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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: April 7, 2015
Guest: Robert Gibbs, Patricia Bynes, Paul Henderson, Angela Rye, Jason
Johnson, Shira Center, Michael Nutter


REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you for
tuning in. We start with developing news.

It`s official. Rand Paul is running for president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Today, I announce with God`s help, with the
help of liberty lovers everywhere, that I am putting myself forward as a
candidate for president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The Republican senator making the announcement today from
Kentucky, pitching himself to the base as a true conservative.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Too often when Republicans have won, we have squandered our victory
by becoming part of the Washington machine. That`s not who I am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s central to Paul`s campaign, the claim that he`s a different
kind of Republican, one who`s savvy about social media and can reach
younger voters, a libertarian who`s questioned drone strikes, and NSA
spying, and GOP military hawks, and he`s joined Democrats in calling for
criminal justice and criminal sentencing reform, and restoring voting
rights to nonviolent felons.

And yet, on some issues, some key issues at deck, Paul lines up perfectly
with the right. Paul opposes same-sex marriage and abortion rights. He
now calls for increasing military spending by 16 percent, while slashing
the safety net. And today on the economy, he stuck to right-ring trickle-
down rhetoric about the perils of government spending.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: This vast accumulation of debt threaten not just our economy, but
our security. Trillion dollar government stimulus packages is only widened
the income gap. We can`t borrow our way to prosperity. Liberal policies
have failed our inner cities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Today Paul`s campaign put out this eye chart, playing off his
medical background as an eye doctor. But what kind of candidate will
voters see? When they look at Rand Paul?

Joining me now is Robert Gibbs, former White House Press Secretary for
President Obama, and Kasie Hunt, MSNBC Political Correspondent live in
Louisville, where Senator Paul kicked off his campaign. Thank you both for
being here.

ROBERT GIBBS, FRM. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Thank you.

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Nice to see you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Kasie, what can you tell us about the tone of Rand Paul launched
today?

HUNT: Well, Reverend, I think the tone that Senator Paul was going for
today was inclusion. He was the first white man to step onto that stage.
Preceding him were minority, in one case a pastor from West Louisville who
gave a pretty passionate defense of Senator Paul and his willingness to go
to communities that Republicans maybe don`t normally speak to. So I think
that`s a lot of what you saw -- also saw him reaching out to young people.

I think you also saw him strike a note on foreign policy that was may be a
little softer in some of his past positions, but I think that at the same
time he struck a different tone on that than other Republicans.

SHARPTON: Robert, you`re a political veteran. I want you to watch this
and tell me how you think Rand Paul did today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Yet everyone needs to realize that negotiations are not inherently
bad. The trust but verified is required in any negotiation, but that our
goal always should be and always is peace, not war.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Robert?

GIBBS: The tack that he`s trying to take, and it will be interesting to
see if works in a GOP primary, particularly in 2015, where a lot of people
on the right want to make his foreign policy views and what they think is
isolation is into a weak spot. So it will be interesting to see. He
probably lined up a little bit better with where people were generally in
the war-weary days of say last spring. I think the rise of ISIS has
changed a bit of that calculation, and it will be interesting to see
whether he can thread in needle in a very tough, hawkish Republican
primary.

SHARPTON: Kasie, he`s tried to play that he`s a conservative and he
certainly has a very conservative views but that he`ll reach out, standing
with other senators like Corey Booker, the minister, as you said today,
from West Louisville standing there. He even had a public breakfast with
me, but at the same time takes some very right-wing positions. Is this
something that you think he has calculated to try to expand his base? And
does he expand his support, but does he risk some of those in his base,
saying that`s going too far?

HUNT: I think that he is walking a very careful line, especially between
those supporters who come to him out of the libertarian movement, who maybe
were very aggressive supporters of his father, very loyal. I think every
step he takes away from them, he`s taking a small risk, because those are
the people he knows are going to be there, those are the people that built
organizations for his father in early states. Those are the people that
gets small donations to him.

On the other hand, he also knows he`s never going to win the nomination
with only the people who supported his father. And so he has to make those
overtures to other communities. Whether it`s to minorities, whether it`s
to young people. And I think it`s interesting that he`s going after that,
instead of say, tacking hard to the right on social issues for example, and
trying to gin up support within the evangelical base of his party. It`s
clearly a calculated decision and it separates him in some ways, from
somebody like a Senator Ted Cruz, who he otherwise might be directly
competing with. And that honestly would hurt both of them. This in some
ways opens a different path for Paul.

SHARPTON: Now, there`s already roughly a million dollar attack ad playing
from right wing group, attacking Rand Paul over foreign policy. Listen to
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rand Paul supports Obama`s negotiations with Iran, but
he doesn`t understand the threat.

PAUL: You know, it`s ridiculous to think that they`re a threat to our
national security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rand Paul is wrong, and dangerous. Tell him to top
siding with Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: How much time, Robert, will Paul have to spend fending off these
kinds of attacks, and if you were advising him, how would you tell him to
handle it? Spend a lot of time? Ignore it? I mean, how does he handle
this?

GIBBS: Well, I thin he`s got to go at it -- I think he`s got to go at
head-on. I think it`s an interesting thing to watch this ad pop up on the
day that he announces. You know, clearly there are people like John Bolden
and Lindsey Graham running in the Republican primary almost to run against
Rand Paul, as much as to run for president. You know, I think the line
that he had -- the lines that he had today, as Kasie talked about, this
sort of tightrope that he has to walk is interesting. I mean, to say that
the government is an inefficient government is at home is no better than at
nation building abroad is an interesting tack to take. I think he`s going
to have to figure clever ways to phrase this, because there`s no doubt the
Republican primary voters these days tends to be more hawkish, tends to be
more pro-invasion of Iraq and different things like that. And I think he
will be as you and Kasie both said, it going to be very hard to kind a walk
this tightrope to expand electoral and get younger people in particular
libertarian in without walking away from the core Republican primary
voters.

SHARPTON: You know, Kasie, a lot of Republicans that are running are
talking about the income gap, and Rand Paul is as well. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: The poor seem to get poorer, and the rich get richer. The poverty
gap continues to widen. My trips to Detroit, to Appalachia, to Chicago,
have revealed what I called an undercurrent of unease.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, he`s saying that, but at the same time he`s opposing
minimum wage, his called for cuts to the safety net. He`s called for
blocking, granting of food stamps. Will independents and Democrats buy his
economic message?

HUNT: Reverend, I think this is a question of essentially which policies
do you believe will work to close this gap? Because you`re right, you`re
seeing candidates on the left and on the right start to talk about this.
Everybody is seeing this in the data, even big businesses are. I mean,
Yes, there are businesses that are raising the minimum wage, many of them
are doing it for the good of their workers. But they`re also seeing the
writing on the wall. This is a political groundswell in many ways that
sort of sweeping through the countries it`s cause populist tendencies on
both the right and the left, and the Republican party is no exception in
this way. So I think the question for Paul is going to be whether or not
he can sell those voters on the idea that his policies are the right ones
that ultimately will help them more than, say, investing more in the safety
net that the country has already built. And I think that`s the open
question here.

SHARPTON: Robert, let`s look at the political landscape on the Republican
side. Isn`t Ted Cruz his biggest problem that there would be a threat to
that base if there is a threat from the libertarian far right base? He`s
got to take on Ted Cruz somehow and neutralize him, and vice versa, Ted
Cruz has got to try to neutralize him?

GIBBS: I think there`s no doubt that he and Ted Cruz occupy some of the
same space. I think Kasie is right that he does have -- he hasn`t tacked
as hard to the right in some of the social issues, at least in what he
spent most of his time talking about. That he is more known for his
libertarian views on the number of the issues.

So I think it`s going to be interesting. He`s got a tougher path than say
a Marco Rubio or Scott Walker or Jeb Bush. And I think as we talk about
earlier, his biggest concern is going to be those that are coming at him
from the right on national security, and you know, if that continues to be
a growing and important issue, as it looks like it will be in the
Republican primaries. If it gets even more important, he could become more
quickly marginalized. I will say though, he clearly has the ability,
appealing to younger people with libertarian views to expand this
electoral. And the question isn`t whether he would win a Republican
primary as it was staged four years ago, but can he, in a place like Iowa
or New Hampshire or South Carolina or Nevada, can he broaden that
electorate to bring in enough people in that changes the calculus a bit?
That`s going to be the greatest (INAUDIBLE) thing.

SHARPTON: And those are the early primary states and those are states that
give him momentum.

I must ask you this, I`m out of time, but Robert, the other person he has
to deal with, I don`t know if worrying about it would be the right term,
his dad

GIBBS: Yes.

SHARPTON: The role, "Politico" did a piece about that. The role his
father will play or not play in the campaign. How does he deal with the
optics of that either way?

GIBBS: This again is another one of these tightropes that he has to walk.
It`s the enthusiasm of people that came ought for his father in 2008, 2012,
but also how to navigate some of the things that his dad has talked about
more recently. You know, states like a different areas seceding from the
nation. It`s not something that a candidate like Rand Paul is going to
auto spend a lot of time or really any time talking about. Yet at the same
time, he wants to capture that enthusiasm that his father garnered in
appealing to younger voters.

SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to have to left it there. Kasie Hunt and
Robert Gibbs, thank you both for your time tonight.

GIBBS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And Robert, we`ll you look forward to seeing you this week.

HUNT: Thanks, Revered.

SHARPTON: At our National (INAUDIBLE).

GIBBS: I`m looking forward in seeing you.

SHARPTON: We`re looking for it. National Action Network Convention here
in New York this week. Thank you.

GIBBS: Yes, sir.

SHARPTON: Coming up, breaking news. U.S. officials confirm, hackers
connected to Russia, broke into the White House computer system. More on
that ahead.

Also an important night in Ferguson, as voters cast their ballots for
changing the city`s future. We`ll tell you all about it, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news. NBC News confirming, U.S. officials believe
hackers connected to the Russian government, broke into the White House`s
computer system. The hack occurred last fall, and had already been
disclosed. But it hadn`t been publicly linked to Russia. Officials say
hackers got into an area of the White House network that contains
unclassified, but sensitive information. Moments ago, the White House
Deputy National Security adviser had this to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN RHODES, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We don`t confirm
cyber intrusions. We`ve spoken to the fact that there was an event last
year. We have classified systems that are secure and we take regular
precautions to secure our unclassified networks as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`ll follow this story as it develops.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Developing news from Ferguson, Missouri. Voters heading to the
polls for the first time since the shooting of Michael Brown, electing
three new members to the city council. Polls closed in just under two
hours. It`s a big moment. Back in the fall in the first council meeting
after the shooting, the residents of Ferguson demanded political change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look around you. We`re not going to let you go back
to business as usual. It`s not going to happen. Today we tell you no
more. You are now on notice. Council. We got to get out and vote. We`ve
got to be accountable. When it comes time to make change. We are
accountable. We`ve got to do it for us because they not go do it us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Since the shooting, Ferguson has started to see changes. The
city police chief, city manager and municipal judge, all resigned last
month, but real issues remain with representation in the city`s government.
Sixty-seven percent of the residents of Ferguson are African-American but
just one of the six council members is black. The Justice Department chose
not to bring charges against Officer Dan Wilson in Brown`s shooting and the
investigation confirmed the shooting was not racially motivated. But the
Department of Justice review found a history of systemic racial bias in the
city`s Police Department and local courts. Today, the people of Ferguson
have a chance to vote for change.

Joining me now is Patricia Bynes, a Democratic Committeewoman for Ferguson
Township. Committeewoman Bynes, thank you first of all for being here this
evening.

PATRICIA BYNES, FERGUSON TOWNSHIP DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEEWOMAN: Thank you for
having me, Revered.

SHARPTON: How important is today`s election and moving Ferguson forward?

BYNES: This is a monumental election in moving Ferguson forward, in moving
the St. Louis region forward, and actually moving the nation forward in
knowing how are we going to tackle the issue that we`ve been faced with
regarding police brutality and the municipal court system. And dealing
with institutional racism. This is major.

SHARPTON: Now, your voted turned out is been an issue in Ferguson in past
elections.

BYNES: Yes.

SHARPTON: In 2014, Mayoral election, only 12 percent voting, in 2013 city
council election only 11 percent voted. And "The Wall Street Journal"
reports early predictors of turned out voter registration absentee ballots
aren`t signaling that the election will bring out large numbers of new
voters, election officials said. What has the effort to get out the vote
been? And are you seeing it pay off today yet?

BYNES: I think there`s been a tremendous effort in get out the vote,
efforts because the message in Ferguson is not been a lack of voter
registration, it`s been a lack of participation. And for what I`ve seen
and the field plan that has been put in place, we are getting people to the
polls, they want to be at the polls. They`re taking right to the polls.
They want to engage in this election because they understand that this is
the opportunity to hire a new city manager, new police chief, really tackle
the municipal courts and they are tying that message directly to this
election. I believe the community is getting it.

SHARPTON: Now, there are three seats in the city council up today. One is
an open seat, with two African-American running against each other, so
clearly you`re going to have an African-American at minimum one would be
added and then other two seats, I think, you have African-American running
and another one. So there`s going to be more diversity in the city council
no matter what.

BYNES: Right.

SHARPTON: But they`re going to have to deal with some serious issues once
they are in place. As you say, overseeing the hiring of a new police
chief, city manager, municipal judge. They have decided the future of the
Police Department they consider whether it even should be disbanded.
They`ll oversee rebuilding parts of the city leveled in the disturbances.
And they`ll help a negotiated agreement with the DOJ over police court
reform. Do most of the candidates agree that serious change is needed in
Ferguson?

BYNES: I`ve been to all of the candidate forums, and I don`t think that
all of them think that there need to be the same degree of changes. So
they have been several forums for the candidates to be -- to speak on
record about how they think the direction of the city needs to move. And
to give specific information. And everybody is not in line and sync. So
there are some real differences between the candidates. And even in the
one word were there both to black candidates running, it`s not just a
question of electing someone who`s black, people are really getting an
opportunity to look at and look at them for what they`re saying, in their
messaging, and the way they wish they want to move forward.

SHARPTON: Do you think that it is going to be healthier? If you have a
more diversion council or will it be dependent upon what that diversity
brings in terms of what the candidates and the ultimate victors stand for
and represent on the council?

BYNES: I think it`s not just about diversity. There needs to be a
diversity of ideas that speak to the wants and issues of the people to fix
the problem? Just being black is not enough. We need people who are going
to tackle these issues. And sometimes there are people of all different
skin colors who can tackle the issues of equality. So that`s what we need
on there, a strong voices for change in order to move this around. And
there`s a very clear choices in these races, which I`m very happy about.
So now, it`s about at the people of Ferguson are going to step up and elect
what they want to represent them.

SHARPTON: Well, we`ve got a little under two hours left for people to go
to the polls. I see you have on your get out the vote gear.
Committeewoman Patricia Bynes, thank you for your time tonight.

We`ll be right back.

BYNES: Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re following breaking news right now. A South Carolina
police officers has been arrested on a murder charge. After video surfaced
appearing to show him shooting and killing a man, in the back, the victims`
attorney supplied it to the "New York Times." We want to warn you, this
video is graphic.

(VIDEO PLAYING)

SHARPTON: The video appears to show the North Charleston police officers
shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back. Patrolman First Class
Michael Slager said he feared for his life because the suspect stole his
stun gun. Today the North Charleston man said the officer`s bad decision
prompted his arrest.

Joining me now is legal analyst Paul Henderson. Thank you for being here.

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

SHARPTON: What`s your reaction, your initial reaction to the shooting from
a legal perspective?

HENDERSON: Well, from a legal perspective, I think it goes beyond just
making a bad mistake. Which you see in the video is the individual running
away with his back turned, so there is no zone of danger in spite of
whatever may have happened preceding those few moments, what we actually
see is this officer aiming and shooting at this individual and killing him.

And so I think prosecutors paid very close attention to that tape. And I
think it`s going to raise a couple issues, as we continue having this
national debate about how disenfranchised communities are affected when
they interact with law enforcement. And also it directly feeds into the
conversation that we`re having right now about how useful, and how helpful
it is to have these videotapes and people, individuals on the side watching
and recording what happens when individuals interact with law enforcement
around the country.

And we see in this case, we a charge of homicide, so I think it`s very
important that that`s what we`ll be discussing over the next few weeks as
this case unfolds.

SHARPTON: Now, at what we see what appears to be the man running away from
the officer, which clearly doesn`t line up with what we`re hearing
initially. We don`t know where we`re going with this, but that the officer
was threatened. It appeared the man was running away, but again what is
key and what many of us have been saying now, that needs to be video
cameras. This video is probably the thing that led to this officer`s
arrest.

HENDERSON: But for that video, we would be unable to discern if there were
inconsistencies from what the officer told his superiors and actually wrote
out in the incident report after this event, and what someone actually
recorded and saw. And so I`m sure that`s exactly the linchpin the
prosecutors were paying attention to when they were making the independent
evaluation as to whether or not this person could be charge and would be
charge with a crime.

SHARPTON: And again there will be an investigation and there will -- if in
fact he`s indicted and goes to trial, we`ll see where the evidence brings
us, but it is disturbing again we have seen another shooting and another
video that raises serious questions about police and the use of deadly
force.

HENDERSON: We are. I think it`s somewhat encouraging that we are seeing a
similar standard of review, so that we don`t see law enforcement in this
case being held at a separate standard or not being held accountable when
they`re engaged in behavior that rises to the level of criminal conduct,
particularly when it involves African-American men like we see in this
videotape. It`s very disturbing, but I`m encouraged that that review is
taking place. And it shows at least at one level and in one instance where
the process is working, and we have a level of accountability that we can
look for in the upcoming weeks as we watch this trial.

SHARPTON: We`ll certain be watching this, we`ll have more on this tomorrow
night, and as things develop. But we are certainly going to be watching
this, and this tape at best is very disturbing.

HENDERSON: Yes.

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

HENDERSON: Sure.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Rev.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Earlier today, President Obama held his annual Easter prayer
breakfast. I was honored to be in attendance at the White House for it.
During his speech, the President suddenly touched on raging debate over
Indiana`s so-called religious freedom law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I have to say that sometimes when I
listen to less than loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned. But
that`s a topic for another day.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

Where there is injustice -- I was about to veer off. I`m pulling it back.
Where there is injustice, we defend the oppress. Where there is
disagreement, we treat each other with compassion and respect. Where there
are differences, we find strength in our common humanity, knowing that we
are all children of God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Well said, Mr. President.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight,
political strategist Angela Rye. Hiram College Political Science Professor
Jason Johnson, and the "Boston Globe`s" Shira Center. Thank you all for
being here.

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

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thank you, Rev.

SHIRA CENTER, BOSTON GLOBE: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: We go back to Rand Paul launching his presidential campaign
today. He also launched some strange items in his president store like a
Rand Paul for President Cornhole game. How about some "Stand with Rand"
flip-flops? Maybe you need a Rand NSA spy-cam blocker, only $15, or set of
Rand Paul beer koozies. Get this, a "don`t drone me bro," t-shirt and
perhaps a Rand Paul skin for your beats by Dr. Dre headphones.

Angela, are you buying what Rand Paul is selling?

RYE: I`m not buying anything from this store or any of the words coming
out of his mouth, Rev. This is not a candidate for me, or I think for most
of Americans once they get past this 30,000 foot level. Right now, he has
managed to unite libertarians, tea party members and black people all in
the same opening address, and this is some of the talking points, Rev, are
things that you easily could say and/or write. So, I think it`s only a
matter of time before "don`t drone me bro" and his flip-flops and
everything else, start to not being able to pass the smell test.

SHARPTON: Well, Jason, can he sell the stuff in history as well as the
things on his platform that he laid out today?

JOHNSON: Yes, definitely. I mean, look, remember, this is a guy who after
the SNL sketch started the whole trending hashtag of D.J. Rand Paul. So, I
mean, you know, he knows what he`s doing. Beats by Dre are very good, are
actually good headphones. I think Rand Paul did a very good job in his
announcement today. He had a whole slew of multicultural and diverse
people talking about how fantastic he was. He took hits of the Republican
Party. He took hits of the Democratic Party. He `trying to say that not
only can I win this nomination, but I can win a general election. I think
he did a good job. Much better than Ted Cruz last week with his captive
audience of college kids.

SHARPTON: But how does he carve out and then expand his voting base,
Shira? The cosmetics of an announcement is one thing. And to show
diversity is another thing. But how does that diversity translate into a
diverse support base at the polls? Or in the caucuses?

CENTER: It`s going to be very difficult, Rev, especially in the republican
primary. Because the field is just so large and unwieldy. Right. You
look at the first few states, you got Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina,
Rand Paul cannot count on all of his father`s supporters, first of all,
because his father had a very unique and dedicated group of supporters.
Secondly he`s just not going to be able -- he`s just going to have a
totally different competition compared to his father. So, it will be much
more difficult for him to create this same momentum his father had over the
first few primary states.

SHARPTON: Angela, you`re a political strategist, give me, if you were
consulting or counseling him, and I know that`s hard for you to get there,
but -- let`s just stretch for a minute.

RYE: Okay.

SHARPTON: Get me the road map you would give him to get the nomination?

RYE: I would tell him to find some other bipartisan measures he could work
on in the Senate, the same thing that President Obama did.

SHARPTON: But would that help him with the GOP and conservative states as
Shira said that come first like Iowa and South Carolina?

RYE: I think Iowa is a little bit different, as history dictated. So, I
think it would help in Iowa. I think that when it comes to being a middle
of the road candidate for the conservative base, he`s going to have a hard
time. I don`t know what I could tell him to win him over, especially given
the fact that he`s done things like worry with Corey Booker on criminal
justice reform. I don`t know that many of them in the Senate have bought
into the Koch Brothers plan that they put forth with the center for
American progress. So, I think he has a tougher road with the regular
conservative base. I really do.

SHARPTON: Jason, let me bring this to you. President Obama has some
advice for Scott Walker -- study up. In a new interview with NPR, the
President was asked about the Wisconsin governor`s recent comments that he
would rescind any Iran deal on day one of his presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: It would be a foolish approach to take and, you know, perhaps Mr.
Walker, after he`s taken some time to bone up on foreign policy, will feel
the same way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The President telling Governor Walker to bone up. Walker
responded today criticizing the President`s foreign policy. But this isn`t
the first time that President Obama has called out Walker. Just last month
he slammed Walker for signing an anti-union right to work bill in his
state. Jason, what kind of signal is President Obama sending by singling
out Walker?

JOHNSON: You don`t trash talk on somebody who doesn`t have game, okay?
Scott Walker, I have said this from the beginning. Scott Walker is the
Republican Party`s best chance of winning the White House in 2016. And if
you look back on it, the sitting presidents always know what it takes to
actually get the job done. They can see it in another candidate`s eyes.
George Bush spent more time criticizing Barack Obama, the senator than he
ever did criticizing Hillary Clinton, the senator when they were running in
2008. So, he signaling that, this is the candidate that the democrats
really have to watch out for and he`s trying to paint him in a way now that
it will make it difficult for him to compete against Hillary.

SHARPTON: Now, Shira, do you feel that the president by -- in many ways
raising Scott Walker up, will that rally republicans around Walker? Will
it in many ways help Walker become the single anti-Obama candidate in the
field, since he seems to have the President zeroing in on him?

CENTER: I`m going to bet no one was happier to hear the President
criticize Scott Walker than Scott Walker`s campaign staff. I mean, for
them that`s great, that means the President sees him as a viable
challenger. Could see him on the top of the field. It sets up a
confrontation that Scott Walker would love to have directly with the
party`s current opposition. So I think it does say something about Scott
Walker standing in the field. I wouldn`t call him the front-runner, and
probably just call him in the top tier of candidates.

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at the whole top tier and secondary tier that
is in the republican side of this, Angela, isn`t the problem to Walker, Jeb
Bush, isn`t the problem for Rand Paul, Ted Cruz? Didn`t they have to fight
for different parts of the party before they can go for the expanded base
with enough of a big base to win?

RYE: I think they absolute do and you also have folks like Ted Cruz and
Ran Paul that just have to generate a track record of doing something
besides filibustering, besides talking, what is your record show, what have
you actually accomplished? So, you also have that type of questioning.
Anybody can come on air or get deliver a speech and give excellent talking
points, but what can you deliver for the American people. What Scott
Walker has demonstrated is that he would be anti-union, and that he doesn`t
have any foreign policy substance. The President by saying he needed to
bone up on his foreign policy actually points attention to the fact that
this is the same guy that said that Ronald Reagan`s biggest foreign policy
accomplishment was undoing the air traffic controllers union, so everybody
else is going to start studying what else he said. So, again, people will
start to look at these records, whether they can stand on substance or
they`re just full of hot air.

SHARPTON: Jason, Mitt Romney isn`t just the one percent, he`s the top 0.1
percent on college basketball brackets. Romney picked Duke to win it all
last night, and the Blue Devils beat the Wisconsin badgers to win the
championship, but Romney had near-perfect picks. His bracket ranked better
than 99.9 percent of the 11.5 million others filled out on the ESPN.com.
And last night he tweeted -- should I have put that $10,000 on my bracket?
Congrats Coach K and Duke U. That of course is in reference to the bet
Romney challenged Rick Perry during the 2012 republican presidential
debate. Jason, pretty funny joke from Mitt. Can you buy Romney as a
basketball analyst?

JOHNSON: I can. I can, I remember when -- he`s not a good sports guy. I
remember when he was talking about NASCAR and he said, all I know about
NASCAR is a couple of my friends owns NASCAR teams. I mean, he`s never
been able to connect with regular people, but I`ll tell you this, this is
the kind of self-deprecating humor, he should have been able to show when
he was running for president. I think this is great.

SHARPTON: Yes. Where was it, Shira, I mean, we are seeing a lighter
Romney on Jimmy Fallon, and now with this tweet than we ever saw during the
campaign.

CENTER: I think it`s very possibility that Mitt Romney enjoys being a
former candidate a whole lot more than he enjoys being a candidate. And
that`s really showing through even in sort of humorless formats like
Twitter, and certainly when he`s on late night talk shows. And the thing
is he can be self-deprecating. I`m sure staffer saw that throughout the
race. But the public never saw -- never really saw that side of him under
the documentary "Mitt" came out seven months after he lost.

SHARPTON: Well, some Americans enjoy him better as a former candidate.
Angela, Jason and Shira, thank you for your time tonight. We`ll be right
back.

JOHNSON: Thanks, Rev.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We are following breaking news right now. The Charleston County
sheriff`s office just posted this mug shot of the North Charleston police
officer arrested for murder. The charged comes after videos surfaced,
appearing to show him shooting and killing a man in the back. The victim`s
attorney supplied it to the "New York Times."

(Gunshots)

The video appears to show the North Charleston police officers shooting 50-
year-old Walter Scott in the back. Patrolman first class Michael Slager
said he feared for his life because the suspect stole his stun gun. Today
the North Charleston mayor said, the officer`s bad decision prompted his
arrest. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If America stands for anything, it stands for the idea of
opportunity for everybody. The notion that no matter who you are or where
you came from or the circumstances into which you are born, if you work
hard, if you take responsibility, then you can make it in this country.
That -- that`s the core idea.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama just over a year ago announcing his "My
Brother`s Keeper" initiative. His goal is to help young men and boys of
color through community involvement, mentorships and education, part of the
President`s plan is a challenge to cities, a challenge Philadelphia is
meeting head-on. The city of brotherly love has been at the forefront of
the program, doing everything from making investments in grade-level
reading, strategy, to helping young men out of school find jobs. To even
hosting a My Brother`s Keeper hackathon last fall, an event where young
people can pitch ideas for mobile apps. A driving force behind these
efforts has been Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Just last week, he
released a city`s My Brother`s Keeper action report and spoke about the
philosophy behind the program.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER (D), PHILADELPHIA: Am I my brother`s keeper? The
answer, of course, should be yes, I am my brother`s keeper.

My Brother`s Keeper is based on the belief that we as a community have a
shared responsibility to not only talk about these issues, regardless of
how difficult they are, but ultimately that we work together to find
solutions that help ensure that every person has an equal chance to
succeed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now to talk about those solutions is Philadelphia
Mayor Michael Nutter, who I`m excited to see at the National Network
Convention this week. Thank you for being here tonight, Mayor Nutter.

NUTTER: Reverend, thank you very much. Thanks for the opportunity to be
with you tonight, and certainly tomorrow.

SHARPTON: Now, Mayor Nutter, what are some of the biggest challenges
facing young men and boys of color in Philadelphia?

NUTTER: Well, Reverend Al, as you certainly well know, whether it`s
Philadelphia, in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, you know, probably Los
Angeles, many many other cities across the country, issues related to their
safety, the safety of young men, unions men and boys of color, educational
opportunities, disparities in health care, issues of reading and literacy,
jobs, in some instances reentry issues, and the ability to go on to higher
education. And so these issues certainly affect Philadelphia, but many
other cities across the country, but President Obama`s vision and focus on
this My Brother`s Keeper Initiative, the My Brother`s Keeper challenge to
mayors and cities all the across the country, other elected officials, we
took up that challenge here in Philadelphia.

The six key milestones that young people are ready to learn when they go to
school, that they`re reading at grade level by third grade, that they are
graduating from high school. Fourth going on to higher education. A
fifth, that they can get a job. And sixth and most importantly, that they
are safe from violence in their communities. This is not rocket science,
it`s not even science. It`s just common sense. These are things that all
young people should have, but a particular challenge for young men and boys
of color.

SHARPTON: What is impressive is that we hear a lot about the problems and
about the crisis, and certainly no one tries to bring more light to them
than I do, but we`ve got to bring light to the solutions --

NUTTER: No question.

SHARPTON: -- and what works. And an example of that is what you are doing
in Philadelphia. What has been the biggest success of My Brother`s Keeper
in Philadelphia, in programs in this first year?

NUTTER: Well, I think the first and foremost, we literally just released
our My Brother`s Keeper action plan for Philadelphia, but we`ve been doing
much of the work, even leading up to putting the actual report together.
So investing in areas of public safety, investigating in our -- educating
our children here at the local level, putting more funding into those
programs. It`s about mentorship, and getting more and more caring adults,
men and women. But a particular focus on men to be mentors of four young
people through our black male engagement and the mayor`s commissioner on
African-American males here in the city of Philadelphia.

These kinds of effort -- we have to literally wrap our arms around these
young people, and let them know not only do we care about them, but we have
opportunity right in front of them, and they can make different decisions
about their life choices. It`s about the Police Department, not just from
a law enforcement standpoint but community policing, engaged officers
walking a beat, getting to know the young people, establishing a level of
respect and rapport, talking with them about the issues and challenges they
face, but also helping to point them in the right direction, through our
PAL program, Police Athletic League. Those kinds of engagements, we`re
finding success on the ground. But it is again the leadership and
inspiration by President Obama for this particular initiative.

SHARPTON: Mayor Michael Nutter, thank you very much for your time tonight.

NUTTER: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: And again, we`re sited to see you at this National Action
Network National Convention week here in New York.

NUTTER: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Before we go back to the breaking news tonight, this North
Charleston, South Carolina police officer is in jail right now on a murder
charge. The arrest comes after video surfaced appearing to show patrolman
First Class Michael Slager shooting a 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back
eight times. Scott was killed. Slager said he feared for his life,
because the suspect took his stun gun. Now, there will be an
investigation, and if indicted, the officer will stand trial, but what we
already know is that we have incidents all over the country, which is why
we need to deal with police reform, and why we need to deal with issues
like videos and cameras on police. Had this video not surfaced, we would
be debating whether anything happened at all that lead to this man`s death.

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

END

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BE UPDATED.
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