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PoliticsNation, Friday, March 15th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Friday show

March 15, 2013

Guests: Maria Teresa Kumar; Charles Williams, Abby Huntsman, Dana Milbank, R.J. Cutler

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

Tonight`s lead, shame as it ever was. Today, both governor Romney and
congressman Ryan took the stage at the big conservative summit outside of

So, did they talk about the lessons of the election? Did they show
they understand why they lost? Does the GOP finally get it? Nope.


carried on November 7th but we haven`t lost the country we love and we have
not lost our way. I may be a little biased, but I applaud the clear and
convincing voice of my friend Paul Ryan.


SHARPTON: We haven`t lost our way. I applaud Paul Ryan. So much for
change you can believe in. Republicans refuse to accept that their
policies were rejected in November. And none more so than wrong way Ryan.


really pretty simple. We stop spending money we don`t have. Our debt is a
threat to this country. We have to tackle this problem before it tackles


SHARPTON: No. On November 6th, Americans said no to that. No to
cuts, cuts, cuts mentality. We refused it. We shot it down, we nixed it,
we chuck it, declined it, renounced it, dismissed it. I don`t know how
many more ways Republicans need me to say it. Yet, despite that, the GOP
keeps offering up the same slash and burn policies that gut the middle

Take Ryan`s budget, it`s so severe that it cut spending to the lowest
level since 1948. 1948. That`s literally rolling back the clock. This is
the same party that rails about White House tours, but it ignores automatic
budget cuts that are devastating everyday Americans. Well, they should
ignore the fact that the U.S. forest service will have to cut 505
firefighters. They should ignore the fact that food programs for seniors
are getting cut in Georgia or that the head start programs in Indiana are
actually using random drawings to decide which low-income preschoolers will
get kicked out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Head start has made a big difference in
4-year-old sage. How he plays with other kids, how he`s advanced

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m very proud of him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: But Alice just learned her son soon has
to stay home. He`s being cut from the program as a result of federal
budget cuts.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Earlier this week, staff raffled kids
name in a fish bowl. Name picked got to stay, the rest has to leave the

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His name didn`t get picked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Sage`s last day is March 15th. He and
16 other children in Columbus will be placed on a waiting list for next

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know how to tell him he`s not going

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Families now losing their child`s head


SHARPTON: Lotteries to see who gets to go to school and who doesn`t.
This is unacceptable. This is un-American. Are Republican lawmakers
holding lotteries to see if their children can be educated? I don`t think
so. We are talking about low-income children. They weren`t born with a
winning ticket like Mr. Romney. These kids need a helping hand. But
Republicans are turning their backs on them.

Joining me now is E.J. Dionne and Maria Teresa Kumar.

Thank you for being on the show tonight.


SHARPTON: E.J., we are talking about kids getting kicked out of early
education, and yet, all the GOP can see is cuts, cuts, cuts. I mean, why
is this?

DIONNE: Well, I think it`s an ideological commitment and the belief
that the only thing that matters is cutting tax rates. I mean, I think
it`s really so striking that, you know, two facts about the Ryan budget.
On the one hand, he wants to cut the tax rate on the very wealthy on people
earning over $450,000 a year down to 25 percent. He said he will pay for
that somehow but it will have to be by getting rid of middle-class tax

At the same time, the senator on budget and policy priorities points
out that that budget will take health insurance away from 40 to 50 million
Americans between the cuts in Obama care and the cuts in Medicaid. And
that is just not the way forward for the country.

And on the sequester, you`ve had an utterly inconsistent talking
points from that side. On the one hand, sometimes they say this is
devastating but mostly they`ve said these cuts are good. We have to get
rid of government. But government isn`t something in the abstract, that
piece about the head start program shows what these cuts are starting to
do. But I just think it will take a little more time for all of that to

SHARPTON: Maria, we`re talking about kids. One of the most
compelling things to me in looking at that piece, you`re talking about
children who just need a leg up to get started with education in life. I
mean, let me show you some of the local news reports on the impact of these
automatic cuts. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Ultimately, military families will be
the ones who suffer most.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are already making plans on how we are
going to cope with a different paycheck than what I got last month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: In the latest budget battle, USDA
inspectors are on the chopping block.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: I`m standing in front of the air
control tower here New Bern that is set to close as soon as April 7th.
That means the people who work inside will lose their jobs and there will
be some changes with our safety and our security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Sequestration may mean 1.9 million fewer
federal dollars. That has both parents and teachers concerned.


SHARPTON: Children, teachers, air traffic controllers, meat
inspectors and all the Republicans kept saying is cut, cut, cut. But
Maria, when the cuts started hitting their districts, all of a sudden some
Republicans are suddenly against them.

Senator John Thune is slamming the cuts to national parks service in
his district.

Congressman Richard Hanna in upstate New York is against the cuts to
his local airport.

And suddenly Pennsylvania senator Pat Toomey is attacking cuts in his
local army depot.

So when the chickens come home to roost, it`s a different story.

Reverend, what you`re saying is that, this is politics unusual. All of a
sudden, they have realized that because they have let the sequestration
stall where it is today, they are actually feeling the pain back in their
home districts. That`s not news. That`s something they should have known
before going into this.

But, I think something to what E.J. is saying is that when we start
looking at our budget priorities and what we decide to cut as Americans and
the fact that, sure, Paul Ryan is saying that the biggest thing is we need
a smaller government. But he`s asking middle America and, you know, lower
income Americans to sacrifice in order for the rich Americans to get
richer. And that`s not a social contract. And that`s not a functioning
government. And I think that what we need to do as American is to take a
look back and say, you know, how are we going to make sure that our
representatives are actually representing in Congress. And that,
unfortunately means a lot grass root mobilization and cause the congress to
make sure that we have to make sure that. again, the "young kid doesn`t get
laid off," quote, unquote.

SHARPTON: Now E.J., the president reached out to Republicans again
today to come forward and work with him to make a deal on the budget.
Listen to this.

Republicans and Democrats to come together around a balanced approach, a
smart faced-in approach to debts and reduction that includes smart spending
cuts and entitlement reforms and new revenue and that won`t hurt our middle
class or slow economic growth. And if we do that, then, we can move beyond
governing from crisis to crisis to crisis.


SHARPTON: I mean, he`s making the appeal. He`s saying what needs to
be said to try to lean over backwards for compromise, and most of them just
-- I`ll give you an example, E.J.

The focus that they`ve been putting on wrong things in regard to the
automatic budget cuts are highlighted between March 6th and the March 13th,
FOX did 163 segments on White House tours getting cut. And just three on
how automatic cuts are impacting the poor, 163 segments on the White House
cuts being -- White House tours being cut, only three on how this is
impacting the poor.

So, when this is the kind of way they are projecting to the American
people what`s going on, this clearly so showing that they are not giving
the real information on the impact that this has happened to ordinary
average Americans already.

DIONNE: I am so glad you mentioned that White House tour obsession
which has spilled out beyond FOX News. I was talking to somebody today
about the president`s effort, which he is going to get more detail about to
guarantee pre-K to every American kid. Then, I said to the person, you
know, maybe if he announced that he`s going to give pre-K and the White
House tour to every American kid, maybe this will start getting some
attention. This is absolutely nuts.

Is he supposed to keep White House tours and cut military pay more or
cut, you know, aid, nutrition aid to the poor women? I don`t think the
house Republicans are going to move unless there`s movement among Senate
Republicans. And the response of the Senate hasn`t been as hostile so far
as it was among house Republicans. And if you could get some movement
there, maybe there would be pressure back on the house to give up their
current position, which is we won`t negotiate unless you give us everything
we want.

SHARPTON: And at the same time, Maria, there seems to be a total
insensitivity to average working class people like the house Republicans
today voted unanimously, unanimously against raising minimum wage to over
$10. Two hundred twenty seven House Republicans said no, including
congressman Paul Ryan who must have raced back to D.C. after his big speech
at CPAC to vote no against raising the minimum wage.

KUMAR: There`s just a callousness that keeps permeating from the
Republicans. And think that not understanding basically what it means to
make honesty in this country. And I think that is something that is
basically when they try to evaluate what is wrong with the Republican
party, what is wrong with the brand, it`s not rebranding. You have to re-
change your ideology to actually reflect the American people and the
American people want their health care. They don`t want tax cuts that are
unfair and they want to make sure their kids can go to head start if they
have to. They need to realign themselves. Otherwise, they are not going
to win elections in the future.

DIONNE: And it`s astonishing, if you want poor Americans not to be so
poor, not to take government benefits, not to go on wealth fair, what
should you do? You should pay them a wage they can live on. And I think
this is about that is going to hurt some of these Republicans because the
minimum wage is very popular among Americans because they believe in work
and they believe that people who work ought to be paid at least enough to
get by.


SHARPTON: And that`s just - I mean, E.J. and Maria, it`s just
commonsense. But my mama used to tell me, commonsense is not that common.

E.J. Dionne and Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you for your time this

KUMAR: Thanks, Reverend.

DIONNE: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, day two of the conservative conference exposed a
major problem with the party. It was an easy one to see.

And why Republicans should be embarrassed and ashamed to share the
stage with the NRA chief.

And the secret behind Dick Cheney`s decline to power revealed. How
did he invade Bush`s brain? The man who spent four days with Cheney is

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will. Folks are fired up about the emergency
manager chosen to run Detroit.

Monica says, it`s a sad, pitiful day for my state.

Don says is angry with Snyder quote, "we don`t have a governor, we
have a dictator."

Paul asked, how can this happen in a democracy?

I`ve got more to say on that coming up next. 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: On Thursday, Michigan`s Republican governor Rick Snyder
silenced the voice of the people by shoving aside elected officials and
appointing an emergency manager to run the city of Detroit. It`s an insult
to democracy. Voters in Michigan had rejected this law before. Snyder and
his Republican allies came back in and rammed it back through.

Today, the governor and I were both guests on "Morning Joe" and I
pressed him on this very issue.


SHARPTON: Governor, I think no one can defend the condition that
Detroit is in, but how do you deal with the fact that the customers, as
Kevin calls them, feel disenfranchised, I mean, that you made a unilateral
decision, their elected officials have really been - the powers have been
taken away, and it undermines people`s right to vote because the only one
who voted for Kevin was you and this is something that is very disturbing
that you have governors undermine the willing voters. There was a
referendum last year that was opposed to this kind of action. You did it

GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: Reverend, if you look at it, the old
law went away. It was in response to the issues that came up during that
process. And if you look at it, I`m also the elected official. I was
elected by the people of Michigan. So, there is an elected official
responsible for this process. And I think that`s critically important.
The citizens of Detroit are my customer.

SHARPTON: But, what about the local elected officials? What about?
When I`m in Detroit, Reverend Charles Williams and others are raising this,
in all due respect, and I vote for city council and mayor to represent me
during the financial crisis, now you bring in someone unelected, like in
Pontiac, we had someone on the show who talked about emergency manager to
come and sold the silver dome for half a million dollars that was valued at
several million dollars over -- I mean, Kevin has no one to answer to that
-- in the local constituency. That`s undemocratic.


SNYDER: Well, let`s put it in perspective, Reverend, and he brought
Pontiac. And I think that is a good illustration. A lot of it with places
like Flint, where we have emergency managers and both those cities, we have
an elected mayors still working with the emergency manager. The city
councils are still giving input. So, there`s still a process going on
involving those elected officials.


SHARPTON: The governor didn`t really have an answer for my questions.
But pretty soon he will have to answer to the voting public.


SNYDER: The timeline we`re working under is basically an 18-month
timeline, which would be October or so of next year. So, this will be a
very clear issue by next November and I`m happy with that because I should
be held accountable and we`re going to show results.


SHARPTON: On at least one point I agree with the governor. He should
be held accountable and he will.

Joining me now, live from Detroit, Reverend Charles Williams, II.
He`s the president of the Michigan chapter of my group the national action
network. Thanks for taking time to be on the show tonight.

NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Thank you for having me, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Now, reverend, you led protests yesterday opposing the
emergency management appointment in Detroit. Let me be clear.

When the governor says that the emergency managers are working with
mayors and city council members, those members and city council members no
longer have any power once an emergency manager is appointed. Is that

The emergency manager makes all decisions on contracts, employment, on
everything. They are just really the mayor and the city council are just
sitting there giving information to him, they can no longer make any
decisions. Is that right?

WILLIAMS: Absolutely. The mayors and city councils, they lose all of
their power and all of that power, is quite frankly, entrusted inside of
the emergency manager.

Now, there are certain one who is are sitting there and they may still
have their paycheck and they may, in theory, still have their power. But
if the emergency manager has a gun to your head, there`s not much you can

I like the fact that you brought up the point that the governor is the
only vote that the emergency manager has. However, there were 2,182,504
votes that decided that they wanted to repeal public act four, which was
the emergency manager law that they came back in lame duck session and made
sure that they put back into law so they could take over cities and
municipalities disenfranchising our votes and dismissing democracy in

SHARPTON: Now, Reverend, two - over 2.3 million people voted against
having an emergency management law. The governor turned around and did it
anyway, which was the point I raised. So, not only is the governor just
totally saying, I`m ignoring the vote that I lost with the referendum last
year, came back in a lame duck session and did it, he says it doesn`t
matter in the middle of all of these fiscal problems, it doesn`t matter
that you voted for a mayor, voted for a city council, I`m taking their
power away and I`m appointing an emergency manager that has the final word
in all of this and he tells me, well, I`m elected to do it.

So, how does his election matter but it validates the election of
mayors, city council members and the votes of the referendum? Who decides
what matters in Michigan?

WILLIAMS: Well, the people should decide. But, they don`t want
people to decide who chooses our president and who chooses our mayor or our
city council. What this really is all about is part of the Republican
scheme to continue disenfranchise voters. This is suppressive tactic, so
that in 2016 when we start talking about presidents again, as you know, we
have been fighting against voter right in section five of the voting rights
act, as you know, they are trying to make it so that you have to have I.D.
All of this is working together so that they can squash the working people
so that they continue to silence our voices. However, we`re going to stand
up and we are going to fight back and we`re not going to allow our voices
to be dismissed.

SHARPTON: Well, thank you for your time tonight, Reverend Charles
Williams. And, again, we`re going to stay on top of this story.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, NRA outrage, right-wingers give the NRA a hero`s
welcome and ignore the rising debt toll from guns.

Plus, the shocking untold story of how Dick Cheney convinced George
Bush to make him vice president and drag America in the war. I will talk
to the filmmaker behind a powerful new documentary.

Stay with us.



They can call me crazy.

They call us crazy.

They call us crazy.

They call me crazy. They call us crazy? They say we are crazy? I
mean --


SHARPTON: Yes, they do. And for good reason. NRA executive vice
president Juan Lapierre on the stage of the big conservative party known as
CPAC. He received standing ovations and loud cheers throughout his speech
that was filled with conspiracy-laced arguments against sensible gun
reform. And he went after vice president Biden.


LAPIERRE: For four decades, you`ve enjoyed the armed protection of
capital police and secret service officers, all while trying to destroy the
second amendment rights for the rest of us. So, when it comes to that
right, sir, you keep your advice. We will keep our guns.



SHARPTON: We`ll keep our guns. Note to Mr. Lapierre, nobody is
taking your guns away. And comparing these gun reforms to secret service
protection, that`s insane. But there was more.


LAPIERRE: What`s the point of registering lawful gun owners anyway,
so a list can be hacked by foreign entities like the Chinese who recently
hacked Pentagon computers? So, a list can be handed over to the Mexican
government? In the end, there are only two reasons for government to
create that federal registry of gun owners, to tax them or to take them.


SHARPTON: Now he thinks Mexico and China are coming to take away his
guns. He knows the fight is coming and we won`t be deterred. Measures are
headed to the Senate floor and the American public wants change on assault
weapons bans, on universal background checks, but Lapierre just doesn`t


LAPIERRE: I`m still standing unapologetic and unflinching in defense
of our individual freedom.



SHARPTON: You may still be standing but look around you, Mr.
Lapierre, nobody`s standing with you. Nice try. But sit down. We got


SHARPTON: Can you feel the March madness, America? Good evening and
welcome. I`m your announcer, Reverend Al Sharpton. It`s great to be with
you. Let`s get right to it. First, we go to the big east tournament here
in New York City where Georgetown, the number one seed beat up on
Cincinnati. Our friends in D.C. will be happy. And the Louisville
cardinals celebrated an easy win over Villanova.

Oh, look, we have exclusive pictures from the locker room. It`s the
star forward Chane Behanan and there`s guard Russ Smith. And wait a
second, two term President Bill Clinton? What an amazing scene. Oh, but
you really want the real March madness, the madness as in mad, as in crazy?
Yes. It`s day two of the big conservative party known as CPAC.

And let`s go straight to the highlights or should I say low lights?
Reality star and birther king Donald Trump through one up from long wage
taking a shot at immigration.


DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: When it comes to immigration, you know
that the 11 million illegals, even if given the right to vote, you know,
you`re going to have to do what`s right, but the fact is, 11 million people
will be voting democratic. You could say that to a certain extent the odds
aren`t looking so great right now for Republicans that you`re in a suicide
mission. You`re just not going to get those votes.


SHARPTON: Oh, the crowd goes wild. All three of them. They caught
the Donald falling out with his ridiculous comments and then Mitch
McConnell subbed in and threw up this air ball.

Democrats are the party of the future when their presidential ticket for
2016 is shaping up to look like a rerun of the golden girls.


SHARPTON: Golden girls? I mean, is he serious with this one? Even
his party sitcom comes from the Reagan area. But then came Louisiana
Governor Bobby Jindal. Unfortunately, he fails to realize he should be
playing for junior varsity.


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: We don`t need a change what we
believe is conservatives. Our principles are timeless. We have to be
comfortable with the fact that our liberal critics in the media will say
that we haven`t changed anything unless we endorse abortion and socialism.


SHARPTON: After what happened in the election, the GOP should be
trying to improve its game. Instead, it`s the same, old trash talk.

Joining me now on March madness sideline reporters, Abby Huntsman and
Dana Milbank. Thanks for being with us.



SHARPTON: Well, let me take off my sports gear. Dana, you called
this one. Conservatives group therapy session. How`s the soul searching

MILBANK: They are still searching, Reverend. They haven`t come up
with much. I would say, if this was a papal conclave here in Washington,
we would be getting only black smoke in place. They are still searching
for answers to see, what didn`t come out with, what`s next with the party?
What the idea should be? Who should be delivering these ideas? But
there`s really a lot of back biting and skirmishing going on there and they
are really struggling to find a letter, it`s not the usual red meat being
served up here. There`s a lot of finger pointing, a lot of blame going on.

SHARPTON: Now, Abby, we`ve been having some fun but seriously, listen
to Rick Santorum today. Listen to this.


always promise more stuff. And make it sound like they care more because
they make it easier for Americans by providing the stuff for them through
government programs, paid for by somebody else`s money.


SHARPTON: You know, Abby, this is the week we meet the man who filmed
and brought out the 47 percent speech and they are still talking about
makers and takers?

HUNTSMAN: You know, I think Santorum wins the award for having
probably the strangest speech at CPAC so far. It`s very much about
entertainment. You started off with March madness. This was a very much
the same thing for conservatives. I mean, you have to remember, this is
not a gathering for the Republican Party. This is a gathering for
conservatives. The most conservative group in the Republican Party. These
are folks that ultimately vote in primaries.

This is the group that decides who our republican nominee is and it`s
all about entertainment. We saw as Donald Trump is the main speaker of the
event. I mean, that should say it all. And the tone was set very early
on, Reverend. I mean, they closed the door on groups like Go Proud, on
Republicans that have a strong stand on immigration. So the tone was set
very early on that they weren`t going to open up their tent to everyone
within the Republican Party but frankly to move forward, we need to have
Donald Trump.

I mean, heaven forbid, we need to have the Donald Trumps, we need to
have Go Proud, we need to have independence. Everyone should be a part of
a group like this and it was sad to watch this all play out. For the most
part, I didn`t hear a lot of new ideas. And we mentioned this was a time
where people should be talking about new ideas for the Republican Party in
the 21st century.

Frankly, I thought Rubio presented a worst case for that. I mean, he
is someone that everyone is looking too at the future of the party. He
didn`t really talk about evolving on any issues. He didn`t even bring up
immigration for example. The was very surprising, the one I was most
impressed with was Rand Paul. I mean, he was talking about banks too big
to fail. But for the most part Reverend, I mean, there really was a lack
of ideas overall.

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, one of the things that was interesting to me is
the president of the conservative groups Citizens United, he actually took
to the stage and went right after Karl Rove and President Bush today.




He has been called the architect and I understand why and he guided
President Bush to his second-term victory. But in reality, Karl Rove and
George Bush were the architects of policy disasters.


SHARPTON: Very interesting, Dana.

MILBANK: Yes. And I was at a session there yesterday which was
titled, "Should we shoot all the consultants now?" And Karl Rove came in
for a great deal of abuse there. What`s interesting here is it`s more of
this what we saw, there were -- right after the election. They`re saying,
well, the problem is it was technology or we will beating on the ground, or
the consultants are misleading them or the candidates were weak or we were
a conservative enough.

They don`t seem to have reconciled themselves to the possibility even
that maybe the voters just weren`t buying the ideas that the Conservative-
Republicans had generated at CPAC, were selling in the last election. It
just seems like there is no hint of such reconciliation occurring out there
at CPAC.

SHARPTON: Now, Abby, same-sex marriage is big news today with Senator
Robert Portman but a gay group was banned from CPAC and recently your dad
says, he backed same-sex marriage but the party is not ready to evolve. I
mean, listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We cannot hope to limit government if we do not
stand up for the core civil society institutions beginning with marriage.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Just because I believe that states
should have the right to define marriage in a traditional way does not make
me a bigot.


SHARPTON: Abby, I mean, how do we deal with this when there`s such
passion and flexibility on this?

HUNTSMAN: Well, and this just highlights how divided the Republican
Party is on hot button issues, the most important issues of the day, gay
marriage, for example, you know, there are many within the Republican Party
that have evolved that support gay marriage and there are many within the
party that aren`t -- but that`s why CPAC I thought would have been a great
opportunity for those with the microphone to at least speak out on these
issues and help the crowd understand how we can evolve on these issues and
that wasn`t done. You know, I didn`t hear really any of the speakers speak
out about this.

Unfortunately, I mean, Go Proud was still there. They were still
fighting for gay rights as Republicans. I know they were nearby CPAC. I`m
glad they did that because they need to keep fighting for that. But
ultimately, as Dana said, you know, the Republican Party has to see where
they got it wrong and doesn`t seem like at least at CPAC, they were
admitting to where they got it wrong. I mean, Donald Trump did mentioned,
if you spend $400 million on a campaign and you lose, clearly there`s some
problems there but that was about as much as they recognized.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Dana, quickly, David Weigel of Slate,
he took notice of the backdrop at the conference and he says it`s a bit
hard to make out but he shows a series of conservative heroes -- Ronald
Reagan, William Buckley. And even Jesse Helms, the only images of people
of color of file pitches of an African-American man talking to an Asian
American women.

So basically they want to know why they are not appealing to people
when people are not projected, included, they are isolating people as
Abby`s talking about. How do you grow a party when you have one-
dimensional figures as the face and symbol of the party?

MILBANK: Well, Reverend, surely you would have allowed them to put up
your picture there if they had asked you.

HUNTSMAN: I was just going to say that. I was just going to say

MILBANK: In the first place, they have a couple of sessions at CPAC
saying, talking about diversity and how do we reach out. The answer in all
cases seems to be, well, what racial minorities, what women want, what
everybody wants is the same sort of policies that we are selling. We are
just not selling it to them in the proper way. They do not seem to be able
to break away from that.

SHARPTON: Abby Huntsman and Dana Milbank, thanks for your time
tonight and have a great weekend.

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a powerful documentary exposes how Dick Cheney
manipulated and exploited George W. Bush.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is a war-time situation and it was more
importantly successful -- and if I had to do it over again, I`d do it in a


SHARPTON: And now the former vice president has a problem with the
filmmaker. He joins me to respond, next.


SHARPTON: Still ahead. A stunning new documentary sheds light on how
Vice President Dick Cheney manipulated the Bush presidency. The film maker
behind it joins me, next.


SHARPTON: There`s a stunning new documentary`s chronicling Dick
Cheney`s climb to power and he used that power in the George W. Bush White
House, one of the most amazing and frankly depressing parts was how he
basically took over Bush`s brain and his presidency. A section at his
film, documents how Cheney muscled the president into going to war against
Saddam Hussein. And get this, folks, you almost feel sorry for George W.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I really think there was a momentum to war. Cheney
is saying, we`ve got to do it. The intelligence is there.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He had the personnel, he had the technology, he had
the know-how, he had the raw material, and he had the desire to get back
into the business big time.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You said we had a lot of allies out there but I
haven`t noticed the Arab states supporting strong actions against Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, I think the way I would characterizes is,
they are uniformly concerned about the situation in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Bush is insecure as president. Cheney brilliantly
exploits this.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is R.J. Cutler, producer, director and
writer of The World according to Dick Cheney which premiers tonight at 9
p.m. on show time. R.J., thanks for being here tonight.

thanks Reverend.

SHARPTON: Now, Cheney`s climb to power is a big part of your story.
Tell us, what did he say about his role inside the White House?

CUTLER: Well, he of course described in great detail there is
decisions that were made particularly in the wake of September 11th and
it`s very clear that while he spoke about advising the President and said
that that was his job, he was driving policy.

SHARPTON: How was he driving policy? When we say, he got controlled
or got into his brain and used his insecurities, exactly what do we see in
the film?

CUTLER: Well, in the wake of September 11th, Dick Cheney became
singularly committed to making certain that no other attacks would happen
on American soil and he adopted what is referred to as the one percent
doctrine. If there`s a one percent chance that a state is going to aid
terrorists or that anybody is going to aid terrorists in potentially
attacking America, that state or person would be an enemy of the United
States and subject to attack or whatever. Whatever it took.

In fact, one of the most striking points in the film is when Cheney is
talking about what is called enhanced interrogation and he pits honor
versus the duty to protect America and as far as he`s concerned, honor
really doesn`t matter. And it`s very striking. He`s almost dismissive of

SHARPTON: He`s dismissive of honor, I mean, you`re around him for
days. Who is he? Tell us what kind of guy is Dick Cheney?

CUTLER: Well, he said, I think, an extraordinary figure on the
American political historical stage. Perhaps the single most impactful
nonpresidential figure this country has ever known. And the reason I
wanted to make the film is because I think history is going to be studying
him. And wanting to understand him as long as people are looking at what
America is particularly in the wake of September 11th and his career raises
questions about the role of conviction, singular conviction in our

On one hand, we need men and women who believe in things. On the
other hand, a singular uncompromising conviction that sees no way to
include other perspectives can lead to demagoguery and be distractive.

SHARPTON: Now, Cheney opens up in the film about how George Bush
chose him to be his choice for Vice President. Watch this.


wanted and what he was looking for and that was somebody who could be a
part of the team to help him govern.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I can`t tell you for sure when he started seeing a
vice president in the mirror. But one of the key things that Cheney did
was to tell Bush stories about problems between presidents and vice
presidents. And the key feature that he described was a conflict involving
the ambition of the number two guy. He painted a portrait of ambition as
sort of latent disloyalty. If you get a guy who wants the job, he`s
already halfway disqualified and at the same time, Cheney is telling Bush,
no, I don`t want it. The more he runs away, the more Bush is pursuing him.

CHENEY: We ended up down in Texas. We evaluated everybody, we
reviewed all of the candidates. He looked up at me and said, you`re the
solution to my problem. The reason I finally said yes was because I was
convinced he was deadly serious about it being a consequential position. I
took him seriously in terms of reasons why he said, I was the guy he wanted
because of my background and no national security in defense. He made it
certain that I would play a certain and played significant role in his


SHARPTON: Now, that was fascinating to me. Cheney was in charge of
the committee looking for a vice president for Mr. Bush. He kept finding
things wrong with every other candidate, he didn`t want it and no one else
was good enough and the implication was, they`d be -- they`re too
ambitious, and when he finally agrees, after running and President Bush
chasing him, and at that point, president-elect Bush, he says, he made an
agreement to be a consequential vice president, which meant he was going to
matter. This was a new form of being vice president.

CUTLER: He wanted to redefine the role of the Vice President and
George W. Bush gave him the opportunity to do so. And we see where that
lead, no history also conspired, September 11th happened, had it not
happened, things might have been different, he might just have been
affecting energy policy and things like that. But he changed the world.

SHARPTON: I have to go but I understand the Vice President Cheney as
a problem which is your documentary.

CUTLER: Well, you`ve had to ask him, I screamed the film for him and
it was a fascinating experience, we had a spirited conversation afterwards.
I think it`s probably safe to say, he would have made a different film but
this is a film that I stand by, believe in. And I know tells the truth.

HANNITY: Well, Vice President Cheney come on any night you want and I
will ask you why you didn`t like the film. Any night. Come on. POLITICS
NATION. R.J. Cutler, thanks for being with us tonight. Good luck with the

CUTLER: Thanks so much. Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: A historic night in the civil rights movement and a
reminder of why we fight. That`s next.


SHARPTON: On this day in 1965, the country was reeling from the
brutality of bloody Sunday just a few days before. Six hundred voting
rights activists were attacked and beaten by police while attempting to
march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. It was seen on
the news across the country and in the White House. The President Lyndon
Johnson introduced the voting rights act and gave a historic speech before
joint session of Congress. On this night, March 15th, back in 1965.


PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON: It`s not just Negros, but really it`s all
of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And
we shall overcome.



SHARPTON: We shall overcome. To hear a southern politician, the
president of the United States adopt the language of the civil rights
movement was a watershed moment for the country in a moment of courage for
President Johnson. Yes, we`ve come a long way since that night 48 years
ago but the battle isn`t over and we must keep fighting for our rights and
we will. I don`t know when and I don`t know how, we will overcome what is
remaining before us. But I believe Lyndon Johnson was right, we shall

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


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