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PoliticsNation, Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

January 10, 2013

Guests: Jon Adler; Bobby Scott; Michael Nutter, Joan Walsh, Ed Rendell, Patricia Murphy, Dana Milbank

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, the vice president will see you now. Today, at the
White House, we`ve got the latest evidence the Obama team is serious about
changing the way we handle guns in this country. Ahead of today`s key
meeting, the NRA vice president Biden -- ahead of today`s meeting with the
NRA, vice president Biden assured the country, action is on its way.


some common ground here to not solve any problem, but to diminish the
probability of what we`ve seen in these mass shootings that occurred.
There`s a real very tight window to do this. I`ve committed to him. I
have these recommendations to him by Tuesday.


SHARPTON: Recommendations hit the president`s desk in five days.
Now, is the time to get this done. The vice president recalled the recent
tragedy as the driver for change.


BIDEN: In all of my years involved in munitions, there has nothing
that has peek the consciousness of the American people, there is nothing
that has gone to the heart of the matter more than the visual image people
have of little secure kids riddled, not shot with a stray bullet, but
riddled. I`m not sure that we can guarantee this will never happen again.
But as the president said, even if that we do only save is one life, it
makes sense.


SHARPTON: A solution is possible. But we need action. And sadly, we
were reminded of that again today at the exact same time of vice president
Biden`s remark, this was unfolding on the other side of the country.


Good morning, once again from the 17 newsroom. It`s just before 10:00
a.m. that we`re continuing to update you on that breaking news at the top
this morning. Sheriff officials say two people have been shot at Taft high


SHARPTON: Two people shot at another school. A school monitored by a
uniformed, deputy sheriff. A sober reminder it is time to act. And it`s
against that backdrop that the vice president met with NRA and other gun
owner groups today. Judging by the NRA`s response, they`re scared.

In a statement, the group said we were disappointed with how little
this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had
to do with an agenda to attack the second amendment. This administration
continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation`s most
pressing problems.

Since when is gun legislation a failed solution to a gun problem. And
they`re not the only ones nervous about the power the White House has in
this fight. Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted gun control by executive order
could be a power grab. That won`t go down well with Congress or the
American people.

A power grab? No, it`s common sense solutions. But don`t tell that
to Rush Limbaugh. He`s going to the old playbook of fear.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What could they -- A bunch of
liberal Democrats worried about guns, talking about using executive orders,
what could it possibly be about, a gun grab.

Make no mistake, they are planning a gun grab.


SHARPTON: This isn`t a gun grab. This is about a safer America for
our kids. And the NRA and the GOP notice, time, time, time is now. And
this time, it feels different.

Joining me now is Congressman Bobby Scott, Democrat of Virginia. He
is also the vice chair of the congressional gun violence prevention task
force and Jon Adler. Adler is the president of the federal law enforcement
officers association. He met with vice president Biden last month to
discuss gun control.

Let me first thank both of you for joining me tonight.


REP. BOBBY SCOTT (D), VIRGINIA: It`s good to be here.

SHARPTON: Congressman, you come from Virginia. This is not exactly
gun control country. But doesn`t it seem different. This time? Do you
see an opportunity for legislation?

SCOTT: I do, Reverend Al. Thirty thousand people are killed by
firearms every year. Most of them, unfortunately, commit suicide. But
over 10,000 are murdered by handguns. And nothing has been done about this
over the years. But this is different. I think the mass killing of school
children at a school has provoked a different reaction. And I think people
are ready to do whatever it takes to defend and protect our children.

SHARPTON: Now, in a statement, the NRA argued that the gun owners are
being blamed in this whole situation. And I mean, I don`t know that
they`re blaming gun owners as much as they`re dealing with how we regulate
and deal with gun possession, gun purchasing and the types of things that`s
available, congressman. I don`t think anyone is demonizing gun owners.

SCOTT: Well, and I don`t think there`s any one solution. It has to
be a comprehensive approach. And one of the terms that we`re frequently
hearing now are evidence-based solutions. That is not slogan-based, but
evidence-based. And I think there are some things that would be
recommended, a background check to make sure that the wrong people aren`t
getting firearms. A substantial portion of the gun acquisitions are done
without any background check at all. We`re going to see what we can do
with the military, assault-type weapons and the huge magazines that contain
30, 50 and some, I understand, a hundred bullets. Why do you need more
than ten bullets at a time in one magazine? We need to make sure that
straw purchases are condemned and criminalized. That the penalty for straw
purchases where you go buy a gun for somebody because you can pass a
background check when they can`t. Those are having very little penalty at
all. But what we also need to deal with is mental health. Making sure
with those with mental health challenges get help, so that they don`t go
get in to this situation before it gets worst.

SHARPTON: So, it must be comprehensive. It must be a conference of

Let me go to Jon Adler, you and your membership at the -- you
represent federal law enforcement officers. Does it feel different to you
this time? You were in discussions last month with the vice president.
I`m sure you`ve been in discussions down through the years. Does it feel
different to you this time? And if so, what`s the difference?

ADLER: It does. It resonates deep to the heart. It broke the heart
of every American, every person in this country irrespective of their
political views, I hope. This really hit home.

Now, I represent members nationwide. Some are strong second amendment
advocates. Others believe that to ban assault weapon should take place.
But the common denominators are children and schools. And what we can do,
you said it, Reverend Al, you are right. We got to take action now.

Now, it is a combination, as the congressman said, it may be a
legislative approach, it may be a tactical approach or maybe a regulatory
approach. But this hits home. And if this wasn`t a wake-up call for
everyone to lockup their ego and lockup their partisanship and get to the
table and stay at the table and do what`s necessary so we can protect our

SHARPTON: Now, you represent federal law enforcement officers, some
that agree and some that disagree on how we get there. Is there common
ground in this area that we can find common ground that would really deal
with this issue when we see children being buried? I mean children.

ADLER: Absolutely. Reverend Al, the congressman said it himself.
There are issues with the mental health. There are issues with straw
buyers. These are not second amendment arguments. I just wish that people
with everyone would understand, the second amendment is not going to
evaporate. It is here. It is meaningful. It does not cut to the core of
what we`re dealing with here.

Again, we need to focus on issues, the congressman said. We need to
focus on a very comprehensive strategy. Look at the schools. Schools are
sacred grounds. We can`t have guns near schools. Period.

SHARPTON: Congressman, today there was a shooting in California where
there was armed gun there. The NRA, Mr. LaPierre, who had come out
suggesting arming teachers and putting armed guards in schools. Now today,
they`re going to take their own solutions directly to congress.

Let me quote from their statement. "We will now take our commitment
and meaningful contributions to members of Congress of both parties who are
interested in having an honest conversation about what works and what does
not work."

Are you confident that Congress now is maybe ready to do something and
in a different place than it`s been since you`ve been on this committee
trying to deal with this?

SCOTT: I think one of the important terms to you is evidence-based.
You have to look at evidence. One of the -- Dewey Cornell is a
psychologist at the University of Virginia frequently reminds us if your
prevention plan begins when your shooter is at the door, it`s too late.
You have to have prevention that goes back a long way. And one of the
things that we need to do is to make sure young people get on the track and
stay on the right track. We need the youth promise act to provide grants
to, in fact, do this so that you don`t have young people being bullied,
getting mad, graduating year after year and getting worse and worse. And
then start acquiring fire arms, massive weapons and showing up at the door.
We need to make sure that we identify these people as early as possible and
have a comprehensive evidence-based approach to youth violence and youth
violence generally. There`s not going to be any one solution. It has to
be comprehensive. And you can`t wait until the shooter is at the door to
fashion a prevention plan.

SHARPTON: So you would agree with the congressman and that`s your
message to the vice president that we must solve the problem and we can get
to common ground here?

ADLER: Agreed. And if the vice president has to go to all of the
groups and lock them in a room, I mean, they resolved the NHL strike and
that isn`t as important as this.


Congressman Bobby Scott and Jon Adler. We`re going to have to leave
it there. Thank you both for your time tonight.

ADLER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, more on the NRA playbook of fear and smear.
This man stood up to it and they try to arrest him. Mayor Michael Nutter
on that story straight ahead.

Plus, the president makes another nomination today. I know this might
surprise you, but some on the right have issues. Gee, I wonder why that

And on the Lincoln is celebrated in Hollywood, we are asking what
President Obama can learn from his favorite president for the second term,

You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


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

Today, everyone is weighing in on vice president Biden`s meeting on
gun violence prevention.

Jan says, I know vice president Biden will do his best to stop gun
violence in America.

Alfred says, we can`t forget that gun violence happens mostly to the
47 percent.

Leondres says something needs to be done.

Coming up, I`m talking to a mayor who has stood up to NRA and they
tried to get him arrested.

But, first, 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.


SHARPTON: The NRA may fight us every step of the way. But each day
that passes without gun control is a day of tragedy and loss. Since the
shootings at Sandy Hook elementary 27 days ago, there have been nearly 700
gun deaths in this country. Seven of those victims were children under the
age of 12. This isn`t some abstract fight in Washington. This is
literally a life and death issue. It`s happening in our streets, our
backyards, our streets our town yards. And no one knows that better than
the local officials elected to keep our city safe.

Joining me now is the man at the forefront of this fight, Mayor
Michael Nutter of Philadelphia. He`s a key leader of mayors against
illegal guns, a group formed to address the gun violence in our towns and
cities. He`s been so passionate in this fight that the NRA once called for
him to be arrested, a demand I consider a badge of honor.

Mayor Nutter, thank you for joining me tonight.


SHARPTON: Mayor, you`ve been involved in this course for years. Is
now the time you feel to get this done?

NUTTER: It is the time. And I was listening to you earlier. The
reason is because this is different. It`s very different. As one of the
earlier guests said, it really has broken the hearts of Americans all
across this country and people around the world. And elected officials, I
think, are really paying a lot more attention to this and then taking

The leadership that is already come forward by President Obama and
then his asking vice president Biden to take on this issue, the vice
president`s record is clear in terms of public safety and taking swift
action to make America much safer. The vice president has been working
this issue since the president asked him to jump on it, virtually, every

And so, I think that this is a unique moment. Democrats, Republicans,
local state elected officials, mayors, governors and of course, we hear
from the president and vice president, this is the key moment. We need to
see keep moving forward. The vice president is having these meetings. He
talked about what happened earlier today. Something good is going to
happen out of an incredible tragedy in Connecticut and the tragedies that
mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and neighbors experience on a
daily basis all across the cities of the United States.

SHARPTON: That`s what I want to address. Because Newtown absolutely
a despicable, unthinkable act. But we`ve been seeing in cities across the
country from Chicago to Detroit and to your city of Philadelphia, which
you`ve been able to bring down some. These kinds of tragedies happening at
a smaller, singular level and men like you and women like mayors that are a
part of your group have been trying to get the nation`s attention on this
for some time.

NUTTER: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: And the mayors against illegal guns have called for
criminal background checks for gun buyers and assault weapons and high-
capacity magazines and making gun trafficking a federal crime. These are
kinds of things you guys are pushing in as mayors?

NUTTER: These are common sense issues. Again, it`s been said by
many, many people. These military assault-type weapons, there`s no reason
in the world for a civilian to have one of those weapons. They`re for law
enforcement and the military. The high capacity clips.

Again, what do you need them for? What possible appropriate use would
there be? The national background check system must be upgraded. States,
including Pennsylvania, need to populate that with the names of those who
should not have weapons or maybe those who have mental health issues and
challenges. And then, funding for mental health programs. We save all of
these cuts across the United States. Again, even proposed for Pennsylvania
that could affect provision of mental health services.

And there are any number of other reasonable, common sense steps that
can be taken. I respect the second amendment. But you`re having a gun
should not interfere with my first amendment right of life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness.

And so, we must have common ground. We need a bipartisan approach.
The NRA is just increasingly showing that they are out of the mainstream.
They are not really astute. That`s what NRA stands for. And they`re not
really engaged in a serious discussion about what`s going on in the streets
of America each and every day. And whether it`s Newtown or Aurora or
Philadelphia, big city, small city, in the city, in the suburbs, in rural
areas, these are serious matters. And we have to be serious about them.

SHARPTON: Well, let me - well, since you said they`re not really as
constitute, let me show you some that are being extreme as you`ve talked
about common sense and reasonably coming to common ground.

Rocker Ted Nugent compared gun owners to Rosa Parks. He told the web
site "World Net Daily," quote, "there will come a time when the gun owners
of America, the law-abiding gun owners of America will be the Rosa Parks
and we will sit down on the front seat of the bus. Case closed."

I wonder if he`s off his rocker, pun intended.

But then you have yesterday, the judge report showed pictures of
Hitler and Stalin next to a link on the White House considering executive
action on gun control. I mean, these are, like, way out there.

NUTTER: They`re totally outrageous. And I mean, you know, I don`t
want to waste my time. Appreciate being on your show. I`m not going to
talk about folks who are not serious about this business.

We have short term and long term issues that we need to deal with.
I`ve been talking with other mayors and elected officials about the need
for a national commission on domestic terrorism, violence and crime in
America, similar to our response at a certain level to the 9/11 tragedy.

We had a 9/11 commission we are still utilizing. It`s to make sure
that we`re safe in our air travel that came out of the 9/11 commission. We
created the department of homeland security administration. We created the
department homeland security and made it a secretary position sitting at
the cabinet level.

That level of coordination and response and seriousness and funding,
hiring of personnel, putting certain equipment in place and the
infrastructure to make sure cities and towns all across this country are
safe, and at least seem safe, as we all seem to be in terms of air travel.

So, that idea is out there. That`s for longer term exploration. It`s
a very serious proposal. And that there should be an office within the
department of homeland security specifically dedicated to working with
cities and municipal governments on the issue of crime in this country.

In 2011, more than 14,000 people were murdered in the United States of
America. These are serious issues. You were talking about that earlier.
So when the federal government partners with state and local governments,
we can actually get things done. And that`s what we need to be focused on.
Common sense solutions, dealing with issues of high capacity guns. They
should not be available to civilians. Standards of accountability for gun
manufacturers and retailers that look at the kind of values that Americans
have in terms of peace and prosperity in this country. That`s the real
issue at hand.

SHARPTON: Common sense and common ground.

NUTTER: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Mayor Michael Nutter, thank you for your time and your good
work. Thank you.

NUTTER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. A powerful
statement from the president for his second inauguration.

But, first, we dug up the real GOP party platform. If President Obama
is for it, they`re against it. Their platform on full display again today.
Stay with us.


SHARPTON: At the heart of Barack Obama`s presidency is a commitment
to civil rights. He always represented the ideas of justice, equality and
opportunity. And he never forgot where he came from. Remember senator
Obama`s famous speech in Selma?


stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama
because some folks are willing to march across the bridge. So, don`t tell
me I don`t have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don`t tell me I`m not coming
home when I come to Selma, Alabama. I`m here because somebody marched for
our freedom. I`m here because your sacrifice for me. I stand on the
shoulders of giants.


SHARPTON: One of the giants he`s talking about was Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. And today, we are learning about a powerful tribute the
president has that the world will see.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: It`s really easy to be a republican these days. If the
president is for it, they`re against it. If he likes it, they hate it. If
he wants someone in his cabinet, then they don`t. Today, President Obama
officially nominated his chief of staff Jack Lew to take over as treasury


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We deal with mutation as a
master of policy who can work with members of both parties, and forge
principled compromises. Jack has my complete trust. I know I`m not alone
in that. In the words of one former senator having Lew on your team as
equivalent of a coach is having the luxury of putting somebody in almost
any position and knowing he will do well.


SHARPTON: But right on cue, here comes the republican outrage.
Senator Jeff Sessions says, quote, "Jack Lew must never be the secretary of
treasury. Mr. Lew has given priority to the political interests of the
president, in whose White House inner circle he has now served for several

Well, I`ve got a news flash for Republicans. That`s called being
chief of staff. Of course Jack Lew served the president. Of course he`s
in the inner circle. That was his job. He was chief of staff. But this
is now the GOP`s default reaction. Opposed to everything the president
does, no matter what it is.

Joining me now is Joan Walsh, editor at large of and an
MSNBC political analyst and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell now an
NBC News analyst. Thank you both for being here tonight.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Governor, is this the best the GOP`s got? Just say, no do
whatever? I mean, is the strategy going to succeed? Just say no to
whatever the president`s --

FMR. GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: First of all, it`s pathetic
and it won`t succeed. Because the American people understand
traditionally, a president gets to a point the people he thinks will best
serve him in the country. And the only way that they shouldn`t be
confirmed is if there`s something in their background that`s criminal, in
their background that`s irresponsible.

But Jack Lew has been a good public servant. And you may disagree
with his philosophy, the thing, the economic theories that he brings to the
job, but the answer to the Republicans complaints is win the next
presidential election.


RENDELL: Then you can have your guys. It doesn`t say in the
constitution that the executive branch should be shared between the
Congress and the president. It`s ludicrous and it`s going to backfire on
them. They`re going to look like complete obstructionists.

SHARPTON: Joan, the president has known this for a long time. The
Republicans have tried to block them at every turn. Here`s a 2010
statement he made on this. Listen to this.


OBAMA: They`ve said no just to about every idea I proposed, every
policy I proposed, even ideas they`ve traditionally agreed with. I`m not
exaggerating. I mean, we`ve had situations where they would sponsor bills,
I`d say OK, and then they`d say oh, well, if you`re okay with it, we must
be against it. It happened a bunch of times.


It`s true.


SHARPTON: I mean, it is really a continuation of that kind of
political lunacy, Joan.

WALSH: Well, it is. And Governor Rendell is right. This idea that
somehow they share in the cabinet and that somebody who the president
trusts and is already appointed and who has worked for the president is
somehow not qualified or disqualified from serving as his treasury
secretary because he`s too close to the president. It`s just the theory of
governance that we`ve never seen before Reverend Al.

And you know, they`re not getting the fact that what you do in this
country is you compete. And, during campaigns, on the field of ideas and
you win election and then you get to put your people in charge and do it
your best shot. And do the policies that you promised to the American
people. Somehow, that`s no longer allowed.


WALSH: And you know, It certainly got worse under this president but
I think it also goes back to President Clinton where they shot the
government down, even impeached him to stop somebody who was really -- he
had good liberal values but in many ways eccentrics as is this president.

SHARPTON: Triangulation. I mean.

WALSH: Yes, absolutely. You know, offended the Left in many ways but
it`s a kind of nullification, in my opinion, of our electoral process. So,
that you elect people but the Republicans are saying that we`re not going
to let them do what they`re elected to do. That`s our hold on power is to
block even when that`s not the way the system is supposed to work.

SHARPTON: But Governor, is even gotten deeper, Jon Ward at the
Huffington Post, he really studied the activities of republican think tanks
like Heritage Foundation and AEI. And he wrote this. "Conservatism needs
an attitude adjustment. Get hungry, get humble and get to know more
people who aren`t like you. A cultural shift in the GOP will go a long way
toward fixing the party`s other big problem, the idea that you can persuade
people by talking at them and not with them." That`s a little deeper
problem I think ward is right about.

RENDELL: It is a deeper problem. But I would suggest that, pivoting
off of that, they have a huge image problem. This idea of opposing every
single person that the president puts forward, the possible exception of
John Kerry, the American people are going to get fed up with it. We have a
tremendous amount of vacancies in the federal judiciary.


RENDELL: .because they sat for six months and wouldn`t confirm any of
President Obama`s appointments hoping that they`d win the presidential
election. Now, they`ve lost the election. Let`s see them confirm those
judges and put them in place unless they`ve got some real evidence that
they`re not qualified. We`ve got a move in this country. I think the
American people are getting fed up with this gridlock. And this tactic
they`re taking, to me, is political suicide.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan, the other thing that is suicidal in my judgment
anyway is this hypocrisy. I mean, one of the reasons a lot of Americans
don`t like the Congressional Republicans is they block things like relief
bills for Hurricane Sandy. Let me show you this.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins of Kansas who voted against
Sandy relief bill last week posted on her Facebook page. I`m quoting what
she posted. "I hope Congress will devise a plan to directly help Sandy
victims that will offset -- that will be offset with spending deductions
and be free of wasteful pork barrel spending."

Now, Congresswoman Jenkins says, she`s against pork. But citizens
against government waste named her porker of the month in April of 2009.
How did she earn the title, porker of the month? Look at Representative
Jenkins earmarks in 2010 alone. She co-sponsored 13 earmarks that totaled
$24,628,000. So how do you earmark bring pork to your district or sponsor,
what would be considered pork. But because you`re dealing with another
party and you`re dealing in states that may be blue, all of the sudden, you
have concerns about pork. That is part of a relief bill.

WALSH: Well, it`s not pork when she does it against her in the
solution Reverend Al. But yes, there`s definitely also -- and I mean, this
is another schism in the Republican Party that we`re seeing more and more
is this punitive nature of the way they`re treating these blue state and
these blue states Republicans. You know, they`re driving blue state
Republicans out of their party.

And the few that are left in are hugely mad over what happened with
Sandy. At the same time, they`re also reintroducing a repeal of Obama-
care. Reintroducing defunding Planned Parenthood. Paul Ryan is back with
reintroducing fetal personhood. So, you`ve got this same old, their
greatest hits, the don`t go anywhere, that the American people are
horrified by while real solutions whether to gun violence or to Hurricane
Sandy. They don`t have time for.

So, as the Governor Rendell says, they`re becoming a laughing stock.
This has been going on for a while. But they really don`t seem to have
learned anything from this last election.

SHARPTON: All right, we`re going to have to leave it there before you
make a minister out of Governor Rendell. Joan Walsh and Governor Ed
Rendell, thank you for your time tonight.

WALSH: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Coming up, lessons of Lincoln. Everybody`s talking about
the new Oscar favorite, but what can President Obama take from it for his
second term? Stay with us.


SHARPTON: I need to talk about a fight for justice going on in
Naples, Florida. For nine years, Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos have
been missing. Williams was last seen in the back of sheriff deputy Steven
Calkins patrol car. He said, he left Terrance at a convenience store.

Three months earlier, this man, Felipe Santos also disappeared.
Investigators say, Santos was also dropped off at a convenience store after
being in Calkins` patrol car. Earlier today, I joined Hollywood superstar
Tyler Perry to push for an investigation into these cases.


TYLER PERRY, HOLLYWOOD SUPERSTAR: This isn`t justice and we have the
power to change this. We have the power to see someone brought to justice.
I also want to offer a $100,000 reward.



SHARPTON: My message was about coming together to draw attention to


SHARPTON: This kind of issue requires all of us, black, white,
Latino, Asian, rich and poor to come together. This is not about pointing
fingers, this is about joining hands.


SHARPTON: Both men missing in separate encounters allegedly with the
same man. Their family deserves answers.










SHARPTON: Lincoln is the toast of Hollywood, leading the Oscar field
with 12 nominations announced this morning. The drama features the 16th
president of the United States focusing on his struggle to legislate at a
time when the nation was divided.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We must cure ourselves of slavery. This amendment
is not cure.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: God help us for trapping anyone in a marriage
that`s only ever given you grief.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The fate of human dignity is in our hands. Let`s
look forward to this moment now, now, now.


SHARPTON: The timing of Lincoln couldn`t come at a more interesting
time. In just 11 days, President Obama will be sworn in for a second term.
Today, we learned he`ll take the oath of office with his hand placed on a
bible owned by Abraham Lincoln. The same one he used the first time
around. It`s symbolic because President Obama has called Lincoln his
favorite president.

In February of 2007, he symbolically announced his candidacy at the
same place, Lincoln delivered his historic House divided speech in 1858.
So, on a day we celebrate Lincoln on the big screen, we asked what lessons
President Obama can take from him for his second term.

Joining me now is Patricia Murphy, editor of Citizen Jane politics and
contributor for The Daily Beast and Washington Post political columnist,
Dana Milbank. Thank you both for your time tonight.



SHARPTON: Patricia, what can President Obama take from Lincoln in his
second term?

MURPHY: Well, obviously, there`s so much he can take. I think he
already has taken one of the biggest lessons from Lincoln. Which is not to
flinch in the face of a moral challenge. That`s something that the
president has said. He most admired about Lincoln that there was a moral
imperative to end slavery and that he knew when to fight and when to unite
the nation.

And I think that the president sees in his second term a series of
moral imperatives, immigration, gun control, the fiscal crisis. All of
this I think he`s digesting as moral imperatives, I think he`s going to
take that through his second term and really fight to see the end that he
wants to have. I think another lesson he could learn a little bit better
is to unite this country.

He needs Republicans to get some of this stuff done. He really does.
They`re not going to make it easy for him. Nobody made it easy for Lincoln
either. But I think that when we hear about a house divided, we`ve got --
that`s what we`re facing right now. And I think that`s a challenge he`s
going to need to face and can learn a lot from Lincoln right there.

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, I`m not much of a moviegoer but I did see this
movie and though I thought it was good, I wish Fred Douglas (ph) and some
of the activists were given credit. But the president is today, like
Lincoln, and his time, has to deal with an almost inflexible opposition.
What do you think this president could glean from how Lincoln handled that?

MILBANK: Right, Reverend. Well, first of all, the comparisons are
so difficult because the times are so different.

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

MILBANK: And I think President Obama is right not to compare himself
to Lincoln because any of our other presidents are only going to come out
lacking from that comparison. But I think what the movie help to show and
what the studying of Lincoln show is even this sainted figure in our
history had to deal with things like horse trading and even essentially
forms of bribery and lots of moral ambiguity.

We learned that he prolonged bloodshed in the war so that he could get
the 13th amendment through. We saw that he tried to buy votes from
Democrats by offering them federal jobs and he misled the public about the
state of peace talks. And this is probably our greatest president. What I
think you would know now is if that sort of thing were going on, the Tea
Party would stand up against Lincoln and say, no, he`s not being pure
enough in his ideology and sticking enough to principle. I think --

SHARPTON: I don`t know if they would ask for his birth certificate,
though. Let me ask you, Patricia.

MURPHY: Listen to the president discussing, Lincoln and the movie and
give me your reaction.


OBAMA: I think it`s also important for Americans to remember that
politics is always been messy. People have been asking me a lot about the
film Lincoln.

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Is this your Lincoln moment?

OBAMA: Well no, look, A, I never compare myself to Lincoln and B,
obviously the magnitude of the issues are quite different from the Civil
War and slavery. The point though is is democracy has always been messy.
And, you know, we`re a big, diverse country that is constantly sort of
arguing about all kinds of stuff. But eventually, we do the right thing.


SHARPTON: This was in the middle of the fiscal cliff battle,
Patricia. And he actually talked about how politics have always been messy
and he talked about Lincoln, and of course, him not comparing himself there
but having to deal with a similar situation of controversy and

MURPHY: Yes, and I think that is Obama really praising Lincoln in a
way for Lincoln`s ability to take the long view that to know that to get to
the ends, sometimes the means are not going to be attractive. Lincoln had
to go through a simple war to really get to the end that he wanted to see.
And I think that is just Obama saying listen, it`s not going to be pretty.
We`re going to have to do some things that maybe the people on the left
don`t want to see, people on the right don`t want to see.

But we`re going to find a way to solve these problems that our country
is facing. I think he`s deeply, deeply committed to that. He`s going to
have to crack some skulls, make people unhappy. People who his friends.
People who his enemies. I think you see him in that moral conviction to do
what he really thinks is the right thing to do in this country really
desperately needs right now.

SHARPTON: Now, the president in the second term agenda maybe can use
some of these lessons as he deals with cutting the federal deficit, gun
control, immigration reform, reducing unemployment, voting reform. These
are things, Dana, he`s going to have to face and he`s going to have to use
lessons from Lincoln and everyone else to really achieve what would be
transformative things in these issues that he`s outlined.

MILBANK: They would be and he has a very serious obstacle in this
Congress. I think, in many ways, to learn the lessons of Lincoln would be
more of an imperative for this Congress and for the executive branch. In
fact, Harry Reid did have the senator sit down and watch this movie in the
Senate. Kevin McCarthy, the republican weapon in the House actually
brought colleagues to a theater to see this film.

The problem is everybody takes selective lessons from it and believes
that they`re representing the legacy of Lincoln. Where, if they were
actually to take it seriously, they`d realize that political life is all
about compromise and about not getting all that you want.

SHARPTON: Patricia, Dana, thank you for your time tonight.

MILBANK: Thank you, Rev.

MURPHY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, a powerful tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.
that all of America will see at President Obama`s inauguration. That`s


SHARPTON: We close tonight with news about a potent symbol of justice
and sacrifice that millions of Americans will see at the president`s
inauguration. In addition to the Lincoln bible, President Obama will also
be sworn in using a bible that once belonged to the Reverenced Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. It`s Dr. King`s traveling bible.

The bible he used in preparing sermons and speeches, starting with his
time as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
Last year, the president spoke about King`s example of the dedication in
his national memorial.


OBAMA: His life, his story, tells us that change can come if you
don`t give up. That is the conviction we must carry now in our hearts.


As toughest times maybe I know we will overcome.


SHARPTON: This week, we also learned that the inaugural prayer will
be delivered by the widow of civil rights hero Medgar Evers. The activist
who is assassinated while white supremacist back in 1963. These are
powerful symbols, strong statements about America`s struggle towards
justice. We should all remember when we see the advancements of African
Americans or Latinos or women or whomever have been shut out and had doors

Those doors will open because others pay the price, others sacrifice,
yes, some even gave their lives. We must never forget that it was not your
abilities alone, but it was those that paid a price. So your abilities
would even be considered. That`s a potent message the president does by
bringing Dr. King`s bible with Lincoln`s bible to this inauguration. Even
if you choose not to be involved, at least don`t be ungrateful.

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


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