MSNBC’s Sharpton Rips Paul Ryan’s ‘Dangerous,’ ‘Ruthless,’ ‘Heartless’ Budget

MSNBC’s Al Sharpton was incensed by Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) newly-released budget plan on Wednesday’s PoliticsNation. Referencing President Obama’s comment yesterday that “America is a place for everybody,” Sharpton added his own condemnation of Ryan’s budget as he hollered, “America is a place for everybody, not a place for dangerous ideas and a ruthless war on the poor!”

This sort of harsh language permeated the opening few minutes of Sharpton’s show. In fact, right from the very top, the reverend made it abundantly clear how he felt about the Ryan budget:


Tonight's lead –  the president slams Congressman Ryan's ruthless budget. In a blistering speech today, President Obama blasted the GOP's new budget and its skewed vision of this country, one where the rich benefit at the expense of everyone else.
 

Sharpton then played an extended clip -- it dragged on for 1 minute and 14 seconds -- from President Obama’s pep rally of a speech at the University of Michigan on Wednesday. A few moments later, he spent another 29 seconds playing Obama’s very passionate finale to that same speech.

The clergyman-turned-cable TV blowhard preached that it was “scary” that Rep. Ryan is seeking to chair the House Ways and Means Committee, which holds authority over tax policy and many features of the social safety net. He signaled his agreement with The New York Times editorial board as he worried, “[T]hat would put a man with a very dangerous idea in a position to do serious damage.”

After Sharpton introduced his first guests, he snuck in one last dig at Ryan’s budget, calling it “heartless.”

Below is a transcript of the segment:


AL SHARPTON: Tonight's lead, the president slams Congressman Ryan's ruthless budget. In a blistering speech today President Obama blasted the GOP's new budget and its skewed vision of this country, one where the rich benefit at the expense of everyone else.

[begin tape]

BARACK OBAMA: Here’s the truth. They’re not necessarily cold-hearted. They just sincerely believe that if we give more tax breaks to a fortunate few and we invest less in the middle class and we reduce or eliminate the safety net for the poor and the sick and we cut food stamps and we cut Medicaid and we let banks and polluters and credit card companies and insurers do only what’s best for their bottom line without the responsibility to the rest of us, then somehow the economy will boom and jobs and prosperity will trickle down to everybody. And when I say it that way I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating, except I'm not. This is their theory. They’re pretty unabashed about it. Look, it does create opportunity for a hand few of people who are already doing really, really well. But we believe in opportunity for everybody, more good jobs for everybody, more workers to fill those jobs, a world-class education for everybody, hard work that pays off with wages you can live on and savings you can retire on, and health care you can count on. That’s what opportunity for all means.

[end tape]

SHARPTON: Opportunity for all. That's what the president was pushing out today. Meeting with minimum wage workers, hearing their stories, fighting to give them a raise, trying to give them a chance to climb this country’s ladder of success. Meanwhile, Congressman Ryan’s trying to pull that lighter out from underneath everyday Americans. Today on Capitol Hill he defended his budget cuts to health care, to Medicare, to food stamps, to Pell grants for low-income college students. Why? Because we need to get serious.

[begin tape]

PAUL RYAN: So if Washington is serious about helping working families, or serious about getting families out of work back to work, then it needs to get serious about our national debt. How do we do it? First, we stop spending money we don't have.



[end tape]

SHARPTON: We can't spend money we don't have, right? Well, how about the fact that Ryan's serious budget gives millionaires a tax break of at least $200,000. That's serious, all right –  seriously flawed. And while this budget might never pass Congress, here’s what’s scary. Congressman Ryan is looking to chair the Ways and Means committee, which has power over the tax code and safety net. As the New York Times says, that would put a man with a very dangerous idea in a position to do serious damage. That's why this fight matters. That's why the president isn't backing down.

[begin tape]

OBAMA: We’ve got to build a middle class, we’ve got to get opportunity for everybody who strives for it. We’ve got to make sure everybody, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, with or without a disability, folks in the inner city, folks outside the borders of the city, everybody’s got a chance. America is a place for everybody. That's what we’re fighting for. That's what I need you to get out there and talk about. Thank you. God bless you. God bless America.

[end tape]

SHARPTON: America is a place for everybody, not a place for dangerous ideas and a ruthless war on the poor. Joining me now is Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Democrat of Maryland, and the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart. Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.

REP. DONNA EDWARDS: Thank you.

JONATHAN CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Edwards, let me start with you. President Obama called out Ryan's heartless budget. Are we going to see more of this from Democrats in the coming months?

EDWARDS: Well, I think absolutely. I mean, if anybody ever wondered what it is that Republicans would do if they were fully in control, well this is it. The Ryan budget slashes everything from education to medical research to transportation and infrastructure funding to ending Medicare as we know it. And that is true in this budget. And so in case we wondered what Republicans would do if they had every branch of the government, this is it and it’s bad for the American people.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.