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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

November 20, 2012

Guests: Jan Schakowsky, Joe Madison, Michelle Cottle, James Clyburn

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Thanks, Chris, and thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, still conservative after all this year. Governor
Romney spent the whole GOP primary season catering to the right, telling
immigrants to self-deport, bragging that he`d get rid of Planned
Parenthood, saying he`d cut everyone`s taxes. So, how did that work out
for him? Here`s how Mr. Romney was recently spotted pumping his own gas in
California. No secret service, no advisers, and no words on whether he
used regular or premium. Romney thought he`d be on the road to the White
House by now. Instead, he`s just on the road.

Meanwhile, the president is heading home on Air Force One after
meeting with world leaders. He didn`t pump the gas for that plane. Here`s
the point. Elections have consequences. The American people rejected
Romney`s right wing views. But a lot of Republicans didn`t get the

Bill O`Reilly is still defending Romney`s claim that the president won
because of gifts to minorities.


BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Again, that`s the truth. It is a
stone cold fact that lower income Americans, largely, re-elected President
Obama. Now, the left is going to scream when you say that because they
don`t want to acknowledge the economics of the vote. Liberals want to see
themselves as noble. They don`t want to consider the fact that
entitlements buy votes.


SHARPTON: Hear that? Over at FOX Romney`s right arm. And there`s a
lot of other Republicans who are also drawing the wrong lessons from
Romney`s defeat. They say he lost because he was not conservative enough.

Not conservative enough? Really? Well, have no fear, Republicans,
there`s plenty of far right to go around. Former GOP presidential
candidate Ron Paul has decided that, quote, secession is a deeply American
principle. Nothing treasonous or unpatriotic about it. Sure, succession
is American as apple pie. It is now like we have a four to one battle or

Folks, this party might talk a big game about moving to the center,
but they`re still headed right off the cliff.

Joining me now is Krystal Ball, co-host of "the Cycle" here on MSNBC
and Jonathan Capehart, an opinion writer for "the Washington Post" and an
MSNBC contributor. Thank you both for coming on the show.

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


SHARPTON: Krystal, GOP consultant Mike Murphy tweeted something
interesting today. He said, quote "one sad possibility, Mitt was our GOP
Hubert H. Humphrey, 1968 equivalent. Next up? Our McGovern of 1972. Yes,
it could get even worse before it gets better."

The point Murphy is making is that Democrats ignored their loss in the
election in 1968. Instead of nominating a more modern figure in `72, they
went further to the left and lost probably the biggest loss of that time.
I think the governor only won one state. Do you think that`s going to
happen to the Republicans?

BALL: I certainly think it`s possible and somewhat of an argument can
be made that they already sort of went down that path. I mean, the
argument after John McCain in 2008 was he wasn`t the real conservative. We
need the real deal. Mitt Romney adopted every far right principles that he
possibly could in order to win in 2012. Still people or a lot of people
are saying he wasn`t a real conservative. He didn`t really believe in the
values. And there`s also this notion that, you know, the problem isn`t the
policies. It`s the marketing.

You know, we didn`t do a good enough job selling ourselves to the
people. Rather than doing real soul-searching about the fact that the
country is just in a different place. It`s not that you weren`t
articulating your values well, it`s that the country understood what you
stood for and didn`t want anything to do with it.

SHARPTON: And Jonathan, you heard a lot of those Republican leaders
after the election saying, well, we need to reach out more to people, we
need to reach out more to Latinos. Not change the policy but reach out
more. But then you hear Bill O`Reilly saying that Obama`s voters don`t
believe in self-reliance. I mean, look at this. How is this for reaching


O`REILLY: You see that a coalition of voters put the president back
into the oval office. That coalition was nontraditional which means it
veered away from things like traditional marriage, robust capitalism and
self-reliance. Instead, each constituency that voted for the president,
whether it be a single women, Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans,
whatever, had specific reasons for doing so. Traditional American voters
show want smaller government in Washington, more local control. Some
oversight on abortion and believe in American exceptionalism.


SHARPTON: I mean, Republicans getting the wrong message out of this?
I mean, who are the traditional people they`re talking about? Do they
still exist?

CAPEHART: Well, what he`s talking about in that sense is white
voters. I mean, he said that on election night. He`s continuing to say
it. I think Bill O`Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and those guys are still sort of
in their petulant phase and trying to figure out what happen and what went
wrong and why their vision of America didn`t quite pan out two weeks ago
today. Where in is you have others within the Republican Party who are
trying to deal with reality from Governor Susana Martinez in New Mexico to
governor Jindal in Louisiana. They are speaking up forcefully about what
the Republican Party needs to do to ensure, from their perspective that the
drubbing they got by the Democratic presidential nominee two weeks ago
doesn`t happen to their party and to their nominee come 2016.

I mean, it`s the right message for them -- it`s the right way for them
to be thinking if they want to save their party, if they want their party
to not slide even further into being a regional party but to still be a
national party and a national party that actually knows how to govern.

SHARPTON: Now, Krystal, when you look at the fact that the campaign
manager for the manager, Jim Messina, at a breakfast this morning, he said
that the White House feared running against Huntsman. Take a look.


concerns about Huntsman. You know, I think Huntsman would have been a very
tough general election candidate. And he is someone who helped manage his
confirmation for Chinese ambassador, I can tell you, you know, he`s a good
guy. We looked at his profile in the general election and thought he would
have been difficult.


SHARPTON: So, whereas you`re seeing some of the O`Reilly-Limbaugh
types still saying, let`s go further right, you`re hearing their
opposition, the president`s campaign manager saying, we were more afraid of
the moderate guy.

BALL: Right.

SHARPTON: I mean, doesn`t that tell them something or are they just
not listening?

BALL: Well, and let`s remember, I mean moderate on a relative scale,
Jon Huntsman was governor of Utah, perhaps the most conservative state in
the country. So, he`s no liberal but he has sense and reason and would
have been a more appealing candidate than Mitt Romney. I still think the
president would have won.

But to this point, you know, the primaries are really where the
Republican Party has a problem. They have spent so long telling the tea
party and telling the far right, you`re right. You are morally just.
Everything you`re saying is correct. That they`ve allowed that wing of the
party to take over the entire party.

So, in the primaries this year, you know, you saw even Jon Huntsman
raising his hand and saying, he wouldn`t vote for the 10-1 spending cuts to
tax increases deal. It`s going to be a real test in 2014 in the midterms
to see if they are able to field a corroborate of reasonable moderate
candidates who are appealing in a general election.

SHARPTON: Well, Jonathan, the elections are -- come down to numbers.
It comes down to who gets the most votes. Can`t the Republicans see that
they`ve been rejected? They`ve lost the popular vote in the last five of
six elections. And none of their candidates won as many electoral votes as
President Obama did in 24 years. So, if they just look at the numbers,
they could tell that they are being rejected, no matter who the candidates
are, their policies are being rejected.

BALL: That was one sad looking elephant.


CAPEHART: Right. And you know, there have been a few polls out since
the election that shows that if the Republican Party were more hospitable,
both in terms of tone but also policies, that they could have picked off
any number of the president`s, any number of votes from the president`s
coalition. The NAACP has a battleground poll that shows that if, for
instance, the Republican Party were in line with their think African-
American`s thinking on civil rights and equality issues, they could have
gotten 14 percent of that vote.

LBGT voters told Harrison interactive on logo TV that if the
Republican Party and Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, had the same position
as Democratic Party and President Obama on LGBT issues, that 22 percent of
those -- of LBGT voters, gay voters, would have been more likely to vote
for Mitt Romney.

And then you have Latino voters, where if you just had, you know, a
change here and there, particularly on immigration issues, that Latino
voters would have gone for Mitt Romney.

SHARPTON: But, I think the opposite is true. My problem with all
those studies is you have to factor in not only they didn`t go with the
policies, they were actually fighting those communities.

CAPEHART: Right, right.

SHARPTON: Self-deportation, they were against lesbian and gay rights,
and they were the supporters of voter suppression. That also helped their

But Krystal and Jonathan, thanks for your time this evening.

BALL: Thanks, Reverend.

CAPEHART: Thanks, have a good thanksgiving, friend.

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

Coming up, he ran on it, he promised it and he is fighting for it.
President Obama`s going outside of Washington to sell his fairness plan.

And the GOP conspiracy theory on Benghazi is crumbling. But that`s
not stopping nearly 100 members of the house from attacking. What is this
all about? Congressman James Clyburn joins us.

Plus, Chris Christie broke the GOP rule. He dared to be bipartisan
with President Obama. So, he wound up on the phone with Rupert Murdoch?
That amazing story is coming up.

And why is President Obama tweeting this picture today?

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, LATE SHOW: Here now. Let`s take a look at
some things that have gone out of business. We mentioned, of course,
hostess. Say good-bye to hostess. Borders is going out of business. Yes.
What about these guys? They`re also out of business. A lot of people --



SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? Our facebook family weighed in on vice president Biden`s
early thanksgiving dinner last night for injured members of our military.
The vice president and his wife have done a lot for veterans and their

Sandra said, a wonderful gesture. I told my husband, a Vietnam vet,
and he was filled with emotion.

And today is also Biden`s 70th birthday. President Obama tweeted out
his birthday wishes for the VP with this great photo of the two. They look
like they`re having fun in this one.

Charlene added her wishes, enjoy and take no malarkey on your

I like that one, Charlene.

And Molly said, Mr. Biden, you got the best birthday gift we could
give you, -- four more years.

We want to hear what you think too. Please head over to facebook and
search "Politics Nation" and "like" us to join the conversation that keeps
going long after the show ends.



(INAUDIBLE) the work I`m doing it approved. I`m really proud of that. I`m
really proud of you. And what you --



SHARPTON: That was President Obama`s emotional appeal to his campaign
staff after the election. He`s now looking to turn what many call the
greatest political operation in modern history into an unprecedented force
for good in Washington.

Reports say the Obama campaign is planning to use its massive database
of voters and activists to pressure lawmakers on fairness. And advance the
president`s second term agenda.


MESSINA: We built through gas roots campaign in modern political
history for that moment to get more people involved in the process. I
think my future is probably outside the White House, helping him and
becoming a part of whatever happens to our social movement, to help
advocate for his agenda.


SHARPTON: The president is planning was virtually a second campaign.
Traveling around the country to rally support on raising taxes for the rich
and his allies in the labor movement are airing new TV ads, warning
Democrats to protect the safety net and not give in to Republicans.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do we move our country forward and reduce
the deficit? By creating jobs and growing our economy. Not by cutting
programs that families rely on most. For working families, it`s all about
putting Americans back to work. Not cutting the things we rely on most.


SHARPTON: Of course, Republicans are still talking about cutting
programs for the elderly and the poor, while refusing to raise tax rates on
the wealthy. Excuse me, but didn`t we already have this debate?
Republicans lost the argument on election night. And now, they may be
about to lose it again.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat from Illinois
and a member of the progressive caucus.

Thank you for joining me, congresswoman.

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

SHARPTON: Let me ask you. Will it take pressure from outside
Washington to get Republicans to see the light on raising tax rates for the

SCHAKOWSKY: You know, I always believe people power will trump money
and the lobbyists any day. And putting this greatest campaign that we ever
seen in history now to use in order to pass an agenda makes total sense.
You know, and this doesn`t just rely on battleground states anymore.
People in districts all over the country that support this agenda. And, in
fact, we could engage some Republicans and even tea party people and
independents in lobbying for an agenda that is going to grow our economy
and not just exclusively focus on agenda cuts.

The majority of Americans want to see tax cuts for the middle class
and to reduce the tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans.
Now let`s translate that into action, into phone calls. Labor doing it in
terms of TV ads. We need to mobilize this majority that elected the
president of the United States. They did it for a reason, because they
want this agenda. Let`s put it to work. You know, people can go to the
action, It`s a Web site that has been created by allies of
the president to do just that, to put things in motion.

SHARPTON: Now Congresswoman, you`re there on the hill. What is your
sense, do you think there`s been any shift at all, any movement at all that
the Republicans get it or at least more open to dialogue now that would
make sense for Americans?

SCHAKOWSKY: I definitely think there`s a new tone. I guess I see it
most clearly on issues like immigration, where they certainly get it now.
And I think we`re going to be able to move forward very quickly.

But I think even on these fiscal issues that I think there`s just a
different attitude about sitting down, as we always have in the past, to
negotiate something that`s really fair. That not everyone on either side
is going to -- is going to like. But I think the president, having sat
down some markers, that it`s really important that de that. That we not
accept a deal that`s not fair.

SHARPTON: Now, what is interesting when you talk about the fiscal
discussions, I was reading an article in "The New York Times" today about
how the GOP is even crumbling on Grover Norquist`s no tax pledge.

Senator Chambliss is saying, "I`m frankly not concerned about the
Norquist pledge." I`m quoting him there.

Senator McCain, quote, "fewer and fewer people are signing this,
quote, pledge."

Senator Coburn, is tortured vision of this tax penalty is his quote.
They`re beginning to openly moving away from this tax pledge of Norquist.
That`s a sign of something.

SCHAKOWSKY: I think it is. I was just on a TV show with freshman
Republican from my state, Illinois, who said he signed that pledge
initially when he was running but now he says the only pledge he wants to
sign or that he`ll sign up with is his oath of office. His pledge to
protect the constitution. So I think you`re seeing Republicans run away
from that pledge. As arrogant as Grover Norquist is, I think he`ll see
some real erosion.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Schakowsky, thanks for your time tonight.

SCHAKOWSKY: Always. Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Ahead, we thought the relationship cooled but tonight we
have new inside details of what happened between Mitt Romney and Chris
Christie in the final week of the election.

All of a sudden Scott Walker wants to change 40-year-old voting law.
Gee, I wonder why? My commentary`s coming up.

This is "Politics Nation," only on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: The Denny`s owner who made headlines by freaking out over
the health care law has gotten grand slammed by his boss. Last week John
Metz told "the Huffington Post" he imposed what he called a five percent
Obama care surcharge on meals at Denny`s 30 restaurants across Florida.

In response, some Denny`s restaurants were threatened with angry calls
and even threats of boycotts. So the Denny`s CEO told Metz to knock it
off. And Metz backed down, saying they will not have a surcharge after

This guy was on the wrong side of the issue but he`s not the only one.
At least 18 states, most of them run by far right governors, say they won`t
set up exchanges for people to buy insurance. They`ll let the federal
government do it instead. Of course, they don`t realize public opinion is
turning in favor of the law, 49 percent of Americans want to keep or expand
the law. Only 33 percent want to repeal it. That`s the lowest support for
repeal since the health care law was passed. And it will only get more

The health department has just released the rules on coverage for
people with preexisting conditions. That`s what the law does. It protects
people with preexisting conditions. It allows young people to stay on
their parents` plans. It offers free preventive care and provides
discounts for seniors` prescriptions. It`s not hard to see who`s winning
on this side of the issue.


OBAMA: I saw just the other day in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told
the story of his 8-year-old daughter whose long battle with leukemia nearly
cost their family everything. Had it not been for health care reform
passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop
paying for her care.


SHARPTON: Did right-wingers think we wouldn`t call them out for
fighting a law that`s already doing a whole lot of good? Nice try but we
got you.



GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The President has been all over
this and the President has been outstanding. I appreciate that type of
leadership. I cannot think the President enough for his personal concern
and compassion for our state and for the people of our state.


SHARPTON: And with that, Governor Christie broke a cardinal rule of
the Republican Party. Thou shall not praise President Obama. And it was
this comment on FOX News that really made the party furious.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Is there any possibility that Governor Romney may
go to New Jersey to tour some of the damage with you?

CHRISTIE: I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or


CHRISTIE: I`ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that`s much bigger
than presidential politics and I could care less about any of that stuff.
I have a job to do. I have 2.4 million people out of power. I`ve got
devastation on the shore, I`ve got floods in the northern part of my state.
If you think right now, I give a damn about presidential politics, then you
don`t know me.


SHARPTON: Four days later, Rupert Murdoch the news corps chairman,
the owner of FOX News fired off this tweet, quote, Christie must re-declare
for Romney or take blame for the next four dire years. Today, we`re
learning the fascinating inside details of what happened next. The same
day as the tweet, Governor Romney personally reached out to Murdoch with a
phone call.

"The New York Times" reports, quote, "Mr. Christie told Mr. Murdoch
that amid the devastation, New Jersey needed friends, no matter their
political party. According to people briefed on the discussion, but Mr.
Murdoch was blunt. Mr. Christie risked looking like a spoiler unless he
publicly affirmed his support for Mr. Romney. Something the governor did
do the next day." And the next day, Governor Christie said this.


CHRISTIE: I endorse Mitt Romney 13 months ago because I thought he
was the best guy for the job. And on Tuesday, I`m voting for Mitt Romney
because I think he`s the best guy for the job but it doesn`t mean that I
can`t turn to the President of the United States of America and say to him,
thank you, sir, for providing good leadership in this crisis and for
helping the people of New Jersey and to extend my hand of friendship to


SHARPTON: So in a time of crisis in New Jersey, the Governor was
basically forced to re-endorse Romney by Rupert Murdoch? Governor Christie
did the right thing, he put party politics aside. He showed how government
is supposed to work. Both party leaders working together for the common
good. It was a breath of fresh air. And for that, he was threatened by
the GOP big wigs? The fact that Christie`s political career can be damaged
by any of this shows how disgusting the Republican Party can be.

Joining me now is Joe Madison, nationally syndicated radio host on
Sirius XM`s "The Power" and Michelle Cottle, Washington correspondent for
"Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast." Thank you both for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Joe, let me go to you first. So, Christie calls boss
Murdoch but seems like the right wing is still furious with him.

MADISON: Well, Murdoch should have understood American history, at
least contemporary American history. Let`s go back 53 years. John F.
Kennedy versus Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon was asked to call Mrs. King
when Martin Luther King, Jr. was thrown into Georgia`s state prison and
they didn`t know if he would be safe or not. He wouldn`t do it.
Republicans, once again, didn`t do what they should have done. John
Kennedy did it. Reluctantly, but he did it. And what happened? Daddy
King and the civil rights leaders and African-Americans said, you know
what, that`s a president who cares about our leader, therefore, cares about
the civil rights movement. And it was a turning point because, remember,
most, most blacks were Republicans at the time.

SHARPTON: Including Daddy King was a republican.

MADISON: Including Daddy King, who said, I`m going to be voting
democrat. Now, second thing that happened, and that was, donors started
getting on Christie`s case. They started calling. They didn`t call these
million dollar donors, they didn`t call saying, can I write you a check?
How can I help you? They said, why are you so cozy with the President at a
time when people didn`t have homes, power, food, and were losing lives.
That`s what turned this around. Christie did the right thing. And I
suspect that he`s going to be the winner in the end.

SHARPTON: Well, Michelle, the fact is that "The times" reported the
negative reaction, the people around Christie off guard and the reaction by
the donors, Christie and them were totally surprised. It says, let me read
a quote, Mr. Christie and his advisers were startled to hear from out of
state donors to Mr. Romney who had little interest in the hurricane and
viewed him solely as a campaign surrogate, demanding to know why he stood
so close to the president on the tarmac. One of them questioned why he had
boarded Mr. Obama`s helicopter.

Still a bitterness lingers among top financial donors to Mr. Romney.
A top Romney aide described the contributors as, quote, "furious with Mr.
Christie." So, Michelle, when you look at the donors, when you look at
what happened with Mr. Murdoch, I mean, what is this saying?

COTTLE: Look, the man`s state was under water. He was not worried
about Republican Party politics. But everybody else in the party was
because they were facing a scary election day. And they needed somebody to
blame. They were just grasping, lashing out. Any kind of, you know, sign
that Christie was legitimatizing President Obama was going to give them a
collective nosebleed. So, I think he had to expect this, but at the same
time, you know, I think his reaction was the appropriate one, which is, you
know, what do you expect me to do? And I think that`s really going to re-
down to his benefit going down the row.

SHARPTON: What does this mean, Joe, for the republican -- you know,
putting aside the specifics of this story with "The New York Times" and
Murdoch and Christie, clearly that has already happened, what does it tell
us overall about the tone and the future of this party if it maintains this
kind of tone?

MADISON: Well, what it does is that don`t listen to their tones.
Listen to their policies. Listen to what`s in their heart. I mean, look,
we were all crying and you helped raise money, I helped raise money, people
all over were donating to the Red Cross. Let me tell you what it says. It
shows you, and I`ll just say it, how cold-hearted can you be? When people
are under water, people are dying, a woman has her children swept from her
arms, and you`re wondering why the President and a governor, whose state
will never be the same, are trying to work with each other? What it says
is that they`re more concerned about winning elections, they`re more -- no,
here it is. They`re more concerned about power than they are principle.

SHARPTON: Well, Michelle, let me ask you, what does this do to
moderates that may not be hard right-wingers, how does this play to
moderates? And will the hard right try to use this to take Christie down?

COTTLE: I think for every hard right republican who freaked out about
Christie`s embrace of Obama, you had other moderates out there who thought,
at last, a guy who can see past kind of the nasty bitterness. So, I think
on the whole he did himself some good with that great centrist and
moderate, independent middle that everybody`s always fighting for. I do
think that come 2016, it`s not just this, though, he`s had some positions
that for all his popularity is not going to sit well with the right wing of
the party, so this will just be one more thing that they can point to and
say, look, he`s not ideologically conservative enough, he`s not the kind of
guy that we want carrying the banner.

MADISON: Yes, but you know what, I`m going to say this, I think he
won a lot of support, even from Democrats who may have looked at Christie
after the republican convention with a jaundice eye. I heard at least from
my listeners, you know what, he`s not that bad of a guy. They ended up
having a lot of respect for him. So, you know, he may --

SHARPTON: No, I mean, I accept that, Joe and Michelle, I mean, and
one who lives in New York mostly when I`m not on the road. I`ve never been
a great fan of Christie. And I respect what he did. And I hear that from
a lot of circles. I`m talking about even in New Jersey, democratic circles
that they respect what he did. Michelle said it, you said it, they were
under water, and some of them still have no power.

MADISON: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And I think that people didn`t get how dire the
circumstances was and what he did was just the responsible thing to do by
being attacked, it made it even more important that he did it. Joe Madison
and Michelle Cottle, thank you for your time tonight.

MADISON: Thank you.

COTTLE: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, nearly 100 Republicans are trying to strip Susan
Rice from her job she doesn`t even have. What is behind the witch hunt?
Congressman James Clyburn joins us next.


SHARPTON: Two weeks after Florida officially voted him out of office,
Congressman Allen West finally got the memo. This morning, he conceded to
his democratic challenger Patrick Murphy. As I like to say, if you do
unpopular things, you become unpopular. He may be called West but he was
always far right.


REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: They want to force you into mass
transit, they want to force you into bike paths, they want to force you
into walking. That`s not the American spirit.

I`ve been on the battlefield, my friend, OK? Don`t try to blow
sunshine up my butt.

These Planned Parenthood all these women who have been neutering
American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness to
let them know that we are not going to have our men become subservient.
One thing that a warrior loves is the smell of fear and desperation in his

They even have a tanning tax. You want to talk about something
racist, come on. Come on black people.


I believe there are about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party
that are members of the communist party. I want to close by saying this --
I`m the Liberal`s worst nightmare.



SHARPTON: The Liberal`s worst nightmare? Not anymore. Now he`s
barely a memory.


SHARPTON: The republican conspiracy theory on the Libya tax is
crumbling. And that`s not stopping Republicans from their witch hunt
against Susan Rice. They say the U.N. ambassador isn`t qualified for a
promotion to secretary of state, because of her statements about the
Benghazi attacks. Even though we know she was just going by the
information she got from intelligence officials. But Republicans don`t
want facts to get in the way.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We will do whatever`s necessary to
block the nomination.

This president and this administration has either been guilty of
colossal incompetence or engaged in a cover-up.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don`t trust her. And the
reason I don`t trust her is because I think she knew better. And if she
did know better, she shouldn`t be the voice of America.


SHARPTON: And now 97 House Republicans who have zero say over cabinet
nominations, are opposing Rice`s possible nomination. They sent a letter
to the White House saying her credibility has been wounded. They keep
changing their story in this made-up conspiracy theory. I want to know why
they`re in such a frenzy over Susan Rice.

Joining me now is democratic Congressman James Clyburn from South
Carolina. He`s the third highest ranking democrat in the house.
Congressman, thank you for being here tonight, first of all.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, thank you so much for
having me. Good to see you.

SHARPTON: Now -- good to see you. Some of your republican colleagues
claim Ambassador Rice is, quote, "incompetent." What is that based on?

CLYBURN: Well, it`s based on some series of, I would call it,
attempts to derail the career of one of the most outstanding ambassadors we
have ever had in this country. This young lady has been a part of
government and the governmental process for more than 20 years. I worked
with her very closely when I was chair of the Congressional black caucus.
She was handling the Africa desk at the Department of State. She`s well
seasoned. In the Clinton administration, she is in think tanks for eight
years after that. She`s now been the ambassador to the United Nations for
four years, almost 20 years, PH.D.

Rhodes scholar, and I`m very proud of her because her roots are right
here in South Carolina. I knew her father, Emmett Rice, and to call a
person with those kinds of credentials incompetent is something that is
insulting to me because that harkens back to the campaign. You remember in
the campaign, Governor Sununu calling the president incompetent, lazy.


CLYBURN: That`s the kind of code words they use that upsets a lot of
people, like me.

SHARPTON: Well, let me -- let me push on you that code word stuff.
When you look at her background, now some of which you named, 2009
ambassador to the U.N., 2004 foreign policy adviser to John Kerry, `93 to
2001 an official in the Clinton administration, a Rhodes scholar, went to
Sanford, a PH.D from Oxford University. Yet when you hear conservatives
talk about her being incompetent and unqualified, look at these
conservatives statements and see how you put that up against her resume.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What she said was absolutely and completely
misleading, either inadvertently, in which case is complete incompetence.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I don`t think she deserves to be promoted. There
are a lot of qualified people in this country the President could pick.

MCCAIN: Susan Rice should have known better. And if she didn`t know
better, she`s not qualified. If this select committee, if appointed clear
her of any wrongdoing, besides not being very bright because it was obvious
that this was not a, quote, "flash mob."


SHARPTON: Not very bright, incompetent, shouldn`t be promoted, not

CLYBURN: All code words. These words I`ve been hearing all my life.
I would hire one of them, a qualified one. This lady is as qualified as
anybody that`s ever served in government. And I think that it`s time for
these people to stop this foolishness. Now, I have to give Senator McCain
credit, he`s now put out a statement that he now knows that Susan Rice was
not responsible for the information that she read. He now knows where it
came from. He`s now disappointed that nobody told him where it came from.

Well, I think it`s time for him to apologize. He called on her during
a Sunday talk show to apologize. And if she were to apologize, that he
might rethink his position. Now that he has the facts, maybe it`s time for
him to apologize for trying to besmirch the character of this young lady.
It is time for Senator McCain to just do what any honorable person would do
and say that I was wrong and I take back all that I ever said about this.

SHARPTON: And he had called on her last Sunday to apologize. Now he
is saying that he found out different information. And we`ll wait and see
if he apologizes.

CLYBURN: Well, I think it would be a long wait because this man is
not in this for the facts at all. He is still upset over the 2008
election. He is still having a battle with the President who defeated him
in 2008. And anybody that`s been associated with that campaign in 2008 --
in fact, it was during that year that I really got to know Susan, like I
knew her father. Because she worked in South Carolina during the 2008
campaign and reminded me back at that time that her roots were here in this
state. She`s a very competent woman. She ought to be nominated, I have no
idea what the President is going to do. But if he would ask me, I said,
please nominate her and do it as soon as this morning for your second term.

SHARPTON: Congressman James Clyburn, thank you for your time tonight.
And have a great thanksgiving to you and the family.

CLYBURN: Same to you, my man. Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Ahead, two weeks after President Obama won the state of
Wisconsin, Scott Walker wants to change the voting rules. Is he kidding?
I have something to say about this. Next.


SHARPTON: Just two weeks after President Obama won the state of
Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker is taking aim at voting laws.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: States across the country that have
same-day registration have real problems because the vast majority of
states have poll worker who have wonderful volunteers who work 13-hour
days, most cases are retirees. It`s difficult for them to handle the kind
of valiant of folks who come at the last minute. It would be much better
if registration was done in advance of Election Day.


SHARPTON: Oh, yes, it would be much better to change, way too much
volume. Same-day registration has been a law in Wisconsin for 40 years. I
wonder why he wants to change it now. What could be the reason? We don`t
have this year`s numbers yet but in 2008, Wisconsin had the second highest
turnout of any state. Seventy two percent of eligible voters voted.
That`s a great thing. But Scott Walker has been a one-man wrecking crew
when it comes to voting rights.

In May of last year, he pushed through a voter ID bill, but in July of
this year a judge declared Wisconsin`s voter ID law unconstitutional. And
it was not in place for the election. Republicans think not having the law
made the difference. Just listen to what the Romney campaign Wisconsin`s
co-chair said on local TV.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do you think photo ID would have made any
difference? The outcome of this election?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Absolutely, yes.


SHARPTON: Voter ID would have made the difference. But we`ve heard
Republicans in other states also spill the beans.


REP. MIKE TURZAI (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Voter ID which is going to allow
Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.



SHARPTON: This is why they won`t give it up. They will keep coming.
And so will we. It`s time to stop trying to rig the system. Stop trying
to cheat. It`s time to make voting easier, not harder.

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


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