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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: December 23, 2014
Guest: Jonathan Capehart, Michelle Cottle, Angela Rye, Jimmy Williams,
Zerlina Maxwell, Eric Adams


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks to you for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, worst socialist ever. Today records broken on the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe it`s what`s due.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The S&P has not fallen four days in a row all year
long. And the last time that happens -- never.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take a look at your screen, the Dow now officially
topping 18,000.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: For years, Republicans have tried to rip the president on the
economy, which was wrecked during the Bush years. They said President
Obama has waged a war on job creators. They`ve covered the right-wing
media with doom and gloom.

But today, a true reality check. The stock market hit an all-time high
today, closing 18,000 for the first time in history. It`s now up 127
percent since President Obama took office, a fact.

New numbers show the economy beat all predictions, growing at least five
percent last quarter. That`s the strongest growth in 11 years, a fact.

One of the big drivers, consumers are spending more, feeling better each
day about the economy, another fact.

Six years ago, President Obama inherited the worst recession in a
generation. And today after all the attacks and insults, even Republicans
had to give the president credit, right?

After hammering him for years about the economy and rushing out a tax
statement any time the economic news wasn`t good, today was the first time
for Republicans to join together in joy at this new strong economy. So --
no, I can`t hear you now.

Speaker Boehner was completely quiet today. Not even a statement. Senator
McConnell also joined the witness protection program. The Republican
National Committee, missing. As was the Republican Governor`s Association.
Somehow, they just couldn`t think of anything to say. Make no mistake,
there`s still work to be done on this economy to make it reach the many
Americans to whom improvement still is too faint.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over the past four years,
we`ve put more people back to work than all other advanced economies
combined. We`ve now come to a point where we have the chance to reverse an
even deeper problem. The decade`s long erosion of middle-class jobs and
income, and to make sure that the middle class is the engine that powers
our prosperity for decades to come.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But today, a dramatic, real-world answer to the great right-wing
myth. The president doesn`t understand the economy? Well, that`s a myth,
proven today.

Joining me now, a former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell and Jared
Bernstein, former chief economist for vice president Biden. Thank you both
for coming on the show.

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Rev.

ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR, PENNSYLVANIA: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Governor, where are all the Republican leaders today?

RENDELL: Well, you know, it really follows a pattern. And it`s not just
on the economy, Rev. It`s on everything that the president has done.
Initially, they pounded him on Ebola. And yet it turned out America and
the NIH today and the Obama administration did a brilliant job on Ebola.
And there was total silence, total silence.

On ISIS, they ripped him and said he didn`t have a plan for ISIS. Well,
they came out and built this incredible coalition that for the first time
had Muslim nations willing to drop bombs on Muslim terrorists. Something
that had never been done before and there was not a word to be said
praising the president.

So this is just a pattern. This president couldn`t do -- it reminds me of
the famous Jesse Jackson joke where he said that if he went to the banks of
lake Michigan and walked across the lake, the Republicans would say
President Obama can`t swim.

SHARPTON: Right.

RENDELL: And that`s basically what we have here. He can swim. He`s done
a good job on the economy. If not roaring back, we`ve made steady
progress, things are turning the corner and not a word of praise. Not a
word of praise.

SHARPTON: Jared, put these numbers in perspective for me. Break it down
so the average person can understand it that didn`t go to economic school.

BERNSTEIN: Sure. Well, look. The GDP or gross domestic product, that`s
the value of the goods and services in our economy. And while as you
correctly pointed out, growth isn`t everything, there`s still a matter of
who benefits most from how that growth is distributed to different parts of
the economy. You can`t get anywhere without solid growth.

I mean, it`s certainly necessary if not sufficient for the well-being of
the middle class, now we have numerous quarters of really pretty impressive
growth. For the last two quarters, the last half year, GDP has grown 4 and
5 percent. Go back a few quarters, you see two or three percent. So a
real acceleration there. And that growth path is matched by increase in
the job market --

SHARPTON: That`s where the rubber begins to meet the road.

BERNSTEIN: So a stronger growth leads to more employment. The unemployment
rate is beginning to come down. The job market rate is going to have to
get even tighter if we want the benefits of this growth to be more broadly
distributed.

SHARPTON: And we got to deal with wages.

BERNSTEIN: Exactly. It`s showing up in GDP. It is showing up in the stock
market. It is still not quite there in the paychecks.

SHARPTON: It is not there in the wages. President Obama says, Governor,
that America`s going through a resurgence. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The six years since the crisis have demanded hard work and
sacrifice on everybody`s part. But as a country, we have every right to be
proud of what we`ve accomplished. More jobs, more people insured, a
growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, booming energy.
Pick any metric that you want, America`s resurgence is real.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now is this America`s resurgence, Governor?

RENDELL: There`s no question. The most telling statistic in the first
clip you showed in the president is that we have put more people back to
work since the 2008 recession than all of the other countries of the world
combined. Think about that. That`s stunning. This is an American
resurgence. And if the president had gotten the things he asked for in his
jobs bill, like an infrastructure program that would produce middle-class
jobs that pay $60,000, $70,000 a year, then you would see the wage
disparity begin to grow. But they turned the president down on virtually
everything he asked in the jobs bill. Notwithstanding that, this economy
is definitely resurging.

SHARPTON: Now Jared, let`s get into that. Because that`s where a lot of
concern for me and a lot of progressives are. There`s a lot of good
economic news, but there`s something we have to deal with. The stock
market has been on fire. But look at this. Wages for everyday Americans
have stayed relatively flat. How can we address this challenge?

BERNSTEIN: Well, what you`re really seeing there is the outcome of this
economic inequality problem that we`ve talked about, the president talks
about, and Governor Rendell is absolutely right. He`s tried to take
measures that would help there. I think what`s really going to make a
difference.

As I said earlier, is, as the economy continues to tighten and the job
market gets better, workers are going to get more bargaining power that
they`ve lacked thus far. Right now, if you think who has the bargaining
power in this economy, it`s really been corporate America, that`s where the
growth has been going. But as the job market tightens up, you will see
workers get a bit more clout, able to basically bid up some severe the
wages that they depend on. And now, for that to happen, Congress has to
not screw things up. The federal reserve has to keep things on track, but
at the pace we`re going, I do think we`ll get there.

SHARPTON: Now, Governor, you know, every year, every single year, the
Republicans have attacked President Obama on the economy. I mean, since he
took office. Republicans have attacked him on every way in every shape and
form they could on the economy. Listen to Speaker Boehner since 2009.
Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The administration`s
trillion dollar stimulus plan is not working.

Repeal the Obamacare and replace it with common-sense reforms that will
bring down the cost of health insurance, and protect American jobs.

I don`t believe most Americans think that the president`s policies have
helped our economy.

The president still isn`t serious about dealing with this issue right here.
It`s this issue. Spending.

Do something. How about anything? To help create American private sector
jobs.

I believe the president`s policies are getting in the way of jobs being
created in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, being this wrong this long, Governor, will this come back
to bite the Republicans?

RENDELL: Well, I think if the economy continues to grow over the next 12,
14, 15 months, it`s going to be a very difficult 2016 for the Republicans,
no question about that, Rev. No question.

But again, I`d ask people, when they think about this resurgence, and
people say, well, there`s still too many people out of work. Wages haven`t
grown. Think back for a second to what President Obama inherited. When he
put his hand on the bible in 2009 to become president, we were losing
750,000 jobs a month, 750,000 jobs. Go from there to where we are today
with the news today, it`s incredible. It`s a significant resurgence. Not
all the elements of the economy are there yet, but we`re getting there and
the president deserves his share of the credit.

SHARPTON: Governor Ed Rendell and Jared Bernstein, thank you both for your
time tonight and happy holidays.

BERNSTEIN: Same to you, Rev.

RENDELL: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, breaking news tonight. A reversal from Sony.
Despite threats from hackers, Sony is releasing "the Interview" on
Christmas day in select theaters. Is a full release coming? Could there
be another cyber attack? A big debate on this is coming up.

Also tonight we`re learning more about the heroic lives of the two slain
New York city police officers. How can we heal? What is the way forward?

Plus, another bold move could be coming from President Obama. So what is
Mitch McConnell saying today about deal-making?

And it is the season for giving, "Politics Nation" style. I`ve got my
list. Who is getting a gift? Who is getting coal? It`s all coming up,
please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re learning more about the brave New York police officers who
lost their lives in a senseless act. These were New York`s finest, doing
their work, protecting the city. So how do we heal? Where do we go from
here? The Brooklyn borough president and a former NYPD officer who spent
more than two decades on the force, joins me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re learning more today about the two heroic officers gunned
down in a senseless act of violence. Today a moment of silence at 2:47
p.m., the exact time the officers were executed. Mayor Bill de Blasio led
the tribute at city hall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK: It`s a time of pain for our city. It`s a
time of mourning for two good families. And it`s so important that we all
stand in solidarity with them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Officer Ramos` family will lay him to rest Saturday. And vice
president Joe Biden and his wife will be there. Ramos just finished a
course to become a volunteer chaplain. His grieving family says it`s doing
as well as can be expected.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SINDY RAMOS, OFFICER RAFAEL RAMOS` SISTER: My nephews are -- they`re just
like their dad. They`re going to be fine. He taught them to be good boys.
He loved them. The air he breathed through his lungs was his family. And
they`re going to be good men, just like him. We`re not worried. We`re
good. It`s just hard. The next few days are going to be extremely hard.

LUCY RAMOS, OFFICER RAFAEL RAMOS` AUNT: I hope and pray that we can
reflect on this tragic loss of lives that have occurred, so that we can
move forward and find an amicable path to a peaceful co-existence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Officer Liu`s family is waiting to plan his funeral until other
family members can arrive from China. Today there`s a report that he
shouldn`t have been in the car. "the Daily News" reports he volunteered to
work a fill-in shift. He was a newlywed, a husband for just three months.
His new bride thanked the community for their support.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We would also like to express our condolence to the
Officer Ramos` family. This is a difficult time for both of our families.
But we will stand together and get through this together. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So how do we move forward? How do we begin to heal together?

Eric Adams is the Borough of Brooklyn`s president, and a former NYPD
Officer, who spent more than two decades on the force.

Eric, thank you very much for being here.

ERIC ADAMS, PRESIDENT, BROOKLYN BOROUGH: Thank you.

SHARPTON: I want to talk about how we heal, but before I do that, you were
a police officer. You were that when I first met you years ago. And you
were that for a long time. It`s not easy. What`s it like being out there
on the street working every day? These two were in Brooklyn. Tompkins
house, you and I know the area well. Give people around the country a
sense of what it`s like to be a policeman on the street there.

ADAMS: And that`s so true. Particularly the officers like Officer Ramos
who make the transition and realize it`s so important to spend time in
healing communities. They go beyond the call of duty. He wanted to be a
volunteer chaplain so he can give back and create the right symbiotic
relationship between the police and the community. So it`s a challenge to
fight crime and you don`t get caught up in the belief that everyone in the
community is a criminal. Over 90 percent of the people are attempting to
live a productive life.

SHARPTON: What struck me, so many people in the community were saying,
these were good policemen. Ramos, they knew well, was involved. And a lot
of us that have raised questions on policing, people don`t understand, we
actually are friends with cops. When I knew you for many years, we were
all friends, everybody knew each other. It was just some police issues we
may have raised and disagreed with. But community policing is dangerous,
and it`s something that we need, because it`s dangerous in a lot of the
communities.

ADAMS: So true, so true. And that`s what many people, I believe, attempt
to cloud the issues. When you`re calling for police reform, you`re not
calling for police harm. You`re not calling for harm for anyone. Your
belief is that life is important. And that`s what the belief that those of
us that want to improve the system of policing. People interpret that as
being anti-police. No one wants police officers in their community to
create a form of public safety more than those who are calling for the
reform.

SHARPTON: Now, the mayor had called for a moratorium on protests. There`s
a march going on now. People are walking in the streets. But I think
people are also saying that they respect the police, but there is a protest
going on. What do you think of that?

ADAMS: I understand what the mayor was saying. That was one of the
earliest calls. And I stated during the time that those officers are being
placed to rest, that we should have a moratorium and allow this to go and
allow their families to grieve. Their families are grieving. And I`m glad
you opened your show showing the two families. Because sometimes we don`t
look at the human aspect of this.

These are two families that are in pain. That`s why we had the prayer
vigil at the location, so that police can see, you`re not mourning alone.
We`re mourning with you. You lost a member of your policing family. We
lost a member of our family in the human family and we feel their pain.

SHARPTON: The mayor called for the city to move forward. Listen.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DE BLASIO: There`s a lot of pain right now. We have to work our way
through that pain. We have to keep working to bring police and community
closer together. We have to work for that more perfect union.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: "The New York Times" editorial board wrote today, quote, "Mr. De
Blasio is right when he insists harmony is possible. Hating police
brutality and respecting the police are not contradictory impulses." So
you can raise specific issues without being anti-police.

ADAMS: So true, so true.

SHARPTON: And you were saying that.

ADAMS: We can disagree without being disagreeable. The police union`s
philosophy may be different from the mayor`s, how he implement policies,
but the mayor is the mayor. Police unions should be looking after their
members. They should not be putting in place policies. And I think that`s
where we are now. And When you look at the diverse group of people, these
are the grandchildren of the civil rights movement. They are now saying,
we want to live in a better America. Where lives are not cheap, by
committing minor infractions or no infraction, innocent lives should not
die in America.

SHARPTON: And I think that many people -- I talked to many policemen that
tell me, you know, I agree with what you`re saying, Reverend, I agree with
some of the other things, but I don`t want to be dehumanized. And I think
it is on the other side that we don`t want to be dehumanized. And I think
that someone like you, who had the experience of being an officer for over
two decades, and now an elected official and you were a state senator
before, that has stood on the issues, really understands that both sides
are not as far apart in terms of their reaction to the name-calling on both
sides. Rather than talking about the real issues.

ADAMS: And that is so true. I don`t think people realize how close we are
to being able to find solutions to some of these problems. It`s about
first seeking to understand before you understood. And how do we take this
pain that the mayor talked about and turn it into purpose.

We need to use the incidents around Eric Garner and these two officers,
there`s something biblical around these lives. This is our opportunity to
do so.

SHARPTON: Brooklyn borough chief Eric Adams, an important voice in this
moment in history of the city of New York. Thank you for being here
tonight.

ADAMS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, some great news on the president`s health law. Yet
millions could lose coverage if Republicans get their way.

Plus, it`s a twist straight from Hollywood. Sony makes a new move in the
hacking scandal. And it`s a big one. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Developing news tonight from Hollywood. Despite threats from
hackers, Sony Pictures is releasing the movie at the center of an
international controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The CIA would love it if you two could take him out.
Take him out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take him out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like for drinks?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no. Take him out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like to dinner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take him out to a meal?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take him out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like on the town?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Party?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Take him out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want us to assassinate the leader of North Korea?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama called it a mistake to pull it. What is he
saying tonight? And could another cyber attack be coming? That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Just in today, millions of Americans are getting the gift of
health care coverage for the holidays. New numbers show 6.4 million people
have signed up for health care plans under the Affordable Care Act. All
were re-enrolled. 1.9 million are new customers. I mean, it`s great news.
President Obama talked about everything the ACA has accomplished in his
year-end press conference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thanks to the Affordable
Care Act, about 10 million Americans have gained health insurance just this
past year. Enrollment is beginning to pick up again. During the open
enrollment period, the uninsured rate is at a near record low. Since the
law passed, the price of health care has risen at its slowest rate in about
50 years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The number of people without insurance dropped from 40 million
last year to 30 million this year. Ten million fewer people without health
care. We saw the lowest yearly increase in health care spending since
1960. But despite all the good news, the GOP threat still hangs over the
ACA.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If Republicans seek to take health care away from people who just
got it, they will meet stiff resistance from me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We learned today that on March 4th, the Supreme Court will hear
arguments in another GOP-driven legal challenge to the law. If the court
sides with the challengers, millions of low-income Americans would lose
their health care subsidies. It`s just one of the many political
skirmishes President Obama`s gearing up for, for next year.

Joining me now are Jonathan Capehart and Michelle Cottle, thank you both
for being here.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Thanks, Rev.

MICHELLE COTTLE, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Michelle, what`s in store for the fight ahead on health care?

COTTLE: Well, look, a lot of republicans were still campaigning on the
whole repeal and replace mantra. So I think that they`ll have to kind of
go for it in the House and make some kind of show, but that`s not, I don`t
think, what is the trickier issue here. The trickier issue is the Supreme
Court hearing and that will be what I think the White House really has to
focus on. As a political matter, the higher those numbers tick up with
people enrolling, the harder it is for republicans to pull that benefit.
So I think the Supreme Court thing is what the White House will, you know,
kind of focus on.

SHARPTON: But isn`t that the point, Jonathan, that republicans become the
party against health care, which millions of people are signing up for?

CAPEHART: Right. Look, let`s say the republicans get their act together
and pass a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, as the President said in
the clip you just showed, you know, good luck, they`ll going to meet stiff
resistance from him. But there is an issue with the Supreme Court.
They`re having those hearings in March. But let`s say the Supreme Court
comes back and rules in favor of the people trying to strip those subsidies
away, the Republican Party will have a very big problem on its hands,
because, still, after four years of going up against the Affordable Care
Act, they have yet to offer an alternative health care plan. So if the
Supreme Court comes in and strips the subsidies away, those people who have
health care, the American people who have health care now, are going to
turn to Congress and say, now what? Now what are you going to do to
recover my insurance, to make sure that insurance companies don`t throw me
off my plan because I have a preexisting condition? There will be a world
of hurt for Americans, but also the Republican Party for putting themselves
in that position.

SHARPTON: You agree with that, Michelle? I mean, if the republicans try
or succeed in knocking down health care, is this a big political liability?

COTTLE: It becomes much trickier for them. I mean, it is always easier to
oppose what there exists than to actually get in there and get down to the
details of trying to replace it. So if suddenly they find themselves
backed into a position where they have to come up with something that
people are going to like just as well, then they will have a lot of work to
do.

SHARPTON: You know, Senator Mitch McConnell did an interview with "The New
York Times." And in the interview, he says, quote, "during a private
luncheon with Mr. Obama this month, Mr. McConnell said they focused on
three areas where they believed they could potentially find agreement. Tax
reform, trade promotion, and infrastructure spending. Can President Obama
and Senator McConnell actually find common ground, Jonathan?

CAPEHART: I think they can. Those two individuals, I mean, look, the
President time and time again when he couldn`t depend on Speaker Boehner to
seal a deal to keep the government open or to make sure the country didn`t
go over -- or crash through its debt ceiling, they focused on then Senate
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Now that he`s in the majority, even
though he and the President don`t exactly see eye to eye on a whole lot of
stuff or even get along, they do, at least I know that the President views
Mitch McConnell as someone he can do business with. So as long as Mitch
McConnell can pull his conference along, and as long as republicans in the
House play ball, we could actually see some head way made on those three
areas.

SHARPTON: Well, Michelle, there are some that are saying that the
President and Mitch McConnell actually have a good working relationship.
The way the President would say it, someone he could do business with,
unlike Mr. Speaker Boehner. What are you hearing?

COTTLE: Well, you know, McConnell is known for being a fairly pragmatic
guy. I mean, this does not necessarily make him beloved among some of the
Tea Party radicals, because he knows how to get things done. You know,
that said, it is tough to get things through the Senate. Every senator is
his own little kingdom and you can cause a lot of trouble over there if you
want to. But McConnell is the guy who gets things done and knows how to
get things done. So, you know, it`s promising, I guess.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, the times had an op-ed piece this week talking about
what the President can do in his fourth quarter in office. Quote, he might
find a way to finally close Guantanamo Bay, the prison complex, he could
commute the sentences of the 50,000 non-violent drug offenders who`ve been
sentenced to more than ten years in federal prison. Can Mr. Obama become
our best lame duck to paraphrase him? Yes, he can. Closing Gitmo,
commuting sentences, possibly more action on climate change. What can the
President get done in these last two years, Jonathan?

CAPEHART: Well, that suggestion to commute the sentences was, the timing
on that was just before inauguration. So long after the election is done
and we know who the next president is. Which would I think end up being,
depending on if we were to do that, might be a burr in the saddle of the
incoming Congress and the next president. But look, the President has made
it clear since the midterm elections that he`s not slowing down, and in
fact, with the Cuba announcement, which no one saw coming, it looks as
though the President is revving up. You know, from the folks I talked in
the White House, the President views the next two years not as a lame-duck
time period, but time he`s got left on the clock. And a lot of things left
on his to-do list he wants to get done. And he`s going to push very very
hard to get it done in areas where he can take action on his own as he`s
done with Cuba, as he`s done on immigration, as he`s done, pretty much
since he`s come into office on climate change, he`s going to do it while --

SHARPTON: Michelle?

COTTLE: -- I`m telling Congress to take action on its own.

SHARPTON: Let me get her in because I`m going to run out of time. What
three things quickly would you like to see him do?

COTTLE: Would I like to see him do? I think I`m going to be more
pragmatic and say, I do think that the things you were talking about, you
know, trade, infrastructure, and taxes, I think they`ll work on those,
because they see a path forward. Now, as far as him acting by himself, I
think the Cuba thing was brilliant. And I think he`s much more back in his
groove. He`s got his groove back. He`s kind of committed now that he
doesn`t have to worry about the midterms, kind of taking some action. And
it will be interesting to see kind of what other surprises he may have.

SHARPTON: All right, Jonathan Capehart and Michelle Cottle, thank you both
for your time.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: And certainly a happy holiday to both of you. And sorry to
interrupt you Jonathan but --

CAPEHART: That`s all right, Merry Christmas, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up. Sony pictures reverses cause. A limited release of
"The Interview" movie is happening.

Plus, the holiday season is a party season. Could drinking at work
actually help performance? Wait until you see this study.

And we`re getting our gifts together. Who is getting one? Who gets coal?
"Conversation Nation" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s time for "Conversation Nation," joining me tonight,
political strategist Angela Rye, democratic strategist Jimmy Williams, and
The Grio Zerlina Maxwell. Thank you all for being here tonight.

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thanks, Rev.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, THE GRIO: Thank you, Rev.

JIMMY WILLIAMS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Breaking news out of Hollywood. The show will go on. Sony
Pictures has reversed course. Despite threats from a group saying they are
the hackers, reportedly from North Korea, Sony is releasing "The Interview"
in select theaters on Christmas Day. Up to 200 theaters are expected to
show the movie. Sony saying today, efforts to secure more platforms in
more theaters continue. And quote, "While we hope this is only the first
step of the film`s release, we are proud to make it available to the public
and to have stood up for those who attempted to suppress free speech. The
movie star and Director Seth Rogen responded on twitter, "The people have
spoken, the people have prevailed, Sony didn`t give up. The Interview will
be shown at theaters willing to play it on Christmas Day." Jimmy, what do
you think of this latest twist in this story?

WILLIAMS: I think Sony needs to be bought and the management needs to be
fired. This is a complete debacle. Listen, the First Amendment is the
First Amendment. And the last time I checked, I don`t remember there being
a whole lot of terrorists in North Korea. I mean, there`s al Qaeda or
maybe the Taliban sitting in North Korea, I don`t remember that happening.
Maybe ISIS? And so the idea that North Korea bullied Sony into doing this
is ridiculous. They bungled this from the very beginning. It`s a movie.
It`s a comedy, for gosh sakes. And so, I mean, what more can you say about
it? It`s just all ridiculous. The whole thing is.

SHARPTON: But Zerlina, they got hammered for not showing the movie,
everyone from the president to George Clooney. What do you say?

MAXWELL: And I think rightfully so. I think 2014 forever and always will
go down as the year that a Seth Rogen movie created an international
incident. And that is really ridiculous. I mean, essentially when this
movie comes out, everyone is going to realize that such a big deal was made
out over of something that is essentially dumb and dumber we do, right? An
international version of dumb & dumber. And I just think that we`ve made a
big deal about something that -- yes, it`s important, free speech is
important, not censoring people is important, but we made a big deal out of
nothing and we negotiated with terrorists over a Seth Rogen movie, again,
something that`s so silly.

SHARPTON: Angela, you`ve worked a lot in politics, I mean, there are some
hot issues here. How do you see this?

RYE: So, I also worked on the Homeland Security Committee and while North
Korea may not be known for its terrorist attacks, I think the bigger issue
here and to a Zerlina Maxwell quote, "dumb and dumber" was the fact that
this movie was ever made. I think Sony execs need to be, you know,
challenged on that point. All jokes aside, Jimmy, there`s nothing funny
about the assassination of a world leader, whether we like their politics
or not. That is not a joke. It`s not a game, and it`s not funny. So I
hope that people do not support Sony and don`t go see this movie.

WILLIAMS: It`s called comedy.

RYE: It could be comedy. But I don`t like it. I wish they would have
gave him another name. I really don`t like it. So sorry if I`m sounding
real republican over here, but I`m not feeling this at all.

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: Let me ask you, Jimmy, while Angela has her republican meltdown
--

(LAUGHTER)

REY: Really, Rev?

SHARPTON: Do you think the public will come out? I mean, has there been -
-

WILLIAMS: No.

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: I mean, has there been some level of fear put in the public with
the threats from the hackers? Aside from whether it`s a comedy or not, I
mean, you are dealing with the reality that there was this very public
threat and a lot of people thought it was bluffing. A lot of people may
not know.

WILLIAMS: I think it was a massive pr stunt on their part. I think that`s
what this was. Listen, you know who is going to go see this movie?
Actually, I don`t know anybody that`s going to go see this movie. It
doesn`t mean that it`s a terrible movie. I like Seth Rogen. And by the
way, after Franco`s performance at the Oscars a couple of years ago, when
he was clearly on a different substance other than sobriety --

RYE: Ooh, Jimmy.

(SPEAKING OVER EACH OTHER)

SHARPTON: Yes. But Jimmy, I got to push you here. Jimmy, these e-mails,
though are not a pr scheme. They actually -- wait a minute. They hacked
and got --

WILLIAMS: I understand the hacking.

SHARPTON: -- real e-mails. This is serious. Whether the threat was real
or not, the hacking and the e-mails and the revelations of some of what was
going on and is going on in that company was very real.

WILLIAMS: Yes, absolutely. And if I were the head of Sony Pictures, I
would have doubled down and said, I`ll be damned if I`m not going to
release this film on Christmas Day. I know that the North Koreans hacked
into our system, I`m still going to release this film. They spent $80
million to produce it and make it. For gosh sakes, at least make 80
million bucks so you can call it a draw.

MAXWELL: Like build a school.

SHARPTON: All right. That`s a hot one. Let`s agree to disagree.

RYE: Indeed.

SHARPTON: Stay with me. When we come back, it`s time to hand out some
Christmas gifts, and a little coal. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Angela, Jimmy, and Zerlina. With
just two days left until Christmas, we`re here at "POLITICS NATION,"
getting into the holiday spirit. We`re ready to give out some gifts and
even some coal. Angela, let`s start with you. Who on your gift list this
year for their good work?

RYE: So my gift goes to Ava DaVernay because she`s done an amazing job
with this "Selma" film. And this impact -- so I want to give her a gold-
plated director`s chair.

SHARPTON: All right. And Angela, who deserves the lump of coal in their
stocking this Christmas?

RYE: Well, as you know, last segment, we were talking about things that
were also tacky. So Governor Pataki and his tweet this week about Eric
Holder and Bill de Blasio and their anti-police rhetoric which isn`t true.
So, I just want a former governor to act like true statesmen and take all
of that back.

SHARPTON: Jimmy, your gift?

WILLIAMS: It`s a microphone for Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of
state. And I`m giving her a microphone, because I want her to declare that
she`s running for president. I`m ready for a woman president. I`m tired
of having all these men be president. So, I want Hillary to run, run, run.
So, I`m going to send up a microphone to New York so she can have one, and
do that as quickly as possible.

SHARPTON: All right. What about your coal?

WILLIAMS: That would be all the democrats that didn`t bother to show up in
the elections this past November. Because of them, because of you, not
you, Reverend. But the democrats didn`t show up. We lost the Senate.
Guess what? It`s going to be harder to get back and you should be ashamed.

SHARPTON: And the POLITICS NATION graphic, you can see the elephant is
actually in the booth voting.

(LAUGHTER)

WILLIAMS: That`s right. That`s right.

SHARPTON: Zerlina, what`s your gift?

MAXWELL: I wanted to give outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder a cold
beer and a nice beach view as he`s on his way out. He`s had an incredible
legacy. I think his brutal honesty about race in this country, starting
off with saying we`re a nation of cowards, I`m in all the way through he`s
just been on point and very honest. And I think that looking back, his
legacy is definitely enshrined very firmly.

SHARPTON: And your coal?

MAXWELL: I want to give that to Prosecutor Bob McCulloch who I think all
of America is realizing this week might need to make an appointment with
the bar association -- the state bar.

SHARPTON: All right. Let me give you mine. I want to give my gift to all
of the POLITICS NATION viewers, you that watch us, you that support us, you
that have met us out on the road, whether it was voting, policing, whatever
it is, I give my Christmas gift to you. My coal goes to vice president --
former Vice President Dick Cheney. I would like to give him some truth
serum so that he can take some serum and tell us everything, the whole
truth, nothing but the truth.

MAXWELL: Good luck with that.

SHARPTON: Angela, Jimmy and Zerlina, thank you for your time. Merry
Christmas to all of you.

RYE: Merry Christmas, Rev.

WILLIAMS: Merry Christmas to you, too. Thank you.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back with something that will make you smile. I
promise.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: There`s been a lot of tough news events this year, but we`ve
also seen many examples of kindness that made us all smile. In Houston,
Texas, NFL receiver Andre Johnson bought toys for local children in
protective services.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Got a guitar for my sister. And a football.
(INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: How does that make you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Awesome.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Awesome and happy and joyful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Elsewhere, holiday shoppers are being brought to tears by
absolute strangers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: This man said that he was paying it off for me.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Not so Secret Santas called Lay-Away Angels, show up
at stores and pay off balances for families who can use a hand. No
questions, `tis the season, a waitress in Virginia got tip-bombed, in
unlikely name for a big hearted gesture by an anonymous group of good
Samaritans. For $128 tab, they left a $1200 tip simply to spread holiday
cheer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: In Ft. Lauderdale, a 90-year-old man is continuing to feed the
homeless, despite being arrested for it. The Memphis Grizzlies team intern
Brandon and got a special surprise from members of the NBA team.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The man had a tough time. He lost his car. Somebody
stole it. And everybody chipped in for him for Christmas, it was the
holiday season of giving, and that`s what we wanted to do.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And in Long, Michigan, a local police department decided to play
Santa for the holidays.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The Xbox 1, that`s what your kids want?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That`s the go-to present for your kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Because they`re not going -- but they`re not going to
have it.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Are you serious?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, my God. The kids are going to love this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: 2014 has been a tough year. But also uplifting in so many ways.
And the way you and I can show how we are uplifting in our own ways is,
don`t judge yourself on Christmas by what you receive. Judge yourself by
what you give.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. Have a Merry Christmas. "HARDBALL"
starts right now.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
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