PoliticsNation, Thursday, June 19th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
June 19, 2014
Guest: John Erpenback; Patrick Marley, Joe Madison
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
We have a big show tonight. The president made a big statement on what he
will and won`t do in Iraq.
And we`ll have my exclusive interview with the queen of soul, Aretha
But we start with developing news about one of the GOP`s top contenders in
Prosecutors claim Wisconsin Republican governor Scott Walker is at the
center of what they say was a nationwide criminal scheme. It all revolves
around Walker`s controversial 2012 recall campaign. In documents released
today, prosecutors write, quote, "the scope of the criminal scheme under
investigation is expansive. It includes criminal violations of multiple
The filing alleges Walker and top aides illegally coordinated with outside
conservative groups to raise money and push campaign messages. It includes
an e-mail from governor Walker to Karl Rove detailing the activities of a
top Walker deputy, RJ Johnson.
Quote, "bottom line, RJ helps keep in place a team that is wildly
successful in Wisconsin. We are running nine recall elections and it will
be like running nine congressional markets in every market in the state and
So far no criminal charges have been filed. But this is a dramatic
development. Scott Walker`s fight to stay in office was a national story,
a showdown between progressives and conservatives trying to gut labor
Walker`s campaign spends $36 million. Groups supporting Walker poured in
another $22 million, setting records for Wisconsin campaign, all
culminating in Walker`s victory. Conservatives hailed it as vindication.
But today, serious new questions about that campaign and whether Walker
broke the law to secure victory.
Last month, he says he wants to put all this behind him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: My hope is with a lot of issues we can
just move on. I have tried to stay focus, as you know, asking me about
this over the last several months that this is a hand in the state of
helping the state get back to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Walker wants to move on. There`s even talk of him running for
president in 2016. But prosecutors in Wisconsin may have other ideas.
Joining me now is Wisconsin democratic state Senator John Erpenback and
Patrick Marley, state house reporter for the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel."
He helped break this story today about the prosecutor documents. And he is
the author of "More Than They Bargained For" about Walker`s fight against
Thank you both for joining me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks for having me on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Patrick, this is the first time we have seen governor Walker`s
name connected to this, isn`t it?
PATRICK MARLEY, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: Well, we have seen his name
connected to it before, but this is the most detailed accounting we have
had yet. And this is the first time with knowledge of his personal
involvement in this. We have known his campaign was at the center of the
investigation. Now they are saying he`s had personal knowledge of this,
was personally involved in fund-raising efforts with outside groups to help
his campaign in 2012.
SHARPTON: Now Patrick, here is what you wrote about two aides to Walker.
RJ Johnson and Deborah Jordahl (ph).
Quote, "prosecutors allege Johnson and Jordahl (ph) acted as a hub to
coordinate activities among Walker`s campaign and a host of conservative
groups to help Walker and other Republicans in the recall elections."
So what exactly does it mean to act as a hub?
MARLEY: Well, the Wisconsin club for growth is a group that`s long been
active in Wisconsin politics. They run ads on issues affecting the state
and have been very active in promoting the labor cuts that Walker was
responsible for. RJ Johnson has been a principal activist with the
Wisconsin club for growth. And he is also a key consultant to governor
So since the 2010 campaign, when Walker first became governor, he`s had
this dual role of working for an outside group and working for his
campaign. What prosecutors are alleging is that he and Deb Jordahl worked
to gather together money from multiple groups, the state`s business lobby,
a number of national groups to run efforts to help governor Walker and that
the Walker campaign was were aware of this activity. So, prosecutors are
saying is that these groups were supposed to act independently but by
working directly with Walker`s campaign. They were not in fact
SHARPTON: So Senator, let me go to you. Prosecutors say that under
governor Walker, two aides were working for both the official campaign,
friends of Scott Walker. And that they were also running an outside group,
the Wisconsin club for growth.
Now, you were involved in the recall fight. Did you have any suspicions
about where all the money was coming from?
STATE SEN. SEN. JOHN ERPENBACK (D), WISCONSIN: No. I was just surprised
at the amount of money, Al. You were right at the top of your show. You
talked about the millions of dollars flooding into Wisconsin nationally.
And it was a tremendous amount of money that we saw.
But the issue here is collusion. And collusion is a long state of
Wisconsin where an outside group can`t work in concert with a campaign like
the governor`s campaign to not only raise money, to direct how the money is
spent, but also to develop messages. That seemed to be the case here
according to the prosecution.
You know, this isn`t a liberal, you know, accusing the governor. This is a
prosecutor saying that the governor is at the center of illegal campaign
activity here in the state of Wisconsin. And truly, it`s kind of a sad day
here in the state. Despite what you might think about the governor, you
never like to see this.
SHARPTON: Right. No. And the Walker campaign released a statement
saying, quote, "the friends of Scott Walker campaign are not party to the
federal suit and have no control over any documents in that suit. Two
judges have rejected the characterizations disclosed in those documents."
So, Patrick, why did the judge release the documents today? And is this
investigation in a kind of oh legal limbo?
MARLEY: Well, it`s halted for the moment. This is a very complex case.
And it`s complicated by the fact that there are five lawsuits connected to
this investigation. So prosecutors started what`s called a John Doe
investigation which is similar to a grand jury. It`s a secret
investigation where people are forced to testify or forced to produce
documents and told they can`t talk about it publically.
In the course of that investigation, they issued subpoenas to the Wisconsin
club for growth and many other conservative groups. In January of this
year, the judge who oversees the investigation quashed the subpoenas,
stopped them saying that he didn`t think that the activity he involved was
The Wisconsin club for growth then suing federal court claiming that their
civil right have been violated. That the investigation was an infringement
of their first amendment rights. A federal judge then halted the
investigation. Prosecutors have appealed that to the 7th circuit court of
appeals. This entire investigation -- or this entire lawsuit has been
unusual in that large sections of court documents that are normally open to
the public are blacked out. And the 7th circuit court of appeals today
ruled that documents that were previously been filed were going to be
unsealed completely. For one set of documents that made up 250 pages
perhaps. And that`s what became public.
There are still many other documents that are sealed. But this one that
outlines in the prosecutor`s theory of what happened is the biggest
document or the most important document we have with seen yet out of this.
SHARPTON: Now, let me go back to you, senator -- Marley -- I`m sorry,
ERPENBACK: That`s OK. I have been called worse.
SHARPTON: The name Karl Rove has come up which we had not ever heard in
connections with any of these lawsuits. Is Scott Walker that important
nationally that you have big players like Karl Rove directly communicating
with him and at least the name coming up in this?
ERPENBACK: Well, if you remember at the time, and I know you do, all eyes
in the nation politically were focused on Wisconsin. If Scott Walker is
successfully recalled then that`s good for public unions and it says to all
the Republican governors don`t you dare even think about taking away
collective bargaining rights. If governor Walker is successful in the
recall which he was, it says to Republican governors across the rest of the
nation, OK, go ahead. You can do the same thing. Scott Walker made it
through Wisconsin. You can make it through your state.
So no, I wasn`t surprised to see Karl Rove`s name as far as the statute is
concerned. But again, what I am surprised is it seem that the prosecutors
are focusing on three figures, RJ Johnson, Deb Jordahl and the governor
himself. And again, I can`t tell you if you are the Walker campaign, yet
on top of dismal job reports that were put out today in the state of
Wisconsin, you almost have to be spinning out of control if you are that
SHARPTON: Now, you know, you involved in the recall and groups like
Wisconsin club for growth are classified as 501c4s. It means they can`t
coordinate with campaigns and they cannot push candidates on the issues.
But watch this ad that they ran in 2011.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Walker promised to make government live within
its means. And even though the special interests don`t like it, he`s
making his promise in making them pay their fair share.
Call governor Walker, tell him to stay the course, keep his promises and
continue fighting for Wisconsin taxpayers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now Senator, does that sound like an ad pushing an issue and not
ERPENBACK: It absolutely does not. It sounds like it`s pushing the
candidate. But they didn`t use the magic words, vote for or vote against
Scott Walker. But that`s not really the issue, I think, in this
investigation. The issue is the governor and his chief strategist
coordinating raising money, directing money to fund nationally and then
telling those groups how to spend the money. That`s illegal. That`s
called collusion here in the state of Wisconsin.
It doesn`t matter what the ad says. That`s not the point. Club for growth
is actually trying to muddy the water in saying this is a free speech
issue. It`s not. It`s governor Walker, according to the prosecutors, I
might add, Deb Jordahl and RJ Johnson, the strategist from the governor`s
campaign colluding with these independent groups who they shouldn`t be
talking to in the first place during a campaign.
SHARPTON: All right, I`m going to have to leave it there. We`ll certainly
be watching this as it develops.
State Senator John Erpenback and Patrick Marley, thank you both for your
ERPENBACK: Thank you, Al.
MARLEY: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, crisis in Iraq. President Obama talked about
America`s hard questions. And about not repeating the mistakes of the
Plus, Mitch McConnell and the Koch brothers` ritzy hideaway. There is a
new secret plan to try to buy the election.
And the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin has been called the voice of the
civil rights movement. We`ll have my interview with her tonight talking
about freedom summer 50 years late. Her Apollo memories and much, much
more. You don`t want to miss it.
SHARPTON: A new poll out today shows Americans` confidence in Congress has
hit an all-time low. We`ll tell you just how low next.
But first, our question of the day. What do you think could help improve
American s` confidence in Congress? If they pass the jobs bill, if they
could pass any bill, or fewer tea party members in office? The poll is
live on our facebook page and our twitter, so vote now. We`ll have answers
later in the show.
SHARPTON: How low can they go? That`s the question facing Congress right
now. Because after years of GOP obstruction and tea party extremism, the
American people are fed up. A new Gallup poll finds just seven percent of
Americans have a great deal of confidence in Congress, seven percent.
That`s a record low.
Now the president`s numbers are down, too. But with Congress, we are
scraping the bottom of the barrel. And things won`t get better anytime
soon. Because today, house Republicans elected congressman Kevin McCarthy
as the new majority leader. He`s been in the house leadership since the
tea party wave of 2010. He`s part of the problem. We won`t see any fresh
ideas out of him.
And the new number three in the house is congressman Steve Scalise. HE is
head of the group that doesn`t think Paul Ryan`s budget didn`t cut enough.
The GOP is heading for more of the same, a party that is modeling itself
after senator shutdown, Ted Cruz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We are seeing at the same time liberty under
assault. We are seeing our constitutional rights under assault like never
before. Take Obamacare. Please, take Obamacare! And no time in our
nation`s history have we seen the threats to liberty, religious liberty and
everyone on the bill of rights, more dire than they are right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: They are not interested in governing. They just want to spout
doom and gloom about the president.
Joining me now are Karen Finney and Krystal Ball. Thank you for being
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks for having us, Rev.
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC HOST, DISRUPT: Hey, Rev.
SHARPTON: So Krystal, these Republicans have pushed Congress down to seven
percent. I mean, thin k they will stop there or are they hoping to get
down to two or three percent?
BALL: Well, and you have to wonder who are the seven percent? I mean,
that`s the big question.
SHARPTON: That`s a good question.
BALL: I mean, the really sad thing is here. For Republicans with their
anti-government rhetoric and ideology, in a way it serves their interest
when government institutions like Congress are viewed so unfavorably. And
that`s the problem here because sometimes we don`t do a good enough job.
And I think you do on this show and we do at this network. But often
times, there is not enough attention paid to who is standing in the way,
right? Where is the obstruction coming from.
So voters just threw up their hand and say none of this is working. Let`s
get all of them out without making the distinction between the folks who
are really standing in the way of things like a jobs bill, things like
infrastructure, things like improvement to education, all of those things
that our nation needs. They don`t make the distinction between those who
are standing in the way and those who are actually working to try to make
SHARPTON: You know, Karen, in the past there`s been ups and downs in how
the public views Congress. But take a look at these. In the last few
years confidences has cratered. It`s not only the lowest numbers on
record. This is also the first time Gallup found confidence in a major
U.S. institution in single digits. I mean, doesn`t it show how damaging
the obstruction we have seen has become?
FINNEY: It does. BUT At the same time, we need to remember that that was
the goal of these tea party folks when they were elected. They don`t
believe in government. They don`t hold the same values that you and I and
Krystal do about the role of government in our lives. And that, you know,
where is that role? Where is the role of the private sector? They don`t
believe in that.
So part of their goal was to essentially show government, to make
government dysfunctional, right? To make -- to be obstructionist, not just
to, you know, stand in the way that anything President Obama wanted t do
and because of hatred of Obama. . But also, to try to make government look
as bad as possible and as ineffective as possible. And in spite of that,
you know, we had small glimmers of places where we have had some success.
And again, I think our value still holds that government does have a role
to play in our lives.
We have to remember, this was part of the agenda. This is part of the
talking points. This is part of what they campaigned on. This is part of
what they came to Washington to do.
SHARPTON: She actually raises a good point, Krystal. Are there some
Republicans in Congress that actually want to be unpopular in certain parts
of the country?
BALL: In a certain way, I think that`s right. I mean, you have to think
about the absurdity, right, of someone who has like a Louis Golmert (ph),
someone on the far right of the Republican caucus who had so much contempt
for government that they want to be elected to serve in it? I mean, it
makes no sense.
And they didn`t come to govern. They didn`t come to get things done.
Their measure of success is the number of things that they can keep from
happening, right? I remember during the government shutdown there was a
wing of the party that was delighting that the government was, you know, so
small at that point. That basic services weren`t being provided. And they
thought that was just great.
SHARPTON: You know, Krystal, on issue after issue, the tea party pulls the
rest of the GOP to the right. I mean, take, for example, immigration.
The New NBC poll finds 68 percent of tea partiers has think immigration
hurts the country. That`s way higher than the main street Republicans and
the entire country. So now the new majority leader is more open to
immigration reform. But if the tea party is against it, will it happen?
Karen, let me ask you that.
FINNEY: Well, you know. I think here`s the problem. Let`s remember that
the sort of tyranny, right, of the tea party minority, if you will, because
we are talking about a few people that stand in the way that have the
attitude that immigration is so harmful to this country when a majority of
Americans including Republicans and moderate Republicans actually hold
different views. And when you lay out the full argument, you get to a
different place. I mean, it is the extremists who are talking about the
fact that they can`t trust President Obama to enforce the laws, despite the
fact that he`s done better on enforcement than any previous president.
FINNEY: So I think we do need to remember that part of this is, you know,
is almost the tyranny of the minority halting progress on such an important
issue to this country. Remember, this is an issue where even the business
community agrees with the administration.
FINNEY: And moderates.
SHARPTON: Absolutely. You know, Krystal, the party shift to the right is
having an impact across the country. Take Arkansas, for example. Mitt
Romney won there in 2012 by 24 points. But the Senate race there is very
close and here `s part of why. Republican Tom Cotton supported the Ryan
budget to voucherize Medicare. On privatizing Social Security he said,
everything needs to be on the table. And he voted against the violence
against women act.
I mean, is the GOP agenda too conservative even for a red state like
BALL: It looks like it may well be. And Arkansas also has a minimum wage
increase on the ballot in November they are hoping is going to boost
turnout among democratically aligned voters.
But yes, Mark Pryor`s campaign against Tom Cotton has been hitting him hard
on his positions on Medicare and on Social Security. Very hard on his
positions on things like violence against women and equal pay for women.
And it has been really effective. Democrats have done particularly well
with women and moving women increasingly into their camp by highlighting
the totally extreme and out of touch and outdated policies of Republicans
like Tom Cotton.
SHARPTON: Krystal Ball and Karen Finney, thank you both for your time
BALL: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Be sure to watch Krystal on the cycle, weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
eastern right here on MSNBC.
Still ahead, the secret Koch brothers summit. And the new right wing plot
to buy the next election. It`s a wake-up call for Democrats.
Also, President Obama gives a history les ton to those beating the drums of
war on Iraq.
And our exclusive interview with the queen of soul. That`s ahead.
SHARPTON: Tonight, more good news on the affordable care act. A new
survey shows a majority of those who signed up, 57 percent did not have
health coverage before. That`s great news. It`s what this law was
designed to do, help the uninsured.
The president is fighting for those who need help the most, but Republicans
have other ideas. More on that and their billionaire buddies next.
SHARPTON: The Republican Party is known as the party for the rich. The
party that fights for big corporations over the middle class. Senator
McConnell is trying to change that image with an attack on the President
and the Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Instead of delivering
relief, they have delivered a steady diet of bad political theater day in
and day out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Political theater? More like political farce.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: Republicans have been quietly assembling a lot of good ideas
aimed at helping middle class Americans deal with the stresses of a modern
economy. All of these ideas are consistent with our party`s long-standing
commitment to the principles of upward mobility, shared responsibility for
the week. Apparently Senate Democrats would rather people didn`t know that
Republicans have been working overtime behind the scenes to make their
lives easier or paychecks bigger for working moms and recent college
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Really? Well, they have a funny way of showing it. By opposing
the paycheck fairness act, opposing a minimum wage raise, and trying to
repeal the Affordable Care Act is how you do that? Well, maybe Senator
McConnell and his Republicans` friends hang out with the middle class
champions in their free time. I`m sure he saw them here a few days ago at
the Ritzy St. Regis Monarch Bay Resort in Laguna Beach, California, where
the nation magazine reports Mitch McConnell was a featured speaker at the
Koch Brothers secret conference for mega donors.
And for the record, the billionaire Koch Brothers are also against the
paycheck fairness act. They also oppose raising the minimum wage and want
to repeal the Affordable Care Act. So senator McConnell`s song and dance
routine on the GOP fighting for the little guy, it`s one of the best pieces
of theater I have seen in years.
Joining me now is Joe Madison. Thanks for being here, Joe.
JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Senator McConnell says, the GOP is the party for the little
guys. Days after speaking at the Koch Brothers retreat. How do you react?
MADISON: Well, I react to -- and you didn`t leave me very much on the
national scene. So, let me run to the commonwealth of Kentucky. Here is a
man who`s supposed to represent Kentucky, but you have tens of thousands of
veterans who, by the way, depend on food stamps, depend on unemployment
insurance that he has cut. You have thousands of Kentuckians that are
college students. They have cut Pell Grants. He doesn`t even take care of
his own home state, the poor in his home state. And by the way, he`s the
leader of his party in the Senate. And that`s my reaction to this.
So, you have pointed out nationally the impact that he`s had and then the
people in Kentucky ought to pay close attention because he`s really hurt
them. And oh, by the way, he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and
folks in Kentucky are probably benefitting more from that than, what? Any
other state, thanks to a democratic governor.
SHARPTON: You know, Senator McConnell also had some insight into why the
American public is so frustrated with government. Watch this, Joe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: Because whether it`s frustration over an absurdly complicated
tax code that drains people of their time and their energy or just a
general sense of government programs rigged to help the well off and the
well connected. An increasing number of our constituents don`t even think
government is capable, let alone interested, in making their lives any
easier these days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now this is the same man who spent three days with a couple of
billionaires not dealing with any issue that would help middle class or
poor. And he`s talking about fighting the well off and the well connected?
MADISON: Oh, and by the way, they met in secret. I mean, these are folks
who by the way, bought out the entire hotel, put up security so that no
one could come within miles of them, I suspect, and met in secret. If they
are so interested in helping the poor or helping those who need help, why
would you hold a closed, secret meeting? Now, remember what happened
during the presidential campaign and the last secret meeting to a Mitt
Romney and thank goodness a working class waiter had a camera there and we
found out what he thought about what was it, the 47 percent at that time?
SHARPTON: Well, let me tell you what they were meeting in secret about.
According to "Nation" magazine they reported the Koch Brothers announced
their spending goal at the retreat. They want to raise $500 million for
Republicans to take control of the Senate in the 2014 midterms and 500
million more to take the White House in 2016. That`s $1 billion, more than
twice what was raised in the 2012 elections. Joe, that`s what they were
MADISON: And so therefore, what they will create and let everyone out
there who is a working person understand. They are creating a plutocracy.
The rich will control the House. The rich will control the Senate. And
the rich will control the White House. You now have that in this country a
plutocracy. And that`s exactly what it is. It`s a fancy word that just
simply means that the wealthy, the land barons in this country will, in
essence, run the government and we become their servants.
SHARPTON: I`m going to hold it right there on that point. Joe Madison,
thank you for your time.
MADISON: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Coming up, on the 50th anniversary of freedom summer, we talk to
the voice of the civil rights movement. The one and only queen of soul.
Aretha Franklin. My interview with her on that, her Apollo theater
memories, her relationship with the Obamas and much more is next.
SHARPTON: She`s a musical genius. A groundbreaker, activist, and the
undisputed queen of soul. She`s Aretha Franklin. She was a child protege
gospel singer who came up singing in the church with her father, the
Reverend C.L. Franklin.
Aretha burst into the main stream in the 1960s, becoming the voice of the
civil rights movement. Asking for a little respect.
(audio gap) Later, she`s racked up 19 Grammy awards and sold more than 75
million record worldwide. In 1987, she was the first female performer
inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In 2008, Rolling Stone named
her the greatest singer of all time. She`s performed at the White House
countless times. Most recently three months ago for the women of soul
She was born in Tennessee and raised in Detroit. But in many ways her home
is right here in New York City on 125th street in Harlem, the legendary
Apollo Theater, the stage that launched her career and so many others. In
the early `60s at the at the age of 16, she would do four shows a night.
By the `70s, she was a worldwide star. But always made time to come home.
Last week, the Apollo marked its 80th anniversary. And who better to honor
the theater than the queen of soul herself?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s a true honor to welcome to POLITICS NATION, the queen of
soul, Miss Aretha Franklin. Thank you so much for being here.
ARETHA FRANKLIN, MUSICIAN: Thank you for having me.
SHARPTON: I want to talk to you about the Apollo. Because all over the
world, everyone knows Aretha Franklin. What was it like the first time you
came to perform at the Apollo?
FRANKLIN: Oh, my God. I first came to New York when I was about 16 or 17.
I came with my father, the Reverend C.L. Franklin. And we were doing
gospel programs and services from major city to major city. But when I
found out about the Apollo, I would go just to hear and see the artists
there -- gospel and secular.
FRANKLIN: And many of them were from Detroit, the Motown artists. I saw a
lot of artists there is -- the four tops and the spinners who were my
friends. Of course I would go back and say hello to them. Wow. And wow,
just -- the Apollo was it.
SHARPTON: Now, you have a lot of fond memories, I`m sure, performing
there. What were the audiences like at the Apollo?
FRANKLIN: The audiences were absolutely great. But if they didn`t like
you, ooh, ooh. You were in for a bad time. But they were very, very nice
to me. They were lovely to me.
SHARPTON: Now, you were inducted into the Apollo Hall of Fame. You have
had every honor there is to have in music. What did being inducted into
the Apollo hall of fame mean to you?
FRANKLIN: It meant everything. Because I ran up and down those steps a
lot. And for the Apollo to give me anything, you know, I was up and down
those steps all day. We would do like four, or sometimes five shows a day.
And when you would finish one show, somebody would call the half is in
meaning it`s a half an hour before the next show starts. So it was
wonderful. Let me just take this and run with it
SHARPTON: Now you were here in New York at radio city.
SHARPTON: And Sunday night you had church.
FRANKLIN: Yes, we did.
SHARPTON: You rocked it with church.
FRANKLIN: Yes, we did.
SHARPTON: And I was telling friends of mine, you are the daughter of the
greatest gospel preacher of all time that I know.
FRANKLIN: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Reverend C.L. Franklin.
FRANKLIN: Thank you so much.
SHARPTON: All of us grew up wanting to be like your daddy. The eagle
stirred his mess.
SHARPTON: But what a lot of people didn`t understand was how close
Reverend Franklin was to Dr. King. And the first time Dr. King said, I
have a dream, public speech, your father had him in Detroit before the
march on Washington.
FRANKLIN: You`re right. You`re absolutely right. You`re right.
SHARPTON: And the story that you sang at Dr. King`s funeral and then sang
at the dedication of the Dr. King Memorial, the same song.
FRANKLIN: Yes. That`s right.
SHARPTON: I mean, what did it mean for you to see the whole journey of the
civil rights movement from Kings who knew was close to your father and you,
from King`s funeral to standing there watching them put him there with
Lincoln Memorial, and all of these were.
SHARPTON: Only you saw it at the level you saw it.
FRANKLIN: Mm-hmm. Well, it certainly was a struggle. And it still is.
Although we have come a great ways, a long way. There still is a
significant way to go. And I went out in the early days with Dr. King as a
young vocalist. And Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne and Andy Young and Bernard
Lee. You know those people.
SHARPTON: Yes. Oh, yes.
FRANKLIN: And Leon Hall. Sure. Leon Hall. That`s right.
SHARPTON: In fact, I remember one night when we were talking in Detroit.
You were talking about Harry Belafonte got you to do a tour.
SHARPTON: You did it for nothing to help Dr. King make payroll soon before
he was killed.
SHARPTON: People didn`t understand he didn`t always have the support that
we thought about later in life.
FRANKLIN: Sure. Those are in the early days there was no money. And I
was just coming out of school. And listened to Dr. King on TV. And I saw
what he was trying to do and I thought it was important and relevant. And
I asked my father, could I go on tour with him. He said, yes, if I wanted
to, sure, I could go.
SHARPTON: Now you sang at the first inauguration of President Obama.
SHARPTON: And I think the only thing that may equal your fame as a
vocalist is the hat you wore. Everybody will always remember that. What
was it like other than the bitter cold day for you to be standing there
after your father marched, after you helped raise funds with Dr. King? And
you were born in Tennessee. To be standing there and being asked to sing
at the inauguration of the first African-American president in the history
of this country?
FRANKLIN: It was absolutely tremendous. To look out, A, and just see all
of the throngs of people as far as you could see out in front of you and to
the right and to the left. And knowing what moment in history was about.
Having evolved out of the civil rights movement. This moment is certainly
the dream of many yourself, Reverend Jackson, Reverend Abernathy, Andy and
so on and so forth. This is the fruition of their struggles and your
SHARPTON: Now, you then performed at the White House and have been there
many times. How do you think the President is doing?
FRANKLIN: I think he`s doing wonderful with respect to the pressures.
Different pressures of that office and things like that. I think he`s
doing a super job.
SHARPTON: Now, I have to ask why you`re here. The song "Respect," I mean,
it is a universal classic. Anywhere I have gone in the world, people love
FRANKLIN: They do.
SHARPTON: Did you have any idea when you recorded "Respect" that it was
going to be what it was?
FRANKLIN: No, I really did not. I did not have any idea that the civil
rights movement would adopt that as its mantra.
SHARPTON: So, that wasn`t what you had in mind?
FRANKLIN: To begin with, no. Mine was more about a relationship thing was
where I was coming from, man to woman, woman to man. And just people
generally who want respect. Even children want respect. In their own
SHARPTON: Now, you have been able to work with the classics, James Brown
is like a dad to me. I remember the DVD you all did late in his career.
SHARPTON: It was amazing. You still tease me all the time we do the James
FRANKLIN: Right. You got on down at radio city the other night. You got
down as you`d get down every time you hit it.
SHARPTON: Well, I tried not to embarrass myself. But I have to say this.
With all you have done there is no slowing down. I mean, you still put
everything in. Do you think you would ever, ever give up the stage?
FRANKLIN: Definitely not. I feel great. I have a great regimen --
walking. A great fitness regimen. And today, I feel like, what, late 40s?
SHARPTON: You look great, too.
FRANKLIN: Thank you.
SHARPTON: You testified the other night. You had about, but that you
healed. You said, we`re going back to when mama used to play "Amazing
Grace" in the kitchen here.
FRANKLIN: Right. And my friends said, you reached back to about 16,
SHARPTON: Yes, you did.
SHARPTON: Well, it`s a great honor to have you here. It truly means a lot
to our audience and to me. The one and only Aretha Franklin. Thank you
for your time.
FRANKLIN: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
FRANKLIN: God bless you. All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Many thanks again to Aretha Franklin. And you can see the
entire interview on our website, politicsnation.msnbc.com.
Still ahead, President Obama shows he`s determined not to repeat President
Bush`s mistakes on Iraq. It`s a history listen to war with hawks on the
But first, a teachable moment in Detroit. Beatings that stunned a
community. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Now to a disturbing and gruesome beating in Detroit. And
admissions of guilt today. In April, a traffic accident turned into a
violent mob attack. Steve Utash, a white man accidentally hitting a 10-
year-old black boy with his pickup truck. The boy stepped into traffic, as
shown in the corner right -- in the right corner of this surveillance tape.
The man got out of his car to help the boy who had a broken leg, but a
crowd gathered and Utash was attacked and beaten unconscious.
That beating was not caught on tape. Utash was in a coma for nearly two
weeks. And he may suffer long-term brain damage. Police arrested four
suspects and charged them with attempted murder. A fifth suspect, a 16-
year-old, was charged with a hate crime. But on Monday, the first plea
deal was struck. The suspect would get a lesser charge for agreeing to
testify against the others and admitting to his role. And today the other
three accepted a deal and pleaded guilty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Were other people as well joining into this melee and
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Basically there was a crowd beating on Steven Utash. I
pulled up to the scene. I kicked him a couple of times and I left.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You kicked him?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Describe to me in your own words what you did?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Punched him twice and kicked him once.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You punched him twice and kicked him once?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The new assault charge carries ten years behind bars. Let this
be a teachable moment. This was an act of senseless violence. And we must
think before we act and respect each other. Mr. Utash did what was right
to help a young boy. I pray for his full recovery.
SHARPTON: We are back with the results from tonight`s question. What do
you think could help improve Americans` confidence in Congress? Twenty
three percent said, if they could pass a jobs bill. Thirty two percent
said if they could pass any bill. And 45 percent said fewer Tea Party
members in office. Thanks to all who voted. You can join the conversation
by heading to our Facebook page. We want to hear what you think.
And finally tonight, the crisis in Iraq. Today, President Obama announced
he`s sending up to 300 advisers to help Iraq in the Iraqi military forces.
But he made it clear he`s not sending combat troops.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: American forces will not be
returning to combat in Iraq. But we will help Iraqis as they take the
fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people. We will be prepared to
take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine that the
situation on the ground requires it. It is the in our national security
interests not to see an all out civil war inside of Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This is a complicated situation. But the President refuses to
repeat mistakes of the past.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Here at home, Iraq sparked vigorous debates and intense emotions in
the past. And we have seen some of those debates resurface. But what`s
clear from the last decade is the need for the United States to ask hard
questions before we take action abroad. Particularly military action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Hard questions before we take action abroad. We saw what
happened last time. I was against the war from the start. We can`t let
history repeat. We do not need combat action. We do not need military
action on the ground from our military men engaging in combat. And we must
stand up and fight those hawks that are trying to repeat the mistakes of
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2014 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Transcription Copyright 2014 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of
MORE FROM POLITICSNATION
Add PoliticsNation headlines to your news reader: