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PoliticsNation, Friday, January 24th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Friday show

January 24, 2014

Guests: Brian Wice, Ryan Grim, Joe Madison, Bill Press

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Coming up, we`ll have an update on the new developments in the Chris
Christie investigations, including this big question. Who will be the most
likely one to cooperate with federal investigators? Who will be most
likely to spill the beans? It`s a key question, and we have a very
proactive answer and provocative answer. That`s coming up.

But we begin with tonight`s lead, the GOP`s libido problem. Today
Republicans are frantically trying to backpedal these comments Mike
Huckabee made at yesterday`s RNC`s winter meeting.


MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS HOST: The Democrats want to insult the women of
America by making them believe that they are helpless without uncle sugar
coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth
control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive
system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let us take that
discussion all across America, because women are far more than the
Democrats have played them to be.


SHARPTON: He says Democrats treat women like they`re helpless without
uncle sugar giving them birth control. Republicans have been desperate to
get rid of their war on women image. And Huckabee`s comments put them back
to square one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wasn`t offended, but my point is it`s distracting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would not have talked about that. I would talk about
the economy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think any man should sit around and talk
about female libido on television or in his stump speech.

would probably phrase it different. Mike speaks off the cuff, as some of
us are known to do and probably would have chosen different words.


SHARPTON: Wait a second. Did you see that last guy? Rick Santorum thinks
Huckabee should have phrased his comments -- he thinks he should have
phrased them differently? I mean Rick "blah people" Santorum says he
should have chosen different words. Rick Santorum who said this about
contraception in 2011.


SANTORUM: I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole
sexual libertine idea, many in the Christian faith have says that`s OK.
Contraception is OK. It`s not OK. It`s a license to do things in a sexual
realm that is counter to what -- how things are supposed to be.


SHARPTON: If the guy who is worried about doing things in the sexual realm
thinks he overstepped on women`s issue, you`re really in trouble. And now
damage control from the RNC chairman.


before that the policies and principles of this party are sound. However,
as we look to grow the ranks of our party, we must all be very conscious of
tone and choice of words when we communicate those policies effectively.
We should set the standard.


SHARPTON: So Reince Priebus says Republicans need to think about their
tone? Maybe he should talk to the guy who said this about the war on


PRIEBUS: If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, and every
mainstream media outlet talked about the Republicans` war on caterpillars,
then we would have problems with caterpillars. I mean, the fact of the
matter is it`s a fiction.


SHARPTON: War on caterpillars? He treated the whole thing like a joke.
The truth is Republicans are still backward on women`s issues. Right now
the House GOP is pushing for a vote on an anti-abortion bill. Republicans
still block equal pay measures. And as Mike Huckabee reminds us, they
fought the contraception mandate tooth and nail. The GOP would be smart to
stop talking about uncle sugar and libidos. But until they get better
policies, cleaning up their language won`t be good enough.

Joining me now are Melissa Harris-Perry and E.J. Dionne. Thank you both
for being here.



SHARPTON: Melissa, what is worse? What Huckabee said, or the fact that so
many Republicans agree with the substance of what he said?

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. I mean, think that is the key issue here that Priebus
keeps trying to say we need to change our tone. We`re seeing memos, for
example, about how to run against women candidates for the GOP, the early
sort of damage control memos that came out of the 2012 election about how
to think about tone and discourse around the Republican Party and people of
color. But this is not a tone or discourse issue. This is about those
deep-rooted beliefs that keep popping out, right. So the reason that
Huckabee ends up saying these words is this is what Huckabee believes. So
as much as you --

SHARPTON: Apparently so many of them.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, that`s right. And so, as much as you can script
candidates, the fact is you have to have a core belief in women as fully
human, equal citizens who have a right to make choices within the realm of
privacy that is constitutionally protected. And then things like libido
and uncle sugar don`t fly out of your mouth.

SHARPTON: Yes. But you know, E.J., the RNC shouldn`t have been surprised
because Huckabee was one of Todd Akin`s biggest defenders. Let`s listen
back to that.


HUCKABEE: I think there is great disappointment, because there was such a
chorus, an orchestrated chorus that went after him, very quickly, publicly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think the party has been unfair to him?

HUCKABEE: I do. And I`ve said that very boldly. The way to do that is
not to shoot our own soldier laying on the battlefield.


SHARPTON: I mean, if the party was looking to change their image, why
would they even invite him to speak, knowing that these are his kinds of
feelings and his habit of speaking in ways that would support things like

DIONNE: Well, you know, there is an irony because there have been times
when Mike Huckabee actually was a compassionate conservative, said some
serious things about the poor. But I think that Melissa has it exactly
right. Mike Huckabee is being denounced for saying what he actually
believes. And when you hear all this talk about we need to change our
tone, what it really sounds like is we can`t really let on what we really
think. We have to say this much more carefully.

And I think it`s not only the libido word. I mean, politics gets really
interesting when it`s about libido. But it`s not just that. It`s that
uncle sugar thing, this old right wing idea that if the federal government
ever tries to help anybody, there is something terribly wrong with it. And
so, I think both ends of Mike Huckabee`s statement raise real problems.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, and let`s also point out this isn`t the government
helping pay for birth control. They are talking about the ability of an
individual to purchase with their own income a health insurance plan that
covers it.

SHARPTON: Right on that point right there, this may be a little -- well,
we celebrated Mohammed Ali`s birthday last week. This may shock and amaze
you, but there is an issue of hypocrisy here, because back in 2005 when
Huckabee was governor of Arkansas, he signed a law mandating insurance
plans covering contraception, and that law did not exempt church-affiliated
hospitals and university. Was he being uncle sugar back then?

HARRIS-PERRY: Look, I mean, I think this goes back to E.J.`s point that
part of the reason that they do have Huckabee as they try to rebrand
themselves is because he has demonstrated himself in the past, in part
because he was the governor of Arkansas, a poor state, to actually be
reflective on issues of race, to be reflective on issues of poverty and

In a certain way, I`m actually a little bit surprised of this particular
set of utterances from Huckabee because we do have a set of policies from
this individual that demonstrate that he knows better. But it`s as though
-- it`s almost like the wheels of this party are moving so quickly towards
a single --

SHARPTON: Until he came out for Akin.


SHARPTON: But the bigger picture here, E.J., is how can they expect to win
a national election if these are the faces of the party and they`re
sprouting this kind of rhetoric? I mean, I don`t care how you cut it,
talking about women`s libido and uncle sugar or sugar daddy, I don`t know
what member of the family they want to make sugar is not a good picture for
the Republicans.

DIONNE: You know, the Republicans can alienate women or immigrants,
Latinos, or young people and win elections, but they can`t alienate all
three at the same time.


DIONNE: And I think that`s their problem is they keep pushing away
constituencies. And I think Mike Huckabee`s problem here is there is a
real disjunction sometimes when some Republicans who can at times speak
rather movingly about the poor, as Huckabee has done. But suddenly when
you get to these hot button issues that become litmus tests, they get all
wrapped up in that social issue politics, and they forget what they have
just said about poverty and what needs to be done to alleviate it.

SHARPTON: But Melissa, he is not backing down. And clearly, if he
continues in this way through the midterm elections in the 16, it begins
putting pressure on a more moderate candidate and who may be having a
chance at winning the White House. Because Huckabee today in fact came out
saying that, a, if you support me, send some money to my PAC. And I think
that when you look at the fact that he is not backing down and you have
this kind of growth, he says get ready for more of this talk, this is
Huckabee. And if you agree with me and want to keep calling it like I see
it, please give an immediate donation to my political action committee.

That would be scary to me if I was trying to give the party a new face and
win in a couple of years the White House.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I would say that the right has demonstrably taken on
really since the era of stand your ground -- excuse me, I`m sorry, not
stand your ground, but where George W. Bush kept saying that he would not
shift his policies, right. From that moment, part of their strategy has
been that when they say something that is outrageous and then are called on
that outrageousness, rather than backing down, rather than apologizing,
rather than even reflecting on it, the response is, you know what -- I`m
sorry, word I was looking for was staying your course, right? What I`m
going to do is stay my course on this. And I`m going to get what is
actually a shrinking group of people, but nonetheless a vocal group and
potentially a group willing to donate. You go ahead and support me.

And so, in the short-term, the stay your course perspective might actually
pay off in the short-term, but only in the short-term. Because as E.J.
points out, in the long-term these demographic shifts make it impossible to
take all of those groups out of a party and have that party win.

SHARPTON: Melissa Harris-Perry and E.J. Dionne, thank you both for your
time tonight.

DIONNE: Good to be with you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: And be sure to watch Melissa Harris-Perry weekends at 10:00 a.m.
eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, a week of big developments in the investigation into Governor
Christie`s administration, but where does it go from here?

Plus, President Obama prepares for a state of the union speech focusing on
fairness. Tonight, some behind-the-scene photos.

And what is President Obama saying about Rush Limbaugh? It`s the president
as you rarely hear him. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Coming up, new developments in the Chris Christie
investigations. Who is most likely to make a deal with federal prosecutors
and tell what really happened? That`s next.


SHARPTON: It`s been a big week of developments in the investigations into
Governor Christie`s administration.

On Sunday, the U.S. attorney`s office spoke to Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer
about her claims that Christie officials made threats over Sandy aid. It`s
an allegation Christie officials categorically deny.

But on Monday, FBI agents spoke with aides to the mayor who she says can
confirm some of her story. On Tuesday, the day of Christie`s inauguration,
New Jersey lawmakers announced plans for a special joint committee to
investigate the George Washington bridge lane closings. On Thursday, the
U.S. attorney`s office issued subpoenas to the Christie campaign for
documents related to the lane closings, and the pace isn`t slowing.

This coming Monday, New Jersey lawmakers will vote to formally establish
that special committee. So how might this legal story play out? What
happens next?

Joining me now is criminal defense attorney Brian Wice, who has experience
with political corruption case. Thanks for being here, counselor.


SHARPTON: Let`s start with the subpoenas from the U.S. attorney. Is this
a sign the U.S. attorney will be the dominant investigator here, not the
state lawmakers?

WICE: Now, make no mistake. Faull Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney for the
district of New Jersey is the alpha male. He is the Heisman trophy winner.
And while all investigations may be equal, make no mistake. All
investigators aren`t. And I think that the parallel investigations from
the port authorities back to general`s office, the legislative committee,
it may be even flow the insurance lady may have a say in this, at the end
of the day it`s all about Paul Fishman and whether he believes any federal
laws were violated.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, we know the New Jersey committee is still waiting
on documents from many people close to the governor. You know from
staffers, port authority workers, campaign officials, is there anyone that
you can see, you can see flipping?

WICE: You know, right now, we`re in the first few scenes of this morality
tale. And most investigations of this type are marathons. They`re not
sprints. But if you want to engage in speculation, if you were to put me
in Paul Fishman`s shoes for a couple of minutes, I think basically you have
to start looking at whether or not Bridget Kelly, divorced mom, four
children, whether or not Paul Fishman believes that perhaps she may be the
weakest link. After all, she was on Front Street when this investigation
first broke. Whether or not David Wildstein, who today was denied
indemnification by the port authority --.


SHARPTON: Let me hold you right there. When you say he was denied
indemnification, that means that the port authority will not pay for his
attorneys, is that correct?

WICE: That`s exactly what that means. That`s a fancy legal term for
you`re on your own there, buddy. And one of the things that I found is in
30-plus years of the criminal justice system is that you`re not just
innocent until proven guilty, you are innocent until proven indigent. And
one of the ways that prosecutors can run you around, and we saw that in the
Tom DeLay case where I`ve been involved for last couple of years, is they
not only try to indict you, they try to bankrupt you. And so, the lawyers
who we have seen bandied about, people like Randy Mastro and Mike Chertoff,
Al, these guys are the cream of the crop. These guys make more money than
A-Rod, and they can hit in October.


SHARPTON: But I think I want to have it real clear so that people
understand that these guys are very, very high-priced lawyers. What they
told Wildstein today by denying him his legal expenses, the port authority,
he will have to pay for his own legal defenses, his own legal bill
throughout this investigation, which is huge when Wildstein has no income
now that we know of, or at least not with the port authority, and he is on
his own.

When you say indigent, I mean, I want people to understand this means he
will have to pay his own legal bills. Randy Mastro and other names you`re
talk about are not there for him.

WICE: No, absolutely not, Al. And that to me is one of the most
compelling developments in the last week. When defendants or suspects are
on their own and they`re not going to be able to look to third parties to
pay their legal bills, it tends to give you a different outlook on life.

But one of the things I think that Paul Fishman has to make clear is that,
again, he is the toughest kid on the block. When you have parallel
investigations as we saw during Iran/contra back in the `80s, Oliver North
was given immunity by Congress, and it ultimately came back to reverse his
conviction when the court of appeals said wait a second, he had immunity
and you still try to go after him and convict him in anyway. Right now,
Paul Fishman, the alpha male, he is the one from where everyone else is
going to take their lead.

SHARPTON: Now give me -- how do they make these guys talk?

WICE: Well, you know, Al, anybody who has ever seen "law & order" in the
first couple of seasons knows that the first folks to the courthouse get
the best deals. And I think what you need to understand is this. The
people who have been subpoenaed, the people who are going to be in the
crosshairs of these investigations, they are not hardened criminals. They
are not made guys. Marty Scorse (ph) is not going to make a gangster movie
about any of these people. And I`m telling you, when they got their
subpoenas, it concentrated their line of thinking greatly.

So what do the feds do? They lead you to believe that unless you come in
and give people up in the food chain above you, that you could very well
see that orange is the new black, and you may be spending some time in
Danbury federal prison. I mean, any time the feds are involved, you and I
both know that the sentences are draconian, a legal word meaning stiff.

SHARPTON: Brian Wice, thanks for your time tonight and have a good

Still ahead, big news tonight about Obamacare, want to see another GOP myth
go poof? That`s coming up.

But first, Rush Limbaugh`s got a new theory about why so many Republicans
are facing legal problems, and it`s got him bouncing his way into tonight`s
gotcha. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Look out. There is a brand-new right wing conspiracy theory in
town. Apparently any Republican who might face legal trouble is a target
of the Obama administration. Federal subpoenas served to groups close to
Christie, conspiracy. Former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife indicted
on federal charges, conspiracy. And remember Dines Desusa (ph), the right-
wing pundit who produced this so-called documentary on President Obama?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama`s joining to America can be traced back to
the independence of Kenya, the land of his fathers.

Obama has a dream, a dream from his father that the sins of colonialism be
set right and America be downsized.


SHARPTON: Well, Desousa (ph) has been indicted on federal campaign finance
charges. So, of course, that`s a conspiracy too.

These guys are facing serious legal questions. But to the right, just
another power grab from the Obama administration.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They are -- the justice system as
run by Democrats is out trying to criminalize as many Republicans and
conservatives as they can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is like Nazi Germany. This is how it happens.
This is how freedom fails.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are criminalizing political dissent in the United
States of America. Welcome to the brave new world of retribution justice.


SHARPTON: Criminalizing political dissent. Pretty sure the justice
department is criminalizing potential crimes, but what about when Democrats
get indicted? Is it a conspiracy when Rod Blagojevich and others get into
trouble? Did a conspiracy theorist think we wouldn`t notice their paranoia
activities? Nice try, but we got you.


SHARPTON: Four days from now, President Obama will deliver his fifth State
of the Union Address to the nation. The White House released these behind-
the-scenes photos, showing the president working on the speech, which will
kick off a year of action. The focus is on equality and the growing
success of Obamacare.

Today, the Obama administration announced 3 million people have signed up
for private plans under the Affordable Care Act. That`s a huge milestone
for the law. And yet another GOP governor, this one in Utah, has announced
his state will expand the Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

This is real progress towards reducing poverty and inequality for millions
of Americans. But Republicans are trying to take a step backwards. Here
is what RNC chairman said about the president`s fight for fairness today.


REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: When the federal government tries to
equalize outcomes, we`re all going to end up equally worse off.
Republicans are going to stand for fairness, freedom, and equal opportunity
for all Americans.


SHARPTON: The Republicans stand for fairness? Really. Tell that to the
1.6 million Americans who lost jobless benefits because of the GOP. Tell
that to the 5 million Americans who should have had health care but don`t
because of the GOP. The American people know who is standing on their side
and who is standing in their way.

Joining me now are Ryan Grim and Karen Finney.

Thank you both for being here tonight.

RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Thanks for having me.


SHARPTON: Karen, the Republicans have an answer to the president`s message
on inequality?

FINNEY: You know, they probably already have written the speech, and it`s
probably going to be all the things that are wrong with it, and it will
probably be -- accuse him of class warfare, and -- all of the rhetoric that
we have heard before. Do they have a real answer with policy ideas? No.
Do they have a rhetorical answer that we`ve probably heard before rewrapped
in a fresh coat of paint? Sure.

SHARPTON: You know, Ryan, while the president is pushing his progressive
agenda, it seems as though the GOP is holding to the same old tricks.
Congressman Paul Ryan told reporters the GOP may use the threat of a
default to sabotage Obamacare. I mean, holding the debt ceiling hostage
again? When will they learn, Ryan?

GRIM: You know, I mean, the problem is that Paul Ryan is talking to a few
different camps at once. And he is trying to play indicate the kind of
radical right in the House with a comment like that. But nobody believes
him, including the radical right.

You know, look at all the trouble they got in for shutting the government


GRIM: If they defaulted on the debt and sparked a global catastrophe, they
now know that they would be blamed. They could plead some ignorance going
into the government shutdown and say, well, they`re going to blame the
president, they`re going to blame Congress, they`re going to blame
Washington in general, it won`t all fall on us. No, actually, it did all
fall on them. So they know that if they brought about default, they would
be blamed for it.

So, therefore, they`re not going to do it.

SHARPTON: You talked about policy, Karen. You know, President Obama`s
State of the Union agenda is clear on policy, raising the minimum wage,
addressing income inequality, universal pre-kindergarten, extending jobless
benefits, and of course, health care.

GRIM: Right.

SHARPTON: And polls show that Americans are on board with the president`s
solutions. Seventy-three percent say we should raise the minimum wage, 63
percent want to extend jobless benefits for the unemployed, 54 percent want
to raise extend taxes on the wealthy and corporations. So, clearly on the
policy side, it seems that most of Americans, if not in some case,
overwhelmingly most of the Americans agree with the president.

FINNEY: They absolutely do. And that was why he was reelected in 2012. I
mean, these ideas that he is talking about are the things that he`s been
very consistent in talking about for quite some time. I think that`s part
of why you`re also going to hear the president, though, talk about how he
may have to do some of these things on his own, because Congress has been
so unwilling to work with him, despite those poll numbers that you`ve just

SHARPTON: You know, Ryan, Louie Gohmert tried to clarify his comments
blaming single mamas for poverty. And the more he wiggled, the deeper he
got because he ended up doing it by equating it, the safety net, to

Watch this.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: We need to encourage and incentivize young
women, not declare war on them by leading them into ruts like the Democrats
did. You want to see who cares, it`s the people that try to help them
reach their potential --


GOHMERT: Not lure them into servitude away from it.


GOHMERT: And so, the problem is the government, not those single moms.


SHARPTON: Servitude?


GRIM: I mean, it`s just so weird and out of touch. You know, it`s hard to
know even where to start with something like that. But, you know, it comes
from Paul Ryan, to go back to what we were talking about earlier. He is
the one who has been popularizing this government as a hammock idea, which
is just monstrously out of touch. It`s insane.

You know, a couple hundred dollars a week is not -- is not a hammock. You
know, that leaves you in poverty. So, you know, the idea that Paul Ryan
and Gohmert there, that they`re trying to get out, is that people are happy
in poverty. You know, it just doesn`t make any sense. Nobody strives to
live in poverty.

FINNEY: Well, but it also shows -- I mean, how little -- I mean, this is a
group of millionaires for the most part, don`t forget. None of -- most of
these individuals, some of the Democratic women actually know what`s it
like to live -- have to rely on these programs. So it`s very easy for them
to pontificate about and make assumptions based on lots of unfair biases
about who the kinds of people are, who uses these programs, what these
programs are meant to do in helping people get out of poverty or a bridge
from -- you know, when they`re having a hard time.

So, I think that`s why so oftentimes the rhetoric is so off the charts
because it`s -- they don`t really understand how people in America are
really living their lives. I mean, he might as well have used the Sugar
Uncle reference like Huckabee did right there.

SHARPTON: But, you know, Ryan, I think along with the fact that in many
cases they may not know how important some of these things are, or they may
not be sensitive to that kind of life in terms of having to face those
options, I think that what really hurts them is people seem to feel they
don`t even care, because they`re not offering an alternative way to deal
with poverty. We can disagree with how to deal with poverty. But when I
disagree with a program and put nothing in its place and then denigrate the
people that are poor, that`s a little deeper than policy disagreements.

GRIM: Right. They want to put everything on the person, as if it`s all
the person`s fault that they`re out of a job. But, you know, if you think
about it this way, if you have one job, and you have five people, when
you`re going to have four unemployed people. And it`s not because those
people lack skills or they lack education or they lack character, but it`s
because there aren`t enough jobs.

SHARPTON: And it`s not because they`re lazy and won`t work.

GRIM: Right.

FINNEY: One Republican member said one of the reasons that we should be
opposed to abortion is so we have more babies, and that`s going to create
more jobs. So, that`s their theory.

SHARPTON: We have to leave it there.

Karen Finney and Ryan Grim, thank you both for your time tonight. I want
for the record you to know 82 percent of Americans think the government
should act to reduce poverty in America, 69 percent think the government
should try to reduce the wealth gap between the rich and the poor. That
the government should do both.

Be sure to catch Karen on "DISRUPT WITH KAREN FINNEY", weekends at 4:00,
right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, President Obama`s outspoken comment on Rush Limbaugh and the
right wing media complex.

Plus, what did Speaker Boehner tell Jay Leno about running for president?

And speaking of late night TV, we`ll tell you why we might be seeing more
mom dancing in the near future.


SHARPTON: The right wing media continues to distort, distort, distort.
But now President Obama has something to say about it. In a new interview,
he slams the talkers on the right, saying, quote, "I`m not the caricature
that you see on FOX News or Rush Limbaugh."

So what does the leader of the Republican Party have to say about that?


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: The subtext of this is that you, if it weren`t
for me or FOX News, you`d love Obama. But you are nothing but sponges.
You are incapable, in other words, of seeing the truth. You believe the
lies about Obama that you hear from me and on FOX News.

Now, who is delusional? Who is absent reality? You or Obama?


SHARPTON: Delusional? Huh?

So, the president hasn`t been distorted or attacked from day one? Really?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama does not have his hand on the Bible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he really president?

GLENN BECK, RADIO HOST: I still don`t know what the man is going to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is not going to succeed. Socialism has failed.

BECK: Deep seated hatred for white people.

LIMBAUGH: In Obama`s America, the white kids now get beat up with the
black kids cheering, yay, right on, right on, right on, right on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) to these Muslim terrorists, some would
say, instead of actually taking them on.

DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: If you are going to be the president of the
United States, you have to be born in this country.

MIKE GALLAGHER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: People are allowed to ask why
President Obama won`t produce his birth certificate.

LIMBAUGH: He is a street thug. As a community organizer, that`s what you
are. You`re a street thug.

I went to bed last night thinking we`ve lost the country. I don`t know how
else you look at this.

Obama may not give up the crown, just like Queen Elizabeth.


SHARPTON: I think we know who is delusional, Mr. Limbaugh, and it`s not
the president.

Joining me now are Joe Madison and Bill Press. Thank you both for coming
on the show tonight.



SHARPTON: Joe, let me start with you.

Why won`t Rush Limbaugh admit to the power he has in riling up the right
wing base?

MADISON: I don`t know the answer to that because, one, he is well paid. I
mean, that`s -- let`s start right there. He is well paid to do this. And
the sad thing is, you know, it`s -- when you`re a general manager or a
program director or you`re a owner, you know what he is saying is not true.

Matter of fact, listen to two things he said here. One they said you won`t
believe the lies we`re telling. He actually said that just a few seconds
ago. He said we`re lying.

And then Sherman used this term "thug." And it just dawned on me what he
was really calling President Obama, and we just had a football player who
said that`s a whole -- that`s a euphemism for another word. But let`s be

SHARPTON: He said it`s an acceptable way of using another term.

MADISON: And Remember, America, remember this -- the first thing out of
Rush Limbaugh`s mouth after the first election of President Obama was "I
hope he fails."

I have never, never heard a personality, a broadcaster ever say after an
election that I hope a duly elected president of the United States fails
because --


SHARPTON: And, Bill --

MADISON: Never, never.

SHARPTON: -- and the whole thing of playing all kinds of racially charged
scenarios on the air from Limbaugh across the board. Yet last night,
conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer accused the president of being
whiney in hitting back against the right wing media. Listen to this.


you are the commander in chief, the leader of the free world, and the most
powerful man on earth who could reduce pieces of the planet to a cinder on
his command to get so whiney.


SHARPTON: You know, if the president was really whiney, why would he give
a pre-Super Bowl interview to this man? Take a listen.


BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: On a personal note, the president told me man-to-
man in December that he would do the interview, and he has kept his word.
I saw him at the Kennedy Center celebration. He doesn`t have to do the
interview. He knows it`s going to be a tough one. And he is coming in
anyway. So, we`re happy about that.


SHARPTON: Why would he -- if he is whiney, why would he give that man the
pre-Super Bowl interview, Bill?

PRESS: First, I want to point out this will be the third interview that
Bill O`Reilly has had with President Obama. Bill Press has not had one.
So, if there is any favoritism here, I get accused of playing favorites
with FOX News.

SHARPTON: Don`t be whiney, Bill. Just tell us why he would do Bill

PRESS: Look, he is doing O`Reilly because first of all, they`re carrying
the Super Bowl. So there you go.


PRESS: But Joe is absolutely right. I mean, I wrote a whole book about
this called "The Obama Hate Machine." This president has been the subject
of more ugly personal attacks, mean attacks aimed at him personally, not at
his policies, than any president since Abraham Lincoln, fuelled by the Koch
brothers and carried, of course, mainly on FOX News and by Rush Limbaugh.

Joe, we just saw some of those clips. They called him a socialist. They
have called him a racist. They`ve called him a communist. I mean, the
street thug, all the name-calling. And it continues.

But I have to say this, Reverend Al. I don`t blame the media entirely, you
know. It`s John Boehner and Mitch McConnell who picked it up. Rush
Limbaugh said I hope he fails. Mitch McConnell says our whole agenda is to
prevent him from getting anything done.

SHARPTON: Now, Joe, you know we also learned that talking about members of
Congress in the media, Louie Gohmert is bringing Sean Hannity as his guest
to the State of the Union address.

MADISON: Well, I`m trying to get Congressional Black Caucus members to
invite me. I think we need to play this game, you know, just as tough as
they want to play it. And if any of them are listening, they ought to
invite you, they ought to invite me, they ought to invite Bill, and let
people understand that we`re not going to sit back here and just let this
party, what I now refer to as -- you know, it used to be the do nothing
Congress. Now, it`s the shutdown party. They shut down bridges, they shut
down minimum wage, and they`re trying to shut down the government.

And that`s all they`ve offered when you really think about it, and it`s
backfiring based on the last polls that you just read prior to this
segment. People now realize it`s not so much Republican versus Democrat,
it`s now -- it`s the face that we`re all in this boat together and the
president has addressed issues that everybody is concerned about. And I
think people are learning that if they keep following the Rush Limbaughs,
who are the aristocracy of the far right, these are folk who are trying to
divide us.

SHARPTON: Before you shut them out, though, Bill, flash, news flash, news
flash. Glenn Beck --


SHARPTON: His eminence Glenn Beck of the aristocracy of the right wing, he
apologized for being divisive while he was on FOX. Listen to this.


BECK: I remember it as an awful lot of fun and that I made an awful lot of
mistakes. And I wish I could go back. And be more uniting in my language,
because I -- I think I played a role unfortunately in helping tear the
country apart. And it`s not who we are.



PRESS: Let me just say don`t believe him for one second. He is -- yes, he
did do more to tear this country apart when he was on FOX News day in and
day out, telling people the government was going to come at you, going to
take your guns. You had to hoard food, you had to hoard medicine, you had
to build a bomb shelter because this government was going to get you.

He left FOX News and he took that same message to "The Blaze", which he
puts out there every day. Just last week, he accused President Obama of
being a traitor because he wasn`t bombing Syria on and because he was
sitting down and talking with Iran.

I mean, Glenn Beck is still one of the most hate provocative people on the

But I want to just add one other thing. In this same interview --

SHARPTON: That`s "The New Yorker".

PRESS: "The New Yorker" interview, there is one other statement, sentence
that the president told David Remnick. He said, "There is no doubt that
there are some folks who just really dislike me because they don`t like the
idea of a black president." You`ve got to put that in the mix of this

SHARPTON: And he also said there were some blacks and whites that maybe
give him the benefit of the doubt because he was black. And I think it was
a very balanced statement. Of course, the right wing said he was playing
the race card.

Joe Madison, Bill Press, I`m going have to leave there it. Thanks for your
time this evening. Have a great weekend.

PRESS: Good to be with you, Rev.

MADISON: Thank you. You, too, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, remember all those Republican myths about health
care? Well, today they came face-to-face with the facts.

But first, why we might be seeing a lot more of the first lady`s epic mom
dance. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Speaker John Boehner was in Los Angeles last night. He made his
first appearance on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno. And I have to give
him credit. He made some news, and he was pretty funny.


JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: Did your parents live to see your success?

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I know what you`re trying
to do.

LENO: No, no. No.

BOEHNER: Oh, yes. I brought my handkerchief.

LENO: You`ve got a (INAUDIBLE).

BOEHNER: I like to play golf. I like to cut my own grass, you know. I do
drink red wine. I smoke cigarettes. And I`m not giving that up to be
president of the United States.

LENO: Right, right. That`s right. That`s not worth it. That`s right.

SHARPTON: He likes his wine and cigarettes, but nice job, Mr. Speaker.

And today, Jimmy Fallon, the man who will take over "The Tonight Show" next
month, he is making news. First Lady Michelle Obama was just announced as
one of his first guests on his first week -- already a lot of talk that
we`ll see a lot more dancing.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, a report from planet reality on the new health
care law. Republicans have always tried fear-mongering to block the law.
They talked about death panels, called it a job killer, socialized
medicine. They warned against a government takeover. They even compared
it to slavery.

Republicans shut down the government over Obamacare. They tried to repeal
it, delay it, defund it and demean it. But none of that has worked.

Enrollment started slow thanks to that faulty website, but it gradually
picked up steam. And now, administration officials think they`ve turned
the corner. Three million people have signed for private plans under
Obamacare, 3 million. And millions more have gained health care through

Throughout it all, the president stood firm in his conviction that this law
would work, that it would help people all across the country finally gain
affordable care. And it has.

He stayed focused and he held on. And now, he`s made a difference.
Reminds me of that old civil rights song -- hold on, hold on. Keep your
eyes on the prize, and hold on.

And he did. And because of that, there is a brighter day for millions of

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton.

"HARDBALL" starts right now.


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