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PoliticsNation, Monday, March 30th, 2015

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Date: March 30, 2015
Guest: Andre Carson, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Jamal Simmons, Joan
Walsh, Krystal Ball, Jason Johnson, Shira Center


And we`ll leave it there. Adam Green and William Pears, great to have you
with us tonight. That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "PoliticsNation"
with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.

Good evening, Rev.

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

We start tonight with breaking news out of Indiana. Just moments ago, CEOs
from some of the state`s leading companies speaking out against the so-
called religious freedom law. They sent a blistering letter to Governor
Mike Pence, slamming the new bill that critics say could let religion be
use to justify discrimination.

Pressure is building, but Governor Mike Pence is standing his ground
refusing to push a new law protecting the civil rights of gays and


GOV. MIKE PENCE, INDIANA: I will not push for that. That`s not on my
agenda, and that`s not been -- that`s not been an objective of the people
of the state of Indiana.


SHARPTON: Governor Pence says the law won`t lead to discrimination, but
watch him refuse to answer whether he thinks it should be legal to


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally, yes or no question, Governor, do you think it
should be legal in the state of Indiana to discriminate against gays or

PENCE: George --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a yes or no question.

PENCE: Hoosiers -- Come on. Hoosiers don`t believe in discrimination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes or no. Should it be legal to discriminate against
gays and lesbians?

PENCE: George, you`re following the mantra of the last week online.


SHARPTON: The governor saying little, but revealing a lot. This story is
only just beginning. With outrage across the country from protesters, in
the street to celebrities and social media and on TV, to some of America`s
biggest companies including Apple. This is a key moment for the country.
Too often in our history, we`ve seen religion used to justify attacks on
other people`s rights. From slavery, to Jim Crow, to women`s right to
vote. That same fight is with us today, and we can`t let it stand.

Joining me now, Congressman Andre Carson, Democrat from Indiana, and Mayor
of South Bend, Indiana, Democrat, Pete Buttigieg. Thank you, both, for
being here. Congressman Carson --


SHARPTON: -- you`re at the state capitol. What kind of damage is this law
doing to your state?

REP. ANDRE CARSON (D), INDIANA: You know, the NCAA, which is hosting the
final four this weekend in Indiana has already talked about canceling
future events in the state. NCAA, in fact, is headquartered in Indiana and
in Indianapolis in my district. So it`s disappointing, Reverend, because
this bill gives justification to individuals and even businesses to
discriminate on the basis of religion. So we`ll see discrimination against
brothers and sisters from the LGBT community, women and minorities, and we
know it`s a slippery slope.

SHARPTON: And this, really, Congressman, is not about religion. It`s
really not even just about gays and lesbians though they`re the focal


SHARPTON: It`s about nondiscrimination. I mean, I`ve been to your town.

CARSON: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: You`ve been there when I preached in churches. We believe in
religion but we don`t believe in a theocracy.

CARSON: That`s right. That`s right. What we`re seeing on the ground is
that the people are pushing back. We`re seeing members of the faith
community, one of the pastors, our friend, David Hampton, a member of the
national action network --

SHARPTON: That`s right.

CARSON: -- has pushed back. Other politicians are pushing back.
Celebrities are speaking out. Sports figures are speaking out. And what
we`re going to see in the next few weeks, Reverend Sharpton, is a movement
on the ground. And we know the National Action Network will be at the
forefront of that movement because enough is enough. Indiana is a great
state. The people make the state great. But this is so embarrassing. I
don`t even think that what state legislators are trying to do right now is
to push a bill through the statehouse to clarify the language, but I think
it`s insufficient. A repeal is certainly in order.

SHARPTON: Well one that has really been on the front, is you, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor Buttigieg, you`ve been speaking out against this law. Why is it so
important to you?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, when you`re a mayor, you spend so much time and energy
trying to attract businesses, trying to attract people to your community.
Part of how you do that is you try to demonstrate that it`s a 21st century
community, that it`s open to all. Look, we`re all for religious freedom.
I am. Everybody in South Bend is. But that doesn`t mean it`s OK to harm
others in the name of religion. This is a bill that sends the exact wrong
message about our communities and about our state. And I wanted to get out
there to let everybody know that this doesn`t speak for all Hoosiers, this
certainly doesn`t speak for South Bend. We pride ourselves on being open
to all.

SHARPTON: Mayor, the governor says he`s standing by the law despite the
backlash. Listen to this.


PENCE: We`re not going to change the law. OK? We`re not going to change
this law. It has been tested in courts for more than two decades on the
federal level.


SHARPTON: What will it take to move the governor from that position?

BUTTIGIEG: I think the governor needs to listen to Hoosiers. I think he
needs to listen to the business community. You know, the interests of our
state and our communities are not being well served. When you refuse to
budge on a very divisive social issue like this. Look, all it would take
to reverse the damage would be to fix the law. A repeal would do that. So
would including LGBT, the nondiscrimination in our state`s civil rights
law. If he would just at least would be willing to add that kind of
language to say, it shouldn`t be legal to discriminate against anybody in
this state. Then the argument to this isn`t about discrimination would
become a lot more convincing.

SHARPTON: Congressman, here`s what the gay rights group glad, one of the
prominent groups in the civil rights community, they report attending the
governor`s private signing ceremony, Governor Pence, that is. Is a man who
equates homosexuality with bestiality, one who says homosexuality is a
mental disorder, and another who stokes fear by claiming pastors could be
arrested for preaching against homosexuality. Doesn`t this show what`s
really behind this so-called religious freedom bill, Congressman Carson?

CARSON: You know, it`s very disappointing. I served with Governor Pence
in Congress. We`ve had lunch several times. I found him to be a man very
committed to his principles, but we`ve seen this before. We`ve seen
religion be used to justify slavery. We`ve seen religion used to justify
discrimination in all forms, whether sexual or even religious. And we`ve
seen religion used as a tool to divide people. So it seems as if there
were members of the state legislature who were throwing a bone to social
conservatives who were very disappointed that gay marriage had been
legalized in Indiana.

SHARPTON: Mr. Mayor, today Indiana`s Republican House Speaker admitted
discriminating against gays and lesbians is already legal in much of the
state. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: You guys have said repeatedly that you, you
know, we shouldn`t be able to discriminate against anyone, but if you just
ignore that the existence of this law, can`t we already do that now, can`t
so-and-so in Richmond put a sign up and say, no gays allowed? That`s not
against the law, correct?

REP. BRIAN BOSMA (R), INDIANA: It would depend on if you were in a
community that had a human rights ordinance, that wouldn`t be the case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: But most of the state is not have this,

BOSMA: That`s correct.


SHARPTON: Mayor Buttigieg, your city, South Bend, does have an ordinance
against this discrimination.

BUTTIGIEG: That`s right.

SHARPTON: But doesn`t most of Indiana need more protections, not fewer?

BUTTIGIEG: That`s right. I wish more communities in Indiana would follow
South Bend`s lead. I was proud, two years ago, to sign the human rights
ordinance and it`s something that protects -- by the way, it also protects
freedom of religion. But at the same time, it protects GLBT residents from
discrimination. We need more of that.

And what`s really troubling about this bill is it is aimed squarely at that
local decision which was the decision our community make. You know, I
would expect conservative legislators and a conservative governor to be for
local control, something that there`s support for on both sides of the
aisle. This is doing just the reverse and I just can`t understand why
anybody, especially when we`re competing for people, we`re competing for
jobs, we`re competing for conventions, why would anybody want to send the
message that we`re turning back the clock on equality?

SHARPTON: And, Congressman Carson, at a time the Republicans are saying
they want to reach out, and as you talked about with the NCAA, here`s what
the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, wrote today.

Quote, "This isn`t a political issue. It isn`t a religious issue. This is
about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination
takes courage. It`s time for all of us to be courageous."

Congressman, this is Tim Cook. This is Apple. You don`t get much bigger
than that today in America.

CARSON: Absolutely. I think Mr. Cook is right on the mark. What we`re
seeing, to Mr. Cook`s point, is that we`re seeing a national trend where
there are elected officials who are attempting to promote the rights of
corporations over the rights of individuals, Americans, and even Hoosiers
to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Do you think, Mr. Mayor, that the average Hoosier wants to be
looked upon in a way that their state represents the anti-civil rights
opposition in the 21st century? Because if this continues, it`s going to
be on the fast track toward that.

BUTTIGIEG: Exactly. And I don`t think that most Hoosiers are on board
with that. Look, when people think of a city like South Bend, or when they
think of the state of Indiana, we want them to think about what`s best
about us. We want them to think about our scenery, we want them to think
about the Indy 500 or basketball or football. We want them to think about
our economic growth.

We don`t want people to be thinking about discrimination against any group
as the first thing that comes to mind when they think about our state and
when they think about communities like South Bend. That`s why we`re
stepping up to say this does not speak for all of us. I don`t think this
speaks for most of us. And we`ve got to take a stand and do what`s right.

SHARPTON: Congressman Andre Carson and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, thank you
both for your time tonight.

BUTTIGIEG: Thank you.

CARSON: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, breaking news from the German Airline disaster.
Officials now saying the co-pilot had, quote, "suicidal tendencies."

Plus, Hillary`s plans for bill in 2016. How she`ll unleash the Democrats`
secret weapon on the campaign trail.

Also, the new Jon Stewart making history in late night TV. All that ahead.

But first, don`t get him angry. The Rock Obama comes to "SNL."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s happening?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s happening is you made Barack Obama very angry,
and when you make him angry, he turns into the Rock Obama.

THE ROCK OBAMA: You like Israel?


THE ROCK OBAMA: Maybe you should go visit Israel.



SHARPTON: Breaking news in the investigation of the Germanwings plane
crash. German prosecutors today revealing that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had
been treated in the past for, quote, "suicidal tendencies."

Prosecutors say this happened before he got his pilot license. They also
say he didn`t mention suicide or aggression in later visits with doctors.
Lufthansa says it has no knowledge of Lubitz having medical issues.

Also today, a German newspaper has published what it says is the transcript
of the plane`s final moments from the cockpit voice recorder. NBC News has
not confirmed the timeline. But as NBC`s Katy Tur reports, the potential
details are disturbing.


KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: 10:01, the flight started normally. The
captain apologizing for a delay. 10:27, as the plane reaches its cruising
altitude, the captain asks Lubitz to prepare for landing. Lubitz replies
"hopefully" and "we`ll see." The captain leaves. Moments later the sound
of Lubitz pushing his chair back. The door clicks shut.

10:29, the plane begins to descend. 10:32, air traffic control calls. No
answer. The captain begins banging on the door yelling "for God`s sake,
open the door." Passengers scream in the background. Alarm bells sound.
Inside the cockpit, only steady breathing until 10:40. A sound like the
scraping of the plane`s right wing on the mountaintop. Then nothing. The
audio cuts out.


SHARPTON: Tomorrow marks one week since the crash, and investigators
continue to search for answers.

We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: Developing news tonight. Wall Street gearing up for a huge
fight with Democrats over the fairness agenda in 2016. "Reuters" reports
key U.S. banks have talked about halting some campaign donations to Senate
Democrats because of the progressive policies of lawmakers like Elizabeth
Warren. Representatives from Citigroup, JP Morgan, Golden Sachs and Bank
of America have met to discuss ways to urge Democrats to soften their
party`s tone toward Wall Street. I guess the banks didn`t like this kind
of talk.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: There`s a lot of talk lately
about how Dodd-Frank isn`t perfect. There`s a lot of talk coming from
Citigroup about how Dodd-Frank isn`t perfect. So let me say this to anyone
who is listening at Citi. I agree with you, Dodd-Frank isn`t perfect. It
should have broken you into pieces.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: They want to ensure that Wall Street
megabanks will never again monopolize our nation`s wealth or gamble away
the American dream.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: You cannot regulate Wall Street. Wall
Street is regulating the Congress. Time to break up, we`ll large the Wall
Street banks.


SHARPTON: These lawmakers are not letting Wall Street run wild. But
they`ve got a tough fight ahead of them. U.S. banks are adding lobbyists
to target the watchdog agency that protects regular folks, the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau. The banks are also pouring money into efforts
to roll back Dodd-Frank financial reform. And the new House Republican
budget targets both.

Republicans are doing exactly what Wall Street wants. And progressives in
the White House and in Congress will have to stop them.

Joining me now is Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders. Thanks for
being here, Senator.

SANDERS: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Senator, banks are now talking about withholding donations. Are
they scared of the work you and others have done?

SANDERS: Well, I think they`re beginning to get nervous that the American
people are catching on, that the ethos of Wall Street is greed and fraud.
That is unacceptable, Al, for six financial institutions to have assets
equivalent to 60 percent of the GDP of our country to issue half the
mortgages and two-thirds of the credit cards in this country.

And the American people understand that we in Congress are unable to
regulate Wall Street, in fact, their power is to great they regulate the
United States Congress. And more and more people are saying, enough is
enough, it is time to break them up. And they are getting a little

SHARPTON: You know, Senator, financial reform is a big part of President
Obama`s legacy. How big will this fight be in the next year?

SANDERS: Well, it`s going to be a huge fight because as every listener and
every viewer understands, it was the greed and recklessness and illegal
behavior of Wall Street which drove this country into the worst recession
since the great depression. These people are greedy, greedy, greedy. They
want more and more and more. And they`re prepared to destroy the economy
to get what they want.

And ultimately, what we as a nation have got to say is do we stand up to
this incredible power? Do we create a financial system whose job is to
make sure that small and medium-sized businesses can grow jobs in this
country? Or do we continue to have a Wall Street which is an island unto
itself whose only goal in life is to make more and more money from their
stockholders and the CEOs of the big firms?

SHARPTON: Republican Senators may not want to do anything about income
inequality, but they`re definitely starting to talk about it. Listen to


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The recovery has been everywhere but in the family
paychecks. The American dream has become a mirage for far too many.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: The wage stagnation is happening at a time
when the cost of everything is going up dramatically.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The facts are we`re facing right now a divided
America when it comes to the economy. Today, the top one percent or a
higher share of our national income than any year since 1928.


SHARPTON: Senator, they sound like Bernie Sanders. They sound like you.
But what are their solutions? What are they saying?

SANDERS: Here`s the solution, Al. You`re right. They do sound like me.
Here`s their solutions. Their solution is that the last Republican budget,
just done last week, they decided to give more tax breaks to the
multibillionaires of this country and because of their deep concern about
the pain facing working families, cut back on the ability of kids to go to
college, cut back on nutrition, cut back on affordable housing.

And, by the way, add another $38 billion into defense spending unpaid for.
If they are concerned about working families, let them start talking about
and acting on raising the minimum wage, dealing with pay equity, stopping
bad trade agreements which cost them jobs.

I`m afraid all they are is rhetoric. They`re catching on the American
people are upset but they in fact have nothing concrete to offer.

SHARPTON: Senator Bernie Sanders, thank you for your time tonight. And
Senator, we`ll look forward to seeing you next week at the National Action
Network 2015 Convention from April 8th through the 11th right here in New

Straight ahead, Bill Clinton`s role in a possible Hillary Clinton
presidential campaign. You`ll want to hear this.

Plus, President Obama honors the late Senator Ted Kennedy with a stirring
call for change in Washington.

And Jon Stewart`s replacement is announced. Who is Trevor Noah? Stay with


SHARPTON: Tonight, the real reason the right wing gets so confused about
where President Obama was born. We know they like to say it was key.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: He just wants us to have the same
health care and plan that he had in Kenya.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: What was wrong with people saying, wait a
minute, you know what? In light of the fact where your father came from,
et cetera, let`s just make sure that this is a legitimate birth

allowed to be a president if you`re not born in this country. He may not
have been born in this country.


SHARPTON: We all remember that. It was such a big deal on the right.
President Obama released his regular birth certificate, then his long-form
birth certificate. And the president openly mocked the whole thing.


miss me when I`m gone. It will be harder to convince the American people
that Hillary was born in Kenya.

In Kenya, we drive on the other side.

Trump and you? I don`t -- he`s -- it`s like me and Letterman. What does
he have against you here? I don`t get it.

OBAMA: You know, this all dates back to when we were growing up together
in Kenya.

LENO: Yes.

OBAMA: And --


SHARPTON: So that was all behind us. All part of the crazy right wing
past. Until today, when the White House announced the president will
finally visit Kenya this summer. Just moments after that announcement,
former Republican Governor John Sununu weighed in.


GOV. JOHN SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: His trip back to Kenya is going to
create a lot of chatter and commentary amongst some of the hard right who
still don`t see him as having been born in the U.S. I personally think
he`s just inciting some chatter on issue that should have been a dead issue
a long time ago.


SHARPTON: The issue should have been settled long ago, but I guess
President Obama just keeps inciting chatter. It`s all his fault. Here`s
my short-form response.

The only ones inciting chatter are right wingers like Governor Sununu.
Make these outlandish comments. Nice try. But we gotcha.


SHARPTON: The attacks on Hillary Clinton are getting louder. And she`s
taking heat from both sides. RNC Chair Reince Priebus now says deleting e-
mails from her server may be criminal.


REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: If it was wiped clean, I guess the next
question would be whether there`s criminal conduct involved. This is
intentional behavior which in many cases, Steve, is criminal in nature.
The question is whether or not this is going to rise to the level of a
subpoena where she`s going to have to comply with a court order.



SHARPTON: A republican criticizing Clinton is not a news alert. But what
former democratic Governor Martin O`Malley says is a bit more surprising.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Our country always benefits from new leadership and new
perspective. Let`s be honest here, the presidency of the United States is
not some crown to be passed between two families. It is an awesome and
sacred trust to be earned and exercised on behalf of the American people.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Those two families, Bush and Clinton?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Right now, George, you know, the -- any two families.


SHARPTON: She`s taking heat from both sides. But is it out of fear? The
latest poll shows 81 percent of democrats would consider voting for
Clinton. So is a decision coming soon? And what might a Clinton campaign
look like?

Joining me now are democratic strategist Jamal Simmons and Joan Walsh from Thank you both for being here.


JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you, Rev, good to be here.

SHARPTON: Jamal, O`Malley is the first democrat to take a shot at Clinton
so far. He`s been asked about it countless times. Why make this statement

SIMMONS: You know, I think Governor O`Malley has figured out, there`s an
opening here. Senator Clinton is a little bit rusty, she hasn`t gotten off
the dime in the most powerful way in terms of her own presentations and
answers to some of the questions that have been out there. And Democrats
more a competitive primary. I think that Senator Clinton is tough enough
to take on Governor O`Malley, I think she can probably beat him. But if
she`s not tough enough to take him on, it`s better for us to know that in
the primary than it get to the general election and then find out that
there`s something wrong there. So, I think it`s good for her. I think
it`s good for the party and it`s good for Governor O`Malley to make a
strong case as long as he doesn`t really make a republican case against her
during the course of this campaign.

SHARPTON: Joan, is Mrs. Clinton rusty? I mean, does she need to fight?

WALSH: Look, I`d like to see her have a primary challenge. And I did a
long interview with Governor O`Malley. I have a lot of respect for him. I
will say, though, Rev, I think it`s fine to hit her on policy. When
democrats fall into this trap of equating the Bushs and the Clintons and
acting like they`re some kind of royalty, I don`t think they help the
party, I don`t think they help us understand the nature of income

SHARPTON: But isn`t she going to have to deal with that issue?

WALSH: She`s going to have to from republicans. But I don`t think
democrats should be dignifying it. People really need to understand the
difference. She is not the child of a president, the niece or nephew of a
senator on his mother`s side, Jeb Bush is descended from Franklin Pierce.
The Clintons are middle class people who worked their way up in politics.
Do you not want her to become president? Do you think she should not
succeed her husband? I think that`s fair to have a debate about. But this
class issue obscures the real nature of the way how class works in America.

SHARPTON: Talking about her husband, Jamal, Clinton advisers are trying to
figure out how to use her not so secret weapon, her husband Bill Clinton.
"The New York Times" reporting and quoting it, "Mr. Clinton is hungering
once again to play a central role in his wife`s presidential campaign.
They are discussing whether to deploy a senior aide to travel with him to
keep him focused on his wife`s central message." How do you use Bill
Clinton`s strengths in this campaign, Jamal?

SIMMONS: You know, I used to work for President Clinton and I think he is
one of the best political campaigners that we`ve ever seen. As I said in
2008, he`s a little more Gladys Knight than he is a pep. So, that`s kind
of the tough part of getting Bill Clinton on the campaign trail, he`s not
used to playing a backup singer. So, they do need to find a way to get him
focused, keep him on message. And make sure he`s making the case in the
campaign. If they figure that out, they`re a duo that I think really can`t
be beat. But they have to figure it out.

SHARPTON: Well, by he is by far one of the most effective campaigners and
charismatic political figures that I`ve certainly met. And I`ve dealt with
them for the last 20 years.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: The problem, Joan, is if you inhibit him, do you dial back his
charisma which is the reason you want him out there? I mean, isn`t it a
delicate balance they`re going to have to find here?

WALSH: Yes. It`s a very delicate balance, and I`m sure the camp -- I`m
sure very smart people right now within the Clinton extended family are
talking about it a lot. I don`t really know how you do it. I think he`s
somebody with whom you take the good, which is considerable, with the bad.
The bad is smaller, much, much smaller but it occasionally surfaces. I do
think they have to make sure to rein him in a little bit or keep him
focused on what the message is and not let him freelance and necessarily
step on her message which he did many times, let`s be honest, in 2008.

SHARPTON: Let me go back, Jamal, to Reince Priebus, the chair of the RNC.
And more of his interview. Listen to this.


PRIEBUS: This is intentional behavior which in many cases, Steve, is
criminal in nature. Even Nixon didn`t destroy the tapes. There are
thousands and thousands of e-mails that are missing.


SHARPTON: Comparing her to Nixon? I mean, saying this is criminal, is
this going too far, Jamal?

SIMMONS: Yes. And first of all, let`s think about how rich it is that a
republican chairman is going after Nixon who got in trouble -- who was a
republican president -- who got in trouble for going after democrats. I
think that there`s nothing criminal about this because there is no criminal
inquiry -- there is no indictment, there is no -- I mean, there`s nothing
here that says criminality. There`s a partisan witch hunt on Capitol Hill
going after something that everybody acknowledged is a tragedy in Benghazi,
everybody who looked at the case said the State Department did something
wrong. Senator Clinton said she did something wrong and she handed over
55,000 pages worth of e-mails. I think that what they`re talking about is
really more political hackery than it is an actual issue that the American
public cares about.

SHARPTON: You know, Joan, once she announces, does the e-mail controversy
go away?

WALSH: I don`t think it will ever go away entirely, Reverend Al, because
they want to make it an issue. And they don`t have that much on her. But
I think we`re already seeing the voters do not care. Every poll taken
since this emerged shows it`s getting no traction with voters. It`s
getting traction with desperate republicans. So I think they`ll try to
make it an issue, keep it an issue as long as they can. But I don`t see it
going anywhere. She was entitled to have private e-mail, all public
officials are entitled to do that. What she did with it, what she did with
her private e-mail is her business.

SHARPTON: You know, I`m out of time, Jamal, but you said you worked for
Bill Clinton, and I noticed another "New York Times" story that said in the
2012 race, he actually had bumped into Mitt Romney and was giving him
advice on how to debate President Obama and telling him what to do. That
sounds so Bill Clinton like.

SIMMONS: He just can`t help himself. He`s like such a tactician. He can
argue it from any side of the coin.

SHARPTON: No, and I don`t think it was anything duplicitous. He`s told me
how to preach sermons. The problem is, he was good, he was better than I
was that day.

WALSH: So much advice.

SHARPTON: Yes, he`s good.

Jamal Simmons, Joan Walsh, thank you for your time tonight.

WALSH: Thank you, Rev.

SIMMONS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, "Conversation Nation." The jaw-dropping poll of
what republican voters think about the so-called threat from President

Also, how the sports world is tackling the controversial law signed by
Indiana`s GOP governor.

And Jon Stewart`s replacement as host making late night history. Stay with


SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight, MSNBC`s
Krystal Ball. Political Science Professor Jason Johnson. And "Boston
Globe`s," Shira Center. Thank you all for being here tonight.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks for having us, Rev.



SHARPTON: Let me start with this question. Should the NCAA pull the final
four from Indianapolis? That`s what some like former NBA star turned
analyst Charles Barkley are suggesting. The calls are growing. Just days
before the top four college teams tip off. And these calls are growing in
response to the state`s new law that could legalize discrimination in the
name of religious freedom. There are no plans to move it, but the NCAA
president said the law could lead to big changes.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We hold lots and lots of events here. We`re going to
have our national convention here. Our offices are here. We have to say,
all right, what are we going to do if this law goes into effect in July?
And what`s our relationship with the State of Indiana going to be?


SHARPTON: Jason, should the NCAA pull out of Indiana?

JOHNSON: Well, as an entire corporation, that would be great should they
stop the games that are going to happen later on this week? I don`t
necessarily think that would be a good idea right now. But I do think they
should be putting some long-term pressure. Look, the NFL did this with
Arizona when they tried to pass ridiculous laws about immigration. So, I
think the NCAA has just as much power to change this legislation before it
goes into effect in July.

SHARPTON: Shira, Jason is right. The NFL had to deal with this with
Arizona and they did change at the last minute. Should the NCAA pull that
same leverage for this weekend`s game?

CENTER: It`s just a little too soon I think to move the entire tournament
out of Indiana. What we do know is republican leaders in the statehouse
are already going back and looking at this law. They know it wasn`t clear.
They know it`s become a huge pr fiasco for them. They know it`s going to
be most of all bad for business in Indiana because it`s not just the NCAA.
It`s also Angie`s list that halted a huge expansion in the state. You
know, it`s definitely a problem for the Republican Party as a whole when
you look at these kinds of laws.

SHARPTON: Krystal, everyone from Tim Cook to celebrities have jumped in on
this and the republican chair of Indiana says he`s surprised. He doesn`t
understand what people are -- that people would react like this. Do you
think that they`re really surprised on getting a court, or that the
language was vague enough that you would think that seasoned legislators
would have known what they were doing?

BALL: I can`t imagine how they would be surprised. I mean, as you`ve
already alluded to, we had a very similar bill pass the state legislature
in Arizona, and a very similar backlash including from businesses and
ultimately Governor Jan Brewer decided to veto that bill. So I`m not sure
how they were surprised by the backlash here. I`m not sure how they`re
unable to answer Governor Mike Pence, in particular, simple, basic
questions about this law. And the fact that businesses have been so
outspoken already is so powerful in this case, because let`s keep in mind,
republicans frequently like to be on the side of business. They don`t want
to do something that is bad for business in their state. So I think those
voices have been so powerful and so important in this debate.

SHARPTON: But Jason, is the combination of sports and business enough
pressure to put on Pence and the state legislature to deal with this?

JOHNSON: Oh, I think it will be eventually. I think these guys are
surprised. I think some of these state legislators are in such a bubble of
their own constituencies of 5,000 people that they really think they can
get by with this sort of stuff and it`s not going to make a difference.
But trust me, after all that`s -- that has happened now, I think they`re
going to change this. These guys are already scrambling around trying to
wiggle their way out f of it. They`re going it do something before July
even if we don`t lose the games this weekend.

BALL: I think Pence thought this was a great way for him to get some
attention and support from religious conservatives.

SHARPTON: Well, he got a lot of attention.

BALL: Maybe -- Iowa form example.

SHARPTON: He got a lot of attention.

All right. Let me move on, Shira, who poses an imminent threat to the
United States? "Reuters" asked republicans in a new poll. Twenty three
percent said Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Twenty five percent said
Russian President Vladimir Putin. But who do you think got 34 percent of
republicans to say that they`re the serious threat to the country?
President Barack Obama. A third of republicans. Shira, this is pretty eye
opening. I mean, what`s your reaction?

CENTER: I mean, I just try and look at this poll and try to figure out
what goes through the head of someone when they answer this question saying
the President is more threatening than Vladimir Putin. Right? Like, what
goes through their head when they answer this? Yes. Do they think the
President -- yes, do they think the President has more of an impact on
national policy than Putin? Okay, maybe I could rationalize that. But it
just seems kind of bizarre to even compare them in the first place.

SHARPTON: I mean, Jason, only the Ayatollah of Iran got more than the
President. I mean, this is unbelievable.

JOHNSON: I`m not shocked, and I honestly think -- I think there has always
been a certain segment of the population, some of them republican, some of
them just conservatives who always thought that President Obama was some
terrible Muslim terrorist. I think that`s why he`s going to Kenya this
summer, he`s just trolling people. Now, he doesn`t care. He won both of
his elections. So I really think this does not shock me that that attitude
is still there. I`m shocked as many people still think the Democratic
Party, regardless of Obama, is more of a threat than Vladimir Putin. That
concerns me about American democracy.

SHARPTON: But Krystal, I mean, when you think about the fact that this is
the base of the Republican Party, this is who the legislators in Indiana
are playing to --

BALL: Right.

SHARPTON: This is who the presidential primary candidates are playing to,
and this is how they feel.

BALL: It really -- I mean, more than angry or surprised, it just makes me
sad, and I have such trouble understanding how you look at President
Barack Obama and whether you agree with all of his policies or not, how you
see anything other than a good man who`s trying to do the best that he can
for his country. It just baffles me. It absolutely floors me. But you do
have this segment that from the very beginning, they grabbed these words
when he said he would fundamentally transform the country. They`ve been
using that ever since to say that he`s going to take away their way of
living and he`s going to turn this country into something that`s
unrecognizable. We certainly haven`t seen it yet.

SHARPTON: Everyone stay with me. When we come back, he has a tough act to
follow. Jon Stewart`s replacement is named. We`ll introduce you to him.


SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Krystal, Jason, and Shira. Now to
the big news from late night TV. Comedy Central announced that South
African comedian Trevor Noah will take over Jon Stewart`s seat as host of
"The Daily Show." Noah`s done only three appearances on the show, but he
seems at home in the hot seat.


JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": You flew in, I guess, yesterday from
South Africa.

TREVOR NOAH, SOUTH AFRICAN COMEDIAN: Yes, I just flew in, and boy are my
arms tired.



NOAH: No, no, seriously, I`ve been holding my arms like this since I got
here. Yes.


SHARPTON: Krystal, what do you think of the pick?

BALL: You know, I think it`s smart in a way because Jon Stewart would be
so hard to replace directly. I think by bringing someone who has a
different focus, an international focus, is familiar with the show, but is
not a regular, I think it`s interesting. It could change the feel of the
show. It`s exciting to see a guy who`s new on the scene get this shot.

SHARPTON: Jason, you know a bit about him, I understand.

JOHNSON: Yes, yes. Look, I`m a huge Trevor Noah fan. There`s a great
documentary about him called "You Laugh but it`s True." I saw it about
three years ago in a film festival. I have a Trevor Noah channel on my
Pandora for comedy.

BALL: There you go.

JOHNSON: This guy is hilarious. He`s going to be fantastic. And it`s a
brand new perspective on American politics. This is not going to be John
Oliver. This is going to be a really new take, I think it`s going to be
great for election season.


CENTER: Well, I think it says a lot about the demographics of age. Trevor
Noah I read is only 31-years-old. That`s even younger than Jon Stewart was
when he took over the show. So I think it said something about Comedy
Central wanting to make sure the show has longevity. I will say, as much
as I like Trevor Noah, I really wanted them to pick a woman for that top
spot. I think it`s longtime overdue that we have a woman in late night
permanent spot in that seat.

SHARPTON: Well, let me show some of his standup and you`ll see why maybe
he was the choice.


NOAH: It`s all about statistics. Have you seen sports in America?
Americans will go back to the finest statistic. The last time a black man
scored using his left hand jumping over a mixed race half Indian was in
1967 when the -- they`re look what?

On the hip hop station, they sense a hip hop. Why would you do that? You
can`t sense a hip hop. No, it just makes hip hop sound uncertain. The
guys come out and half of the words are missing. It`s just like, yes, yes,
when the -- won`t you, eh, can do, for you.


SHARPTON: He`s funny, Krystal.

BALL: He`s very funny and that`s what matters most. You know, it`s going
to be exciting to see how he takes what "The Daily Show" is and gives his
own spin and puts his own brand on it. So, it will be fun to watch.

SHARPTON: Krystal, Jason, and Shira, thank you for your time tonight.

BALL: Thanks, Rev.

CENTER: Thank you.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Make sure you watch Krystal on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
right here on MSNBC.

When we come back, President Obama honors Ted Kennedy and the spirit of


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, honoring the late liberal lion, former Senator
Ted Kennedy. President Obama was in Boston today marking the opening of
the Edward M. Kennedy Institute. He spoke about Kennedy`s legacy of
working across the aisle for change.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: He understood that differences of
party or philosophy could not become barriers to cooperation or respect.
He could howl an injustice on the Senate floor like a force of nature.
While nervous aides tried to figure out which chart to pull up next. I did
not know Ted as long as some of the speakers here today. But he was my
friend. I owe him a lot.


SHARPTON: He was a friend. We all remember Kennedy`s 2008 endorsement for
then-candidate Obama. It was a huge moment in the race. And a key turning
point for the Democratic Party. President Obama would later carry out
Kennedy`s political passion. Universal health care. It`s clear he took
inspiration from Kennedy.


OBAMA: To his harshest critics who saw him as nothing more than a partisan
lightning rod, that may sound foolish, but there are republicans here today
for a reason. They know who Ted Kennedy was. It`s not because they shared
Ted`s ideology or his positions, but because they knew Ted as somebody who
bridged the partisan divide over and over and over again with genuine
effort and affection. In an era when bipartisanship has become so very
rare. They knew him as somebody who kept his word.


SHARPTON: A man who kept his word. I`ve known various political figures
over the years. Some I liked. Some I disliked. But few you learn to
respect. I respected Ted Kennedy because he had the courage to deal with
people he disagreed with. It seemed the cause, the purpose was more
important than the partisan bickering. Ted Kennedy is missed.

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


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