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PoliticsNation, Friday, April 3rd, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: April 3, 2015
Guest: Ed Rendell, Annie Karni, Emanuel Cleaver, Bryan Stevenson, Paul
Henderson, Susan Milligan, Jason Johnson, Midwin Charles


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

Tonight`s lead, Hillary Clinton, welcome to Brooklyn. 2.5 million people,
home of the Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island, and junior`s cheesecake. A
place of history and new energy. Today the whole world knows about
Brooklyn cool.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is good to be back in
Brooklyn.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Larry King was born here, so was Jay-Z, Barbra Streisand, and
even a certain Alfred Sharpton. It`s the borough of big dreams where
anything is possible.

That`s right. Anything is possible. And Mrs. Clinton hopes that includes
a successful presidential run. That`s right. Hillary Clinton`s campaign
has signed a lease for offices in Brooklyn heights, right near the Brooklyn
bridge. That counts as official campaign business, which means Mrs.
Clinton has just 15 days before she`s required to file a campaign
committee. But she`s not the only one hitting the trail.

Senator Ted Cruz has been campaigning all week since becoming the first
candidate to declare his candidacy. Senator Rand Paul joins the GOP field
on Tuesday. Senator Marco Rubio`s got a big announcement in Miami the
Monday after. And then, it`s just a matter of days before Mrs. Clinton has
to make it official. She`s already made one trip to Brooklyn this week to
speak at an event on early childhood development. Here`s what she said
about a return visit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Secretary, can we expect you back in Brooklyn?
Your headquarters here, possibly?

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: All in good time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Turns out all in good time means see you pretty soon.

Joining me now is "Politico`s" Annie Karni who broke the news on the
Clinton campaign headquarters, and former Pennsylvania governor and DNC
chair, Ed Rendell.

Thank you both for being here.

ED RENDELL, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: My pleasure, Rev.

ANNIE KARNI, POLITICO: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Annie, let me go to you first. What can you tell us about the
headquarters?

KARNI: The headquarters are on the border of Brooklyn heights and downtown
Brooklyn. They`ve taken two floors. Its run of the mill, 16-store office
building owned by forest city Ratner (ph), a developer that`s been a big
document donor in the past.

SHARPTON: Right.

KARNI: Unfortunately for the reporters who probably want to camp out
there, I think the Web site says they have a 24-hour doorman lobby
attendant, so we can`t sneak in there and see what they`re doing. But it
gives her close to 12 subway lines, 12 bus lines, easy commute to
Manhattan. Cheaper rents than Manhattan, which is probably part of the
draw, if you want to have your campaign in five boroughs, this was a
cheaper --

SHARPTON: And to give her more of a neighborhood type of look. I mean,
what are the advantages in terms of the political optics and the national
projection for her headquartering in Brooklyn?

KARNI: Well, Brooklyn, as we said, has the sheen of cool. It gives her a
proximity to mayor Bill de Blasio who is a longtime supporter of hers and
I`m sure she hopes will be a powerful progressive surrogate for her as she
tries to bring in the progressive side of the party.

Brooklyn is fast becoming a bastion of democratic politics. Chuck
Schumer`s from Brooklyn, who will be likely the leader of his party in the
Senate. Brooklyn was a finalist to get the DNC. Governor Rendell is
probably happy to tell us Philadelphia beat New York.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, you didn`t get the Clinton headquarter, governor,
but you got the democratic national convention. So it can`t be all bad.

RENDELL: Yes. No, not at all.

SHARPTON: What do you think picture look of her coming out of Brooklyn
than Washington like the last time. Does the optics of that matter
politically to voters?

RENDELL: Well, I think that this neighborhood is good, it`s a hip
neighborhood, a young neighborhood, Brooklyn heights is one of the fastest
growing sort of young millennial neighborhoods in the country.

Hillary Clinton -- it`s a myth, I think, that Hillary Clinton doesn`t
connect with young voters. We did a Hillary event a year ago in
Philadelphia, and we did a high end event and then we did a $20.16 event
and we got 450 young people to come and pay $20.16 and all they got what
they heard from me and they had a cutout of Hillary, a life-sized cutout of
Hillary they could get their picture taken to. But Hillary does well with
young voters, particularly women. But I think it`s a good image. It is
neighborhood image, it is a hip image, I think it fits and it is good that
she`s going to be out campaigning. It`s time.

SHARPTON: You know, Governor, a new "Washington Post" poll looked at what
people would like to see in our next president, 58 percent want someone who
tries to compromise, 59 percent want someone who favors government action
on climate change, and 51 percent wants a president who supports path to
citizenship. So American people`s policies line up a lot more with Hillary
Clinton`s than, say, Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz, don`t they?

RENDELL: There`s no question. And it was very revealing that in that poll
the biggest factor where the most Americans wanted action was on climate
change, which most of the Republican party still denies exists. It still
denies is a problem. But I think the thing that was best in there are for
Hillary was 58 percent, almost six out of 10 Americans want someone who has
the ability to compromise and get government moving again.

If you look at Hillary Clinton`s career in the Senate, that`s what it was
all about. She reached out to the Orrin Hatches and the people on the
other side of the aisle and got things done. I think she has an innate
ability to do just that. I think she`ll be a president that has the best
opportunity to bring the country together. And I think the poll will
reflect that`s exactly what the American people want.

SHARPTON: And Annie, we know the clock`s ticking on an announcement from
Mrs. Clinton, but the "New Republic" made an interesting point, that is how
will she do it? Ted Cruz announced he`s running for president on twitter.
Rand Paul revealed that he`s -- he revealed his on a snapshot in a facebook
post. Hillary Clinton made a big You Tube announcement in 2008. What do
you think she`ll do this time, Annie?

KARNI: I wish I knew and had that scoop. What she`s going to do is a
closely guarded secret. I think they`re still working on it. I think
honestly there`s no answer to that right now. There`s no question it will
involve a social media aspect, whether it is twitter or facebook or meerkat
or whatever is the latest thing. I think shortly after that, we`ve been
hearing that she`ll be going to the early states like Iowa and New
Hampshire and meeting voters in small --

SHARPTON: Like a listening tour, we hear.

KARNI: But that will have to be accompanied by a social media aspect.
What that is, whether it will be a tweet, I don`t know, and I don`t know if
they know yet. I think it`s being worked out.

SHARPTON: Governor, does the Clintons have to deal with the perception
that they are return to the past and try to go out of their way to do
younger more trendy kind of things to show that they are not representing
15, 20 years ago?

RENDELL: Well, sure. And I think those things are things we try to create
perception, but I think even more than those type of events, and the there
certainly should be some of them, I think what she talks about, she should
talk about the future of this country and where we want to go. She should
talk about where this country is going to be 25 years down the road. You
know, one of the things that I think is the worst about our government is
we`ve gotten into the habit of kicking problems down the road. We kick the
can down for another six months or eight months.

We need a president with a vision for the future. And I think it`s
important that she enunciate that vision. I think that`s even more
important than sort of the feel or the texture or the perception of the
campaign. But you`ll see them do a lot of things that will appeal to young
voters, and I`d like to ask the question, what in God`s name is Meerkat?
Meerkat?

KARNI: It`s a -- you can live stream video on the Internet. I don`t know
much about it.

SHARPTON: Well, that`s encouraging if Annie doesn`t know about it.

Annie, what is going to be different about -- what are you hearing may be
different about this campaign as opposed to 2008?

KARNI: A lot. I think for one thing, from what she`s been saying in these
paid speeches she`s been giving, she`s been highlighting her work with
women and girls. She obviously wants to make the historic nature of her
run to be the first woman president. Something she`s going to talk about.
She wants to talk about it this time.

Last time she didn`t really talk about it until the end, her famous line
about putting 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. This time she, I
think the four years the state department gave her the toughness that she
now has bought a little slack to talk about being a grandmother, talk about
women`s issues, talk about being a woman and the country might be more
ready for it this year. So that`s one difference in how she`s going to go
about this.

I mean, we`re in an entirely different place and everything. But I think
we`re looking at when she announces, we know she`s going to run. She`s got
a headquarters and a lease, she`s got a campaign staff that are currently
working as volunteers. Everything is in place. What we don`t know is what
she`s going to say about why she wants to be president. That`s what`s at
stake with this announcement. It is not just about optics.

SHARPTON: The reason to run.

KARNI: She has to tell us why should he be the president? We don`t know
what her reason to run is right now.

SHARPTON: We don`t know that, but we know we`ll be listening.

Annie Karni and Governor Ed Rendell, thank you for your time tonight. Both
of you have a great weekend and a Happy Easter.

KARNI: Thank you.

RENDELL: You too.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the GOP freak out over President Obama`s plan for
Iran. He`s gearing up for a fight over war and peace and his legacy also.

Also this, a man freed after 30 years on death row. How does this happen?
And how do we stop it from ever happening again?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you think you are high and mighty and you`re above
the law, you don`t have to answer to nobody. But I got news for you.
Everybody that played a part in sending me to death row, you will answer to
God. That`s all I have to say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Also, think the fight over discrimination is over? Think again.
There`s a new battleground tonight.

But first, Jimmy Fallon and the first lady unite to take the mom dance to a
whole new level.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Ahead the GOP`s ugly freakout over the Iran nuclear agreement.
Could Republicans like Ted Cruz block a deal cutting off Iran`s path to a
bomb? It`s serious and it`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The ink`s not even dry on the Iran nuclear deal and Republicans
are already trying to undermine it and it`s getting ugly. The deal was 18
months in the making. Six nations pressuring Iran into major concessions
that cut off its path to a bomb. One sign of how tough it is, the reaction
of Iran`s hard-liners, complaining it`s a bargain for the west and a
disaster for Iran. Now President Obama`s urging Republicans to measure
their response to the deal carefully.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: 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. International unity will
collapse and the path to conflict will widen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s a call to diplomacy over politics in the service of peace.
But the response from Republicans?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: This is a big capitulation for the United
States, a sad day for our country and the hope for world peace. The only
blame deserved right now is the blame that President Obama deserves for
putting Iran on the path to a nuclear weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Senator Tom Cotton on the attack. And that`s just the start.
Senator Ted Cruz says, quote, "it`s a grim day for America."

Congressman Michael McCall says the deal has, quote, "a greater cost than
the world can bear."

And senator Mark Kirk says, quote, "Neville chamberlain got a better deal
from Adolf Hitler."

This is about war and peace, but too many Republicans are reverting to ugly
rhetoric in an attempt to score political points, and it could have real
consequences.

Joining me now is Congressman Emanuel Cleaver. Thanks for being here.

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Sure. Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: The details of this plan are just 24 hours old. What do you
make of the Republicans racing to attack?

CLEAVER: Well -- and keep in mind that the details that Republicans are
able to see that all of us are able to see is just the beginning. It`s a
broad outline of a deal with Iran. We still have six more months to
develop a more comprehensive plan including a difference in the
interpretation of the nonproliferation treaty.

The situation is this. Nobody`s offering any alternative. If this is bad
and they predict that whatever comes out in six months is going to be bad.
What they`re saying is we want to go to war. And it`s easy to go to war if
all you have to do is go to your sofa and watch the war on the evening
news. This is not something that is going to be helpful for the United
States down through the long tunnel of time because we are weakening the
president. Not just Obama but presidents in the future. If Congress is
going to step in and disrupt treaty negotiations.

SHARPTON: Now, Congressman, before the details were even finalized,
governor Scott Walker said he would get rid of the potential agreement if
he wins the White House. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You would cancel any Iranian deal that the Obama
administration made. Now would you cancel it even if our trading partners
did not want to re-impose the trading sanctions?

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Absolutely. If I ultimately choose to
run and if I`m honored to be elected by the people of this country, I will
pull back on that on January 20th, 2017 because I think the last thing not
just for the region but for this world we need is a nuclear-armed Iran.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It implies Republicans are going to keep fighting this deal for
years to come. Is that where we`re headed, Congressman?

CLEAVER: Well, unfortunately, they do that a lot. They`re going to be
fighting the affordable care act, I think I`ve heard up until 3017. So
this is going to continue.

But here`s the problem that I hope that the people of the United States
will understand, that should disqualify someone for the presidency, what
governor Walker just said. And the reason is we have allies in this treaty
or the development of this treaty with Iran. And many of them are going to
be able to enter into an agreement. And so, even if we back away, we`re
going to have our European partners involved with the treaty with Iran.
We`ve had 35 years of hostility with Iran. This is a good time to stop it.
And the European nations are going to begin to trade with Iran and breaking
the economic boycott because the people who did the negotiations for them
are not hated at home.

And I think that we`re getting to the point now where, you know, war is
preferable to working with a particular president. And I think it`s
dangerous for the country. It`s dangerous for the world. And it`s also
dangerous for Israel.

SHARPTON: Let`s walk through some of the details of this plan`s framework.
Iran would cut back on its nuclear stockpile. It would let inspectors into
all nuclear facilities and its supply chain. It would ship its spent
reactor fuel out of the country. In turn, the U.S. and U.N. would ease
some economic sanction.

Now, many experts are saying this deal is even is even better than
expected. What do you think, Congressman?

CLEAVER: It`s better than expected because a component of this deal is
inspection. So we will have the ability to do what we have not been able
to do, and that is inspect facilities including some of the spaces that we
think the Iranians may have been hiding some work on uranium, but what I
hope we can do is celebrate the fact that we have been able to bring the
rogue of the Middle East into the family of nations, and I don`t think
we`re going to get any more better deal.

I mean, this is about 97 percent of what everybody thought they wanted
until we got it, and then all of a sudden I think people are concerned that
it might somehow accrue to the benefit of the Obama legacy and so they`re
willing to scrap a deal with Iran that I think the whole world has been
wanting to happen.

SHARPTON: Well, it seems like it is more rather than what we got than who
got what we got and wanted. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, thank you for
your time tonight. Have a great weekend and Happy Easter.

CLEAVER: Good to be with you, Reverend.

Still ahead, new fronts in the fight over discrimination. Big new battles
after Indiana and Arkansas.

And an Alabama inmate freed after nearly 30 years on death row. I`ll talk
to his lawyer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news. One of the nation`s leading gun control
activists, Sarah Brady, has died at 73. Sarah Brady spent decades fighting
for stronger gun regulation. It was a path that started in 1981 when her
husband James Brady, then press secretary for president Reagan, was shot
during an assassination attempt on the president. Sarah braider, along
with husband -- her husband James would go on to Bush the Brady bill into
law.

Again the breaking news tonight, Sarah Brady dead at 73.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with a story that`s raising new disturbing questions
about death row justice in this country. This morning after nearly 30
years on death row, Anthony Ray Hinton walked out of a Birmingham jail and
into the arms of his sister. These were his first moments of freedom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Thank you, Jesus! Thank you Lord! Thank you, Jesus!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s been a long road for Hinton. Thirty years ago he was
convicted of two murders even though there was no eyewitnesses and no
physical evidence. The only evidence was a supposed link between crime
scene bullets and a gun taken from his mother`s home. Last year the U.S.
Supreme Court finally ordered a retrial. And then a judge dismissed the
case after new forensic experts found they could not link those bullets to
the Hinton gun. Hinton has always maintained his innocence. This morning
he spoke to the victims` family who today still don`t have justice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY RAY HINTON, SPENT 30 YEARS ON DEATH ROW: I want to say to the
victims` family, I will continue to pray for you just as I have for 30
years. A miscarriage of justice not only to me but to the victims`
families.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He also had some strong words for the people who put him behind
bars for nearly three decades.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HINTON: When you think you are high and mighty and you`re above the law,
you don`t have to answer to nobody, but I got news for you. Everybody that
played a part in sending me to death row, you will answer to God. That`s
all I have to say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We reached out to the district attorney`s office for comment and
have yet to receive a response.

Joining me now is the lawyer who helped secure Anthony Hinton`s freedom and
executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson. Thank
you for joining me tonight, Mr. Stevenson.

BRYAN STEVENSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EQUAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE: I`m
delighted to be with you.

SHARPTON: First of all, how is Mr. Hinton doing after his emotional
release today?

STEVENSON: You know, he`s doing well. It`s a real triumph. It`s
wonderful to finally be free, but it`s also really challenging. I mean,
the state took something from him that they can`t give back. And we`ve
known for years that he should be released, that there was no evidence to
sustain his conviction and death sentence, and the state was really
indifferent. And I think that resistance to doing what`s right, what`s
clearly the responsible thing is a really, really provocative reality to
have to manage.

SHARPTON: Yes.

STEVENSON: But he`s so grateful to be home, he`s so happy to be back with
his family and his friends, although this is a tragedy as much as a
triumph.

SHARPTON: Thirty years later. But let me ask you what prompted you to
take up this case?

STEVENSON: Well, I know that we have a system in this country that treats
you better if you`re rich and guilty than if you`re poor and innocent,
and`s also been clear to me that without effective help in these kinds of
cases, you`re doomed. When he reached out to me, I was hoping we could
take it on. We got the space to take it on. And as soon as I read the
record and then I looked at the evidence, it became very clear that he had
been wrongly convicted. We got the best experts in the country to look at
this evidence and they absolutely said no way, was this gun involved in
these crimes?

SHARPTON: The timeline here I want to go over. Because the timeline here
is disturbing.

STEVENSON Yes.

SHARPTON: Mr. Hinton was originally convicted in 1986. In 2002, you
presented new evidence showing the gun didn`t match the bullets at the
crime scene.

STEVENSON: Correct.

SHARPTON: But it took another 12 years for the U.S. Supreme Court to grant
him a new trial. Why did it take so long?

STEVENSON: Well, actually, we presented that evidence to them in 2000. We
went to the state prosecutor, we went to the attorney, we said look at this
evidence, it absolutely shows that this man did not commit this crime.
What we invited them to do is just simply retest it and let them come to
their own conclusion. And they absolutely refused to do it. They were
unwilling to acknowledge even the possibility of a mistake, and that meant
that they kept fighting us. In every state court we went to said denied.
We went to the court of criminal appeals, we went to the Alabama Supreme
Court and it took that long to get to the U.S. Supreme Court, and it was
only when that court intervened that we could actually get the case back to
the trial court and still they would not do the testing, they would not
concede that this man was wrongly convicted. It`s only after --

SHARPTON: They wouldn`t even do the testing?

STEVENSON: No, sir.

SHARPTON: And let me ask you, what was his state of mind? How was Hinton
handling all this? Because he`s in jail knowing he didn`t do anything
wrong.

STEVENSON: Yes, that`s right. Well, it`s deeply challenging. I mean,
when you put somebody in prison, it`s a terrible, terrible challenge, but
when you put somebody in prison for something that they didn`t do, it`s an
unbearable challenge. Not only was he in prison, he was on death row. He
was locked into a cell five by eight in solitary confinement where every
day for the last 30 years they were trying to kill him. During the time he
was on death row there were 50 executions, and Mr. Hinton would sometimes
talk about smelling flesh burning when they were using the electric chair
in the 1980s and `90s.

SHARPTON: Wow!

STEVENSON: He talked about the pain of seeing people he walked with taken
away and executed. So, it`s really torturous --

SHARPTON: Did he ever give up? Did he ever act like he just couldn`t take
it anymore?

STEVENSON: There were times when it was very, very frustrating. Bus he`s
a remarkable human being. And I will tell you, Rev, in my 30 years of
representing people on death row, I`ve never represented anybody who
generated more support, more good will, more fans among the correctional
staff than Anthony Ray Hinton. He`s a remarkable man in that sense and
that he kept his faith, he kept his hope and even in the darkest moments
found a way to continue to believe that one day we`d get to where we are
today.

SHARPTON: What`s next for Mr. Hinton in this case? Will the state pay him
some kind of restitution?

STEVENSON: Well, Alabama`s one of these states that does not provide any
kind of compensation mechanism that is automatic. We would have to jump
through a lot of hoops to get them to own up to this, and it`s not clear
whether they will or not. We`re going to try to get him oriented, let him
catch his breath, get settled with his freedom and then we`ll talk about
next steps. But unfortunately we`re one of the states that does not
automatically accept responsible for these kinds of injustices and try to
create some kind of compensation or creation. And that`s one of the other
problems that we face here.

SHARPTON: Wow. What has he told you he wants to do with his life now?

STEVENSON: Well, you know, he`s a remarkable person. I think he wants
people to know about what happened. I think he wants to educate people. I
mean, I think his case is a case study in all of the problems we have in
the criminal justice system in this country and I think he`ll be a powerful
voice to shape the reforms that need to happen.

SHARPTON: Bryan Stevenson, thank you for your time tonight and for the
important work that you do.

STEVENSON: Thank you, sir.

SHARPTON: Now, let`s bring in prosecutor and legal analyst Paul Henderson.
Thank you for being here, Paul.

PAUL HENDERSON, LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks for having me, Rev.

SHARPTON: What`s your reaction to what you just heard about this case?

HENDERSON: You know, it`s disappointing, but you know I also have to say
no good, no moral prosecutor wants to see innocent people convicted of
crimes. And in order for our justice system to actually work and for
people to have reliability in it, it has to be fair for everyone. So I
actually look at this case, and I`m encouraged that, as forensics and as
technology is evolving, one of the things that is happening is that, in
addition to having more solid convictions, we are having this substantive
review of cases and appeals where information is being brought forward so
that --

SHARPTON: Well, we`ve got to be willing to use it. Prosecutors have got
to be willing to be even more objective. Even Mr. Hinton expressed outrage
over how long it took for the state to look at his case. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HINTON: All of us that say that we believe in justice, this is the case to
start showing. Because I shouldn`t sit on death row 30 years. All they
had to do was test the gun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: All they had to do is test the gun. I mean, 30 years and the
state was unwilling to look at new evidence.

HENDERSON: Well, that is true. And in many of these cases, you know, like
I said, as technology and as forensics advance throughout the years and we
certainly have made great strides in the past 30 years, the tools that are
being used today to gain convictions are also being used on the flip side
to examine prior convictions and many of these appeals are being examined
with new scrutiny because of these advances. And so, you know, while it is
a tragedy --

SHARPTON: Well, let me give you some data on that.

HENDERSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: Because you`re right. It`s not an isolated issue here, Paul.

HENDERSON: Right.

SHARPTON: With this case. In the last -- look at this. There`s been a
total of 337 exonerations in the United States with exxonerees serving an
average of 14 years in prison for crimes they didn`t commit. Rather than
the timeframe, just look at those numbers. How can the country address
these kinds of injustices?

HENDERSON: Well, you know, it depends on the lens that you look at them.
You say that there are 300 that have been overturned and while I think that
that`s very important because it shows that we do have a checks and balance
system that means that when there is a conviction, there is still a review
and there`s still that possibility that if a conviction was wrongfully
attained, that it can be overturned, but convictions take place every day
that are just and are fair. So when I look at a case like this, to me it
says at one level the system is working. Now that doesn`t mean that there
isn`t room for improvement, and this is a tragedy that has taken place in
terms of what happened in this case. But hopefully, as forensics evolves,
as technology evolves, we will have less of these things happening as we
move forward and stop looking back to see --

SHARPTON: Yes, but I guess that Paul --

HENDERSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: -- but a lot of people, including me, think a lot more needs to
be done. Because not only do you have a victim and people like this
gentleman that lost 30 years of his life, I did a story the other night on
another gentleman in Louisiana.

HENDERSON: I saw that story, yes.

SHARPTON: The people that were the victims, the family members of the
murdered, they`re still victims because the guilty people got away. And
that, in my judgment, is something that we ought to really look at. Not
only are you putting away the wrong people, you`re freeing the wrong people
who may commit crimes again.

HENDERSON: I agree.

SHARPTON: Paul Henderson, thank you for your time tonight.

HENDERSON: Thank you so much for having me, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, new fight over discrimination. How long can 2016
republicans hide from the issues?

And France bans super skinny models from the catwalk. Is it the right
move? That`s all ahead in "Conversation Nation."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Time for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight Susan
Milligan from "U.S. News & World Report," Political Science Professor Jason
Johnson, and legal analyst Midwin Charles. It`s been a week of controversy
over the so-called religious freedom bills in Indiana and Arkansas, and
today more headlines. Here`s the front page of a leading North Dakota
paper. It shows lawmakers voted against a measure that would protect gays
from discrimination, and in Maine a state republican is pushing a bill
similar to Indiana`s. Already this issue is putting national republicans
on the spot. Jeb Bush had to back pedal after first supporting the Indiana
law. Will others flip-flop? Susan, can republicans run for president
hiding from this in 2016?

SUSAN MILLIGAN, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": No, I don`t think they can.
And it`s really remarkable how quickly public opinion has moved on this
issue and continues to move. It was only 11 years ago that the gay
marriage issue was a problem for John Kerry. Now things have changed
completely where if you`re against gay marriage, you look like the one who
is looking backwards. And honestly I think in general this is one of the
problems some of these candidates have, is in an effort to, you know, get
the primary vote, get the conservatives and the activists and the primary
vote, that they`re going to go into a general election as the candidate who
is looking backwards instead of looking into the future. So I do think it
would be problematic for them.

SHARPTON: Jason, isn`t that what is so dicey, that you have such an
extreme in the primaries in terms of the Republican Party, but such a shift
in the American populous when and if you`re the one that gets to the
general election. How do you navigate that?

JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Well, you navigate it by
understanding nuance. If you`re charitable trust did a poll just two years
ago, 2012 that said, you know, you still have about 44 percent of Americans
who think that homosexuality is a sin but 60 percent of Americans still
think that gay people in American should be accepted and have equal rights.
So clearly people understand there`s a difference between their private
prejudices and people being able to live their lives. Any smart republican
will be able to make that distinction rather than wasting the state`s time
by bullying a bunch of people with a bunch of nonsense about gay people
forcing bakers to make cakes that they don`t like and the whole thing was
just preposterous.

SHARPTON: 2004 when I ran, Midwin, they used, as Susan said, the issue of
same-sex marriage and gay couples in one sense it is completely reversed
now. And this issue is one that the right and the republicans wish hadn`t
come up when they were the ones that were using it in 2004.

MIDWIN CHARLES, ATTORNEY: I think you`re right. Thirty seven states and
the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to gay couples. So 72
percent of the United States population is living under a law that allows
gay people to marry. So this is something that has really done an about-
face here in the United States. And any republican that is against this
issue, as your other speaker says, seems to be way beyond the times.

SHARPTON: All right. Let`s go to the next topic. France banning super
skinny models from the catwalk. The French Parliament today approving a
measure targeting agencies that use models who are considered too thin.
Modeling agencies oppose the measure, but lawmakers are moving ahead
anyway. Though they haven`t defined exactly how thin is too thin. Midwin,
do you think the government is overstepping here?

CHARLES: I don`t think the government is overstepping here. I think that
there is an issue with respect to body image that girls have to deal with
when they model. And when you look at a lot of these models now, they look
ill. Forget about being thin. They just look ill, they do not look
healthy. So, I appreciate the government sort of taking a stand and
stepping forth and sort of kind of, letting people know that this image is
not acceptable. Girls are harming themselves in order to fit into this
mold so that they can model and that`s something that I`m glad this
government is stepping in and saying, you know what? We`re not going to
stand for this. We are going to speak up. And we are going to protect our
girls. I know that men also -- male models deal with this issue, too, but
the pressure is more on girls to fit into this mold. And it`s an
impossible body image to maintain.

SHARPTON: Susan?

MILLIGAN: Well, my understanding of this proposed law is that they would
be fining the models themselves, which seems to me to be blaming the victim
here. There is a great deal of pressure for them to be very, very thin,
but you know, blaming them would be like fining an NFL player for getting a
concussion. I mean, we should go to the people who are putting these
demands on these models.

SHARPTON: Jason?

JOHNSON: I`m sorry, this is another example of does no one have anything
better to do? I mean, like there are poor people in France, they`ve got
immigration problems, they`ve got economic problems. And the most
important thing that their legislator can think of is to chase around a
bunch of anemic looking 14-year-olds and tell them how they should dress.

CHARLES: Well, that`s a problem right there. I mean, 14-year-old anorexic
girls is serious.

JOHNSON: But see this is the issue, if you want to address larger problems
in society, you can look at health, you can look at education.

CHARLES: But they can do that, too.

JOHNSON: You can put an education system, but at the end of the day,
fining a bunch of people for how they look, whether it`s because of, you
don`t like how they look, or they`re thin or they`re small, whatever,
that`s ridiculous. The government should not be involved in that at all.

SHARPTON: All right. Midwin?

CHARLES: I can understand what he`s saying, but I`m sure that the
government of France is dealing with all the problems that they have to do.
This is just --

JOHNSON: No.

CHARLES: They are. They are. They`re not kind of sitting around not
doing anything. But this, I mean, let`s be fair here. But 14-year-old
anorexic girls is a very, very serious problem. There are girls dying
because they are not eating so that they can fit into this mold.

JOHNSON: And you can fix that with education.

CHARLES: You can fix it with education, but you can also fix it with sort
of letting these modeling agencies know, listen, we`re not going to hire
these children who are not eating and who are very thin.

JOHNSON: That`s way after the fact. That`s way after the fact.

CHARLES: It`s one way I think to address the issue rather than do
absolutely nothing.

SHARPTON: But Jason, doesn`t Midwin have a point that you also should be
concerned about kids that can eat rather than a group that wants to not eat
to have a standard that may be wrong but I don`t know if the legislators`
priorities have shown that they understand the difference.

JOHNSON: Exactly. That`s the issue. Look, if you want to fix issues
about body image, which are not just unique to France. You can find those
anywhere in the world, introduce it into the education system. Say, look,
we`ll have whole curriculums now on body image, we`re going to do more work
on nutrition, we`re going to do some more work about schools and funding
and food for the homeless and food for the poor and food for the middle
class and teach kids more about health and body image.

SHARPTON: Susan, let me let you have the last word on this.

MILLIGAN: Well, yes, first of all remember that anorexia is an illness and
it`s not behavior.

CHARLES: That`s right.

MILLIGAN: It`s an illness that needs to be treated medically and it`s
very, very difficult to treat. And I agree, I mean, they could be spending
their attentions on people who can`t eat as opposed to people who won`t
eat.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to have to leave it there. Susan, Jason,
Midwin, thank you all for your time tonight. Have a great weekend.

CHARLES: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Last night Mrs. Obama celebrated five years of her "Let`s Move"
campaign as she and Jimmy Fallon showed off a series of great moves. It
was another epic dance-off, but in her sit down with Fallon, the First Lady
shared a secret of the Obamas, how to get their children to eat healthy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: One thing I did with my kids, it was
basic, it was like if you don`t eat your vegetables, you can`t have a
treat.

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Yes.

OBAMA: And if you said you were full, you can leave your food, but you
can`t come back later and ask for more food. So a couple of days of
starvation --

(LAUGHTER)

FALLON: They get the point. Give me the broccoli. Broccoli sandwich,
let`s go.

OBAMA: They`re crawling under the table.

FALLON: This is the best ice cream. Thanks, mom.

OBAMA: They`ll eat anything. Three, four days of starvation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Sometimes tough love is the remedy. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: I`d like to close tonight with some powerful historic words.
Said on this day April 3rd back in 1968. In a crowded Memphis Church, Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. brought the congregation to tears delivering his
final public speech. I`ve been to the mountaintop, on the eve of his
assassination.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. (JANUARY, 1929 - APRIL, 1968), BAPTIST MINISTER:
I just want to do God`s will. And he`s allowed me to go up to the
mountain. And I`ve looked over and I`ve seen the Promised Land. We as a
people will get to the Promised Land. So, I`m happy tonight I`m not
fearing anything. I`m not fearing any man, mine eyes have seen the glory
of the coming of the lord.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The next day we lost Dr. King, but that promise lives on. We as
a people will get to the Promised Land. We as a people. Meaning all of
the people, black and white, men and women, straight and gay. This weekend
states like Indiana and Arkansas we saw people take to the streets and
twitter to demand equal rights and equal protection under the law. We`ve
seen over the last year from Ferguson to Staten Island to Cleveland, people
still in quest 47 years later for that Promised Land and still believing
that somehow we`ll get there. I was 13 when Dr. King was killed. I was
youth director of his organization in New York. I`ve seen a lot go on and
a lot not go on in those 47 years, but I still believe Dr. King`s promise
that we`ll get to the Promised Land, but we won`t get there without having
each other struggle with us, and we won`t get there if we`re too lazy to
keep pursuing it.

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



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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: April 3, 2015
Guest: Ed Rendell, Annie Karni, Emanuel Cleaver, Bryan Stevenson, Paul
Henderson, Susan Milligan, Jason Johnson, Midwin Charles


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

Tonight`s lead, Hillary Clinton, welcome to Brooklyn. 2.5 million people,
home of the Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island, and junior`s cheesecake. A
place of history and new energy. Today the whole world knows about
Brooklyn cool.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is good to be back in
Brooklyn.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Larry King was born here, so was Jay-Z, Barbra Streisand, and
even a certain Alfred Sharpton. It`s the borough of big dreams where
anything is possible.

That`s right. Anything is possible. And Mrs. Clinton hopes that includes
a successful presidential run. That`s right. Hillary Clinton`s campaign
has signed a lease for offices in Brooklyn heights, right near the Brooklyn
bridge. That counts as official campaign business, which means Mrs.
Clinton has just 15 days before she`s required to file a campaign
committee. But she`s not the only one hitting the trail.

Senator Ted Cruz has been campaigning all week since becoming the first
candidate to declare his candidacy. Senator Rand Paul joins the GOP field
on Tuesday. Senator Marco Rubio`s got a big announcement in Miami the
Monday after. And then, it`s just a matter of days before Mrs. Clinton has
to make it official. She`s already made one trip to Brooklyn this week to
speak at an event on early childhood development. Here`s what she said
about a return visit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Secretary, can we expect you back in Brooklyn?
Your headquarters here, possibly?

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: All in good time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Turns out all in good time means see you pretty soon.

Joining me now is "Politico`s" Annie Karni who broke the news on the
Clinton campaign headquarters, and former Pennsylvania governor and DNC
chair, Ed Rendell.

Thank you both for being here.

ED RENDELL, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: My pleasure, Rev.

ANNIE KARNI, POLITICO: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Annie, let me go to you first. What can you tell us about the
headquarters?

KARNI: The headquarters are on the border of Brooklyn heights and downtown
Brooklyn. They`ve taken two floors. Its run of the mill, 16-store office
building owned by forest city Ratner (ph), a developer that`s been a big
document donor in the past.

SHARPTON: Right.

KARNI: Unfortunately for the reporters who probably want to camp out
there, I think the Web site says they have a 24-hour doorman lobby
attendant, so we can`t sneak in there and see what they`re doing. But it
gives her close to 12 subway lines, 12 bus lines, easy commute to
Manhattan. Cheaper rents than Manhattan, which is probably part of the
draw, if you want to have your campaign in five boroughs, this was a
cheaper --

SHARPTON: And to give her more of a neighborhood type of look. I mean,
what are the advantages in terms of the political optics and the national
projection for her headquartering in Brooklyn?

KARNI: Well, Brooklyn, as we said, has the sheen of cool. It gives her a
proximity to mayor Bill de Blasio who is a longtime supporter of hers and
I`m sure she hopes will be a powerful progressive surrogate for her as she
tries to bring in the progressive side of the party.

Brooklyn is fast becoming a bastion of democratic politics. Chuck
Schumer`s from Brooklyn, who will be likely the leader of his party in the
Senate. Brooklyn was a finalist to get the DNC. Governor Rendell is
probably happy to tell us Philadelphia beat New York.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, you didn`t get the Clinton headquarter, governor,
but you got the democratic national convention. So it can`t be all bad.

RENDELL: Yes. No, not at all.

SHARPTON: What do you think picture look of her coming out of Brooklyn
than Washington like the last time. Does the optics of that matter
politically to voters?

RENDELL: Well, I think that this neighborhood is good, it`s a hip
neighborhood, a young neighborhood, Brooklyn heights is one of the fastest
growing sort of young millennial neighborhoods in the country.

Hillary Clinton -- it`s a myth, I think, that Hillary Clinton doesn`t
connect with young voters. We did a Hillary event a year ago in
Philadelphia, and we did a high end event and then we did a $20.16 event
and we got 450 young people to come and pay $20.16 and all they got what
they heard from me and they had a cutout of Hillary, a life-sized cutout of
Hillary they could get their picture taken to. But Hillary does well with
young voters, particularly women. But I think it`s a good image. It is
neighborhood image, it is a hip image, I think it fits and it is good that
she`s going to be out campaigning. It`s time.

SHARPTON: You know, Governor, a new "Washington Post" poll looked at what
people would like to see in our next president, 58 percent want someone who
tries to compromise, 59 percent want someone who favors government action
on climate change, and 51 percent wants a president who supports path to
citizenship. So American people`s policies line up a lot more with Hillary
Clinton`s than, say, Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz, don`t they?

RENDELL: There`s no question. And it was very revealing that in that poll
the biggest factor where the most Americans wanted action was on climate
change, which most of the Republican party still denies exists. It still
denies is a problem. But I think the thing that was best in there are for
Hillary was 58 percent, almost six out of 10 Americans want someone who has
the ability to compromise and get government moving again.

If you look at Hillary Clinton`s career in the Senate, that`s what it was
all about. She reached out to the Orrin Hatches and the people on the
other side of the aisle and got things done. I think she has an innate
ability to do just that. I think she`ll be a president that has the best
opportunity to bring the country together. And I think the poll will
reflect that`s exactly what the American people want.

SHARPTON: And Annie, we know the clock`s ticking on an announcement from
Mrs. Clinton, but the "New Republic" made an interesting point, that is how
will she do it? Ted Cruz announced he`s running for president on twitter.
Rand Paul revealed that he`s -- he revealed his on a snapshot in a facebook
post. Hillary Clinton made a big You Tube announcement in 2008. What do
you think she`ll do this time, Annie?

KARNI: I wish I knew and had that scoop. What she`s going to do is a
closely guarded secret. I think they`re still working on it. I think
honestly there`s no answer to that right now. There`s no question it will
involve a social media aspect, whether it is twitter or facebook or meerkat
or whatever is the latest thing. I think shortly after that, we`ve been
hearing that she`ll be going to the early states like Iowa and New
Hampshire and meeting voters in small --

SHARPTON: Like a listening tour, we hear.

KARNI: But that will have to be accompanied by a social media aspect.
What that is, whether it will be a tweet, I don`t know, and I don`t know if
they know yet. I think it`s being worked out.

SHARPTON: Governor, does the Clintons have to deal with the perception
that they are return to the past and try to go out of their way to do
younger more trendy kind of things to show that they are not representing
15, 20 years ago?

RENDELL: Well, sure. And I think those things are things we try to create
perception, but I think even more than those type of events, and the there
certainly should be some of them, I think what she talks about, she should
talk about the future of this country and where we want to go. She should
talk about where this country is going to be 25 years down the road. You
know, one of the things that I think is the worst about our government is
we`ve gotten into the habit of kicking problems down the road. We kick the
can down for another six months or eight months.

We need a president with a vision for the future. And I think it`s
important that she enunciate that vision. I think that`s even more
important than sort of the feel or the texture or the perception of the
campaign. But you`ll see them do a lot of things that will appeal to young
voters, and I`d like to ask the question, what in God`s name is Meerkat?
Meerkat?

KARNI: It`s a -- you can live stream video on the Internet. I don`t know
much about it.

SHARPTON: Well, that`s encouraging if Annie doesn`t know about it.

Annie, what is going to be different about -- what are you hearing may be
different about this campaign as opposed to 2008?

KARNI: A lot. I think for one thing, from what she`s been saying in these
paid speeches she`s been giving, she`s been highlighting her work with
women and girls. She obviously wants to make the historic nature of her
run to be the first woman president. Something she`s going to talk about.
She wants to talk about it this time.

Last time she didn`t really talk about it until the end, her famous line
about putting 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. This time she, I
think the four years the state department gave her the toughness that she
now has bought a little slack to talk about being a grandmother, talk about
women`s issues, talk about being a woman and the country might be more
ready for it this year. So that`s one difference in how she`s going to go
about this.

I mean, we`re in an entirely different place and everything. But I think
we`re looking at when she announces, we know she`s going to run. She`s got
a headquarters and a lease, she`s got a campaign staff that are currently
working as volunteers. Everything is in place. What we don`t know is what
she`s going to say about why she wants to be president. That`s what`s at
stake with this announcement. It is not just about optics.

SHARPTON: The reason to run.

KARNI: She has to tell us why should he be the president? We don`t know
what her reason to run is right now.

SHARPTON: We don`t know that, but we know we`ll be listening.

Annie Karni and Governor Ed Rendell, thank you for your time tonight. Both
of you have a great weekend and a Happy Easter.

KARNI: Thank you.

RENDELL: You too.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the GOP freak out over President Obama`s plan for
Iran. He`s gearing up for a fight over war and peace and his legacy also.

Also this, a man freed after 30 years on death row. How does this happen?
And how do we stop it from ever happening again?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you think you are high and mighty and you`re above
the law, you don`t have to answer to nobody. But I got news for you.
Everybody that played a part in sending me to death row, you will answer to
God. That`s all I have to say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Also, think the fight over discrimination is over? Think again.
There`s a new battleground tonight.

But first, Jimmy Fallon and the first lady unite to take the mom dance to a
whole new level.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Ahead the GOP`s ugly freakout over the Iran nuclear agreement.
Could Republicans like Ted Cruz block a deal cutting off Iran`s path to a
bomb? It`s serious and it`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The ink`s not even dry on the Iran nuclear deal and Republicans
are already trying to undermine it and it`s getting ugly. The deal was 18
months in the making. Six nations pressuring Iran into major concessions
that cut off its path to a bomb. One sign of how tough it is, the reaction
of Iran`s hard-liners, complaining it`s a bargain for the west and a
disaster for Iran. Now President Obama`s urging Republicans to measure
their response to the deal carefully.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: 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. International unity will
collapse and the path to conflict will widen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s a call to diplomacy over politics in the service of peace.
But the response from Republicans?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: This is a big capitulation for the United
States, a sad day for our country and the hope for world peace. The only
blame deserved right now is the blame that President Obama deserves for
putting Iran on the path to a nuclear weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Senator Tom Cotton on the attack. And that`s just the start.
Senator Ted Cruz says, quote, "it`s a grim day for America."

Congressman Michael McCall says the deal has, quote, "a greater cost than
the world can bear."

And senator Mark Kirk says, quote, "Neville chamberlain got a better deal
from Adolf Hitler."

This is about war and peace, but too many Republicans are reverting to ugly
rhetoric in an attempt to score political points, and it could have real
consequences.

Joining me now is Congressman Emanuel Cleaver. Thanks for being here.

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Sure. Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: The details of this plan are just 24 hours old. What do you
make of the Republicans racing to attack?

CLEAVER: Well -- and keep in mind that the details that Republicans are
able to see that all of us are able to see is just the beginning. It`s a
broad outline of a deal with Iran. We still have six more months to
develop a more comprehensive plan including a difference in the
interpretation of the nonproliferation treaty.

The situation is this. Nobody`s offering any alternative. If this is bad
and they predict that whatever comes out in six months is going to be bad.
What they`re saying is we want to go to war. And it`s easy to go to war if
all you have to do is go to your sofa and watch the war on the evening
news. This is not something that is going to be helpful for the United
States down through the long tunnel of time because we are weakening the
president. Not just Obama but presidents in the future. If Congress is
going to step in and disrupt treaty negotiations.

SHARPTON: Now, Congressman, before the details were even finalized,
governor Scott Walker said he would get rid of the potential agreement if
he wins the White House. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You would cancel any Iranian deal that the Obama
administration made. Now would you cancel it even if our trading partners
did not want to re-impose the trading sanctions?

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Absolutely. If I ultimately choose to
run and if I`m honored to be elected by the people of this country, I will
pull back on that on January 20th, 2017 because I think the last thing not
just for the region but for this world we need is a nuclear-armed Iran.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It implies Republicans are going to keep fighting this deal for
years to come. Is that where we`re headed, Congressman?

CLEAVER: Well, unfortunately, they do that a lot. They`re going to be
fighting the affordable care act, I think I`ve heard up until 3017. So
this is going to continue.

But here`s the problem that I hope that the people of the United States
will understand, that should disqualify someone for the presidency, what
governor Walker just said. And the reason is we have allies in this treaty
or the development of this treaty with Iran. And many of them are going to
be able to enter into an agreement. And so, even if we back away, we`re
going to have our European partners involved with the treaty with Iran.
We`ve had 35 years of hostility with Iran. This is a good time to stop it.
And the European nations are going to begin to trade with Iran and breaking
the economic boycott because the people who did the negotiations for them
are not hated at home.

And I think that we`re getting to the point now where, you know, war is
preferable to working with a particular president. And I think it`s
dangerous for the country. It`s dangerous for the world. And it`s also
dangerous for Israel.

SHARPTON: Let`s walk through some of the details of this plan`s framework.
Iran would cut back on its nuclear stockpile. It would let inspectors into
all nuclear facilities and its supply chain. It would ship its spent
reactor fuel out of the country. In turn, the U.S. and U.N. would ease
some economic sanction.

Now, many experts are saying this deal is even is even better than
expected. What do you think, Congressman?

CLEAVER: It`s better than expected because a component of this deal is
inspection. So we will have the ability to do what we have not been able
to do, and that is inspect facilities including some of the spaces that we
think the Iranians may have been hiding some work on uranium, but what I
hope we can do is celebrate the fact that we have been able to bring the
rogue of the Middle East into the family of nations, and I don`t think
we`re going to get any more better deal.

I mean, this is about 97 percent of what everybody thought they wanted
until we got it, and then all of a sudden I think people are concerned that
it might somehow accrue to the benefit of the Obama legacy and so they`re
willing to scrap a deal with Iran that I think the whole world has been
wanting to happen.

SHARPTON: Well, it seems like it is more rather than what we got than who
got what we got and wanted. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, thank you for
your time tonight. Have a great weekend and Happy Easter.

CLEAVER: Good to be with you, Reverend.

Still ahead, new fronts in the fight over discrimination. Big new battles
after Indiana and Arkansas.

And an Alabama inmate freed after nearly 30 years on death row. I`ll talk
to his lawyer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news. One of the nation`s leading gun control
activists, Sarah Brady, has died at 73. Sarah Brady spent decades fighting
for stronger gun regulation. It was a path that started in 1981 when her
husband James Brady, then press secretary for president Reagan, was shot
during an assassination attempt on the president. Sarah braider, along
with husband -- her husband James would go on to Bush the Brady bill into
law.

Again the breaking news tonight, Sarah Brady dead at 73.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with a story that`s raising new disturbing questions
about death row justice in this country. This morning after nearly 30
years on death row, Anthony Ray Hinton walked out of a Birmingham jail and
into the arms of his sister. These were his first moments of freedom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Thank you, Jesus! Thank you Lord! Thank you, Jesus!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s been a long road for Hinton. Thirty years ago he was
convicted of two murders even though there was no eyewitnesses and no
physical evidence. The only evidence was a supposed link between crime
scene bullets and a gun taken from his mother`s home. Last year the U.S.
Supreme Court finally ordered a retrial. And then a judge dismissed the
case after new forensic experts found they could not link those bullets to
the Hinton gun. Hinton has always maintained his innocence. This morning
he spoke to the victims` family who today still don`t have justice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY RAY HINTON, SPENT 30 YEARS ON DEATH ROW: I want to say to the
victims` family, I will continue to pray for you just as I have for 30
years. A miscarriage of justice not only to me but to the victims`
families.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He also had some strong words for the people who put him behind
bars for nearly three decades.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HINTON: When you think you are high and mighty and you`re above the law,
you don`t have to answer to nobody, but I got news for you. Everybody that
played a part in sending me to death row, you will answer to God. That`s
all I have to say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We reached out to the district attorney`s office for comment and
have yet to receive a response.

Joining me now is the lawyer who helped secure Anthony Hinton`s freedom and
executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson. Thank
you for joining me tonight, Mr. Stevenson.

BRYAN STEVENSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EQUAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE: I`m
delighted to be with you.

SHARPTON: First of all, how is Mr. Hinton doing after his emotional
release today?

STEVENSON: You know, he`s doing well. It`s a real triumph. It`s
wonderful to finally be free, but it`s also really challenging. I mean,
the state took something from him that they can`t give back. And we`ve
known for years that he should be released, that there was no evidence to
sustain his conviction and death sentence, and the state was really
indifferent. And I think that resistance to doing what`s right, what`s
clearly the responsible thing is a really, really provocative reality to
have to manage.

SHARPTON: Yes.

STEVENSON: But he`s so grateful to be home, he`s so happy to be back with
his family and his friends, although this is a tragedy as much as a
triumph.

SHARPTON: Thirty years later. But let me ask you what prompted you to
take up this case?

STEVENSON: Well, I know that we have a system in this country that treats
you better if you`re rich and guilty than if you`re poor and innocent,
and`s also been clear to me that without effective help in these kinds of
cases, you`re doomed. When he reached out to me, I was hoping we could
take it on. We got the space to take it on. And as soon as I read the
record and then I looked at the evidence, it became very clear that he had
been wrongly convicted. We got the best experts in the country to look at
this evidence and they absolutely said no way, was this gun involved in
these crimes?

SHARPTON: The timeline here I want to go over. Because the timeline here
is disturbing.

STEVENSON Yes.

SHARPTON: Mr. Hinton was originally convicted in 1986. In 2002, you
presented new evidence showing the gun didn`t match the bullets at the
crime scene.

STEVENSON: Correct.

SHARPTON: But it took another 12 years for the U.S. Supreme Court to grant
him a new trial. Why did it take so long?

STEVENSON: Well, actually, we presented that evidence to them in 2000. We
went to the state prosecutor, we went to the attorney, we said look at this
evidence, it absolutely shows that this man did not commit this crime.
What we invited them to do is just simply retest it and let them come to
their own conclusion. And they absolutely refused to do it. They were
unwilling to acknowledge even the possibility of a mistake, and that meant
that they kept fighting us. In every state court we went to said denied.
We went to the court of criminal appeals, we went to the Alabama Supreme
Court and it took that long to get to the U.S. Supreme Court, and it was
only when that court intervened that we could actually get the case back to
the trial court and still they would not do the testing, they would not
concede that this man was wrongly convicted. It`s only after --

SHARPTON: They wouldn`t even do the testing?

STEVENSON: No, sir.

SHARPTON: And let me ask you, what was his state of mind? How was Hinton
handling all this? Because he`s in jail knowing he didn`t do anything
wrong.

STEVENSON: Yes, that`s right. Well, it`s deeply challenging. I mean,
when you put somebody in prison, it`s a terrible, terrible challenge, but
when you put somebody in prison for something that they didn`t do, it`s an
unbearable challenge. Not only was he in prison, he was on death row. He
was locked into a cell five by eight in solitary confinement where every
day for the last 30 years they were trying to kill him. During the time he
was on death row there were 50 executions, and Mr. Hinton would sometimes
talk about smelling flesh burning when they were using the electric chair
in the 1980s and `90s.

SHARPTON: Wow!

STEVENSON: He talked about the pain of seeing people he walked with taken
away and executed. So, it`s really torturous --

SHARPTON: Did he ever give up? Did he ever act like he just couldn`t take
it anymore?

STEVENSON: There were times when it was very, very frustrating. Bus he`s
a remarkable human being. And I will tell you, Rev, in my 30 years of
representing people on death row, I`ve never represented anybody who
generated more support, more good will, more fans among the correctional
staff than Anthony Ray Hinton. He`s a remarkable man in that sense and
that he kept his faith, he kept his hope and even in the darkest moments
found a way to continue to believe that one day we`d get to where we are
today.

SHARPTON: What`s next for Mr. Hinton in this case? Will the state pay him
some kind of restitution?

STEVENSON: Well, Alabama`s one of these states that does not provide any
kind of compensation mechanism that is automatic. We would have to jump
through a lot of hoops to get them to own up to this, and it`s not clear
whether they will or not. We`re going to try to get him oriented, let him
catch his breath, get settled with his freedom and then we`ll talk about
next steps. But unfortunately we`re one of the states that does not
automatically accept responsible for these kinds of injustices and try to
create some kind of compensation or creation. And that`s one of the other
problems that we face here.

SHARPTON: Wow. What has he told you he wants to do with his life now?

STEVENSON: Well, you know, he`s a remarkable person. I think he wants
people to know about what happened. I think he wants to educate people. I
mean, I think his case is a case study in all of the problems we have in
the criminal justice system in this country and I think he`ll be a powerful
voice to shape the reforms that need to happen.

SHARPTON: Bryan Stevenson, thank you for your time tonight and for the
important work that you do.

STEVENSON: Thank you, sir.

SHARPTON: Now, let`s bring in prosecutor and legal analyst Paul Henderson.
Thank you for being here, Paul.

PAUL HENDERSON, LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks for having me, Rev.

SHARPTON: What`s your reaction to what you just heard about this case?

HENDERSON: You know, it`s disappointing, but you know I also have to say
no good, no moral prosecutor wants to see innocent people convicted of
crimes. And in order for our justice system to actually work and for
people to have reliability in it, it has to be fair for everyone. So I
actually look at this case, and I`m encouraged that, as forensics and as
technology is evolving, one of the things that is happening is that, in
addition to having more solid convictions, we are having this substantive
review of cases and appeals where information is being brought forward so
that --

SHARPTON: Well, we`ve got to be willing to use it. Prosecutors have got
to be willing to be even more objective. Even Mr. Hinton expressed outrage
over how long it took for the state to look at his case. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HINTON: All of us that say that we believe in justice, this is the case to
start showing. Because I shouldn`t sit on death row 30 years. All they
had to do was test the gun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: All they had to do is test the gun. I mean, 30 years and the
state was unwilling to look at new evidence.

HENDERSON: Well, that is true. And in many of these cases, you know, like
I said, as technology and as forensics advance throughout the years and we
certainly have made great strides in the past 30 years, the tools that are
being used today to gain convictions are also being used on the flip side
to examine prior convictions and many of these appeals are being examined
with new scrutiny because of these advances. And so, you know, while it is
a tragedy --

SHARPTON: Well, let me give you some data on that.

HENDERSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: Because you`re right. It`s not an isolated issue here, Paul.

HENDERSON: Right.

SHARPTON: With this case. In the last -- look at this. There`s been a
total of 337 exonerations in the United States with exxonerees serving an
average of 14 years in prison for crimes they didn`t commit. Rather than
the timeframe, just look at those numbers. How can the country address
these kinds of injustices?

HENDERSON: Well, you know, it depends on the lens that you look at them.
You say that there are 300 that have been overturned and while I think that
that`s very important because it shows that we do have a checks and balance
system that means that when there is a conviction, there is still a review
and there`s still that possibility that if a conviction was wrongfully
attained, that it can be overturned, but convictions take place every day
that are just and are fair. So when I look at a case like this, to me it
says at one level the system is working. Now that doesn`t mean that there
isn`t room for improvement, and this is a tragedy that has taken place in
terms of what happened in this case. But hopefully, as forensics evolves,
as technology evolves, we will have less of these things happening as we
move forward and stop looking back to see --

SHARPTON: Yes, but I guess that Paul --

HENDERSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: -- but a lot of people, including me, think a lot more needs to
be done. Because not only do you have a victim and people like this
gentleman that lost 30 years of his life, I did a story the other night on
another gentleman in Louisiana.

HENDERSON: I saw that story, yes.

SHARPTON: The people that were the victims, the family members of the
murdered, they`re still victims because the guilty people got away. And
that, in my judgment, is something that we ought to really look at. Not
only are you putting away the wrong people, you`re freeing the wrong people
who may commit crimes again.

HENDERSON: I agree.

SHARPTON: Paul Henderson, thank you for your time tonight.

HENDERSON: Thank you so much for having me, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, new fight over discrimination. How long can 2016
republicans hide from the issues?

And France bans super skinny models from the catwalk. Is it the right
move? That`s all ahead in "Conversation Nation."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Time for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight Susan
Milligan from "U.S. News & World Report," Political Science Professor Jason
Johnson, and legal analyst Midwin Charles. It`s been a week of controversy
over the so-called religious freedom bills in Indiana and Arkansas, and
today more headlines. Here`s the front page of a leading North Dakota
paper. It shows lawmakers voted against a measure that would protect gays
from discrimination, and in Maine a state republican is pushing a bill
similar to Indiana`s. Already this issue is putting national republicans
on the spot. Jeb Bush had to back pedal after first supporting the Indiana
law. Will others flip-flop? Susan, can republicans run for president
hiding from this in 2016?

SUSAN MILLIGAN, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": No, I don`t think they can.
And it`s really remarkable how quickly public opinion has moved on this
issue and continues to move. It was only 11 years ago that the gay
marriage issue was a problem for John Kerry. Now things have changed
completely where if you`re against gay marriage, you look like the one who
is looking backwards. And honestly I think in general this is one of the
problems some of these candidates have, is in an effort to, you know, get
the primary vote, get the conservatives and the activists and the primary
vote, that they`re going to go into a general election as the candidate who
is looking backwards instead of looking into the future. So I do think it
would be problematic for them.

SHARPTON: Jason, isn`t that what is so dicey, that you have such an
extreme in the primaries in terms of the Republican Party, but such a shift
in the American populous when and if you`re the one that gets to the
general election. How do you navigate that?

JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Well, you navigate it by
understanding nuance. If you`re charitable trust did a poll just two years
ago, 2012 that said, you know, you still have about 44 percent of Americans
who think that homosexuality is a sin but 60 percent of Americans still
think that gay people in American should be accepted and have equal rights.
So clearly people understand there`s a difference between their private
prejudices and people being able to live their lives. Any smart republican
will be able to make that distinction rather than wasting the state`s time
by bullying a bunch of people with a bunch of nonsense about gay people
forcing bakers to make cakes that they don`t like and the whole thing was
just preposterous.

SHARPTON: 2004 when I ran, Midwin, they used, as Susan said, the issue of
same-sex marriage and gay couples in one sense it is completely reversed
now. And this issue is one that the right and the republicans wish hadn`t
come up when they were the ones that were using it in 2004.

MIDWIN CHARLES, ATTORNEY: I think you`re right. Thirty seven states and
the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to gay couples. So 72
percent of the United States population is living under a law that allows
gay people to marry. So this is something that has really done an about-
face here in the United States. And any republican that is against this
issue, as your other speaker says, seems to be way beyond the times.

SHARPTON: All right. Let`s go to the next topic. France banning super
skinny models from the catwalk. The French Parliament today approving a
measure targeting agencies that use models who are considered too thin.
Modeling agencies oppose the measure, but lawmakers are moving ahead
anyway. Though they haven`t defined exactly how thin is too thin. Midwin,
do you think the government is overstepping here?

CHARLES: I don`t think the government is overstepping here. I think that
there is an issue with respect to body image that girls have to deal with
when they model. And when you look at a lot of these models now, they look
ill. Forget about being thin. They just look ill, they do not look
healthy. So, I appreciate the government sort of taking a stand and
stepping forth and sort of kind of, letting people know that this image is
not acceptable. Girls are harming themselves in order to fit into this
mold so that they can model and that`s something that I`m glad this
government is stepping in and saying, you know what? We`re not going to
stand for this. We are going to speak up. And we are going to protect our
girls. I know that men also -- male models deal with this issue, too, but
the pressure is more on girls to fit into this mold. And it`s an
impossible body image to maintain.

SHARPTON: Susan?

MILLIGAN: Well, my understanding of this proposed law is that they would
be fining the models themselves, which seems to me to be blaming the victim
here. There is a great deal of pressure for them to be very, very thin,
but you know, blaming them would be like fining an NFL player for getting a
concussion. I mean, we should go to the people who are putting these
demands on these models.

SHARPTON: Jason?

JOHNSON: I`m sorry, this is another example of does no one have anything
better to do? I mean, like there are poor people in France, they`ve got
immigration problems, they`ve got economic problems. And the most
important thing that their legislator can think of is to chase around a
bunch of anemic looking 14-year-olds and tell them how they should dress.

CHARLES: Well, that`s a problem right there. I mean, 14-year-old anorexic
girls is serious.

JOHNSON: But see this is the issue, if you want to address larger problems
in society, you can look at health, you can look at education.

CHARLES: But they can do that, too.

JOHNSON: You can put an education system, but at the end of the day,
fining a bunch of people for how they look, whether it`s because of, you
don`t like how they look, or they`re thin or they`re small, whatever,
that`s ridiculous. The government should not be involved in that at all.

SHARPTON: All right. Midwin?

CHARLES: I can understand what he`s saying, but I`m sure that the
government of France is dealing with all the problems that they have to do.
This is just --

JOHNSON: No.

CHARLES: They are. They are. They`re not kind of sitting around not
doing anything. But this, I mean, let`s be fair here. But 14-year-old
anorexic girls is a very, very serious problem. There are girls dying
because they are not eating so that they can fit into this mold.

JOHNSON: And you can fix that with education.

CHARLES: You can fix it with education, but you can also fix it with sort
of letting these modeling agencies know, listen, we`re not going to hire
these children who are not eating and who are very thin.

JOHNSON: That`s way after the fact. That`s way after the fact.

CHARLES: It`s one way I think to address the issue rather than do
absolutely nothing.

SHARPTON: But Jason, doesn`t Midwin have a point that you also should be
concerned about kids that can eat rather than a group that wants to not eat
to have a standard that may be wrong but I don`t know if the legislators`
priorities have shown that they understand the difference.

JOHNSON: Exactly. That`s the issue. Look, if you want to fix issues
about body image, which are not just unique to France. You can find those
anywhere in the world, introduce it into the education system. Say, look,
we`ll have whole curriculums now on body image, we`re going to do more work
on nutrition, we`re going to do some more work about schools and funding
and food for the homeless and food for the poor and food for the middle
class and teach kids more about health and body image.

SHARPTON: Susan, let me let you have the last word on this.

MILLIGAN: Well, yes, first of all remember that anorexia is an illness and
it`s not behavior.

CHARLES: That`s right.

MILLIGAN: It`s an illness that needs to be treated medically and it`s
very, very difficult to treat. And I agree, I mean, they could be spending
their attentions on people who can`t eat as opposed to people who won`t
eat.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to have to leave it there. Susan, Jason,
Midwin, thank you all for your time tonight. Have a great weekend.

CHARLES: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Last night Mrs. Obama celebrated five years of her "Let`s Move"
campaign as she and Jimmy Fallon showed off a series of great moves. It
was another epic dance-off, but in her sit down with Fallon, the First Lady
shared a secret of the Obamas, how to get their children to eat healthy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: One thing I did with my kids, it was
basic, it was like if you don`t eat your vegetables, you can`t have a
treat.

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Yes.

OBAMA: And if you said you were full, you can leave your food, but you
can`t come back later and ask for more food. So a couple of days of
starvation --

(LAUGHTER)

FALLON: They get the point. Give me the broccoli. Broccoli sandwich,
let`s go.

OBAMA: They`re crawling under the table.

FALLON: This is the best ice cream. Thanks, mom.

OBAMA: They`ll eat anything. Three, four days of starvation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Sometimes tough love is the remedy. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: I`d like to close tonight with some powerful historic words.
Said on this day April 3rd back in 1968. In a crowded Memphis Church, Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. brought the congregation to tears delivering his
final public speech. I`ve been to the mountaintop, on the eve of his
assassination.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. (JANUARY, 1929 - APRIL, 1968), BAPTIST MINISTER:
I just want to do God`s will. And he`s allowed me to go up to the
mountain. And I`ve looked over and I`ve seen the Promised Land. We as a
people will get to the Promised Land. So, I`m happy tonight I`m not
fearing anything. I`m not fearing any man, mine eyes have seen the glory
of the coming of the lord.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The next day we lost Dr. King, but that promise lives on. We as
a people will get to the Promised Land. We as a people. Meaning all of
the people, black and white, men and women, straight and gay. This weekend
states like Indiana and Arkansas we saw people take to the streets and
twitter to demand equal rights and equal protection under the law. We`ve
seen over the last year from Ferguson to Staten Island to Cleveland, people
still in quest 47 years later for that Promised Land and still believing
that somehow we`ll get there. I was 13 when Dr. King was killed. I was
youth director of his organization in New York. I`ve seen a lot go on and
a lot not go on in those 47 years, but I still believe Dr. King`s promise
that we`ll get to the Promised Land, but we won`t get there without having
each other struggle with us, and we won`t get there if we`re too lazy to
keep pursuing it.

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



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BE UPDATED.
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