August 22, 2014
Guest: Joe Madison, Bill Press, Paul Henderson; Lizz Brown; Courtney Allen
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tomorrow marks two weeks since Michael
Brown`s death. And the spotlight is now on the search for answers. With
the release of this document by the Ferguson police department, it`s
labeled an offense/incident report. But it contains almost no details.
Only the date, time and location of the shooting.
Ferguson police say they never completed an incident report because they
turned the case over to the St. Louis county police almost immediately.
But the St. Louis county police department did its own incident report and
it`s almost as sparse. No synopsis of what happened. No details. No
interviews. In fact, there is hardly more than the barest phones, the
time, the date, the location, the name of Michael Brown and the word
homicide. Almost everything else is blank. And for that reason it`s
raising new questions.
"Time" magazine writes today about the incident report today. Quote "the
glaring lack of is likely to increase e widespread criticism that the law
enforcement community is closing ranks around Darren Wilson."
The big question tonight, is there a good explanation for this lack of
detail? Joining me now are MSNBC analyst and retired ATF analyst Jim
Cavanaugh and prosecutor and legal analyst Paul Henderson. Thank you for
PAU HENDERSON, PROSECUTOR, LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks for having us, Rev.
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC ANALYST: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Jim, what`s your reaction to the lack of detail in these
CAVANAUGH: Well, I don`t understand why there is no narrative in the St.
Louis county incident report. I think that`s pretty lacking, Reverend.
When an officer is involved in a shooting a lot of times that officer does
not prepare an incident report because they have been involved in a violent
act. They`re stressed, uh set, could be wounded, injured. And you know,
maybe the sergeant will write it. Then that officer will be interviewed
the next day, usually by homicide or something.
So I can understand that process. I .don`t think that`s unusual process.
And the officer no doubt, at least I hope he was interviewed by St. Louis
county homicide bureau detectives within a day. That would be normal.
But for the county report to be just lack of all narrative, not even to
mention the general aspects of what occurred. Not that they had to put if
the officer statement, but you know, Michael Brown was a victim of gunshot
wounds, found at this location. It has nothing, absolutely nothing. So it
breaks trust with the people.
SHARPTON: And Paul, when you think of what we are hearing here, you had
Michael Brown killed. You had some saying the officer was injured. I
mean, there is a lot that would have had to happen if the officer went to
the hospital or the police there. No the report of any of this?
SHARPTON: How could there be no documentation of anything?
HENDERSON: Well, I`m sure there is documentation of many of the things you
are talking about. Because also what`s missing, what`s lacking and what
was turned over are witness statements that were collected at the time.
Evidence. And here`s why the evidence is important. Where did you collect
gun shells? If there were gun shells where were they picked up? Were they
near the car, were they on the street, were they in a line that would
indicate where and how he was shot. Any of the gunshot residue, if that
was collected. Any of the information that could be turned over has not
been turned over. And you know, these are things that are part of the
problem and why there is a lot of distrust about what the process is.
SHARPTON: But on top of that, Paul, there is no synopsis. There is no
SHARPTON: Even if you had the particulars, and you don`t, it`s according
to what narrative?
HENDERSON: Right. Understand, Reverend, that narrative probably exists.
I can`t imagine a circumstance that the narrative doesn`t exist. What`s
going on is that because there are concurrent investigations going on right
now and a grand jury that`s going on right now, that narrative is in use.
That information is in use.
SHARPTON: But, Jim, the narrative may be in use. But when you do an
incident report, as you just said that day or the day after, no one knows a
grand jury, no one knows -- nobody knows any of that`s coming. Where is
the incident report? You would want someone in the investigation to say
this is what they said immediately. This is what they said while they were
picking up shells. This is what they said if the officer did, in fact, go
to the hospital. You can`t say we knew in our crystal ball that the
attorney general would call a parallel investigation, Jim. So where is the
immediate incident report that has no incidents?
CAVANAUGH: I totally agree with that, Reverend Al. You now, Paul is
correct. And he`s speaking from the grand jury aspect and the legal
aspect. But you know, police chiefs, and commanders have to deal also from
the aspect, not only on the legal aspect, but they have to deal with the
aspect of how the community reacts and what they see. And if citizens
think that law enforcement is hiding the ball, you know, they lose trust.
CAVANAUGH: And trust is absolutely essential to policing in democracy.
Now, sometimes you don`t get a report or it`s not made or can`t be given
out because it`s grand jury material. But I can tell you over the years I
have had a lot of success at dealing with critical in the community with
bombings, arson, murder, shootings, and letting people know this is what I
got. This is what I`m telling you. This is what I can want tell you. The
reason I can`t is this. And so, just make it clear to the citizens and
SHARPTON: Now, along those lines, Paul, we don`t know much from the St.
Louis county incident report. But we do know that it took ten days before
it was reviewed internally, ten days. It wasn`t reviewed until August 19th
this past Tuesday. Now, you have the trust of the community already waned.
Now you`re going to ten days later mark an incident report that doesn`t
have an incident in it?
HENDERSON: Right. Now, that`s unusual. Just as you brought up the point
about trust from the community, one of the big concerns is, as you are
editing out, as you are making decisions about what you will release to the
public, one of the concerns that the community has is you are leaking out
or releasing information that`s denigrating the victim. You are
denigrating the person that was shot.
So while you can`t release the narrative, you can release this video that
supposedly shows Michael Brown engaged in some sort of crime. While you
don`t release witness statements you can leak out or give out information
indicating that there may have been marijuana in Michael Brown`s system.
While you are not explaining what evidence was collected where gunshot
residue may have been taken in or being evaluated, you can have all the
these conversations that denigrate Michael Brown.
So, all I`m saying here is these things are all a problem, that lack of
trust is just growing broader and broader here. And the days that it took
for the report to be filed and reviewed, that`s another problem. One of
the things, at least for me, that makes me feel more comfortable is that
the federal government is evaluating all of these things. These are smart
people. They know what they are doing. They are evaluating this at the
same time and asking these same questions that you are raising at the same
time to figure out whether or not there could be civil rights charges
against this very department, exactly for this case is being handled.
SHARPTON: But Jim.
SHARPTON: And what I am saying is we in no way know if there is anything
wrong here. But it raises questions.
SHARPTON: They may be completely right in the end. But it looks very,
very funny when you can put out someone`s video at a store where there is
some shoplifting but then you come out hours later saying, but it had
nothing to do with the shooting. You can put out that he may have had
something in his blood system but we`ve got incomplete incident report.
It`s a matter of trust. It may all end up being explained but how do you
explain how you selectively dribble out what you want? Without feeling
like you are trying to paint a narrative.
CAVANAUGH: Right. And it builds on issues like Trayvon Martin. Because
he wasn`t arrested that night when the detective at the Sanford police
wanted to arrest him.
SHARPTON: He being Zimmerman who shot Trayvon Martin. When you say he.
CAVANAUGH: Right. So the detective wanted to arrest him. And he didn`t
that night because his superiors wouldn`t let him. There is no justice,
there is no action, nothing moving. So cases like this build on the past,
the recent past. Eric garner in New York.
It builds on those cases. People want to see justice. They don`t want oh
to beg for justice. They done have to protest for justice. Every single
time they want justice, you have to march, and make signs, get civil rights
leaders and elected officials. That`s not right.
We all shouldn`t have to do that for justice. We all deserve to have
justice. That`s an issue for the attorney general. I think they are going
to move -- the department will move and the indication to me is 40 FBI
agents, the attorney general going to Ferguson. I think they are looking
real hard, real independent. And they can move without the state, Reverend
Al, as you know as a dual sovereign the United States can move. If they
see probable cause and it looks like a case that can be won in a trial they
can make an independent decision without the state to prefer a charge if
they want to.
SHARPTON: So do you think the federal government may come in and take the
CAVANAUGH: Yes. My read on what`s happened with the 40 FBI agents, the
attorney general going in there, I think they are looking hard at a color
of law case under the civil, the rights statute where excessive force by an
authority figure, a police officer is a violation of civil rights. Paul
knows what I`m talking about. So I think they will talk about moving on
that independently. They like the states to do it.
CAVANAUGH: In this case, I think we are going to see some action.
SHARPTON: You have a lot of experience, Jim. Do you think there is
probable cause for an arrest of this officer?
CAVANAUGH: I do. I do, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Paul, do you think there is probable cause for an arrest of this
HENDERSON: I do. But I just want to make a distinction again that there
are different standards for an arrest versus conviction versus a grand
SHARPTON: No, I got that.
HENDERSON: There are three different legal standards used. But certainly
for an arrest there is more than enough, based on what we know. And this
is the problem that we don`t have the narrative to make full evaluations
and, yet, we do have hearsay information from the community. We have some
conversations over here.
SHARPTON: Counters it either.
HENDERSON: That`s correct.
SHARPTON: Let me stop with you agreeing about probable cause. Jim
Cavanaugh, Paul Henderson, thank you for your time tonight. Have a good
HENDERSON: Thank you, Reverend. Thanks for having me.
CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Coming up inside the grand jury hearing, the Darren Wilson case.
Tonight we know the makeup of the jury. And questions surrounding the
prosecutor continues from Ferguson, from the Ferguson community as a whole.
But the governor has made his decision.
And a powerful and emotional words from journalist James Foley`s parents.
Remembering their son after being murdered by terrorists. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE FOLEY, JAMES FOLEY`S MOTHER: He was just so committed to people
suffering. He was trying to --
JOHN FOLEY, JAMES FOLEY`S FATHER: Humanize.
D. FOLEY: -- humanize. He wanted the world to know how people were
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Our social media community has been active on the release of the
incident reports in the Michael Brown shooting.
Patricia wrote, having police investigate themselves is inherently flawed.
Ray said a detailed report shouldn`t be released while an investigation is
under way. It taints possible additional witnesses at the very least.
Richard posted, he, officer Darren Wilson, should have been fired for not
following procedures in filling out a report. Just so many things wrong.
What are they hiding?
Coming up, new details on the makeup of the grand jury and new questions
for the prosecutor. But first, keep the conversation going on our facebook
page and tweet us @politicsnation.
SHARPTON: Amidst growing calls to remove St. Louis county prosecutor Bob
McCulloch from the Michael Brown case Governor Jay Nixon says no.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAY NIXON (D), MISSOURI: When you have challenges like the ones that
we have seen, you want to rely on the pillars of democracy. One of those
pillars is having local prosecutors. The other is having transparency and
checking. We have a local elected prosecutor. No, I`m not going to take
him off the case. He says --
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES: You`re saying that now.
You are not going to appoint a special prosecutor.
NIXON: Right. No. I`m not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So the case moves forward with McCulloch at the helm. It`s a
controversial decision. And it could take a while for all the details of
the case to be released. So, is there confidence in the community that
McCulloch can be fair and impartial?
Joining me now is Missouri state representative Courtney Allen Curtis. His
district includes about 60 percent of the town of Ferguson. And Lizz
Brown, attorney and columnist for the St. Louis American. Thank you for
LIZZ BROWN, ATTORNEY: Thank you.
COURTNEY ALLEN CURTIS, MISSOURI STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Lizz Brown, you have litigated against Mr. McCulloch`s office.
From your experienced, do you think he can be fair in this case?
BROWN: Well, let me put it this way. Say there was a trial and the
prosecutor was picking a jury during the viol dire and the credibility of
the police officer was the issue to be determined in the trial. The
prosecutor would ask this African-American person would you be able to be
fair and impartial. Well, he says my best friend was killed by a police
officer. So the prosecutor would then strike that person from the jury and
nobody and no judge would refuse to allow him to be stricken.
So if Bob McCulloch`s father was killed by an African-American and he`s a
police officer in the line of duty he would be stricken from any jury in
America from serving, despite what he would say about I can be fair and
impartial. Of course he didn`t do that.
SHARPTON: So Representative Curtis, do you agree?
CURTIS: I do agree. But this is a show or tell moment. We`ll see if the
system works or if it doesn`t. Unfortunately, this is the situation we are
in. So, if it doesn`t work that`s why the department of justice is here to
make sure we get justice on the other side. But any changes afterwards
will be indicative of the impartialness of Mr. McCulloch.
SHARPTON: Now, tell me the reaction in the community. McCulloch was
elected, the governor said. There was an election recently. How is the
feeling of the community about McCulloch beyond your own feelings, Lizz?
BROWN: I wrote a column about it for the American this week. The
community is very are clear. Irrespective of what anybody else says, this
community spent a lifetime dealing with the repercussions or actions of
this office. And time after time what African-American people have seen,
what this community has seen, what this region has seen is a prosecutor
that has a different set of justice based upon the color of your skin. So,
it`s something that the community is aware of.
SHARPTON: Curtis, is that what your constituents are telling you? What
have you heard since it`s been p said McCulloch won`t step aside? What are
your constituents saying to you?
CURTIS: I`m hearing the same sentiments. But I`m also hearing that people
wish they had taken part in the electoral process. I mean, if we all had
went out and voted or you know, gotten our friends to register and vote, we
may possibly not be in this situation. So a lot of people are actually,
you know, remorseful for not having taken part in the system.
SHARPTON: Now, let me go to another issue, Lizz. Today we learned the
makeup of the grand jury as far as race is concerned.
Nine white, three black. The racial breakdown tracks pretty closely with
the county`s demographics. The agenda of the grand jury is made up of five
women, seven men. What do you make of the race and gender of the grand
BROWN: I think that this entire issue of what their race is and what their
gender is a distraction. Because at the end of the day, it matters not.
The jury, the grand jury will do what they are directed to do by the
prosecuting attorney`s office. And they will base their decision based on
the evidence that he presents to them. So it doesn`t matter what color
they are. It doesn`t matter what gender they are because they`re going to
have are to make a decision on what Bob McCulloch chooses to put in front
And we also can`t be distracted about the issue of, well, there is an
African-American prosecutor and a white prosecutor that`s in front of this
grand jury. Because they are not going to make a decision. They`re not
going to refuse to indict or indict based upon what Bob McCulloch says. If
Bob McCulloch tells those two prosecutors, "I want an indictment," he`ll
get an indictment. And if he says, "I don`t want an indictment," he won`t
SHARPTON: It sounds like you don`t think that he will instruct them to get
an indictment if the evidence is there.
BROWN: Absolutely not.
SHARPTON: What do you think, Courtney? Do you think the makeup of the
jury, gender and race, is material? And do you think McCulloch will be, as
clearly Lizz Brown is saying, saying no, I don`t are want an indictment
meaning certain things may never go in front of the grand jury because only
the prosecutor presents?
CURTIS: Right. I mean, I definitely believe it is a tried and true system
of justice and injustice. Unfortunately, we have seen it happen in a
number of situation where is we haven`t gotten what we were looking for.
But that`s why it`s important that the department of justice is on this so
that we can make sure we get justice. There are multiple flavors of
justice. And I`m sure we will get one in the end, but this definitely will
be a moment where we definitely see that the system does or doesn`t work.
And it is important to keep the focus on making sure that Michael Brown
gets justice but ultimately making changes afterwards.
BROWN: I think the system is broken. I think we already know that the
system is broken. I think that we have had enough evidence to be able to
predict with confidence that justice will not be rendered in this case. If
a prosecutor and a grand jury case, as the prosecutor can, can present
hearsay information to the jury. They can bring in anybody that they want
to. They have already offered the police officer, the soon to be
defendant, the opportunity to plead his case in front of the grand jury.
And one more quick thing. One of the things that we don`t know because
this grand jury has been seated for so long, Darren Wilson could have come
in and testified in front of this grand jury and they could have issued an
indictment based on his truth and his honesty. So we don`t know that.
SHARPTON: So what I gathered, Courtney, is the you and Lizz, and Lizz is
saying, that a lot of the faith in the community is in a federal
prosecution. They have no faith in the state prosecution since the
governor will not remove McCulloch.
BROWN: I would say yes --
SHARPTON: I`m talking to Courtney.
BROWN: I`m sorry. OK.
CURTIS: Definitely, I mean, the governor had a tough decision to make.
But I mean, Mr. McCulloch was elected locally. So he`s trying to let him
do his job. And he has faith in the fact that he should be impartial in
this situation. So, we will see if the system works or not.
SHARPTON: All right, I`m going to have to leave it there. State
representative Courtney Allen Curtis and Lizz Brown, thank you both for
your time tonight.
BROWN: Thank you very much.
CURTIS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, the ISIS threat. They were called an imminent threat
to every interest we have. So what can the United States do? We are live
at the Pentagon.
And on a lighter note, are we headed for a Romney-Ryan reunion? They`re
reunited and it feels so good. Next.
SHARPTON: Sometimes late in the summer with the cool winds of fall fast
approaching, people grow a little nostalgic. And for the GOP it`s even
worse. This is what they are nostalgic for -- a bromance for the ages.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in 2012. Republicans thought they made a great
team except for that whole 47 percent thing and washing the dishes that
were already clean and binders full of women and face planting in a
presidential debate in front of millions of viewers and -- OK. I`ll stop
But back in the present day this dynamic duo has been reunited. They were
together yesterday in Chicago having a great old time, reliving the past.
Paul Ryan said, he just love for Willy (ph) to run for president again.
Third time is the charm. But later, Mitt said, I have had my turn. It`s
Paul`s time now. And this super hero fair wasn`t done yet. They had one
more trick up their sleeves, the ice bucket challenge raising money for a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: Tonight I have a little
help from one of my friends. Hey, buddy. How are you doing?
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Good.
ROMNEY: That`s cold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s cold. Yes, it is. Seeing your bromance back is just
plain old. So cool off in the summer time. Nice try. But we got you.
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": Today the U.S. military
announced they launched new air strikes targeting ISIS in Iraq. This just
three days after ISIS captors beheaded American journalist James Foley.
This morning, James Foley`s grieving parents remembered their son on this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN FOLEY, FATHER OF JAMES FOLEY: Jimmy was challenged when he first met
poverty and disadvantage at Marquette University. Since that moment his
soul and heart grew and grew and grew to encompass all the people who
needed help, needed their stories told.
DIANE FOLEY, MOTHER OF JAMES FOLEY: He was just so committed to the people
whose suffering he was trying to --
JOHN FOLEY: Humanize.
DIANE FOLEY: -- humanize. And he wanted the world to know how people were
suffering. Jim wanted to be there because he really embraced the suffering
of the Syrian people. We need to embrace one another`s suffering so that
this can be a world with some love and there`s some compassion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel calls ISIS an imminent threat to
every interest we have. The jihadist group already taking over are huge
swath of land in Syria and Iraq. Using barbaric techniques to seize
control across the union. ISIS is now a major foreign policy challenge for
the Obama administration. So how can it be dealt with?
Joining me now is NBC Chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski. Jim,
thanks for being here.
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI, NBC CHIEF PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: You bet, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: How much has the killing of James Foley ratcheted up the
administration`s decide to take decisive action against ISIS?
MIKLASZEWSKI: Yes. Well, I think we are already hearing from the White
House that they would like to step up the game, so to speak. To increase
the military pressure on those ISIS rebel fighters. Here at the Pentagon
there was shock, grief, dismay. But they had to quickly put all those
emotions aside and get back to the task of planning to not only contain but
force ISIS out of Iraq and defeat them once and for all, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Today, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said the
killing of James Foley was a terrorist attack. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN RHODES, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: When you see somebody killed
in a such a horrific way that represents a terrorist attack. That
represents a terrorist attack against our country, against an American
citizen. An attack not just on him. But he`s an American. And we see it
as an attack on our country when one of our own is killed like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Does this terrorist attack change how the U.S. would deal with
MIKLASZEWSKI: Absolutely. What was previously a mission as we have heard
President Obama describe time and again of one to protect Americans in Iraq
to help the Kurds in the north and provide humanitarian assistance, now
it`s become a counterterrorism mission. And that changes the dynamics
dramatically, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Yesterday the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that
Syria has to be addressed in stopping ISIS from progressing. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS: This is an organization that
has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision which will eventually have
to be defeated. To your question can they be defeated without addressing
that part of the organization which resides in Syria, the answer is no.
That will have to be to be addressed on both sides of what essentially at
this point is a nonexistent border. It requires a variety of instruments.
Only one small part is air strikes. I`m not predicting those will occur in
Syria, at least not by the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: How is the U.S. planning on engaging Syria in this fight against
MIKLASZEWSKI: Well, they won`t engage Syria, the government itself. But
there are plans under way here at the Pentagon to launch air strikes
against ISIS targets that are located there inside Syria. They stress here
that no decisions have been made. But as you know at the Pentagon, they
are always planning for the next possible contingency, next possible
And it seems highly likely that the U.S. military and/or CIA with armed
drones will start to go after some of those headquarters, some of the
leadership and ISIS targets that are across that borderless divide between
Syria and Iraq. Not clear when. And again, no decisions have been made.
But at this point it almost seems inevitable that we will see some kind of
air strikes against those ISIS targets across the border there in Syria.
SHARPTON: Is this imminent?
MIKLASZEWSKI: Not imminent. I wouldn`t say that. But it doesn`t appear
to be too far off in the distance either. Timing depends on the
availability of assets, the targets, where they may be at any point in
time. And of course the president`s order to go ahead and launch.
SHARPTON: Does the U.S. need to engage our allies in this fight against
MIKLASZEWSKI: Well, you know, General Dempsey said not only do we have to
defeat ISIS, but the U.S. can`t do it alone. We are going to need the
support of not only many of our European allies because there are some 100
-- or I think as many as a thousand foreigners who are members of ISIS.
Most of those Europeans. So, ISIS poses a threat to Europe. So far we
haven`t seen any offers of any kind of military assistance.
But not only European allies but those Arab allies in the Middle East, the
Persian Gulf region who so far, even though they recognize that they, too,
could be threatened by ISIS eventually, so far we have yet to see any of
them step up and contribute to the fight itself. They have their own
political difficulties, religious sectarian difficulties that they have to
struggle with but the feeling here in the U.S. is at some point they`re
going to have to sign on to the effort to rid that region and the world of
SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to leave it there. Jim Miklaszewski, thank you
for your time tonight. And have a good weekend.
MIKLASZEWSKI: You, too Reverend Al. Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, nothing says summer time like swimming, grilling and
right wingers slamming the president`s vacation. That`s next.
SHARPTON: We all love summer traditions -- barbecues, the beach. And of
course the right wing attacking the president`s vacation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: There is a general perception
the world is going to hell and the president is out there playing golf.
MARK LEVIN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hey, look, there is genocide going on,
rape. Why would we expect the president to cancel his vacation to Martha`s
MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: President Obama is simmering and
summering over at Martha`s Vineyard.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I`m convinced he takes the vacations
to further the notion he doesn`t know what`s going on. He doesn`t care.
He`s not responsible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Oh, nothing like summer time in the GOP. But the reality is
like all presidents before President Obama, any vacation is a working
vacation. Nancy Reagan once defended her husband`s time at the California
ranch saying, "Presidents don`t get vacation, they just get a change of
scenery." The right wing seemed satisfied with that answer. And during
this vacation, President Obama addressed the nation on Iraq three times and
talked about the situation in Ferguson twice.
On Wednesday, he honored slain journalist James Foley. But some couldn`t
wait to criticize him for golfing after that speech. They are always
looking to politicize. Waiting to attack. The fact is President Obama has
taken 138 vacation days since he was sworn in. But President Bush at the
same point in his presidency took 407. Yes, more than a full year of
vacation. You can see the difference here. I know it`s the middle of the
summer, but nobody deserves a break from reality.
Joining me now are Joe Madison and Bill Press. Thank you for being here.
JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Good to see you, Reverend Al.
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Joe, every president takes vacations. But they just love
attacking this one. Why?
MADISON: Well, I don`t know. Because look at what this president has
done. He prevented genocide on top of a mountain in Iraq. Remember the
banks also are received major fines, major banks received multi-million
dollar fines while he was on vacation. He sent the Attorney General into a
heated situation in Ferguson, Missouri. You know, what I said on my show
the other day is something that we both remember. What`s a brother got to
do? I mean, while he`s on vacation he`s done more to help this country --
oh, and by the way, he also launched air strikes against a group of
terrorists that most countries` leaders are not on vacation and they
haven`t weighed in. What`s a brother got to do?
SHARPTON: You know, I mentioned, Bill, that this has become a real
tradition -- bashing the president`s vacation. Let`s take a walk down
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH (2010): That`s why the Marie Antoinette joke, the moochelle.
Antoinette joke is about moochelle Obama. It is why some people say that
it looks like these two just wanted to be president for the perks.
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA (2011): There he goes jetting
off to tickle his toes in the sand of Martha`s Vineyard, and probably
burying his head in the proverbial sand.
GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST (2012): Sixteen vacations, 90 rounds of
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST (2013): Our dedicated commander in chief has
since returned to his wonderful vacation in Hawaii. Once again showing us
all that he simply doesn`t have your best interests in mind.
LIMBAUGH (2014): I`m convinced he takes so many vacations to further this
notion that he doesn`t know what`s going on. He doesn`t care. He`s not
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, Bill, give me a break. I mean, the same lines over and
over. They have nothing new. There is no content to their criticisms.
PRESS: No. Reverend Al, look. This just prove that the Obama haters
never take a vacation. All right? And you know, they are really on thin
ground when you look at George Bush. You mentioned 407 days by this point
in his presidency. His entire presidency, 879 days. That`s over three
years that he took on vacation in Crawford, Texas. He used to go down to
Crawford Texas for the entire month of August. You pointed out also and
Joe pointed out everything the president has done, President Obama in this
last not even an entire two weeks that he spent on Martha`s Vineyard.
PRESS: Yet George Bush was in Texas. And when they gave him that briefing
on August 6, 2001, about al Qaeda striking -- about to strike the United
States with airplanes, George Bush ignored it and went bass fishing. I
mean, give me a break. This guy is on the job all the time. And I`ve got
news for Obama haters. The world does not stand still when the president
of the United States goes on vacation. Never has, never will.
SHARPTON: You know, Joe, the New York Times wrote about how the president
-- how presidents deal with emotional decisions and events. And I found it
interesting. Let me read you the quote.
"Presidents learn to wall off their feelings and compartmentalize their
lives. They deal in death one moment and seek mental and physical relief
the next. To make coldhearted decisions in the best interest of the
country and manage the burdens of perhaps the most stressful job on the
planet, current and former White House officials said, a president must
guard against becoming consumed by the emotions of the situations they
MADISON: Yes. And maybe this is why their hair turns gray in four short
years, too, because of all of this. And you know, remember the rub that we
used to think about Ronald Reagan. He always took naps. I mean, you don`t
have to worry about this president taking naps. This is the same
president, remember at the White House Correspondents Dinner he sat there,
cool, calm, collected. And you know, here are all these correspondents,
these brilliant reporters, and then what did we find out just a few hours
after that? That he had given the go ahead to kill one of the most wanted
terrorist on the planet.
SHARPTON: I guess that`s part of the compartmentalizing.
MADISON: That`s right.
SHARPTON: But I`ve got to put this in here, Bill. Because Karl Rove now
weighed in on President Obama golfing right after making the statement on
James Foley`s death. Now, listen to Karl Rove.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Somebody made a mistake. They should
have thought this through, said the president will go out and make a
comment on this. So, shouldn`t we get the golf -- why don`t we get a tee
time tomorrow or why don`t we get the tee time in four, five hours rather
than, you know, eight minutes later.
SHARPTON: Now, this is Karl Rove. But Rove was also working for Bush when
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. PRES. GEORGE BUSH (R), UNITED STATES: Good morning.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Good morning, Mr. President.
BUSH: We must stop the terror. I call upon all nations to do everything
they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this
drive. All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now after that Bush did give up golfing until after the Iraq war
for the remainder of his presidency while the war was happening. But Karl
Rove, of all people, had this to say. I mean, really?
PRESS: Yes. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black here. Listen,
Reverend Al, yes. I think the real point here is nobody is talking to Karl
Rove. What did the president say at that little meeting with reporters
after talking to the parents of James Foley? What he said was two very
important things. Number one, that nobody can claim that their faith tells
them to do such awful, ugly acts as to execute and behead an American
journalist. And number two, he said we are not going to back down. Jim
Miklaszewski just told us what`s going on, that we are going to even
redouble our efforts against ISIS which must be destroyed. That`s what
they ought to focusing on.
PRESS: And they won`t talk about that because President Obama did the
SHARPTON: Joe, you`ve got 30 seconds left. Final thoughts?
MADISON: Yes. What does a brother got to do? And to you, I wish you the
best of luck tomorrow on Staten Island. I really do.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
MADISON: But you know, I think that`s the word we ought to think. This
president is on top of it. Everybody knows it. And quite honestly, these
conservatives ought to go on vacation. Give it a break.
SHARPTON: Got to go. Joe Madison, Bill Press, thank you for your time.
And have a nice weekend.
PRESS: Thank you.
MADISON: You, too.
SHARPTON: Turning tragedy into action. How the people of Ferguson are
already working toward positive change.
SHARPTON: Texas Governor Rick Perry isn`t letting his indictment on two
felony counts of public corruption and coercion get him down. Today at his
arraignment it was held in Austin at a courthouse. Where was he? He was
in New Hampshire. The first state to hold presidential primaries. And it
has everyone wondering if he`s serious about a 2016 run. Who could forget
what happened on his last high profile visit to New Hampshire?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: This is such a cool state. Come on, live free
or die? I mean, you`ve got to love that, right?
I come from a state, you know, where they had this little place called the
Alamo. And they declared victory or death. You know, we`re kind of into
those slogans, man. It`s like live free or die. Victory or death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Live free or die, in his own words.
SHARPTON: For nearly two weeks we have been talking about the tragedy in
Ferguson. It`s an American conversation. With all the American families.
This conversation can be emotional. And sometimes uncomfortable. But as I
have said from the start there is no excuse for violence or for not having
the conversation. We need to have it. About policing. And we need to
talk about the inequality in our communities. Broadly speaking, we need to
talk about how the state deals with its citizens. And how the people act
in their role as citizens.
Because the numbers don`t lie. In Ferguson, a town that`s 67 percent
black, the mayor and police chief are both white. On a police force of 53
officers, only three officers are black. There is only one African-
American on the city council. And zero black members on the school board.
That doesn`t seem right to me. But like I have said, don`t loot -- vote!
Don`t just talk, vote! I spoke about this Sunday in Ferguson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Some of y`all that are mad today would not vote and would not
register to vote.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And don`t show up. People marched. People died. People shed their blood
to give you the right to vote. And you`re sitting up on Election Day too
lazy and ungrateful to go to the poll. Leadership comes are from both
sides. They`ve got to open up and you`ve got to get up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But we are already seeing people turn tragedy into action. We
are seeing people come together for change. St. Louis alderman Antonio
French is leading voter registration rallies starting tomorrow. Local
leaders are spreading the word on twitter with the #HealSTL for St. Louis.
And here are boxes full of t-shirts, ready to go out like this one. They
will be sold to support the cause of voter registration. Organizers say
they must stand together and educate the youth. Register eligible voters
and continue the conversations toward equality. These are little steps
that can become a big step toward change. Change we need. And that we
must work for.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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