PoliticsNation, Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

November 5, 2014

Guest: Ed Rendell; Josh Barro; Dana Milbank, Jamal Simmons, Jess McIntosh,
Tara Dowdell, Patrick Murphy

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

Tonight`s lead, Republicans say they want to compromise. But do they mean
it? Last night voter gave GOP control of the Senate. And today, both
President Obama and senator McConnell talked about finding common ground


new Congress to make the next two years as productive as possible.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: To start with the view that maybe
there are some thing we can agree on to make progress of the country.

OBAMA: Push hard to close some of these divisions, break through some of
the grid lock and get stuff done.

MCCONNELL: There will be no government shutdown to know the (INAUDIBLE).

OBAMA: For all the cynic has say otherwise, I continue to believe we`re
simply more than a check of red and blue states. We are the United States.


SHARPTON: Now, you could be forgiven for getting whip lash from that if
you know McConnell as the guy had a wanted to make President Obama a one-
term president. But it was the right note for a leader with the new
responsibility to govern.

But despite today`s optimism, it was obvious major disagreements remain.

First up, could be immigration reform. With the president today pledging
to take executive action despite warning from Senator McConnell.


OBAMA: Before the end of the year, we`re going to take whatever lawful
actions that I can take, that I believe will improve the functioning of our
immigration system. Let`s figure out what we can do awfully through
executive actions to approve the functioning of the existing system.

MCCONNELL: The president choosing to do a lot of things unilaterally on
immigration be a big mistake. It is like waving a red flag in front of a
bull. I hope he won`t do that because I do think it poisons the well.


SHARPTON: The president making it clear, he is not nervous about the GOP
rhetoric. And he is taking the long view when it come to the midterm
elections. Every single president who has been reelected in modern history
has lost Senate seats in the six-year midterm, every one of them. The
exception was President Clinton who benefited from the GOP`s overreach with
impeachment. So while President Obama is looking for common ground, he is
also committed to fighting for his beliefs.


OBAMA: Obviously, Republicans had a good night and they deserve credit for
running good campaigns. But the principles that we`re fighting for, the
thing that motivate me single day and motivate my staff every day, those
things won`t change.

I think there are some concrete things we can do to make sure that wages
and incomes doing up. More than anything, what I want to community over
these next few fish, the promise and possibility of America.


SHARPTON: There is a lot on the line and a lot to get done in the next two

Joining me now are former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell and MSNBC`s Abby
Huntsman. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, do you think Republican will actually work
with President Obama now that they have control of the Senate?

RENDELL: I think they have to, Rev. I think the American people now have
said, OK, you guys have the entire Congress. Let see you do something.
And I don`t think they can just pass bills that they know the president is
going to veto.

They have to work and reach out to the president. So if they want the
keystone pipeline, they have to make sure that there are a lot of thing in
there for energy like extending the production tax credit. Something that
the president can give a little bit on and they give a little bit on. And
it comes together.

If they don`t govern and it can`t be just trade and it can`t be just tax
reform. Because even within the framework of tax reform, we are going to
lower the rates, corporate tax rate. But which of those loopholes are
going to go. And then the money we save from removing the loophole, does
that go into infrastructure and growth?

SHARPTON: But when you say it can`t be just those things, what things can
they do tangibly to show that they`re willing to move and govern and meet
the president halfway?

RENDELL: Well, no question. They can put together a comprehensive
infrastructure bill. We need it. We know it is important for economic
growth of the country. We know it will create well paying jobs. They have
a lead on that and not say, well, we can`t fund it. We have to find a way
to fund it. And if that means a modest raise in the gas tax, an index to
inflation, it has to be done.

SHARPTON: OK, let me hold you right there.

Abby, you`re a Republican.


SHARPTON: Will the Republicans, now that they are in charge of the Senate,
and can govern, will they meet halfway on something like infrastructure to
provide jobs, even if it means a lower gas tax. Is that something that`s

HUNTSMAN: Viable is one thing. Will they do it is another thing. Ed
Rendell makes a good point. That`s the main message from last night is the
American people are totally fed up. You know, they`re not happy with where
we are right now. They`re not happy with where we`re headed. So, I think
they took their anger out last night on Democrats.

But look, the country is not happy with either parties. The Republicans
should not be skipping through the halls at this own because people are
frustrated. Nothing is getting done. The one word we keep hearing is we
are going to work together. We need --

SHARPTON: But it`s a word. I mean, we want to see --

HUNTSMAN: Compromise, which a word that we never hear. And you think
about the next two years, the governor mention a few things, I think. The
corporate tax reform is one trade. Infrastructure. Nothing big that we
have to really look at this in a proper perspective. I don`t think
anything huge is going to get done.

Also, I would say that the president does move for on immigration, we`ve
seen what happens before when he did with it the health care bill.
Republicans don`t respond well to that.

SHARPTON: But let`s talk about that in a minute, Governor Rendell.

I was in a meeting with President Obama this afternoon. He met with six or
seven of us civil rights leaders. Talked about immigration and voting
rights. Immigration is something clearly he is saying he is going forward
on. But look at this. It has been 496 days since the Senate passed
immigration reform last year with 14 Republicans joining the Democrats to
support. McConnell says President Obama should wait. The problem wasn`t
the Senate, it was the Republican House. So what`s changed? Why shouldn`t
the president act, Governor?

RENDELL: Well, I think the president should act. I think what the
president should do is announce what he is going to do by executive action
and say, I`m going to do these executive actions and I`m going to do them
for the next nine months. It is my hope that in that nine months period,
the Congress will act and legislate in all of these areas and send me a
good comprehensive immigration reform bill. If they do so, I will let the
executive order -- I withdraw he executive order. If they don`t, we`ll
keep it in place and go forward.

So I think there he`s saying, I`m acting but I`m giving you guys the chance
to do it legislatively because you say you can do it legislatively. Call
him on it. Give him a time limit. Say, OK, by August 1st, I want a bill
on my desk. But act now and say, if you pass a bill and send to it me and
it is a bill I can sign, I`ll withdraw the executive order.

SHARPTON: All right, Abby, let`s to go something else. It is clear today
there is going to be a big fight over the affordable care act. Listen to
what President Obama and Senator McConnell said about that.


OBAMA: Efforts that would take away health care from the 10 million people
who now have it and the millions more who are eligible to get it. We`re
not going to support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: The individual mandate one of those lines you
can`t cross?

OBAMA: The individual mandate is a line I can`t cross.

MCCONNELL: Every one of my members thinks that Obamacare was a huge
legislative mistake. The individual mandate, people hate it. So I think
we will be addressing that issue.


SHARPTON: Abby, will the Republicans offer any changes to the affordable
care act or Obamacare that the president can accept?

HUNTSMAN: Yes. I mean, that`s a good question. We say this question is
more divided that it has ever been. You hear both sides, both statements
on the affordable care act. You realize, this country really is more
divided than it has ever been.

But we heard from President Obama, say we heard from Mitch McConnell. Both
are saying we want to find common ground. I think the Republican will try
to find a piecemeal approach with the affordable care act.

SHARPTON: But we also heard from the noise caucus from Rush Limbaugh and
the national review and others that are already rattling for fight,
rattling the chains, so to speak.

HUNTSMAN: Yes. But last night, I think, was a big win for the
establishment wing within the Republican Party. Compared to just four
years ago in 2010 when there was the tea party sweeping through. Last
night was a lot of establishment candidates that won. I think we`re going
to have to see is real conversations being had. When the president says I
want to get a little bit. But you know what, to sit in the same room with
the republican caucus have real conversations, find places that you can
have some common ground. Because if we`re looking to have compromise, they
have to have conversations to get it. They can`t just speak to the TV

SHARPTON: But you know, on that note, Governor, NBC`s exit polling showed
even though voters gave Senate to Republicans, they support Democratic
views on key issues. Sixty three percent stay the economic system favors
the wealthy, 58 percent say climb change is a serious healthy, 57 percent
say immigrants deserve a legal path to citizen ship.

Last night we also saw five states, five, pass an increase in the minimum
wage, including in red states like Arkansas and Nebraska. So, will
Republicans act on those ideas now that they`ve taken control in the

RENDELL: Well, I think the Senate will act on a lot of those ideas.
You`re right to focus on the House, though. And who knows what the House
will do? But I thought one part of Senator McConnell`s press conference
that was very important. He sent a message to the far right when he said
there will be no government shutdown and there will be no defaulting on the
debt. That was the message and he laid down a marker. He didn`t even open
that for consideration. And that to me was the best part of what he did.

So I think we can remain hopeful. Will they pass a bill getting rid of the
individual mandate? Yes, they will. Will the president veto it? Yes, he
will. They know that. But that is a little political dance they`ll play.
But while they`re dancing over there, we still have a chance to go forward
on things important to the country like immigration reform.

SHARPTON: Yes. But when I got a little uncomfortable when he started slow
waltzing in that dance saying they would mess with Dodd-Frank and yes,
there will be hearings in IRS.


HUNTSMAN: He had to throw a little bit of red meat. Because as the
governor is saying, he is also making it very clear that he is not going to
deal with a lot of their bull crap that he dealt with in years past. So we
kind of give them a little bit of something. Go ahead Governor.

RENDELL: No, no. And remember, you know, what he said. I mean, he said
no to them on a number of different issues. And he open the door for real
cooperation. So look. Will it work out, Rev.? You and I don`t know.
Abby doesn`t know. Are we hopeful as Americans that they`ll do something?
Yes. President Clinton, President Reagan, President Eisenhower. They all
did it in their last two years. And they all passed significance
legislation and help this country.

HUNTSMAN: Yes. Let`s hope the president has some --

SHARPTON: I hope and I really hope that we can do that. And I always did.
But at the same time, I`m dealing with the practical underground
demagoguery that happens on all sides. I hope we can --

HUNTSMAN: But Rev., it can`t be worse than the past two years. That`s the
only problem --

SHARPTON: The one comfort we have, and I said that today at the White
House, is it can`t be any worse. So I hope it can be better because people
are suffering. People need it.

Governor Ed Rendell and Abby Huntsman, thank you both for your time

And make sure you catch Abby on "the Cycle," weekdays at 3:00 p.m. eastern
right here on MSNBC.

Still ahead, the GOP`s Cruz missile into the Senate. Will Ted Cruz and
right wing extremists plunge Republicans into s civil war?

Also, this.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think on the president`s policies but also
a referendum on Hillary Clinton.


SHARPTON: Let the games begin! How will 2014 affect 2016? And the GOP`s
plans for Hillary.

Plus, did Democrats make a mistake by running away from President Obama?
Lots of second-guessing tonight about what could have been their fatal
move. It is a big show tonight. Stay with us.


OBAMA: My number one goal is just to deliver as much as I can for the
American people in these last two years.

MCCONNELL: The Democrat who counts is the president of the United States.



SHARPTON: Coming up, should the Democrats have run with President Obama?

Can senator McConnell stand up to Ted Cruz?

And -- I think that`s my phone. Excuse me. It`s Brokaw calling! I`ll
explain that joke in our special 2014 election report card ahead.



OBAMA: He knows the legislative process well. He obviously knows his
caucus well. He`s always given me, I think, realistic assessments of what
he can get from his caucus and what he can`t.


SHARPTON: President Obama today on working with senator Mitch McConnell
and a Republican Senate. It`s true. Senator McConnell knows his caucus
well. And he already knows one member of that group is going to give him a
whole lot of trouble. I`m talking about Senator "shutdown" Ted Cruz.


MCCONNELL: Earlier today, I got a call from the president. I was hoping
Senator Reid and the speaker and Ted Cruz, too, which I thought you would
be interested in. We had a friendly conversation.


SHARPTON: It might have been a friendly conversation, but I`m not sure
that`s going to last. With headlines like this, quote, "meet the real next
Senate majority leader, Ted Cruz." Just last night, Cruz wouldn`t commit
to supporting senator McConnell as leader.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Quickly, will you support Mitch McConnell as
your leader in the United States Senate?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Well, that will be a decision for the conference
to make and will be decided next week. But I will tell you tonight was a
terrific night for Republicans.


SHARPTON: Nice dodge. Today, McConnell at least paid lip service to the
idea of working with the president. But just days ago, Senator Cruz said
the Senate`s first item of business should be holding hearing on President
Obama`s, quote, "abuse of power and lawlessness."

And some of the new Republicans of the Senate like Joni Ernst and Tom
Cotton seem eager for this brand of obstructionist. So senator McConnell
may or may not want to work with the president. But first he`s got to
figure out how to deal with members of his own party.

Joining me now are Dana Milbank and Josh Barro. Thank you both for being



SHARPTON: Josh, Senator McConnell talks a big game about working with the
president. But will the Ted Cruz caucus let him?

BARRO: Well, I don`t think there`s very much of a Ted Cruz caucus in the
Senate. There is a Ted Cruz caucus in the house. And what we saw the last
two years with Ted Cruz, making a lot of trouble in conjunction with his
allies in the House.

But really, there are very few arch conservative senators like Ted Cruz.
They`re generally lined up behind Mitch McConnell. He is actually kind of
the most hated man on Capitol Hill among establish many Republicans which
is the dominant kind of Republican in the Senate. So I think Ted Cruz will
try to push Republicans in both chambers of Congress toward a more
obstructionist agenda. Of course, McConnell also has his own brand of
obstruction. So they`ll be able to find that.

SHARPTON: Well, here is the guy that was committed to a one-term President

BARRO: Right. So I -- but I think, you know, I think Ted Cruz doesn`t
actually doesn`t have that much influence within the Senate caucus. His
influence is much stronger on the other side of the hill.

SHARPTON: But there is a general branding problem, Dana. You wrote last
night that things are about to get hard for Republicans. I want to read a
part of your column. Quote -- I like always doing Dana to Dana.

"Republicans didn`t run on an agenda, other than antipathy toward all
things Obama. They created a policy vacuum. It is about to be filled by a
swirl of competing and contradictory proposals. Republicans have set
themselves up for chaos, if not outright fratricide."

What kind of chaos, Mr. Dana?

MILBANK: Well, look. Mitch McConnell himself said that he was asked just
last week about the agenda. And he said this is not the time to be laying
out an agenda. The problem when you run on an agenda, there is just we`re
not that guy who is in the White House, means that do you create this sort
of a vacuum.

And I agree to, and extent the problem is not Ted Cruz per se. It is that
everybody feels they can be free-lancers here, pursuing their own agenda.
And a lot of this huge incoming class of freshmen Republicans in the
Senate, may have all kinds of ideas about getting votes on abolishing the
IRS and the department of education and the EPA.

Other things that are not actually going to become reality but can sort of
make the new Senate leadership unstable and look a little bit crazy. So
that`s what Mitch McConnell is up against. It is sort of just harnessing
the crazier instincts hear as he tries to cut some deals, he is going to
get pressure both ways.

SHARPTON: You know, Josh, the conservative national review had a piece
today calling for the GOP to prove they can govern if its track (ph),
literally said this. Let me read to you the quote. I`m not making this

Quote "approve you can govern strategy will inevitably divide the party on
the same tea party versus establishment lines that Republicans have just
succeed in the overcoming. Which brings us to the alternative cause,
building the case for Republican governance after 2016."

So let me get this right. They shouldn`t do anything. Should show they
can govern. So the way to win governing in 2016, is don`t govern now.
Just take whatever shot you want and get to 2016. Does that make sense?

BARRO: Well, I think "National Review" is saying something interesting
here because they were saying don`t try to make compromises with the
president like some people are saying you should do. But they`re also
saying don`t do the Ted Cruz thing where you just say no to everything and
find yourself in opposition. What they are saying is lay out an agenda of
things you can pass that the president will veto that our governing agenda
for 2017, if there is a Republican president there. So they`re urging
Republicans to come up with their own policy agenda, not one that President
Obama will veto.

SHARPTON: One that they know the president can veto.

BARRO: Right.

SHARPTON: And they know they don`t have votes to necessarily that override
the veto.

BARRO: Right. But it sets out an alternative policy edition for the way
Republicans would govern if they took back the president.

SHARPTON: But it sounds to me like gridlock, Mr. Milbank.

MILBANK: Well, that`s exactly what the prescription is here. So the real
question is, are the next two years about going to be about posturing to
see if they can put themselves in a better position to go for the White
House in 2016 or is it actually going to be the sort of thing that say, a
Rob Portman in the Senate is talking about. They can get agreement on tax
reform on trade deals. All kind of very important things if they want to,
they may, you know, take the risk that credit is going to be shared with
this president.

SHARPTON: But isn`t that the challenge, Josh, good political posturing and
gamesmanship is one thing. But is it a challenge to say, we can rise above
the petty politics and do something?

BARRO: Well, I don`t think there`s a lot of actual policy agreement here.
And people say, you know, everyone is for tax reform. Everyone is for a
highway bill. Everyone is for some sort of immigration policy.

You have real substance to disagreements between Republicans and Democrats
on what tax reform should mean, what immigration policy should be. And so,
if you`re going to have those compromises, you end up -- it is not just a
matter of sharing the credit. It is about agreeing to a policy you don`t
necessarily support. And I think Republicans are saying we can control the
entire government in two years if we play our cards right.

SHARPTON: Or you can lose the entire government.

BARRO: Or you can lose the entire government. But that`s like -- I mean,
(INAUDIBLE) for example is saying don`t just vote to repeal Obamacare. Put
forward your own alternative health care plan that you can run in that`s a
replace for Obamacare. And I think that is basically impossible for this
Republican --

SHARPTON: Yes, it is because they don`t have one.

BARRO: Right. But that`s not what Ted Cruz wants. It is also not what
President Obama wants.

SHARPTON: Kind of hard to come up with an alternative plan since it`s been
several years now and we still haven`t found one from the Republicans. I
have to let it go there.

Dana Milbank and Josh Barro, thank you both for your time tonight.

MILBANK: Thanks, Rev.

BARRO: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, would Democrats have been better off running on
President Obama`s policies?

And I`m giving out my report card from last night. What grade will this


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could that be me?

is something ambient.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I`m afraid it is. Yes, I`ll remember to bring home
the milk and don`t worry about it.


SHARPTON: Big show ahead. Please stay with us.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to a special 2014 edition of Rev. Al`s report card.
My first grade? An "A" to Tom Brokaw. He is at the head of the class with
his suave handling of his cell phone going off on air. Take a look.


TOM BROKAW, JOURNALIST: There have been a lot of Republican senators who
have hoped that Mitch McConnell will --- could that be me?

MADDOW: No, it is not you. It is something ambient.

BROKAW: No. I`m afraid it is. The alarm goes off and there you are.

MADDOW: Oh, I thought you were on fire.

BROKAW: Yes, I will remember to bring home the milk. And don`t worry
about it. And I`ll feed the dog in the morning. Just sleep in. It`s
going to be okay.



SHARPTON: Huh? Very good. Next up is Karl Rove. He gets an incomplete
for his election night cowboy impression on FOX News. Tex Rove and his
republican cavalry may have stamped over the democrats last night but this
look might not be his best. Maybe he should stick to dancing.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Tell me what is your name.



This mess will never stop, looking at him jumping -- it`s a hot.


SHARPTON: Rove gets an "A" for effort on that. And my final grade tonight
goes to a three-year-old boy named Xavier who has gone viral after his mom
told him, he wasn`t allowed to vote.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do you want to vote?


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do you want to vote by yourself?


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do you know there are people out there who can vote
that just don`t? Is that sad?


Should they go vote?




SHARPTON: That`s how a lot us felt when we learned how many people chose
not to vote too. I cried too last night, Xavier. Xavier gets an A plus
for that reaction. Only 15 more years to go until you can vote, kid. Hang
in there. Thanks to all our students tonight. Pass, fail or somewhere in
between. This has been a special 2014 edition of Rev`s Al Report Card.


SHARPTON: It`s game on. The 2016 races already on the way. In Wisconsin
last night, Governor Scott Walker won. And it has people talking about a
future run. And it just so happens the head of the RGA Chris Christie was
out taking a very visible victory lap this morning. Insisting he hasn`t
made a decision about a 2016 run.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You know, no one knows who`s going to
run. And I don`t think anybody has made up their minds yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Four years ago you said famously, I don`t feel ready in
my heart to be president. Four years later, do you feel ready in your

CHRISTIE: I`ll have to figure that out. Now, as a family, you know, we
start to think about this stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: -- you`re closer to running.

CHRISTIE: No, not fair to say. I`m on two hours sleep. So, fair to say
what I`m looking for is a nap.


SHARPTON: Meanwhile, another 2016 hopeful. Senator Ron Paul, he came out
swinging last night. And it was rather odd.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think it is a referendum on the
President`s policies but also a referendum on Hillary Clinton. Hillary
Clinton is very active in this state. Mrs. Grimes said, she was a Clinton
democrat, not an Obama democrat. But no matter what kind of democrat she
was, it didn`t seem that Hillary Clinton or the President had coattails
that were present tonight.


SHARPTON: Hillary? What in the world is that about? It certainly looks
and feel like this race is on. Joining me now are Jamal Simmons and Jess
McIntosh, thank you both for being here.


JESS MCINTOSH, EMILY`S LIST: Great to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: Jess, is the race for 2016 unofficially begun?

MCINTOSH: Oh, my gosh, has it? No, I mean, I think we saw last night, the
republicans are already piling on, trying to get one over and erase the
sort of the weirdness of 2014. And make that translate to the next two
years. They`re going to have a really up-hill battle to do this. Last
night was little early as good as it gets for republicans. What did they
run on? What did they win on? Other than a map and an electorate that
isn`t going to repeat itself in two years, they don`t have a consistent
sale to make to the American people when we have frankly more of them
voting. So, I think we`ll going to see them all rush to define what it all
meant really fast. And it`s going to look a little odd in the process and
I`m kind of looking forward to it.

SHARPTON: You know, we mentioned Chris Christie, Jamal, and he was doing
the media rounds. But on the "Today" show he was asked about the, his
outburst last week. When he told a heckler to sit down and shut up. Here
is his response.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That kind of response is something your staunch
supporters love. It makes other people queasy. Are you going to have to
control that side of your personality to be seen as presidential outside
the rough and tumbled world of New Jersey politics?

CHRISTIE: First of all, you`re assuming I wasn`t controlled. And, you
know, I sat and took it for a whale. And then other people, the hundreds
of people that were there deserve to hear what we had to say that day.
That person had their say. I sat and listened to it. It was time for them
to sit down. And I`m not going to change that. This is who I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Maybe I should stay instead of controlling that side, do
you have to hide that side of your personality outside of New Jersey?

CHRISTIE: There`s no hope of that.


SHARPTON: Jamaal, you know, this won`t go away. Not the one outburst.
But his kind of, the way he comes back and the give and take in your face
kind of thing. How do you see that playing out if he runs?

SIMMONS: Well, I got to tell you. I thought it was an awesome answer. I
think that the one thing about Chris Christie on the first level that is
endearing is that, he sort of seem like, I am who I am, I say what I say.
You know, I`ll do what I do. But over time, I think that starts to wear
thin on people. And all it takes is one town hall meeting in Iowa where he
speaks ill to some, you know, very nice, you know, middle age lady in Iowa.

SHARPTON: Like he`s done teachers in New Jersey.

SIMMONS: Exactly. And then all of a sudden was seen kind of like a
charming in your face, oh, isn`t this great? Chris Christie. It turns him
into one of the bullies that nobody really wants to ever spend time with.

SHARPTON: Now, let me go to you with this one, Jess. You heard Rand Paul
attack Hillary Clinton last night. He also posted a series of photographs
on his Facebook page. Showing Hillary Clinton endorsing candidates who
didn`t win with the #Hillary`s losers. Now, Hillary Clinton hasn`t even
declared she is in for 2016. What do you make of this?

MCINTOSH: I think that it is not a terribly adult`s maneuver for somebody
who is trying to position themselves to the leader of the free world.
Hillary Clinton was one of the strongest voices on the stump for democrats
this year. And it was because she articulated the message of economic
security for women and families. Now, republicans tried to copy some of
these message. They ended by running ads saying that they were in favor of
equal pay. And they pretended that they were pro-minimum wage. It was the
strangest thing. So now we need to see, what is Rand Paul going to do when
he has to stop talking and start governing? Because in 2010, we saw
republicans talk a pretty good job, talk a pretty good game on jobs. But
once they won and took over the House and they started governing, we saw
exactly how extremist and reactionary they were.


MCINTOSH: I think we`re going to see the same thing happen in the Senate
right now. And these guys who has been sort of leading in the rhetoric are
going to have to be grown-ups. And frankly, they haven`t shown that
they`re terribly willing to do that.

SHARPTON: You know, Jamal, last night on the panel here, we debated a
little about Rand Paul. Do you think he is a serious candidate?

SIMMONS: I do think he is a serious candidate. You know, I think he
speaks to a very particular part of the republican base. And I have to
tell you, I am right now, I am very charmed and interested in the amount of
time he is spending in African-American communities talking about criminal
justice, talking about economic development. I don`t think that he is the
right messenger for that message. But sooner or later, some republicans is
going to figure out that if they start associating with some of the more
racist elements there in the party and start putting forth an agenda in
urban communities about economic development, criminal justice, education
reform. They may actually find some people listening to them.


MCINTOSH: But isn`t he introducing any legislation?

SIMMONS: In fairness, but you know, what I`m more interested in right now
is, the day after the election. So, I`m going to take some privilege is I
really want the democrats to come with that agenda. I really want to see
some white democrats who want to run for president, who want to run for the
Senate, who want to run for governor to go out and talk to Americans
regardless of the color of their skin. Talk to them about an economic
agenda that`s going to lead us to have a better clunchy (ph) with more
opportunity and more jobs. And I`m not sure that we`re really seeing that
gift from the democrats.

SHARPTON: You`re not sure? I am. But we`ll be watching. Thank you to
Jamal Simmons and Jesse McIntosh. Both of you for your time this evening.

SIMMONS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the democrats shoot themselves in the foot by running
away from President Obama. He talked about it today. And about what is
really important? Plus, is the President not ready to have a bill with
Mitch McConnell? The answer is yes. But not a bill. We`ll explain.


SHARPTON: We`re back with a special political edition of "Conversation
Nation." Joining us, our democratic strategist Tara Dowdell, and former
Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: You know, today many democrats are wondering if democratic
candidates should have run on President Obama`s policies and achievement.
The President was asked about it today.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: As I think some of you saw when I
was out on the campaign trail, I love campaigning. I love talking to
ordinary people. But I`m also a practical guy. And ultimately, every
candidate out there had to make their own decisions about what they thought
would be most helpful for them. And, you know, I wanted to make sure that
I`m respectful of their particular region, their particular state or
Congressional District. And if it was more helpful for them to be behind
the scenes, I`m happy to do it.


SHARPTON: There is no doubt his approval rating is down. But should we
have heard more about an economy coming back from the brink or more on the
ObamaCare success? This is what we saw on the trail.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Did you vote for President Obama in 2008, 2012?

election isn`t about the President.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do you think that the Obama administration has done an
appropriate job handling the Ebola crisis?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I would say that it is hard to know.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The White House when they look down the front lawn, the
last person they want to see coming is me.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`ve opposed the President on things that weren`t good
for North Carolina.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I don`t even campaign. I need to change some of his

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`ll make sure President Obama gets the message.

GRIMES: Again, I don`t think that the President is on the ballot as much
as much as Mitch McConnell might want him to be.


SHARPTON: All these candidates lost last night. And many democrats and
pundits are saying today, democrats made a mistake running away from
President Obama. Congressman, what do you think? Should the democrats
have run with the President and not against him?

MURPHY: Democrats Rev have to be proud that they`re democrats and stand up
for what they believe in. You know, you can`t have step it. People will
see character, you see their leadership, and if you want to represent them.
Whether it is 750,000 people in a Congressional District or 10 million
across the state. You know, at the time when you stand for, when you say,
hey, listen, do you want Mitt Romney? You know, look at what our record
is. The record is democrats under President Obama. If you like your 401k,
well, the stock market work from 7,000 points to 16,000 points, if you like
people to be employed in jobs, how about the unemployment rate that was
over eight and loss a million jobs a month --

SHARPTON: But Tara, and the record is, as the congressman was pointing
out, the record is impressive. But doesn`t it also insult some of the
voters when they know that you`re in a party and you`re trying to have it
both ways. Isn`t it a little offensive and give the appearances that
you`re not authentic to try to play like, well, I`m not really with
President Obama? Even though I`m a democrat?

DOWDELL: Well, you hit the nail right on the head. I mean, you pounded
all in the head with that. That is absolutely correct. And here`s the
irony. President Obama`s policy did win last night. Minimum wage swept
all the states where there was a ballot initiative on minimum wage. It
swept those states. Other policies that`s were republican policies failed
like the personhood amendment in Colorado. That failed. So, President
Obama`s policies are popular because they won the day last night in the
form of ballot initiatives which she has championed. So, that`s number
one. Point two. One of the biggest knocks against that the Democratic
Party is that the Democratic Party does not have enough back bone.


DOWDELL: And so by definition, if you go out there and you as Alison
Lundergan Grimes as an example did, would not say she voted for President
Obama. And I do believe at one point she was an Obama delegate. So, for
her to go out there and say -- and not say whether she voted for him, that
makes her look like she has no back bone, she has no core and that`s one of
the biggest knock on the party. So, you reinforced that --


SHARPTON: And it`s a knock on the campaign, you`ve run --

MURPHY: Right. And Tara is absolutely right. You know, my dad used to
tell me, Rev, he`s a Philadelphia police officer. If you don`t stand for
something, you`ll fall for anything.


MURPHY: And people won`t stand for -- and listen, you can disagree with
him. But when Kay Hagan meets the President at, you know, at the North
Carolina airport and they say, you now, she says, well, he hasn`t done that
for veterans. She should said, listen, I`m not happy what`s going in the
VA, I`m not happy what happened in Phoenix. I`m not happy there. But let
me tell you, this is the man, the largest increase in veterans benefits in
these days in history, this is man that brought our troops home from Iraq,
so more our sons and daughters --

SHARPTON: And the economy and all. But let me, Tara, you`re a strategist.
Don`t you also hurt yourself with some voters, base voters that you may not
get to come out because now they`re feeling that you`re not really loyal to
what they believe in? Because some of the elections last night, not all,
but some were close. That if there had been more of a turnout, that could
have come from the base that was coming out.


SHARPTON: Which is a little more, they may have won. For example, I asked
the President on may radio show about those that were not campaigning with
them or seemed to be shining away. And this was on my syndicated radio
show. He had to try to give a rationale for people to support them. Even
during campaign which he had to defend that. Hoping we would go out and a
lot of people wouldn`t buy it.

DOWDELL: Right. And if you talk to anyone on the street, not people who
are heavily involved in politics.


DOWDELL: Just regular everyday folks on the street. They will tell you,
they were offended.


DOWDELL: And particularly black Americans were offended.


Exactly. They were offended by the fact that these democrats ran from the
president on a record that by any measure, by any reasonable, rational
measure, this economy is doing better. People are doing better. Now, with
that said, is there more work that needs to be done?

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

DOWDELL: Are there people still suffering? Absolutely. But you can say
that. You can say the economy is doing well but here are policies to help
those of you who haven`t been touched get there. Get to the finish line
with the rest of the people who have made it. And so, that`s where you
can, that`s where all you have to do is to say it. It is all about
messaging and message penetration. And that`s where the democrats tend to
fall short, on the messaging.

MURPHY: And those folks like Senator Begich in Alaska, and Senator Pryor
in Arkansas, who tried to play nice with NRA. After Sandy Hook, after
these first graders were murdered.


MURPHY: And wouldn`t do background checks. Stand with Joe Manchin or
republican Pat Toomey for background checks. Guess what happened to them?
The NRA put millions of dollars into those races --

SHARPTON: Well, I think it is a wise sage once told me, if you walk down
the middle of the street, you`ll get hit by traffic by both sides. Tara
Dowdell and former Congressman Patrick Murphy, thank you for your time.

MURPHY: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama talks about who he is focused on in
his last final two years.

And we have some big news tonight on that presidential beer with Mitch
McConnell, next.


SHARPTON: There`s no secret President Obama has had a strain relationship
with Mitch McConnell. And he was dancing, as he was dancing at his first
inaugural ball, it was Mitch McConnell who was mall away plotting halted
tape down his presidency. He said, his number one goal was to make
President Obama a one term president. You can`t battle that energy between
them at meetings. Even President Obama joked about it last year.


OBAMA: Some folks still don`t think I spend enough time with Congress.
Why don`t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell, they ask? Really?


Why don`t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?


SHARPTON: Well, Senator McConnell was ready for that beer. But it never
happened. Last night, Mitch McConnell sounded different during his
acceptance speech. He sound like he might be ready to work together. So
could that beer become a reality now?


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Are you going to have that drink with Mitch McConnell
now that you joked about at the White House correspondent`s dinner?

OBAMA: You know, actually, I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with
Mitch McConnell.


SHARPTON: Well, I`ll believe it when I see it but it`s fun to think about.
This could be on. And could it mean actually something gets done? Can
something come out of a bourbon summit?


SHARPTON: Finally, I want to talk about what really matters. The big
picture. Today, President Obama looked past all the second-guessing and
finger pointing that comes after the GOP wins in the midterms. He talked
about his commitment to the American people.


OBAMA: Every day, I`m going to be filling up my time trying to figure out
how I can make their lives better. And if I`m doing that, at the end of my
presidency, I will say we played that fourth quarter well. And we played
the game well. And the only difference between I guess basketball and
politics is that the will only score that matters is, how did somebody else
do? Not how you did. And that`s the score I`m keeping. What`s most
important I think is keeping your eye on the ball. And that is actually
getting some good dunk.


SHARPTON: Are you actually getting some good dunk? That`s the only score
that matters. That is correct. I remember Mrs. Coretta Scott King once
said to me, "Al, you can`t be big and small at the same time." It is a big
thing to rise above the daily back and forward and the petty politics. And
remember, you are there to help people. People that believe in you and
trust in you. Keep the big picture in you and you can make big things

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


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