PoliticsNation, Thursday, Januay 30, 2014
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
January 30, 2014
Guests: Bill de Blasio, Krystal Ball, Barney Frank, Larry Fitzgerald
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, elections matter. People can make a change for the better.
We saw new proof of that today here in New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio
took a major step towards fulfilling a campaign promise, ending the
discriminatory practice of stop and frisk. That`s the police program of
stopping and questioning New Yorkers, often without evidence of wrongdoing,
and on election nightmare-elect de Blasio promised a change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY: We must work public safety is a
prerequisite for the striving neighborhood that create opportunity in the
city and so is respect for civil liberties. We`re all hungry for an
approach that acknowledges we are stronger and safer as a city when police
and residents work hand in hand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We are stronger when police and residents work together, and
that`s not what happened under stop and frisk. The practice spiked over
the last decade, hitting a crisis level in 2011 where nearly 700,000 people
were stopped. Eighty-six percent of those stopped were Black and Latino,
and 88 percent of those stopped didn`t result in an arrest or a summons, 88
percent. These were innocent people treated like criminals because of the
color of their skin. A judge called it, quote, "a policy of indirect
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the time I was 15 to 18, I would say I was
stopped, questioned and frisked at least 60 to 70 times.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The impact on the wall is enough to keep me here. So
you don`t even have to hold me. I have one partner holding my arm here,
the other holding my arm behind my back searching my pockets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sergeant is holding like, this I`m going to break
your arm. I`m going to break your arm and punch you in the face. You`re
going to punch me in the face? Yes. You rushed me for what? For being a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Remember, 88 percent were innocent. This was a system that
could not be tolerated, and it wasn`t. In 2012 I helped leaders march
thousands of people protesting stop and frisk. Ending the policy became a
key part of Bill de Blasio`s campaign for mayor. One ad featured his son,
Dante, talking about ending the practice. It became a viral hit.
Last summer a judge ruled that stop and frisk was unconstitutional, saying,
quote," each stop is a demeaning and humiliating experience. The city`s
highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are
conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner."
But the former New York mayor defended the practice and appealed the
judge`s ruling. Today that ends. Mayor de Blasio announced the city would
drop its appeal and will work to implement reforms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DE BLASIO: We`re here today to turn the page on one of the most divisive
problems in our city. We believe in ending the overuse of stop and frisk
that has unfairly targeted young African-American and Latino men.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We believe in that too. Elections matter. People coming
together for change matters. And when you fight for what you believe in,
you can make change happen.
Joining me now is New York city mayor, Bill de Blasio.
Mr. Mayor, welcome back to the show.
DE BLASIO: Thank you so much, Rev.
SHARPTON: Your announcement today doesn`t immediately end stop and frisk.
What does it do?
DE BLASIO: Well, it says that with the judge`s approval, the federal
judge`s approval, we are going to end the city`s appeal. We`re going to
accept the judge`s ruling. Now, we came to a settlement simultaneously
with the civil rights and civil liberties organizations, again, pending the
judge`s approval. And we`re very hopeful wall street we`ll get that.
It means we`re going the end the whole legal battle because we`ve agreed to
a settlement with the people who raised the case to begin with on behalf of
young men of color in this city, we`re going to move forward. We`re
accepting the reforms the federal judge put forward. We`re embracing those
reforms. And we believe it`s going to make us safer in the final analysis
because police and community will have a chance to actually work together
as opposed to being divided by an unfair policy.
SHARPTON: Because people want to be safe as well as not be discriminated
against. You talk about the reforms. The agreement calls for federal
monitor to develop reforms for police as well as making it easier for
citizens and police to work together. What kind of reforms would you like
DE BLASIO: Rev., the whole concept here is to return to community
policing, to return to a model of policing that is very much connected to
communities where we`re listening to community residents about what they
need. We`re learning from them where the actual bad guys are, not the 88
percent innocent that you pointed out were getting stopped consistently. I
think the whole notion here is to show the reform is real there is going to
be measures to work with community leaders differently, to make sure if
there are problem points in any particular precinct, they can get acted on
to raise concerns there is going to be a federal monitor for the next three
years. We`re also going to have an independent police inspector general.
That`s another reform that the movement you and I were part of achieved.
And thank you again for leading that march in June of 2012 that made such a
huge difference. That father`s day march was one of the turning points.
And we are realizing that vision today by saying we`re not going to go to
court to fight the advocates and the activists. We`re going to join with
them and make a solution together.
SHARPTON: Your election was seen as an inspiration to progressives across
"The New York Times" wrote, quote "Mr. De Blasio`s candidacy excited
liberals with the way his relentless critique of economic inequality in New
York seemed to resonate with voters. He is fast becoming a national
liberal leader whose views will be difficult to ignore."
Do you think other cities will also change their police departments based
on what is happening in New York and look at reform?
DE BLASIO: Look, I hope that we set a good example. This is a historic
moment for this city. You know, today at the press conference, the
Brownsville community center, the plaintiff attorneys went over the decades
of legal battles over these issues.
DE BLASIO: So it`s a historic moment that we`re finally ending that we had
the police commissioner there. We have the chief lawyer for the city
there, all in unity with the people bringing this case that we could
resolve this together.
I hope that assets positive example wherever else in the country these
tensions exist that there is a better way. And by the way, a way that will
make us safer. A lot of people in the Brownsville community in Brooklyn, a
community that has suffered a lot because of crime.
SHARPTON: I`m from Brownsville, as you know.
DE BLASIO: You know. They want safety. They want respect. The two
should go together. Public safety and civil liberties should march hand in
hand. And if this historic agreement helps to encourage others, well, God
bless. That`s an even better day then.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you another question that you came to mind. I was
listening to the president`s state of the union address, and he talked
about pre-k, a pre-k plan. And the president talked about it. A big part
of your campaign was about preschool and about three New York papers have
called on you to make a deal with the governor about pre-k and funding and
all. And you`ve been saying we have to cover it will. You make a deal
with the governor?
DE BLASIO: I said clearly, you know, I`m a public school parent myself.
My son, Dante, you saw a moment ago, he is a product of New York City
public schools, still in public school now. I`m not going to give up o on
our public school kids. We need five years of consistent funding,
substantial funding, so we can have full-day preschool and after school
programs guaranteed to every middle school. That`s our plan.
Someone wants to show us a way to do that that is different from my plan,
of course, I`ll listen. But let me tell you what I think will work, a tax
on the wealthiest New Yorkers. That is what we talk about for over a year.
Tax those who make a half million or more, it will give us the money we
need for the next five years to guarantee every pre-k student that they get
a seat. Guarantee those after school programs.
It`s New York city`s own money. We`re only asking Albany to give us a
right to tan into our own resource. But no plan has been put forward by
the governor or anyone else that comes near the dollar figure or the
reliability we need to actually create this.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you about your first month in office. You worked in
city government for a long time. But the press has gone after a few things
already, eating pizza with a fork, not plowing some areas well enough after
the snowstorm. Even if you are running late to a meeting, what are you
learning on the job that is different as being mayor?
DE BLASIO: You know, when the players go from the minor leagues up to the
major leagues, they say welcome the show. So Rev., I think it`s that
reality. Its New York City press corps. You know, the slightest little
slip or the slightest little mistake and you`ll hear about it.
I think in the end we have made at will of progress. We`re moving
legislation to guarantee paid sick leave to half a million more people who
don`t get it right away. We`re speeding the process to make sure people
get it. We`ve obviously had this historic moment settling and finding a
pathway to settle and end the appeal on the stop and frisk case.
We are moving the pre-k and after school plan. These are all the things
people sent us here to do. So, if the media is concerned about my pizza
habits or anything else, that`s just part of the reality.
SHARPTON: And you know something else they brought up, and I`m going to be
transparent. They seem to question the role your wife is going the play,
who has always been your partner. And full disclosure, my former
communications director is working for your wife starting Monday as chief
DE BLASIO: Starting Monday.
SHARPTON: I mean, what do you say about those that are uncomfortable about
your wife Charlayne playing a role, something that some of us always felt
she always did, but now that you are in city hall, what do you say to those
that are questioning that?
DE BLASIO: Rev., look, Charlayne has been my partner now in everything I
do for 22 years. You know, we`ve been married for 19 years. We have two
children, teenagers. This is everything we`ve done, we`ve done together.
We met in city hall during Mayor Dinkins` administration. This is our
life. And she is the first person I turn to for advice and guidance in
everything I do. So I`m proud of the role she plays. I think the people
of the city love her as their first lady. And I`m glad she has a fantastic
chief of staff coming in. You trained Rachel (INAUDIBLE) so well.
People, I think, just need to recognized it, we have said throughout, she
is my partner, she the most important voice in my life. We`re just going
to continue in that vein. And I think most people in New York city get
that and appreciate that. And we`re going to find it`s very productive at
getting things for the city.
SHARPTON: I have to ask you about one more woman sine we are talking about
ladies in your life. This will not as close, but you ran a campaign for
Senate in 2000 as Hillary Clinton.
DE BLASIO: Yes.
SHARPTON: Would you like to see her run for president, and do you think
DE BLASIO: I`m going to answer a little different. I know she would be a
great president. I know that. When I served on her campaign in 2000, she
was first lady, and I could see just in that reality, all that she was
doing to shape positive outcomes for the country. Obviously, I thought she
raised incredibly important issues when she ran for president in `08.
She`ll make her own decision. I can only affirm to you one thing, having
spent a year of my life shoulder to shoulder with her. She would be a
SHARPTON: Well, let me say again where we started, I think today was a
breakthrough. We`re not all the way where we want to be yet, but it`s a
step there. And you have -- you said that you were going to deal with this
issue, and you did. And I beat up on a lot of politicians on this show
nationally every night when they don`t keep their word, and you have
started in this respect to go forward. And you know that we`ll be
DE BLASIO: I know you will. And in the best sense of accountability, Rev.
And I appreciate it. And thank you again for helping make this day
possible by helping to lead the movement that finally got the elected
officials to do what they should do.
SHARPTON: Thank you. We`ll be right back.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, thank you so much for being here tonight.
DE BLASIO: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Earlier today, MSNBC president Phil Griffin received a phone
call and letter from Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National
Committee. The letter regarded an inappropriate tweet that was sent last
night via the MSNBC twitter account.
Phil Griffin has issued the following statement. Quote "the tweet last
night was outrageous and unacceptable. We immediately acknowledged that it
was offensive and wrong, apologized, and deleted it. We have dismissed the
person responsible for the tweet. I personally apologized to Mr. Priebus
and to everyone offended. At MSNBC, we believe in passionate, strong
debate about the issue, and we invite voices from all sides to participate.
That will never change."
Let me say this. You know, when I first started the show here and met Phil
Griffin and talked around this station, one thing that was always clear to
me is that you can take strong positions, but you cannot be against people
and you can`t be personal. And I learned that the hard way. One of the
people that taught me that died eight years ago today, Mrs. Coretta Scott
King, the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Many years ago she embraced
me and work I was doing in national action network because of my close
working with her son Martin III. She told me, Al, you cannot become what
you`re fighting. Name-calling is not just justified because of emotion.
Just because you disagree with people does not mean you don`t respect them
and that the words that come out of your mouth or that you write have to
represent the highest order.
So when Mr. Phil griffin and others said that`s how they operate around
here, it only confirmed a decade of training by people like Loretta Scott
King. Every night I take people on here, but I do not attack them
I learned after saying a lot of things out of emotion that you only get in
the way of not only people that want to hear what is right, you get in the
way of your own sole and your own belief that we really need to make people
better, not bitter. We do not have to be disagreeable in order to
SHARPTON: Two weeks ago, one of governor Christie`s biggest defenders was
asked if he believed the governor knew about the George Washington bridge
lane closings. Here is what he said then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have no doubt that he had no involvement?
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: I`m absolutely positive. I
think Chris Christie is one of the most honest, straight guys you`re going
to meet. Also, I think had he known about it, he never would have acted
this way. Had he known he had some involvement in this, he never would
have treated it lightly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Rudy Giuliani was absolutely sure Governor Christie wasn`t
involved. Now listen to what Rudy Giuliani said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about that e-mail from Bridget Anne Kelly? I
mean, isn`t that, you know, time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee, I
mean, Mayor Giuliani, doesn`t that infer that there are -- there was this
conversation before about stuff like that?
GIULIANI: With the governor? No, it doesn`t. It`s 50-50. I mean, it
leaves you with no possible way of knowing. Did she discuss it with him or
didn`t she discuss it with him?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: 50-50 sounds different from absolutely sure. To be clear, the
mayor also defended Christie today, saying he isn`t getting a fair shake,
and that he is being unfairly treated, but it`s raising all kinds of
questions, new questions today.
Joining me now Jonathan Capehart and Steve Kornacki. Thank you both for
JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: I want to hear from both of you, starting with Steve. How
significant is this from Rudy today?
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI: I think it`s fairly
significant, because Rudy Giuliani just in general is one of Chris
Christie`s, you know, closest political allies. You talk about regionally
about what they both represent within the Republican party. You look at
how eager he was to go to the front of the line to defend him as you showed
a couple of weeks ago.
KORNACKI: And I think it reflects a couple of weeks of thinking, a couple
weeks of development. It`s prevalent about whether you`re talking about
Republicans, Democrats, the media, just anybody watching this story, there
is a very widespread sense right now that this thing keeps expanding. It
keeps opening up. It keeps going into unexpected directions. And nobody
quite knows the direction of it.
So what I`m pick up listen to in listening to Mayor Giuliani is somebody
who recognizes that now and maybe doesn`t want to be pin down quite so
adamantly defending Chris Christie when this thing is a lot less
predictable than he thought it was when he was responding a few weeks ago.
SHARPTON: Jonathan, he s he protecting, he being Rudy Giuliani, is he
protecting himself because this thing is going a little wider and more
expansive than he thought or does Rudy Giuliani know something from the
camp of Mr. Christie and figures he better pull back?
CAPEHART: I`m to take a little bit of different tact here. I think the
mayor probably thought he was defending Governor Christie by saying 50-50
because he said there is a 50-chance he didn`t know and a 50 percent chance
The problem that he has, though, in that answer is that he is now presented
some daylight between himself and the governor between what he said, what
Rudy Giuliani said a couple weeks ago and his categorical defense of the
governor and what he said now.
Steve absolutely right that, you know, a lot has happened since Rudy
Giuliani gave that categorical defense of governor Christie. And if
yesterday`s "New York Times" story about, you know, the binder full of
mayors with mini Ohio and mini Florida and today`s story about the e-mails
showing pressure ion Mayor Zimmer of Hoboken to do what the governor wanted
her to do on that development.
SHARPTON: Let me go to that story today in "The New York Times," Steve.
You know, I want to ask you about it. It`s getting a lot of attention
about the Hoboken investigation. The story you broke, by the way. But the
Times obtained an e-mail containing the agenda for a May 9th meeting
between Hoboken Mayor Zimmer and the Christie officials. "The Times"
reports the first topic of discussion on the agenda was a review of
concepts for flood control measures at Rockefeller profit. Now tell me
about the importance of this. You broke this story.
KORNACKI: Right. So I mean this is a very suggestive e-mail. And there
is a couple others, and we`ve been looking through them as well. But there
is a sort of suggestive tone of this e-mail where there is a meeting that
is attempting the law firm representing the Rockefeller redevelopment group
is trying to set up meeting with DEP, the department of environmental
protection down in Trenton. And what this e-mail suggests, what this
agenda suggest is what the mayor has been alleging, this merging of her
interest getting help for her city on flood mitigation on Sandy relief, on
preparing the city for future flood emergencies. So that`s one of the
things on the agenda, it is global flooding issues.
Another thing that pops up on the agenda is flooding issues at the
Rockefeller property. It`s a little curious, because nobody quite at the
Rockefeller group has formally presented the proposal hey, this is exactly
where we want to build in your town. It`s an abstract thing. They own the
land. They want to develop it.
So, to have the law firm that is representing the Rockefeller group trying
to set up a meeting, you know, trying to get the administration in Hoboken
down to Trenton to have a meeting to talk what is on their agenda in terms
of overall flooding issues with something very specific.
This is showing now, this is bringing in the pressure -- what we`ve already
seen with pressure being applied by law, from David Samson`s law firm.
Pressure is being applied to the mayor`s administration in Hoboken to get
this project moving. Now, we see the attempt by that law firm to get the
administration involved, to get Chris Christie`s department of
environmental protection, to get Trenton involved in a way that raises both
-- seams to raise both of the issues in this agenda.
SHARPTON: Now Jonathan, here is a new poll on the 2016 Republican primary.
Congressman Paul Ryan leads the field 20 percent, former governor Jeb Bush
at 18 percent, and governor Christie is in third, in third at 13 percent.
Not less than where he started.
SHARPTON: He is followed by Ted Cruz at 12 percent. How worrisome is this
for Christie supporters dreaming of a presidential run, Jonathan?
CAPEHART: Well, in the short run, should it be very worrisome, because the
man who just rocketed to reelection by one of the largest margins in New
Jersey history and who was sitting at the top of the heat just months ago
is now in the toilet. His poll numbers are in the toilet. The loss of
trust is real among Republicans, Democrats, independents. Remember, he was
re-elected with the help of not just Republicans, but a significant number
of Democrats who crossed party lines to reelect him.
The good part of this is this is all happening two years before 2016
happens. So as we`ve seen, the story keeps changing. And he could either
come back from this or more news could come out that could just completely
SHARPTON: Well, one thing for sure we are sure going to be watching it.
We`re going to stay on top of it. Long way to go. And he better be
careful of Rudy.
Steve Kornacki and Jonathan Capehart, thank you for your time tonight.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.
And be sure to watch "Up with Steve Kornacki" weekends at 8:00 a.m. eastern
time right here on MSNBC.
Still ahead, why someone percenters are fighting about the president`s
fight against inequality.
But first, what is next for the lawmaker who threatened to break a reporter
in half? That`s next.
SHARPTON: It`s the political threat everybody is talking about. New York
Congressman Michael Grimm threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony at
the capitol following the State of the Union. It happened after the
reporter dared to ask a question Grimm didn`t like. The congressman did
apologize, and the reporter accepted. But questions remain. Could
Congressman Grimm face legal action? And how could this affect his re-
Joining me now is MSNBC`s Krystal Ball. Krystal, thank you for being here.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC CO-HOST "THE CYCLE": Thanks for having me.
SHARPTON: Congressman Grimm`s chief of staff told roll call, quote, "I
think for the most part all parties involved have put it behind them. The
story seems to be over," end of quote. Now that may be true. It might all
be over. But there are other things to consider, Krystal, according to
Roll Call, the Congressional code of conduct says members must behave,
quote, "At all times in a manner that shall reflect the credibility of the
House. The Radio Television Correspondents Association said, they`re going
to, quote, "look into the matter." But though the House sergeant at arms
and capitol police which were in charge of Capitol Hill security had no
Krystal, do you think this incident is over for Congressman Grimm?
BALL: I definitely don`t think it`s over, if for nothing else, even if,
you know, his colleagues in the House decide to let it go, even if there
are no criminal charges that are appropriate or that are filed, this is
definitely going to be an issue in his reelection campaign. He is
running. He represents a district that the president won in 2012. This is
a moderate district. It`s a swing district. And it`s one that Democrats
have long had their eye on ever since they won the seat. So, I think his
challenger is absolutely in his rights to play this footage to remind
voters of who this guy is and the way that he behaved. And let`s not
forget, he apologized eventually. But his initial statement that he
released was a double down and was a justification in how he had been
wronged and disrespected and that the reporter deserved it.
SHARPTON: Yes. It took a while. But let me follow up that Congressional
race, his reelection. Congressman Grimm is up for re-election this fall.
SHARPTON: And former Staten Island Republican Party chairwoman told
Politico it`s going to have an impact on the race. This is the Republican
chairwoman, former. He has been very angry and very aggressive. It`s the
State of the Union. It`s a solemn event. People are going to ask what is
going on here. Now, he won an upset victory against a democratic incumbent
in 2010. It`s a very tight district. Could that therefore tip it? Could
it have political implications?
BALL: I absolutely think it could have political implications. And
especially because I think people don`t feel like this is an isolated
incident with him. I think they feel it reveals more of his true character
there have been questions about his behavior in the past. And let`s not
also forget that the reason that he got so upset is because there is a
question of campaign finance violations. There is a question of
corruption. And that`s going to continue to unfold. This incident just
serves to highlight the fact that he is being investigated in that regard,
and that there may be some issues there as well.
SHARPTON: You know, Jon Stewart last night had a few things to say about
the congressman. Listen.
BALL: Oh, he did.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: To be fair, I will throw you off this
(bleep) balcony is a relatively standard and traditional Staten Island
goodbye. It is in some respects considered, if I may, I`ve been there
quite frequently, it is considered their ciao.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Krystal Ball, I`ll leave it at that. Thank you for your time
tonight. And be sure to catch Krystal on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
Eastern right here on MSNBC.
Coming up, the corporate jet set is freaking out about the president`s
fight against inequality. What is the one percent so afraid of?
Plus, Attorney General Holder has been working to make the criminal justice
system more fair, and now Congress is listening. Big news tonight.
Also, NFL superstar and humanitarian Larry Fitzgerald is here, right here,
live. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: The one percent is freaking out. Forget heading for the exits,
they`re heading for the yachts. Earlier this week, Tom Perkins, a
businessman worth $8 billion wrote a letter to "The Wall Street Journal"
comparing the treatment of the rich to the holocaust, calling, quote,
"Attention to parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to progressive war on the
American one percent." He later apologized for his choice of words, but he
also said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM PERKINS, ENTREPRENEUR: The one percent are not causing the inequality.
They are the job creators. Let the rich do what the rich do, which is get
richer, but along the way they bring everybody else with them.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You have owned fancy yachts, fancy cars and underwater
PERKINS: Airplane. Underwater airplane.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I saw it. It`s basically an airplane that flies
PERKINS: Right. Do.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do you worry at all that you are divorced from
reality? Are you divorced from reality?
PERKINS: I don`t know if anybody can answer that. Truthfully, I don`t
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Because nothing says a taste of reality like underwater
airplanes. Hmm. If only cooler heads would prevail, talk some sense to
the one percenters who are freaking out like "The Wall Street Journal."
Today they called Perkins` Nazi comparison unfortunate, but they also said
maybe the critics are afraid that Mr. Perkins is on to something, and that
the president believes millionaires and billionaires deserve to be
punished. What are they talking about?
The president isn`t trying to punish anyone, but he is trying to make this
an economy that works for everyone. That is why once again today he was
out pushing for measures like an increase in the minimum wage. This isn`t
about punishing those making a million dollars a year. It`s about fighting
for those who don`t even make $10 an hour.
Joining me now is former Congressman Barney Frank. Mr. Chairman, thank you
for your time tonight.
FMR. REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Glad to be here.
SHARPTON: Do you -- I mean, do these billionaires really think that a
higher minimum wage is a war on the rich, Mr. Chairman?
FRANK: Well, I can`t put words in their mouth. If I could, they`d be
saying different once. I can say this. Let me respond directly to Mr.
Perkins. This notion that these very high annual incomes affect job
creation is just wrong. There is no argument. You could reduce the
highest levels of compensation and in fact have a better economy. We`ve
tried that. Bill Clinton in `93 asked that we raise the marginal rate on
the top incomes from 36 to 40 percent. We did. We heard arguments from
people like Mr. Perkins that it would be disastrous.
Subsequently, the economy performed very well. President Obama, Bush
dropped it down again. President Obama got it back up again. And once
again the economy has been going better than expected. And let me talk
about the sector that I know best because of my chairmanship, the financial
sector. The notion that these multimillion-dollar salaries that are being
paid to high level financial executives are job creating is nonsense.
Unfortunately, the impact, much of what they did was in the late -- in the
few years ago was job destruction. And the notion again that you have to
pay these people this amount of money to get them to do it is simply wrong.
In fact, in the financial situation, there is clearly what the economies
call rent. That is an amount of income they are able to get from the
economy because of the arrangements that they have perpetuated unrelated to
the economic good that they do.
SHARPTON: Now, you know, today the president, Congressman Frank, he
announced more executive actions to get this economy up and running. The
right wing just went crazy. But listen to what the president is saying.
The fact is that the right wing has gone crazy. But he has gone further
and further into this in terms of saying that he is going to use executive
action. The House GOP is pushing a resolution to bring legal action
against the president`s executive actions.
It`s called stop, the stop the overreaching presidency resolution, and it
has 74 Republican co-sponsors. President Obama signed fewer executive
orders as you know over the first term than the last three Republican
presidents. Reagan signed 213. George H.W. Bush signed 166. George W.
Bush signed 173. President Obama has only signed 147. I mean, do you
think the right should classify Reagan or Bush Sr. or Jr. as dictators, Mr.
FRANK: No, we`re seeing obvious hypocrisy. The only quarrel I would have
of what you said is that the right wing went crazy. That`s like saying the
arctic became cold. That`s where they started, sadly. The fact is that
for years I heard the Republicans talking about what they call the unitary
theory in the presidency. And they read the constitution to say it says
all executive powers vested in the president. And for years they were
trumpeting the importance of a very powerful presidency. It is sheer
hypocrisy, gross inconsistency for them to object.
Secondly, if the president were to do something that was violative of the
authority that you could have as president, sure, somebody sue him. By the
way, it wouldn`t be members of Congress that would sue him. They don`t
understand the American judicial system. You can`t have members of
Congress suing on a general constitutional theory. There has been American
history from the beginning. There has to be a case or controversy, and
individual who feels aggrieved by that order could bring a lawsuit. But
you know, I mentioned the tax. I did want to mention again. Well heard
these same arguments about how the minimum wage would be destructive of
jobs in the mid-`90s when President Clinton forced the Republicans to
And you know what happened after it passed? We had a shortage of workers,
probably because the minimum wage attracted some people in there. But
there is simply no evidence for anything they say. And of course that
doesn`t stop them from saying it. And I would throw in one other thing.
The biggest problem that has kept the economy from going further -- well,
there were two. First of all, it`s been the depression of wages for people
at the lower end, because they have not been able to consume. Secondly, if
you look at what has happened since the crash of 2008 under the Bush
administration, as a result of the deregulatory policies, we have had a
normal recovery of jobs in the public sector.
FRANK: The problem has been that the right wing has cut public sector
jobs, and that`s been where we have a have the short fall.
SHARPTON: That`s the problem. I`m going have to hold it there. Chairman
Barney Frank, always nice to have you on the show. Thank you for your time
FRANK: Thank you, Al.
SHARPTON: Ahead, the NFL superstar who is making big place off the field
too. Larry Fitzgerald is here live in the studio, next.
SHARPTON: Too often we focus on professional athletes when they`re
involved in some kind of scandal. But not often enough do we feature
athletes when they`re doing good. Like Arizona cardinals wide receiver
Larry Fitzgerald. The eight time Pro Bowler ranks fifth in receiving yards
per game all-time, and he caught two touchdowns in a Super Bowl. But
tonight we focus on another side of Larry Fitzgerald. He has teamed up
with other athletes to fight injustice, hunger and poverty in Africa,
working in Ethiopia, raising money for communities devastated by drought.
Has also done community work in Uganda most recently with President Bill
Clinton. Life is just commitment to charity and giving back, earned him
NFL humanitarian award for our next installment of advancing the dream.
We welcome Larry Fitzgerald at POLITICS NATION. Great to have you with us.
LARRY FITZGERALD, ARIZONA CARDINALS WIDE RECEIVER: It`s a pleasure. I
appreciate you having me.
SHARPTON: You know, for you it`s very important to give back. Why?
FITZGERALD: Well, my mother grew up in a time where she really felt and
believed that it was important to be involved. When I was five and six
years old, my mother would be part of a group called Circle of Love. And
it was people just diagnosed with HIV and aides. She would force my
brother and I to go. At that time, we must be outside playing ball.
FITZGERALD: But we understood the importance of giving not only money to
resource but your time. That`s one thing that`s so valuable. It doesn`t
matter who you are, you only have 24 hours to do it.
SHARPTON: You created the Larry Fitzgerald first down fund. Tell us
what`s that is about.
FITZGERALD: It goes back to breast cancer research. My mother passed away
in 2003 because of complications of breast cancer. And also, I love the
children, I love our communities, and I believe that the children need
activity that can be positive and they can go out and do right things and
be positively influenced by role molds like myself and other people.
SHARPTON: Why is giving back important?
FITZGERALD: Well, because I think we have a fiduciary responsibility as an
athlete. People look up to you, they buy your jerseys. They emulate
everything you do. You have the responsibility to show them the right
ways, doing the right things, and being proactive in your communities.
SHARPTON: So you accept that an athlete, an entertainer are role molds
FITZGERALD: Absolutely. As a parent, I wouldn`t allow my son to wear
somebody`s jersey or uniform if I didn`t believe that that person was good.
And I believe as a parent, as an athlete, I have to do the right things.
SHARPTON: Now, you made a promise to your mom. You mentioned she passed.
What was the promise?
FITZGERALD: I promised I was going to graduate from college. And for the
last five years I`ve been with the University of Phoenix, working
diligently to finish and complete my degree in communications. So, it`s
been difficult, because I keep a crazy schedule --
FITZGERALD: But that`s about the great thing about taking classes online.
All I need is my computer and my Wi-Fi service. I think I took classes in
seven different countries last year.
SHARPTON: Now, you know the University of Phoenix, which I know their
program sponsors in some of the things we do here, including the show --
Advancing the Dream, just in full disclosure. So you`re working through
University of Phoenix to get your degree in communications?
FITZGERALD: Yes, sir, I`m working right now.
SHARPTON: I got to ask you this. You signed a $120 million contract. Why
go back to school?
FITZGERALD: My grandfather always told me education is the one thing that
can never be taken from you. My career could be shortened by any injury in
any day. And I understand that. It`s funny, my late grandfather when he
introduced me to his friends would say, this is my grandson who has not
graduated from college. So, all my grandparents, my uncles, all my cousins
that are college age have all graduated, I`m the only one who doesn`t have
a degree. So, it`s kind of embarrassing.
SHARPTON: Now, people get education at different time and for different
reasons. This time for you is about you, though?
FITZGERALD: It`s all about me. It`s about making the commitment to
improving. When I`m sitting down, talking to my son and stressing the
importance of education, all I have to do is look at the mantle place and
show him my degree. And that`s going to say all I need to say and it`s
going to let him know I mean business when I`m talking about education.
SHARPTON: What are you going to do with your degree?
FITZGERALD: Well, I love the journalism field. My dad has been doing it
for the last 35 years in the twin cities area where I was born and raised.
And I`m fascinated by it. I`m intrigued by it and I think it`s something I
could thrive doing.
SHARPTON: Now, Richard Sherman, there has been a lot of press about him.
I saw a footage where you knocked him down, and he got up and patted you on
the helmet. I`ve been reading all these last couple of weeks about he is a
thug. How do you respond to that as someone who has played against him and
FITZGERALD: I know Richard very well. And he is the farthest thing you
can`t think from a thug. And I know him intimately. And I got to be
around his family, his mother, his brother and know his fiber. If you get
to know him, he is a truly intriguing, intelligent young man. And anybody
that competed at the highest level, he made the biggest play on the biggest
stage of his life, and he was very emotional at the time. But he
apologized, and he is moving forward from that, and I wish him the best.
SHARPTON: Now, you played Seattle twice, Denver in preseason. Who are you
FITZGERALD: I`m going with Seattle. I just think that the way they`ve
been playing defensively, the way they`re going to run the football
offensively, I think they have a --
SHARPTON: So you are with the Seahawks for Sunday?
FITZGERALD: I`m not with them, but I think they`re going to win, yes.
SHARPTON: All right. Fair enough. Well, I`m very impressed that you
know, you would say millions of dollars notwithstanding, you`re going to
get your degree.
SHARPTON: And I think that`s good. You say something I think a lot of
young people need to hear. And I hope people won`t be shocked when I come
tomorrow night with my Larry Fitzgerald earring in. You and me talk about
that. Larry Fitzgerald, thank you for being with us. And you`re a joy to
the game. You enjoy the game also Sunday.
FITZGERALD: Thank you.
SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Coming up, today an historic punch thrown in the fight for
justice. Real action in what would be the biggest overall of sentencing
guidelines in decades, straight ahead.
SHARPTON: Fixing the crisis in our criminal justice system has been a
priority for the Obama administration. Last month, President Obama
commuted the prison sentences for eight people serving decades under old
crack cocaine laws. And in August, Attorney General Eric Holder announced
new guidelines designed to reduce sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: In recent years, black male offenders
have received sentences nearly 20 percent longer than those imposed on
white males convicted of similar crimes. This isn`t just unacceptable, it
It is -- it is unworthy of our great country. It is unworthy of our great
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Today the Senate Judiciary Committee approved what would be the
biggest overhaul in federal drug sentencing in decades. It would cut
mandatory minimum sentences in half for some drug offenders, increase
eligibility for reduced crack cocaine penalties, and expand discretion for
judges to rule on drug cases. This bill was approved with bipartisan
support, and now moves on to the full Senate for a vote. We need this, and
we`ll be watching closely.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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