PoliticsNation, Thursday, April 2nd, 2015
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: April 2, 2015
Guest: E.J. Dionne, Joe Madison, Joy Reid, Bill Press, Maria Teresa Kumar,
Mark Hannah, Margie Omero
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you for
We start with more of today`s breaking news. President Obama is hailing
the potentially historic framework for a nuclear agreement with Iran. It`s
an agreement that could stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, help
stabilize the Middle East and secure a lasting foreign policy legacy for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After many months of tough,
principled diplomacy, we have achieved the framework for that deal. And it
is a good deal. A deal that meets our core objectives. This framework
would cut off every path way that Iran could take to a nuclear weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: There`s still a lot of work to do and this agreement could still
fall apart before the next deadline on June 30th. But it`s a key milestone
and today the president had a message for the critics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: When you hear the inevitable critics of the deal signed off, ask
them a simple question. Do you really think that this verifiable deal, if
fully implemented, backed by the world`s major powers, is a worse option
than the risk of another war in the Middle East?
I will underscore that the issues at stake here are bigger than politics.
These are matters of war and peace. If Congress kills this deal, not based
on expert analysis and without offering any reasonable alternative, then
it`s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Secretary of state John Kerry pulled an all night to hammer out
the final details. Under this framework, Iran would cut back its nuclear
stockpile; let inspectors in to all nuclear facilities and into their
supply chain, and ship its spent reactor fuel out of the country. In
return, the U.S. and U.N. will gradually ease the economic sanctions on
We`re covering all of the angles tonight from diplomacy to politics. We
start with NBC`s Kristen Welker at the White House.
Kristen, is this the agreement that the White House wanted?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Reverend Al, I
think the White House believes this is the best deal they could get. You
heard President Obama in the rose garden calling this an historic day,
touting the fact that this deal, in his word, is a good deal and now the
hard work begins for President Obama. He`s got to sell this to the
American people and to a very skeptical Congress. He`s already started
that outreach today, placing calls to congressional leaders and he is
highlighting what he believes will be some of the biggest selling points.
First, the fact that, in his words, this deal is not about trusting Iran.
It is about verification, almost anticipating some of the criticism that
he`s going to get from those that will say that Iran can`t be trusted.
Also touting the fact that Iran has agreed to decrease its centrifuges by
two-thirds and that it would increase the breakout time for Iran to get a
nuclear weapon from two to three months where it`s estimated right now to a
year or more.
Also, the point of sanctions. This had been a major sticking point. Iran
wanted sanctions lifted immediately. The United States and it is European
counterparts saying no way. That sanctions could only be lifted gradually
and over time and once it was cleared that Iran was following through with
the terms of this agreement. So the fact that the White House got Iran to
agree to having sanctions lifted gradually, the White House will argue it`s
a major victory.
Senior administration officials saying that President Obama wasn`t in
Switzerland but that he was certainly being kept up to date almost moment
by moment on the development as they were occurring. In fact, we were told
that he got a phone call as late as midnight last night on one of the key
Reaction has begun to come in from Capitol Hill. As you would expect,
Reverend Al, Democrats have largely been supportive. Republican House
speaker John Boehner saying quote "the parameters for a final deal
represent an alarming departure from the White House`s initial goals."
Senator Bob Corker was more muted, but he said that he intends to move
forward with legislation that would ultimately give Congress the final say
on any final deal.
President Obama today reiterating that he will veto any legislation that
Congress brings. The White House feels that could undercut the final deal.
And Reverend Al, remember, this is the framework for the final bill. The
final deadline is June 30th. This is very much a legacy issue for
President Obama. He wants to see this done before he leaves office --
SHARPTON: Kristen Welker, thank you for your reporting tonight.
Now let`s bring in E.J. Dionne "the Washington Post" and MSNBC contributor
and Steve Clemons of "the Atlantic." Thank you both for being here.
E.J. DIONNE, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you, Reverend.
STEVE CLEMONS, THE ATLANTIC: My pleasure.
SHARPTON: Steve, big picture, what do you think of this blueprint, big
CLEMONS: I think it`s a staggeringly great accomplishment that if you
fought of leaders like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, even the two Bush
presidents, it`s hard to imagine that they would have put anything in this
deal that Barack Obama didn`t achieve. When you go through the fact sheet
line by line, I can`t find anything that we didn`t get that we wanted.
So it is a very historic deal and it changes -- it has the potential, if we
do the deal on June 30th, of changing the way global gravity works because
it gives us an opportunity to bring back Iran into the community of
nations. And to show the world that America is back in the seat as the
nation that can most shape global affairs in a benign and positive way,
more than any other nation in the world. So it`s very important, even
beyond the nuclear deal.
SHARPTON: E.J., when you look at the fact that Israeli Prime Minister
Netanyahu has been critical, the president addressed the criticism from
Netanyahu head on today. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It is no secret that the Israeli prime minister and I don`t agree
about whether the United States should move forward with a dishful
resolution to the Iranian issue. If in fact Prime Minister Netanyahu is
looking for the most effective way to ensure Iran doesn`t get a nuclear
weapon, this is the best option.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: One of the big questions has raise is will Netanyahu try to
pressure the U.S. Congress to oppose this framework?
DIONNE: You know, you`d have to bet that he will. But I think what`s
striking about this, and I basically agree with what Steve said earlier,
what`s striking about this is that I think it is both a better deal and a
more comprehensive deal than a lot of the critics of this process said. In
other words, almost everybody that you`re going to hear from in the next
two or three days are going to speak, in part, from where they were before
we knew a single word of this agreement.
And so, you have to look back and look at the people who didn`t expect much
and they are really struck by the cutting of the centrifuges, the limits on
enriching uranium, shutting the (INAUDIBLE), if I pronounce that right, the
(INAUDIBLE) facility that everybody was afraid of. They are transferring
that to peaceful uses. And what looked like very intrusive inspections, I
And that the French were people -- the French were not eager necessarily to
make this deal. They were sort of more critical of this process and even
they are at least partly, you know, they are open to this. They`ve gone
along with this. That`s a signal that this is a pretty tough deal. So
Prime Minister Netanyahu wouldn`t shock me if he continues to push against
The key politically is, can President Obama at least get enough Democrats
so that if there is a bill that would undercut this, he can veto it and be
sustained. And I think that the toughness of this deal makes that very
SHARPTON: Now, Secretary John Kerry -- secretary of state John Kerry spoke
to our Andrea Mitchell about what is next with congress. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: What about Congress? They are not
always the knowledgeable, scientific community.
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The Congress I know will, you know,
spend the time and look at this closely and some have already made up their
minds and there is sort of an automatic response. We understand that. But
I think most senators and congressman are going to want to see this,
examine it, talk to people, listen to the experts and that`s what we asked
them to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So it appears, Steve, that the secretary of state feels that
there is enough there that if the senators and members of Congress really
look at it, they can at least get the numbers where they can sustain a veto
if it is necessary by the president.
CLEMONS: Well, I think every member who votes on this, if they do take it
to a vote, Senator Corker has said is going to have to answer that
question. Are they known nothing senator or are they going to know
something about the deal? And I think they have to basically come forward
with something and saying what is the better option? The president was
very clear, the three options, either try and get a very good deal that
lots of inspections that take that Netanyahu bomb that he showed in the
U.N., when you`re right at the blowup point, you bring it down 97 percent
and you say we`re going to either have that kind of deal or we`re just
going to put sanctions on the no end which will take Iran into the bomb
track or we`re going to go to war with Iran.
And so, I think that when you begin looking at this, this is not an
appeasement deal at all when you look at the contours and the detail. They
are going to have to basically comment each and every person who votes, on
what their alternate would be. And I think that`s going to focus the mind
unless they want to be known nothing senators.
SHARPTON: Now, E.J., the polls show that the American people backed the
president in terms of having a plan. Fifty-nine percent support a
diplomatic solution. This has the support of the voters. It has the
support of the international community. Will Congress really stand in the
way of all of this?
DIONNE: Well, these days, nothing Congress does surprise me.
SHARPTON: That`s true.
DIONNE: But what`s striking about those polls is a lot of Republicans
support this deal or this general approach. I didn`t know about the deal
(INAUDIBLE). You`ve got almost half of Republicans saying that they prefer
a diplomatic solution.
And I`d like to take a little bit of comfort in the fact that Senator
Corker did not just jump right out and say this is an outrage. Yes, he
said he`s going to go ahead with the vote. But he is a serious guy on
foreign policy. And I`d like to think there is a shot that he will take
very seriously the tough parts of this deal. He may, in the end, still
push ahead. But the fact that he`s a little bit restrained at the outset
is a mildly -- gives me a very, very, very guarded optimism. How many
times can I say the word "very"?
SHARPTON: You said it a few times.
But Steve, you`re -- I always looked at you as a big picture guy. One more
time -- I`m out of time -- but the big picture, how historic is this and if
it sticks in June and it should --
CLEMONS: If we had this in June, this is as big as Nixon goes to China.
It changes the game. America is back after a lot of bad years with the
perception of America as a weak and less significant power reverses. And I
think when you look at what Obama said today not just about Iran but what
he`s going to do with the GCC countries and Saudis and Camp David, what he
is going to do to basically show there`s no distance between Israeli
This is a masterful chess player back in the game. And so I think it is a
truly significant day, particularly if the deal is done on June 30th.
SHARPTON: Big as Nixon going to China. That`s pretty big.
E.J. Dionne and Steve Clemons, thank you both for your time tonight.
CLEMONS: Thank you, Reverend.
DIONNE: Good to be with you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Straight ahead, more on the breaking news and the political
reaction from the right on the Iran nuclear deal.
Also, breaking today, Loretta Lynch now has the votes for attorney general,
a somewhat surprising announcement today. So when will Mitch McConnell
schedule a vote?
Plus, Jeb Bush Monday, meet Jeb Bush Wednesday. Why Indiana`s religious
freedom law has him flip-flopping.
And first, first lady Michelle Obama is in the building. She`ll visit
Jimmy Fallon on "the tonight show" and rumor has it they will be dancing.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: We`re following breaking news out of Kenya. A siege has just
ended at a college campus after terrorists stormed a dorm targeting
Christian students. At least 147 people have been confirmed killed,
including four gunmen. The al-Shabab group, an affiliate of Al Qaeda, is
claiming responsibility. It`s the same group that claimed responsibility
for the 2013 attacks on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya leaving 67 dead.
The attack comes just days after President Obama announced he would visit
Kenya this summer.
SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight, Loretta Lynch has the votes to become our
next attorney general. The only thing between her and the justice
department is Senator Mitch McConnell scheduling a vote.
Before today, 49 senators, including four Republicans, committed to voting
for her. The only democratic hold-out was New Jersey`s Bob Menendez. But
last night, a spokeswoman told "Politico," quote "Senator Menendez looks
forward to voting in favor of Ms. Lynch when her confirmation vote comes to
the floor." Now, that would be 50 votes for Miss Lynch. A tie that vice
president Biden could break. But this afternoon, Illinois Republican Mark
Kirk had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK KIRK (R), ILLINOIS: Loretta did a very good job with me and
because she was so good on this subject, I`m going to vote for Loretta
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s 51 votes. No tie breaker necessary. So Senator
McConnell, get out your calendar. Set a date for a vote because it`s time
-- past time for Loretta Lynch to be confirmed.
Joining me now is Joe Madison. Thank you for being here, Joe.
JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thank you.
SHARPTON: So Joe, will Senator McConnell drag this out any longer or is he
out of excuses?
MADISON: He`s out of excuses. That`s exactly right. Look, we all that it
would take what, now probably 15 minutes to take that vote. Actually, they
could take the vote before they leave for the Easter recess, Reverend
SHARPTON: Well, they left last Friday but they certainly back on the 13th,
a Monday, And I think they can do it right then.
But let me ask you this, Joe. Senator Kirk has a tough re-election next
year. But there are several other Republican senators up for election in
states that President Obama won. Some of them not announced how they will
vote. Do you think anybody will follow Kirk`s lead now that he`s stepped
out there? Some of them are in the same political kind of environment.
MADISON: Well, the one that comes to my mind, though, is not in that same
political environment and the fact that he has to seek re-election is
Mississippi senator who, as you know would not be sitting as a senator now
if it hadn`t been for the African-American vote. I mean, he really owes
his seat to African-Americans. But there are several senators in Ohio, for
example, the senators up for re-election. So when you look at cities like
my home town of Dayton, Cleveland, Cincinnati, the African-American vote is
critical in that state.
So I think while they are home, and things are correct to me, while they
are home I think they better take the pulse of those cities to determine
whether or not they want to vote. Because what you will hear the
opposition saying is that they are being told they don`t want Loretta Lynch
to be confirmed.
SHARPTON: It doesn`t even make it more difficult politically if you now
have Kirk coming out, you are counting 51 votes, she appears to be
confirmed anyway. Why would you not vote for her when you`re going to lose
anyway and then you lose the vote and you would lose a lot of the base that
you need at home in a very tough election or re-election?
MADISON: Because they are appealing to a different base. And their
concern, I think, would be the primary. That`s their concern. That this -
- their base would be -- are the primary -- the very active people within
the Republican Party and that`s what really has them frightened.
But this is really good news. You know, I was able to get one of these
bracelets that I have here free Eric Holder. And, you know, thank goodness
that we can now maybe take these bracelets off. Because what a -- I mean,
what a predicament they are in. They don`t want Eric Holder in there but,
at the same time, they cannot convince America that this isn`t one of the
most qualified individuals for this office. So they really have a problem
here. So Ohio, Mississippi, a few other states, you can listen to your
one-sided base. You might get through the primary but you can very well
lose the general election if you vote the wrong way.
SHARPTON: And that is the very, very serious dilemma that a lot of them
are in. And by Kirk coming on board, I think their dilemma just got more
serious. I think attorney general Holder that you mentioned. He had
clashed a lot of Republican over the years. And he`s joked about what you
refer to that their delay has only keeping him around. Let me let you see
MADISON: Yes, please.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Given the Senate`s scheduling and
delays and considering Loretta Lynch`s nomination for vote, it`s almost as
if the Republicans in Congress have discovered a new fondness. I am
feeling love here that I haven`t felt for some time. And where was all of
this affection over the last six years, you know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: There`s no -- it`s no secret that I`ve been very supportive of a
lot of what Eric Holder has done.
SHARPTON: But I`ll be glad to see him freed and see an immediate vote so
we can move on.
MADISON: Then we can take these off then, right? Free Eric Holder.
SHARPTON: All right, Joe Madison, thank you for your time tonight.
MADISON: Happy Easter.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, Jeb is backing down and Ted is doubling down. The
backlash over to anti-gay law had the GOP presidential candidates
Also, we`ll tell you why a new poll has them smiling tonight in Clinton-
And should David Letterman run for Senate? New buzz about that in
SHARPTON: Breaking news any moment now, Indiana`s Republican governor Mike
Pence expected to speak after signing a measure to designed to quote
"clarify the state`s controversial religious freedom bill." This comes
after a ground swell of outrage with critics saying the law discriminates
against gays and lesbians.
State Republicans introduced the new measure this morning. Some critics
say it doesn`t go far enough, but its backers say it contains anti-
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. BRIAN BOSMA, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It was clear that the
perception had to be addressed, whose your hospitality had to be restored.
The inclusion, the welcoming attitude of every (INAUDIBLE) had to be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And late this afternoon, the Republican governor of Arkansas
signing a revised version of that state`s bill into law, a day after
demanding concerns about discrimination. But is it enough to take the heat
off of GOP, including national Republicans hoping to win in 2016? It`s
already got them tap dancing. That`s next.
SHARPTON: More on the breaking news out of Indiana and the widening
fallout. Just moments ago, Indiana`s Governor Mike Pence signing a measure
adding protections for gays and lesbians. We were told he was going to
speak and now we`re told he`s not going to speak. But earlier this week,
Governor Pence admitted he did not see the backlash coming and now the
political problem is spreading. Throwing national republicans off balance,
starting with Jeb Bush. Just days ago, he praised the law and Indiana`s
governor for signing it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I think Governor Pence has done the
right thing. This is simply allowing people of -- people of faith space to
be able to express their beliefs, to be able to be people of conscience. I
think once the facts are established, people aren`t going to see this as
discriminatory at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It was the right thing. Not discriminatory. Against gays and
lesbians. But last night, Bush pack pedaled saying, quote, "the better
approach would have been the approach that is more consensus-oriented
approach, I think." It`s a shift in tone and message. Scott Walker is
also tied up in not stopping short of supporting the law but saying to a
spokesman, quote, "as a matter of principle, Governor Walker believes in
broad religious freedom." One republican who is not backing off, take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: He`s a good man. I admire him for standing up
for legislation and it was the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now are Joy Reid and Bill Press. Thank you for being
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hi, Reverend Al.
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Joy, in the span of just two days, Jeb Bush had a pretty big
change of heart on this controversial bill. What explains it?
REID: So Jeb Bush I think occupies the most sort of odd and precarious
position of any of the republican potential nominees because he`s trying to
be the establishment consensus candidate that can make the Republican Party
palatable in the suburbs but at the same time he has to win over a base of
the party that has a huge evangelical core. Who is looking for somebody to
be authentic and stand up for what they see as an erosion of their
religious liberty and no one willing to steadfastly stand for Christian
conservatism. Somebody is going to occupy that space and they`re going to
wind up posing a challenge for that part of the base to Jeb Bush so he`s
always got to watch that right fling because keep in mind again he`s not --
evangelical, he is a Catholic. So, he`s got to balance that Catholic
tradition which has some parts of it that are, for instance, caring for the
poor and being modern immigration --
REID: He`s always worried that someone is going to get to his right.
SHARPTON: He`s got to worry about the primaries and those far right.
SHARPTON: Bill, Governor Pence of Indiana just signed a fixer kind of
bill. Will this take some of the heat off of the national republican
potential candidates like Jeb Bush or is it too little too late?
PRESS: Exactly. That was a phrase I was going to use. I think it`s too
little too late, Reverend Al. I think the damage has already been done not
only to Mike Pence. I mean, forget about running for president now from
Mike Pence. I think a lot of damage, as Joy just pointed out to Jeb Bush,
this was a moment for him to show some leadership, to show some adulthood,
if you will. He could have said, I know what they are trying to do but
this bill just goes too far. If they can fix it a little bit, it might be
okay. Instead, he went full-throated in support of Mike Pence and the bill
and then when he gets to California in front of a different audience,
right, as you pointed out, in front of tech leaders who have been critical
of the bill, then he changes his tune. He`s got to learn at this day and
age you can`t say one thing in front of one audience and one thing in
another because, Reverend Al, you and I are watching him at every step.
The other thing I`ve got to say is I think this is damaging for the
Republican Party but not talking economy, they`re not talking jobs, they
are back to the party of Pat Buchanan and the culture wars of the 1990s and
1980s and that is a losing strategy for November.
SHARPTON: Hurt the Republican Party, Joy. You know, "The Washington Post"
reports, quote, "Some republicans also fear that Indiana is only the first
in a series of brush fires that could engulf the party as it struggles to
adapt to the nation`s rapidly changing demographics and social morals." Is
the 2016 campaign going to present the GOP with lots of issues like the one
that sprang up in Indiana?
REID: I actually think this is going to be a significant part of what is
played out particularly in the primaries. Because you first have to win
super conservative Iowa, then you go on to New Hampshire where it`s more
libertarian. Then you have to head to South Carolina for a republican to
not be right with the evangelical bases, really dangerous. Jeb Bush cannot
afford to do a Rudy Giuliani and try to wait for Florida to come to life.
So, I think it`s going to be really hard, particularly because Ted Cruz, as
you just showed, Rev is very willing to occupy that far right space and say
I`m the guy who is going to do what George W. Bush promised to do in 2000,
which was to be the person that stands forthrightly for Christian
conservatives to get them to come out to vote and to join the republican
coalition. Remember it was George W. Bush who largely awakened two to four
million evangelical Christians and made them become political. So, Jeb
Bush really can`t afford to let them completely go. But, remember, these
are two wings of the party fighting each other.
SHARPTON: But you also can`t have it both ways, Bill.
SHARPTON: And Hillary Clinton wasn`t vague at all about where she stands.
She tweeted, quote, "Like Indiana law, Arkansas bill goes beyond protecting
religion, would permit unfair discrimination against LGBT Americans, I urge
governor to veto." Americans in 2016 going to remember which candidates
could bring themselves to condemn this law, Bill.
PRESS: This is going to -- yes, I think so it`s going to continue because
it will be other issues. And Joy just touched on it. There`s a fight, a
real battle now between two wings of the Republican Party. One wing that
says, listen, we`re going to start addressing the needs of today`s America,
jobs, economy, wages and the other that still back in those cultural wars.
I don`t know which one is going to win out. Ted Cruz is certainly living
one side of it. But I think these republicans have got to remember, the
day to try to end same-sex marriage, that was a 2004 agenda. It worked for
George W. Bush. It is over. Seventy percent of Americans live today in
states that recognize legally marriage equality, same-sex marriage. That
battle was lost. They`ve got to move on although they are done, they are
done as a national party.
SHARPTON: But the public opinion on same-sex marriage and a lot of these
issues Joy has changed a lot in the public.
SHARPTON: Which means that you are playing to a far right in the primaries
that almost guarantees that you can lose in the generals.
REID: Exactly. I mean, the way I like to put it is, the cultural wars
have long been over. We`re now fighting the insurgency and the insurgency
is located in the base of the Republican Party. They still have a
corporate wing that wants to move forward and they have this evangelical
core that is not getting with this new modern changes to things like
marriage and they want someone to fight for them. As long as someone is
willing to keep fighting for them, the Jeb Bushes of the world, the Scott
Walkers of the world cannot avoid the issue.
SHARPTON: Joy Reid and Bill Press, thank you both for your time tonight.
REID: Thanks, Al.
PRESS: All right, Reverend Al. Thank you.
SHARPTON: Straight ahead, the republican reaction to the historic nuclear
agreement with Iran.
Plus, a new poll brings some good and some bad news for Hillary Clinton.
We will see an announcement soon. Huh? Maybe. We`ll talk about it.
And how about Senator David Letterman? Another comedian who made the
career switch is calling for it. "Conversation Nation" is next.
SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight, MSNBC
contributor Maria Teresa Kumar, democratic political analyst Mark Hannah
and Margie Omero, democratic strategist and host of the new podcast "The
Posters." Thank you all for being here.
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Reverend Al.
MARK HANNAH, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Rev.
MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: We start with the breaking news of the night. A potentially
historic framework for a nuclear agreement with Iran. A deal that could
stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon but the blow-back from the right
came right away. House Speaker John Boehner tweeted the parameters for a
final Iran deal represents an alarming departure from the White House`s
initial goals. Texas Governor Rick Perry tweeted, Americans and our allies
have the right to be wary of a nuclear deal with Iran that is riddled with
concessions by the Obama administration. Senator David Vitter tweeted,
"Despite the objections of Americans, the Obama administration has made a
deal with Iran on their nuclear program." But actually, nearly 60 percent
of Americans support this deal. Margie, where is this going?
OMERO: Well, I think the issue here is it looks like you`re going to see a
lot of republicans trying to play politics with this. The American people
consistently show in polls like the one you sided, Pew Research had a poll
this past week. Washington Post, ABC had a poll this last week, there`s
been consistent support for negotiating with Iran. On top of that, there
has actually been pretty consistent bipartisan support. I mean, "The
Washington Post" ABC poll shows in fact about half of republicans say they
want to see negotiations with Iran. So what people are really sick of is
this reflexive automatic knee-jerk partisan bent to any single issue that
we talked about, even the most complicated and tricky ones. And if you see
some republicans really going that route, they are going to lose a lot of
people who say we need to be thoughtful, we need to be deliberate here and
not simply political not for being political sake.
HANNAH: Yes, I couldn`t agree more. Look, I think -- I`ll just say some
republicans in Congress want to see the President fail more than they want
to see America succeed. This isn`t just a victory for the Obama
administration. Although it`s that. It`s also a victory for the American
people that have long clamored to have an Iran that isn`t necessarily
seeking nuclear arms. So, this curbs Iran`s nuclear ambitions more than
any administration has done in the past 40 years. And so this would be a
moment of, you know, a real joy and happiness for the American people. And
of course they`re going to have this sort of right wing coming out and
tweeting before they even read the terms of the negotiations or the terms
of the agreement which is, I think you`re just reckless but I think you`re
also going to see a lot of moderates and a lot of independents and come out
and read --
SHARPTON: But Margie, you`re going to see a lot of different people but
the options are war or some kind of deal and Steve Clemons was on earlier,
he said this is as big as Nixon going to China.
OMERO: Yes, I mean, there`s a difference between let`s wait and see the
details as they get hammered out and have a real conversation about it and
this immediate no. Right? This immediate no. And you put that on the
heels of the letter of the 47 senators sent directly that was seen really
as a failure of diplomacy, you see some of these tweets, I mean, there
could be, there is no medium that is --
SHARPTON: But Maria, this could be a huge deal, I`m told, and the
alternative is, what, going to war?
KUMAR: Well, I mean, let`s look at who the republicans right now are
aligning themselves within this case scenario. They`re lining themselves
with the extreme right as they ran in the Iranian government and the
Iranian community. And do you really want to have that alignment? When
you actually look at the fact that we`ve had over 30 years of sanctions
with Iran, yes, it`s able to alleviate some of the pressure and put a
pressure on the Iranian people. But it`s the Iranian people that have
suffered. They are the ones right now that are excited and they want to
embrace this because they see it as an opportunity for them to actually get
into the 21st Century. The fact that you have, again, the possibility of
peace and to actually try something different because clearly the other
wasn`t working is an incredible opportunity. Not just for the American
people but also for the Iranians and it also sends a signal.
HANNAH: To answer your question though, Rev, I mean, it is true. The
republicans do want more. We saw John Bolton, I mean, to his credit, he
was very candid and honest in a "New York Times" op-ed and said we should
be bombing Iran like they`re showing their cards --
SHARPTON: He was not even subtle about it.
KUMAR: He was not at all.
HANNAH: No, not at all.
KUMAR: No, not at all.
HANNAH: But at least he was honest. And the American people don`t want
that. The American people frankly, are --
SHARPTON: Let`s move on to --
KUMAR: But they are also sending a signal that they`re willing -- they`re
also sending a clear signal to the Middle East that they are willing to
negotiate when people come to the table with something that is fair and
SHARPTON: All right. Let me move on to Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton
is leading big over all potential GOP contenders. A new poll shows her
favorability at 49 percent, easily surpassing her closest GOP opposition in
Jeb Bush at 33 percent and followed by Rand Paul at 29 percent. But it`s
the first time a favorable rating has dropped below 50 percent since April
of 2008. So will an announcement be coming? She was asked about that
Wednesday in Brooklyn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Secretary, can we expect you back in Brooklyn, your
headquarters here possibly?
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: All in good times. All
in good times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Mark, what`s your take? Do you think those poll numbers will
affect a timing?
HANNAH: I don`t think so, Rev. It`s easy to kind of -- for us in the
political sort of cutting class to over emphasize the importance of these
poll numbers. But a lot of the American people are not really paying
attention now. They will, frankly, when she does announce. So, you know,
there could be some strategic considerations there but I think the American
people are ready for Hillary candidacy, they know it`s coming. I think
that they see whether they agree with her or not, they see her as a strong
leader and as experienced in a very dangerous world. I think people don`t
KUMAR: I think that people are just -- maybe the only reason the poll
numbers are perhaps dropping is because they are tired of the speculation
of the American people. They say enough already. Just announce. And I
think that`s what most folks are waiting for.
SHARPTON: All right. Everybody stay with me. We`ll be right back with
David Letterman. Would you want him to be a U.S. senator? And get ready
for a new mom dance. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Maria, Mark and Margie. We`re
getting close to the end of an era. Next month, David Letterman will step
down as host of "The Late Show" and he joined Billy on the street to ask
folks, what should he do next?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Retire and lots of happiness.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That`s very sweet.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do you realize every step you walk you`re walking in
David Letterman`s shadow? Should David Letterman do a podcast now?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I do a podcast of Gary`s wearing shorts when it`s too
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s a nice day out.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Should he do a podcast?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes, he should do a podcast!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But Senator Al Franken appeared on Letterman show last night,
and he had a different idea for David.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: When people come to me, they say young
people say have you become the United States senator and I say, well about
30, 40 years of comedy and then run for the Senate. I think you should
run. I would like for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Margie, can you see Senator Letterman?
OMERO: Well, I think he might share a lot of the values that Indiana
voters are not getting right now from their governor and their
representations. And I do think that if he runs, he should have Billy on
the street be his advance guy and just, you know, staff him wherever he
goes because that bit was really hilarious.
HANNAH: Yes. I don`t think he`s going to do it. His legacy is so
solidify as the king of "Late Night" as a comedian. I think he would get
bored out of his mind, bored out of his gourd going through the legislative
process. But it`s a nice idea, it`s a nice fantasy for those of us in the
progressive movement to see somebody like him who had been such an
advocate, such a social commentator and who, you know, knows more about
public affairs, frankly most of the senators probably do right now.
SHARPTON: Maria, he could have it be exciting if he brought Paul Schafer
KUMAR: It would be amazing. Right? And if he brought the band as well,
he could liven it up. And people would always start tuning it to c-span.
No, but seriously, if he were to consider it, he would have not only name
recognition but he would have an incredible fundraising machine and this
crowded 2016 field when all eyes are on Hillary and unknown candidates are
going to really have a hard time running for anything let alone in this
Senate, he actually has a rolodex.
SHARPTON: Well, I don`t think we`re going to see that but more news in
"Late Night" because here`s Flotus. Get ready for First Lady Michelle
Obama on the "Tonight Show" tonight. Mrs. Obama and Jimmy Fallon always
put on a great show. Remember mom dancing?
Maria, rumors has it, will see dancing tonight. What do you want to see?
KUMAR: Well, I want to talk to her. I want her to talk a little more
about the "Let`s Move" campaign, that`s why she`s on it. And I think that
she`s created an incredible initiative for young people to start getting
SHARPTON: Sweet anniversary, that`s right. Sweet anniversary.
KUMAR: I think that`s what we`re going to see and I think that we finally
have -- we`re finally seeing a really good food movement around the
KUMAR: Where, with her initiative, people are actually addressing this
issue of food desert in the middle of urban cities and urban flights. So,
I think it`s actually, you know, I congratulate her but more also
congratulate the fact that so many people have been inspired in jumping on
OMERO: Well, I hope she does some lip syncing. I mean, I really love how
the First Lady is so at ease on these shows. I mean, it`s not just one
OMERO: Every time she goes on whatever show, she really loosens up in a
way that is not easy.
SHARPTON: So, you want to see lip synching a lot of time. Mark, real
HANNAH: She`s hilarious. She`s got a star quality. I was with her
backstage on the "Letterman Show" a couple of years ago when I advance her
trip. And she has interacted in this format so well, she`s just a rock
SHARPTON: All right. A little name dropping before you leave. Maria,
Mark and Margie, thank you for your time tonight.
HANNAH: Thank you, Rev.
OMERO: Thank you.
SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, a follow up on a powerful story we did last
night that`s sparking conversation about the criminal justice system. A
former prosecutor apologizing for sending an innocent man to death row for
30 years. I asked him what advice he would give to young prosecutors
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTY STROUD, PROSECUTOR IN GLENN FORD CASE: A prosecutor is there to do
justice, not to win convictions, and I think they should take heed in the
fact that if something does go wrong, like happened in this case, it will
be with them to the day they leave this earth and the fact I am gratified
that Mr. Ford was released but it doesn`t take away the pain that I feel
that I`ve caused that man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This story is a perfect example of why we need to reform the
criminal justice system in this country. There have been a total of 337
exonerations in the United States with exonerees serving an average of 14
years in prison for crimes they didn`t commit and we`re learning an Alabama
inmate will be freed after spending nearly 30 years on death row. Today,
Nevada is making a move to address the problem. Introducing legislation
that would offer wrongly convicted people the chance to clear their names
through a separate court. This is not just having a weak heart for those
accused of a crime. Those that are hard on crime need to understand, for
every person we put in jail that is innocent, the guilty person is still
out and still able to commit crimes. If you really hard on crime, you make
sure that the right people pay for crime and innocent people are not put
away for things they didn`t do while murderers and other criminals are
walking away free. That`s being hard on crime.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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