tv Politics Nation MSNBC December 3, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
to net job loss for american workers. and the pressure to drive wages down. >> okay. leo gerard, good to have you with us tonight. that's "the ed show." i'm ed shultz. "politicsnation" with reverend al sharpton starts now. good evening, rev. >> zboogood evening, ed. and thanks to you for tuning in. tonight's lead, america has turned a corner. the website is working. people are signing up and the reality of affordable health care is coming to people all across this country. >> the bottom line is this law is working and will work into the future. about half a million people across the country are poised to gain health care coverage through market places and medicaid beginning on january 1st. some for the very first time.
we know that. half a million people. >> it is working. that's the fact. that's the fact republicans are hoping people won't discover. that's why the white house is holding events every day between now and just before christmas to highlight the law's benefits and push back against the right wing smears. tomorrow they'll focus on low cost preventive care. thursday, protecting people with pre-existing conditions. and friday, slowing down the growth of health care cost. polling on this law is always mixed. because of republicans' relentless attacking. but when people see what the law actually does, they like it. 81% support the provision to close the medicare doughnut hole. saving seniors on prescription drugs.
76% like letting young people or young adults stay on their parents' insurance until they're 26. 71% favor expanding medicaid. and 66% are glad the law bans insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. 66% of americans don't agree on anything. but they agree on this. and every day more people are getting help. the administration announced today nearly 1.5 million more people are now eligible for medicaid. and the federal website's getting better too. in october, nearly 27,000 people signed up for insurance through healthcare.gov. that's nearly quadrupled last month to 100,000.
and yesterday 1 million people visited the website alone. there's a huge demand for better health care. and president obama has this challenge for his critics. >> if despite all the millions of people benefitting from it, you still think this law's a bad idea, then you've got to tell us specifically what you'd do differently to cut costs, cover more people, make insurance nmoe secure. >> so what exactly would they do differently? speaker boehner, take it away. >> the american people want to be able to pick their own type of health insurance. they want to be able to pick their own doctor. they want to be able to pick their own hospital. that's what a patient-centered health care system will look like. >> will that be up for vote in 2014? a bill like that? speaker, will that be up for a vote in 2014? >> we'll see. >> we'll see? that's what you'll tell the millions of americans who want
affordable health care? we'll see? that's not good enough. >> you got good ideas, bring them to me. let's go. but we're not repealing it as long as i'm president. >> this law is working and is here to stay. joining me now are congressman emanuel cleaver, democrat of missouri, and richard wolffe executive editor of msnbc.com. thank you both for being here. >> thanks, reverend. >> good to be here, reverend. >> congressman, have we now turned a corner on health care? >> i think we have. we're headed in the right direction. we have problems at first. you know, republicans saw a glitch or a calamity in every glitch. you know, i've got a 1-year-old granddaughter, and even on thanksgiving day she had a number of little glitches. but we're not ready to throw her away because of a glitch here
and there. most things in the beginning stages are going to be difficult to pull off. one of the things that's really sad, and i hope the american public is seeing this. when republicans are asked what is your replacement, what are you going to propose? we'll see is not a plan. it's not a bill. you can't file we'll see. you need a bill. it has to have content to it. and that's not going to happen. it's one of these deals where they just criticize and criticize and criticize. and that's it. and that is the plan. >> now, you know, richard, fox news hyped up a story yesterday on a new york family that said they looked for insurance on the state exchange and were told their baby daughter wouldn't be covered. listen to this. >> how is it possible that you go to look for an insurance plan and the baby isn't covered. walk us through that. >> the family plan came back. we got 56 different quotes. they offered coverage for myself and my wife, our 6-year-old
daughter, my 5-year-old daughter, our 3-year-old son. but our 1 1/2-year-old daughter was left off. >> this is fox news very distressing story. speaker boehner even tweeted a link to this story too. but according to capital new york, the family was just given bad information. family plans in new york covered the whole family. and the mixup came because their application originally only listed three of the family's four children when the error was discovered, it was fixed. now, as these bogus right wing stories get debunked, how will it affect the debate about the law? >> it hasn't even passed the smell test. adults up to the age of 26. so there's a big definition from babyhood up to 26-year-old
adults. the truth about health care is that it's immune to the spin. whether you're on the white house side or the conservative ek echo chamber. people will have their own experiences. just like they do today. you can't be john boehner today and say people have their own free choice about doctors. anyone with their own health care today know there are lots of restrictions on which doctors to go to. there's in network, there's out of network. there's deductibled, there's out of pocket. that's why the right is so threatened by this. because they know as it rolls out people are going to like what they see and it'll never be repealed. >> you know, congressman, what is amazing to me is that in the middle of all of this and i understand the politics and the partisan back and forward, but we are talking about people's health that all of us no matter what party, no matter what side of the id logical style you sit on or whatever the divide is,
all of us claim to love americans. think progress is reporting that california republicans have created a website that looks incredibly similar to the state exchange. but that spreads misinformation saying things like the law means rationed care and it might discourage companies from hiring. i mean, california has signed up more people through its exchange through any other state. why would you play these dirty tricks, congressman, that actually help people not get health care, denies people what they need. >> these diskorgss are disturbing because it says that people who oppose barack obama or the affordable care act are willing to do anything. they will distort anything. and, you know, in a few years, i hope that all of you in the media like yourself and others will make sure that all of the
footage is being, you know, put in a library away. in a few years if you play back what many of these people are saying and report on all the distortions that were going on, another generation will laugh and say what kind of people were they? look, insurance is as was said earlier, it's very personal. and they're making up things as they go. and the closer we get -- and this is a sign things are getting better -- the closer we get the more distortions we're going to see. the more things like the united states is moving its embassy out of the vatican. i mean, that thing is going to go more and more and more because it is working. 7.1 million seniors saw the doughnut hole close. that's $8.3 billion. >> richard, it goes back to your point you can't spend either way if something is working. for example, when the president talks about as he did today, specific people that the law has
helped, let me play this for you. this the kind of stuff you can't make up or you can't debunk. >> the other day i got a letter from julia walsh in california. earlier this year julia was diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma. i have a lot of things to worry about, she wrote. but thanks to the affordable care act there are lots of things i do not have to worry about. like whether there will be a lifetime cap on benefits, or whether my treatment will bankrupt my family. i can't begin to tell you how much that peace of mind means. that's what the affordable care act means to julia. >> this kind of story about julia told by the president of the united states, this gives republicans a real problem. >> yeah. and that's why republican governors are accepting the medicaid expansion, because they know it's popular and they know people will be happy when they get it. that's why mitt romney at one point of his campaign said of course my plan covers
pre-existing conditions, even though it didn't. this stuff is popular. as it rolls out, republicans know, even columnists like charles krauthammer knows you cannot roll this back. because it's like wait a second. like the late night comedian that went out on the street and said do you like obama care or the affordable care act? i like the affordable care act, not obama care. then they'll see this is actually pretty good. >> when you really think about it, rooting against health care for american people, that is a heck of a position for a political party. congressman emanuel cleaver and richard wolffe, thank you for your time tonight. still ahead, want a new sign republicans are desperately afraid of this president? they're even bringing back that ugly talk about impeachment. >> we've also talked about the
i-word. impeachment. >> rises to the level of an impeachable offense. also, courage for a cause. why won't john boehner meet with the brave activists who are camped out in the cold fasting for immigration reform? plus bill o'reilly saw his shadow last night and declared four more weeks on the war on christmas. we'll look at what's really behind the right wing's annual bogus tradition. big show tonight, so stay with us. ♪ my asthma's under control. i get out a lot... except when it's too cold. like the last three weekends. asthma doesn't affect my job... you missed the meeting again last week! it doesn't affect my family. your coughing woke me up again.
today i went to the mall in washington where pro-immigration activists are fasting for their cause. they're an amazing group. and today our facebook community weighed in on their push for reform. ida says they are humans just like we are. they work just as hard as we do for a living. they pay taxes and have to support their kids just like we do. so why not pass the bill? richard supports reform too. quote, it's the right thing to do. we'll have more on the fight next. but first, we want you to weigh in. head over to facebook and search "politicsnation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps going long after the show ends. ya know, with new fedex one rate
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speaker john boehner wants you to know that he's got the christmas spirit. just moments ago he lit the official capital christmas tree on the national mall talking about the spirit of the holidays. but literally just steps away are a group of people the speaker has refused to speak with. these activists have been camped out on the mall fasting for 22 days. to highlight the need to reform our broken immigration system. and the call on boehner to allow a vote. last month they held a candle light vigil outside of boehner's
home. they marched to his office on capitol hill. they even went to his favorite diner. but he thinks they're not worth his time. this weekend the president and the first lady stopped by to offer their support. and today i was there along with lawmakers like john lewis and nancy pelosi. i was honored to say the closing prayer of the ceremony marking the commitment of a new round of activists who are fasting for the cause. >> i've been fasting now for 13 days without food. we've been here to be able to demonstrate through our fasting through this sacrifice the suffering that takes place. >> we do hope it moves the hearts of people here in washington, d.c. to act now. >> up there, they're blocking democracy. they're vetoing democracy. >> it is so strange and
disgraceful, shameful that in the congress we don't have the courage -- what i call raw courage to pass comprehensive immigration reform. >> our system's broken. it has to be fixed to save the lives of these families. >> i teared up and i cried a little. i don't know what is in us as a nation, as a people that we cannot do the right thing. >> we must do the right thing. and the moral justice of the cause will compel this do-nothing congress to do the right thing too. not just on immigration, but on the basic issues of fairness and decency that makes america great. joining me now is one of those leaders. lee saunders, president ofs a union that was at the immigration rally today. lee, thank you for joining me.
>> thanks for having me, al. >> do you think the moral example set by these activists fasting in the cold on our national mall is helping to refocus the nation on the immigration issue? >> well, i think that we've got to keep the pressure on in any way possible. and these fasters, they've been on a fast for 22 days. and they've passed that fast on to other individuals who feel strongly about comprehensive immigration reform. the best christmas present that john boehner could give all of us, this entire country, is to provide comprehensive immigration reform for the 11 million people living under the shadows, in the shadows in this country. that's unacceptable in america. and he's got to push for a vote. we urge him to have a vote in the house and get this done. >> now, the senate has voted. all we need is a house vote. and john boehner won't even meet with the group, lee saunders. >> that's why we've got to keep the pressure on.
this is -- we aren't forgetting about this. we'll be in the streets across this country. we need immigration reform now and we are not going to wait any longer. we are not going to accept any other excuses. we've got to push this agenda. we've got to push this as a priority across the country. >> you know, the support to a path for citizenship for illegal immigrants supported 73% of democrats support it. 60% of republicans. 57% of independents. but speaker boehner has refused to even speak with the immigration activists. but two young people surprised him at a diner last month. look at this, lee. >> hi. i'm carmen. i'm 13. and you're a father, right? >> yeah. >> so how would you feel if you
had to tell your kids at the age of ten that you were never coming home? >> that wouldn't be good. >> huh? >> that wouldn't be good. >> i know. so that's what happened to you. >> well, i'm trying to find a way to get this thing done. it's not easy. it's not going to be an easy path forward. >> immigration reform is not easy. that's boehner's excuse for not doing anything, lee? >> it's not difficult at all, al. you know and you mentioned the polls where the majority of americans believe that we need comprehensive immigration reform. boehner is standing in the way of a house vote. let the congress people vote on comprehensive immigration reform. if he lets them do that, i'm convinced that it will pass. they'll work with the senate. and we would have done a great thing, a great thing by enabling those 11 million people and their 8 million folks and their
families to be treated equally. dignity and to obtain economic rights. we must do this as a country. >> let me ask you while i have you, today a federal judge cleared the way for detroit to go bankrupt and ruled that pensions of city workers can be cut as part of that bankruptcy. what is your reaction as the international president of afscme? >> it's a dark day in the city of detroit. it's a dark day for the retirees who have worked 30 and 35 years, given their life to public service in that city. retirees who on average making $19,000 a year are now exposed to potential cuts in their benefits. i lay the blame completely with governor snyder. he's the governor. he's the chief executive officer of that state. pensions are a constitutional right in that state.
as the governor, we've got to deal with the economic crisis in detroit. but he should have removed pensions from the table. you don't harm -- you don't attack individuals making $19,000 a year putting a bullseye on their back while you're trying to achieve the goals of wall street and wall street bankers. they aren't going to be harmed. they aren't going to suffer. the folks who are going to suffer are those retirees. we think that's unacceptable. this is not only a legal question and we're going to challenge this, we're going to appeal it. >> what do you mean you're going to challenge it? you're appealing the court decision? >> we're appealing the decision. we're going to move it hopefully to the circuit court. but this is also a moral question. what kind of country are we? what kind of country do we want to be? i mean, are you going to attack workers? are you going to attack individuals making $19,000 a year yet the wall street bankers
skate through this crisis? i think that's wrong. i think we've got to educate our communities and say this is unacceptable and should not be done. >> all right. we'll be watching that one as it unfolds. lee saunders, thank you so much for your time tonight. >> thanks for having me. >> we'll be right back.
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>> our next guest says the effects of the president's actions over the years rises to the level of an impeachable offense. >> an impeachable offense. granted, that's fox news, but it might as well be the republican party. today the house gop held a hearing on the president's failure to execute the nation's laws. during it, congressman darrell issa, a man who's been on a witch hunt against this administration from day one actually compared the president to nixon. and this birther congressman came right out with it. >> we've also talked about the "i" word, impeachment, which again i don't think would get past the senate in the current climate. >> am i missing anything? >> here's what you're missing. you have no grounds to impeach the president. and let's be honest. this isn't just about health care. oh, no.
that's one of the reasons they want to impeaecach him. but the truth is they're willing to impeach him on any grounds. just listen to them today. >> then you can insert whatever you want. benghazi, fast and furious, the irs targeting of advocacy groups, nsa overreach, if you like your health care you can keep it. >> the president ordered anwar al awlaki killed by drone strike. >> the president effectively enacted the dream act himself. >> the deep water drilling ban, mr. holder's attempt to criminal justice by enforcing our laws, mr. obama's ignoring immigration laws in many cases. >> what is that? ten reasons? here's a message for the gop, forget impeachment. go out and win an election.
joining me now are ryan grim and goldie taylor. thank you goet for coming on the show tonight. >> thank you. >> thanks for having me. >> ryan, what do republicans hope to gain by talking about impeachment when they know it's not going to happen? >> well, people like congressman farenthold are people that think the president wasn't born here. that he's not legitimate and they want him out one way or another. they couldn't beat him in '08, couldn't beat him in 2012. he'll leave in 2016, but they're too impatient for that. this is something they'll be on i think until the day he finally leaves office. >> you know, goldie, when the gop rolls out the runs they wanted to impeach the president, i mean, for any variety of reasons. because i wasn't born here.
because of immigration reform. fast and furious, not extending bush tax cuts, dream act, war in libya, gun control, benghazi. and quote, all the czars he's appointed. it's amazing. >> it's amazing that the kitchen sink isn't in there. >> i didn't get to it. >> maybe it is. maybe we haven't looked closely enough. i think ryan grim is right about this. this has never truly been about any of these issues. this is about nullification of this president. nullification of any of his agenda that's enacted including the affordable care act. it's never been about providing a health care to millions of uninsured americans. if that were true, americans would have come up with a counterplan. with a set of provisions they knew could provide insurance to people they knew needed health care. this isn't about that. if this was about benghazi, we
would have been talking about bush lying his way into wars where thousands of our service members died. this is not about that. this is about delegitimatizing this president. and the second part of this is this is about winning the next election. very localized gerrmandered districts. the problem with that is the tent draws so small that they can't win a national election on this basis. and so they had better get right and get right soon, or they're going to be sort of irrelevant for the next several cycles. >> but ryan, it's not just crazy talk as crazy as it may sound. they're talking the legal talk here. congresswoman michele bachmann said on fox today that the president has rewritten the constitution for himself. listen to her. >> he doesn't want to be bound by any law, and that's the rub. the constitution says no man is above the law including the president of the united states.
he has rewritten the constitution for himself as a part of his effort to fundamentally transform the united states of america. >> so with these kind of charges, i don't know how she claims he has rewritten it, but it begins the legal basis of trying to have a serious kind of discussion that is outrageous, ryan. >> sure. and she just lives in another world here. you know, in the real world where the rest of us live, there are progressive immigration activists who are, you know, begging the president to slow down on deportations because comprehensive immigration reform can't get through the house. and obama says, look, the laws are on the books. it's my job to carry out these laws. you know, if i could, i would stop these deportations. that's what he told the heckler recently at the speech. so michele bachmann's idea that obama does anything he wants, flies in the face of the fact that he is not doing the very
thing that he says he wants to do and that his base wants him to do. >> well, you know, goldie, when you look at the fact that ryan's talking about hecklers, we remember when congressman joe wilson called the president a liar in the middle of the state of the union address. now the number two republican in the senate is calling the president a liar. he says, quote, i think the current administration has taken lying to a new level. now, when you look at that and the claims he's operating imperial, i mean, the president has made it very clear that he's not a king. and that he cannot act without congress. listen to this, goldie. >> i am not a dictator. i'm the president. so ultimately if mitch mcconnell or john boehner say we need to go to catch a plane, i can't have secret service block the
doorway. if i could solve all these problems without passing laws in congress, then i would do so. but we're also a nation of laws. that's part of our tradition. it is not simply a matter of us just saying we're going to violate the law. that's not our tradition. >> not our tradition, not what he's trying to do, not what he's done despite having record numbers of obstructions to things as simple as appointments that he would make that any president would be allowed to make given his own choice. >> sure. i think this president both understands and embraces the rule of law. he understands he has a congress he has to deal with. and that congress has tried to obstruct him at every turn. so in turn he has used every means available to him to advance his agenda. and that sometimes includes an executive order. those things, those tools that are available to him.
and to say this president has somehow broken the law, has somehow flouted the rule of law in this country really is a misnomer. what really has happened here is this republican congress has pushed things to the very hilt trying to distract us from creating jobs. trying to distract us from comprehensive immigration policy. trying to distract us from those repressive voting laws they're enacting around this country. >> well, what also has them angry is that the country has supported the president on these policies. i mean, if they want to impeach somebody, they have to impeach most of the country. because 92% supported universal background checks following the newtown tragedy. so the president issued some executive orders. 82% of americans believe the america is losing the war on drugs. 77% support path to citizenship.
so the president used executive actions to make immigration policy more fair. he never went outside of his constitutional powers, but he tried to address issues that the american people were asking for. >> right. and i think that's where some of this political nihilism that you see comes from. you know, for the core members of the more extreme elements of the tea party, they see themselves kind of, quote, unquote, losing their country. they see this rising coalition and they don't like it. and they feel like they're losing something. and, you know, so that is why i think there are some of them that are willing to actually hurt the economy. they feel like there needs to be a punishment for the country because it has sinned. >> i'm going to have to leave it there, ryan. thank you for your point. it was a good point. and thank you goldie for being on the show tonight.
thank you, both. coming up, the holidays are here and so is the right wing war on christmas. we'll show you why it's really about the culture wars. and a party afraid of change. the day we rescued riley was a truly amazing day. he was a matted mess in a small cage. so that was our first task, was getting him to wellness.
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the holiday season is finally here. the world famous tree here at rockefeller center will be lit tomorrow night. the music is playing and so is a tradition like no other. yes, that's right. it's time for the annual right wing war on the war on christmas. because nothing says holiday cheer like this. >> the war on christmas centralizes. that is the subject of this evening's talking point's memo. there are some americans offended by any reference to jesus christ. over the years we've taken on the role of protecting the federal holiday of christmas. >> it just warms my heart seeing that back on tv. reminds me of years passed. the warm memories.
>> we are pretty much the only ones covering the so-called war on christmas. >> let's talk about the war on christmas. >> you haven't heard of the war on christmas? >> i'm all about free speech and rights just not on december 25th. >> the war on christmas is back as well. >> we're not nuts, are we? there is a war on christmas. >> it seems just like yesterday we were hearing this far right holiday tradition. but let's get back to the courageous warrior. he was making his list and checking it twice. >> everything was swell up until about ten years ago when creeping secularism and pressure groups like the aclu began attacking the christmas holiday. the demanded the word christmas be removed from advertising and public displays, and many people caved into that. so now we have the happy holidays syndrome. >> no, oh, no. not the happy holidays syndrome.
>> what is interesting this year is that hanukkah will be over on thursday, so there are no more holidays between then and christmas day. it's just christmas. if you want to invoke "happy." bad news for the secular progressives. >> oh, those secular progressives. as a non-secular progressive, let me wish everyone happy holidays. or should i say happy thanksgivukkahchristmakkah. joining me now is dana milbank. i want to wish you happy holidays. i think the right just doesn't like the idea of a change in america. >> and a happy hanukkah to you, reverend. >> what do you think about this war on christmas is really all about as you sit there in your holiday regalia? >> i do have my holiday regalia
on and i want to wish you both a happy hanukkah and a happy new year. >> happy kwanzaa, merry christmas, and happy hanukkah. i say it all eni am a progressive. >> excellent. we have to have father christmas bill o'reilly come out and do this each year. it wouldn't be the same without him sort of like santa and the reindeer. as a kid i always looked forward to "charlie brown's christmas" come on tv and now i'm looking forward to o'reilly's war on christmas. i think it has a lot less to do with holidays and trying to make liberals look as if they are godless. and i think the very fact that i'm having this discussion with a reverend would suggest that that's probably not working out too well. >> you know, i want to put up a
tweet for the national republican congressional committee advertising shirts over the holiday weekend that said happy holidays is what liberals say. and the back said merry christmas. after some criticism, they replaced it with a shirt that says i'm not afraid to say merry christmas. dana, what does something like this do for a party that says they want to rebrand itself? >> well, it seems each day we're having another one of these episodes. want to improve race relations and they have the errant tweet about rosa parks. now they're trying to score some points with their base and they wind up offendive people saying what's wrong with being happy during the holidays. they did retreat somewhat from that and have made it more of a pro-christmas message rather than an anti-holidays message. as you showed in your earlier
segment about riling up the base for all the reasons for impeachment, this is another example of just trying to rile up the base in what might otherwise be a joyful season. >> you know, let's listen to what i call the real war on christmas. >> look at poverty in this country. everybody out of work is eating. they've got big screen tv, probably have a car, probably have a cell phone. >> minimum wage is something that the government uses to force employers to pay low-end employees more than they're worth. >> in other countries they're not washing their clothes and sitting in air conditioning watching their big screen tv. they're dying. that is poor. >> my contention is that the obama administration is encouraging parasites to come out and, you know, take as much as they can with no remorse. >> i mean, to me, dana, that's the real war on christmas. when you dump on the poor or are
unsensitive to them and say nothing about those making record profits, that's the war on christmas. i've got to go though. >> okay. >> thank you, dana. merry christmas, happy new year, and enjoy the holidays. >> you too. up next, a big announcement from essence magazine. stay with us. in the nation, sometimes bad things happen. add brand new belongings from nationwide insurance and we'll replace stolen or destroyed items with brand-new versions. we put members first. join the nation. ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪
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fierce, fun, fabulous. words that define essence magazine. for almost half a century, essence has been known and better known as the black woman's bible for life. and for nearly two decades, the essence festival has brought together the brightest stars for a summer weekend to remember. last summer msnbc was proud to sponsor the festival broadcasting live from new orleans. and we can't wait to do it again. this summer will be the 20th anniversary, and there are some big surprises planned. joining me now is michelle e. banks. president of essence communication. michelle, thanks for being here tonight. >> thank you so much. thank you so much for having me
here. we are so excited. we were thrilled last year with the festival, this past festival, but we are over the moon with the 20th anniversary come july 4th weekend. >> now, let me say this. this will probably be the largest gathering of african-american female voters during the midterm elections. because we'll be right in the middle of july, midterm elections. i can't think of any event that will draw that many african-americans as well as african-american females right in the middle of the midterm elections. >> and we're especially excited, because the first weekend in july 50 years ago was when the civil rights act of 1964 was signed. >> wow. >> and so we will be back the first week in july 50 years later, and we will recommit ourselves to that purpose of that civil rights opportunity act.
so we're excited. >> now, we got it's the 20th anniversary. it's going to be around voting 50 years after the civil rights act. but one thing that is always off the chain is the entertainment. but i said that there's no way you could beat last year because you had beyonce. but you did. we're announcing tonight you have prince next year. >> prince will headline our essence festival for 2014. he was our headliner ten years ago for the tenth anniversary, and he is back. we are honored, excited, and even more emboldened than ever that this will be the biggest party and will position us to achieve our purpose in 2014. >> as you look back as someone that wasn't around when essence was founded and you see where we are today in the midst of this is the middle of the second term of the first african-american president, you're hosting such a
huge gathering. it shows how far the country's come, but also how far we still need to go. right there in new orleans, all of the crime, a lot of the cities. a lot of people taking the time to get away from the stress but also finding a purpose on how to deal with it. >> absolutely. that's an african-american tradition. for centuries we celebrate what has been accomplished. so much has been accomplished. especially in the last 50 years. and with african-american women who were leading the conversation of being in the workplace, of leading diversity in america, of voting, all of these issues are important. so we have a great celebration as we look behind and we celebrate all of those whose shoulders we stand on. but we recommit ourselves to the future. because we know we are not done yet. and we look around and turn to each other. and we are inspired and encouraged. >> we're gearing up early, and we're ready to go.
michelle ebanks president of essence communications. thanks for being here tonight. we look forward to seeing you this summer in new orleans. and you can find all the information about the essence festival on our website, politicsnation.msnbc.com. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. two days and counting. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in louisville, kentucky. let me start tonight with the big news. close to home news. and to this show. two nights from now president obama will be our guest. yours and mine on this show. he's agreed to sit with me before a big group of college students. that's right. the "hardball" cge