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PoliticsNation, Friday, April 4th, 2014

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POLITICS NATION
April 4, 2014

Guests: Laura Bassett, Angela Rye, Mark Hannah, Faith Jenkins, Carmen St.
George

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And happy
anniversary. Five years. You mean so much to so many. Thank you for
being. Ed.

SCHULTZ: Thanks, brother. I appreciate that.

SHARPTON: And thanks to you for tuning in. Tonight`s lead, destroying the
GOP`s myth of Obamacare, the job killer. It was their favorite talking
point, and they trotted it out every chance they got.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: In my opinion, Obamacare
is the biggest job killer we have in America today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Becomes such a job killer in our economy.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Obamacare is the
biggest job killer in this country.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The number one job killer in the
United States, do you know what it is? Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s right. When the health care law wasn`t taking away our
freedom, it was killing our jobs. The only problem is the facts don`t back
that up.

Today, we got another positive jobs report showing that 192,000 jobs were
created last month. That makes 49 straight months of private sector job
growth. And when did that trend start? March 2010, the same month that
President Obama signed the affordable care act. So much for the Obamacare,
the job killer. But, of course, Republicans aren`t going to let a little
thing like the facts get in the way of this spin.

Check out Paul Ryan last night on FOX.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Now that we`re five years into Obamanomics, the economy is even
worse. Fewer people are staying in the labor force. So we have a slower
economy, which means bigger deficits. So we have to cut a little bit more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is classic Paul Ryan. Blame the president for the cuts to
the safety net that he wants to do anyway. And here is how he explained
that new budget of his that he released this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: We think we need to fix some of our welfare programs so that we make
sure we transition people from welfare to work. So we proposed a block
grant some of these programs like food stamps. Let`s let our governors and
our state legislators customize these benefits so that they can fit the
needs of their local population. Medicaid is a program that is not work
very well. Well want to give the states more flexibility to cater to their
populations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, when a guy like Paul Ryan talks about customizing benefits
and adding flexibility to the safety net, you know what he really means,
right? Cuts, cuts, cuts, and more cuts.

In fact, a new analysis of his budget shows that $3.3 trillion in cuts
target programs for low-income Americans. That`s 69 percent of all the
cuts in this entire budget. It`s immoral. It`s not who we are as a
nation.

President Obama is growing the economy job by job, month by month.
Republicans think they can rebuild the economy by tearing down the poor.

Joining me now are Melissa Harris-Perry and Ryan Grim. Thank you both for
joining me.

RYAN GRIM, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, HUFFINGTON POST/MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:
Thank you, Reverend.

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR, MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY SHOW: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Melissa, I want to bring back this chart. How can Republicans
claim the health care law is a job killer if we had job growth every single
month since it passed?

HARRIS-PERRY: So here is the one way that they`re right. and it`s so
twisted, the logic is hard to follow.

Obamacare is a job killer only in this sense, that the one place where
there has been a decrease in the number of jobs, in fact in a massive
decrease in the number of jobs has been in public sector employment. And
that public sector employment job cutting has been primarily been
Republican governors, Republican state legislatures who have cut these
jobs. They ran on kill Obamacare. Running on kill Obamacare has allowed
them to take over these government positions and then in those government
positions, they have killed jobs. That is the only way in which Obamacare
is a job killer.

SHARPTON: And that`s true. But the private sector jobs have been going
up.

HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Every month, 49 straight months private sector jobs have grown.

HARRIS-PERRY: Which is why the only reason we don`t feel it, the only
reason you don`t feel that sense of enormous robust comeback is because in
the public sector where these Republicans are in control in state
legislatures.

SHARPTON: Congress and the state legislature.

HARRIS-PERRY: Exactly. They`ve been cutting it.

SHARPTON: And Ryan, you know, when you look at the breakdown of cuts in
Paul Ryan`s budget, again, this bringing the public sector into play, where
they have been the ones that have obstructed.

The breakdown of cuts in Ryan`s new budget, $2.7 trillion in Medicaid and
health subsidies. $137 billion in food stamps or SNAP. $125 billion Pell
grants or low income college students. $250 billion school lunch, child
nutrition, et cetera. But he adds, Ryan, $483 billion in defense spending.

Now, all these cuts are actually worse than in prior years. The Ryan
budgets are actually getting worse, not better.

GRIM: Right. And there is a missing step in the Ryan plan. You know, he
thinks that if you take benefits away from people, you take help away from
people, that will kind of force them into the job market. But the step he
is missing is that there aren`t enough jobs.

SHARPTON: Right.

GRIM: There are already millions more people looking for jobs than we have
jobs. And as Melissa said, you know, there are 100,000 fewer public jobs
today than there were a year ago. And hundreds of thousands fewer than
there were five years ago.

Meanwhile, the population is much bigger. You know, and the economy is
still sluggish. And she really hit the nail on the head. That`s problem.
There just aren`t enough jobs for people. So if there aren`t the jobs for
people to go into, how can you justify taking help away from them?

SHARPTON: But you don`t really need jobs available, Melissa, when the
problem is that we`re just lazy and shiftless and don`t want to work. I
mean, we are talking about Ryan and his logic.

HARRIS-PERRY: Look, it is -- the only thing that makes me cringe every
time, because at this point, it`s become expected of Paul Ryan. And it`s
distressing in part because Paul Ryan is not a dumb guy. He is a smart
man. So you know he knows better when he is saying these things. You know
that he can look at the data and the evidence and know that what he is
saying is empirically false.

But the most distressing thing is when he uses that language, move people
from welfare to work. And the reason that it just sticks for me is because
that was precisely the language that president Clinton used in signing that
horrifying welfare reform bill in the 1990s.

And so, in that moment when we most need it, to stand firmly as a
Democratic Party, when people in the Democratic Party needed to stand firm
and say there is no unworthy poor, and this narrative and this language is
false, instead at that time, for all the wonderful things that the Clinton
presidency did for the economy, it was rough on poor people. And it
allowed a discourse that can now still be deployed all these decades later.

SHARPTON: Well, some of us did stand up.

HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: But we didn`t have a whole lot of company.

You know, Ryan, when we look at the fact that these cuts are actually
worse, and then the president ripped into the GOP priorities on display in
the Ryan budget, watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They just sincerely believe
that if we give more tax breaks to a fortunate few and we invest less in
the middle class and we reduce or eliminate the safety net for the poor and
the sick and we cut food stamps and we cut Medicaid and we let banks and
polluters and credit card companies and insurers do only what is best for
their bottom line without the responsibility to the rest of us, then
somehow the economy will boom. They tried to sell this -- this sandwich at
Zingerman`s, they would have to call it the stink about burger, or the
mean-wich.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, Ryan, let`s face facts. Things could be a lot better if
these guys would just get out of the way. The problem is not that the
times are as bad as the obstructionists are determined and immovable. And
they`ve got to get out of the way. That`s the problem, Ryan.

GRIM: Yes. You know, and the irony is that the Republicans are always
saying get the government out of the way. And if they would have just left
government spend agent the level that it was in 2009 and 2010, we`d have
probably millions more jobs today, at least hundreds of thousands more
jobs. The deficit is falling at such a fast pace now that it makes you
wonder what is going on here. Why aren`t Republicans giving credit here
for the deficit falling, and why isn`t the unemployment rate coming down if
the deficit was the reason that we had these high jobless numbers.

Now, clearly, that`s backwards. You know, when the economy is struggling,
you need to run a higher deficit. You know, Republicans are never going to
get behind that. But they won`t admit that that`s what is going on right
now. So, if have gotten out of the way and left things as they are, we
would be in a much better place.

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

Let`s get back to the private sector jobs, though, Melissa. With the
latest job report, we now regain all the private sector jobs lost during
the Bush recession. So let`s compare the Obama and Bush presidencies when
it comes to the private sector jobs.

President Obama has created 5.4 million jobs so far. President Bush lost
646,000 jobs. So the Bush trickle down tax cuts for the rich agenda didn`t
work so well. So why are the Republicans still pushing?

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I mean, I think we know they`re pushing it because
it`s not really what is about what is good for the economy or even about
what is good for reemploying Americans. It`s really just a pure partisan
battle, never mind what is good for the American people.

But let me just suggest one other thing. The criticism that often we hear
about these private sector jobs is that they`re low wage jobs. They`re not
the same kind of jobs. But I just don`t want to miss what the president
did standing there in Michigan, where now, if in fact that is your
criticism, if the criticism is that these are low wage jobs, he is now
pushing for an increase in the minimum wage.

SHARPTON: Right.

HARRIS-PERRY: He is actually looking now for a fix for exactly that
problem of the creation of low wage jobs, raising that floor, creating a
stimulative economy. Because we know that when poor people make even
marginally more, they spend that money out into the economy that money
going out into the economy creates more jobs. And so the president is
actively trying to address the challenges, even in his own private job
growth.

SHARPTON: Even some -- when some members of his own party is not there
aggressively with him.

Melissa Harris-Perry and Ryan Grim, thank you both for your time tonight.

And be sure to catch Melissa Harris-Perry weekends. She is back! Starting
at 10:00 a.m. eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, it`s been a transformative week for president Obama and his
health care law. And today more great news has Republicans scrambling.

In gnaw documentary, Donald Rumsfeld says something about a torture memo
that I couldn`t believe.

And was it self-defense or murder? A tough defense kicks off for a man
accused of murdering an unarmed teenager. They`re going after the judge
and the victim`s past.

And Toronto Mayor Rob Ford`s latest gaffe. It involves hockey, Nelson
Mandela, and stretching, yes, stretching. Big show ahead.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: A woman`s right to choose. It`s the law of the land. But
Republicans are making it so hard to get an abortion, and now women are
trying to do it themselves. How can this be happening? We have some eye-
opening reporting on this, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Republicans are unified in rolling back women`s rights. Eleven
states have made abortion illegal after 20 weeks. Right now, nearly 300
anti-abortion bills are pending in Republican-led legislatures across the
country. But perhaps nowhere is it worse than in Texas.

New laws and restrictions have made it nearly impossible for women to get
an abortion. Look at this map. Those dots represent clinics where women
could get abortions in Texas before restrictive laws were passed last
summer.

Now look at this map. Those dots are the only clinics expected to remain
open later this year. Amazing. That`s how hard it is to get a safe
abortion. And now women are trying to do it themselves. And we`re seeing
a run of the so-called back alley abortion.

Joining me now is the author of that article, Laura Bassett.

Laura, first of all, thank you for being here tonight.

LAURA BASSETT, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Great to be here.

SHARPTON: Women have a right to choose, Laura. So how did we get here?

BASSETT: I don`t know. I thought this was settled in 1973. You know Roe
V. Wade. The Supreme Court decided in Roe V. Wade that women should be
legally able to get an abortion up until the fetus is viable, around 22 to
24 weeks. And anti-abortion advocates, particularly over the last few
years have been really successful at chipping away at the rights by passing
little bitty laws that add up to a big deal.

And we`re seeing is a the worst in Texas right now. I would call it an
all-out crisis in Texas. Not only are legislators slashing the family
planning budgets. I mean 75 clinics have closed in Texas that were only
providing birth control and IUDs and other health service.

SHARPTON: Seventy five women`s clinics have closed in Texas?

BASSETT: Seventy five family planning clinics have closed. They weren`t
even providing abortions. And in addition to that 24 abortion clinics have
closed, and a bunch more are expected to close by September. So access is
really, really bad down there.

SHARPTON: Let me raise this that was really striking to me.

Women in Texas are crossing the border to Mexico for abortion alternatives.
You write the lack of abortion access in Texas is already pushing pregnant
women back across the border. At Mexican pharmacies, they can purchase a
drug that are labeled use of preventing gastric ulcers, but which can also
induce abortions.

And our colleague at the "Rachel Maddow show" spoke to the CEO of a group
that owns abortion clinics in Texas. Listen to what she says about the
women taking abortions into their own hands. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMY HAGSTROM MILLER, WHOLE WOMAN`S HEALTH: We saw an increase of self-
induction in 2012, at the end of 2012. And we`ve seen an even greater
increase right now. We know with flea markets, with crossing the border.
The sad thing is the misuse of the medication. You know, that something
that is actually pretty safe, women could really do harm to themselves by
not knowing what to do because they`re not getting professional medical
advice or care, you know. So it`s heartbreaking I know for some of the
physicians I work with, you know, who are highly trained to provide safe
care, and then their hands are tied now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Not only is this extreme, Laura, it is dangerous. Especially
for women that don`t have means if something goes wrong to try to help
themselves medically correct something. This is extremely dangerous.

BASSETT: You`re right. This pill is not intended to take on one`s own
without the supervision of a doctor. And I`ve talked to doctors down there
who are saying women are coming in bleeding after having taken 50 of the
pills and putting them in every orifice of their body because they don`t
know how to take it.

It`s a very complicated pill to self administer. You have to take 12 and
put them under the tongue at different time intervals. And for people who
don`t know what they`re doing, that`s a really scary undertaking. And if
you take it with an ectopic pregnancy or if anything goes wrong, side
effects include death. So this is very much of a modern back alley
abortion. And it`s really dangerous.

SHARPTON: I mean, that expression you just said, "Back Alley Abortion",
this is 2014. I thought that was a thing of the past.

BASSETT: Right. We all did. And stories have been flooding in not only
from pre-Roe days. I`ve had the most heartbreaking stories roll into my in
box this week. People telling me they sprayed Lysol into themselves. That
their partner punched them in the stomach. That they fell down the stairs.
And women going over the border and taking the pill and not realizing they
hadn`t entirely passed the placenta and ended up hemorrhaging in the
emergency room. So a lot of same things that were happening before
abortion was legal are happening again now. And I think it`s really scary.

SHARPTON: That`s why we have to pay close attention to what is going on in
these state legislatures. It`s very, very serious. Laura Bassett from
"the Huffington Post," great reporting and thank you for your time tonight.

BASSETT: Thank you so much for having me.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Donald Rumsfeld`s stunning admission about torture
during the Bush administration. You`ll want to hear this one.

Plus, a big announcement about president Obama`s health care law. Tonight
there are three million more reasons why this law is here to stay.

Also, self-defense or murder? A key hearing. A Michigan case that is
drawing comparisons to the death of Trayvon Martin.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: A new documentary out today by Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol
Morris is an eye-opening look at former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld`s
warped sense of history and the facts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about all these so-called torture memos?

DONALD RUMSFELD, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, there were what, one or
two or three. I don`t know the number. But there were not all of these
so-called memos. They were mischaracterized as torture memos, and they
came not out of the Bush administration per se, they came out of the U.S.
department of justice. Blessed by the attorney general, the senior legal
official of the United States of America, having been nominated by a
president and confirmed by the United States Senate overwhelmingly. Little
different cast I just put on it than the one you did. I`ll chalk that one
up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was the reaction unfair?

RUMSFELD: I`ve never read them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?

RUMSFELD: No. I`m not a lawyer. What would I know?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He never read the torture memos that justified so-called
enhanced interrogation of suspected terrorists? He was secretary of
defense, and he never even bothered to read them? Remarkable.

The Bush era torture programs is a huge stain on this country`s history.
We learned just this week that the tortures used likely had little to do
with the killing of bin Laden.

Donald Rumsfeld is still making headlines criticizing the current
administration`s foreign policy. And that`s not even a nice try, but we
got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s the comeback story of the year. President Obama`s health
care law after four years of Republicans predicting failure, the law is
getting a chance to work, and it`s getting millions more Americans insured.

Today, the White House announced three million more people have enrolled in
Medicaid since October. Three million more people coming. This just days
after we learned 7.1 million have enrolled in health care exchanges. It
has been a transformative week for health care in this country. And
Republicans are realizing they`ve got to do more than just trash it. Just
listen to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: There are a lot of Republicans in
Washington who think we can just run against ObamaCare between now and
November. I think that`s a mistake. I think we have to tell the American
people what we`re for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Exactly. They can`t just keep going on and on about how much
they hate the Affordable Care Act. They have to tell the American people
what they`re for. So, Governor Jindal, what exactly are you for?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JINDAL: We need to repeal ObamaCare, there are too many conservatives in
D.C. You think now I`ve got to live with it. We have to accept the taxes,
accept the spending. We have to modify it. That`s exactly wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Repeal? Repeal a law that has gotten millions more people
coverage? How is that going to go?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: To give them credit, they do have
one original idea. Which is to repeal ObamaCare. Because they haven`t
tried that 50 times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They couldn`t repeal the law before it took effect. They really
think they`ve got a chance now? As President Obama said this week, the
Affordable Care Act is here to stay.

Joining me now are Angela Rye and Mark Hannah. Thank you both for being
here.

MARK HANNAH, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you, Rev.

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Angela, how many people will have to enroll before Republicans
stop talking about repeal?

RYE: Infinity? I don`t know that they would ever stop talking about it,
Rev. You know, with messaging, whether you`re a Democrat or Republican,
there is this concept they have called the boogie man. And they have
absolutely not only made the President the boogie man, but the Affordable
Care Act or ObamaCare is the boogie man. The President laughed about this
early on saying as soon as the law really starts begin to accomplish a
great deal and as soon as they start seeing the victories from ObamaCare,
they`re going to change it back to the Affordable Care Act. I think in
very short order we will see that. Bobby Jindal, as we know is a
presidential hopeful. So, I`m sure he is singing that tune because it`s
less partisan, less controversial to say that with Chuck Todd on this
network than it would be to say something totally different on the other
network.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Mark, Congressman Paul Ryan was asked in an
interview about -- an interview that aired this weekend about what would
happen if Republicans somehow managed to repeal the law. He was asked if
Republicans would let young adults stay on their parents` plans, and if
they would protect those with preexisting conditions. Ryan said no, that
those provisions are too costly. Now, how will people react to that?

HANNAH: I think they`ll react to it by not voting for Paul Ryan when he
runs for president in 2016. I think Republicans are alienating major,
major swaths of the American people. You mentioned the seven million
people that are enrolled in the private exchanges and the three million
through Medicaid expansion. That doesn`t taken into consideration over 100
million people who now have free coverage for preventative medicine, for
mammograms. Everybody is going to know somebody that has benefited in some
way from ObamaCare.

And when the job description of Congressional Republicans for the past four
years has been to try to repeal the law, defund the law, undermine
different individual provisions of the law, and that`s all you`ve been
doing in Congress, well, when people start to realize somebody they know
has been benefitting personally from the law, Republicans are going to
have to find something else to do with their time, and they`re going to
have to find a way to walk back, and backpedal from this position.

SHARPTON: Well, I don`t know, Angela, if they`re going to backpedal.
Because the head of the Republican Party actually mocked the idea that
health care costs could cause bankruptcy. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Who is losing their house when they
get sick? I would venture to say nobody is losing their house when they
get sick. But this is what I guess we got to deal with a bunch of lies,
essentially propaganda that people have been inculcated with, they believe
it now. Now getting sick equals bankruptcy. Therefore we need ObamaCare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: In reality, a study by Harvard researchers in 2007 found illness
or medical bills contributed to 62 percent of bankruptcies. I mean, how
out of touch are they, Angela?

RYE: Well, Rev, I don`t know if we can spend any more time on talking
about how out of touch they are. I love you made rush the de facto chair
of the Republican Party. It`s highly accurate.

SHARPTON: No. He is the de facto chair.

RYE: As a matter of fact, he is the chair.

SHARPTON: Right.

RYE: And the mere fact that they get their talking points from someone who
is rich off of spewing propaganda on his show, he is the last person in the
world that should be talking about lies and propaganda. It is a very known
fact that people go into foreclosure and bankruptcy and work two and three
and four jobs just to pay for health care costs. This law is finally
addressing some of that. I don`t know how they`re going to go home to
their constituents, those that are even secretly signing up for ObamaCare
and have coverage. I don`t know how they`re going to face these people.
And I certainly hope that people recognize who is really fighting for them
even when they`re not aligned with some of these folks because they think
it conflicts with some of their other interests when it comes time to vote
in the elections this year.

SHARPTON: Mark, in a minute I have left. You know, let me try with you.
I tried with Angela. This week we learned 7.1 million people enrolled in
health care exchanges.

HANNAH: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And the Congressional Budget Office projects 24 million will
enroll by 2017. I mean, by that point, will Republicans finally knock off
this repeal talk?

HANNAH: They`re going to need to change the subject somehow, Rev. I mean,
the law is doing exactly what Democrats promised it would do. And people -
- and Democrats voted for it. And so right now they need to change the
subject. It`s unclear what they stand for. It`s extremely clear what they
stand against. But here is hoping that they`re going to come up with some
issue that they can talk about other than just making ObamaCare their
pinata, as Angela alluded to earlier.

SHARPTON: Angela, the ObamaCare has not been the job killer? They`ve been
able to make the numbers. They went not to the six million that was
changed as the target number. They went over the seven million, which was
the original number. Everything the Republicans predicted has not
happened, despite the rocky lift-off. I mean, at some point, forget the
fact that this is good. Forget the morality. Politically, isn`t this
unwise to continue down this road for the Republicans?

RYE: It is unwise, Rev. Whether you`re talking about the website, there
was a disaster initially, it`s been fixed. Whether you`re talking about
the deadlines, they`ve been changed to ensure that people can continue to
enroll. Every single thing they pointed out as an issue has been
addressed. So at what point are you going to say OK, our repeal strategy
didn`t work, so what are we going to do to replace or enhance this law?
That is really the only other option.

HANNAH: And to piggyback on that, I mean, there are some thoughtful
conservatives that have come out and admitted and acknowledged full well
that the actuarial science here is stacking up. When you have young people
maybe not enrolling at exactly the rate you want, but millions of young
people are enrolling. And when you have the Obama administration hitting
its targets, the case that Republicans have been making that ObamaCare is
going to somehow implode on itself, it just doesn`t align with reality at
this point.

SHARPTON: And it doesn`t help, Angela, when one of the faces of your party
who may be your new chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, if they
can keep the majority is talking about it`s too costly to continue to take
care of people with preexisting conditions and young people, that does not
help your cause in the midterm election if you`re republican.

RYE: It doesn`t. And as you said earlier, it`s out of touch. So they
have to find another boogie man, Rev.

SHARPTON: All right. Well, Angela and Mark Hannah and the boogie man,
thanks for your time. Have a great weekend.

HANNAH: Thank you, Rev.

RYE: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, it`s a case being compared to the Trayvon Martin tragedy,
a man accused of murdering an unarmed teenager, and the defense is reaching
back into the victim`s past. Who is on trial here? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Pretrial hearings continue in the murder trial of the man
accused of killing 19-year-old Renisha McBride last November. And today at
a pretrial hearing, Ted Wafer`s lawyers showed their mounting and
aggressive defense. In November, McBride was intoxicated and crashed her
car into a parked vehicle around 1:00 a.m. She walked to Theodore Wafer`s
house. Her family says to seek help. But the 55-year-old shot McBride in
the face after she went on his porch.

He claims self-defense, saying McBride was trying to break into his house.
After the hearing today, the defense attorney went after the judge, asking
her to recuse herself for ties to prosecutors. And they`re reportedly
ready to attack the victim`s character with photos from her past. So who
is on trial here, and how will this play out?

Joining me now are former prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst Faith Jenkins
and Carmen St. George, a criminal defense attorney, thank you both for
being here.

FAITH JENKINS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.

CARMEN ST. GEORGE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Faith, what is the defense trying to do today going after the
judge?

JENKINS: Well, they argued that this judge has several associations with
prosecutors. She is actually from the prosecutor`s office. She spent
eight years there before she was appointed as a judge this past fall. So
they`re saying because of her close ties to the prosecutor`s office, that`s
one reason that she may have some bias and may for whatever reason make
rulings in their favor. They also talked about her being Facebook friends
with some of the prosecutors.

But if that were the standard, she couldn`t hear any cases from that county
prosecutor`s office because every defense attorney could get up and argue
well she has some kind of bias because she is a former prosecutor. Judges
come from all different backgrounds. And they swear, they take an oath
they`re going to decide the case based on the evidence, not because of
their professional associations.

SHARPTON: But one thing, Carmen, it shows, they`re going to be aggressive.
They`re going after everything. But the judge refused to step aside. And
she said she was unbiased. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE QIANA LILLARD, WAYNE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: There is nothing
inappropriate about this activity, and it does not create an appearance of
impropriety.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is it smart to go after this judge? Of course another judge now
will have to rule on this. Or is just them trying to take a position and
show that they`re going to be aggressive in this defense?

GEORGE: Reverend, this is a valid position. On behalf of the defense, a
judge has to recuse himself if he cannot be fair and impartial. The
question here, we all have collegiality, we are all members of the bar, we
might be friends. But having a relationship with a judge on Facebook or
LinkedIn gives you the ability to have the insight on how the judge may
think on certain issues. And the whole decision here is whether or not
there is an appearance of impropriety. That`s going to take the lead, if
the defense can show that there is an appearance of impropriety based upon
this relationship, there has been funds that have been paid to this
particular judge from prosecutors that are handling the case. There is no
reason --

SHARPTON: You mean campaign funds?

GEORGE: Of course.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, I want to be clear when you say funds.

GEORGE: All right. There has been campaign -- this judge just was on the
bench eight months now.

SHARPTON: Right.

GEORGE: So she fund raised and she became a member of the bench. There is
no shortage of judges. This is a serious case and the defendant has his
life at stake.

SHARPTON: All right. Let me move on to another issue here, though, Faith.
Defense attorneys want to make Renisha McBride`s character an issue.

JENKINS: Right.

SHARPTON: They want to, quote, "let jurors see photos of McBride`s phone
that show her with wads of money, alcohol, and marijuana. One is a blur
photo of McBride holding what appears to be a gun." In court documents,
the defense claims Ms. McBride could have thought she was breaking into her
marijuana supplier`s house. It seems like they`re going after the
background of the deceased.

JENKINS: Of course they are. Of course they are. The best defense for
them is a good offense. You remember long before George Zimmerman went on
trial, we heard a lot about who Trayvon Martin was. And the defense
attorneys called into question his character and his identity long before
those jurors ever stepped foot in a courtroom. You`re seeing the same
thing here. The legal question is what is going to be relevant, because
these are strangers. The defendant did not know Renisha McBride or that
she had these items on her phone or why would they be relevant to the
trial. But the issue is about shaping perceptions about who these
individuals are before people ever set foot in that courtroom. And they
want to get in early and shape the perception about who this young woman
is.

SHARPTON: And that`s what makes it a win-win, Carmen, that they disparage
the victim, even if they don`t get the evidence in because it`s already in
the public domain to potential jurors?

GEORGE: They don`t need to, Reverend. They don`t need to. They have a
case where in Detroit a woman whose drugged and drunk crashes her car and
then runs up on somebody`s house at 1:00 a.m. This is a city where crime
is rampant. In the past couple of weeks, they`ve had two incidents just
like this where homeowners basically shot intruders that are coming on to
their property. Your home is your castle. And if this defendant can lay
out that he was in fear for his family and his life, that`s the case.

JENKINS: Well, the issue is self-defense, right? So the key is going to
be what happened in that moment in time. If the key is not who Renisha
McBride is as a person.

SHARPTON: Well, he didn`t know who she was.

JENKINS: But this is what they want to do. They want to argue, they want
jurors to think well, because she was perhaps involved in some kind of
nefarious behavior in her past and her background, it makes it more likely
for you to believe, jurors, that she was breaking into someone`s home.
That`s what the underlying message is that they want to point out.

SHARPTON: But the point is that he shot through the door. Does he not,
Carmen, have to prove that he felt he was in an imminent danger to use
deadly force. We`re not talking about a warning shot here. We`re talking
a shot through the door in this woman`s face and he killed her.

GEORGE: He does have to prove that he was in fear of his life or in fear
of the lives of those people in the home. He is not coming to that door
with a coffee cup. He came to that door with a gun. He may argue that it
went off accidentally. But his argument is that he was in fear of his
life.

SHARPTON: Renisha McBride`s own family weighed in. Watch this, Faith.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: They`re going to try and make her as the suspect. She
was not the suspect. She shouldn`t have been killed. And if she was a
drug dealer, it`s the police job to arrest her, not for Ted Wafer to kill
her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Your reaction, Faith?

JENKINS: Well, I mean, I agree with what she is saying here, because,
again, you know, if you look at the circumstances in a vacuum, that`s one
thing, because he has to argue I was in fear for my life, and that`s why I
shot and killed this young woman. I thought she was breaking into my home.
And the reason why all of these things about her background why they want
to put him in a place is because they want -- it`s propensity evidence.
And that`s what we call it. They want jurors to believe because she has
done certain things in her past, well, you know, this young lady has a
picture with a gun perhaps on her phone, with money, with drugs. Yes, you
can believe and infer from that that she is probably doing something
illegal the night she was killed. But that`s not the standard.

SHARPTON: But she didn`t have a gun that night. And he didn`t know what
was on her phone. So how do you by law justify killing someone and then
later find out things you did not know to say that`s why you shot them?

GEORGE: In my opinion, a good defense is not going to go forward on that
foot, to basically blame her and what she came from. It`s not propensity.
They`re trying to, if they use this evidence, they`re trying to attack her
character. And the basic defense in this case is to say that he was in
fear of his life based upon the circumstances. This community is in fear.
This is how the neighborhood feels, that criminals are coming up on their
house where your home is supposed to be where you are safe and you are
protected. And he is going to have to prove that he was in imminent
danger.

SHARPTON: Well, I think we`re going to have to leave there it, Faith
Jenkins and Carmen St. George. This is why we need to really look very
carefully at laws like the castle laws, like stand your ground. Because at
one level you have people that have fear for their homes and their safety.
At another level, you have now a pattern of unarmed people killed, just
killed, dead, can`t bring them back. Somewhere we`ve got to find a way
that everyone is protected, not just those that can use state laws to duck
accountability.

Coming up, Rob Ford being Rob Ford. He made two very controversial votes,
and it involved stretching. Yes, Rob Ford and stretching. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was the only council member to vote
against emotion to congratulate Canada`s winter Olympians. How can you
vote no on that? After all, he was literally jumping for joy when the
women`s hockey team won a gold medal. And he also voted against naming a
city street in honor of Nelson Mandela. But he tried to get the vote
reopen 30 minutes later.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: MM 21 and 27, I voted the wrong way. Yes, I admit it.
I pulled a pit field. So, can I have the reopen to vote in the affirmative
rather than the negative?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But the council wouldn`t have it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: Every single council meeting, they reopen it.
Rob Ford makes a mistake, they reopen it. I asked immediately after the
vote to reopen it.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Half an hour, sir.

FORD: It wasn`t a half hour. OK. That`s the end of that conversation.
Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You did ask half an hour.

FORD: Yes, OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So what was his excuse? He said he was stretching a sore back
and voted quickly, pushing the wrong button. Seems far-fetched. But after
all, it is Rob Ford we`re talking about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yellow 80, hut!

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do you smoke crack cocaine?

FORD: Exactly. Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine.

Excuse me, guys. (bleep) holy Christ!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Maybe he was stretching after all.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the day this country will never forget. On
this day 46 years ago, April 4th, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was
assassinated. While standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in
Memphis, Tennessee. The night before he delivered his famous mountaintop
speech, a prophetic, powerful address that brought the audience to tears.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., JANUARY 1929 - APRIL, 1968: I just want to do
God`s will. And he has allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I`ve
looked over. And I`ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with
you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the
Promised Land. So I`m happy tonight. I`m not worried about anything. I`m
not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the
lord.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: As we remember Dr. King`s death, we must also remember why he
was in Memphis. He was there in support of sanitation workers on strike.
Dr. King had turned his focus to social and economic issues as the next
stage in the fight for civil rights. He was planning a poor people`s
campaign to call attention to the crisis of poverty in America. And in
that famous speech about the Promised Land, he also issued a call to action
for improving our lives here on earth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It`s all right to talk about streets flowing with milk and honey,
but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here and his
children who can`t eat three square meals a day. It`s all right to talk
about the new Jerusalem, but one day God`s preacher must talk about the new
New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the
new Memphis, Tennessee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, those new days and those new cities and this new nation
won`t happen by itself. It will only happen if we pick up that mantle and
keep fighting. Dr. King gave his life 46 years ago tonight so that we
would have better lives. We need to pick up and change this nation and
keep it moving toward where he had it headed.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. Have a great weekend. "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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