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PoliticsNation, Thursday, February 26th, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: February 26, 2015
Guest: Jason Johnson, Michael Kay, Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, Mark
Hannah, Seema Iyer

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you for
tuning in. I`m live tonight from East Lansing, Michigan.

We start with breaking news today on the nation`s top Republicans failing
the most basic test of leadership. And it`s coming to a head on two
critical issues. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refusing to say
when he`ll hold a vote on Loretta Lynch`s nomination to be Attorney
General, and House Speaker John Boehner refusing to say how he`ll handle
right wingers trying to shut down the Homeland Security Department over the
president`s immigration action. Boehner still saying today, he`s just
going to wait and see.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I don`t
know what the Senate can produce or can`t produce. If they produce
something, we`ll decide what we`re going to do after we see it. When I see
what the Senate actually passes, then I`ll know."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: With respect, Mr. Speaker, that your answers
is about what you`re going to do the same as yesterday. Can we -- Mitch
McConnell has said exactly what he`s going to do. You know exactly what
you`re going to get, it`s going to be a clean DHS funding bill. Are you
going to put it on the floor? You`re going to kill it? Are you going to
let them vote on it? Have you even had this discussion?

BOEHNER: When I make decisions, I`ll let you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: What does that mean?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Is it a continuing resolution tied --

BOEHNER: It was just a kiss.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: With just 30 hours from a funds running out, and he`s blowing
kisses at reporters? Today Democrats act where the grownups are in the
GOP.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HENRY REID (D), NEW YORK: It was like eighth grate civics class. I
mean, what is going on in the House? We have the two leaders who haven`t
talked to each other in the two weeks?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: I would say, Harry, with all due
respect, everything you said I have a grandson in eighth grade, and his
knowledge about how to pass a bill is superior to what we see among the
Republicans there. It`s about time for them to grow up and pass this bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Meanwhile, a Senate panel today finally sent Loretta Lynch`s
Attorney General Nomination to the full Senate. But GOP Senators like Ted
Cruz are still trying to derail the nomination. And Senator McConnell
still isn`t saying when that full vote will even happen. Lynch has already
waited 110 days to be confirmed. The longest wait in modern history. Will
she have to wait another 110 days? These aren`t hard tests. It`s basic
governing, but Republican leaders are failing them. In a special town hall
event with MSNBC, President Obama talked about fighting through the delays
and obstruction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every major social movement,
every bit of progress in this country, whether it`s been the workers`
rights movement, or the civil rights movement, or the women`s rights
movement. Every single bit of that progress has required us to fight and
to push and you make progress, and then part -- you don`t get everything
right away, and then you push some more. And that`s how the country
continually gets better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now are Margie Omera and Jason Johnson. Thank you
for being here.

JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Glad to be here, Rev.

MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Glad to be here, Revered.

SHARPTON: Margie, Speaker Boehner is blowing kisses, I mean, it would be
comical if there weren`t such serious issues at stake. What is going on?

OMERO: Well, he doesn`t really have an answer. And he`s trying to stay
calm, he looked calm. I guess he looked like he was having a good time,
but really he`s trying to deflect attention from what is clearly a tense
moment.

And the polls suggest that the public is really going to blame Republicans
if there`s a DHS showdown. A CNN/ORC poll from last week showed a majority
of Americans would blamed Republicans only a third -- in less than a third
would blame the president. That`s actually fewer than blamed the president
in past showdowns. So you know, I think there`s going to be real
consequences for Republicans who say, you know, let`s just drive off the
cliff.

SHARPTON: Jason, tonight House Republicans are huddling behind closed
doors, trying to come up with a plan to avoid a shutdown. Why is this so
hard for them?

JOHNSON: Because of the ego. I mean, the Republican Party, I mean, they
know how to win wars, they cannot figure out how to win a peace. They won
the mid terms in 2014. This is the House and Senate they`ve been screaming
for since Obama got elected. And they can`t figure out the basic mechanics
of let`s put forth an agenda we can actually pass. So you know, we`re
going to get a continuing resolution, they`ll probably fund the Department
of Homeland Security for another three, four weeks, up to March. But
you`re going to head back into the same problem. And the House and Senate
have to realize that they have an opportunity to govern here and not just
keep throwing mud balls at the president of the United States. This is an
idiotic plan to try in defunding DHS from the beginning.

SHARPTON: You know, Margie, I very rarely agree with Congressman Peter
King, but even he`s calling out his fellow Republicans for holding up fund.
And listens to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Sometimes I think that the Republicans
would be in an unreal world. It`s absolute insanity if the Republicans
that we don`t vote on a clean bill. Maybe if some of these people who are
talking about how we have to hold this up, maybe if their states were
bombed, they would feel differently. These people who say they`re
conservatives, would say the Republicans, they`re the ones who are really
going to ruin the Republican party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, is this insane? Why are they pushing for this then? I
just don`t get it, Margie.

OMERO: Well, I think -- I mean, I mentioned there was a poll that showed
people blame Republicans. But I think Republicans look at what`s happened
in past shutdown and say, well, we went there, we took a hit, and then we
had gains in the mid terms, so there weren`t any real consequences, even
though it`s not just bad policy, it`s bad politics. Gallup shows for month
after month after month that the number one issue based in the country with
that people are most concerned about is government dysfunction. That
hasn`t always been the case. It`s a recent phenomenon and it`s a result of
all this back and forth.

SHARPTON: Now, I think, Jason that the president addressed this in at the
MSNBC Town Hall, rejecting the idea that Republicans and Democrats are
equally to blame for the failure of a comprehensive immigration act that
they have all tried to say is both sides. Listen to how he dealt with
that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The notion that Democrats and Republicans play political ping-pong,
Democrats have consistently stood on the side of comprehensive immigration
reform. Let`s not be confused about why we don`t have comprehensive
immigration reform right now. And that`s very simple. The Republican
Speaker of the House, John Boehner, refused to call the bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, what do you say to that, Jason? Because this whole thing
of equal blame, the president rejecting, Margie is quoting polls where the
public is rejecting, in terms of the homeland security funding, as well as
immigration.

JOHNSON: Well, yes, look. It`s mean, it`s very clear who`s to blame here.
Now Republicans can argue whether or not they like the president`s
immigration plan, and that`s actually something they should really try to
fight through on the court level. They shouldn`t be holding up government
agencies. They are clearly to blame. They have the hands on all the
levers the government at this particular point.

But I think, Rev, that the real other issue here that we have to think
about is it`s only February. They`ve only been in office for about a
month. And if they can`t -- they can`t figure out basic things like this,
this is a hopeless scenario for functional government for the next year and
a half. And ultimately, because everything matters for 2016, this is going
to hurt Republicans candidates. I promise you we`re going to see an ad
next year with John Boehner kissing off the press, you know, with a
background story talking about these Republicans were going to kiss away
homeland security and didn`t care about your safety.

SHARPTON: Margie, are they going to shutdown homeland security? What`s
your prediction?

OMERO: I mean, I hope they don`t, right? I mean, I hope they don`t, I
think we`ve had a lot of close calls. On the other hand, what we`ve seen
consistently is well that there`s a real faction in both the House and
Senate that is willing to put American government at risk. Put the
confidence in our institutions at risk, to put even their own party`s views
in is the favoritability (ph) at risk in order to just demonstrate that
they can go against what the president wants. And it just -- it hurts all
of us. It doesn`t just hurt Republicans, it doesn`t just hurt Democrats,
it doesn`t just hurts the president, it really hurts all of us.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, I mean, with all of the threats and all of the
anxiety, it`s unbelievable that we`re at the wire and they`re still playing
games.

But let`s move to Loretta Lynch for a minute, a Senate panel, senator
nomination to the full Senate today, but still no word on when the
Republicans will even schedule a floor vote. And we`re now 110 days and
counting, the longest delay in history since she was even nominated. I
mean, Jason, this is incredible. We`re talking about the attorney general
of the United States.

JOHNSON: And see, all of these things are connected. Right. If you shut
down homeland security then we can`t protect ourselves from terrorist. If
don`t get a functional attorney general then we can`t prosecute terrorists
and by the way, we want to bring Netanyahu here next week. I mean, no one
seems to be recognizing that not paying attention to National Security
issues is actually affected by these actions. I hope Loretta Lynch
eventually gets confirmed. I understand what the Republicans` problems are
with her, but at the end of the day, it is the president`s attorney. It`s
her job is to find a way to make legal things that the president wants.
Just like Ashcroft, just like Gonzalez. They need to accept that and move
on.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well in 110 days later, I mean, why do we have to wait 110
days for them to do what they did? There was nothing that was holding it
up. Nothing developed, 110 days later, they finally send it out, they
could have done that 100 days ago.

JOHNSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: Margie Omera and Jason Johnson, thank you both for your time
tonight.

OMERO: Thank you, Rev.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: How did an educated middle class man from London become a cold-
blooded ISIS murderer? We`re learning more about Jihad John tonight.

Plus the Republicans gathering for their annual conference. And it sounds
like they`re scared about the future.

And First Lady Michelle Obama celebrates five years let`s move with the
challenge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: We are celebrating a big anniversary.

OBAMA: Uh-oh, what exactly are we celebrating?

MICHELLE OBAMA: It is been five years since we launched "Let`s move." So
everybody give me five, Tweet it, Vine it, Instagram it, Facebook it with
#giveme5.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And llamas on the loose, the spectacle everyone is talking and
tweeting about. Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Three years ago today, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed in
Sanford, Florida. Our social media community was remembering Trayvon
today. Chelsea said, "I am still saddened by this young boy`s tragic
death. I will continue to speak out against gun violence, injustice and
racial profiling until something changes." Well said, Chelsea. Sian
posted, "Your life will not be in vain. The fight will continue. Yes, it
will."

Coming up President Obama`s powerful message for Trayvon`s parents at a
White House reception today.

But first please let us know what you think on our Facebook page or Tweet
us @politicsnation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight, new reaction to the identity of Jihadi
John. The ISIS executioner who was just revealed to be a British citizen,
the daughter of a man he beheaded spoke out late today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETHANY HAINES, DAVID HAINES DAUGHTER: It`s a good step but I think all
the families will feel closure and relief once there`s bullet between his
eyes. Once he`s captured, I think there will be a lot of happy faces.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A U.S. intelligence official has confirmed that Jihadi Johns is
26-year-old Mohammed Emwazi. Emwazi was born in Kuwait and moved to the
U.K. when he was 6 years old. He grew up in a middle class part of London,
and graduated from college with a degree in Computer Science. But how did
he go from that to this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOHAMMED EMWAZI, ISIS EXECUTIONER: We are an Islamic army and a state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Emwazi was on authorities` radar since at least 2009. That year
he was detained on a trip to Tanzania. Emwazi then flew to Amsterdam where
he later claimed a British security officer tried to recruit him as a spy.
He then returned to the U.K., but left after a few months to move back to
Kuwait. He visited Britain two times, and planned to go back to Kuwait,
but his visa was denied. In sometime around 2012 or 2013, he went to
Syria. So where is Mohammed Emwazi now? And how did he become this
notorious terrorist? And how can he be stopped?

Joining me now is Michael Kay, retired senior British officer and military
strategist, now a foreign affairs correspondent. Thank you for being here.

MICHAEL KAY, ROYAL AIR FORCE RETIRED SENIOR OFFICER: Hi, Rev.

SHARPTON: Michael, this is an educated man who came from a middle-class
family. What does that say about who is being attracted to ISIS?

KAY: Well, I think what`s really interesting about this, Rev, is a kind of
sits outside of the socioeconomic deprived template that we have been
focusing on for the last couple months that we`ve been looking at the
process of radicalization. I find this quite fascinating personally.
Because if you look at the Kouachi brothers who are responsible for the
"Charlie Hebdo" attacks, they were radicalized through a process of
engaging and seeing what foreign policy had done in 2003. And then wanting
to go to Iraq and engage on that front. If you look at the Canadian lone
Wolf that was arrested, he was radicalized in prison. If you look at the
Egyptian bodybuilder that "The New York Times" that had pierce on, he was
radicalize through Mosques.

And now if you look at Mohammed Emwazi, he was radicalized in a different
way. What we do know about him, is you`ve already articulate it is, he`s
traveled to Tanzania, he wasn`t allowed to Tanzania, he was sent back to
the U.K. via Amsterdam. He was interrogated there. Then he decided to go
to Kuwait, and Kuwait he was interrogated by the intelligence authorities
and then he was exile from Kuwait. Then he went back to the U.K. So there
-- what this tells me is it`s a very subjective piece about the coming
radicalized, and there`s no one template that fits all.

SHARPTON: OK. Well, let`s put up a map of the region. Hostages released
by ISIS, say Emwazi guarded them in two Syrian cities. How do the U.S. and
British intelligence figure out where he is.

KAY: Yes. Well, let`s have a quick look at the region. We`ve got Turkey
up here to the north, this is over sea Syria, Jordan down south, we`ve got
Israel, Cyprus, where there is a strategic U.K. and U.S. military base,
where a lot of the airstrike have launch from and then you`ve got Iraq over
here.

We don`t actually know too much about Emwazi, but let`s be in no doubt, his
days are numbered. Like Al Zarqawi, he was the head of Al Qaeda, he was
taken out by U.S. airstrike in 2006, and like Osama Bin Laden in 2011 that
was taken out by a U.S. Navy SEAL team, he was neutralized as well.

So his days are numbered. We do know that in Italy, just up here in the
Northwestern part of Syria, he was responsible for guarding hostages. We
know that, for your information, from hostages that were release. And then
more recently, in Raqqa, Raqqa was the self-proclaimed capital of the
Islamic state. Now what we must understand is that the Islamic state from
here Idlib all the way done Deir Ez-zor, this is kind of strip where it`s
governing-less. There were now side forces in here. There`s a big battle
here by a side. But effectively ISIS have rule of law, in anything that
they want to do.

So I think what`s really important is the intelligence community needs to
get their head around human intelligence, they need to get their hands on
electronic intelligence. We own the skies at the moment, so listening and
watching will be important. Because part of life is (INAUDIBLE)

SHARPTON: But Michael, let me ask you this. Because I`m out of time but
let me ask you this, you said several times his days of numbered. What
exactly are you saying? That they know where he is? Or there`s eminent
capture.

KAY: No. Osama Bin Laden took ten years to get. But we eventually got
him, building up the intelligence picture can take a long time up to ten
years. And that`s what the intelligence community will be doing. There
are no ground forces on the ground, so we`re relying on anything that we
can hear or see from the air. Human is also absolutely key and we need to
develop these relationships on the ground inside Raqqa, but that`s
incredibly difficult to do. Because ISIS have it locked down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMWAZI: They want you to state your full name.

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: All right. Michael Kay, thank you for your time tonight.

Still ahead, meet the GOP. All the big names come out to throw red meat at
the far right base. You got to hear what they`re saying about Hillary.

Also, have you seen the new Beyonce workout routine? It`s all part of a
new push on healthy eaten from the first lady.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA: Just two weeks ago, when the Georgetown women`s basketball
team played Xavier, they had a "Hail to Kale" night where the first 100
fans received free kale. Now, that definitely wasn`t happening in five
years ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But first, where were you when the llamas got loose? That`s
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Palin, Walker, Christie, Cruz, they were all out in force today
at the big conservative conference in Washington. And here`s the headline
-- "They still haven`t learned their history." That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: They were throwing out the red meat just outside of Washington
today. Their annual conservative political action conference kicked off.
Many of the 2016 hopefuls were on stage to unveil their big and new ideas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. BEN CARSON, RETIRED NEUROSURGEON & AMERICAN AUTHOR: I`m for putting
our health care in our hands and not on the hands of some bureaucrats.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: We must repeal every single word of
ObamaCare.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Washington wants ObamaCare. The people want
liberty. Repeal every blasted word of ObamaCare.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What a breath of fresh air, but there was another line uniting
them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: Hillary Clinton embodies the corruption of Washington.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CARSON: What am I for? What am I really ready for? I`m not ready for
Hillary.

CARLY FIORINA, FORMER HEWLETT PACKARD CEO: Hillary may like hashtags, but
she does not know what leadership means.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I`m sensing a little fear coming from stage right. Joining me
from the conference is MSNBC`s political correspondent Kasie Hunt and
MSNBC`s Abby Huntsman. Thank you both for being here.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks, Rev.

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening.

SHARPTON: Kasie, Hillary Clinton wasn`t there, but they sure talked a lot
about her. What do you make of that?

HUNT: Well, Reverend, I think it just goes to show you that all the of the
people who are here at this conference expect that they`ll be running
against Hillary Clinton in 2016, and if you look at the way what`s going on
in the Middle East with ISIS is playing out on the world stage, it is the
opening that they are looking to focus on and attack her on, as much as
they`re going after the President for showing weak leadership in that
regard. You had candidate after candidate stand up on the stage today, and
talk about what they called radical Islamic extremism and they`ve all been
critical of the President for what they say is not labeling it as such.
So, clearly while, you`re right, she wasn`t here, you know, everybody here
knows who they`re expecting to run against.

SHARPTON: Now, the right also didn`t shy away from their favorite topic,
Benghazi. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FIORINA: Nor is it leadership when Secretary Clinton asked what difference
does it make? When our embassy is deliberately attacked by terrorists and
four Americans are murdered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Senator Rand Paul, who speaks tomorrow tackled the same topic
last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The biggest mistake Hillary Clinton made,
and think this will be an albatross over her neck for the rest of the
campaign. I don`t think she`ll be able to overcome this. When she was
asked to provide security for Benghazi, she didn`t do it. She didn`t
defend our ambassador. And I really think that should preclude her from
even being considered for the higher office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Abby, it seems to me Benghazi will be a big theme? Is that a
smart strategy?

HUNTSMAN: Well, this is the three-day event Rev where you have moderate
republicans saying, I mean, it covered my eyes and said, is it over yet?
Is it over yet? Because during these three days, we all know some of the
craziest things, Rand Paul won the straw poll that they did or ended this
on Saturday night where the winner, the person that can throw out the most
red meat, Rand Paul won it last year. He knows exactly what he`s doing.
When you talked about Benghazi, this is a crowd that really gets fired up
over this. Someone defined the event today as the "American Idol" for
political nerds. And you don`t win based on how good your voice is, but
really how can you appeal to this audience.

And normally I would say, hey, let`s bring out the popcorn and be
entertained a little while, but this is actually important. Because these
are the people that vote in the primaries. If you wonder why can a
rational person not make it to the general election, it`s tough because you
have got to get through these folks. So, the question is, how do you
appeal to the CPAC ground and how do you appeal to a general election group
of people and remain authentic. And that`s something that Jeb Bush is
going to struggle with tomorrow. I mean, he`s someone I`m very interested
to see how the reaction is. Because he can`t really speak to immigration
or things like common core. He`s going to have to find the right balance.

SHARPTON: Yes.

HUNTSMAN: And what matters is his messaging. He`s got to find the right
way to talk about it so these folks aren`t upset with him.

SHARPTON: And you`re going to have to find the right balance Casey,
because moments ago Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker talked about
dependence. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Now, up the way there in Washington, we have a president who
measures success in government by how many people are dependent on the
government. We should measure success by just the opposite, by how many
people are no longer dependent on the government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That sounds a lot like Mitt Romney, to me, you know, with so
many republicans talking about fairness, he took a different tone, Kasie,
didn`t he?

HUNT: He certainly did take a different tone there. He`s not talking
about income inequality, which we actually have heard. Some republicans
raise as something that their party should be focused on. But you know, I
wanted to touch on one other thing that Walker said in that speech. He
actually talked about when he was asked how he would confront ISIS, he
talked about how he had confronted union protesters in Wisconsin, and that
because he was able to take those protesters on with the National Guard, he
would be similarly able to take on ISIS and other global threats. And that
statement really raised some eye browse even here at CPA.

SHARPTON: But isn`t that in many ways Abby potentially a misstep, when we
talk about whether or not these candidates, or at least some of them are
ready for primetime to seem to equate union protesters with ISIS to get off
of where other republicans are talking about income equality, and you go
back on this dependent stuff. Is Walker making missteps that will hurt him
with moderate republicans and be very damaging if he were to make a general
election run?

HUNTSMAN: Well, this is sort of the time where they can test out the
waters that you remember Scott Walker and Chris Christie both just went
over to the UK, to sort of test their foreign policy jobs, both of those
trips were defined as sort of a disaster for them. I think it`s fair to
say that across the board there`s really a lack of foreign policy
experience with these republican contenders. And CPAC is a good way for
them to test their message. I don`t expect the person that wins the straw
poll to be the nominee, but it gives you a good sense of who`s going to be
pretty powerful in the primaries and who would want to put their money
behind, folks that are into folks on the far right. You know, Walker I
think still has a ways to go to prove himself. To prove that he is
qualified. You remember, I mean, he is governor of the state of Wisconsin.
But it doesn`t mean that you are ready to take commands of the United
States, so we still got a ways to go and with comments like that, I think
it causes people to question that a little bit.

SHARPTON: I see the new poll came out with Walker leading 25, then Rand
Paul 13, Ben Carson 11, Mike Huckabee 11, and below them all is Jeb Bush
down at 10 percent, and you said, Kasie that these is the Iowa, these
figures from Iowa, the Quinnipiac poll. You said Jeb Bush speaks there
tomorrow. Who got the biggest applause there today?

HUNT: Well, Reverend, I think that Ted Cruz probably wins for the most
applause, although Scott Walker was either a close second or right there
with him. Both of them packed the room here. And I will say anecdotally,
as I spoke to attendees at CPAC throughout the day, Scott Walker is
somebody who they`re really excited about right at this moment. And I
think that the question is going to be whether or not he can sustained
that. I mean, this is a really long -- we are months away from Iowa. I
think the question for him is, is this the right time to be at the front of
the pack?

SHARPTON: All right. Kasie Hunt and Abby Huntsman, thank you both for
your time tonight.

HUNT: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: And be sure to catch Abby on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, let`s move, the First Lady`s campaign turns five, and some big
stars are coming out to celebrate.

Plus it`s the age-old fight, celebrities versus the paparazzi. How Taylor
Swift made them take a belly flop.

And we`ll talk about those llamas on the loose. Need we say more? It`s
all in "Conversation Nation."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: With me tonight, HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressy Tehrani
and democratic analyst Mark Hannah, and host of "THE DOCKET" on the Shift`s
MSNBC Seema Iyer.

MARK HANNAH, DEMOCRATIC ANALYST: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Thank you all for being here.

CAROLINE MODARRESSY-TEHRANI, HUFFPOST LIVE HOST: Thanks, Rev.

SEEMA IYER, HOST, "THE DOCKET": Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Caroline, I always mess with your name. I don`t know why.

(LAUGHTER)

But we start with --

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: I love you, Rev. Don`t worry.

SHARPTON: Let`s start with a big congratulations -- yes, all right. We
start with a big congratulations to the First Lady Michelle Obama. Her
"Let`s Move" campaign is celebrating five strong years, this initiative to
help kids eat healthier and get active is working. And today she says
she`s happy with her work, but it`s far from done.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: Childhood obesity rates have finally
stopped rising, and obesity rates are actually falling among or youngest
children. So, yes.

(APPLAUSE)

We`ve got a whole lot to celebrate on this fifth anniversary of "Let`s
Move." If we take our foot off the pedal for even a single minute, then we
will go right back to where we started.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Look at the proof. There are declines in childhood obesity
rates among low-income preschoolers. Now the First Lady is running,
skipping and dancing into her sixth year with a big idea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

M. OBAMA: We are celebrating a big anniversary.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Uh-oh, what -- what exactly are we
celebrating?

M. OBAMA: It`s been five years since we launched "Let`s Move."

O. OBAMA: So, what`s on tap for this year?

M. OBAMA: Well, for starters, I`m going to ask folks across the country to
give me five. I want kids, parents, maybe a few celebrities to give me
five ways to be healthy. For example, they can eat five new veggies, or do
five jumping jacks, or push-ups or find a way to work five new healthy
habits into their daily routine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The give me five challenge is like the ice bucket challenge.
After you accept, you ask someone else to do it. Here`s video of Beyonce
from Instagram celebrating the fifth anniversary writing, give me five
Michelle Obama and Beyonce is not the only one.

Ryan Seacrest posted a video of himself exercising. And Mario Lopez gave
five tips to living a healthier lifestyle. Seema, are you ready for the
give me five challenge?

IYER: I am ready, Rev, I`m getting on this table, I`m going to give you
five pushups, and then Mark is next. Listen Rev, I have to be completely
serious for a second. I tell people, exercise is the only guarantee in
life. It makes everything better, and my colleagues on the panel agree.

HANNAH: Yes.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Yes.

HANNAH: Absolutely. Physical health, mental health, I think this is going
to be a big part of the First Lady`s legacy, Rev. This is something where
she`s gone out and asked people to do little things, things that, you know,
not everybody has to go wail on their and you know, be bench pressing.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Nobody can bench press as much as you.

HANNAH: Hey, hey, easy. But this is something that --

SHARPTON: But Caroline, let me, you note, the First Lady uses fun to get a
lot of young people`s attention and young people involved. How important
is it that she uses celebrities? Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Which is better Ariana Grande, or eating a carrot?
Potus?

M. OBAMA: Eating a carrot.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, correct. Potus gets the point. Next question,
Gwyneth Paltrow makes a fantastic broccoli in a arugula soup, does that
matter, yes or no? Elena.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, it does she has a website.

M. OBAMA: I do try to exercise every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Really because I think exercise is eww.

M. OBAMA: Exercise is not eww. You just have to find an activity that`s
right for you. Turnip, for what?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You can take it from me. Eat the right foods can help
to make you a better athlete.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: How important is it, Caroline that she uses celebrities and
comedy in this "Let`s Move" drive and campaign?

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: It`s so important, Rev. It`s important. And you know
why? Even big bird is on twitter now. I`m serious, guys.

IYER: He has more followers than I do.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: It`s a really important thing. Because not only then
are these people that are in the public eye for whatever reasons, a myriad
of reasons, but now we`re actually giving them responsibility, hey, if
you`re in the public eye, you need to be putting out a good message. Use
your powers for good, use your powers to tell people, not only "Let`s
Move." But also I`m really, really pleased that she`s addressed this much
more as the campaign has gone on. Let`s look at what she`s eating as well.
She`s really shied away from that in the first couple of years.

IYER: Right.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: He is really getting back to the kind of food we are
putting in our bodies this year in particular. And I think that`s so
important.

IYER: It`s whatever works.

HANNAH: Yes. Yes.

SHARPTON: Now, let me say this, though, because since "Let`s Move"
started, let`s be real clear about this, studies have shown it`s working.
"U.S. News & World Report" wrote, Michelle Obama helping to feed obesity
saying, the obesity rate among young children has drop by 43 percent, and
the first lady said today that she`s not letting up. How do you keep the
momentum going is the question? You know, there`s been a few critics on
the First Lady`s vision from the right. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Taking the nanny state to the new level,
Michelle Obama is suggesting what you should feed your children.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is Michelle, she knows better
than anybody else about healthy foods, because she has a garden big whoop.

TUCKER CARLSON, THE DAILY CALLER: Why would you want to raise your own
kids when Michelle Obama --

LIMBAUGH: She is a hypocrite. Leaders are supposed to be leaders. If
we`re supposed to go out and eat nothing, if we`re supposed to eat roots
and berries and tree bark, and so show us how.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So Seema, how do you keep it going when you have all of these
critics there? How does she keep the momentum going now?

IYER: Rev, you ignore the fat guy. Okay, that`s number one. And next is,
Mark wants to take this.

HANNAH: Michelle Obama`s arms next to Rush Limbaugh`s arms and then let`s
ask yourself who should be the authority here? No, this is, you can
criticize all you want the nanny state. She`s not doing anything other
than making suggestions here, and she is allying herself with celebrities,
and people who are making small steps to use their social media capital, to
use the fan base that they have and put out a positive message. Anybody
who`s going to criticize that, anybody who`s going to boo-hoo that is --

IYER: There`s no other argument, exercise is correct, eating right works.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Caroline, but how does she keep it going, Caroline?

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: All right. That`s actually a really, really important
question. And I think the part of that is the celebrities that she is
right. This is the ripple effect, and also the younger people. Look at
all the videos. She`s always going to score. This is really about
educating young people so they can make informed decisions. It`s not about
being a nanny, it`s not about saying, this is prescripted, you have to do
this. It`s about showing young people and you can see them there in this
video, this is how you should live life in a way that`s going to mean that
you are healthy, that you can have a long life.

SHARPTON: All right.

HANNAH: It`s an epidemic Rev and she`s combatting it.

SHARPTON: Everybody stay with me. We`ll be right back with the surprising
reason why Taylor Swift posted this bikini photo, and the story that
everyone is talking about, llamas on the loose.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with "Conversation Nation." Caroline, Mark and Seema
are here. Okay, everyone, it`s time for the llamas. My twitter feed
exploded today when these llamas went on the loose in Phoenix. They were
running wild all over town, cable news and the social media couldn`t get
enough #llamas was the number one trend in the country, and everyone had
fun with it. A former Obama staffer tweeted, "A direct result of Obama`s
llamnesty policy." MSNBC`s Andrea Mitchell wrote, "I`m told we should say
alleged llama, they could be alpacas." A fashion website asked -- show up
hands if you were rooting for those llamas like Meryl and J-Lo at the
Oscars? Mark, have you ever seen anything like this?

HANNAH: I have not -- we have got some llamas on the lam. See what I did
there?

(CROSSTALK)

IYER: Okay, go.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Because I think the last time we saw anything on this
scale Rev was really O.J. in the jeep. Like the amount of people that were
talking about this.

SHARPTON: You know, it`s funny you said that. Because it`s funny you said
it, because I said at the White House with other civil rights leaders
meeting with President Obama. When I came out. There was all these
tweets. And then one guy, I guess, trying to be a little sarcastic said,
Reverend Al, while you were meeting with the President, the llamas were
loose, and they caught the black one first. Where were you to stand up?

IYER: Oh, my God, that`s horrible. Wait, Rev.

HANNAH: Some profiling happening here among animal control?

IYER: I have got a gray one from our friend Eric Guster, legal analyst
here. He says -- llama going to knock you out. I`m going to knock you
out.

HANNAH: I get it.

IYER: Llama knock you out.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: L. Cool J.

SHARPTON: Why is this impersonation Mark? Why do you think this caught on
and became so fascinating to everybody?

HANNAH: Everybody likes to root for an underdog. And I actually, I grew
up near a farm, actually down the street from a farm that had llamas.
These guys have a lot of personality. I don`t know if you`ve seen a llama
up close, but I think people identified with the llamas here. I don`t
think anybody was rooting for the animal control folks who were going after
the llamas.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Wow. That`s an impassioned defense of llamas.

HANNAH: Yes. I stand in solidarity with these llamas.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: I just thought that even Senator John McCain was
getting in on this today. The senators were stopping their business to
talk about llama-gate.

IYER: Well, you did, too, you said all day in the control room was feeding
you llama video. You didn`t get work --

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: We -- I was doing work, and then everyone else around
me was engrossed in llama-gate. I have to say though, props to Jon Favre
because I mean, you know, he was Obama`s speech writer and then he popped
out, like that, a result of Obama`s amnesty. I mean --

HANNAH: Wow!

IYER: Right.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: That was pretty good.

SHARPTON: But I think it also -- you know, it is a relief for people in
the middle of all of this craziness, but I don`t know if I`m encouraged or
not, Caroline, when I`m hearing senators that should be getting the
Attorney General confirmed, and making sure that Homeland Security is
funded are spending a lot of time watching the llamas being caught in
Arizona. I don`t know that, all jokes aside, that I consider that a good
use of time?

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: I agree with you, Rev. I mean, that was the thing --
you saw like informed -- supposedly politicians taking their time, I mean,
yes, it was good fun, and it`s fine for people to do that, but if you are -
-

IYER: It`s a freaking llama on the street.

HANNAH: I wish we could be talking about how Department of Homeland
Security continues to get funded.

SHARPTON: We are talking about it now so we can`t be too --

HANNAH: They`re no better than we are.

IYER: Right.

SHARPTON: Yes, well, hey, we all sometimes look and are guilty of going
for what is considered by some distractions. But Caroline, Mark and Seema,
thank you for your time tonight.

HANNAH: Good to see you, Rev.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Thank you, Rev.

IYER: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: And for joining the conversation. And catch Seema on "THE
DOCKET," Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. on Shift by MSNBC. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Three years ago Trayvon Martin was shot and killed today in
Sanford, Florida. His death sparked a national conversation about race.
Today the President spoke of Trayvon Martin`s legacy and the legacy of so
many others who we remember in black history month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: One day a year is not enough to honor the kind of courage that they
showed. And today, on the third anniversary of Trayvon Martin`s death,
showing all of our kids, all of them, every single day that their lives
matter, that`s part of our task. I want to thank Trayvon`s parents for
being here on what`s a very difficult day for them. It takes all of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It takes all of us to make a difference. Trayvon Martin`s death
led to a push to undo stand your ground laws, and tighten gun laws, and it
spotlighted the justice system that has failed too many, the likes of Eric
Garner, Michael Brown, Tamira Rice and Akai Gurley, reminding us that three
years later a lot has changed, but a lot of change is still left to come.
But let us never forget Trayvon Martin is a human story. He was just 17-
years-old, going to get an iced tea and a bag of skittles, for his brother
so they could watch the all-star game together. Now Martin leaves behind
parents of amazing strength who has used their son`s death to fight for
others.

As a dozen of us met with President Obama this morning, talking as civil
rights and religious leaders, about the criminal justice system, about
health care, about education, I looked at the President sitting there in
the White House, and thought about how far we`ve come, and then I thought
about the anniversary of Trayvon and thought about how far we still yet
have to go. But the progress we have made is when we all took that journey
together, of all races, standing up for what the promise of the country
should be for everyone.

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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