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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, October, 2013

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

October 2, 2013


Guest: Sherrod Brown; Jim McDermott; Emanuel Cleaver, Joy Reid, James

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Good evening Ed. Another day of disgrace as
was we can see in Washington but thanks for throwing it to me. And thanks
to you for tuning in on live tonight from Atlanta. Tonight`s lead,
breaking lose at the White House. At this hour, President Obama is meeting
with Congressional leaders to try to end this government shutdown.

Will republicans stop holding the nation hostage over the President`s
Healthcare Law? All today, there were signs and more signs at they`re
still playing games. And the President said, "He`s fed up."


the idea that unless I say that $20 million, you can`t have health
insurance, these folks will not reopen the government. That is
irresponsible. We have a group of folks who think that they can hold
America hostage for ransom hat they can`t win through an election.

SHARPTON: But Republicans refuse to admit that shutdown is hurting
real people. Some even refuse to call it a shutdown.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the American have seen this as government
slow down, not a shutdown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are probably going to realize they can
live with a lot less government than what they thought they need.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If that means they`re going to sit
this out for a month or two months, or probably long the president wants to
be arrogant and not talk to anybody, let`s sit it out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The state of Arkansas can help our localities can
help out. I believe no one is going to star of in Arkansas because of this
shut down.


SHARPTON: No one is going to starve because of the shutdown? Here`s
what`s happening outside of the Republican never land where the shutdown is
already hurting people.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you all eat today?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: This 6-year-old (INAUDIBLE) got fed when
she got home. But the same could not be said for every other child at the
Oak Haven branch, boys and girls club.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because the government got shut down our food
meals are not delivered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I didn`t have WIC, I would basically have to
drop out to school and go to work in order to be able to supply formula,
food for my child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: One place you might not think would be
affected by the government shutdown are local food pantries. But if they
don`t get federal commodities, they could run out of food.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without this food pantry I won`t have anything
to eat.


SHARPTON: The shutdown has already had some Americans worth that
won`t get enough to eat. One mother in Utah with two sets of twins says
she literally doesn`t know how she`s going to feed her kids.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Money is very tight. We are struggling to
afford diapers right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Her youngest has medical problems and
use a special baby formula that costs about $750 a month. She typically
picks this formula up for free at the WIC office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are supposed to go tomorrow for our
appointment to pick them up and they called today saying that they are
shutting down (INAUDIBLE) government. If they don`t open up, how am I
going to feed my kids?


SHARPTON: What are Republicans in Washington going to say to that
mother? What`s their reason for why she can`t get formula for her babies?
That they don`t like a health care law that has nothing to do with the
budget fight?

The national institute of health is being forced to turn away roughly
200 patients each week, including children with cancer from its research
center. And here`s something really chilling. The man in charge of all
intelligence gathering for this country says furloughing his agents has put
our national security at risk.


intelligence business for about 50 years. I have never seen anything like
this. From my view, I think this on top of the sequestration cuts that
were already taken, that this seriously damages our ability to protect the
safety and security of this nation and its citizens. This is a dreamland
for foreign intelligence service to recruit.


SHARPTON: It`s a dreamland for America`s enemies and a nightmare for
us. But despite all this, Republicans are still playing politics. They
are voting again tonight to fund just some parts of the government and
ignore the rest. It is cynical politics and it is hurting real people.

Joining me now are Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Democrat of Missouri
and Karen Finney.

Thank you both for being here tonight.

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Good to be with you, Reverend.


SHARPTON: Congressman, how can Republicans ignore the real pain this
shutdown is already causing people all across the country?

CLEAVER: Well, I think that we are living in a parallel universe,
because as I listened to the debate on the floor, just before I came before
these cameras, I`m listening to people saying things that are absolutely
irrelevant to what`s happening in people`s lives. And I think that, you
know, the lower approval rating that the public has of Congress right now
is going to drop it further. Now it`s already dropped down do 10 percent.
And I think Satan is probably at 12 percent. So we are in real bad shape
here. But it`s a parallel universe. They can`t even see what real people
are going through every day.

SHARPTON: Congressman, you know, there are at least now 17 House
Republican who say they would vote for a clean continuing resolution to
fund the government without touching Obamacare. Is there any chance
Speaker Boehner would let a bill like that get to the floor in your

CLEAVER: I don`t think so. And Reverend, I`m going to give you a
secret, you and Karen a secret. There are more than 17. I have been
speaking with Republicans who are not the volatile folk who are causing
much of the shutdown who are saying to me very privately, to this day, that
they believe that they have taken the wrong course and that they would like
to see a clean bill come to the floor. Some of them, I must add, are
concerned about and afraid of their base. They think they will get a
primary challenge from a tea partier, but the number is higher than 17.
But the speaker, I don`t think, is going to allow that to come to the floor
because it will pass, and we will get more than 17 votes.

SHARPTON: Now Karen, House Republicans are also seeing criticism from
other conservatives.

FINNEY: Right.

SHARPTON: "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page wrote quote, "the
longer they hold out, the more chances increase that the public will turn
against GOP governance."

And Senator Tom Coburn says quote, "they are going to dig in harder
until the pain becomes so bad, they yell uncle."

How bad will the pain get before they cry uncle, Karen?

FINNEY: Well, I think we have to make them cry uncle faster than the
pain hits the real people. Because as you were discussing, I mean, the
pain is hitting people. And we know that and this is something sort of
something like The Sequester where they tried to say, you know, that things
that were happening weren`t really happening with the kind of urgency that
they are.

I mean, we are talking about the Republicans keeping our government
shut down so that people won`t get health care, so that children can`t be
on head start or can`t have the food they need to eat. I mean, as the
congressman says, they are totally disconnected.

But I do think there is a very important opportunity here politically
and I will just be very political on this, this shows you the incompetence
of Republican leadership. This is absolute incompetence. And what
happened the last time the Republicans controlled the House? You had Tom
DeLay and a culture of corruption. Before that, you had Newt Gingrich and
a government shutdown.

So, I think there`s a broader hit that the Republican Party should
take on their incompetence and inability to lead this country. They are
not putting forward any new ideas, remember. They are just trying to shut
things down and say no.

SHARPTON: Congressman, I saw you nodding your head when Karen started
talking about incompetence of GOP leadership.

CLEAVER: Well, it`s unfortunate that the speaker is being held
captive. I really believe John Boehner is a good and decent guy who would
like to do the right thing. Unfortunately, he feels, I think, as though he
is held back by a segment of the Republican conference. And unfortunately,
he`s not, at this point, willing to stand up and say, look, I`m more
interested in putting this nation on the right track than keeping my

Unfortunately, I do think that there are people who would probably
want to remove him if he put this on the floor. But at some point, you
know, you`ve got to stand up. Howard Thurman, the great preacher as you
know, used to say if you step-on a worm at least it will wiggle. And so,
you, I think that, you know, it`s time for the speaker to wiggle and stand

SHARPTON: Well, he as at the White House right now, meeting with
President Obama. And I hope he comes out with a little wiggle. Thurman
said if you let a little weight off, maybe a worm will run. I hope he runs
or wiggles or does something.

Karen, you know, he president said today his biggest concern was that
it affects middle class families.


SHARPTON: Listen to this.


OBAMA: The biggest concern that I have day to day, though, is how is
this impacting middle class families? Are we creating a system in which
ordinary people who are working hard and acting responsibly have an
opportunity to get ahead.

Every day I`m tracking how is what`s happening here in Washington
having an impact on that. And what we can say unequivocally at the moment
is that Washington is having a negative impact on the lives of ordinary


SHARPTON: At the same time, Karen, members of Congress are still
getting paid, but the "Huffington Post" is reporting that some Republicans
say they haven`t decided, listen to this, haven`t decided if federal
workers will get paid once the shutdown is over.

Senator Chuck Grassley said, I would not make a judgment at this

Senator Richard Burst said it`s too early to even consider that.

Senators Jeff Flake and Jan Barrasso and Tim Scott said it`s too early
to decide. Paying federal workers who got furloughed because of the
shutdown, shouldn`t this be easy to decide?

FINNEY: Of course, but this is part of the demonization of government
and people who work in government that we have seen from the GOP.

I mean, Reverend, I was working in the Clinton administration during
the last shutdown. I can tell you, I was barely making enough money as it
was to pay my rent and do what I needed to do. And luckily, we got, we
were able to get paid for that time. There are people who literally, they
are living month to month on, you know, very little money. When you talk
about --

SHARPTON: Check to check.

FINNEY: Check to check. And when you talk about not getting paid
back that money that you lost.

SHARPTON: Congressman, I mean, can you believe they are talking about
it is too early to decide whether people should get the money even after?

CLEAVER: Well, now this is sick. I usually try not to get upset.
This is sick when you participate in self-utilization (ph) or you are
trying to say that, you know, you don`t value, that government should not
value, the people work here are staffs. And these people through no fault
of their own have been laid off, and they are struggling, even when they`re

Contrary to the myth that people have been pushing out about
government workers, nobody`s making a lot of money over here. You know,
and you got people making 25 and $30,000 a year, struggling in Washington,
living in apartments with four people.

FINNEY: And this paycheck is a big deal when you`re making that
little money. And so, when you see Republican congressman saying things
about people, you know, they can do with less. They are going to see how
much, you know, less they can do with. They have no idea what is happening
in this country and how people are living. I think that`s what the
president was saying.

SHARPTON: It is as bad congressman said it would be a paid vacation.
Now, they are going to know it is going to be paid vacation. They just
think maybe we won`t pay them.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and Karen Finney, thank you for your time

And be sure to watch "Disrupt with Karen Finney" weekends at 4:00
eastern right here on MSNBC.

Ahead, Republicans are using World War II Vets as political props in their
fight against the president. We will tell you what`s really happening at
that memorial in Washington.

And Ted Cruz was for the shut down before he was against it. The man
who dragged us over the cliff is now shocked, shocked that the government
isn`t running.

Plus, the Obamacare news that Republicans are afraid you will hear
about. Its working and people all across America are signing up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just with him being in the hospital over the
past year and a half, we have wracked over at least 20, $30,000 in debt.
So it`s huge. It`s, not have that worry is big.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to feel safe. I`m going to feel much,
much healthier. I mean, I feel healthier, you know?


SHARPTON: We are awaiting a live press conference from congressional
leaders at the White House. So stay tuned.


SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will. Today our facebook families told us their
stories about signing up for health coverage under Obamacare.

James says I sign the up for $23 a month. I`m constantly telling
people to sign up. They have so many that you can choose from. It`s

Tell us your story. Please head over to facebook and search "Politics
Nation." Like us and leave a comment about your experience signing up.


SHARPTON: Listening to the Republicans, it`s hard to know which way
is up. They forced a shutdown of the government, but they say it`s not
their fault. Listen.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Four times, already, the House of
Representatives has offered compromised as it`s compromised over and over
and over and over again.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: We are offering a series of move
compromises trying to get a middle position.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: House Republicans compromised and compromised and

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have repeatedly made reasonable and responsible

voted against working out a compromise.


SHARPTON: They are the ones who want to compromise? Is your head
spinning yet?

Joining me now, a democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat from

Thanks for your time tonight, Senator.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Thank you. Good to be back.

SHARPTON: You were a member of the House when the Republican shutdown
the government the last time bask in 1995. How is this one different?

BROWN: Well, it`s different, well, first I`ll say it`s the same.
They wanted to privatize Medicare. They wanted to privatize Social
Security. You`re hearing the same thing now. Some of them are saying
well, we`ll compromise, we`ll keep the government open. We`ll do our job.
We`ll do our duty if you pledge to us to go after basically the privatize
Medicare and Social Security and begin to rein in spending on those
wasteful programs they say.

Well, the fact is, what`s different, though, from now, is Newt
Gingrich, hard for me to say this, but Newt Gingrich showed some maturity
in leadership, realized the country wasn`t with him, went to his own caucus
and said you have got to do the right thing.

John Boehner has got to make a decision, Reverend Sharpton. Is he
going to be the speaker of his right wing fringe of his party or is he
going to the speaker of the United States House of Representatives and let
all 430-some members of the House of Representatives is and/or is actually
cast a vote on the it Senate clean resolution to open the government?

SHARPTON: Will the Democrats in the Senate hold? Will they stand and
be firm?

BROWN: Yes. I think Democrats in the Senate understand, we
understand one fundamental thing and all of us do. I mean, there may be
one or two. But by and large we all understand, if the president caves in,
in any way, to this kind of hostage taking on this, then come October 17th
on the United States avoiding default, then they will ask, they`ll demand
again, we`re going to default if you don`t do this, then, when the six-week
continuing resolution expire, another month, month later, then they`ll try
to do that here. And we`ll end up lurching from crisis to crisis,
unnecessary crisis to unnecessary crisis induced by politicians that want
to attach to this document, this let`s run the government document, they
want to attach to that the Republican party platform.

I mean, it really is, the 2012 platform, piece by piece, they are
trying to put on these resolutions to get them through the Senate and the
House, and you don`t run a government that way. You know, they lost the
election in 2012, forget about that for a minute. You just don`t run the
government that way by extortion the -- and the Ohio newspapers have said
this borders on American. Another Ohio newspaper said this is GOP
extortion. And frankly, let me tell you, Ohio newspapers aren`t known for
criticizing Republicans by at large.

SHARPTON: Not at all.

You know, when you say that it brings to my mind this new poll that
asks people what they felt the GOP`s highest priority was, Senator, 32
percent said it was causing political problems for the president, 20
percent said reducing government debt, 14 percent said creating more jobs.
That`s third on the list. Thirteen percent said the GOP`s top priority was
reducing health care costs.

You know, are Republicans really willing to hurt the country in order
to try and hurt this president? And the public feels they ran saying they
wanted to create jobs and the public only feels that`s their third highest

BROWN: Yes, I`m not surprised by that. When Mitch McConnell said in
2010, his number one priority, not jobs, not balanced budget, not fixing in
his view the health care law, the number one priority was to make sure
Barack Obama was not reelected. Something that legislative leaders in
either have really ever said. That party failed in election.

I mean, look at it this way, Reverend Sharpton. This is a faction of
one party in one House in one branch of government that is holding the
whole country hostage to close down the government, because they are not
getting what they want. We are not letting them attach their 2012
political party platform to the budget resolution so that they can get
their way and you can`t govern that way. Neither party can govern that
way. It would be terrible for this country if we start governing that way.

SHARPTON: Unbelievable. Senator Sherrod Brown, thank you. And thank
you also. You`re donating your salary, I understand.

BROWN: During this week to the honor flights. People all over Ohio
fly in and for many of these veterans in their 80s, first time they have
ever been to Washington. They get to go to Arlington and then they get to
go to World War II memorial. It`s moving to help them. And a lot of us
want to help them.

SHARPTON: Well, thank you for that as well.

BROWN: Sure.

SHARPTON: Senator Sherrod Brown.

BROWN: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Rush Limbaugh slams Michelle Obama again tonight. I`m


SHARPTON: President Clinton famously said it takes brass to attack a
guy for doing what you did. And that`s exactly what Ted Cruz and the
political anarchists are doing with this shutdown. Their unbelievable new
attack has to do with veterans who have been locked out of the World War II
memorial in Washington because of GOP`s government shutdown.

Michele Bachmann was the first to grandstand. She rushed to the
scene, took pictures with vets, shook some hands, and she had the audacity
to say this.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: For political purposes,
President Obama and Harry Reid wanted the government to shutdown so they
could say, look at those evil Republicans. They want this to happen, and
they want to make sure that World War II veterans get shut out. We said
nut does that. We`re not going to let the World War II veterans be used as
political pawns. And so, that`s why we showed up today to help them.


SHARPTON: So, let he get their straight. The congresswoman who voted
for this shutdown is now doing photo ops like some kind of hero? No one is
buying it. But they are still trying to sell it.

Today, the head of the Republican National Committee, the guy who
endorsed Ted Cruz`s antics made the trip to the memorial to announce that
the RNC would pay to keep the memorial open for 30 days.


mistake, it was the Obama administration`s choice to barricade this
memorial. And it was their choice to lock out veterans across this


SHARPTON: Yes. The man whose party is responsible for the shutdown
will now wrap himself in the flag and be a hero. Does he think Americans
are really that stupid?

But who was the last guy that should be grandstanding? Yes, you
guessed it. This man, Ted Cruz. The senator who led us into this mess put
out a statement. Quote, "President Obama is even willing to deny World War
II veterans the right to access the memorial they have earned through their
heroic service.

That is incredible. It`s also despicable. The same political
arsonists who started this raging fire are now blaming the president for
the House`s burning down? As Bill Clinton said, it takes brass.

Joining me now is Congressman Jim McDermott, Democrat from Washington
and Abbey Huntsman.

Thanks for being here.


SHARPTON: Congressman, you`re a U.S. Navy veteran. What do you make
of Ted Cruz accusing President Obama of locking veterans out of the World
War II memorial?

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Well, he sounds like a kid in a
playground who has lost and doesn`t want to admit that he is lost. He is
blaming everything on the president, none of it`s his fault. He didn`t
have anything to do with it. He isn`t anywhere near it. He is like the
kid who comes in with chocolate all over his hands and says I didn`t eat
the cookies.

He is not making any sense at all. I don`t know how anyone could
consider him as a candidate for the presidency. He really is irrational.

SHARPTON: Yes, or blueberry pie all over his face, Congressman.

You know, Abby, Republican congressman actually called for someone to
be fired for closing the World War II memorial. Watch this.


REP. JOHN MICA (R), FLORIDA: One of the most appalling events I have
seen in our nation`s capitol was the closing of the World War II monument.
How offensive could you be? Maybe we need to get a new interior parks
director and fire those folks or furlough those folks that can`t leave
public spaces and memorials open to the public. What an offense.


SHARPTON: So, shouldn`t Congressman Mica fire himself? I mean,
they`re responsible for this, Abby.

HUNTSMAN: Well, they know there aren`t many things worse than denying
access to World War II veterans for their own memorial. So they`re saying,
hey, look, we`re the good guys in this mess. We are the ones that are
actually reopening the memorial. We are passing individual resolutions to
reopen parks to help veterans. We`re really the good guys in this mess.
And Democrats, they aren`t the one willing to come to the table. They`re
not willing to compromise. They`re not fighting for you. That`s the whole
strategy here. To look like the good guys at the end of this thing.

I don`t think Americans are going to buy it. But, you know, look,
this is one example. So many Americans around the country are really
feeling the hits. You have over 700,000 travelers. I talked to a couple
on this on the street of Fifth Avenue who had planned a trip to New York
City two years ago to visit the Statue of Liberty. Obviously that has been
canceled. Weddings have been canceled. What really hits home though
Reverend is the NIH. People`s lives are on the line. It is 200 I think,
about 200 people a week that are being turned away cancer patients, as well
as young kids. And that`s when you say, this is really heartbreaking.
This is when it`s really hitting home for so many people. People`s lives
are on the line.

SHARPTON: This is not a game. This is for real. And you know,
Congressman. They act like heroes. They pretend to be the party of the
military, but while down at the memorial, I wonder did they mention with
their GOP budget cuts what they`re doing. They cut to a labor department
job, training programs for vet, cuts to housing vouchers for vets, cuts to
mental health counseling for vets and increase in the waiting time for
burial at Arlington National Cemetery. So this shows how what they`re
putting on, how about these cuts they`re doing to the military while
they`re out there taking photo ops with our heroes?

MCDERMOTT: You know, it`s the middle class that`s getting hurt in all
of this, Reverend, what you, I had in my office today the head start people
from Seattle. And they`re closing head start programs all over the
country. And they`re sending -- that, sending kids out, 18,000 kids are
going to go out in about two days from now, because there`s nobody to pay
for their care. And this, it`s everywhere. And these guys have no
understanding how the middle class lives. They live paycheck to paycheck.
They`re saying to nine million people, we don`t care if you get a paycheck.
You can pay your mortgage payment out of thin air or maybe you can buy gas
with thin air. It isn`t going to work. The Americans will not buy this.

SHARPTON: You know, Abby, I want to put this front page of today`s
New York Daily News up. It shows Ted Cruz and John Boehner with the
headline, what did you do for our country. I thought this was very
fitting. The two men responsible for this shutdown and what have they done
for America but disrupt it?

HUNTSMAN: Well, and now the question remains, I mean, where is
Boehner`s head at? What will the turning point be? He has made the
calculated choice despite the public opposing this shut down. Despite the
fact that the GOP has been given most of the blame here to say that you
know compromise is seen as preemptive surrender and Reverend, you know that
gerrymandering is a huge part of this problem. There are 205 republican
members in the House-sitting on a safe seat. Their challenge is not on the
left, it`s on the right.

And that`s where their focus in. And the folks that are voting for
them, I don`t think they care, necessarily, about a government shutdown.
For them, it`s sticking to their identify logic principles, things that
they stand for. They want the representatives to fight for them. And so,
these members in the House, that is their focus. So, the question now is
when is Speaker Boehner going to have to throw-in the towel? We know it`s
going to have to happen at some point, but what will it take for that to

SHARPTON: And how many people will it hurt between now and then?


SHARPTON: You know, we lost Congressman McDermott. He had to go vote
on the last republican scheme. A lot happening, fast moving things
happening in Washington tonight. So let me ask you this, Abby. We show
Ted Cruz in the lead in, his amazing hypocrisy, the guy who started the
fire up, blaming the president. There was more blame today. Listen to


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We can respond to the national security
threat these two gentlemen have laid out, and the only impediment to doing
so is the prospect that Majority Leader Harry Reid would object to doing
so. If God forbid, we see an attack on the United States because the
intelligence community was not adequately funded, every member of this
committee would be horrified.


SHARPTON: Now God forbid we see an attack on the United States
because of the intelligence community was not adequately funded. But he`s
trying to blame the president for the shutdown? I mean, Abby, let me ask
you. Your dad has been a republican and has questioned some of the
extremists. Right now Ted Cruz has had his moment in the sun. But long-
term, what does this do for the country? And what does it do for the
party? Because I think the President`s programs are going to be fine?

HUNTSMAN: Well, it hurts the country, and it hurts the Republican
Party but it helps Ted Cruz. And speaking of hypocrite, you had Speaker
Boehner in March saying we`re not going to tie Obamacare with a continuing
resolution. And here we are today. It`s frankly, a really sad state of
affairs that we`re in right now. And honestly, it`s anyone`s guess as to
how long this is going to lasts, many people are just scratching their
heads saying, you know, we never thought we`d actually be here, and I go
back Reverend to gerrymandering being the underlying issue here.


HUNTSMAN: The fact that we really have no control in this mess in the
members in Congress. That`s what they care. They care about winning. And
what they have to do is go as far right as possible to keep their seat.

SHARPTON: Abby Huntsman, thanks for your time tonight.

HUNTSMAN: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the GOP`s worst nightmare. Obama-care is
working. You`ll hear from some of the people who have already signed up.

Plus, news that might have the First Lady`s critics on the right
eating crow. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: The right wing has gone after the First Lady before, and
they`re doing it again. They don`t like the new school lunch program, so
of course they attack Michelle Obama. It`s low. It`s mean. It`s wrong.
And I`m responding to them tonight.


SHARPTON: The President and Congressional leaders are continuing to
meet at the White House, trying to work out a deal to stop the shutdown.
We`re watching that. Meantime, there`s other big news. The healthcare law
is succeeding. Whether or not Republicans want to admit it. Sure, there
were glitches on day one as people tried to sign up for health insurance.
That`s to be expected. But here are the headlines Americans woke up to
around the country. The LA Times, healthcare exchange off to a busy start.
The Providence Journal, strong interest on the first day of Rhode Island
exchange. Even red states like Indiana. The insurance market place draw a
strong early interest and then there are the thousands who woke up today
knowing they`re getting coverage.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Just with him being in the hospital over the past
year and a half, we`ve wracked over at least 20, $30,000 in debt. So it`s
huge, not to have that worry is big.

centuries in the making, another half hour of my life isn`t going to make
that much difference. So I think it`s important enough to be patient with
the process.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: People are just wonderful. I`m going to feel safe.
I`m going to feel healthier. You know.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, my goodness, you know, this is good
government. This is what good government does. And this is good
government. How much better does it get?


SHARPTON: How much better does it get? Doesn`t this law sound like
something we should be giving a chance?


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: That`s like saying, give the
Soviet Union a chance. No way. I didn`t want to give the Soviet Union a
chance. I, there`s certain things I just know I don`t want to get a
foothold. And solid, tried and true socialism, statism, which is what this
is, is one of those.


SHARPTON: Socialism, Rush, you`ve got a bad case of cynicism. You
might want to see a doctor about that.

Joining me now are Joy Reid and James Peterson. Thank you both for
coming on the show tonight.


SHARPTON: Joy, let me start with you as some more positive headlines
come out. How much does this affect the argument of healthcare opponents?

JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM: Well, Rev, this is the very reason why
Republicans are doing everything, including threatening to destroy the
United States economy to stop the Affordable Care Act from being fully
implemented. Because what they`re really worried about was that people
like the ones you just showed in that clip would come out and say wait a
minute, I can get health insurance, that two by two-and-a-half inch card
makes the difference between being able to see a doctor or not. Being able
to have that is something that`s going to be positive.

And look statistically, they know that this is going to be more often
younger people, more often minorities, and ironically more often people in
their own states, in red states who are uninsured. And once people
actually get insurance and say, wait a minute, I have the hope now being
able to see a doctor, it`s going to be very, very difficult to take that
away from them. So that if in the future, a republican president is
elected and a there`s a republican Congress, they won`t be able to repeal
it because people will like the idea that they have the insurance, and they
won`t have the opportunity to undo it.

SHARPTON: You know, James, in an interview this afternoon the
President laced into Republicans for holding the country hostage over
healthcare. Listen to this.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: During the course of my
presidency, I have bent over backwards to work with the Republican Party
and have purposely kept my rhetoric down. I think I`m pretty well-known
for being a calm guy. Sometimes people think I`m too calm. And am I
exasperated? Absolute I am exasperated. John Boehner right now has not
been willing to say no to a faction of the Republican Party that are
willing to burn the House down because of an obsession over my healthcare

SHARPTON: James, you`re response. I`ll let you take it.

PETERSON: Well, I think a couple interesting things. I think the
president is correct, that a lot of people are very happy to see him dig in
here, particularly, the millions of Americans who need access to affordable
health care. He`s also absolutely right. And much to the chagrin of many
of his supporters and now supporters on the left he has compromise and made
concessions to the Republican Party throughout the entirety of his
presidency. And by the way, the Affordable Care Act is one of those
concessions because many of us still believe and I think that the
implementation and success we`re seeing in the early implementation is
great support for the fact that we actually need to see single payer.


PETERSON: Many of us wanted to see single payer, the concession was
that he put this republican, this republican plan with the exchanges and
all that into place, but yes, you can see there hasn`t been much compromise
coming from the other side now. Wanting the President said, it`s also
awesome Rev. Once this thing is implemented they`re no longer going to
call it Obamacare, you know why? Because it`s going to be popular. And
people are going to understand that. In this particular nation with the
kind of wealth and resources that we have, we have got to be prepared to
take care of those folk who cannot through different structure, poverty
measures or through age.


PETERSON: Or whatever can`t handle the cost of healthcare. We`ve got
to do that systematically and that`s what this law has been all about.

SHARPTON: But, you know, Joy, one of the things that the right-
wingers and the GOP has been cheering about is the glitches that happened
on the roll out. Listen to this.


LIMBAUGH: People on the left are a glitch. Liberalism is a glitch.
We`re faced with the biggest damn glitch every damn day in this country.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Enrollment glitches literally from
coast-to-coast. Now, think of how you feel today, if you actually had a
medical emergency, had to go through this mess before they send an

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Before whether they`re harbingers of very difficult
times to come where your glitch isn`t on getting in finding out what plans
are available, but your glitch is you need a liver transplant. And you
can`t get it.


SHARPTON: But look at, look at how popular the healthcare sites were,
Joy. That`s the real story here. Since yesterday, 6.1 million people
visited the federal site, Ten million visited the New York
insurance exchange and five million visited the California site.

REID: Yes. And absolutely, the Health and Human Services Department
had hoped to sign up seven million people by January 1. They`ve already
exceeded just the seven million in terms of people going on the website.
And in the first 24 hours, they had 4.7 million people. And, you know,
website has never crashed because of a lot of it traffic, right? That`s
unheard of. I mean, the arguments against the ridiculous. And those
people you showed, spoken like three people with fat, gold-plated
healthcare. They`ve already got healthcare that provided by their

PETERSON: How about that?

REID: They have gold, blue chip plans. If you don`t have insurance,
you know what a glitch is? Not being able to go to the doctor, not being
able to get healthcare at all. And what they`re fighting is the ability
for private insurance companies to go into a marketplace and compete to
sell insurance to individuals. That is what they`re fighting. It doesn`t
even make ideological sense.

SHARPTON: Well, it is the Republicans` worst nightmare. Obamacare is
popular and is working. And when they wake up from the nightmare, millions
will have insurance. Joy Reid and James Peterson, thanks for coming on the
show tonight.

REID: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Rush Limbaugh is about to eat some crow. And the
First Lady`s serving it. Next.


SHARPTON: A bigger date tonight on the right wing`s food fight
against First Lady Michelle Obama. They can`t stand her "Let`s Move"
initiative. Healthy drink up campaign. Healthy school lunch program she`s
promoting. In fact, right-wingers claim that encouraging kids to exercise,
drink more water and eat healthy food is just another example of government


LIMBAUGH: Nutritionists at large, Michelle Obama is urging,
demanding, advocating, requiring what everybody can and can`t eat. She`s
demanding that everybody basically eat cardboard and tofu.

HANNITY: Taking the nanny state to the new level. Michelle Obama is
suggesting what you should feed your children.

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: What she is telling us is she
cannot trust parent to make decisions for their own children, for their own
families and what we should eat.

LIMBAUGH: This is Michelle, she knows better than anybody else about
healthy food because she has a garden.


SHARPTON: But these jokes are going to be eating their words.
Because the First Lady`s efforts are working. The CDC says childhood
obesity rates are falling in many states, specifically pointing to the
First Lady`s work as a contributing factor. And now the AP is reporting
that the new healthy school lunch program is working in 99.5 percent of
schools that signed up for it. Ninety nine percent. I guess all these
educators didn`t think that healthy food was part of the nanny state. Did
Rush Limbaugh and his buddies really think we wouldn`t call them out when
the facts show they`re wrong? Nice try, but we got you.


SHARPTON: Finally, tonight, Speaker Boehner and the other
Congressional leaders are going to the White House and having a meeting.
That`s a step in the right direction to try to break this shutdown. Now he
needs to find the political courage to take on the so-called suicide
caucus, the far right -- because it`s going. They`re coming out now, John
Boehner`s walking out to make a statement.

more time tonight that he will not negotiate. We`ve got divided
government, Democrats control the White House and the Senate. Republicans
control the House. We set four different proposals over to our democrat
colleagues in the Senate. They rejected all of them. We`ve asked for a
conference to sit down and try to resolve our differences. They don`t want
to -- they will not negotiate. We had a nice conversation, light
conversation, but at some point, we`ve got to allow the process that our
founders gave us to work out.

We`ve appointed conferees on the House side to sit-down and work with
our Senate colleagues. It`s time for them to appoint conferees. All we`re
asking for here is a discussion and fairness for the American people under
Obamacare. I wish I would hope that the president and my democrat
colleagues in the Senate would listen to the American people and sit down
and have a serious discussion about resolving these differences.

SHARPTON: That was Speaker John Boehner as he left the White House,
saying that there`s still no breakthrough. The meeting lasted almost an
hour and a half. You heard his statement live outside of the west wing of
the White House. And he`s saying he wished the president would listen to
the American people. Some of us believe he has. The American people voted
last year. The Congress, the House, and the Senate passed the Affordable
Care Act. The Supreme Court upheld it. I hope that Mr. Boehner and others
take their own advice and listen to the American people. I hope they
listen to the Americans that are now being furloughed and programs being
cut because they`re not listening to what has already been decided.

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


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