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PoliticsNation, Monday, March 11th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Monday show

March 11, 2013

Guests: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ryan Grim, Clarence Page, Wayne Slater, Lauren Ashburn, Dana Milbank

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

Tonight`s lead, Paul Ryan goes back to the future. Republicans have been
trying to think in some way, any way to rebrand after getting crushed in
the election. And now we have their big solution. Meet the new Ryan
budget. It`s just like the old one, just worse. More cuts for the poor
and the middle class. More VIP treatment for the rich, so much for that
big GOP change of heart.

Here`s a news flash for congressman Ryan. You lost the election.
Americans rejected your priorities and just to be sure I`m not imagining
all of this, we pulled the table of election night.


President Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his
campaign also deserve congratulations.


SHARPTON: That`s your running mate conceding the election and that`s you
right there. We put an arrow on the tape so you wouldn`t miss yourself.
There was you giving a nice big hug to the second place winner on your

See, you knew I wasn`t making it up. And yet, that night must not have
sunk in because in his latest budget, wrong way Ryan calls for repealing
the president`s health care law again.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Are you saying that as part of your budget
you would repeal, you assume the repeal of Obama care?


WALLACE: Well, that`s not going to happen.

RYAN: Well, we believe it should.


SHARPTON: You believe it should be repealed. But what about the more than
65 million Americans who voted for the president? They said at the
election they don`t want it repealed and neither does your boss, by the


DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: You had said next year that you would
repeal the health care vote. That`s still your mission?

election changes that. So, it`s pretty clear that President Obama was
reelected. Obama care is the law of the land.


SHARPTON: It`s the law of the land. Somehow congressman Ryan doesn`t get
that Americans also rejected his plan to end Medicare as we know it. He`s
still pushing it.


RYAN: I did dozen of town hall meetings in states like Florida explaining
how these are the best reforms to say to shrink in the Medicare problem.


SHARPTON: See, he knows people are gutting Medicare because of the
reaction he got, reaction like this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I work for that. I paid into all of these programs,
Medicare. They are not entitlement and why`s it OK for oil companies to
have entitlements that they, you know, that they are getting?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I didn`t find Ryan sincere at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frankly, a lot of people around me get the feeling that
these folks will say anything to just get elected.


SHARPTON: That`s the real reaction Ryan got when he pushed his Medicare
plan to seniors at the AARP back in September. In fact, they even walked
out on him. See, that`s Ryan talking. And those are folks voting with
their feet. Ryan`s policies have been rejected again and again. Isn`t it
about time he and the Republicans got the message and found the new plan
with some fairness in it?

Joining me now, Clarence Page and Ryan Grim.

Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.



SHARPTON: Clarence, let`s start with you. Did Paul Ryan forget the
lessons of this election?

PAGE: Well, I think he saw the election results and he knows what public
sentiments are and knows Republicans need to rebrand their message. The
problem for the Republicans is they haven`t come up with a new brand yet.
They haven`t come up with a new plan or a new way of looking at financing
the government or taking care of health care, providing an alternative for
Obama care and not just beating up what President Obama passed.

And as a result, they are still speaking the same line. He is still
certainly speaking the same line that he spoke during the campaign. So, it
sounds like he didn`t even know that November happened.

SHARPTON: Well, but you know, Ryan, part of the problem I think is, what
Clarence is alluding to, I think, also goes a little deeper because I don`t
know that they really even think they are wrong. I think that they are in
denial and some kind of political and policy denial.

When you look at speaker Boehner, still saying policy isn`t a problem for
the GOP, in a new interview, let me show you what he says. He says there`s
no doubt that as a party we need to do a little better job of communicating
and engaging with the American people but our priorities are still firmly
aligned with the American people.

No, his priorities are not firmly aligned with the American people. That`s
what the vote was all about. It wasn`t that they had good content and bad
messaging. They had bad content and bad messaging.

GRIM: No. I think that`s exactly right. And the problem for Republicans
and particularly for Paul Ryan is that, yes, they believe in the policy but
the policy doesn`t match the political rhetoric that they want to use
around the deficit.

Let`s say Paul Ryan was a graduate student and he was drawing up what he
thought would be the absolute perfect budget. It wouldn`t balance -- it
wouldn`t balance the budget for decades and that`s simply because the math
doesn`t added a up for the way he wants to run the government because he
wants to keep taxes extremely, extremely low and there are no amount of
cuts that you can make and still have a sustainable government unless you
do all sorts of gimmicks. And so, you know, he moved around the ages when
you could get Medicare and he says at all, we`re going to have this voucher
and makes all these different growth assumptions and then he has to go,
because that`s not enough, he has to go and take revenue from Obama, for
the tax hikes, you know, that he voted against, he is going to take that
revenue and put it into his budget, Obama care. He`s going to take Obama
care, the thing that he wants to repeal. He`s going to take the Medicare
savings from Obama care and put those in his budget while then pretending
to repeal the rest of it.

SHARPTON: Yes. He is going to take the savings from Obama care, Obama
care that he opposed, but he`s going to take the savings so he doesn`t have
to deal with the revenue questions.

GRIM: And it doesn`t add a up. And that`s the only way he can get it to
balance in ten years.

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

GRIM: Because in the real world it doesn`t add a up.

SHARPTON: It doesn`t add a up and we`re talking about a long period of
time here.

But let me go back to you a minute, Clarence, because one of the things
that kind of got me a little perturbed was his attitude. Let me tell you
what I`m talking about.

He was questioned about the president`s outreach to the GOP . Now, listen
carefully to what he says and how he says it.


WALLACE: From your view, after having lunch with the president, do you
think that his so-called charm offensive is sincere or do you think it`s
more political theater to at least appear to be reaching out?

RYAN: I think the answer to that question will be determined based on how
he conducts himself in the coming weeks and months.


SHARPTON: Now, if you contrast his response so people wouldn`t say that I
am oversensitive to Ryan, look at Tom Coburn and he took a much different
view. He is a Republican senator. Look how he responded when he was asked
about the president`s reaching out.


SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: I`m welcoming with open arms. I think the
president is tremendously sincere. I don`t think this is just a political
change in tactic. I think he actually would like to solve the problems of
the country.


SHARPTON: So here we have Mr. Ryan who ran for vice president, Clarence,
was invited to the White House, had lunch with the president last week.
They went through the first substantive conversation they ever had. But
here, we`ll see how he conducts himself. Let`s see how he behaves.

PAGE: Correct.

SHARPTON: Where Coburn at least is saying, I think he is sincere. I think
it`s a wonderful thing setting the tone and spirit of, let`s see if we can
come together even if it doesn`t work. This kind of condescension by Ryan
just bothers me or maybe I`m overreacting.

PAGE: Well, I think this shows in a difference between that boiling cup
known as the House versus the cooling soft center of the Senate. Tom
Coburn has been at this for a long time. I gave him a lot of credit. I
think he is the man who really, even though his conservative credentials
are unquestioned, he does want to come to some kind of compromise, some
kind of deal that`s going to help the American people.

I think Ryan in his heart wants to, also, but he`s new at the game. He is
still new to the national stage. And he still sounds like he`s running for
vice president. And that is the kind of attitude you find around the House
right now in the House of Representatives. But at the same time they know
that their approval ratings are sinking lower than the media right now, for
heaven`s sake. So, they know, they need to do something too, but they -
well, with Ryan, you don`t see that shift in rhetoric towards something

SHARPTON: Or maybe Ryan is also looking at 2016 and thinks that he`s got
to do certain things. I don`t know.

Clarence Page, Ryan Grim, let me thank you both for your time this evening.

PAGE: Thank you.

RYAN: Pleasure.

SHARPTON: Ahead, they are outraged over canceled White House tours. But
those budget cuts go way deeper. I`m bringing them on to what`s really
going on in America.

And he sure looks like Jeb Bush is ready for a run. But one major problem,
his last name. Wait until you hear what he`s saying about that.

Plus, celebrities and politics is a growing trend. Look out, look out
Mitch McConnell. Here comes Hollywood star Ashley Judd.

Big show coming tonight. Stay with us.


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

Today, everyone was buzzing about the rumors that Ashley Judd will run for
Senate in Kentucky.

Sarah says, she`s got fire in her belly and will take Mitch McConnell to

Brenda wants to see her run. We need more good women in Washington to

And Ernie says, I`d love to see her oust Mr. Mitch one term president
McConnell from the Senate. He`s outlived his usefulness from the hill.

We have more of that strategy that could help her win. That`s coming up.

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


SHARPTON: For days now, Republicans have been attacking President Obama
after White House tours were canceled due to budget cuts. Conveniently,
they are ignoring the fact that Republicans let these cuts happen in the
first place.

Two FOX News pundits have even offered to pay for the tours themselves.
And today, they brought in the big gun, Donald Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Newt Gingrich had this tweet. I don`t know if
you saw this but he wrote, Donald Trump, that`s you, should offer to pay
for the White House tours. He can afford it and it would show who cares
more for American students.

this. But, it`s reasonable to me. Why not? It`s always been open and
it`s certainly not a lot of money.


SHARPTON: So now, the Donald is the new point man on budget cuts. Yikes.
These folks are stuck in a bubble. They are wasting time talking about
White House tours while people around the country are starting to feel
painful effects of the cuts.

Just look at the headlines. In Alabama, Montgomery is losing funds.
Sequestration will have major impacts.

In Missouri, head start is bracing for cuts. Sequester could cut free
services to more than 200 children in St. Louis area.

In Pennsylvania, furloughed more than 5000 tour behind the civilian
employees will lose work due to cuts. The cuts are real. They are hurting
people all across the country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: They feel government sequester is going to
shut down control towers at smaller airports.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: One hundred and seventy three are slated to
close across the country as a result of federal sequestration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Twenty three (INAUDIBLE) county employees are
without jobs tonight after being laid off. Commissioners say Federal
sequestration is to blame and more budget cuts may come.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Sequester cuts will eliminate more than
$400,000 for public health in Louisiana and that means natural disaster
relief could take a hit.


SHARPTON: Have Republicans in Congress stopped watching their local news?
Have they stopped reading the paper? I think it`s time they caught up with
current events and tuned in to what the American people actually care

Joining me now is Florida Congress Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the
Democratic National Committee.

Thanks for being here tonight, congresswoman.

COMMITTEE: You`re welcome. Great to be with you.

SHARPTON: You know, it bothers me and you keep hearing people say that the
sequester is not that bad but when you look at what some of the news I`ve
just shown and people actually losing jobs and losing services, it may not
be that bad to some of the pundits but it`s bad if you`re somebody that`s
losing the job of being furloughed.

And to add insult to injury, congresswoman, Donald Trump and two pundits
talk about going to pay for a week of the White House tour. Well, I looked
at it and it cost about $74,000 to run White House tours for a week. So
you know what Trump could do with that money? He could pay for a week of
food stamp benefits for 2,242 people with that same $74,000.

So, I mean, it`s ridiculous to be talking about tours when you could be
talking about real things. But I really question you, are they just
trivializing the sequester about playing like we just talking about tours
and not looking for what is happening to real people?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Yes, they are. It`s just another stunning example of
the callouts indifference of Republicans to the result and impact of the
sequester cuts. I mean, just take, for example, what`s going to happening
in my state. $54 million in cuts to primary and secondary education which
is going to means 750 teachers are going to lose their jobs, 381 special ed
teachers, 1600 kids on subsidies child care, 7500 kids won`t get
vaccinations. And Republicans are grousing the loudest about constituents
not being able to take White House tours?

Today, I got notice from air traffic controllers in my district. They got
letters today saying that they will be forced to take 11 furlough days.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. So, they got letters today?


SHARPTON: That they are going to have to be furloughed, your district, air
traffic controllers?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I believe all air traffic controllers got that notice

SHARPTON: So, this is not about whether the sequester hurt or not, these
are letters furloughs and layoffs that have happening?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: They had to sign for those letters acknowledging that
they are going to have to take 11 furlough days. If folks don`t think that
that -- if these Republicans don`t think that that is going to affect air
traffic and the travel ability of Americans, to say nothing of the fact
that we have added probably two hours as a result of customs and border
patrol, the lines shrinking, at Miami international just last week, it went
from a wait of an hour to a wait of three hours for incoming international

SHARPTON: Now. And the reason I wanted to do this, I`m not trying to be a
doomsday guy here, but I keep watching all these stories like this doesn`t
matter. And then, when you outline the teachers and the special ed
teachers and all in your district --


SHARPTON: -- and they are talking about tours, people that are just going
to walk around the White House, I mean, it is insulting to the American
people`s intellect that act like this is what we`re worried about.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Insensitive, insulting and completely unnecessary.
What we need to do is come to the table as President Obama has been pushing
them to do. He has reached out. He has had dinners with Republicans, he
had lunch with Paul Ryan at the White House at the end of last week --

SHARPTON: He`s even going to the hill.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: He`s coming to all four caucuses and conferences this
week in the house and the Senate, so the outreach is ongoing from President
Obama. Democrats are willing to sit down and hammer out -- we know it`s
not going to be all our way. We need to take the sequester and replace it.
It takes a meat ax approach to budget cuts, but place with targeted
responsible spending cuts, balance it with closing tax loopholes that
benefit the wealthy, make that system more fair, and apply that to deficit

SHARPTON: Now, let me show you something else that bothers me,
congresswoman. The current jobless rate is 7.1 percent.


SHARPTON: But "the Wall Street Journal," certainly no liberal paper, "the
Wall Street Journal" has calculated what the rate would be without cuts to
the public sector. Jobless rates without government cuts to cute the
Republicans would be at 7.1 percent. And we would have 950,000 more jobs
in the U.S. economy. This is "the wall street journal."

If we didn`t have these cuts they want to the public sector where a lot of
impoverished communities, that`s where they work in the public sector. We
would have 950,000 more jobs and unemployment will be down to 7.1 percent.
I mean, how could they argue for cuts in the agenda when nearly a million
jobs is at stake here?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Government jobs have been shrinking. If you notice
month to month when the job numbers come out, the private sector jobs we
are adding to. The reason you have fewer net jobs is because of the month
to month losses in government jobs.

SHARPTON: Exactly.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That are shrinking.

SHARPTON: Exactly. Where do you see this going?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I know that President Obama and congressional
Democrats are going to continue to reach out to Republicans. You know, we
need to reach pass the paralyzed Republican leadership who are really more
beholden to holding on to their own power than they are to working with
President Obama and getting this done.

So, hopefully, we`re going to be able to build our relationships and close
the trust deficit a little more between Republicans and Democrats and try
to reach a compromise because I think we can reach compromise. It is still
possible as we are very polarized but, you know, to continue to allow these
kinds of cuts to impact real people is irresponsible and over the short
term and eventually the long term, this is going to cut and hurt people

SHARPTON: Well, congresswoman, madam chair lady, me you and you all right,


SHARPTON: Well, do me a favor. When you all get in a room, don`t just
argue about the tours. Get some jobs for people and some real services.


SHARPTON: We can take a tour later.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We`ve got our priorities straight.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz, thank you for your time


SHARPTON: Coming up, no matter how much Jeb Bush flips and flops and flips
and flops, he has a bigger problem, his brother.

And Scott Brown has a new job and it`s another reason why it`s so great to
have Elizabeth Warren fighting for main street.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: The world of Hollywood in Washington often collide. Politicians
love to play roles and the stars like to talk politics. But every now and
again it happens in the real world.

Mitch McConnell, are you ready for some drama? Here comes Ashley Judd.
The movie star who`s been on the big screen over two decades. She starred
on TV and on Broadway and now she`s ready for a new role. "The Huffington
Post" reports that Ashley Judd is ready to run for Senate. Mitch
McConnell, get ready for some fun.

More on the Kentucky derby ahead.


SHARPTON: This weekend, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was on the
offensive, he was all over the airways, hitting all of major Sunday shows,
including Univision, talking about his book, immigration reform, and
dodging questions about his intentions for 2016. But while he wouldn`t
reveal whether he was definitely going to run for president, he did share
his opinion on why President Obama won in November.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He won by, in some ways, dividing the country. I think
he ran a campaign of them and us and it was quite effective that somehow
the Republicans don`t care about the large number of people.


SHARPTON: The President is dividing the country? Is he just playing the
opposite game? This is dividing the country. Mitt Romney`s infamous 47
percent comment. That fit right in with the GOP`s makers and takers world
view. The President has continually extended an olive branch to the other
side, only to have it thrown back at him.

Now, Jeb Bush is an impressive candidate with a strong background. I know
him. And he`s a powerhouse in his party. But this is just more of the
same from the party that just can`t seem to get its act together.

Joining me now is Wayne Slater, senior political writer for The Daily
Morning News and co-author of "Bush`s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W.
Bush Presidential." And Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, professor at University
of Texas, and an MSNBC contributor. Thank you both for being here tonight.


SHARPTON: Let me go to you first, Wayne. Jeb Bush`s media blip shows he`s
thinking about a run. How can he come out thinking about a run, saying
he`s different, but he`s recycling that old line that President Obama is a
divider? I mean, that was rejected last year. How`s he coming out with
the same old nonsense?

WAYNE SLATER, CO-AUTHOR, "BUSH`S BRAIN": Well, I think this is what focus
groups and polls indicate Americans want. They want finally a politics in
Washington which is now dysfunctional and a leader who can bring people
together. And so, he`s saying what people say that they want. He`s also
recycling something that his brother, George W. Bush said in 2000, when he
was a compassionate conservative, if you can remember that.

So he`s talking about what people want. The problem is, every time he does
this, then he reminds people that he was part of a continuing division in
our politics through the 2000s under his brother`s administration.

SHARPTON: But Victoria, I agree the polls say, people want someone to
bring us together but the actual polls say they saw President Obama not as
a unified, not a divider because all last year, Mitt Romney and Ryan tried
to make the divider President Obama and that was widely rejected. So
wouldn`t he be wise to not try and miscast the president as a divider when
that`s been roundly rejected by the American people?

SOTO: Well, what we`re seeing with Jeb Bush is a lot of wishy-washiness.
He wants to have his cake and eat it, too. So, he wants to shore up that
conservative base of that party but at the same time, he wants some make
inroads into the general electorate, those people who are hungry for a more
conciliatory type of politics and, in particular, he`s angling for Latinos.

Now, interestingly enough, Latinos were very supportive of his brother,
George W. Bush. But what I think when I`m looking into the crystal ball,
is that Jeb Bush thinks that comprehensive reform is going to pass so when
2015 rolls around and its primary time, he can take immigration reform off
the table and not worry about it and he can flip-flop back and said, OK,
well, it was implemented and citizenship reform worked well so I support it
now, Latinos come support me. General electorate comes support me. He
wants to have his cake and eat it, too.

SHARPTON: Well, but Victoria, I think that he should hope that it is off
the table because let`s look at him on immigration and the path to
citizenship, since you brought it up. On June 12th, 2012, he told CBS he
supports the path to citizenship. But then on March 4th of this year, he
claimed he doesn`t support a path to citizenship. A day later, the very
next day, March 5th, his book is released, which calls the path to
citizenship a magnet for illegal immigration. Then later the same day,
March 5th, he says that he`s opened to a path to citizenship.

Follow me here now, two days later he claimed Marco Rubio was not a path to
citizenship while he was writing the book and yesterday on the Sunday
shows, he again claims he supports a path to citizenship saying, quote, "I
haven`t changed." He hasn`t changed. I guess he hasn`t changed in the
last second. But hold it, I`ve got more on FOX News Sunday. He, in fact,
flip-flopped on himself within less than a minute. I mean, he holds the
"POLITICS NATION" record now. In a minute he flipped. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: People can stay here. Sixty percent of the people that
were granted a process of legalization and citizenship in 1987 did not
apply for citizenship. They stayed as legal residents of the country. I
also think that a path to citizenship, so long as the ability of someone to
come legally is easier and less costly than coming illegally, that a path
to citizenship is appropriate.


SHARPTON: So is appropriate at the end but it wasn`t at the beginning they
were just staying here. This inside of a minute Victoria, if you think the
public is not confused, try me.

SOTO: It`s a lot of temporary amnesia but he`s not alone. McCain has
flip-flopped more than a dozen times on immigration. Marco Rubio, he ran
against granting citizenship to undocumented folks. That was one of the
landmarks of his campaigns and now he`s all for it. So, I just expect it.
The GOP moves on immigration depending on the political wins and Jeb Bush
right now thinks it`s appropriate to stand here.

Once this gets out of the limelight, we`re going to see it again. The
bushes are fundamentally liberal when it comes to immigration. From Bush
41 to George W. Bush and Jeb Bush, they believe in open borders. They just
don`t know how to frame it depending on where we are in the campaign

SHARPTON: Also liberal on changing their positions.

SOTO: Yes.

SHARPTON: But let me go back to you a minute, Wayne. He was asked about
his family name. And if it compose any problems for him. Listen to his


FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: I love my brother. I`m proud of his
accomplishments. I love my dad and I`m proud to be a Bush and if I run for
president, it`s not because of something in my DNA that compels me to do


SHARPTON: Is the Bush name a problem for him, Wayne?

SLATER: You bet you it is. And Victoria was exactly right. I think
immigration, even though he`s misplayed it may not be his big, big problem
when he tries to get the republican nomination. It is the Bush name. How
can you run as a fiscal conservative without distancing yourself from your
big brothers big spending arriving with in office with a surplus and
leaving with a deficit?

How can you inspire confidence as a foreign policy person when
increasingly, not among Democrats and progressives and moderates and
independents, but increasingly among conservative Republicans, the war in
Iraq is seen in bad odor, that it has seen as a world we never should have
gotten into that we got into under false pretenses.

How can he run as an anti-Bush, as other people will on the war on spending
and other issues, when you are a Bush? I think that`s the big problem that
Jeb Bush is going to have. How do you run as a Bush and run against the
legacy of his brother?

SHARPTON: Well, both of you have studied them up close in Texas. I just
know a wise man from Texas that told me to stay off the bushes. Wayne
Slater and Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, thanks for your time.

SLATER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, movie star Ashley Judd may be ready for her close-up in
Washington. She could be running and trying to take down the most powerful
republican in the Senate.

And Scott Brown was the Tea Party guy, right? The regular Joe driving a
pickup truck. Just wait until you see the news about him today.


SHARPTON: Ashley Judd is looking for a new gig. She`s the TV and movie
star who appeared in more than 35 shows and films over the past two
decades. She captivated audiences as Kate, the young intern kidnapped by a
mass murderer in "Kiss the Girls" and audiences loved her as Libby, the
young mother seeking revenge after being framed for the murder of her
husband in "Double Jeopardy."


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, aren`t you going to give me a kiss? I think
I`ve earned it.


SHARPTON: And now she`s reportedly ready to take on a new role. Running
as a democrat to challenge Senator Mitch McConnell for his Kentucky Senate
seat. She`s reportedly telling key advisers and political figures that
she`s planning to announce her candidacy for the U.S. Senate this spring.
If Miss Judd does come to Washington, she`ll follow the footsteps of other
actors turned politicians like Senator Al Franken who came to Washington
from "Saturday Night Live."


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m going to do a terrific show today and I`m going to
help people because I`m good enough, I`m smart enough, and doggone it,
people like me.


SHARPTON: Doggone it. Americans like politicians in Washington. And, of
course, Ronald Reagan, also a former actor, made it all the way to the
White House. But will Ashley Judd`s star power be enough to oust Mitch
McConnell from the seat that he`s held for nearly 30 years? Call the
paparazzi. This one will be fun to watch.

Joining me now is Lauren Ashburn, editor in chief of the Daily Download and
Dana Milbank out of "The Washington Post." Thank you both for being here


SHARPTON: Lauren, let me go to you first. We`ve seen this Hollywood
obsession with Washington grow. Why is there such a strong connection?

LAUREN ASHBURN, DAILY DOWNLOAD: There is such a strong connection because
Washington wants to be Hollywood and Hollywood wants to be Washington. You
see that every year with the big dinner, the White House correspondents`
dinner. But while Ashley Judd may be really good Reverend on a movie set,
coming to Capitol Hill and working is a big, different kind of fantasy
land. That`s for sure.

SHARPTON: But Dana, we`ve seen others transition. Schwarzenegger, the
terminator was elected governor of California from 2003 to 2011, Sonny
Bono, "Half of the Sonny and Cher Duo," he was elected to the House of
Representatives in 1988. Fred Grandy, best known as Gopher on "The Love
Boat" served four terms representing Iowa in the House of Representatives.

And Fred Thompson, a character actor best known for playing the D.A. on
"Law & Order" served as a senator from Tennessee for nine years. So others
have made the transition. It has been done.

MILBANK: Sure, Reverend. And the saying goes at Washington as Hollywood
for ugly people. So, when we can get someone from Hollywood who is good
looking, everybody in Washington is very excited, doesn`t mean everybody in
Kentucky is going to be very excited about it. And what worked for Al
Franken in Minnesota or Schwarzenegger in California does not necessarily
work for Ashley Judd in Kentucky.

Now, she did have a role in "Natural Born Killer," so did understand how to
campaign against Mitch McConnell. And should she succeed, she`d understand
how things work in United States Senate. It`s not so much celebrity that`s
working against her. That works for her. It`s the label of Hollywood
liberal that they will attach to her and in Kentucky that`s still not
something you want to be known as.

SHARPTON: But it could be turned around, Lauren, because BuzzFeed reports
that all successful actors-turned politicians, like Reagan or Thompson or
Franklin and others have faced the same obstacles and they had to campaign
out of the same playbook. They all faced the same suggestions that that
they were just lightweights playing their latest role but they all won by
following roughly the same formula, starting early, staying local, and
preventing their celebrity from weighing like a huge tie around their neck
on the campaign trail and that`s BuzzFeed`s almost response to what Dana
just said.

And Bill Lacy who was a campaign manager and adviser to Ronald Reagan,
Sonny Bono and Fred Thompson tells BuzzFeed that there`s one clear
advantage big stars have when they run for office. The advantage that
Sonny and Fred and Ronald Reagan had and that Ashley Judd well have is that
they played on the big stage for high-stakes, they know how to handle that
high stake, big stage kind of drama.

ASHBURN: But Reverend, it is going to be very difficult for her to hide
from some of the really liberal things that she has said. She has compared
in a cold state, Kentucky is a cold state in 2011, it was the third largest
producing state, she has said that mountain top mining is equivalent to the
Rwanda genocide, she has said that Christianity is patriarchal domination
for women. There are things that she is going to have to overcome, the
Louisiana courier journal came out of the poll, you know, Mitch McConnell
could -- he would be a tough person to beat. But there is some room there.

Forty four percent of people said that they are going to wait and see who
the contender is. So, while she does have wiggle room in a very
conservative state, a cold state where she has made statements like this,
it`s going to be tough going.

SHARPTON: Now, if 44 percent of people are waiting to see Dana, it does
mean whether she being Ashley Judd can build ourselves up or get around
some of the baggage Lauren is talking about.


SHARPTON: It does mean though that McConnell can be vulnerable if she can
package it right or if someone else can put it together right.

MILBANK: Right. Because McConnell is hardly charismatic figure, so in
theory, there should be an opening there for her, he was, people thought
have a serious challenge last time. It turned out to be less so. But what
she does have -- for her is this name recognition, this celebrity. And
while Hollywood may not be useful to her, the name recognition is.

That`s why your earlier segment about Jeb Bush, Bushes, Kennedies,
Clintons, there`s a reason name recognitions gets people elected in this
country. Politics is all about celebrity. So at the very least she should
be able to give Mitch McConnell the kind of fight that others in that
states could not give them. So, at least you`ll make it interesting for
those of us following it.

SHARPTON: Now, Lauren, I couldn`t resist. Because we`re talking about
Hollywood`s star going to Washington. But politicians have increasingly
tried the Hollywood thing, too. Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Who is that under there?


So you dress as yourself.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: You know, Hillary, I have nothing
to hide. I enjoy being myself. I`m not going to change who I am just
because it`s Halloween.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, that`s -- that`s great.

VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN (D), UNITED STATES: You`ve done such a great job in
your town in the state of Indiana. And I just want to say congratulations
for your public service.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I just want to say thank you.

BIDEN: Well, you`re very welcome. You`re very welcome. You`re very

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You`re very handsome.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I`d also like to give a special
thanks my lovely wife, Mary Pat, who`s here tonight, who put up with a
husband who has smelled like a wet fleece for three weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You`ve been wearing that fleece a lot.

CHRISTIE: Oh, yes, it is infused to my skin.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Gingrich. Gergich. I wonder if we`re related.


JIMMY FALLON, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: The president knows his stuff, you all.
That`s why they call him the potus, which means person on top -- what is

OBAMA: Jimmy, potus stands for president of the United States.


SHARPTON: So, it kind of goes both ways, Lauren, even though we won`t tell
all the people in Washington how Dana Milbank described them. What was
that, ugly what?

ASHBURN: That`s right. You`re too ugly to be in Hollywood. You`re
actually smart enough to be in Washington. What these politicians do when
they go on television is boost their identity and boost their public
interest and they have fun and they humanize themselves in a way that they
don`t have that opportunity to do here in Capitol Hill.

SHARPTON: Yes. I agree. Lauren Ashburn, Dana Milbank, I`m going to have
to leave it there, thanks for your time tonight.

MILBANK: Up next, Elizabeth Warren was right about Scott Brown. He`s got
a new gig that could have them butting heads again. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: When former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown first ran for
office, he was seen as a Tea Party hero. He was just a regular guy driving
his pickup truck. He cut government spending. He`d be there to vote to
kill Obamacare. But Elizabeth Warren shattered that image last fall.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I think this is one more case of
Senator Brown making it clear where he stands. He`s taken more than $2
million in contributions and as the Boston Globe says, he really delivers
for Wall Street.


SHARPTON: He really delivered for Wall Street. Ouch. And the bank surely
appreciated. In total, the securities and investment industry gave Brown
$3.2 million for his re-election campaign. Yep. Scott Brown really helped
out Wall Street when he was in the Senate and now that he`s lost his seat,
he`ll be helping them again.

We learned today Brown has a new job working at the law firm Nixon Peabody
where he will, quote, "focus on his practice on business and governmental
affairs as they relate to financial services industry as well as commercial
real estate matters."

Translation? He`s taking care of business just like they took care of him.
It`s a perfect fit. In fact, one of his new firm`s biggest clients is
Goldman Sachs. But Brown`s new clients might have a tougher time than they
used to down in D.C. because they are not dealing with Senator Scott Brown


WARREN: If you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and
violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go
home and sleep in your own bed at night. Tell me a little bit about the
last few times you`ve taken the biggest financial institutions on Wall
Street all the way to a trial.


Anybody? I`m really concerned that too big to fail has become too big for
trial. That just seems wrong to me.

SHARPTON: Elizabeth Warren is in. Scott Brown is out. He may run for
office again but no one is going to be fooled by his fake populism next
time. We`ve seen the real thing, and I remember as a kid a great
philosopher, Flip Wilson said, "what you see is what you get."

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



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