PoliticsNation, Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: December 16, 2014
Guest: Michelle Cottle; Michael Kay, Kendall Coffey, Midwin Charles,
Christina Bellantoni, Jimmy Williams, Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: That`s "the Ed Show." I`m Ed
Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.
Good evening, Rev.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, is America ready for another Bush? It`s looking more and
more likely. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush will run for government, it
looks. Today he released a statement saying quote "I have decided to
actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United
States." Jeb`s been dropping hints for months. And just yesterday said
this at a commencement speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: We`re seeing more and more that
people often model their lives on their parents. If their parents went to
college, so do they. If their parents married late, so do they. And I can
tell you from personal experience, if your parents worked in politics,
well, you know the rest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He said you don`t have to follow your parents` footsteps, but
it`s pretty likely.
A new poll shows Mitt Romney would actually lead the GOP field. But if
Romney doesn`t sit this one out, this poll`s got Jeb as number one. But
we`ve still got a long way to go until 2016. Bush has been all over the
map on immigration and right-wingers are skeptical. Here`s what the head
of the GOP said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They`re going to pull out all the
stops to make sure that a tea party-type conservative doesn`t get the
nomination. So I think that a lot of this talk about the Jeb candidacy is
an attempt to see if they can actual, once and for all, in a primary
setting, relegate the tea party and members of it who are elected, such as
Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, impotent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But forget about Rush getting on board, Jeb still has to
convince his mom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA BUSH, JEB BUSH`S MOTHER: I think it`s a great country. There are
a lot of great families, and it`s not just four families or whatever.
There are other people out there, that are very qualified. And we`ve had
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And while the GOP field is shaping up, more and more Democrats
say they`d support a Clinton candidacy in 2016. The latest, Senator Al
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: I think that Hillary would make a great
president. I haven`t announced that I`m supporting her, but does this
count? I guess. Maybe this counts. I`m ready for Hillary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A lot of Democrats are getting behind Hillary Clinton, but it
seems like we`re headed for a big family feud in the GOP.
Joining me now is MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt, who just got
back from covering Jeb Bush in South Carolina. And national journal`s
Michelle Cottle. Thank you both for being here.
MICHELLE COTTLE, WASHINGTON REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST, NEWSWEEK: Thanks,
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Kasie, could Jeb Bush win with today`s GOP?
HUNT: Well, I think we are going to have to wait and see to find out. But
there`s certainly an argument for him to make. And there`s definitely
space for him in the establishment. I mean, I think, you know, this is a
pretty early move on his part. I think it surprised some people for its
timing. But what it does is send a message to the establishment donor base
in the Republican party and to operatives in others, that, hey, he`s in
there, and that sets him up in direct competition especially with others
that might claim the establishment mantel, Chris Christie for example.
And those candidates are actually the ones who have historically won the
Republican nomination. You saw that with whether it was Bob Dole or John
McCain or even Mitt Romney. It`s often that establishment choice that
makes it through. I think the question is going to be, how much has the
landscape changed? Especially in some of these early states.
I was just in South Carolina, as you say, and I talked to sources on the
ground there who were paying attention to Jeb Bush`s speech. And they`re
saying, you know, it`s possible that this state isn`t the same state that
sent George W. Bush kind of over the hurdle against John McCain in 2000.
And isn`t the state anymore that helps annoy the establishment favor. Then
that could be a problem for Bush in the long run.
SHARPTON: Michelle, what do you think about that and what is the impact of
maybe people like Rush Limbaugh coming out strongly against Jeb?
COTTLE: Well, look, this last election was the establishment kind of
reasserting itself to say, hey, we`re not going to stand back and become a
party of fringe candidates. So Jeb will have some trouble in the primary
because not such on immigration, but also on common core. This is
something that makes the base downright crazy. They will go berserk about
this sort of thing.
So it is going to be interesting to see how he asserts himself and handles
these particular issues. While at the same time, you know, not alienating
or turning away from his stands on these. I mean, he can`t just flip flop.
SHARPTON: But Jeb Bush talked earlier this month about how Republicans
should approach 2016. I want to play that, Kasie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. BUSH: I kind of know how a Republican can win, whether it`s me or
somebody else, and it has to be much more uplifting, much more positive,
much more willing to, you know, to be practical now in Washington world,
lose the primary to win the general, without violating your principles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, lose the primary, win the general. But Ted Cruz was asked
about Jeb Bush today and while he complimented the last few GOP candidates,
he also said, quote "if we nominate another candidate in the mold of a Bob
Dole or a John McCain or a Mitt Romney, the same voters who stayed home in
2008 and 2012 will stay home in 2016. And Hillary Clinton is the next
president. How ugly is the GOP primary fight going to get, Kasie?
HUNT: Well, Reverend, I think it could potentially get very ugly. I think
that moving early for Bush is maybe an attempt to avert some of that. But
I think you`re already hearing Cruz goes in a pretty angrily from the
right. And I think that, you know, Bush, in this race, sets up a very
interesting kind of push-pull. I mean, he also told one of our affiliates
in Miami just earlier today, that candidates get a chance to persuade on
those issues like immigration. He was talking specifically about
immigration. And he seems to show this willingness to say, you know what,
I`m going to stand up to this process.
And I think one of the things I`ve been hearing behind the scenes from a
lot of Republican operatives who are maybe associated with other potential
candidates, they view that as a little bit of naive. They sort of say,
there`s no way that he could actually execute that. But it sounds as
though he`s at least going to try.
SHARPTON: Now, you know, Bloomberg reports, Michelle, that because of his
business dealings Jeb Bush might have a Mitt Romney problem. It said,
quote, "as a budding private equity mogul, he`s began to resemble a mini
Mitt." But the right is already attacking Hillary Clinton for her wealth.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The controversy over Mrs. Clinton`s speaking fees is
erupting and has been ever since it was reported she`s due $225,000 when
she speaks this fall at a benefit for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton has a list of demands that
critics say would make a rock star diva proud.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton is having trouble with this. It`s just
made it difficult for her to connect with folks and to have that sort of
woman of the people image that she`s trying to portray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Will anybody be calling Jeb Bush a diva?
COTTLE: You know, I actually think this is a case where it`s going to be
an election where neither really is going to be a man or woman of the
people. I mean, Mitt Romney had a big problem because we`re talking about
a level of wealth that`s kind of eye-popping.
I don`t think Jeb Bush will be building car elevators, but I do think that
it will become an issue already. People have written these stories,
looking into, you know, why is he starting these firms? Is it he is
thinking of running for president? And I think wealth is always an issue,
especially in times where populist energy is driving a lot of the political
action. So I think both candidates will have to figure out a way to prove
they are still in touch.
SHARPTON: On the democratic side, Kasie, we`re hearing a lot about
Elizabeth Warren and a possible candidacy, people pushing her to run. But
here`s what she said yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I told them I`m not running for
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You`re putting that in the present tense. Are
you never going to run?
WARREN: I am not running for president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You`re not putting a never on that.
WARREN: I am not running for president. Do you want me to put an
exclamation point at the end?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, she had already denied a run twice before in that
interview. And a new poll out today found Hillary Clinton would lead
Warren in a primary 62 percent to nine. But can Warren still influence the
democratic field even if she doesn`t run, Kasie?
HUNT: Absolutely, Reverend. I think that is there`s going to be an
intense demand, in fact, for somebody, whether it`s Elizabeth Warren,
whether it`s another figure in the party, to take on that populist mantel
and to sort of channel the energy that`s on the left side of the liberal
We`ve spent a lot of time over the past year and still talking about the
Republican base and their influence on the Republican party. I think the
conversation is shifting. And right now Elizabeth Warren is the leader of
I mean, she`s said repeatedly as you heard there, I am not running for
president. And you know, she sounds like she wants people to believe her.
. But at the same time, you know, there`s benefit for her in not saying, I
never will. Because it keeps here in the conversation. It increases her
power in a way and it makes her more able to lead that charge regardless of
whether or not she actually gets into the race.
SHARPTON: Kasie, let me go back to Michelle. You brought up populist. If
Elizabeth Warren doesn`t run, is there a figure that can come and emerge
and lead that populist movement? Do they have enough time to emerge?
There`s not a lot of natural alternatives.
COTTLE: You know, the Democratic Party doesn`t have a huge farm team
they`ve been seriously considering this time around. So if Hillary doesn`t
run, they have a big hole. But also from a populist angle, Elizabeth
Warren is not only good with the message, she`s got a lot of energy behind
her. And I think you have to have that to get attention to the trail.
SHARPTON: Kasie Hunt, Michelle Cottle, thank you both for your time
COTTLE: Thanks, Rev.
HUNT: Thanks, Reverend. Nice to see you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, breaking news from that horrific terror attack on a
school by the Taliban.
And a big move from the family of that man gunned down by police at Walmart
while holding a pellet gun.
And the Sony hackers threatening a 9/11 type of attack, movie stars now
canceled appearances. Should these threats be taken seriously? Stay with
SHARPTON: Our social media community had a lot to say today about Jeb Bush
weighing a presidential run.
Angela wrote on our facebook page, I guess he`s going to follow in his
Demarco also posted, Jeb versus Hillary. I can see it now.
And Michael said on facebook, Bush versus Clinton. Did I wake up in the
Well, Michael, we`ll see.
Coming up, what about the other potential candidate? Senator Elizabeth
Warren, she says no. But is she already having an impact?
Please keep this conversation going on our facebook page or tweet us,
SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight out of Pakistan where the Taliban
militants stormed a military-run school today, killing at least 132
children and ten staff members, including the school principal. At least
124 others were wounded. The seven gunmen who all wore explosive vests
were also killed after the eight-hour siege.
The Associated Press reports the gunmen entered the school at 10:00 a.m.
local time and began shooting at random. More than 960 staff and students
managed to flee. Evacuated from the compound amid the panic. A spokesman
from the Palestine Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it
was retaliation for Pakistan`s attack on Taliban militants in that country.
President Obama condemned the attack, saying terrorists have once again
shown their depravity.
Joining me now is Michael Kay, retired senior British office and military
strategist, now a foreign affairs correspondent.
Thank you for being here, Michael.
MICHAEL KAY, RETIRED SENIOR BRITISH OFFICE: Good to see you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Michael, this is a terrible tragedy. Why would the Taliban
target a school with children?
KAY: It`s appalling, Rev. But I think, you know, what we`ve seen over the
last 18 months is we`ve seen the media spotlight very much being on what
ISIS has been up to. But while that`s go on, the Pakistan Taliban have
been waging a murderous war on terror since 2007. They were believed to be
responsible for the murder of the prime minister (INAUDIBLE) in 2012. They
were the ones who went after Malala Yousafzai, 15-year-old young girl, the
noble peace prize winner and they shot her and they were still going after
even when they shot her. In 2013, these guys committed a suicide bombing
on a church killing 120 people. And also responsible in 21014 this year
for the attacks on Karachi airport.
So they`re no strangers to this type of murderous campaign that we`ve been
associating with the likes of ISIS over the last 12 months.
SHARPTON: Now, the "New York Times" reports that today`s attack is
retribution for a recent Pakistani military offense against the Taliban in
their country. "The Times" reports, the military says that the offensive
has resulted in the death of 1,800 militants and cleared much of the
region`s most notorious hub of militant activity.
Now Michael, given today`s attack, is the military offensive having any
KAY: That`s a great question. It`s a really complicated situation. And
you mentioned the region. The region is Waziristan, and it is on the
border in between Pakistan and Afghanistan. During my analysis of the
Afghan war, one of the serious problems of lack of progress in Afghanistan
has been the inability to target the Pakistan Taliban that have been
operating just over the border. They`re the people that have been training
suicide bombers and launching them into Kabul to create havoc.
Now, the relationships between the U.S. and Pakistan government have been
very strained. They`re also a number of different other groups that
operate in this region from the Haqqani network, through to Al-Qaeda. Now,
the Haqqani network were responsible, believed to be responsible for the
kidnapping of Bowe Bergdahl. And while he was incarcerated to five years,
the CIA during the beginning of the year, stop drone operations that the
U.S. has been involved in very, very resourceful war against the Pakistan
Taliban for a long time. So they cut back on CIA drone operations for the
safety of Bowe Bergdahl. Bowe Bergdahl was released midyear and those CIA
drone operations have now commenced again.
The Pakistan government have also taken initiative to go into the region.
But there`s sensitivities between the government and the military because
there is believed to be linked between the Pakistan ISR, which is the
intelligence service and the Haqqani network.
So it`s a complicated web of geopolitical and security type issues that we
really have to sort of get to the bottom of.
SHARPTON: But how does this -- I`m confused how they think this helps
their cause. I mean, from just public opinion anywhere, killing children,
how does this help their cause?
KAY: Well, I mean, the cause question is a good question. It`s very
similar to ISIS and that it`s all about territory. The Taliban is all
about trying to regain the territory in Afghanistan and try and push out
the westerner. And that`s what effectively what they`re trying to do.
And whether killing 132 children is going to do this is a question which is
up for debate. And it was certainly turn many of the country against them,
I think, moving forward into the future. And it`s hard to tell the
unintended consequence of that on the day that it happened. But as we see
the days and weeks and months go by, the resolve of the Pakistan military
And I also think a lot of the big issues about tackling insurgent groups
like this is true what it`s called human intelligence. It`s about having
people on the ground that can feed back daily pattern of life movements
that will allow the security services to strike when appropriate. And I
think that human intelligence will be more forth coming now that this
shocking activity has taken place.
SHARPTON: Michael Kay, thank you for your time this evening.
KAY: Good to see you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Ahead, the family of a man killed by police inside a department
store file a lawsuit. But it shouldn`t have to come to this.
And breaking news tonight, the Sony email hackers threaten movie theaters,
invoking 9/11. Now the stars canceled appearances. Should the movie be
pulled? Stay with us.
SHARPTON: The Russian economy is tanking and along with it, another GOP
line of attack against President Obama.
Throughout the year, Republicans have talked in glowing terms about muscle
man Vladimir Putin and how he`s so superior to the feckless President
Obama. He gets things done. He doesn`t dither.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: There`s a battle of wills between
the KGB colonel and the community organizer and the colonel is winning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putin is playing chess and I think we`re playing
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: People are looking at Putin as
one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as
one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates.
CRUZ: The Russians have a renowned grand master playing chess, and the
United States is playing checkers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The strong colonel versus the poor community organizers. Chess
versus checkers, or worse, marbles. But those Republicans might need a new
table game now because things have turned against Mr. Macho man KGB. The
economy he runs is tanking. Oil prices, which usually sustain the Russian
economy, are plunging. And the Russian ruble is plummeting. Contributing
to the economic mess are the harsh sanctions leveled against Putin by the
checkers-playing President Obama.
Plus, we`re learning today, President Obama, the community organizer, is
going sign more sanctions against Russia later this week. Republicans
spent the year bashing the president on foreign policy toward Russia, but
yet again their views on foreign affairs have been proven to be upside
down. Here is another domino falling on GOP credibility. That`s the game
Nice try, but check mate. Because we "Got You."
SHARPTON: Developing news in a case out of Ohio that`s become part of the
national dialogue over policing in America. Today the family of John
Crawford III filed a federal civil suit over the shooting of their son.
Crawford was shot and killed in August after officers saw him carrying a
pellet gun at a Walmart. Today Crawford`s family and their attorneys said,
it`s not about money. It`s about justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEAN WILLIAMS, ATTORNEY: We`re also seeking changes in policies, in
procedures at the Beaver Creek Police Department. Period. This should not
happen to any other family in this city, in this county, in this great
state, and in this nation.
JOHN CRAWFORD, JR., FATHER OF JOHN CRAWFORD III: I`m still pursuing
justice because to me, that is justice. You have to be held accountable.
You don`t get a pass because you have a side arm and a shield. In fact,
you set a higher standard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This suit comes after a grand jury decided not to indict the
officers and that`s the problem. Families should be able to trust the
criminal justice system to address these issues and officers should get the
training they need so these tragedies don`t occur in the first place.
Former President Bill Clinton is now weighing in on the Eric Garner
chokehold case in New York, saying change is needed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. PRES. BILL CLINTON (D), UNITED STATES: He was selling untaxed
cigarettes on the street in small volumes, trying to make a little extra
money. But he didn`t deserve to die because of that. So when something
like that happens, or when Ferguson happens, even if the grand jury was
right that the young man was super aggressive and all that, he still was
chased down unarmed and shot. It may not be a crime, but it shows you the
divide that exists between the community and the police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: There is a divide in America and we all need to work together to
bridge that divide.
Joining me now is former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey and trial attorney
and legal analyst Midwin Charles. Thank you for being here.
MIDWIN CHARLES, LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: And I want to mention the Crawford family suit also targets
Walmart. And the company released this statement. Our condolences go to
the families who lost loved ones. Out of respect for everyone involved, we
believe it`s not appropriate to discuss the specifics of this matter, but
we can say that our associates acted properly. We take the safety and
security of our stores very seriously, so that Walmart remains a safe
shopping experience for our customers. Now, Kendall, can a civil lawsuit
like this help bring about policy changes in a police department?
COFFEY: It can. Nothing speaks louder usually than an arrest and
handcuffs. But there`s plenty of voice in a successful civil suit. The
more dollars, the more decimals. Especially if you get a million dollar
verdict targeting particular practices that need to be changed, then the
city isn`t going to ignore that, and there can be changes made through
SHARPTON: Now, Midwin, the family is doing this because they`re
dissatisfied with the grand jury, right?
CHARLES: Yes, absolutely. And this is another avenue that you often see,
Rev, families take when they get the sort of decision that we get in the
Eric Garner case, the Mike Brown case, whenever the family does not
necessarily get justice from the criminal justice system, what they then go
ahead and do is sue civilly. Because as your guest just said, there are
many different things that come out of a civil suit. But one of the
reasons why I think this makes it such an American issue, it`s not just the
black issue, it`s not just the white issue, it`s an American issue. It`s
because Police Departments are paying out millions and millions of dollars
with regard to the result of what police officers do. So we`re all
affected. I mean, people do not necessarily want their --
SHARPTON: But it shouldn`t go this far though, Midwin.
CHARLES: That`s right, it shouldn`t.
SHARPTON: I mean, people should be able to have confidence in the grand
juries and police in the process. And this is what we`re saying with all
of these vigils and marches and other means of expressing our concerns and
outrage is, it shouldn`t have to go this far.
CHARLES: You`re right. And the grand jury proceeding process should be
the same for every single American. There`s nothing that says that
criminal procedure is different if the perpetrator or the alleged
perpetrator is a police officer. Everyone should be treated exactly the
same under the law. And what we`re seeing with the grand jury proceedings
and the way the prosecutors are sort of putting forth their cases, that has
not necessarily been the case. And that`s one of the biggest problems with
these police cases.
SHARPTON: Yes. Kendall, this week a video surfaced showing the police
grilling Crawford`s girlfriend right after he was shot dead. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODNEY CURD, DETECTIVE: Why would he have a gun in the store?
TASHA THOMAS, GIRLFRIEND OF JOHN CRAWFORD III: I don`t know.
CURD: Is he known to carry a gun?
THOMAS: I`ve never known him --
CURD: Don`t tell me you don`t know. Because that`s the first thing that I
realize somebody`s not telling me the truth when they say that kind of
stuff. The truth is you knew at some point he did carry a gun, isn`t it?
THOMAS: No, sir. No, sir, I didn`t know. I swear I didn`t know.
CURD: Tasha, I`m having trouble with this.
THOMAS: Please, give me a lie detector test.
CURD: That might come in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, is it common for victim`s relatives to be grilled like
this and treated like this? Does she have a legal recourse, Kendall?
COFFEY: Well, she probably doesn`t have an easy lawsuit because police
questioning strategies can be aggressive. They can be bullying. They can
even be deceitful and they`re usually not unconstitutional. But I think
it`s very important here to point out a couple of things. First of all, we
have a video of this. So I think, given the aggressiveness of this
officer`s questioning and the almost cruel circumstances, I think there
could be consequences. And if nothing else, if this videotape can become
part of a lawsuit of the family of John Crawford, showing how frantic this
police department was to find some rationale for the killing of a man with
a pellet gun, then this videotape could be part of a very powerful verdict
SHARPTON: So this could actually be part of the lawsuit, this video?
COFFEY: I think there`s a clear connection that could be made. No
guarantees, but if it comes in in front of a jury, it`s going to be
SHARPTON: Midwin, under Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice
Department has opened over two dozen investigations into police tactics.
In New Orleans, it found officers too often used excessive force and
conduct illegal stops, searches and arrests. In Newark, it found a pattern
or practice of constitutional violations in stop and arrest practices. In
Cleveland, it found excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
There are many more examples like this. Are local prosecutors across the
country taking this seriously enough?
CHARLES: I should hope that they are. But I think the aftermath of the
Ferguson case, as well as Eric Garner, teaches us a lesson. And this might
be a water shed moment in these kinds of cases, Rev, where special
prosecutors need to be appointed to deal with these cases, in part, because
prosecutors and the police are in bed with one another. In terms of how
they do their day-to-day jobs. Prosecutors rely heavily on police officers
in order to make their case. So it`s very difficult for you to sort of
prosecute your own. And that`s one of the reasons why I think prosecutors
need to step aside and appoint a special prosecutor to deal with these
SHARPTON: Kendall, you were a federal prosecutor. How significant is the
federal investigations of these local police and local police departments?
How impactful is this?
COFFEY: Well, it plays a huge role, for exactly the reasons that we were
just talking about. Very hard to get local prosecutors to prosecute their
local police teammates. The feds come in from a different perspective, and
they have traditionally had a very, very important role in these cases.
And keep an eye out on some of the cases we`ve been talking about. I don`t
think we`ve heard the last from the federal prosecutors with respect to
some of these cases.
SHARPTON: And Midwin, that`s part of what a lot of people are raising,
saying guilt or innocence, they want a fair process and they don`t feel,
I`ve expressed that, that the local prosecutors don`t have a conflict of
interest in a lot of these investigations.
CHARLES: I mean, that`s right. And I think no one can deny the fact that
these prosecutors approach these sorts of cases with a different
perspective. One of the things that I found the most shocking about the
Eric Garner decision when the grand jury decision came down was the
distance between the prosecutor and the victim`s family. Usually
prosecutors are aligned with the victim. Because their job is justice,
someone died here. And so they`re trying to get to the bottom of it. But
it was so different this time around, as well as in the Ferguson case.
SHARPTON: Right, with Michael Brown.
CHARLES: Yes. Absolutely. And so that`s one of the reasons why I think
that this is sort of a watershed moment with these kinds of cases and I`m
glad that the federal government is taking the time to look into these
different police departments to see exactly what`s going on. Because
African Americans and people of color have been complaining about this
disparate treatment for a very long time. This isn`t new, Rev. So it`s a
good thing that the federal government, I think, is stepping in and looking
into all of this.
SHARPTON: Kendall Coffey and Midwin Charles, thank you for your time
COFFEY: Thanks, Reverend.
CHARLES: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, is America ready for another Bush? Will his last
name be a plus or a minus? Or both?
Also, new threats from the Hollywood hackers. Why movie stars are
canceling their public appearances?
And gas prices are falling. So why aren`t airplane ticket prices falling
too? It`s ahead in "Conversation Nation."
SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight, editor
in chief of Roll Call Christina Bellantoni, democratic strategist Jimmy
Williams and HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. I want to
start with the big political talker today. Our lead story, Jeb Bush, today
announced he`s actively exploring the possibility of running for president
in 2016. Christina, are we off and running?
CHRISTINA BELLANTONI, ROLL CALL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Of course. And we`ve
been off and running for quite a while here. But the thing is, it`s so, so
early. And it gives us a lot to talk about until the next person says
they`re actively exploring and that person is not going to be a big shocker
either. What`s important to keep in mind is that the voters actually get a
chance to have their say here in all of the early primary states across the
country. So we are a long way away from having any idea of who`s going to
be the next president.
JIMMY WILLIAMS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes. Listen. I mean, I`m not
surprised by this. And I`ve said on your show that I think that Jeb Bush
is, at this point in time, the most formidable of the republicans that are
all actively talking or alluding to, or whatever, running for president.
SHARPTON: Is he more formidable than Mitt Romney?
WILLIAMS: I think he is more formidable than Mitt Romney. I think there
was Romney fatigue the last time. And I mean, listen, Barack Obama beat
him by five million votes for God`s sake. Now, the problem with Bush
though is, is that he has some of the same Romney problems, off-shore money
stuff, et cetera, et cetera. But Vince Smith (ph) from BuzzFeed wrote a
fantastic piece, on my birthday of this year, April 7th, about all the
reasons why Jeb Bush is not going to be the president. And guess what,
some very compelling information. Mother Jones just put out a piece on it
today. But again, I do think that Bush has I think the fund-raising
ability and the ability to win a general election. A primary, that`s a
different matter, though.
SHARPTON: Caroline -- and we`ll ignore Jimmy plugging his birthday.
CAROLINE MODARRESSY-TEHRANI, HUFFPOST LIVE HOST: Well, I think it`s what
Christina has said. I mean, you know, it`s very much up and running,
despite the fact that he announced it in a very couched way, that he maybe
was sort of investigating a run. But I think that a lot of Americans are
going to be sad to hear that he is, because again, it`s what we talked
about before. It`s another dynasty. You know, to be honest, the idea of
another Bush president makes me feel a little bit queasy. I don`t know
about the rest of the panel, but I can`t imagine too many people being
thrilled at the idea of, you know, dynasty versus dynasty in 2016.
BELLANTONI: But that really has never --
SHARPTON: But Christina the right wing, Christina`s already coming after
them. Ted Cruz, Rush Limbaugh. I mean, they`re already coming hard.
BELLANTONI: Well, of course, we`ve put everybody into these silos. You
know, he`s operating in the, you know, former governor, moderate to center,
you know, embracing diversity in the party silo. And, you know, maybe he`s
not going to be the guy that appeals to young people, he`s the guy that
appeals to Hispanics or whatever. But a lot of these is going to be the
chairman of debate stages which is going to be really important. And in
that face to face voter contact. Everything I`ve heard about him, he said,
he`s good with voters, the money is going to matter a lot. But I disagree
with the dynasty thing. I think that in general, Americans aren`t bothered
by this. We`ve seen many, many successful political dynasties, that`s how
they get there. They like to see families that, you know, understand
politics in our rough and tumble. And we can, you know, in the press, we
might be bored with it or irritated that we`re still covering the same
names, but I think in general the voters are okay with it.
SHARPTON: Well, Jimmy, that brings us to the democratic side, Clinton and
SHARPTON: I mean, if Bush can run again with his name, does Hillary face
the same challenge on the democratic side? And are people not bothered by
another Clinton and someone that could be creating a, quote, "dynasty by
WILLIAMS: Well, couple of thoughts first. The most popular politician in
the United States of America right now happens to be the spouse of said
Hillary Clinton. Secondly, she ran for her Senate seat, won it. And so
the bottom-line is, she`s eminently qualified to be president of the United
States. The Elizabeth Warren thing I think is a little bit tricky.
Listen, she came out today and said, I`m not running for president. I
promise you, I`m not running for president. I`m going to finish out my
term. And all that sort of stuff, which is a great indicator that she`s
not running for president. And every senator that you talk to on the
democratic side will tell you, Elizabeth Warren is not running for
president. I don`t care what MoveOn.org says. Now, there`s something
happening with that, though. And that is that, what can Elizabeth Warren
do for a Hillary Clinton? And what she can do is she can bunker down in
the Senate, she can push policies in a minority, by the way. And then what
does Hillary have to do? She has to respond to those as a presidential
candidate assuming that she announces. And so I don`t think that`s at bad
dichotomy between Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton. That`s something I
actually welcome very much as a reporter.
SHARPTON: Now, let`s move on to another subject. It`s the holiday season.
And I want to get this in. It`s a busy travel time. And if you`re
driving, you`re in luck. In the last year, gas prices dropped 70 cents a
gallon. But if you`re flying, not so much. The latest numbers we have
from September of last year, to September of this year, prices for plane
tickets jumped 3.5 percent. Senator Chuck Schumer wants to know why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So there`s a looming question that must be answered.
With oil prices going way down, why aren`t consumers getting the benefit
and seeing ticket prices go down, when instead they`re still going up?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Christina, you fly a lot. What do you think? You want more
money for peanuts?
BELLANTONI: I do fly a lot. I`m glad that you know that. You know, sure,
I`d love to see prices go down. But Chuck Schumer is getting in on a
popular topic, as he tends to do. And it`s very easy to say these prices
should be lower. That`s a popular thing, especially right after
Thanksgiving when everyone has taken flights and right before Christmas
when a lot of people are going to be getting on airplanes or are
considering, you know, buying vacation tickets or hopping on planes to go
somewhere to see their families. So, yes, of course you`re going to say
that. But there`s not a lot of movement for this to be the thing that,
let`s say, Congress tackles.
WILLIAMS: Chuck Schumer doing a Sunday press conference should shock
nobody at all especially in New York. But the bottom-line, it is a very
populous message. I get it up. I`ve seen it like a billion times from
Senator Schumer. But at the end of the day, I guess the question is, when
was the last time that the airlines actually did reduce fares? I mean,
when they get more competition from one of the smaller, you know, airlines
that comes in, a JetBlue, a southwest, et cetera, et cetera. But there`s
been so much consolidation amongst the big ones. There are only like three
of them now. And so, what is their incentive to do that other than if no
one is buying tickets, and if no one is buying tickets, then they will
reduce the fares.
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Yes. I mean, I think that`s an excellent point. I
mean, I think it was in 2005, there was sort of an 11 main airlines that
were in play. And now, you know, as it has been said, there are about
three. And that`s obviously hurting us as consumers. And you know, look,
I mean, as you can tell, I`m British, so a large portion of my family are
in the UK. Would I like lower fares? Heck, yes, I would. Do I see them
on the horizon? Do I see Chuck Schumer`s call to action is actually going
to do anything in the near future? Sad to say, I don`t.
SHARPTON: Everyone stay right there. Please stay with us. Ahead, hackers
threaten movie goers, invoking 9/11. Now the stars of the movie just
canceled all press appearances. Should the movie be pulled? That`s next.
SHARPTON: We`re back with the panel, Christina, Jimmy and Caroline. Now
to a serious story developing tonight. The Sony hackers issuing a 9/11
type of threat. The group behind the attack, calling itself Guardians of
Peace, invoked 9/11. Saying people should stay away from theaters running
the movie "The Interview." The hackers saying, quote, "The world will be
full of fear." A Department of Homeland Security official tells NBC News,
quote, "At this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an
active plot against movie theaters within the United States." But the
stars, James Franco and Seth Rogen, are cancelling media appearances. The
movie centers on Rogen and Franco`s characters trying to assassinate North
Korea`s ruler Kim Jong-un. Caroline, should Sony think about pulling this
movie from theaters?
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: You know, Rev, I don`t think they should. Absolutely
not. You know, we shouldn`t be kow-towing to anybody purporting to be a
terrorist. And I would actually say, you know, I hadn`t planned on going
to see the movie myself, but on Friday, I think I will be, and purely
because the Department of Homeland Security have said that there is no
credible threat right now. And I think that we should all go out there, we
should all go and watch this movie whether we want to or not just to show
that we are not afraid and we will not cower with this sort of threat.
SHARPTON: Wow! Jimmy?
WILLIAMS: I think that Caroline just fell for the big trick. I`m joking.
Look, this is a bunch of a do about nothing. I don`t find this to be a
credible threat. It`s not like we`ve been issued anything from the
Department of Homeland Security or the Department of State. I mean, this
is free speech. This is a movie. It`s a comedy about two reporters trying
to get rid of Kim Jong-un. And by the way, since there was al-Qaeda in
North Korea? I don`t remember that. So I find this to be a little bit,
the timing of it to be ever so slightly not surprising considering they`re
about to launch this movie.
SHARPTON: And there`s no evidence that this is in any way connected to
North Korea and Kim Jong-un or as Keenan Thompson would say, Kim Jong-u.n.
But Caroline --
What do you say, should we stop the movie, Christina?
BELLANTONI: Oh, you know, that`s not for me to decide. I will say that,
one, they don`t have a huge advantage in going out there and talking to the
media, because they`re going to get asked this question. And they`re
comedians. They`re not going to have a nuance to diplomatic, you know,
foreign policy strategy answer to the question. And like everybody is
pointed out, this is getting the movie plenty of publicity as it is.
SHARPTON: Christina, Jimmy and Caroline, thank you for your time tonight.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Thanks, Rev.
BELLANTONI: Thank you.
SHARPTON: When we come back, the Affordable Care act is working and
finding unlikely allies.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, big new numbers for the Affordable Care Act.
The Obama administration says, nearly 2.5 million people have selected
plans since enrollment began in November. Last year, it took three months
to reach that number. This year, they did it in half that time. In a
radio interview yesterday, the President said, despite last year`s slow
rollout, the law is picking up steam and is here to stay.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The last time we spoke about this
was a while back and, you know, I think people were still uncertain about
whether or not, you know, the Affordable Care Act was right for them. And
since that time, we`ve had 10.3 million uninsured adults sign up for
coverage, every survey shows that the vast majority are satisfied.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And more and more republicans agree, the GOP governor of
Tennessee now wants to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare. The governor
insists he opposes the law, but admits that it will help 200,000 people in
his state get coverage. We`ve seen one GOP governor after another reverse
course on this. And do the right thing. So in year two of ObamaCare, the
law is working, better than ever before. And more people are signing up.
So if you had a New Year`s Eve party this year and stuck next to someone
who watches too much FOX News, you can give them the good news about
ObamaCare. And there is a lesson that one can learn. If you`re doing what
will be helpful to people, ignore the noise, ignore the critics and serve a
good cause and serve the people. In the end, good will outrun bad every
time. No matter how noisy it is, good will always outrun bad. And that is
what happens when people with preexisting conditions and young people and
others can now get coverage.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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