PoliticsNation, Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: October 23, 2014
Guest: Natalie Azar, Corey Hebert, Ed Rendell, Lisa Bloom, Chuck Nice,
AL SHARPTON, HOST: Thanks to you for tuning in, I`m live from Nashville,
Tennessee tonight. Breaking news tonight, a potential Ebola case in New
At this moment, a doctor who recently treated Ebola patients in West
Africa, and returned just ten days ago, is in an isolation unit at Bellevue
Hospital undergoing testing for the Ebola virus. The man is Dr. Craig
Spencer, a 33-year-old emergency medicine expert, who is working with
Doctors Without Borders in Guinea.
Before leaving for Africa, he wrote on Facebook, quote, "Off to Guinea with
Doctors Without Borders. Please support organizations that are sending
support or personnel to West Africa, and help combat one of the worst
public health and humanitarian disasters in recent history."
According to the "New York Times," since his return to the U.S., Dr.
Spencer has been taking his own temperature out of an abundance of caution,
given his close contact with Ebola patients.
On Tuesday, he began to feel sluggish. But he did not develop a fever
until this morning. At 11 this morning, Dr. Spencer found that he had 103-
degree fever, and alerted the staff of Doctors Without Borders. "The
Times" reports emergency medical workers, wearing full personal protective
gear, rushed to his Harlem apartment, and he was transported to Bellevue
Hospital around 1 p.m. These pictures appear to show the ambulance and
Preliminary test results expected by late tonight or early tomorrow
morning. And moments ago, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY: We have a patient now at Bellevue,
who is being assessed for the possibility of Ebola. Tests are under way.
At some point this evening -- it may be very late this evening -- we`ll be
able to provide the public with information on the results. Very important
for the public to know that every protocol has been followed and our
emergency personnel, our health care personnel have responded admirably in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Again, it`s important to note, we don`t know if the patient has
Ebola, but he is in isolation at New York City`s top hospital for Ebola,
awaiting results of tests.
Joining me now, Dr. Corey Hebert, assistant professor at LSU Health
Sciences Center and Tulane University Medical Center. And Dr. Natalie
Azar, a clinical professor in the department of medicine at NYU Langone
Medical Center. Thank you both for being here.
DR. NATALIE AZAR, CLINICAL PROFESSOR, NYU LANGONE MEDICAL CENTER: Thank
DR. COREY HEBERT, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER AND
TULANE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Dr. Azar, New York health officials are taking this very
seriously. Your reaction?
AZAR: Well, I`m pleased to see that this is exactly the scenario that
we`ve been anticipating and have been planning for now for the last few
weeks, of course, with the benefit of hindsight and what happened in the
Dallas case. I like to see that every step of the protocol has been
followed, and that starts with the healthcare worker himself doing
monitoring and checking daily temperatures twice a day and alerting
authorities at the first sign of symptoms.
SHARPTON: Well, let me ask you if -- the "New York Times" is reporting
that Dr. Spencer told authorities that he did not believe the protective
gear he wore was working while he was working with Ebola patients, had been
breached. If that is the case, then if his equipment wasn`t breached, how
could he have contracted this disease?
AZAR: Well, you know, this actually doesn`t surprise me. We`ve heard this
on a few cases. We heard this already with Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy
Writebol. Neither of them knew how they contracted it, and they were
following protocol, too.
So it just goes to show that, again, nothing is foolproof. We can
certainly train and retrain and follow the steps as precisely as possible,
but there is still a risk of transmission. And it just goes to show how
significantly contagious this virus is.
Most people are not aware of how they breach the protocol. That`s what
we`ve been hearing. But we also know, as we`ve demonstrated on this show,
taking off the protective gear is a dicey proposition, and certainly
transmission does happen that way.
SHARPTON: Dr. Hebert, the New York City Health Department said in a
statement today, "The health department`s team of disease detectives
immediately began to actively trace all of the patient`s contacts to
identify anyone who may be at potential risk. The health department has
established protocols to identify, notify, and if necessary, quarantine any
contacts of Ebola crisis."
And there were some reports of some contact the patient might have had in
the past few days. He reportedly took a Uber Car to -- to and from
Brooklyn where he went bowling and authorities are reportedly considering
evacuating his apartment building. How can -- how can all these people be
traced down, if he made all these contacts?
HEBERT: Contact tracing is something that is used and has been used even
in the case in Dallas. But we`ve really got to step back to think about
this, Rev. And the reason why is because, first of all, coming into New
York City with a communicable disease like Ebola, that could really be a
bad thing. I mean, with the close quarters, it`s a big deal.
I`m not for a travel ban, but it seems like with the doctors coming back
and a lot of people coming back that are working with Ebola patients, I may
be in favor of having a 21-day quarantine on people coming back from
Western Africa, coming back into the United States.
Because you have to think about, once you get back to the United States,
until you have symptoms, you`re not contagious, but if you have symptoms
while you`re at Starbucks, right, what happens? Then if you start coughing
on the way out of the Starbucks, that`s an issue.
And we`re not fear-mongering there, because I don`t think that would be
something that could actually cause a transmission, but what it could do is
cause people to have fear, and that irrational fear could make people have
really bad decisions.
SHARPTON: Dr. Azar, if he was all right last night, if he went bowling
last night and he was all right, then does that mean he`s all right. That
maybe he`s just having a bad experience? I mean, what does this mean?
AZAR: Well, I think there`s two questions in that. One is that the people
he was around last night, if he was truly asymptomatic, meaning that he
wasn`t having a high fever and he certainly wasn`t having nausea and
vomiting or diarrhea, as far as we`ve heard, then the risk of him exposing
the people he was around yesterday is quite low.
Could he have another disease? He could have a stomach bug. He could have
malaria. He could have any number of other, you know, viral diseases or
tropical fevers and things like that that he -- that he could have acquired
in West Africa.
So again, it just -- he represents a patient or a person who we have a very
high index of suspicion for, a healthcare worker who was in the -- in the
country of origin, with symptoms. And I think that everything has been
done appropriately, and I think that we will see that if he does, in fact,
turn out to be positive, that the proper steps were taken.
The contact tracing is going to work. I mean, think about the family
members of our index patient in Dallas who were in very close contact with
him when he was sick, and they have completed their 21-day incubation
period and are disease-free.
SHARPTON: Yes, I think that is a great point. Because, Dr. Hebert, it`s
not easy to -- as that. You`re talking about fear-mongering. It`s not
like you can just easily get Ebola.
And the four patients that have been declared Ebola-free, and including the
NBC cameraman now, they`re all out of the hospital. Nurse Amber Vision
[SIC] is still in the hospital, but reportedly there`s no sign of Ebola in
her blood. And there`s Nina Pham, who`s in good condition. One patient
has died in the United States from Ebola, and that`s Thomas Duncan, but the
rest seem to be all right.
What does this say about how treatable it is?
HEBERT: Well, that`s one thing we always have to remember, is that, we
don`t know how this was breached. We know that it is treatable. We know
that any country with any type of financial support, we know -- can get rid
of this. I mean, Nigeria got rid of it. We`ve had 27 outbreaks all over
the world in the last 20-some years, and they have gotten rid of it. So we
can get rid of it. The issue is the transmission and the fear.
I also would like to say, though, I`d like to bring the facts, Reverend Al.
We have had cases where the semen of the patient has been able to transmit
Ebola, and we know that it is present in the semen. So you know, we start
getting -- thinking about these 21-day quarantines. We need to think about
how long this will live in someone and think about some of the other things
that are out there, because the odds are, this person does not have Ebola.
The odds are he has the flu.
But at the same time, we have to prepare for the worst, because that`s the
last thing we need is another case of Ebola, especially in New York City.
SHARPTON: No problem with that at all. I agree with you. But I also
think, you know, we`ve got to point out this out, Dr. Azar, the difference
between Mr. Duncan in Dallas and between this doctor. Duncan went to the
hospital with a 103-degree fever and was not treated.
SHARPTON: This patient -- this man has been treated and has become a
patient. Is that not part of the difference, being prepared and treating
AZAR: It`s absolutely part of the equation. Our index patient, Mr. Duncan
lost a good 72 hours of potential care, and it may or may not have made a
difference. You know, we can`t -- we can`t say for sure one way or the
other. But we know that intervening early in this disease can certainly
increase your chances of survival.
And I`d like to say, you know, the idea of quarantining everyone who had a
potential exposure is really not realistic. And, you know, it almost
sounds like somebody wants to make an Ebola island somewhere and not have
any of these people being able to come back and living their lives.
What the healthcare worker did was exactly what he was instructed to do,
and that is to self-monitor. And in the vast majority of cases, nobody is
going to get sick, but in the cases that do, he did exactly what he was
supposed to do, and that is to alert authorities immediately, so that he
puts himself out of circulation and doesn`t put anybody else at risk.
SHARPTON: And the authorities did exactly what they were supposed to do.
They took him in and dealt with him.
SHARPTON: Dr. Azar -- Dr. Hebert.
HEBERT: Yes, I`d like to say, I mean, I`m not trying to think that it`s
unrealistic to quarantine people that have a high index of suspicion for
Ebola transmission. Meaning if you are working with Doctors Without
Borders and you come back into the United States, I don`t think it`s
unrealistic at all to say that you need to have a 21-day quarantine. I
don`t think that`s unrealistic at all.
SHARPTON: All right, Dr. Natalie Azar and Dr. Corey Hebert, thank you both
for your time tonight.
HEBERT: Thank you.
SHARPTON: And we are certainly going to be watching and keeping up with
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One of the newsletter stories is how the Justice Department is condemning
leads in the Michael Brown grand jury case. We`re talking about that next.
SHARPTON: Can you imagine a party telling you not to vote? It`s strange,
right? But it`s happening right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... specific test required to vote or graduate. Let
us know. Should you have to answer, I mean, the majority of these
questions, if not by graduation of high school, but by the time you vote?
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS COMMENTATOR: I don`t think as a general matter
you should be encouraging people who don`t know anything about what they`re
voting for, to vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody`s making an effort to get these young people
to go out and vote. Because we just talked about a poll the other day. It
shows that they are just disinterested in these midterm elections. I mean,
a very small percentage of them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe they feel like government has failed them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do we want them to vote if they don`t know the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s crazy. But this is a growing trend on the right. This is
an actual headline from the conservative "National Review": "The Trouble
with Early Voting." The author wrote, quote, "Too much of anything can be
And on another one, "Five Reasons Why You`re Too Dumb to Vote." Quote,
"Voting is the most shallow gesture of citizenship there is."
And some officials are picking up on the idea. Like in North Carolina,
where Republicans are fighting to take an early voting site off a college
Here`s what`s really going on. Republicans are doing everything they can
to discourage Democrats from voting, because Senate races all across the
country are still so close; and Democratic turn-out could make all the
difference. Can you believe this? It`s strange, but it should only
motivate you to get out and vote.
Joining me now are former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell; and Karen
Finney. Thank you both for being here.
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Rev.
ED RENDELL (D), FORMER PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: Our pleasure, Rev.
SHARPTON: Governor, claiming young people don`t know the issues just
because they tend to vote for Democrats. What`s your reaction to that?
RENDELL: Well, the whole assault by the right is ludicrous. An
intelligence test for voters. A test to see how well they know the issues.
It`s like going back -- next thing they`ll be proposing is a poll tax.
Well, I have a message for Democratic voters: if you`re not galvanized to
get out and vote yet, this attempt to discourage you from exercising your
franchise should fire you up. You should get out and vote just to show
them that you have every right to vote. You don`t have to be an expert to
vote. You have to care about your country.
And I would say that voting is the highest example of good citizenship.
Not the lowest, but the highest and most important.
SHARPTON: Absolutely. You know, Karen, you know, we know for years that
there`s been the real drive to have low turn-out.
SHARPTON: Particularly Republicans have tried all kind of maneuvers for
that. Check out this video from 1980 of activist Paul Weyrich, who founded
some really important conservative groups.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL WEYRICH, CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: I don`t want everybody to vote.
Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from
the beginning of our country; and they are not now. As a matter of fact,
our leverage in the elections, quite candidly, goes up as the voting
populace goes down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So these new talks about civics tests and that everyone is not
well-informed enough to vote is just the latest chapter in the right`s
FINNEY: Right. But I do love that FOX News, apparently gets to decide
who`s smart enough to vote. The conservatives get to decide. This has
been a part of the conservative playbook for a very long time. And we know
that, because you know, traditionally, in midterm elections, it is a
smaller electorate. It tends to be more white males, whereas in
presidential elections, more women actually tend to vote.
And I think what they`re concerned about this time is that, particularly in
a number of these races, women, African-Americans, and Latinos and young
voters, that Obama coalition of voters, or the rising American electorate
as people like to call it. If they turn out, they will make the difference
in these elections. And I think in tandem with Governor Rendell`s message,
I just would, you know, want people to know, if you show up and you turn
out to vote, you can actually impact and make a difference in the outcome
of the election.
They don`t -- the conservatives don`t want people to get that message,
because they`re afraid of the impact that folks would have.
SHARPTON: You know, Governor, there`s still time in this race, and today
we learned about a really controversial comment from Iowa Republic --
Republican Senate candidate, Joni Ernst. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONI ERNST (R), IOWA SENATE CANDIDATE: I have a beautiful little Smith &
Wesson, nine millimeter, and it goes with me virtually everywhere. But I
do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend
myself and my family, whether it`s from an intruder, or whether it`s from a
government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, she said this two years ago, but we just found out about it
today. She`d defend herself from the government? I mean, isn`t this scary
talk for a Senate candidate, Governor?
RENDELL: Yes. It`s scary talk for many Americans, but from a Senate
candidate, from someone who wants to have a part in shaping our laws?
Look, the government is not the enemy. It`s not the answer to all of our
problems, but it sure as heck isn`t the enemy.
In many cases when government is well run, it can be an important factor in
protecting our most vulnerable citizens and creating opportunities for all
of us. And we`ve got to get that message across. And people like Joni
Ernst, she has no business even running for office.
SHARPTON: You know, Karen, I want to bring this up. It`s very important,
and -- as we are 13 days away from the election. We are seeing some bright
spots for Democrats.
Michelle Nunn of Georgia is up slightly in the polls. And Dana Milbank of
"The Washington Post" had a great take on her race. He writes, "Nunn,
daughter of the legendary Senate Democratic centrist Sam Nunn, may yet lose
the race, but she`s doing far better than expected in her run, despite the
hostile year and terrain for Democrats. A big reason for this: she`s
showing authenticity and courage at a time when both are in short supply
among Democratic candidates."
I mean, Karen, a big part of her courage is that she`s not trying to run
from the president. Why is that working?
FINNEY: Because, you know what, Rev? People are so frustrated with
government. And it`s not just that they are -- it`s not that they`re anti-
government, as much as they want to see things get done. I listened to
focus groups this week from women in two states, and they said, "We`re just
tired of things not getting done. It feels inauthentic. They`re just
there to fight."
So to have a candidate out there who is authentic and sincere, and being
herself, and as you point out, not running away from the president,
perfectly comfortable standing up and saying, "Here`s where I agree, and
here`s where I disagree." Voters like that.
You know, here`s the point that I think sometimes we forget. Voters will
support you, even if they disagree with you, if they believe that you`re
standing on principle and your values.
SHARPTON: And they believe they can trust you.
FINNEY: That`s right.
SHARPTON: And you know, Governor, that is why, as I`ve traveled around in
non-partisan voter turn-out rallies all over the country, I say to people,
you`ve got to build the trust.
But at the same time, Governor, a lot of young people say to me, "Well, I
don`t know, Reverend Al, if my vote counts."
And I told them, nobody tries to take this from you; they wouldn`t be
spending all this resources if something didn`t matter. The fact they`re
doing this to try to stop you from voting must mean it matters.
RENDELL: No question. And that`s the message. And the message is, they
desperately want you to stay home. But I think Democrats are getting a
little backbone, maybe too late, but I hope not.
Alison Grimes, who I like very much, but I criticized when she wouldn`t say
she voted for the president. She showed some backbone, I think, a day or
two ago when she said she`s not going to be the senator that`s going to
vote to take health care away from a half a million Kentuckians.
And that`s right. We should be defending the great parts of Obamacare.
Yes, there are parts that need fixing, but let`s defend it. It`s been an
important plus for people. We`re getting people off the rolls of being
uninsured, and that`s vitally important.
SHARPTON: Well, we need candidates with backbone.
SHARPTON: If we get them, we`ll have...
RENDELL: We`re going to surprise a lot of people.
SHARPTON: That`s right.
Former governor, Ed Rendell, and Karen Finney, thank you for your time
FINNEY: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Coming up, leaks in the Michael Brown investigation. They have
the attorney general exasperated. But what effect could they have on the
Plus, it`s the story dominating social media all week. Renee Zen --
Zellweger responds to all the backlash about her appearance. Is there a
Hollywood double standard? Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Ahead, for days we`ve seen leaks in the Michael Brown
investigation. Where are they coming from? Today we heard from Officer
Wilson`s attorney, and the Department of Justice weighed in. What effect
could it have on the case? That`s next.
SHARPTON: Now, to developing news in the Michael Brown investigation. On
the stream of leaks coming out. Today those leaks are triggering
condemnation from Attorney General Eric Holder, who reportedly told Justice
Department lawyers that he is, quote, "exasperated with the selective flow
of information coming out of Missouri." Calling it, quote, "inappropriate
In recent days, the leaks have come in rapid fire. On Saturday, the "New
York Times" printed Officer Darren Wilson`s side of the story. On
Wednesday, the St. Louis Post Dispatch published additional details about
his account. While also publishing the official autopsy. Today Officer
Darren Wilson`s attorney said, quote, "We`re not responsible for any leaks
to any media." And the St. Louis County prosecutor`s office said, it`s not
coming from us or the grand jury. Over the summer, the prosecutor said
information wouldn`t be coming out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT MCCULLOCH, ST. LOUIS COUNTY PROSECUTOR ATTORNEY: We won`t get
updates, no. As I said before, we can`t release the information, the
evidence that is presented to the grand jury while that is going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But it appears some information is coming out. And the Justice
Department calls it "Selective." This process needs to be transparent,
with a consistent standard. Tonight there are big questions about whether
that is happening.
Joining me now is Lisa Bloom, attorney and legal analyst for Avvo.com.
Thank you for being here, Lisa.
LISA BLOOM, AVVO.COM LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
SHARPTON: What are your concerns about these leaks?
BLOOM: You know, the community in Ferguson has been crying out for
transparency since Mike Brown was shot 75 days ago. Instead they got a
police department who didn`t do a report. We`ve never had a clear
statement from Darren Wilson on what happened. And the prosecutor chose to
go by way of a grand jury which is secret, rather than filing charges
himself. To add insult to injury, now they are selectively leaking only
information that`s unfavorable to Mike Brown and favorable to Darren
Wilson, and we haven`t heard a single leak, for example, about any of the
six people who have said publicly that Mike Brown was shot with his hands
in the air in the universal sign of surrender. That`s the concern.
SHARPTON: Well, let`s go step by step, because here`s what we have not
scene, what has not been released. The Ferguson Police Department use of
force report, we`ve not seen. Crime scene eyewitness accounts. Officer
Darren Wilson`s initial statement to police we`ve not seen. Officer
Wilson`s medical report. The St. Louis County Police Department incident
report. I mean, all of these things we`ve not seen, which are pretty much
standard in some cases. Only thing we`ve seen are selective things that
seem to favor Mr. Wilson.
BLOOM: Right. And then you add to that, there`s also a layer in some of
these reports of outsiders jumping into conclusions. For example, that
because there was a close-range shot to Mike Brown`s hand, therefore he was
reaching for the gun, when in fact, there are many possible conclusions.
We`ve known for a long time that there was a scuffle at the car. Mike
Brown`s friend said that Darren Wilson was trying to pull him in, and he
was trying to pull away. He could have been shot at close range, and that
story is true. He could have been shot at close range because he was
reaching for the gun, that`s Darren Wilson`s story, or because the gun went
off in the scuffle, which is also something that Darren Wilson appears to
say in one of these statements. It`s certainly is not conclusive proof of
any one thing.
SHARPTON: Well, but if you look at the headlines by some, it says
conclusively that this corroborates the policeman`s story when it does not.
It means he was shot at close range. I think his name was Aaron Johnson,
the friend was walking with Michael Brown, he said on this show, weeks
before we heard anything from Darren Wilson, that there was a scuffle, but
he claimed, as you said, that it was because of the door that was opened in
front of them. But there was no question that there was a scuffle, and we
were told that by Michael Brown`s friend first, not by Darren Wilson.
BLOOM: Right. Dorian Johnson. And in fact, you know, this is the part of
the story that`s most helpful to Darren Wilson. The part that is the most
important part of the story that nobody`s been leaking anything about, is
the part where he shot and killed an unarmed, wounded kid, who was fleeing
away from him. That`s the part that they hasn`t explained. And you have
to wonder in that grand jury room when he testifies, was he really cross-
examined by the prosecutor or was he allowed to just give a story and then
sit back and, you know, the grand jury could take it as they liked. I
mean, we are only hearing about information -- I`ll give you another one.
We`re now hearing that supposedly there are six African-American witnesses
who corroborate Officer Wilson`s account, but we don`t know anything more
than that. Corroborate what part of the account? The part that there was
a scuffle at the car, which we already know, everybody agrees with. Or the
part where he was shot the kid with his hands up?
SHARPTON: But again, maybe one way someone on the other side could spin
that Officer Wilson is corroborating Johnson`s report of a scuffle. But
isn`t this the reason, when you have all of these witnesses saying one
thing, Officer Wilson reportedly saying another, isn`t this the reason we
should have a trial and let`s see where the facts are and let it come out
in front of the world and a jury, not a secret proceeding where we don`t
know what the prosecutor`s doing?
BLOOM: Absolutely. I`ve said all along, when you have six witnesses see a
kid shot in the street with his hands up. That`s probable cause. We
didn`t need months and months of a grand jury to decide probable cause.
This case should have been filed a long time ago. And then of course, all
of the witnesses, all of the evidence, all of the cross-examination, all of
that should come out in a full blown trial. But doing this by way of a
grand jury is doing it to ensure that Darren Wilson will get no indictment.
I think that is by far the most likely outcome. And we`re all now being
softened up by that the by the government, probably, leaking all of this
SHARPTON: Lisa, thank you for your time tonight.
BLOOM: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Coming up, it`s dominated headlines all week. The Renee
Zellweger appearance controversy. Is there a Hollywood double standard?
Showdown, the NFL commissioner will testify in the Ray Rice hearing.
Should Rice play again this year?
And the moment of the night. Meet the grandma who`s taking on Dwayne Wade.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: We`re back now with "Conversation Nation."
Joining us tonight, MSNBC`s Krystal Ball, comedian Chuck Nice, and Access
Hollywood`s Shaun Robinson.
We start with a topic that is dominated social media all week, actress
Renee Zellweger made an appearance at an event on Monday and as you
probably heard, her appearance is causing a pretty big stir online. Her
appearance sparked all kinds of talk on social media and much of it was
vulgar comments after lots of speculation about plastic surgery. Renee
responded in a statement to People Magazine, saying, quote, "I`m glad folks
think I look different. I`m living a different, happy, more fulfilling
life, and I`m thrilled that perhaps it shows."
Krystal, is the scrutiny warranted, or is this another example of how we
hold women to a different and often unattainable standard of beauty?
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": I mean, that is exactly what it
is. If you are a woman in Hollywood, and particularly if you`re a woman in
Hollywood over the age of 40, there`s just no winning. And you can look at
the stats in terms of women in films. They are disproportionately only in
the movies when they`re 20s, or in their 30s. When they enter the age of
40, they just disappear. So, if you`re a woman like Renee Zellweger, and
you`re trying to stay relevant, you feel that pressure to transform to look
younger, rather than just allowing yourself to age the way that women and
all people naturally do in which is acceptable for men.
SHARPTON: Shaun, you`re out there in the city of angels. You work this
beat. Is it a different standard for women? I mean, I look much better at
60 than I did at 40, no one asks me if I had plastic surgery.
SHAUN ROBINSON, HOST, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD: Well, and yes, and you`ll probably
look the same when you`re 90, Al. But here`s the deal, just as Krystal
said, women are definitely held to a different standard. The difference in
Renee`s case, and let me just say this, is that we hadn`t seen Renee
Zellweger on camera, in person, in maybe the last four years, it`s been a
while. Most of the people here, the stars that you see on the red carpet,
many of them have had some type of cosmetic surgery, the point of cosmetic
surgery is that you look refreshed, like you`ve been on, you know,
I think what was startling for so many people that Renee looked so
different. She`d really looked like a different person, unrecognizable to
many people. But, you know, look, she is not admitted to any surgery,
which she doesn`t have to. But she`s taking it in stride, saying, you
know, I`m glad people feel that I look different. I`m in a happy place,
I`m in a relationship, so I don`t care what anybody thinks.
CHUCK NICE, COMEDIAN: You know, the only difference is this, that
sometimes you just have to own the fact that you`ve had surgery. I mean,
there`s nothing wrong with that. We, as a public, really accept the fact
that people in entertainment get surgery. But when you say, oh, I took a
nap and I just look really refreshed now, that`s going to bring unwarranted
scrutiny to whatever it is that you have done. And there`s a lot of men
who get surgery done and we have those kind of reactions too. Kenny
Rogers, come on, seriously. I mean, have you seen him lately? He doesn`t
look like Kenny Rogers.
SHARPTON: But first, let me ask you, let me bring this little closer to
our ballpark. Is this true in politics as well?
BALL: Politics is very fraught where female looks are concerned. Because
there`s research to shows people want candidates who are -- female
candidates in particular, who are attractive, but not too attractive. You
want them to be of a certain age, but not too old. So it`s all kinds of
fraught, in different ways, but yes, overall, women are judged much
differently for their age, for their appearance, and are under much more
pressure to keep that youthful look. So, look, to me, it`s none of our
business whether or not Renee had plastic surgery and even before she made
comments about, you know, she was refreshed and that`s why she looked
different. The scrutiny was not, oh, wow she looks different variety. It
was a mean and judgmental variety.
SHARPTON: well, let me ask you Shaun, does this help Renee Zellweger`s
career? I mean, everybody`s talking about her.
ROBINSON: Well, you know what, there`s no bad publicity here in Hollywood,
NICE: That`s true.
ROBINSON: And like Krystal said, you know, a lot of the comments were very
mean spirited. But also, we, all of us are in a culture where we want to
look better than what we actually look. How many of us have posted
pictures on Instagram and use one of those nice filters to make our, you
know, wrinkles go away or make us look, you know, more vibrant and younger.
We all do it. But when you`re in a public eye, like Renee Zellweger, it`s
definitely, it`s going to bring a lot of scrutiny. But yes, most
definitely there is a double standard.
NICE: Well, the one good thing is, she can re-star in all of her movies as
someone different and it would be awesome.
SHARPTON: Well, let`s go on to another subject.
NICE: Come on, you know that was funny. You know that was funny.
SHARPTON: I want to talk about the showdown in the NFL. And it`s not on
the field. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will join two Baltimore Ravens`
executives testifying at the Ray Rice hearing in November. Rice is
appealing his indefinite suspension which came after the elevator
surveillance video showed him knocking out his fiancee. And this Goodell
news comes the same week we learned Rice is taking legal action against his
former team, saying their decision to release them violates the NFL`s
collective bargaining agreement. Chuck, Ray Rice could be cleared to play
by next month. Should he come back?
NICE: Here`s the short answer. No! No, no, no! Even if the NFL invites
you back to play, you should sit down, go someplace, get your life
together, show that you have done the work, that you have taken therapy,
that you`ve gotten anger management. Get involved in some programs where
you can actually help women who are in the situations of domestic violence
and then maybe after a year, you can come back and say, look, if you don`t
forgive me, I understand that you don`t forgive me, because what I did is
unforgivable, but I`ve done the work, I have taken the year off from the
NFL, I am ready to come back, I am ready to contribute. And so, I
apologized once again, for those of you who don`t forgive me, I understand,
but it`s time for me to go on with my life.
SHARPTON: But we may all agree with that or some variation of that
Krystal, but in the hearing, he`s going to raise the point of fairness, and
according to the guidelines, you`re supposed to be suspended, what? Six
games. Already at seven. How do they argue against fairness?
BALL: Well, look, I think there`s a core issue here, right, does the NFL
take domestic violence seriously or not? Now Goodell claims he didn`t see
the video of what happened in the elevator when the initial suspension and
then the upped suspension was levied to start with. I don`t know whether
that`s true or not. But I think we can all say now that we have seen what
happened in that elevator. There is no way that this man should be back on
a football field this year. Think of what message that sends to other
people out there.
ROBINSON: Right. And definitely, Al, if I can jump in here, what Krystal
said is exactly right. This is the first time that we have actually seen a
football player beat his girlfriend. OK, that image, that video is now
seared in our mind. And what`s going to determine when he can come back,
but also advertisers. Because advertisers don`t want their brand
associated with any controversy.
ROBINSON: So, if Ray Rice steps back, and an advertisers start pulling
away things, no, we don`t have anything to do with this, he`s going to be
out a lot longer than he thinks.
SHARPTON: All right, everyone. Stay with me, coming up, we will have more
with this great panel.
SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel. Krystal, Chuck and Shaun. It`s
American as Apple pie, the presidential impersonation. And this week on
Conan, Dana Carvey one of the best impersonators, revealed the art of doing
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA CARVEY, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: We`re going to head back with our
strategic partners, coalition, these forces, and we`re going to do the
things that we do when we decide to do them in the decisive manner that we
CONAN O`BRIEN, HOST: But you captured something in the way he talks.
CARVEY: Yes. This is what we want to do, like that. Stop crinkling the
bat is a good one for him.
O`BRIEN: Stop crinkling the bat?
CARVEY: You want to cut that last word off. That`s not what we want to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And then he revealed the difference between President Obama and
O`BRIEN: How do you think Obama`s doing?
CARVEY: Well, I think he`s doing fine, because he can really, really talk.
And the republicans have a hard time putting sentences together.
(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)
Hold on, hold on, let, let, let, let, let me make my point. It`s a feather
in America`s cap that we went from W. to Obama. Because you couldn`t think
of, you know, W`s like, he`s yes. He was a plain-spoken man. Remember
when he famously said, we got evil-doers.
Now Obama is incapable, being the Harvard genius he is. You know, there
are people in the world who wish to do us harm. You mean, evil doers?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Chuck, does that impression get your presidential comedy seal of
NICE: Oh, without a doubt. Dana Carvey is one of the best, man. I love
the fact that he not only does W., but he does his father, he does Obama,
he does Clinton. I mean, you know, he`s pretty much every living president
that we have all bald up in a one little ball of comedy.
BALL: Having a conversation with each other, which is what`s amazing.
NICE: Yes, it`s pretty cool.
SHARPTON: Chuck, let me ask you, who does your favorite presidential
NICE: You know, it`s going to sound weird because they`re a duo, but key
and peel do the best Obama, because I love the fact that they take his
presidency and they build a social context around it to bring a message.
SHARPTON: OK, well, wait a minute. We got that one, let me show it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I get angry a lot. It`s just the way I express passion
is different from most. So, just so there`s no more confusion, we`ve hired
Luther here to be my anger translator. Luther.
We ended the war in Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ended a war, y`all! We ended a war!
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: These are achievements serve as a reminder that I am on
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I am not a Muslim!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Shaun, that`s a good one. That`s a good one. Shaun, what`s
ROBINSON: Well, you know, what, Al, I was watching your show and you had a
clip of Keenan Thompson doing an impersonation of you, and so I`m going to
stick with "SNL," because I think they do some amazing impersonations. I`m
going to go with the late great Phil Hartman, when he did Bill Clinton, I
just thought it was so on point.
SHARPTON: All right. We have that one too. Let me show it. We have that
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do you favor the decision to send military forces to
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That`s a good question. Yes, I do, let me tell you why.
See right now, we`re sending food to Somalia. But it`s not getting to the
people who need it, because it`s being intercepted by warlords.
(INAUDIBLE). It`s other countries too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s a pretty good one.
BALL: That`s amazing.
SHARPTON: We`re just about out of time. But let me just ask you, tell us
who your favorite is.
BALL: For me, there`s no better than Will Ferrell as George W. Bush. Just
SHARPTON: All right. Well, next time we`ll play that. We ate up time
with Shaun`s shameless plug for Keenan.
Krystal, Chuck and Shaun, thank you all for your time this evening.
BALL: Thank you, Rev.
ROBINSON: Thanks, Al.
NICE: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, a story to make everyone smile. Meet 89-year-
old grandma Nelly, one of the Miami Heat`s biggest fans. She`s been
watching the team for years. But for her 90th birthday, she wants one
special gift. She wants to play Heat superstar Dwayne Wade one-on-one.
She even made a video challenging him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRANDMA NELLY, FAN OF DWAYNE WADE: Dwayne Wade, on my 90th birthday, I
want to play one round with you, OK? Wow!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Wow, Grandma Nelly has some skills. And two weeks later on her
birthday, the Heat gave her a surprise call. What happened next was
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DWAYNE WADE, MIAMI HEAT: How you doing? I don`t want to get my sweat on
you. I`m working hard.
GRANDMA NELLY: I want to play with you. Now I`m 90. In all my life, I`m
longing to see him and this is him.
WADE: Well, happy birthday. And I thank you so much for being a fan of
mine and the Heat.
GRANDMA NELLY: I don`t know what to say.
WADE: I want to see you shoot. Go! Ooh, almost. Almost. Come on, get
it up there, get it up there.
GRANDMA NELLY: I`m very grateful. Oh, my gosh.
This is my dream come true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It was a dream come true for Wade too. He took to Instagram
after the experience and wrote, "You never know the impact you have on
people." No, you don`t. And with all the bad news in the world lately,
it`s so great to see stories like this that make us all smile. Yes, we`ve
got to deal with a lot of challenges, but don`t forget to find something
every now and then to smile about.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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