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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

July 24, 2013

Guests: Valerie Jarrett; Ryan Grim

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris, and thanks to you
for tuning in. I`m live from Miami. Tonight`s lead: President Obama takes
on Washington. Today, the president delivered a major speech on the
economy. He gave his vision for fairness in America and showed a big
reason why Republicans attack him so much. Because the president delivered
a powerful message for a more fair, more just America, a case that is in
direct position to the policies of today`s tea party Republicans. The
president said that unfairness isn`t always what this country was all


World War II, a growing middle class was the engine of our prosperity.
Whether you owned a company or swept its floors or worked anywhere in
between, this country offered you a basic. The sense your hard work would
be rewarded with fair wages and decent benefits, a chance to buy a home, to
see for retirement and most of all, a chance to hand out a better life for
your kids.


SHARPTON: That is the heart of the American dream. But the president
made clear he knows that basic bargain is now out of reach for too many


OBAMA: Even though our businesses are creating new jobs that have
broken record profits, nearly all the income gains in the past ten years
have continued to flow to the top one percent. The average CEO has gotten
a raise of nearly 40 percent since 2009. The average American earns less
than he or she did in 1999. When wealth concentrates at the very top, it
can inflate unstable bubbles that threaten the economy. When the rungs on
the ladder of opportunity grow farther and farther apart, it undermines the
very essence of America. That idea that if you work hard, you can make it


SHARPTON: If you work hard, you can make it here. That used to be
true. But look at this.

The blue line shows that over the last three decades, the poorest 20
percent in this country had income gains of 16 percent. But look at the
red line. During that same period, the top one percent enjoyed gains of
281 percent. You heard me right, 281 percent. Something is seriously
wrong with this picture.

And in the last 35 years, workers` compensation has gone up by six
percent. But for CEOs, their compensation has gone up by 726 percent.
This is exactly what President Obama is vowing to fix and he made it very
clear who was to blame.


OBAMA: Unfortunately over the past couple of years in particular,
Washington hasn`t just ignored this problem, too often, Washington`s made
things worse. And rather to reduce our deficits with a scalpel by cutting
our programs we don`t need, fixing ones that we do need that maybe are in
need of reform, making government more efficient. Instead of doing that,
we have got folks who`ve insisted on leaving in place a meat cleaver called
the sequester that`s cost jobs, it`s harmed growth, it`s hurt our military,
it`s gutted investments in education and science and medical research.


SHARPTON: And then he demanded Washington get on board or get out of
the way.


OBAMA: With this endless parade of distractions and political
posturing and phony scandals, Washington`s taken its eye off the ball. And
I`m here to say this needs to stop. This needs to stop.

Our focus has to be on the basic economic issues that matter most to
you, the people we represent. That`s what we have to spend our time on and
our energy on and our focus on.


SHARPTON: Washington has taken its eye off the ball. This is the
fight the right wing is afraid of. It`s why they go after this president
and have done everything to block him because they know he`s speaking basic
truths. Truth that threaten a cut, cut, cut, trickledown fair economic
vision to helps the rich get richer while the poor stay poor.

Joining me now from the north lawn of the White House is Valerie
Jarrett, White House senior adviser and assistant to President Obama.

Valerie, welcome back to the show.

always a pleasure to be with you.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask. How can the president break the
Republican foot dragging to make progress here?

JARRETT: Well, I think today was a good start. He really kind of
shook them by the lapels and said come on. When you travel around the
country and talk to the American people, when you talk to the business
community, small medium and large, they are all calling on Washington to
improve that basic bargain because it`s in all of their best interests that
we have a strong middle class growing from the inside out. It is in all of
our best interests if we provide those ladders of opportunity into the
middle class.

And as the president said so eloquently today, the rungs of that
ladder are becoming farther and farther apart. For the first time, people
are wondering whether or not their children are actually going to do better
than they have done. And that`s always been a part of their American
dream. That corner stone is if you work hard, you get a good education, a
good job, you don`t have to worry about going broke if you get sick or
you`re in an accident. And then at the end of a very long career, you can
retire with dignity and a little money in your pocket.

That`s what the American people want. And their expectation is as the
people who elected them in Congress are going to be here in Washington
fighting on their behalf every day. What the president said today is we
have to refocus our efforts and remember why we are here. We are here to
build that middle class.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Valerie, the right wing has talked about
their priority was deficit reduction. And when we look at the fact that we
have seen the deficit fall steeply under this president. It`s gone down b
$800 million. Now, that was the fastest deficit reduction we have had had
since World War II.

JARRETT: That`s right, Reverend.

SHARPTON: So, the president has been rejected -- he has rejected
calls from Republicans for more and more spending cuts. How do they try to
justify spending cuts saying they are worried about the deficit when you
have that kind of record from this president. The biggest reduction since
World War II of the deaf is sit.

JARRETT: Well, I`m glad you brought up the president`s record,
Reverend Sharpton. Because as you know, over the last four and a half
years, we have gone from losing 750,000 jobs a month to losing four million
jobs in the last six months of the prior administration. Now we have had
40 straight months of private sector job growth, 7.2 million jobs. So our
economy is coming back. Our deficit is going down. The stock market is
going up. The unemployment rate is coming down. We are seeing the
automobile industry is back. We have rules of the road in place so that
never again will the taxpayers have to pay the burden of bailing out the
mistakes of a very few who take too many risks.

So we have made a lot of progress. We now have an affordable care act
in place that is going to make sure that every American has the access to
affordable quality care. And coming up on October 1st, we are going to be
able to register for exchanges for those who do not currently have
insurance. And already those who do, 85 percent of America is enjoying the
benefits of a better health policy. So we have made progress.

But Reverend Sharpton, I know you know that there are still too many
people who are struggling. There are too many people who have been
unemployed for a very long time who are having a hard time getting a job.
And so, the president today lifted up those employers who are doing a
terrific job. Companies such as Costco and the container store. And he is
calling on everybody to say, look, we are in this together. We all have to
participate in improving that basic bargain, that basic covenant that we
have with the middle class that we`re going to make sure that their lives
are better. And we can do it and all it takes is for Congress to put aside
their short-term political interests and focus on the people who elected
them all over our country. That`s the key.

SHARPTON: The key is what you just said. You just said the key. Put
aside their petty, short political interests. People are really hurting.
We are talking about Americans being able to provide for their families.
This is serious. And they`re playing partisan games with the lives of the
American people.

JARRETT: Well, you`re right, Reverend Sharpton. Just think. As you
know over 37 times Republicans in the house have tried to repeal the
affordable care act, that means taking away benefits to senior citizens who
are getting help on their prescription drugs, taking away the protections
that we have in place that prohibit insurance companies from discriminating
against children with pre-existing conditions or imposing lifetime caps or
annual caps. So when you need your insurance the most, you can`t have it.
Taking away the ability for adult children up to the age of 26 to stay on
their parents` insurance. Taking away preventive care that`s available to
women without a co-pay right now to make sure they stay healthy.

They are focusing on taking things away from people as opposed to
making sure we have pre-k for all our children to make sure they get a good
start. Because you know, we discussed, Reverend Sharpton, every dollar you
spend on early childhood education saves you $7 down the line.

Instead of working on making sure that our workforce has the skills it
needs to compete in this job market, we have companies, high-tech
companies, who have jobs unfilled because they can`t find the people with
the skills. So we have to align our markets. So that our schools are
producing people who have the skills they need to compete in this global
market place. There`s so much, I could go on and on, what we could be
doing to help the middle class. Instead we`re fooling around with wasting
time on things that don` accomplish anything and don`t move our country
forward. That`s what the president was talking about today.

SHARPTON: And I`m glad to see that aggressive tone he came out with

Valerie Jarrett, thanks as always for your time.

JARRETT: You are welcome, Reverend Sharpton. Thank you for echoing
this message and making sure your listeners and your viewers understand
what`s at stake.

SHARPTON: All right.

Coming up, President Obama`s tough warning for the GOP


OBAMA: I will not allow gridlock or inaction or willful indifference
to get in our way.


SHARPTON: Plus, Trayvon Martin`s father on Capitol Hill and speaking
out on race in America. And some in the right wing media continue to
distort the issue and attack the president.

Plus, Congressman Steve King`s ugly hate speech on immigrants. He is
not backing down. So why is he still in a position of leadership?

And friend or foe, I want to know. E-mail me. "Reply Al" is coming.


SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? A lot of our facebook fans are talking about the president`s
major speech today.

Lynn writes, I especially appreciated his promise to take matters into
his own hands wherever and whenever he could.

Good point, Lynn. Me too.

Irmgard said, he is in my home state and I pray he will get support
soon because many Americans are sick and tired of the hatred and

We will talk how to fight that GOP obstruction 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.



OBAMA: I say to these members of congress, I`m laying out my ideas to
give the middle class a better shot. So now it`s time for you to lay out
your ideas. You can`t just be against something. You got to be for


SHARPTON: Today, the president made it clear he has had enough. He`s
done with the GOP`s fake scandals, done with the Republicans wasting our
time, he`s done with the GOP being against every policy and for none
because that`s all the right is good for these days.

Just look at the cover of today`s "New York Times." House GOP sets a
new offensive on Obama`s goals. The article says congressional Republicans
are moving to gut many of president Obama`s top priorities. One top
Republican even says those priorities are a, quote, "going nowhere."

It`s clear the GOP is against President Obama. But what are they for
exactly? The White House and I would love to know.

Joining me now is Bob Shrum and Ryan Grim. Thank you both for coming
on the show tonight.



SHARPTON: Bob, let me start with you. On the day of the president`s
speech, they are in the "New York Times" vowing to gut his top priorities,
but he is ready to fight. What`s your reaction?

SHRUM: I think the president has decided he has to frame the debate
here. He has to do what he did in 2012. Look, these Republicans think
Romney won the election. They think that their extremist tea party agenda
ought to go into effect. You know, they have a big problem here which is
that their central objective which is to get rid of Obama care is no longer

In the new "National Journal" poll by 57 percent, the 36 percent,
people don`t want Obama care repealed. And what if these people go out and
shut down the government so they can kill big bird by defunding the
corporation for public broadcasting, slash Medicare, slash education, slash
clean water. That is going to be politically perilous and it is going to
be even more perilous if they crash the economy maybe on the order of 2008
by refusing to raise the debt limit. They are going to pay a price if that

SHARPTON: Now, Ryan, the polling on the Republicans in Congress is
just terrible. What leverage do they think they have to engage in this
fight and go to battle when they certainly don`t seem to have the public on
their side and they are headed into a midterm congressional election?

GRIM: Well, part of it is that, you know, 150 or more Republicans in
the house really can get away with not being for something. You know, as
long as they are against something and that something is President Obama,
they are going to do well in their Republican primaries and then they are
going to win the general election.

Part of it, though, is that they genuinely misread national
electorate. They saw the energy of the tea party and then they saw polls
that said a majority of people were, you know, unhappy with Obama care and
so they went forward with it.

What they didn`t realize is that a significant portion of those people
who said they were unhappy with it, were people on the progressive side who
wanted more. You know, people who wanted single payer. So, those are not
the kinds of people who are going to ally with the tea party to repeal it.

And the other problem that they have is they implicitly, you know,
understand what Obama was saying that you have to be for something. You
can`t just be a against something. All right, you do is look at their
motto, repeal and replace. They knew they couldn`t just be for repeal.
They have to put replace in there. But they have never come up with a

SHARPTON: Now, what was interesting, Bob, is the president called
them out on what`s your plan? We know you`re against everything that I`m
for, but what is plan? And I think that in many places I agree with Ryan
that some people are safe beyond the reach because of how the lines we are
gerrymandered. But in many place, that is going to be a problem to
challenge and the president sticks to that. Where is their plan?

SHRUM: Well, I think if they go down this road of obstruction and
shut down the government, if they play around with the debt limit, if they
refuse to put forward any ideas, then the assumption that they are going to
do well in 2014 could be wrong.

Ryan`s right. About 150 of these folks are completely safe. But
what`s unfolding here is an idea where the Republican Party could be
competitive at a congressional level, but could be entirely uncompetitive
over time at the presidential level. You put all of this stuff together
with what they are doing on immigration, and you can`t even begin to figure
out how they could win a national election because the primary electorate
that`s going to choose their presidential nominee is also the primary
electorate that chooses those 150 people in the house who are telling John
Boehner if he makes any progress on immigration, if he makes any reasonable
compromise on the debt limit, on funding the government that he`s no longer
going to be speaker.

SHARPTON: Now, Ryan, when you look at the fact they`re now saying
they`re going to take a hard line on Obama care. They are going to be
flexible on it and the president says he`s going to fight them, will the
Republicans chicken out at the end?

GRIM: Yes, you know, they certainly will. And all you have to do is
look at what happened over the filibuster showdown a couple weeks ago. You
know, McConnell might have liked to have hold the line. It is impossible
to know what is in his mind, but what actually happened is that John McCain
got enough Republicans who said that they were sick of the obstructionism
and they voted and they cut their own deal with Harry Reid. And he has
already said, look, we are not playing games around defunding Obama care
and the debt limit. We`re not playing games with the debt limit, period.
He has already said that publicly. So you have John McCain. And that
takes away all of McConnell`s leverage.

He`s going to have trouble because he now has a tea party challenger
that he h to figure out how to do the local and national dance he`s been
doing so long. But that`s his problem. He is going to have to play that
out on his own. Reid is just going to be talking to people like John
McCain. And once the Senate goes, then the house will fall. The house
will take a couple of days and you know, eventually they seem to come

SHARPTON: Bob, let me show you the president addressed the gridlock
on Capitol Hill.


OBAMA: I will look to work with Republicans as well as Democrats
wherever I can. And I sincerely believe that there are members of both
parties who understand this moment, understand what`s at stake, and I will
welcome ideas from anybody across the political spectrum. But I will not
allow gridlock or inaction or willful indifference to get in our way.


SHARPTON: Bob, can he break the gridlock? How does he do it?

SHRUM: Well, he`s got to stand his ground especially on these big
issues like funding the government and the debt limit. He`s got to stand
his ground the way Bill Clinton did actually when Newt Gingrich did this
back in the 1990s. Because if the government shuts down, it will be two or
three days. And after that two or three days, I think Ryan`s exactly
right, the reaction in the country will be fierce and the Republicans will
have to back down. And then they will go into the 2014 midterms and I
think they will pay a big political price.

SHARPTON: Bob Shrum and Ryan Grim, thank you for coming on the show

SHRUM: Thank you.

GRIM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Trayvon Martin`s father fights for an honest
conversation on race in America. But some on the right refuse to have a
serious conversation about justice in America. Tonight, I`m taking on some
of the false answers floating around here.


SHARPTON: Republicans always tell us we`re making up the war on
women. They claim there`s no such thing as the war on the poor. But they
are worried about one war, a war on common household objects. It all
started with light bulbs.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: But you don`t favor a woman or a man`s
right to choose a light bulb.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I filled it up with black market Edison light
bulbs whenever I need to put a bulb into the lamp, I reach into this green
bag and I screw it in and I smile. A bit of my liberty back.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: I championed the light bulb
freedom of choice act. I believe in liberty for light bulbs.


SHARPTON: Liberty for light bulbs. It`s the great conservative cause
of our time. But now we have got another bright idea and it`s spinning out
of control. The GOP`s new big fear is Obama`s war on ceiling fans.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have already seen the federal government
stretch their regulatory tentacles into our homes and determined what kind
of light bulbs we have to use, now they are coming after our ceiling fans.
It is a sad state of affairs when even our ceiling fans are not safe from
this administration.


SHARPTON: Look out above. Obama`s coming after your ceiling fan.
What next? Toasters? Waffle irons? Toilets?


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Frankly my toilets don`t work in my
house. And I blame you and people like you who want to tell me what I can
install in my house, what I can do.


SHARPTON: The GOP`s flashed out all the last traces of sanity. Did
they think we wouldn`t point out these silly distractions while they
clogged the President`s agenda? Nice try, but we got you.


SHARPTON: Today Trayvon Martin`s father went to Capitol Hill for a
special panel on the challenges of being black in America. Giving a raw
emotional statement on his son`s legacy and the fight ahead.


TRACY MARTIN, FATHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: We won`t let this verdict sum
up who Trayvon was. I vow to do everything in my power not to give up the
fight for him. Not only the fight for Trayvon, but the fight for so many
other young black and brown boys of this country.


SHARPTON: Later, Tracy Martin got a standing ovation. A father
turning his personal tragedy into national action. That`s the real issue
we`re facing in this country. But the right wing spin machine doesn`t want
an honest conversation. They`re trying to distort the truth and rewrite
history. Here`s Rush Limbaugh`s take on the legacy of slavery.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This white guilt, it`s time for
all this white guilt to end. If any race of people should not have guilt
about slavery, it`s Caucasians.


SHARPTON: Now, even for Rush that`s a new low. A cynical display of
willful ignorance. And when President Obama makes an emotional honest
statement about race and growing up black in America, the right wingers
accuse him of dividing the country.


GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The man who is supposed to unite
the United States of America is an expert on the most divisive form of
politics in existence today.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Is our commander in chief doing more dividing than

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Is it selective moral outrage?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It is absolutely is. And it`s done by politicians
and my leaders who want to get people ginned up against each other.


SHARPTON: We all need to come together and work on these problems.
And we can`t let these right wingers tear us apart.

Joining me now are Joy Reid and Joe Madison. Thank you both for being



SHARPTON: Joe, why are some right wing pundits so afraid of having an
honest conversation about issues that we`re still facing in this country?
I mean, what are they afraid of?

MADISON: Oh, I`ll tell you. Blacks, Hispanics, and women. Your show
at the very beginning showed king. Look, this all boils down to the ballot
box. And this is the time to take the conversation into action and start
forming if there ever was a time, it`s right for coalition building.

Can you imagine if you build a political and social coalition of
African-Americans, women, and Hispanics and by the way, young white men who
understand that they`re not going to be regressives, they`re going to be
progressives. Then you`ve got a political force that changes the very
political culture of this country. And that`s really what they`re afraid
of. So that`s why -- I mean, that remark by Limbaugh was -- I mean, I sat
back and just cracked --

SHARPTON: Even for Limbaugh, even for him it`s way way way out. But
Joy, I mean, there has to be something like what Joe is pointing out.
Because there is no logic at all. It`s an insult to their own listeners
the kind of way that they are ducking and avoiding and trying to play
distractions. I`ll give you an example. Bill O`Reilly last night on his
show, he returned his favorite argument that the real problem in America is
the black family. Listen to this.


BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I believe the root of the black crime
problem in America is the disintegration of the African-American family.
You`ve got to stop young black women from having babies out of wedlock.
You`ve got to discourage that actively.

SHARPTON: So, I mean, I don`t know anybody that is not been dealing
in the black community and the civil rights community with the black family
and the need to strengthen it. We`re dealing with births. We`re dealing
with the whole question of violence. I mean, you know that. I talked
about it on the show last night. Not only did we do a lot on Trayvon
Martin here, when Hadiya Pendleton a young 15-year-old black girl was
killed by blacks in Chicago, we put her mother on this show first and I
stayed on that.

I preached to four-year-old funeral last year. Black kid killed by
blacks. But they will not deal with the question of inequality. We want
to deal with all of it. They only want to deal with anything other than
the fact that we still have a challenge of racial injustice and profiling
in this country.

REID: Yes, and you know Rev, it`s really appropriate that you have
Joe on and yourself because both of you guys have come from the talk radio
world. And I used to work in talk radio too. And if you understand the
way Bill O`Reilly who also comes from this sort of right wing media world,
the way it operates, and the way Limbaugh and O`Reilly operates, is that
black talk radio by-and-large has been a town hall. Joe`s program, your
program Rev on the radio, it`s about people calling in and explaining
what`s going on in their lives and the host is listening in chime again
having a conversation.

Right wing talk radio traditionally has been personality radio. And
Rush Limbaugh who is the best at this in the business, Glenn Beck whose
come up into it, and Sean Hannity as well, what they`ve really specialized
is this knit of white agreements, of older white conservatives saying we
are under siege. And I Rush Limbaugh or I Bill O`Reilly are going to
explain to you that you are under siege.


REID: .and I`m going to keep you in a siege mentality all the time.
And so, this all sounds familiar, because it`s a lot of the same things you
heard with Ronald Reagan, 1980. Welfare queen. Those people. Immigrants.
Black people. Violent back men. All of these things are the constant sort
of ingredients to creating a sense of grievance because it goes along with
the message that those black and brown and young people and women who are
out of control just, you know, wanting not to have children to stay home
and get out of the work place.

All of these people are destroying what they see as their America.
And that siege bunker man Toby (ph) is great for ratings because it keeps
people on edge, angry and feeling like they need to hear from their guru
every day.


REID: So, it`s all done for ratings. But it doesn`t deal with real

SHARPTON: And she`s right. They they they. When the issue of
Trayvon Martin had nothing to do with any of that, this you have Trayvon
was out of Sanford police would not respond. And how they automatically
assumed one was telling the truth and the other must have been doing
something that caused this. Otherwise they wouldn`t have let Zimmerman go
that night under stand your ground.

Had nothing to do with Trayvon`s family. George Zimmerman did not
know anything about his family. And he was not committing a crime.
Trayvon was there going home. So to bring up these issues and avoid that
is very telling and may be exactly what Joy is saying here.

MADISON: And what they`re doing, Reverend, is they`re speaking in for
lack of a better word abstracts. You mentioned Ronald Reagan. His name
escapes me right now, but the campaign manager who -- and we have him on
tape that said and he has since passed away. Forgive me for not
remembering the name but --

SHARPTON: Lee Atwater?

MADISON: Lee Atwater said that look, you can`t use the "n" word like
you could in the 50s and the 60s so let`s use bussing. And then, you know,
then let`s use taxes. So here`s what you`ve got to do in order to get
southern former Dixiecrats to join the Republican Party, you have to speak
in abstracts. And so, that`s what they`re doing. And because we don`t
hear the "n" word over and over and over, what we do here is this -- again,
undervaluing, underestimating, and marginalizing, you know, people of color
in this country and people of color who make up now the majority are
saying, we`re not going to be undervalued, we`re not going to be
marginalized. And so, you know, get over it. And I`m telling you. The
common denominator here is going to be we can have conversation, but
conversation must lead to action. And the action has to be at the ballot

REID: And Rev, if I could -- go ahead.

SHARPTON: And even members of Congress, Joe, I want you to watch this
because people need to understand how deep this goes. Even members of
Congress are still facing discrimination and profiling. Watch these two
members of Congress telling "The Huffington Post" what they still go
through even now as members of Congress.


REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: I was walking through the
neighborhood in regular clothes, and a neighborhood security guard stopped
me and asked me who I was, what was I was doing there, and if I had any

REP. HANK JOHNSON (D), GEORGIA: If you`re walking down the street at
night and someone looks around at you, you know, I get the feeling that
they think I`m following them.

REP. ALCEE HASTINGS (D), FLORIDA: I`ve experienced so much racism
until it isn`t even comfortable talking about it any longer.

ELLISON: You might get stopped by people in the store. You might get
stopped by police. But you shake it off.


SHARPTON: And this is the kind of humiliation that the President was
trying to address Friday. That`s what all of these movements are about.
No matter who you are, what you achieve in life, you are being profiled and
held to a different standard. And that is the point. And that is not to
not deal with family, not deal with out of wedlock birth. You`ve got to
deal with that on top of that. And that`s what they don`t want to discuss.

REID: No. And absolutely. And you showed the clips earlier of Tracy
Martin. I mean, in that case and the Jordan Davis case, you know,
fatherlessness was not the problem. Both these kids had very involved
fathers and parents with middle class jobs. So it`s not black people who
are refusing to work or father that is not contributing.

MADISON: That`s right.

REID: These are Congress people. The President of the United States.
It doesn`t matter what the content of your character is. It doesn`t matter
what you achieve or that you follow all the rules or do the things you`re


REID: But the problem is that to admit that there`s a bigger problem,
a societal problem invites the need for a societal response. And for the
right to even admit even that slavery was wrong is too much of an admission
for them because it calls into question whether there needs to be a
national response and that needs government and they hate government.

MADISON: And I think I want to say something --

SHARPTON: Joy Reid and Joe Madison, I`ve got to go.

MADISON: Yes, I`m sorry.

SHARPTON: Thank you for your time tonight.

REID: Thank you.

MADISON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, President Obama wants to move the American dream
forward for everybody. But Republicans are trying to drag us back and it
means big trouble for them in the next election.



PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We call it the American dream.
And that`s what makes this country special. The idea that no matter who
you are, what you look like or where you come from or who you love, you can
make it if you try. That`s what we`re fighting for.



SHARPTON: President Obama today saying the American dream should be
for everybody. But too many republican lawmakers, they feel it`s only for
a select few. GOP Congressman Steve King is under fire for making these
offensive comments about undocumented immigrants last week.


REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: Some of them are valedictorians. My
answer to that is -- by the way their parents brought them in. It wasn`t
their fault. It`s true in some cases but they aren`t all valedictorians,
they weren`t all brought in by their parents. For everyone who`s a
valedictorian, there`s another hundred out there that they weigh 130 pounds
and they`ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they`re hauling 75
pounds of marijuana across the desert.


SHARPTON: This is the republican minority outreach? Calling
immigrants drug smugglers? It`s offensive. But now King is actually
defending his comments.


KING: This is real. We have people that are mules, that are drug
mules. They`re hauling drugs across the border. And you can tell by their
physical characteristics what they`ve been doing for months. Going through
the desert with 75 pounds of drugs on their back.


SHARPTON: Immigrants aren`t drug mules. They`re mothers, fathers,
and children. This is the problem with today`s Republican Party. They
keep saying they want to change after getting whipped in the last election
last year. Instead what they really are for are more Steve King and more
Ted Cruzes and more ugly talk. And it`s time for it to stop.

Joining me now is Margie Omero. Thanks for being here Margi.


SHARPTON: You know, GOP leaders denounced Steve King`s comments, but
isn`t the real problem Margie that the party`s policies are just as
intolerant as his rhetoric is?

OMERO: Yes, I mean, Steve King is worried about drug mules. He
should be worried about the horse manure in his talking points. And this
kind of thing is something we`ve seen over and over again. Not from Steve
King, from members of Congress, senators around the country for years. And
they keep trying to have these autopsies and try to recalibrate and reset
their appeal to minorities and women, but the truth of the matter is when
it comes to policies they`re not there.

And when it comes to what they want to actual, you know, this stuff
just seeps out. Because clearly they have a hard time connecting. And
that`s why they continue to lose ground with minorities, with women, with
younger voters. It`s going to be a problem in midterm elections as well as
the presidential election.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, we heard the autopsy as you say the
Republican Party wanted to have or had and reach out. But even Reince
Priebus, the head of the Republican Party actually said that he doesn`t
really like the word intolerance. Listen to this.


I don`t know if I`d use the word intolerance. I`m sort of, I don`t
really care for that word myself. I don`t have a problem with it. I just
think it has another meaning that in politically that can go the other
direction. It`s not what you say, I think. Sometimes our moms used to
tell us, it`s how you say it. And so I think that`s really the issue. And
quite frankly I think some of that has been overblown.

SHARPTON: I don`t care for tolerance. He doesn`t like the word. I
mean, isn`t Priebus the guy who said he wants to reach out to minorities?

OMERO: Yes. I don`t know what the other definition of tolerance is.
What`s that bad definition of tolerance that people don`t like? I mean,
here`s the thing that`s the disconnect between the republican leadership
and republican voters. First of all, Washington Post poll showed a
majority of Republicans feel that their party leadership is taking them in
the wrong direction. The other thing I`d note is that even a majority of
Republicans support a pathway to citizenship and immigration reform.

Even Republicans in Steve King`s own district, a republican poll
released yesterday or today said a majority of Republicans in his district
disagree with him. So, you have this leadership that continues to believe
that if they move farther to the right somehow that`s going to help with
their base, but that actually not true. So, it hurts them with minorities
and women and independently named soft Ds and so on, soft Democrats. And
it also hurts them with their own party which is growing increasingly
discouraged by them.

SHARPTON: Margie Omero, thank you for your time tonight.

OMERO: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, we are already seeing the radical response of
the Supreme Court`s voting rights decision. Reply Al is next.


SHARPTON: It`s time for Reply Al. Keep sending me all your
questions. Friend or foe, I want to know. Dr. Paula writes, "The recent
Supreme Court decision will embolden the forces of repression to pass even
more demanding voter I.D. laws. Fighting these laws in court is fine, but
on a practical level, let`s use this moment to encourage people to register
to vote."

Yes, Dr. Paula. It appears the decision has emboldened the right.
Today in North Carolina, state senators have been debating a so-called
voter reform bill for hours. But let me just show you what this bill would
do. Put in place strict voter I.D. requirements is one thing. Then it
would eliminate same-day voter registration. It would cut early voting by
a week. It would stop extending polling hours for long lines. It would
increase the number of poll observers and ban pre-registration for 16 and

And that`s just a start. So you`re right when you say, we need to
encourage everyone to register in every gathering, everybody that comes
together for any reason. We need to encourage people to register to vote.
A big take away from the 15th anniversary march on Washington August 24th
is to target numbers of new registered voters around this country. We must
galvanize and register to vote. It is imperative.

Benjamin writes, "Why do Democrats believe the affordable care act
will be a success?"

Well, Benjamin, because when you look at the fact that people with
pre-existing conditions can get insured, young people up to 26 years old
can maintain themselves on their parents` insurance, seniors a lot of
people that never could afford or never had the option of having health
care can be insured. That`s a success. The success of government, the
success of a society is where it can give the most service to the most
people. It is not on who wins an election, but what wins an election.

And we as American people win when more of us can be insured and given
the health care that we need. We want to answer your questions. E-mail
me. Remember, friend or foe, I want to know. Well,
that`s going to be it for tonight.

Thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right


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