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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

August 14, 2013
Guests: Donna Edwards, Clarence Page, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Joy Reid

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks to you for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, America is giving smart on crime, but the right wing is
playing dumb. They just can`t seem to understand why a judge would rule
that a police program like New York`s Stop-and-Frisk discriminates against


BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Because you are looking at a
presumption that the New York City police department is going out every
morning and targeting young black males. All right? They want to roust
young black males. And I don`t believe that for a second. They are not
just walking around going hey, you, come over here. All right? They are
trying to suppress violent crime and they are succeeding.


SHARPTON: Bill doesn`t believe it. I guess he just doesn`t believe
the hundreds of thousands of Blacks and Latino victims who are stopped for
no reason. But maybe he would believe it if he heard it straight from the

Here`s an audiotape of a commander ordering an officer to target
blacks. This tape was played at the Stop-and-Frisk trial.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take Mott haven where we had the most problems.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And most of the problems we had, there was
robberies and brand (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And who were those people robbing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem was what? Male blacks. And I told
you at roll call I have no problem telling you this. Male blacks 14 to 20,


SHARPTON: The right refuses to admit this is a bad policy. No matter
what the facts are thrown -- what facts are thrown their way, they won`t
admit it.

Newt Gingrich was also defending the practice today.


totally safe can make really stupid rulings and the number one groups that
are going to get killed are young Black males. The number two groups that
are going to get killed are young Latino males.


SHARPTON: Is that right? We should Stop-and-Frisk blacks and Latinos
so they don`t die? For more than four years, Republicans have used scare
tactics and racially charged rhetoric to claim they`re tough on crime. But
Americans don`t buy it anymore. They want to get smart on crime.

In November, California voters reformed the state`s harsh three-strike
laws with 69 percent of the vote. This week attorney general Eric Holder
announced the end of severe mandatory sentences for low-level, non-violent
drug offenders. And now ALEC, the group that created model legislation for
three-strike laws is reversing its stance on mandatory prison sentences.

Being smart on crime makes moral sense. It makes financial sense.
And it`s time the right wing caught up. With the rest of America on this.
It`s just the right thing to do.

Joining me are Karen Finney and James Peterson. Thank you both for
being here.



SHARPTON: You know, Karen, explain to me why can`t Republicans see
the wisdom of getting smart on crime?

FINNEY: Because, you know what? If you listen to the way Bill
O`Reilly talks about the all of these issues. I mean, go back to even
election night when, you know, he was realizing how diverse the country is.
He doesn`t recognize that one blanket solution is going to have different
kinds of consequences or that laws are applied different ways in different
communities. That`s not his experience. So to him, he doesn`t get why
this makes sense because he doesn`t see that there`s an actual problem.

SHARPTON: But the hypocrisy of saying that people should accept the
law when they agree, like they lectured us on Zimmerman and we said we
accept the verdict but disagree. But then he can just act like it is non-
existent and a federal judge just said, James Peterson, this is racial
profiling and it`s unconstitutional.

So you can`t have it both ways. You can`t act like it is non-
existent. You can say I disagree with her conclusion, but let me look at
the data. But you can`t just act like somebody`s just making it up when a
federal judge just ruled it to be so.

PETERSON: No. You can`t, Rev. I have breaking news here. Bill
O`Reilly doesn`t care about Black people. At the end of the day when we
look at this case, the data and the facts, absolutely matter.

Karen and I talked about this last week on "Disrupt." But it is
strange how people can clearly understand the vows between privacy and
civil liberties and security and safety when you are talking about the NSA.
But when you talk about the real lived experiences of young Black and brown
men in our major urban American cities, you somehow lose that sort of
concept. It doesn`t even exist. So, we are talking about civil liberties
for American citizens. That`s why we have to end Stop-and-Frisk. The data

The fact that there`s only 1.8 percent of the Black and Brown men that
have been stopped and frisked who have turned up having or hiding any kind
of weapon is telling data. You know, hundreds of thousands of these young
men have been subject to their violation of civil liberties. That`s why
there needs to be oversight and really, we need to end it.

SHARPTON: But Karen, while James raises data, let me give you
breaking news because the right keeps saying, well, the crime is in Black
and Latino communities. That`s why we go there. That`s why they`re the
majority. But in the report that was considered on this case, in mostly
White New York neighborhoods, Blacks account for the majority of Stop-and-

FINNEY: Right.

SHARPTON: In the 78th precinct, 70 percent of the residents are
White. But 79 percent of the stops are Black or Latino. They were stopped
at over 3/4 of the time and they don`t live in the neighborhood. And
clearly not the majority of the people in the neighborhood doing crime.

FINNEY: Right. Well, but again, you have to be willing to look at
the data and pay attention to the data. I mean, remember, this is a group
of people, Bill O`Reilly and others, who were shocked on Election Day to
realize that we are becoming a majority minority country. They are holding
onto many sort of old stereotypes and old ways of thinking so they can`t
see through the data. So, they are, you know, they don`t even recognize
how so much of the language even that they use in trying to justify these
opinions when they are trying to justify themselves just reinforces
stereotypes that aren`t even true anymore. That`s part of the problem. If
they ever were true. But the data, they can`t see through that.

SHARPTON: No, they can`t see it. But let me bring it to another part
of the discussion, James.

Let`s talk about what they always talk about, fiscal responsibility.
It`s costly, the stuff that they are using as scare tactics. This week
when the attorney general talked about dealing with harsh sentencing, there
is a steep price for these policies that he is ending.

PETERSON: That`s right.

SHARPTON: Take a look at the fact that in the last two decades,
prison time is 36 percent longer than it used to be and it costs American
taxpayers $10 billion, with the B, nationwide. And more than half of that
amount was for nonviolent offenders.

Now, I don`t endorse smoking marijuana or other things of that sort,
but to have these crimes, now, we`re talking about more than half of them,
to be things like people smoking marijuana, people doing nonviolent drug
offenses, and we are spending this kind of money. Where are the fiscal
conservatives on saying, what are we getting for this kind of cost? Why
are we doing this?

PETERSON: Exactly. And listen, for decades now, we have been locking
up nonviolent substance abusers not rehabilitating, not getting them
treatment. And yes, it costs us more to do that than to try to give them
substance abuse treatment.

And so, listen. When you need a camera about this in how to impose
this, $151 million in lawsuits for the NYPD just over the course of 2012.
So no, this is not cost effective. It is backwards in every way. And
listen, if we really want to talk about addressing crime, we have to talk
about addressing poverty and education. You want to get young Black and
Brown men to sort of not make the choices that they make, we absolutely
have to address the issues where they stand and that`s in poverty and

SHARPTON: But isn`t it sick to say we are going to invest this kind
of money in nonviolent drug users, but we`re not going to invest in
education and we`re not going to invest in poverty. That`s a handout. But
to lock people up is fine. There`s something perverted about that.

FINNEY: But also to say that you support cuts for the kinds of
programs that not just education but look at SNAP, I mean, other programs
that we know help people ladders out of, you know, a condition to a better
life, to at least the opportunity to a better life. So, that`s part of the
hypocrisy here that we need to recognize that on the one hand there`s this
tough law and order message and everybody`s got to make it on their own.
But then, on the other hand, there is this message about, you know, makers
and takers and sort of that, you know, that is your judgment about what it
means to maybe need some help in this country.

SHARPTON: But, that`s the point. We don`t think people should not
get help with food stamps, seniors and kids, they are takers. We don`t
want to invest in preschool, but we will spend billions of dollars on a guy
smoking a joint that got caught, I mean. And we call that fiscal

Let me give you Congressman Louie Gohmert. He went on even further
than that. Gohmert, James, went on right wing radio Monday to claim the
administration is race baiting, race baiting, to change mandatory
sentencing. Listen to this.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: They are constantly screaming about
all the hate, violence, and all this kind of stuff. And of course we know
that this president, this administration has done more to stir up racial
tension and violence than any administration since, you know, the `60s.


SHARPTON: I mean -- well, James, I`ll let you take it.

PETERSON: What`s he talking about? That`s absolutely absurd.

You know, this week attorney general Holder put down the gauntlet in
many ways for how we need to begin to move forward against things like
mandatory minimums. A lot of folk on the left are going to say it`s not
enough, but we have to start somewhere at the federal level. It`s a good
place to start. It is a good policy. It`s not race baiting. He cited the
data that Black convicts committing the same crimes at their White
counterparts are serving 20 percent more time. We have a criminal justice
system that is criminal. It is criminal and it`s biased and it`s racism
and institutionalized. So, we have to address at every level from Stop-
and-Frisk to sentencing to all the disparities that we see in the criminal

SHARPTON: Well, I mean.

Here`s a man that saw the administrations in the `60s inciting
violence. I never knew the Kennedy administration and Johnson
administration incited anything. I think there were a lot of things going
on, but I don`t think the administration did it. I`m no great lover of the
end of the Johnson years with Vietnam, but I mean, give me a break.

Karen Finney, James Peterson, thank you for your time.

And watch "Disrupt" with Karen Finney, weekends at 4:00 p.m. eastern
right here on MSNBC.

Coming up North Carolina`s governor defend his radical voter
suppression law. I will show you why he`s the fraud when it comes to this

Plus, the Republicans are in bean town pretending to regroup and
rebrand at their summer meeting. But wait until you see what their idea of
change is.

And a sitting member of Congress just asked this disgraced rodeo clown
in an Obama mask to perform in his state. It speaks volumes of where this
party really is.

And what`s on your mind? You have a comment? E-mail me. Friend or
foe I want to know. "Reply Al" is coming.


SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will. Today, everyone on our site was talking
about the conservative reaction to this rodeo clown in a President Obama

Phil says, the ones who are defending this are the real clowns.

Good point, Phil.

Melanie says, not surprised about this. Our president has been
disrespected, challenged, and dismissed by Congress.

Melanie, you`re right.

Just moments ago, we learned a sitting member of Congress has invited
this clown to perform in his home state. More on what it means for the
party coming up.

But first, we want to know what you think of this clown. 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: Republicans are desperately trying to spin away their
shameless attempt to block the vote defending blatant voter suppression
laws like the one that was just signed in North Carolina. For example, the
big boss of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, says early voting is really just a form
of cheating.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: And this early voting and same-
day voter registration, they`re nothing more than democrat party tricks to
aid them in cheating during elections. It`s just -- it`s absurd. It is a


SHARPTON: So voting is cheating when people support Democrats. Does
that mean voting is only right when people support Republicans? The GOP`s
rhetoric on this is just ridiculous. I mean, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul
says quote "I don`t think there`s any particular evidence of polls barring
African-Americans from voting." And a man who signed a North Carolina law,
Governor Pat McCrory, says he`s putting up huge blocks at the polls in
order to stop fraud.


GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: We have loop holes in our
voting laws which frankly allow people to vote once or twice or even more.
We have to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make sure there
isn`t voter fraud.


SHARPTON: Fraud? What fraud? There were nearly seven million votes
cast in his state last year. But there were just 121 cases of alleged
fraud reported to authorities. Out of seven million votes, that`s 0.00174
percent of the vote. The real fraud is what Republicans are doing to the
Democratic process in this country. That`s why we all have to fight their
agenda in the streets, in the courts, and in the court of public opinion.

Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Democrat
from Maryland and a proud member of the progressive caucus.

Thank you for being here tonight, Congresswoman.

REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, it was -- do Republicans really think they
spin these new laws as anything other than what they are? Voter

EDWARDS: I think increasingly what we are seeing from the GOP is that
they are actually not hiding what they are doing. I mean, they say
blatantly that they are trying to, you know, suppress the vote among
African-Americans. That they are trying to do that with, you know,
Democrats versus Republicans in some o these states.

And so, they are actually not hiding what they are doing anymore.
What really is shocking is that they are laying it at the steps, for
example, of voter fraud. You showed those percentages and I did the
calculation too and those are only alleged cases. It`s not even proven
cases of voter fraud.

SHARPTON: That`s correct.

EDWARDS: And so, it is really greatly exaggerates what is going on.
And it clearly is an attempt to hold down Democratic votes. And we know
that a majority of African-Americans and Latinos are voting for Democrat.

SHARPTON: Interesting you bring that up. Because North Carolina
Governor Pat McCrory, he was asked about whether the laws favor
Republicans. Listen to what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When people hear this, they`re going to be
thinking you know, if you make people have a photo ID, you are going to
reduce the number of voters of color. If you don`t do the pre-registration
program you are going to reduce numbers of young voters. These are all
good things for Republicans and bad things for Democrats.

MCCRORY: There are no statistics to back that up. I think what you
should be asking is why would people be against having a basic photo ID?


SHARPTON: And the answer is yes there is data to back it up. But
secondly, Congresswoman, I don`t think anyone is against basic I.D. We are
saying we use basic I.D. now. Why do we need new I.D.? I mean, no one
votes without I.D. Why all of a sudden do we need these new forms of I.D.
that they know a lot of people don`t have? Why can`t we use I.D. we always

EDWARDS: That`s right. And it`s also in the absence of any proof
that there is a problem that needs to be fixed or solved. I mean, that`s
what we are dealing with here.

And in North Carolina, you have several hundred thousand people who
actually don`t have any I.D. because they don`t drive, because they are
older, you know and those instances, what you`re saying to people is, that
we don`t value your vote.


EDWARDS: And I think that is the problem with what`s happening across
the country. I`m glad the justice department is moving forward in Texas.
I want them to do that in North Carolina and any other state that has put
in place these laws that are really going to be damaging to people`s right
to vote.

SHARPTON: And that`s the real point. People have been voting for
years with their I.D. there`s been no widespread fraud. Yet, you come in
with a new program. It is a solution looking for a problem rather than a
problem in need of a solution.

And one of the people who just filed a lawsuit other in North
Carolina`s voting suppression law is 92-year-old Rosa Well Eaton who has
compared this new voter I.D. law to the literacy test she faced during the
Jim Crow era. Listen to this 92-year-old voter.


ROSA WELL EATON, VOTER, 92-YEARS-OLD: Here I am at 92-years-old doing
the same battling. We need more, not less, access to the ballot. At the
age of 92, I am fed up and fired up.


SHARPTON: 92-years-old saying it`s the same thing she`s fed up and
fired up standing there with Reverend William Barber. People are calling
them out on this.

EDWARDS: Well, that`s right. And you know what? I am so proud to be
a North Carolinian because, you know, she really is fed up.

SHARPTON: I think that -- and the thing about this that really
bothers me is that these are the same conservatives that talk about
responsibility and family values. What is more responsible than to let
people vote then why are you putting all of these obstacles in the way of
them doing the most responsible, the most civic responsible thing they
could do? You say be responsible. Do what`s right. Lift yourself up.
But if you go to vote, I`m going to give seven difference cancellation of
things that have no evidence that it leads to fraud. I mean, what are they
doing other than attempting to suppress the vote?

EDWARDS: Well, and you know, Reverend Al, voting is the real
fundamental to participation in our situation. When I look at Mrs. Eaton
and I see what she`s been through, the literacy test she had to go through.
I mean, she remembers, you know, really when it was difficult. And now,
she is having to relive the same thing at 92. It really is unfair. And
I`m glad the justice department has stepped in. And now, it`s time for the
Congress to do our part in making sure that we ensure voting rights for all

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Donna Edwards, thank you for your time

EDWARDS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Republicans are doing everything they can to
reboot from their 2012 shellacking. But today all roads lead back to their

And more evidence that Republicans and science just don`t mix. The
result? A very bad reaction.

Good news, though, Professor Sharpton is coming back with a little
lesson in the "Politics Nation" lab, next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to the "Politics Nation" science lab.

I have got a few of my favorite experiments brewing tonight because
Republicans are once again bubbling over with their hysterical denials of
global warming. Just listen to GOP congressman Jeff Miller.


REP. JEFF MILLER (R), FLORIDA: It wasn`t just a few years ago, what
was the problem that existed? It wasn`t global warming. We were all going
to be an ice cube. We are not ice cubes.


SHARPTON: Eureka! He has figured it out. We are not ice cubes. You
don`t even have to be a fake scientist like me to deduce that. There is
also Steve King who tried to give us his own science lesson.


REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: I know this in physics. What evaporates
must come down in the form of rain. So if the earth is warmer, it`ll rain
in more and more places. That means there will be more plant growth, there
will be more photosynthesis.


SHARPTON: I wonder what Sir Isaac Newton would say about the
congressman`s flawed hypothesis? And of course Rush Limbaugh is on the
same wavelength.


LIMBAUGH: See, in my humble opinion, folks, if you believe in god,
then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming.


SHARPTON: Really, Rush? I think if people believe in logic, then
they can`t believe in you.

But these guys are just a tip of the melting iceberg. Over half of
the Republicans in Congress deny that humans have had any impact on global
warming. Even though a U.N. panel said there`s a 90 percent probability
that humans are the primary cause of global warming. Andover 97 percent of
climate, researchers surveyed by the U.S. Academy of Science agrees with
that. But Republicans seem to have denying these facts down to a science,
folks. Climate change is an important issue. And we need to do something
about it. It looks like the results of tonight`s experiments are in. And
the Republicans need to go back to summer school. This has been a special
edition of the POLITICS NATION science lab.


able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction,
but the nation chose another leader.


SHARPTON: Election night was a moment of reckoning for the GOP.
Since then, they`ve done autopsies to figure out what went wrong, they`ve
gone on retreats, they`ve rebranded, rebooted, retooled. And yet the
party`s in the same exact place it was on election night. No, literally
the same place. The RNC is holding its summer meeting in the same hotel
that served as Governor Romney`s election night headquarters. How`s that
for symbolism? Back in March, the RNC chair vowed to turn things around.


REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: The way we communicate our principles
isn`t resonating widely enough. Focus groups described our party as narrow
minded. Out of touch. And quote, stuffy old men.


SHARPTON: You heard him. No more stuffy old men. So let`s see who
they got to headline today`s big meeting.


working with you. I think this is really important for the country.


SHARPTON: Oh, yes. Nothing says change like Newt Gingrich. He`ll
really get you away from that stuffy old men stigma. Well, except for that
hiccup, the re-branding`s been going just great. Just look at how much
progress they`ve made.


REP. DON YOUNG (R), ALASKA: My father had a ranch. We used to hire
50 or 60 wetbacks and -- to pick tomatoes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are
very low.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: How did America get so mediocre?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think parents became -- both parents started
working. And a mom is in the workplace.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: For everyone that`s a valedictorian, there`s
another hundred out there that they weigh 130 pounds and they have got
calves the size of cantaloupes because they`re hauling 75 pounds of
marijuana across the desert.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Even at this point?

TRUMP: Well, I don`t know was there a birth certificate? You tell
me. You know, some people say that was not his birth certificate. I`m not
saying, I don`t know.


SHARPTON: So much for getting the brand back together. The party`s
unable to move forward because of the fringe in the base. And that`s why
we`re seeing constant gridlock, constant threats of government shutdown.
It`s not only hurting the party, it`s hurting the whole country.

Joining me now are Clarence Page and Victoria DeFrancesco Soto. Thank
you both for coming on the show tonight.



SHARPTON: Clarence, you know, the symbolism of this party trying to
rebrand right back where it ended for Romney, pretty fitting, don`t you

PAGE: Well, it is. And they`re meeting in Boston reminds me of when
the republican convention was held 1980 in Detroit. Remember that,


PAGE: They said, it was going to be a new urban outreach. And that
urban outreach hasn`t happened yet with the GOP. And, you know, we saw
what happened with the Romney election and the GOP autopsy itself showed
that they have turned off people of color, women, single women. Single
white women. And others as well. And that they also had a large group of
white male from conservative districts. Blue color males who did not show
up to vote. Because they were not excited by Mitt Romney`s approach. So
their problems are pretty obvious. But you`re right. They haven`t made
really any moves in that direction of outreach.

SHARPTON: Yes. And you know, Victoria, every time you think you say
a ray of light, they make sure the clouds coming. No, no, no light here.
And I`m referring to Senator Mitch McConnell. He said, and I`m quoting
him, that shutting down the government will not prevent Obamacare from
being implemented. Take a listen to this.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: The bill that would shutdown the
government wouldn`t shut down Obamacare. Most of it is permanent law and
not affected by that.


SHARPTON: Now, that`s true and that`s a breakthrough. But
immediately after he said that, his office walked those comments back
releasing this statement saying the Senate GOP leader in his remarks today
did not take sides in the dispute over whether to stage a shutdown
confrontation. I mean, what would be wrong for the majority leader to show
some leadership? One, it is not even going to impact what they want to do
which many of us disagree with, trying to stop Obamacare. And two, it
would stand up to those that would risk so much for so many Americans with
a government shutdown. He walks it back after saying what is true. Maria.

SOTO: Well, Reverend, what he does, what Senator McConnell`s does
with his comments and then with his retraction is just more evidence of how
the GOP has been wanting to rebrand, but they just can`t do it. And they
can`t do it because of institutional challenges. Because they have their
eye on the midterm election. And the fact that we`re going to see a long
drawn out primary means that these extreme candidates from the extreme
faction of the Republican Party get more of a plat foreman, get more time,
and are able to pull the party more to the fringes.

I also think another institutional barrier for the Republican Party
especially is that the bulk of states have closed primaries. If we were to
get independent voters or non-committed voters into the polls, they would
help bring the Republican Party more to the middle. But that`s not going
to happen. And finally, obviously --

SHARPTON: Victoria, when you say closed primaries. Explain what you

SOTO: So, by closed primaries is that when you have the republican
primary system in a closed primary, only Republicans can vote. Whereas in
an open primary system, independents can vote, even Democrats can vote.
They just can`t vote in the democratic primary also. So that moderates the
party. But we don`t see many of those in the state legislators were they
change the rules and allow for more open primaries, we could see the
Republican Party start to moderate more. But that has to come from the
ground up. And we really don`t see any interest of that.

SHARPTON: You know, Clarence, I showed Newt Gingrich was speaking
today at the big session in Boston. And he talked about the GOP obsession
with Obamacare. And he went on to make a much larger point. Listen to


GINGRICH: If you go home in the next two weeks while your members of
Congress are home and you look them in the eye and you say, what is your
positive replacement for Obamacare, they will have zero answer. Because we
are caught up right now in a culture and you see it every single day where
as long as we`re negative and as long as were vicious and as long as we can
tear down our opponent, we don`t have to learn anything. And so we don`t.


SHARPTON: I mean, he`s saying right to them they have no plan and
they`re caught up on this culture of criticism and meanness. I mean, this
is Newt Gingrich saying this. Even a broke clock is right twice a day,

PAGE: Well, you know, this is good news, Reverend. You know, I`ve
known Newt Gingrich for years. And there`s good Newt and there`s naughty
Newt. I`ve read about this. Naughty Newt comes out and panders to that
birther vote like Donald Trump does. But good Newt is a man of ideas.
That`s why a lot of Liberals like to talk to Newt Gingrich because he`s
always got ideas. Some of them aren`t great. Others are not bad. And one
thing he does know is that Republicans cannot just continue to vote against
Obamacare without saying what would you replace it with? Because both
parties agree the nation`s health care system is broken. The needs of
those 30, 40 million people who have been uninsured need to be taken care
of and the Republicans have to be more than just the party of no.

SHARPTON: Yes. And you know, Victoria, you get a little excited when
you see, wow, Newt said what is true. Because all of us want to hear some
counter-policy ideas. And you wait on the big idea, then the chairman of
the party Priebus comes and gives the big idea. Attacking the president
for being on vacation is his big idea. Look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Are you OK with Obama being on vacation right now
concerning the health of the economy?

PRIEBUS: Well, you know what? I`m not going to get into that. I
mean, I think he`s got a lot of work to do. You know, he`s the king of
golf and vacations. And I guess it`s part for the course. I don`t know if
he cares that much.


SHARPTON: That`s a real big idea, Victoria.

SOTO: Well, first of all, it`s a personal punch. Right? You`re
saying well, it`s about this person, it`s about Barack Obama and saying, I
want to talk about the issues. But aside from that, all presidents take
vacations. Because all presidents are humans. Last President George W.
Bush, he would spend a lot of time back here in Texas at his ranch in
Crawford. So, you can`t throw rocks from a glass house.

You can`t criticize one president for taking time off when our past
presidents have always done so. So, stick to the issues. And that`s
what`s going to give voters some hope to vote for you instead of just being
negative as Clarence was pointing out.

SHARPTON: Clarence Page and Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, thank you both
for your time this evening.

SOTO: Thanks, Rev.

PAGE: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, a sitting member of Congress just invited this
disgraced rodeo clown wearing a President Obama mask to perform in his
state. Pathetic. That`s coming up.


SHARPTON: We`re back with a pause from the political battles of the
day. A time to rest, relax, and recharge. That`s right. It`s time for
the POLITICS NATION summer break. And at number three, we go to China
where they just celebrated Valentine`s Day. And how about this Kodak
moment? A new kind of coffee break. Couples visiting a cafe had their
photo taken when they ordered a latte. And then it came out in the foam.
Pretty cool. Wonder if they`ll ever see this snapshot on a latte?

Number two, speaking of Chris Christie, Rand Paul says he`s the king
of bacon. So maybe he wants to see Omaha`s bacon fest. There were bacon
danishes, bacon pies, bacon cupcakes, bacon scented candles. And they even
had regular old bacon. The kids loved it. Uh-oh. I hope everything went
OK for this guy.

And at number one, Newt Gingrich, this one is for you. Astronaut
Karen Nyberg showed us all how to shampoo in space. She`s keeping clean
250 miles above the earth. First, she squirts a bag of warm water on her
head. Watch out for that floating water. Then she shampoos and using the
comb. Great work, Karen.

And finally explains this picture. Now we all know where Donald gets
all his ideas. Outer space. And that`s today`s summer break.


SHARPTON: We`re back with the ugly right wing response to that
despicable rodeo clown in Missouri. By now you`ve all seen it. The rodeo
clown at the taxpayer subsidized Missouri State Fair wearing a President
Obama mask and getting charged by a bull. The fan goer who shot this video
said there were clear racial overtones. Another clown played with his lips
on the Obama mask.

Give credit to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who denounced what
happened. But moments ago, we found out a sitting member of Congress went
even farther than endorsing this. Texas republican Steve Stockman is
inviting the rodeo clown to perform in Texas.

He`s attacking those of us who are offended saying that something -- a
fair goer said compares to a Klan rally and we`re attacked for being
offended by it? Stockman says quote, "The liberal reaction is straight out
of Alinsky. They want to crush the set by isolating and polarizing anyone
who questions Obama even if it`s a rodeo clown with a harmless gag."

A harmless gag? Here`s a reminder of what Congressman Stockman is so
eager to defend.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hey let me tell these people about who we got
helping. Obama`s going to have to just stay there. Watch out for those
bulls. This bull`s going to get you Obama. He`s going to get you!


SHARPTON: Now a sitting member of Congress invited clown to his
state? Speaker Boehner, you got a problem.

Joining me now is Joy Reid. Thank you for being here.

JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Joy, a sitting member of Congress inviting this clown to
perform, what`s your response?

REID: Well, this is the same guy that Stockman pals around with Ted
Nugent, I think part of the State of the Union. Look, this is another
example of the Republican Party not understanding their brand problem. And
playing into it. This idea that it`s funny to play around with the notion
of a bull charging the president. He may think that that`s funny. But
it`s patently offensive.

But the Republican Party, I think is at a stage where this sort of
anti-Obama, over the top need to just let it out, it`s almost as if they
can`t stop themselves, I mean, they need to get it all out. They need to
get all of their offensive angry over the top anti-Obamanism out of their
system. And it doesn`t appear that having him around for five years has
been enough time.

SHARPTON: Well, their boss Rush Limbaugh today, he tried to blame
this on the President. I mean, listen to this.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This guy Barack Obama, he can`t
laugh at himself and he doesn`t want anybody else. That`s not going to
happen. He`s above it. You don`t dare. I think we`re dealing with
somebody literally spoiled rotten from the early days of their lives.


SHARPTON: Spoiled rotten? I mean, they`ll try to twist anything with
the president. We`re talking about an Obama mask where a guy plays with
the lips, clearly racial overtones. Violence involved. And the viewers
there said it was like a Klan rally. We`re not talking about just a
regular mask. All presidents have masks. There have been masks on Obama
before. We`re talking about what was offensive.

REID: Exactly. And they had the same reaction when where there were
Tea Party rallies where you had people with Obama dressed as the witch
doctor, Obama dressed as Hitler. This idea of, you know, just laugh at
yourself, how dare you be offended by something that even people who were
white at this event saw as patently racist.

SHARPTON: Exactly.

REID: How dare you take offense, you need to allow us to do this.
But this is also an example of the sort of talk radiolization (ph) of the
Republican Party. The kind of thing that you do on talk radio, the sort of
pushing the line of being offensive that Rush Limbaugh does every day has
actually taken over the political party. And the problem for Republicans
is that their base is shrinking. It`s shrinking in terms of its import in
the electorate.

And you can double and triple down on your Archie Bunker base, but
that isn`t going to help you win national elections. And if you keep on
saying, this is OK, and not only is it OK but how dare anyone on the other
side of it be offended by it, well then, that`s fine. But you`re not going
to be able to appeal outside of the base of angry, bitter, anti-Obama,
older White Republicans on the right.

SHARPTON: But take it out of talk radio for a minute. Congress.
Does Speaker Boehner have any responsibility with this guy Stockman, the

REID: Sure he did. I wish he was in charge. You know, if he was a
speaker that had any power or authority over his caucus, maybe he`d do
something about it. But John Boehner as we`ve seen in policy matters
doesn`t have control over the Tea Party caucus. And were he to stand up to
this guy, were he to do what a normal speaker of the house do, then he
would find himself in the position Mitch McConnell is in the other side of
D.C. in the Senate. Where you have somebody from the Tea Party saying,
well, maybe you`re not conservative enough. At this stage being
conservative enough means being so anti-Obama that you yourself can host a
talk radio show like Rush Limbaugh.

SHARPTON: And, you know, due credit, the lieutenant governor who`s a
republican of Texas and some Republicans came out against this. But we
don`t hear people like Boehner and others when you have a sitting member of
Congress, it would be good to see him do it. Some of the Republicans in
Texas did break rank and said this is wrong.

REID: Well, absolutely. But they don`t have to deal with Rush
Limbaugh. I mean, the reality is that the fear of the Tea Party primary,
the primary from the right that says there`s no -- there`s nothing that`s
too extreme to say about Barack Obama and you better not try to stop us
otherwise you`ll going to get a primary that terrifies members of
Congress. It terrifies people in leadership like John Boehner who doesn`t
want to be challenged for speakership. He is paralyzed by this faction on
the right that is destroying what used to be a respectable Republican

SHARPTON: Joy Reid, thank you for your time tonight.

REID: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Friend or foe, I want to know. Reply Al, next.


SHARPTON: It`s time for Reply Al. Remember, friend or foe, I want to
know. Denny wants to know, "if poor people who get a few hundred bucks a
month in food stamps are parasites, then what is the Wall Street guys that
got trillions?"

Well, that`s a good question. It is part of the demonizing and
humiliating of people based on class. To make them names. To make them
less than human. To make them these kind of ugly references. Because they
need help. But we`re supposed to extol and in many ways praise those who
get subsidies, tax breaks, all kinds of bailouts to do trillions upon
trillions of dollars that they did mistakenly breaking themselves and we
bailed them out. And we don`t call them names. We call them successful.
Who just need a way to continue to create the economic power. It is crazy

Pat writes, "Why do people that don`t believe in government keep on
staying or trying to get in government?"

It is one of the most brazen contradictions of our time. They don`t
want big government, but vote to put me in government. If you don`t want
government, then let people that want government and know how to make it
work go into government.

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


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