tv Politics Nation MSNBC December 9, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
good evening, rev. >> good evening, ed. thanks for tuning in. tonight's lead, the clueless, heartless, and gutless gop. that's how the national journal describes the republican party today. a gop that puts its far right ideology over families. even over children. children like desani, an 11-year-old homeless girl profiled in an amazing article in today's "new york times." she lives in poverty in a shelter with her family. a shelter infested with roaches and rodents. the walls covered in mold. in the richest country in the world, no child should live in these conditions. but deshani is just one of 22,000 homeless children in new york city. across the country, one in five children lives in poverty. this is a real crisis. right now this country is facing
this crisis. but republicans in washington don't seem to care. in just two weeks, unemployment benefits will run out for 1.3 million americans. yet this is the response from a top republican. >> i do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks they're paid for. if you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers. when you allow people to be on unemployment for 99 weeks, you're causing them to be part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy. >> helping unemployed workers does them a disservice? that's heartless, clueless, and gutless all rolled into one. right now a majority of americans want to raise the minimum wage. but here's the response from another top republican. >> you don't want to raise the
minimum wage to the point you're losing jobs. if you raise it too high, you'll have fewer jobs and fewer opportunities particularly for these young people. >> so giving the lowest paid workers a fair wage threatens the economy? that, too, is clueless, heartless, and gutless. and what about gutting $40 billion in food stamps over ten years? that's what house republicans want. the congressional republicans with the median net worth of nearly $900,000. and now at a time of crisis they want to turn their backs on the unemployed. and on young people. like 11-year-old deshani. living in poverty through no fault of her own. america, we are better than this. and the gop, the party of lincoln should be better than this. joining me now is democratic
congressman emanuel cleaver from missouri and e.j. dionne from "the washington post." thank you both for coming on the show. >> good to be with you, rev. >> how do you explain this mean spiritedness from the gop? >> what i think is going on is there is this pervasive belief that somehow people who are in need are leeches, that they are not out looking for work. they would rather get an unemployment benefit than a payroll check. which is absolutely ridiculous. and in my own district, there are going to be almost 20,000 people who will lose their emergency unemployment compensation by the end of this month. >> in your district alone -- >> in my district alone over 20,000. and you multiply that all around the country and it comes up to about 3 million people. and, look. these are hard-working people.
the things many people forget about is that these individuals are out looking for jobs every day. that's a requirement to receive the unemployment compensation. many of those jobs have disappeared as a result of the economic collapse we had in this country in 2008. and so these are real americans at a time when we're in the season of advent for one of the three religions of our country, christianity. it's a time for us to try to give and help rather than to push aside and shun. >> well, even if we don't want to ascribe to the season, banks got bailed out. and i didn't hear this kind of reaction from leading republicans. but, you know, e.j., paul wrote in the "new york times" today about republicans and the unemployment benefits and i'm quoting from his article. he wrote in his column, the gop answer to the long-term unemployment is to increase the
pain of the long-term unemployed. cut off their benefits and they'll go out and find jobs. how exactly will they find jobs when there are three times as many job seekers as job vacanci vacancies? details, details. little details get in the way of that argument, e.j. >> indeed, they do. i think krugman is right. people are acting as if the unemployment rate is no longer a problem. because it's lower than it used to be. and it is lower than it used to be, but it's 7%. that's a lot of unemployed americans. under president clinton it went below 4%. if unemployment were down near 4%, then the argument that we didn't need to extend it right now, that might hold water. but it holds no water now when so many people are unemployed and there are so many sub-groups where the unemployment group is higher than 7%. many communities where the unemployment rate is higher.
and it's kind of sad to see the republicans do this. because in the past, this party came up with alternative ideas. they came up with the negative income tax which led to the income tax credit that's helping a lot of poor people. they came up, dare i say it, with health care exchanges which president obama put into law. they came up with revenue sharing to help stress state and local government. they're turning their own back on their own history. not just on liberal ideas. >> you know, congressman, a lot of people -- this was brought home when they realize you're talking about children. there was as i said this very arresting article in "the new york times" this morning front page that i read very early this morning. about this 11-year-old named sesani. and it brought to mind when the president was speaking on income inequality. he talked about children in poverty. listen. >> the idea that a child may
never be able to escape that poverty because she lacks a decent education or health care or a community that views her future as their own. that should offend all of us. and it should compel us to action. we are a better country than this. >> i mean, when we get to the point where children in no fault of their own are living in these situations and it's just discarded, that's troubling about the spirit of the country and those that are in government, congressman. >> well, a nation that wants to consider itself respectful and decent ought to want to have its citizens live a respectful and decent life. and to do so you've got to pay people a decent wage. we've got to raise the wage from $7.25 to $9. just think about this. in 1938 fdr was successful in
getting the minimum wage raised. and from 1938 to 2013 it's raised only $7. they are having difficulty surviving. this nation is not a mean spirited nation. and the majority of the people, i think, go along with what we're saying. the problem is it will never be brought up to a vote here in the house of representatives. >> when the congressman says this is not a mean spirited nation, we do hear the venom and something in the right wing influences, the talkers. that we've never heard before. listen to this. >> we don't want to turn this safety net into a hammock. >> my contention is that the obama administration is encouraging parasites to come out and to, you know, take as much as they can with no
remorse. and this is how our country declines. this is how we become a weak nation. >> self-reliance means if anyone will not work, neither should he eat. >> i got news for you, 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. >> teach a man to fish, he can feed himself for a life. don't simply feed fish. >> now, e.j., these are leading members of congress republican and leading influence talk show hosts and all. it seems more of a biding kind of hostility in their tone. then when you look at, as i did at 5:30 this morning, a picture of this young lady desani 11 years old living in poverty and you match that with some of the venom that is underlying in how the poor is described by some of what i just played. i mean, how do we match that
kind of do-it-yourself flat screen tv and all that when you look at this 11-year-old girl who has nothing to do with the conditions she lives in in terms of her own responsibility. >> i think we need to throw pope francis at them. the congressman mentioned advent. i mean, what pope francis was talking about is how wrong it is to look at the marginalized as if they are somehow unhuman. we celebrated nelson mandela. pope francis talks about people who find themselves excluded without work or possibilities or any means of escape. i think it's an odd ideology saying the rich work harder when we throw money at them and the poor work harder when we throw less money at them. there's a disconnect there. >> i'm going to have to leave it there. thank you both for your time
tonight. >> thanks, rev. >> good to be with you. ahead, what republicans hope you forget about their views on nelson mandela. including the congressman who compared the great leader to willie horton. plus my interview with the star of "mandela: long walk to freedom." idris elba is in the studio tonight. also, want to know how the gop's outreach to women is going? just listen to rush limbaugh's advice on avoiding sexual harassment. >> you walk up to the woman and say, would you please ask your breasts to stop staring at my eyes. try that. might help. >> outrageous. and which lucky republican is the latest to sign up for obama care? we'll unveil the happy winner
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republican efforts to reach out to women couldn't get any worse, right? wrong. tonight the gop's top expert on women's issues, rush limbaugh is offering his advice on avoiding sexual harassment. that's next. announcer ] your e. even at a distance of 10 miles... the length of 146 football fields... they can see the light of a single candle. your eyes are amazing. look after them with centrum silver. multivitamins with lutein and vitamins a, c, and e to support healthy eyes and packed with key nutrients to support your heart and brain, too. centrum silver. for the most amazing parts of you.
line. are you ready for it? take it away, congresswoman. >> if you want to talk about a war on women, look no further than this health care law. >> that's right. the gop wants you to believe president obama's health care law is the real war on women. oh, the irony. especially since just last week we learned that gop men are being tutored on how to talk to women. and according to a staff at one of those meetings, quote, some of these guys have a lot to learn. where would they possibly get that idea? >> if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. >> even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that god intended to happen. >> the incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very
low. >> well, maybe they can get some pointers on how to talk to women from the real boss of the party. listen to what he said today. >> -- yourself staring looking at, casually glancing at a woman. but you know that it's now socially taboo. you shouldn't be doing it. and you think everybody is noticing you doing it and condemning you in their minds. you walk up to the woman and say, would you please ask your breasts to stop staring at my eyes. try that. might help. you don't know until you try it. >> yeah. so about that war on women, i think we really know who's really behind it. joining me now is krystal ball. krystal, thanks for coming on the show tonight. >> thanks for having me, reverend. >> a congresswoman says president obama and the democrats are behind the war on women's rights. how could anyone believe that?
>> i don't think anyone does. so that's where we'll start. but especially attacking the affordable care act. i mean, this is the law that made it so being a woman was no longer a pre-existing condition. and a lot of times previously insurance companies would after you got sick, they would rescind your insurance for something as simple as an irregular menstrual period. so there's no question that a big part of the affordable care act is actually great for women. another piece of this that republicans have been fighting and are now fighting in courts is the contraception mandate, the birth control mandate that's within the affordable care act that's very important to women both in terms of being able to plan their lives and plan their family's lives and their pregnancies. but also in terms of medical benefits. so not only have the gop been perpetrating a war on women, but they still are going after birth control in 2013. >> now, an iowa republican senate candidate was asked how
best to connect with women during an interview yesterday. listen to this. >> mark, this past week we learned john boehner is preparing people how to speak to women. what's the biggest difference between men and women? >> you have to connect with women on an emotional level. with a wife of 18 years and a daughter, i've had a lot of coaching on that. >> connect with them on an emotional level. >> because you know, our emotions it's what governs us. we're not capable of rational thought. i mean, if you look at the results it's clear to me that women have been quite capable of evaluating both parties on a rational basis and seeing who is able to connect with them in terms of the issues and what it's going to mean for themselves and their families. maybe that gentleman should start there. >> isn't it really, though, a lot of the right wing media that's really to blame for the gop's problems relating to women? this weekend fox news did a
segment encouraging women to quit work and get married. listen to this. >> we've been hearing it really for decades that women don't need men. and that's simply for most women not the case. if you learn to embrace that side of yourself that doesn't -- that isn't about work, in other words, the nurturing side, the motherhood, all of that. it's okay to let your husband bring home that full-time income so you can have more of a balanced life. and that we should really be thanking men for this. >> there's not one thing in here i disagreed with. >> get married, quit work. no rational thought. relate to you emotionally. >> as a mother of two and someone who also has a career, i can say women are perfectly capable of embracing their motherhood side and also having a career. >> and a husband. >> and a husband. you know, you can do all of these things.
and really, republicans and conservatives in general need to realize we're not going back. and so much of their ideology is around nostalgia. it's around going back to this bygone era where things were golden and they had power and they had control. we're not going back there. women are in the workforce. they're earning money. they have control over their lives. and we're not going back to that bygone era. >> krystal, thank you so much. don't forget to catch krystal "the cycle" week days at 3:00 p.m. right here on msnbc. ahead, speaker boehner and rand paul, you've got company. another republican is covered under obama care. and there is more success stories emerging. and so many on the right are still attempting to rewrite history when it comes to nelson mandela. why it's a betrayal of history. coming up. [ woman ] too weak.
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guess what, "politicsnation." your christmas shopping is officially done. i present to you the brand new ted cruz coloring book. yes, america, if your kid loves green eggs and ham, he or she will love cruz to the future. and look. it's for all ages. so even grandma and grandpa will enjoy coloring. they can color this page showing senator cruz with a gun. because nothing warms a kid's heart more than fighting for the second amendment. and the book wouldn't be complete without a page on his 21-hour fake filibuster, look at me, floor speech. but we at "politicsnation" have an exclusive. we found a page that they left
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every day more and more americans are signing up for obama care. and now that includes south carolina republican lindsey graham. that's right. smile, senator graham. you're the latest happy republican to get enrolled in obama care. as required by law. congratulations. he joins senator rand paul, speaker boehner, and many other lucky republicans who signed up for insurance under the very law they opposed. i wonder what president obama would say to these guys. >> congratulations. and by the way, you're covered.
>> yes, they're covered. but millions of americans aren't thanks to republican policies. gop governors and lawmakers in 25 states have refused to expand. medicaid. denying insurance to nearly 5 million americans. 5 million people without insurance just so republicans can say they're fighting the law. that is inexcusable. joining me now, joan walsh. thanks for being here this evening. it's incredible. 5 million people not able to get insurance because republican governors are playing politics, joan. >> no, it's really awful. and it's terrible for -- first of all, it's terrible for these 5 million people. they're going to hospitals now and community navigators saying if you lived in a neighboring state, you'll get medicaid but you're not getting it now because you live here.
that's a tragedy in itself. but what we find now is these states, these governors are not saving money for their states. they're turning down federal dollars. they're turning down dollars that their taxpayers paid into. and we're finding they are going to be on the hook for these people. so this is costing them money. that they're going to have to put out to cover some of these people whether it's in emergency rooms or clinics or other ways. so it's so stupid and mean spirited. it really tops them. >> and they're making some really crazy arguments. here's another republican who signed up for insurance under the law. texas congressman michael mccaul. here's what he had to say about it. >> i want to tell you about my personal experience with the d.c. exchange. i have five kids. my premiums have gone up significantly. >> he's complaining about his
premiums, but congressman mccaul's the second richest member of congress. he's worth at least $114 million. now, what about the 1 million poor people in his home state of texas, just in texas, who are being denied insurance because the state isn't expanding medicaid. that's the question. >> for rich republicans, there's never enough money. let's remember that. but let's remember another thing. do you know why this congressman is having to go on the exchanges and purchase his care? because republicans in congress decided that they were going to make obama care apply to members of congress. which it never would have. it shouldn't have. these are the only people who are being actually thrown off their employer's plans and into the exchange because republicans wanted to embarrass democrats and make a stupid point. so they should be complaining to chuck grassley. >> and embarrass this president. republicans want to use this health care law to attack all of the president's policies. listen to former vice president
dick cheney this morning -- just this morning on fox. listen to this. >> the same people that brought us you can keep your insurance if you want are telling us they've got a great deal in iran with respect to their nuclear program. i don't believe it. >> i mean, what does iran have to do with health care? what is he talking about? >> this man wants to take money away from americans for health care and put it into one more unnecessary law. and do you know how outrageous that is? not only was he responsible for lying us into the iraq war, he has a taxpayer funded new heart. our tax dollars have kept him alive to the tune of millions of dollars over the years, but he's mocking the president for covering more americans and also mocking him for avoiding war. i would say that new heart is actually not working very well. >> well, it's all about stopping the president. i mean, the gop's opposition to health care is all about that.
i mean, texas attorney general greg abbott said i go into the office, sue barack obama, and then i go home. this is how he thinks about this job. i mean, it's amazing. thank you for your time tonight. but that's where we are in this country. thanks again, joan, for being with us. still ahead, republicans are still trying to rewrite the history with nelson mandela. i'll set the record straight tonight. also, my special interview with idris elba, star of "mandela: long walk to freedom." but first, the heroic story of desegregation you probably haven't heard before. stay with us. people join angie's list for all kinds of reasons. i go to angie's list to gauge whether or not the projects will be done in a timely fashion and within budget.
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today we're remembering a pivotal moment in civil rights history that happened on this day 60 years ago. the landmark brown versus the board of education decision of 1954 declared that separate public schools for black and white students were unconstitutional. an important part of that decision was the one that applied to washington, d.c. and six decades ago today two
lawyers argued the washington, d.c. portion of the case. their argument, school segregation was a violation of liberty. the decision would have a direct impact on the first high school in the country, dunbar high school in washington, d.c. opened in 1870 and despite being segregated, it developed ground breaker after ground breaker. including george hayes. one of the lawyers who argued the case. and charles hamilton houston, the lawyer known as the man who killed jim crow. this year a great book chronicles the school in "first class: the legacy of dunbar, america's first black public high school." joining me now is the author allison stewart. allison, thanks for being here. >> i am thrilled to be here. >> let's start 60 years ago today.
they argued to desegregate washington, d.c. why was it controversial? >> it was controversial because washington, d.c., they couldn't argue the 14th amendment because that only dealt with states. they had to argue the fifth amendment, due process. liberty, the idea that just because the color of your skin shouldn't dining room where you went to school. they didn't argue separate but equal. if they failed, just imagine what would have been cemented into law. >> now, those two lawyers were just two of many that went on to extraordinary careers, extraordinary lives out of dunbar high school. that's what the book first class is about. >> yeah. the people that came out of dunbar were amazing. they were the ground breakers. bob weaver. dr. charles drew figured out blood plasma. ellis faslet, first black television host.
all these people who got this excellent education at this segregated school because the community realized this was the way out. this was the way to change laws. this was the way to create a black middle class was through education. some of the first black graduates of competitive colleges couldn't go back and even teach in the same schools where they had graduated from. the first black woman to earn a ph.d. eva sykes came back and taught at dunbar high school. my parents went there and told me they had teachers who were phenomenally educated people. and they also. had people that went out to be teachers. it was doctor, lawyer, preacher, teacher. that was an important job in the black community. and the people that came out of dunbar were so dedicated to making sure these students, these children that many people in washington thought were morally inferior, socially
inferior. no, no, that's not the case. they are going to go out and make things better. >> it's a historic place now for people all over the country. i did the march on washington anniversary there in 2010. >> and you spoke at the commencement. >> i spoke there, yeah. and it's quite a place 60 years later. it has become a landmark and a bedrock for so much achievement. >> it's so important, i think, for the students that are there now. i've gone and spoken to a lot of students in washington, d.c. for them to understand that education is part of black history. and what is possible and what a blessing it is to have a public school education. people forget it was illegal to teach black people to read. illegal to do that in this country for decades. and now you have public education. i try to get them to understand to savor it. the people who went to dunbar who were the lucky ones, they
understood the blessing they had to go to this school. and they understood there was something expected of them. they were to do something with this education. and so many of them did. it's a remarkable story. >> alison stewart, thank you so much for your time. and again, the book is "first class: the legacy of dunbar, america's first black public high school." still ahead, my very special interview with idris elba, the star of the new film "mandela: long walk to freedom." stay with us. thrusters at 30%! i can't get her to warp. losing thrusters. i need more power. give me more power! [ mainframe ] located. ge deep-sea fuel technology. a 50,000-pound, ingeniously wired machine that optimizes raw data to help safely discover and maximize resources in extreme conditions. our current situation seems rather extreme. why can't we maximize our... ready. ♪ brilliant. let's get out of here. warp speed.
this week the eyes of the entire world are on south africa for an event celebrating the life of nelson mandela. president obama is flying there today. and tomorrow he'll speak at mandela's memorial. officials are preparing a soccer stadium for the memorial where they are expecting dozens of world leaders and more than 100,000 mourners. they and millions across the globe will remember the man who inspired the whole world. mandela's life has also inspired a critically acclaimed new film which is set for wide release on christmas day and is already breaking box office records in south africa.
"mandela: long walk to freedom" stars idris elba, and in this scene elba delivers the speech mandela gave at his trial in 1964 before he was sentenced to life in prison. >> i have cherished the ideal of a free democratic society where all persons live together in harmony we equal opportunities. it is an ideal which i hope to live for and achieve, but if need be, it is an ideal for which i am prepared to die. >> nelson mandela, do you plead guilty or not guilty? >> my lord, it is not i but the government that should be put in the dark. i plead not guilty. >> joining me now is idris elba
who plays nelson mandela in the film and justin chadwick who directed this powerful film. thank you both for being here. >> thanks. >> pleasure to be here. >> obviously we meet at a somber time. idris, what has been your thoughts since you learned madiba passed? >> well, it's been my personal thoughts and professional thoughts if i'm honest. professionally i've wanted to go dark. step back and let the film do what it has to do. but i felt it's a little inappropriate for an actor to be in the spotlight at this moment as the man just passed. and my personal feelings is he was like a second dad to me. even though i hadn't met him, i spent a long time learning who he was and trying to craft him onto film. so i feel the loss deeply. if i'm honest. >> how have you had to deal with it, justin? >> well, he was a man that we
never believed how old he was, he was somebody that was invincib invincible, so strong, going to live forever. >> you actually spent some time. what was that like spending time? because he had a strange presence the times i was around him. >> they talk about madiba effect. i can only describe it as electricity that comes off him. just that warmth, that completely sets everybody at ease around him. really beautiful. and it was so reassuring for us to have him as a constant reassuring presence while we were filming. up until a week ago when we were honing the film. he was there and very much alive and knew what we were doing, what we were making. to have him gone, it's been a shock for us. especially we were with his daughters when it happened. >> i understand idris, the daughters, you had an opening premiere in london. and two of his young daughters,
mr. mandela's daughters were there and found out their father had passed during the premiere and they wanted you to continue showing the film. >> yeah. you know, it was an awful time. we did an opening, we spoke to the audience. i spoke personally about my dad who just passed and i based my character on -- i based his personality on my dad. and, you know, literally half an hour, 45 minutes into the film the news broke in amongst the cinema. and justin and myself and the producers, we went outside to sort of figure out what to do next, because it was awful. everyone was so in shock. and they said just keep going. let the film keep going. and then, you know, once the film, the credits started rolling, we went back on stage and we announced it. >> i want to play a clip from the film. in this scene, idris, you play a young mandela who goes to a theater and interrupts the movie to encourage people to fight apartheid. let's take a look.
>> she is good looking, but you must give me sophia loren any day. we are the people of this nation but we don't have power. we don't have rights. we don't have justice. south africa now is a land ruled by the gun. there comes a time in the life of every nation when there remains two choices. submit or fight. >> a powerful scene. he's at a movie theater, they're watching a movie, and he interrupts it and goes into a speech. and the audience actually starts going with him and agreeing with him and rallying. >> yeah. >> very powerful scene. >> that's very much how what mandela had to face during the time when he was a splinter unit
in the anc. so that was his tactic. they would walk into places where he knew there was a congregation of people and put that message down. and, you know, we shot that scene in a similar way. we didn't tell the audience that i was playing mandela. we didn't tell them anything. they got dressed. they got into the costumes. and they watched that film for about six minutes or so. and cameras were on them watching them. then i walk in and do that. >> now -- go ahead, i'm sorry. >> there are people living in soweto. >> the people in the audience. >> we were very conscious to make sure people were represented from the community we were shooting in. >> this is in south africa. people can get a sense of mandela and what the environment was like. >> that was very important to the film makers to drop the audience right in amongst it and the actors amongst it. make sure we go into and had them in. and they made that. it was apartheid that effected
people of south africa. so we needed them to be -- this is not a green screen movie. this is where an audience is going to be dropped into an immersive world that's real. >> another thing that struck me as real, idris, you actually went and spent the night in robben island where he was held for some of 27 years. you tried to stay in the actual cell but were denied. but you stayed in a cell that was set up exactly like the cell he stayed on for 18, 19 years. >> i needed some perspective, some context. i needed to understand. i haven't been to jail, and i know that if your freedom is taken away from you, that's something you and i can only imagine. but mandela had it for 19 years. here i was about to play his life, i needed to have some context and perspective. robben island is haunted. it's haunted. it's a place full of spirits of yesteryear. i needed to experience that. it was tough. i'm not going to lie.
and i left in the morning for angry. sort of very determined. >> and that's just one night. >> exactly. >> and you were angry and mandela did 19 of 27 years he was in jail there. >> exactly. >> and left forgiving. now with all this attention on president mandela and the movie's out, what do you hope people walk away, what is the takeaway you hope people come out of the movie with? i'm sure it's changed from when you started. >> maybe to learn more about one of a great leaders. a true great leader that really meant so much. and means so much now in the modern time that we live in. and to a next generation of film makers. both were unsure the next day, what do we do with the film now. now he's gone. his legacy has to live on. >> when you look at south africa now, you know, in south africa the film went down for two days
and there was outcry about that. i think that the producers did the right thing to take the film down for two days out of a sign of respect. but the people wanted to see the film. and so it was like -- >> and it's record breaking, i understand. >> yeah. in south africa. >> well, it's powerful. and i can tell you, i went as an activist, you're concerned when you see anyone that level of seriousness put on film, but you did a great job. idris, i don't know anyone that could have done it better. >> thank you. >> "mandela: long walk to freedom" is now in select theaters and opens nationwide on christmas. idris elba and justin chadwick, thank you both for your time tonight. we'll be right back. ♪ love... in the nation, what's precious to you is precious to us. ♪ love is strange so when coverage really counts, count on nationwide insurance. we put members first. join the nation.
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reagan vetoed sanctions against south africa's apartheid government. and after a trip there, senator jesse helms bragged about not meeting with nelson mandela's organization. >> we didn't meet with one representative of the african national congress. the anc. you know, bishop tutu's crowd which is orchestrated by the soviet union. they said we've got to deal with these folks. we've got to meet with them. and i said baloney. >> and there were plenty of republican critics in 1990 when mandela was released from prison and addressed a joint session of congress. congressman tom delay said, quote, nelson mandela is no friend to liberty, democracy, or human rights.
and congressman william danmeyer said nelson mandela's appearance before this body is a national disgrace. nelson mandela is no martin luther king. he is more like h. rap brown or willie horton. many republicans may embrace mandela today, but let's not rewrite history. in fact, some still attack him for accepting help from communist nation. but ignore the fact that for years america propped up the apartheid regime. i talked about that on "meet the press" yesterday. >> we chose sides. we chose the wrong side. people in this country turned us around toward the right side. that set the stage for mandela to evolve. but if you're drowning and someone throws you your raft to get out, you don't call them a
rafter. you call yourself the one to try to stop from drowning. >> a young newt gingrich was one of the republicans who broke with president reagan to support sanctions against apartheid. he made a similar point yesterday. >> you're now up against an oppressive dictatorship which if your black means that you are going to be in effect in a police state. and he was one of the people who's opposed to it. mandela was desperate by that stage. he saw the scale of oppression. and the only eyes that were available were on the hard left. you can't possibly be tolerant of apartheid. >> so now some conservatives embrace mandela. a positive development. but will they also tell brace his ideas? health care, support for the poor, support for peace not war. i'm genuinely happy and hopeful that maybe some have grown to
see the greatness of mandela. maybe they're not just going through the moment and not just playing for the time. the way we will know is not that you just memorialize a great man, but you fight for the things that made him great. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. scared as shut downs. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews up in new york. let the start with this tonight. who didn't fear shutting down the government said that only scaredy cats and wimps did have gotten a case of chicken. name your crazy and he or she if they're still talking at all are