PoliticsNation, Monday, December 8th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Monday show
December 8, 2014
Guest: Marq Claxton, Dana Milbank, Joe Madison, Joan Walsh, Elizabeth
Plank, Josh Barro, Midwin Charles
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to you for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, fixing a national problem. We`ve seen outrage across the
country because police officers aren`t facing charges in the deaths of Eric
Garner and Michael Brown. But these aren`t isolated incidents.
Over and over again prosecutors fail to indict police officers after fatal
encounters with civilians. In a new report, the New York daily news found
179 fatalities, involving on-duty, NYPD officers since 1999. Just three of
those cases led to indictments. And only one resulted in a conviction.
One conviction out of 179 deaths.
And it`s not just in New York. "The Houston Chronicle" reported similar
numbers in an investigation last year. The paper found 81 police shootings
by Dallas police officers from 2008 to 2012. Just one officer was
indicted. And grand juries cleared Houston police officers after shootings
288 times in a row.
There`s a pattern. When police officers are involved in a shooting, local
prosecutors just don`t indict them. Prosecutors and police work together
every day. They`re essentially co-workers. The whole process is a giant
conflict of interest and it needs to change.
It`s why the family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old shot and killed by an
officer in Cleveland, is pushing hard for an indictment. It`s why we saw
huge protests over the weekend. People know the system isn`t right. And
moments ago, President Obama said those protests remind us of the work we
need to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A country`s conscience
sometimes has to be triggered by some inconvenience. Because I think a lot
of people who saw the Eric Garner video are troubled. Even if they haven`t
had that same experience themselves. Even if they`re not African American
or Latino. I think there are a lot of good, well-meaning people. I think
there are probably a lot of police officers who might have looked at that
and said, that`s a tragedy, what happened, and we have to figure out how to
bring an end to these kinds of tragedies.
Then attention spans move on, right? There`s the next thing. There`s some
international crisis. There`s something that happens here. And change
doesn`t really occur. And the value of peaceful protests, activism,
organizing, it reminds the society, this is not yet done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: America is not done yet. We have more work to do. And that
commitment to justice is how we`ll address an issue that more and more
Americans realize is a national crisis.
Joining me now, Marq Claxton, former New York police officer and director
of the black law enforcement alliance and former prosecutor and host of
"Justice Faith," Faith Jenkins. Thank you both for being here.
FAITH JENKINS, FORMER CRIMINAL PROSECUTOR: Sure. Thanks, Rev.
MARQ CLAXTON, DIRECTOR, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Mark, you`re a former NYPD officer. Is there an inherent
conflict of interest to have prosecutors handling police shooting cases?
CLAXTON: Yes. Absolutely, without a doubt. I mean, some people consider
the relationship between the prosecutors and the police to be somewhat
symbiotic. I happen to personally believe and I think the evidence will
bear out that it`s more incestuous than symbiotic. And when you continue
this incestuous system and expect a different result, we will continue to
get the same result from prosecutors officers around the nation, if we
don`t change the very structure of the system itself. The format of
policing, and change the dynamic of the relationship between policing and
prosecutors. And even change the investigative track that prosecutors have
to rely on.
We have to remember, often times, before it even hits the prosecutor`s
hands, that case has been investigated on some level evidence collected,
witnesses interviewed, et cetera.
SHARPTON: By police.
CLAXTON: That`s also done by police.
SHARPTON: That`s correct. Because the foot soldiers of all of that,
Faith, are the police themselves. And you`re talking about a policeman and
a prosecutor is presented with that.
SHARPTON: And the bar is so high on the federal level, that the
jurisdictional threshold is so high, that it usually isn`t state
prosecuted. Should a special prosecutor handle shootings and allegations
JENKINS: Yes. I mean, based on the number of cases we`ve seen recently
and every day across the country, I think that now, you are looking at we
have a system in place. Any time you have a system in place that doesn`t
have an adequate check on the power, or an adequate check on accountability
of the system, you`re creating an atmosphere that`s ripe for abuse, right?
We have government inspectors for restaurants, for food. It`s not because
we don`t like restaurants. It`s because we want a check for the public
safety and public health.
SHARPTON: An objective check.
JENKINS: And objective check. We have health care inspectors, not because
we don`t like doctors, but because we want to have a check on the services
being provided to people. This is about making policing better. And any
SHARPTON: But you don`t have doctors in business with the doctors doing
the checking. You don`t have restaurant people that are in business with
the restaurant doing the checking.
SHARPTON: The fear here for many of us for years is police and prosecutors
are in business together.
JENKINS: They are policing. And so, because we don`t have that in other
government agencies, but yet we are expecting police and prosecutors to
police themselves, that`s just one of the reforms that has to change.
Today, the New York attorney general came out today asking the governor to
give him the authority, his office the authority, to review all police
deaths -- all deaths of civilians at the hands of police officers. That is
going to be another check now. Not just local police investigating
themselves. But now the attorney general is asking to step in and make
their own investigation.
SHARPTON: And that`s where it goes now because we`ve finally seen a
significant number of Americans say, we need change. But now change to
what? And the New York state attorney general coming out in the big march
this weekend, raising that.
A new NBC poll found there`s broad agreement to require police officers to
video recorders, 76 percent of Americans think it`s a good idea. But when
people ask if different standards applied to white and blacks by law
enforcement, there was a big racial divide, 82 percent of African Americans
agreed, while only 39 percent of whites agreed. How do you -- how do we
bridge that divide, Marq?
CLAXTON: Well, people still remain unwilling and really defensive about
even discussing race. The realities of race. The perceptions of race.
And having honest and open dialogue. A necessary discourse, until people
can get to the point about the willingness to discuss race, you`ll always
see that type of skewed figures.
I think it`s also important in long standing aspect, this president
announced task force is going to be significant, has the potential to be
significant because of its input in revolutionizing the way law enforcement
conducts business across this nation. I think there`s a potential for
great things coming out of the task force and shifting this paradigm away
from heavy-handed, aggressive militarized police and prosecutor`s offices
that operate sometime in subjective manner.
SHARPTON: You know, Faith, the justice department expanded its rules
against profiling in law enforcement and President Obama described the
meeting with young activists who had experienced profiling. Listen to
this, judge Faith.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: When they described their own personal experiences of having been
stopped for no reason or having generated suspicion because they were in a
community that supposedly they didn`t belong. My mind went back to what it
was like for me when I was 17, 18, 20. As I told them, not only do I hear
the pain and frustration of being subjected to that kind of constant
suspicion. Part of the reason I got into politics was to figure out how
can I bridge some of those gaps in understanding so that the larger country
understands, this is not just a black problem or a brown problem. It`s an
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: How do we fix this problem? How do we approach fixing it, Judge
JENKINS: Well, one of the other reforms that we need in terms of training
police officers, you know, a lot of these issues, it`s not contrast racism
that`s the problem. It`s people who are oblivious to their own implicit
biases and prejudices.
Look at how officer Darren Wilson described Mike Brown as almost a demon
who could run through bullets. Look at the way Eric Garner was treated on
the streets not as a father, a husband, a son, but of someone who was so
dangerous, he was wanted dead or alive on the street that day in that
So we have to train our officers because people have racially charge images
in their mind that we have to train our officers to identify what those
images are and deal with them so that when they police communities in
people in the African American community, they will do so knowing, if they
have implicit biases and prejudice --
SHARPTON: I agree with all the sensitivity, but I also think that
policemen need to understand there will be a penalty if you break the law.
SHARPTON: And until we do that, I don`t think they even have the need to
question it, if you look at this data, and they can just walk away.
JENKINS: I agree with you. Until someone goes to jail, until someone is
put in handcuffs, we are not going to see the kind of --
SHARPTON: And most police are not guilty of anything. But those that are,
we have to have a system that can hold them accountable.
Marq Claxton and Faith Jenkins, thank you both for your time tonight.
CLAXTON: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Coming up, breaking news about the new report on torture during
the Bush war on terror. Thousands of U.S. ms marines ready for potential
Plus the untold story of the Obama presidency. What Republicans don`t want
to the American people to know.
And where do you get Taylor Swift and Vladimir Putin in the same category?
Here`s a hint. It`s definitely not the Grammys.
And live from New York, it`s "Politics Nation conversation nation" is
SHARPTON: This weekend, some big-time athletes showed solidarity with
protests across the country, making waves on social media.
Detroit lions running back Reggie Bush wore an "I can`t breathe" shirt
during warm-ups. So did NBA super star Derrick Rose players. Several
other players made similar statements. It`s gotten a lot of attention.
And it`s gotten the attention of king James.
Lebron called the "I can`t breathe" shirts spectacular, says he wants one.
So will he wear one when he plays against the Brooklyn Nets tonight? The
duke and duchess of Cambridge will be at that game.
Keep the conversation going on our facebook page, or tweet us,
SHARPTON: Breaking news, 2,000 marines on high alert tonight all around
the world, ready to respond to potential threats over a top-secret new
report that is coming out on torture. The report coming out tomorrow. It
looks at the Bush administration`s use of so-called enhanced interrogation
During the darkest days of the war on terror, the report is said to accuse
the CIA of misleading President Bush and his White House about the nature,
extent, and result of brutal techniques like water boarding. But the
former president is rejecting those accusations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re fortunate to
have men and women who work hard at the CIA, serving on our behalf. These
are patriots. And whatever the report says, if it diminishes their
contributions to our country, it is way off base. And I knew the
directors, I knew the deputy directors. I knew a lot of the operators.
These are good people. Really good people and we`re lucky, as a nation to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He`s not distancing himself from the report or the tactics. But
the details are disturbing. "Reuters" is reporting the report will show
one detainee was threatened by his interrogator with a buzzing power drill.
And another one was sexually threatened with a broomstick. This is wrong.
This is not what America stands for and President Obama talked about it
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were
wrong. We did a lot of things that were right. But we tortured some
folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values, and we have
to, as a country, take responsibility for that. So that hopefully we don`t
do it again in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now is "the Washington Post`s" Dana Milbank.
Dana, thanks for being here.
DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Reverend.
SHARPTON: This report has been five years in the making. Just how damning
is the report expected to be to the Bush administration?
MILBANK: Well, clearly based on what we`ve been hearing so far and the
extent to which the intelligence agencies have pushed back against the
release of this report, it`s damaging to the Bush agency, but it`s
particularly damaging to the CIA and the intelligence community itself.
Because not only does it reach that conclusion, you were saying that the
Bush administration was perhaps misled, but it`s also saying these
techniques were more widespread than had been known previously. So that`s
the concern, that it will set off even more trouble for the United States
SHARPTON: Aside from the concern or the trouble, you know, earlier this
year, let me pose it this way. Earlier this year, vice president Dick
Cheney defended the administration`s so-called use of enhanced
interrogation techniques, saying quote "if I would have to do it all over
again, I would. The results speak for themselves."
You know, isn`t that why this Senate report is so important because many on
the right still support the use of torture?
MILBANK: Yes. And you know, I believe that sunlight is the best
disinfectant, Reverend. And not only has the Bush administration push
back, but even the Obama administration has been having this year`s long
tussle with the Senate intelligence committee under Senate Diane Feinstein.
So it`s been a long-going struggle here.
And if it does put Americans in jeopardy by exposing the techniques that
were used, well, this is also what America is about, is owning up to what`s
been done wrong in the past and coming clean. That`s what makes America
exceptional. That`s the argument for releasing this, regardless of what
the consequences are. So people can see what happens and make sure that
this never happens again.
You can have this ongoing, raging debate about whether the techniques
worked or not. But the answer to the debate is not to squelch it, it`s to
get more information out there so we can have an informed discussion.
SHARPTON: Dana, in 2006 President Bush first opened up about this enhanced
interrogation program for the first time. Here`s what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I cannot describe the specific methods used. I think you understand
why. If I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist
questioning and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new
attacks on our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But it turns out, terrorists have learned from the U.S. As "the
Washington Post" reported back in August, captives held by is, including
James Foley, were water boarded. Doesn`t that show the immorality of this,
that ISIS is now copying the United States?
MILBANK: Well, this was the argument against it in the first place is that
that is the United States behaves differently than the enemy which operates
under barbaric standards. So I`m sure you`ll have the defenders from the
Bush administration coming out now and saying, that will give them a bunch
of other ideas.
Look. There`s no shortage of ideas about how to kill and torture and maim
people among the likes of Al-Qaeda and ISIS. So, you know, I think that
argument pales in comparison to the importance of having this discussion.
So Americans can see what their fellow Americans did and have a reasonable
debate about whether this war is emblematic of our country.
SHARPTON: Well, tomorrow will be an important today. We`ll be watching.
Dana Milbank, thank you for y our time tonight.
MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, the big news about President Obama that Republicans
don`t want you to hear. We`ll separate the facts from the right-wing
Also, could Jeb beat Hillary in 2016? His brother thinks so. But the
polls show something very different.
But first, Prince William is coming to Brooklyn. I have some tips for how
to get around the big apple.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time now for Rev. Al`s guide to the big apple.
SHARPTON: Welcome to the big apple. Prince William and Kate Middleton,
I`m a life-long New Yorker. So I want to share some of my favorite big
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
SHARPTON: First, I was going to suggest you visit my hometown of Brooklyn.
But you`re already there. Will and Kate are about to set to take in
tonight`s game at Brooklyn Nets at Barclays. The future king will meet
king James, Lebron James that is, when his team plays the Nets tonight.
And make time for a nice stroll down a Brooklyn street. You`ll be walking
in the footsteps of giants.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
SHARPTON: Make sure you stop by junior`s for a slice of cheesecake on your
way out. I don`t eat it anymore, but that just means more for you. But,
really, no trip to New York is complete without a dirty water dog off the
street. I promise it`s better than fish and chips.
Next, we know it was a gift from France, but be sure to go to the statue of
liberty. And don`t forget about FAO Schwartz. Good luck getting that
giant floor piano home for prince George.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
SHARPTON: But it`s the holiday season. And before flying back over the
pond, skate on ours. Be sure to visit the world`s famous Rockefeller
center Christmas tree and go skating. And when you`re done, come upstairs.
We`ll be waiting for you right here at "Politics Nation" with some hot
chocolate and blueberry pie.
Normally this is where I would say, we "Got You!" But tonight, I say, we
want you. So William and Kate, hope you`re having a great trip, and hope
to see you right here.
SHARPTON: There`s been a lot of news outside of Washington recently. And
one of the under-reported stories is how the President is charging ahead
with his agenda. "The New York Times" today calling it a go it alone push.
And reporting that after the GOP`s midterm victories, quote, "President
Obama has declined to humble himself." Instead, following through on,
quote, "his determination to focus tenaciously on his governing
objectives." And on issue after issue, the President`s agenda is taking
hold. On the economy, 56 straight months on private sector job growth. On
track for the best year since 1999. On immigration, five million getting
protection from deportation. On health care, costs increased at the lowest
ever rate last year. Republicans are talking about lawsuits. Some are
even talking about a shutdown. But quietly, despite all the noise, the
President is focused on his agenda.
Joining me now are Joe Madison and Joan Walsh. Thank you both for being
JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thank you.
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Joe, let`s put these job numbers up again. The President`s on
track, a real streak. And these numbers show the economy is really heating
up. Is this story getting the attention it should, Joe?
MADISON: No, it`s not. At all. It`s not. You know, I hate to use the
term mainstream media, because I really don`t know what that is today. But
the reality is that I talked with the secretary of labor. Not only is it
on track, Reverend Sharpton, but it`s being sustained in almost every major
component. Manufacturing is up. One of the reasons manufacturing is up,
here`s something else that doesn`t get a lot of attention. Gasoline prices
MADISON: -- are lower. When the gasoline price went up, it was blamed on
MADISON: It goes down, nobody says, thank you President Obama. But when
gasoline prices go down, manufacturers come running.
MADISON: Health care. Remember the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare was
supposed to be a job killer. Well, guess what? We`re creating jobs, and
we`re creating healthy people who get to go to work.
SHARPTON: But Joan, it is also interesting when you look at the fact that
56 straight months of job creation, with no public jobs bill.
SHARPTON: This is all private sector.
WALSH: And loosing.
SHARPTON: And loosing public sector jobs. Imagine if we have had public
sector jobs, the job`s bill, the infrastructure built. And here`s what
"The New York Times" reported about the President`s thinking. Quote, Mr.
Obama has long since concluded that pursuing dreams of reconciliation in
his final two years in office is a fool`s chase. So he`s offering an
alternative model for 21st century presidential success. Is President
Obama creating a new model for presidential success, Joan?
WALSH: I think he is. I mean, I thought that "Times" article was really
interesting, but that one phrase, that he has declined to humble himself.
That was fascinating, right?
SHARPTON: Yes. I kind of like -- what is -- humble himself? He is the
WALSH: He`s the president. Who wants to see him humble himself?
SHARPTON: And humble himself to what?
WALSH: I don`t know. We could speculate. But let`s not.
WALSH: But yes, I think, you know, there`s been a fairy tale in Washington
for the last five years, that this president has partners across the aisle
and if only he was Lyndon Johnson, or if only he, you know, waved his magic
ring, he could have partners on immigration reform, he could have
republican partners on infrastructure bill. We know that that`s not true.
And the only silver lining of the awful 2014 election results, is that I
think it`s clear even to the mainstream media such as it is that there`s no
partnership across the aisle for this president and he already has a very
significant legacy. Protecting his existing legacy is legacy enough. We
know they`ll going to try to eradicate it. It`s important that he is very
clear that he will use his veto pen if he has to. What he`s done on
immigration has been very important. We see poll numbers in the Latino,
Hispanic community where people are extremely happy that this move was
made. They wish it had been made sooner. I think this is really changing
the political terrain, especially for democrats.
SHARPTON: You know, in the days after the midterm, Joe, the President was
clear, he intended to take bold action. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The principles that we`re fighting
for, the things that motivate me every single day and motivate my staff
every day, those things aren`t going to change. More than anything, what I
want to communicate over these next two years, is the promise and
possibility of America. I still consider this is the best job on earth and
I`m going to try to squeeze every last ounce of possibility and the ability
to do good out of this job in these next two years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joe, you think any republicans doubt he meant those words now?
MADISON: No. I don`t really care what they think quite honestly, and
neither does the President, it sounds like. Here`s what I`m really
interested in. Is the Democratic Party getting behind him? Those
democrats that ran for the U.S. Senate, actual and supported the
President`s positions and policies, they won. Those democrats that ran
away from the principles that the Democratic Party has stood for, they
lost. And there is the lesson. This is a president who understands. What
do you mean humble? Roosevelt wasn`t humbled. Johnson wasn`t humbled.
Clinton vetoed in his last two years, I think, 37 bills. And if the
republicans are so big and bad, then when he vetoes them, let them get the
votes to override the veto and see what happens.
SHARPTON: But I think that when you look at this also, we all lived
through the Clinton years.
SHARPTON: When you contrast the fact that this president is moving forward
on jobs, moving forward on immigration, moving forward on issues, dealing
with this question of policing, which came from the states, it didn`t come
from Washington down. It came from the states up. Washington`s got to
help solve it.
SHARPTON: He`s doing everything but having to argue his relevance. I seem
to remember a president in the Clinton years at this exact stage in his
presidency, in this middle of the second term, had to start reminding
everyone he was president and was relevant.
WALSH: I`m still relevant. Right. And then they impeached him. But I
think this president has figured out that he does have considerable powers
at his disposal. And that he needs to continue to articulate, I`m told
there`s going to be announcement on Wednesday around early childhood
education funding. There`s going to continue to be movement. It will not
be the movement that he would like if he had legislative partners, but
there will be movement on this agenda and also that protecting what has
been done already. Protecting financial reform. Protecting the Affordable
Care Act, that those are significant activities as well. It is not merely,
it is defensive, but it`s important for him to be out there, saying --
proving that he`s relevant. He doesn`t have to say it.
SHARPTON: Not only that, I think the first time Clinton had to talk about
he was relevant was in the middle of his first term after the `94 midterm
election. Joe Madison, Joan Walsh, thank you for your time tonight.
MADISON: And see you on the 13th.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
MADISON: All right.
SHARPTON: Coming up, former President George W. Bush makes a bold
prediction about his brother Jeb.
Plus, a man promised to be eaten alive by a 20-foot anaconda for a reality
TV show. Now he`s getting snake-bitten from the viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And for the first time in my life, everyone agrees with
me. People are high-fiving me, inviting me places. This must be what it
feels like to be Beyonce.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: My friends upstairs are at it again. "Conversation Nation" is
SHARPTON: We`re back with "Conversation Nation." Joining us tonight,
Mic.com Liz Plank, "New York Times" reporter Josh Barro and legal analyst
Midwin Charles. Thank you all for being here.
ELIZABETH PLANK, MIC.COM: Thanks, Rev.
MIDWIN CHARLES, LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks, Rev.
JOSH BARRO, "NEW YORK TIMESREPORTER: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: We start with a prediction getting a lot of attention today.
Former President George W. Bush on his brother Jeb.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES: He knows I want him to run. If
I need to reiterate it, I will. Run, Jeb. I think he`d be a great
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You`ve often referred to
Bill Clinton, you`ve talk about his relationship with your father and how
it developed. And your mother as well. And he`s your brother from another
mother. What does that make Hillary Clinton to the Bush family?
BUSH: My sister-in-law.
CROWLEY: Interesting. Do you think that your brother could run against
BUSH: Yes, and I think he`d beat her.
CROWLEY: Do you?
BUSH: I do.
CROWLEY: Yes. She`s formidable.
BUSH: Very much so. No question, so is he though.
CROWLEY: Yes. So you`ll take that bet?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Josh, he says absolutely, Jeb beats Hillary.
BARRO: Well, that`s what he has to say. Right? It`s his family. I mean,
I think Jeb might beat Hillary. The biggest win was eight points for Bill
Clinton in 1996. So most of these races are reasonably close. And Jeb
might win, or Hillary might win, depending on the economic and political
conditions. But obviously he`s talking up the family`s book. I do think
that of the candidates in the republican field, Jeb is one of the
strongest. I think Jeb and --
SHARPTON: But he`s still not beating her, Liz. If you look at the latest
poll, you find that Hillary is 43. He`s 37. Now he does better than many.
Maybe the only one that could stop her, but he`s still five points down in
the latest poll.
PLANK: Right. I mean, that doesn`t surprise me. I think it would be a
very cool race, it would be very fun to watch. These are two families that
have been in politics for a very long time. But Hillary has more of a
competitive edge. And Frank -- wrote a really good piece in "The New York
Times" this weekend, stressing the fact that she`s a woman actually makes
her seem a lot less sort of fitting this old mainstream mold of what
politics looks like. She`s a breath of fresh air and I think that`s why
we`re seeing those kinds of poll numbers.
SHARPTON: Can Hillary be stopped, in your opinion, Midwin?
CHARLES: At least right now, it doesn`t appear to be. Listen, at the end
of the day, yes, either side, at the end of the day, it`s a little too soon
to tell. And I know some of the polls show different things and who`s
ahead and who isn`t.
CHARLES: The polls small as we`ve all know that they have been proven to
be wrong in the past. So they`re not necessarily something that we can
SHARPTON: You know, with all this 2016 talk, Josh, I want to point out the
headline in today`s Des Moines register. It reads Sarah Palin to return to
Iowa for summit.
SHARPTON: And it`s sparking rumors because the event is being billed as
the first 2016 forum. And Iowa, with other speakers hinting about a run.
BARRO: Yes. Sarah Palin will never run for president. Now, Sarah Palin
has to pretend to maybe run for president, because Sarah Palin`s business
is selling Sarah Palin speaking fees, books, things like that. In order to
maintain relevance to her audience, she has to look like a political
player, and look like somebody who might someday throw her hat in the
presidential ring. But Sarah Palin, I mean, she resigned the governorship
in Alaska after losing the vice presidential race because she decided it
was more fun, more profitable, more interesting to be a pundit than to be a
politician. I don`t think she has any --
SHARPTON: But Liz, she has got a following. And she could mix it up. She
could, even a good pretense could upset the republican side for a while.
PLANK: Yes, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, that would be a really fun
ticket, it would be great for the comedy industry, I mean, like late night
comedies, he`s going to make a lot of money out of this and she will make a
lot of money out of this. I mean, to your point, I don`t expect her to run
at all, but it makes sense for her to keep putting her name in the ring.
SHARPTON: But Sarah Palin following, what I`m talking about, I agree with
everything about her dealing with her brand. But a following. If they`re
geared up, won`t that make it a factor for the primary in Iowa, even if she
didn`t run, if it energizes them?
CHARLES: I think that`s right. She has a huge following there. They`re
very committed to her. And they`ve really enjoy hearing her speak and
following her and doing all those things. What I see her doing is sort of
being a conduit for other candidates.
CHARLES: In other words, she`s going to come out and support them and
bring her --
SHARPTON: And that could be very -- it could make the difference in the
race. But let`s move on to what might be "Time" magazine`s person of the
year. Today it released the top eight contenders. It`s a real mix. Pop
singer Taylor Swift is on the list. So are the Ebola caregivers. And the
protesters in Ferguson. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in the
news all year. And so has Apple CEO Tim Cook, who took over the job from
Steve Jobs. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been in the middle of
controversy. The president of Iraq, Kurdistan, Jack Man, founder of Tech
Company, Alibaba group also on the list. So who will it be? Who should be
it? Liz, what do you think?
PLANK: I`m team Taylor Swift all the way. I just love her. She`s
awesome. I think she`s done amazing things for, I mean, as a feminist, as
a young woman, I think that she`s made feminism really accessible and
exciting. I wonder where Ruth Bader Ginsburg is though. Why isn`t she on
this list? She made like, like viral, like since when has a Supreme Court
justice been that cool?
CHARLES: I think the Ferguson protesters, only because since Mike Brannon
was shot to the time the decision came down about there and Wilson is not
being indictment, these people have marched every single day, almost 100
days, and essentially laid the foundation basically for people who are
protesting now with the aftermath of the decision regarding Daniel Pantaleo
here in New York.
SHARPTON: Josh, it doesn`t have to be a positive. It could be a negative.
I mean, Putin is a negative to many Americans.
BARRO: No, it`s true. I mean, out of this list, I go with Jack Ma.
Alibaba is not a familiar company to a lot of Americans, but it`s one of
the biggest tech companies in the world. And it really signals something
about China. Where this company that Jack Ma founded, China is not just a
market for U.S. companies anymore. It`s a country that`s producing
products and companies that will come over here really signals China`s
arrival as a world economic power. And how China`s, not as getting
wealthier, but as they get wealthier, it has to become more cooperative and
more friendly with the U.S. So I think Jack Ma has a really positive
story, and one that I think is one of the most important stories of 2014.
SHARPTON: Do you think that no matter what, people will be disappointed as
they are every year, Liz?
PLANK: Of course.
CHARLES: That`s the American way.
CHARLES: Someone`s going to be disappointed.
BARRO: We weren`t disappointed when we all won person of the year back in
2006. Maybe they could do that again. You know, I`m ready to repeat.
SHARPTON: I missed that issue.
When we come back, eaten alive? Or should I say, nibble alive? A major
controversy over a reality show promising a guy eaten by a snake.
And live from New York, it`s me, "Saturday Night Live" took me on again.
We`ll talk about it, next.
SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Liz, Josh and Midwin. Now to the
snake-eating controversy. And this one has my team talking all day.
Discovery Channel heavily promoted a reality show titled "Eaten Alive,"
featuring a man crazy enough to be swallowed by a 20-foot snake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Anaconda.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Catch it. Catch it. Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We`re going to get me inside of the snake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Well, last night, the wait was over. But here`s what actually
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, my god.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: In the head!
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Get his helmet off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, a lot of my friends think this is also animal cruelty, but
aside from that, the viewers waited nearly two hours to see this. And the
guy was never swallowed. The online backlash and mocking started right
away. Someone tweeted this photo, saying hey, Discovery, can I have my own
Midwin, the Discovery Channel said that it had to be called because of
danger. What do you think? They didn`t know it was dangerous when they
CHARLES: Okay. I mean, you`re talking about an anaconda which is a very
dangerous, dangerous animal. But I think that they are doing what they`re
supposed to do. They are a cable network. And they are looking for
ratings and the best way to do that is to promote this ad nauseam all week
until people tune in.
SHARPTON: Josh, is this the end of Reality TV? I mean, have we just gone
to where Reality TV just can`t?
BARRO: I just feel like if you`re stupid enough to devote two hours of
your night hoping to watch somebody eaten by a snake, you deserve to be
disappointed at the end of that, and not see the guy eaten by the snake.
The show idea was dumb.
SHARPTON: Well, I`m against the animal thing, but --
PLANK: I mean, with all the depressing news, I guess people wanted to
watch something that could take their mind off of it.
(ALL SPEAK AT ONCE)
Really? I don`t know. Like, that`s all you can think about when you`re
looking at this happening. And what I think is the worst part of this, is
the guy who did this is making it all about the environment, or saying that
he`s doing it for a broader cause to draw attention to forest conservation
which is like complete --
SHARPTON: Well, wait a minute. Finally, I`ve got to do this one before I
run out of time. Live from New York, it`s me. "Saturday Night Live" did
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Okay, welcome to POLITICS NATION. Now, what happened in
Ferguson has come to New York. This Eric Garner decision has upset me so
much that in three days, I have gained over 100 pounds.
And for the first time in my life, everyone agrees with me. Folks are
high-fiving with me, inviting me places. This must be what it feels like
to be Beyonce.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, first of all, I say every night almost, we can have
different opinions. Not different facts. There`s at least 150 pounds
difference between me and him. Not being compared to Beyonce is not a bad
PLANK: Oh my God! I mean, they say imitation is the best form of
flattery. Except I think they made one little mistake with their imitation
of view, they didn`t even do any reference to your socks, your amazing
SHARPTON: You see how part of my stuff is in the sock cover-up business.
BARRO: I`m just, you know, I just think it`s unfortunate they didn`t do a
"Conversation Nation" segment and then we would have gotten the socks in
CHARLES: Exactly. Exactly.
CHARLES: Oh, I loved it. I have to tell you, I thought it was awesome.
SHARPTON: Let me tell you something. I get a good laugh out of it.
They`ve done me several times. If you`re in public life and you can`t take
people joking about you, you should get out of public life. Especially
when I don`t watch things on Saturday night. I`m getting ready for Sunday
morning. Liz, Josh and Midwin, thank you for your time tonight. We`ll be
SHARPTON: For a lot of people, seeing is believing. And that`s been a big
part of the reaction to the death of Eric Garner. People across the nation
have fill the streets, calling for justice. They have all seen this
terrible video and were shocked by the grand jury`s decision not to indict.
These pictures changed minds. Just like during the civil rights era. In
1963, a photographer took this picture of dogs attacking a high school
student during a protest in Birmingham, Alabama. The next day that photo
hit the front pages of "The New York Times," exposing the brutality of the
Jim Crow south.
Many Americans had never seen this kind of thing before and it changed how
they viewed the civil rights movement. Images matter. They crystallize
public opinion. They help move America forward, and we may well be seeing
that happen again now. Many of us have marched for years, talking about
this kind of brutality. But now, Americans can see it. And they can make
their own judgments. That`s why as we continue protesting and marching in
big march this weekend, it must be done with dignity and peace. Don`t get
in the way of the picture that Americans need to see for themselves, by
distracting them with behavior not becoming a movement.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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