PoliticsNation, Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
June 11, 2013
Guests: Robert Menendez; Faith Jenkins; Lisa Bloom; Paul Henderson, Robert
Dallek, Bobby Moak, Nicole Lamoureux
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, deselecting the jury. It`s called jury selection.
Picking the six people who will decide the case against George Zimmerman.
But on day two, the focus is really on jury de-selection.
Lawyers from both sides grilled potential jurors and sent dozens of
them from the jury box. Mr. Zimmerman himself was back in court, as were
the parents of the teenager, he has admitted to killing, Trayvon Martin.
Mr. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and claims he shot Trayvon Martin in
Today, lawyers questioned ten jurors for more than eight hours. It
was clear that several jurors were aware of many details of the case,
including what Trayvon Martin was wearing the night he died.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE DE LA RIONCA, PROSECUTOR: Do you recall at this time other an
what you`ve written here anything specific about the case? Any more facts
or individuals involved or anything like that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That the African-American was wearing a hoodie
or something like that.
I remember reading that he wore a hoodie.
RIONCA: What were your impressions in terms of him wearing a hoodie?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No big deal. I wear hoodies too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Also discuss what potential jurors know about the
conversation Mr. Zimmerman had with the 911 police dispatcher the night of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He didn`t listen to the police office or
whomever was telling him to wait.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in that sense, do you think that he did
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Perhaps he did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So far, a total of 41 jurors have been excluded from
serving, 40 were rejected after filling out a questionnaire. One was
rejected after being questioned by lawyers in court. More than 400
citizens remain available to be selected as jurors.
Hour by hour, juror by juror, we are learning more and more about how
each side views the case. In this kind of jury selection, the trial could
be won or lost before we even get to opening arguments.
Joining me now is legal analyst and former criminal prosecutor Faith
Jenkins, veteran prosecutor Paul Henderson, and NBC News legal analyst Lisa
Thank you all of you for being with me.
FAITH JENKINS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Thank you.
LISA BLOOM, NBC NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
PAUL HENDERSON, VETERAN PROSECUTOR: A pleasure.
SHARPTON: Faith, let`s get right to it. What w have we learned so
far about the strategies for both the prosecution and the defense. ?
JENKINS: This trial is really shaping up to be a test of our criminal
justice system. So, we are seeing a methodical process right now. Jury
selection usually isn`t normally like this where you have one juror
isolated from the very beginning and they`re asking them questions without
them being in the presence of other jurors. They want to make sure that
even the answers aren`t tainting the potential jury pool in this case. And
you`re seeing just at the very beginning, they`re asking them, what have
you heard about this case? What opinions have you formed? Have you
already made an opinion such that you cannot be persuaded by the evidence
that we present to you?
SHARPTON: But Paul, everyone has heard about this case. If you were
dealing with this, how would you know whether or not a jury is telling you
everything they have heard? I mean, what can you say that would prod that
little hidden part that is in her mind out so that you would know this is a
potential juror that is good or bad in terms of their objectivity?
HENDERSON: Well, I love the litigation artistry of this part of a
trial. And really, you get that answer by asking context. So you`re
asking people, how do they know what they know? Where do they get their
news information from? Are they listening to the local news? Are they
listening to national news? What stations do they watch? What newspapers
and magazines do they read?
Here is an important question that you`re hearing asked a lot. How
did you hear about this case, and who did you hear it from? So if you`re
listening to your neighbors, friends, or church members that has an
influence on your ability to listen to the facts that are coming up soon in
SHARPTON: Now Lisa, it`s not only what you know about the case in
terms of having heard of it, but is also whether or not you have heard
specific parts of the evidence that may be presented, whether you heard it
and may already have an opinion before you have seen it presented in court,
and therefore may be biased, like the 911 call or the tape of screaming and
all. Would that have more of a bearing on whether you would want that
person not to serve on a jury whether than they just heard of the case?
BLOOM: Right. There is a big leap from hearing some information and
reaching a conclusion from that information. As this judge has said, we
don`t expect you to have lived under a rock and not even heard about the
case. But the attorneys are trying to get answers from the juries about
whether they have reached conclusion. And you know, a lot of them are very
skeptical about the news media. One woman said the only use she has for
newspapers is to line her bird cage. And that got some laughs in the
courtroom. So just because they`ve heard about the case doesn`t mean that
they have reached conclusions about it.
SHARPTON: Now, faith, you have some that are also raising questions
that could be considered biased against the victim, Trayvon Martin. Let me
give you the one juror who expressed an opinion about something she had
heard about Trayvon Martin. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The opinion was basically regarding what I heard
about Trayvon being up here because he was on -- he was expelled from
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me what opinions you formulated as a result
of hearing that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That being a single parent with two boys of my
own, I`m very strict with them.- They -- I don`t want to judge, but I just
want to say that this could have been prevented had he not been up here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This could have been prevented if he hadn`t been up here.
First of all, Faith, he wasn`t suspended from school. So first of all,
that`s wrong. But to have someone on a jury that says that he might have
been alive if he hadn`t been up here because he was suspended from school,
not expelled, but suspended, she said expelled, I mean, what are we talking
about here? Maybe I missed something. Do you now deserve to be shot and
killed if you were suspended or expelled for that matter? I mean, what is
this kind of logic?
JENKINS: No. Unless we start killing teenagers for being less than
perfect teenagers, none of those things are relevant to this case. And
this was part of a defense strategy early on. There was a lot of
information released about Trayvon and the alleged pictures that were on
his phone, or alleged activity that he was engaged in.
Information that the jurors would never come to learn in a trial,
because it`s not relevant to a self-defense case between strangers. But it
was released to the public. And as you can see, this woman heard about it.
So much so that she is bringing it forth now into the jury pool about this
case. That was a defense strategy early on.
SHARPTON: But that is the point, Paul that I think some were making.
And that is by releasing things that they know could never be brought up
into trial, have they poisoned a significant portion of people that could
be in this jury pool because this woman remembers this even though she is
factually incorrect, she remembers this, and apparently believes it.
HENDERSON: Right. So, there is your answer. As you`re hearing these
jurors and potential jurors talk about what they know about the case, you
see the damage that has been done about releasing information that is
stereotypical and not accurate. This is the reason that you keep seeing
the prosecution asking again and again and again for a gag order, because
they are concerned about what is being released into the public that is
going to not even come into the trial and influence the trails of fact, who
are limited to only the evidence that is presented to them in this trial.
That`s exactly the problem, just as you summarized it.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Lisa, there has been a lot of talk
about the tape with the screaming. Now, as you probably know, I had Mr.
Zimmerman`s lawyer, Mr. O`Mara on the show who acted as though at trial
when the screaming tape is heard that I would hear and the listeners and
viewers would hear more than one voice. And we`ll see what he is talking
about at trial. Now they`re fighting aggressively to keep it out of the
trial. It would it seems to me if they thought that Mr. Zimmerman was the
one yelling help, why would they be fighting to keep it out of the trial?
BLOOM: Well, that`s very good question. And we know that the
prosecution has at least one expert witness who is prepared to say that it
was not George Zimmerman screaming on the tape, that in fact on the tape
it`s either somebody who is not George Zimmerman, which would leave Trayvon
Martin the only other person in the altercation, or clearly that it was
Trayvon Martin screaming, begging, saying stop in the final men of his
life. That`s going to be for the jurors to decide if they in fact even
SHARPTON: But isn`t that crucial to the a self-defense claim, Faith?
Because first of all you would have to explain how you were pulling a gun,
shooting it and yelling help at the same time. It doesn`t seem too likely
to me, though we`ll wait and see if this occurs. . No and it doesn`t seem
very believable, which is why the defense wants to keep that evidence out.
And it`s all a part of their strategy of the way they want to present this
case, because the prosecution at the end of the day, they have the burden
of proof. They`re deciding whether or not supposedly they`re going to put
George Zimmerman on the witness stand. But if they can make that burden as
hard as possible, they can for the state and see what evidence they`re
going to present first, and before they make that decision, that`s what
they`re going to do, try to keep as much of that evidence out.
SHARPTON: Paul, you`ve been in front of a lot of juries. How do you
deal with that? If they put this sound in, if they put this tape in, if
the judge allows it, how do you explain how this voice is not the voice of
Zimmerman if you were his lawyer, and how Zimmerman was pulling the gun to
trigger and screaming for help all at the same time?
HENDERSON: Well, if I were Zimmerman`s lawyer, I`m sure I`d be
arguing that I was going to try and investigate. I had no intentions of
creating some sort of violence. And then when violence occurred, I was
screaming and yelling for help. I just think it`s a hard pitch. It`s a
high hurdle to climb. And in this case, I think it`s why we`re seeing all
this stereotypical stuff that is coming in and not stuff that is actually
focusing on the state of mind Zimmerman which is going to be the actual
evidence. Because we have to keep in mind and remember that when he
affirms self-defense, that`s an affirmative defense that shifts the burden
slightly on to the defense to have prove self-defense and justify it. This
tape is going to be hard for him to deal with if it comes into the trial.
SHARPTON: Faith Jenkins, Paul Henderson, and Lisa Bloom. I`m going
have to leave it there. Thank you all for your time tonight.
BLOOM: Thank you.
SHARPTON: And full disclosure. In civil court, George Zimmerman has
sued NBC Universal for defamation and the company has strongly denied his
How is the president handling the challenge of balancing security and
privacy? Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is here live.
And forget scandal mania. Real action today, and it was a major win
for the president`s signature legislation.
And 50 years ago today, the march towards civil rights took a major
step forward with an epic speech from President John F. Kennedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is one
country. It has become one country because all of us and all the people
who came here had an equal chance to develop their talents. We cannot say
that 10 percent of the population that you can`t have that right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Send me your e-mails on that, or anything else you want to
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: A huge step forward for a key piece of the president`s
agenda. Forget the fake scandals. He`s building a legacy. That`s next.
SHARPTON: All we`re hearing from the right is scandal, scandal, and
more scandal. But today we`re seeing real action, real progress, real
substance, and a major win for president Obama`s agenda. Eighty-two
senators voted to begin follow debate on the immigration bill, a critical
step toward passing the first immigration overhaul in nearly 30 years. The
president made it clear today this is about transforming the country, about
allowing 11 million immigrants to get U.S. citizenship, and about leveling
the playing field for everyone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you`re actually
serious and sincere about fixing a broken system, this is the vehicle to do
it and now is the time to get it done. There is no good reason to play
procedural games or engage in obstruction just to block the best chance
we`ve had in years to address this problem in a way that is fair to middle
class families, to business owners, to legal immigrants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s about fixing a broken system and changing this country
for the better.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We came to work, and we came to make a better
future our families. And we don`t come to do anything bad within.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people like me are dreamers who have been
here for a long time. And I think we need an opportunity to show our
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We come here for a better life, and we work hard
for it. I think we all deserve it. And I think it`s time that we are
heard and a better future and a better opportunity is given to all of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This is what this country is built on. The foundation of
this country is the immigrant experience. And today`s vote is the first
step in giving them chance at the American dream.
Joining me now, Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat from New Jersey and
a member of the gang of eight who sponsored the Senate immigration bill.
Senator Menendez, thank you for being with us tonight.
SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: Good to be with you, Reverend
SHARPTON: Let me say this, frankly. Two weeks ago, you know, it
looked like an uphill struggle for this bill. Are you confident it will
pass the Senate and make it through the house?
MENENDEZ: I believe momentum is on our side. Today`s vote was a big
bellwether. I think of where we`re going. I`m not saying that is
everybody who voted to proceed and let us move the debate is going to vote
for the bill at the end. I hope they will.
But it`s certainly is a good indicator of the work that we`ve been
building to get to at least 60 votes, which nowadays is rarely ever
accomplished here on any significant piece of legislation. So I`m
confident we`ll get there. We`ll have a good vote, a strong bill, and
create movement in the House of Representatives to respond to what the
American people want to see which is comprehensive immigration reform.
SHARPTON: Well, let me show you what your colleague from Texas,
Senator Cruz had to say, who by the way voted against the legislation.
Here is what he said after the vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: If this bill did become law, it would not
solve the problem. Indeed, it would make the problem of illegal
immigration that we have today worse rather than better. To date, the
conduct of the White House and the Senate Democrats who have been driving
this process suggests that they are more interested in finding a partisan
issue to campaign on in 2014 and 2016 than they are in actually passing a
bill to fix our broken immigration system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, senator, respond to that accusation and tell me what
you think Republicans will hold out against this kind of rhetoric.
MENENDEZ: Well, first of all, you know, Senator Cruz has a right to
his opinion, but he doesn`t have a right to his facts. The reality is it`s
not Democrats insisting on a pathway to citizenship that has to be earned.
The gang of eight, four Republicans and four Democrats came together and
said we need a pathway to citizenship as one of the critical elements of
And it makes an opportunity for individuals to come out of the shadows
into the light go through a criminal background check, pay their taxes,
learn English, and fully contribute to American society while we also do
border security and make sure that the economy is provided for by the
workers that we need to ensure that all boats are lifted here at the end of
So, you know, with all due respect to Senator Cruz, he is dead wrong.
And every time he tries to invoke the president, I said earlier that I
think he has Obama phobia. You know, this legislation is largely drafted
by the bipartisan group of eight, including, you know, senator McCain. It
was a previous presidential candidate for the Republican Party. So, you
know, I respect his right to make his view, but I totally disagree with
SHARPTON: Let me ask you this quickly, senator. This scandal-mania.
And I`m not belittling the scandals, but I seriously question how they have
connected them to the president and the White House.
I mean, do you think this kind of solid kind of substantive
legislation will get us past all of this scandal mania that we`ve been
distracted in my opinion, distracted because they`re trying to make it a
presidential level scandal rather than what it seems to be at least the
evidence so far. Do you think now we`re going to get back to more solid
MENENDEZ: Well, look. The American people are watching. In poll
after poll, they have made it very clear that they want to see this
immigration system that is broken reformed. They want to see product of
the Senate and the Congress moving forward.
The last election was a clear message by a new demographic in America
that said they will judge their congressman and senators by how they
achieve comprehensive immigration reform. This is about the national
security. This is about the national economy. This is about growth and
employment in the country. This is about greater revenues for the country,
as I said on the floor a little while ago. And so we can either legislate
or we can spend our time investigating. I don`t de-minimize anything that
may be an issue that should rise to that. But the reality is we are here
to legislate, solve problems. This is an opportunity to do it. We have a
comprehensive and bipartisan effort that should prevail.
SHARPTON: Senator Robert Menendez, thank you for your time tonight.
MENENDEZ: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Joining me now is former White House press secretary Robert
Gibbs. He is now an MSNBC political analyst.
First of all, Robert, thank you for coming on the show tonight.
ROBERT GIBBS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Reverend, thanks for having me.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you this first. How important was today`s vote
for the Obama white House and this president`s second term?
GIBBS: I think immigration reform is the linchpin of the second term.
This was a very important vote to move to the debate in this process. I do
think, though, you know, the course of the next three weeks are going to
get bumpy, and there are going to be certainly some big and important and
difficult votes. So while it is a good first step, it may well be the
easiest of the steps along this path.
SHARPTON: Now, the other big story the White House is dealing with is
this raging debate over surveillance and security. It`s a huge challenge
for the president, balancing security and privacy. And where is the man
responsible for one of the biggest national security leaks in American
history? You were in the facts all with this administration. How is the
president handling this extraordinary debate after the leak?
GIBBS: Well, you know, Reverend, this is an issue that the president
has understood both as a president and a commander in chief, as a
constitutional law professor. So he understands the breath of this debate.
You know, I think he has struck a balance in ensuring privacy, but also in
upholding security in this country.
This has been -- it`s been a rocky few days. We have seen
intelligence leaks quite frankly like we haven`t seen in quite some time.
But, look, I think today`s immigration vote shows that, you know, there are
two tracks in Washington, or there can be two tracks in Washington. You`re
able to get stuff done as you`re dealing with even as important an issue as
what we`re dealing with on the national security side.
SHARPTON: Now, he is getting attacks, a lot of people beating up on
him. But this began under the Bush administration, am I right?
GIBBS: Yes. It absolutely did. And I mean, I do think in some ways
we`re in a different place in parts of the Bush administration. There
isn`t warrantless wiretapping anymore. For anybody that has heard about
the Verizon phone logs, for anybody to get access to any of the information
in something like that, they would be required to go to the foreign
intelligence surveillance court and get a separate subpoena for probable
cause. So we have in some ways, we have moved in a way of protecting
people`s privacy more, even as we`ve made sure to protect security.
SHARPTON: Now, you know, the president is used to getting beat up
from the right. But now he is getting attacked from the left as well. How
have you had to deal with this? Because it has happened once or twice
before, I know myself.
GIBBS: There is no doubt about it. Look, I this is -- the thing that
defines our country and has for more than two centuries is we accept these
debates. I think this is an important debate, and I`m sure the White House
believes this is an important and complex debate that we should have as a
country. These are not small issues that we`re dealing with. On either
side of the spectrum. And I think it`s important that we have these
discussions, have these debates. Because in some ways, we need to move
forward with a set of operating procedures that people in this country feel
comfortable with. They may not agree with all of them, but at least we
have a discussion about why they are in place, and hopefully, a discussion
about the safeguards that are in place to ensure that, you know, the types
of snooping that we have seen in the past are not accepted by this
government. And more importantly, not accepted by whomever the next
president might be.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you as an analyst, not as a former White House
spokesperson. We don`t know today where Mr. Snowden who leaked this. And
we`re told by "the Huffington Post" that a spokesperson for Russian
president Putin says Russia said it would consider asylum for Edward
Does it bother you that he is missing today and he is in China? What
happens, Robert, if he is brought in by Chinese intelligence and
questioned? I mean, isn`t that an interesting and maybe dangerous place
for him to be?
GIBBS: Well, no doubt about it. I mean, clearly, he`s got with them
-- we assume -- you have to assume he has more information with him than we
have seen and we know about. Certainly more than has been published. So,
you know, it is ironic that he went to Hong Kong to do this.
I believe, you know, Mr. Putin is simply stirring the pot, no doubt
about it. I don`t expect that we`ll see Mr. Snowden pop up in Moscow. But
I don`t think there is any doubt that there is great cause and concern for
what is on this laptop. He is one of 1.4 million people, Reverend, that
have a top secret clearance. It`s kind of an astounding number, because I
can probably bet that you and I would agree that if we had a secret we
didn`t want anybody to know about, we wouldn`t start by telling 1.4 million
people that what that secret. Certainly not knowing where that information
is tonight is no doubt disconcerting.
SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there.
Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, thank you so much for
coming on. We certainly want to have you back again.
GIBBS: I look forward to it, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Fifty years ago today, George Wallace stood in the way of
progress. And John F. Kennedy stood up for civil rights. We will look at
that historic milestone and the work yet to be done.
And coming up, your e-mail questions. Remember, friend or foe, I want
SHARPTON: Fifty years ago an unforgettable night. President
Kennedy`s address from the White House on the struggle for civil rights.
It was an important moment in that important summer of 1963. That speech
and what it meant for the country. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Fifty years ago today was a huge day for civil rights in
America. On June 11th, 1963, Governor George Wallace made his notorious
stand at the schoolhouse door in an effort to block integration at the
University of Alabama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. GOV. GEORGE WALLACE (D), ALABAMA: The federal officers are armed
with a proclamation from President Kennedy, urging the governor to end his
efforts to prevent two Negro students from registering at the university.
The governor is adamant. He made a campaign promise to stand in the
doorway himself to prevent the integration of the last all-white state
I stand here today as governor of this sovereign state and refuse to
willingly submit to the illegal usurpation of power by the central
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The governor of Alabama promising segregation forever. But
that day he failed. Hours after he spoke, two black students, James Hood
and Vivian Malone walked through the very doorway where Governor Wallace
had tried to block their entry. That afternoon, President Kennedy
surprised even his own staff by personally requesting air time from the TV
networks for a big announcement, new legislation on civil rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. PRES. JOHN F. KENNEDY (D), UNITED STATES: If in America because
his skin is dark cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he
cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot
vote for the public officials who represent him, if in short he cannot
enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would
be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place?
This is one country. It has become one country because all of us and
all the people who came here had an equal chance to develop their talents.
We cannot say to 10 percent of the population that you can`t have that
right. Your children can`t have the chance to develop whatever talents
they have. That the only way that they`re going to get their rights is to
go in the streets and demonstrate. I think we owe them and we owe
ourselves a better country than that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Despite being written in a few hours, the speech had a
lasting impact. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was watching at home.
He said the president not only stepped up to the plate, he hit it over the
fence. It was a milestone for civil rights. But the struggle and the
sacrifice was far from over. Just four hours after the president`s speech,
civil rights activist Medgar Evers was assassinated in his driveway by a
white supremacist. These times were changing, but there was still long
road ahead to achieve the dream of civil rights.
Joining me now is President Kennedy`s leading biographer Robert
Dallek, he`s the author of "An Unfinished Life." Thanks for coming on the
ROBERT DALLEK, AUTHOR, "AN UNFINISHED LIFE": My pleasure.
SHARPTON: The President Kennedy`s speech came after some real
reluctance on his part from getting into this issue of civil rights, didn`t
DALLEK: Yes, it did. He struggled with this issue for a long time.
You know, at the start of his administration, he put three major reform
bills before the Congress, a big tax cut, a federal aid to education and
Medicare, and he was reluctant to put a civil rights bill on that agenda
because he felt that the southerners would reject it. They dominated the
committees and the House and the Senate. And he knew he couldn`t get it
passed, even though the Democrats controlled both the houses of Congress.
But he thought if he stood back, stood aside and used just executive
authority to advance equal rights for African-Americans, maybe he could get
those three pieces of legislation passed. By 1963, he knew this was not
going to happen. And he was fed up. He was sickened by the photograph he
saw on the front page of the "New York Times" of that dog nipping at --
biting at a teenaged kid who was marching for what? Just his equal rights,
DALLEK: And so Kennedy finally decided that what he had to do was go
before the country and make a plea for an end to segregation, an end for
segregation all places of public accommodation. This was the thrust of
that bill. And it was, of course, extraordinarily far-reaching. Now, you
know, Reverend, what made it so significant a piece of legislation was not
just that it was so far-reaching socially, politically, but that he and
Bobby felt they were risking the president`s reelection.
DALLEK: Remember, he had only been elected by 118,000 votes in 1960.
He had won by 46,000 votes in Texas. And they were very apprehensive that
they were going to lose the south this time. He had won a few southern
states. That they would lose all those southern states.
SHARPTON: It was very risky politically. But he was also prodded on
by the civil rights leadership. Martin Luther King, Jr., for example, a
month prior to this speech had challenged the president to take action
against Wallace. Listen to this, Mr. Dallek.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (JANUARY, 1929-APRIL, 1968), AFRICAN-AMERICAN
CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT: Yes. That would be a good thing if Governor
Wallace insists on standing in the door of the University for President
Kennedy to come to the University of Alabama and Tuscaloosa and escort the
student to the university with all of the power of the federal government.
I think this would be the greatest moral witness that he could make in this
situation. We cannot continue to have Birmingham, Alabama, as the image of
the United States, cannot stand in the shape of the world today. Does not
afford us the luxury of such an anemic democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: How did he deal with the prodding by civil rights leaders
at that time? And what was his relationship like Dr. King? They met and
talked a lot.
DALLEK: Well, they did, but they weren`t close. And Kennedy was, for
example, you know, in the summer of `63, there was the famous march on
DALLEK: And Kennedy and his brother Robert, who was of course the
attorney general, were resistant to that, because they were afraid that it
would end up in violence. And of course when it came off peacefully and so
successfully and with Martin Luther King`s brilliant speech, Kennedy
invited the civil rights leaders to the White House where he congratulated
them on having achieved something. And he saw their effectiveness I think
But, you know, Reverend, what also influenced him was the fact that we
were in the midst of the cold war and the Soviet Union and the Chinese
communist government were beating up on the United States as a racist
society. Kennedy said we were in a struggle for the hearts and minds in
Africa and Asia and Latin America. And how could we win that if America
was seen by these peoples as a racist society. So he understood that the
politics at home and abroad provided the kind of pressure for him to act.
But he did see it as a moral cause.
He said, you know, they keep saying in the south they`re going to
change this and change that. They`ll never do it. He felt time had come
for him to press the case. Of course, the question remains if he had not
been killed, would he have gotten that bill through the Congress. I think
he would have, because he would have run against Barry Goldwater and would
have won as big an election as Lyndon Johnson did, brought with him into
the House and Senate huge majorities. And I think he would have got all
four pieces of the bills passed.
SHARPTON: We still continue, though, Robert Dallek to fight
inequality. We have made progress but --
SHARPTON: But unemployment is 7.6 percent. For African-Americans
it`s 13.5. We still have a long way to go. But there has been progress
because that young lady that President Kennedy made, Wallace get out of the
way for that day at the University of Alabama, her sister-in-law is married
to the attorney general of the United States Eric Holder.
DALLEK: How interesting.
SHARPTON: We have come a long way.
SHARPTON: Robert Dallek, her sister is married to Eric Holder. He is
her brother-in-law. Robert Dallek, historian and author of "An Unfinished
Life," it`s great to have you on the show. Thank you.
And tomorrow on the show, we`ll mark the 50th anniversary since the
assassination of Medgar Evers in a special interview with his widow, civil
rights leader in her own right, Myrlie Evers-Williams tomorrow night here
on POLITICS NATION.
Ahead, republican governors are trying to defile Obamacare. What is
happening in one state is truly offensive. It`s time to take action.
Plus, I`m answering your e-mails tonight. Friend or foe, I want to
SHARPTON: Tonight, a health care crisis that could affect a million
Americans. A crisis entirely manufactured by Republicans. We`ll talk
about that next.
SHARPTON: Right now Republicans in 20 states are refusing to expand
Medicaid under Obamacare. But in Mississippi, the entire Medicaid program
is in jeopardy. Seven hundred thousand Americans could lose their
coverage, and another 300,000 won`t get added to the program. They`re
playing politics with people`s lives. And it`s unacceptable.
Joining me now are Mississippi State Representative Bobby Moak, and
Nicole Lamoureux, the executive director of the National Association of
Free Clinics who is our partners for free clinic July 3rd in New Orleans.
Thank you both for being here.
NICOLE LAMOUREUX, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FREE CLINICS: Thank you.
STATE REP. BOBBY MOAK (D), MISSISSIPPI: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Representative Moak, can you tell our viewers why one
million people might be without care?
MOAK: Well, in Mississippi, our program lapses July the 1st. We`re
having to go back to a special session should the governor call one before
July the 1st to make sure that we provide care for the 700,000 that are
currently under the program. But we`ve been fighting here in Mississippi
to make sure that 300,000 working families that do not have insurance can
be covered under the affordable health care act. That`s the reason we`re
going back to special session, because we are trying to get a path to make
sure we get these people on the program. We`re just fighting for a debate
and for a vote.
SHARPTON: So we`re not dealing with Republicans voting against it,
they just won`t vote at all. They will not come forward and vote. And let
the debate go forward?
MOAK: Yes. We as Democrats have been denied a vote. In the very
last portion of this regular session that we had, the last vehicle which
had avenues for expansion presented was killed by the republican leadership
in their committees.
MOAK: And so therefore it denied us the vote. And so, here we are
trying to push for that special vote one more time in a special session
should it be called.
SHARPTON: I mean, Nicole, given the amount of people that will be
affected, I mean, we`re seeing all kind of strategies all over the country.
But none is egregious as Mississippi. This seems amazingly insensitive to
me. And when you look at Mississippi`s Governor Phil Bryant, who opposed
everything about the health care law, listen to what he said earlier this
year. Listen to, this Nicole.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PHIL BRYANT (R), MISSISSIPPI: Don`t let anyone tell you that
Obamacare is a law of the land. The Supreme Court said the states have the
right, they have the right as to whether or not they will expand Medicaid,
which is the centerpiece of Obamacare. So it`s not the law of the land.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, not the law of the land. What is he talking about?
The president signed it three years ago. The Supreme Court upheld it last
summer. What is he talking about, Nicole?
LAMOUREUX: I absolutely have no idea. In fact, this just makes me
furious, Rev, I have to be honest with you. These are people who are
putting politics over people, and that should not happen in this country.
The affordable care act is the law of the land. The Supreme Court has a
ruling. Mississippi can make a decision whatever way it needs to, but it
needs to have a vote. And we need to make sure that people get access to
health care. We should not have anyone in this country be denied the right
to have health care. It`s absolutely ridiculous to me.
SHARPTON: Now, you know, I wanted people to hear about this story,
SHARPTON: And also what is alarming to me is the rules for Medicaid
in Mississippi are staggering. To qualify under the current Medicaid
program, a single person can`t earn more than 5500 a year. Under
expansion, a single person can earn more than 15,000 a year. I mean, who
does this leave out? This is crazy.
MOAK: Well, this leaves out working families. You have got somebody
out there driving a truck with a wife at home and two children, and he`s
making $31,000 or less. He needs the opportunity to have this insurance
provide for his family. This is a way to get it. And look, as your other
guest has just said, all we`re asking for is a debate and a vote. What is
wrong with openly debating this issue and then taking a vote? There is not
one thing wrong with that.
MOAK: And that`s the only issue we`ve been pushing.
SHARPTON: Nicole, that`s why people need free clinics around the
country. That`s why we`re partnering with you.
LAMOUREUX: It`s the truth. I think that we`re seeing this all around
the country. And I`ll be honest. On July 3rd, we`re going to see so many
people from Mississippi. They`ll cross over that state line. They`ll come
to Louisiana, and they`ll get the health care that we need. Because people
are frustrated. They`re just fed up, Rev. They just need access to health
care. And I`ll tell you something. You know who is going to be left out
My mother-in-law, who cannot afford long-term care, needs Medicare,
needs Medicaid, and worked her whole life in a bank, and whose husband was
a vet for this country. And this vote needs to happen. It`s a personal
issue for each and every single one of us. Health care is at the crux of
every issue that is important for this country, and it`s about time that we
start acting like it.
SHARPTON: State Representative Bobby Moak and Nicole Lamoureux. I`m
going to have to leave it there. Thank you both for your time.
MOAK: Thank you.
SHARPTON: We`re going to stay on this story, I promise you, though.
LAMOUREUX: Thank you.
MOAK: Right. Thank you.
SHARPTON: And Nicole, we look forward to seeing you July 3rd. Folks,
please join POLITICS NATION, Nicole, and the National Association of Free
Clinics in New Orleans on July 3rd. We need your help. Please donate.
We have all the information on our website, urgentcare.msnbc.com, or
visit the National Association of Free Clinics site, nafcclinics.org. With
your help, we can make a real difference for people who face an immediate
health care crisis.
SHARPTON: Lots of great e-mail questions. Remember, friend or foe, I
want to know.
Betty writes, "Rev, please explain to me how Ted Cruz can consider
running for president when he was not born in this country."
Great question, Betty. Our constitution says the president must be a
natural born citizen. Senator Cruz was born in Canada, but his mother was
born a USA citizen in Delaware. That may make Cruz a natural born citizen
too and eligible to run, but the law is not crystal clear. So we may have
to wait and see if Cruz decides to run.
We`ll also watch to see all of those who said President Obama who was
born to a USA citizen mother in Hawaii but tried to say he was born in
Kenya, what are they going to say about Cruz who was in fact not born in
this country? I will be watching, waiting, and listening.
Glodean asked about the NSA privacy debate. "Where was all the hoopla
when George Bush was in office about this?"
Well, Glodean, I`m with you. I didn`t hear a lot of the hoopla. I
said then what I say now.
I`m against government violating our privacy. I`m against these kinds
of invasions upon American citizens. But I didn`t hear my friends on the
right. I didn`t hear my friends in the Senate. I`m sure maybe it was I
wasn`t listening that day, or the next day, or the next week. We want to
answer your questions. E-mail me.
Ask email@example.com. Friend or foe, I want to know.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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