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PoliticsNation, Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

March 14, 2013

Guests: Emanuel Cleaver; Donald Watkins, Angela Rye, Toure, MikaBrzezinski

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

Tonight`s lead, senator one-term McConnell, meet the president`s
second term agenda. President Obama was back on Capitol Hill today. This
time to meet with Republicans in the Senate. And the ring leader, Mitch
McConnell. You know him. He`s the man who threatened to make Obama a one-
term president. But today, he and the other Republicans were all smiles.


to see you. How are you?

see you. Thanks for coming up.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: Good to see you.

OBAMA: Good to see you, sir.

SEN. SUSAN MARGARET COLLINS (R), MAINE: Mr. President, welcome to

OBAMA: Our hostess today. Thank you so much.

CORNYN: We`re serving lobster today.

OBAMA: That`s what would expect out of - out of Maine`s senator.
Bragging a little bit.

COLLINS: That`s right.

SHARPTON: Lobster jokes? Always a good sign. Afterwards, President
Obama seemed to think it went pretty well.


OBAMA: I think we`ve had good conversations. But ultimately it`s a
matter of the House and the Senate, both caucuses getting together and
everybody being willing to compromise. We`ll see.


SHARPTON: All right. Now, let`s see what Republicans thought.

Texas Senator John Cornyn said, quote, "it is clear to me that
balancing our budget and cutting bloated Washington spending are not
President Obama`s top priorities. The president and I have significant

Huh? I guess after all that lobster lunch, the claws really came out.
And over in the house, well, let`s just say the speaker`s not really
glowing about his meeting with the president yesterday.


honest discussion. But it`s going to take more than dinner dates and phone
calls. It`s going to take president and the Senate Democrats rolling up
their sleeves, making tough choices about how to solve our problems.


SHARPTON: Dinner dates and phone calls? Give me a break. The
president has already bent over backwards for the GOP, but he`s not going
to back down from his core presence.

Following today`s meeting, the Democrats -- he told the Democrats
that, quote, "I said to the GOP caucus, is there not one loophole we can

One loophole? I just think one. I think I can guess what the answer

Joining me now, congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Democrat from Missouri,
and Richard Wolffe, executive editor of

Thank you both for being on the show tonight.

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Thank you very much, reverend.

SHARPTON: Congressman Clever, in your judgment, can the Republicans
make a deal?

CLEAVER: Well, it`s going to be difficult if they are unwilling to
come up with or agree to anything related to closing some tax loopholes and
I would think that 98 percent of Americans realize and understand that we
have protected spots in our tax code for rich folk who have airplanes and
yachts and it`s just mind boggling that people can`t say, yes, we can close
those loopholes. We don`t want those people taking advantage of the tax
code so they can keep millions of their dollars when poor people are paying
a disproportionate amount.

So David Thoreau said things don`t change, we do. And so, there`s
going to have to be some changes going on with individuals and their
philosophies if we`re going to bring this nation around to propelling this
growth that has already began or we`re going to fall down again because the
Republicans are not going to move.

SHARPTON: But, isn`t that deploying, Richard, I mean, when you look
at the fact that speaker Boehner wrote and this is an op-ed entitled
"Obama`s outreach is nice but where`s the leadership?" That is the title.
And in it he says, and I`m quoting from his article, if we`re going to find
bipartisan solutions, the president will have to move beyond the same
proposals as democratic dogma.

Now, isn`t been a really saying, there can be an agreement as long as
everybody agrees with me?

trying to do something else with these kinds of press conferences and op-
eds. First of all, he is trying to play to his craft and annoy the
president. And by the way, you spent plenty of time with the president. I
have, too. He is saying he`s not a leadership is going to get under your
skin. That`s a cheap shot that kind tried to be-little hand. And he
doesn`t care. He knows who he is and that he is the president of the
United States. Number one.

Number two, John Boehner knows very well indeed and all of the
Republican leaders know very well that this president has put entitlement
reformed on the table. They may think that they are not enough. I`m sure
they feel very sincere about that. But there are plenty of Democrats who
think that even the entitlement cuts, even things like change CPI are too
much and they know very well that there`s only one democratic leader right
now who is pushing hard for that and that`s the president of the United
States. So there`s a bargain on the table. If they want to drop the cheap
shots and they want to take what`s on the table, it`s not a grand bargain.
It`s a small, teeny bargain. But, it`s nonetheless important.

SHARPTON: Congressman Cleaver, when you look at what`s already
happening right now to real people, there will be furloughs for food
inspectors if this deal isn`t reached soon. Already tuition assistance for
veterans has been cut, veterans. And 125,000 people are now at risk of
becoming homeless due to housing program cuts. And when you look at the
severity of these things that are eminent and you hear that the Republicans
are just jumping up and down having a hissy fit as the old folk used to say
in my neighborhood over White House tours, I mean, listen to the people at


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been a disaster, been unexplainable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How unbelievable is this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, the idea that they didn`t think that
there would be pushback from the American public when school kids` tours of
the White House, the people`s house, was canceled? Obviously there are
other things in the White House budget that could be cut.


SHARPTON: So they want to distract people like this is about tours.
We are talking about affecting real people`s livelihoods.

CLEAVER: Well, this whole tour thing makes me sick at the stomach
because we`re talking about furloughed secret service agents whose
responsibility it is to protect the president. And I think we need to get
that tour thing off the table and start talking about real issues. We`re
going to lose between one and two percent of the economic activity, GDP
this year. Almost 700,000 jobs are at risk, according to the not
nonpartisan government accounting office.

So, those are real issues. Those are real human beings where postal
workers in my district and all of the districts in the country. But, let
me say something to you, Reverend, and you hit on it. President Obama came
to spoke with us earlier today. He told us some things that we don`t
particularly like. But nobody is going to be in a mood like the bull and
do something we don`t like if people on the other side are saying, we don`t
care what happens, we are not going to close any loopholes in the tax code.
And so, then people on our side began to become more and more inflexible.

SHARPTON: And I want to push you on that a little because I`ve been
in meetings where he`s said outright to civil rights leaders and others of
us, I`m going to do things that you may not like, you may not be
comfortable with. So when the Republicans say he hasn`t compromised,
that`s just very, very wrong. Is that not right, congressman, from your
meetings today?

CLEAVER: From my meetings today and meetings previously. I was in
the oval office with him in a meeting once he started talking about cuts in
the community block grant. And he said, look, I know you`re not going to
agree with me on that. But he said, you know, that`s just the way it is
and you ought to go and say what you have to say.

There`s not a Democrat in the meeting who would tell you that they
were jumping for joy at some of the proposals, that at least one of the
proposals that the president talked about. But we are not going to budge
if the other side is saying we`re not going to do anything on tax

SHARPTON: Richard, isn`t it a conundrum for the president? I mean,
no matter which way he goes here, the progressives and his own members of
his party are disappointed in some things that even on the table and
Republicans are not going to give them credit anyway.

WOLFFE: Reverend, progressive were, some progressive anyway, were
upset with health care reform. They didn`t think it was enough. There are
plenty of people on this network saying, where is the public option.

SHARPTON: You watched my show, huh?

WOLFFE: It`s not -- he`s never going to be able to please everyone
and he knows that. I do think that a lot of this comes down to rhetoric
though. Republicans would say, I don`t want to close weigh in or there`s
not one loophole.

But if you say to them, are you for tax reform, they go, oh, hell yes,
I`m for tax reform. What`s tax reform? It`s going to be closing
loopholes. Some people are going to benefit and others are going to lose
their loopholes. And these things will be on the table.

SHARPTON: Now, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi called the Ryan budget
today a hoax. Listen to this.


contradictions. It`s a hoax. This is as we have moved into the category
of hoax, an exercise in contradictions, repealing the affordable care act
while using the law of savings and revenues to balance their budget.
Claiming to protect Medicare while ending the Medicare guarantee in ten
years for future seniors.


SHARPTON: Isn`t it true, congressman, while they played this Ryan
budget that Miss Pelosi calls a hoax and while they prolong this kind of
back and forward to protect loopholes that they are going to have to face a
serious backlash in 2014, in your opinion?

CLEAVER: A number of Democrats were sitting around on the floor ten
years ago as we took our last vote for the day. and by the way, we have
done nothing. But, as we were sitting around talked with each other, we
actually talked about this whole issue. It`s an exercise in futility. It
means nothing. It is going nowhere and it`s a talking point. And that`s
one of the things I don`t like about Washington. Things are done as a
talking point trying to eliminate the affordable care act at this point is
just not the smart thing to do and it`s not going to be done.

The president would veto it even if it got through the Senate, but it
will never be brought up and they know it. But there are probably millions
of people who actually think, wow, we have a chance to still kill Obama
care and everybody up here already knows, including those who were involved
in developing the budget, but that that`s not going to happen.

SHARPTON: Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and Richard Wolffe, thank you
for your time this evening.

WOLFFE: Thank you.

CLEAVER: Good to be with you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, grab the popcorn, the GOP circus has rolled into
town big this time. They forgot the small tent.

Plus, the Republican power grab that threatens democracy. We are not
backing down, governor.

And from "Morning Joe," the evening kneecap, my colleague Mika
Brzezinski joins me to talk about her two passions, the food we eat and
fairness for women in the workforce.

It`s a big show tonight. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will. Our facebook fans were lighting up today
over the first lady on the cover of "vogue" magazine.

Cleo says a great photo cover. I will buy this issue.

Bill says, beauty, class, intelligence, and compassion all in one

I agree, Bill.

Jennifer says she makes me extra proud to be a young American woman.

To check out the cover for yourself and tell us 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: It`s a sad day today for one of America`s legendary cities,
Detroit. For decades, Detroit was a boom town, the heart of an industry, a
city where America made things, where families worked and lived, raised
their children. The home of the American dream.

But the city has fallen on tough times. Debt and unemployment have
skyrocketed and now Republicans see Detroit`s crisis as an opportunity to
push an extreme agenda. They cooked up a scheme for elected officials with
an emergency manager who could replace emergency officials and have the
ability to fire employees and sell off city assets.

State Republicans passed an emergency manager law in 2011 but it was
rejected by the voters. The law was repealed in a referendum last
November. Republicans didn`t care. They pushed it through again during a
lame duck session a month later. And to date, GOP governor Rick Snyder
appointed an emergency manager for Detroit.


GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: I like to think of it as an
opportunity. This is an opportunity for us to work together. We are going
to turn around the city of Detroit through team work and collaboration.
With need to work together. The best solution, are people coming together.


SHARPTON: Work together? Really? By appointing an unelected lawyer
to rule the city? The truth is, Republicans want to turn cities like
Detroit into giant test labs for their conservative ideas. But we don`t
have to wait for the results of this experiment. We have seen them in
other cities. Pontiac Michigan has been on the emergency manager for four
years and it hasn`t gone well for the people there or democracy.

Joining me now is Pontiac city councilman Donald Watkins who has been
working without pay since 2011.

Thank you for being here tonight.

Sharpton. Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Now Councilman, you`ve had four years of the emergency
manager. You told "The New York Times," quote, "an emergency manager is
like a man coming into your house. He takes your checkbook, he takes your
credit cards, he lives in your house and he sleeps in your bed with your
wife. He tells you it`s still your house but he doesn`t clean up, he sells
off everything, and then he packs his bag and leaves."

Now, those are strong words. What is happening in Pontiac since the
emergency manager took over?

WATKINS: Well, reverend, since we`ve gotten here, first of all, the
city of Pontiac, just as you stated before, was a struggling city like the
city of Detroit. There was close to 1,000 employees in the city of
Pontiac. We`re now down to less than 60. Every city asset --

SHARPTON: From 1,000 employees down to 60 employees?

WATKINS: Yes. Less than 60 city employees right now through primary,
through layoffs, through outsourcing and privatizing of all of the jobs
that the emergency manager has made. And --

SHARPTON: OK. Wait a minute. I want to go slow so I and everyone
can understand you. Through outsourcing the layoffs and canceling --
privatizing contracts, all of this was decided by the emergency city
manager who was selected by the governor, never elected by the people in

WATKINS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

SHARPTON: So the people of Pontiac have no authority at all to stop
this man from doing anything?

WATKINS: He does not have to consult the city council on any
decisions that he`s made concerning the budget, concerning personnel
decisions, hiring, firing, appointments, nothing at all. We had city
council meets but we simply meet to hear citizens` complaints and to --
really, there`s nothing on our agenda on the city council. Generally, we
meet every Thursday at 6:00 and we are meeting right now, but primarily we
just --

SHARPTON: You mean to hear people vent because there`s nothing that
you can do. So, what I want people around the country to understand is
that the city manager is appointed by the governor, not elected by the
people, not accounted by the people, accountable to the people, yet the
mayor elected by the people and members of the city council that they
elected to handle their finances have no input and this city manager in
Pontiac has already, and I`m going to put this back up, the city has
overall labor contracts, it has sold off city assets.

The police and fire department have both been outsourced, garbage
collection has been outsourced and this one really got me. The silver dome
that was valued at $22 million, he sold it for $583,000? I mean, how does
this happen?

WATKINS: Yes. He sold it and without any type of an appraisal or
assessment on it. From what I understand, from plumbers, the piping inside
of the silver dome was worth more than the $583,000 that it was sold for.
And on top of that, the same emergency manager who sold the silver dome
came back later and tried to open up a casino in the silver dome with the
man he sold it to. So they tried to partner up. And that`s that one-
manpower corruption. Power corrupts.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. The man that gave - that sold it to him
tried to come back and open up a casino with the guy he sold it to?

WATKINS: Absolutely. The emergency manager of the town who made the
transaction and came back and tried to open a casino at the silver dome
with the very man he sold it to.

SHARPTON: But that`s not corruption. That`s not fiscal miss
management. That`s emergency management.

WATKINS: That`s mismanaged as what we call emergency mismanagement at
its best.

SHARPTON: And as announced today, that is the new form of government
that has just been announced today in Detroit, one of the prime cities in
this country. Because what I`m afraid of is the experiment around the
smallest cities around Michigan, now, you take Detroit, the home of the
auto industry. And if you can get away with this in Detroit where we have
Pontiac and other places that have, then, the city is leading up to it.
You can`t get away with this in Detroit. You can go to any major city in
the court in the name of fiscal restraints.

Let me ask you this, councilman. Were you in Pontiac facing fiscal
problems and fiscal questions when the city council was elected?

WATKINS: At the time the current city council was elected, we did
have those -- when I came into office, which was January 1st, 2010, we were
on our first emergency manager. We are on our third emergency manager
right now because of the incompetence of the first two emergency managers.

SHARPTON: See. Because my point is that the people that voted for
you and the people that voted for the officials in Detroit and other
cities, they voted for you knowing they had problems and they voted to
elect you guys to solve the problem. So how does a governor just decide I
don`t care who they voted to solve the problem, I`m going to impose with no
one`s vote, my own emergency manager.

WATKINS: Absolutely. And one of the problems I have is because
statistics are showing that they are 50 school districts and over 100
cities in the state of Michigan who technically would qualify for an
emergency manager. And what you can end up having is these emergency
managers all over the state with little small kingdoms (INAUDIBLE) with one
person ruling over these cities.

SHARPTON: And no one voted for them. I`ve got to throw this last
thing at you that is troubling and we`re running out of time.

When we look at Detroit now under emergency management, we did the
research. That means that 49 percent of the African-Americans in Michigan,
almost half of the African-Americans in Michigan are without democratically
elected, almost half blocks in your state are under emergency managers they
didn`t vote for. How is that possible?

WATKINS: Absolutely. And let`s go a step further pretty quickly.
All of the cities that have emergency managers are not only after
Democratic Party, strong with union, urban clue collar, and primarily the
lower economic collar people, either white or black. And how it happens is
they get to -- we`re in this post industrial stage where, you know, all
cities with the leading automobile industry and the draft in property
values and revenue sharing from the state, this is how they are able to
come in and rising unemployment. They come in under this auspices to make
these decision and when there`s so much that mismanagement that may have
been done by the city officials. It`s a sign of the economic times that we
are in right no w.

SHARPTON: The coincidence is startling, isn`t it ?

WATKINS: Yes, it is.

SHARPTON: City councilman Donald Watkins. Thank you for your time

WATKINS: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton. Good to be here. Thank you
for having me.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the Republicans kicked off their big party
today. But a civil war broke out. Wait until you see how one Democratic
senator took down political bomb thrower Ted Cruz at today`s gun game.


SHARPTON: Freshman Senator Ted Cruz thinks he`s a tough guy. The man
who says, defund Obamacare, a risk of government shutdown also said this
about President Obama.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I think President Obama is the most radical
president we`ve ever seen.


SHARPTON: But today at a hearing on banning assault weapons, he tried
to lecture Senator Feinstein. It didn`t go too well for the tough guy.


CRUZ: Namely, would she consider it constitutional for Congress to
specify that the first amendment she`ll apply only to the following books
and shall not apply to the books that Congress deemed outside the
protection of the bill of rights?

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Let me just make a couple of
points in response. One, I`m not a sixth grader. Senator, I`ve been on
this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. It`s fine you
want to lecture me on the constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I`ve
been here for a long time. I`ve passed on a number of bills. I studied
the constitution myself, I am reasonably well educated and I thank you for
the lecture.


SHARPTON: The assault weapons bill was laid approved by -- vote.
President Obama released a statement thanking senators and called for,
quote, "a vote." Now the full Senate and the House need to vote on this
bill as well as the measures advanced in the past week. Each of these
proposals deserves a vote," was his statement.

Yes, they do. And we will not be deterred on this issue. Does
Senator Cruz think we wouldn`t see he`s not such a tough guy after all?
Nice try, Senator. But she got you.


SHARPTON: Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, welcome to the
greatest show on earth.


Thank you, thank you, thank you. The conservative circus known as
CPAC is back in town and this year, they promised the show would be new and
different. Sorry, kids. It`s the same old show. So let`s go right to the
center ring where Marco Rubio is clowning around.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: There`s this couple that I know. They
are on my son`s tackle football team. They are struggling. They live in a
little small apartment, they share one car. They are not free loaders.
They are not Liberals.



SHARPTON: And please direct your attention to the ring on my left.
Who knew Congressman Louie Gohmert was an acrobat. Hold on to your seats
kids as he takes a daring leap off the edge of reason.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: One of the things that we`ve heard
over and over again since Vietnam is, you know, well, we don`t want to get
in another unwinnable war like Vietnam. Vietnam was winnable but people in
Washington decided we would not win it.


SHARPTON: The crowd loves it. And over on my right, it`s the tax man
himself, Grover Norquist. Who knew he was also an animal trainer?


officials who vote for tax increases are rat heads in a coat closet.


They damage the brand for everybody else.


SHARPTON: Wow. That is a circus act that we`ve never heard before.
Got to hand it to the GOP. They are party flying through the air without a

Joining me now, our POLITICS NATION circus correspondents, Angela Rye
and Toure. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Angela, they promised a new show but it looks and sounds
just like the old one to me. How do they expect to attract new voters if
they keep putting on the same song and dance?

RYE: I don`t think they expect to attract new voters, Rev. They have
is so good, the same old policies distributed by the same old folks is
going to be acceptable when it`s not. They also need to really look at how
they are utilizing tokenism. The fact that they can find a black or Latino
face to promote propaganda that is not helpful for their communities nor
their families is highly problematic. Whether Rubio is looking at his
friends or his neighbors saying, they`re not free loaders, they`re not
Liberals, it`s ridiculous, it`s atrocious and the rhetoric really has to

SHARPTON: You know, Toure, you know, many of the speakers at CPAC
today make it clear that they don`t think the GOP has to change. Listen to


REP. RAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: The problem with the modern Republican
Party is that you have a bunch of Republicans who speak like conservatives
and act like moderates.


We need Republicans who can speak like moderates and act like

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Now, the popular media, it`s that this
country has shifted away from conservative ideals as evidenced by the last
two presidential elections. That might be true if Republicans had actually
nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: We don`t need a new idea. There is an
idea. The idea is called America and it still works.



SHARPTON: Now, conservatives say their party doesn`t have to change
but a recent NBC News poll Toure shows that Americans backed Democrats on
the issues.

TOURE: Sure.

SHARPTON: Had they trust them to look out for middle class, Democrats
holding a 22-point advantage when they trust in the whole -- who do they
trust the whole to take care on the middle class. On Medicare, 18-point
lead. Health care, 16-point lead. Gun violence, 15-point lead. Social
Security, 14 point lead. And have advantage on energy policy, immigration,
taxes, economy, on and on, the Democrats outpolled.

TOURE: Yes. First of all, that was awesome. I love that you did
that. That was so cool. Look, the Republicans have a major problem in
terms of they have been dealing with this white racial anxiety. Right?
White resentment. That`s been this sort of fuel that they`ve used for
decades, pretty much since 1964 when they started the southern strategy to
rally the wagon, to rally white working class people who would then vote
against their economic interests and roll with the rich people who would
make sense to vote for the Republicans.

If they are going to counteract the obvious demographic trends of
America, the browning of America, the fact that in 2042, there will be more
black, brown, and Asian people in America than white people, if they are
going to counter act that, they have to get off of that. But how can you
get off the sauce when attracting the other voter, the black and brown and
Asian voter will go directly counter to what you`ve been doing in selling
the sauce?

You can`t do it. So they have a major problem and Angela is talking
about enough with the window dressing, that`s absolutely correct. They
think they can put a brown face out that`s going to make a difference, we
see through that.

SHARPTON: Well, let me tell you the sauce they`re going to use.
Let`s see if you do see through it. Allen West is back and he once called
Congressional Democrats communists. He was back today with some more
controversial statements. Watch this, Angie.


FMR. REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: I`m speaking from experience, when
I tell you that there is nothing on this green earth that a liberal
progressive fears more than a black American who wants a better life and a
smaller government.


SHARPTON: Now, Angela, I will admit that I`ve been blacker longer
than you and Toure but I have never heard anything like that in my life
from progressive liberals.

RYE: Well, I hope you never will again from a conservative like
Allen West, you know, God bless him. He`s one of my former bosses with the
Congressional Black Caucuses. Last year he was calling, you know, people
like the legendary Maxine waters and others overseers on the democratic
plantation. This is the type of hateful, divisive rhetoric that we just
cannot afford to have in a country that right now is considering things
like immigration reform and finding parity across the board for folks who
don`t look the same.

This is, you know, a conference that right now has an agenda item that
says, should we kill all the consultants now? Again, with an assault ban
weapons, you know, the minute it just passed the Senate judiciary committee
today. We really can`t afford to, you know, play rhetoric with things that
are so crucial to moving this country forward. You know, Marco Rubio
talked today about, you know, the idea as America and it doesn`t change and
it doesn`t have to change. I reject that. There`s nothing in our history
that says, we have not evolved, that we have not consistently changed and
it is time for yet another change, Rev.

TOURE: And when they use that democratic plantation language, I find
it so disgusting and so racist to import this language of slavery as if we
are trapped here. We choose to be Democrats. We choose to be progressives
and Liberals. We`re not trapped here like slaves. So, I mean, that is,
again, sort of an insensitive racial language that they perpetuate like
self-deportation and that sort of things, that just says, this is why black
and brown people don`t want to roll with you.

RYE: That`s exactly right.

SHARPTON: And then this also, in case you don`t remember, "Hillary:
The Movie," "The Washington Post" wrote in 2010, after it became clear that
Hillary Rodham Clinton would run for president, Citizens United released
"Hillary: The Movie," featuring a who is who cast of right-wing
commentators in the 2008 film takes viewers on a savaging journey through
Clinton scandals." So, I mean, all of this is showing that film tonight at
the CPAC circus.

TOURE: Well, good luck with that. Before we even get to dealing with
Hillary in 2016, they are going to have to deal with immigration, right?
And the center of that is, can you deal with the changing America that is
happening right now. Are you going to try to say, we want America to stay
like it was, like it no longer has been for decades but we still want ward
and June Cleaver and the Beaver. And that`s not happening. Are you going
to embrace the change or are you going to fight against it or be left

SHARPTON: Well, I know what they think is best, they listen to Allen
West. Angela Rye and Toure, thanks for your time tonight.

TOURE: Thank you.

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

Ahead, the true cost of war. A republican said something today that
shows the parties learned nothing since mission accomplished.

And my colleague Mika Brzezinski joins us tonight on getting us
healthy and standing up for woman.


SHARPTON: The day in politics gets started every morning here on
MSNBC with "Morning Joe." We watch for Joe and Mika, too.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Who said that? A democrat or republican?


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Since republicans were whining.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It doesn`t always have to be republican or
democrat. Both sides are exaggerating.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You could say both sides exaggerating but I`d
like to go back to the first plane.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: New pope from the Americas. This hasn`t happened
in 1200 years.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What are your hopes, first of all, with the new
pope? This is full of fat and full of sugar and has no value. We want to
eradicate everything like this. We don`t need it.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Is there a question in there?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes, I`m talking to Michelle here.



SHARPTON: Joining me now, the co-host of "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, Mika


SHARPTON: Glad to have you with us.

BRZEZINSKI: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: You know, this week a judge overruled Mayor Bloomberg in
his pursuit of getting sugary drinks in large quantities out of stores.
What do you think it`s going to take to get this anti-obesity movement to
really sink in?

BRZEZINSKI: Well, I think it`s started and I think we`re going to see
a lot more happening in the next few years, at a much more rapid rate.
This might have been seen in the newspapers as a loss for Mayor Bloomberg,
what I see it as a loss for society because we have an obesity epidemic.
And as he pointed out, people are beginning to die at record numbers from
different obesity-related diseases or children are fatter than ever. This
is ultimately hurting our National Security and economic security.

That`s a no-brainer. That part we know. What to do about it? Well,
someone give us a better idea. At this point, Mayor Bloomberg at least is
putting ideas on the table and if you think about it, they are good ones.
He`s not banning drinking the drink. You can have the drink, he`s trying
to teach people again, something that`s gotten completely gotten out of
whack in our society, and that is what a proper healthy portion is.

SHARPTON: Now, what was interesting he said to Joe and you the other
morning, that more people are dying now because of obesity than starvation,
which was startling because I`ve never heard it put that way.

BRZEZINSKI: Yes, the pendulum has completely swung in the opposite
direction and our society has more knee replacements, more hip
replacements, diabetes, heart disease, everything related to obesity.
Think about it. If we were to eradicate obesity, we wouldn`t have the
health crisis.


BRZEZINSKI: We wouldn`t have problems recruiting in the military. We
wouldn`t have people who are too fat to fight for our country. We wouldn`t
have children growing up with social problems and medical problems and
shorter life spans. It`s all related to obesity. We have to look in the
mirror. We have to be able to have this conversation. We actually need to
use the "f" word, fat.


BRZEZINSKI: And obese, and be able to say it to people just like they
have cancer, diabetes or any type of illness.

SHARPTON: And I think it lifts yourself-esteem. I mean, that`s what
helped many he to lose a lot of weight.


SHARPTON: And you have a book coming out on this subject?

BRZEZINSKI: I do. It`s coming out in May, it`s called "Obsessed"
and it is about America`s addiction to junk food and it takes my story as
well as a very good friend of mine, we write it together, she became
actually obese over the process of 20 years and we both kind of found our
way back into the middle in terms of our relationship with food and also
looked into the science of the addictive qualities of food, of sugar, fat,
and salt.

The key ingredients in most of the food we eat. And right now, the
science is showing and there are experts on nutrition, brain experts as
well as food experts and obesity experts who are coming together using the
terms addictive qualities of these substances. The next level is
addiction. If we can actually prove that and I think they will, this will
end up in the courts just like cigarettes.

SHARPTON: Now, talking about books, I have to go to your last book.
You did a book called "Knowing Your Value" and you talked about women, you
talked about what they still face in terms of inequality. You really
champion the cause of continuing the fight for gender equality. Now, a lot
of people have talked about it now but you are there, I see these people
out here now as Mika-rites.

BRZEZINSKI: You`re nice.

SHARPTON: Tell people about it. Because you had Valerie Jarrett and
everybody in your book.

BRZEZINSKI: Yes. Well, thank you. You know, a lot of people are
talking about Sheryl Sandberg`s book called "Lean In." It`s creating a lot
of controversy, I think it`s great that the conversation is being had and
that she is raised it again. A lot of the issues that she brings up in her
book, I brought up in my book a few years ago called "Knowing your Value"
and it`s about how women actually undermine themselves and each other in
the process of trying to grow in the workplace and become financially
equitable to their male counterparts and I look at exactly what we do that
causes perhaps problems or creates stumbling blocks along the way.

And Sheryl touches on that as well. It`s women care more about being
friends with people at work as opposed to commanding respect. That woman
tends to apologize for themselves and they feel so lucky to be there and it
talks about how you need to really communicate effectively. So what I like
about "Lean In" is that all women should come to work and "Lean In" but
then they got to take it to the next step and communicate effectively for
themselves. And I think we`re still learning to do that but we`ve come a
long way.

SHARPTON: Well, I have two daughters. And Dominique says, the
difference in your book and others, including "Lean In," was that next
step, you tell people, don`t just to the unfairness where others are sort
of accommodating to it.

BRZEZINSKI: I mean, that`s a key thing. And I think Sheryl has
received a lot of criticism that is unwarranted because she`s bringing out
universal qualities in women across the board. Whether you`re at the very
top like her or you`re at the very bottom starting out and you`re in the
middle and can`t get anywhere, we tend to do certain things first in the
conversation or in negotiation or in a relationship that undermines the
earning potential, the value of the moment, the goal at hand and it`s a
matter of focusing and commending respect and then understanding that
friendship and all those other things that you`re actually going for will
follow. So too will success.

SHARPTON: You`re getting us healthy, you are standing up for women
and they call me the activist.

BRZEZINSKI: And you`re generous. Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: Mika Brzezinski, thank you for doing this.


SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: This got my attention today. Maybe it will get yours, too.
Here`s what freshmen republican congressman Tom Cotton said today about


REP. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: Are we fighting too many wars? I
would say, no, we`re fighting one war and it`s a war against radical
Islamic Jihad. The final question is, can we afford this war? The answer
is yes, we can afford it.


SHARPTON: Are we fighting too many wars? He says no. Can we afford
these wars? He says, yes. Mr. Cotton is a vet but he`s wrong on this.
He`s wrong just like those who claimed that our troops would be greeted as
liberate for in Iraq. Wrong just like those that claimed that Iraqi`s oil
money would pay for the country`s reconstruction. It did not.

In fact, a new study today says, the cost of the Iraq war now stands
at $1.7 trillion. That`s trillion with a "t," with another $490 billion in
benefits owed to our veterans, money that should have been spent to help
communities in this country, not on that war.

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


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