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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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April 9, 2014

Guests: Jan Schakowsky; Jackie Speier

Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.

Good evening, Rev.

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, the GOP is shooting down real progress and ginning up fake

Today, the Senate Republicans filibustered the paycheck fairness act, a
bill to help women get equal pay. That`s something that could actually
help people. So, of course, Republicans are against it. And over in the
House, Republicans are spinning their wheels on phony scandals.

Darrell Issa is planning to hold a former IRS official in contempt, all
because she refused to play ball with his kangaroo court. Democrats are
fed up and fighting back.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Chairman Issa has led the charge,
relentlessly pursuing nonexistent scandals for political purposes. After a
year and a half, I believe our country, unfortunately, has gotten used to
these outlandish and reckless claims, but we should not. Frankly, it is a
tremendous embarrassment for our committees, it undermines our credibility,
and nobody will take us seriously.


SHARPTON: It is an embarrassment. This scandal mongering can`t stand up
to public scrutiny. Maybe that`s why Republicans retreated behind closed
doors today to vote on referring criminal charges against that same IRS
official to the justice department. The Republicans refuse to let
Democrats hold a public debate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The clerk will call the role.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The clerk will call the roll.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those points of order will be able to be made once we
go into executive session.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, I have a right for point of order.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just chill out. What is the point of order?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You follow procedures.


SHARPTON: It`s just like when Darrell Issa cut off the Democrat`s mic.
They are afraid of public debate. They are afraid to be exposed. The
truth is, these Republicans are searching for a scandal, any scandal, to
try to hurt President Obama. They are even still treading out false claims
about Benghazi. Just listen to them Monday. Listen to them today.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I`m now of the firm opinion that
the information provided by this administration through Susan Rice on 16th
of September was manipulated for a political purpose.


SHARPTON: Why are Republicans focused on fake scandals, when they could
take real steps to help Americans? Raise the minimum wage, extend jobless
benefits, pass immigration reform, restart a voting rights act. Instead,
Republicans are rolling in the mud and trying to bring the rest of the
country down with them.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois, and
"Washington Post`s" Jonathan Capehart.

Thank you both for being here tonight.


REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, IRS, Benghazi, do they care more about creating
scandals than creating jobs?

SCHAKOWSKY: I think what it really shows is that now Democrats are really
on offense and the Republicans have nowhere really to go, because as you
say, they are simply unable and unwilling to deal with the real issues that
the American people care about. So they are concocting these kinds of

And Reverend Al, I am the ranking Democrat on the oversight committee of
the intelligence committee. And I can tell you, there is no there there
when it comes to the so-called Benghazi scandal. It`s just made up. And
so now, they`ve taken to turning off microphones, to silencing people who
want to make a point of order, embarrassing is the word, but it`s also
really dangerous. When they start saying someone who invokes the Fifth
Amendment, as Lois Lerner did is now in contempt of Congress, these are
constitutional rights they are trampling on.

SHARPTON: You know, Jonathan, today Congressman Cummings compared Issa`s
hearings to the communist witch-hunts of Joe McCarthy. Look at this.

In modern history, Congress has held a witness in contempt for refusing to
answer questions just 11 times, nine were in the McCarthy era. It hasn`t
happened since 1968, yet now Issa wants to do it again. Aren`t these GOP
witch hunts way out of line with how Washington is supposed to function,

CAPEHART: Well, yes, and Washington has been way out of line in the way
that Washington is supposed to function for quite a while now. You know,
they could be working on all sorts of things that you talked about at the
beginning of this segment, extending unemployment benefits, equal pay for
equal work, getting jobs bill passed to put the American people back to
work, but instead, they keep focusing on so-called scandals, whether it`s
IRS, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, there are probably a whole lot more that I
can`t even remember, but they are so focused on that.

One, to ding the president and to keep the president on defense. And also
not to give the president a win in their mind. But also these kinds of so-
called scandals and controversies and fights with Democrats and putting the
president on the ropes plays well with the conservative base of the
Republican Party.

You know, when people do things like this over and over and over again,
despite the facts saying otherwise that what they are doing is completely
wrong, that what they are professing is completely wrong, there`s a reason
for that, and the reason for that, I think, is because it plays well at

SHARPTON: You know, Congresswoman, the GOP fixation, let`s face it, it`s
coming from the top. Here`s what Speaker Boehner said this week.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The American people have a
right to know what happened with regard to the fast and furious, what
happened at the IRS, what happened at Benghazi, and there`s no one more
serious about getting to the bottom of this than I am.


SHARPTON: Why isn`t Boehner serious about holding a vote on minimum wage
or the jobless benefits?

SCHAKOWSKY: You know, I actually think that the audience for the kinds of
scandals that they are talking about is relatively small. If you go out on
the street and you ask people, what do you think about Benghazi, I think
most people would kind of shake their head and maybe vaguely have heard of
it, but I think they are much more likely to talk about let`s create some
jobs, give America a raise, raise the minimum wage.

But the other thing is, that they are just lying about things. That in
Issa`s hands is an IRS report that shows it was not just the tea party, but
it was also progressives that were investigated. He knows that. Those
facts were in the report that he failed to mention when he did his phony
report. And so, they are just twisting the truth and spreading things that
they think will stick, but I actually doubt it.

SHARPTON: You know, Jonathan, Republican Louie Gohmert, he claimed the
administration is actually holding back documents that would prove it`s
getting advice from the Muslim brotherhood. Listen to this.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: They involve care, groups that are advising
this administration, those are front organizations from the Muslim
brotherhood, and I think that once we ever get those documents, they`ll
show that this administration should not be getting advice from front
organizations for the Muslim brotherhood.


SHARPTON: I mean, how can the president, I mean, how can he work on
serious issues with people that float things as outrageous as this?

CAPEHART: I don`t know, and, you know, some people would say that he`s not
-- they are not working together to begin with. You know, Congressman
Gohmert says some of the most outrageous things. Yesterday he got into a
verbal tussle with Attorney General Eric Holder over fast and furious, yet
another so-called scandal. So, yes, that kind of rhetoric and those kinds
of accusations do make it difficult for any kind of working relationship,
certainly between Congressman Gohmert and the Obama administration.

SHARPTON: But Congresswoman, I mean, when he went, Gohmert went and made
his offhand remark on the attorney general yesterday, attorney general
checked him on it. I mean, is that what the Democrats have to start doing,
is fighting back and cutting them off from this messaging they are doing
that is complete distortions to the American public?

SCHAKOWSKY: You know, it really is tough, because you get this absolute
craziness and then how do you respond, you don`t want to be totally
disrespectful. But on the other hand, you have to be clear, you have to be
frank when you get crazy things.

One of the other Republicans said he basically wouldn`t even ask a question
because Eric Holder should be in jail, you know. You`ve got to hope that
the American people see what we see. And that the journalism that the
media will also hold some of these questioners accountable for just the off
the wall kinds of remarks that are made.

SHARPTON: Just objective journalists, I mean, just dealing with the
ludicrous statements that some of them make.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Jonathan Capehart, thank you both for your
time tonight.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, a family values congressman caught on camera kissing
a staffer is a problem. But it highlights a bigger problem with Republican

And it`s the underreported shame of the Affordable Care Act, Republican
governors turning down billions in health care money. Our next guest calls
it evil.

Today, a heartbreaking story of a life lost that may have been saved if not
for political ideology.

And does the mom who drove her kids into the ocean belong in jail or a
mental hospital? Today, prosecutors made a decision, and it might surprise


SHARPTON: Coming up in the next hour, Chris Matthews has an exclusive
interview with President Jimmy Carter, who made some very interesting
comments about our country and Iran. Watch.


that Israel had the capability militarily to go 1,200 miles or more and
bomb Iran effectively and in return back to Israel. The only country on
earth that has that capability would be the United States, and I don`t
believe it`s appropriate for the United States to bomb Iran over this


SHARPTON: And the full interview with president Carter coming up on
"Hardball" at 7:00 p.m. eastern here on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: There`s one story that`s getting a lot of attention, it involves
married GOP congressman Vance McAllister. McAllister was caught on tape
kissing a female staffer in his office. The news was surprising, because
it came from a man who touted his family values during his campaign.


REP. VANCE MCALLISTER (R), LOUISIANA: It is here in this house we instill
the values of faith, family, and country in our five children. If you will
trust me in your vote, you can count on me to take those values to


SHARPTON: Yes, both bodies have had Congress members that have cheated.
These scandals are certainly bipartisan. But this incident highlights a
problem with Republican policy.

Yesterday, the president and Democrats celebrated equal payday by signing
executive orders to narrow the gender pay gap. Meanwhile, the staffer that
McAllister was caught kissing, she was a part-time employee, who was paid
less than $22,000 a year. And there are reports that she was fired when
the news broke. McAllister`s office now says she resigned.

As of the GOP and the Senate, today they blocked equal pay legislation.
That`s right, not a single Republican, not even the female senators, voted
to move forward with the legislation. Democrats were outraged.


SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D), MARYLAND: I tell you what I`m tired of hearing,
that somehow or another we`re too emotional when we talk. You know, when
we raise an issue, we`re too emotional. Well, I am emotional. It brings
tears to my eyes to know how women every single day are working so hard and
are getting paid less. It makes me emotional to hear that. Then when I
hear all of these phony reasons, some are mean and some are meaningless, I
do get emotional. I get angry. I get outraged. I get volcanic.


SHARPTON: That`s why the GOP has a problem, it`s their policies. And
their policies are why videos like this resonate so deeply with people.

Joining me now are Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Democrat from California.
She just introduced a bill to combat sexual harassment in the House of
Representatives, and "Washington Post`s" Dana Milbank. And his new column
is called "Republicans kiss votes from women good-bye." Good title, Dana.

Thank you both for coming on the show.


SHARPTON: Congresswoman, let me go to you first. You said yesterday the
House of Representatives is not a frat house. Why is your legislation so
important, especially now?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, it`s important because we have
had a string of very embarrassing incidents, where members of both sides of
the aisle in the House have engaged in conduct unbefitting a member of
Congress and violative of our own sexual harassment policies.

The Senate already has a mandatory training program. I think it`s high
time that the House does the same and incorporates that, so that both the
members of the House and their staff know what is, indeed, sexual
harassment, what`s a hostile work environment, and the employees know
exactly what they can do if they find that they are being harassed.

SHARPTON: You know, Dana, in your column you point out that in just the
last few days, the top female senator was called emotional and a
conservative Web site photoshopped a picture of Congresswoman Pelosi
twerking. But you write that these problems are made worse by GOP
policies. Quote "the war on women accusations aren`t made in a vacuum,
they gain traction because of proposals Republicans are advancing."

MILBANK: Well, Reverend, the whole idea is these things that are happening
wouldn`t resonate, they would not stick, if there weren`t some sort of
basis for why there is this gender gap among women, particularly among
unmarried women, and it`s not because Democrats are forcing votes that make
Republicans uncomfortable in the Senate. It`s not because of this
congressman down in Louisiana, however unfortunate, it was time to part
with this aide he`d been kissing on equal payday, after paying her $300 to
clean his office or some such.

None of this would necessarily stick if it weren`t also the week that were
in the house debating Paul Ryan`s budget, which disproportionately hurts
women. That`s where the policy comes in.

You know, when you cut Medicaid, when you cut food stamps, SSI, WIC, these
programs disproportionately benefit women, where as programs that
disproportionately benefit men say benefits for veterans, for active-duty
military, are untouched in the Ryan budget.

So the reason these things resonate, the reason there is a gender gap is
not because of what any individual said, it`s because of the underlying
policies that are driving women from the Republican Party.

SHARPTON: And congresswoman, part of that is the Ryan budget that
disproportionately hurts women. It cuts from Medicaid, even though 70
percent of recipients are women, same with food stamps, 63 percent
recipients are women, and with Pell grants, 62 percent are women.

SPEIER: That`s right. And I think Dana did a great job of highlighting
that in his column today. I would say that there`s almost a systemic
effort now on behalf of my Republican colleagues to just cross women off
their list. I mean, there`s a very small number of women serving in the
House that are Republicans. And I think they are maybe making a calculated
decision, well, we don`t need them to retain the majority in the House, and
so we`re just going to make them fungible.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Dana, the outrageous comments being made, for
example, a Missouri state lawmaker recently compared getting an abortion to
buying a car or installing carpet. Take a listen.


that I do putting into a decision, whether that`s a car, whether that`s a
house, whether that`s any major decision that I put in my life. Even
carpeting, you know, I was just considering getting some carpeting or wood
in my house, and that process probably took, you know, a month, because of
just seeing all the aspects of it.


SHARPTON: I mean, comparing getting an abortion to deciding on getting

MILBANK: Yes, it sounds like that`s a good candidate for the sensitivity
training the congresswoman is proposing. Maybe she could get that over to

You know, we can always find people, as you noted, in either party that are
going to say something crazy or do something crazy. And I think you can`t
hold a party responsible for each individual thing, but it gets back to
what is being -- what`s the underlying thing being done with the policy.

OK, so the Republicans have lost a number of people because of an abortion
policy, particularly one that is without exceptions because of recent
questions about even the availability of birth control.

These things do resonate. And it is possible that indeed likely the
Republicans are in a very strong position in the house elections this
November, regardless of the gender deficit that they have, but this is a
much longer term problem and they can`t ignore women in the long term
without destroying the party.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, I have to ask you, how do you react to seeing
abortion being compared to deciding on carpeting?

SPEIER: Well, you know, maybe think, I wonder how much time he thought
about having sex with someone the first time he did it. I think it was a
preposterous comparison.

But I will say this, we know that when women succeed, America succeeds. We
do know that when women serve on boards of directors of corporations, when
women-owned businesses are allowed to participate in the process, that the
bottom line is enhanced, and whether it`s on a school board or a corporate
board or your family board of directors, women do have a say, and we should
make sure that their voices are being heard in the halls of Congress and in
the halls at home.

SHARPTON: Dana, you know, in the meantime, Republican or right-wing media
is really twisted itself into knots to defend the gender pay gap today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Men lost jobs at two and a half times the rate as
women in this last recession. I know plenty of families where the man is
now out of work and the woman is now working full time, probably because
she makes a little less, so she was able to keep her job.


SHARPTON: So Dana, let me get this right, now we are to believe women
making less are a good thing?

MILBANK: Reverend, last week I went to a forum at the conservative
heritage foundation and they looked at this big problem Republicans have,
particularly among unmarried women and they came up with the most unusual
solution, they said, more women should get married.

So, it`s not the ideal the Republicans need to appeal to this segment of
the electorate. They need those women to change so they can be more
appealing to the Republicans.

SHARPTON: How much of this, Congresswoman, is going to energize women to
vote, particularly against those candidates that represent things that are
not in their economic interests?

SPEIER: Well, seven million unmarried women did not vote in the last
election. So I`m very confident, I think Democrats are very confident if
these unmarried women, be they independents or Democrats or Republicans,
that they hear the message of all of us as Democrats wanting to promote
women and make sure that women and families and children in this country
have a fair shot at making it. I think they are going to be persuaded by
our arguments.

Why should food stamps be cut for children and families who are working at
minimum wage, when we`re not cutting the program for farm subsidies, for
that matter? It is -- there is a systemic effort under way now to
marginalize women and children.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Dana Milbank, thank you both for
your time this evening.

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend Al.

SPEIER: Pleasure.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, a human tragedy that perhaps could have been
prevented. Did this young woman die because elected officials made a
political decision about Medicaid?

Also big developments in that case of a mom who tried to drive her kids
into the ocean. Should she be in prison or a mental hospital? Stay with


SHARPTON: Coming up, a tragic death that could have been prevented. Did
this young mother die because her state refused to expand Medicaid? A
friend is speaking out about her story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My best friend died because she didn`t have the
medical care she need, because Florida, my state, and I`m a fifth-
generation Floridian, decided not to take the money that would have helped


SHARPTON: The shame of Republican governors putting ideology over people.
That`s next.


SHARPTON: Here`s the under covered and underreported shame. Republican
governors refusing to accept billions in health care money. Right now, at
least 19 states are refusing to accept federal money to expand Medicaid,
leaving 4.8 million people uninsured. Today, Jonathan Gruber, an M.I.T.
economist who helped design the health care law, is out with a blistering
attack, saying these states, quote, "Are not just interested in covering
poor people, they are willing to sacrifice billions of dollars of
injections into their economy in order to punish poor people. It really is
just almost awesome in its evilness." Powerful words, and you can see this
very real impact all over the country.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Sandra says, she owes at least $8,000, even with the
med center giving her some relief through its charity care program.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It`s hard to live with that over your head.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I don`t understand why if the funds are given to you,
that you would refuse it.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`m hoping that our legislators sort of put themselves
in our shoes.


SHARPTON: This is about real people, and it can be a matter of life or
death. Today "The Orlando Weekly" is out with a new story, "The Perils of
Florida`s Refusal to Expand Medicaid." It profiles Charlene Dill, a young
mother who passed away last month. Charlene fell into the Medicaid gap and
struggled to pay for her medication for a heart condition. Her friend
recently shared Charlene`s story.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: She worked really hard to provide for her kids. She
did babysitting, cleaned houses, collected cans for recycling and took them
to recycling centers and got money for it, and sold vacuum cleaners,
whatever it took, but Charlene had health problems. She could not afford
her medications, she could not afford to see a doctor. She didn`t make
enough to qualify for a subsidy to get ObamaCare. My best friend died
because she didn`t have the medical care she need, because Florida, my
state, and I`m a fifth-generation Floridian, decided not to take the money
that would have helped her.


SHARPTON: Making sure people get health care should not be a political
issue. This isn`t a political game or argument. It`s real life and real
people. It`s time for these governors to do the right thing.

Joining me now, are M.I.T. economist Jonathan Gruber, who helped design the
Affordable Care Act, and Florida democratic state Representative Joe
Saunders. Thank you both for being here.


STATE REP. JOE SAUNDERS (D), FLORIDA: Good to be here, Al.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, you call it a life-costing tragedy, not to expand
Medicaid. We talked about one woman`s story, what other kinds of stories
are out there?

GRUBER: Al, we know that every year, thousands of Americans are dying for
a lack of health insurance, but maybe even more important is the millions
of Americans who are feeling financially insecure, are feeling the stress
every day, of worried that they are one bad traffic accident away or one
bad gene away from bankruptcy. That should not happen in a nation as
wealthy as ours. And ObamaCare was designed to stop that. If only
republican governors would end their political malpractice and accept the
federal government`s help in covering the poor citizens.

SHARPTON: You know, Representative Saunders, you know, this isn`t the
story about one woman. More than 763,000 Florida residents earn too little
to qualify for health care subsidies, but too much for Medicaid. I mean,
how can Florida Republicans leave more than 700,000 people without care?

SAUNDERS: You know, I don`t know the answer to that question. It`s an
answer that we tried to get since last year when we began a debate in
Tallahassee about this. We know that there are nearly a million people who
are like Charlene, and Charlene is just one example of the implications for
the decisions that have been made not to draw down these types of federal
dollars. I can`t tell you how many constituents have been in touch with my
office complaining that they went on to the federal exchange`s website in
this recent employment period, went through all of the hoops, and were told
at the very end that they did not qualify for subsidies and they would not
get access to health care because Florida had made the decision not to
expand. I think it`s unconscionable and I think people need to hold
Republicans in Tallahassee accountable.

SHARPTON: I see you shaking your head, Jonathan.

GRUBER: You know, it`s really true. They need to be held accountable, I
think you`re absolutely right, Al, this is undercovered. This is really
just a tragedy of epic proportions. Because remember, whether or not you
like ObamaCare, let`s take the politics out of this, the federal government
said to the state of Florida, Florida, you have one million uninsured
people below the poverty line. We will pay 100 percent of the cost to
cover them. We the Florida government will. All you have to do is say,
yes. So, Florida is not only turning down life saving medical care and
financial protection for million Floridians, they are turning down
injections of billions of dollars from the Florida economy. Literally Al,
no one is made worse off if Florida does this. It is an absolute crisis.

SHARPTON: You know, when you look at the crisis, without Medicaid
expansion, Senator Saunders, childless adults are not eligible for Medicaid
in Florida, and parents in a family of three have to earn less than $6,809
a year to be eligible. I mean, what does this do to families? Will
Republicans recognize that this is the right thing to do?

SAUNDERS: What I hope is that, Reverend Sharpton, Republicans hear
Charlene`s story, because it`s a tragic one and it`s one that could have
been averted. Charlene was somebody who toddled in and out of poverty, she
was a mother of three children. I didn`t meet her, but I Kathleen who you
quoted earlier, and I know, I`ve heard her story through "The Orlando
Weekly" and Billy May`s article. And we could have helped her. We could
have helped her. She didn`t need to dial on a strangers trying to sell
vacuums to make ends meet.

And I think that moral question needs to be called in this building. I had
one chance this year in this legislative session to make a point about
Medicaid. I was able to vote for or against a budget that did not include
the billions of dollars that would have been drawn down and put somewhere
between 60,000 and 100,000 people in Florida to work and I voted against
some really good programs to make the point that we cannot be OK with
people like Charlene dying in the ways that we did. We can help them, we
should, and we have a moral obligation to do so.

SHARPTON: You know, Jonathan, President Obama says he hopes the tide will
start to turn. Listen to this.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: For people who currently do not
have health insurance to get health insurance, the idea that states for
political reasons would turn that down makes absolutely no sense, and I`m
hoping that after the politics this is done, people recognize this is the
right thing to do for these families.


SHARPTON: After the politics, Jonathan, you were involved in republican
Governor Romney with Romney-care as I would call it. Will Republicans,
because originally in Massachusetts under Republican governor we started
doing some of the things that ObamaCare uses as a framework, will they get
beyond the politics at some point and understand that both sides have
agreed on the aspects of this?

GRUBER: Al, you make a great point, that ObamaCare was first Romney-care,
a Republican idea that was praised by conservatives right to the point
President Obama put his name on it and suddenly it became the devil`s work.
There`s nothing besides ugly politics here. And remember, we`ve seen in
Massachusetts, we ran the experiment in Massachusetts, we did ObamaCare
first, and what did we find? We found many, many stories like that of
Charlene`s, of people who said, wow, I only got health insurance because of
Romney-care, I went to the doctor and they caught a cancer, I`m alive
today. This is a story that`s saved lives in Massachusetts and those lives
that can be saved in states like Florida if they`ll go beyond the politics.

SHARPTON: You know, several Republican governors Senator, bucked their
party to accept the Medicaid expansion, that includes Jan Brewer, John
Kasich, and Rick Snyder. Not exactly liberals. Do you think some will
buck the party in the state legislature in Florida and act as these
governors have and just say I`m going to do what`s right?

SAUNDERS: Here`s what`s important to know, Reverend Sharpton, some already
have. Last year, our republican-controlled Senate moved forward with a
package that would have drawn down federal dollars to expand health care.
They decided not to do it through Medicaid and took a different path, but
it would have accomplished the purpose. Extremism and extremists in the
Republican Party is what`s keeping us from moving forward. And here`s the
one point I just want to make about elections. You know, in Florida, you
win elections or you lose elections based on where the Hispanic community
is in this state.

We are an incredibly diverse state and we know that of the millions some
people who are not covered who could get coverage, they are
disproportionately are Hispanic. So I hope there is a wake-up call that
happens within Republican leadership and those who are being held hostage
by extremism within the Republican Party will look at senators who have
shown leadership on this issue realized the electoral math here and do the
right thing, so that we never have to tell another story on TV about people
like Charlene.

SHARPTON: Jonathan Gruber and State Representative John Saunders, thank
you both for your time tonight.

SAUNDERS: Thanks for having me.

GRUBER: Thank you, Al, for bringing attention to this important story.

SHARPTON: Coming up, she`s the mother accused of trying to kill her three

Today, an announcement on trial that may surprise you.

And what could give young men of color more opportunity? For President
Obama, it`s personal. Next, an American businessman working to achieve
that goal. Stay with us.



OBAMA: The life chances of the average black or brown child in this
country lags behind by almost every measure and is worse for boys and young
men. And I`m going to pen this presidential memorandum, directing the
federal government not to spend more money, but to do things smarter to
determine what we can do, determine what we can improve the odds for boys
and young men of color.


SHARPTON: That was the president earlier this year announcing his new
initiative to empower minority men. It`s called "My Brother`s Keeper," and
it partners businesses and nonprofits in order to promote greater
opportunities for young men of color. A new study is driving home just how
critical programs like these are. The report finds that black children
face the most barriers to success in America, especially early in their
education. The report says the situation should be considered a national
crisis. The disadvantages start out small, but grow over time, and they
can have a major impact on success later in life. That`s why the president
has launched his national effort to close the gap and create more
opportunities for young minority men.

Joining me now is Glenn Hutchins, co-founder and co-CEO of civil aid
partners and one of the businesses joining the president in the "My
Brother`s Keeper" initiative.

Thank you for being here, Glenn. And you have a lot of success in the
business world. What prompted you to get involved in programs to help
young men of color?

GLENN HUTCHINS, SILVER LAKE PARTNERS: Well, we want to get something done,
and I think any meeting that gets you and Bill O`Reilly at the same place
is off to a great start.

SHARPTON: Yes. All right.

HUTCHINS: So, look, we`re four years into the recovery of the economic
crisis. People like me in the markets involved with technology have done
very well, but other people have fallen behind, and the president is really
focused on the rising income inequality that`s come from that, allowed many
programs in the state of the union to go after that issue, minimum wage
being one that`s gotten a lot of publicity, but one of them is this "My
Brother`s Keeper" program, which designed to create a ladders of
opportunity for men and boys of color who have had very, very significant
problems getting ahead in this economy.

SHARPTON: Now, you`re a very successful businessman, yet you`ve shown a
commitment, you`ve worked and put a lot of money with Henry Louis Gates and
the Hutchins Institute at Harvard University, where you and the President
went, you`re involved in "My Brother`s Keeper," you`re speaking tomorrow at
National Action Network Convention and you`re co-hosting the president with
me Friday at the convention. Why you, and what message does it send to
Americans when people go across economic and racial lines to say this is
good for the country?

HUTCHINS: Well, I think it is because it`s good for the country. The
reason why I have been able to have whatever success I`ve enjoyed is
because of the opportunity that I received, and the social, the strong
social foundation that I`ve been able to build my business on, and I think
as a result of that, we have an obligation to try to create the same set of
opportunities for other people. As an investor, I like to invest a little
bit of money and make a lot of money, so I look for places where there`s a
real opportunity to address a very significant issue and get a lot of
leverage from that, and this is a very serious problem that I think for
which there are solutions.

People haven`t focused on them, where we`ve brought together, the President
has got more than $350 million. By the way, this is not another big
government program. One reason why O`Reilly was in that room, right? Is
it`s not a big government program, it`s a public-private partnership and
he`s got no retreat in $50 million and we`re just getting started committed
from a series of foundations to go after that problem. That`s big and
important and can really have an impact.

SHARPTON: You know, it also brings together nonprofits and the corporate
world. And it is of national importance, because only 52 percent of black
males graduate from high school on time, because 49 percent of black males
have been arrested by the time they are 23, and because there`s a 38
percent unemployment rate among black teens. But can programs like "My
Brother`s Keeper" make a difference?

HUTCHINS: For sure. I`ll give you one example. In some neighborhoods,
there are some schools in which a very high proportion of the young black
men in school end up being arrested because of school discipline. In the
same neighborhood, exactly the same demographics, are diverted into
programs where they are taught how to behave in the classroom and thrive in
school. Same programs, same population, same people. Being able to adopt
-- to understand why it works in one school and not in another and stamp
that out across, disseminate that across many schools.

And one example of the kinds of things we can do. The program when you
were there in the White House with me and the president had those kids from
the "Be a Man" program in Chicago and you saw that what they were able to
do with that group of kids, to learn, to take those programs and spread
them out across the country, I think, is a very important thing.

SHARPTON: Well, we`re going to really be excited about it. And thank you
for coming tonight. Thank you for being with us at the convention. Glenn
Hutchins, thank you for your time. And as I mentioned, I`m happy to have
Glenn participating in the convention for our civil rights group, the
National Action Network, which starts today. We`ll be talking about
criminal justice, social justice, economic inequality, education and many
other issues. President Obama will be the main speaker on Friday. That`s
today to Saturday right here in New York City.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, prosecutors make a key decision about the mom who
tried to drive her kids into the ocean.

Plus, the Attorney General`s big speech on justice at the convention for my
civil rights group.

Also, a moment of history that still resonates today. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: News today on the mother accused of trying to kill her three
children. Ebony Wilkinson, the pregnant mother who drove her three
children into the Atlantic Ocean last month, will be charged with second-
degree murder. She was originally arrested on attempted first-degree
murder charges. The lesser charge from prosecutors mean they don`t believe
Wilkinson`s actions were premeditated. Last month, Wilkinson drove her
mini van carrying her three children into the ocean in Daytona Beach,
Florida, telling police she was trying to escape an abusive husband.

Thankfully, some hero bystanders rushed in to save the children. Wilkinson
is now receiving mental health treatment and prenatal care at a medical
center. But the question now is, should she be charged with anything?
Should she be in jail or in a mental institution getting help? It`s a
tough debate, especially as we learn today there are more mentally ill
Americans in prison than in state hospitals. Wilkinson will be back in
court tomorrow on the attempted murder charges. We`ll continue to follow
this story.


SHARPTON: Today at the convention for my civil rights group, I had the
honor of introducing the Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder.
He talked about how far we`ve come and how far we have to go.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Dr. King dedicated his career to the
service of others, and he gave his life in the work of building a beloved
community and more just society that remained our common pursuit. To keep
building the more just society for which so many millions have fought and
organized and marched and died over the years. It`s time for new
generations of public servants and patriotic citizens to step forward.


SHARPTON: It`s appropriate to think about those words today, as we
remember huge step forward for civil rights and a voice like an angel.
Marian Anderson was a famous opera singer, who performed all over the
world, but here in the U.S., she still faced ugly discrimination. In 1939,
she was blocked from singing at a hall in Washington, D.C. because of her
skin color. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was outraged when she found out
about it and arranged for Anderson to perform at another venue. Right
there on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, on this day 75 years ago, April
9th, 1939, 75,000 people turned out for a public concert that forever
changed the landscape of African-Americans in music.


A quarter of a century later, Anderson returned to Lincoln Memorial, this
time singing at Dr. Martin Luther King`s march on Washington. We see as
she sings there, Dr. King talked about a dream that day. No one thought
the years before that she was barred that we`d ever see Dr. King talking
about a dream. Many things today that we`d not achieved, but gives us the
faith to know if we have the same commitment and persistence they did, we
can make that dream a full reality. And that`s why some of us continue to
sing and continue to work. Freedom song.

Thanks for watching, I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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