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PoliticsNation, Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

February 28, 2013

Guests: Ezra Klein, Joan Walsh, Jackie Speier, Abby Huntsman, Michelle Bernard

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

Tonight`s "Lead," Republicans pass the buck. On this case, 85 billion
bucks. With just one day to go until massive spending cuts kick in,
Republicans have a new idea and it`s a doozie. They never wanted a
balanced approach that the president wanted. Some cuts, some revenues
increases. Nope, they want just cut, cut, cut.

So, today, they decided their new plan would be make the president
decide which programs get axed.

Now why would they want to make the president wield the ax? Well,
maybe they`ve turned on their local news in their home districts to see
that the country is furious about the cuts.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senior Action runs Meals on Wheels in Hastings and
provides a hot meal to 80 seniors. But the possible sequestration could
bring that all to a halt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fayetteville will lose $145,000 money that helps
level the playing field for students in poverty. Special education would
take a $91,000 hit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the biggest impacts for the city of
Hinesville and frankly all of Liberty County are civilian jobs. Thousands
of people get a paycheck because they work at Ford Stuart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than 3,000 children take part in Hillsborough
County`s Head Start program. But like many government agencies, it`s been
bracing for cuts from the sequester.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If inspectors are pulled from the line, it could
slow production. That means you`ll be paying more for your meat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If this could go away, you`re talking a lot of
people that would not have a nice, hot meal.


SHARPTON: People losing hot meals. Kids kicked out of Head Start.
People paying more for groceries. Sure, the Republicans want to cut, cut,
cut. But their brilliant idea now is for President Obama to take the
blame. If this isn`t a perfect nice try, I`ve gotcha, I don`t know what
is. The president knows it, too.


have been saying, well, maybe we`ll just give the president some
flexibility. He can make the cuts the way he wants and that way it won`t
be as damaging. You don`t want to have to choose between let`s say do I --
do I close funding for the disabled kid or the poor kid.


SHARPTON: It shouldn`t be a choice between a disabled kid or a poor
kid. How about a choice between oil companies or hedge fund managers?
That`s what the president wants to do. Soften these harsh cuts by closing
loopholes for the rich.

So Republicans, how about it? Are you up for some balance? Some


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is the revenue discussion closed now?

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, the president got his tax


SHARPTON: Obama got his tax hikes?

Speaker Boehner, what about the American people? Seventy-six percent
say they want to replace this cut, cut, cut mess with a mix of tax hikes
and spending cuts.

Speaker Boehner, I can`t hear you? But can you hear me now?

Joining me now is Joan Walsh and Ezra Klein.

Thank you both for coming on the show.

Joan, let me start with you. Why not a balanced approach?

JOAN WALSH, SALON: Because they`re beholden to the wealthy, Reverend
Al. And this is -- that`s their line and they`re sticking to it. And so
they`re serving us the sugar-coated, Satan sandwich. And they`re expecting
it to really damage the president. And, you know, this business about he -
- we`re going to give him flexibility and he can make the cuts is such
cowardice. But it`s an old story. They did this, you know, during the
fiscal negotiation.

They don`t want to get out there and propose specific cuts and make
headlines for proposing those cuts because they know they`re unpopular.
And now they`ve added to the rhetoric that the president wants to steal
their money and he`s a thief wanting to raise taxes, which is another level
of ugliness. So, you know, I think we`re stuck with this and we`re going
to maybe see a resolution at the end of March when they have to deal with
the continuing resolution. The ball is rolling down the hill.

SHARPTON: Now, Ezra, I`ve been reading you. I gather you see it a
little differently?

EZRA KLEIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Not particularly. I mean, look, I
think it`s clear that we need a -- what the president likes to call a
balanced approach. I think tax revenues make a lot of sense. But my
biggest problem with the sequester could be very, very clear, is actually
the economic impact. It`s the fact that we`re having $85 billion of cuts
the next seven months. That is an insane thing to do in a weak economy.

Now the Republican plan, to give the president more discretion. If
you set aside that economic impact, if somehow in his moral discretion he
could spread those cuts over 10 years, however he wanted, that would be a
much better sequester. And frankly, if you held everything else constant,
discretion is better than no discretion. But making it such that you
backload the cuts and hopefully the tax increases so that you don`t hurt
the recovery now and so that you spread the pain a little bit more equally
and intelligently, it`s obviously a much better proposal we have now.


SHARPTON: But Ezra, they`re not talking --

KLEIN: I mean, nobody wanted the sequester we have now.

SHARPTON: But they`re not talking about anyone sharing the pain but
middle class and poor people. They`re saying no revenue at all and cut,
cut, cut.

KLEIN: Right.

SHARPTON: So whether it`s spread pain --

KLEIN: We agree with that.

SHARPTON: -- or pain that you feel acutely right away, why are we not
talking about closing loopholes and dealing with the wealthy and the super
wealthy in this country.

KLEIN: Well, I think we -- I think we are. The Republicans oppose
any kind of tax increase and I think somewhat insanely oppose any kind of
cut and tax expenditures, even though, even though, and this I think is a
really important thing to remember. The Republican budget in 2012 says tax
expenditures are just like government spending. And that is the position
of Republican economists and indeed all economists.

One thing I disagree with you on, Reverend, is that a lot of these
cuts, in fact, the biggest bulk of them, they`re not just on the middle
class. They`re on defense. And I actually would take big defense cuts
rather than closing tax expenditures if I had that choice. I would prefer
rich people have a reason to vote to donate to charity than -- than that we
spend more on another aircraft carrier.


SHARPTON: Oh no --

KLEIN: With that said there should be --

SHARPTON: I agree with that. Joan?

KLEIN: Yes. Right. Yes. So there should be a balanced approach.


KLEIN: But we should also be able to move this over 10 years and not
do it all right now.

SHARPTON: No. And I`m going to Joan, but I don`t disagree with that
in terms of the defense budget. But I say even with that, I want to see
the loopholes closed.

KLEIN: Sure.

SHARPTON: I do not understand why we are seeing people in leadership
defend people having loopholes on their yachts and their private jets.


SHARPTON: And their homes if they make over a million dollars. I
think that has to be on the table. Joan?

WALSH: And, Ezra, I`m sure we agree that capping charitable
deductions and doing things like that are less desirable, but getting rid
of carried interest and oil and gas subsidies, there are lots of other tax
expenditures and lots of other subsidies and lots of other tax reform that
I think wouldn`t affect charitable deductions. So I think we can do a
little bit of -- we could do a little bit of all of it if they -- if there
was anybody to compromise with, frankly.

KLEIN: If I could disagree with you a bit on this. I agree,
obviously we should get rid of the carried interest loopholes which helps
out hedge fund managers. And I think we should get rid of the oil and gas
subsidies in coat. But really, what the president`s proposed is 28 percent
cap and itemized deductions, 90 percent for the rich. Ninety percent of
those itemized deductions are charitable deductions, state and local tax
deduction and the mortgage interest deduction.

So when we`re talking about these revenues, the president wants $600
billion, the bulk of them will come from those three. And I want to be
clear. I think that`s a perfectly fine idea. I just think given a one-to-
one choice with defense cuts, I would take the defense cuts just because I
think over time, you will get those capped expenditures.

WALSH: Right.

KLEIN: While I think cutting defense is an important thing to do up
after the build-up we`ve had in the last decade. And it`s something that
you`re probably not going to get under other circumstances.

SHARPTON: No, I -- I would agree with --

KLEIN: That said the sequester is an insane idea.

SHARPTON: I would agree with the defense cuts. But I also think
we`ve got to keep revenue. And that`s what the American people voted for.
Revenue must be on the table. We did not get all of it during the fiscal
cliff. And to think these oil companies and these guys with yachts and
jets are not going to feel anything, to me is not something that we ought
to entertain.

Let me show you this, Joan. Speaker Boehner was asked about why he
doesn`t show some leadership on this issue. Let me show you what he said.


BOEHNER: I think that the administration is trying to play games.
Play games with the American people. Scare the American people. This is
not -- this is not leadership.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you do not believe, as the highest-ranking
Republican in the government, that this is your responsibility to lead on
this issue?

BOEHNER: No, we elect a president to lead.


SHARPTON: "We elect a president to lead"? Very true. But we only
want him to lead, Joan, if he`s going to cut from programs that are going
to help people. I he`s says, fine, I`m leading, we want revenue on the
table, now we don`t want him to lead.

WALSH: Right. He is -- he is absolutely bleeding. They just don`t
like his leadership, Reverend Al. And, you know, I agree with Nancy
Pelosi. This has become a drive-by Congress. John Boehner is always
trying to pass the buck. He`s telling the Senate to get off their
kissters. He`s -- he`s always finding someone else to blame. And what
he`s really interested in is keeping his own job, not the jobs that are
going to be lost through the sequester. So it`s getting sillier and
sillier. It`s really frankly hard to watch at this point.

SHARPTON: Ezra, you know, there`s been a lot of talk that President
Obama has, quote, "moved the goal post," by asking for tax increases. But
you write this weekend, and I`m quoting from -- I`m quoting Ezra to Ezra.
"The American people voted for the guy who wants to cut the deficit by
increasing taxes. They also voted for Senate that would cut the deficit by
increasing taxes and then they voted for a House that would cut the deficit
by increasing taxes. Though due to the quirks of the -- of congressional
districts, they didn`t get one. The American people were very clear on
where they wanted the goal post moved to."

KLEIN: I agree with that guy. I think he made a good point.


I think the --


WALSH: He`s smart.

KLEIN: The sequester was meant to not happen because we get a deal in
the super committee. We didn`t get a deal in the super committee. Then
when you talked to people back then, what they said would settle this big
argument between Republicans and Democrats was the election. So we had the
election. And happily, for settling the argument, it came out the same way
at every level of government.

You have 1.5 million more people vote for House Democrats and
Republicans. More people vote for Democrats in the Senate and more people
vote for the president. The fact is Republicans kept the House because of
the way districts are portioned in this country.

SHARPTON: Right. Gerrymandering --


KLEIN: But the American people are very clear. They were pro-taxes.
And if you look at the polls, I think you quoted one in your introduction.
They remain pro including further taxes in these deals.


KLEIN: So there`s absolutely no doubt. Either in elections or in
polls where the American people stand on this.

SHARPTON: Joan Walsh and Ezra Klein, I`m going to have to leave it
there. Thanks for coming on the show tonight.

KLEIN: Thank you.

WALSH: Thanks, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a major win for women today. But how in the world
did 138 Republicans vote against -- against -- the Violence against Women
Act? And 159 years ago today, the Republican Party was founded on equal
rights and ending slavery. How did it go from Lincoln to Limbaugh?

And is he a Supreme Court justice or a FOX News front man? The
evolution of the Scalia`s entitlement comment is coming up.

This is POLITICS NATION Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Have you joined the POLITICS NATION conversation on
Facebook yet? We hope you will. Today, folks were cheering the passage of
the Violence against Women Act. Clara says, "Great news for American
women. But the fight is not over yet." Joseph jokes, "I bet Scalia sees
this as an entitlement for women." Rebecca says, "Why do the Republicans
put us through the pulling teeth thing every time they go to vote?"

That`s a good question. We`ll talk more about the Violence against
Women Act coming up next. 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.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On this vote, the yays are 286 and the nays are
138. The bill is passed. Without objection, the motion to reconsider is
laid upon the table.


SHARPTON: That`s what victory looks like. After months of GOP delay
and obstruction, the House finally renewed the Violence against Women Act.
Sending it to President Obama to sign into law. Republicans had fought for
months against the law. Because it expanded protections for Native
Americans and members of the LGBT community.

That`s the GOP in a nutshell. Opposing a law because it protects more
people from violence. This shouldn`t have been controversial. Today, 138
Republicans in the House still voted against the Violence against Women
Act. But back in 2005, just two Republicans voted no on renewing the law.
Just two. It was happily signed into law by Republican President George W.
Bush. Back in 2000 just one Republican in the House voted against renewing
the law.

From one vote to 138, the majority of the party, that`s how extreme
the Republican Party has become.

Joining me now is a passionate voice for women`s rights, Congresswoman
Jackie Speier from California.

Congresswoman, congratulations on the vote today.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: How could so many Republicans, though, oppose for so long?

SPEIER: You know, as much as we were applauding on the House floor
today, it took 14 months to get this bill passed and ready to be signed
into law. When it has been automatic as you`ve pointed out. Virtually
automatic previously. And that`s because it`s got a proven record of

We`ve seen that as a result of VAWA being the law of the land we`ve
seen a reduction in the number of cases of domestic violence reduced by 60
percent. We`ve seen an increase in reporting and we`ve seen the number of
women who`ve died as a result --


SPEIER: -- of domestic violence drop by 30 percent. So why wouldn`t
we want to just rush to reauthorize it?

SHARPTON: Especially when you have done it twice before. And the
extreme swing of this party to the far right from only one vote opposing it
in 2000 to 138 today it also parallels that 25 states enacted 42 anti-
choice measures. And when we look at the map this year, there are 19
states with anti-choice governors and Republican state legislatures.

Republicans claimed that there`s no war against women but GOP
lawmakers are trying to roll back abortion rights all across the country,

SPEIER: You know, one of the worst and there are many, but among the
very worst are giving physicians that violate their professional conduct by
not sharing important information with their patient about the condition of
the fetus. I mean, how much more twisted can they get in their approach?

SHARPTON: And another thing that bothers me is that just today, while
you were finally getting this delayed victory, Republicans in Arkansas, in
the state Senate there, was actually overriding the governor`s veto on the
abortion bill. Now Arkansas Senate voted Thursday to override a veto of a
near-ban of abortions starting in the 20th week of pregnancy and backed a
separate measure that would outlaw the procedures in most cases beginning
in the 12th week.

This was vetoed by the governor. They overrode that today while you
were finally getting vote in Congress on the Violence against Women Act.

SPEIER: You know, the irony is that on the one hand you could argue
that these kinds of bills are unconstitutional. And our Republican
colleagues are quick to say, but we don`t want to do anything that`s not
constitutional. Look at what we want to do in terms of guns. You`ve got
to protect our First -- our Second Amendment rights.


SPEIER: And yet here you have them clearly wanting to just violate
the Constitution. Doing so willfully and extremely.

SHARPTON: Now stunning things have been said. In fact, a Republican
state lawmaker in New Hampshire had to apologize for saying some people
liked being in abusive relationships and are free to leave. Listen to


make the argument that a lot of people like being in abusive relationships.
The love-hate relationships. Is the solution to those kind of
dysfunctional relationships could be more government, another law? I tend
to say no. People are always free to leave.


SHARPTON: I mean, these are amazing statements from elected

SPEIER: You know, these are -- these are people that are so ignorant
that they have probably never heard of the battered women`s syndrome, which
is, in fact --


SPEIER: -- been documented over and over again. Women who are in
domestic violent relationships often times are so battered, so excluded
from society, can`t even go out that they have no idea -- or there are
children at stake if they were to leave. So this is an individual who is
truly ignorant.

SHARPTON: Well, Congresswoman Speier, congratulations again.

SPEIER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: For your victory and thanks for your time tonight.

SPEIER: My pleasure. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, 159 years ago, the Republican Party was born.
And, today, they sound like that old and imagine this. Sounding 159 years
old today. Imagine a world where the right-wing talk show host winds up on
a Supreme Court? Scary, right? But it may just be reality. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Are you feeling sorry for Rush Limbaugh?


that we have sunk and descended to this level in our politics in order for
the left to have to or be able to advance. They require ignorance. The
left has beaten us. They have created far more low information, unaware,
uneducated people, than we`ve been able to keep up with.


SHARPTON: Better get some cheese for wine and cheese party -- for
Rush wine and cheese party, that is. The real shame is the influence
right-wingers like Rush are having right now, right now on the Supreme
Court. Yes, that means you, Justice Scalia. That`s coming up.


SHARPTON: Happy 159th birthday to the Republicans. On this day, 159
years ago, the Republican Party was founded. This young lawyer named Alvin
Bovay, physically opposed to slavery, had the idea of creating a new
political party based on a platform of abolition.

Bovay and 16 other members of the Whig Political Party, along with
some Democrats and free soilers, met on this day in 1854 in this small
church in Wisconsin. Hours later, they left as self-dubbed Republicans,
united in the fight against slavery. Six years later, Abraham Lincoln was
elected on the new Republican Party ticket and the Republican leader went
on to emancipate the slaves.

So what happened to that party? It`s gone from the party of Lincoln
to the party of Limbaugh. Today, they want to cut deficits. And that`s
fine. But they`re trying to do it on the backs of the poor. That`s not
fine. Loopholes for oil companies while slashing Medicare/Medicaid.
They`re against gay marriage, but they`re for voter ID laws.

What happened to the party of 1854? Republicans sound and act like
they`re 159 years old today.

Joining me now, Krystal Ball and Abby Huntsman.

Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.

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


SHARPTON: Krystal, what happened to the Republican Party of Lincoln?

BALL: Well, it goes back, as you know, to the civil rights era in the
`60s. Southern white Democrats abandoned the party and joined the
Republicans. And the Republicans found after that there was this southern
strategy that they could use, basically stoking, fear mongering: and as
things progressed, using racial code words to win elections.

And we`ve seen that even in the past election, in 2012, we saw Newt
Gingrich talking about food stamps and the food stamp president. And we
saw Mitt Romney obviously the rhetoric of makers and takers and the 47
percent. That all goes back to that.

For the first time now, though, demographics have shifted where they
have to, I think, to move forward as a party.


BALL: They have to abandon that southern strategy and come up with
something else that`s actually going to resonate and appeal to voters
across a wide variety of backgrounds.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Abby, I think that clearly what she is
saying, Krystal is saying is true. Because I remember my mother and father
and the bishop that licensed me when I was a boy preacher, all Republicans,
and they changed in the `60s during the civil rights era. But we`ve gone
from just civil rights extreme views in the south to extremism across the

Let me hit you with this. Extreme wing of the GOP is winning. In
Iowa, mainstream Republican Tom Latham won`t challenge Tea Party favorite
Steve King for Tom Hawkins` Senate seat, even though Latham definitely saw
polling that showed he would have been -- had a clear path to the U.S.
Senate not only in the general, but in the primary.

Now let me ask you the question, Abbey. Has the Tea Party become so
powerful that they`re scaring mainstream Republicans away?

HUNTSMAN: You know, the origin of the Republican Party fought for
equal rights. I mean they really came together to stop the expansion of
slavery. I think the history of the Republican Party is so fascinating,
Reverend. I`m so glad that we`re having this conversation. And the
history is something that we often forget.

I mean, and then as you said, Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican
to come in as president at a very divided time for the country, states were
seceding from the union, and he fought to end slavery. And that was 150
years ago. So I hate to think of hypothetical but if I could imagine
Lincoln living today, he would probably be pushing for a debate on
immigration. He would be pushing for a debate on gay marriage. He`d be
pushing for a debate on equal rights.

That`s not being done as much as I would like it, as much as many
Republicans would like to see. I mean, unfortunately, we`re a divided
party. I mean, we`re severely divided party. But, Reverend, we`ve been a
divided party before. I mean, you remember back in 1912, when Roosevelt
stormed out of the convention --


SHARPTON: Well, I read about it. I don`t remember. But go ahead.


HUNTSMAN: But then he started the Bull Moose Party, ran against
William Taft, and his own party, they ended up losing to a Democrat. So,
you know, a divided party, that`s not necessarily something new. But it`s
something that we are struggling with today. We`ve taken individual issues
and we`ve taken them to the extreme.

For example, I mean, Ronald Reagan said we need to be fiscally
conservative. We now have Republicans saying the government is evil.


HUNTSMAN: You know, the government is a terrible thing. We should
have absolutely no government. So we`re seeing extreme end to the party
today. And it`s unhealthy.

SHARPTON: And you always had to push, Krystal, because let`s not
forget if it wasn`t for the abolitionists and Frederick Douglas and others
who became Republican, Lincoln and others would not have gone where they
did go. But they did go then.

BALL: Yes.

SHARPTON: They did respond. But now you don`t even have the divided
party. It seems -- it seems like they`re being bullied. Intimidated.
Chris Christie, probably the most popular Republican in the country, who is
very conservative and I disagree with on many things, he`s being
blacklisted from the big conservative party of the year, CPAC. He wasn`t
invited to speak because he wasn`t conservative enough.

With all the conservative things that he`s done in New Jersey.

BALL: Right.

SHARPTON: Listen to his response.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I didn`t know that I hadn`t been
invited to CPAC until, like, two days ago when I saw it in the news.


So -- yes, apparently I haven`t been invited. Listen. I wish them
all the best. They get to decide who they want to come and not come. It`s
not like I`m lacking free invitations to speak both here and around the
country. I can`t sweat the small stuff. I`ve got a state to rebuild. I
can`t sweat the small stuff.


SHARPTON: I mean -- and, again, Christie is very conservative and
done some things that I think are absolutely wrong. He`s too -- too
progressive or liberal for the party now? What are we talking about?

BALL: I mean, it`s crazy when you think of the fact that they said
CPAC is the all-star line-up of conservatives, right? So for their all-
star line-up, they`ve chosen people like Sarah Palin.


BALL: Mitt Romney and Allan West. Yes. Chris Christie, no.


BALL: It doesn`t make any sense in terms of moving the party forward
because obviously, Chris Christie, the most popular Republican in the
country, has something that he could say to this group. Now people are
positing that this is going to be a major problem for him in 2016, getting
through the Republican primary. And I do think that it`s an issue. And I
think beyond everything behind -- beyond the issues that they cite, which
are guns and the Sandy relief bill, I think the thing that Christie did
that really upset them the most was the way that he embraced the president.

You know, the hatred for the president is one of the only thing that`s
sort of united the Republican Party over the past several years. And he
went against that and I think that was where he really crossed the line.
But I do think that he can recover by 2016. He`ll get reelected in 2013
and he`s got plenty of time to get back in the good graces with the
conservative base between now and then.

SHARPTON: Well, let me get back to the party a minute, though, Abby.
What can this party do to get back closer to the kind of party it was at
its inception since we are on its birthday? What would it have to do in
your opinion?

HUNTSMAN: I think the number one word that comes to my mind is
tolerance. I think they need to embrace tolerance. They need to invite
people into their tent. And we would talk about Chris Christie, he reminds
me a lot -- well, not necessarily a lot, but in a lot of ways, of my dad.
I mean, both strong governors. Both, I would argue, more capable of
winning a general election than anyone else in the Republican field right
now. I mean, put the primaries aside. If you put someone in a general
election, they are the two that probably have the best chance of winning
because they have a broad appeal.

You know, I mean, they both are governors of state`s popular governors
because they know how to lead. They know how to bring people together in
their state to get something done. I think the party -- you know, they
need leaders. They need ideas. They need to come together on something
that they all agree on. But you know what, Reverend, I don`t think they`re
actually going to be united as a party until they win.

I think they actually have to have --


HUNTSMAN: -- a successful election before they actually get excited
and united about a common cause.

SHARPTON: You know, Krystal, you see how Abby weaves her father in
there when I ask a question?


Well, I hope my daughter (INAUDIBLE).

HUNTSMAN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Krystal Ball and Abby Huntsman, thanks for being on the
show tonight.

BALL: Thanks, Reverend.

HUNTSMAN: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: And you can catch Krystal on "The Cycle", weekdays at 3:00
p.m. Right here on MSNBC.

How in the world did right-wing talk shows and conservative-talking
points make it to the highest court in the land? That`s next.



complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else
under the law. For if we are truly created equal then surely the love we
commit to one another must be equal as well.


SHARPTON: And today, that journey took a step forward. The Obama
administration is calling for same-sex marriage to be legal in California.
The administration just filed a brief to the Supreme Court asking it to
strike down the state ban on same-sex marriage known as proposition 8.

And Attorney General Eric Holder is calling gay marriage the next
civil rights issue. The journey is not complete, but it`s moving in the
right direction. The time for change is now.


SHARPTON: I was in the Supreme Court yesterday when Justice Scalia
essentially said that voting is a racial entitlement. I was stunned and
appalled. They had no place in the Supreme Court. But that word
entitlement is in the ground water with the right-wing talkers.


BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The country is changing quickly into
an entitlement society.

MICHELLE MALKIN, I`m appalled that the culture of entitlement has
exploded so much.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The thing we`ve got to deal with more
than anything else in this country is deal with this entitlement mindset
that government is going to help me in every aspect of my life.

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The entitlement addicts that we all are.
We`re strung out on freebies.


SHARPTON: Imagine that, a Supreme Court justice who sounds just like
far-right talkers. Last year, Scalia was blasting the Affordable Care Act,
making the case if the government can force you to buy insurance, they can
force you to eat broccoli, too.


as food. Therefore everybody is in the market. Therefore you can make
people buy broccoli.


SHARPTON: Hmm, where else did I hear about that green vegetable?


LIMBAUGH: If they can force us to buy health insurance, they can
force us to buy broccoli.

STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If they can compel you to buy
insurance, why not health food? Or why not electric cars?



SHARPTON: And then there was the cornhusker kickback. About so-
called backroom deal for Senator Ben Nelson who support the Affordable
Healthcare Act.


SCALIA: If we struck down nothing in the legislation but the --
what`s it called? The cornhusker kickback, OK, we find that to violate the
constitutional proscription of venality. OK?


SHARPTON: Hmm. This must all be some kind of coincidence.


HANNITY: He`s been all over this. The cornhusker kickback.

LIMBAUGH: The most infamous bribes are the Louisiana purchase, the
cornhusker kickback.

HANNITY: They had to buy the votes for healthcare. The cornhusker


SHARPTON: Are you sending a pattern here. This is a problem. A
justice of the Supreme Court of the United States taking his queues from
right-wing talk radio.

Joining me now is Toure and Michelle Bernard. Thank you both for
being here.

TOURE, MSNBC`S "THE CYCLE" CO-HOST: Thank you for having me.


SHARPTON: Toure, what do you think of this?

TOURE: Well, you know, when they talk about entitlements, I find it
very offensive because they`re talking about -- it`s a coded way of saying
welfare, of saying gifts, right? They talk about freebies there.


TOURE: Barely coded.

SHARPTON: I thought it was pretty blatant. But go ahead.

TOURE: Absolutely. And this way of suggesting that white people work
hard and then we are forced by this big government to give the money to
black people, welfare (INAUDIBLE), these sort of things. And it`s a very
insidious way of using us as racial bogeymen to rally the wagon and bring
the white working class into the Republican Party and convince them that
the small government argument actually will work better for them when it
doesn`t work for them in any economic sense.

And this idea that you touched upon as the Voting Rights Act, and some
sort of racial entitlement --


TOURE: He -- the promise of fairness in elections is a racial
entitlement is so offensive and so it`s wrong headed. The idea that we
should be able to vote and they won`t be able to stop us from voting by --
by imposing voter ID or redistricting, right? Or changing early voting.
They promise they won`t do those things. It`s an entitlement that promise
that we will have fair Democratic elections.


TOURE: Is it entitlement?

SHARPTON: It`s an entitlement program.

Michelle, when you look at the facts, the Voting Rights Act came to
being because people were denying Americans that were black their right to
vote. Section 5 was to make sure that those districts that historically
had done that could not just make changes without it being pre-cleared.

How do you turn that around and act like it`s an entitlement when
you`re protecting people against the historic pattern of being denied as
citizens, what all citizens should have? Then he doesn`t stop there.
Scalia also had some disturbing things to say about gay rights, too.

Let me read a quote. "If I could not have moral feelings against
homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other
things? I don`t think it`s necessary, but I think it`s effective.


BERNARD: You know --

SHARPTON: I mean this was at a speech going back but the views that
he`s talking, I think some right-wing radio hosts have gotten into his

BERNARD: Well, you know, Reverend, here`s the thing that`s the most
disturbing about this. I went to law school. Any first-year law school
will tell you that one of the first things you learn about is the three
branches of government and what their role is. Particular what the role of
the Supreme Court is, and what we see in Justice -- in Justice Scalia quite
honestly is some of the lowest thought forms that we can see coming from
someone who is allegedly a human being.

This is absolutely wrong. And there is an argument to be had that in
this day and age, after what we saw in 2012, the Voting Rights Act,
particularly Section 5 probably needs to be expanded.


BERNARD: We are seeing an attack on voting rights all over the
country, and quite frankly, it was not until we saw a black man elected as
president of the United States that all of a sudden, certain members of the
Supreme Court feel that all of a sudden the Supreme Court has a right to
tell Congress how they should vote. The Supreme Court is now going to be a
savior of Congress because as Justice Scalia said yesterday it is his
belief that unless the courts step in, members of Congress, and as you
said, even Virginia senators, are so scared --


BERNARD: -- that they will perpetually vote to reauthorize Section 5
of the Voting Rights Acts.

SHARPTON: Toure --

BERNARD: This is a crime.

SHARPTON: A lady said to me today that I -- she saw the show last
night and saw what I said at the press -- that I was overreacting. I said,
well, suppose if I call the Violence against Women Act that finally passed
today, a gender entitlement.

TOURE: Gender entitlement.

SHARPTON: She says, oh, I get your point. And that`s what I think
people don`t understand. Citizens have rights and they should be
protected. There`s not an entitlement program. In fact saying that is
saying you don`t see us as citizens.

TOURE: Absolutely. Look, we`re just talking about protecting the
franchise of people of color. The court said just yesterday in their
arguments that Shelby, Alabama itself has a history of recent
discrimination against black and brown people to find a vote.

SHARPTON: They had to redo an election a little while ago. I think
a year ago.

TOURE: Right. So this is not --

SHARPTON: That`s part of the -- record.

TOURE: This is not historic problem. Right? This is current and
recent problems that the Voting Rights Act attempts to protect us against.

Look, we are in the midst of a historic population shift. Over the
next three decades, black, brown and Asian people will become the majority
in America.


TOURE: White people will no longer be the majority. If you think
that that is not going to be responded to now and in the future, with
attempts to suppress the votes of people of color, then you`re not paying
attention to American history.


TOURE: And what the Voting Rights Act does, is it protects our right
to vote. Shouldn`t we have the protection of the right to vote?

SHARPTON: And the pre-clearance part, Michelle, as you talk about is
dealing with those districts that have had the pattern. And in their
defense, Michelle, you were the law student. Their defense -- I was
shocked. Their defense was, well, there are people outside of the United
States covered by the Voting Rights Act that are doing just as bad. So I`m
saying, let me get this right. You`re accused of stealing. You don`t say
no, I`m not a thief, you say there are other people stealing. Why are you
picking on me?

BERNARD: Exactly.


BERNARD: Exactly. Their argument was sort of akin to, you know, the
northern states are just as -- you know, as racist and discriminatory as we
are. And they don`t have to follow by the -- you know, follow by the
rules. I would say in answer to that again, piggybacking on what Toure
just said, we are going to see, we`re going to begin to see the same
discrimination not just against African-Americans but against Hispanics and
among Asians.



BERNARD: And a large number of Asians voted for Barack Obama. And
the act needs to be expanded all over the country because things are
changing and they are changing for the worse. You talk about gender
discrimination, Reverend Al, they want to throw women back to the `60s.


BERNARD: You know, with aspiring between their legs for birth control
and they want to make sure that African Americans cannot vote so that they
do not see a woman or an African American as president of the United States
ever again.


SHARPTON: And let me say this. People need to understand that voting
rights and civil right started maybe in the `60s in terms of its new form
of African-Americans. But it helped to liberate and open the door for all

This fight is not a fight just for one group. It`s a fight for
everyone because if they do it to us, they can do it to everyone.

BERNARD: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Michelle and Toure, thank you for your time tonight. Have
a good evening.

TOURE: Thank you.

BERNARD: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And watch Toure on "THE CYCLE," weekdays at 3:00 p.m. ,
Eastern Time, right here on MSNBC.

Ahead, fighting and dying for the right to vote. Why we`re marching
again from Selma to Montgomery.



SHARPTON: We praised and loved those that paid the price 47 years
ago. But the best compliment to them is to continue to fight right now.


SHARPTON: This weekend, many of us will continue that fight that I
spoke of exactly one year ago. On Sunday, I`ll be walking with thousands
of others, including Vice President Biden, to remember the historic march
from Selma to Montgomery and to reflect on "Bloody Sunday."

That day, March 7th, 1965, was pivotal to the Civil Rights Movement.
It`s when peaceful marchers were violently attacked by police as they tried
to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

Congressman John Lewis, then a young activist, was beaten in the head
with a police baton and was lucky to survive. Just hours before being
attacked, Mr. Lewis talked about the march.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s really the purpose of the march?

JOHN LEWIS, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: We`re marching today to dramatize to
the nation and to the world that hundreds and thousands of Negro citizens
of Alabama but particularly here in the black belt area, denied the right
to vote and we intend to march to Montgomery to put this insane grievance
to Governor -- towards Wallace.


SHARPTON: Last year and years prior, I marched along the same route.
Retracing every step. And I`ve been joined by people from all walks of
life. Politicians and ordinary citizens. Children and the elderly, black
and white.

On Sunday afternoon, we will once again cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge
and it couldn`t come at a more important time.

These were the pictures just a few months ago during the presidential
election. We saw long lines pushing voters away from the polls. We saw
voters deterred by photo I.D. laws. Unfair laws designed to fix the
problem that doesn`t exist.

And just yesterday, the phrase racial entitlement became the headline
as Justice Scalia attacked the Voting Rights Act.

These are the reasons why we march. In the Jim Crow South, it was to
fight poll taxes and violence at the ballot box. Today, the obstacles have
changed. But they posed the same challenge. It`s up to us to continue
marching forward. To walk in the footsteps of those who came before us.

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


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