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updated 1/30/2013 10:10:33 AM ET 2013-01-30T15:10:33

POLITICS NATION
January 29, 2013

Guest:


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, the time has come. Today President Obama unveiled his
vision for immigration reform. His vision for a nation that gives people
the rights they deserve. That`s what the election was all about. That`s
what the president promised in his inaugural address. That`s why millions
of Americans said see (INAUDIBLE) on Election Day.

The truth is immigrant rights are civil rights. This is not an issue
that should divide us. And the president made that point today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s easy sometimes for
the discussion to take on a feeling of us versus them. And when that
happens, a lot of folks forget that most of us used to be them. We forget
that.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: It`s important for us to remember our history. Unless you`re
one of the first Americans you came from someplace else. Somebody brought
you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You came from someplace else. Somebody brought you here.
That`s the American story. That`s what this debate has been about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: All those folks before they were us, they were them. And when
each new wave of immigrants arrived, they faced resistance from those who
were already here. They faced hardship. They faced racism. They faced
ridicule. But over time as they went about their daily lives, as they
earned a living, as they raised a family, as they built a community, as
their kids went to school here, they did their part to build a nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They built the nation and a new generation of immigrants is
still building the nation today. Today, the president endorsed the
principles of a new Senate plan put forward by both Democrats and
Republicans. It calls for a tougher border security and a path to
citizenship. But he also made it clear that Congress must act now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This time action must fault. We can`t allow immigration
reform to be bogged down in an endless debate. We have been debating this
for a long time. If Congress is unable to move forward in a timely
fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they
vote on it right away.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Eleven million people have labored in the dark of a shadowy
economy for too long. Husbands and wives are afraid to be torn apart.
Children are afraid their parents will be deported. Our lawmakers must act
now should finally bring them into the light.

Joining me now is Richard Wolffe and Victoria Defrancesco Soto.

Victoria, let me go to you. Immigration reform is now inches closer
to what is happening. Is this true in your opinion that we are seeing what
is actually inching closer and closer into reality?

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, NBC LATINO CONTRIBUTOR: Reverend, it won`t
be easy, but I do believe it will happen. This is a very strong initiative
that we see being put forward by both the bipartisan Senate committee and
by the president. And it is so strong because it is a piece of legislation
that has learned from the mistakes of the past two immigration reforms.

So in 1965, the heart seller act focused on family reunification but
it ignored workers guest workers and the need for workers to come to the
U.S. and that`s really the main route of documented immigration today.

And then in 1986, with the immigration reforming control act, it put
forward employer sanctions, but it had no teeth. So, we saw the big
failures of both of these immigration reforms. And the plan by the
president --

SHARPTON: Well, what makes this different? Why will we not see it
different now? Because one of the things I think the president hit right
on the head is we got to deal with the fact that people have this
convenient amnesia about their own roots with this us against them when
most Americans other than Native Americans were either brought here or
their forefathers came here. And now there`s this arrogance, this
unwarranted and unearned arrogance that we`re looking at others when others
are us just a generation or two, again, other than those of us brought
here. So why do you think that we will have a different result this time?

SOTO: Well, because the failures of the past two immigration reforms,
he`s allowing for that. He`s saying look, we have a demand for people.
We`re going to allow that through normalizing the status of people who are
already here and also through guest worker programs. And if you`re
breaking the law and letting people come and work for you illegally, we are
going to sanction you and we`re going to put those mechanisms into place.
But, that was really brilliant was what the president did rhetorically was
really bring the human connection to it. He was reminding people of Irish
descent, people of polish descent, people of all immigrant descents that
they too are immigrants. So, he`s also going through the emotional kind of
pulling at the heart strings aside from putting forward the more tangible
policy mechanisms.

SHARPTON: Richard, isn`t that effective because too often this is
framed as a Latino issue?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.

SHARPTON: And when the president reminds people, wait a minute
immigration is about everybody. I`m talking about your great grand dad.
Everybody came here from somewhere else. This is not just about Latinos or
Trinidadians or Jamaicans or Africans. And I think that that changes the
conversation.

WOLFFE: Yes. I think the conversation is changing and yes, the
president is trying to move it forward even quicker. But you know, let`s
be clear. Republicans are on board here because they think there is also a
political advantage in there. Employers like the status quo, some of them
do, anyway, because they like to exploit the undocumented. Some of them,
more responsible ones are saying we need immigration reform.

But, this whole debate is changing. Yes, there is a -- as president
he has to counter the populists, conservative talk radio Nativist folks who
scuffled the last deal when it was President Bush who was pushing it away.
It was talk radio that stopped it then. And yes, he and Rubio and John
McCain, they all need to go out there and move this on to a much more human
level far different kind of discussion. Because they`re not just
undocumented people, they are family members. They are living with us.

SHARPTON: And as he said have gone through ridicule and racism and
everything else and built a family and helped build a country. And we`re
talking about children afraid their parents will be gone. We`re talking
about married couples split. I mean, we act as though in most cases these
people are exploited. They`re not here exploiting. And I think that was a
key message in the speech today.

WOLFFE: You know, they are in meshed in our economy and our daily
lives and everybody knows that. Let`s face it, even Mitt Romney was
employed undocumented workers. And you know, it touches every part of our
society. And to have it president give voice to that is is important for
the debate.

SHARPTON: Now, the key here, Victoria, is the path to citizenship.
That`s going to be the critical point both in the Senate bipartisan
proposal and what the president is saying. How does that move, you`re
dealing with this saying we`re going to secure the borders with more
aggression.

But the pathway to citizenship, the president`s saying do it now.
They`re saying let`s do it after some steps. How do we marry the two?
Where`s the common ground going to come?

SOTO: Correct, Reverend. And that is the main difference between the
two plans. But, at least as far as this morning, we haven`t seen any
details about what the Senate wants in terms of determining that the border
has been secured. $18 billion went into border security in 2012. That`s
over twice as much as we were spending in 2003. We know President Obama
has deported record numbers of folks. So how much tougher can we get on
the border? We`ve seen immigration rates decrease.

You know, instead of working harder just throwing more money at the
issue, what the president is focusing on is let`s be smarter about it.
Let`s focus on the technology to track illegal immigrants who are already
here. Let`s think about using technology on the border.

So the president can make a very strong case. I`m not too worried
about that. I think that`s the Republican senators trying to look tough
for their own party.

SHARPTON: Now, Richard, let me share this with you that kind of
struck me. A conservative Latino group released a memo with some advice to
Republicans on how to talk about the issue. And in it they admonished them
don`t use phrases like this. Don`t use send them all back, elect fence,
anchor baby, illegals, Reagan, because he gave citizenship to immigrants
back in the 1980s.

I mean, it`s almost like we know you guys aren`t really serious and we
know you are really have no information at all on how to relate to people.
So let`s tell you little things you shouldn`t say. I mean, this is
pitiful.

WOLFFE: It is. I mean, it`s sad. It`s also funny in a way. If it
weren`t real human beings we were talking about and it wasn`t so offensive,
you would say this is some kind of joke, right? People obviously have a
long way to go in terms of their understanding of who -- what kind of
communities they`re living in.

And by the way, if Republicans think that this alone will win them
Latino votes, whether it`s the language or even the policy, they`re not
looking at the right polls. Latinos even more than immigration reform and
you could talk to this. They want education to be better. They want
better jobs. They want better health care. Republicans have to not just
talk about this, not just pass this legislation, but appeal to Latino
voters as voters, not as Latinos.

SHARPTON: Well, as they must deal with all Americans, Richard, will
this happen? You watched this with Bush. Is it going to happen this time?

WOLFFE: I think it will happen this time. And I can say as an
immigrant, as a citizen of this country, I think it`s good for this
country. This country has a huge and fantastic tradition of welcoming
immigrants. And this is another new chapter in that history.

SHARPTON: Richard, Victoria, thanks for your time tonight.

SOTO: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the second term campaign got a major jolt today
and boost. It didn`t happen in Vegas though. We will explain.

And file this one under can`t make it up. Dick Cheney, the guy who
shot a friend of his in the face is talking gun safety. They don`t think
this is a problem?

Plus, as she gets ready to leave her job, Hillary Clinton is talking
about her dancing.

Great show ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will.

Today, we asked our facebook fans what gift they`d give Paul Ryan for
his birthday.

Sherry says, how about a calculator. His figures sure don`t add up.

Lorain says a one-way ticket to Newt`s moon colony.

And Susana says, an early retirement so he has more time to enjoy Ayn
Rand.

We have more love for Paul Ryan in and a challenge to his love for
philosopher Ayn Rand coming up.

But first we want to hear what you have to say and you weigh in too.
Please head over to facebook and search "Politics Nation" and like us to
join the conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Just eight days into his second term, the president is
pushing his agenda hard. He`s proposing immigration reform, charging ahead
on gun control, and today more signs of the economy ready to take off.

On Wall Street the Dow is closing in on 14,000, up more than 5,600
points from when he took office. Corporate profits are up 171 percent.
That`s twice as high as they were under GOP hero Ronald Reagan. And on
Main Street, jobless claims are at a five-year low. This is positive
change, but you better believe it`s causing chaos in the GOP.

Let`s bring in Krystal Ball and Abby Huntsman. Thank you both for
being here tonight.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks, reverend.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, PRODUCER, HOST, HUFF POST LIVE: I can`t hear.

SHARPTON: Somebody has to fix Abby`s mic while we talk to you
Krystal.

Krystal, how does a growing economy impact the president`s second term
agenda? Give me the politics of this.

BALL: Well, I think the very fact we`re able to look at things like
immigration reform and like climate change is in of itself a sign that the
economy is getting better considering when the president came in and how we
were really falling off a cliff economically. There was little room for
the American public to embrace anything that didn`t directly impact the
economy that they could see really tangibly.

So, the fact that we now have space in our conversation to talk about
things that are also critical and really at their core are also economic
issues. But it shows that we have come a long way in terms of economic
impacts. And, of course, the other obvious thing here is that Republicans
spent such a long time railing against the economy blaming the president
for the economy. Now we see that his policies have actually worked but
they are moving us forward that we are coming out of this slump. So it
takes away a lot of that ammunition as well.

SHARPTON: Now, Abby, we see that even a Gallup poll says Americans
are feeling more positive about the economy, more positive than they have
since January of 2008. Yet the GOP came out from the beginning slamming
the president`s handling of the economy. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This president tried,
but he didn`t understand what it takes to make our economy work.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a
president who believes in a European socialist model.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We got a president
living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that just doesn`t understand our
economy.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: This might be the last election
to turn the nation around before we go down the road to socialism.
President Obama and his socialist policies must be stopped.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So the GOP`s slamming the president hard. They were
supposed to be the GOP fix-it party on the economy. Your father was
ridiculed by the far right for saying he could work along with the
president. Now that the economy`s coming back from Wall Street and even
signs on main street and areas that have been deprived, have the GOP ruined
their chance of coming back here?

HUNTSMAN: This is a very big deal for Republicans. Let`s say, let`s
look four years ahead and let`s say the economy continues to improve, the
American people are honestly going to see the Democrats and say we trust
them on the economy and that we have some numbers to show for it.

So, the Republicans have become very vulnerable of losing urge on the
economy. Because you look at what are the bread and butter issues of the
Republican Party? That`s limited freedom and that the free market system.
And those are two things, their key messaging that they are really losing
control of which is so important to -- which is the reason they need to get
back as quickly as possible. And the only way to do that is to really come
up with their own messaging.

I don`t know how they remain relevant if the economy continues to
improve because what is their messaging at that point? Four years from now
they`re going to have little to come back with.

SHARPTON: Well, not only four years from now but what about the
midterm elections? And when you look at the fact that you`re talking about
next year, the midterm elections. And if the economy continues to grow and
unemployment starts going down, they have a real problem on this, Krystal.
And one sign that they don`t know what to do is they literally seem to be
cracking up. I mean, losing it. Look at what Glenn Beck did yesterday. I
guess this is one of those things you can`t explain, you must show it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, TV HOST: It`s tough. Hello, America. We got a man down
here. Happened shortly before we went on the air. He`s gone. But here`s
what the media and the president still don`t understand. We`re celebrating
the death of the establishment GOP right along with them. They are
refusing to confront the cancer within the party. Like some cake? We had
this made for us. We`re happy that they`re dead. Progressive light
Republicans who care about winning more than really anything else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He has on the white jacket and he`s in the morgue and
that`s the Republican establishment dead. I`m concerned about Glenn.

BALL: To be fair, I think Glenn has been cracking up for some time
now. So I don`t know that that is a new development.

But after 2008, there was this argument that Republicans lost because
John McCain was not conservative enough. And there was a movement to the
right in response to that. The big question after Mitt Romney lost this
time around is that, is would Republicans learn that same lesson that he
hadn`t been conservative enough despite the fact that on every issue he
raised his hand and said no I wouldn`t take the 16-1 deal spending cuts to
revenue increases. I`m for self-deportation. He was as far to the right
as you possibly could be. So, the idea that he wasn`t conservative enough
is sort of bizarre. But that`s apparently where Glenn Beck has taken this.

SHARPTON: But Abby, with all the side Becking going on, pun intended,
David Brooks on a more serious side says GOP should just completely start
over. In his column in "New York times" today he says people almost never
change their unyielding narratives or unconscious frameworks. It`s
probably futile to try to change current b Republicans. It`s smarter to
build a new wing of the Republican Party.

HUNTSMAN: You know, I really like this idea. I`m so glad you brought
up this article. I was about to do that. Because I think this could be
exactly what the Republican Party needs. I mean, the harsh reality here,
Reverend, is the fact that the Republicans have not won the popular vote
more than once in 2004 since 1988. I mean, these are the stats. This is
what we`re faced with as a party.

So, I think this idea of forming a second party, one that is a
balanced party, one that can actually travel to the biggest cities around
the country and talk about the need for government. Yes, as a Republican
you can still talk about why we do need government as a country. And you
can appeal to people in different demographics that we`re not reaching out
to today. I don`t remember Romney traveling to Chicago, Los Angeles,
Philadelphia, or New York for example. I think we need to visit those
cities just like Ronald Reagan did and have these frank conversations.

I think this idea is exactly what we might need. The tea party took
it over a few years ago. I say we take it back over. The part of the
party that I think are more appealing to your average American.

SHARPTON: No. But Abby, he did come to New York. He came to see
Donald Trump. Don`t forget.

BALL: That`s right. And I have to say. It`s easy and there`s a lot
of shot as a Democrat watching the GOP internal civil war. But the
Democratic Party is made better by a good Republican party that actually
has ideas and is actually competing in the battlefield of ideas. That
forces us to be better and make sure we have good ideas as well. So the
country is better as a whole if you do have a smart and thoughtful
Republican party ultimately.

HUNTSMAN: I mean, that`s exactly right, Krystal. Rev, I think we can
agree the country is at its best. I mean, we are a democracy is not made
to be easy. But we are at - the country is at its best when both parties
are strong, when you can actually have a positive, a healthy conversation
right now. We all know it`s one sided. We don`t have that. The
Republican Party is not bringing much to the table.

So, we could hope the that party, the Republican Party begins to
rebuild itself so that it`s better for the country and Americans.

SHARPTON: The country is better when you have healthy debate with
some very reasonable and achievable goals and policies. But this madness
doesn`t help the country. It only furthers the madness.

HUNTSMAN: There are some that exist somewhere.

SHARPTON: Krystal and Abby, I`m going to have to leave it there.
Thanks for your time this evening.

HUNTSMAN: Thanks.

BALL: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: And by the way, be sure to catch Krystal on "the Cycle,"
weekdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, who better to talk gun control than the guy who once shot a
friend in the face. Yes, Dick Cheney on camera.

And Paul Ryan has some competition in his love for philosopher Ayn
Rand. Rand is his love. This is "Politics Nation." Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We tackle some serious issues on this show. But tonight
we`re trying to find that special someone for philosopher Ayn Rand. Her
extreme libertarian view became popular in the 1940s and `50s. The basic
idea, forget the poor, the old, the sick. It`s every man for himself. And
today`s extreme crop of Republicans just love her. So let`s meet the
contenders. Here`s candidate number one, Senator Rand Paul.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I am a big fan of Ayn Rand. I`ve read all of her
novels.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Nice tribute. But is he any match for candidate number
two, Congressman Paul Ryan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: The reason I got involved in public
service by and large if I had to credit one thinking, one person, it would
be Ayn Rand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Mr. Ryan got into public service because of a woman who
rejects thinking of others. She would love Ryan`s makers versus takers
philosophy. But what about candidate three, Senator Ron Johnson?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What do you see as the differences between your
ideas and the ideas of Ayn Rand?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m not sure there are too many differences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But there`s more to listen to Senator Johnson when he
reveals what happened when a friend saw the statue of atlas. The symbol of
Ayn Rand`s most famous novel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There was this big old statue on the side of the
road for sale. You know, it was atlas and had the world. It was obviously
the atlas symbol. And you know, he was thinking about buying it. And I
said, yes, I absolutely. I`ll pay for half of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes. He bought a statue in honor of Rand`s book. There`s
even photographic evidence. There they go. Ladies and gentlemen, who will
be the winner? Who is the biggest Ayn Rand fan around? Is it Rand Paul?
Paul Ryan? Or Ron Johnson?

Congratulations, Senator Johnson. You win the rose. How exciting.
But do any of these guys think we`ll be impressed that they push a
philosophy to ignore people who aren`t as lucky as them? That`s OK for a
book, but it has no place in reality. You can win as many roses as you
want, we still got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: President Obama is charging ahead on one of the big
promises of his second term. Gun control. Already this year, he signed 23
executive actions on gun safety. And he`s keeping up the pressure on
Congress to pass new gun laws. Today, a big shift from Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid who famously has been lukewarm on gun control. Reid now
says, he will make sure lawmakers get a chance to vote on reform.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRY REID, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Within my power to bring
legislation dealing with gun and violence generally to the floor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But of course the right wing doesn`t think we need any new
gun legislation. Just look who`s on FOX News offering up his wisdom on gun
safety.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. VICE PRES. DICK CHENEY (R), UNITED STATES: I`m worried that in
effect what happens here in this situation is that we may end up in a
situation where you get a proposal or a proposition that does, in fact,
threaten the rights of law-abiding Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Former Vice President Dick Cheney`s worried about gun
safety proposal. Does he think we forgot about this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: A hunting accident involving Vice President Dick
Cheney. Bird shot fired from the Vice President`s weapon apparently
wounded a fellow hunter during a shooting outing on a private ranch in
Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. Cheney sprayed him with shot gun pellets while
trying to hit a quail.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Apparently the vice president then took a shot at
a bird from the second covey of quail and accidentally peppered -- in the
face, neck and upper body was shot on pellets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The man who shot his friend in the face is now the GOP`s
expert on gun safety. That friend recovered. Cheney`s reputation never
did.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Seventy-eight-year-old Harry Whittington, the first
person shot by a sitting veep since Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, of
course, was shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity
and political maneuvering. Whittington was mistaken for a bird.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This country needs real solutions on guns. Now.

Joining me now is Dana Milbank. Dana, did FOX News just miss the
irony of Dick Cheney talking about gun safety proposals?

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, irony has never been the
strong point of the former Vice President, but we can say that he has
retained his ability to shoot from the hip. But he -- he`s -- he is a
remarkable spokesman on this issue. We can be pleased that he did not as
Harry Whittington surely is, he did not have an assault gun that day in the
woods. But I suspect that the Republicans will not bring him out as their
main spokesman on the gun issue henceforth.

SHARPTON: But, you know, what has really caught my attention, in just
three weeks, Democrats in the House and of course in the Senate, have
already proposed several laws to combat gun violence, you know, from child
gun access prevention to Senator Feinstein`s assault weapons ban proposal.
Democrats have already introduced 12 bills dedicated to gun safety.

But then you see the extreme right, the ugliness on the other side.
Example, yesterday Neil Heslin who`s the father of a six-year-old killed in
Sandy Hook testified at a Connecticut hearing on gun violence. This is the
father. Lost a six-year-old kid in the school in Newtown. As he was
talking, he was actually heckled by a gun activist. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL HESLIN, LOST SON IN SANDY HOOK SHOOTING: Why? Anybody in this
room needs to have one of these assault style weapons or military weapons
or high-capacity clips. And not one person can answer that question.
Forgive me.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Second amendment shall not be infringed.

HESLIN: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You will not infringe our rights.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Please, please, no comments while Mr. Heslin is
speaking. Or we`ll clear the room.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, I get it, we can disagree on the bills. We can
disagree on the interpretation of the second amendment, but I mean, we are
not even 60 days since this man lost his six-year-old child for going to
school with 19 others and we`re going to just had heckle and disrespect
him. I mean, to me it is amazingly insensitive how the pro-gun extremists
are about issue.

MILBANK: It does seems to be yet a new level of depravity that a man
who had gone through that grieving so recently needs to be heckled by
second amendment activists. But I think it`s instructive because it does
show why the odds are so stacked against gun control right now. And what
Harry Reid said today is important because the Senate is going to have to
move on this. You can be sure the House isn`t going to do anything if they
don`t have to. So they have to see what gets through the Senate first.

And what you see from the outrageousness of, you know, a dozen folks
heckling the father of the slain child is that side, the program has an
intensity that has an intensity, that has generally been lacking on the
other side. The President, the Democrats are trying to maintain that this
is why the longer this goes on, the more difficulty they`ll have getting
this through. But it does seem that they have some momentum on certain
issues like the background check. Nobody is expecting the assault gun ban
gets reinstated.

SHARPTON: Now, wait a minute. You say momentum. Tell me why you
feel momentum and tell me how much momentum. Is it enough to really carry
some things?

MILBANK: Well, maybe, to carry some things. Certainly, if the
President is investing a lot of political capital in this, he can make this
happen. It depends on what he wants to take that political capital away
from. Is that a jobs bill? Is that immigration? Can he keep this laser
focus on? Because you know the NRA and its allies are going to be rallying
their forces at every turn here.

They are going to keep up their intensity. You have this, going to be
another absurd situation of the NRA fresh from making an ad going after the
President`s children is now going to -- Wayne Lapierre is now going to
appear on the hill tomorrow and come out against simple background checks.

SHARPTON: Against simple background checks. It doesn`t get any
crazier than that. Dana Milbank, thanks for your time tonight.

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, threats to the President`s second term agenda.
And what can -- what you can do. That can be helpful.

Plus, Hillary Clinton dancing right into history. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Hillary Clinton`s tenure as Secretary of State ends Friday.
In four years she`s become the most traveled Secretary of State ever
visiting 112 countries, logging nearly a million frequent flier miles.
Today at her final town hall, she was asked about something else that`s
happened on the road.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Three times caught dancing on camera.

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Oh, dear. Yes. That`s
supposed to be erased from the record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Oh, no, Madam Secretary, the video is not erased from the
record. It`s all still here. We loved seeing you dance the night away in
South Africa and getting your boogie on with local farmers in Malawi.
We`ve seen you unwind after a long day of diplomacy by going clubbing in
Colombia.

And we all enjoyed your shimmy shaking in Kenya. So, we here at
POLITICS NATION salute the secretary of dance moves.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Four years ago today, President Obama signed his first
bill. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act giving women equal pay for equal
work. And he kicks off his second term, the fight to protect women and
women`s rights is alive. Why? Because the GOP anti-woman push is
relentless.

Next week the Senate will vote on the violence against women act and
the House Republicans are silent. For 18 years his act protected women who
were victims of domestic abuse. They might be silent, but the president
won`t be.

Joining me now is Irin Carmon and Angela Rye. Thank you both for
being here tonight.

IRIN CARMON, SALON.COM: Thank you, Reverend.

ANGELA RYE, FMR. EXEC. DIR. CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: Thank you,
Rev.

SHARPTON: Irin, will the GOP do the right thing here?

CARMON: Well, I think they`ve been backed into a corner. I think,
again, the technicality with which they think, the violence against women
act before which was that, it can raise revenue in the Senate.

SHARPTON: Right.

CARMON: Has been taken away. At this point, we`re just talking about
expanded protections for people who need them. LBGT people, Native
Americans and so on. So far, it looks like their House Republicans have
been on board for the Native American provisions. We don`t know how they
feel -- generally we know how they feel about LBGT people.

SHARPTON: Right.

CARMON: We don`t know they feel about the violence against women act.
I think they`ve been at this point if they reject the violence against
women act, the repercussions will be so great for them that they won`t be
able to handle it.

Angela, when you look at the act itself, the violence against women
act 2013, the new bill reauthorized the violence against women act which
includes violence prevention programs, rape crisis centers, hotlines, legal
aid. In addition, it will protect the LGBT community and it will protect
Native Americans. But it eliminates the temporary visas for immigrant
victims. The GOP`s biggest qualms were about these provisions only one of
them is eliminated. How will this new bill fair in the house? You worked
the hill.

RYE: Well, I think first and foremost we`re late. We`re late, it`s
not even a party. This is about protecting women`s safety. This is about
ensuring that people of all walks of life in this country can fend
themselves against violent attack. So the fact the GOP hasn`t allowed the
House because they`re the majority right now to take up this measure is
ridiculous. At this point, the GOP is not just off message, they`re
completely off their rocker.

It`s totally unreasonable to act as if they don`t have, you know,
women in their lives, mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, nieces. It`s
just time for us to pass this measure. And the Democrats in the House are
putting a lot of pressure on the Republicans to take this up.

SHARPTON: But at the same time you look at, Irin, the personhood of
USA. They`ve loosed a campaign to push lawmakers to strip the rape
exception from federal abortion laws. This is what they put up. On their
website they say quote, "are you 100 percent pro-life even in cases of
rape? They go on to say a baby is not the worst thing that can happen to a
rape victim. An abortion is."

CARMON: Some of these people will never learn. They lost in
Mississippi. They lost in Colorado. They lost with Todd Akin. They lost
with Richard Mourdock. They still want to talk with a complete lack of
compassion for women who have been victims of sexual violence. At this
point, you know, the rape exceptions that we do have which insurance
coverage under federal medical plans for abortion are so narrow, even lots
of people who are victims of rape do not actually benefit under them. And
they want to strip that away. It shows what absolute lack of compassion
they have for the realities of women`s lives.

SHARPTON: And Angela, if you look at what`s going on in the abortion
bill in New Mexico, it tries to define fetus not as a person but as
evidence. State Representative Kathryn Brown introduced a bill that would
prosecute doctors who perform abortions for rape victims. They would be
charged with a third degree felony for quote, "tampering with evidence."

Well, what`s beyond me, Reverend, here in this situation is the fact
that Republicans want to protect the right to life in some instances and
not in others. When you look at things like the death penalty and the fact
that they don`t fight for the right to live in that situation. Or the fact
that we`re having this fight right now about the second amendment. You
brought up Dick Cheney earlier. It just doesn`t make sense. At some
point, you have to have your arguments and your message aligned. And it`s
just really it`s off right now.

SHARPTON: Well, I mean, the one thing that`s clear, John Boehner made
it very clear what the fundamental goal is. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: With all that is at stake, it`s becoming
more and more important for us to share the truth with our young people and
encourage them to lock arms, speak out for life, and help make abortion a
relic of the past. Let that be one of our most fundamental rules this
year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Make abortion a relic of the past. I don`t think you can
be clearer than that.

CARMON: Absolutely not. And I think we`re going to see that in his
legislative agenda. So, you know, John Boehner is not elected by the
majority of American people. The majority of American people want women to
have access to safe and legal abortion. They, on the other hand, many in
the house republican caucus are elected by people who still very much want
them to get in the examining room with a woman and legislate what she can
and cannot do. So, they`re stuck.

SHARPTON: Angela, is this mean they learned no lessons on their war
on women political agenda of last year that really hurt them with women
voters all over this country?

RYE: I don`t think they did. You can look at what they did at the
beginning of this Congress. And that was elect all white male chairs to
committees of influence. And when they realize what they`d done the next
day, they had Candice Miller who had never served on house admin as the
chair. So, I think that there`s not only a message problem, there really
is the fact that they just don`t understand. I don`t know what else to do
to help them. You know, I don`t really necessarily have interest in seeing
that work. But they`re totally off message. They`re totally not in
alignment with the thoughts and the opinions of the American public. It
just doesn`t make any sense.

SHARPTON: Irin Carmon and Angela Rye, thank you both for your time
tonight.

CARMON: Thank you, Reverend.

RYE: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the President got your vote. And now he needs
your help. How can we, the people, how can we the people help achieve the
historic legacy? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Just over a week into his second term, President Obama is
pushing ahead on a big agenda. We talked about it tonight. Immigration,
jobs, guns, women`s health. But as he said before, he needs Americans`
help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The election four years ago
wasn`t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens, you were the
change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You were the change. It`s not about him. It`s about
everyone. So the fight is on. Get up and let your voice be heard. That`s
what the election was all about. We, the people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as
well as rights. That our destinies are bound together. That a freedom
which asks only what`s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to
others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism is unworthy
of our founding ideals and those who died in their defense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We all watch our televisions and read our papers and go
online and have our opinions of our public officials, our leaders, even our
pundits. But ultimately pop star Michael Jackson was right. He made a
song I`m looking at the man in the mirror. The person, the citizen, the
leader that you can most do something to correct to shape and mold is the
one you look at in the mirror. Is that person active? Is that person
pushing? Is that person doing something to make it a better country? Do
that and we`ll get where we need to go.

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

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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