PoliticsNation, Thursday, June 6th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
June 6, 2013
Guests: Elijah Cummings, Sybrina Fulton, Benjamin Crump, Alvin Poussaint
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, the Obama recovery. The GOP spinning scandal. But
today he toured a middle school in North Carolina as part of his middle
class jobs and opportunity tour and the president talked about what matters
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thanks to the grit and
the determination of the American people, folks are starting to come back.
Our businesses have created nearly seven million new jobs over the past 38
months. The housing market and stock markets are rebounding, our deficits
is shrinking, people`s retirement savings are growing, the American auto
industry has come back. So we`re getting traction. The gears to the
economy are turning. We`re starting to make progress, but we`ve got to
build on that progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We`ve got to build on it. But there I progress. Today we
learned layoffs are down 41 percent from this time last year, 41 percent.
Job creation is at the best it`s been in five years, unemployment went from
a high of 10 percent to a falling -- to 7.5 percent. And it`s on track to
drop to 6.5 percent by the end of next year. The housing market is up.
Car sales, up. The socialist president has the stock market way up.
And while the GOP is selling scandal after scandal after scandal,
these are the headlines Americans are tuning in to on their local news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Like this construction elevator at the
side of a new development in San Francisco confident of the economy is
climbing to new levels.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: There are new signs today of economic
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first four months of 2013 saw record breaking
tourism numbers with visitors up four percent over last year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: New numbers out today show that the
unemployment rate fell for the third consecutive month (INAUDIBLE) County,
Charlotte, Gastonia, Rock Hill, all adding jobs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Collar company plans to add hundreds of
jobs over the next three years. Three hundred manufacturing and
administrative jobs will be added.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Thousands of jobs will soon be soaring to
Kansas and Missouri on the wings of wind energy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This is what Americans care about. The latest NBC News
poll shows the president`s approval rating up one point since the GOP
scandal mania. A "Washington Post" poll shows the same thing. Another has
him up two points. That`s what happens when you focus on what matters at
the end of the day. Americans care about the economy. They care about
good jobs, they care about putting food on their tables. There is still a
way to go. But despite all of the distractions, we`re seeing real progress
and that is a fact.
Joining me now are Richard Wolffe and Jamal Simmons.
Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Great to be here, rev.
SHARPTON: Jamal, the president is out touting the economic progress
again today. Funny how the rights seems very quiet about the economy these
SIMMONS: Well, they are going to be quiet about it because they don`t
have a leg to stand on. And what`s important about what that the president
did today is, he is claiming credit for the progress that we are seeing.
One of the troubling numbers in the poll is that people feel very good
about the economy recovery, they just don`t give him a lot of credit for
it. And he is got to get out there, give what the people, show pictures
like this. He is with young people. He is factory floors. He`s showing
new energy projects. Whatever they choose to do, they got really go harsh
with the American people understand, this is happening because of the
policies president put in place.
SHARPTON: You know, Richard, where Americans are asked about it,
where all of the scandals and endless bringing up new angles and new things
but really never connecting the dots to the president or one of his people,
when you ask the American people in the middle of all of this, they want to
talk about the economy and though we have a long way to go and it`s
disproportionate in some areas, we are making progress but 73 percent say
dealing with the economy and unemployment is more important than all of the
mania that is being raised.
How do Democrats break through all of this noise to get the Congress
and others to deal with the economy?
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Number one, you would think
that Republicans know about jobs first because that was their slogan when
they took back the house in 2010. You would think they may have learned
something from their experience to the current years where, you know what,
going after scandals and you know, in that case, it was all the way to
impeachment really did nothing to harm president Clinton`s numbers, in
fact, they just kept getting higher and higher and the economy was part of
that. But also, this witch hunt was another part of it. You would think
that they would remember their hero, president Reagan, where you had a real
scandal in our own contract. And you know what, his numbers did not change
at all and that`s why they talk about him being a Teflon president.
How that Democrats breakthrough? By sticking to jobs, by sticking to
the economy. It is already breaking through. The president`s numbers, I
loved all of those stories about the opinion polls where people say how
come his approval numbers have stayed up? Well, because people didn`t care
about the so-called news because it wasn`t really anything there to it.
And they really cared about the economy.
This stuff is already breaking through. You`ve got to ask the
Republicans, how can the so-called scandals that are not breaking through?
Now, you know, Jamal, Democrats are focusing on substance. Their 2014
strategy is to, quote, "own Obama care." It says in 2014, Democrats can
talk about the positives, position themselves as consumer advocates to make
it work and go on the offense against Republican for wanting to take the
benefits away. Will running on substance be the difference in making it
for the Democrats next year?
SIMMONS: Running on substance certainly could be the difference
because what`s going to happen is the Democrats can get 18 to 35-year-olds,
particularly young men, in to the healthcare system where you`ll see as a
falling amount of cost, for health care going into next year.
So, this demonizing of health care that took place over the last
couple of years, is not going to have the same impact when we`ve got so
many more Americans being covered. So, how are you going to attack people
for having health care coverage? I think it`s going to be a very tough
road for them.
And so, the Republicans have got to try to stay on these scandals
because they don`t have anything else to talk about. They just hope that
something else falls out that will make them not like Barack Obama.
But you know what, we are going into the sixth year, maybe the seventh
year, if you count from the beginning of the campaign, that Americans have
decided you know what, we really like this guy, we trust him, we think he`s
up to the right thing. Republicans have to find something else to talk
SHARPTON: Well, Richard, let me go on to what some of the things I
don`t like since Jamal brought up don`t -- things you don`t like. You have
a farm bill. I want you to hear me real careful. You have a new farm bill
that`s making its way through the house that would cut food stamps by $20
billion but it would increase crop subsidies by $9 billion. Cut food
stamps but increase farm subsidies. I don`t like that. And I don`t like
people that like that.
WOLFFE: Right. And we know that food stamps actually work, right?
People spend them on food because they need it. So the Republican party,
they all know it has a branding problem. They are not reaching people and
this is at a time -- you know, you can talk about fiscal discipline and
being a budget hawk but what kind of budget hawk does this and what kind of
budget hawk are you when deficits are coming down because the economy is
You know, President Obama will leave office. So, they can go after
him and personalize this is all they like but they cannot touch him. And
then the next Democratic nominee will say, well, I`m not President Obama.
I`m bringing about some change and you are with the Democratic agenda
voters at large. Republicans have to get on to a position that voters like
and stop personalizing it because they are going to face a disaster in
21016 and lose their third in a row.
SHARPTON: But Jamal, food stamps, 45 percent of the recipients are
children. And many people stopping me around the country, writing us, e-
mailing us saying that Democrats ought to be fighting more. I mean, when
you`re talking about taking away food stamps from children, I mean, why
aren`t we seeing more aggressive fighting from the Democrats in exposing
this and fighting on behalf of the people that they want to vote for?
I`m on here every night. I`m all over the country fighting. Where
are the voices of the Democratic established party in the congress? And
around the country?
SIMMONS: Yes, Rev. You`re talking about it. I think E.J. Dionne was
in the paper this morning writing about what kind of overarching program is
it that the Democrats are fighting for right now?
I think that`s what Americans want to hear. They do want to hear the
Democrats have a big problem, how we are going to make things better, how
things are going to improve in the country. I think for the Republicans,
they also have to realize, the electorate has changed. I have one bit of
caution, also. The Democrats have to get out there, the individual
candidates, they cannot depend on Barack Obama to turn electors out. They
have to get out there, establish their own records, establish their own
relationship with this new electorate to make sure that people vote for
them come November.
SHARPTON: And I think that`s going to be critical. I think that some
of what we`re seeing is a
lot of aggression on the Republican side over nonsense but not enough
fighting back for people on the democratic side.
I mean, any time E.J. Dionne looks like the activist leader of
America, in all due respect to E.J., I mean, what are we talking about?
Where is the leadership of those that are standing behind this president?
WOLFFE: Well, I think, you know, a lot of the sort of centrist
Democrats say this is all about investment for the future. But as
investment, they need to go on for Americans today who are still hurting
from an economy that hasn`t recovered fully.
I`ll say for Republicans, though, look, the last president they had
was elected and then re-elected, ran as a compassionate conservative where
they try to soften the image of Republicans from the 90s from the Gingrich
era and said he cared about people at the lower end, right? He had a
different policy solution. But, how are they going to be the party of
compassion when they are cutting for people who are hungry in the richest
nation on the planet?
SHARPTON: Jamal, when you look at how unfairly they have gone after
this president on the other side, very aggressively, and I think unfairly,
I mean, look at how they label him a socialist. Let me show you some of
the outrageous claims of the president`s of socialist?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Barack Obama is a
socialist. He believes in socialism, in redistributing wealth, in
confiscating hard-earned dollars.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a president
who wants to turn America into another European style social welfare state.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: This might be the last election
to turn the nation around. Before we go down the road to socialism.
President Obama and his socialist policies must be stopped.
RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Obama`s socialist policies are bankrupting
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, look at the stock market. Look at what is going on
in terms of big business recovery. He would have to be the worst socialist
in history. Yet they tag him all through -- a sort of litany of attacks
from different people in the right, yet on the left I`m not calling for
name calling but you`re cutting food stamps from children, you are changing
voting laws and there`s no fight back.
SIMMONS: That`s right. Democrats have to be on offense. It feels
too much like sometimes that Democrats in depth just defending against the
Republican attack. They have to go further pushing the agenda, they have
got to help working people.
Again, it is new electorate. But you have to go out there and have
plans and programs that are going to appeal to African-American and Latinos
young people, and not just sit back and wait for Republicans to attack to
defend. The funniest part about that litany is all of the people you saw
on that show have lost their jobs in the last year, except for Rick Perry,
who I guess is still governor of Texas.
SHARPTON: For now. Richard Wolffe and Jamal Simmons, thank you for
your time this evening.
SIMMONS: Thank you.
WOLFFE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, the ring leader of the scandal machine has his own
party fearful and nervous today. And four days away from George
Zimmerman`s murder trial, I`ll talk to Tracey Martin, Trayvon Martin`s
mother. I`ll talk to Trayvon`s mother on how she`s dealing with her
And our hearts go out to Paris Jackson. I have the latest on the
hospitalization and recovery.
Lots of ground to cover tonight. I want to know what`s on your mind.
E-mail me. I`m responding tonight. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Have you joined your "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will.
Today, many of our fans were praising attorney general Eric Holder for
refusing to step down despite calls from the GOP.
Kathy says, I`m so glad he and the president are not going to give in.
Debbie says, just like Susan Rice, he`s done nothing wrong.
That`s right, Debbie.
Lee says, Congress is in to bullying now. Keep doing what you`re
doing attorney general Holder. I`m behind you.
Coming up next, why that bullying is making some in the Republican
party very nervous. But first, we want you to weigh in. Please head over
to facebook and search "Politics Nation" and like us to join the
conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.
SHARPTON: The fear lurking just beneath the scandal mongering of the
Republican party is getting exposed. Today, we learned the GOP is telling
their lead attack dog, Darrell Issa, to cool it. Issa, the head of the
house oversight committee but he`s better known for throwing political
bombs, for calling the White House spokesman a paid liar, for saying
President Obama`s administration is one of the most corrupt in history and
for relentlessly attacking attorney general Eric Holder up through this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Perjury
is a criminal charge that has to be proven but certainly it`s hard to have
confidence in what this attorney general says or what his people says when
so often it turns out not to be true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But now his own party is worried. They want him to stop
the personal attacks. They worry that Issa`s loose lips threaten what they
believe should be a tight narrative. They are terrified that Americans
will see through the nonsense and they should be as the scandal mania goes
up, so does President Obama`s approval.
Joining me now is Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings, ranking
member on the oversight committee, and a member of the congressional black
Congressman, you`ve been a big critic Darrell Issa. Now, his own
party is worried about him. How can the ranking member of oversight get
away with this constant crusade against the administration?
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Well, I think he`s not getting
away with it, Reverend. Any time you have Karl Rove, Joe Scarborough, and
John McCain expressing concern about these wild allegations, allegations,
by the way, that are put out there but then with chairman Issa then going
trying to search for facts that he never seems to find, that`s a concern to
the Republicans because they realize that it goes against the credibility
of our committee and it goes against the credibility of our work product.
And Reverend, I`ve said it over and over again. We`ve got to have
truth and trust. And we -- unfortunately, when those statements are made,
where you cannot back them up, as you`ve been talking about here today, it
goes against the trust that people have in Darrell Issa and our committee.
And that`s a concern for all of us.
SHARPTON: You know, when Issa took control of the oversight committee
in 2010, he promised a massive expansion of investigation. I mean, he
planned hundreds of new hearings and this obsession with distractions
instead of substance continues.
A leading right wing group now, heritage action, is wanting John
Boehner to keep focus on the so-calls scandals. The group sent John
Boehner a letter, and I`m quoting from the letter. "To that end, we urge
you to avoid bringing any legislation to the house floor that could expose
or highlight major schisms within the conference."
I mean, this is outrageous.
CUMMINGS: It is absolutely most unfortunate, Reverend. What I have
said to the Democrats on our committee is we must not be distracted. And
you have said that a few minutes ago and I agree with you. We have got to
stay focused on the people who we represent. I`m not so much worried about
the people that I`m going against. I`m worrying about the things that I`m
And so what we`ve been trying to do is concentrate on those things
that you talk about. Jobs, infrastructure, making sure that we increase
consumer confidence, dealing with matters of the economy. Those are the
things that people truly care about. And I believe, Reverend, if we stay
focused, if Democrats stay focused and lay it out, as Jamal and Richard
talks about a little bit earlier, I believe that we will prevail in the
end. Because what will happen is the public is going to get tired of
hearing these headlines and reading these headlines and seeing that there`s
nothing behind them.
They want folks to go out there and do a job for them so that their
lives will be better. I don`t come to Washington just to sit around and
listen to critics talk about things. I come because the people on my
block, they want us to make their lives better and it become as phenomenal
waste of energy, time, emotion to go through this process.
SHARPTON: People on your block want things to happen. Is it on a
personal note? It must be frustrating for you to have to deal with people
like Issa that just seem determined not to really try to get things done
for the country.
CUMMINGS: Well, I`ve got to tell you, Reverend, as a son of two
former share croppers and now members of the United States, I refuse to be
distracted and that`s the beauty of our committee and the Democrats. I
think we`re very focused, we will remain focused, we can hear all of the
chatter on the side with no facts to back it up but we will remain focus.
Because again, we have to lift up the American people. There`s a lot
of people hurting, Reverend, and you know it. And we got to help them.
They don`t want to hear a chatter. They want to know that they are getting
jobs, infrastructure is being improved, children are going to have good
school. They are able to send them to college and get health care. Those
are the things that they are most concerned about.
SHARPTON: Now, there`s been no one attacked more than attorney
general Eric Holder. And listen to what he said to NBC`s Pete Williams
about the attacks from the right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Large parts of the criticism that
you get in Washington, D.C., is partisan in nature. It`s gotcha in nature
and I`m 4 1/2 years into this job with some pretty thick skin so that stuff
I don`t focus on.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Is your skin getting thicker?
HOLDER: I`m probably in the Guinness book of world records for
thickest skin at this point.
WILLIAMS: But to be clear, you`re not stepping down now?
HOLDER: No, I have no intention of doing so now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: His skin is getting thicker and he`s not stepping down,
CUMMINGS: I agree with him. I think Eric Holder is constantly
criticized. I have seen the way, people, when he come before our
committee, Republicans have disrespected him but he stands strong. He`s a
very good attorney general. I support him. The president supports him.
And I think he has played a very key role.
And I think, Reverend, some folks are -- Republicans are upset about
Eric Holder because he stood up for the things that you stand up for,
making sure that people can get their right to vote and have their vote
counted. I think a lot of the pain that has come and the criticism that
has come towards him have come because of things like that. We look at
fast and furious and I still believe that that was an unfair process.
CUMMINGS: And so, I`m glad that he is staying on. I`m glad to hear
SHARPTON: Congressman Elijah Cummings, always a pleasure to have you.
Thank you for your time tonight.
CUMMINGS: It`s my pleasure and it`s my honor.
SHARPTON: Ahead, they love, love, love to bash Obama care. So why
are 20 of them making money from it and asking for money from it? We got
them in a big way tonight.
And four days away from George Zimmerman`s murder trial, I`ll sit down
with Trayvon Martin`s mother. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: There`s nothing Republicans love more than bashing the
president`s health care law, but how about this hypocrisy? Our friends at
"the Nation" revealed at least 20 Republicans who shamelessly bashed the
law and then wanted money from it.
Here`s what Texas Senator John Cornyn said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN CORNYN, TEXAS: The only way to stop the overreaching by the
federal government, including the president`s flawed health care bill is to
elect a new president and a Congress that will repeal and replace this
fundamentally flawed law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Repeal and replace this fundamentally flawed law. But he
asked the centers for disease control to provide a grants sponsored by the
healthcare law to his district. Look, there`s his signature. And then
there`s Ohio senator bob -- Rob Portman. In his race for the Senate, he
slammed his opponent`s support of the health care law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R),OHIO: He`s a strong supporter of Washington`s
health care law. It`s not working for Ohio.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Not working for Ohio. Then why did you write a letter
saying a grant from the law would provide, quote, "essential services to an
additional 8,966 uninsured individuals?" Senator, there`s your name right
there. I guess you thought it was working well after all.
And hypocrisy is not just in the senate, here`s South Dakota`s
congresswoman, Kristi Noem.
REP. KRISTI NOEM (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: We owe it to every taxpayer, to
every senior, to every American to repeal this law and pass real solutions
that don`t put Washington in charge of our health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Repeal this law. Really, congresswoman? Then why did you
ask for a grant from a health center for a health center in your district?
Did you think we won`t notice their unhealthy hypocrisy? Nice try, but
here`s my diagnosis. We got you.
SHARPTON: Today George Zimmerman was back in court for the last
hearing before his second-degree murder trial starts on Monday. He`s
accused of killing Trayvon Martin. Mr. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty
and claims he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense. Today`s hearings will
continue tomorrow when the judge will rule on whether to allow a
prosecution expert to testify that he thinks is Trayvon Martin heard
screaming on a 911 call. The year and a half since Trayvon Martin`s death
has obviously been difficult and emotional period for his mother. Sybrina
Fulton has lead rallies, met with victims of gun violence and started a
foundation in honor of her son. At a prayer rally last weekend, she talked
about how her faith has kept her going.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN`S MOTHER: I no longer have any regrets
and say why me because God decided it was me and I don`t know why but I`m
not going to question it. I`m just going to be obedient to his will. This
wasn`t a position, and I`ve said this before, that I would have taken. I
wouldn`t. I`d rather go back to my county job with my same two kids, my
same two houses but God says he has something else planned for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now are Trayvon Martin`s mother, Sybrina Fulton
and a Martin family`s lawyer Benjamin Crump, thank you both for being here.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY`S ATTORNEY: Thank you, Rev.
FULTON: Thank you for having us.
SHARPTON: Sybrina, it`s been a long road to get to this trial and
you`ve gone through a lot, the family has gone through a lot. First of
all, how do you feel now that we are just about there?
FULTON: I can`t give up now. I just feel like I came too far right
now. So, I will be at the trial. We`re just taking it one day at a time.
We remain in prayerful and hopeful that we`ll have a good trial, a good
SHARPTON: Now, you have always said from the beginning, day one when
I met you, that you want the justice system to work. All you wanted was
the system to work. Now that we have a trial, are you confident that we
will get a fair trial as the process goes through?
FULTON: Reverend Al, I believe in my heart that we will. I believe
that the jury will be fair. I believe and I`m hopeful that they will
listen to the evidence that`s presented and that they won`t get their
personal feelings involved. I believe that.
SHARPTON: Now, you know I had Mr. O`Mara on the show, who represents
Mr. Zimmerman as well as I had Mr. Crump, and he talked about the family
and the handlers. I don`t know who the handlers are. Had presented George
Zimmerman wrongly and Trayvon wrong. It`s clear that they are trying to
say some things and have put out, as you know, photos and other things of
Do you think they are going to try to disparage Trayvon and smear him
and are you prepared for whatever you`ve got to sit there and go through as
the mother of your son, the pain I`m sure, of losing him is unbearable
enough but are you prepared for what may happen in this trial?
FULTON: You can never really prepare for it. But I am -- I am ready.
I am ready. I will be there to the trial and I will be able to listen to
anything that they have to say because what could be worse than me losing
my son? So anything that they have to say, I`m ready for it. But nothing
could be more devastating than losing my child.
SHARPTON: The whole fact, Attorney Crump, that we`ve had to deal with
charges and countercharges, the judge has said that she left a lot of that
out. Are you confident that will hold up to the trial?
CRUMP: I believe so base on the rule of evidence as the jury say, is
it admissible, is it relevant, it does nothing to prove or disapprove the
defendant`s guilt and I just have to make a point which you said about him
calling the attorneys for the Martin family handlers, it`s so inappropriate
and so unprofessional. Well, they`re suggesting that they are less than
human to have handlers. We`ve always tried to be professional and refer to
them as attorneys or defense lawyers. But never anything derogatory like
they did to us.
SHARPTON: Monday, the jury selection starts. Do you think we can get
a fair jury pool and people will come in to this objective, Sybrina?
FULTON: I believe in people and I believe people have a heart and
within that heart, you know the good and bad, you know the evil and they
are going to understand, when they see the evidence presented, they will
understand and I believe we can get a fair jury.
SHARPTON: Do you, at this point -- what do you say to all of those
who marched and protested and wanted to see a trial and you`ve not
encouraged anybody to come down to the trial, you`ve not encouraged any
protest, what are you saying to people, the way you give the system a
chance? What are your words to people?
FULTON: I`m trying to encourage people and tell them to believe in
the process. We`ve really come too far to not just yield the judicial
system a chance. We have to see where this is going to lead and we have to
be mindful that they are watching us. Other people are watching us. They
are watching our behavior, they are watching our speech. So, it`s very
important that we remain peaceful and that we get a peaceful decision.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you this. Personally you`ve started a
foundation, you`ve been working against violence. Tell us why that`s
important to you and is this in a tribute to the memory of your son? I
mean, what does this mean to you personally?
FULTON: The Trayvon Martin Foundation is a tribute to Trayvon Martin.
In addition, we would like to help other victims of gun violence. We want
to help other families because we feel like there are voiceless families
out there. They have some of the same situations that we have and we kind
of had direction so we want to make sure we provide that reaction to other
families. One of the things that we`re doing is we providing a telephone
number, we have a website, and what we do is we`re going to provide support
system to those families. Because everybody won`t have a Parks and Crump.
Everybody won`t have 20,000 people at a rally. So, we want to make sure we
put things in place to help others.
SHARPTON: I`ve spent a lot of time talking to you and Tracy and I`ve
never heard you say anything about Trayvon other than he was a good kid,
like any other kid, had his good and bad. What do you want people to know,
as his mother, as we head into this trial, about Trayvon?
FULTON: I want people to know and understand that Trayvon was an
average kid. We never said he was an angel, but he wasn`t a demon that
people make him out to be. He was very loving, he was very caring. He was
an average teenager, liked to go to the mall, liked to go skating, listen
to music. He was an average teenager to us and we loved him. He was ours.
SHARPTON: Well, all we`ve said is we wanted a trial, not to be tried
in the police station, and now we will monitor to make sure that it`s a
fair trial and at the end justice be served and we`ll see what that is.
Sybrina Fulton and Benjamin Crump, thank you so much for joining us
In full disclosure, civil court George Zimmerman has sued NBC
Universal for defamation, and the company has strongly denied his
Ahead, Michael Jackson`s daughter Paris is still in a California
hospital tonight. A teenager living life in the public eye and still
coping with the devastating loss of her father. That`s next.
Plus, honoring the legacy of a civil rights icon. Fifty years after
the murder of Medgar Evers, a tribute to his life and the work left to be
SHARPTON: Fifty years ago this month we lost a trailblazer of the
civil rights movement, Medgar Evers. Medgar Evers spent his life fighting
for justice, as an activist and NAACP field secretary. He brought the
struggle for civil rights to Mississippi at the height of the Jim Crow era.
On June 12th, 1963, Evers was assassinated in his own driveway by a white
Fifty years later his legacy lives on in many ways. Evers widow
Myrlie gave a pal for invocation at the president`s inauguration in
January. This week, Mrs. Evers and a family visited the president to kick
off a month of tributes to the life and legacy and Medgar Evers including a
public memorial service, held yesterday at Evers Gravesite at Arlington
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The nation was built and it
continues to be improved by patriots like Medgar Evers.
FMR. PRES. BILL CLINTON (D), UNITED STATES: Next time you hear people
complaining around in Washington what a rough business democracy is, we
might do well to remember what it was like 50 years ago and the sacrifices
that were made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We also heard from Mrs. Evers Williams, a civil rights
pioneer herself, working to carry Medgar`s legacy forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MYRLIE EVERS WILLIAMS, WIDOW OF MEDGAR EVERS: And I can hear Medgar`s
voice saying, I thank you all for believing in me but it`s really not
necessary. Just get out there and prove that you believe in me. And that
you believe in my country which is our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The murder of Medgar Evers came at a critical moment for
the country, just two months before Dr. King`s march on Washington. On
POLITICS NATION over these next few months, we`ll be honoring those
sacrifices and struggles from that pivotal summer 50 years ago and
reporting on the works still to be done.
PARIS JACKSON, DAUGHTER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Ever since I was born,
daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine. And I just wanted to
say I love him so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Paris Jackson was just 11 years old in 2009 when the entire
world watch her speech at the memorial service for her father Michael
Jackson. Tonight, our hearts go out to her again as she recovers at a
California hospital after what sources close to the family are calling an
apparent suicide. Attempt -- emergency teams attempt to try to do what is
right to help her when they were called to her house early Wednesday
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Overdose, she`s responding.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: OD on 20 Motrin and cut her arm with a kitchen
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The lawyer for Paris`s grandmother Katherine Jackson says,
quote, "being a sensitive 15-year-old is difficult no matter who you are.
It is especially difficult when you lose the person closest to you. Paris
is physically fine and is getting appropriate medical attention. Please
respect her privacy and the family`s privacy."
Just a few days ago, Paris had posted a beauty blog online showing how
to apply makeup and basically acting like a normal teenager.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACKSON: If you want to make them seem fake without putting actual
fake lashes on, you have to put a lot of like -- I`ll show you, just one
eye and then we can do it together with the other eye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now is Dr. Alvin Poussaint, a professor of
psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an author of numerous books on
child psychology. Doctor Poussaint, thanks for coming back on the show.
DR. ALVIN POUSSAINT, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Thank you.
SHARPTON: What did you think when you first heard the news about
POUSSAINT: Well, I wasn`t surprised. It`s very common for children
who have lost a parent, particularly dramatically like Michael Jackson and
it`s very sudden. They have more of a risk of getting depressed and even
if the depression gets severe, being suicidal. And as she struggles too,
being 15 year old, you don`t know what is going on. We don`t know nothing
about what`s happen at least I don`t in her life since he died, and now
what`s happened to her, what the home situation is.
But it`s very clear that she suffered a serious loss by her father
dying and a loss of a whole sense of stability, security, who she is she`s
lost her sense of what`s she`s going to be in the future and enormous
amount of psychological pressure for her to be able to handle. So I hope
she gets the kind of support and treatment that she needs and that it not
only involves her but also the people around her.
POUSSAINT: Who interact with her, her family. That that kind of
holistic approach I think would
probably be best for her. But children all over the country, she just set
an example, children all over the country,
teenagers are reacting to parents dying from disease, from cancer, from
violence, all around the country and many
of them suffer not only from depression but also suffer later in life from
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder because of
that violent kind of death, even death perhaps by suicide.
SHARPTON: Now, we must stress that she is recovering. She is doing
fine and because so many people have e-mailed me today asking. But she`s
had to grow with this grief. I showed her as she spoke at the memorial
service, I was on that platform that day because I spoke at that service, I
watched her later as we laid her father in the mausoleum, and she has had
to grow up, the public attention did not go away. The spotlight did not
shine elsewhere. She`s had to grow in the spotlight while handling this
grief, Dr. Poussaint.
POUSSAINT: That`s right. And that in itself can become another
pressure. Another stressor that really make it is more difficult for her,
perhaps to get through the grief and recover from the death, if she ever
can, of her father.
SHARPTON: Now, what is the process of getting better from this kind
of grief and this kind of pain and what she`s reportedly going through?
What is the process to recover from this, Dr. Poussaint?
POUSSAINT: Well, I think we have to look at how and see how she`s
functioning which I don`t know how she`s functioned for the past few years,
how she`s doing in school, how she`s relating to her friends and her peer
group, how she`s handling her future and how she`s dealing with that
lesson. What`s happening to her, what kinds of things is she struggling
with as she tries to grow up.
And I think people have to be around to give her the kind of support
that she needs to get through life and to get over this as much as she can,
although perhaps there`s no complete resolution of emotional issues for
her. She can certainly function in a way where she herself can be a
productive citizen and have a life that is as normal as possible.
SHARPTON: Well, our thoughts and prayers are --
POUSSAINT: There`s no getting out of the spotlight for her,
SHARPTON: Yes, that`s true. Our thoughts and prayers are certainly
with Paris Jackson tonight. Dr. Alvin Poussaint, thanks for your time
POUSSAINT: You`re very welcome. Thank you.
SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: We continue to receive a ton of your e-mails. Keep all of
those great questions coming.
Jenny says, "Hi, Rev, do you think if we mobilized and march in
Washington pre 2014 that we could put fear into the GOP and maybe they
would stop creating all of these distractions and get to work for fear that
they will boot them out or be booted out?"
Well, I`ll tell you, there will be a big march around the 50th
anniversary of the march in Washington in August that Martin Luther King
III and I are organizing with others. But it will be a nonpartisan march
but it will be a march talking about -- let`s talk about what is important
to bring about the dream of his father and let`s start with the
distraction. So, you will hear a lot about that in the coming weeks, we
must gather and get the right things in front of the country and stop with
Joe asked, "Do you think that the Senate will change from the
filibuster from 60 votes to 50? Thanks and God bless."
Well, I think the Senate will do it if we put pressure on them. We
need to call our senator`s e-mail. The public must stand up and really
demand that we move from this kind of filibuster Senate these games that
can be played to where we have a Senate that can move forward without any
of the kinds of impediments that we presently see.
Bryan writes, "Dear Rev, I love your show. The honesty and optimism
you exude is heartening. My question is, seeing all that you see, how do
you keep it positive? What`s happening in our country is -- choose the
word but good isn`t one of them."
Well, what keeps me optimistic, what keeps me positive is despite all
of the bad that I see, and I see it and deal with it every day, I think
about how much progress and good I`ve seen throughout all of the years that
I`ve been out here. And I am a firm believer, as I study history that good
always wins. Even in its darkest hour you will see a breakthrough, I`ve
seen too much happen. I`ve seen too many victories. I`ve seen too many
things that seemed impossible become a reality that I refuse to let defeat
even be an option.
Look at how far we have come and use that to strengthen you to keep
going. And you will never be negative because right is always stronger
than mite. We want to answer your questions. E-mail me remember, friend
or foe, I want to know.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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