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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

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POLITICS NATION
July 23, 2013

Guests: Nia-Malika Henderson, Richard Wolffe, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Goldie Taylor


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris, and thanks to you
for tuning in. I`m live in Miami.

Tonight`s lead, breaking news. Former congressman Anthony Weiner
currently a candidate for mayor of New York City just gave a press
conference apologizing for additional photos and texts sent to a woman who
is not his wife. He admitted that his sexting continued after he resigned
from Congress in 2011.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY WEINER, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR CANDIDATE: The photos were likely
to come out, and timeline, some timeline of the continuum of the
resignation. The resignation was not a point in time that was nearly as
important to my wife and me as the challenges in our marriage and the
challenges of the things that I had done and working through. Some of
these things happened before my resignation. Some of them happened after.
But the fact was that was also the time that my wife and I were working
through some things in our marriage.

I`m glad these things are behind us. I know that this was a very
public thing that we had happen to us. But by no means does it change the
fundamentals of my feelings here. And that is that I want to bring my
vision to the people to the city of New York. I hope they are willing to
still continue to give me a second chance. And I hope they realize that in
many ways what happened today was something that frankly had happened
before, but it doesn`t represent all that much that is new.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: After Weiner gave his initial statement, his wife, Huma
Abedin addressed reporters for the first time since the scandal erupted two
years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUMA ABEDIN, ANTHONY WEINER`S WIFE: When we faced this publicly two
years ago, it was the beginning of a time in our marriage that was very
difficult, and it took us a very long time to get through it. Our
marriage, like many others has had its ups and its downs. It took a lot of
work and a whole lot of therapy to get to a place where I could forgive
Anthony.

Anthony has made some horrible mistakes both before he resigned from
Congress and after. But I do very strongly believe that that is between us
and our marriage. We discussed all of this before Anthony decided he would
run for mayor. So really what I want to say is I love him. I have
forgiven him. I believe in him. And as we have said from the beginning,
we are moving forward.

SHARPTON: So will Anthony Weiner`s attempt to revive his career
survive this latest scandal? Do voters care about this kind of behavior
from politicians?

Joining me now is NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell and Nia-Malika Henderson from
"the Washington Post."

Let me go to you first, Kelly. What is your reaction to this press
conference?

KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is startling,
Reverend Al, to see this kind of a public spectacle in this sort of a
humiliating sequence of events. We have all seen lots of falls from grace.
We have all seen lots of stumbles by people in public life, and some can
rebuild and go on.

This seems so different because of the nature in a very modern way of
this kind of behavior that becomes so public and so accessible by voters
and people who are able to read this stuff online. It adds to the level of
embarrassment. It`s different in that here we see a spouse, Huma Abedin,
who had been very graceful and dignified throughout these last couple of
years put in a position where she speaks with a heartfelt and obviously
some pain there. And people -- some know her publicly because of her own
formidable career.

And then you have the heat of a campaign just seven weeks until New
York Democrats decide who they want to be their nominee for the job of
mayor. One of the most prominent jobs in all of politics, something
Anthony Weiner has aspired to his whole life. So, you`ve got ambition and
foibles and sex all mixed in at a time when we live in an age where twitter
and the internet rapidly moves these stories forward.

So, Anthony Weiner had flagged to all of us that more might be coming.
It seemed that it might be unthinkable after losing his career in Congress.
He did not want to resign two years ago, if you recall. He was really
pushed by even his most close allies that he was not able to continue. And
now seeking office again with the liability he carried, of not just his
past, but more recent behavior that brings all of this to light in a very
valid way once again.

It is a lot for voters to consider. They do have a field of options
among the candidates. We have already heard some calls for him to get out
of the race by opponents. We will have to see how voters respond and how
people just deal with the surprise factor of this, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Nia-Malika, is that the big problem here, the surprise and
the newness of it? He had obviously entered the race with everyone knowing
about the past. He did, as Kelly say, flag that more could come. But you
are talking now about something as recent as a year ago. You are talking
about things happening while -- after his resignation from Congress, while
his wife was pregnant with a child where we would assume they were
repairing the relationship or the marriage, and even after the child was
born. Does this newness give a different type of focus to the voters that
had seemingly forgiven him, being that he was leading in some polls?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I
think that`s right. I think you had a situation where Anthony Weiner
thought in coming out in that "New York Times" article, it was almost
itself sort of a public therapy session, that he had moved on. He had
shown the viewers that his marriage was broken at one point and then had
been repaired. So now I think this just opens up fresh wounds.

He has tried to give himself a sort of blanket immunity by saying all
of this stuff happened in the past, and also that of course he says at
least that we would always known that more photos might come out. It will
be interesting to see what his opponents do this time. They have been sort
of tiptoeing around the issue. But I think tomorrow you`re going to see
those New York city tabloids have a lot of fun with this -- with this press
conference. That was startling. I mean it was painful to watch to see
Huma Abedin come out with what was a nervous smile in some ways, and
Anthony Weiner`s clenched jaw. I thought one of the take away statements
from that press conference was when he said to her as she was moving away
from the podium, he said to her, he said don`t go far, because he needs her
to validate him. She said that she has forgiven him, and that she trusts
him, and that`s the message that he is hoping will resonate with voters.

SHARPTON: And Kelly, as you said, Huma, many people know, I do,
others have known her. She has been a right hand, if you will, to former
secretary of state Hillary Clinton. This is the first time she has spoken
since all of this erupted two years ago. As well as the fact that with
Nia-Malika raises, the other candidates. At least one has come out that is
running for mayor against him, and has called on h to withdraw. There is a
forum tonight. How much of this will depend not only on tomorrow`s
tabloids, but on what his opponents may do tonight in this forum with him
standing on the platform with them.

O`DONNELL: Well, those other candidates have some very quick
decisions to make. How to go after Anthony Weiner if they choose to get
into this at all. Will others say that they want to only focus on the
needs and concerns of the residents of New York?

There are different strategic plays that they can make. The iron is
definitely hot here in terms of trying to come up with a response. I think
most of these candidates have had an opportunity to think through these
issues with respect to what happened a couple of years ago. And it will be
interesting to see does he in fact show up, I think there is every
indication he will appear at tonight`s scheduled event, and how will the
other candidates respond.

With Huma Abedin, two years ago she did travel with her husband to his
event where he announced his resignation and took questions and that sort
of thing. But she didn`t appear by his side. Many people looked at that
as a way to view the circumstances. That he was kind of on his own in the
moment. She has spoken to "People" magazine (INAUDIBLE) in the last couple
of years as they were repairing their marriage and coming back.

But this is the first time we have been able to see here on camera
under the greatest of stressful circumstances. No one can feel good
watching this. everyone can empathize with the pain that she must be
feeling that he must be feeling and their extended family.

So, it is hard to make political calculations this quickly, but those
other candidates will be tested tonight to see how they respond and perhaps
in the nature of a forum, perhaps voters will make this an issue that has
to be discussed tonight -- Al.

O`DONNELL: Nia-Malika, when you look at the fact that in the
Quinnipiac poll he was leading. They had Weiner at 25 percent. Christine
Quinn at 22. Although "The New York Times" had Christine Quinn, who is the
New York city council president leading him 27 to 18. You already have
Bill De Blasio, the public advocate who is in this race for mayor coming
out, calling on him to withdraw. Can this turn the polls upside down and
cause an erosion that he cannot stop? He being Anthony Weiner?

HENDERSON: I mean, it`s certainly not good for him. Those polls
essentially show that this is a tied race. Whoever comes in the top two,
they will face a runoff. I think if you are Christine Quinn, this is a
good, good day for you. And you got to figure out how to capitalize on it.

Oftentimes, in debate segments, if you come off as the aggressor and
you sort of kick somebody while they`re down and you lob personal attacks,
it gives them an opening to sort of take the high ground. So she has to
really calculate how she wants to play this out.

I mean, everyone is going to be talking about this. Everyone is going
to be tweeting about it. Every, you know, late night comedians are going
to be making hay of it. So in some ways, and you know, the sort of damage
speaks for itself for Weiner. So I think Quinn has got some calculations
to make.

And, you know, this was just a shocking, shocking thing. I mean,
watching this in "the Washington Post" newsroom here, we were sort of
debating would he come out of the race? Would he resign. But you know,
his first statement was that he was still a candidate. And seeing Huma
there by his side, we sort of knew where this was going to go.

The question is are there more photos and will this idea that he is
sort of said, there is nothing to see here with these photos, is that an
excuse that voters will buy and make everything OK in terms of the
political damage?

SHARPTON: Kelly, I will give you the final thought also to be
interesting to see if Huma goes with him to that forum tonight. But your
final thought on this, Kelly.

O`DONNELL: I also think that those other candidates now have an
opportunity to raise these issues, maybe going at it indirectly because of
these new events. They are not sort of piling on from something that
happened two years ago. This does give them a very clear lane to raise
issues about his judgment and his ability to serve as a public figure given
all of this.

So, it does open not only the obvious of all the other factors that
will make it harder for Anthony Weiner to continue, but he has also given
his opponents a legitimate reason to talk about this if they so choose --
Al.

SHARPTON: Kelly O`Donnell, thank you for your time tonight.

Nia-Malika, please stay with me. We will have more on the Anthony
Weiner`s revelations, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEINER: I said there were more things out there. There were. This
is -- you have as a fixed time the resignation as the important moment in
the public discussion. That was when the public got a glimpse into
something that we have been working on before, during, and since. And this
behavior of mine was part of that. And when we -- we went through this
process and we became closer and worked through some of these challenges,
this -- we put it behind us. And I put it behind me. And frankly, we`re
in a lot better place today or else I would not have run for mayor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: More on Anthony Weiner`s revelations, including we`ve heard
from his wife for the first time. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We are back with breaking news. Anthony Weiner`s press
conference about the photos and texts sent to a woman who is not his wife.
His wife, Huma Abedin, stood through his side throughout the press
conference and then spoke out about these latest revelations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABEDIN: When we faced this publicly two years ago, it was the
beginning of a time in our marriage that was very difficult, and it took us
a very long time to get through it. Our marriage, like many others, has
had its ups and its downs. It took a lot of work and a whole lot of
therapy to get to a place where I could forgive Anthony.

Anthony`s made some horrible mistakes. Both before he resigned from
Congress and after. But I do very strongly believe that that is between us
and our marriage. We discussed all of this before Anthony decided he would
run for mayor.

So, really, what I want to say is I love him. I have forgiven him. I
believe in him, and as we have said from the beginning, we are moving
forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now are Goldie Taylor and Nia-Malika Henderson.

Goldie, you would think this is a big moment when Huma took the
microphone, and if so why.

GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I was absolutely stunned, Reverend
Al. I mean, this for me literally changes the game. This is a little bit
of reverse cock holding (ph), if you will where we have seen wives have to
stand there at the podium looking like they have been dragged there. Those
who don`t show up at all.

I find that I`m going to have a lot more respect for a lot more
credibility and empathy for the man who takes the podium by himself. But,
you know, she stood up today. She spoke her truth about her marriage. She
has every right to do that. But I have got to suspect that we are going to
be expecting other wives to do the same, where as we had no expectations of
them before. So, I think, you know, in just a few minutes, Huma may have
just changed the game.

SHARPTON: Now, Nia-Malika, when you hear Goldie say she may have
changed the game, how will this impact voters, particularly women voters in
your opinion? She stood there and in effect said this is between us. I
have forgiven him. Will that have a lot of weight, or will it mean nothing
at all in your opinion?

HENDERSON: Well, you know, both of these people, both Anthony and his
wife brilliant politically. And if you look at the statement that Huma
made, for instance, what she is trying to do is essentially set their
problems within a sort of normal framework of normal people`s marriages,
right. She is arguing that every marriage has its ups and downs. Who
among us hasn`t d something like this in a marriage? Who among us haven`t
had these sorts of problems.

I think the problem there is, and I was just e-mailing back and forth
with a strategist about this. The problem that Weiner is going to have is
that it is very odd. The word that the strategist used is the weirdness
factor. So they have to figure out if voters are going to look at this and
see it as something that is pathological, that is outside of the realm of
what normal people do.

I think you`ve had other politicians cheat on their wives, even in the
case of Spitzer, go see prostitutes, are all sort of people sort of
understand that in some ways. This just seems odd to people. And I think
that`s why you see Abedin out there trying to frame it in a very different
way and saying this is between us.

The problem is it isn`t between us because so far we have had to have
two press conferences and a "New York Times" magazine article and countless
jokes and twitter and tabloid headlines about it. So they haven`t been
able to keep their marriage just within their household. It has become a
public spectacle.

SHARPTON: Now, Nia-Malika raises a point, Goldie, about how Spitzer
and the things that happened with him. Eliot Spitzer, former governor, is
on the same ticket. Not running for mayor, but comptroller.

TAYLOR: Sure.

SHARPTON: Is that another factor where voters that wait a minute,
this is too much when you have not one, but two that have had gone through
this and that we have got to go to the polls and deal with. Who will be
the future mayor, or at least mayoral nominee and Democratic Party and
comptroller. Is it too much to have Spitzer and Weiner at the same time?
And does that hurt Weiner in his chance at trying to redeem himself with
voters?

TAYLOR: I think on the one hand, while, you know, we in the press may
lump them together, I think voters do see them as very differently. They
approach this differently. I think that Eliot Spitzer came forth and said
here is what I have done. He has fallen on his sword. He went to the post
office that bought that forever stamp, that forever forgiveness stamp. And
I think that, you know, he has come to this a bit more forthrightly.

I think Anthony Weiner there are still questions that lay out there.
He answers sort of this blanket apology, not fussing up to what he did or
did not do, which leaves us to assume that it is all true. So I think that
people are going to draw a differs between the two men, and rightly so.

SHARPTON: Do you think, Nia-Malika, that aside from the weirdness
that you say the strategist spoke to you about, the question is going to be
one of honesty that this kept going on after you had apologized, after you
had resigned, you said there may be others, but you really didn`t tell us
it was going on in recent history. Do you think that will be a factor,
Nia-Malika, as well as the, quote, "weirdness?"

HENDERSON: Yes. I think that`s a factor. Here is a man who was
thrown out of office, forced to resign, humiliated himself, humiliated his
wife, and yet, that still wasn`t enough to prevent this behavior. That I
think is going to be a real question in voters` minds. He is asking that
the people of New York City entrust him with the most important job in that
city, yet in his personal life, he has seemed to have these compulsions and
urges that even he couldn`t get over, even after the face of this public
humiliation. So, I think that`s what voters are going to think about.

And the other thing is will voters just be sick of this? I mean, you
know, when you run for public office, you are asking that voters be able to
be comfortable with you in their living rooms, metaphorically, because, you
know, you are the most public face of a city or a country or a state or
whatever it is. And so that`s the problem. Will voters sort of have this
sort of visceral eek factor in seeing Anthony Weiner campaigning around the
city, and will that eek factor prevent them from being able to envision him
in the mayor`s office.

SHARPTON: Goldie, let me show you something else that Mr. Weiner
said.

TAYLOR: Sure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEINER: Now, some have asked the question where does this fit in,
some timeline, some timeline of the continuum of the resignation, the
resignation was not a point in time that was nearly as important to my wife
and me and the challenges in our marriage and the challenges of the things
that I have done and working through them. Some of these things happened
before my resignation, some of them happened after, but the fact is that
that was also the time that my wife and I were working through some things
in our marriage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is the timeline going to be something that a lot of voters
would be concerned about here, Goldie?

TAYLOR: I think they are going to be concerned.

Look, Reverend Al, we are a forgiving nation. You can look at the
legacy of presidents, of other Congressman and women, you can look at
governors, we are a forgiving nation. We will let you have a second bite
of the apple, you know. if we believe that you have been forthright and if
he had sort of gone and got a new self together, it is clear to everybody
watching this, that Anthony Weiner had not yet gotten himself together.
And so, the timeline does matter.

And this is really about the bond that you have with your
constituents. Are you able to build a credible trustworthy relationship
with them? Can they trust what you say? And it seems today based on what
he said that we could not trust him then. And so, are you telling the
truth now or were you telling the truth then and will you tell us the truth
in the future? I think there are going to be some very real issues with
Anthony Weiner, you know, today and tomorrow on this.

SHARPTON: Now Nia-Malika, the Huma factor, well respected, came out
vocally today, if you are one of their opponents and already at least one I
know of has come out asking him to withdraw, does Huma become a problem
that you don`t want to look like Huma getting in to a back and forth with
his wife who has says I forgiven him. This is our business. Like if she
is in the room at the debate, does that in some way put the other
candidates who may want to confront him in an awkward position to do that
if she is there?

HENDERSON: Yes. I think Huma here, no doubt, his greatest shield,
his greatest weapon in this race. And I think particularly among women,
again, she was trying to say to voters, I forgiven him. I trust him and so
should you. I wonder what they are thinking in terms of whether r not they
have ended it here. it is almost like, you know, I was thinking here if
Oprah Winfrey show was still on daytime, this would be a perfect time for
her to come in and have a sort of sit down with both of these people.
Maybe she will do that. Maybe you will do that, Reverend Al Sharpton.

But it does feel like there is some other shoe is going to drop.
Either they feel like they have more massaging to do around this issue,
more photos will come out. and if he look at that Web site, it looks like
he was last in contact with this women in December 2012 set his facebook
page, a couple of months after that and asked her to join now with
facebook.

So, I think the timeline is incredibly important. What Huma dealt
over these next days is also going to be important. And everyone is trying
to sort this out to figure out what candidates are going to do with this
time. You might be best if you are one of the candidates in this race to
just let it play out, sort of to let him fall on his own accord (ph) which
he seemed very act to do.

SHARPTON: Nia-Malika Henderson, thank you for your time this evening.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Goldie Taylor, please stay with us.

When we come back, we will change gears and talk about the right-wings
attack against a real conversation about race in this country.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: In 2012, President Obama built what many thought was the
greatest campaign in American history. Now he is calling on those
activists and volunteers to rally for one last campaign, to break the
gridlock in Washington and move the country forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: And, you know, I always remind
people, I have run my last campaign. Michelle`s not sorry about that.

(LAUGHTER)

I`ve got a little over 1200 days left in office. I am going to spend
every waking minute of every one of those days thinking about and then
acting upon any good ideas out there that are going to help ordinary
Americans succeed. They are going to make sure that the next generation
believes in the American dream because they`ve seen it in their own lives.
That`s how I`m going to spend my time.

I hope that`s how you`re going to spend your time. Because if you do,
I guarantee you, we will continue to make progress, and we will deliver on
everything that we talked about in 2008 and 2012. Thank you very much. I
love you guys. Keep it up. Keep it up.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Are you still fired up? All right. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Politico reports the President`s organizing for action
group is using the Tea Party`s own model to push back against Republicans.
Organizing a national campaign of town halls and rallies to ramp up the
pressure on the GOP. Over the entire month of August, activists will build
support for key issues from the President`s first and second term
priorities. And what are Republicans doing in August? How are they
spending their summer vacation? They`re sending lawmakers home with a kit
called, quote, "fighting Washington for all Americans."

They suggest lawmakers write Op-Ed`s saying, quote, "Everyday, I serve
in Congress, I work to fight Washington." That`s quite a message from the
GOP. Send me to Washington to fight Washington. The President is
organizing for action. Republicans are organizing for obstruction.

Joining me now are Richard Wolffe and Victoria DeFrancesco Soto.
Thank you both for joining me.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC.COM EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Thanks, Rev.

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Richard, which message is more likely to resonate with
voters?

WOLFFE: I don`t think either one will, honestly, Rev. I think the
President has an ambitious plan here, something they`ve never done before
which is extend the idea of electing him to office into lobbying members of
Congress. It`s not clear that that kind of grassroots action is going to
have an impact on the very conservative House Republicans who don`t care
about even moderate Republicans, never mind what the President`s grassroots
say.

And on the other side, you`re right. There is a basic contradiction.
You`re an incumbent, and you`re asking voters to send you back to
Washington, a place that you profess to hate. Both of these messages I
think are going to struggle. I think this next round is going to have very
low turnout.

SHARPTON: Now Victoria, when you look at the fact that what Richard
just said, the President seemed to be trying to address that. When last
night talking about winning the election, he says it`s just the beginning
of the fight. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I`ve always said that running for office is not just about
getting elected. I believe in winning. Winning is good. But you run for
office and you win so that you can actually get things done. All right.
It`s the beginning and not the end of a process. It puts you in a position
to then deliver on behalf of the folks that you`re fighting for. We`ve got
to get folks activated and involved. And ultimately, what you do day to
day, away from the TV cameras, that`s what is going to make a powerful
difference.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He seems Victoria, he`s trying to convince his activist
supporters that this is a continuation of the election, almost like it`s
the same thing. This is not trying to get you to do something new. Will
that work and can it be effective?

SOTO: Well, as Richard pointed out, it is a challenge, because
historically folks don`t like to turn out for midterm elections. They`re
not as fun and as exciting as the presidential ones. But here we`re seeing
the Democratic Party learned from its mistake in 2010. They sat on their
hands. They didn`t mobilize as the GOP mobilized and look at the
shellacking that they got. So, here President Obama is trying to make good
on what happened in 2010. The other thing that has not been explicitly
said, but is an undercurrent is that they`re trying to hold the line with
the Senate.

So the House might stay republican. You know, the Democrats are
trying to get in there and win some seats back. But the real prize here is
keeping the Senate democratic. The Republicans know that it`s within
striking distance. And so, you know, the President knows that he has an
obstructionist house, but the saving grace has been the Senate. And he
needs to keep that for the last two years.

SHARPTON: Now on the republican side, Richard, they`re actually
planning kits. And in these kits they`re suggesting lawmakers plant
friendly questions at their own town hall meetings and other campaign
events. Let me show you some of the questions they recommend. On page
eight in the kit, they say, prepare a few questions in advance in case the
conversation slowly starts. On page 10, they say prepare a few questions
in advance. Page 15, have questions prepared to facilitate the discussion.
So they`re actually in the kit telling them to really plant questions and
you get you guide the conversation with planted participation.

WOLFFE: Yes, look, it`s sad, isn`t it? I mean, this is supposed to
be these town hall discussions are supposed to be where lawmakers convince
-- for certainly address the real concerns of their voters. But they also
are honest in convincing voters their own constituents that they care about
real issues. It`s not supposed to be some fabricated game, some kind
advertorial as part of a campaign.

Because Republicans started this whole game of sort of stacking town
halls through the whole Tea Party era, and you end up in this ridiculous
position where there isn`t actually an honest conversation going on at all
between constituents and their elected officials.

SHARPTON: Now another thing that is interesting, Victoria, is
Associated Press in an article talks about how the First Lady is expanding
her efforts to help the President`s agenda. Let me quote from the article.
It says, "It`s a second term for Michelle Obama too, and she is shifting
her social issues emphasis to kids and gun violence. She is showing a
willingness to step outside of her comfort zone." Michelle Obama is
considered wildly popular. Will that be a help in pushing the President`s
agenda forward and breaking this gridlock?

SOTO: Reverend, it`s going to be very effective in mobilizing the
base. Folks who don`t like the President and don`t like the First Lady are
not going to move. They`re not going to cross over and suddenly support
democratic causes because of that. But the key here is, again, that
mobilization, that getting apathetic voters, people who are too lazy to
turn out in the midterm elections.

You know, they really want to turn out for the presidential. But
because they like Michelle Obama so much and they`re geared up by the
institution of Obama for America, that could be the tipping point. So, I
think it`s really key that we`re having all of these different component
parts come together. There is no silver bullet in getting people to -- the
lies. It`s going to take a lot of parts to get people out there and vote.

SHARPTON: Well, Richard, talking about Mrs. Obama and the base.
Today she spoke at a Latino conference, I believe La Raza, and she was
asking activists to help sign young people up for health care. Listen to
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Simply passing the Affordable Care Act
was not the goal. The goal is to get folks to sign up for the insurance.
We have got to make sure that our young people understand that regular
checkups, preventative care are as much a part of life as brushing their
teeth and paying their bills.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: If she can energize the base, the activists in the base,
can that help begin to turn around some of the apathy we usually see in
midterm elections, Richard?

WOLFFE: Well, what is interesting here is that she is not trying to
gear up for the election. She is trying to get some real world action
going. And I think that`s what they`re missing with organizing for action.
Signing people up for health care is a real world benefit independent of
whether House Republicans block something or the President gets his agenda
through, this is the agenda. They`ve got to follow through on health care.

Because Michelle Obama was very active in promoting health care,
marketing health care at the University of Chicago. This is a passion for
her, and she speaks convincingly about it. I think there are real world
results that come out of this that are actually more important than whether
another vote goes through or whatever Republicans and Democrats are
fighting about today or tomorrow.

SHARPTON: Richard Wolffe and Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, thank you
both for your time tonight.

WOLFFE: Thanks, Rev.

SOTO: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Bill O`Reilly attacks President Obama on race. My response
is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Bill O`Reilly finds a new excuse to go after the President.
I have some facts for him. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The aftermath of the Trayvon Martin case should be a moment
to have a real national conversation about race. For Bill O`Reilly, it`s
apparently just an excuse to attack the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, HOST, "THE O`REILLY FACTOR": The sad truth is that
from the President on down, our leadership has no clue, no clue at all
about how to solve problems within the black community. And many are
frightened to even broach the issue. That`s because race hustlers and the
grievance industry have intimidated the so-called conversation, turning any
valid criticism of African-American culture into charges of racial bias.
So many in power simply walk away, leaving millions of law-abiding African-
Americans to pretty much fend for themselves in violent neighborhoods. You
want racism, that`s racism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Thanks for the tip, Mr. O`Reilly. In fact, many of us have
spoken about problems in our community. Sorry if that`s news to some. The
President spoke out and went to Chicago about violence in the black
community. The First Lady went to the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton. And in
fact, the first national show Hadiya Pendleton, the young 15-year-old young
lady that was killed in Chicago, the first interview her mother did was on
this show, POLITICS NATION. So we are not frightened about raising the
issue. We raise both sides.

Joining me again is Goldie Taylor. Goldie, it`s been amazing how
quickly the right wing has pivoted on this issue to attack the president.
How do you see it?

GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: This really is just the art of
deflection, Reverend Al. It`s truly, truly is to say that. And something
caught me in his phrases to say that this is African-American culture, that
it is in our culture to be violent, that certainly besmirch the character
of law abiding peace loving African-Americans the millions of us who you
know, survived cope and make it in this called America. You know, and to
say that, you know, by our very nation, we are violent, well, I take
absolute offense to that.

The other part of this is, you know, to say that Bill O`Reilly has any
greater understanding of the issues that you and I are on the front line
working on every day is absolutely ludicrous. And I just have to tell you
in your face. And the other part of this is you know there are thousands
of people working on their front line, helping to repair education, many in
after school sites for children, making sure these kids get a hot breakfast
every morning because we know that increases academic progress.

There are people fighting on the front line every day, and people like
Bill O`Reilly, people like Rush Limbaugh ignore those cries, ignore those
pleas for help. They aren`t supporting those people. They`re
circumventing the kinds of resources that they need to get that job done.

SHARPTON: Well, it seems like they just discovered violence in
Chicago after Trayvon Martin as a tool to attack the President. Like I
said, we`ve had the mother of Hadiya Pendleton and others on this show
dealt with this problem, been to Chicago. But let me show you where FOX
just discovered it now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The President joining the race debate, taking a
firm stand in the Trayvon Martin case. So why is the President dressing
this case and not the shootings in his hometown of Chicago?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The President should have given the speech he gave
today on the streets of Chicago where black-on-black crime is an all-time
epidemic.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I know, I thought it was out of comments.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: A conversation about all the African-Americans
that were just killed in Chicago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The President did give the speech. The President went to
Chicago. And the President and the First Lady went to Chicago. They`re
coming now, I mean, telling him to do things he did months ago, a year ago.
The Pendleton family and other victims of violence were his guests at the
State of the Union. (sound gap) now, maybe they need to look at the facts,
Goldie.

TAYLOR: You know, they might do better to watch a network other than
their own if they want to see this entire story. The president was also
here in Atlanta, speaking to, you know, thousands of African-Americans at
Morehouse graduation earlier this spring. And in that he spoke directly to
our collective responsibility to fight against many of these pathologies in
our own communities. And so the president has been front and center. Not
only in Chicago, but in D.C. and in Atlanta and other cities across this
nation where we do have, you know, some very real issues that we confront
daily.

But I simply take offense to those folks who really practiced the
policies of containment, who as long as it is away from them, it is not
their issue. But turn around and want to marginalize the very people who
are impacted daily? I think that`s absolutely a failure on their part, a
moral failing on their part.

SHARPTON: I think also it`s offensive when they confuse the issues,
because certainly those of us that fight this every day and see the impact
of violence against one another are not confused when you see something
where you know there is an inequality in how justice is dispensed. And
again, the Trayvon Martin case caught all of our attention and got us
involved.

TAYLOR: Sure.

SHARPTON: Because there was a prejudgment made by police. That does
not happen in black-on-black crime.

TAYLOR: It does not.

SHARPTON: So, let`s not confuse the issues. Let`s deal with things
that are wrong on both sides, not be selective.

TAYLOR: We should not be selective. I`ve heard a lot of people say,
what about black on black crime. And that`s true. When an African-
American is killed, 90 percent of the time, it is by another African-
American.

SHARPTON: Right.

TAYLOR: But the statistics are also true in white era. Eighty six
percent of the time when a white person is killed, another white person has
done that deed. Murder, homicide, is generally an intramural thing, that
you hurt the people who are closest to you. Crime is localized. Now if
you take that stand your ground law, I have always said that it is not the
race of the shooter that matters. It`s always, always the race of the
victim. When you look at the studies.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

TAYLOR: It doesn`t matter if the shooter is white or non-white, it
matters what race that victim is as to what justice will be served. And if
stand your ground will be successful if it is invoked or not.

SHARPTON: And we must have equal treatment on both sides. That`s all
were saying.

TAYLOR: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Goldie Taylor, thank you for your time.

Straight ahead, Anthony Weiner`s latest admission. Reply Al is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUMA ABEDIN, WIFE OF ANTHONY WEINER: Anthony`s made some horrible
mistakes, both before he resigned from Congress and after. But I do very
strongly believe that that is between us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s time for reply Al. Friend or foe, I want to know. In
regard to Anthony Weiner, Bob writes, "What the real question is, was he a
good public servant and can he do a good job as mayor?"

Well, I agree with Bob. That`s the real question at the end of the
day, not only for Anthony Weiner, but anyone that offers themselves for
elected office or any public figure is, can you do the job? But part of
doing is job is what you say and what you do not say. Can the public trust
it?

But ultimately, it will be up to the voters. It is not about gotcha.
It`s about who can do the job for the people that they`re offering
themselves for. We`ll see. A forum is tonight. We`ll see where it goes
from here in New York and around the country.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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