updated 11/4/2013 12:00:58 PM ET 2013-11-04T17:00:58

POLITICS NATION
October 31, 2013
Guest: Bernie Sanders, Jim McDermott, Goldie Taylor, Benjamin Crump,
Kenneth Johnson, Shaveen King

REV. AL SHARPTON, POLITICS NATION HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks
to you for tuning in.

Tonight`s Lead, like father like son. We`d come to expect extreme
talk from Texas Senator Ted Cruz and now we see the apple doesn`t fall far
from the tree. Mother Jones has uncovered new video of the senator`s
father Rafael Cruz.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAFAEL CRUZ: We have our work put out for us (ph). We need to send
Barack Obama back to Chicago. I`d like if we sent him back to Kenya back
to ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Send him back to Kenya? This wasn`t a one time joke.
Senator Cruz`s father has said similar things plenty of times after that
official Tea Party events.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAFAEL CRUZ: When Obama campaign in 2008 it was very, very clear that
he was (inaudible). One of the things in ObamaCare is that for the
elderly, every five years you must have end-of-life counseling,
translation, suicide counseling.

Not much different than that old (INAUDIBLE) friend that left behind
in Cuba. Governing by degree by executive order just like a dictator like
Fidel Castro.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is vile stuff. So why should anyone care what a
senator`s father says or thinks? Because Rafael Cruz himself is a rising
star in the GOP, a tea party hero who is a prime example of how extreme and
hateful towards President Obama the right wing has become. He does joint
interviews with his son. They speak at the same anti-Obamacare events.
They get the same adoring treatment from right wing talkers. And the
senior Mr. Cruz even gets shout outs from other far right senators.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MIKE LEE (R), UTAH: By the way, I see my friend Rafael Cruz,
Ted`s father, here with us this morning. Thank you, sir, for sending a
great son to Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Rafael Cruz does a lot more than just follow his son`s
career. The conservative national review says he is, quote, "not merely a
confidant and a stand-in, but a special envoy. And Senator Cruz uses his
father for the kind of guidance you`d expect from a consultant. The fact
is the fringe elements of the Republican Party aren`t fringe anymore.
Increasingly the extreme is becoming Mainstream. That`s why we saw Senator
Cruz and Sarah Palin speaking at the same rally as this guy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KLAYMAN, FREEDOM WATCH: We are now ruled, quote unquote, by a
president who bows down to Allah. Demand that this president leave town,
to get out, to put the Koran down, to get up off his knees, and to
figuratively come up with his hands out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This was a rally where a man waved a confederate flag
outside the White House. This is a party that welcomes candidates like
Chris McDaniel. He`s the Mississippi Republican running for Senate who`s
won endorsements from tea party groups like freedom works and Senate
conservative`s fund.

Earlier this summer, Mr. McDaniel spoke at a conference put on by a
neo-confederate group. And today`s Republican Party, that`s not a problem.
The extreme elements aren`t fringe anymore. They`re front and center for
the whole party and the whole world to see. It`s all in the family, GOP
style.

Joining me now are Krystal Ball and former Pennsylvania governor, Ed
Rendell. Thank you both for being here.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks for having us, Rev.

ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR, PENNSYLVANIA: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Governor, Senator Cruz is backing away from this video.
His office says these selective quotes taken out of context;
mischaracterize the substance of Pastor Cruz`s message. Pastor Cruz does
not speak for the senator, but calling the president a socialist, a
dictator, you know, joking about Kenya, does the senator have to do more to
address this and these statements by his father?

RENDELL: Sure he does. This is not Billy Carter who never did
anything, would never allow to campaign for Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter
couldn`t control Billy Carter. But Ted Cruz uses his father as a
(INAUDIBLE), sense about the campaign. So, he is directly responsible for
what his father says.

And those quotes are not taken out of context. If you read the entire
transcript of these things, it gets even worse. I mean, he says things
like, this is a Christian nation and the constitution says it`s a Christian
nation. Well, read it again, pastor Cruz. The constitution says we
establish no religion. And here we are Jews and Hindus and cops, and
Shiites, and Buddhists, and Muslims, and we are all types of religion. And
he says the Democratic Party promotes what`s contrary to the word of God.
From the word of God tells us to heal the sick, to feed the hungry, to
teach the children well. Those are principles the Democratic Party
believes in and actually puts money where our mouth is behind. So, I take
offense at a lot of what he says. And Ted Cruz ought to get to the
business of disavowing his father. Stop using him as a surrogate.

SHARPTON: But, this is an example, Krystal of how extreme has gone
Mainstream in the Republican Party. That`s really what`s troubling here.

BALL: Yes. I think that`s exactly right. I mean, when he delivers a
line like send the president back to Kenya, it`s a huge applause line.
It`s not like he`s out there on his own and no one`s supporting him. As
you pointed out, this guy has become a tea party darling.

SHARPTON: And how do you take that out of context?

BALL: How do you take that out -- seems like, you know, that was
pretty much what he meant in that moment. And so, I think he is sort of
the perfect embodiment of what the tea party actually believes. And one
piece of this that`s interesting is when the tea party first came into
being in 2009 as a backlash against this president; their whole line was,
you know, we are just concerned about economic issues. We don`t care about
the social issues. We`re just concerned about economic issues.

In truth, they`ve been very concerned with the social issues and
they`ve been far right in terms of their religious believes as well.
Rafael Cruz represents that melding of these sorts of extreme right wing
economic populism and the extreme religious right. He perfectly voices
what is going on with that strand of American politics. And Ted Cruz is
exploiting it for his benefit.

SHARPTON: And he`s on important factor.

You know, governor, in case we weren`t sure how important he was,
listen to Rush Limbaugh, what he says about Rafael Cruz, Senator Cruz`s
father.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Ted Cruz, the senator from
Texas, is a great conservative. He is a good speaker. He`s a good orator.
It turns out he gets it from his dad. This guy knocking it out of the
park, Rafael Cruz, the father of Ted Cruz --.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, that`s basically a right wing seal of approval from
the head of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh. But it`s not just Rafael
Cruz and Ted Cruz. All of the extremism has made its way to the halls of
Congress because members openly make birther comments like this. Watch
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKE COFFMAN (R), COLORADO: I don`t know whether Barack Obama
was born in the United States or not. I don`t know that. But I do know
this. That in his heart he`s not American. He`s just not an American.

REP. CLIFF STEARNS (R), FLORIDA: All I can tell you is that the
general consensus is that he has produced a birth certificate. Question
is, is it legitimate?

REP. VICKY HARTZLER (R), MISSOURI: I mean, if someone asked for my
birth certificate, I`d go and get it out and say here it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So all of these outrageous statements, governor, by members
of Congress. I mean, again the extreme going mainstream in the Republican
Party.

RENDELL: Sure. These aren`t citizens who go to a rally and say
something. These are elected officials who bear the Republican Party right
across their chest. And it`s alarming in one sense, Reverend, but also
sort of heartening in another sense. Because the more they ratchet up this
rhetoric, the more this hate and divisiveness spews out, the more it`s
going to draw independent voters and moderate Republican voters away from
the Republican party and its candidates.

It`s a terribly damaging, terribly damaging thing for the Republican
Party to have someone out there saying we`re a Christian nation. Michigan
has a large number of Muslim Americans who are a very important voting
black in Michigan. You want to offend them. You want to offend Jewish
voters? I mean, it makes no sense.

And independent voters tend to be reasonable people who look and
listen in here. And when they hear this stuff and it`s not disavowed, that
was the point you made at the beginning. If Ted Cruz was smart, he would
disavow his dad in as kind of words as he can. But he would say, look.
The president isn`t from Kenya. He`s born in the United States. He`s a
U.S. citizen. He`s not a Muslim. He`s a Christian. Let`s move on to some
important economic issues.

SHARPTON: Well, without doing that, Krystal, the Republican Party is
narrowing its tent. At a time when it`s in huge trouble, I mean, the new
NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll asks who they would choose as their member
of Congress, 35 percent said Democrats, 30 percent said third-party
candidate, 28 percent said Republican. I mean, how much trouble is this
party in?

BALL: A huge amount. And it`s even worse, actually, than those
numbers show. I asked Mark Murray today who made up that 30 percent that
wants a third-party member of Congress. And he said that the biggest block
of those was actually Republicans who were not tea party affiliated. So,
these are the more mainstream Republican who is frustrated with their own
party. So the numbers are even worse than that looks.

And the fact of the matter is as much as Mitch McConnell or John
Boehner might say that we are not headed to another showdown, we`re not
headed to another shutdown like we just experienced, Ted Cruz hasn`t
changed his rhetoric at all. And he still wants to hold this country
hostage over Obamacare. He still wants to be the leaders of the lemmings
with suicide vests as one Republican member of Congress called them. And
he was the only one that wanted to do this the last time around. So, I
don`t see how the Republican Party gets out of this endless cycle of
continuing purity tests and continue meandering further and further to the
right.

SHARPTON: Krystal ball and former governor --

RENDELL: I was about to say that`s a great point. This is going to
be a big test for the Republican Party coming up in January.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it.

Former governor Ed Rendell, Krystal Ball again, thanks you both for
being here.

And be sure to catch Krystal on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
eastern right here on MSNBC.

Ahead, big news in Georgia. There`s now a federal investigation into
the mysterious death of high school student Kendrick Johnson. I`ll speak
live with his parents.

Plus, here comes Palin and Bachman shredding the truth about this
president. Not so fast.

And why the right wingers are using Spongebob, yes, Spongebob to
attack the safety net? You`ll want to see this one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The right wing is so desperate that it`s actually using
Spongebob to make its latest argument. But what they`re doing isn`t
child`s play. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The right wingers found a new hero in its war against the
poor, Spongebob Squarepants. That`s right, Spongebob Squarepants. The GOP
is now using the lovable cartoon sea sponge as a new way to attack the
safety net.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re fired.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. So here`s the story. The harsh economic
climate has hit the underwater community. After 14 years of flipping
crabby patties, Spongebob is fired from his job. Instead of mooching all
of social service of bikini bottom, that`s town, Spongebob sets out to
return to the workforce.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: OK. So a sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea
doesn`t need government help. That means no one does? Republicans need to
get a life. And life isn`t a cartoon. In fact, what`s going on now is
appalling.

Tomorrow, 47 million Americans will see their food stamp benefits cut,
47 million Americans. They`re not moochers. Eighty-seven percent of those
households include children, seniors, or the disabled, 900,000 of those
people are veterans. They served their country and now need some help.
Yet I don`t see Senator Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin out rallying for them.

I guess they only come to the aid of veterans when it`s a good photo
op, when it`s politically convenient. Mothers, children, the disabled,
vets, those who are the people who may go hungry starting tomorrow and yet
our Republican Congress wants those people to give more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: I`ll continue to work with my colleagues
to implement reforms in the SNAP program to cut back on waste, fraud, and
abuse.

REP. MIKE CONAWAY (R), TEXAS: Asking people to work in return for
food stamp programs is not any form of cruel or unusual punishment. The
dignity of work has long been a pretty common theme throughout all the
ages.

REP. RANDY NEUGEBAUER (R), TEXAS: Why does the safety net need
reform? Because people are getting spangled up and stock in it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Hear that? The disabled are getting tangled in the safety
net, hungry kids. They must be part of the program`s waste. For years
now, the GOP has villainies the poor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: There is dignity in
work. The reforms made by this bill will put people on the path to self-
sufficiency and independence.

The dignity of the job is what things should be about in these
programs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Do you know what the ironic thing about that is? What`s
ironic about that is congressman cantor controls the GOP`s legislative
calendar. He`s decided that the house GOP should work just 16 more days
between now and the end of the year. Funny, where`s all this talk about
the dignity of hard work now?

Joining me now is Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Senator, thank you for joining me tonight.

Tomorrow, Senator, millions of Americans will see their food benefits
cut. How can you explain that to viewers?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, you know, I find it
interesting that our Republican friends talk about the dignity of work.
Well, I agree with that. And that`s why in this country we need to create
millions and millions of decent-paying jobs. Unfortunately, Al, virtually
every effort we have made to rebuild the infrastructure, create jobs
through energy efficiency, create a veterans` jobs bill, every one of those
efforts to create jobs has been beaten back and filibustered by the
Republicans.

Meanwhile, what`s happening in America economically is the middle
class continues to shrink. More and more people are becoming low income.
We have 46.5 million Americans today living in poverty, more than any time
in history. We have 22 percent of our kids living in poverty, the highest
rate of poverty in the industrialized world.

So, what these guys are doing are really going to war against seniors,
against the kids, against working families who are trying to get by on
nine, 10 bucks an hour who just can`t feed their families.

Meanwhile, these very same guys fighting against job programs, wanting
to give more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. It is totally
obscene.

SHARPTON: But, you know, Senator, the food stamp cuts that will hit
tomorrow will slash about $5 billion from the program. Now, that`s less
than the $6.9 billion we spent in fighter jet contracts just this year
alone. And get this. It`s a fighter jet program that the Pentagon doesn`t
even want. Why don`t they cut it from there?

SANDERS: Oh, well, Al, I guess the answer has something to do with
poor people and working people do not make large campaign contributions.
Our military industrial contractors do. Billionaires do. The fact of the
matter is that not only are we going to look at a major cut in food stamps
tomorrow as you well know, the Republican bill -- farm bill passed in the
house calls for another $40 billion in cuts over the next ten years. So
these guys at a time when many of our kids are facing real challenges
getting the food they need, the nutrition they need, these guys are going
to war against the kids. They want more and more for the military and more
tax breaks for the rich. That is really -- that is incredible.

SHARPTON: You know, Republicans have also been against raising the
minimum wage. But that`s barely enough to get by. I mean, do the math.
Salary for full-time minimum wage worker is just $15,000 a year. The
average rent for one-bedroom apartment is more than $13,000. How are
people supposed to afford things like food and clothes?

SANDERS: Al, let me just tell you. I mean, you`re absolutely right.
But let me tell your viewers something. It is not just the Republicans are
fighting our effort to raise the minimum wage. Many of them want to
abolish the concept of the minimum wage. They think, this is true, that
$7.25 an hour is too much. And if you`re in a high unemployment area,
Detroit or someplace else and an employer offers somebody $4 on hour or $3
an hour, that`s freedom, Al. That`s getting the government off the backs
of employers and workers to have people working for three or four bucks an
hour.

So, what`s you`re looking at a real class warfare going on here, a
real tax against the working class, low income people to benefit the
wealthy and multinational corporations.

SHARPTON: Senator Bernie Sanders, thank you for your time this
evening.

And let me just say, tomorrow when millions of people are cut in the
food stamp programs, children, seniors, veterans. It`s disgusting. It is
not the America that all of us want to see. And particularly for those who
are the most vulnerable at the beginning of life and the end of life. And
for those who serve this country at the risk of their lives to be cast to
the side like that is nothing short of despicable.

Still ahead, America`s leading expert on women`s health, Rush Limbaugh
is back with some jaw-dropping comments about breast pumping and birth
control.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Coming up, the murder mystery in Georgia, important
developments today in the death of the student in his high school
gymnasium. We may now get answers as to what actually happened.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: A stunning moved by Senate Republicans today, blocking two
of President Obama`s key nominees. One is Patricia Millett, a judge up for
the spot on the prestigious D.C. Circuit Court who served both under both
Democratic and Republican presidents. The other is Congressman Mel Watt,
the president`s pick to lead a federal housing agency. He`s a respected
member of Congress who has the support from the business community. But to
Republicans, blocking these two appointments are just another way to try to
hurt President Obama. We`ve seen it again and again on issue after issue
with this Republican Party. They have such antipathy for this president
and his agenda, they root for his failure. Even if it`s bad for the
country. They`ll do anything. Even mistake the facts. Here`s what GOP
leaders said this week about government spending.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: This debt, it weighs on our economy
right now today. But right now, we`re not doing much about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Our country is on an unsustainable fiscal course.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: For the past five years, we have had record
deficits.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Record deficits for the past five years? The senator
conveniently left out some major information. Under President Obama,
deficits have gone down five straight years. The fastest drop since World
War II. Down $409 billion since 2012. Republicans are quiet about that,
but they`re still making stuff up about health care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: What I want is the finest possible
health care for America that we can have. We did have fabulous health
care, and I think we can again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Almost 50 million Americans lacked coverage before
ObamaCare. And it was fabulous? When you`re desperate for the president
to fail, you really will do and say anything. Well, we`re not going to
fall for it or let them get away with it.

Joining me now is Congressman Jim McDermott democrat from Washington
and MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor. Thank to both of you for joining me.

GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Congressman, some Republicans want to pretend coverage in
America used to be fabulous. I mean, how do you deal with that?

MCDERMOTT: Well, you know, Al, it`s really tough when they want to
argue with their own -- they make up their own facts. If you look at the
numbers out of the World Health Organization or you look out of any set of
numbers about where the United States ranks, we do not have the best health
care system in the country. We have access to the best if you have money.
If you have insurance. But if you don`t have insurance, you don`t have
preventive care. You don`t have anything until you`re suddenly in the
emergency room in a dire mess. And that`s what America is really all
about. Is taking people -- care of them when they get sick. Not in
preventing illness or encouraging wellness. If we did that, we would have
the best health care in the world.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Goldie, Rush Limbaugh the head of the party
said today that -- let me let you hear what he said about the Affordable
Care Act for yourself. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: All it does is drive up prices
like breast pumps and birth control pills and wellness plans. I mean, all
of that stuff. All of this touchy, feely, liberal do-good stuff that ought
never be part of insurance. Buy your own birth control pill. Buy your own
breast pump. Why? That`s not a health issue. That`s not insurance. It`s
welfare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, I don`t know if it gets any more outrageous than
that, Goldie.

GOLDIE: You know, this really is the year of magical thinking for the
GOP really like no other. To say that breast pumps and birth control pills
are not preventive care, it`s really sort of living in another world.
You`re entitled to certainly your own opinion but certainly not your own
fact. Certainly with breast pumps that encourage early childhood nutrition
goes a long way towards building a healthy individual who can be productive
in this society and be more productive economically. And so, you know,
these are the kinds of things that we need to invest in as a country rather
than coming in on the back end when someone is already sick.

When someone is already facing catastrophic incidences in our nation`s
ERs which themselves drive up health care costs like no other thing in this
country. I`ll say something else. Health care costs alone are the number
one driver of financial distress in this country for families. The number
one cause of divorce in this country for families is financial distress.
And so this is the party of families, then they ought to be about the
family of providing -- the party providing affordable health care for all
families.

SHARPTON: You know, Congressman, Goldie said we can have different
opinions, not different facts. Well, you know, Sarah Palin never let facts
get in her way. Especially when it comes to attacking ObamaCare. Listen
to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Of course there are death
panels. And they`re getting rid of the socialized health care coverage
policy of Barack Obama`s. Not only does it strip away our freedoms as
Americans, but ObamaCare will bankrupt so many businesses and it will
continue to add to the bankruptcy of our nation already $17 trillion in
debt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, how do we deal with these kinds of statements and
could you tell us the fact, Congressman, will this contribute -- ObamaCare
-- as Sarah Palin charged to the debt of this country?

MCDERMOTT: Absolutely not, Al. The fact is that if you give people
preventive care, it`s much cheaper to take my blood pressure and to give me
some pills to take care of my high blood pressure than it is to take care
of my stroke. A stroke incident will take $100,000 or $200,000 whereas for
a few bucks you could prevent that. And the same is true with heart
disease and with diabetes and all the chronic diseases with a very little
bit of money up front in prevention and providing good nutrition to people.
You can prevent a lot of what we wind up spending thousands and thousands
of dollars in the emergency room.

I mean, you take care of women`s health care. If a woman has tests
for a vaginal cancer or cervical cancer or whatever, that costs very
little. But if you wind up having surgery, it`s a big expense. And
cancer, chemotherapy and radiation and all of that is very expensive. So
prevention is what you get when you have health insurance. You can go to
the doctor when you sense there`s the beginning of a problem.

SHARPTON: You know, Goldie, the right wing pundits said that they
actually cheered really the government shutdown and said that there was no
downside. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: He wants to convince you that if the
economic state of the union gets worse it`s because of the government
shutdown. Not true. The reason the economy remains stagnant is ObamaCare.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: People are probably going to realize they can
live with a lot less government than what they thought they needed.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Another thing that GOP leadership needs to do is
remind the public this is not Armageddon. This is a pinprick.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think the American people have seen the
government slowdown not shutdown.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Maybe I`m one of the few people, I`m
just not -- this doesn`t impact me mentally. We`ve had 17 government
shutdowns, governor. I`m not afraid of a couple of weeks of government
being shut down.

BACHMANN: We`re really very energized today. We`re very strong.
This was about the happiest I`ve seen members in a long time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, $24 billion this cost us, Goldie, to shut down.
Doesn`t mean anything. Doesn`t mean anything.

TAYLOR: Twenty four billion dollars, but Sean Hannity cannot process
how a shutdown would impact him. Well, certainly it doesn`t impact him
because he isn`t drawing his check from government. But those people who
are on the federal payroll, those people, hard working people who go to the
office every day and work on behalf of the American people, it was more
than a pinprick for them to lose week`s worth of pay. Some 17 times this
country has shut down its government. And so it does have real impacts on
very real people.

And another thing, if you are going to shut down the government, that
means that you are not investing in new jobs in this country. The number
one way to decrease the deficit in this country is to put people back to
work. You have more taxpaying citizens and you can expand what people are
able to do in their daily lives. And so I think the Republicans are
attacking this once again from the wrong end of the problem. What they
ought to be doing is about investing in the American people. For instance,
they wanted to cut the SNAP program. That`s going to impact 5,000 active
duty military servicemen and women. That`s going to impact 92,000 retired
veterans who depend on those benefits to make their way. And so if they`re
going to have this conversation, let`s have the whole conversation and not
leave anything out.

SHARPTON: Congressman Jim McDermott and Goldie Taylor, thank you both
for your time tonight.

TAYLOR: Thank you.

MCDERMOTT: Good to see you again.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Rudy Giuliani just loves the stop and frisk
policy. Tonight introducing to the facts.

But first, the Fed`s launch an investigation into the suspicious death
of a student athlete found inside a gym wrestling mat. We`ll have a live
interview with the victim`s parents next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We have new information on an important story. Today a
federal prosecutor in Georgia announced he is opening an investigation into
the circumstances surrounding the death of Kendrick Johnson, the 17-year-
old whose body was found in a rolled up mat in his high school gym in
January.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL MOORE, U.S. ATTORNEY: My objective is to discover the truth,
and I believe that can only be done by gathering all of the evidence and
relevant information surrounding Mr. Johnson`s death. I am committed to
doing everything in my power to answer the questions that exist in this
case or as many of them as we can.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: There are many questions. Authorities ruled the death an
accident saying Johnson suffocated inside the mat while reaching for a
sneaker. But Johnson`s parents never believed that. They say he was
murdered, and they launched an effort to reopen the case. I was with the
family in May as part of their attempts to get the case fully examined
which is what is finally happening now. New surveillance video shows
Kendrick was not alone in the gym.

On the tape you see Kendrick walking into the gym and onto the
basketball court where other students were playing. If he wasn`t alone in
the gym, wouldn`t someone have heard him if he was in trouble inside that
mat? It`s a mystery that federal authorities may now get to the bottom of.

Joining me now are Kendrick`s parents. Kenneth and Jacqueline Johnson
and their attorneys Benjamin Crump and Shaveen King. Thank you all for
being here tonight.

KENNETH JOHNSON, KENDRICK`S FATHER: Thank you.

Benjamin Crump: Thank you.

CHEVENE KING, JOHNSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: First of all, let me again extend my condolences to you
Kenneth and Jacqueline. Your son`s death was ruled an accident, you don`t
believe that. Why?

KENNETH JOHNSON: Because from the very beginning, two days later
after I viewed his body, you can actually look down and tell that something
had occurred.

SHARPTON: Now, the prosecutor said today -- listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOORE: Facts, not feelings or opinions now matter how sincere they
may be are the basis of the legal investigation. I do this with an open
mind neither accepting nor rejecting the opinions of anyone who has
previously investigating the circumstances of his death.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Let me ask you parents, what do you hope the investigation
discovers and will you accept the outcome of the investigation whichever
way it goes?

KENNETH JOHNSON: Well, as long as it come out, the truth about what
happened to Kendrick, we`ll accept it. But it`s got to be the truth.
Because for a long time, you know, we`ve just been -- that`s all we ever
asked for was the truth.

SHARPTON: Attorney King, what is it that you`re looking for. You`ve
been in this case and moved a lot to get the family to this point. What do
you hope will come out of this federal investigation?

KING: Well, in the first instant, Reverend Al, we are looking for a
investigation that we can believe in. One that demonstrates a sincere
interest in identifying the persons responsible for Kendrick`s death. Who
can produce evidence of what exactly happened if it was an accident which I
don`t believe that it was. But if it was an accident, then, of course,
there ought to be proof that the investigation could produce for the
parents and for the public quite frankly to look at and say, OK, I
understand that as strange as the theory that the sheriff`s offered may
sound, it turns out to be the truth.

But in the absence of that, we have no faith in the investigation done
thus far. We are enthused about what the U.S. attorney announced today.
However, we are going to still go forward in pursuing our own investigation
and making as much information as we can possibly produce available to the
U.S. attorney.

SHARPTON: Attorney Crump, the thing that struck me when I was there
and talked to the parents is that there was an injury on the head that does
not -- that seemed to be inconsistent with the findings. What is it that
you found that was -- when you came into the case that was so compelling
that made you question the findings of local authorities?

CRUMP: Well, other than the obvious ridiculous explanation given by
the sheriff`s department that he climbed into a wrestling mat, got stuck,
and died, Reverend Sharpton. It was the fact that there was so many things
like his clothes were missing that had blood and DNA evidence -- that would
have been important on him. His nails were cut back that could have been
skin and DNA possibly to tell what happened. But the worst of all Reverend
Sharpton, when they dug this child up for the second autopsy, his organs
were missing. That would have provided vital evidence --

SHARPTON: His organs were missing?

CRUMP: His organs were missing. His brain, his heart. You know,
they thought they buried their whole child. Turned out they only buried
half a child. And so we got to find out what happened to Kendrick Johnson.
This is a murder mystery and unfortunately the victim is real, it`s jacking
Ken`s child.

SHARPTON: Now, Ken, the community there black and white is rallying
with you. I remember seeing hundreds of people and there certainly is a
lot of help in the community tonight. But at the end of the day if, in
fact, people were in that gym that night, and in that gym that day you`re
sawing that, and do know something and they are watching the show tonight,
what would you say to those young people that were in that gym tonight now
that there`s an official federal inquiry that it`s been announced. What
would you as a father want to say to them?

KENNETH JOHNSON: I would like to say to them that Kendrick could have
been their brother or relative. You know? They don`t have to be afraid no
more. Just come out and tell the truth and tell what really happened.

SHARPTON: Attorney King, do you think that now that the federal
government rather than local authorities involved that if someone knows
something, they may feel more comfortable to come forward and say something
if in fact those type of people or person exists?

KING: Absolutely, Reverend Al. I think that now that there is a
force that would be in this investigation and hopefully there in the
community, that it would ease people`s fears and cause them to step forward
and volunteer whatever information they may have.

SHARPTON: Kenneth and Jacqueline Johnson, again our sympathy and best
wishes for whatever the outcome that it be fair and just. Benjamin Crump,
Chevene King, Attorneys, thank you very much. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: A moment of history today on Capitol Hill. New Jersey`s
Cory Booker was sworn in as the newest senator from New Jersey. Just the
fourth African-American ever elected to that chamber in American history.
He got a standing ovation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: May you well and faithfully discharge the duties of
the office in which you`re about to enter, so help you God.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: I do.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Congratulations, senator. Welcome.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Later his mother and whole family joined him for the
ceremonial swearing in and Senator Booker met with President Obama himself
in the Oval Office. I`ve known Cory Booker a long time. I`ve watched him
fight for the good people of Newark. He joined me on stage at our live at
the Apollo show. And tonight I just want to say, congratulations, senator.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Two months ago a judge ruled that the stop and frisk
program of the New York City Police Department was unconstitutional. And
since then its supporters have been scrambling to defend the indefensible.
Today an appeals court stayed the ruling. And we will be carefully
watching where the case goes. It makes it even more important we are clear
about the facts. Unlike former Mayor Rudy Giuliani who went on FOX News
last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: The reality is that stop
and frisk and four or five other programs that I started with Bill Bratton
and continued with Howard Safir and Bernie Kerrick and then taken over by
Mike and Ray Kelly has saved 20,000 lives, 10,000 lives. I mean,
tremendous number of lies.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: They think it`s racist.

GIULIANI: You know the lives that were saved? Eight out of ten
African-Americans lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Stop and frisk has saved the lives of thousands of African-
Americans in New York. Really? Well, here are the facts. Since 2002, 86
percent of those stopped were black or Latino. But 88 percent of these
stops did not result in an arrest or a summons. In other words, they were
stopped for nothing. Stop and frisk hasn`t saved lives. It`s made
innocent people feel like criminals. The victims of this program post
their videos online to show what stop and frisk is really all about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Why did you stop and frisk me? I got it. Why did
you stop and frisk me? I`m going to give him my ID, relax. Don`t touch
me, man.

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE MAN: Give me your -- ID.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Officer, don`t touch me, man. Listen, I was going
to give him my ID. I`m not moving.

(INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: There are better, smarter ways to reduce crime than to
target innocent people because of the color of their skin. I fight hard
against violence, against gun violence in all communities including the
black community. But you don`t scapegoat people with profiling and make
those that are already afraid of criminals also afraid of police. You put
police and community together to bring crime down. And that is the way we
raise a society and young people in a society with mutual respect. And
having low crime figures. That`s where we need to go.

Also tonight a step towards justice for Marissa Alexander who could
get out of jail as soon as next Friday. She`s the Florida mother sent to
prison for 20 years after firing a warning shot at her abusive husband.
She tried to claim a stand your ground defense but was denied. An example
of the unfair applications of that unjust law. Well, today a judge set a
new date for her trial. March 31st. And he set a bond hearing for next
Friday. In just a few days she could be out of jail and back with her
friends and family. Marissa`s case has sparked a national outcry.
Igniting a grassroots movement to set her free. And change the unjust
stand your ground law.

We`ll be watching. These hearings and proceedings. And hope justice
will finally be served. When we look at Marissa Alexander, a woman who
was, in fact, threatened by her husband and who had had several peace
warrants against him, here was a woman obviously who hurt no one, shot
nobody, shot at no one. Doing 20 years in jail. It shows how ludicrous it
is to have stand your ground laws that protect people who shoot and then
others that fire warning shots that have a history of being abused. And
they get 20 years in jail.

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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