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PoliticsNation, Monday, February 16th, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: February 16, 2015
Guest: James Peterson, Shaun Robinson, Jason Johnson, Victoria Defrancesco
Soto, Joan Walsh, Ed Rendell, Jim Arkedis

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

Tonight`s lead, the GOP`s historic interference with an American president.
It`s president`s day. A day to honor all presidents, past and present,
regardless of party. And yet on the eve of president`s day, a brazen
political attack from Republicans, undermining the commander in-chief.

Speaker Boehner explaining why he invited the Israeli prime minister to
address Congress without telling President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I wanted to make sure that
there was no interference. There`s no secret here in Washington about the
animosity that this White House has for Prime Minister Netanyahu. And I
frankly didn`t want them getting in the way and quashing what I thought was
a real opportunity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Going around the president in a matter of foreign policy. Think
about that. It`s disrespectful, and it contradicts what the speaker said
earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You blindsided the White House with that.

BOEHNER: We gave them a head`s up that morning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Inviting a foreign leader to speak to Congress without talking
to the president is something new. But it`s been the formula for this
Congress. Disrespect and dysfunction.

Speaker Boehner also now says he`s prepared to let homeland security
funding run out, rather than make a deal with Democrats. And a growing
number of conservatives say they`re not sweating a homeland security
shutdown, putting politics over people to attack the president. It`s not
working for Republicans or the country.

Joining me now is former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, DNC former DNC
chair as well, Ed Rendell and salon.com`s Joan Walsh. Thank you both for
being here.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Thanks, Rev.

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

SHARPTON: Governor, I have to go you with this. Speaker Boehner didn`t
want the president to get in the way. I mean, what`s your reaction to
that?

RENDELL: Well, it`s just abysmal for the speaker to have done this. Look,
there can only be one person that conducts United States foreign policy.
Congress has its say in advising and consenting on war. But other than
that, the administration, whether it`s Republican or Democrat, conducts
foreign policy. And America has to speak with one voice.

Once we start speaking with two voices, it shatters any attempt we have to
conduct a cogent and reasonable foreign policy. The speaker should be
ashamed of himself. This is politics at its worst level. I mean, it`s
shocking to me.

When you think that Ronald Reagan chose Tip O`Neil to go over as an
emissary to speak to (INAUDIBLE), think of how far we`ve fallen in those
days when Ronald Reagan and Tip O`Neil, two political polar opposites could
cooperate in the benefit of the country.

SHARPTON: You know, Joan, have you ever seen anything like this?

WALSH: No, I can`t think of anything comparable. I mean, Tip O`Neil is a
great example, you know. Can you imagine Nancy Pelosi doing something like
this to George W. Bush? And the thing that make me feel crazy about, you
now have five former Israeli ambassadors to the United States saying, this
is a big mistake.

SHARPTON: Correct. Five.

WALSH: Five. Not just one or two outliers, but five, including the most
immediate predecessor. So the idea that this is going around -- and to
call it interference, the president can`t interfere, it`s his foreign
policy. He runs foreign policy. So condescending and patronizing.

SHARPTON: Well, you picked the word that I want to use for this next clip
for the governor. He says he`s doing this to help the president. But the
president doesn`t realize it. Watch this, talk about condescending,
Governor Rendell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: Frankly, we want to hear what the prime minister of Israel has to
say, because what we`re trying to do is strengthen the president`s hand in
these negotiations. I understand he says he didn`t want it. He doesn`t
quite understand that we`re trying to strengthen his hand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, he doesn`t understand we`re doing this to strengthen his
hand. I mean, there`s nothing I`ve heard more condescending than that.

RENDELL: Well, it is condescending and it is flat-out disingenuous. The
speaker knows this is going to hurt the president`s ability to conduct
foreign policy, not help it. The president speaks to Prime Minister
Netanyahu often. He doesn`t need to hear from Prime Minister Netanyahu
addressing the Congress. Help like this can be (INAUDIBLE) at all cost.

Look, the speaker is smarter than that. He knows it`s just a political
attempt to embarrass the president. He`s not trying to help him one iota`s
worth.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan, since the president has given his war powers request
to congress, we`ve heard Republicans say they don`t think the president
even wants to destroy ISIS. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t believe that the president really wants to
prosecute a war that would truly destroy ISIL. I don`t think he has any
intention of doing that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there`s a lot of skepticism about the
administration`s commitment to dealing with ISIS or dash or ISIL, or
whatever you want to call them. And that creates a lot of concern.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, that is ugly rhetoric, Joan. And keep in mind, 60
percent of Democrats want Congress to approve the president`s request.
Fifty one percent of independents support it. Fifty two percent of
Republicans support it.

I`m trying to figure this out. Is attacking the president just a knee-jerk
reaction, or even if it doesn`t make political sense, it`s just they don`t
know what else to do, that`s their knee-jerk reaction?

WALSH: Well, this too is something that we`ve seen them do, right?
They`re calling his loyalty to the country into question, they are calling
his competence, but also it`s not just competence. It really is, does he
want to, does he somehow or they don`t say this, but there`s an echo
thereof, does he have dual loyalties? Is he insufficiently committed to
the defeat of our enemies? And it comes up again and again, Rev. Al. I
find it really unbelievable that something like senator Cochran would say
something like that.

We have differences of opinion. I may not agree with the president on all
of this, you may not either. But we can have a debate. But to insinuate -
- not insinuate -- say he doesn`t want to defeat them is just a level of
insult that really has no place in this.

SHARPTON: And governor, here`s a president that brought us out of Iraq, a
president that got bin Laden, on and on and on, and he doesn`t understand
foreign policy, we`re strengthening his hand? And even the Christian
science monitor is writing about how the president has returned to
political rock star status.

Quote, "it`s a curious twist that involves Obama somehow completely turning
the tables on Republicans during what was supposed to be their finest hour.
And clearly the liberal base that once provided the electricity for Obama`s
mega watt stardom is buzzing once again."

Governor, you`ve been around and helped to do a lot of things in your
career. How do you see this playing out, the last quarter of the president
and this Congress? How do you see this playing out?

RENDELL: Well, the Congress, the Republicans may feel pretty heady because
they used the president to win the congressional election in 2014. But
things have turned. And if they do these games and the games are fairly
transparent, everyone knows they`re doing this stuff, not to help the
president, but to try to tear him down, they`re doing it at some
substantial risk to themselves.

And, look, these guys are full of hot air. If they want to get ISIS so
badly, vote to give the president the power to do what he wants to do with
ISIS. There`s no excuse for every Republican not voting. I don`t want to
hear one Republican say this president doesn`t want to get ISIS when they
won`t vote to authorize the president to do what he wants to do against
ISIS. They should shut up until they vote it.

SHARPTON: Governor Ed Rendell and Joan Walsh, thank you both for your time
tonight.

WALSH: Thank you, Rev.

RENDELL: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg`s exclusive interview
with MSNBC. What she said about race relations, women`s rights, and her
own future on the bench.

Jeb Bush won`t talk about the wars his brother started, but can he hide
from the past?

And my red carpet moment with Sarah Palin. You`ll see the conversation we
had. And more of the epic "SNL" show last night. That`s all ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from New York, it`s Saturday night!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is Andre the giant?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that an answer to a question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I was just wondering who he is, Andre the giant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with breaking news out of West Virginia, where a
train, hauling crude oil, has derailed, sending a massive fireball into the
sky. Two nearby towns have been evacuated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw a mushroom cloud about as high as those plume is
now, like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll continue this in a second.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Heavy snow and frigid temperatures are slowing up the clean-up
effort. That dangerous freeze is affecting millions of people across the
country. Temperatures plunging into single digits across the northeast and
mid Atlantic. People in Boston are digging out from a record 62 inches of
snow in the past month, causing roofs to collapse across the region.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s just getting really old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just absolutely brutal. I mean, you can`t even see in
front of you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s miserable, but that`s what New England is. We
just make the best of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Off Nantucket, coast guard rescuers have to brave the elements
to pull a father and son off a sinking ship.

And in Philadelphia, a building on fire, literally froze over as
firefighters put out the flames.

The storms created some freak weather. Just check out Jim Cantore from the
weather channel and his reaction to a rare bout of thunder show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM CANTORE, WEATHER CHANNEL: Oh, yes! Yes, yes, yes, we got it! Oh,
again! That`s a two-fer! That`s a two-fer, baby! Yes! Yes! Again!
That`s a three -- you got to be kidding me! You got to be kidding me!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, there`s a guy who loves his job.

Here`s what it all looks like from space. Lots of white down there.
Everybody -- everybody, please stay warm and stay safe. We`ll be right
back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Developing news tonight in the fight against terror.

On two continents, that fight we saw today, in Libya, reports that 35 more
Egyptians have been kidnapped by ISIS, just hours after this video
surfaced, showing 21 other Egyptian Christians beheaded by the terrorist
group. Those beheadings prompting Egypt to launch air strikes on ISIS
targets today in Libya. It`s a dramatic escalation of the ISIS threat
outside its bases in Syria and Iraq.

This is all unfolding as Denmark says it looks like Islamic radicalism
inspired the suspect in the Copenhagen shootings. Police killed them in a
shoot-out yesterday after he allegedly shot and killed two people and
injured five others in back-to-back attacks. Police have arrested two
people they think helped in the attack. The police have brought them into
custody. And now we have a new audio recordings of the moment he started
shooting first.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do we still say but when we --

(GUNFIRE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now, Jim Arkedis, former defense department terrorism
official.

Jim, thanks for being here.

JIM ARKEDIS, FORMER DEFENSE DEPARTMENT TERRORISM OFFICIAL: Thanks for
having me, Rev.

SHARPTON: Let`s start with ISIS. First, they anger Egypt, now Egypt. Is
provoking Arab powers in the region -- is that really a smart strategy for
them?

ARKEDIS: Well, it`s fascinating what`s going on in Libya right now. You
have this group that is basically they`re a lot of returning fighters who
have spent time in Iraq and Syria and then gone to Libya. Libya is an
ungoverned territory. ISIS has talked about how it`s fertile ground for
them because it is ungoverned. There are a lot of weapons left over from
the Gadhafi era and then it has a lot of radicals who have returned from
Iraq and Syria.

And so this technique, where they`ve kidnapped these captive Christians
from Egypt and then brutally executed them is a way where this group that
has sought allegiance with ISIS and has receive Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi`s,
ISIS` leader`s blessing, has now, it`s almost like they`re trying to show
ISIS` headquarters in Iraq and Syria how serious they are.

And there`s a good possibility, Reverend, that they are on the verge of
trampling on their own message. They`re being so brutal almost in a way
that they are trying to attract more radicals, attack more ideologs to join
our cause, to show that they`re the new kid on the block.

Meanwhile, they`re alienating a lot of average people in the street who
ultimately they depend on to tolerate their existence in a place like
Libya, which is in the midst of cleaning up after a long civil war.

SHARPTON: You know, along those lines, you have militant groups in at
least 11 countries, have declared allegiance or support of ISIS. How much
of this is real connection? And how much is just local groups trying to
piggy back on ISIS` notoriety?

ARKEDIS: That`s an excellent point. And it`s probably as much of the
latter, that is to say, individuals throughout Europe and North Africa who
see that ISIS is the new terrorist network, has sort of displaced Al-Qaeda
to a certain degree, and people who have perhaps had some experience
fighting in Iraq and Syria now return to their home countries and say, we
know some people who were in ISIS, we want to be like them.

Meanwhile, I`d hazard a fairly well informed guess that there`s not much
formal communication between ISIS leadership and these groups that are
trying to pledge allegiance throughout the region.

SHARPTON: Now, shifting to Denmark, here`s what we`re learning about the
suspect in the Copenhagen shootings. Born in Denmark, he has a criminal
record, including violence and weapons arrests and he left prison just two
weeks ago. It doesn`t look like he was affiliated with any terror group.
Is this kind of lone-Wolf attack the biggest concern for security officials
right now, Jim?

ARKEDIS: Well, it`s certainly a very important concern, because
individuals like this gentleman -- I shouldn`t call him a gentleman -- in
Copenhagen can acquire weapons and can identify a target by themselves and
then they can approach the target and shoot it up without formal direction
from ISIS or from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or any number of
terrorist groups throughout the region.

And so, you know, we live in the United States and obviously Copenhagen is
in Denmark, in Western Europe, and we have a strong tradition of not living
in a police state. And so, oftentimes when we have these long actors who
say, you know what, I`m going to go take matters into my own hands, in the
media and conduct my own attack.

In the media, we often ask question, God, what happened in the security
services? How did this guy get through? But ultimately, we don`t want to
be east Germany. There`s a balance between security and privacy in all of
our countries. And no matter how many resources we dedicate to security
services to track these guys who are horrible, horrible folks, the bottom
line is that we can`t actually track all of them all the time.

SHARPTON: Jim Arkedis, thank you for your time tonight.

ARKEDIS: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Justice Ginsburg and her tough comments on race and
this Republican Congress.

Also, Jeb`s come down with a severe case of Bush-nesia, why he doesn`t want
to talk about his brother`s record.

And of course all the highlights from the big "SNL" special. What was
happening behind the scenes here at 30 rock? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Comedians and Democrats got the tease of a lifetime last night
on the big "SNL" special. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next question, yes, Tina.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. No, it`s Sarah, Sarah Palin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry. Sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much do you think Orrin Michaels would pay me if
I were to run in 2016? What if I were to choose Donald Trump as my running
mate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sarah, you`re teasing us. That`s not nice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Jerry`s right, no way we`d be that lucky.

But I do have some news about seeing both of them last night and about the
man many consider the front-runner, Jeb Bush, what he`s saying about his
brother`s legacy. That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: As we celebrate black history month, we`re reminded of the
progress this country`s made in race relations, but we also are reminded of
the major challenges we still face.

We`re just weeks away from the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma to
Montgomery. And while the House unanimously passed a bill to honor the
thousands who marched in 1965, Congress still hasn`t acted to restore the
voting rights act, which was gutted by a Supreme Court decision in 2013.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the dissent on that edition. And in a
new MSNBC interview, she says members of Congress can`t wish away our
country`s history of discrimination.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IRIN CARMON, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: I`m wondering how you see the
current state of race relations in our country.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: People who think you can
wave a magic wand and the legacy of the past will be over, are blind.

CARMON: Should we be worried that all of those agreement achievements
of the civil rights movement are being rolled back?

GINSBURG: Some day we will go back to having the kind of legislature
that we should, where members, whatever party they belong to, want to make
the thing work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We need a legislature that wants all Americans to have
equal rights. And we need more judges like Justice Ginsburg to speak out
when those rights are challenged.

Joining me now is MSNBC`s Irin Carmon. Irin Carmon is the one who
interviewed Justice Ginsburg and MSNBC`s contributor James Peterson. Thank
you both for being here.

CARMON: Thanks, Rev.

JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Irin, great view. Great job. Justice Ginsburg was very
strong in her dissent on voting rights in her opinion that she wrote. What
does she say needs to happen now?

CARMON: Well, what`s interesting, I think there were two audiences
for her comments. One was her fellow justices, the ones who in the
majority opinion in the Shelby county voting rights decision, basically
said, you know what, this history is over, there`s no more racism. We
don`t need the kinds of federal protections that we had to protect voting
rights anymore, so she`s saying, you can`t just wave a magic wand. She`s
also somebody who really believes in a dialogue with Congress, but as we
saw from her comments, she recognizes that Congress is really broken right
now, and if you`re sitting around waiting for Congress, you might wait for
a long time.

SHARPTON: You know, James, a Supreme Court justice really calling the
Congress out, is that unusual?

PETERSON: It`s not unusual from Justice Ginsburg. I think she
believes in the interlocking working relationships between all three
branches of government. And I think her experience with the Lily Ledbetter
Act shows her that when Congress is working, things can actually happen.
And so there has to be that give and take. I think Justice Ginsburg is a
great example of how one branch of government can apply pressure on another
and to make positive change happen in the United States.

SHARPTON: Now Irin, another issue Justice Ginsburg weighed in on was
abortion rights. She thinks overturning Roe versus Wade, quote, "Could
happen, but I think it`s not a likely scenario and we will never see a day
when women of means are not able to get a safe abortion in this country."
But the many abortion restrictions passing at the state level have a major
impact on lower income women. Is this a warning from the nation`s highest
bench?

CARMON: I think it is. And again, like her previous comments, I
think it`s aimed at multiple people. It`s aimed at her fellow justices to
say, here`s a precedent. Women have now for 40-plus years, enjoyed the
constitutionally protected right to end a pregnancy. And it`s also a
message to the country, saying, look at who these restrictions have an
impact on.

PETERSON: That`s right.

CARMON: And she`s somebody who has really constantly looks at the
real-world effects of judicial decisions. She`s an abstract legal thinker
but she`s also someone who`s able to say, look, we hand down these kinds of
decisions, what`s the real-world impact.

SHARPTON: James, some have said Justice Ginsburg should retire while
President Obama is in office so he could name her successor. But she says,
quote, "I will step down when I feel I can no longer do the job full
steam." Is this trying to say the court is above daily politics, James?

PETERSON: It is above daily politics. And by the way, Justice
Ginsburg has earned her right to step down when she`s ready, Rev. I think
Irin`s comments are really important to highlight once again, this is an
intersectional moment in politics when you have Justice Ginsburg saying,
hey, listen, women of means will still be able to have access to certain
kinds of reproductive rights, but poor women and women of color will not.
That`s an intersectional moment when Justice Ginsburg is talking about
people of color and women in a very, very important moment where these
things are being rolled back and I think that is the kind of leadership
that we need on the bench, and she has every right Rev to stay there until
she`s good and ready to retire.

SHARPTON: Irin, when you were talking with her, how does she react to
that kind of question? Do you get the sense that she`s not going anywhere
or does she`s calculated her steps and just won`t say? What is the sense
you got?

CARMON: Well, Reverend Al, I happened to know that she can do 20
push-ups. I don`t think she`s going anywhere anytime soon.

SHARPTON: She can do 20?

CARMON: She can do 20. And she stayed up all night the night before
the State of the Union. She told me that that`s why she fell asleep. She
had a glass of wine, it`s true. But she`s somebody who loves her job. She
said that this is the best job she`s ever had, she doesn`t intend on
leaving. And last year by the way, she used the words I`m very optimistic
about 2016. So she may be waiting for Hillary Clinton to appoint her
successor.

SHARPTON: Yes. Now, you know, you talked about the interview. I
want to -- does she realize she`s become a hero? I mean, to a lot of
younger liberals. I want to play part of your interview where she talks
about seeing Ruth Bader Ginsburg tattoos.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARMON: I wonder have you --

GINSBURG: I saw that, and I thought it was a joke. I thought it was
something you pasted onto your arm. But I`m a little distressed that
people are really doing that.

CARMON: Distressed why?

GINSBURG: Because why would you make something that can`t be removed
on yourself?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, what does she think of all the attention she`s been
getting now?

CARMON: I mean, I think she had a Jewish grandmother moment just
then, she`s like, why do you want to have this forever? But I think in
seriousness, she`s very happy to have the kind of reach that a Supreme
Court justice doesn`t usually have. And I think she really wants young
women to take up with enthusiasm, the same causes that she`s been working
for her whole life.

SHARPTON: And I got to play this part of the tape where she talked
about, she had a little sip of wine before the State of the Union, and
that`s why she fell asleep. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARMON: I got to ask you, by the way, everybody`s talking about the
State of the Union.

GINSBURG: Yes.

CARMON: They`re saying, you said yesterday that you were not 100
percent sober.

GINSBURG: Oh, what I meant was that I had a glass of wine with
dinner. And that, on top of having stayed up all night --

CARMON: So you`re a bit of a lightweight, as we call it?

GINSBURG: I said, I thought to myself, don`t stay up all night. But
then my pen was hot, and so I couldn`t stop what I was doing. And then I
said, just drink sparkling water, no wine. But the dinner was so good, and
it needed to be complemented.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And Irin, this only makes her even more popular and more of
notorious RBG.

CARMON: Right. I mean, should I say by the way, that "Notorious RBG"
is the title of the book that I`m working on which is out on the fall and
currently available for preorder. But I think people like that she`s a
real person, she talks about her family, she talks about having a glass of
wine at dinner. She`s opening up this very secretive court that we don`t
see much of. She`s opening up and showing, I`m a real person with real
convictions, I look at the impact on the world. I`m more than just
somebody in a black robe.

SHARPTON: Out of time, but James, what is her impact?

PETERSON: Her impact is tremendous. She`ll go down in history as one
of the great justices of the Supreme Court. And she`s sort of working on
her legacy beyond the Supreme Court here, Rev. And that`s why she`s been
more engaged in giving a few more interviews and young people are rallying
around her because of that openness.

SHARPTON: Irin Carmon, great interview.

CARMON: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: And James Peterson, thank you for your time. And Irin
forgot to mention, you can preorder the book "Notorious RBG." She didn`t
mentioned it. I mean, RBG, I mentioned it. Be sure to watch more of this
interview on "RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern right here on
MSNBC. She`s also be back on the last word tonight at 10:00.

Straight ahead, Jeb Bush`s W. problem. He doesn`t want to talk about
the past. But can he hide?

Plus President Obama`s famous rallying cry, "yes we can" almost never
made it.

And more on this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There`s only one prescription.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You mean, one cow bell?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Other questions. Hey, Larry David.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hey, how you doing? Look at this!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It was a star-studded occasion.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Time for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight,
"Access Hollywood`s" Shaun Robinson, political analyst Jason Johnson, and
MSNBC contributor Victoria Defrancesco Soto. Thank you all for being here.

SHAUN ROBINSON, HOST, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD": Thank you, Al.

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Rev.

JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL ANALYST: Glad to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: We start tonight with Jeb Bush and the past. According to
"The Washington Post," the former governor doesn`t want to talk about the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan his brother led America into. Quote, I won`t
talk about the past. If I`m in the process of considering the possibility
of running, it`s not about relitigating anything in the past. Jason, can
he get by hiding from the past?

JOHNSON: No. Not at all. Especially if he ends up going up against
Hillary Clinton. Look, everyone is going to look at his name and look at
his past and look at his history. And you can`t tell the audience, don`t
look over here, don`t look over there, only look at what I`m saying. So I
think George Bush is being very foolish with this strategy and the more he
looks like he`s trying to avoid talking about his past, the more people are
going to start digging up everything they can in the swamps of Florida.

SHARPTON: Shaun?

ROBINSON: Well, Rev, you know, I`m going to put an entertainment spin
on this. Do you remember Eddie Murphy`s movie "The Distinguished
Gentleman?" Where Eddie Murphy played this Florida con man name Thomas
Jefferson Johnson and the congressmen in his district had the exact same
name, so what he did is he stole all the campaign materials from that
congressman and he ran on this campaign slogan of "The name you know," and
he ended up winning the election because people were just familiar with the
name. I think really when we`re talking about these upcoming election and
maybe between the Clintons and the Bushes again, we`re talking about the
names you know. And will people, you know, is that something that people
are going to be tired of now? Are they going to be looking for some fresh
blood, if you will? So I think people will be thinking about that when
this presidential campaign comes along.

SHARPTON: Uhm, interesting. Victoria?

SOTO: He is going to be hanging on to this for dear life with this,
let`s just look forward, let`s not look backward. But Rev, where it`s
really going to get ugly, is in the GOP primary. It`s the actual GOPers
who are running for that nomination, who are going to slaughter Jeb Bush in
tying him to his brother`s were. So, I think this is where we really need
to look to. And in wanting to say, well, let`s look to the present, let`s
refocus, we`ve got to look at ISIS and ISIL, these are legacies of the Iraq
invasion. So he`s cornered, he is in an extremely tough spot.

SHARPTON: You know, Jason, Victoria raises an interesting point.
Because before he gets to the democrats and the general election and
worrying about people like those of us that have a public platform, he`s
got to deal with some brutal shots that will come through the republican
primaries if he runs.

JOHNSON: Yes, and I don`t think he`s going to make it through the
republican primary. Look, I`ve already put it out there. I`m predicting
Scott Walker versus Hillary Clinton. I don`t think Bush can, I think his
positions on immigration, I think his positions on common core. And I
think his name, if there`s a reason poll by few, the vast majority of
republican primary voters are looking for somebody who can win and I think
a lot of them really think that George Bush if they do the remix of George
Bush versus Hillary Clinton, he is going to lose. So I don`t think he gets
to the republican primary.

SHARPTON: All right. Let`s move on to the big revelation about the
Obama campaign of 2008`s rallying cry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Yes, we can. (CHEERS AND
APPLAUSE)

Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

(AUDIENCE CHANTS "YES WE CAN")

OBAMA: Yes, we can. Si, se puede. Yes, we can.

We will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a
people. Yes, we can.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But "yes we can" almost never made it. It was used in
Barack Obama`s 2004 Senate campaign. And according to David Axelrod, State
Senator Obama didn`t like it. He read through the script once, and after
the first take, he said, gee, is that too corny? He turned to Michelle and
said, what do you think? She just slowly shook her head from side to side
and said "not corny." Shaun, what do you think? Corny or not?

ROBINSON: Well, I think, Al, it goes to show you, beside every great
man is a great woman. You know, I understand from David Axelrod that
Michelle Obama just happened to walk into the first photo shoot for this
particular ad campaign.

SHARPTON: Yes. Wasn`t even planned.

ROBINSON: Right. Not even planned. And when Barack Obama asked her,
does this sound too corny, when she shook her head and said no, absolutely
not. I think that he had two things going for him. Barack Obama, first of
all, a very very smart wife. Because also we know how well she`s done with
the "Let`s Move" campaign to fight obesity. But also, Barack Obama was
going up against Senator John McCain`s country first slogan. If you
remember that, that was a patriotic call to service and unfortunately
during that time Americans were just tired of the conflicts in Iraq and
Afghanistan. So obviously, "yes we can" was definitely the way to go.

SHARPTON: Victoria?

SOTO: Let me echo what Shaun said. Gentlemen, listen to your wives.
But more broadly, when we are talking about, "Yes we can," that`s a Spanish
translation of sisi puede, and it is a logo that fired up the Latino
community starting back into the `60s, it`s what got us through the Latino
civil rights movement, and got Latinos incorporated into the Latino
political fray. So it`s a beautiful thing to see it in both in English and
Spanish motivating tens of thousands of millions of people, sisi puede.

SHARPTON: Jason?

JOHNSON: All it does is remind me, I have always thought, when it
comes to the president and Michelle Obama, like she`s the Aunt Viv and he`s
Uncle Phil. Like she`s always been the one who is more in touch with how
real people operate. I mean, when he was doing third -- do we know the
President didn`t come up with that, that came from Michelle Obama. So, I`m
not surprised that she is his cool meter and she is the person he goes to
to find out if something is really going to sell.

SHARPTON: Everyone, stay with me. When we come back, "Saturday Night
Live" turns 40 with an epic party.

And my red carpet meeting with Sarah Palin. It was great to see her.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the panel, Shaun, Jason and Victoria. Live
from New York, it was Sunday night. Last night over 23 million people
tuned in for a star-studied party. Forty years in the making. Celebrating
40 years of Saturday Night Live, former cast members, past host, musicians,
athletes, politicians, all came to pay tribute to the iconic show. It was
almost the most tweeted TV show in history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(TWO MEN PERFORMING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And welcome back to celebrity jeopardy.

(TWO MEN PERFORMING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think that was one of the best. Even better than
Beyonce.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And that brings us to number five.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Kanye, sit down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Shaun, what was your favorite part?

ROBINSON: Celebrity jeopardy had me just on the floor rolling. Will
Ferrell as Alex Trebek and -- as Burt Reynolds and Norm McDonald, I`m
sorry, Norm McDonald is Burt Reynolds. And Darryl Hammond. I mean, it was
just hysterical. To me, that is classic "SNL." And just, you know, when
you`re in the skit, and you just want to watch it over and over and over
again. Classic "SNL."

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. Let`s take a look at Shaun, let`s watch
what you`re talking about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Just two letters beginning with G for 400. And the
answer is, this G-shaped letter comes between S and H.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Matthew McConaughey, what are you doing here?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What are any of us doing here?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Jason, what was your favorite part last night?

JOHNSON: I too, first off, anything that Andy Samberg ever does with
Lonely Island was great. That`s when you break heavy cracking up. But
also I love Chris Rock`s monologue. Chris Rock`s basically got up there
and said, all of you guys owe your jobs to a black man who saved the show
in 1983. His introduction of Eddie Murphy was fantastic. Better than
Eddie Murphy`s appearance.

SHARPTON: Let me play a little of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(TWO MEN PERFORMING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And that`s what you referred to first, Jason, that you love
anything about what he does. Victoria, what was your favorite part?

SOTO: My vote goes to the jeopardy skit too. Kate McKinnon as Justin
Bieber is genius. When she came out a couple weeks ago in the Calvin Klein
ad, she had me in stitches. And then last night where she or he kept
calling Alex Trebek girl, and he said, wait, I have a mustache, I`m not a
girl, I couldn`t get enough of it last night.

SHARPTON: Well, as you know, I was there, I`m going to go to break
and come back and talk about it. Shaun, Jason and Victoria, thank you for
joining the conversation.

When we come back, my red carpet meeting with Sarah Palin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The next question, yes, Tina?

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: No, it`s Sarah. Sarah Palin.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, sorry. Governor Palin, welcome.

PALIN: Yes. I`m just curious, Jerry, how much do you think Lorne
Michaels would pay me if I were to run in 2016?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Run for president, Sarah, I don`t think there`s a
number too big.

PALIN: Okay, just hypothetically, then, what if I were to choose
Donald Trump as my running mate?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Sarah, you`re teasing us, that`s not nice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was one of the big moments for the "SNL" special. But
there was lots of action before the show as well on the red carpet. Last
night 30 rock was rocking with the biggest names in TV and entertainment.
I saw everyone from Eddie Murphy and Whoopi Goldberg, to Leonardo DiCaprio
and Rihanna, but a got a huge response on social media to these pictures of
me with Sarah Palin and Donald Trump, two people I disagree with on
politics and just about everything else. As I tweeted that last night, I
loved to treat my attackers with candor and a smile. They want you bitter.
And it`s always a good idea to keep the other side off balance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is the shot I want. I want this right here.

SHARPTON: Talk about the odd couple right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, no, no, this is awesome. This is what "SNL"
can do.

SHARPTON: We are the direct opposites of American politics, but we`re
here tonight.

PALIN: But you know what, we both love America so much, right?

SHARPTON: That`s right.

PALIN: I mean, it`s Americana all the way and respect for the
entertainment value that they provide our society.

SHARPTON: And they spoof both of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We`re equally spoofed. Like how does it feel when
you turn on the TV and you hear "SNL" is going to do a Sarah Palin, or an
Al Sharpton?

PALIN: I would do a double take because Tina Fey is so good. You
know, I`m like, is that me?

SHARPTON: Tina is good but I`ve seen her when she came on with Lorne,
she was very good natured about it and all of that and I defend the fact
that she actually sees Russia from her house.

PALIN: Oh, god! See! I`m going to kick you in the shins. This is
Americana, though. This is show is Americana and those of us who have
grown up with it, right?

SHARPTON: We can disagree without being disagreeable. Without a
doubt.

PALIN: Yes. Yes. And at the end of the day, I mean, there are some
funny things going on in this world today.

SHARPTON: I want you to run again. It will help us out.

PALIN: You think?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You running again, Sarah?

PALIN: Not if it`s according to his reasoning, no.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Be tough, be firm, but don`t let them see you sweat. Wise
man once told me, you can`t be big and small at the same time. Lot of
people say a lot of ugly things. I`ve had to learn, don`t be ugly because
it only brings you to a level that you really don`t want to be. And at the
end of the day, they have the right to stand for what they want to. And I
have the right to stand for what I want to. That`s what makes the country
good. I`m glad Sarah Palin told everybody that we both love America.
That`s not what they usually say about me. But I do.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

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

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