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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, September 21, 2011

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Guests: Hank Johnson; Sherrod Brown, Richard Wolffe, Steven Rothman, Bill
Cassidy, Allen Ault

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Hey, Republicans, is no all you know?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no shortcut to
the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace is hard work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Who (ph) does the hard work of peace? With a major Middle
East speech at the U.N., Republicans just deliver harsh attacks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president should not be
negotiating for his ally, Israel.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Naive and arrogant,
misguided and dangerous.

SARAH PALIN (R), FMR. ALASKA GOVERNOR: Perry is right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Two congressmen from both sides debate the Obama Mideast
policy.

Also, job fail. Republicans go after the Fed, saying do nothing on
the economy.

Are these guys shameless or what? Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown live on
that tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Save Troy Davis! Save Troy Davis! Save Troy
Davis!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Plus, time and options have run out for death row inmate
Troy Davis. Moments ago, Georgia`s Supreme Court refused to stop the
execution. Davis now scheduled to die less than an hour.

This is not justice.

Welcome to POLITICS NATION.

I`m Al Sharpton, live from Atlanta, Georgia, reporting tonight on a
question of justice -- justice denied.

Troy Davis is set to be executed less than one hour from now, despite
appeals from around the world, and despite grave doubt about his guilt.
Just moments ago, a group of former death row wardens released a letter
calling for the Davis execution to be stopped, saying, "An innocent person
could be executed in Georgia tonight. Doubt about his guilt remains."
This group includes a warden who was in charge of the Georgia death
chamber.

Right now supporters of Troy Davis are holding a vigil that I started
this morning outside the state prison. I and National Action Network was
there all day speaking out against this travesty. Security was tight. TV
satellite trucks were pulling up, protesters were gathering, and emotions
were running high.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Save Troy Davis! Save Troy Davis! Save Troy
Davis! Save Troy Davis! Save Troy Davis!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Today, Davis` lawyers frantically fought to save his life.
They lost a bid for Davis to take a polygraph test. They lost another
appeal asking a judge to block the execution because of faulty evidence and
testimony. Some even suggested prison employees strike or call in sick,
but to no avail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel that it`s injustice. I mean, how can you
execute someone without true evidence?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m shocked that we`re here again to see this.
If we learn thing in this case, it`s not to give up hope.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Troy Davis spent what could be his final hours today with
friends and family. He also released a statement saying, "The struggle for
justice doesn`t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who
came before me and all the ones who will come after me."

"I`m in good spirits and I`m prayerful and at peace. And I will not
stop fighting until I`ve taken my last breath."

I`ve been on this case for the last three years, National Action
Network, NAACP, Amnesty International and others, because we felt that no
one should face death. Beyond a reasonable doubt being established has
been the bar that we use in cases of murder, and clearly in capital cases.

Whatever happens within this hour, we will be in Washington Friday
saying that we need federal law that says eyewitness accounts along,
without physical evidence, should not be allowed to establish a capital
case.

Joining me now is Congressman Hank Johnson from Georgia. He sent a
letter today to the Georgia Board of Paroles asking them to reconsider
their decision to deny clemency.

Congressman Johnson, thank you for coming on the show tonight, on this
bleak day for justice in America.

REP. HANK JOHNSON (D), GEORGIA: Yes, it is indeed a bleak day,
Reverend Al, and I want to thank you for your efforts today and over the
past years, as well as all of the other people who care about the moral
conscience of America and would not stand idly by and allow America to
execute an innocent man, certainly a man whose innocence is not established
beyond a moral certainty. That we would stand back and allow the nation to
put this man to death, it is indeed a bleak day.

But on the other hand, Reverend Al, it shows us what our future
mission is, and that is to make sure that we stand in opposition to the use
of capital punishment in America. It`s barbaric.

SHARPTON: Now, Congressman, let me show people who may not understand
why this has got such widespread concern.

Even pro-death penalty Bob Barr was on this show. We`ve heard
statements from former FBI director William Sessions.

When you look at -- look at this graph. Five of the original jurors
who convicted Troy Davis of murder -- five of the original jurors -- now
say they would have voted against giving Troy Davis the death penalty.
Now, all you need is one to hang a jury. You have five.

When you look at the fact that he was given prior reprieves, look at
this graph in 2007, his execution was called off the day before. In 2008,
he came within 90 minutes of dying when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped it.
I remember standing right where I was standing today with his mother
preparing for the execution, and the Supreme Court stopped it. Again in
2008, the Federal Court of Appeals stopped the execution.

You would think with all of this, all of this doubt that the Georgia
Board of Pardons and Paroles would have said there`s so much doubt here,
let us study the new evidence. Jurors have come forward. We learned that
ballistics tests were wrong.

Yet, they said no, we`re not going to hear anything. And this man is
less than an hour away from death.

How in a civilized society can we execute a man given all of the
scientific breakthroughs we`ve had, all of the technology we`ve had, that
no technology, nothing scientific, no physical evidence, just the
statements by nine witnesses, seven of whom have recanted their statements?

JOHNSON: Seven people at a minimum have tried to wipe the blood from
their hands, Reverend, and there`s so many others who had a part to play in
this case that they now regret. But what was the Pardons and Paroles Board
basing its decision on whether or not to grant clemency on?

It appears to me, Reverend Al, that it was a lot of passion, and it
was a lot of, I guess, prejudice against people accused of a crime, people
who have been convicted of crime. We just have no -- we don`t care about
life, and it`s unfortunate.

This is something that we must continue to fight past. Troy Anthony
Davis, I remain hopeful that perhaps some clear head will prevail on the
Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider this decision. They
have the case in their hands, and they will have blood on their hands if
they do not do what seems to be compelled by the evidence as far as so many
people can see, including Alan Alt (ph), who used to be the warden at --

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: That`s unbelievable. I`ve never heard wardens come out and
say stop an execution.

JOHNSON: Yes. And you`ve got six.

SHARPTON: These are wardens.

JOHNSON: You`ve got five wardens, in addition to Alt (ph), who have
come out and sent this last-ditch effort, this last-ditch letter. And this
is an attempt by them to have clean hearts as they grow older and reflect
on what kind of job they did in their official capacities.

And my heart rings out to them, because they were doing what the state
was compelling them to do. That was their job. And so many people get
hurt, Reverend Al, when society does not have basic level of consciousness
and regard for human life. It`s --

SHARPTON: Well, we`ve got to keep fighting. And thank you,
Congressman Hank Johnson. Thank you for your time tonight.

JOHNSON: Well, Reverend Al, you keep up the fight. We support you
100 percent. And all of those people out there who are fighting for
justice tonight, let`s not end it tonight. Let`s keep moving forward.

SHARPTON: Yes, sir.

And I think the congressman is right. And as I said, many of us will
be pursuing, whether we are for or against the death penalty -- and I`m
against the death penalty. The fact is there can at least be laws that
would outlaw states from having capital cases unless there is at least
scientific or physical evidence involved.

We have seen DNA overturn so many convictions. Seventy-five percent
of those convictions also involve flawed or false eyewitness accounts.

That alone should at least unite this country, whether you`re for or
against the death penalty, saying that eyewitness accounts alone should not
be enough to bring a capital case before a jury. You must at least have
more than that.

At least we can go that far, and we will begin that fight in the name
of Troy Davis this Friday. I hope that we will be able to unite no matter
what our positions on the death penalty. If we had had that law, this man
would not be dying within this hour.

We`ll be right back with a lot more, as I continue. And I will be
talking later about this case, getting updates as the countdown goes on the
life of Troy Davis.

We`ll also be discussing other issues tonight. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The breaking news, the GOP has offered up a new jobs plan.
It`s called do nothing. Yes, literally do nothing.

In a letter to the Federal Reserve, GOP leaders have urged Chairman
Ben Bernanke to "resist further intervention" in the U.S. economy. Why?
Because this intervention includes the dreaded "S" word -- stimulus. And
the Republican leaders "have seen no evidence that further monetary
stimulus will create jobs."

Well, that makes perfect -- I mean, no sense, actually, but neither
does Eric Cantor`s latest argument. He says failed bridges are proof we
shouldn`t adopt another stimulus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: Every time he goes to
identify a bridge or another project that is yet not funded and is in
disrepair, he`s going to remind people that it`s his stimulus that was
unable to deliver.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Am I missing something? Here`s proof once again for you
guys.

In the third quarter of 2008, the economy was shrinking by 3.7
percent. In the fourth quarter of 2008, it shrunk by nearly nine percent.

Enter the stimulus. It grew the economy by nearly two percent, and it
added 2.9 million jobs. Stimulus equals jobs. By railing against the
stimulus, Republicans are knowingly destroying job creation, and they`re
doing it so that their party can run on it.

Well, lack of job creation is --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: With the help and the courage of the American people, we will
get our country working again.

God bless you, and god bless the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat from
Ohio.

Senator, thanks for taking the time to be with us this evening.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Good to be back, Al. Thank you. Of
course.

SHARPTON: Senator, the president is traveling to your home state
tomorrow. What do you hope to hear from him?

BROWN: Well, I hope to hear that he`s going to keep fighting, that
he`s going to say -- he`s going to make the real contrast to, do we
continue to protect tax cuts -- do we continue to protect the tax breaks
for Wall Street hedge fund managers? Do we continue to protect oil country
subsidies and tax breaks to outsourced jobs, or do we put people back to
work by building bridges and highways and water and sewer systems and
community colleges and broadband, all the things that directly create jobs
and then set the stage for much more job creation in the future?

SHARPTON: The American people seem to be with him and with those like
you that have stood and said we need to create jobs and we need to spend
the money on the American people going back to work.

Look at this latest poll by Gallup. Seventy-five percent support
funds to hire civil servants. Seventy-two percent, infrastructure. Fifty-
six percent, extending unemployment.

We hear all this talk from the Republicans about they`re speaking for
the American people. The American people clearly are saying the opposite
of what they are writing to the Fed chair.

BROWN: Yes. We just had an amendment on the floor that I led the
opposition to, sponsored by the Republican senator from Arizona, that would
have cut a program that helps local manufacturing businesses -- a small
amount of money, $16 million, but helps local manufacturing businesses in
places like -- places lack Bolivar and (INAUDIBLE) and County in Ohio, and
Worcester, and places like that, companies that have been hurt because of
China trade agreements and other kinds of job-killing trade agreements.

So we were able to stop them from cutting this program. But, you
know, their interest is all about budget cuts and not at all about job
creation.

And what the president is doing, the reason he has public support, is
the president`s major focus is job creation. You don`t only cut your way
into prosperity. Certainly, we`ve got to deal with the budget deficit, but
the focus has to be on job creation.

And that`s how we reduce the deficit, that`s how we put people to
work. That`s how we rebuild this country.

SHARPTON: And there`s one other thing, Senator, that they do, and
that`s protect the super wealthy. And I think that that is what is so
obscene about this.

On top of everything else, they are saying don`t touch the rich, don`t
tax the rich. When I look at the fact that Forbes 400, the average net
worth is $3.8 billion. I mean, this is unbelievable.

We are protecting billionaires while we`re threatening to cut the
safety net of people that have worked heard all of their lives to earn
enough money just to put food on the table for their families?

BROWN: I was on a conference call with a lot of seniors in so Ohio,
senior citizens, in sort of eastern Ohio, Steubenville, Wintersville,
Marietta, St. Clairsville, that area, and repeatedly people said, wait, the
Republicans want to continue these tax breaks, and then have to cut
Medicare and Social Security? I mean, these are choices. These aren`t
academic exercises.

If we`re going to continue to give tax breaks to the wealthiest people
in this country, then we`re not going to be able to fund Medicare and not
be able to fix the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati, and not be able to
run those small, effective programs that help communities and businesses
fight back against unfair trade policies.

SHARPTON: Let me get this right. Now, they want to call Social
Security a Ponzi scheme and a lie. They want to say that we should not
have the kind of entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid. They want to
fight collective bargaining state by state to break down unions. They want
to turn around and say that we don`t need programs to create jobs or
training for jobs.

But if we say, well, wait a minute, at least make the rich pay the
taxes they used to pay, oh, that`s class warfare. They`ve been clobbering
us over the head, but if we have the unmitigated gall to speak up, we`re
the ones that are starting class warfare?

BROWN: Yes, when they say class warfare, what we do is point out the
class warfare they have waged against the middle class, because it`s the
Republicans representing the Koch brothers and some of the biggest special
interests, wealthiest special interests in this country that have, day
after day, week after week, year after year in this city, gone after the
middle class, and waged class warfare against the middle class and against
working families that aspire to join the middle class. And we`ve seen --
as you say, we`ve seen the wealthier get richer and we`ve seen the broad
middle class begin to shrink, where it`s harder and harder for a working
family to get into the middle class, and harder and harder for middle class
people to stay in the middle class, as you know.

SHARPTON: Now, Senator, one thing that I keep trying to address on
this show that I definitely want you to address, I keep hearing people -- I
was at a forum in Michigan last night -- saying that you`ve got to cut
taxes to provide jobs. Look at this graph.

Bill Clinton raised taxes, and Bill Clinton was able to produce 23.1
million jobs. And he taxed the rich.

George Bush gave the rich tax cuts. In his eight years, we only got
three million jobs. That is simple mathematics.

How do you have a difference of 20.1 million jobs and people can`t
figure out that taxing the rich is not equal to not producing jobs?

BROWN: That says it all, that 22 million, 23 million jobs in a
balanced budget -- you didn`t even add that -- and wages went up during the
Clinton years. The average income went up slightly.

During the Bush years, two big tax cuts, a giveaway to the drug and
insurance companies, not to mention two wars that weren`t paid for, the
biggest budget deficit ever up until that time in American history, and no
real job growth to take care of increased population. So, clearly, just
looking at a little bit of history, you only have to go back 20 years and
make that comparison, and you see that this trickle-down economics doesn`t
work in our country.

It simply doesn`t work. We need a fair tax system. We need to invest
the way the president wants to in infrastructure and community colleges and
all that. You`re dead right.

SHARPTON: Well, Senator Sherrod Brown, thank you for your time this
evening.

BROWN: Thank you, Al.

SHARPTON: You keep fighting.

BROWN: It`s a pleasure.

SHARPTON: If we fight from the suites to the streets, we can make
America work.

BROWN: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Now let`s bring in Richard Wolffe, MSNBC political analyst.

Thanks for joining me.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Richard, as we continue to hear this language from the
right wing, I mean, can you believe they wrote the Fed chair and said don`t
do anything -- do nothing about stimulus?

I mean, are they reading the unemployment statistics? Are they
looking at the level of poverty in this country that the U.S. Census Bureau
just released?

WOLFFE: Well, a bit of context here. OK?

Obviously, it`s a free country. They can say what they like, they can
write letters to whoever they like. But the Fed is an independent agency,
and this kind of pressure, political pressure on the Fed, has been off the
charts.

It`s not been acceptable among serious politicians. You may have a
fringe candidate here or there, maybe a Rick Perry. You know, Steve
Forbes, in 2000, used to say that Alan Greenspan want goosing up the
economy enough in the middle of the Internet bubble.

Generally, politicians have steered clear of it. They have allowed
the Fed to make policy decisions on monetary policy, because elected
politicians are no good at this stuff. They get it wrong all the time.
They try to manipulate things for the politics.

The Fed has a (INAUDIBLE) to cut down inflation, to cut down
employment. If these elected leaders, these leaders of the Republican
Party, think this is normal or acceptable, then the Republican Party isn`t
what it used to be, and it`s way out of the mainstream of its own history
and public opinion.

SHARPTON: Well, I agree with you. In fact, let me show you what Vice
President Biden said about the Republican Party that really says exactly
what your point was that you just made.

He says, "You know what our biggest problem is: there`s no Republican
Party. The tail is wagging the dog, and they can`t control their party.
That`s the problem. The only thing that`s going to change their minds is
their constituency. Tell them that they have to move."

And that`s what Biden said.

WOLFFE: Yes. Reverend Sharpton, I`m wondering what their
constituency actually is when they write this kind of letter, because the
stimulus that we`re talking about here from the Federal Reserve is actually
to lower interest rates so that banks can lend to businesses.

That is their constituency, right? Those are the job creators they
say they`re talking about. And also, hopefully, to lower rates on
mortgages so that people can refinance.

It`s not about investing in bridges or any of the things they think are
Democratic ideas associated with this president. If you believe your
constituency is the private sector, it`s businesses, big and small, then
this kind of measure to lower the cost of borrowing is a good thing. Why
they want to take the Rick Perry route and undermine this, when it has no
impact on the deficit and can only help the economy, it`s totally what
other central banks are doing around the world, I don`t understand who they
think they`re representing, because they`re not even running for the
Republican nomination for the presidency.

SHARPTON: And then this rhetoric of class warfare. Let me show you a
sound from Elizabeth Warren about this whole notion of class warfare and
the Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), SENATE CANDIDATE: Well, this is class
warfare, this is whatever. No.

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.

You build a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear.
You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.

You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in
your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us
paid for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Amen. Amen. She`s preaching the truth.

I mean, because this whole notion like they are so smart and did all
of this on their own, and that they were not in many ways aided by the
things that this society provided for them, the working class people`s tax
dollars paid for. It is the most arrogant and false premise to this whole
argument.

WOLFFE: Well, they`re actually not arguing against public spending on
infrastructure projects or the stimulus, because if you look at what Mitch
McConnell does in Kentucky, you go down there and talk to people about what
he`s done, they don`t say wow, it`s the way he opposed President Obama that
people know him for. They say look at all the dollars he has brought here,
all the federal tax dollars, this convention center, that road.

He has been a master at getting the federal dollars back into his home
state. And the same is true of many of these governors running for
president now. They don`t mind the dollars if it`s coming to their state,
their voters, their projects. What they mind is someone else getting the
public money.

And it`s just hypocrisy. Never mind whether or not they actually
believe this stuff.

SHARPTON: Richard Wolffe, thank you very much for joining us.

WOLFFE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Breaking news. Let me give you this breaking news.

Lawyers for Troy Davis have just asked the United States Supreme Court
to stop the execution. It`s the ultimate last-ditch appeal.

We`ll go live to Jackson, Georgia, for the latest.

But first, Republicans are itching to use the president`s Mideast
policy to turn Jewish voters from blue to red, but their distortions are
doomed to fail. We`ll tell you why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news, lawyers for Troy Davis have just asked
United States Supreme Court to stop the execution. They say in their last-
minute filing that, quote, "substantial constitutional errors were made
when the lower courts denied his claim that newly available evidence
revealed that false, misleading and materially inaccurate information was
presented at his capital trial in 1989, rendering the convictions and death
sentence fundamentally unreliable." There`s no guarantee the court will
act on it before 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. We`ll go live to Jackson,
Georgia, for the latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back. This morning President Obama addressed the
United Nations general assembly. His message -- a continued commitment to
helping Israel and Palestine reach a peaceful agreement on state
boundaries.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Friends of the Palestinians do
them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must
recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next
to an independent Palestine.

SHARPTON: A two-state solution? Sounds familiar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE BUSH, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: For the sake of all
humanity, things must change in the Middle East. My vision is two states
living side by side in peace and security.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is a matter of foreign policy not partisan politics.
But some in the Republican Party don`t see it that way. The day before the
president`s big speech, Rick Perry ripped the president`s Middle East
policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: The Obama administration and their Middle
East policy of appeasement that has encouraged such an ominous act of bad
faith. Simply put, we would not be here today if the Obama policy in the
Middle East wasn`t naive and arrogant, misguided and dangerous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Dangerous. Dangerous. He`s using this language against
the president before he speaks to the world. And it didn`t take long for
the other Republicans to jump on the bandwagon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The president`s failure to stand by Israel at the
time of need over the last couple of years has been very unfortunate.

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Perry is right when he talked
about Obama`s foreign policy as it relates to Israel. It`s been misguided,
it`s been weak, and that has resulted in the Palestinians thinking that
they`re going to be given a state and they`re using Obama`s own words
against Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They`re trying to paint President Obama as extreme and
anti-Israel for political gain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: As a Christian, I have a clear directive to support Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, what he`s saying, President Obama does not support
Israel even though his policy are two states solution was also the policy
of the Bush administration?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: America`s commitment to Israel`s security is unshakable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now, Democrat Congressman Steven Rothman of New
Jersey, and Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. Thank you
both gentlemen for joining me tonight. Congressman Cassidy, let me start
with you. Do you support language that is coming from some fellow
Republicans?

REP. BILL CASSIDY (R), LOUISIANA: Well, of course I have a lot of
fellow Republicans.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m talking about the ones that are attacking the
president for saying that we need a two-state solution and that has said
what he is doing is dangerous.

CASSIDY: And none of those quotes that you said did I hear anybody
attacking the president about a two-state solution. I think what you did
see as a theme was the same theme that Ed Koch said and that the Jewish
voters in the Congressional race that Bob Turner just won and that there`s
been some question about the president`s commitment. I`m pleased to say
that the day the president was unequivocal in his support for Israel and he
linked peace with Israel by the Palestinians with statehood, that`s a good
thing, but again Ed Koch and other Democrats and some Republicans have
concerned about Palestine.

SHARPTON: Oh, really? Well, let me ask you some. Do you think that
Prime Minister Netanyahu knows whether the president has a good record with
supporting Israel? Let me show you what Prime Minister of Israel, Mr.
Benjamin Netanyahu said while he sat with Mr. Obama today. Maybe he didn`t
check in with Republicans or Ed Koch. Why don`t we watch and hear what he
had to say, Congressman.

CASSIDY: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I think that standing
your ground, taking this position of principle, which is also I think is
the right position to achieve peace, I think this is a badge of honor, and
I want to thank you for wearing that badge of honor, and also to express my
hope that others will follow your example, Mr. President, so I want to
thank you for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Congressman Rothman, it seems like some of those that
attacking the president here didn`t check in with the people that are right
there and on the front line of having to deal with this Middle East crisis,
when you see the heads of state of Israel say that what he`s doing is a
badge of honor.

REP. STEVEN ROTHMAN (D), NEW JERSEY: Well, Reverend Sharpton, I had
the privilege of serving on the defense subcommittee appropriations and the
foreign operations sub-committee appropriations. And I can tell you what
Secretary of Defense Gates said, what the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Mike Mullen said and what the Israeli military and intelligence folks say,
and that is that the military and intelligence cooperation between the
Obama administration and the Jewish state of Israel is the best in the
history of the state of Israel. So, you can ask all the people, the
principals, military intelligence, the elected officials in both countries,
and they will tell you, because of President Obama`s policies and strong
support, they now have the strongest military cooperation and intelligence
relationship in Israel`s history.

SHARPTON: Congressman Cassidy, isn`t this really about politics?
They know that President Obama is not anti-Israel, isn`t this a way to some
republican candidates are trying to play politics when the states of Middle
East peace and global politics at stake, they`re playing political games
here?

CASSIDY: Again, let me say something earlier. I said that today`s
speech was good. I agree with Netanyahu. I am not disagreeing with
Netanyahu. I`m agreeing with Netanyahu regarding politics. I`m kind of
echoing what Ed Koch said and what the voters that just elected Bob Turner
said, that previous statements have expressed some ambivalence,
equivocation, if will you, on the part of the president.

SHARPTON: So, what statements?

CASSIDY: This Cairo speech was roundly, kind of establishing an
equivalency between Israel and Palestine, and as to which truly sought to
have peace and did one seek to have more than others? The Cairo speech was
viewed among Jewish-Americans and others as being kind of pro-Muslim, if
you will.

SHARPTON: Well, I think calling for two-state solution and having a
respect of two states, when you talk about equal, is the same thing that
George Bush says.

CASSIDY: Isn`t that a good thing? What was good about the speech
today is that the president unequivocally linked it to first there being
peace. If there is peace, then there can be a two-state solution. That`s
a good thing. This republican applauds that, and that`s something that
should have been echoed all the way up until the speech as well.

SHARPTON: Congressman Rothman, I recall when President Obama spoke at
the U.N. last year, he said that we should have the Palestinians state in,
if we have advanced towards peace. He`s not saying anything different now
than he said before. What fantasy do they have that this is any different
in what he`s been saying?

ROTHMAN: Well, that`s correct, Al. You know, I`m a Jewish-American,
I support the state of Israel, as do most Americans, Jewish or not, because
Israel is vital to America`s natural security interests. Period. Israel
guards the Mediterranean for us, the Suez Canal, helps us guard the Persian
Gulf. They`re really America`s aircraft carrier in a very dangerous but
important region of the world for us. And I would never have supported
President Obama for president, I would have been supported some other
democratic candidate if I thought for a moment that the president wasn`t
100 percent able and committed to the Jewish State of Israel, and that has
been his consistent point.

Even in the Cairo speech, and everywhere else, but where the rubber
meets the road, Reverend Sharpton, is on defense and military cooperation.
And on that basis, according to the Israelis and the Americans in our
military and in our intelligence, and all the elected officials, there`s no
question, Israel has no better partner than the Obama administration
concerning military and intelligence cooperation. And all of Israel`s
enemies notice that the United States in Israel are undefeatable, powerful
team. And President Obama has tied the two of our nations at the hip, and
there`s no daylight. And that is why President Obama is regarded by those
in the defense and intelligence communities as being the best American
president for Israel in Israel`s history.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to have to leave it there. We are -- hope
that we can get some of the politics out of this. I think if any of the
democratic candidates for president had done what these republican
candidates had done when George Bush was addressing this. We would have
been roundly criticized, but again we keep seeing a different standard.
Thank you Congressman Steven Rothman and Congressman Bill Cassidy for both
of your times tonight.

CASSIDY: Thank you, Al.

SHARPTON: Ahead, more, the breaking news, lawyers for Troy Davis
asking the United States Supreme Court to stop the execution. We`ll go
live to Jackson, Georgia, for the latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: This is video of police that seem to be gathering up riot
police, preparing for a possible disturbances if Troy Davis is in fact
executed just moments away. We`ll be back to give you the update on
whether the last-stitch efforts by the lawyers will be successful to stop
this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s now 6:51 here on the East Coast. Troy Davis is
scheduled to be executed in nine minutes. Davis has just filed a final
plea, asking the United States Supreme Court to intervene and stop his
execution. People all over the world have come together to condemn this
execution as a horrific miscarriage of justice. This afternoon, I was at
the prison in Jackson, Georgia and we were almost stopped from conducting a
prayer vigil.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You can arrest me if you want, but you`re not going to stop
me from walking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Just moments ago, we saw police at the scene getting ready
for a possible disturbance at the prison.

Joining me now, NBC News correspondent Thanh Truong reporting from
outside the prison where Troy Davis is moments away from execution right
now. Tell me what the scene is like now?

THANH TRUONG, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Al, actually, I can show
you, as we get closer to 7:00, the schedule of execution time, take a look
at the show of force. I would imagine this is going to be kind of a
preventative measure at this point. You can see the guards and the
multiple riot police here now -- the prepared for any possible outbreak of
protesters` violence here across the street. And across the street, you`ll
see the show of force of the protesters and the supporters for Troy Davis
at this point. They`ve been gathering here all day, and now this is coming
to a head, as we get closer to 7:00, many of these people believe that Troy
Davis is innocent.

They believe that the recanting of seven of the nine witnesses who
changed their testimony in his conviction is enough for doubt. And they
say this execution should not proceed. Today, Troy Davis spent six hours
with his family, mostly just trying to preserve that time left. When he
was offered his chance for a last meal, his choice of a last meal, he
declined that, and instead was served the prison standard meal of a
cheeseburger, baked beans and potato. And now we`re here, we`re just a few
minutes away from the scheduled execution, they`re prepared for any type of
outbreak at this point, and we`ll bring you the latest if anything happens
at this point. Al, back to you.

SHARPTON: Thanh, thanks for your report.

Joining me now by phone is Allen Ault, a former warden who oversaw
executions for the state. He`s part of a group of former death-row wardens
who just today released a letter calling for Davis` execution to be
stopped, saying, quote, "An innocent person could be executed in Georgia
tonight. Doubt about his guilt remains." Allen, what inspired you to
write this letter?

ALLEN AULT, FORMER GEORGIA WARDEN: Well, I`ve spoken out against
death penalty, many times officiated (UNINTELLIGIBLE) corrections over,
probably about 14 executions. And my worst fear was that we would execute
somebody that was innocent. And I certainly hopefully they would intervene
in this case. I assume they have not, however.

SHARPTON: It is frightening. I was there in `08 when they did stop
it, with moments away from what appears to be an execution. You`ve been
over these chambers and seen this. There`s nothing worse than to take the
life of someone who may have not done the crime, and in this case, there`s
so much doubt. How could we live with this?

AULT: Well, there`s nothing worse than executing somebody guilty or
innocent to prove to the public that we shouldn`t use violence. We use
violence. It seems to hypocritical. And especially if there`s doubt about
somebody`s guilt.

SHARPTON: Well, Allen Ault, I do salute you for standing up, takes
courage from you and other wardens. Former wardens, stand up and take a
public stand. Allen Ault, former Georgia warden. Thank you for talking to
us tonight.

AULT: Thank you, sir.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: All of my life I`ve been involved in civil rights activism,
and have marched, as I did today, but then when you come across some cases,
some issues, it goes beyond the usual suspects. What is so striking about
Troy Davis is not just those of us in civil rights or those in other fights
of civil liberties? You have republican right wingers who believed in the
death penalty, like former Congressman Bob Barr, like Bill Sessions. Come
out. You had international figures, like the pope, the former President
Jimmy Carter, people coming out from different perspectives, saying that we
must come together on this. Why? Because at the end of the day, we must
respect human life, and we must have laws that protect us beyond the
reasonable doubt. We are a few minutes away from what could be the end of
Troy Davis` life, but we`re not away from what should be our commitment to
justice.

I sat on death row and promised Troy Davis, that no matter what
happens, we in his name will fight, so that there will never be cases that
become capital cases that are based solely on eyewitness testimony. If
Troy Davis dies in the next few minutes, it would be the birth of a
movement to begin looking at how we still have draconian laws that can have
people with flawed recanted eyewitness testimony cost them their life. Not
only should I commit that, you should, whether you`re republican or
democrat. Independent, it doesn`t matter, all of us under threat until we
have laws that protect all of us.

Thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. A live edition of
"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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