updated 12/13/2013 12:41:49 PM ET 2013-12-13T17:41:49

POLITICS NATION
December 12, 2013
Guest: Angela Rye, Margie Omero, James Peterson, Faith Jenkins, Darren
Kavinoky

REV. AL SHARPTON, POLITICS NATION HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to
you for tuning in. Tonight`s lead, breaking news from Washington. Any
moment now, the House will begin voting on a new budget deal that rolls
back some of the worst abuses of the Republican sequester cuts. It`s
expected to pass despite opposition from Tea Party extremists.

It`s the first bipartisan budget deal in 15 years. It restores funding to
programs like Head Start and Meal on Wheel -- Meals on Wheels. And it
helps avoid another GOP government shutdown. Tonight`s votes sets up a big
new battle in the fight for fairness extending jobless benefits for 1.3
million Americans. That is set to expire just three days after Christmas.
It won`t be easy.

Republicans are making it clear that protecting families from a brutal
holiday hit isn`t a GOP priority.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, they wanted to
put this in this agreement without any offsets which would have blown a $25
billion hole in our savings. It was a last-minute request with no offsets.
So, we didn`t see that as particularly very serious.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s not serious to help over a million struggling Americans?
He can`t be serious.

All day Democrats have vowed to keep fighting for these benefits even
though they`re not included in this budget.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DAVID CECILLINE (D), RHODE ISLAND: It is an absolute disgrace that
this body would even consider leaving town without finishing our work and
ensuring that we address the needs of the long-term unemployed.

REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: We are talking about people`s lives. We
are talking about people living on the edge.

REP. SANDER LEYIN (D), MICHIGAN: People who have been laid off through no
fault of their own. The answer from house Republicans is this, an empty
box.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Let us vote to provide for
unemployment insurance for working men and women and the people. We cannot
allow this to happen in this season of joy and giving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She`s right. People are suffering and we can`t let it happen.

In the coming days and weeks, expect a major push on jobless benefits.
It`s part of a progressive agenda that also includes stopping Republicans
from slashing $40 billion from food stamps and passing an increase the
federal minimum wage. Tonight`s budget rolls back some of the worst
Republican cuts, but it`s just the first step.

Joining me now are Krystal Ball and Angela Rye.

Thank you both for being here.

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

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Krystal, what will it take to force Republicans to help 1.3
million Americans losing unemployment benefits right after Christmas?

BALL: Sadly, I don`t think that we`re going to see them give in on
something that seems so obvious and is s badly in need. One thing that
Ezra Klein is writing about this week is the fact that we`ve actually seen
the ranks and the short term unemployed go back to pre-recessionary levels.

But the long-term unemployed are still in a crisis. Those levels of people
who haven`t been able to find a job and because they`ve been out of work
for a long period of time, they have an even harder time finding a job.
Those numbers are still really high. It`s a crisis that the Republicans
have no answer for. They don`t want to help these people. They don`t have
an answer for how to get them back to work. They just have no plan to deal
with it at all. They think by cutting them off, in their words, that
they`ll have further incentive t find a job. These are people who are
already looking for a job and the job is not there for them.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Angela, you worked around Congress on the hill
for awhile. Explain to me tea party Congressman Mick Mulvaney attacked
this new budget because it doesn`t cut enough. Here`s what he said.

This bill is not designed to get our vote. This bill is designed to pass
with bipartisan support in the House.

So it`s bad to get bipartisan support? I mean, it`s an amazing attitude.
Don`t you think, Angela?

RYE: Well, you know Rev., that the tea party resurrected its ugly head,
its rugged ugly head in 2010 because we have a black partisan. So, they`re
allergic to all kinds of "B" words like Barack Obama and he`s black. I
mean, there`s all these "B" words, right? So, they are not in support of
anything that would pass the House and give the president what they would
deem as a win.

We`ve seen them obstruct. We`ve seen them protest. We`ve seen them shut
down the government. And we know that, you know, even though this is a
very painful bill for even Democrats, they are doing this because it`s
better than the alternative which is putting other families out.

SHARPTON: And they have started voting on this budget as we speak. It`s
expected to pass, but they have began voting.

Go ahead, Angela. I`m sorry.

RYE: No, you are OK. The vote will probably vote right around 6:20. What
you will see on this bill, Rev., is bipartisan support. You did see the
Democrats oppose the rule earlier today. And the reason for that was it
was a way for them to protest and say look, we`re going to participate in
this process, but we have not forgotten that you once again Grinch`s who
stole Christmas, who happened to be Republicans, that you`re leaving
millions of people or 1.3 million people out in the cold for Christmas by
not extending the unemployment benefit.

SHARPTON: Right on that point, Krystal, Congressman Bob Woodall today
accused Democrats of quote " show boating by calling for an extension to
unemployment benefits." Listen to Woodall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BOB WOODALL (R), GEORGIA: Anything short of a bipartisan, bicameral
solution is show boating for those folks who are hurting. Not doing a dag
gum thing to help them. We don`t need show boating in this institution,
Mr. Speaker. We need results.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Show boating 1.3 million people that would be out of their
unemployment benefits. That is all they have. Many of them really out
there trying to find work have been trying for a long period of time. And
you call it show boating?

BALL: Yes. Well, the Republican caucus would know something about show
boating. And certainly Senator Ted Cruz with his fake filibusters and
their willingness to lie to their base about what they`re up to. But
Democrats are absolutely serious about doing what they can to get an
extension of benefits for people who are badly, badly needing it, who are
out there working hard, doing their best to get their feet on the ground,
to try to get things going and there`s nothing there for them.

So, to call it show boating, it`s an insult to Democrats but more to the
point, it`s an insult to those 1.3 million Americans who are counting on
this Congress to do something.

SHARPTON: But Angela, the other part of that is extending unemployment
benefits also helps the economy.

RYE: That`s right.

SHARPTON: It would add about 310,000 new jobs over the next year by
boosting consumer demand for goods and services. People spend money when
they have money.

RYE: That`s exactly right, Rev. And the other thing is I know Ezra Klein
earlier, you know, Krystal also mentioned this, he compared the
unemployment benefit to tax cuts. Those things both help the economy. And
I`m just -- I`m puzzled by when unemployment became a partisan issue.

There are unemployed Republicans. There are unemployed independents. And
of course, there are unemployed Democrats. This is a bipartisan issue.
This should not be about a win or a loss for the president. This should be
about collectively working to address the woes of the American economy.

BALL: And they`ve become so cynical that everything in their minds is
about a win or a loss for the president. So they can`t grant him even this
one thing. And unfortunately, we`re in a situation with the deal that was
just struck where because Republicans are seen as the less reasonable
party, that actually gives them more leverage going into negotiations.

SHARPTON: No. But they are definitely unreasonable when it comes to
anything with the president and I think that it is bizarre. But what is
even more bizarre is that they`re hurting people.

I mean, you take tea party Congressman Raul Labrador. He`s the later
Republican to oppose raising the federal minimum wage. Here`s what he
says.

That`s how you make it up the chain. It`s not by demanding that minimum
wage is raised. It`s by actually acquiring the skills. That`s the way
that people get ahead in life.

What is he talking about? Is he saying that people that are working at
minimum wage are less, have no skills? I mean, the presumption there is
alarming.

BALL: I want to know what country he`s living in and what people he`s
talking to because the folks I`m talking to who are earning minimum wage,
who are in low wage jobs, they are doing everything they possibly can,
working hard every day to better themselves and do what they can to get
ahead in this economy. But those are the jobs that are available. And if
we don`t respect the dignity of work and respect the fact that work should
pay and you should be able to support yourself and your family when you`re
working a full-time job, I mean, that`s the country that I know.

SHARPTON: Krystal Ball, Angela Rye, I`m going to have to leave it there.
Thank you both very much.

And catch Krystal on "the Cycle" week days at 3:00 p.m. right here on
MSNBC.

We are -- don`t forget, the vote is going on now around this bipartisan
budget.

We`re going to take a break. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news from Washington. House lawmakers are now voting
on what would be the first bipartisan budget deal in 15 years. It`s
expected to pass. A big setback for the tea party and a big step forward
for President Obama`s agenda. We`ll be covering that.

Also ahead, President Obama said the tea party fever would break. Today
Speaker Boehner erupted. New numbers show the tea party is losing steam.

Plus Obamacare is working and Democrats are about to run on it. We`ll show
you why Ted Cruz and the repealers are in jeopardy.

And we open the justice files. Should a police dog be thrown through a car
window? Should a rich teenager who killed four drunk driving see no jail
time claiming affluenza? And should a police officer who shot at a van
full of kids get his job back?

Tonight you`ll be the judge. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with breaking news from Washington.

Voting underway on a new bipartisan budget deal. Tea party Republicans
appear to be losing their fight to stop a bipartisan budget deal in
Washington. It`s another sign they`re losing influence on Capitol Hill and
across America.

Don`t believe me? Just ask John Boehner. Here`s what he said today about
right wing groups aligned with the tea party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It just comes to a point
when some people step over the line. You know, when you criticize
something and you have no idea what you`re criticizing, it undermines your
credibility. Frankly, I just think that they`ve lost all credibility.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Are you asking these groups to effectively
stand down?

BOEHNER: I don`t care what they do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Where was that guy two months ago? Where was that guy two years
ago? Is Boehner just scared of another government shutdown? Is he scared
the tea party will drive the GOP off a cliff again? Is he doing the right
thing for all the wrong reasons? We`ll see.

But this is bigger than John Boehner. It`s bigger than the tea party.
It`s about finally ending the right wing`s reign of error in Washington.
And moving forward with President Obama`s agenda, the agenda that the
American people support.

Joining me now is Joe Madison.

Joe, thanks for being here.

JOE MADISON, HOST, MORNINGS WITH MADISON: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Why did John Boehner have the guts to stand up to the tea party
before, Joe?

MADISON: Well, I don`t know. I think he probably saw the amount of money
that they were raising. He had several votes that he just simply could not
control. And in this situation, the leadership carried this bipartisan
vote that we`re now seeing. And so this is a direct attack on the
leadership.

And as somebody said, wait a minute. You know, Ryan, you can`t criticize
his conservative credentials. And so, I think part of the problem,
Reverend, is while the tea party is running out of steam is they lack
leadership and they`re being exposed now.

SHARPTON: But that vote that we`re watching right now on the screen, this
vote over the bipartisan budget deal that we are watching as I speak is a
major defeat for the tea party. It is a defeat. No way to question it.
No doubt about it it`s a defeat for the tea party.

They`re also sinking in the polls, Joe. Unfavorable view, 51 percent.
It`s the first time a majority of Americans have disapproved. The
favorable view is only 30 percent. That`s the worst ever for the tea
party. Isn`t it time for the Republicans to stop being scared of the tea
party?

MADISON: Yes. And we`ve said this how long and we`ve said this on your
show and my show. We`ve said this the last two, three years. Where are
the adults? And finally the adults have said I`ve had it.

I think one of the reasons, Reverend Sharpton, that they`ve had it is that
the tea party has run out of steam with criticizing Obama. They`ve run out
of steam with the whole racial politics that they`ve played. And now
what`s happening is the unemployment benefits are impacting people who look
like them. The food stamp -- farm bill is impacting just not urban inner
city kids and seniors, but people in rural America are impacted by this.
And it`s caught up with them. And this is why I think that we`re going to
see -- and if Boehner wins this, if Boehner wins this, I hope, I hope he
holds onto that power and moves forward.

SHARPTON: But you know, in October, President Obama, he talked about the
need for Boehner to stand up to the tea party and to help break this fever,
in October. Let me show you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: John Boehner right now has
not been willing to say no to a faction of the Republican party that are
willing to burn the house down because of an obsession over my health care
initiative.

One thing that I know the American people are tired of and I have to assume
the vast majority of businesses are tired of is this constant governing
from crisis to crisis. So, in that sense do we need to break that fever?
Absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joe, wish he had listened in October.

MADISON: Bottom line, he doesn`t really care what president Obama thinks.
Me didn`t care then. He doesn`t care now. But he does care with business.
He does care with all the things that the president said. You don`t want
to deal with me, then you deal with that list of people and that`s what`s
happened. But I know, the Democrats really have to fight for this
unemployment extension now.

SHARPTON: Absolutely. I`m going to have to leave it there.

Joe Madison, thanks for your time tonight.

MADISON: Any time, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the Republican national committee has a new idea and
it might have the late night comedians really upset. We`ll explain.

Plus, they wanted this fight. Now they`re about to get it. New signs
Democrats are going on offense.

Plus, amazing video. We`ll tell you what happened to the officer throwing
a dog through a window.

And the suspect who killed four drunk driving got off claiming he was too
rich.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news from Washington. House lawmakers have passed the
first bipartisan budget deal in 15 years. It`s a big setback for the tea
party.

Now, onto our nice try, got you.

The Republican national committee has dealt a devastating blow to late
night comedians everywhere. Jon Stewart couldn`t believe it. Jimmy Fallon
was scratching his head. Stephen Colbert was speechless. And here at
"Politics Nation," we didn`t even know what to say. Because the RNC is
attempting to limit the number of primary debates in 2016. That`s right,
folks. We may not see a sequel to the greatest show on earth. The 2012
GOP debates. I wonder why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: It`s three agencies of government then I get
there that are gone. Commerce, education, and the -- what`s the third one
there? Let`s see.

NEWT GINGRICH, CNN HOST, CROSSFIRE: I`m very concerned about not appearing
to be zany (ph). And --

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As George (INAUDIBLE) was
saying, when they are applauding, stop.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: This is one night when I hope what
happens in Vegas, doesn`t stay in Vegas.

PERRY: I feel like the pinata here at the party.

ROMNEY: There are a lot of reasons not to elect me.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: "Dancing with the stars" or
"American idol"?

GINGRICH: "American idol."

ROMNEY: I`ll tell you what. 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?

PERRY: I`m not in the betting business. Let`s see. I can`t. The third
one, I can`t. Soy. Oops.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Oops is right. Did republicans think we wouldn`t notice the
real reason they want to limit the number of debates?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: I`ll use the same term again. Nice try.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`ll use it too. Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Texas Senator, Ted Cruz, is pretty excited about something other
than a government shutdown. I`m talking about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In September of 2013, this Texas senator held the floor
for 21 hours in an effort to derail Obamacare. Meredith?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is Cruz?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ted Cruz is right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Senator Cruz posted a link to the video and tweeted, pretty
cool. Not something you see every day. I know I don`t agree much with Ted
Cruz, but it is pretty cool to be a question on "Jeopardy." It means
you`re a household name and we know that`s what he`s going for. It inspire
us to play a little ourselves.

This is Obamacare jeopardy. Here are the categories. Young not so
invincible, hire power, Canadian faking, and doctor do-Littles.

Let`s start with young not so invincibles for 200. The answer today, this
U.S. senator claimed young people are particularly harmed by the health
care law even though they`re not.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meredith?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is Cruz?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ted Cruz is right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Ted Cruz yet again.

Let`s do hire power for 400. Today this man called the health care law a
job killer even though it isn`t.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meredith?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is Cruz?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ted Cruz is right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Wow. She`s pretty quick on the buzzer. I think we got time for
one more. Canadian faking for 300. Today this Canadian native pushed for
a full repeal of health care law even though most Americans don`t want
that. This is a tough one. I don`t know if they`ll get it. Who would
still want to repeal of the health care law with all the good it`s doing?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Meredith?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Who is Cruz?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ted Cruz is right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Once again, Ted Cruz is right. Jokes aside, the health care law
is working. More than a million people are set to get coverage. Millions
more are seeing the law benefits. And the Republicans who keep trashing
the law are really the ones in jeopardy.

Joining me now are Margie Omero and James Peterson. Thank you both for
being here.

JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Margie, let me go to you first. A democratic pollster says it`s
time for Democrats to go on the offensive telling "The Washington Post,"
Democrats can and should engage on health care. Are Republicans worried
about overreaching?

MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, they should be. They clearly
haven`t been, because they`ve been continuing to overreach now for years.
And what they`ve gotten for that overreaching is historical low approval
ratings for Congress. The results of that overreaching is that Democrats
have -- the Democratic Party is seen more favorably than the Republican
Party. What they`ve gotten for that overreaching is that the Tea Party now
has historically low favorability ratings. Time after time and poll after
poll, the results of what Republicans have done in overreaching is -- you
see historic low trust in our government institutions.

SHARPTON: Yes. Now, James, a new poll in 86 competitive Congressional
district find more people want to implement and fix the health care law
than repeal or replace it. Forty nine percent want to implement and fix it
while 44 percent want to repeal and replace. These are tough districts
now, but people want to keep the law. Will Democrats run on health care
next year?

PETERSON: Well, also, Rev, we should also add that this polling is done
after the mix-up with healthcare.gov, after the 40-plus times that the
Republicans in the house tried to vote against or to repeal or somehow
obstruct the law, after all the bad press, all the crazy advertisers, the
commercials with the big headed Uncle Sam. After all of that, Rev, the
polling data suggested the American people understand the Affordable Care
Act is an important civil right and it`s an important component of the
American social contract. So, yes, there should be some Dems that run on
it. But Rev, to be honest with you, I`d like for Democrats to put the
polling data aside. I know everything is all political.

SHARPTON: Hey, now, wait a second.

PETERSON: But it`s the right law for the right time. It`s the right law
for the right time and they should stand on the conviction of having
affordable access to health care as a civil right for American citizens.
And so, yes, the polling data favors them doing that. But they should do
it just from the conviction of their own leadership.

SHARPTON: Just because it`s right.

PETERSON: It`s the right thing to do.

SHARPTON: You know, Margie, Florida`s Republican Governor Rick Scott first
was against expanding Medicaid in his state. Then he supported it. But
the state legislature wouldn`t pass it. Check out what he`s saying now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Governor, next month federal funding for Medicaid
becomes available. Do you still believe the states should take advantage
of that funding, expand Medicaid coverage?

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: You know, the concern people have today with
the president`s health care law is 300,000 families or individuals have
been told they`re going to lose insurance at the end of the month. That`s
the biggest issue we`re dealing with right now. And we look at the plans
proposed that have high deductibles. So, I`m concerned about cost. That`s
our biggest problem right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, he completely dodged the question, Marge. He completely
dodged. This is a guy up for re-election next year and he will not take a
firm position on something as important as this and important to the people
in his state. This is unbelievable.

OMERO: You have a lot of Republicans looking at health care as a political
ploy. As something they think they can make political hay out of. When
for voters across the political section, they`re talking about their lives.
They`re talking about their actual health and their financial security.
And what -- and while voters may be divided on how they feel about
ObamaCare, because they haven`t really experienced ObamaCare yet, what they
know they don`t like is what`s going in Congress and what they`re hearing
from a lot of politicians on the right. That is very clear. They
definitely don`t like the reflexive "no" that they hear. The fighting
every single thing that the president is doing. The putting politics ahead
of people`s lives. That they know they don`t want. And you see that in
poll after poll.

SHARPTON: Now, James, Rick Scott`s taken heat over the Medicaid expansion
and his re-election fight. And so, a Wisconsin`s Scott Walker,
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, and LePage, Paul LePage in Maine. I
mean, you`re talking about affecting about five million people. These are
governors who either refuse to expand Medicaid or drag their feet on it.
How unpopular is this going to be for them next fall?

PETERSON: Well, I would argue that their political opponents will make a
lot of hay out of this. Obviously for Governor Rick Scott in Florida the
demographics are against them on the Medicaid expansion. I would also say,
for Governor Corbett`s same deal here that at the end of the day, there is
no good rationale on the part of any of this governors for not taking
federal funds that even after the initial sort of rollout, they`re only
going to, I mean, the states were ultimately responsible about 10 percent.
But the federal government stepping in here or people who need it most.
And that demographic in this state, some of these states have a larger
elderly populations who come out to vote on a regular basis.

And so, I would think that their opponents are going to make political hay.
Again, to me, it`s the same thing at the end of the day, Rev. Why would
you deny members of your states constituents of your state access to
federal support for Medicaid? It doesn`t make any sense. It ultimately
for your state makes your state healthier and brings health care costs
down. So, all the sort of anti-Obama stuff I think in these individual
elections will not pan out and will not bode well for some of these
governors.

SHARPTON: Well, Marge, they don`t even want to hear a debate. I mean, in
Washington today, the Republican House has held tons of hearings on the
health care law. Today the Republican Chair Darrell Issa cut off the mic
on a democrat John Tierney. And started asking his own questions. Let`s
listen to what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Dr. McClafen (ph), you were cut off
several times. Was there anything -- because of limited time? But is
there anything that you did not get a chance to answer?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. Chairman, is it your turn to question him? Am I
missing something here? The reason that the witness was asked to move to
another subject was she was not being responsive to my question. If you
want to ask a question in a new --

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The gentleman is not in order, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Neither is the chair. I think we`ve got an issue here
with -- (silence)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And now you`re going to shut the microphone off?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, this is a circus. You actually cut off the mic in the
middle of this congressman asking question. I mean, cutting off the mic?
I mean, what do you make of this, Margie?

OMERO: It`s so clearly not what people send their members of Congress to
Washington to do. When I talk to voters around the country in focus
groups, they don`t say you know what I wish? I wish there were more people
in Washington cutting the mic off each other and limiting debate. I`ve
never heard anybody say that. What I hear is, why can`t they just sit down
and work it out. If they knew what it was like to be me. If they had the
same sense of urgency that I feel, then they would act differently.

SHARPTON: Margie Omero and James Peterson, thank you both for being here
tonight and playing GOP jeopardy with me. Thanks for your time.

OMERO: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, a deeply emotional debate on abortion rights in
Michigan. We`ll show you the personal speech from a democratic state
senator that everyone is talking about.

Plus this police officer who shot at a van carrying five kids wants his job
back. You be the judge tonight.

And Donald Trump and the birthers, they`re back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Fighting the GOP war on women is not just political. It`s
personal. The Michigan legislature just approved a controversial new bill
to restrict abortion access in the state. But not before Michigan Senate
Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer to leave a passionate plea to consider the
rights of women in a floor speech Wednesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D), MICHIGAN: As a legislator, a lawyer, a woman,
and the mother of two girls, I think the fact that rape insurance is even
being discussed by this body is repulsive. Let alone the way it has been
orchestrated and now shoved through the legislature. This is by far one of
the most misogynistic proposals I`ve ever seen in the Michigan legislature.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Then she was near tears sharing a deeply personal story in her
testimony against the legislation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WHITMER: I`m about to tell you something that I`ve not shared with many
people in my life. But over 20 years ago I was a victim of rape. And
thank God it didn`t result in a pregnancy. Because I can`t imagine going
through what I went through and then having to consider what to do about an
unwanted pregnancy from an attacker. And as a mother of two girls, the
thought that they would ever go through something like I did keeps me up at
night. I thought this was all behind me. You know how tough I can be.
The thought and the memory of that still haunts me.

If this were law then and I had become pregnant, I would not be able to
have coverage because of this. How extreme, how extreme does this measure
need to be? I`m not the only woman in our state that has faced that
horrible circumstance. I am not enjoying talking about it. It`s something
I`ve hidden for a long time. But I think you need to see the face of the
women that you are impacting by this vote today. I think you need to think
of the girls that we`re raising and what kind of a state we want to be
where you would put your approval on something this extreme.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Gretchen Whitmer`s words are so powerful, and that`s what the
fight for women`s rights is about. It`s real and it`s personal. And it`s
why we must keep fighting these restrictive laws.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back. In tonight`s justice files, a police officer is
cleared of wrong doing after video showed him shoving a police dog into a
suspect`s car. A teenager kills four in a drunken car crash, but escapes
jail by using a rich kid defense. And a New Mexico officer fired for
shooting at a van full of children wants his job back. We have both sides
covered tonight.

Faith Jenkins is a former prosecutor and Darren Kavinoky is a criminal
defense attorney and host of "Deadly Sins" on Investigation Discovery.
Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.

FAITH JENKINS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Thank you.

DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You bet, Al.

SHARPTON: The justice files start tonight in North Carolina. Wilmington
police say the suspect Johnny Williams led officers on a wild car chase
after blowing through a DWI check point. They eventually stopped him by
crashing into his car. At that point the suspect appeared to surrender,
even holding up his hands. But then a K-9 officer lifts his dog through
the window. The video shows the dog biting Williams. He was hospitalized
for injuries and needed stitches. The officer has been cleared of any
criminal charges. But he`s on administrative leave while police conduct an
internal investigation. Faith, let`s start with you. Should the officer
have been cleared?

JENKINS: Well, the criminal indictment, he wasn`t indicted in this case.
The case was presented to the grand jury and the grand jury voted and found
that he should not be held criminally responsible. They did that because
they said in the heat of the moment and in the stress of that moment, the
officer reacted. I don`t think that they ratified his behavior, but they
said that should he be held criminally possible? No. But it`s far from
over from him. Not only is he being investigated internally by his Police
Department, but clearly you`re looking at civil liability from here.

SHARPTON: Is ate crime to sick a K-9 dog, a policeman on a victim who has
his hands up?

JENKINS: And the first thing that police officers do when they`re trying
to apprehend a suspect, I`ve heard them repeatedly say, let me see your
hands, let me see your hands. And that sign is a universal sign of someone
giving themselves up to the police and surrendering. At that point when a
police officer sees that, that should indicate to the police officer that
force is not necessary.

SHARPTON: But Darren, no charges. What do you say?

KAVINOKY: Well, I say it was a really, really smart political move of that
district attorney to take this case to a grand jury. Because it gives that
DA plausible deniability for anybody who`s upset about the idea that
they`re not pursuing criminal charges against this officer. Now, the D.A.
can say, hey, it wasn`t your call, that`s what your grand jurors did. At
the end of the day, though, what we have in my view is an officer who`s in
the heat of the moment, whose passions are inflamed, and we actually expect
more from our police officers.

We expect them to act in a manner that`s circumspect and well reasoned.
So, I don`t know that I`m going along with the grand jury`s view on this
case, but like Faith says, this is far from over. And we can expect there
will be a civil lawsuit filed. And I will not at all be surprised if the
county or the city is going to have to write a big fat check to make this
one right.

SHARPTON: But the grand jury said, do not indict. No indictment in this
case. Next, let`s move on to the next case.

A Texas teen who killed four people while driving drunk has escaped jail
time citing his wealth as a defense. A juvenile court judge sentenced
the16-year-old to ten years of probation, but no jail time for the fatal
crash over the summer. He was speeding and had a blood alcohol level three
times the legal limit when he struck four pedestrians. Couch`s attorneys
blame his rich parents for the behavior. One defense witness claimed the
young man suffered from affluenza. A syndrome that keeps someone from a
wealthy background from learning that bad behavior has consequences. After
the sentencing, Eric Boyles who lost his wife and daughter in the crash had
this reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC BOYLES, LOST WIFE AND DAUGHTER: I had asked the court while Ethan has
had a privileged life and money has always been there and money always
seems to keep Ethan out of trouble, this was one time I did ask the court
that -- for justice and that for money not to prevail. And ultimately
today, I felt like money did prevail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Darren, affluenza was his defense. Affluent, doesn`t know bad
behavior has consequences. What do you make of that defense?

KAVINOKY: Well, here`s the thing. And Al, the critical distinction in
this case and I understand how people will be outraged at the idea that
this young man is not spending a big chunk of time in prison, but let`s
remember. This is a juvenile case. This is a ruling that was made in
juvenile court. And in juvenile court unlike the adult court system, the
focus is on one thing. And that`s rehabilitation.

So this kid is going to be under the thumb of the court system for the next
ten years. If he screws up at all, off he goes to prison. And let`s also
not forget that part of this is his going to a residential lockdown, live-
in facility for at-risk youth so that ideally he`s not going to be a repeat
customer of the court system.

JENKINS: I think this is absolutely ridiculous. One of my law professors
once said talking about the criminal justice system, I`d rather be rich and
guilty than poor and innocent. And this case is an example of that.
People talk about the two different justice systems. When you`re rich, the
lawyers that you can afford, the experts that you can afford to put on the
witness stand and say, I have affluenza. Because poor people, they don`t
have the kind of money to support that kind of defense.

And they talk about the two different justice systems. And now when you`re
rich you have your own defense now. You have your own justification for
committing a crime. Because you`re so affluent you didn`t know the
difference between right and wrong. But what about the poor kids who make
poor choices and make wrong decisions, is there a defense for them there
because they can`t afford --

KAVINOKY: There should be. Well, look, there absolutely should be. Maybe
you and I can argue about this offline. Because I don`t know that being
rich does anything other than level the playing field. And that`s not
saying that --

JENKINS: I totally disagree.

KAVINOKY: We can agree to disagree, Faith.

SHARPTON: If somebody comes to court claiming povernishia (ph), would they
be considered because they`re a minor? I mean, come on! How do we cut it
both ways here?

KAVINOKY: What this case is about and this whole notion of affluenza is
the idea that if this young man`s parents who did a lousy job of parenting,
who set this kid up to where this horrible incident happened. I think we
can all agree it is a tragic, horrible incident. But at the end of the day
where the court is concerned with, they will rehabilitate this young man.

JENKINS: That`s an explanation. Not a justification for the behavior.

SHARPTON: Four people died, Faith.

JENKINS: He suffered no consequences. Virtually, no consequences in a
punitive manner for four people being killed. That`s very problematic.

KAVINOKY: But he`s going to be in a locked down. He`s going to be in a
locked down environment for the next couple of years where he`s going to be
in receiving significant therapy. So I think there`s going to be some
punitive nature to the sentence, but let`s keep in mind, juvenile system
isn`t about punitive. It`s about how do we fix this kid who`s clearly
broken.

JENKINS: Well, it`s both. It`s about rehabilitation, retribution, and
also someone taking responsibility for their actions at a young age. So
that when they`re older they won`t re-offend.

SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to have to leave it there.

KAVINOKY: He does a lousy job of taking responsibility. We`ll argue
offline. I`ll see you on twitter, Faith.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to have to leave it there. But I don`t know. A
dog thrown in a car, a young boy too rich to go to fail. That`s why we
have justice files. And that`s why we have those who fight for justice.
Faith Jenkins and Darren Kavinoky, thank you both for being on the show
tonight.

JENKINS: Thank you.

KAVINOKY: Thanks, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the birthers are back with a crazy new theory. And
Donald Trump is helping lead the charge.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the birthers are back and exploiting a tragedy.
On Wednesday a plane crash killed this woman. Loretta Fuddy, director of
Hawaii`s Department of Health. It was a sad, tragic accident. But
birthers like Donald Trump seemed to think there`s something sinister going
on. Trump tweeted, quote, "how amazing." The state health director who
verified copies of Obama`s birth certificate died in a plane crash today.
All others lived. What`s Trump suggesting? What is he getting at?

Doesn`t he have something better to do? Isn`t there a war on Christmas
somewhere he can fight? The accident was also the top story at birther
headquarters, World Net Daily. They used it as a excuse to trot out their
favorite old conspiracy theories about the president. These birthers are
shameless, but thankfully they`re heading for the dust bin of history.

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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