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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

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Date: April 1, 2015
Guest: Pamela Meanes; Eddie Armstrong; Jonathan Capehart; Stephanie
Miller, Jimmy Williams, Liz Plank, Marty Stroud

Schultz. "Politics Nation" with reverend Al Sharpton starts now.

Good evening, Rev.

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

Breaking news tonight a major shift in the next battleground over anti-gay
legislation. The Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, backing
down from his initial pledge to sign his state`s so-called religious
freedom bill. After intense pressure, Hutchinson announced today that he
wants changes.


GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: I asked that changes be made in the
legislation. And I`ve asked that the leaders of the general assembly to
recall the bill so that it can be amended to reflect the terms of the
federal freedom and restoration act.


SHARPTON: The governor wants the Arkansas bill to be more like the federal
religious freedom law and not like the version in Indiana, which opened the
door to anti-gay discrimination. That Indiana bill sparked national
outrage. Much of it aimed at governor Mike Pence.

The Arkansas governor saw what happened there and he wanted no part of it.
He felt pressure from big business, including Wal-Mart, which is based in
Arkansas. He felt pressure from two members of the Little Rock Nine who
famously integrated central high school in Little Rock. They put out a
statement against the bill saying legislators are attempting to enshrine
their own hatred into law. And HE felt pressure from regular people
protesting at the statehouse.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With legislation like this, besides it hurting the
economy and driving away business. It -- I mean, it`s not what America is

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heavily depend on how the state commercial, on
people moving here, on jobs coming here, on conventions and this bill is
bad, obviously, for that equation and also the state of Arkansas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please don`t let our legislature give you the
impressive that our state is not inclusive.


SHARPTON: The governor heard their voices and today a positive step from
little rock.


HUTCHINSON: My responsibility is to speak out on my own convictions and to
do what I can as governor to make sure this bill reflects the values of the
people of Arkansas, protects those of religious conscience but also
minimizes the chance of discrimination in the workplace and in the public


SHARPTON: Joining me now is state representative Eddie Armstrong, the
Arkansas house minority leader and Jonathan Capehart of "the Washington

Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Representative Armstrong, what`s your reaction to the governor

ARMSTRONG: I still remain optimistic, Rev. Our members in the House,
Democratic caucus from the inception of this bill being drafted in
February, have been working directly down the middle for some bipartisan
efforts to bring about the language that would have matched the federal
RFRA (ph) law. However, as you saw from Representative Bob Ballinger, in
his statements, if you seen that, he led members to believe that it was
exactly the same when in fact that was not the truth.

After the governor`s comments this morning, I left that meeting with a very
optimistic and positive outlook that the governor`s word was going to be
his bond and that we could work towards a day that hopefully, as the
winding hours of the session come to an end, we can look at either
recalling the bill that is now on his desk or continue to work through
options that are still on the table before we adjourn this session.

SHARPTON: Now, could the governor have sent a stronger message with a veto
instead of just asking for changes?

ARMSTRONG: Well, let`s be clear. We understand that the governor and his
party are now the party in the majority. And like other states that have
been hit by this windfall from the right, the governor was in a very tough
position. Personally, yes, I think his opinion or statement could have
been stronger but I think the strongest statement sent to the governor
where that loud outcries from those citizens in our state, my constituents,
other constituents across the state that stepped up, joined the human
rights campaign movement came to our state capital day in and day out by
the vast number to say this is wrong.

If we are looking towards with the intent of this legislation will do
versus with the actual possibilities of what this legislation can bring by
way of discrimination lawsuits, by way of the legalities of this policy, by
way of economic growth and being able to attract and retain and recruit new
business industries to come to Arkansas. There were several different
implications that could have come out of the governor signing this bill
into law.

And so, I took a step back, let the governor know that I was really pleased
with his efforts. I will let him know that our caucus was working towards
whatever needed to be done in a bipartisan manner because we didn`t want
this to drag out and make us become the next state on the radar for setting
us back as oppose to take ten steps forward.

So, I`m still hopeful. There is lots of work to still be done.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, You hear representative Armstrong talk about the
voices of the people. One of those voices is interesting because the
governor said today his own son wanted him to veto the religious freedom
bill. I want to play that for you.


HUTCHINSON: My son said sign the petition asking me, dad, the governor, to
veto this bill. And he gave me permission to make that reference. And it
shows that families and there is a generational difference of opinion all
these issues.


SHARPTON: Now, poll shows there is a generational divide on this,
Jonathan. Forty-nine percent of Americans think wedding related business
should be require to provide services to same sex weddings. But among
people 18 to 29, it is 62 percent. Isn`t this a sign of how much the
country is changing, Jonathan?

CAPEHART: Absolutely it`s a sign that the country is changing and we`ve
been seeing it really for certainly the last five years, six years. But
definitely over the last ten or so years with break-neck speed. We`ve seen
sort of the civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans has gone from being
a sort of not vague, but an outlier concern and when you have young people
being polled from all aspects of life, all economic strata, political
strata, ideological strata, they all overwhelmingly support the rights of
gay and lesbian Americans and certainly their right to same-sex marriage.

And one other thing I want to point out, Rev., is that, you know, you
mentioned the folks from Little Rock from the civil rights movement calling
on the governor to veto that bill. And back when folks in the civil rights
movement, African-Americans, were trying to integrate lunch counters and
public accommodations, they didn`t have a lot of people on their side.
They didn`t have --

SHARPTON: That`s right.

CAPEHART: In fact, they probably had big business siding with
segregationists. Flip to what is happening now, Wal-Mart, the number one
employer in Arkansas, the number one private employer in the United States,
number one on the Fortune 500 list headquartered in Arkansas made it clear
to the governor before the bill even got to their desk that he should not
sign that bill. That shows how far we have come in talking about civil
rights for everyone.

SHARPTON: Well, let me go to Representative Armstrong, because a huge
factor is Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart, it has 131 stores in the state. It`s the
largest private employer in Arkansas. More than 47,000 employees. And
today Wal-Mart tweeted that it commended the governor for reconsidering.
How significant was Wal-Mart`s position on this issue?

ARMSTRONG: I think Wal-Mart`s position along with several other
corporations was significant. I think the governor as well as
Representative Ballinger needed to take a pause after you have the likes of
(INAUDIBLE), a Wal-Mart, other corporations, local bakery owners, local
store owners that said, hey, look, we`ve had our legal staff look at this.
And I understand that the representative that brought this bill forward is
a lawyer. But I presume that these big companies paying these wealthy
salaries to some of our great legal teams across the United States and, in
particular here in our own backyard, offered up an opinion that could not
be refuted by the governor. And I think after taking a longer, harder look
at it and, even more importantly, the governor highlighting that it was a
generational issue, it is a race issue, there`s several implications as to
what could have been had he signed that into motion. And I think him
taking a pause showed responsibility as our governor, as a new governor
here, showed a sign of respect for all Arkansans. Showed a sign of respect
and hopefully some admiration for his son.

We have way too many issues that have for long been a dark cloud over
Arkansas. And I think if we would has taken a step today and the governor
had to sign this bill into law, we could have seen another dark cloud in
what has hopefully been a step in the wrong direction.

SHARPTON: But there is a dark cloud -- excuse me for cutting you off. I`m
trying to get a lot of this in. There`s a dark cloud in Indiana, Jonathan,
because governor Pence talked repeatedly about how much he hated
discrimination. But here`s what he`s said about gay rights in the past.


GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: There`s no question that to mainstream
homosexuality within the active duty military would have an impact on unit
cohesion, would have an impact on recruitment, would have an impact on

The problem here is by extending the reach of federal law to cover sexual
orientation, employment discrimination protections, in effect, can wage war
on the free exercise of religion in the workplace.


SHARPTON: So against the repeal of don`t ask, don`t tell, against covering
gays and lesbians from discrimination in the workplace, how does that
square with what he said this week, Jonathan?

CAPEHART: I don`t know. Try to square that with not being able to answer
a yes or no question from George Stephanopoulos when he asked, do you think
it`s right for businesses in Indiana to discriminate? He could not give a
yes or no answer.

So the governor found himself in a tough bind on Sunday, a tough bind
yesterday and luckily Arkansas governor Hutchinson saw what happened and,
as we saw, did not make the same mistake.

SHARPTON: No. Much different reaction.

Representative Armstrong, let me ask you this. A lot of the 2016
candidates on the Republican side went out there with governor Pence on
this, even though Indiana is now revisiting the bill, they got caught out
there. Are they stuck out there on a limb now, particularly since your
governor has kind of dealt with this differently?

ARMSTRONG: Well, let`s be clear, this is a national movement and I think
governor nor pence and those members that have gotten themselves caught in
this have to back peddled and think about what cause or what consequence
has come with openly passing legislation that would potentially cause harm
by way of discrimination. I would hope, as I`ve mentioned at the outset of
the show, that our governor and our members on the Republican side of the
aisle look at this as a more long-term approach as we look towards 2016 and
they are now in control and most of these states that you see that have
been cascaded across the country. And take a step back and look at the
reality of what the people want.

We`ve been elected for and by the people. And when the people show up,
things change and you saw that here in Arkansas. I think we`ve still got a
long ways to go. Before we know what the governor`s final say is on this
piece of legislation. But as for my members and our small caucus of 36
members, we will continue to actively work in a bipartisan, responsible
manner for the people that have elected us to come here and serve them.

SHARPTON: Well, we have a long way to go but we`ve come from a long way to
get to where we are. So we can take the rest of the journey if we use this
same commitment and determination.

Arkansas state representative Eddie Armstrong and Jonathan Capehart, thank
you both for your time tonight.

ARMSTRONG: Thank you.

CAPEHART: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the injustice of an innocent man who spent 30 years
on death row. You`ll see my exclusive interview with the prosecutor who
put him there and who`s trying to make sure it never happens again. You
want to see this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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. I
believe that there`s a special place in heaven reserved for people like
Lynn Ford who have suffered so much prosecution during their lifetime.


SHARPTON: Also, outrage over Republican lawmakers who call Loretta Lynch
quote "unfit to serve as attorney general."

And I`ll tell you why Hillary Clinton made a surprise visit to my old
neighborhood in Brooklyn, Brownsville.

But first, the least surprising thing you hear all day. The Donald talks
about his pick for 2016.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Donald Trump is the best by far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you`re not in there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I haven`t announced. I haven`t done that yet, no.
But I feel very strongly about a guy named Donald Trump.



SHARPTON: Breaking news, New Jersey senator Bob Menendez has been indicted
on federal corruption charges. The democratic senator has been under
investigation by the FBI for two years. He faces 14 charges, including
bribery and conspiracy over his ties to a Florida eye doctor. Defense say
Menendez helped the doctor with Medicare billing in exchange for gifts and
contributions worth close to $1 million, including flights on a private jet
and vacations in Paris and the Caribbean. The senator has denied any
wrongdoing but is expected to step aside as ranking member on the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee.


SHARPTON: Developing news in the fight over Loretta Lynch. Her
confirmation as attorney general already facing a historic delay in the
Senate. And today, new pressure from the House GOP urging the Senate to
block her confirmation entirely.

Eight Republicans writing quote "we believe that Loretta Lynch falls in the
unfit category. We expect the nation`s top law enforcement officer to be
committed to the rule of law. We cannot be certain that Miss Lynch has
such a commitment.

Unfit? And possibly not committed to the rule of law? These are audacious
claims. Ignoring a long career that began with a degree from Harvard law
and so Lynch get confirmed, not once but twice by the Senate as a U.S.
attorney. And a confirmation hearing even Republicans were aware of her
legal representation. Just listen to Ted Cruz.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I`ll note, a number of my friends and colleagues
who practice law in New York have reached out to me with words of praise
for you, describing your tenure as a U.S. attorney there as that of a no
nonsense prosecutor and as a U.S. attorney who honored and represented the


SHARPTON: But Ted Cruz still decided to oppose Lynch. And now eight House
Republicans are trying to attack her integrity and stop the Senate from
confirming her as the head of the justice department.

Joining me now is Pamela Meanes, president of the National Bar Association,
the county`s oldest and largest group of African-American attorneys and
judges and Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for "the Huffington Post."

Thank you both for having us.

Reverend Sharpton, for having us.


SHARPTON: Pamela, how can anyone consider Loretta Lynch to be unfit to
serve as attorney general?

MEANES: As a member of the national bar Association and me as an 18-year
attorney, I cannot completely understand it. But if you look at the
rationale behind which they declared her unfit, you will see that it`s a
collateral issue connected more to their disdain for President Obama than
it has anything to do with her qualifications or her fitness to hold the

SHARPTON: You know, Ryan, the eight Republicans in the House who wrote the
letter quote "as attorney general Miss Lynch would be required to swear an
oath to the constitution and not to the president and certainly not to
uphold and defend a political agenda. I mean, she can`t be dependent upon
to defend the constitution. How did the GOP attacks on Lynch get so
personal, Ryan?

GRIM: Well, you know, they believe that the person is nominating her is
himself unfit. You know, most of the people who signed that letter. So
this is just an extension of their war on the president. Their argument is
that, you know, any attorney general who carries out the president`s
policies is, therefore, unfit. And you know, they are getting a lot of
pressure from these grassroots or, you know, these Washington-based
quote/unquote "grassroots organizations" that are kind of ginning up
outrage, particularly around what they are calling the amnesty issue, you
know, the immigration reform that the president has carried out. They are
saying if you appoint, you know, if you vote to confirm this nominee, then
you`re affirming that what the president did here is legal. Of course,
that`s not the case. This, you know, it is going forward in the course
and, you know, they will be the ones that will ultimately answer this.
But, you know, it`s interesting, they really put their Senate colleagues in
a bind here because, you know, they`d like to see Lynch confirmed kind of
without their votes. This makes that much more difficult now.

SHARPTON: You know, Pamela, "The New York Times" write Republicans don`t
want to vote for Lynch but they still hope she gets confirmed. Quote
"Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, now finds
himself in a conundrum. Members of his party will vote no on Ms. Lynch but
hope yes that she will squeak through." This is in the Times. Seems like
a risky political game. Aren`t Republicans playing with fire here, Pamela?

MEANES: Well, I don`t think they are only playing with fire. They are
playing with justice here, Reverend Sharpton. Here is the thing. They
understand and know that she`s well qualified, beyond qualified. That`s
why they hope she gets confirmed because they know justice demands for her
to get confirm as they confirmed her two times before.

Here they are saying, we want to play it safe and we want to play to our
constituents. And if Republicans who say they and hear to the rule of law,
were really abiding by the law that they say - they adhere to, they would
not play top cop in this nation.

Loretta Lynch has a history of not playing politics. She will prosecute
those Democrats who breaks the law and those Republicans that break the
law. She definitely have a respect to a person. She`s a lover of the law
and she defends the constitution. And deep within their hearts they know
that and know that. And they know that the tactics that they are using are
the very ones that they criticized Democrats of using a couple years ago.

We, in the National Bar Association called that hypocrisy. Justice demands
for them to do this. If they do nothing else, to give Loretta Lynch an up
or down vote. Anything else is troubling and offensive to the lawyers that
that practice in this country. It`s not just fire.

SHARPTON: Now, Ryan, let`s go to the politics of this for a minute because
the vote could impact some senators up for election in 2016. Here they
are. Republicans from states President Obama won twice. Most of them have
not announced whether they will vote for Lynch. Two indicated they will
not. How could this affect their campaigns, Ryan? They are up for
election next year in states that President Obama won.

GRIM: And I think you are - I think Mark Kirk on that list is probably the
most likely to come around and end up pouring (ph). He`s from Illinois and
he`s going to face a very difficult shot at re-election, you know. They
are trying to thread the needle. They don`t want to get beat by a tea
party challenger from the right before the general election. But they
don`t want to go too far right so that by the time they get to the general
election, they get wiped out.

You know, in some ways, this is similar to the death ceiling fight that we
had where the Republican establishment in Washington wanted the debt
ceiling to get lifted. They didn`t want a global financial crisis. They
just didn`t want their fingerprints on it. The difference here, though, is
that Eric Holder is the attorney general and he`s quite happy -- he`s
willing to stay on the job as long as he needs to and they despise Eric


Which shows you how contradictory and hypocritical they are.

Pamela Meanes and Ryan Grim, thank you both for your time. And we`ll see
Pamela next week at the national action network 2015 convention April 8th
to the 11th right here in New York City and certainly the Loretta Lynch
issue will be widely discussed at national action network convention led by
you, Pam, and others next week.

Straight ahead, Jeb Bush is trying to distance himself from his brother.
But news today shows that`s hard to do.

Plus, the pressure on governor Pence grows with David Letterman speaking
about his home state.

But first, these Republican governors love bashing Obamacare. But I have a
diagnosis of hypocrisy, next.


SHARPTON: It`s been five years sense ObamaCare was signed into law and the
republicans are way overdue for their reality checkup. Luckily, that`s
what I`m here for. Tonight, Dr. Sharpton is making a house call to four
republican governors and potential 2016 contenders. Scott Walker, Chris
Christie, Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry have made it their mission to
diagnose ObamaCare as a failure. But according to Reuters, they`ve taken
$352 million in funding through grant programs set up or expanded by the
law. You`re not hallucinating. This is really how much money they have
taken -- each of them have taken for their states while they are saying
this about the law.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s about taking our country back and it starts by
repealing ObamaCare.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The overall policy of ObamaCare which is abysmal

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: He so wants us not to be focused upon the
abomination that is being pushed upon the American people.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: ObamaCare is a failure and it`s always been a failure
and will not succeed. It just won`t.


SHARPTON: Sounds like these guys took the Hippocratic Oath. They love the
program that ObamaCare pays for, they just can`t admit it. But President
Obama already predicted the republicans` perfect remedy.


well, I guarantee you, they will not call it ObamaCare.


SHARPTON: All they have to do is change the name. Did republicans think
we wouldn`t notice they are coming down with a nasty case of flip-flop-
itis? Good news is, this pre-existing condition is covered by ObamaCare.
Nice try. But here`s Dr. Sharpton`s diagnosis. We gotcha.


SHARPTON: It`s time for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight, radio
host Stephanie Miller, executive editor of, Jimmy
Williams. And`s Liz Plank, thank you all for being here tonight.



LIZ PLANK, MIC.COM: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: The governor of Arkansas will not follow Indiana`s lead. For
now, he`s blocking a controversial plan to let businesses discriminate
against gay people. But the backlash against Indiana`s Governor Mike Pence
just keeps growing. Charles Barkley says, the final four should lead the
state. Miley Cyrus says, it`s a stupid law and she will speak for the
young people who want to change it. Ellen says, acceptance and progress
takes time but always arrives. And David Letterman who grew up in Indiana
just set aside the jokes and got serious about this issue.


DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: This is not the Indiana that I remember as a
kid. I lived there for 27 years. And folks were folks and that`s all
there was to it. He`s holding a press conference today saying that -- I
don`t know what he`s talking about. Honestly, I don`t know what he`s
talking about. It may be legal. But it ain`t right. That`s about all I


SHARPTON: Liz, how will these calls from celebrities make it a difference?

PLANK: It will make a huge difference, I mean, we know the power of
celebrities. Celebrities have an incredible amount of influence and all of
the celebrities that you`ve mentioned, have actually nothing in common.
Some of them are old, some of them are young, some of them are straight,
some of them are gay and some of them are in between and that`s incredibly
powerful. In terms of this issue, not into a gay issue, into a human
rights issue, that everyone can care about and everyone can get behind.
So, yes, I think it`s incredibly powerful.

SHARPTON: Jimmy, isn`t that what is sort of impressive, is to have such a
difference of people and institutions all chiming in on this from Walmart
to people in the far left that are young kids?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think that`s exactly right. So, I mean, what Liz has
described and you have described is, for all intents and purposes, this
great American melting pot called America. And the fascinating thing about
America is that you can be an extremist. On either side, by the way. But
a super majority of America sees this, this overreach, this federalism,
this state`s right, new sort of Jim Crow rearing its ugly head, and they
are morally opposed to what`s happening. But guess who is not. The far,
far religious right. And also guess who is not? Every single republican
running for president and spending time in Iowa and New Hampshire and South
Carolina is not only for it but on board with Governor Pence. That should
tell you something about where the state of the Republican Party and the
base of the Republican Party is today. They are on the far, far right wing
extremist element on this country and that`s sad state for our political

SHARPTON: Stephanie?

MILLER: You know, Reverend, I think it`s just at its core. It is, people
feel it`s un-Christian, it`s un-American to refuse service to gay people.
My favorite caller on my show this morning said, I`m a bisexual woman, if I
go into a Christian deli in Indiana, can I get half a sandwich? It recalls
the own Grotto Markschov (ph). Remember, like they said the swimming pool
wouldn`t take Jewish kids and he said, my daughter is only half Jewish.
Can she go up to her knees?

SHARPTON: But you know, Stephanie raises interesting points because I said
on my radio show today, how do you enforce it? I have relatives who are
gay. If we go out to eat, are they going to ask, is this one gay, is that
one not? How do you test who determines in its application it doesn`t make

But let`s move on. Can Jeb Bush be his own candidate since announcing he
was considering a run for the White House? Jeb has tried to put daylight
between himself and his famous family.


JEB BUSH (D), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Just for the record, one more time,
I love my brother, I love my dad. I actually love my mother as well. I
hope that`s okay. And I admire their service to the nation and the
difficult decisions that they had to make. But I`m my own man and my views
are shaped by my own thinking and my own experiences.


SHARPTON: But today, Reuters reports Jeb`s taking on two republican
economic veterans who served under his brother. He has taken them on to
help form his economic policy. This comes after learning he has 19 foreign
policy advisers from his brother and father`s administration. Jimmy, is he
really his own man?

WILLIAMS: Well, I mean -- the problem is, he`s going to repeat his
brother`s same mistakes. If you have the same team surrounding you, giving
you advice, and I think by all accounts and I think anybody that knows
politics knows that Jeb Bush is the smartest guy on earth, he`s a very,
very smart man. And I think George W. Bush relied far too heavily on
advisers, specifically Dick Cheney. And I don`t think that is Jeb Bush`s
inherent problem. But if he`s surrounding himself this early end up
beginning stages of his campaign, with all of his brothers and many of his
brother`s advisers, it just begs the question, where is the depth and the
wits of the republican bench at this point? Where are the people that are
coming up advising republicans if you have to go back and poll, you know,
Paul Wolfowitz or Gleam Haberg (ph), is there a new crop of young
Republicans, oh, wait that`s a contradiction, I don`t want to contradict


SHARPTON: All right. Liz?

PLANK: Yes, I mean, at this point it`s like Jim`s show. Like, don`t tell.
We get it, you say you`re your own man but you`re not, you know, prove it.
And to me, I mean, look, he has had some benefits from that. It`s
certainly helped him in terms of fundraising and these alliances with his
family have been beneficial. But there`s going to be downfalls to that.
And he`s going to have to deal with those. Especially when we are talking
with young voters, that`s not going to be appealing to them when they are
looking to a leader, they`re looking to someone with new ideas.

SHARPTON: Stephanie, will these family connections hurt him down the road?

MILLER: Oh, listen, Rev, let me get this straight. He`s signaling, he`s
going to bring back the Bush economy. He`s going to bring back the 10
percent unemployment instead of the almost five percent we have now? He`s
going to bring back the 700,000 jobs a month we were losing, instead of the
ones we were gaining? Please, hug that Bush economic legacy, hug it, spoon
it like a koala. Please. I love it.

SHARPTON: Everyone, stay with me. We`ll be right back with the question
that keeps Scott Walker up nights. Can you win the presidency if you`re
allergic to dogs?

Plus, Hillary Clinton`s surprise visit to my old neighborhood Brownsville,
Brooklyn. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Stephanie, Jimmy and Liz. For
presidents, loving dogs is almost a job requirement. President Obama takes
breaks with his dogs, Bo and Sunny. The first President Bush had Milly
running by his side. LBJ had fun with her on the White House lawn and FDR
had Fala with him as he led the country. Something about the dog makes the
most powerful man in the world more relatable but Scott Walker just moved a
dinner date, because the homeowner has a dog. Walker`s allergic to dog
dander. His spokesperson saying it`s unfortunate because he loves animals
and it`s unfortunate because dogs are a mainstay at the White House. So
Stephanie, did Walker`s possible campaign just go to the dogs?


MILLER: Who let the dogs out and feed, Rev? I`m a huge dog lover but as
you say so are most Americans. We can save a lot of money in campaign ads,
we only need one. Scott Walker hates puppies. Do you want to live in an
America that hates puppies? We don`t think so.

PLANK: No, I`m not.

MILLER: Vote Hillary. We`re done.

SHARPTON: Liz, I see you shaking your head.

PLANK: Well, look, full disclosure, I`m allergic to dogs, too. So, I feel
Scott Walker`s pain.

SHARPTON: But you`re not trying to have his gain -- White House.

PLANK: Exactly. It`s not a problem for me in that respect. I care more
about his stance on women, on immigration, on the LGBT committee. But
look, he`s flip-flopped on all of those so maybe he`ll flip-flop on his dog


WILLIAMS: I`m also allergic to dogs. And I have a dog named Musa Hussain
Williams (ph) name back to the president of the United States. And I take
Zyrtec and it worked. So, Governor Walker I don`t know if you`ve ever
heard of the pharmaceutical industry even though you`ve taken plenty of
money from them. But you should just pop a Claritin or Zyrtec or Benadryl
every day and you might just want to be, you know, normal in that sense.

SHARPTON: And who knows, he may name his dog after a living president.

WILLIAMS: He could.

SHARPTON: -- democratic progressive persuasion.

WILLIAMS: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And we know he really took some medicine. Liz, Jimmy and
Stephanie, thank you for joining us tonight.

PLANK: Thanks, Rev.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: When we come back, a powerful story that advances the discussion
about our criminal justice system. A Louisiana man spent 30 years on death
row for a crime he didn`t commit. Now the prosecutor is apologizing for
the injustice. It`s courageous. His emotional apology is next.


SHARPTON: Now to a story that shocks the conscious. The state of
Louisiana is refusing to pay restitution to a man who spent 30 years on
death row for a crime he didn`t commit. In 1984, an all-white jury
convicted Glenn Ford him in the death of a woman shot during a robbery but
he didn`t do it. And last March, based on new evidence, Ford was
exonerated and set free.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I can`t go back and do anything. I should have been
doing when I was like 35, 38, stuff like that. My son was a baby. Now
he`s grown up.


SHARPTON: Today, he`s days are numbered again, Ford had been diagnosed
with stage four cancer. Last week, a judge used a legal technicality to
justify denying him any payment for his past decades in prison. Now the
lead prosecutor on that case has written on Op-ed apologizing for the
injustice. Marty Stroud says, quote, "In 1984, I was 33 years old, I was
arrogant, judgmental, I was not as interested in justice as I was in
winning." He says the physical evidence was, quote, "Pure junk science at
its evil worst." And quote, "I apologized to Glenn Ford for all of the
misery I`ve caused him and his family." And in an extraordinary with a
local paper, Stroud said the entire criminal justice system was broken.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They are out to win whatever the cost. They don`t
really care about the victim, they don`t care about this or that. They
care about the record. And back when I was in my early 30s, I was caught
up in that insanity, that the end justified the means, and that we didn`t
try people that were innocent. And bottom-line, it`s persistent revenge
and that`s not justice.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is that Prosecutor Marty Stroud, thank you for
joining me.

MARTY STROUD, PROSECUTOR IN GLENN FORD CASE: Thank you for having me, sir.

SHARPTON: You know, we don`t see many prosecutors come forward and speak
out the way you did. I mean, why was it important for you to write this

STROUD: "The New York Times" wrote an editorial indicating that Mr. Ford
was entitled to compensation. I had never written a letter to any type of
reform but I thought that I would write a letter in support of the
editorial because I had been one of the participants in the trial and to
give the paper my views on what happened at the trial.

SHARPTON: You know, "The Times" Picayune recently caught up with Mr. Ford
to see, how he was doing and asked what some of the challenges were after
living three decades behind bars. Watch this, Mr. Stroud.


computer skills, I can`t turn anything on. But I believe I will never
catch on to the internet as I should. (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You`re not missing too much.

FORD: Yes. Yes.


SHARPTON: I mean, isn`t that why we need to fix the system? All the money
in the world can`t buy back those lost experiences or time, Mr. Stroud?

STROUD: I agree with that. I don`t think any amount of money can
compensate a person for spending 30 years on death row for a crime he
didn`t commit. It`s just -- I think we`re incapable of obviously trading
those years for Mr. Ford and I think it`s an indication we shouldn`t have -
- this shouldn`t happen in our system. But unfortunately, it does.

SHARPTON: What would you say to young prosecutors now who are in the same
situation that you were in 30 years ago?

STROUD: I would tell them that if you go back and look at the old case
law, 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 have caused that man and I believe
that there`s a special place in heaven reserved for people like Glenn Ford
who have suffered so much prosecution during their lifetime.

SHARPTON: If you could talk to Mr. Ford, what would you say to him?

STROUD: First of all, I would apologize again. What amazes me, he does
not appear to have any anger. When you see him on TV, he`s not speaking
from anger. He`s speaking I think from his heart and he is -- the way he
has handled this should be an inspiration for anyone who watches him or
hears him speak.

SHARPTON: Marty Stroud, thank you for your time tonight and thank you for
coming forward to share your story.

STROUD: Thank you, sir.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, big news out of the neighborhood where I grew
up. The Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Today, a surprise visit Hillary
Clinton touring child center there. She was joined by New York City First
Lady Chirlane McCray to launch a new program called `Talk to your Baby" to
encourage early childhood development.


clear that when the adults, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older
siblings who are in a child`s first school, which is a child family, begin
to interact with that child from the very earliest stage, you are building
a very strong foundation, everybody needs to be creative and smart about
how we better prepare our kids for the future.


SHARPTON: Clinton has been working on the word gap between lower and high-
income kids by challenging parents to build their child`s vocabulary. I
grew up in that section of Brooklyn, being raised by a single mother on
welfare. I know what visits like that can do to raise the thoughts and
horizon of a kid. Don`t under estimate what she did today.

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



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