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PoliticsNation, Friday, February 13th, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: February 13, 2015
Guest: Jim McDermott, Marq Claxton, Kendall Coffey, Mohammed Abu-Salha,
Zerlina Maxwell, Eric Guster, Victoria Defrancesco-Soto, Kenan Thompson

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Breaking news tonight on the investigation into the triple murder of three
Muslim students in North Carolina. Right now investigators are trying to
figure out if hate was the motive.

New on this case tonight, a loud call for a federal hate crime
investigation. A new FBI inquiry and words of comfort from the president.
All three victims were shot in the head at their apartment complex Tuesday.
Chapel Hill police say this man, Craig Hicks, pulled the trigger because of
a fight over a parking spot. But now the FBI has a separate inquiry to see
whether any federal laws were broken.

Also today, close to 150 civil rights groups say murder charges do not go
far enough. Sending a letter to attorney general Eric Holder asking for a
federal investigation into the murders.

Quote "the circumstances surrounding this incident, previous threats by Mr.
Hicks, combined with the sentiment expressed in Mr. Hicks` social media
posts warrant a federal hate crime investigation."

One victim`s sister said she will fight for justice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. SUZANNE BARAKAT, SISTER OF VICTIM: I think it`s absolutely insulting,
insensitive and outrageous that the first thing they come out and say and
issue a statement that this is a parking dispute.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is a case gripping the nation with an outpouring of support
for the victims` family.

Joining me now is the father of the two women killed, Dr. Mohammed Abu-
Salha.

First of all, doctor, my condolences to you and your entire family.

DR. MOHAMMED ABU-SALHA, FATHER OF SISTERS KILLED: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: And first, how are you and the rest holding up? How are you
feeling? How are you doing?

ABU-SALHA: I`m OK. We`re patient and we`re enduring and we are submitting
to God`s will. We`re in severe pain. Gut-wrenching primal fear that we
had to face and we will live through it.

SHARPTON: How do you want the world to remember your daughters?

ABU-SALHA: My daughters and my son-in-law, they have told the world how to
remember them already. I don`t have to say much. Yes, we raised them, me
and their mother, but they taught us a lot. They proved to the world that
this is a great country where they can grow up with diversity, as the
president quoted my older daughter who`s deceased now and where they felt
comfortable being with everybody else and being all one, with all colors
and shades of skin and belief and faith and ethnicity.

We`re all American. Excuse me, we`re all American. Excuse me for
beginning to lose my voice, I`ve been fatigued with interviews all the
time. I just -- I just want to remember that my daughters have lived for
peace. They have loved everybody. They would not even allow us to
backbite if we`re angry with anyone. That is forbidden in our faith. They
celebrated the American dream. They did all kinds of charities for all
kinds of people. They fed the hungry and the homeless downtown Raleigh
many times, cooking in our kitchen at home and taking loads of containers
of food. They volunteered at the missions of mercy clinics for treating
the indigent and uninsured and providing aid to dentists who volunteered
there. They also volunteered overseas at refugee camps and carried on with
a lot of activism here and fund-raising activities for all kinds of causes
that are humanitarian.

SHARPTON: Wow. You`ve been outspoken, doctor, that this is a hate crime.
What leads you to that conclusion?

ABU-SALHA: Sir, when somebody`s children die, it is not time to fake
anything or pretend or tell any lies. It is a time of truth, at least what
I owe my children and the world. Our oldest (INAUDIBLE) came to us two or
three weeks before the murder and shared with us that she felt that Steven
Hicks was a man who hated them for how they looked and the way they were.

I`m not quick to point fingers, and I would like to think this was an
outrage over a silly dispute and somebody who lost his mind, but that was
not the case. This man has lived at the complex for years and he had an
issue with parking for years. I was told to where towing companies even
abandoned that area to tow any cars. And he never the any issue with my
son-in-law who lived there a year and a half. Deah was 6`3", all white,
the average looking American kid. Nobody would tell what Deah`s ethnicity
was. He just fitted in, and he always wore sport clothes and was athletic.
So Mr. Hicks did not figure out what Deah was and did not have a major
issue for him for the one year and a half that he lived in that apartment
until my daughter got married to him December 27, 2014. And I danced at
her wedding in this suit I`m wearing now, and she moved in. And then Mr.
Hicks lost his mind when she moved in.

SHARPTON: So he didn`t have a problem until this young man married your
daughter?

ABU-SALHA: I -- I don`t know that he ever had any issue. They never
complained of him before, until he got married and my daughter moved in one
week after her wedding and her honeymoon and then trouble began. And he
did make it clear to her that he didn`t like her and didn`t like her
friends. And he picked up not just on the parking but sometimes because
there was noise, because she had five or six friends. And our Muslim kids
do not party, they do not drink, they do not make noise, they do not play
music loud, so he was really zoning in on certain victims. And he never
hurt anybody before, though he picked on parking before for years.

So why now, and why execution style? Why bullets in the back of the heads?
If you`re angry with somebody and you get enraged, you shoot them in the
face, in the chest, in the leg, and then you run away or flee. But that
was execution, sir.

SHARPTON: The president spoke out on this. What did that mean to you,
doctor?

ABU-SALHA: That means a lot. President Obama and Miss Michelle Obama and
their condolences to us help us bring this nation together. We`re not here
to divide this country. We belong here. We have blended our blood with
the soil. We raised our children to honor any country they live in and to
be loyal to it and to their community.

President Obama, by acknowledging our pain and calling us, assures us for
what he stood and what this country stands for. And this is really an
honor to show our families where we came from and the world that we were
not wrong when we came here and we believed in this country.

SHARPTON: Dr. Abu-Salha, thank you, first of all, for being here tonight.
And you again have our condolences. We all give our deep condolences for
your terrible loss and your seeking of justice has our full prayers to you
and your family.

ABU-SALHA: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

SHARPTON: Joining me now are Marq Claxton, former New York police officer
and director of black law enforcement alliance and former U.S. attorney,
Kendall Coffey.

Thank you both for being here.

KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Thanks, Reverend.

MARQ CLAXTON, DIRECTOR, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: We just heard from the victims` father say that this is a hate
crime.

Marq, what do you think?

CLAXTON: Well, there obviously was a tremendous amount of hate. And he
spoke briefly about the number of shots into the victims, the manner in
which these victims were shot, et cetera.

SHARPTON: Shot from behind, back of the head, execution style.

CLAXTON: Absolutely. The challenge that the prosecutors will face and
part of the ongoing investigation will have to, you know, will have to deal
with what was the direct motivation for the crime, whether or not it was as
it was simplified initially about a parking spot or whether there was some
animus regarding any kind of religious, cultural, ethnic reason. So there
is a challenge when establishing some type of a hate crime, but I think the
investigation will clearly show that there is enough to proceed with that
avenue.

SHARPTON: Kendall, was it a hate crime?

COFFEY: Well, there`s certainly many reasons to be glad the FBI are
investigating it. It doesn`t look like road rage. The execution-style
killing, the obvious circumstances, and there`s a lot more that`s going to
come out. Hate leaves a trail. The FBI is going to be looking at his
email, the kind of things he communicated with texts, speaking to co-
workers, speaking to neighbors.

They`re going to collect a lot of information, but it doesn`t look like
some kind of angry guy who had been just a ticking time bomb for years and
then just happened to stumble into these folks. It looks like a thought-
out, hateful killing. And it has to be proven beyond and to the exclusion
of reasonable doubt to maintain a federal charge for a hate crime but I
think that`s something that`s being very, very seriously looked at and for
good reason.

SHARPTON: Here`s what we know about the suspect. Warrants say police
found 12 guns and ammo in his apartment. His favorite movie is "Falling
Down" about a shooting rampage and he posted against religion on facebook.
We are learning about little by little. What will his background mean for
this case and investigation, Marq Claxton?

CLAXTON: It will be very significant. I think all of these things are
relevant. You mentioned social media, all of the communications they can
access, the emails, et cetera. Even the previous contact with these
victims or other neighbors from the area, I think it can be very telling a
lot of times. Hate does leave a trail and it`s the job of the
investigators really to go back and piecemeal it and find out and, you
know, follow the bread crumbs if you will to determine if it was a clear
motivating factor. If this person was guided and led and acted based on
hatred of ethnicity, religion, color, whatever it is.

But that investigation will be extensive and it will reveal a lot of
details, intimate details about this individual, the perpetrator, and
perhaps the motivation for this crime.

SHARPTON: Neighbors say, Kendall, that they felt threatened by hicks.
Listen to one describe him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAMANTHA MANESS, SUSPECT`S NEIGHBOR: He was aggressive when it came to
things like parking and noise. I`ve seen and heard him be very unfriendly
to a lot of people in this community. Equal opportunity anger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She says he was angry at everybody. How does that play into
this investigation, Kendall?

COFFEY: Well, it certainly doesn`t make him anything more of a sympathetic
character. The key thing is he didn`t shoot anybody else. And instead, as
the father, and it was very, very heart wrenching to hear his comments on
your show, Reverend. But as the father explained, there wasn`t really a
problem until the wife moved in and she`s there with her sister wearing
traditional Muslim head scarves. And that seems to be something that was a
catalyst for this killing.

So he might have been a bad guy to begin with, but nothing prompted him to
take a gun and shoot people in the back of the head until he was looking at
these three individuals who are undeniably people of Middle Eastern
ancestry and people of a different faith.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s an important story and we`re going to keep following
it.

Marq Claxton, Kendall Coffey, thank you both for your time tonight.

COFFEY: Thanks, Reverend.

CLAXTON: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Well, coming up, we`ll tell you why this photo is the saddest
picture in Washington today.

Also, you just knew it was coming. You knew it was coming. The GOP freak
out over president Obama`s BuzzFeed video.

Plus 40 years of "Saturday Night Live," who`s coming out and who`s not for
the big reunion party this weekend. I`ll talk about it with SNL star,
Keenan Thompson. I`ll also have a few questions for him about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All over the country there are protests. 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: That`s right, Rev. meets Rev., coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Republicans have big plans for the big Congress but they have
run smack into reality. We`ll talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Republicans promised to knock our socks off in this new
Congress. They were going to amaze and astound us with their conservative
agenda. Instead, we`re getting scenes like this.

Speaker John Boehner held a sad little signing ceremony today for a bill
that President Obama has already said he`ll veto. It`s just kind of
pitiful. They`re going nowhere fast, and it continues the string of GOP
failures in 2015. Stall the tax on affordable care act, the Dodd-Frank
bank reform law and now the president`s immigration actions. Right now
Republicans are holding funding for homeland security hostage to roll back
the president`s executive actions on immigration, but it`s back fired and
turned into a political hot potato.

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans told House Republicans to take care of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: And so the next move,
obviously, is up to the house.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But two days later, house Republicans said don`t look to them
for action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: House Republicans have
passed a bill, we`ve done our job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Somebody in the GOP better do their job, and fast. The clock is
ticking. There are just two weeks to go before homeland security funding
runs out.

2015 has been a big disappointment for the GOP, but they shouldn`t drag the
country down with them.

Joining me now is Congressman Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington. Thank
you for being here.

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Good to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: Congressman, Republicans finally control both houses of
congress, so have things so wrong for them, how has this happened?

MCDERMOTT: Well, you know, Rev., my mother said to me always be careful
what you wish for. And Mitch McConnell has been wishing for control of the
House and Senate, and now he`s got it and he`s painted himself into a
corner. He can`t get the Republicans to come to a resolution on a bill
that has to pass.

He`s only got four legislative days left. We`re going to be gone all next
week, back in our districts, and then we`re going to come back for three
days and we will have no homeland security department funding and the 27th
or 28th of February.

SHARPTON: So by the 27th, 28th, we don`t have any homeland funding. And
you know Republican Congressman Charlie Dent is calling on his party to
stop playing around with homeland security funding. Listen to this,
Congressman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: At some point we, the house
Republicans, must be the adults in the room and come, you know, February
24th or 25th, we`re going to have to send over another bill to the Senate.
The bottom line is we do have to pull the bandage off the scab.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean do Republicans, do your colleagues in the Republican
party realize the risk they`re running by playing these games, Congressman?

MCDERMOTT: Well, it`s pretty clear that there`s a large majority of them
who are not in touch with reality. There are some guys like Charlie Dent
and others who recognize that the job of the majority is to govern. You
have to make decisions. You have to make compromise. You won`t get
everything you want.

But there`s still isn`t people in the back saying yes, we can do all we
want and we`ll just sit there and we will force the president. Well,
they`re going to find out that he`s tough and this is not something he`s
going to give in on. And I think it`s going to be a learning lesson for
this Congress, for these new people, that you can`t use these kind of
bullying tactics to try and get legislation through. It never works.

SHARPTON: We are talking about bullying tactics, leading the charge is
Senator Ted Cruz once again, just like he did in the last shutdown in 2013.
Here he is then and now. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Ask if Harry Reid and President Obama are
willing to try to shut the government down in order to insist that
Obamacare be fully funded now.

For Senate Democrats in a partisan vote to filibuster funding for the
department of homeland security is both reckless and irresponsible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean he blamed the Democrats then, he`s blaming the Democrats
now. I mean it would be funny if it wasn`t so serious what they`re doing
here. But I mean how do the Republicans think they can get away with this?

MCDERMOTT: Well, I think, Rev., that they think the American people aren`t
watching and the people aren`t paying any attention. But everybody is
worried about our national security. We counting on the department of
homeland security to give us that security. There are fence against what`s
coming in from the outside. And if we simply open the gate and say, well,
we`re going to go home and we`re not going to pay the people, and then
you`re leaving us open to the kind of things that people are worried about.
They`re making a terrible mistake in thinking the American people aren`t
watching what`s going on here.

SHARPTON: Congressman Jim McDermott, thank you for your time tonight.
Have a great weekend.

MCDERMOTT: You`re welcome.

SHARPTON: Coming up, file this one under least surprising things. The
right wing attacking President Obama`s viral video.

Plus the legend of the notorious RBG. Why the Supreme Court justice says
she wasn`t 100 percent sober at the state of the union.

And tonight 30 rock is electric, gearing up for SNL`s big 40th anniversary
show this weekend. Tonight Keenan Thompson stops by, and you might see
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All Republicans want to do is spout conspiracy -- I`m
sorry? Oh, I`m sorry. Excuse me. Conspiracy theories.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: I`ll go one on one with Keenan Thompson ahead of "Saturday Night
Live`s" 40th anniversary show. That`s right, Rev. is meeting Rev. You
don`t want to miss this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": Time now for "Conversation
Nation." Joining me tonight, Zerlina Maxwell, Eric Guster and Victoria
Defrancesco Soto. Thank you all for being here.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, ESSENCE: Thanks, Rev.

ERIC GUSTER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thanks for having us.

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: We start with a right-wing buzz kill. President Obama did a
surprise BuzzFeed video called things everyone does but doesn`t talk about,
and it was an instant web hit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh. Thanks, Obama.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Thanks, Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. President?

OBAMA: Can I live?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yolo, man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The video was aimed at young people, encouraging them to sign up
for health care before the deadline this weekend. But the right is on the
war path, calling the President tone deaf.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We need to focus on the trouble over there, and what is
the President of the United States doing? He`s making crazy videos for
BuzzFeed.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It just shows you how frivolous he is in executing his
office.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It`s just so tone deaf and like bad taste.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Victoria, is there anything wrong with the President doing this?

SOTO: He is not frivolous and he is not tone deaf. The office of the
presidency by its nature is one of multi-tasking. He`s juggling dozens of
issues a day, domestic and foreign. And in this case he was turning to the
domestic policy that the public cares about that affects us tangibly. And
when I saw that BuzzFeed video, that was the Obama that the country fell in
love with in 2008. It was that fun, hip, cool President Obama that we need
to harness in order to get folks to sign up for health care because, as we
know, health care does not sell itself.

SHARPTON: Eric?

GUSTER: I agree. President Obama went to where the people are, and there
is a quote in the movie "Gladiator" that says "win the crowd" and he wins
the crowd. He goes where they are, on their social media websites, and
reaches them about health care. And President Obama is doing a great job
getting his message out. And that`s why he`s two terms because he`s
reaching out to people that are totally ignored. And everyone does that.
I saw Kenan going to your set, Reverend Al, and I caught a selfie with him
because I`m so impressed with this guy and everyone does this type of
thing.

SHARPTON: Zerlina, I see you nodding your head.

MAXWELL: Yes. I mean, I think that this was a smart move by the White
House. I think that they looked back at the video that they made with Zach
Galifianakis, the between two ferns video and the success of that video.
It went viral and the seven million people signed up for healthcare. Young
people signed up for healthcare at that time and so why not do it again.
What we`re talking about here is something the opposite of frivolous, we`re
talking about life and death. We`re talking about people`s ability to get
health insurance for their kids, for themselves, so that they don`t have to
go bankrupt instead of being able to go to the doctor. So there`s nothing
frivolous about trying to get young people to sign up in droves, and they
have.

SHARPTON: The right wing just doesn`t get it, but next, the growing legend
of the notorious RBG. That`s right. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader
Ginsburg has been getting internet fame for her spirited dissents and
snappy interviews. Earlier this year a photo of Justice Ginsburg
apparently asleep at the State of the Union went viral. And yesterday she
revealed what was going on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG, SUPREME COURT: The audience for the most part
is awake because they`re bobbing up and down all the time. And we sit
there stone faced, the sober judges. But we`re not -- but at least I
wasn`t 100 percent sober because before we went to the State of the Union,
we had dinner together and I vowed this year just sparkling water, stay
away from the wine, but in the end the dinner was so delicious, it needed
wine to accompany it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Zerlina, what do you think of RBG`s confession?

MAXWELL: I mean, I think it`s great and it`s very humanizing. And I think
that they call her notorious RBG because of moments like this where she`s
being so candid. And one of the things I think this points out is that,
you know, Jeff Toobin has spoken about the Supreme Court, talked about the
Supreme Court justices are really a mystery. There are sort of an enigma
to the American people and that really can`t be the case because they`re
deciding things that tangibly impact our lives and are crucially important.
And so if you have a moment where a justice of the Supreme Court, like Ruth
Bader Ginsburg, who I mean her career tackling gender discrimination and
issues like that, reproductive rights, is humanized and you can be --
she`s relatable to people. I think that goes a long way to making the
court not something that is too high off for regular people to be able to
understand and relate to.

SHARPTON: Eric, you`ve faced a lot of judges. What do you think?

GUSTER: I`ve faced a lot of judges and they`re human. They`re human just
like us. And a lot of people don`t realize that. They think they`re the
stone-faced, god behind a robe and so many people don`t realize these
people are human. They love wine with their dinner. Wine will make you
fine and I guess she had a little bit. So, it was a very good moment for
her to tell people, look, I had wine with my dinner.

SHARPTON: Victoria, what do you think?

SOTO: Well, I heard that the enabler was actually Justice Kennedy, that he
was the one that produced the wine going on here but when I heard this, I
said god bless her. You know, she can enjoy life and live life, have a
great dinner and some wine. And who doesn`t have a big dinner and some
wine and nod off. You know, 9:00 was when the State of the Union was. I`m
asleep by that time. So I don`t think there`s anything much here. There`s
been some criticism that Justice Ginsburg is too old to be serving on the
court. I completely disagree. She is sharp as a tack, and if she takes a
nap, who cares.

SHARPTON: Zerlina, Eric and Victoria, thank you for your time tonight.
Have a great weekend and a wonderful Valentine`s Day.

GUSTER: Thank you.

SOTO: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, 40 years of "Saturday Night Live." The biggest
stars, the biggest laughs, and what to expect at the show everybody is
going to watch. I`ll talk about it with SNL star Kenan Thompson. Hey,
that guy looks familiar. We`ll talk about that too.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Live from New York, it`s Saturday Night. The iconic line
opening every episode of "Saturday Night Live" since 1975. But this
weekend, it will be live from New York on Sunday night for a star-studded
party that we haven`t seen before. The SNL 40th anniversary special will
air live on NBC. For over four decades the show has become engrained in
American culture and given us moments that live forever.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We are two wild and crazy guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Look, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger,
cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Jane, you ignorant slut.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, isn`t that special.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Wayne`s world!

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I got to fever, and the only prescription is more
cowbell.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We may never know how many people perished.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You want to celebrate the fourth of July in style, New
York`s hottest club is hello.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The star power will be shining Sunday. Everyone from old cast
members to favorite hosts to musical icons are coming together for the
special, and one of those taking the stage will be Kenan Thompson. The
longest running member of the present cast, for 11 seasons Kenan has been
making America laugh with his hysterical celebrity impressions, including
one I know pretty well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENAN THOMPSON, AS AL SHARPTON: Now, Jim, those in the GOP want to talk
about helping people. What, the wrong camera? Well, which one is it. The
red light? There`s red lights everywhere. On the top. Okay, so this one?
Now wait, you just switched it on me now. No, that`s what I need to be
asking you. Have you ever been on TV before?

(LAUGHTER)

Good evening, I`m Al Sharpton.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Republicans are mad because the Tea Party has been targeted by the earth.
I`m sorry, what? Excuse me, the IRS.

All over the country there are protests. 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: Joining me now is Kenan Thompson, or should I say Reverend Al.

THOMPSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: Kenan, it`s a pleasure to have you here tonight.

THOMPSON: It`s my pleasure, man, thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: We`re going to get to Reverend Al but tell us about the epic
show plan for Sunday. What are we going to see?

THOMPSON: It`s getting crazy, man. I think you`re going to see a lot of
like every, you know, the favorite sketches that you`ve ever seen on the
show, pretty much some version of it. And all the hitters are coming back,
you know, from the original seven, everybody that can make it all the way
up to the present day, everybody is going to be there, along with like kind
of athletes and people that have just been around the show, musical people.
So, it`s going to be crazy.

SHARPTON: Who are you most excited to see?

THOMPSON: I mean, I keep saying Eddie Murphy because that`s the bigger
story for me, you know what I mean, growing up and watching the show and
him never having come back.

SHARPTON: That`s the first time he`s coming back.

THOMPSON: Yes. So I think that`s huge.

SHARPTON: Yes. Now this is a celebration of 40 years of history. Forget
pop culture, SNL is a part of American culture. What is it like being a
part of this, Kenan?

THOMPSON: It`s really surreal. Like I was upstairs just now rehearsing
with Martin Short and Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd and like, I had, you
know, they implemented, you know, what`s up with that into something that
they`re doing, like a best of, you know, a bunch of sketches. And just to
be, you know, be involved in that is crazy to me, you know what I mean?

SHARPTON: Well, who are idols growing up?

THOMPSON: I mean, comically it was like Cosby and Eddie Murphy and Chris
Rock and Chris Tucker. You know, all those people. Dave Chappelle was my
favorite, so.

SHARPTON: Political satire was basically born in studio 8H.

THOMPSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: The show truly impacts the political process. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If I don`t win, I will continue to run in the primaries,
even if there are none. And now for my second announcement.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Remember Mr. Hussein, the venom of the American cobra
spits far and true. Not spitting yet, wouldn`t be prudent.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What`s your name, sweetheart?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Her name is Shakira.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Shakira, that means African princess, doesn`t it?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, like, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, she certainly is beautiful enough to be a
princess. Say, are you going to finish these fries?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m the president of the United States and I need a
straight answer. Am I going to get the spy plane back?

TINA FEY, AS SARAH PALIN: I believe that diplomacy should be the
cornerstone of any foreign policy.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And I can see Russia from my house.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Did you have a favorite political impression?

THOMPSON: That I do is you. You`re my favorite, man.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s become a must stop for politicians themselves. Let`s
watch that.

THOMPSON: Yes, they have to.

SHARPTON: Yes, they have got to do it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Who is that under there?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

FEY: So you dressed as yourself?

OBAMA: Well, you know, Hillary, I have nothing to hide. I enjoy being
myself. I`m not going to change who I am just because it`s Halloween.

FEY: Well, that`s -- that`s great.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Look, would I rather be on three major
networks? Of course. But I`m a true maverick, a republican without money.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I really wish that that had been you.

FEY: No, Loren, you know, I just didn`t think it was a realistic depiction
of the way my press conferences would have gone.

(LAUGHTER)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Do I really laugh like
that? Yes, well --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Who was the best politician to do the show?

THOMPSON: That`s tough because there`s been so many. But I think the most
epic one was Sarah "Tina Fey" Palin.

SHARPTON: Yes.

THOMPSON: Honestly.

SHARPTON: When I hosted a show and that was the year you started, it
amazes me how hard we work all week to get there.

THOMPSON: Right. You remember that.

SHARPTON: I remember that. And going over scripts and all that. And I
remember you were saying y`all don`t give him nothing to make him cuss,
he`s a preacher.

THOMPSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: I`m going back and forth, I remember that.

THOMPSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: I helped start you, boy.

THOMPSON: I give you all the credit. I give you all the credit. You know
my impression is out of love, you`ve got to know that.

SHARPTON: Well, we`ll get to that. You`re the senior cast member.

THOMPSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: You`ve been with the show since 2003. What do you love most
about working with SNL?

THOMPSON: It`s just a group of amazing people, man. The people that write
that show are brilliant. You know? So to be around such brilliance and to
try to splice in what you might think is funny is like a real pleasure, you
know what I`m saying? I didn`t really necessarily go to Harvard like that
but there`s a lot of Harvard cats I get to hang out with and call my
friends. You know, I mean, I think that`s really cool.

SHARPTON: Kenan, stay with me. When we come back, your impression,
Reverend Al meets Reverend Al. Are you ready?

THOMPSON: I`m ready.

SHARPTON: You don`t want to miss this one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with SNL`s Kenan Thompson. Ahead of SNL`s 40th
anniversary show, we`re about to get to you doing me, but you actually hold
the record for the most celebrity impressions on the show. Let`s take a
look at some of them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON: People got all kind of phobias. Ain`t no reason to judge
anybody. You see I got this thing where I`m scared that after I fall
asleep, my mustache going to slide down my throat and choke me to death.

And it`s a beautiful day in most of the country. We`re looking at
afternoon temperatures in the 60s and 70s.

The original goal of the 999 plan was to get me a show on FOX News. At
9:00. But if America is looking for catchy, unworkable solutions to
complicated problems, Herman Cain will keep them going.

I don`t know even hold a mirror. The last time I looked in the mirror, I
gave myself one of these.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Who is your favorite celebrity impression?

THOMPSON: I mean you`re definitely up there. If it was between one and
two, it would be you and probably Whoopi. Whoopi is definitely another one
of my favorites.

SHARPTON: All right. Let`s get down to business. You`ve been doing me
for over three years now.

THOMPSON: I`d say longer than that.

SHARPTON: Okay. I guess we have to roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON: Joining me tonight are Kelly O`Donnell, an MSNBC analyst here in
our studio.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Nice to be here.

THOMPSON: And Jim Vandehei of Politico.com.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hello, Reverend. It`s Vandehei.

THOMPSON: And a big Vandehei back to you.

This Eric Garner decision has upset me so much that in three days I have
gained over 100 pounds.

(LAUGHTER)

THOMPSON: Excuse me, www.healthcare.gov is now capable of handling 800,000
folks a day.

All republicans want to do is spout conspiracy the owe rise. Oh, I`m
sorry, excuse me. Conspiracy theories.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: How did it start, was it your idea or a writer or Loren
Michaels? How did this started?

THOMPSON: No, I saw that you had a show. And I was like, well, this is,
you know, good for us because you know, that`s the thing that they do is
talk shows like really well, and it`s good for me because it gives me a
character to do on the show. You know what I mean, it would be good for
like cold opens and you get to say live from New York and stuff like that.

SHARPTON: Give me the art of you doing your impersonation of Sharpton.
How do you get yourself --

THOMPSON: It`s just in my ears. It`s what I hear from you. I hear that
boisterousness. You know, you talk with such a gruff and it`s kind of a
thing. I don`t know, it`s embedded in you. And it`s like just little
twangs.

SHARPTON: You`ve got to get a little gruffer than that.

THOMPSON: Well, when I`m really doing it, yes, I feel you, though.

SHARPTON: See, you`ve got to lose a little more weight so you can have
more hair.

THOMPSON: I know, Rev. Yes, I`m weighing on myself.

SHARPTON: I don`t want you -- you know, how many hours, did you watch any
tape? What did you do?

THOMPSON: I watch the show. You`re on like every night, so I watch.

SHARPTON: So you watch the show?

THOMPSON: Yes. You`re a black leader, so like I pay attention to what you
have to say.

SHARPTON: Okay. So you`re more than a comedian?

THOMPSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, we`re cool. I mean, we know each other now for
12 years or so, worked on the thing. But do you ever worry about mocking
people if you have to see them after you impersonate them and they may not
take it well?

THOMPSON: For sure, I was really scared about running into Star Jones back
in the day. I saw her in traffic and I was in the cab and I like ducked
down in the seat when she was crossing the street. And yes, she`s a larger
lady so I didn`t want to have any problems with her back then, you know
what I`m saying. But honestly like everybody is pretty cool because we
just, you know, have fun. It`s not like I`m doing anything to be mean, you
know what I`m saying, it`s just all out of fun, so.

SHARPTON: No, but let me tell you, people ask me and I think it`s nothing
but fun if you can`t laugh at yourself and it`s flattering. And let me
tell you something, all jokes aside. I was reading the other day -- you
about me. If I`m going to be impersonated, I`m very honored to be
impersonated by one of the best in the business.

THOMPSON: I appreciate that, man. You know, it comes out of respect,
honestly. You have to like make an impression with somebody for them to do
an impression of you, you know what I`m saying, so you`ve definitely done
that.

SHARPTON: Well, I thank you for that and I`m looking forward to the
anniversary. I`m going to be there.

THOMPSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: I`m missing the all-star game to be with y`all that night.

THOMPSON: We`re going to represent, man.

SHARPTON: All right. You`ve got to represent. So I want everybody to be
there and root for my main -- I`m glad to have you on. Kenan Thomas -- oh,
Kenan Thompson? Thanks so much for doing this. SNL 40th anniversary
special, live Sunday 8:00 p.m. Okay, Kenan, or should I say Reverend Al,
you take us away.

THOMPSON: I can do that. Which one is my camera? Am I over here or --
I`m right here? Which one is it? It`s this one? That one. Okay. Coming
right up, we`re going to be talking about something, just stay tuned for
it, coming back from commercial.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.

THOMPSON: We`ll be right back.

SHARPTON: Kenan Thomas, Kenan Thompson -- Kenan.

THOMPSON: Reverend Sharpton.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s time to say Happy Valentine`s Day to everyone out in
POLITICS NATION. Or should I say Revallentine`s Day. That`s right, it`s
time to hand out our own version of Valentine`s Day cards, so let`s get
right into it. Our first card goes to Alabama chief Justice Roy Moore.
We`re hoping this valentine will warm his cold heart on gay marriage. It`s
the season for love, not for trying to block it. Our next card goes to
Chris Christie. It`s just our way of trying to heal the heartache of the
governor hitting his all-time low in approval ratings in New Jersey. This
year we`re also looking at Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell. They
have had a tough time lately. Their relationship has been on the rocks.
Maybe a revalentine will patch things up. And our biggest valentine goes
to Jon Stewart. We had 16 good years together, Jon. I know your heart is
not in it anymore and it`s time for you to find someone else. As always,
our last revalentine goes to you. All of our viewers out there in POLITICS
NATION. This relationship just gets better as it gets older. So Happy
Valentine`s Day to all of you. Spend a good day with someone you care
about, and an even better day with somebody that cares about you.

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

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

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