PoliticsNation, Friday, March 2, 2012
Read the transcript from the Friday show
Guests: Michael Steele; Melissa Harris-Perry; Richard Wolffe, Jan Schakowsky; Elizabeth Hunter Persson, Judith Brown-Dianis, Martin Luther King III, Bill Press
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation. I`m
Tonight`s lead, it`s been three days since Rush Limbaugh called a
college student a slut. And I think it`s time for him to go. He needs to
be fired. The outrage over his offensive and insulting talk is growing.
Terry O`Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women,
is also calling for him to be fired. At least two advertisers have now
bailed on Rush with reports might be more to follow. Several other
advertisers are reporting overwhelming customer feedback and vowing to take
a hard look at Rick Santorum Of all people is running away saying Rush is,
quote, "being absurd."
Meanwhile, the woman at the center of all of this received some big
support today. The president of the United States called Sandra Fluke
thanking her for exercising her right to speak out on policy. She told
Andrea Mitchell about the call today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, COLLEGE STUDENT: He encouraged me and supported me
and thanked me for speaking out about the concerns of American women and
what was really personal for me was that he said to tell my parents that
they should be proud. And that meant a lot because rush Limbaugh
questioned whether or not my family would be proud of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Everyone should be proud of you. But Rush went ugly again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO SHOW HOST: Obama just called Sandra Fluke to
make sure she was all right. The president tells Sandra Fluke, 30-year-old
Sandra Fluke, parents should be proud. Your daughter appears before a
congressional committee and says she`s having so much sex she can`t pay for
it and wants a new welfare program to pay for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This is beyond the pale. After three days of this,
Republicans are silent. More than 170,000 people have signed a petition
calling on Republican leaders to denounce Rush`s anti-woman tirade.
But Speaker Boehner, who rarely is afraid of a press conference, is
hiding behind a statement from his press person. Quote, "the speaker
obviously believes the use of those words were inappropriate, as it is in
trying to raise money off the situation." A weak criticism and a shot at
the Democrats, not good enough. Where are the rest of you? Where`s the
leadership? Where`s the outrage? And through it all, Limbaugh refuses to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: The woman comes forth with this, frankly, hilarious claim
that she`s having so much sex and her buddies with her that she can`t
afford it. And not one person says, did you ever think about maybe backing
off the amount of sex that you have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat
from Illinois. She`s one of the 75 house Democrats who signed the letter
to Speaker Boehner asking him to repudiate Limbaugh. And on the set with
me is Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC`s "Melissa Harris-Perry."
Thank you both for being here tonight.
Congresswoman Schakowsky, let me start with you. As a member of
congress, let me just put it straight at you. Do you think Rush Limbaugh
should be on the air?
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Rush Limbaugh should be fired.
But we`re not helpless in the meantime. There are now all kinds of
pressures on his advertisers, and I think everybody should go online, see
if -- there is a list of all their advertisers and to his advertisers and
make sure that they call for them to withdraw their support.
This -- he has to be stopped because we can`t create an atmosphere
where there`s permission for that kind of talk. It has gone way, way over
the line. But I do have to say, Reverend Al, if his goal was to create a
leader for this growing movement to put a face that Sandra fluke on this
growing outrage that he did a really good job of it.
SHARPTON: You know, Melissa, when you listen at this, this is a young
college student. Rush today said he chose absurd rhetoric on purpose to
point out the absurd - how absurd he felt this young student was. Listen
to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: Yesterday in the riff about -- OK, fine. Well, if we`re
going to pay for this, at least let us have something for it, how about
some sex videos. If anybody doesn`t realize that we were illustrating
absurdity here by being absurd and that`s the trademark of this program,
no. That`s - I mean, of everything else you`ve said, that`s now the lowest
of the low. Demanding sex video? What are you thinking? Lighten up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s not only the absurdity of that. He called her a slut,
a prostitute. What are we talking about here?
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: Well, we`re talking about a pretty standard way
that when men who disagree with women want to -- and often women who want
to disagree with women in the public sphere want to discredit them don`t
want to address the issues but want to discredit them as potential public
voices. You say that they are whoring themselves or you call them sluts or
Now, I just want to say something that might be provocative here, but
what if she were a slut. What if she were? What if by some definition of
promiscuity this 30-year-old law student who has a history of activism was
also sexually promiscuous? So what? At what point have men who are studs
who are sexually available, who are promiscuous been disallowed from
speaking in public space?
So, even if she was and obviously I`m not suggesting that she is. But
even if she were, the reason that it`s powerful is the power that we give
to it by saying any woman who is sexually promiscuous. We don`t have to
listen to her. She`s not important and she has nothing valuable to say in
the public sphere.
SHARPTON: Now congresswoman, when your Republican colleagues have
taken up in a rare occasion standing up to Rush Limbaugh for saying
something wrong, they almost immediately took it back. I mean, a back
pedal on Rush Limbaugh is almost a sporting habit with a lot of the right
Look at Congressman Phil Gingrey. He back-pedaled on January 27th,
2009. He says "it`s easy if you are Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh and even
sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don`t have to
try to do what`s best for your people or your party."
But the next day, the very next day he says "I clearly ended up
putting my foot in my mouth."
So, I mean, are they afraid of him because he has such a large
audience of right wing listeners that may punish them and, therefore, they
don`t stand up to him because of they are afraid of his wrath with their
SCHAKOWSKY: Well, this is the kind of language that Rush Limbaugh is
using in modern times has been relegated to the locker room or maybe among
modern men, not even so. If they dare to associate themselves in any way
and defend that kind of talk, they do it at their peril. I`m telling you.
Women and lots of men, too, are really furious. They have absolutely
touched a serious nerve here, and I think that the election really turns on
these kinds of issues now.
Women are simply not going to be put in the place that Rush Limbaugh
wants to put them. Are not going to be subjected to that kind of language
and being dismissed in that ugly and horrible way, in the way he makes fun
of them. It`s just not going to happen. So I think they are smart
politically right now if they would distance themselves from Rush Limbaugh.
SHARPTON: Sleep train mattress, Melissa, tweeted at 9:00 a.m. this
morning, they were pulling their support of Rush saying, quote, "We don`t
condone negative comments directed toward any group. In response, we are
currently pulling our ads from Rush with Rush Limbaugh." Is that what all
advertisers should do?
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I can`t say what advertisers should do. What I
do love is that they did that. I think that we should support -- you know,
everyone should support advertisers who behave in ways that we consider
ethical and responsible, relative to our, you know, to our ideology, toward
what we think is reasonable in the public atmosphere and so we can reward
those people who have drawn it away.
I think we have to be very careful about saying who should be fired.
I mean, I obviously don`t want to hear Limbaugh, but we have done a lot of
Limbaugh coverage of this in part because it feels clear to me that he goes
out as far as he can in order to get us to respond. Now that said, we`ve
got to respond because this is so ugly. This is so nasty. And by the way,
maybe he doesn`t understand how hormonal birth control works. You know,
you only take the pill once and it actually doesn`t matter how many times
during the day you have sex. Like there are so many aspects of it, this
notion that if you have a lot of sex, reproductive choice costs more. It`s
ridiculous, right. Every aspect of what he said is a learning moment, is a
teaching moment. It`s an opportunity for us to engage.
And so in that way, I guess as horrible as he is, this is an
opportunity for us to support those folks who are doing the right thing
here and for us to teach in the places where there were inaccuracies.
SHARPTON: Well, Congresswoman, I have the reverse. Not only should
you reward those. I think you tell those that are funding him, he has the
right to say it, but we have the try to say we`re not going to pay for it
by dealing with advertisers that subsidize that. I`ve got a lot of calls
today about what I did with Imus. I must say the right says whenever you
want. I have the try to say I`m not going to support it with my dollars.
Sometimes people choose having their profits over having people say things
that offend their customers.
Congresswoman Schakowsky, Melissa Harris-Perry. Thank you for your
time and have a great weekend.
HARRIS-PERRY: I`ll see you tomorrow morning, Rev.
SHARPTON: I`ll be there in the morning with Melissa Harris-Perry in
the morning on my way to Selma, but I`ve got to stop by Melissa first.
Coming up, a federal judge sends a horribly racist e-mail about the
president. I`ll have my own ruling on this outrageous act.
Plus, GOP hopes for Willard are fading fast. Now, some top
conservatives are jumping off the sinking ship.
And we`re exposing a new organize effort to intimidate voters at
polling stations all over the country.
You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: We want to bring you up to date on the deadly tornadoes in
the Midwest. Let`s bring in NBC meteorologist Bob Karins.
BILL KARINS, NBC NEWS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Al. Good evening everyone.
Al, we are watching for the most part, one of the deadliest days of
tornadoes in areas of Indiana, maybe in the state history. We have to go
back to the record books and look that up. But we`ve already seen some
very strong storms in southern Indiana. We have two towns that have
reportedly wiped off the map. Those storms have now moved into areas of
eastern Kentucky, southern portions of Indiana and southern portions of
Ohio, now approaching West Virginia. So, that Ashland, Ohio, area will see
strong storms. And these are the pictures from two hours ago. We saw this
tornado in southern Indiana. Tough fast these storms are moving. This is
Henryville, Indiana. This is a high school that was hit. We saw a bus
that was tossed literally halfway through a house, very strong winds.
We had debris reported in Cincinnati. I mean, incredible stuff,
falling from the sky. The tornado didn`t even go through Cincinnati. This
debris was picked up. We heard reports of asphalt, literally asphalt from
the road that was lifted up. It takes literally 180 to 200-mile-per-hour
winds to do that. This is a wide spread outbreak that`s occurring
throughout areas of the Ohio valley and Tennessee valley.
I want to go back to the weather maps if we can, just to show you and
update you on who is at risk right now. Again, we are in eastern portions
of Kentucky. As we move southwards, Nashville, looks like you are just
about in the clear. You saw some large hail. But the tornado threat is
now more or less over to the eastern side of town.
We`ll watch out for Knoxville, Tennessee throughout the evening and
also a very strong storm right over the top of Chattanooga.
Now, as far as the forecast goes, we`re watching to the south, the
worst of the weather throughout the evening. Eventually those storms will
make their way to Atlanta, northern portions of Alabama and into the
So again, the bottom line is we have fatalities. Most of the worst
damage appears to have been including areas of southern Indiana. Al, we
have about two different towns. We have one town of 3,000 people, another
of 1500 people that are practically wiped off the map. And that`s where
all the focus and attention will be need tonight and tomorrow.
SHARPTON: Well, thanks, Bill. We`ll continue to monitor this
We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."
Did you hear that? It`s the sound of Republicans jumping out of that
sinking ship. Conservative columnist George Will has a devastating new
article about Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. He says, quote, "Neither
seems likely to be elected. There would come a point when conservatives
turn their energies to a goal much more attainable than electing Romney or
George Will has all but given up on a Republican beating President
Obama. But he`s not alone. Charles Krauthammer says, quote, "Romney
remains slow, steady, unspectacular, the tortoise in the race, dull and
methodical with an awkward stiffness, a weak front-runner in an even weaker
Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe. He`s the
author of "revival, the struggle for survival inside the Obama White House"
and Michael Steele, MSNBC analyst and former RNC chairman.
Thank you both for being here tonight.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to see you, rev.
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: Thanks, rev.
SHARPTON: Michael, you handing out life preservers or is there still
time to right this ship?
STEELE: Abandon ship. No, look, I think both these gentlemen have
touched an appropriate nerve that is getting everyone`s attention focused
on whether or not we are seriously going to contest for not just the
nomination but for the White House this fall.
And I think the battles that we have seen so far, the bickering, the
back and forth, the ugly ads, all of this are fodder that`s been fed to the
Democrats and that will get replayed against the eventual nominee this
And so, yes, I think George Will is saying, look. Everybody needs to
start taking a look at this thing and seeing that at some point, we may
have to re-evaluate what the real priority is going to be for November.
And so we have time to do that. In other words, let`s get it right now,
but if we continue down this path, and I agree 100 percent with him, we
might as well focus on something else because this particular goal becomes
that much more difficult to attain.
SHARPTON: Now Richard, I read a lot of endorsements in my career.
I`ve been out here a long time. But let me read to you the "Seattle
Times." They endorsed Willard Mitt Romney officially, sort of. With the
headline, Washington`s GOP caucus default choice, Mitt Romney. That`s how
they headlined the endorsement. And they say in the endorsement, "Romney
has been his own biggest impediment. Romney does not excite voters and is
a suspect choice, except for all the others." I mean, this is the kind of
endorsement he`s getting.
WOLFFE: Right. You know, holding your nose for a candidate is not a
best way to turn out voters, either work up to a point. This is a rare
moment in this cycle, OK, where everyone seems to have decided they know
which way this election is going. This pendulum will swing again.
Just a few months ago, everyone said the president`s numbers were in
the tank and the economy wasn`t getting any better. And the Republicans
thought it was a shoo-in. They could vote for anyone. Herman Cain even
was going to be a shoo-in.
So, this will balance out again moving forward. But the persistent
narrative you`re seeing, George Will is no light weight. He is an
influential in his own right. And he`s only reflecting the conversations
that are going on all over the Republican Party. Certainly many
Republicans I speak to.
And the truth is getting beyond those doubt, getting beyond the hold
your nose attitude to Mitt Romney is extremely difficult. So his support
will pick up. But it will never quite be the turnout you`ve seen in
previous elections, certainly not Bush/Cheney `04 in 2004.
SHARPTON: Well, Michael, its Krauthammer. Its George will. Peggy
Noonan even writes in "the Wall Street Journal" that the candidates look
downright loopy after Tuesday`s election, quote, "what is striking is a
growing air of goofiness. As I watched them, I thought that you probably
thought it`s not good to take an ambien before giving a concession speech."
I mean, these are three heavyweight conservative columnists. I mean,
it`s enough to make you grateful you`re not chairman right now.
STEELE: Well, that`s a whole other show, reverend, but --
SHARPTON: I keep going there with you.
STEELE: I know you do, my friend. I know you do. But I think --
look. You have now had three very significant individuals who write and
express a lot about Republican attitudes and the like. Say something I
think that the party really, I think you hit it. That reflects what the
party is really feeling.
And so, hopefully this will serve as sort of a clarion call to really
stop what we`ve been doing up to now. We`re not on message as a national
party. We`re not on message with as potential nominees for the presidency.
We`re talking about things that the American people are not focused on.
So focus on jobs. Focus on the economic growth and prosperity that
people want. Richard is absolutely right. This pendulum will swing again.
But the concern you have to have is when it swings, how far does it swing
back towards you? Does it swing just enough to make you feel like you are
in the game or does it really give you the full momentum you need to go
into a very competitive fall campaign.
SHARPTON: Well, Richard. Let me show you where the president at a
fund-raiser last night as he outlined all the positive changes that
happened under his presidency. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Think about what change
looks like. Change is health care reform that we`ve passed after a century
of trying. Change is keeping another promise I made in 2008 for the first
time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. We put that
war to an end. Change is the decision we made to rescue the American auto
industry from collapse. Businesses have added about 3.7 million new jobs.
Our manufacturing sector is creating jobs again for the very first time
since the 1990s. Our economy is getting stronger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, the pendulum may swing back, but they`re going to have
to have a good swing to beat that, don`t you think, Richard?
WOLFFE: Well, look. There are plenty of Republicans who don`t agree
with any of that analysis. But what`s changed with this president isn`t
just his tone. He now is campaigning on his record.
You know, for many years, this White House was really dubious about
whether it could go out and tout its own accomplishments. In fact,
Republicans have argued very vocally this president didn`t have a record he
could run on. But now with the economy where it`s at, with the auto
industry story, and with his legislative accomplishments you have a
president who is feeling more confident about saying this is what I`ve
done. That`s a different dynamic and that means Republicans have to first
of all take down the record and then say, and this is why we will do a
better job. And those things are both a challenge, not least because
they`ve got candidates who can`t even tell their own stories straight.
SHARPTON: Got leave it there. Richard Wolffe, Michael Steele.
Thanks. Have a great weekend to both of you.
STEELE: All right.
WOLFFE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, a Bush-appointed federal judge in Montana apologizes
to the president for sending a racially charged joke in an e-mail. This is
outrageous. And it`s not enough to just apologize. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Now to our ongoing series "here are the jobs."
Tonight, we`re focusing on tech red ventures. It`s a technology
company headquartered just outside of Charlotte. They are looking to fill
more than 900 jobs this year.
Joining me now is Elizabeth Hunter-Persson, Red Ventures vice
president of human capital.
Thank you for coming on the show tonight.
ELIZABETH HUNTER-PERSSON, HUMAN CAPITAL VICE PRESIDENT, RED VENTURE:
Good evening, Al. It`s great to be here.
SHARPTON: Let`s start with what kinds of jobs are available?
HUNTER-PERSSON: Sure. We are actually looking to hire a wide variety
of key roles throughout the organization. These positions range from very
specialized roles, positions such as web applications developers, web
designers, paid search and natural search engine optimization experts, all
the way to business analysts.
We`re also looking for energetic and driven talent to join our
expanding inside sales teams.
SHARPTON: Now are these permanent jobs and where are they located in
HUNTER-PERSSON: Yes, these are all full-time Red Ventures positions.
We have a few spots still remaining for our summer internship program for
rising college seniors. The positions are spread across all three of our
locations. So, our headquarters facility in Ft. Mill, South Carolina,
which is just about a mile from Charlotte, North Carolina, where we were
recently named the best place to work for the second year in a row, and our
two additional locations in San Antonio, Texas, and Miami, Florida.
SHARPTON: Now most of the jobs are in sales and marketing, but does
the company offer on-the-job training?
HUNTER-PERSSON: Absolutely, we do. You know, we do not necessarily
require previous experience. So for our inside sales positions, we`re
looking for that self-starter, driven individual to come into our program.
And we offer an extensive combination in classroom and on the job paid
training. So regardless of previous experience, our training programs can
really set candidates up for success within our organization.
SHARPTON: Now your CEO has a quote that caught my eye. It says, "We
love to find people that are motivated. We`ll make rock stars out of
them." What do you look for in a potential employee?
HUNTER-PERSSON: So as I said, we are really -- we often say we`re
looking for the self person. The self-starter. The self-motivated, driven
individual. We`re really looking for athletes. People who want to win,
have a strong desire to win and accomplish success and they have the
willingness to put in the effort it takes to drive tremendous results. You
know, we also are very entrepreneurial company. We enable our employees to
behave like entrepreneurs without having to actually be one. So that
entrepreneurial mind-set really lends itself toward success in our
environment. And because we like to have fun at work, we also look for
people who have a good sense of humor and are looking to have fun while
they work hard.
SHARPTON: How do people apply?
HUNTER-PERSSON: That`s an easy one. Red ventures.com. Our website.
There you`ll find descriptions of all of our open positions, as well as the
ability to apply online directly for those positions. But you`ll also find
profiles of our existing employees. You`ll find insights into our culture.
So redventures.com really does have it all. We`d also encourage job
seekers to check out our Facebook page, so you can hear more about our
company and our culture straight from our employees themselves.
SHARPTON: All right. Elizabeth Hunter-Persson, thank you for joining
us tonight. Let us know how it goes. And for all the information on our
"Here are the Jobs" series, head to our Web site, politicsnation.msnbc.com
and click on "Here are the Jobs."
SHARPTON: We`re back with the story everyone needs to be aware of.
The right wing effort to suppress the vote is getting even more dangerous.
There`s a new threat emerging from a Tea Party group in Texas called the
King Street Patriots. They run an operation called true the vote. In
2010, true the vote placed hundreds of its henchmen at polling stations in
heavily black and Latino neighborhoods in Houston to observe and question
voters. That sounds like voter intimidation to me. And it prompted an
investigation by the Department of Justice. True to vote says it`s, quote,
helping stop corruption where it can start, at the polls. But the keyword
there is start. There`s no evidence of fraud. And here`s what`s most
alarming. True to vote now wants to put a million of its observers at
polling stations across the entire country.
Joining me now, Judith Brown-Dianis, co-director of the Advancement
Project of civil rights groups focused on issues of democracy and race.
Judith, thank you for being here tonight.
JUDITH BROWN-DIANIS, CO-DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Thanks,
SHARPTON: Your organization has been watching the King Street
Patriarchs for a while now. What did you found?
DIANIS: Well, we found that in 2010, they had their training ground
where they recruited over 1,100 volunteers and placed them at polling
places in African-American and Latino precincts in Houston. And what
they`ve been doing is training folks, they`re volunteers, to be at the
polling places to challenge the eligibility of voters. And so in 2010 it
was the King Street Patriots. Now, they are taking their plan nationwide.
And as you said, they are recruiting over one million volunteers to be at
polling places in 2012. And they say they are about election integrity.
But we know that at the end of the day, they are not about preventing
fraud. They are about preventing voting.
SHARPTON: They have held a book party for writer Matthew Vadum who
wrote this. This is who they had a book party, he wrote, "The poor can be
counted on to vote themselves more benefits by electing redistributionist
politicians. Registering them to vote is like handing out burglary tools
to criminals." This is what they give a book party for this guy Vadum that
wrote. So, clearly, when you say they are there, it seems to prevent
voting. They have a -- their own opinion of who ought to be voting and who
ought to be participating in the democratic process.
DIANIS: That`s right. It`s important to understand who they are
following and listening to. And people like Matthew Vadum clearly do not
believe that we should have a robust democracy. Instead, he would rather
that we cut off participation of American citizens. And so they are
listening to this guy and then they are going out and training their folks
to be at the polls. But really what`s really scary about this is that
apparently they are not only training people to be poll watchers, to work
for candidates and for the parties, but they also are training people to be
poll workers. So we`re concerned that they are going to be on both sides
of the equation. And if they target minority precincts, we know that in
2010, that it was an intimidation factor for many of the people who
SHARPTON: Judith Brown-Dianis, thanks for your time tonight.
DIANIS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Joining me now is Martin Luther King III, he`s the
president and CEO/Emeritus of the King Center, and will join our voting
rights march this weekend. And certainly an activist extraordinaire in his
own right. Thank you for being with us, Martin.
DIANIS: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Let me -- you are going back, as you have gone many years,
to the march across the bridge and then, of course, we`re extending it this
year because of the special situation we`re facing with voter I.D., five
days marching from Selma to Montgomery. Forty seven years ago, your father
came to Selma to lead that march after John Lewis who we had on last night
and then the great late Hosea Williams was beaten on that bridge. When he
got to Montgomery, he said these words. Let me let you hear him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. (1929-1968): May be some teargas ahead.
But I say to you this afternoon that I would rather die on the highways of
Alabama than make a butchery of my conscience.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: They went at risk of life. We`re going this week, not at a
risk of life but a risk of losing all your father and your mother and so
many gave their lives and time for. How do you feel 47 years later helping
to start a movement that walks in your father`s footsteps but with some
fresh, new challenges?
Dr. MARTIN LUTHER KING III, PRESIDENT, KING CENTER: Well, Rev, what I
first and foremost feel is saddened by the fact that my dad and his team
and many others worked to acquire the right to vote and now there are
intentional efforts to reduce or suppress voting. That is very tragic in
2012. We should be creating opportunities and options for every American
to participate in the voting process, including those felons who after
they`ve served their time for society, their rights should be reinstated.
There are many states, of course, when you have a felon that you cannot
vote. So, yes, it`s troubling. It`s disturbing. But what it says is that
we must be vigilant. And I must applaud you, Rev, for bringing this
coalition together to make sure that people understand that the right to
vote is being, not just challenged, but when you look at the fact that
early voting is being reduced.
When you look at the fact that their numbers of identification
scenarios that used to exist and now they are reducing that. Even in my
state of Georgia, I heard that they are talking about having a scenario
where certain students at the public institutions can vote but the private
institutions like Morehouse, Historically African-American Colleges and
Universities, they can`t use their I.D. to vote but those in Georgia State
and other schools can. So, you know, we`ve got some challenges and we`ve
got to stand up. We don`t have a choice. People like Viola Louisa (ph)
died so we`d have that right to vote. James Rib (ph) -- and so many others
died, so we`d have that precious right.
SHARPTON: Now your parents, your father was assassinated. Your
mother gave her life until her days were over to give you and your sisters
and brother a better life. You have a daughter. The only grandchild of
Dr. King. And you and your beautiful wife Andrea hope to give her a better
life than you guys had because that`s what your parents did. Yet with
these laws, we don`t know if that`s true.
KING: Well, you are absolutely correct. And I think what I was most
excited about in our nation was we used to elect -- we used to elect
officials who we would hear this notion, the good politician plans for the
next election. But the statesperson plans for the next generation. And it
seems like we are not concerned about the next generation. We`ve got to
find a way to bring the cadre of young people and new candidates into the
process. And one of the things I would say is that, if you are 18, you can
go to war. By the time you`re 21, if you go to college, you become a
captain in the military, then we certainly should encourage people to
become city council members, state legislative positions, county
commissioners, even mayors in some cases. At 21 years old, when you have
energy and vision, you certainly should offer yourself for those roles. We
need people to enter into this process and then to create these
opportunities to continue to create the opportunity for everyone to vote.
No one should be left behind.
SHARPTON: I watch you and your family as the nation dedicated the
monument to your father on the banks of the Potomac. It seems ironic that
now they are undermining some of the work he did. It seems like the
struggle continues no matter how much they applaud your father`s work,
KING: Well, it certainly does. And I think what it creates is an
opportunity. And I might say that one of the offshoots of that opportunity
is even the occupy movement that is focused on the one percent controlling
40-plus percent of the wealth of our nation which could spiral up to 50 or
60 percent, which it already is beyond dangerous. It`s a tragedy. And
Reverend, as you know, my father probably was killed not because he was
talking about the right to vote, civil rights, human rights but because he
was talking about economic empowerment back in 1968. He was talking about
the fact that we need a living wage. And here we are in 2012 and we still
have a poor minimum wage that we`ve got to raise in many areas. But it
really goes back to the vote.
If people are not able to vote, then they cannot elect the people who
will possess that kind of leadership vision. That`s why it`s so important.
All of us should join this demonstration this week between the 4th and the
9th of March. As we observe on the 4th the actual bloody Sunday, but then
throughout the 4th, as you and others are leading this demonstration, we
ought to all be there to say that enough is enough and all we`re saying is
we deserve our right to this democratic process by participating in having
the right to vote without any kind of forms of suppression.
SHARPTON: Martin Luther King III. You heard them. Thanks for your
time tonight. See you in Selma.
KING: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: I`ll be seeing you when we kick off our march on Sunday,
and we`ll be reporting back to you every step of the way.
SHARPTON: We`re back with an outrageous story about a Montana judge.
The top federal judge in Montana, Richard Cebull who used his official
court e-mail account to forward a horribly offensive, racist joke about
President Obama. The joke suggests the President`s late mother had sex
with a dog. The judge has since apologized for sending the e-mail, but
that`s not good enough. Not even close. This judge has revealed a
shocking lack of judgment that disqualifies him from judging others.
Joining me now is Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio host and
author of "The Obama Hate Machine: The Lies, Distortions and Personal
Attacks on the President and who is Behind Them." Bill, does this judge
really think one little apology will get him off the hook and keep him on
BILL PRESS, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Hey, Reverend Al. I`ll tell you
what, he may think that, but if so, he`s wrong. And you know what I find
especially shocking. We`ve talked about this. This is not an isolated
incident. When it comes to President Obama, there are no limits anymore.
And we hear all the words. It`s not just from talk radio or FOX News where
he`s been called a jerk and a traitor and a fascist and a communist and a
Nazi. I mean, a terrorist. You name it. But the politicians. He`s
called a liar on the floor of the house. The presidential candidates.
He`s called a slob by Rick Santorum this week. There`s an ad in the D.C.
Metro, the D.C. Subway System that says, go to hell, Barack Obama and they
refuse to take it down.
SHARPTON: That is the ad that is up in D.C. Metro.
SHARPTON: But here we`re talking about a federal judge sitting on a
bench, columnist George Curry pointed out today, the prelude, the intro to
the e-mail was, I want to forward this to my friends because I want to see
if it will touch you like it touched me. And then it`s a joke about the
President`s mother having sex with an animal and he should be glad he
doesn`t bark. Sent out over his federal e-mail.
PRESS: Yes, Reverend Al, he does not belong on the bench. I mean,
what is the job of a judge? To exercise judgment, right? Where is the
judgment in using your own e-mail to send out a racist joke saying, I don`t
usually do this, but this one really struck me. You know why? Because
he`s a racist and it`s a racist e-mail. But here`s also what I want to
know, is where are the voices to condemn him? Where`s John Boehner,
where`s Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, where`s Mitch McConnell. They let this
SHARPTON: Let me pick up on that. Here`s how the judge answered the
criticism when it came out. He says, I`m not a fan of our president but
this goes beyond not being a fan. I didn`t send it as a racist, although
that`s what it is. I sent it out because it`s anti-Obama. There`s two
problems with that. If you know it`s racist and you sent it out, duh, but
secondly, you are anti-Obama. Well, according to what we`re told about
federal judges, you`re not supposed to be expressing partisan opinions.
So, I think that maybe we are going to have to go and challenge the Senate
to bring him up on impeachment hearings because he is certainly violating
what a federal judge is supposed to stand for. He`s partisan and clearly
by his own admission e-mailing on federal e-mails, racist e-mails about the
President of the United States.
PRESS: Absolutely. And you know if they have no respect for a
particular president, they ought to at least have respect for the office of
the presidency. And again, Reverend Al, I hope the reporters keep the
pressure on the presidential candidates and the republican leaders to ask
them specifically if they condemn that judge`s remarks and if they think he
ought to stay on the bench as a federal judge as, as you pointed out, he
has violated every canon of federal law.
SHARPTON: You`re right. He was appointed by President Bush. Federal
judges are appointed. It`s a legitimate question to ask the presidential
candidate whether they would want to see this kind of guy stay on the
bench. We ought to review his cases. With this kind of bias, who knows
what he might have ruled and what he might have been ruling them for.
There needs to be an examination on this judge. Looking at your book, you
said, I`m quoting bill to bill, quote, "the personal attacks directed
against him, speaking of President Obama, has been more relentless and
uglier than those against any other president in our lifetime."
PRESS: Well, you go back, as I did, in writing this book. Look,
criticism of any American president is legitimate. You do it. I do it. I
did it for George Bush. We did it for Ronald Reagan. But if you look at
the attacks against President Obama, they have been more personal, more
ugly, more vicious and let me remind you Reverend Al, yesterday Andrew
Breitbart died. So, what did they talk about on FOX News last night? That
Breitbart had these secret tapes. These scandalous tapes on Barack Obama
that they`re going to release this year and this will going to bring Obama
down. Remember the so-called whitey tapes, right, about Michelle Obama
four years ago?
PRESS: It`s the same old pack of lies. Yes. It doesn`t stop. It
SHARPTON: Bill Press, thank you for your time tonight.
PRESS: Reverend Al, go get him.
SHARPTON: Welcome back. We`ve seen how many on the right have gone
so extreme, they are refusing to find common ground on anything. This must
change. I was on "Morning Joe" with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
today talking about coming together on an issue that matters most, like
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This is the one issue that Americans can come together.
Newt Gingrich and I didn`t agree on the day of the week we were on the road
but we said that the system needs to work for the kids. I don`t agree with
Governor Christie on a lot. I mean, we won`t even agree we were here this
morning. I don`t agree with him on gay marriage, I don`t agree with him on
unions. But we both agree that at the end of the day, if the students are
not learning more, then it doesn`t work. In here, we`ve got to create a
climate where the children, the students see that leaders in society can
come together on something. And that`s the future of the country with
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That is great news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The American people want this. They want to feel united,
not divided. Fifty one percent say, politicians should compromise. Just
28 percent say, they shouldn`t. Causes like education should rise above
the fray. So should voting rights. Casting a ballot shouldn`t be a
privilege for some. It should be a right for all. That`s why we`re
marching in Alabama next week, retracing the historic voting rights march
from Selma to Montgomery that led to the 1965 voting rights act. We can
disagree, we can debate. But we must all protect each other`s right to the
democratic process that makes this country what it is. That is why we must
protect it and that is why we must put the future of our children above our
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. And I`ll be joining Ed tonight
on "THE ED SHOW" to talk Rush Limbaugh at 8:00 p.m. here on MSNBC.
"HARDBALL" starts right now.
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