Skip navigation

PoliticsNation, Tuesday, October 28th 2014

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed


POLITICS NATION
October 28, 2014


Guest: Joan Walsh; Kasim Reed, Angela Rye, Michelle Cottle, Dana Jacobson,
Seema Iyer, Jason Johnson


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks to you for tuning in. I`m live
tonight from Atlanta.

Tonight`s lead, one week to go, just seven days until Election Day, and all
that talk of a Republican wave was just talk because it is tight. Right
now Senate races in ten states are closer than five points. This election
is going to come down to turn-out. So if you care about fairness, if you
care about the affordable care act, or minimum wage, or women`s rights,
then you have to get out and vote.

A new poll found 73 percent of Republicans are absolutely certain to vote,
but 61 percent of Democrats said the same. Here`s what`s at stake.
Fairness, radical Republican policies, and a Senate takeover. And the race
right here in Georgia really illustrates that. In a debate this week,
democrat Michelle Nunn hammered Republican David Perdue for saying he was
proud of his business record of outsourcing jobs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE NUNN (D), GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: In a deposition under
oath, you said that you spent the majority of your career outsourcing.
Your record of shipping jobs overseas. Outsourcing career that you had,
you`d be the only one in the Senate that has said they spent the majority
of their career outsourcing jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This issue has become front and center here in Georgia, where
there`s an unemployment rate of 7.9 percent. That`s the highest in the
nation. And Nunn hit Perdue just as hard on a pay discrimination lawsuit
Perdue`s old company faced.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NUNN: He was head of dollar general, there was over 2,000 women that were
not paid equitably.

DAVID PURDUE (R), GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: There was no wrong-doing
there. That lawsuit, or that claim or that complaint was settled five
years after I was there and she knows that. And it was less than 2,000
people. We had upwards of 70,000 people in that company.

NUNN: You know, 2,000 women, that actually seems like quite a lot to me
who say that they were discriminated against. And federal investigators,
public knowledge found that that was true. And it was during your tenure.
It was settled afterwards, but the suit was during your tenure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Pay discrimination, outsourcing, just a few of the reasons this
race is so tight. And that`s why Georgians, like the rest of the country,
need to get out and vote.

Joining me now is Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, and Joan Walsh from salon.com.
Thank you both for being here.

MAYOR KASIM REED, ATLANTA: Thank you for having me, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Mr. Mayor, a lot of people still think of Georgia as a
completely red state. What does it say that the Senate race is so close?
What are Georgians looking for?

REED: It says that they want to look for somebody who cares about
fairness. And what`s resonating is this outsourcing pride that Mr. Perdue
showed, is absolutely hurting him. And Michelle Nunn has a lifetime of
helping ordinary people, and it`s coming across. And in every important
poll that I`ve looked at, she`s been up or even. So I think that the
outsourcing comments, the claims that Mr. Perdue made, his career at dollar
general, his career at pillow text (ph), is causing people who would have
voted for him, to turn away.

The other thing is, that the black community in the state of Georgia is
getting more and more excited about Michelle Nunn. And I think that
Georgia is getting ready to flip and vote to support Michelle Nunn and put
her in the United States Senate. We`re eight days out -- seven days.

SHARPTON: You know, Joan, this is sounding like Romney 2. I mean, the
race is up close but on some of the issues, Democrats are way ahead.
Minimum wage is one of those issues.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Right.

SHARPTON: And when you look at the fact Republicans have really struggled
with this issue. I want to play Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. Listen
to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What is your position on the minimum wage?
Should we have it?

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), MICHIGAN: I`m not going to repeal it, but I don`t
think it`s -- I don`t think it serves a purpose, because we`re debating
then about what the lowest levels are at. I want people to make, like I
said the other night, two or three times that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Are comments like these going to hurt the Republicans, Joan?

WALSH: I think they are. I think they already have. I mean, Scott Walker
sounded really kind of stupid, to be frank, when he said that. And he
tries to explain it by saying, yes, I want people to make more, but he
really doesn`t seem to understand labor history, where you know, where we
place the floor really determines what people get even higher up the
ladder. And when the floor is so low in so many places, he certifies $7.50
is the living wage in Wisconsin. And people in that state working for
minimum wage know it`s really not a living wage, if that`s your only job
and God Forbid, if you`re supporting a family.

So, you know, he has been tenured -- David Perdue has been awfully tenured.
I mean, I have to say Michelle Nunn has turned out to be a very good, solid
candidate, who is not afraid from hitting him. And you know, sitting here
listening to him say, 2,000 women, that`s not a lot of people. She handled
that very adeptly. And he does have that Mitt Romney silver spoon problem
where he thinks all of this stuff is a real benefit to him as a politician.
But the voters may -- the voters seem to think differently.

SHARPTON: You know, Mr. Mayor, I want to go back to something you said
about the black votes, because everyone talks about how democratic voters
don`t turn out in midterm elections.

But in Georgia, black people made up 30 percent of the turn-out in 2008.
They have made up 28 percent in 2010 and 30 percent in 2012. There wasn`t
a big percentage-wise here in Georgia. Do you think black voters will turn
out this year?

REED: I think they`re definitely going to turn out. What we have to do in
Georgia is to get Michelle Nunn over 50 won. We need 50 more votes in
every single precinct. And I will tell you. You`re in Atlanta, Reverend
Al. You can feel the energy. It`s resonating in the black community.
Congressman John Lewis was out campaigning with Michelle Nunn yesterday.
He was absolutely on fire. President Clinton will be in Atlanta on Friday.
And you can just feel the energy building as we go into the home stretch.
We`ve got to get her over 50 plus so we don`t have to do this again.

SHARPTON: You know, besides the Senate races, a lot of incumbent
governors, Republican governors, are close in the polls in their races this
year. Scott Walker, who I mentioned. Rick Scott of Florida. Sam
Brownback of Kansas. And Paul LePage of Maine. Does that say to you that
the GOP policies and practice have turned out to be unpopular, Joan?

WALSH: Well, I think all of those governors have overreached in one way or
another, Reverend Al. And thought they had a mandate with much more
conservatism than they did. And so, they all have relatively good or even
excellent contenders.

You know, Mary Burke is another newcomer in Wisconsin, who people weren`t
sure about at first to be quite candid, who has turned out to be a very
good campaigner and, you know, very positive, but dogged and not afraid to
hit governor Walker on, you know, his broken promises in terms of jobs.

And so, you know, you now have a situation where Scott Walker is apparently
beefing with Chris Christie over not getting enough money from the
Republican governors association. So when they start to, you know, they
assemble the circular firing squad a week before the election, you know
that they have some things that they`re worried about too.

SHARPTON: Mayor Reed, I must ask you before we run out of time, President
Obama, you`ve been a part of the new (INAUDIBLE) young guard, national
leaders that have stayed also very close with the president.

REED: Yes.

SHARPTON: How is his popularity in your state? And how will it affect the
outcome of this campaign?

REED: Statewide it`s pretty tough, but he`s more popular than ever among
black people in Georgia. We make up 30 percent of the electorate and
everybody understands how important it is that Democrats keep control of
the United States Senate.

So that message is resonating. We understand that Michelle Nunn has to do
what she has to do. But we know that it`s in the president`s interest to
make sure that Democrats control the United States Senate. And we`re going
to vote that way.

SHARPTON: All right, and I think, Joan, that we may see a lot of surprises
if people come and turn out.

Mayor Kasim Reed and Joan Walsh, I thank you both for your time tonight.
And I`m going to hang around, Joan, around politics until I see where Kasim
goes. So that gives me a little time.

WALSH: OK. Me too.

SHARPTON: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Dr. Christie`s Ebola politics. Now defiance from the
governor over his decision to lock up a nurse returning from Africa.

Plus Elizabeth Warren in 2016. Will she run? And how could it be a big
opportunity for all Democrats?

And why would Bill Maher be banned from speaking at UC Berkeley? It`s all
ahead. Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Now to breaking news. We`re just learning the department of
homeland security has decided to increase security at some federal
buildings around the country. Though they`re not saying which ones.
Officials say the order is in response to the general threat picture from
ISIS, not to last week`s shooting in Canada.

Stay tuned to MSNBC for any developments on this story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This disease can be
contained. It will be defeated. Progress is possible. But we`re going to
have to stay vigilant, and we`ve got to make sure that we`re working
together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama today on the government`s response to Ebola.
And it came right after this dramatic scene. Dallas nurse Amber Vinson was
declared Ebola-free and released from the hospital.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMBER VINSON, EBOLA SURVIVOR: I`m so grateful to be well. And first and
foremost, I want to thank God. It has been God`s love that has truly
carried my family and me through this difficult time and has played such an
important role in giving me hope and the strength to fight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Vinson follows five previous Americans who fought the virus and
won. These successes give reason for hope. And politically, it makes
Republican fear mongering on Ebola look desperate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Do you believe that the administration is
planning on bringing Ebola patients from overseas here to America?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there`s increasing evidence that they`re making
those plans. This is simply a matter of common sense, that if you are
concerned about this problem spreading, and this is a deadly disease, we
certainly shouldn`t be bringing in the patient.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Can you believe this? Flying in foreign Ebola patients? I
mean, this is why you can`t help but think politics is part of this. Maybe
he took his cues from Dr. Christie. The governor remained defiant today on
his decision to lock up nurse returning from west Africa in a tent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The fact is that the CDC has been
incremental on this. This newest guidance from my perspective is
incredibly confusing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: It is possible -- ?

CHRISTIE: Let me just finish --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You`re on the wrong side or the right side of
public opinion?

CHRISTIE: No. I`m going to be on the right side of both, ultimately,
Matt. I think Dr. Fauci is responding. Unfortunately, as are many from
the CDC in a really hyperbolic way because they`ve been wrong before. And
I understand that the CDC has been behind on this. And we`re not moving an
inch. Our policy has not changed and our policy will not change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The facts about Ebola and the political rhetoric from the right
don`t match. Joining me now is MSNBC.com`s executive editor Richard
Wolffe.

Thank you for being here, Richard.

RICHARD WOLFFE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, MSNBC.COM: My pleasure, Rev.

SHARPTON: We`re seeing success stories like Amber Vinson. But we`re also
continuing to see a lot of fear mongering. I mean, what`s your sense? Is
it possible that politics are involved here?

WOLFFE: Yes, this is the kind of politics we actually saw when people
started talking about defaulting on the national debt. You know, it works,
I guess, to a point. You get people`s attention. Fear is an easy thing to
prey on when you`re looking for votes. But it`s incredibly irresponsible.
I mean, you set off all sorts of panic. You don`t really serious about
having a public health position just as Republicans weren`t really serious
about ultimately pushing through with default.

But these things can get out of hand, when you`re in a public health
crisis, what governor Christie and governor Cuomo did on day one at the
hospital in New York was the responsible position.

And then they started to shift and change. He can dress it up any which
way he wants, but criticizing the CDC is one thing. But saying you`re
going to supersede the CDC and then the next day, allow your new plans for
quarantine, you know, for someone to just walk out of there, it makes no
sense. It doesn`t track with science. What it does track with is the
latest overnight polling and I guess that`s one way to approach being
governor.

SHARPTON: You know, probably the strongest public reaction to what
Christie had to say came from about what Dr. Christie had to say came
Senator Warren. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: He should bring out his
scientists who are advising him on that, because we know that we want to be
led by the science. That`s what`s going to keep people safe. Science, not
politics. This is why elections matter. And why they matter over time.

You know, Ebola is not new. We`ve known about it for a long time. And we
were putting money into funding Ebola many years ago. And the Republicans
have cut funding overall, for medical research, for the national institute
of health and Ebola has not been a priority.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is Governor Christie going to get some backlash for this? I
mean, is he going to pay a political price for this if this backfires?

WOLFFE: Yes. I think where he`s going to pay a political price is that as
he seems to be running for president, people will look to presidential
candidates to see how they respond in a crisis. What`s their thinking like
on the fly? Do they make cool-headed decisions or not?

And I`m afraid that Chris Christie has taken a lot of heat from the right
because he seemed to cave. He`s taken heat from the left because he`s not
in tune with science. That does leave him much political room to play as a
serious presidential candidate.

So he`s flunked this kind of test of what do you look like, what do you
behave like in a crisis? I will suggest, just to Senator Warren`s point,
the challenge for Republicans and how they fund national institute of
health research. It`s how they fund foreign aid.

We have to be combating this by supporting medical systems in West Africa
and not stopping American heroes, frankly, those medical people whether
they are doctors and nurses going out and volunteering, taking their lives
at risk and saying, you know, that`s something we should encourage. We
need to treat this in West Africa. Not having to treat it when people come
on planes from overseas.

SHARPTON: You know, maybe Dr. Christie is taking his cue from the boss of
the Republican party, Rush Limbaugh, who in fact said he doesn`t think
Christie has gone far enough accusing him of caving to the White House.
Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We need to quarantine Chris Christie
is what needs to happen here, folks. This is the second election in a row.
One week prior to the election, the governor of New Jersey ends up -- well,
I don`t know, arm in arm, hand in hand, in bed with, I don`t know how to
characterize it, but responding to Obama`s demands.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, Richard, is this a problem for the Republicans, that no
matter how far to the right they go, people like Rush Limbaugh want them to
go even further to the right?

WOLFFE: That`s right. Being reasonable, basing your policy on science,
that`s all just pandering to Obama. And it leaves no middle ground at all.
And if you`re going to fight a national election at least Chris Christie
knows that you have to appeal to the middle part of American politics.

Rush Limbaugh is pulling them to one side. Science is pulling them to
another. He actually knows that he`s got to go arm in arm with governor
Cuomo, a Democrat. Otherwise he`s got no brand out, Chris Christie.

So, yes, how do you run from the middle in this Republican party? It`s not
just Rush Limbaugh. It`s the whole sweep of the people commenting and
influencing the party leaders.

SHARPTON: Richard Wolffe, thank you for your time tonight.

WOLFFE: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, banning Bill Maher. Why do UC Berkeley students want him
to stop and be allowed to speak at their commencement?

Also, declaring Warren hot profile campaign events that have people talking
about a possible White House run. But could this actually help other
candidates?

And you asked for it. And tonight I`ll show you how I lost 175 pounds.
You won`t want to miss this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: This is how progressives were introduced to Elizabeth Warren
three years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN: There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.
You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear. You
moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired
workers the rest of us paid to educate. You built a factory and it turned
into something terrific or a great idea, God bless. Keep a big hunk of it.
But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and
pay it forward to the next gift that comes along.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Recently, she`s talking fairness in some hot profile
appearances. And it has many asking about a presidential run. But is she
already having an impact without getting involved? Is this an opportunity
for other Democrats? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Does the Democratic Party have an Elizabeth Warren problem, or
an Elizabeth warren opportunity?

For months, if not years, there`s been constant speculation that Hillary
Clinton will run for president. But could Elizabeth Warren get into the
race? She`s repeatedly said no, but then last week, her comment to
"People" magazine sounded different. Quote, "if there`s any lesson I`ve
learned in the last five years, it`s don`t be so sure about what lies
ahead. There are amazing doors that could open."

Warren`s staffers quickly stepped back that statement, saying, nothing has
changed with Warren`s plans. But lately she`s made a lot of public
appearances, and she`s taken her brand of fighting for the middle class
mainstream.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I`m fighting to level that
playing field. I`m fighting to build real opportunity.

A kid gets caught with a few ounces of pot and goes to jail, but a big bank
breaks the law and no one even gets arrested. The game is rigged, and it
isn`t right. That`s how I see it.

(APPLAUSE)

We believe that no one should work full time and still live in poverty.
That means raising the minimum wage and we will fight for it.

And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to
their bodies.

So, the way I see this, we can whine about it, we can whimper about it, or
we can fight back. I`m fighting back.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I`m ready to fight back. Are you ready to fight back on this?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, is the door really shut on a presidential run? And could
she already be making impact on 2016 without even getting in?

Joining me now are Angela Rye and Michelle Cottle. Thank you both for
being here this evening.

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thanks, Rev.

MICHELLE COTTLE, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Michelle, her staff says no, but is Elizabeth Warren toying with
the idea of a run for the presidency?

COTTLE: Well, at this point, the staff is of course going to say no, and
as Elizabeth Warren herself said, you can`t predict what`s going to happen.
But even if she doesn`t ultimately run, I think there`s no question she
wants to make sure that her ideas are a big part of this debate, and
there`s really no down side, on some level, to kind of flirting with the
idea and showing a little leg, and saying, well, maybe I should, you know,
leave the door open. Because, as you know, then, that`s going to push
Hillary to move a little bit more toward the populace vein that people
would like to see from Elizabeth Warren.

SHARPTON: Well, right on that point, Angela, last Friday, Hillary Clinton
was campaigning in Massachusetts for Martha Coakley. She had a lot of
praise for Senator Warren and even sounded a little like her. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I am so pleased to be
here with your senior senator, the passionate champion for working people
and middle-class families, Elizabeth Warren!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I love watching Elizabeth. You know, give it to those who deserve to get
it. Don`t let anybody -- don`t let anybody tell you that, um, you know,
it`s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know, that old
theory, trickle-down economics, that has been tried, that has failed. It
has failed rather spectacularly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Angela, is Elizabeth Warren already having some impact on
Hillary?

RYE: It sounds like she is, Rev. I just hope that we can tighten up those
talking points a little bit more. Because we do know that businesses do
create jobs. I think the one little stumbling block would be that often
times it`s small business job creators. And so we just need to tighten
that message up a little bit more. But I certainly think that Elizabeth
Warren is not only having quite an impression on Hillary Clinton, but she
is on our nation`s consciousness, whether you`re talking about drug
disparities, job creation, Wall Street bailouts, or anything else, she`s a
passionate advocate, and has clearly, you know, made a tremendous mark on
the U.S. Senate, and I think will continue to do that on the United States
body of politics.

SHARPTON: Michelle, where could this go with Hillary Clinton? I mean, is
she having impact? You`ve heard Angela`s answer. And how much impact, how
far could she push Hillary Clinton to more progressive positions?

COTTLE: Well, I mean, the message that Elizabeth Warren pitches is very
popular and resonates with a huge chunk of the country on both the left and
right. You know, the Tea Party feels like the 99 percent is against the
one. And she talks things being stacked against regular people and the
system being broken. This is not just the message for the left. I mean,
there`s a strain of populism ready to be tapped and neither party has
managed to do this. So if she starts pitching this message and it looks
like she`s getting some traction, then the democrats and republicans alike
are going to have to pay attention, as the primaries start rolling along.
So it will depend in part on kind of what sort of response she gets.

SHARPTON: But you know, Angela, there are some things Elizabeth Warren
does that`s clearly progressive, some populous that could be popular on
either side. But political points out that Hillary Clinton has some ground
to make up with progressives. Clinton has been criticized by progressives.
I`m reading Politico`s piece now. "As being too close to Wall Street and
she seemed mindful of the claim as she praised Warren. It drew private
whispers from a few democrats that she`s trying too hard to embrace
populace rhetoric." If she does try to be more like Elizabeth Warren, will
this definitely help her, Angela, or hurt her?

RYE: Well, I think that the answer depends on whether or not Elizabeth
Warren herself entered into the race. I think the reality of our current
situation, in this country, is that it`s not so progressive. It may be a
little purple. And Hillary Clinton has been lauded for being what we call
a blue dog democrat. Pro-business, you know, common sense interest,
democrat and that is why people think that she`s electable. The president
-- our current president, has been, you know, criticized for being too
progressive at some times, too conservative at other times, which means
he`s made just the right amount of people angry. And if Hillary Clinton
were to go too far to the left, I think that she would run the risk of not
being electable for whatever that`s worth. But I do think it depends on
whether or not Elizabeth Warren changed her original position and decided
to enter the race, to ensure that the more populace views were represented
at the table.

SHARPTON: But notwithstanding that, Michelle, there`s no question, the
democratic nominee has to be leaning toward progressive politics and
embracing at least progressive policy, because that`s what Americans want.
Sixty percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage. Sixty two
percent support the paycheck fairness act and income inequality. How does
Hillary navigate through that, yet remain a centrist enough for general
election assuming she runs and assuming Elizabeth Warren doesn`t challenge
it?

COTTLE: Well, this could be an interesting test for Hillary. I mean, one
of the criticisms about her is that she doesn`t adjust well when something
goes awry or off kilter, or she`s not as politically flexible. Certainly
flexible as her husband was on the fly. So it would be interesting to see
how she does this. And that`s always kind of what the primaries wind up
being about is, testing the candidates. And, you know, she might not be
able to do it at all. So it will be interesting to see.

SHARPTON: Angela Rye and Michelle Cottle, thank you both for your time
this evening.

RYE: Thanks, Rev.

COTTLE: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, why do students at UC Berkeley want to ban Bill Maher
from speaking at their commencement?

What in the world was Walmart thinking about with their fat girl costumes?

And Julia Robertson`s face-lift, Hollywood and double standard.
"Conversation Nation" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back now with "Conversation Nation." Joining us tonight
CBS Sports radio host Dana Jacobson. Political Science Professor Jason
Johnson. And trial Attorney Seema Iyer. Thanks to all of you are being
here tonight.

SEEMA IYER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Thanks, Rev.

DANA JACOBSON, CBS SPORTS RADIO HOST: Thank you.

JASON JOHNSON, HIRAM COLLEGE PROFESSOR: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Students at the University of California Berkeley are trying to
ban Bill Maher from speaking at their convention -- their commencement. I
said convention. It`s their commencement. A Change.org petition has more
than 3,000 signatures. It states in part that Maher is, quote, "blatant,
bigot, and racist, who has no respect for the values of UC Berkeley. It
comes after Maher`s fiery debate with Ben Affleck earlier this month in
which Maher had this to say about Islam.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s the only religion that acts like the mafia.
(Bleep) that will kill you if you say the wrong thing, if you draw the
wrong picture, or write the wrong book.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But not all students are against Maher as a commencement
speaker. The president of the college republican said, she disagrees with
some of Maher`s views, but has no issue with the invitation. Jason, should
the university pull the invitation? Should the university drop the
invitation to Bill Maher?

JOHNSON: No, and I can say this as a college professor. This is not a
freedom of speech issue. They`re not saying that Bill Maher can`t ever
come to campus. But it`s graduation, and I think students have a right to
say, look, if I paid all this money, took all these classes, took all this
work, if I don`t like somebody, they have a right to complain. Now, I
think it`s up to the university to decide if the complaints are bad enough
that it`s going to ruin else the graduation. But I think they should
listen to the students on this. I don`t think it`s an automatic that your
keynote speaker has to be somebody who is offensive or terrible. Should be
somebody that the entire campus can agree upon. I`m sure Bill Cosby or
Stephen Colbert aren`t descent.

JACOBSON: Jason, do you actually think they can get somebody that they
would all agree upon? I mean, I know what you`re thinking --

JOHNSON: Yes, actually you can. You can.

JACOBSON: They`re not going to find somebody everybody is good with. Why
not open your minds like you`re supposed to on a college campus, to say, I
don`t like what Bill Maher has says, but let me hear what he has to say, I
can imagine he`s going to come out with the same fiery speech. Remember,
he was a comedian, he is a comedian at times. Let`s have some of that from
him at graduation.

JOHNSON: Exactly.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. Seema, let me let Seema in.

IYER: These students have accused Bill Maher of voicing hate speech. It
is not hate speech. Hate speech incites a dangerous unlawful act. I`m
sorry, folks, maybe you don`t like what he has to say, but don`t call it
hate.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. Let Seema finish, I`ll come back to you.

IYER: It`s not hate speech. And there`s always a freedom of speech issue.
And the essence of freedom of speech protects political speech. Go ahead.

SHARPTON: Go ahead, Jason.

JOHNSON: If you say that a religion is inherently violent and that people
who believe in that religion are inherently violent, that is hate speech.
And there`s reason for people to be actually concerned about that.

IYER: Hey, Dr. Jason, look it up. Hate speech has to have like an
imminent dangerous component --

JOHNSON: No, it doesn`t, Seema.

IYER: Yes, it does.

JOHNSON: I know it makes sense --

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Dana, would you say, it`s bias to compared Islam to the mob or
the mafia. I mean, I agree with the free speech in that. I don`t know
whether the legal term of hate speech, but clearly there`s some bias.

JACOBSON: Jason, hold on, you`re allowed to have a bias.

JOHNSON: She`s right.

JACOBSON: You`re allowed to have a bias and speak out about it. I mean,
let`s move back, let`s go back --

SHARPTON: Yes. That`s right.

JACOBSON: -- seven years, 2007, at Colombia, right here in New York City,
the President of Iran Ahmadinejad was here and people were upset and angry
and protested. And yet they opened their minds enough to listen to
somebody that they lately disagreed with. He had a right to speak. Let
Bill Maher come speak on your campus. I bet you will find something that
he says in that commencement speech that makes you think. And that`s what
we want on a college campus.

SHARPTON: But Seema, what about Jason`s point that this is commencement,
it`s not about free speech on campus. This is about a family day of
commencement, where all of the graduates, the seniors and all, have a right
to weigh in on who`s going to be the one to speak that day.

IYER: He was invited to be there. And if the school administration
chooses to disinvite him and listen to the students, that is a separate
issue. But their complaint is based upon a freedom of speech argument.

SHARPTON: All right. Now, let`s move on now. Next topic. The Walmart
controversy. The retailer is under fire for selling fat girl costumes on
their website. There it is, right on the website. Fast girl costumes.
The company responded Monday making it plus size. And saying, this should
have never been on our site and we apologize. We quickly removed it and
made sure to not let it happen again. Seema, how in the world does this
happen?

IYER: I`ll tell you how it happens, Rev. Walmart sells alcohol and those
people on that website, they were bombed when they wrote this because
there`s no logical explanation to offend the consumer. That`s my answer.

JACOBSON: You know what? They meant to say PHAP. That`s PHAP.

SHARPTON: Jason?

JOHNSON: I got to be honest with you, it was a bad idea from a --

SHARPTON: Let me hear one at a time. Go ahead, Jason.

JOHNSON: Yes. It was a bad idea from a marketing standpoint. For
Walmart. I mean, do they not look at torrid? There`s a lot of plus-size
women out there who buy things, and they go to Walmart. And heaven forbid
they`re going to go and dress sexy and have a good time on Halloween too.
So I think it was stupidity on their part. I`m glad that they`ve
apologized. This is something that shouldn`t happen again. They need to
check who their web master is and make sure that he knows what he`s doing.

JACOBSON: Yes. And even more problem that it was sort of like a weaken,
it happened again. Forget even just the plus-size thing. You actually
said the word sexy in there. There is not a Halloween costume out there
for a woman of any age that isn`t supposed to be sexy. We should have a
bigger problem with maybe even the kid costumes or the teenage costumes
that they`re marketing to some of teenagers that are a little too adult out
there. The fat isn`t okay, but that`s an even bigger problem for all
marketers of Halloween stuff.

SHARPTON: Seema?

IYER: Oh, I completely agree with that. However, as a woman on Halloween,
I`m not going out and looking ugly.

JACOBSON: I`m with you, I`m with you.

JOHNSON: I understand, Seema.

IYER: I want to look attractive.

JACOBSON: I agree. I agree. I`m with you, Seema. I`m with you.

SHARPTON: Well, OK, we finally got you all to agree on something.

(LAUGHTER)

Panel, stay with us, because when we come back, Julia Roberts on face-
lifts. Are Hollywood women held to a different standard? And everyone is
always asking. Well, tonight, for the first time, I`m going to show you
how I lost so much weight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the panel. Dana, Jason, and Seema. Happy
birthday to Julia Roberts. She turned 47 today. And she`s making some
news. In an interview with you magazine, she talked about her personal
decision not to get plastic surgery. Julia says, quote, "By Hollywood
standards, I guess I`ve already taken a big risk in not having had a face-
lift." It comes after a week of controversy around Renee Zellweger`s new
look. And the backlash on social media over her appearance. Roberts
saying her anti-aging techniques, including studying yoga on a more
conscious level, and not taking things too seriously.

Dana, are Hollywood women held to a different standard? Are they under
pressure to hide their age?

JACOBSON: Not just Hollywood women. Women that are on TV, and I speak of
that from experience. Of course we`re under pressure. And so many go out
for plastic surgery. If that`s their right answer, their right answer,
more power to them. Except I think when you look at like Renee Zellweger,
she doesn`t even look like herself anymore. We thought we learned that
lesson when Jennifer Grey got her nose job. Then she wasn`t working
because she wasn`t Jennifer Grey anymore. And I love the Julia Roberts is
sort of out there saying, this is somebody who is 47 looks like. It`s not
the one that we think from the magazine, a 20-year-old trying to be a 47-
year-old. And until those of us that are actually in the public spotlight
do that, everybody`s going to think that a 20-year-old is how a 47-year-old
looks. And that`s not --

SHARPTON: But Jason, is it true of how the public perceived this, we went
through this as Dana says with Renee and just last week? I mean, what are
we seeing here? This constant standard, it seems, for women, particularly
Hollywood women and TV women.

JOHNSON: Well, and it`s also it`s different kinds of women. Because you
don`t necessarily hear this about Kathy Bates. The real problem here, it`s
true, the real problem here is the perception that beauty stops at 25. And
that`s the problem. It`s this notion that we have in this country that you
can`t be beautiful when you get into your 40s and you get into your 50s and
things like that. Women who are comedians and women who are perceived as
primarily being in dramatic roles aren`t held to the same standard. And
it`s incredibly unfair, it`s incredibly sexist. But I will say this about
Renee Zellweger, look, your face and your body are a tool. And if you`re
an actor, if you want to change them, you have every right to do so. But
it doesn`t absolve us from the public from having this sort of crazy
standards about what beauty is supposed to be.

SHARPTON: I mean, should we be praising Julia for saying something like
this, Seema, I mean, should we be giving a big thank you to Julia Roberts?

IYER: I do not judge how other people improve their appearance, Rev. I`m
an Indian, and I have red hair. Who am I to speak about anybody else and
what they do? And let me tell you, Rev. Before I got on here, you have a
team of hair and makeup people that have created this vision. So I don`t
judge, Rev.

JACOBSON: I saw them, Rev, they weren`t working that hard, it didn`t take
them a long time.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. Dana, Jacobson, Jason
Johnson and Seema Iyer. Thank you all for your time tonight.

JACOBSON: Thank you, Rev.

IYER: Thank you, Rev.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Now to breaking news moments ago, an astonishing sight. An
unmanned cargo rocket exploded right after takeoff from a national launch
pad in Virginia. At this time, there are no known injuries. The rocket
was designed by a private contractor to deliver supplies to the
international space center. You can hear the real-time reaction to the
explosion as mission control monitored the launch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Launch team, launch team, be advised, stay at your
consoles, everyone in the LCC, maintain your positions in your consoles.
In the LCC, maintain positions at your console.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Again, the silver lining, no known injuries at this time. We`ll
bring you more details as we get them.

Coming up, it`s the question I get all the time wherever I go. How did you
lose the weight? My answer to that question is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, my answer to the question I get everywhere.
And I mean everywhere I go. How did you lose the weight? Reverend Al, how
did you do it? What do you or don`t you eat? What`s the secret?

Well, tonight, I`m telling POLITICS NATION how I lost 175 pounds. The New
York Daily News recently featured my routine. They followed me around for
the day. Here`s part of that story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I get up in the morning, I eat about two or three slices of
whole wheat toast, some English breakfast tea. I go downstairs in the
building -- to the gym, do about 20 minutes on the treadmill, maybe one or
two jumping jacks, come back, shower, shave, and by 8:30, 9:00, I`m at
National Action Network. I work there until about noon. And then I go
over to 30 rock, they have a radio studio they set up for me. I do my talk
show there for three hours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And that`s why today I feel better than I have in decades.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: When people come up to you and they say, Reverend, you
don`t look well, you look too skinny, you know, what do you say?

SHARPTON: I say, you should have worried about me when I was obese. I`m
healthier now than I was when I was obese.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And you probably feel better, right?

SHARPTON: More energy, more focus, everything`s better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, here`s the recap. More than ten years ago, I used to eat
fried chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now, this is a look inside
my fridge. I start off with three slices of whole wheat toast, tea, and
juice. In the afternoon, it`s a salad with two hard-boiled eggs and a
banana. I could take all the cartoons in the tabloids, in the newspapers,
all the criticisms, but I couldn`t take my daughter punching me in the
belly and asking why I was so fat. That was my inspiration to lose the
weight. And probably the last time anyone really hurt my feelings. The
key to it all, don`t try my diet. Find out what works for you. But the
key is discipline and self-control. If you can`t control your intake, if
you can`t focus and discipline your eating, you can`t do it in other areas
of your life. Once I took control of my appetite, I could also control my
thoughts, my tone, and the rest of my life. I`m more than half the size I
was, but I`m twice as sharp. More effective, because as I worked my body,
I sharpened my mind. Self-control is the key. Discipline must be your
goal.

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
BE UPDATED.
END

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
litigation.






Sponsored links

Resource guide