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PoliticsNation, Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

January 3, 2013

Guests: Alan Grayson; Cynthia Tucker, Krystal Ball, Toure, Diana DeGette

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

Tonight`s lead, the new start in Washington. The 113th Congress sworn
in today is the most diverse in American history. There are more women in
both the house and the Senate than ever before. And, for the first time
ever, white men do not make up the majority of house Democrats.

In the Senate, a strong, progressive voice took the oath of office.
Senator Elizabeth Warren now representing Massachusetts and what was once
Ted Kennedy`s Senate seat.

In the house, Republicans were voting on whether to keep John Boehner
as speaker. There were a few defections.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reading clerk will now call the roll.




REP. PAUL BROUN (R), GEORGIA: Allan West of Florida.


REP. TED YOHO (R), FLORIDA: Eric Cantor.


SHARPTON: But, in the end, in the end, speaker Boehner survived


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The total number of votes cast is 426 of which
the honorable John A. Boehner of the state of Ohio has received 220.


SHARPTON: That`s right. The man who drove this country to the brink
of default who repeatedly threatened to shut down the government. Who
can`t even control his own party. He`s their man-again. It`s the same
leadership with the same failed agenda.

Even before the vote, Boehner was telling his fellow Republicans that
he`s done negotiating with President Obama one-on-one. Maybe that`s a good

And the first move by the new Congress, Michelle Bachmann introducing
another bill to repeal Obama care. Something Republicans tried to do more
than 30 times in the last Congress. And, in case there were any doubts
about Republican intentions, Mitch McConnell put an end today.

In an article today McConnell wrote quote "now the conversation turns
to cutting spending on the government programs. It`s the debate that
starts today whether the president wants it or not."

We know what that means? When Republicans talk about cutting
spending, they mean gutting the safety net that millions of Americans count
on. They mean slashing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Those
fundamental programs that president Obama vowed to protect during the
campaign is what the election was all about.

Well, he won. Republicans lost. But, instead of finding a new
approach, they`re already starting to put forward the same, old leaders
with the same, tired, old ideas. No doubt there`s a big battle to come on
these issues.

Joining me now, Joan Walsh, editor at large at and an MSNBC
political analyst. And Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer Prize syndicated columnist
for "the Atlanta Journal Constitution."

Thank you both for being here with me tonight.



SHARPTON: Cynthia, let me go to you first. How should Democrats
handle these Republicans who, apparently, haven`t learned anything from
their failures in the last Congress?

TUCKER: Well, they have no choice but to go around them, go over
them, go through them, which is basically what happened with the deal to
overt the fiscal cliff. Much of this is going to depend on President
Obama`s leadership.

The president stood firm in these negotiations. He had told
Republicans, he had told the American public that he was not going to sign
any deal that did not increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans. He told
them and he told them and he told them. They did not believe him. They
thought that they could roll over him just as they had done in 2011.


TUCKER: It did not work. So if the president holds fast, as he did
before, they will not be able to roll over him and gut programs of
consequence and ruin the economy.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan, so from what Cynthia`s view is, the president
stood firm. You would then disagree with some of the critics on the left
that say he caved. One celebrated writer even said he was wimpish (ph).
You wouldn`t agree with that?

WALSH: No, I wouldn`t agree with that. I mean, Reverend Al, I`m not
crazy about everything in the deal and I`m worried that we did compromise a
little too much on tax rates, but whatever. You know, a deal is a deal.
And he got an enormous amount of what he wanted. He did get the rates to
go way up, again. And he held off spending cuts, at least for a while. So
there are a lot of good things about the deal.

The deal is a model. And I think the important thing for the
president is to continue that conversation with the American people. Even
though he won the election, he`s the first president since Dwight
Eisenhower to win 51 percent of the vote twice, I think it`s important that
even after he won, he continued to talk to the American people about what
his goals were, what the obstruction was that he was facing and keep people
on his side.

His approval ratings are higher. So, that`s going to be important.
We do have more progressive people in the Senate and the house, that`s
important. But we still have this tea party madness. And we still have
people like John Boehner who know better who are turning to these people
and allowing them to abstract.

SHARPTON: Now, talking about approval polls and approval ratings,
Cynthia, let`s talk about Mr. Boehner`s.

Since he became speaker, there have been some problems for him at the
polls. Let`s look at the fact that Republicans have gone down nine
percent. Approval of Congress is down 13 percent, and approval of Boehner,
personally, is down nine percent. He was reelected today, but he`s
certainly not doing well in terms of public approval, Cynthia?

TUCKER: Well, the entire Republican brand is damaged, Reverend Al.
Most Americans do not agree with the Republican agenda. Most Americans
want to see the social safety net remain in place. They recognize how
important it is. Medicare, Social Security, the safety net for the poorest

Joan was talking about some of the things the president got in the
deal, he got extension of unemployment insurance. Most Americans favor
those things. Boehner and his caucus of art conservatives do not. They
don`t care about the poor people.
They don`t care about working people. They don`t care about wrecking the
entire economy just to get their way. Protecting the richest Americans is
all they really care about.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan, they`re already getting ready for another
battle. And this one, over the debt ceiling. Including in their
preparation there, including the threat of shutting down the government.
Watch this.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Save your powder for the
debt ceiling fight. We have leverage at the debt ceiling to make this
president face up to the fact that we`re spending our way into oblivion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there`s going to be a whole new field of
battle when the debt ceiling rolls around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is where we have leverage. We Republicans
need to be willing to tolerate a temporary partial government shutdown.


SHARPTON: So here we are, not even 48 hours after we dealt with the
fiscal cliff and they`re talking about the debt ceiling and, possibly,
shutting down government.

WALSH: Yes, they are, Reverend Al. I mean, this is what is -- what
remains scary. Because when you have people who are - they are merely
committed to blocking. They`re not committed to building. They`re not
committed to using the leverage of government to build a stronger middle
class and help people out of poverty or any of that, that, you know,
frankly, Republicans in my childhood participated in some of those things.
They were excellent on civil rights, for example. There was a time when
the two parties could work together to get things done. When you have
nihilists to take us over the cliff or hit the debt ceiling or default on
obligation obligations, then the party, even the majority party, is in a
tough position because we don`t want to play chicken with the economy.

The president made a deal, even as you said, because he wanted people
to continue on with their insurance. If we care about people and the
outcomes, it makes it hard to hold a firm line, but the president has to.
And I think he has to make the crazy people in the Republican Party the
problem of the Republican Party and the problem of Wall Street and the CEOs
in this country because they`ve enabled this nihilism. He needs to go out
to widen his base and make these crazy people everybody`s problem.

SHARPTON: Cynthia, aren`t they really being hypocritical? I mean,
they were not that concerned about arguing, saying they weren`t as obsessed
about arguing about the deficit when there wasn`t a Democrat in the White
House. Look at this. "New York Times" compared the almost - the amount of
the new debt added under President Bush versus the amount added under
President Obama. It`s not even close. More than $5 trillion under Bush,
mostly thanks to unfunded wars and tax cuts millionaires.

New policies under President Obama have added $1.44 trillion with the
deficit. So, why all of this obsession with the deficit now when Bush was
running away with two unpaid-for wars and driving the deficit deeper and
deeper in the hole.

TUCKER: Well you know, Reverend Al, I`m so glad you pointed that out.
You know, I remember how we got into this sea of red ink. It hadn`t been
that long ago. Bill Clinton had balanced the budget. We had a budget
surplus. And then, George W. Bush came into office and threw all of that
overboard. Tax cuts for the rich, two wars and, during that period, Dick
Cheney said Reagan showed us that deficits don`t matter. And the very
people that are now insisting on a fight over the debt ceiling, Boehner,
Cantor, et al voted repeatedly to raise the debt ceiling when George W.
Bush was president. Are they hypocrites? You bet.

But, let me tell you something else they hypocrites about. If they
wanted to really cut spending, why don`t they talk about cutting defense?
Cutting the Pentagon? That`s 30 percent of the federal budget. We are
winding down two wars. But do you hear them talking about cutting defense?
No, you don`t. They just want to cut the social safety net.

SHARPTON: That`s what it`s all about.

Joan Walsh and Cynthia Tucker, thanks for your time to be the.

WALSH: Thanks, Reverend.

TUCKER: Good to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Republicans are already threatening to hold the
economy hostage to get what they want. Are the Democrats ready to stand
strong? This man is. He`s back. The king of political haymakers
Congressman Alan Grayson reelected to Congress, back in the house and ready
to defend Democratic values. He joins us live next.

And as the GOP brand free falls, Chris Christie rises a day after his
blistering attack on John Boehner, we have news on the governor`s next
move. Stay tuned.

Plus, White House photos revealed. Behind-the-scenes presidential
shots you don`t want to miss.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will.

Today, everyone was talking about this photo of minority leader Nancy
Pelosi with the new class of Democratic women on the steps of the capitol.

Heather says there`s nothing better to inspire my daughter and all of
the young girls in this country.

John says diversity is the key to progress in this country on all

Maureen says maybe now we can clean up the mess of the 112th Congress
and get some real work done.

Up next, we`re talking to another member of the 113th Congress, Alan
Grayson about the fight ahead.

But, first, we want you to share your thoughts with us. 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, we welcomed back a new Congress. We welcomed in a
new Congress in Washington. And, with it, a new number of battles. We
know the right is coming. On the debt ceiling, on Medicare, on Social
Security. They`re ready to fight. So, now, more than ever, the Democrats
need strong voices, progressives, who are willing to fight for the causes
they believe in. Who aren`t afraid to land a political punch. Look out,
Republicans. He`s back.


REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: Republicans` health care plan for
America. Don`t get sick. That`s right. Don`t get sick. If you have
insurance, don`t get sick. If you don`t have insurance, don`t get sick.
If you`re sick, don`t get sick. Just don`t get sick. Let`s give three
million Americans a working wage. An honest day`s pay for an honest day`s
work. They`ll spend it on the things they need to do to stay alive.
Instead of the alternative, the Republican favored alternatives, which is
to have them lose their job, keep unemployed and move in to their cars.

But, Barack Obama where somehow able to cure hunger in the world, the
Republicans would blame him for over population. I understand that if
Barack Obama has a BLT sandwich tomorrow for lunch, they will try to ban


SHARPTON: Joining me now, the man himself, Congressman Alan Grayson,
Democrat from Florida. He was reelected this past year and was sworn in
today as a part of the 113th Congress.

Congressman Grayson, congratulations and thanks for being here.

GRAYSON: Thank you. As Steven Tyler would say, I`m back in the
saddle again.

SHARPTON: I imagine Republicans didn`t exactly roll out the red
carpet for you today?

GRAYSON: No, that`s OK. I think we`re going to have to find some way
to get along with each other, I guess. But time will tell.

SHARPTON: Now, talk about getting along. They`ve already said
they`re willing to hold the debt ceiling hostage. That`s quite a reversal
from a few years ago. Listen to this.


the debt ceiling be raised or does it have to be raised? Yes, you can`t
not raise the debt ceiling default is the unworkable solution. Obviously,
you can`t default.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me tell you what`s involved if we don`t lift
the death ceiling -- debt ceiling, excuse me. Financial collapse and
calamity throughout the world. That`s not lost upon me.

financial disaster for our economy, but for the worldwide economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: So defaulting on the full faith and
credit is unacceptable?

BOEHNER: I don`t think it`s a question that`s even on the table.


SHARPTON: So were they kidding then? Or are they kidding now? Why
the big change, Congressman, and how do we deal with it?

GRAYSON: Well, they change because they say it`s a device for them to
extract concessions. They would never otherwise be able to accomplish.
That`s why it`s legislative terrorism. They`re using the debt ceiling as a
means to cut Social Security benefits, cut Medicare benefits, cut
unemployment insurance, cut anything of any use to any ordinary human being
in this country simply because they want more money for tax cuts for the

SHARPTON: Legislative terrorism holding the economy hostage, I would
take from that.

Mr. Boehner, the speaker, reportedly told the GOP that he`s done
negotiating one-on-one with President Obama. What do you make of that?

GRAYSON: Well, look, Boehner is a chief with no Indians. We saw it
again today when he reached the end of the roll call. He didn`t have
enough votes to be speaker. He needed 218 votes to be speaker. When
everybody had already voted. He was at 216. And then they had to drag in
Bachmann and have her vote. Gave him a voting for himself, which he didn`t
do the first time around, and then he managed to eke out a two-vote victory
in a house where he had 25 extra - I`m sorry, 18 extra votes now. And that
shows weak how he is. He`s a weak, weak man. A weak speaker.

And therefore, he can`t negotiate with the president because the
president can actually make commitments, make decisions. He can say when
you send me a bill, I`ll sign it. What can Boehner say? Nothing.

SHARPTON: So you led the charge against the GOP tax cuts in 2010.
Let me play for people what you did.


GRAYSON: Every single year for the next ten years, the Republican tax
plan is to give millionaires enough money for a Mercedes-Benz. They can
buy a bottle of wine from 1787 every year for the next decade. Thank you,
Republican Party.

Here`s something else they can do. They can buy 20,000 jars of their
favorite mustard, Grey Poupon. Here`s an idea. Let`s take that hundred
billion and give three million Americans a job.

SHARPTON: Now, that was you fighting in 2010 against tax cuts for the
rich. Now, that they`ve made some concessions on taxes, do you think that
they will be easier to negotiate with on revenue?

GRAYSON: No. And, frankly, let me use a term that you may have heard
once or twice in New York. I`m tired of their (INAUDIBLE). They keep
narrating over and over again about debt deficit, deficit, deficit,
deficit, deficit. But when it comes to actually doing something about it,
meaning taxing people actually have money they can pay to the government,
somehow, that`s behind the pail. They want to tax the poor who have no
money instead of taxing the rich who have all the money. It just doesn`t
make any sense and I think people are starting to see through it.

SHARPTON: Miss you guys (ph). Didn`t make my side of Brooklyn, but
I`ll use it.

Congressman Alan Grayson, thanks for your time tonight. Good luck.

GRAYSON: Thank you very much, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the grand old party is in a grand old civil war.
Chris Christie will not back down after unloading on Boehner. But is there
something behind it all? Is he getting ready for 2016?

Plus, President Obama is getting ready for a second inauguration and
is driving those wacky, right wing conspiracy theorists crazy. The
birthists, Glen Beck, get ready. I`m coming next.



defend the constitution of the United States.


OBAMA: So help me, God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, Mr. President.



SHARPTON: President Obama taking the oath of office four years ago.
In just a few weeks, he`ll do it again. Of course, the fact that the
president won reelection and will be inaugurated again is driving some
folks on the right crazy.

First, they wanted Republican states to boycott the Electoral College.
That didn`t work out so well. So, now, they`re trying something else. Let
me see if I can say this with a straight face. The birther web site,
"world net daily," published an open letter to chief justice John Roberts
saying he should refuse to administer the oath of office. The letter says
quote "Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen as prescribed in our
constitution. We therefore urge you to honorable course of action and
refuse to administer the oath of office to Mr. Obama."

These people are unbelievable. They never quit. Meantime, radio host
Glen Beck has a different approach. He`s refusing to let anyone on his
show even say the president`s name.


GLEN BECK, RADIO SHOW HOST: Anybody who brings him up, unless it`s
me, is fired. I can`t take the man`s voice. I don`t want to hear him. I
don`t want to know about him. I am not talking about that man anymore.
I`m not going to do it. We refuse to mention that man`s name or play his
audio or anything else. I`m just not going to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But, he is a late Voldemort now from --

BECK: Or even he shall not be named.


SHARPTON: Sure thing, Glen. If you just pretend he`s not the
president, maybe, that will become reality. And let`s not forget the day
after the election when beck urged his listeners to buy farmland and guns.


BECK: I will tell you, last week, we purchased more farmland as a
family. May I recommend if you have a chance to buy farmland, you buy
farmland. May I highly suggest you get grandfathered in to the second
amendment today. Oh, and don`t forget the ammunition.


Net Daily, the far right still can`t accept this president as legitimate.
Did you think we wouldn`t notice? Nice try, but we got you.


SHARPTON: Here we go again. Speaker Boehner is in charge of the
Republican Party. It`s a party that`s become the butt of late-night jokes.
A party in the middle of a civil war. A party whose brand is sinking to an
all-time low. Sixty five percent of Americans describe the Republican
Party negatively. Wow. Sixty five percent of Americans can`t agree on
much of anything. But here`s how you know it`s bad. The most popular
member of the party, right now, refuses to back down from his blistering
attack on Boehner for playing politics with Sandy victims.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: There`s only one group to blame
for the continued suffering of these innocent victims. The house majority
and their Speaker John Boehner.

Now, in this current atmosphere, everything is the subject of one-
upsmanship. Everything is a possibility, a potential piece of bait for the
political gain. And it`s just -- it is why the American people hate
Congress. Americans are tired of the palace intrigue and political
partisanship of this Congress, which places one-upsmanship ahead of the
lives of the citizens who sent these people to Washington, D.C. in the
first place. Shame on you. Shame on Congress.


SHARPTON: Shame on Congress. Yes, this is a party in chaos. It`s a
party with the leader refusing to stand up to the extreme Tea Party wings
holding this country hostage.

And, today, the Tea Party is fired up and vowing to go after GOP
lawmakers. But American`s rejecting it. And so are some Republicans.
Here`s what MSNBC`s own Joe Scarborough said this morning.


JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: The seeds are being planted right now
for the destruction of the house republican majority. They better turn
this ship around quickly, or we`re going to have a democratic monopoly in
Washington, D.C. on January the 4th, 2015.


SHARPTON: Turn this ship around? Right now, it`s a ship without a
rudder. Good luck, Mr. Speaker.

Joining me now are Toure and Krystal Ball, co-hosts of "The Cycle"
here on MSNBC. Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks for having us, Rev.


SHARPTON: Krystal, the Tea Party is a fiery. I mean, here we go
again. Where is the future of this party then?

BALL: Well, I think, unfortunately for them and, honestly,
unfortunately for the country, too. I think they have a ways for their
down to go before they come back. I mean, if you just look down the road,
the next thing we have is the debt ceiling fight. They`ve already said
basically, they`re going to try to have a repeat of 2011 when they held the
country hostage to get their way. When they were willing to put their own
political objectives over the well being and health and the economy of the
country and really the world as a whole. They`re going in that direction

So, as bad as their favorability ratings are right now, as bad as
things look for them right now, I think they are only going to get worse
because the country is going to continue to see how dysfunctional and how
they`ve been driven by the extremes. But I will say this. I think we may
have seen the merchants of a new coalition that`s going to allow us to get
through these fights to -- some Republicans who did vote for the fiscal
cliff deal along with the Democrats. Hopefully, we can see that
partnership again that is actually interested in moving the country forward
in governance.

SHARPTON: Toure, let`s talk about another republican. Governor Chris
Christie. Now, if we look at his behavior over the last few months.
August, 2012, he delivers the keynote address at the Republican National
Convention. He mentioned Romney`s name only seven times. In October of
2012, he embraces President Obama after Hurricane Sandy six days before the
election. January of this year, which is only three days old, he hammers
house GOP and Speaker John Boehner for poor leadership. Are we seeing a
pattern leading to something here, Toure?

TOURE: I think you`re a little more cynical than I am. Look, the RNC
speech was definitely about look at me, I think this guy is not going to
win. Consider me for 2016. But the other thing that he`d done around
Sandy have been screaming about getting help for his constituencies and
trying to get help New Jersey when New Jersey needed help. And especially
now that he sees the House adjourning without doing the Sandy aid bill
which was so reprehensible and such a dereliction duty to go home because
the bill was not clean. And tonight, give the billions that they need was
just so horrible and shameless and he`s just standing up --

SHARPTON: After they promised it to them after several conversations.

TOURE: Yes. Yes.

BALL: Right.

TOURE: He`s just standing up and screaming as loud as he can, we need
help. And that`s the sort of governor that you want for your state who`s
going to pound his chest and say we need help. I think there, you see
somebody who`s being honest rather than thinking about what`s going to be
for 2016. Because those sort of moves are not going to help you in a GOP
primary. They`re going to help you in a general election, but how is he
going to get through a GOP primary after having done those sorts of things.

SHARPTON: One thing you need to get to a GOP primary in 16 is to get
reelected in a mostly democratic state.

TOURE: But I don`t know see, I don`t know if you see it, anybody
who`s on the horizon who could seriously challenge the most popular
republican in the country?

SHARPTON: Yes, they told Hillary Clinton that in 2007 before Barack
Obama ran.

BALL: Yes, it`s true. Very true.

SHARPTON: But let me continue with my pattern of cynicism.


Christie has been raising money hand over fist for the last month.
I`m talking about since December 2012 to January 2013, he`s raised more
than $2 million for reelection without much fund-raising effort. Is he
gearing up showing how much money he can raise and lead in the part,

BALL: Yes. I think that is part of the strategy, and basically, you
know, scaring people out on the race, there were some talk that maybe Corey
Booker would get in, he said no, he`s been hold off. He`s looking at the
Senate seat, instead. So, to some respects, it`s already been successful,
and I think you`re right. This plays very well. Embracing the president,
you know, going out and slamming the House GOP leadership separating
himself from the national Republicans. It plays very well in a blue state
like New Jersey. But I do also think, you know, he didn`t have to go as
far as he did in directly calling out John Boehner.

I mean, he went all the way and said, it is my party that`s too blame. He
could have gotten sort of the same credit in New Jersey, politically
speaking, and done a little bit of oh, both sides, it`s just dysfunctional
all around. But he called them out exactly as he saw it. And I appreciate
that. And I appreciate that even if it is politically motivated, that he
really seems to be putting his constituents first.

Toure: It`s not being honest to say both sides are to blame. That`s
not what happened in how Republicans screwed New Jersey and New York and
how he told the truth. And it matters even more coming from a guy like
that who`s on that red --

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, he couldn`t blame both sides because
the speaker is the one that decides the bills and the speaker pulled the

TOURE: Well, we always do that thing. Both sides are to blame. And
he`s with that man Orenstein group saying, no, the Republicans are to blame
and that`s absolutely truthful.

SHARPTON: Well, the other thing though Krystal is that, in the
polls. He is leading as the most favorite GOP candidate to run for
president in 2016. Fifty five percent of those polls say, they have a
favorable view for Christie. Will that encourage you -- let`s say he
doesn`t have this grand plan that I`m implying?

BALL: Right.

SHARPTON: Does it encourage him when he sees these numbers?

BALL: I`m sure that he`s paying attention to those numbers, I`m
thinking, down the road. And he, obviously, wasn`t put under a lot of
pressure to run this time around and decided to hold back. Which I think
was probably a smart move, in the long run. But you know, I do think that
these -- the embrace of the president, a lot of Republicans still blame him
for Mitt Romney losing, which is absurd, to blame Sandy for Mitt Romney
losing, which is also totally absurd. I do think those will be challenging
things to overcome in a GOP primary, unless, unless, and this is unlikely,
but if the GOP is able to come to terms with the extreme elements sort of
hold them at bay, become a more mainstream party, then maybe. But I don`t
see that happening.

TOURE: But the guy can walk and chew game. He can do what the state
needs him to do to get aid and think about 2016, and do those things
separately. And, as I said, I think he`s doing this for New Jersey and
he`s doing the best that he can and needs to do for New Jersey. And he`s
also going to think about 2016. So, I don`t want to just look at it
cynically, that it`s calling --

SHARPTON: Yes. I don`t think its cynical but I also think it`s
reality and we`ll see where it goes. I also remind both of you that we
will not be running against President Obama in `16. So, all of this anti-
Obama fervor will be off the table in the primary.

TOURE: Well, I mean, he will not be the democratic nominee obviously.

SHARPTON: Right. And he will not be the object of those primaries.

TOURE: Well, I don`t know about that.

SHARPTON: We`ll see. I`ve got to go.


TOURE: We ran against Bush in 2008.

SHARPTON: We had two wars to pay for and some tax cuts.

TOURE: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: I don`t think this president is going to leave us like
that. Krystal Ball and Toure, thanks for your time tonight.

BALL: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: And catch them on "The Cycle" weekdays at 3 p.m. Eastern
right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, a new day for students from Sandy Hook Elementary. As they
go back to school, a new bill is being introduced to help prevent another
Newtown-like tragedy. We`ll talk to the democrat behind it.

And the White House releases the year-end pictures from behind the
scenes. And it`s President Obama like you have never seen him before.
Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Today, the official White House photographer revealed his
year in photos and shared favorite snapshots of 2012. I love this one. A
young Oval Office visitor picked up the president`s phone while he wasn`t
looking. I wonder if he got through to any heads of state.

And here`s President Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton sharing a
laughing time in the Oval Office. Here`s something you don`t see often.
The president driving. He`s testing the Chevy vault in the South Drive.
Robert gives his riding shotgun.

President Obama taking a break while shooting hoops with George
Clooney and other actors. And a touching shot of the First Lady and the
President at Valerie Jarrett`s daughter`s wedding. And, finally, here`s
the president taking a brief moment to smile while consoling families in
Newtown at the prayer vigil. This snapshot taken with siblings and cousins
of one of the young victims. Coming up, legislation introduced today to
help prevent another Newtown-like tragedy. That`s next.



PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Can we honestly say that we`re
doing enough to keep our children -- all of them -- safe from harm? The
answer is no. We`re not doing enough. And we will have to change.


SHARPTON: We will have to change. President Obama`s promise after
the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. That change started today.
This morning, the children of Newtown Connecticut return to school for
their first day of classes since the shooting. Just hours later, House
Democrats introduced a bill to limit high-capacity magazines which were
used in both Sandy Hook and the Aurora movie theater shooting last summer.

Another shooting survivor, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is
working on gun control with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She`ll visit
Newtown tomorrow. These are critical steps towards limiting gun violence
in this country. But, remember, some on the right think the only way to
solve gun violence is with more guns.


stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. We need to have every
single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to
work, and, by that, I mean armed security.


SHARPTON: Ten states are now considering bills to make it easier.
And, sometimes, even mandatory for teachers to be armed at school. And an
Ohio group has launched an armed teachers training program that`s already
attracted 600 applicants from several states. Gun violence is an epidemic.
In Chicago, there are 506 shooting deaths in 2012. And already three this
year. The fight to save lives must happen now.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Diana DeGette, democrat from Colorado
who is the co-sponsor of that bill targeting high-capacity magazines.
Thank you for your time tonight.

REP. DIANA DEGETTE (D), COLORADO: Thank you, Rev. Good to be with
you again.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, do you think this bill has the support to
become law in this new Congress?

DEGETTE: I think this bill can have the support to become law. After
the terrible, tragic shootings in Aurora and now Sandy Hook, this just a
few weeks ago, I think that the balance has tipped. And I think people now
realize we need to do something. And part of that solution is banning
these assault magazines. That`s why Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and I
reintroduced the legislation today. It`s the same bill as last time, but I
think that the mood has changed here at Congress.

SHARPTON: Well, the mood in the public has seemed to have a really
shown a lot of support in a recent poll. Fifty two percent say, they want
major gun restriction restrictions, 62 percent want a ban on semi-automatic
weapons. Sixty two percent also want a ban on high-capacity ammunition
clips. On "Meet the Press" this past Sunday, the president talked about
gun control. Here`s what he had to say.


OBAMA: Here`s the bottom line. We`re not going to get this done
unless the American people decide it`s important. And so, this is not
going to be simply a matter of me spending political capital. With public
opinion, there`s nothing you can`t do. And without public opinion, there`s
very little you can get done in this town.


SHARPTON: Do you see public opinion rising and enough of a move among
the public to help create a different climate for your bill this time,
Congress won?

DEGETTE: Well, you know, Rev, I`ve been talking to a lot of people.
And the intensity of feeling seems to have increased. You know, you`re
never going to one hundred percent be able to stop a deranged person from
getting their hands on a gun. But what you can do is stop them from
getting their hands on one of these assault magazines that shoots 30
rounds, as the case in Connecticut, a hundred rounds, as the case in
Aurora. That gives the victim some fighting chance to run away or, like
happened with Congressman Giffords, when his clip ran out, somebody tackled
him and stopped him from shooting even more people.

So, it just seems to be common sense. And the only purpose of these
magazines is to either shoot targets or to shoot people. And, so, it
really kind of seems like a no-brainer to a lot of us. Congressman
McCarthy and I have been talking to a number of NRA Democrats as well as
our colleagues across the aisle. And we`re finding no one signed on yet,
but we`re finding a new willingness of those folks to work with us and to
talk to us.

SHARPTON: What about the NRA? Will Republicans be reluctant to fight
against the wishes of the NRA? Or has the NRA influence waned?

DEGETTE: No, the NRA is still, I think, the most powerful lobbying
group in Washington. And so, what has to happen now is the moms and dads
of America have to contact their representatives and senators and they have
to say, "Where do you stand? What are you going to do about the bigger
picture? And what are you going to do in specific to keep these assault
magazines out of the hands of crazy people and criminals."

SHARPTON: Your projection at this point is you think it`s more
hopeful than it was when you first introduced the bill? Is that your
prediction or your count at this time?

DEGETTE: I absolutely think that it`s more hopeful, the president
coming out and saying we need to do something about this. Public opinion
for banning these magazines, now over 60 percent. Even gun owners say, why
do I need a magazine that`s going to shoot 30 or a hundred rounds at one
time. So, I do think it`s moving. But, again, I think it`s going to be
very difficult because the NRA is very powerful.

Congresswoman Diana DeGette, thank you for your time.

DEGETTE: Good to be with you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the new Congress sworn in today is the most diverse
in history. Whatever your politics, there`s something to celebrate.
That`s next.


SHARPTON: The 113th Congress is officially at work and looking more
like America than ever before. It`s the most diverse Congress in history.
It has 101 women, including a record-setting 20 women in the Senate. It
has 43 African-Americans, 31 Latinos, 12 Asian Americans and seven openly
gay or bisexual members. In his -- first, Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin
is the first openly gay senator and first female senator from her state.
Illinois democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq war vet and
double amputee who lost her legs while serving in that war.

And then there`s republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.
Today, he became the first African-American senator from the south since
reconstruction. And New Hampshire is the first state to send an all-female
delegation to Congress. We`re a diverse country with diverse ideas. But
the greatness of America comes when we`re able to find common ground. The
failure of the last Congress was that the Tea Party extremists refused to
work together. For them, compromise was a bad word.

We`re counting on all of the members of the new Congress-Democrats and
Republicans. To reach across partisan lines and work for the good of all
Americans. As we welcome this new Congress, folks, I hope that one idea
that we can call on can be agreed on by all.

You know, being proud of what you are only grows when you learn to
deal with others and appreciate them. Only insecure people are afraid of
things that are not identical to them. If you`re really proud of what you
are, embrace people on the other side and learn how to make the country
stronger. It will strengthen you.

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


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