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PoliticsNation, Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Read the transcript from the Friday show

March 22, 2013

Guests: Angela Rye, Dana Milbank, Joe Madison, Chris Hayes

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

Tonight`s lead, the more the GOP changes, the more it stays the same.
Today, the bright new Republican superstar, Senator Ted Cruz, put forward a
bold new plan full of original ideas to save the GOP.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Tomorrow is the three-year anniversary of
the passage of Obama care. It should be repealed.


SHARPTON: Repeal Obama care? Are you kidding me? That`s the big
idea? For all the soul searching Republicans claim they are doing, they
still don`t realize that they are out of touch.

Today, the head of the Republican national committee insisted the
problems, not their policies, it`s their tone.


necessarily what you see but it`s how you say it and if you go around and
say a lot of biologically stupid things.


PRIEBUS: And you poison the well and you create a caricature or you
allow a caricature to become reality, I think it hurts your ability to win
an election.


SHARPTON: Republicans are lost. They haven`t learned anything. They
are just as clueless now as they were back during the far right circus of
the Republican national convention and presidential primary.

Today, we learn that in 2012 Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum almost
teamed up for the so-called unity ticket. They wanted to take down Mitt
Romney together. Wow, what a ticket that would have been. Blah people
meets the lunar colony. It would have been up there with Laurel and Hardy,
Abbott and Costello, Tweedlee Dee and Tweedlee Dumb. They would have been
unstoppable. The only problem, quote, "Gingrich and Santorum could not
agree on who would get to be president. Wow. Guys, you could have had it
all. You were this close. Maybe you should try teaming up again. I`m
sure you got all of the right ideas of this is what is wrong with the party

Joining me now is Melissa Harris Perry and E.J. Dionne.

Thank you both for being here tonight.


SHARPTON: Melissa, do you think if we could just lock Newt and
Santorum in a room which come up the plan that tricks the GOP?

love is they couldn`t decide who gets to be president. President Obama
gets to be president. Right? And you know, the reason President Obama
gets to be president is because he won a majority of not only the Electoral
College, which is sufficient, but also the popular vote. And I think part
of --

SHARPTON: He would have won more if they had teamed up.


HARRIS-PERRY: I`m telling you, there`s two or three states I`m
certain we could have given over.


HARRIS-PERRY: Look, I am convinced that part of what we are seeing
now in the Republican party is a kind of like they were so sure that they
could not change the minds of voters but suppress voters from having an
opportunity to put their own opinions on those ballots that they are at a
loss because they didn`t know what to do on the other side if they were
going to lose. We really saw that shock from Republican operatives on
election night.

SHARPTON: We saw the meltdown of rove on FOX.


SHARPTON: You know, E.J., when you look at RNC chairman Priebus and
he`s saying Republicans are going to start reaching out more to African-
Americans, listen to this.


PRIEBUS: You`ve got a party that hasn`t been deep enough in the
communities on a permanent basis. We are going to go historically to black
colleges and universities and we`re going to go to places and talk about
our party and the things we believe in.


SHARPTON: So, let me get this right. They are going to hang out in
Spellman and Morehouse colleges and that suppose to make people forget
about blah people and food stamp president just because they come by and
hang out.

DIONNE: It would be better than not hanging out. I mean, I think the
Republicans have this problem, which is they go back and forth on different
days. Some days they really seem to get close to saying, maybe we need to
change policy, and other days they say, no, no, it`s just about the
packaging, we just need to go person to person to show that we care. And
that report they put out, which I give them this, it`s one of the toughest
reports a party has ever put out so close to an election about what they
did wrong. But that report kind of gives them not every once in a while to
maybe we need a different policy on immigration but mostly it`s about we
need new packaging, not what is inside the package. And I think they still
haven`t figured out which of these things they are going to emphasized and
they don`t agree anywhere on what the policy should be.

SHARPTON: But we said here last night, usually you do autopsies after
you have been pronounced dead.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right.

SHARPTON: I don`t know why they`ve called it an autopsy. But
yesterday, Ohio Republican governor John Kasich did come out for civil
unions. Listen.


JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: If people want to have civil unions and have
some way to transfer the resources, I`m for that. I just think that
marriage is between a man and a woman and if you want to have a civil
union, that`s fine with me.


SHARPTON: So that, I mean, it`s like a step, half a step, and then
going backwards because I never understood the difference. You know, I
argue with some encouragements to tell me I`m for civil unions, not
marriage. That`s my moral positions. So your moral position is it`s all
right to shack up but you can`t marry. I mean, --

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. There`s two things that really irritate me.
One is the idea that voters of color in particular are more interested in
style than in substance, that we can be won over and historically have been
won over, just because people who came on the tom joy (ph) on morning, you
know, the radio show or because they visited historically black college.

So I`m with E.J. Then, on the one hand, I`m much rather have parties
not ignoring whole segments of the population but not ignoring doesn`t mean
showing up and sort of doing a political blackface. It means actually
engaging with communities about what kinds of economic, social, political
efforts would in fact make a difference. And I think we see a similar
things going there with the civil unions versus marriage equality.

Look. LGBT communities have been very clear. It has to be marriage
because otherwise it`s second-class citizenship. So, you can`t kind of
wave your hand and say take the second-class citizenship, it`s better than

SHARPTON: But, I think when you look at the fact that -- let`s look
at what we`re dealing with in terms of the body politics of the country,
E.J. The real problem is not style, the real problem is not showing up.
Romney went to the NAACP convention. The real problem is which way we`re
going to govern and when we look at what they are saying tax cuts for the
wealthy, cut everything that middle class and poor people need, let`s
protect private business but big government and government, period, needs
to be reduced, the direction of the country is ultimately where voters are
smart enough to see which way they want to sue the country go.

DIONNE: You know, I think that`s right. I think, Melissa, is right
that we always underestimate the importance of policy and underestimate
everything else, whether charisma is the way somebody parts their hair and
that the Republicans have lost ground among minority, among Latinos, among
African-Americans, among working class whites. Five million working class
whites did not vote in the last election, I think as they were turned off
by the Mitt Romney 47 percent. And the Republicans have sort of displayed
an attitude towards government that was reflected in that and in the idea
that people who may need government help at some point in their lives are
moochers or takers. People hear that stuff and say, you know, if that`s
how they are going to look at us, we can`t vote for them. And they haven`t
always talked that way. And I think they really moved very far to the
right, even of where they used to be. And they`ve got to recalibrate.

SHARPTON: Or things, Melissa, like we talked a lot about on this
show, voter suppression. If you`re going to hang out at an historic black
college, are you going to explain why they can`t vote because they don`t
have government I.D. that you put in place? I mean, those are the kinds of
things that it`s insulting to our intelligence if you`re going to come to
us and don`t have a real dialogue.

HARRIS-PERRY: But, when Priebus was saying we have to stop saying
things that are biologically stupid, right, he`s talking about the comments
about women`s reproductive rights. And sure, it would be lovely if Kennedy
stop saying things like women have magically uteruses. They can tell if
the sperm comes from a rapist or from her husband, right. That would be
nice. But is not the point. What women are talking about is shutting down
the actual capacity to practice our constitutional right to make a decision
about whether or not to carry your pregnancy. That is the rub, not the
kind of ridiculousness that has said by individual candidates.

E.J. Dionne, Melissa Harris Perry, thanks and have a great weekend to
both of you. And don`t forget to catch Melissa Harris-Perry at 10:00 a.m.
eastern on Saturdays and Sundays.

Ahead, President Obama`s progressive is pushing. You won`t believe
who is coming around now.

Plus, Michele Bachmann is running away from the truth but the
leadership should be running from her. And conservatives are going to
lessons of Iraq and trying to push us into war again, Chris Hayes is here
on the selling of the Iraq war.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Today, we saw a major escalation in the GOP`s assault on
women`s rights. North Dakota became the first state in the country to pass
so-called personhood abortion bill. The bill says life begins at
conception, legally defines an embryo as a person and bans all types of
abortion. It could ban some types of birth control and even end in vitro
fertilization is that extreme. The mission now has heads to the 2014
ballot where state voters will have the final say. The news had folks on
our facebook page fired up.

Esmin says, Republicans want smaller government. Smaller government
means that you stay out of our bedrooms and our bodies.

Mary should boycott this backwards state.

Jessica says, this isn`t constitutional. They won`t be able to get
away with it.

We want to hear what you think, too. Please head over to facebook and
search "Politics Nation" and "like" us, the conversation that keeps going
long after the show ends.


SHARPTON: The president`s second term in office has been defined by
his push for progressive values and thought might be hot, he is moving the
needle on key progressive issues. And the right, they are following suit.
Following his lead on the fight for gay rights.


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


SHARPTON: It`s a compelling argument ahead of next week`s Supreme
Court hearing on same-sex marriage. Dozens of prominent Republican
Americans have signed a brief arguing that gay people have constitutional
rights to marry. Key GOP senator Bob Portman now supports gay marriage and
it`s not just on that issue. Remember this?


OBAMA: We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America,
a tolerate America, opening the dreams of an immigrant`s daughter who
studies in our schools and pledges our flag.


SHARPTON: For years, right has stood in opposition to immigration
reform. But now even tea party senator Rand Paul supports a path to
citizenship. And GOP opposition to immigration reform is falling away.
Yes, we were still facing a tougher fight on things like gun control. But
the president`s progressive agenda is already taking shape and even the
GOP`s getting on board.

Joining me now is Angela Rye and Abby Huntsman.

Thank you both for coming on this show.


SHARPTON: Angela, why are we seeing a shift on these issues?

RYE: Well, its political expediency as the country continues to shift
demographically, as the country continues to evolve like the president.
You`re going to continue to see a change in the GOP`s politics. They can`t
afford to be as conservative and right leaning as they once were.

SHARPTON: Now, Abby, your dad took grief for taking some positions.
Now I see Rand Paul defending his stance on immigration, of all places, FOX
News. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: People like Coulter and Limbaugh say that
you are being suckered into an agreement here.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I got a news flash for those who want
to call people names on amnesty. What we have now is de-facto amnesty.
Here`s another news flash. We haven`t been too competitive in the last two
national elections.


SHARPTON: What do you say when you hear Rand Paul saying something
like that, Abby?

all too crazy anymore, does he, Rev? But look, I mean, we talk about
immigration, we talk about gay rights. We talk about minimum wage even.
I mean, these are going to be the issues that are going to dominate the
2014, the 2016 election cycle. So I mean, it`s no surprise Republicans are
now coming around realizing, look, they`ve looked at the statistics,
Reverend. They have seen the facts. They recognized the majority of the
country is not where the party is right now, the majority of the country
wants gay marriage. They are in support of gun control. They are in
support of a higher minimum wage. They are in support of a pathway to
citizenship. So, it`s no surprise to see Republicans like Rand Paul and
even Reince Priebus coming out speaking about these issues and the fact
that we have to evolve.

The challenge though, Reverend, is coming across genuine. It`s coming
across in a sincere way to say we are not evolving on these issues simply
because we have to to win. We are evolving on them because we feel it is
the right thing to do. And it think that`s going to be the greatest
challenge moving forward for the party. It`s coming across genuine.

SHARPTON: And sincere. And I think -- you know, when I think about
the president and his inauguration, he said that we have an obligation.
That`s the term he used, to move the country forward. Watch this, Angie.


OBAMA: You and I as citizens have the power to set this country`s
course. You and I as citizens have the obligation to shape the debates of
our time, not only with the votes we cast but with the voices we lift in
defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideas.


SHARPTON: He talked about us shaping the debate and setting the
country`s cause right here now. Is that resonating, you think, Angela?

RYE: I do think it is resonating. I also think that there`s a
natural kind of organic evolution that happens within our politics. The
constitution was written years ago. But, most of us see the constitution
as a living, breathing document. There are his amendments, right? There
are all types of things that we can do to ensure that we are creating
change long term. The president has continued to push that. We saw her
even do that across the ocean yesterday in Israel. So when you look at the
different things we can do as a people, it isn`t just about the vote. It
is also about the voice. And then, for the Republicans, more often than
not, it is also about the money to protect their lives to the political

SHARPTON: You know, Abby, let`s go back in a minute on the gay
marriage issue. When you look at the support for gay marriage, as you
mentioned, currently 58 percent of Florida, that`s up 26 points since 2004
and it has an 81 percent approval rating among those 18 to 29.

Now your father came up -- out in support of same sex civil unions
back in 2009. Why has it taken the party so long to catch up with them, in
your opinion?

there`s a conservative right movement as we`ve seen take hold of the party
over the last few years and it`s challenging to separate their religious
views with their political views and it goes back to the -- you know, the
church versus state argument.


HUNTSMAN: That they need to figure out that separation. But you know
I - there`s a real conservative case to be made for gay marriage that, you
know, Republicans have always fought for a strong family unit for long-term
relationships, for equal rights for all Americans. I mean, nothing about
gay marriage I think does not represent what the Republican Party
represents. So I continue to make the argument that the Republican Party
should lead on issues like gay marriage.

But look, I mean, the issues that we`ve all talked about, immigration,
gay marriage, these issues are not going away any time soon. The
Republican Party needs to find ways to own some of these and talk about
them with commonsense and in - in a genuine way that really reminds the
American people that they care about them, that they are all about giving
the American people equality and opportunities and it`s - it`s going to
take some time to really bring people on board, I think.

SHARPTON: But, Angela, the fact of the matter is, the president`s
progressive agenda is taken hold, whether it`s done for political reasons,
whether it`s being done for genuine conversion or political convenience, it
seems to be taking hold. A year ago we would have never dreamed we`d start
seeing this kind of movement.

RYE: Certainly not this kind of progress. I think one thing, going
back to what Abby was just talking about with religion, you know,
Republicans have almost had a stranglehold on morality. And I think that
what you`re also starting to see, Rev, is an evolution of what religion
really means, about what it means to worship your god or to love your

SHARPTON: And morality.

RYE: That`s exactly right. So if you`re moral then clothed and
naked. Then make sure that the 47 percent is taken care of. Then make
sure that people have access to jobs and paid what their worth, what their
value should be.


RYE: You know, morality is starting also to take that into

SHARPTON: Plus the only way to really protect your church is to make
sure that church and state are not run in one way.

RYE: That`s exactly right.

SHARPTON: I mean, you`ve got to protect people`s right to disagree
with you.

RYE: You`re absolutely right. You`re absolutely right.

SHARPTON: You cannot protect your church by having a theocracy
because theocracy may be somebody else`s church in charge.

Angela Rye and Abby Huntsman, thanks for coming on the show tonight.

RYE: Thanks, Reverend.

HUNTSMAN: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, 10 years later and still no apologies or regrets
from the gang that misled us into war. Chris Hayes joins us on the selling
of the war in Iraq.

And first it was a war on Christmas. Now Bill O`Reilly says the
liberals are going after the Easter Bunny.


SHARPTON: It`s beginning to feel like springtime. Last night, Bill
O`Reilly brought us all the way back to December.


BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If you watch the factor, you know
that we won the war on Christmas battle.


SHARPTON: Bill O`Reilly won the war on Christmas. Wow, who knew.
The folks at FOX certainly gave it their all.


O`REILLY: And to deny there are attacks on Christmas in America is a
flat out lie.

Anybody who opposes the word Christmas this year because of a federal
holiday is a loon.

Well, I want to do is keep the traditions of Christmas that make most
Americans happy.

Santa, if you will, I understand that you don`t like to say happy
holidays. Why?


SHARPTON: Yes, apparently Santa Claus helped them win the war on
Christmas. Now Bill is gearing up for the next battle.


O`REILLY: The war on Judeo Christian goes on in some public school
districts. In ten days, it will be eastern Sunday. But, in some schools
you are not allowed to say the word Easter. No Easter. They are having
spring egg events moderated by a spring bunny.


SHARPTON: A spring bunny? Spring eggs? Of course. It`s got to be a
war on Easter. I can`t wait for FOX and friends to interview to Easter
bunny. I bet riders all across America are hopping mad over this one, Bill
O`Reilly is pretty sure it`s behind it all.


O`REILLY: Secular progressives are running wild with President Obama
in the White House. Hey feel unchanged, liberated, and they are trying to
diminishing any form of religion.


SHARPTON: The war in Easter, the war on Christmas, it all President
Obama`s fault. Obviously, after all, we know this president never, ever
talks about religion, right?


OBAMA: Love the lord god with all your heart and with all your soul
and your mind, love your neighbor as yourself.

And so I pray.

All are Christ`s calling.

May God bless you

I often certain for scripture.

God bless you. God bless the United States of America.


SHARPTON: This week bill O`Reilly swore he was done with trivial
pursuits and attacks on the president. But it looks like he`s already
fallen off the wagon. Did he think we wouldn`t hop all over his silly war
on Easter?

Nice try but we got you.


SHARPTON: Republicans have a problem with their message but they also
have a problem with their messengers. The reemergence of Michele Bachmann
is a big story for the GOP. A big story, not necessarily a good story.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: There are five chefs on Air
Force One. There are two projectionists who operate the White House movie
theater. We are also the ones who are paying for someone to walk the
President`s dog, paying for someone to walk the President`s dog?


SHARPTON: Of course, none of that is true. "The Washington Post"
called her claim absurd and gave her four Pinnochios. Bachmann later
sprinted into the headlines again with this video, literally running away
from the truth. And then she dropped this doozy about the President`s
health care law.


BACHMANN: That`s why we`re here, because we`re saying, let`s repeal
this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior
citizens. Let`s not do that. Let`s love people. Let`s care about people.
Let`s repeal it now while we can.


SHARPTON: Congresswoman Bachmann literally doesn`t know what she`s
talking about, but she hasn`t had so much attention on her since she was on
magazine covers during her presidential run.

Joining me now are Dana Milbank and Joe Madison. Thanks to both of
you for your time tonight.


SHARPTON: Dana, how does Michele Bachmann`s reemergence fit into the
GOP`s attempt to rebrand the party?

JOE MADISON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think, first of all, we can
say that Michele Bachmann is literally going to cause people to die by
causing their heads to explode when they listen to all of these crazy
things that keeps stirring up. The Republican Party would very much like
for her to go away. It appears that that would indeed happen. She had a
close scare in her election. It seemed that tampered down just a little
bit and she has indeed come out. Nobody would like to quiet her down more
than her fellow Republicans.

Her colleagues have abandoned the Tea Party caucus that she started.
She`s saying these outlandish seen my colleague Glenn Kessler does the fact
checker gave her. Four Pinocchios, I think that`s only because he doesn`t
have five. He would give her more if he could.

MADISON: You know, Joe, when I hear Dana talking about how they would
like to get away from her, this is not the first time she has said things
that are just outrageous. In fact, let me play for you some of her
greatest hits.


BACHMANN: The very founders that wrote those documents worked
tirelessly until slavery was no more.

How many of you love the IRS? I went to the inside to learn how they
work because I want to defeat them.

If I were president, I would be willing to use waterboarding. I think
it was very effective.

I haven`t had a gaffe for something that I`ve done but it`s caused me
to fall in the polls.


SHARPTON: She hasn`t had a gaffe, Joe? I mean, she has not only had
trouble with telling the truth, she`s got trouble with reality.

MADISON: She`s got trouble with history. I mean, Reverend, do you
have another hour for us to do this? I mean, look, first of all, let`s go
back to this literally killing people if you`re 26 or younger, let me tell
you, there are a lot of parents and young people are glad that there is
affordable health care act. If you are on Medicare, the reality is that
not much is going to change except that they will close that prescription
medication, donut hole that wasn`t financed, if you have a pre-existing
condition like being pregnant, you can still get insurance so they really

But, you know, if something symbolic about watching her speak as you
had her on and all those empty chairs behind her. That is so symbolic
because that`s exactly -- and she should remember and the Republicans need
to remember what happened to Allen West.


MADISON: And what happened to a couple of senators that had their
election in the bag.

SHARPTON: But let`s remember those empty chairs were in the Congress.
Now, she`s not empty in terms of being a republican that were say extreme
and crazy things. Let me show you some of her companion extremists on the
right. Let me see, this is not just a Bachmann problem, Dana.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: All of that stuff I was talking about, evolution,
embryology, big bang theory, all of that is lies straight from the pit of

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is a beginning, a massive beginning of a new
empire that President Obama could take great credit for.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He is elected president. The radical Islamist,
the Al Qaeda and radical Islamist and their supporters will be dancing in
the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11th.


SHARPTON: Now, these are three members of Congress, all still in
office, Dana, all still republican incumbents. So, I mean, what does this
kind of extremism say when you`re trying to rebrand and you`ve got
Bachmann and these three and I could go on and on that say these things in
public out loud and are holding seats in the Congress.

MILBANK: It makes you wonder about that vote early this year that the
House held to ban the word lunatic, I think it was, from the federal
records there. The last clip of the guy who played Steve King may wind up
being the next senator from the state of Iowa.

MADISON: That`s exactly right.

MILBANK: So, you know, I think to be terrible you could say, well,
it`s not the majority of the republican caucus saying these crazy things
but it`s not a tiny fringe either and there is this sizable percentage,
they do grab the headlines. This irritates party leaders and, of course,
Michele Bachmann and others are hoping that people will take the bait. But
you know what, you`ve got to take them seriously because they have votes.
There are, you know, a dozen, two dozen, three dozen of the 435 members of
that body. It`s a serious thing.

SHARPTON: And that is not the issue, Joe, that they argued and
elected and the Republicans do have the majority of the house and just
laugh them off at your own peril as long as they are there making laws with
these extreme positions.

MADISON: Well, you are absolutely 100 percent right. And just look
at this last vote on affordable health care act. That was, what, seven
votes. All that had to be changed was seven votes.


MADISON: And I think that, quite honestly, thank God for this
program and what you`re doing over here because it -- if they give you
fodder, they give you a chance to really expose them and I think that`s why
President Obama won this election. In large part, because their craziness
was exposed and most of the American people, at least 51 percent or more,
are not as crazy as they are. I mean, Democrats --

SHARPTON: Dana Milbank and Joe Madison, I`m going to have to cut you

MADISON: Yes, no problem.

SHARPTON: Thanks for your time. Have a good weekend.

MADISON: All right. You, too, enjoy it, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, president and peace maker, big news today about
President Obama`s surprise move in the Mideast. Ten years later, the
people who got us into the Iraq war are denying history. Chris Hayes joins
me on that ahead.


SHARPTON: We need to talk about New York City`s stop and frisk
policy. Last year under that policy, the New York Police Department
stopped more than half a million people. Eighty five percent were black or
Latino and even though black and Latinos make up about 50 percent of the
populations and 89 percent of those stopped were found totally innocent.
Despite those numbers, police say the policy does not target people by race
but now an officer has been taped, caught on tape ordering a street car to
target blacks. Here`s the audio.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is about stopping the right people, the right
place, the right location.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Again -- when we had the most problems and most
problems we had were robberies and grand larcenies.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And who are these people robbing?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The problem was male blacks and I told you at Roll
Call, and I have no problem telling you this, male blacks, 14 to 20, 21.


SHARPTON: This -- this is an ugly policy that needs to be addressed.
That`s why I and other civil rights leaders led thousands in a silent march
last year to protest stop and frisk. We made noise with our silence and
brought national attention to this issue. It`s the new racial profiling
and we won`t stop fighting it.


SHARPTON: Ten years ago tonight, this was the top story.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It is now early Sunday morning in Baghdad and it`s
been another long night of punishing air strikes against that city and
against other targets in Iraq.


SHARPTON: "The New York Times" headline that day, Rumsfeld says, Iraq
is collapsing. Lists eight objectives of war. The objectives and the
rationale for the war have kept changing ever since. But ten years later,
we know how this tragic story turned out. At $1.7 trillion war sold to the
American public on lies. No weapons of mass destruction. More than 4,000
Americans killed, many thousand more Iraqis dead. And ten years later,
still no apologies or regret from those who pushed the war.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I did what I did, it`s all on the public record and
I feel very good about it. If I had to do it over again, I`d do it in a


SHARPTON: I`d do it in a minute. Former Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld tweeted this week, ten years ago began the long, difficult work
of liberating 25 million Iraqis, all who played a role in history deserve
our respect and appreciation. Liberating Iraqis? That wasn`t the
mission. He`s still trying to rewrite history. Tonight, Rachel Maddow`s
documentary, "Hubris: Selling The Iraq War" is on MSNBC at 9:00. It
details how the Bush administration misled America into a costly, bitter,
unnecessary war.

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Chris Hayes, host of "Up with Chris
Hayes." He`ll be hosting a special program tonight at 10:00 p.m. right
after the documentary called "Talking Hubris." Chris, thanks for being
here tonight.


SHARPTON: It`s still stunning to hear the Bush people, still defend
the war, I mean, they still change the rationale for the war. What is your
reaction when you heard this talk this week?

HAYES: I found myself more outraged. I think I thought that I had
gotten over how angry I was about what happened in Iraq. But I think a lot
of people are feeling how little the nation actually came to terms with
what we did and how little the people who drove that have been punished or
have been sanctioned in any kind of social sense, in terms of their elite
status, have been held to any kind of account.

The only accountability there really were, there were two elections,
there was a 2006 midterm elections which was really kind of an
accountability moment on Iraq, largely election about Iraq, and there was
of course this 2008 election which was in many ways a real referendum on
Iraq as well. But beyond that, beyond that, there has not been a level of
disgrace or accountability for the people that made this war happen. That
cheerleader on the war, that spearheaded the war and the war that`s left,
you know, 44 hundreds of Americans dead, tens of thousands wounded, and
hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. I mean, that number --

SHARPTON: Hundreds of thousands dead. The thing that I think that we
need to drive home and Hubris does this, Donald Rumsfeld tried to connect
Saddam Hussein to Bin Laden as early as September 11th. Let me show that
clip of how they tried to make this connection that didn`t exist.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Meeting notes from the afternoon of 9/11 show
Donald Rumsfeld tasking a top aide to find the best info fast, good enough
to hit Saddam Hussein. He asks the aide to get evidence from -- of a
Saddam connection with UBL.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We all look at each other, like, what are they
talking about? Who the hell Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden hates him. This is
a heretic. There`s no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The word goes out to the CIA, FBI and all the
intelligence services. Find the connection.


SHARPTON: And in many ways, create the connection?

HAYES: That`s right. And using, you know, incredibly dodgy or
discredited intelligence -- intelligence services and to create, to throw
enough insinuations out into the public`s fear. The people came away. And
if you look at the polling at the time, a shocking number of American,
percentage of American, there was a connection between 9/11 and Saddam.


HAYES: And that was the key linchpin, one of the key linchpins in the
argument precisely because people`s reaction to 9/11 was understandably so
overwhelming and powerful, right? And the administration understood, the
people that were the architects of this war and I understood and wanted to
bring this war about, understood that and exploited it.

SHARPTON: Now, Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief of staff to then
Secretary of State Colin Powell, he talks about how Powell was told to
formulate a speech to the U.N. on WMDs. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He walked in my office with a sheet of papers in
his hand and he threw him down my desk and he said, that`s the script of my
presentation at the United Nations. It came from Vice President`s office.
It was junk. It was pure junk. I was in charge of putting it together.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Powell and Wilkerson tear up the original 48-
page script and start over with a team from the State Department and CIA.
Director George tenant suggests they base their presentation on the
national intelligence estimate, which unbeknownst to Powell is a deeply
flawed document. Still he is wary.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We went into a room, he slammed the door shut. He
said, sit down and he sat down. We were the only two people in the room.
He looked at me and he said, this bull (bleep) of contacts with Al Qaeda
has got to be taken out.


SHARPTON: We found out Powell and Wilkerson both wanted to take out
the Al Qaeda connection to Saddam. So what happened?

HAYES: Well, it doesn`t come out. I mean, it remains to be a part of
the case that --

SHARPTON: Even though they knew it was garbage?

HAYES: Yes. Even though they knew it was garbage. And I think, you
know, one of the things that`s hard to reconcile with is the figure of
Colin Powell in all of this. Because I think, at some level he is the most
sympathetic of those people because he seems to be the least out front in
engineering the disaster but in some ways, his own private reservations
making him morally culpable.

SHARPTON: Because he went along.

HAYES: Because he went along. And I think a lot of people feel, I
mean, if those conversations that we now know are happening in private,
happen in public, come out in public, that would have really arrested the
momentum for war in a massive way and I think that has to weigh on his

SHARPTON: And we know that there are no WMDs, but you still can`t get
the right wing to admit that. Look at FOX this week. Look at what they
are talking about this week on FOX.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What are the chances of the return address on these
chemicals being from Iraq?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We got rid of a brutal dispute who used chemical
and biological weapons against its own people, weapons of mass destruction
that he probably exported to Sudan.


HAYES: What is remarkable to me is the fact that the conservative
foreign policy establishment, almost in toto, continues to defend the
decision to go to war, there has been no big meaculpas.


HAYES: They are the centers among Republicans. But the core group of
the foreign policy establishment, Dan Senor who is advising Mitt Romney,
Bill Kristol to Wolfowitz, all of those people, none of them have come
clean and said, look, what we did was wrong.

SHARPTON: And I think it`s important, a lot of Democrats didn`t call
him on it and I think that`s why they got away. I remember when I ran for
president in 2004, I was controversial at the convention because I attacked
Bush and everyone was told, don`t do that. Chris Hayes, thanks for your
time tonight and congratulations on your move to 8:00 p.m.

HAYES: It`s going to be fun.

SHARPTON: And watch "Hubris" here on MSNBC at 9:00 p.m. Eastern
tonight, followed by "Talking Hubris" with Chris Hayes.


SHARPTON: There will be those who criticize the President for his
trip to the Middle East, but he leaves tonight with a very real victory.
It was and has to do with this video from May of 2012. Israeli forces
raided a Turkish ship in the Mediterranean Sea that was taking humanitarian
aid to Gaza. The Israeli troops killed nine people. They called it an act
of self-defense but for nearly three years, Israel and Turkey, two of
America`s closest allies, have been in a war of words. That is, until

In an unexpected move of sheer diplomacy, the President orchestrated a
ten-minute phone call on the tarmac in Tel-Aviv. Israel Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu called Turkey`s prime minister and apologized for that
deadly raid, apologized for nine deaths and vowed to pay their family. At
one point Mr. Obama, just before leaving for Jordan, got on the phone with
both leaders and they spoke.

One senior American official said, this is Obama diplomacy at work.
The leaders agreed to restore normal relations. So that is real, tangible
success and it shows the success of the trip. But then there are symbolic
successes. Today he went to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin`s
grave. He was assassinated by an extremist for trying to make peace with

As is customary in the Jewish tradition, the President placed a stone
on Rabin`s grave but this stone had powerful symbolism. The stone came
from the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington. The president,
connecting one civil rights and human rights leader to another, it`s the
melting of history, disconnection, the connecting of the civil rights
movement. That`s the president brought throughout his trip.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The story of the exodus was
perhaps the central story, the most powerful image about emerging from the
grip of bondage to reach for liberty and human dignity, a tale that was
carried from slavery through the civil rights movement into today.

African-Americans and Jewish Americans march together at Selma to
Montgomery with rabbis carrying the Torah as they walked. They boarded
buses for freedom rights together. They bled together, they gave their
lives together.

This is our obligation, not simply to bear witness but to act. For
us, in our time, this means confronting bigotry and hatred in all of its


SHARPTON: Confronting it in all of its forms all over the world.

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


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