very good. Maybe better than mine.

But I cannot give it to a politician this year. I`m sorry. I think
they all failed.

My lead goes to the rock star who has led in policy. That`s Bono for
starting the End of AIDS and for going out there and saying we can do this
and bringing people together on the left and the right, across the world.

Bono, he hasn`t obviously finished that job, but put that down as a
goal, as a marker, and to push for it, I think, and that deserves it.
Because this is a story that`s going to be with us for the next 10 years,
until they get to that point where we can say there`s an end.

WAGNER: I think you`re biased toward the British Isles.

STEELE: I think that`s right.


STEELE: I think, for good or bad, I think in terms of the political
pulse of the country and how things have moved starting in January, right
through this week, it would be the House Republicans, who came in at the
end --


STEELE: Hey, look, it`s my little three minutes.

WOLFFE: Go ahead.

STEELE: Now, this is the lead performance that had an impact, so I`m
saying --

SHARPTON: And drove the country.

STEELE: Drove the country.

SHARPTON: So even if it was driving it over the cliff, it still

STEELE: No, you guys did that last year. We fixed that. We got
those flats fixed, but we`re working on some new flats.

The reality though, I think, for good or bad -- and we can have the
political discussion about what`s right or wrong in the policy, but in
terms of the Congress coming in on the heels of 2010, and beginning to set
a different discussion goes back to the first question, you know, what we
talked about, how people reacted and responded, how public became engaged
in the process because of what they did or did not do. I think it`s a
very, very powerful story. And it takes a lead role to play to get that
kind of movement for good or bad.

WOLFFE: It`s true. To drag the numbers that far down, that is a lead

STEELE: I`ll talk about that later, but again, just in terms of
moving --

SHARPTON: Your three minutes are up.


KUMAR: Talking about moving, I think actually the silent actor is
actually the Arizona voter.

The Arizona voter went back and basically recalled for the first time
in 30 years the architect of the anti-immigration bill that basically
spread through the country. And because of that, Russell Pearce is no
longer in office, but I also think that it`s going to be a precursor of
what you`re going to see of the voter that`s going to be much more engaged
saying we don`t want you to split up our communities, we don`t want you to
start doing racial profiling against Americans, and it`s a precursor to the
2012 elections.

SHARPTON: I think you all made valid points. I think that --


SHARPTON: I think that -- I`m going to give my assessment..

I think that -- I joke, but I think Hillary Clinton did a great job,
and she`s proven to be a great secretary of state. She was a good senator.
I just happen to not support her in the primaries, but I have a lot of
respect for her. But I wouldn`t give her the lead role.

I respect Bono, but I`m not trying to get Bono tickets so -- and
Michael, the Republicans drove -- I think it was more in `10 than `11. I
think they took a pretty bad beating this year.

I agree with you about the Arizona voters. I think, also, the
Wisconsin elected officials that went out of state and then came back and
recalled two people.

But I would have to agree with Alex, the protester. I think that the
whole world had to deal with a -- this is the first time we`ve seen
governments change that we never thought since we were born that would
change. So from the Arab Spring, all the way to the -- changing the
discussion here -- the protester, and as a veteran protester myself, it was
a great year for protesters.

We have a lot more Revvie Awards to come.

Stick around. We`ll be right back.

ANNOUNCER: The Revvies will return with President Barack Obama,
Elizabeth Warren, and the award for the POLITICS NATION Best Political
Performance of the Year.

But first, earlier today, the Revvie was awarded for Best Musical
Performance. The nominees were --


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (singing): Imagine there`s no
pizza. I couldn`t if I tried



REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER (singing): Zip-a-dee-do-dah,




ANNOUNCER: And the Revvie for Best Musical Performance went to Herman

Congratulations, Mr. Cain.

The Revvies will be right back.


ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to the first annual Revvie Awards from
Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Earlier, we awarded the Revvie for Best Unintentional Comedic
Performance. And it went to Texas Governor Rick Perry.


and the -- what`s the third one there? Let`s see. Oops.

Live free or die, victory or death. Bring it.


ANNOUNCER: So richly deserved.

And now here`s the host of tonight`s ceremony, the Reverend Al

SHARPTON: Welcome back. Welcome back.

We are here with our Revvie Awards and our Revvie Award judges.

Let`s go to the Limelight Award for political, the political moment of

What was the political moment, Alex?

WAGNER: The political moment? Look, we keep talking about Occupy
Wall Street, but if we say that that`s how -- the biggest moment of the
year, the turning point was when those protesters first sat down in
Zuccotti Park.

SHARPTON: Richard?

WOLFFE: I have to say, there were things even bigger than Occupy Wall
Street. Ending the war in Iraq, seeing the troops come home, the
president`s speech to the troops coming home, a convulsive period coming to
an end.

SHARPTON: Michael?

STEELE: I thought the president`s somewhat pathetic budget speech at
George Washington University in April of this year.


KUMAR: Mine would be Mitt Romney`s revival of the Roaring 20s when he
said that corporations are people, too. And I think that`s what inspired
Occupy Wall Street, because Americans finally woke up and said not on my

SHARPTON: I would say, even though it wasn`t political -- it had
political implications -- would be Osama bin Laden killed.

Let`s go to Surprise Twist Award, the biggest campaign surprise of the

WAGNER: The rise and, I will say, presumed fall of Newt Gingrich.
Who thought that in this summer, the revolving $500,000 Tiffany`s account,
the Greek Isles tour, that this guy would become the front-runner at the
end of the year? Who knew?

SHARPTON: Richard?

WOLFFE: That the governor of Texas would be so awful as a campaigner.
I mean, you know, this man has won election and re-won election. He`s an
accomplished politician, and he was so unready for the national stage.

Rick Perry, you get a Revvie.


SHARPTON: Michael?

SHARPTON: For me, it was Herman Cain. I think coming in with very,
very little political experience in the sense of elected office and the
like, to capture the imagination of the base, and to move folks the way he
did, I thought was a big surprise for a lot of people. I know it was in
the party.



KUMAR: I think I agree with Alex. It was Newt Gingrich. I mean,
everybody thought that his political career was not over during the
Tiffany`s scandal, but actually about 15 years ago when he stepped out as
Speaker of the House. And so the fact that not only was he able to come
up, win, and then despite the fact that he doesn`t have an infrastructure,
I think it`s really amazing.

SHARPTON: Well, I would have to go this time with you, Michael. I
think Herman Cain`s rise was more likely than Newt Gingrich. And I think
his fall was also as surprising.


SHARPTON: So I would have to go with Herman Cain as the Big Surprise
of the Year, other than Al Sharpton hosting POLITICS NATION.


SHARPTON: OK. There are more Revvies to come. Stay tuned.

ANNOUNCER: The Revvies return with a very tender look at some of the
year`s best political fistfights that took place right here on POLITICS

But first, the Revvie for Outstanding Achievement in a Smackdown. The
winner is Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren for her "You want to mess with
me?" defense of the 99 percent.


nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.

You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear.
You moved your goods to market on the road the rest of us paid for.

You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You built a factory
and it turned into a something or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big
hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk
of that and pay forward for the next gift (ph) who comes along.


ANNOUNCER: The 2011 Revvie Awards will be right back.


ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to the first annual Revvie Awards from
Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Here`s the host of POLITICS NATION, Reverend Al Sharpton!

SHARPTON: Thank you.

Here at POLITICS NATION, we think it`s fine to disagree, but just not
to be disagreeable.

Our next award is for Outstanding Achievement in a Political
Donnybrook. It`s one of my favorites. Watch this.


SHARPTON: How does stopping people from leaving churches and going
from -- with souls to the polls, led by their congregations, how does that
do that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have not cut early voting by one hour. I had
requests from both sides of the aisle.

SHARPTON: No, you changed the dates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had people from both sides of the aisle.

SHARPTON: You changed the dates. Did you stop Sunday voting?



SHARPTON: The president should just sidestep the leadership, meet
with the freshmen congressmen. Have you all had a coup that I didn`t hear
about? I know I`ve been busy the last half hour.



SHARPTON: This is one of the worst things you ever did. Were you
engaging in political masochism?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come out in my district with me and talk to --

SHARPTON: You can`t answer a question with a question, Congressman.
I`ll answer anything you want. I`ll come to your district if you want.
Just answer my question, Congressman.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- if an agreement is not reached.

SHARPTON: Oh, I forgot. So making a guy with a corporate jet pay his
taxes on the corporate jet is paying for it, but threatening a grandmother
with Social Security, it`s fine. It`s just shared sacrifice, I guess.



SHARPTON: No, let`s deal with your hard facts here -- $200,000 paid
on racial profiling, all of this money. Sheriff Joe, can`t you admit that
there`s profiling going on?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, Al, you`re ruing my Christmas, man.


SHARPTON: Ooh, that last one hurt.


SHARPTON: It looked like it hurt a lot.

We`ll be right back.

ANNOUNCER: The Revvies will return with President Barack Obama, House
Speaker John Boehner, and presidential candidate Willard Mitt Romney.
Plus, the award for Political Performer of the Year.

You`re watching the 2011 Revvie Awards, only on MSNBC.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome back to Rockefeller Center at the heart of
New York City and the first annual Revvie Award. Earlier today we awarded
the Revvie for best intentional comedic performance. And the Revvie went
to President Barack Obama for his comedic destruction of Donald Trump at
the White House Correspondents` dinner.


no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the
Donald. You, Mr. Trump, recognize that the real problem was a lack of
leadership. And so ultimately you didn`t blame Li`l John or Meatloaf. You
fired Gary Busey.


OBAMA: And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here again is your host, the Reverend Al Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Thank you. I`d like to welcome back our esteemed panel of
Revvie judges, Alex Wagner, Richard Wolffe, Michael Steele, and Maria
Teresa Kumar great to have all of you with us for these awards.

It is the season of giving. So let`s get right back to giving out
Revvie awards. The next award is the tick-tock award, because the winner
is the one who had their 15 minutes of attention, and it`s over. Tick-tock

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANCHOR: Without question, Sarah Palin. It
happened early in the year right after Gabby Giffords was shot. She gave
remarks, she gave a speech that was so out of sync with the national mood,
was so divisive, it was clear I think to many people that she is not a
leader and she does not belong on the national stage.

SHARPTON: Richard?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Apart from me in a tuxedo --


WOLFFE: -- I think it`s going -- can you get two Revvies in the
inaugural year? Because Herman Cain will never be the nominee, will never
be president, and honestly he`ll never be secretary of defense, even if he
wants it.


SHARPTON: But he can sing.

WAGNER: He can sing.

SHARPTON: Michael?

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: Donald Trump. I guess one can
only hope. His 15 minutes have been going for 40 years. But I think it`s
interesting, though, that Donald started out right up there, and then it
dissipated, came back, and now gone again.

WAGNER: It follows the ratings.


KUMAR: My vote is Sarah Palin, because once again she realized her
star is fading fast and that`s why she said that perhaps she`s going to go
ahead and run for president. I think it`s a little too late for her.

SHARPTON: I would agree with Sarah Palin. I think Trump definitely
made a splash, but I don`t think he`s going anywhere. I think Sarah Palin,
it`s almost bye-bye.

WOLFFE: Pull wait for that broken convention. They`ll be clamoring
for her.


SHARPTON: We go to the attention must be paid Revvie award for those
stories, and I want you to think about this, those stories that didn`t get
their 15 minutes that they deserved. What stories should have gotten more
attention and didn`t in your judgment?

WAGNER: Without question, you and I talk about this, the numbers on
poverty, that fact we got revised census number early in the fall that
showed that none one in three but one in two Americans is living at or near
poverty, the fact that a bad electric bill or car accident can put half
this country is under is hugely underreported and under-discussed.

SHARPTON: Richard?

WOLFFE: I`m going to go with the rolling leadership crisis in the
GOP. Nobody`s in control. We talk about -- sorry, former chairman, but
the idea of them leading the way here. The fact that nobody can control
it, the fact that the leadership within the House is all warring against
each other. And at the end of the year, we saw the leaders following, and
the caucus running everything. Who knows who is leading this ship?

SHARPTON: Michael Steele?

STEELE: For me it`s poverty in America, the fact for the last 40-plus
year both parties have systematically and systemically ignored not just
those at the margins who are the working poor, but most especially those
who are severely poor, and the impact not just on families but on the
education of our kids, the creation of jobs, how many boarded up
neighborhoods still exist in America today. You and I reverend, we`ve seen
them in Baltimore city. Those neighborhoods need to be front and center
for the next president of the United States if this country wants to be
prosperous again.


MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think it is something that
touches very close to the work you`ve been doing through the block the
vote. It`s the 18 million foreclosure folks that have lost their homes
that were voters in 2008, and they`re going to scratch their heads that
they`ve lost their jobs, they`ve lost their homes, and now they`ve lost
their voice because of the voter I.D. laws. I think that`s something we
need to explore and have bigger conversations.

SHARPTON: I absolutely think the voter I.D. laws is certainly near
the top of my list. And poverty, even though I love how Michael makes it a
bipartisan fault -- this is the only time we get bipartisan when it`s a
negative -- I don`t know how the Democrats helped --

STEELE: The Great Society --

SHARPTON: The Great Society helped put me through youth corps,
manpower training, and gave summer jobs.

STEELE: It left a lot of young man on the streets as well in my
neighborhood, at least. I can only speak to what I grew up with.

SHARPTON: But the Great Society, the legislation put through in the
Great Society employed a lot of people. I have not seen the same -- we
don`t have to get partisan -- yes, we do.


SHARPTON: But I would say by far it`s the poverty issue. I agree
with you and Alex, more Alex`s tone their yours, that the Revvie goes to

STEELE: It`s the same tone. Both parties under the last 40 years
have had their hand on the lever and have done nothing, reverend.

SHARPTON: Your 15 minutes is up, Michael.


SHARPTON: Thanks again to our judges. We`ll be right back with more
after this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome back to the first annual Revvie awards.
Here`s your host and the host of POLITICSNATION, the Reverend Al Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Thank you. Our next award honors jobs, jeers, and jokes.
For outstanding achievement in one-liners as voted on by the POLITICSNATION
staff. Check this out.


SHARPTON: If you`ve got to get Mickey Mouse to make your case, when
you have only 31 cases, then Mr. Baxley, you`re trying to take all of you
to Disneyworld on a ride.

They are the Mr. Softy crowd and Mr. Softy tastes good, but it wasn`t
hard, it had no content, and it always got me messed up.

You`re the one that said that we must stop and put Uncle Sam on a
diet. Yet you want to give a hedge fund guys a chocolate Sunday with
bananas, whipped cream, and cherries on top.

A fish wouldn`t get caught if he kept his mouth shut, and it`s not
about Obama, it`s about your mama.

I`m thinking of coming and visiting the Senate and painting some
blueberries on the board of some Republicans. Leave the blueberry pie

Somebody get the washing machine ready. We`re about to have a mess.


SHARPTON: Blueberry pie, chocolate sundaes, that award is a crowd

In fact, that leads me to a very, very, special award, the Alfred C.
Sharpton blueberry pie lifetime achievement award. As 2011 draws to a
close, we look around and ask ourselves who has the most blueberry pie on
his face? With all the blueberry pie that was thrown around this year, it
was a tough decision, but there was only one man who could walk away with
the Revvie.


I think it was the right thing to do.

A lot of the work we did with our special operations forces in that
period of time during the Bush administration laid the groundwork
ultimately for the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was it OK for us to use what most people was
say was torture against terror suspects?

CHENEY: It`s important for us not to get caught up in the notion that
you can only have popular methods of interrogation if you want an effect I
have counterterrorism program. The fact is it worked.


SHARPTON: Yes, former vice president Dick Cheney, for your historical
fiction, for your defense the torture and the unjustified war you still
defend, you walk away with the Alfred C. Sharpton blueberry pie lifetime
achievement award.

We`ll be right back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Revvies will be right back with awards for
best political performer of the year and the worst. You`re watching a
special edition of POLITICSNATION with Al Sharpton, the 2011 Revvie awards.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome back to the Revvies. Here once again is
the host of POLITICSNATION the Reverend Al Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Thank you, and welcome back for our final Revvie awards of
the evening. It`s time for the Revvie for the worst political performance
of the year. Alex, who gets your thumbs down for 2011? Who really blew

WAGNER: It was a subtle employment, but tour de force -- Eric Cantor.
The man who kept the -- ensured the Republican caucus was split, he went
toe to toe behind John Boehner behind the scenes and ensured no grand
bargain could happen. He was an incredibly divisive force. I don`t think
he gets enough credit for his job of really fracturing Congress, and I
think it was the worst political performance of the year.

SHARPTON: When you say worst political, are you saying in terms of
good or bad politics or in terms of strategic politics, because sometimes
bad politics can be strategically good?

WAGNER: Sure. I`m talking about in terms of American valuing and
moving the country forward. I think Eric Cantor has been incredibly
powerful. In terms of being effective, it was not a bad performance in so
far as it was incredibly effective.

SHARPTON: Richard?

WOLFFE: Well, Revvie, can I call you that now?


WOLFFE: I could by serious and say --

SHARPTON: We don`t know each other that well.


WOLFFE: I guess not then.


WOLFFE: I could by serious and say Republicans in deciding that going
after the president was more important than after creating job creation
measures. But I`ll try one more time for Rick Perry. Not only could he
not remember three things, he couldn`t even remember the voting age.
That`s got to be the worse.

SHARPTON: The voting age is kind of bad. Michael?

STEELE: This one was really tough for me, but I settled on Harry
Reid, because I think when you look at the president`s agenda and you look
at what where we`ve ended up and with the president particularly at this
time saying give me a year of extension, Democrats in the House at least
saying give me a year extension on the unemployment, and Harry works out a
deal in which that`s not what`s delivered --

SHARPTON: How do you blame Harry on --

STEELE: Because he runs the Senate.

SHARPTON: But he doesn`t run the House. Most of the time --

STEELE: He runs the Senate, and the president made very clear what he
wanted, and he did not deliver it.

SHARPTON: He did deliver the Senate.

STEELE: He did not deliver a one-year extension.

SHARPTON: He ran the Senate, got the Senate vote on the extension on
the payroll tax cut, and it was John "cry baby" Boehner that --


STEELE: Brother ain`t showing any moves for the president.

SHARPTON: He delivered the Senate.

STEELE: The president made very clear what he wanted and he did not
deliver it.

SHARPTON: So let me get this right. If somebody in a large chamber
that you have no control over --

STEELE: What did the president ask for? We delivered a one-year

SHARPTON: And John Boehner who said it was a good deal, couldn`t
control his Tea Party caucus, and all of a sudden it`s Harry Reid fault?

STEELE: You can`t handle the truth. The man is the weakest link.

WAGNER: I can`t believe you`re saying it`s not the Republicans. John
Boehner was out of in front of this, we got it, signed it --


STEELE: We spent the whole show talking about the Republicans. At
the end I`m giving you my guy who I thought was the worst political
performance of the year. Harry Reid didn`t deliver. Deal with it. Deal
with it.


SHARPTON: We`ll deal with it.

KUMAR: And my nod goes to the Tea Party. The Tea Party came in full
force in 2010, flexing their muscles, saying that they were coming to
change Washington, and all the did was obstructionist. And because of the
dysfunction they helped create in Washington, S&P downgraded or AAA rating.
They said it wasn`t because we couldn`t pass the debt ceiling. It`s
because Washington is dysfunctional. And that reverberated across the
world. And I think that`s when you look going into 2012, they`re at a loss
now of actually losing their seats.

STEELE: But that wasn`t Tea Party, but we`ll save that for later.

KUMAR: It absolutely was.

SHARPTON: I say I hear all of you, but I think the worst performance
was the post-Steele Republican Party. I throw you one there, Michael.


SHARPTON: They can`t even come up with a candidate. The most
embarrassing, the most torturous, the most disappointing, if I were a
Republican, season where you are now days away from Iowa with no clear
front-runner or message, and they`re fighting each other like crabs in the
barrel. I mean, there`s not a reality show on TV with more disharmony,
more back-biting, more scratching, more hair-pulling than the Republican
Party of the day. The worse -- if I was teaching political science, they
would be the chapter on what not to do. They are by far getting the Revvie

STEELE: Oh, my god.

SHARPTON: I forced Michael into praying.


SHARPTON: And now for the best political performance of the year,
let`s go to that. Alex?

WAGNER: This is tough, but I`m going to give it to a guy named Barack
Hussein Obama. He started out weak. I think there was no doubt he had his
shellacking. He was forced to eat a bit of humble pie. I think he`s
ending the year incredibly strong. I think he`s finally found his message.
I daresay he has his swagger back. I think he has a winning message going
into 2012, and he`s come a long way, baby.

SHARPTON: Richard?

WOLFFE: Ditto. The guy was left for dead in the middle of the year.
He`s come back strong. This is a repeated pattern for this president.
He`s been written off so many times before, as a candidate, a president.
This year you have the highs with things like ordering the hit on bin
Laden, and the absolute lows of the debt ceiling crisis. To come out in
one piece is a real mark of his tenacity and competitiveness. Anyone
thinks he`s easy to defeat will be in for a big surprise next year.

SHARPTON: Alex, why don`t I think Michael will pick President Obama?


STEELE: This is just too easy to go --

WOLFFE: Harry Reid?

STEELE: No, no. My choice actually was Hillary Clinton because for
three simple reasons. One, she got out of town and stayed out of town.
Two, she avoided taking a picture with the president. And three she
harkened back to her husband`s economic success and wrapped herself around
that, not this administration.


WAGNER: What about her own work?

STEELE: Excuse me. This is my moment. I thought that that took a
great deal of political chutzpa and savvy to finesse that relationship in
such a way that she distanced herself appropriately politically. Hats off,
Hillary. You go, girl.

WAGNER: All those accomplishments have nothing to do with the woman


WAGNER: She made a powerful point when it game to gay rights
worldwide. I think that was one of her largest accomplishments.

SHARPTON: I think Hillary was at every major summit with the
president. She was at the state of union addresses. She may not be in a
lot of pictures because secretary of state -- I hate to get a rumor to the
Republicans -- is supposed to be a nonpartisan position. So she doesn`t
exactly show up to the party stuff. Of course, you wouldn`t know that --

STEELE: I understand what it says on paper, reverend, I get that.

SHARPTON: Like the constitution, the Republicans what it says on
paper. That`s about it.


KUMAR: My surprise. My Revvie nod would go to Stephen Colbert, and
not only because of how faithful he`s been to the troops, but also he broke
down big finance in government to the American people by establishing a
super PAC and saying we need to get money out of government, this is how
easy it is, and how all of a sudden you as Americans, because we don`t
understand campaign finance reform, this is how you`re basically getting
your votes stolen.

SHARPTON: I like Stephen Colbert, but I go with Richard and Alex. I
think by far --

WAGNER: We`re doing well --

SHARPTON: -- that Obama had the performance. I think the president
absolutely. He came on like a real champion. I used to be a boxer, as you
were, Michael.

STEELE: I was too.

SHARPTON: Good champions win fights. Great champions can be rattled
and knocked down and get up and win even when they`ve been rattled. He
showed he can not only throw a punch, but he can take a punch and keep
fighting. And I think that`s the story of 2011 in terms of performances.

Michael, you already had your turn.

STEELE: I didn`t say anything.


SHARPTON: Finally, what happens next award? Our panelists`
prediction of what comes in the New Year. What will happen in 2012, and
we`re going to save this tape, so be real careful. Alex, your 2012

WAGNER: Wow, you`re going to save the tape? That makes me want to
change it, but I`m going on a limb for you, Rev. I think, number one, the
Democrats may take the House back, which is a hedged prediction. I think
they may lose the Senate, and I think Obama will be reelected.

SHARPTON: Richard?

WOLFFE: There is this thing called the elections, but I`m going to
ignore it for a minute and just say the economy comes back quicker than
people realize, because it`s already coming back, albeit slowly, but the
pace of it quickens. And people will look back and say that actually the
election of 2012 was decided in 2011. The extremism of the Republicans,
what we`ve seen with the Tea Party running the House Republicans into the
ground, and this president coming back, 2012 was decided at the end of
2011, and, yes, he comes back with, I`m going to say a three-point win.

SHARPTON: Michael?

STEELE: I think a couple things. One, North Carolina, Virginia,
Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, and Florida fall back into the GOP column next
year. And with that, so does the White House.

WHITFIELD: Who will the president be?

WOLFFE: Ron Paul.

STEELE: We`re going to work that out over the next six or so months,
but I really believe that that momentum is there. That opportunity is

SHARPTON: Give me the states against.

STEELE: North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, and

SHARPTON: Go back to Republican.

STEELE: Go back GOP. And with that goes the White House coming back.


KUMAR: I`m going to disagree with him whole-heartedly, and not to be
self-serving, but all those states that you mentioned have a huge influx of
Latino voters that weren`t there when it came to the 2008 election because
of redistricting. And you see this election the voters will be very
personal and very much about issues, and that`s not a surprise of why
President Obama is actually looking at a westward win, because he`s looking
at Arizona, Texas, also Nevada as possibilities. North Carolina and
Florida is also on that list.

SHARPTON: Well, we have to go. I think that one of the reasons that
Mr. Steele predicted that, that happens to be some of the states we`re
having voter I.D. fights, so maybe what we heard is not a prediction but a
strategy. I think that the president will win. It will be close, which is
why everyone needs to vote. I think we can regain the House, but more
importantly, I hope Richard, is right. I hope we can put some better
holiday cheer in your house when the Revvie awards come back next year.

That`s all we have time for tonight. The orchestra is about to play
me off. Thank you again to our excellent panel, Alex Wagner, Richard
Wolffe, Michael Steele, Maria Teresa Kumar, it was a real pleasure. And
hopefully 2012 will bring us mower interesting debates and opportunities to
award Revvies. Goodnight. Merry Christmas.


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