PoliticsNation, Thursday, September 5th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
September 5, 2013
Guests: Elijah Cummings; Jennifer Granholm, Goldie Taylor, Nia-Malika Henderson
REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST OF POLITICS NATION: Thank you Ed, thanks to
you for tuning in. Tonight`s Lead the raging debate over military action
in Syria. That debate has taken praise in the House of Congress, in homes
and around the country and overseas. Tonight President Obama is in Russia
meeting with world leaders at the G20. It`s intended to be an economic
summit but the major focus is Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also look forward to
having an extensive conversation about the situation in Syria. And I think
our joint recognition that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is not only
a tragedy, but also a violation of international law that must be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The White House is hoping to get support for a strike from
at least 10 out of the 20 countries at the summit. The administration is
also looking for support on Capitol Hill. With new signs that it would be
hard to drum up the necessary votes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I think the administration has yet to
enunciate clearly a broader strategy.
SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D), MARYLAND: I`m not ready to vote on a
resolution. I have more questions than I have answers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: In the meantime, secretary of state John Kerry still
pressing his case with lawmakers. And today he made his case with MSNBC`s
Chris Hayes in an interview set to air tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: If we don`t do this, Assad will have
a message that he can use these weapons with impunity. We will have turned
our back on the next batch of children, on the next batch of parents. We
will have turned our back on the international norm. We will have lost
credibility in the world. And I guarantee you if we turn our backs today,
the picture we all saw in the paper today, in the media of those people all
being shot, that will take place more, because more extremists will be
attracted to this because they will be funded as the only alternative in
order to take on Assad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Throughout the day, the president has been working the
phones, making five calls to a bipartisan group of senators. And with the
potential for full congressional votes next week, the president canceled a
trip to California, perhaps clearing his schedule for a primetime speech.
It`s a speech that a growing number of Americans are eager to hear him
Joining me now is Congressman Elijah Cummings, Democrat from Maryland,
and Krystal Ball, co-host of "the Cycle" here on MSNBC.
Thank you for being here.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks, Rev.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Good to be with you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Congressman, let me ask you directly. Where do you stand
right now on military action in Syria, and what are you hearing from your
CUMMINGS: First of all, I have not decided, Reverend. There is a lot
of questions that are still open for me. And I`m trying to get the answers
to them. I will be attending my third classified briefing tomorrow. And
my constituents, though, are clear. I would say 95 percent of all the
calls we`re getting in are against this action.
And I must tell you, Reverend, a lot of this is based on what happened
in Iraq. Almost everybody that I talked to said we don`t want to see
another Iraq. They saw -- they heard from Colin Powell, of course, when w
were about to go into Iraq. They believed him. Colin Powell had bad
information. Then they saw us spend hundreds of billions of dollars in
Iraq, lose many of our wonderful young soldiers. And at the same time,
many others injured. And then a ten-year war, so.
SHARPTON: But 95 percent of the calls coming into your congressional
office are against a military action.
CUMMINGS: That`s right.
SHARPTON: And I`m getting the same with my talk radio. I`m getting
the same in my other offices at the civil rights group. And I myself have
questions. And the fact that the president is saying this will not come
out of domestic budgets doesn`t seem to make people relax. I think they
trust the president, but I think they are war weary and they don`t trust a
lot of the intelligence information.
CUMMINGS: Reverend, you`ve said exactly right.
My constituents, they -- I ask then, I did little survey in my
district today. They trust the president. They love the president. And
what they -- but one of the things that I think will help, Reverend, and I
have been urging the president to do this. I think he needs to give a
primetime speech where he really lays out the moral issues. Because I
think a lot of this is base opened moral issues. And I think he needs to
be very clear as to the objective, very clear as to the limitations of this
action, and what he sees as what will happen if this does not work. In
other words, if Assad, President Assad decides to retaliate, which would
not surprise anybody, we need to know exactly where we go from there.
This evening I will be talking to Secretary Kerry one-on-one, because
I want these answers. I want to make the right decision. And I want my
constituents, though, my constituents have said to me, look, tell the
president we want to hear from him. And I`m hoping and praying that the
president will do that very soon.
SHARPTON: Krystal, what does this do to this president? And he did
cancel a trip next week to California, possibly we don`t know, possibly to
make a primetime speech. You heard the congressman right here say he needs
to make it. Where the president sits now, is that speech necessary? And
what does he need to say?
BALL: Yes. It definitely is necessary, both for members of Congress
to get the information and get the clarity that they need, but more
importantly, for the public. The administration basically thus far has
made the case that the strike is an end in and of itself. Meaning, that it
will demonstrate that when we say there is a red line, when we say you
can`t go past this marker or there will be consequences, there will
actually be consequences. And that that strike alone sends a message to
other bad actors around the world that our word is to be believed.
But I think what we`re seeing in the polling and what we`re hearing
from people like Congressman Cummings is that is not enough of an argument
to a lot of people to accept that strikes are what we need to do. They
need to hear that there are real humanitarian implications. They need to
hear that after we strike there is a plan that we have thought through the
contingencies and we know what to do.
Congressman, you mentioned the moral argument the president needs to
raise. I woke up this morning and I saw this picture published in "The New
York Times," a horrifying video from a rebel group allegedly showing rebels
executing government troops.
Now, does this raise new questions about the impact of a potential
strike on Syria and whether we should be helping these rebels? Because
it`s hard to raise a moral question if we are looking at we are possibly
aiding people that are pictured like this?
And then I want you to hear before you answer. Secretary of state
Kerry said in a house hearing about the rebels about this. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY: I just don`t agree that a majority are Al Qaeda and the bad
guys. That`s not true. There are about 70 to 100,000 oppositionists.
About somewhere maybe 15 to 25 percent might be in one group or another who
are what we would deem to be bad guys. There are many different guys,
there are different entities. And sometimes they`re fighting each other,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So you all within hours of meeting with Secretary Kerry
one-on-one. He is saying there are different groups among the opposition.
But we`re seeing photos, Congressman, of people being executed that we are
possibly going to assist. How do you make a moral argument for that to the
CUMMINGS: It`s almost impossible to make a moral argument on that,
reverend. Krystal said something that is so key. The president does not
only have to appeal to the Congress, and I think they have been working
hard to appeal to us. He has got to appeal to the American public. And I
have got to tell you, pictures like the ones you just saw really does
complicate things. But there is another picture that I saw, and that was a
line of young beautiful children dead in white sheets.
SHARPTON: All right.
CUMMINGS: Lined up. And I mean, I cannot get that picture out of my
mind. And I have to also keep in mind that over the last several decades,
the folks who have used chemical weapons have been Adolf Hitler and Saddam
Hussein and now Assad.
And so, this is very complicated. And Reverend, I can understand why
you said you`re having difficulty even dealing with this, trying to figure
it all out, because on the one hand you have that picture of the rebels,
and on the other hand I have a line of dead children.
CUMMINGS: Who did nothing to anybody. Just trying to grow up and be
that all that god meant for them to be.
SHARPTON: And the problem, Krystal, is that as your heart has to go
out for those children, as your mind looks at this picture of the rebels
over the soldiers, the other thing that you can`t figure out maybe all of
the complexities, but it all spells how do you come in a situation like
this and say we can make one strike and we`re out of here, or that it`s
limited. It looks far too complex to be limited, at least to those of us
that are unsophisticated in the intelligence.
BALL: It is the sort of situation where I don`t think no matter how
sophisticated you are, you can`t know exactly what is going to happen if we
do strike. The hope is that that would put enough pressure on the Assad
regime that it would shift the political calculus and we would be able to
go through some diplomatic channels to reach a negotiated settlement. That
is a hope. Whether that is actually what would play out or not, I think no
one can really answer that question.
SHARPTON: Well, we`re going to have to leave it there.
Congressman Cummings, good luck on your meeting tonight.
CUMMINGS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: And Krystal Ball, thank you for your time tonight.
BALL: Of course.
SHARPTON: Also, a heads up. You can catch Chris Hayes` full
interview with secretary of state John Kerry tonight right here on MSNBC at
Ahead, say goodbye to another GOP talking point on health care. The
Republican hype machine just hit a brick wall. It`s called reality.
Plus, the right wing`s vile rhetoric against the poor. New reports
today about how FOX News is literally lobbying Congress against food
And Tamron Hall is here to talk about her new investigative series
exploring some of the country`s worst unsolved crimes and what they have
done to the people left behind.
Also, what`s on your mind? E-mail me. Friend or foe, I want to know.
"Reply Al" is ahead.
SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will.
Today, everyone was talking about the new report that shows insurance
costs will be lower than expected under the president`s health care law.
Marlowe says there is no hiding from the truth.
Well, that`s right.
Angela says a few of my friend will be signing up.
Well, good for them.
David says all GOP doomsday predictions are wrong. They try to
convince people by scaring them.
You`re on to something there, David.
We`ve got more from that new report coming up next. And we have
posted all the details on our facebook page so you can share it.
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: For months now, the right wing battle cry has been that
President Obama`s health care law is going to make the American people go
broke. They just love that line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The issue is
Obamacare. And we`re going to keep the focus on Obamacare because it`s
driving up the cost of health care.
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: President Obama`s
health care law ruled in higher premiums and costs for families.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In some cases, the premiums that they will pay
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your premiums were going to double and that your
bills could double. I mean this is really stunning news for lots of
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And its cheap
results making our health care premiums enormously unsustainably more
expensive with death panels to boot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But guess what? Governor death panels and the rest of her
buddies are wrong. The most comprehensive study of the health care law yet
says the cost of the coverage for consumers will be lower than anticipated.
Well, how about that? There has been a lot of talk about this law
being the president`s waterloo, that it would crush the American economy,
that it would fail before it each got off the ground.
But have you seen the headlines this week? The reigning super bowl
champs are out touting the law and spreading awareness about it. The
American public is getting on board. A majority opposes the GOP effort to
And oh, yes, Obamacare is creating jobs in the communities. So forget
the noise from the right. It`s just noise.
Joining me now are former Democratic governor of Michigan, Jennifer
Granholm and Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons.
Thank you both for your time tonight to come on the show.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: Great to be on,
SHARPTON: Let me start with you, Governor . Are Republicans are just
terrified of the reality that this law is working and will become even more
popular as it takes full effect?
GRANHOLM: Yes, I think that`s exactly right. The study that you`re
referring to comes from the Kaiser family foundation which is a totally
nonpartisan group that is a go-to place for facts. And what they said
today in this great report which evaluated 17 states and the district of
Columbia is that the cost for individuals for Obamacare are going to be
significantly less than even the congressional budget office predicted.
SHARPTON: And this is the Kaiser foundation, a nonpartisan group?
GRANHOLM: Right, right. And the reason why is because there is
competition. So the Republicans who claim to be capitalists and pro
competition, that`s exactly what this particular plan does is causes groups
to bid against one another.
And so for example in New York, what this Kaiser foundation found is
that if you are a single person who is 40 years old, you`re going -- your
cost for health care once the tax credits kick in because of Obama care is
about $111 per month. It would have been well over $300 per month. It`s
going to be significantly cheaper for people.
SHARPTON: Well, Jamal, following up on that, the law will drastically
improve people`s ability as Governor Granholm has said to afford health
care. I mean, she mentioned one set of numbers. Let me give you this. A
25-year-old New Yorker earning $25,000 a year will pay as little as $62 a
month. Their peer in Vermont may pay nothing at all for their coverage. I
mean, this is a real, real low cost, much lower than even expected.
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It is a real low cost benefit,
and it`s something that Americans have wanted for 50 years almost. This is
something the government and Democrats have been trying to get done.
Democrats like Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi helped get it passed. And now
what we see are Republicans fighting tooth and nail to keep people from
registering over the next few months.
What they know is if we don`t get enough people into this health care
plan by the beginning of next year, enrollment starts October 1st, if we
don`t get enough people by the beginning of next year, we could see this
plan actually have a problem. So what they`re trying to do is stop from
enrolling in health care so the numbers go up, the costs go up, and they
can claim it`s a failure. But all these studies point out that costs are
going down. People are going to be able to get their health care at lower
costs, lower prices.
SHARPTON: They even went, governor, as far as to say let`s defund it.
Let`s close down the government to defund it which wouldn`t defund it by
the way. But let`s not let facts get in the way. And yet, when w look at
the American people, just six percent of the people in a new poll of
registered voters favor defunding or delaying the health care law, just six
GRANHOLM: Yet again, the people are ahead of the Republicans in
Congress. I would say that that`s what that poll suggests.
And I would say also, Reverend Al, I mean, people understand that the
cost of health care in the United States historically has been ridiculously
expensive. Over two and a half times what on average the other 50 most
advanced countries pay. If you want to go to a hospital in the United
States and get a delivery for a baby, you`re going to pay around on average
$10,000 for that. But in Europe it`s about 2,000 to $3,000. If you want
one day of a hospital stay in the United States, you`re going to pay on
average $4500. But in Europe you would pay $700 to $900 for one night`s
stay. It is ridiculous.
And the outcomes historically have been worse in the United States.
You would think you would be spending all that money, you would be getting
better outcomes. But that`s not what has been the case. There was a study
this past week that Bloomberg, the headline from Bloomberg was so that
among advanced United Nations, the United States spends the most on health
care with the worst outcomes, prior to Obama care, of course. Now, we are
seeing an effort to bring down those costs. Hallelujah.
SHARPTON: Well, I agree with that hallelujah.
But you know, Jamal, you hear the conspiracy theorists, the hysterical
barkers out there, radio host Mark Levin believes the Obama administration
is using Syria to distract from the health care law. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
I`m not a conspiratorial person in any respect, but I do see a pattern
here, a pattern of distraction. Folks, we`re three and a half weeks away
from the beginning of the implementation of Obamacare. It`s getting zero
attention today. Zero. I don`t believe that`s a coincidence, but
coincidence or not, I`m not playing along.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I`m not a conspiracy theorist, but let me give you this
conspiracy. I mean, they have gotten hysterical. I mean, it`s hard to
even describe how outrageous some of this stuff is, Jamal.
SIMMONS: It is. Let`s keep in mind this is a big fundraising
strategy. The reality is the government -- I`m sure the president would
love to have more focus on the fact that enrollment starts October 1st and
people can start signing up. So, this Syria thing is not -- I don`t think
he takes it this lightly.
And for the Republicans, you know, you have the heritage foundation
that is out there, holding Republicans` feet to the fire. You got other
conservative groups that are out there. But let`s stay focused on the real
life people who really need this. There is a great story about a man in
Tennessee who, you know, is out shooting rabbits and squirrels to try to
feed his family, even though he has a job working as a mechanic. His
income is not enough. So he is using food stamps and shooting and hunting
small animals to feed his family. These are the kind of people who are
going to be helped when we have to have health care.
SIMMONS: These are the people we have to stay focused on and not get
caught up in the policies.
SHARPTON: That is what it is all about. And Governor Granholm,
nobody less than the former president Bill Clinton laid it out yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In Congress,
there have been 40 votes to repeal this law, but no real alternatives
presented to fix the current system. We are going to do better working
together and learning together than we will trying to over and over again
to repeal the law while rooting for reform to fail. We all get paid to
show up for work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Working together, making it work, rooting for it rather
than trying to make it fail. Since we never had a plan that would cover
these amount of people, Governor, wouldn`t this be the right thing on this
one to unite for the good of the American people?
GRANHOLM: Oh, I would say that`s the easiest question of the night,
Reverend Al, absolutely it would. And in fact, this is -- it is a moral
issue. It is an economic issue. It is a pro American issue. But it is by
far and away a people issue. Thirty million people now have opportunity to
be covered where as they wouldn`t have been before. Why in heck would we
take it away when this started as a Republican idea?
SHARPTON: Absolutely that`s where it started.
Governor Jennifer Granholm and Jamal Simmons, thank you both for your
time this evening.
SIMMONS: Thank you.
GRANHOLM: Thank you, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, Rush Limbaugh and his comrades on the right
launch a stunning new attack on millions of Americans trying to put food on
the table. You won`t believe what they` saying and what they`re doing.
Plus, a new series on some of the most hideous crimes in the country.
MSNBC`s Tamron Hall asks, how can these crimes be stopped from happening
again? That`s coming up.
SHARPTON: Is FOX News literally lobbying Congress to keep millions of
people off food stamps? A stunning new report about how the far right
media is putting politics above people. That`s next.
SHARPTON: We`re facing a hunger crisis in this country. A new
government report shows 49 million Americans don`t have reliable access to
food. This means one in seven families struggles to get enough to eat.
What do Republicans want to do? Cut the assistance we have, shred the
They`re pushing to cut $40 billion from the food stamp program, ending
assistance for up to six million people. It`s outrageous. But guess where
these Republicans get their talking points. Political reports. FOX News
is giving house lawmakers copies of its new documentary that attacks people
who use food stamps. Offices confirm copies of the video were dropped off
unsolicited. The report was full of garbage like this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The reality is that American poor people are not
malnourished. They in fact eat too much food.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: When the safety net becomes a hammock --
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The government has reached in to American
neighborhoods and says it`s OK to be dependent.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Shouldn`t there be at least some stigma?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Shouldn`t there be a stigma? What are they talking about?
Seventy six percent of the households that receive food stamps include
children, seniors, or disabled people. There should be a stigma for people
who attack a program that helps hungry kids.
Joining me now are Goldie Taylor and Nia-Malika Henderson. Thank you
both for your time.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, WASHINGTON POST: Thank you for having us.
GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It`s great to be here.
SHARPTON: Goldie, at a time when 49 million Americans struggle to get
enough to eat, how can Republicans and right wing pundits talk about
gutting food assistance?
TAYLOR: You know, it`s absolutely an incredulous thing that you have
one in seven people who live in homes that are food unstable, which means
they don`t know if they`re going to have enough to eat today or tomorrow
let alone next week. And that means that, you know, these people live next
door to you, to me, and to the Republicans who are looking to cut this.
You know, when what was called then the agricultural adjustment act
was passed during the depression, it really set the food policy for this
country, for its production and for its safety and for its consumption,
that we wanted a baseline to insure that we had a healthy, well nourished
economy, you know, full of people who could, you know, go to work and be
productive. And without this kind of safety net, you know, I really fear
that people are really going to fall beneath the margins that they`re
already really standing on.
SHARPTON: That`s what they`re saying in this documentary, that people
are eating too much. Nia-Malika, the right loves to talk about the waste
in food stamps. But a new report found that those receiving farm aids got
overpaid $20 million. They had no major overpayments in food stamps or
school national lunch programs. So Nia-Malika, when we start hearing
Republicans complains about the waste in farm aid?
HENDERSON: Unlikely. I mean, there are some Republicans who do look
at the farm assistance and feel like there are too many subsidies involved
in that. But primarily, they have been looking at food stamps, wanting to
cut, some want to cut them more. In fact, it`s hard to imagine that a bill
like this would pass the Senate. It will be debated this month. The
current bill expires on September 30. So I think we`re at the beginning of
a conversation about food stamps. And hopefully, it will reflect the
reality. If you look at a map of where people actually receive food
stamps, it`s primarily the majority of folks or the highest incidents of
people who receive food stamps are in states in the south, states like
Mississippi, Kentucky --
SHARPTON: So what`s the politics of that, Nia-Malika? How does that
play out politically?
HENDERSON: I mean, what this means is a lot of the people who are in
Congress now and the House Republicans, they are talking about people in
their own states who might be receiving $150 or so in food stamps. They`re
the working poor. Lots of them only use these food stamps, you know, they
only last up until about three weeks. Ninety percent of those folks will
have to at some point go to food banks. So I think if these cuts happen,
you`re going to see a lot of shifting to local governments who are going to
have to fund food banks because these folks are going to go poor.
HENDERSON: It doesn`t sound like a lot of money. It will be 30 bucks
a month or so that they`re going to cut back if these cuts go through. But
if you`re already struggling to get through the month, $30 is a lot of
SHARPTON: Yes, is a lot of money.
SHARPTON: You know, Goldie, you`re adding on top of this a real
meanness. The right attacks all the programs for the poor. For example,
today in North Carolina, the legislature rover rode a veto to start drug
testing welfare recipients. Even North Carolina`s far right governor was
against it, saying, quote, "Similar efforts in other states have proved to
be expensive for taxpayers and did little to actually help fight drug
addiction. It makes no sense to repeat those mistakes in North Carolina."
Expensive and not effective. Then why would those GOP lawmakers do it in
North Carolina, Goldie?
TAYLOR: No, this is a replay of the stigmas that we saw come to
growth in the `80s with the so-called welfare queen, people who are living
on -- feeding from the public trough that are eating too much, that are
driving Cadillacs and living in expensive homes and living off of our hard
earned tax dollars. And so there is a grand myth around this that really
drives the grassroots of the GOP. And I`ve seen it happen decade after
decade. At the end of the day, we really have to consider, though, that
the major growth and food stamp dependency is happening in red states.
That means that a lot of this came from the housing bust that we saw
over the last few years. The former middle class is now the working poor.
And so if we don`t provide a safety net for these people, we`re going to
have a permanent underclass in this country that would become more and more
dependent as time moves along. So it is incumbent upon us to do better for
the least of these, you know, so that it raises the tide for all of us.
SHARPTON: You know, Republicans on a state level is making it harder
for food assistance. For example, Kansas is adding a work requirement for
food stamp recipients which could end assistance for 20,000 people. Now
Nia-Malika, how is ending someone`s food assistance going to create new
HENDERSON: Well, it`s not. I mean, and already there is a work
requirement with food stamps. So, most states actually waive that for
able-bodied people who have no kids because the economy is so bad now.
People can`t find jobs. And you`re right. Just because there is now a
work requirement doesn`t mean that`s going create jobs. I think you`re
going to see a burden here, again, on those local food banks. You look at
a state like Maine, they are thinking about the children who are going to
be affected by this.
And they`re going to start sending a five to six pounds of food home
to kids who are on free and reduced lunch so that they can have food during
the weekends when school isn`t in session. Just because they cut this
money doesn`t mean that hunger is going to go away and the need to buy food
is going to go away.
SHARPTON: And it gives misinformation, because, Goldie, the pundits,
the right wing pundits are constantly attacking people who rely on food
stamps. Look at is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: The Obama administration is encouraging
parasites to come out and, you know, take as much as they can with no
remorse. And this is how a country declines. This is how we become a weak
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Why does the left promote
dependency? Fifty million or more on food stamps. This is their business
plan. This is how they stay in power.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: You think people are better off on food
stamps or are they better off with a job?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And what they will not deal with, Goldie, is that many of
the people on food stamps are working every day.
SHARPTON: The working poor is the ones that are the problems. They
are the ones with the problem.
TAYLOR: The worst kept secret is that there are members of our
military, men and women who serve this nation every day who don`t earn
enough not to qualify for food stamps. In fact, there is a stigma to
receiving food stamps. Thirteen million people who actually qualify for
food stamp programs or snap do not apply for the system one, because it`s
cumbersome and the verification requirements of all of these things, and
also the stigma attached to using food stamps or the snap card keeps people
away from getting the help that they really need. And Republicans really
aren`t helping solve the food problem by keeping people stigmatized.
SHARPTON: Goldie Taylor, Nia-Malika Henderson, thank you both for
HENDERSON: Thank you.
TAYLOR: Thank you for having us.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, Tamron Hall is here to talk about her new
series. It explores some of the most vicious crimes this country has seen,
crimes that have devastated communities. The question now, how can they be
stopped from happening again.
SHARPTON: Fifty years ago, the entire nation watched as hundreds of
thousands of people marched in Washington for jobs and justice. We`ve come
a long way since then, but there is more work to be done, and that`s why
I`m hosting a special show tomorrow night live from the legendary Apollo
Theater to celebrate our past and rally for our future. Join me along with
Magic Johnson, Stevie Wonder, Tyler Perry, and Condoleezza Rice for an
MSNBC special, "Advancing the Dream Live From the Apollo." We hear their
personal stories of struggle and success. It`s tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m.
Eastern Time. We hope to see you there.
SHARPTON: They`re the crime stories that have devastated communities
and left grieving families wondering what happened, and how they can be
stopped from ever happening again. From the case of the preppy killer, a
handsome private school student who murdered a young lover in central park,
to the abduction of Jaycee Dugard, the11-year-old who was kidnapped and
held captive for more than 18 years. Now a new investigation discovery
series is going beyond the headlines to discover what really happened and
MSNBC`s Tamron Hall joins a team of correspondents with extensive
knowledge of law enforcement. In each episode, they talk to detectives,
psychological profilers, even the criminals themselves to shed new light on
these cases. Like the story of an openly gay Missouri student, college
student found brutally murdered. Was it a hate crime or someone he was
involved with? What clues are still out there?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Jesse`s body is discovered 158 yards away from
his basement apartment. How did he get there? Whatever happened to Jesse
Valencia between his apartment and here only the killer knows. There were
You`ve got a streetlight literally on top of where his body was found.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, ma`am. And nobody saw anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now is Tamron Hall, the host of the new series
"Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall." She is also of course my colleague and
host of MSNBC`s "News Nation." Tamron, thanks for coming on the show
TAMRON HALL, HOST, "DEADLINE: CRIME WITH TAMRON HALL": Thanks for
having me. I really appreciate it.
SHARPTON: What made you want the get involved with a series like
HALL: You know, it`s so funny. We talk all the time about our lives
and how we grew up. And I was having a conversation with the CEO of
discovery communications, we`re talking about show ideas and some of my
interests. And like in most cases people ask about your family. And I
told him about my sister`s death, and that it was still an unsolved crime,
and how it affected my family, as with any family in this devastating way.
People say you should have closure. And I said to him closure doesn`t
HALL: People tell you that, but your life will forever be changed
once you lose a parent, a sister, a sibling, anyone, and especially in such
a horrible way. And we just started talking about that relationship, this
club of families, this very sad club of families where you have lost a
loved one. And it started from there.
SHARPTON: And you and have I talked about it. But tell us just a
little of what happened and why you bring that feeling and passion in to
this series that you now hosting?
HALL: With my sister, it was a Sunday morning. I got a call from my
mother. And she was crying on her way to church, and she said call your
father. Something has gone wrong. Something has happened. And I called
my dad. And he said in this very calm voice, here was my mother, just
wailing. And my father was very calm. And he said honey, can you call
down there and see what is going on to her home. And I called my sister`s
home, and there were homicide detectives at her home at the time.
She had been found face down in the swimming pool in her own backyard.
Her hair had been pulled, her nails had been torn off of her. And police
investigated the case, and they never charged anyone. And my father passed
away a few years later, and my mother always felt that he had this
incredible sense of loss, you know, your dad, and your job is to protect
your daughters. Your child, but especially that daddy/daughter
SHARPTON: That`s right.
HALL: And we believe that he of course took ill, but there was
heaviness on his heart. And this was a strong man who was in the military
for all of his adult life, and he had to deal with this loss.
SHARPTON: And you bring the kind of passion and identity with
victims` families to the show. One of the unresolved crimes in this series
is the disappearance of Shawndell McLeod.
SHARPTON: An ex-girlfriend, Joy is a suspect. Let`s take a listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Shawndell had to be to work that morning at 5:00.
I believe Shawndell was walking outside the house to get in her car and
that`s when she was abducted. By who? That`s the question. I have a few
people that are people of interest. But Joy is at the top of my list.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There is still no evidence tying Joy or anyone
else to Shawndell`s disappearance, and nobody has been charged with a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, this is still very much an unsolved mystery. Why was
it so important to profile this case?
HALL: Rev, this was important, because a third of all missing persons
are people of color. Forget this.
HALL: One-third. Twenty percent of the national media coverage goes
to those cases. And there is this notion that if you`re not white, blond,
a mom that you somehow don`t deserve this headline, or that people can`t
connect to you being a missing person. And there is an organization black
and missing that dedicate its resources and time, you`re very familiar with
it, to bring attention to say that if someone is missing, they deserve our
attention. And this is how this case came to our attention at deadline
SHARPTON: Now, what complicated this particular case is that she was
involved in another -- Shawndell was involved in another relationship at
HALL: She had two relationships going on. She had one with a woman,
and a second person involved in her life. And that complicated things.
And, you know, people say well, you know, there should be DNA and there
should it be easy to find this. When a suspect is someone you share a home
with, their DNA is all over. I learned through my sister`s death a lot
about criminal justice. And I`ve learned as being a journalist. I`ve been
working in television since I was 18-years-old. I interviewed a man who
was on death row for 25 years for a crime he didn`t commit. He had the
mental capacity of an 8-year-old child.
HALL: So while I believe in our justice system, I`ve seen it as a
reporter, and I`ve seen it as a sister where it can fail us. We should
believe in it, but it is flawed. And I`ve seen it in many capacities. And
in this case, I think the media shows that it is flawed when all of these
cases don`t get the attention they deserve, as with this Shawndell McLeod
SHARPTON: We have on television a lot of investigation cases and a
lot of investigation shows. What is different about this show other than
its Tamron Hall?
HALL: Listen, I`ll tell you this. When I interviewed the father of a
woman who was taken literally from her front door, and she is a mother of
two. And I said to him this is my journey, and I explained to him what my
family went through. This was a semi-truck driver, Midwest, salt of the
earth guy who broke down. And I think that he felt while people can tell
you they understand or they sympathize with you, when you`re in this
heartbreaking club, you know, of families who have had to experience this,
I think that it gives you a connection. And I believe and you know this.
I love people. I love talking to people. We prefer it in happy times.
But that`s not life. And I hope that that perspective is given.
SHARPTON: What do you hope that the show does to the public, to the
HALL: Well, a different goal. I mean, listen, Shawndell McLeod case,
I hope somebody comes forward and said hey, this is what happened.
Selfishly, I hope that someone hears about my sister and gives police the
information to solve that. But mostly I hope that it gives a voice. And
this is not to be a macabre, you know, crime drama. This is about real
life. And it`s awareness. I mean, some of these cases where a woman
fights back against her rapist, and that should tell women we should not be
silent victims. We can fight back and be aware that the likelihood of
something like this happening, yes, it`s slim to none, but it can. And we
must be aware. And in the case of women, we must fight back.
SHARPTON: What is -- are there any cases that really grabbed you as
just particularly gruesome, something that just bothered you?
HALL: Oh, they all have. But, you know, there is one that is airing
on Sunday. And there was a young boy who was openly gay, gone away from
college, the love of his mother`s life, the only child. He goes away and
his body is found just a few yards from his home that body sat out there,
Rev, for nearly a day. And the case that we follow to try to find who did
this to him, it broke my heart. And I think that people will really wonder
if justice was served here.
SHARPTON: And that will be on this Sunday?
HALL: This Sunday, yes.
SHARPTON: Tamron, thanks for coming on this show tonight.
HALL: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: And you can catch the new series "Deadline: Crime with
Tamron Hall" every Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern, 8 p.m. Central on
Friend or foe, I want to know. "Reply Al" is next.
SHARPTON: It`s time for "Reply Al." Remember, friend or foe, I want
to know. John writes, "Why couldn`t a charitable organization help the
poor and elderly in the states that are starting to restrict voting?"
Well, many did. Churches and other groups did. The real question,
though, is why is the government not doing what is right and what is
democratic to make sure those impediments are not there for those people?
It is very important that we have voting available to everyone. And yes,
private groups and nonprofits and civil rights groups and churches should
do what they can. But government should remove the impediments and make
sure we have a real democracy.
Aaron says, "Why is it Republicans oppose living off the government
that are also against fair minimum wage, affordable health care and
education funding among other things? Won`t these things make it easier
for people to get off of entitlements and be personally responsible?"
You`re absolutely right. At one level you help people to stand on
their own two feet. At another level, you won`t help them get on their own
two feet. You can`t have it both ways. We must be able to give people
what they need to stand up and be self-sufficient. Those that have not
been given the proper, fair opportunity and equal protection to do so.
Well, that`s all for tonight.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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