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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

March 26, 2014

Guests: Sheldon Whitehouse, Jackie Speier, Michelle Cotter, Jim Cavanaugh,
Michael Pangia

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

Tonight`s lead, the GOP`s health care freak out. We are just five days
away from the deadline to sign up for health care. Democrats are racing to
get people covered and Republicans can`t handle it.

Today, the Obama administration announced people who start the enrollment
process before Monday`s deadline can get an extension if they don`t finish
in time. It`s just like if you are in line to vote when the polls close
you still get to vote. But to the right it`s another excuse to attack the
law and the president.


loopholes into the law already the administration is now resorting to an
honor system to enforce it. What the hell is this, a joke?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the extension means is I tried to sign up but
couldn`t finish the job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president continues to make Swiss cheese out of
this law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is more about making certain that the administration
is not embarrassed by the enrollment number that was supposed to be
generated on March 31st.


SHARPTON: A joke? Swiss cheese? I mean, what are they talking about?
But it`s funny to hear Carl Rover attack the extension. His old boss did
the same thing.

In 2006, President Bush wanted seniors to sign up for the new Medicare
prescription drug benefit. And just days before the deadline he gave some
of them extra time.


for extra help, if you are a low income senior, the May 15 deadline does
not apply to you. In other words, you can apply after May 15 without
penalty. And that`s important for low income seniors to understand. We
want everybody to sign up.


SHARPTON: So when President Bush grants an extension it`s no big deal, but
when President Obama does it it`s terrible. You got to love that logic.
The truth is the demand for health care is getting higher and higher. Over
the weekend a million people visited There were another
million visits Monday and 1.2 million on Tuesday. People need this law and
they like what`s in it. A new poll finds 80 percent of Americans support
letting young adults stay on their parents` plans, 77 percent favor the
law`s free preventive care, 74 percent are for the Medicaid expansion, and
70 percent support ending discrimination based on preexisting conditions.

This law is doing great things. All the president wants is more people to
benefit from it. That`s what Republicans are complaining about and it is
pretty sad.

Joining me now are Joy Reid and Jonathan Capehart.

Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Joy, slamming President Obama for extending the health care
signup deadline. I mean, when President Bush did the same thing, what is
your reaction to this?

REID: Well, I mean, this has always been a numbers game, right? For the
Republicans, the idea is that the more that they can find reasons to attack
the law they see this is in their benefit in terms of 2014. And for the
president and the Democrats, the more people who sign up and actually have
health care, the more the law is rooted. It is not going anywhere.

But if you have five million people, that is just the private health care
signups. When you add Medicaid expansion signups, when you are talking
about, you know, 15 to 20 million people in theory having health care that
now they have, it becomes almost impossible to message against it. You
have that many people invested in the law.

So, of course, the White House wants as many people as possible. And you
made a perfect analogy. It is like the voting roles. People leaving the
voting roles open later because people are in line.

Right. remember Charlie Kristoff (ph) and for doing that with this
governor of Florida. So Republicans, what they really would love to do is
minimize and not let the White House get to that six million number that
they said was their goal.

So, it is not really surprising that the Republicans message that way. I
think that for the Democrats, what they have to do is the White House
needed to get in front of that messaging a little earlier.

SHARPTON: They were confusing people.

You know, Jonathan, I thought we had seen every kind of attack on the
health care law, but a Republican congressional candidate has a new ad
where he actually shoots a copy of the law. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks like we will have to resort to more extreme
measures to get rid of Obamacare and replace it with a more market based


SHARPTON: I bet you thought you had seen it all, too, Jonathan. I mean,
this is amazing. And he is asking people to send him to Congress when he
literally puts out an ad shooting the health care bill. That is very
congressional-like, you know, very much.

CAPEHART: Yes. It`s very high brow and very suited to someone who should
be in the halls of Congress helping to pass laws that help people in this
country. You know, in all fairness, he is not the first one to take a gun
to a piece of legislation that people don`t like. Senator Manchin of West
Virginia did the same thing to the cap and trade bill when he ran for the
senate the first round. So this isn`t anything new.

But what this does is it sort of makes very graphic the type of anger that
there is for the Affordable Care Act that has been stoked by Republicans.
And I`m sure this fellow is running in a district that is air tight
Republican. So he is not doing anything that is outrageous to the people
he is hoping will send him to Congress. But as the chart showed the
Affordable Care Act, Obamacare if you ask people if they like Obamacare
they say they hate it. But if you just read to them the provisions that
you outlined and the outset of this segment, they love them.

SHARPTON: Eighty percent, 77, 74, 70 depending on the question.

But Joy, when you see ads like that it, shows you the kind of venom that
they are building up. And we are talking about providing health care for

REID: Right.

SHARPTON: Fine. We can disagree and say no, I don`t like the president`s
policy here or mine. But why this venom? Why this hatred? And why no
alternative plan?

REID: Right. And fighting against a phantom, right? He is shooting
pieces of paper out of a fake canon because they are also fighting against
the phantom and not the health care law. Look, a lot of people who are
saying they hate Obamacare the most have it.

I mean, like there are a lot of people signing up for it and saying you
will never take this away from me out of my cold dead hand when you take
away my Medicaid expansion. And then, you say to them, that is Obamacare.
And they are like well, good. I still hate it.

But once they have it, the Republicans know that a year from now or two
years from now, especially in 2016 it will be nearly impossible to run
those kinds of ads because you will then be telling people who actually
have the insurance. We are going to take that away from you. We are going
to attempt to cancel this law that gave you for the first time the ability
to go to the doctor.

SHARPTON: Exactly.

REID: That will be just as impossible to --

SHARPTON: And to extend your children in terms of coverage.

But you know, Jonathan, back to the confusion of this extension and I would
say the purposeful confusion by some on the right, you had two Republicans,
high ranking members of the party use the day`s announcement to accuse the
president of being lawless. Watch this.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Has Obama ever met a deadline? It
is impossible for average citizen to know whether he complying with the law
or not.

BOEHNER: The dates are the dates and the law is the law. The president
doesn`t have the ability to change the law whenever he wants which he
continues to do.


SHARPTON: I mean, Jonathan, why do they keep going back to this attack?
Saying that if you are in line and you are already in the process that you
can continue is not breaking the law.

CAPEHART: Right. Look, Rev., this is all part of a concerted effort by
the Republican party to undermine the president but to also undermine the
law. It is all about trying to erode people`s confidence that the law
which was passed by Congress and upheld as constitutional by the Supreme
Court of the United States that this law is somehow, is somehow not
working, somehow not really the law of the land. So that is why the
president is tinkering with it.

What Republicans and Joy pointed out, Republicans know that the moment
people understand and know that what they have is something that the
Republicans want to take away is the moment that people will revolt
especially because it is health care. People are very emotionally tied to
health care and for good reason.

And the other problem in the long run that the Republicans have is that the
president is not really paying attention to the day to day attacks from
Speaker Boehner and from Rush Limbaugh. He is looking at the long-term
benefits that this law will have, that the millions of people that it will

So I think from the administration`s point of view and certainly from the
president`s point of view, if he has to take his lumps because he extends
deadlines to make sure people who are already in line get insurance and
that those people become part of the roles of the millions of people who
have health care who didn`t have it before. I think from the president`s
point of view and the administration`s point of view, those are lumps he is
willing to take.


REID: And Rev., I think that the administration -- and again, I mean,
letting the center of Medicare and Medicaid services take the lead on this
was probably not politically the way to go. I think the White House should
have message on it.

But I actually, in looking at it, think their calculation is who would they
rather have mad at them? The people at FOX News who are going to be mad at
them anyway no matter what or people on the right who always mad at them or
people who started the signup process and then get cut off at the knees
because of the deadline. And then those people would be immediately by
scooped up by the right.

SHARPTON: As well as if you are sincerely trying to service people in the
health care, you are not only dealing with who you would rather have mad at
you, who are you trying to serve? You are trying to serve the people
trying to sign up. They are not trying to serve the people that no matter
what you do --

REID: They are going to be mad anyway.

SHARPTON: If President Obama walked on water, FOX would say he just can`t

Joy Reid and Jonathan Capehart, thanks for your time tonight.

REID: Thanks, Rev.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: And be sure to watch Joy on "the Reid Report" week days at 2:00
p.m. eastern right here on MSNBC.

Still ahead, it`s the GOP`s newest game, who wants to marry a billionaire.
We`ll tell you why the biggest names in the party are flocking to Vegas to
meet with this guy.

Plus Darrell Issa is back with yet another hearing on yet another phony
scandal. Did he cut anyone`s mic today?

Plus, big news in the search for the missing plane is being called the most
credible lead we have in the hunt for flight 370.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Democrats are making a big bet on the minimum wage while
Republicans are betting on billionaires. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Democrats are fighting for the American people but Republicans
are fighting over who gets the biggest billionaire.

Tomorrow, some of the GOP`s top presidential hopefuls, Jeb Bush, Chris
Christie, Scott Walker and John Kasich will head to Vegas to kiss the ring
of GOP billionaire Sheldon Adelson. He is the casino tycoon who is worth
$38 billion. And he spent $98 million on GOP candidates and causes last
election. That is the guy who all these Republicans are trying to win
over. That is their base.

And that is the GOP`s problem in a nut shell. They care more about people
who spend millions of dollars on elections than the millions of people who
actually vote in the elections.

Now Senate Democrats are making a big push to make that difference crystal


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Democrats are fighting for a fair shot
for everyone while Republicans are doing the bidding of the Koch brothers,
the wealthy and huge corporations.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: Middle class families want to know why
there are two sets of rules. And why they are subject to the ones that
keep them struggling to make ends meet?

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: Democrats will fight to restore the
promise to millions of Americans who feel trapped in a rigged game where
heads, the wealthy win, and tails the rest of us loose.


SHARPTON: Today, they announced a campaign focused on raising the minimum
wage, fair pay for women, making college more affordable and closing tax
loopholes for corporations. Democrats are planning votes on each and every
one of them in the coming weeks, forcing Republicans to explain why they
oppose issues that are popular with the American people.

Joining me now is Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat from Rhode Island.

Senator, thank you for being here.

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, (D) RHODE ISLAND: My pleasure, Reverend. Good to
be with you.

SHARPTON: Good to have you.

Now, why do Republicans think these kinds of pocket book issues will make a
difference against Republicans and their billionaire cronies?

WHITEHOUSE: Well, we want to make sure that we are doing the right thing
by the American people as this election comes on. The Republicans are kind
of going into the election vortex and they are gathering around their
billionaires. But we want to be focused on things that matter to regular
families, things like minimum wage, and paycheck fairness for women, things
like college affordability and job training, things like manufacturing and

If you look at polls and if you talk to people at home, those are issues
that Americans are concerned about and they want to see us act on them. So
we think it is the right thing to do for the country and we need to
convince Americans that we can give them a fair shot. That we can change
the rules back so it is not all for the billionaires, it is not all for the
special interests, it is not all for the big corporations, but we can give
Americans a fair shot at the American dream and the things that their
fathers had confidence in and then their mothers had confidence in, but
they don`t have confidence in any longer.

SHARPTON: You know, Senator, new White House report shows who benefits
from increasing the minimum wage, 2.8 million single parents, 80 percent of
them are women. These are the kinds of people that will benefit from
raising the minimum wage. This is real stuff, Senator.

WHITEHOUSE: It sure is and a lot of it is people who have worked for a
long time in their lives. That is not just, you know, college kids and
their first job. And I think in America, if you are willing to work a full
40-hour work week at the minimum wage, then you shouldn`t be in poverty.
We should have a minimum wage that is back to where it was back in the past
in terms of buying power and that gives families a fair shot at working out
of poverty if they are willing to work full time.

Right now the minimum wage doesn`t do that. And that will lift local
businesses when those families have more money to spend. This is an
economic lift for everybody but is also important for people who are
willing to work that hard at those jobs, that they shouldn`t be condemn to

SHARPTON: You know, Republican Senator Ted Cruz has been using this line
out on the speaking circuit. Watch this.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Let me tell you the single biggest lie in all of
politics is that Republicans are the party of the rich.


SHARPTON: I mean the party of the rich. I mean, how can any Republican
say that with a straight face given the policies and agenda that they are

WHITEHOUSE: He actually meant to say they are the party of the super rich.
And it is not enough just to be rich any longer. They have closed the
(INAUDIBLE). Now they are only listening to billionaires.

SHARPTON: You know, Americans for Prosperity which is backed by the
billionaire Koch brothers has spent $30 million on ads against your
Democratic colleagues in states like Louisiana, Michigan and North
Carolina. How do Democrats answer that?

WHITEHOUSE: I think you just have to point out the motivations here. I
mean, for the Koch brothers, spending all this money in politics and
particularly when they want to do it anonymously, when they want to hide
the spending, that is a pretty good sign that they are up to no good. And
when you look at their businesses, when you look at how big they are as
polluters, they may be America`s biggest polluters. So when they say we
want less regulation that will help America, what they mean is we want less
regulation of our pollution. That will help us make money.

And you go into races like Kay Hagan in North Carolina and you see what the
big polluters have done dumping their coal ash and the coal ash ponds into
rivers. And then, you look at the Koch brothers down there saying, we want
less regulation and we will spend this money against Kay Hagan. I think
people will start to connect the dots that these billionaires don`t have
America`s best interests at heart.

SHARPTON: Senator Whitehouse, thank you so much for your time tonight.

WHITEHOUSE: My pleasure, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, fresh off cutting Democrat`s mics at a bogus hearing,
Darrell Issa is back at it again. What did he have in store today?

Plus, for years Rush Limbaugh and those on the right have attacked people
on food stamps. But today`s move is a new low.

And Senator John McCain`s blatant hypocrisy on Russia makes him tonight`s
got you.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: The biggest fight over what to do about Russia isn`t Republican
versus president Obama, it is John McCain versus John McCain. The
Republican senator has been flipping and flopping all over the place when
it comes to Russia`s invasion of Ukraine. Last week he called for


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, I think economic sanctions are a very
important step. Identify these klepto-crats. Russia is a gas station mass
grading as country. Economic sanctions are important.


SHARPTON: But, the next day when the White House announced exactly those
kinds of sanctions, Senator McCain blasted it, saying Putin wouldn`t be
encouraged by the president`s quote timidity. McCain was for sanctions
before he was against them. Then he went on to offer this advice to
president Obama.


MCCAIN: I would look at other areas, you know, throw them out of the G-8,
of course. She should be the G-7.


SHARPTON: You are in luck, Senator McCain. That is the plan. The G-7
leaders decided to kick Russia out until it changes courses. So I`m sure
McCain will want to applaud this latest move, right? Wrong.


MCCAIN: I`m sure that that has got to reduce Vladimir to tears that he is
not going to be able to be in the G-8. Take over part of the country and
you don`t get to go to the next meeting in some wonderful European capital.


SHARPTON: Reduce Vladimir to tears? He is mocking the very action he
called for? Apparently Senator McCain doesn`t think President Obama can do
anything right. Or was he this tough on President Bush when Russia invaded
the country of Georgia in 2008. No.


MCCAIN: The time now is for the United States of America to act united on
behalf of the people of the country of Georgia and not do a lot of partisan


SHARPTON: Senator McCain hates partisan sniping unless he is the one doing
it. He is totally for sanctions until he says they are weak. He wants
Russia out of the G-8 then he mocks it.

Did Senator McCain think we ignore his flip-flops from here to Moscow?
Nice try, but the answer is because we got you.


SHARPTON: For years now Darryl Issa has attacked the President, vilified
the Attorney General and conducted a witch hunt in his House committee.
And we saw that yet again today during yet another hearing on the so-called
IRS scandal.


REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Does nonpartisan nonpolitical agency
target certain groups based on their names or political ideology? The IRS


SHARPTON: Congressman Issa even had the nerve to talk about the IRS
playing politics despite his last IRS hearing, you know the one where he
ended the session without letting a single Democrat speak?


ISSA: We are adjourned. Close it down.


Thank you.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: If you will sit down and allow me to
ask a question. I am a member of the Congress of the United States of
America. I am tired of this.

ISSA: Well --

CUMMINGS: We have members over here who represent 700,000 people. You
cannot just have a one-sided investigation. There is absolutely something
wrong with that and that is absolutely un-American.


SHARPTON: Un-American is right. Congressman Issa has had a vendetta
against this administration. And it doesn`t matter if these hearings turn
up nothing. He spent the last five years searching for scandal


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is a failure. It needs to be investigated. Our
committee can investigate.

ISSA: It is a story of political interference.

And that includes Fast and Furious.

We are here today because failures within the IRS are not isolated to just
tax exempt division.

Four months ago, when ObamaCare open for business -- this Fast and Furious
and things like it are the beginning of an attack in the second term, on
the second amendment.

9/11 attack on Benghazi. This hearing is now over but this investigation
is not.


SHARPTON: You see the investigation is never over with Congressman Issa
even if there is nothing there.

Joining me now is democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier. She serves on
the committee that held the hearing earlier today and "The Daily Beast"
Michelle Cotter. Thank you both for coming on the show.


REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Speier, let me start with you. Yet another
hearing but at least Congressman Issa didn`t cut anyone`s mics off. Baby
steps, right?

SPEIER: That`s right. We got to be great for the fact that he allowed the
democratic process to sort of work, we all got to say a few words.

SHARPTON: I mean, more and more of the same. Clearly this has every
appearance of a witch hunt, congresswoman.

SPEIER: Here is the problem. We have a chairman of a committee who is
supposed to be objective who goes on FOX News before we have the first
hearing and says, there was White House involvement in the targeting by the
IRS. We then have over seven hearings. The Ways and Means Committee has
another nine hearings. There are 400,000 documents that are provided to
the Oversight Committee. And other 700,000 documents to Ways and Means.
And guess what. There is no smoking gun. There is no relationship between
the White House and IRS.

And then the inspector general does an investigation. And I might add the
inspector general is a Republican, used to be a Republican staffer,
contributed to Republican candidates. He comes back and says, you know,
what? No White House involvement whatsoever. And yet we continue to have
these charades, these witch hunts week after week after week. Mind you,
the American people are concerned about whether or not GM had information
about vehicles that should have been recalled. We have Target with
hundreds of millions of I.D.s that have been breached and data that has
been breached. Do we investigate any of those things?

SHARPTON: All of which your committee could be looking into.

SPEIER: That`s absolutely correct.

SHARPTON: And on top of that Michelle, even before today`s hearing, the
GOP IRS investigation had cost millions. I mean, it was way over the top.
Through mid-February it had involved 16 Congressional hearings, 255 IRS
employees spent more than 97,000 hours responding to requests. It caused
more than $14 million Michelle, only to learn that there was no evidence of
political motivation.

COTTLE: Well, that`s what tends to happen with these investigations. They
take on a life of their own, they spiral out of control and then people get
invested in them and they can`t stand not to find something. And you see
this over and over again. And it shouldn`t particularly be a surprise with
Congressman Issa. I mean, we are talking about a guy who when he was
getting ready to take over the committee announced that what he would like
to see was hearings seven days a week, 40 weeks out of recession. So, he
pretty clearly signaled early on that this is what he would be doing.

SHARPTON: You know, what bothers me, the other part of this,
Congresswoman, is the right wing fails to acknowledge that the IRS was
checking out liberal groups, too. I mean, this is not only there is no
evidence about White House involvement. They are ignoring the evidence
that people on the left are considered liberal that went through the IRS
scrutiny on these same issues.

The truth of the matter is that the law provides that these 501c4 have to
be primarily for a social welfare purpose. So the IRS has to check these
applications to determine whether or not they are primarily social welfare
or are they more political. And yes, they did look at progressive groups
and they looked at conservative groups. Now, the other part of this that
people seem to forget is that these groups whether they are Tea Party
groups or progressives group could have self-certified themselves as 501c4
and gone about their business. So that`s what makes this whole process so
outrageous. And the amount of money being spent so indefensible when we
have so many important issues that are life and death in nature that we are
not addressing.

SHARPTON: You know, Michelle, today another report on another GOP witch
hunt, Benghazi. The Associated Press says that investigations into
Benghazi have cost the Pentagon millions of dollars and thousands of hours
in personnel time.

COTTLE: Exactly. And this is a particularly sore issue for Republicans
many whom deep in their soul believe that this President just can`t handle
National Security and that there must be something there that they can find
and point to prove this. I mean, now it is also making for a good
political line. But, you know, fundamentally a lot of Republicans just
feel like this President has been a complete disaster and they need to kind
of validate that with this investigation.

SHARPTON: Well, there is no wonder, Congresswoman, the GOP is so obsessed
with scandal. Over on FOX News they even used the Malaysia airplane
tragedy to bring up Benghazi. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The Malaysian government was obviously blindsided. They
didn`t know what to do and it is sort of their Benghazi scandal.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Leading the nightly new newscast in America the last 11
days, these newscast don`t focus on things like Benghazi, Fast and Furious
and IRS.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: America could close this investigation fast if it wanted
to. Well, as long as the plane is not hidden in Benghazi or the IRS


SHARPTON: Two hundred and thirty nine people probably dead according to
the government of Malaysia. Two hundred and thirty nine people dead, three
Americans, but they suggest it was just some ploy to keep Benghazi out of
the news? I mean, this is outrageous even conservatives I would hope,

SPEIER: Well, the fact that we have had 50 hearings on Benghazi, 50, four
Americans lost their lives. It was regrettable. It was painful, it was a
terrible tragedy. What we should be focusing on is making sure that our
embassies and counselor offices around the country and around the world are
indeed safe. The truth of the matter is the "Washington Post" has actually
given Darrel Issa 12 Pinocchio noses in the past year just for his
misstatements on Benghazi. Why don`t we just going to tell the truth?

SHARPTON: Twelve Pinocchio noses. Wow! Well, thank you very much
Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Michelle Cottle, thank you for your time
this evening.

COTTLE: Thanks, Rev.

SPEIER: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Up next, what`s going on? The computers of the pilot behind
missing Flight 370. Tonight the FBI says they are close to a major

Plus, Jimmy Fallon is coming to Scott Brown`s rescue. Wait until you hear
the new campaign slogans he has cooked up for the former senator.


SHARPTON: Tonight investigators are chasing down what could be a major
break in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. A French satellite
firm says they have spotted 122 pieces of debris in the search area almost
1,600 miles off the coast of Australia. These photos taken Sunday show
objects that are anywhere from three to 70 feet long and are described as
bright, possibly metal objects. One is reportedly the size of a plane

Experts are saying it`s the most credible lead so far in the search for the
missing plane. Investigators have reduced the search area but it`s still
the size of Texas and over 1,000 miles away from any land. Strong winds
and high waves are slowing search efforts, frustrating families still
waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones. One Australian official
says, quote, "We are not searching for a needle in a haystack." We are
still trying to define where the haystack is.

Joining me now is Jim Cavanaugh and NBC Law Enforcement analyst Michael
Pangia, aviation attorney and safety specialist. Thanks for being on the
show tonight.



SHARPTON: Let`s focus on these new debris photos, Jim. How likely is it
that this is plane wreckage?

CAVANAUGH: Well, it`s a good lead, Reverend Al. I mean, it`s a good lead.
You know, there is a lot of stuff in the water there. You know, planes do
have things that float. There is seat cushions, there`s life vests. You
know, if it is debris maybe they will be able to recover something. The
safety of life at sea, you know, has highly reflective materials on life
vests for example and mariners might have a chance to spot something. But
there is a lot of debris in the ocean and that is a large area. So, I
think we just have to, you know, maybe hope for the families that it might
be something.

SHARPTON: Michael, do you agree that these debris photos are the best lead
we have had?

PANGIA: It is the only lead, Reverend Al. And it`s a hope really right
now. So, we really don`t know. We have no positive confirmation that that
debris belongs to the aircraft. Now, if it does belong to the aircraft,
then we have narrowed the search down to the size of the state of Texas.
So, and then multiply that by the fact that it is in 23,000 feet of water
in that spot. Now, it took us three years to find the black boxes. They
are orange really but we call them black boxes. They are so important
because they contain all the data of the aircraft, the health of the
engines, the temperatures, conversations that may have happened in the
cockpit, noises in the cockpit.

That is what is in those black boxes. Now, it took two years to find that
in the Air France accident. And we knew where Air France went down. And
Air France went down in only about 8,000 to 10,000 feet of water. We are
talking two-and-a-half to three times that depth in the Indian Ocean. And
Reverend Al, in that place of the world, a calm sea has seven foot waves.
And they have been known to take aircraft carriers and make them float like
pieces of Styrofoam. So, even if we find we could narrow it down. Now you
have to take robotics and sonar to now detect where those black boxes are.
They are only going to ping for about ten more days.

SHARPTON: Today there is news that the plane sent a final incomplete ping
just eight minutes after the previously last known contact. Michael, what
could a partial ping imply?

PANGIA: I`m sorry, Reverend Al?

SHARPTON: What could a partial ping imply?

PANGIA: It is just a possible location of where it saw the airplane last.


PANGIA: And after that now you have the flight. Now if it hits the water
you have all of the currents that have been occurring. And they are heavy
currents over the last two weeks. So if this debris belongs to this
aircraft, that make it confirm that they belong to this aircraft, now they
have to do computations to determine where it may have hit and where this
current may have brought this to, you know, and work backwards. And then
you have to put sonar devices down and working these things on ships that
are pitching up and down 50 feet sometimes in the rough part, one of the
roughest oceans in the world is very, very, very difficult.

And then when you get the robotics down, those robotics travel about one
knot, that`s one to two miles an hour and then you have thousands of square
miles. So, there is a possibility that they will never find it. We have
hopes, of course. We don`t give up hope. But there is a possibility it
will never be found.

SHARPTON: Wow! You know, Jim, the FBI says it is almost finished with its
analysis of the hard drives of the pilot and the co-pilot. What are they
looking for, Jim?

CAVANAUGH: Well, they are looking for anything that might indicate that
this flight path that was really unusual, you know, Reverend Al, if you
split this event into two parts, right when the plane went to this waypoint
-- I believe where it was supposed to be and then it turned west and it
went over the Malacca Strait, the dog legged north into the Andaman Sea.
It was picked up by the Thailand radar and button hooked back down and flew
south if this information holds up into oblivion.

And so, this route between navigational waypoints and back around, you
know, after we have all the communications lost, the transponders, the
anchor, radio communication and it happens right after the point, right at
the point of handoff between air traffic controls. You know, accidents are
random. They happen at random. But criminal acts happen at a certain time
for a certain purpose. And if we think back at 9/11, Reverend Al, and you
know, when that first plane hit, wow, we were all agassed.


CAVANAUGH: When the second plane hit, what did we think? What did we all
collectively think around the world? I mean, what did we think? We didn`t
think that was an accident. And this same event has some elements to that.
So, you can`t rule out an accident. You have to press like Michael said.
He is right on every point he made. I agree. You have to press that. But
to me this tilts a little bit, just a little bit to a human hands for a
criminal purpose by somebody on that plane that has some knowledge of
flight systems. And those leads got to be kicked around. The FBI is on
it, the Malaysian police. We may get some answers there before we get them
in the ocean.

SHARPTON: Let me quickly put this in front of you. Defense Secretary
Chuck Hagel said today, he is not ruling out terrorism. Watch.


CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: On the terrorism question, I don`t think
at this point we can rule anything in or out. I think we have to continue
to search as we are until we have more information we don`t know.


SHARPTON: Michael, quickly, yes or no, is there still a chance this plane
was hijacked?

PANGIA: Well, you know, it seems to me, yes, of course. And the
overwhelming probability right now from all the facts that we can possibly
gather is that either the crew did it or there was some intervention with
the crew because a plane doesn`t suddenly turn -- see these pilots are not
really flying these planes. They are on flight management systems.


PANGIA: And for the plane to suddenly make this kind of a sharp turn and
then to fly along all of that distance without any communication, something
was interfering with somebody. So, all of these -- so, we can`t rule out a

SHARPTON: I am going to have to leave it there. Jim Cavanaugh and Michael
Pangia, thank you both for your time tonight.

PANGIA: Thanks, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Rush Limbaugh and the gang have villainized those on food
stamps. But now they`ve reached a new law.

Plus Scott Brown, whatever comment got the Jimmy Fallon treatment last
night, it will make you laugh. Next.


SHARPTON: Scott Brown is getting a lot of attention lately. The former
Massachusetts senator changed his permanent residence to New Hampshire and
is already in campaign mode for that Senate seat. We mentioned last night
how he responded to critics who say he is not really a New Hampshire guy.
Quote, "Do I have the best credentials?" Probably not, because you know
whatever but I have long and strong ties to this state. Cause you know
whatever. Jimmy Fallon had some fun with that last night.

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown is now running for Senate in a
completely different state, now he`s running New Hampshire. In a new
interview, he`s talking about whether he had the best credentials to
represent New Hampshire. He said, this is an actual quote, "probably not
cause you know whatever."


Really? Pretty nonchalant if you asked me. But it`s not surprising when
you check out a few of these campaign slogans. Take a look at this. First
of all, "I`m Scott Brown, if you have time vote for me if not that`s cool,


Next one says, Scott Brown for Senate or whoever, whatever, forever. I
mean, the last one is totally lazy, look at this, hey, sup? I mean, that`s
cool man.



SHARPTON: And today Brown tweeted Fallon appreciate the help on campaign
slogans. Totes cool is trending in New Hampshire or whatever. I`m glad he
has a sense of humor because the fun is just getting started.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight an offensive talking point about food stamps
that just won`t go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Can people collecting food stamps in Colorado add
marijuana to the shopping list? Right now the answer is yes.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Supplemental nutritional assistance
program. The buy beer program with a government credit card.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Studies show that people on welfare are higher users of
drugs that people not on welfare.


SHARPTON: It`s offensive. It is not true but Republicans are still trying
to put that into law. In Georgia, the state`s Republican governor is
expected to sign a bill allowing state workers to drug test food stamp
recipients. The bill requires, quote, "Reasonable suspicion before the
drug test can be ordered." What is reasonable suspicion? Being poor?
Being black? Being a single mom? Adding insult to injury this bill would
force some of these poor people to pay for their own drug tests, $17

We saw this experiment before in Florida and it failed miserably. Just 2.6
percent of people signing up for welfare in Florida failed the drug test.
It is actually lower than the rate of drug use in the state at large.
Let`s quit scapegoating people that need help. When you do that you show
more about yourself than you do the people that will mostly overwhelmingly
come out clean in a drug test.

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


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