December 4, 2012
Guests: Barbara Boxer, David Corn, Jamal Simmons, Ryan Grim, Stephanie Schriock
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Thanks, Chris, and thanks to you
for tuning in. I`m live from Washington, D.C.
Tonight`s lead, the end of an era. For more than 20 years Republicans
have calmed to the one policy that`s crippled our ability to get things
done in Washington. Do you remember this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE H. W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITES STATES: Read my
lips. No new taxes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Read my lips, no new taxes. George H. W. Bush hammered
that mantra to win the White House in 1988. But just two years later, the
Reagan deficits were skyrocketing and President Bush was forced to change
his most famous line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Long and bitter battle over the budget
officially ended last night. President Bush put his signature on the
deficit reduction package. It includes $140 billion in tax increases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Tax increases. That was a turning point for the modern
Republican Party. The right wing went crazy. And George Bush lost re-
election. Since then, the party`s been committed to never compromising on
the tax issue, no matter the deficit.
No congressional Republican has voted for an increase in taxes since
1990. Think about it. For nearly a quarter of a century, no new income
taxes. In the current Congress, 236 House Republicans vowed never to raise
taxes, 40 GOP senators also kept that pledge. Even President George W.
Bush, the man who got us into two wars we didn`t pay for. The president
who exploded our deficit. He insisted the solution to our problems were
more tax cuts.
President Clinton handed him a $236 billion surplus, a surplus and
left office with a $1.2 trillion deficit. But he just had to keep those
tax cuts coming. But something remarkable may be happening in our
politics. We are on the verge of something big.
After decades of silliness, this lock-step Republican fantasy that has
hurt our country, President Obama is close to breaking the GOP tax unity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Unfortunately, the
speaker`s proposal right now is still out of balance. You know, he talks,
for example, about $800 billion worth of revenues, but he says he`s going
to do that by lowering rates. And when you look at the math, it doesn`t
work. If we`re going to protect middle class families, then we`re going to
have to have higher rates for the wealthiest Americans, folks like me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Read his lips, no deal without a tax increase on the
richest in this country. And get this, President Obama is winning this
argument. Remember the anti-tax pledge? Forty four Republican lawmakers
had distanced themselves from it. Today, conservative columnist David
Brookes says, Republicans have to realize they`re going to have to cave on
tax rates. And conservative writer Byron York writes, quote, "Republicans
will cave." Part of the reason for the shift is the president is staying
strong on this issue. He did just -- he did that to just now and won an
Also, Americans are saying clearly who they blame if the two sides
don`t reach a deal before the end of the year. Take a look at this. A new
poll shows Republicans will take the blame if a deal isn`t reached and we
go over the fiscal cliff. Fifty three percent say it`s on Republicans.
Half that, 27 percent, will blame the president. This is progress. This
is change. If President Obama can break Republicans on tax increases, this
could redefine American politics. It would help to change our politics in
very important ways. And who knows, what else may be possible.
Joining me now is Krystal Ball, co-host of "the Cycle" here on MSNBC
and Richard Wolffe, vice president and executive editor of MSNBC.com.
Thank you both for being here tonight.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks, Reverend.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Krystal, how big a moment will it be if the president gets
the Republicans to cave on tax increases?
BALL: I mean, it really is sort of hard to understate how significant
that would be. It would essentially mark the end of the, you know, after
George W. H. Bush raised taxes, there was this huge backlash led by Newt
Gingrich and Grover Norquist among others. We had the contract for America
that in some ways was kind of the precursor of the tea party and this very
extreme rhetoric, that is us versus them rhetoric, this lack of nuance. We
are rather than talking about nuance differences between positions you call
the president`s health care bill socialism and yell about death panels and
really caricature things. I mean, that to me could be the most important
shift. If there is a real true ship to the center, if they really do have
to finally break and increase tax rates, they also have to change the way
that they talk about their policies. You can`t just demagogue (ph) and use
terms like that. You have to actually have nuance language. And that
would make the whole country better because it say we are offering better
solutions that would force the Democratic Party really to be smarter and
offer more innovative solutions, too.
SHARPTON: Now, Richard, President Obama told "Rolling Stone" magazine
that his past election would break the GOP fever. He told the magazine,
I`m quoting, "my hope is if the American people send a message to
Republicans and they have suffer some losses in this election, that there`s
going to be some self-reflection going on, that it might break the fever.
They might say to themselves, you know what? We`ve lost our way here. We
need to refocus on trying to get things done for the American people."
Richard, they lost some seats. They lost the election. Is the fever
about to break?
WOLFFE: Yes. And you know, Revered, it`s interesting that he used
the language because actually that was the same language that vice
president Biden used when he was being interviewed by Chris Matthews on
You know, the fever breaking is clearly a term of art in terms of what
the White House sees as the problem for the Republican Party. But, just as
big, as Krystal`s point, you know, the politics has changed in some way.
We don`t have the deal set yet. But, when was the last time a democratic
candidate had the guts to campaign saying that taxes would rise.
You know, the Republicans have had this game of fear playing out for
many cycles now, to say that we always win when we promise to cut taxes.
Those are the gifts that they were using and offering for, in Mitt Romney`s
terms. And it didn`t work this time. And it actually worked for the
president to say, OK, it`s not taxes rising on everyone, but some people
will pay more taxes.
That kind of play book has worked time and time again. But finally,
it hasn`t work now. The fact, the polls lay where they at. And
ultimately, what breaks the fever? The trump card is with the president.
Taxes will go up if they do nothing. Going over the cliff will see taxes
going up on everyone and that`s what Republicans can avert if they choose
to do so.
SHARPTON: Now Krystal, it`s not like the right is not fighting back.
SHARPTON: Because you are seeing people that are openly swinging
against speaker Boehner`s deal. Senator Jim DeMint says Boehner`s tax hike
will destroy American jobs. The Koch brothers say, Americans for
prosperity group said it leaves Americans conservatives wanting. The
heritage foundation said the proposal was asking Republicans to go back on
their promise not to raise taxes. So there is pushback.
BALL: There is push back. And it`s not surprising that there`s push
back, given the fact this is essentially on economic issues. All that the
Republican Party has stood for, for decades now. But what`s going to be
important to look for is, what are those numbers? I think any deal that
passes, there are going to be a certain number of Republicans who don`t
vote for it. I think that`s a given.
But, we have to look at how many Republicans do vote for it. The
question here is will those Republicans who support a compromise deal, who
support increased taxes face a backlash in their own primaries? Will they
suffer at the ballot box in primaries from club for growth, Grover
Norquist, tea party activists. And I think if you have a good, substantial
chunk of the Republican caucus going along with the deal, they are safety
in numbers so they can`t be voted out, they can`t be primary in that same
way if a lot of them go along with it.
SHARPTON: Now, a lot of this is going to depend, Richard on speaker
Boehner. And Matt Lewis writes that speaker Boehner has effectively become
a cat herder whose legacy rides just on getting the best deal he can. He
writes, Boehner should use what Democrats must see as an unpredictable and
irrational Republican caucus as a tool to extract a better deal than would
normally be possible. It`s probably not fair to him but one can`t help but
suspect that`s Boehner`s legacy is on the line right now.
But at the same time, Richard, Boehner seems to be laying down the law
with this house Republican caucus. He stripped four house members of
committee seats, presumably because they bucked the party on key votes.
Three of those congressional members were elected during the tea party
victory in 2010.
WOLFFE: Yes, look, Reverend, it`s not his legacy on the line here.
It`s his job on the line here. One of the problems he`s had all the way
through is he`s had Eric Cantor behind him poised to challenge him for the
leadership. So, he has going to play a difficult game here where he has to
assert his leadership, not expose himself too much to that challenge. And
that makes actually negotiating with him extremely difficult. Republicans
have to decide who they are, what they stand for, other than opposing
everything that the president does, other than supporting every single tax
cut that anyone could ever support. That`s easy, right?
Now, that they`ve lost, they have to decide who they are. And in the
House they have to decide which leader they want. Is this John Boehner`s
caucus? Is it Eric Cantor`s caucus?
WOLFFE: Negotiating with John Boehner when he doesn`t control things
is not tenable for the White House; not tenable for John Boehner.
SHARPTON: Well, I guess in the beltway here where I am tonight and
the micro, its Cantor or Boehner, but the bigger picture where I`m looking
at, if the president succeeds in terming the country around on this whole
obsession with protecting the rich and protecting no tax cuts, that`s a big
moment, a possible transformative moment in where we are in American
Krystal Ball and Richard Wolffe, thanks for your time this evening.
BALL: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: And be sure to catch Krystal, by the way, on "the Cycle" on
weekdays at 3:00 p.m. right here on MSNBC.
Ahead, he tried to get attention with a disastrous soup kitchen photo
opt, and now he wants to rebrand himself as someone who cares about the
poor. We reveal Paul Ryan`s makeover plans.
And more on the box Republicans are in and President Obama`s power
play. Senator Barbara Boxer of California joins me on that.
Plus, it`s the GOP`s worst nightmare come true. Here comes Elizabeth
Warren on the banking committee. This is about to get interesting.
You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn`t good. Friends of Mitt Romney are
saying that he`s bored now. That he`s no longer running for president.
Though not as bored as the rest of us were when he was running for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will. Today everyone was excited to hear
Elizabeth warren was going to serve on the banking committee.
Pamela says, watch out, banksters, there`s going to be a new cop on
Judith says, it`s about time we get someone who is not afraid of Wall
Charles says, right person, right place. Right time.
I agree. We`ve got more on what Warren`s appointment will mean for
the banking committee coming up later.
But first, we want to hear what you think. Please head over to
facebook and search "Politics Nation" and "like" us to join the
conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.
SHARPTON: Today, in his first interview since winning re-election,
President Obama talked about the fiscal cliff standoff. He put his foot
down on what is negotiable and what is not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We have to say the rates on the top two percent go up. And
we`re not going to get a deal without it. And understand here, we have the
reason for that. It`s not me being stubborn. It`s not me being a
partisan. It`s just a matter of math. I`m happy to entertain other ideas
the Republicans may present, but we are not going to simply cut our way to
prosperity or cut our way out of the deficit problem we have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, are we on the verge of something big, something that
could really change our politics?
Joining me now, Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat from California and
whip of the Senate.
Senator, first of all, as always, great to have you on the show.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: I love being on your show. Thank
SHARPTON: If the GOP agrees to tax increases, how important might
that be in terms of showing they actually are capable of working with the
BOXER: You know, the way they raised the question, if they agree to
tax increases. They claimed they`re willing to do these loop-hole closers
but the difference here is the tax rates.
And here`s the issue. As you know, the Bush tax cuts, which resulted
in rates being lower for 100 percent of Americans, they all expire at the
end of the year. Democrats have said to Republicans, we know you want to
extend them for everybody, even if they make $5 billion, $7 billion, $2
million, we`ll extend them to the first $250,000 of income. And then the
top two percent would have to pay a little bit more. So, in my mind and in
the president`s mind, I think we look at this, and I think its common sense
and say to the Republicans, we agree with you on 98 percent of what you
want to do. You want to extend the tax cuts to 100 percent. We`re saying
98 percent. So, I think that`s the common ground. And for some reason,
except for Tom Cole and a few individuals, we don`t see where the
Republicans understand. We can all be winners.
Can you imagine looking out at the country before the holiday and
saying 98 percent of you are not going to have one more penny to pay on
your taxes? That`s a big deal. And for some reason they`re offering up
all this other soup. And it`s an unpleasant soup that actually is an
assault on the middle class. So I think they`re in serious trouble with
the American people right now.
SHARPTON: Now, do you get any sense, because what you`re saying just
seems so sensible and logical, do you get any sense that they`re moving
closer to try to at least go back far with the 98 percent being protected
from the tax cuts expiring on the end of this month?
BOXER: Reverend, Al f I could tell you yes, I`d be so happy. I`m a
very optimistic person. But, here`s where we are. In July, the Senate
passed that bill. All they have to do is take it up and pass it. They
could have taken it up in July, August, September, October. November,
we`re at December, they haven`t taken it up. And now, Democratic leader
Pelosi has said it`s a situation where there`s a discharge situation at the
desk meaning if 218 people signed that bill, it would come up for a vote
and the Republicans have said, even Tom Cole and others with us on this,
they won`t do it.
So, as I stand here and I, through the magic of television, see you, I
don`t see the movement in that direction. But here`s what I think. The
American people get it. It`s simple. And many of us to go in to the
senate floor, senator (INAUDIBLE) kind of organized this, and we are going
to be there every day until they take up that bill and pass it. They ought
to do what Tip O`Neill did, go to Democrats, go to the Republicans, find
that sweet spot. That`s 218. You know, John Boehner has to act like he`s
speaker of the house, not speaker of the Republicans.
SHARPTON: Well, we can only watch and pray, but --
SHARPTON: -- let me turn the page and ask you --
BOXER: Well, you`re good at praying, Reverend, so I think it`s good.
SHARPTON: Yes. Well, I`ll definitely be doing that for the middle
class and for all Americans. But, let me ask you, the year of the woman
where we are now, 1993 when you first took your seat, there were six women
in the U.S. Senate. Twenty years later, there will be 21 in the Senate,
the most ever in U.S. history. How does that make you feel?
BOXER: I feel good. I feel very good with it. Reverend, when I ran
with senator Feinstein, when we both would became the first day in history
to elect two women, people thought it can never happened. Here, were only
two women, Nancy Kassebaum and Barbara Mikulski, we went to six. That
class had (INAUDIBLE). We brought it had Patty Murray, et cetera.
Now, we cannot rest until we`re about 50 because truly, look, women
are more than 50 percent of the population.
BOXER: And when these issues are discussed, whether it`s war and
peace, whether it`s education, whether it`s the hard issues, the soft
issues, we belong in the room. And so, I do feel good --
SHARPTON: But, at the same time --
BOXER: Yes, I feel good and I`m excited to welcome all those women.
Remember, I went on your show, it kind of made you crazy and said, please
have me come on and talk about the fact that 2012 could be the year of the
women and you let me do that. And we had win with women and you let me
publicly size that and I`m very grateful --
SHARPTON: And you came through. But before we go, we still have had
probably some of the most restrictive and in my opinion, the most
reactionary movement against women`s right. For example, Mississippi`s
only abortion clinic could be forced to close in January because of
restricted regulations that force doctors to secure hospital privileges.
Now, let me ask you this, the attacks on women`s rights, which has
been unprecedented, as I said. After the election and the defeat of many
of those extreme voices, has the attacks lessened and are you still very
concerned about women`s rights being taken for granted or being taken away?
BOXER: Reverend Al, yes. I do not see the progress that we should
see. This example in Mississippi, what does it mean? It means that
particularly the poor women and the middle class women who don`t have a lot
of money to spend, they could be forced into desperate situations. And I
remember those years all too well. So, the attack goes on.
And you know, I just -- look at the House now. They`re still sitting
on not only the middle class tax cut, they`re sitting on the violence
against women act. Our version in the Senate is so good and important, it
pulls all the women in. Their version would leave out 30 million people.
So, it still goes on, Reverend. And we will have to keep on talking about
this in the days ahead.
SHARPTON: All right. We shall. Senator Barbara Boxer, thanks for
SHARPTON: Coming up, why is Paul Ryan talking about a new war on
poverty? Is he kidding?
And Elizabeth Warren`s new job has bankers very nervous. Stay with
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Nobody fought harder for Wall Street reform, the reform that
is now law and protecting consumers all across the country than Elizabeth.
She is going to be an outstanding senator for Massachusetts, and everybody
here`s got to turn out for her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The people of Massachusetts did turn out for her. And now,
Elizabeth Warren is heading to Washington as the most watched new member of
the Senate. Today, there`s big news and good news about what she`s
planning when she gets there.
Watch out, old guard, here she comes! That`s coming up.
SHARPTON: Big news today. Politico reports Paul Ryan is rebranding
himself for the new improved Republican Party. That`s right. He`s getting
He`s been back on Capitol Hill for about a week since losing the
election. And now he`s ready for a new day. Here`s his before picture,
the budget guy, a little rough around the edges. And here`s the after
picture. Wow, he looks great. Just great. Wait a minute, he looks
exactly the same. The makeover`s complete but nothing`s changed.
The truth is, no makeover can erase Ryan`s record in Congress or in
the presidential campaign, but he`s trying tonight. When the new Ryan
makes his debut at a conservative summit in Washington.
Politico says, quote, "On Tuesday night, Ryan will say what he`s been
wanting to say for months. He`ll push for a new war on poverty." A new
war on poverty? Really? Paul Ryan is here to save the poor. The same
Paul Ryan who staged that phony photo op at an empty soup kitchen in Ohio.
The same Paul Ryan who told seniors that Republicans would never touch
their benefits as he proposed to do just that, the makers and takers guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We risk hitting a tipping point in our
society where we have more takers than makers in our society, where we will
have turned our safety net into a hammock. That lulls able-bodied people
into lives of dependency and complacency.
We could become a society where the net majority of Americans are
takers not makers.
A cradle-to-the-grave welfare society where we have more takers than
We could be a nation with a majority of takers and a minority of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Folks, that`s the real Paul Ryan. He`s just signed off on
the GOP`s new plan to slash Medicare and Social Security, but avoid raising
taxes on the rich. Like every good makeover artist, Ryan is trying to hide
his flaws behind cosmetic changes but it won`t fool the American people.
Joining me now, David Corn, Mother Jones Washington Bureau chief and
MSNBC political analyst. His new e-book is about how he uncovered Romney`s
original 47 percent video. And Jamal Simmons, democratic strategist and
principal at the Reagan Group. Thank you both for joining me tonight.
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good to be with you.
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.
SHARPTON: How does Paul Ryan`s attempted makeover echo what we`re
seeing all across the GOP?
CORN: Well, it`s the old Ryan in a new bottle. And if you look at
what just happened in the campaign, you have to say, hey, America, they
looked at the Romney/Ryan approach to politics which was this libertarian
approach, you know, cutting Medicaid, cutting Medicare, saying if you
trickle down tax cuts for the rich and 47 percent, you know, bought it.
Only 47 percent. So, Ryan knows if he wants to have a future as a general
election candidate, he`s going to have to do something different.
And he really, in a lot of ways, I don`t know if Jamal will agree with
me, he was a niche candidate. He appealed to libertarians, to people
who`ve memorized and got some of the conservative base up. And had no
appeal whatsoever in the general election. So he has to do something
different, otherwise he`ll never get past 47 percent.
SHARPTON: But Jamal, the GOP has got to get past 47 percent if
they`re ever going to win another presidential election. This is the
problem for the whole GOP. Ryan is merely testing where they all are going
to have to rebrand. I mean, we`ve got almost a preview of what he was
going -- probably going to say tonight. He did an interview in Milwaukee
at a radio station this morning. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: I gave a very similar speech in October during the campaign at
Cleveland State University about how to fight poverty, about conservative
free market solutions to addressing the needs of the poor and reigniting
upward mobility, about how to attack the root cause of poverty instead of
simply treating the symptoms of poverty, which end up perpetuating poverty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, that`s probably what he`s going to explain in his
speech tonight, this makeover speech. The problem is the policies. When
you look at what he`s proposed to helping the poor, cuts to safety net,
right out from under them, $3 trillion from programs like food stamps, guts
Medicaid, Pell grants. His budget does not include any tax increases on
the rich but exit polls show that Americans favor raising taxes on incomes
over $250,000. So, when you match whatever speech he makes tonight or
whatever interview he did this morning, what he`s proposing, it doesn`t
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely. And if you look
at what Ryan wants to do, it`s absolutely wrong for the communities that
most of us care about. It`s wrong for seniors. It`s going to be bad for
people who are caught, you know, at the low end of the economic ladder.
He`s not actually proposing anything that`s going to be helpful. But
here`s where progressives have to be careful. Because Paul Ryan is the
first dog into the tunnel. He is trying to find a way to talk about these
issues that Republicans are going to have to have a message on if they`re
going to be successful going forward.
And here`s the thing, if they continue to talk about this, if
conservatives continue to go into minority communities, talk about poverty,
sooner or later they`re going to stumble up on something that people will
respond to. They`re going to find a policy in the middle of this. And
that`s going to hurt Democrats. Democrats have to stay on their game. You
can`t sit back and relax. Republicans are not going to lose election after
election without fighting, to find a way to end these constituencies.
SHARPTON: Now, David, we`re hearing that Ryan is now closer than
ever to being part of the GOP leadership in the house. I`m quoting from an
associate press story says, "The Wisconsin congressman isn`t technically a
member of the house republican leadership but he`s viewed by GOP colleagues
as an expert on economic and tax policies and entitlement programs." That
explains why Ryan has become a new addition to what was previously a four-
person 30-minute morning meeting led each day by Boehner and Majority
Leader Eric Cantor.
CORN: Well, he`s considered an expert on cutting attacks for the rich
and cutting entitlements for everybody else. And so, I think one reason
he`s in the room, is it`s tactical. He is the House budget chairman. It`s
unusual to be part of these deliberations. But John Boehner, we`ve talked
about this before, has a tremendous problem. How to cut any deal and not
have the Tea Party wing of his party rebel against him and even threaten
his speakership when it comes up to vote January 3rd. So, having Ryan
there maybe keeps the restless natives a little bit more assured. And if
they can bring Ryan along, he`ll get some cover out of this. And I think
for now it`s a tactical move on Boehner`s party. It`s not a declaration
Boehner is supporting Ryan in 2016.
SHARPTON: But, Jamal, isn`t that the problem for the whole party?
Isn`t the problem that this party, unless it can broaden and deal with the
new America, the new electorate that they lost to in November --
SHARPTON: -- that they will never be able to regain footing and
eventually just be a permanent marginal party?
SIMMONS: Absolutely. And they`ve got to figure out a way out of this
box. I mean, Paul Ryan -- Paul Ryan and I are about the same age. These
are different kinds of Republicans. They`re not afraid of talking to
people of color, they`re not afraid of some of these things, some of their,
you know, parents and grandparents were. This is what I`m saying.
Democrats have to be careful. Barack Obama supporting a democrat in 2016
does not mean that Democrats going to get black and Latino votes.
These Democrats are going to have to have solid programs that appeal
to these constituencies and fundamental relationships and not be dependent
upon the President to carry that water for them. We saw it in 2010. It
didn`t work. And it probably won`t work again unless these Democrats have
their own ideas.
SHARPTON: But, David, the democrat in 2016 or even the Democrats in
the midterm in 2014, I agree, can`t depend on the president to deliver
votes from Latinos or African-Americans. But the Republicans not being
able to expand can only help a candidate win that without having to do much
CORN: They`re not going to be able to expend in the next two years.
It`s interesting that tonight these speeches, and I think Marco Rubio is
giving one, too, is that the Kemp Foundation. Now, remember, some of us
are old enough to remember Jack Kemp who was a republican who I think
sincerely believed that some conservative ideas, in terms of homeownership
and other things, could help African-American and low income communities
and he went out there, he talked to that crowd and he had -- there was a
real authenticity the way he did that --
SIMMONS: And it`s better for Americans if Republicans have
conservative ideas. These aren`t just those ideas.
CORN: Yes, I think cutting Medicaid and cutting Pell grants and
school lunches is really not what Jack Kemp was about.
CORN: And so, Paul Ryan, just by, you know, it`s interesting he said,
I gave a speech, I gave a speech. You have to more than give speeches.
SHARPTON: I think you`re right. And I do remember reading about Jack
Kemp. David, Jamal, thank you for being on the show tonight.
CORN: Sure, thanks.
SHARPTON: Coming up, they did everything to stop her. But here comes
Elizabeth Warren. The big news is next.
Very proud night for myself and my family and my staff and my friends.
I received a Kennedy Center Honor. But today, the Republicans are trying
to block it. Oh, I just --
SHARPTON: The Republicans have lots of different reactions to losing
the election. But they all seem to agree on one thing. Today voter
suppression is coming up. And why today`s news from Washington about
Elizabeth Warren has Wall Street reaching for the Maalox? That`s next.
SHARPTON: In this election nobody other than the president was a more
passionate, more progressive voice for fairness than Senator-elect
Elizabeth Warren. She crystallized what this debate was all about, in a
YouTube video that quickly went viral.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH WARREN, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL PROFESSOR: There is 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 roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers that the
rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of
police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You built a
factory that turned into something terrific 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 who comes along.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: How victory in the Massachusetts Senate race brought that
voice to Capitol Hill. Today, more big news. "The Huffington Post"
reports, Warren will get a seat on the powerful banking committee, the
Senate panel that oversees Wall Street. Now when bankers testify about
their bad behavior, Senator Warren will be asking the questions. When
Republicans try to gut financial reform, Senator Warren will be there to
stop them. And when President Obama needs progressive leaders to help
fight for fairness, Senator Warren will be standing by his side. Right
now, I bet there are some bankers quaking in their Gucci loafers.
Joining me now is Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief of "The
Huffington Post" who broke the Warren news this morning and Stephanie
Schriock, president of Emily`s List, the progressive group that played a
key role in Miss Warren`s campaign. Thanks to both of you for joining me.
Ryan, let me start with you. What does this news about Miss Warren`s
tell us about the democratic priorities in the new Congress?
RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, just the fact of the
announcement of the news is a win because there was a huge internal fight
waged by bank lobbyists to keep her off this panel.
GRIM: So, just the mere fact that she`s on it, that`s a victory for
starters. But secondly it shows that, you know, that Democrats are not
going to be totally pushed over. It wasn`t the biggest win that it could
be, if it was Warren and Tammy Baldwin or Warren and Hirono, or Warren and
both of those, then that`s a huge win, you know, for progressives. Warren
and Manchin might tend to balance each other out. But Warren is a huge
voice and it`s not a zero sum game. You know, Warren is much as stronger
than Manchin is weaker.
SHARPTON: Now, Stephanie, first of all, you do have you an issue with
your arm. I don`t want people to think you`re wearing that as a symbol of
what some in Wall Street think want to politically do to Elizabeth Warren.
STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK, PRESIDENT, EMILY`S LIST: This is what happens
when you`re a Montana kid and you go play in the ocean. This is what
SHARPTON: I want to clear that up that you`re not being symbolic here
in a political way. But Elizabeth Warren has been very passionate, very
outspoken. For example, let me get -- give you a clip of her speech at the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Wall Street CEOs, the same ones who wrecked our economy and
destroyed millions of jobs, still strut around Congress, no shame,
demanding favors and acting like we should thank them. Does anyone here
have a problem with that? Well, I do, too. I do, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And they`re not used to hearing anything like that in the U.S. Senate.
And a lot of Wall Street types and bankers really fought. In fact, they
put $5.5 million in -- from the financial industry into her opponent`s
campaign, Scott Brown. How is this going to work in the Senate, do you
feel with her under banking committee?
SCHRIOCK: We`re so excited. The Emily`s list community of two
million have been with Elizabeth since she was even thinking about that
Senate run. And to watch her now get on the banking committee, walk into
the United States Senate. I mean, she`s a fighter for the middle class.
She`s proven herself, she set up the Consumer Protection Bureau. She is
going to bring exactly what is needed in the United States Senate to move
forward, to move this country forward and I could not be happier about what
she`s going to bring to the United States Senate.
SHARPTON: Now, Ryan, the banking industry, one reaction from Richard
Hunt, Consumer Bankers Association, president and CEO, he says, I welcome
her to be inside the tent rather than outside the tent, throwing bombs.
What kind of subtle message is that?
GRIM: Well, I mean, they think they`re going to be able to co-op her.
You know, I don`t think that`s necessarily the case. I think the best
chance that they have to stymie her agenda is that she`s just outnumbered.
You have enough bank-friendly Democrats and then bank friendly Republicans
that they can block her. But she`s going to have a lot of power on this
committee. You know, she can grill regulators when they come in and
regulators will know that. So, every day, a regulator goes to work and
they`re writing rules and they`re enforcing them, they know a couple months
from now, I could be on YouTube making a fool --
SHARPTON: Being confronted by Senator Warren.
GRIM: Yes. Right, I don`t want that to happen. So, OK, it changes
the calculus for people.
SHARPTON: Yes. Elizabeth, Emily`s List analysis show that democratic
women have been the most consistent liberal voting bloc in the past dozen
years, past 12 years. Twenty U.S. Senate, 78 house, both all-time highs
now and they have consistently in the last 12 years been the most liberal
SCHRIOCK: That`s exactly right. I mean, you got 16 democratic women
in the United States Senate and you`re going to see really a progressive
voting bloc, particularly with the addition -- we`re talking about
Elizabeth Warren but Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin, who is a leader on the
Buffett rule in the House is now in the United States Senate, Mazie K.
Hirono in Hawaii. These three women really are going to be leaders in the
Senate for their states and for middle class Americans.
And as Americans are Ryan, when you look at the polling, how voters
view the economic system, 55 percent think it favors the wealthy. Thirty
nine percent feel it`s fair to most Americans. So, clearly most Americans
think it`s tilted toward the wealthy. And some people think Elizabeth
Warren can even go for higher office than where she is now.
GRIM: And that`s going to be part of her power. She`s already being
floated, you know, as a leading presidential or vice presidential
candidate. You know, most -- I think most presidential candidates in 2016
would look at Warren as a presidential candidate, if they beat her, if she
runs for president and that`s a lot of power to have that out there.
SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to have to leave it there. Ryan and
Stephanie, thanks for your time tonight.
GRIM: Thank you.
SHARPTON: You thought the right wing voter suppression effort was
slowing down. Think again. But we`re ready to fight. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Today in voter suppression, Wisconsin Republicans have a
new plan. The new leader of the state assembly is gearing up to push voter
ID again. Even though the courts struck it down for violating the state`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Would you favor beginning the process of changing
the state`s constitution to require photo ID because of some of the legal
uncertainty around the law?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, I would favor that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Change the state constitution. But that`s not all. The
new top republican in the state Senate wants to get rid of nonpartisan
judges on the elections boards and replace them with political appointees.
Why? Because he thinks the nonpartisan board has made decisions favorable
to Democrats. He thinks this panel is too political and he wants fix it by
making it more political, but with Republicans. Meantime, in Pennsylvania,
Republicans` efforts to suppression continues. Remember this guy?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. MIKE TURZAI (R-PA), MAJORITY LEADER: Voter ID, which is
going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Well, that didn`t work out so well. But now Pennsylvania
Republicans are re-introducing a plan to split up the state`s electoral
votes. Pennsylvania has gone democratic in every presidential race since
1992. So, Republicans want to change how the results are counted.
Splitting it up by percentage instead of the traditional, winner take all.
The GOP plan is clear. If you can`t win under the rules, just change the
rules. Is wrong.
But we`ll be watching and we`ll be fighting back. Generations before
us put everything on the line to give all Americans the right to vote. It
may be a little tedious, but we`re going to make sure those rights are
protected. And no matter how you package it, we`ll be there to un-package
it and expose un-democratic principles to those that believe in democracy.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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