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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: May 6, 2015
Guest: Jamal Simmons, Jimmy Williams, Jonathan Capehart, Joel Berg, Joe
Sullivan; Jordan Schultz; Catherine Pugh; Paul Henderson

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

We start with Baltimore`s mayor, calling on the justice department to
launch a civil rights investigation into the city`s police department. She
wants the attorney general to look for patterns of abuse or discrimination.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, BALTIMORE: We all know that Baltimore
continues to have a fractured relationship between the police and the
community. We have to get it right. Failure is not an option. We cannot
be timid in addressing this problem. And I`m a mayor that does not shy
away from our city`s big challenges.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The mayor today saying she brought up the issue of civil rights
investigation during her private meeting with attorney general Loretta
Lynch yesterday. And today, the justice department confirmed, quote, "the
attorney general is actively considering that option."

The focus in Baltimore now on reassessing and rebuilding. Moments ago, top
Obama administration officials spoke in Baltimore, announcing job training
investments, part of the White House push to target root causes of the
unrest.

Today CVS unveiled plans to reopen the pharmacy that was looted and burned.
And music legend Prince announced he`ll headline a rally for peace concert
this weekend in the city of Baltimore.

This national crisis is an opportunity to make things better for everyone.
And the Baltimore mayor talked about that today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: While the past few days have been some of our darkest, the
city has ever seen, we`ve also seen a resilience that sets Baltimore apart
in times of crisis. We will meet that resilience as we move forward to
continue reforming this police department.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now, Maryland state senator Catherine Pugh, who
represents West Baltimore. She also co-chairs a new panel of lawmakers
reviewing police practices in the state. And veteran prosecutor Paul
Henderson.

PAUL HENDERSON, LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Senator, let me go to you first. How important would it be for
the justice department to investigate the Baltimore police department?

STATE SEN. CATHERIN PUGH, WEST BALTIMORE: Well, I think it is important,
because as you well know, what is happening in Baltimore is systemic to
what is happening around the nation. And I think that it will allow us to
continue to move forward. But at the same time, uncover some of the
practices that are going forward in many of our police departments.
Because I believe that Baltimore will serve as a model in terms of how we
reform police departments and bring about criminal justice reform that is
need, not just in Baltimore, but Philadelphia, New York, you name it,
across the country.

SHARPTON: Now, the new panel that you`re co-chairing, tell me what you`ll
be looking at.

PUGH: Well, there are a number of things. There were some bills that
didn`t get passed this past session. And one of the things I asked for,
Reverend Sharpton, was that the panel be broad enough and inclusive enough
so that everybody in the state gets it, the issues that we`re facing. So
we`ll be looking at whether you know, what kind of things should be done in
terms of reforming the police department. I`ve asked for an ongoing effort
to provide psychological evaluations for police officers who serve on a job
over a period of time. Because I believe that in some cases, people lose
the sensitivity that`s needed in order to function in our communities.

Cultural diversity training is obviously needed in our police departments.
We`re also looking at, you know, body camera laws. Unfortunate for
Baltimore has moved forward because the mayor did put in a body camera
program for the city of Baltimore and actually added an amendment to the
body camera law for the state of Maryland so that Baltimore can continue to
move forward.

There is a whole host of issues that we`ll look at as it relates to
reforming the criminal justice system and making polices in our community
fair for all. Because as we all pay taxes, we pay taxes for police
officers to protect and serve our communities and not for these kinds of
incidents to continue to occur.

SHARPTON: Here is what "The New York Times" writes about a possible
justice department investigation, Paul, into the Baltimore police
department. It says, quote, "the department has wide discretion in whether
to conduct such an investigation, how broad to make it, and what kinds of
remedies to seek."

Tell me about the scale of the impact that a justice department
investigation could have, Paul.

HENDERSON: Well, complete and total. And so we already know that the
justice department is investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding
Freddie Gray`s death. And what the call now is for them to investigate the
entire department. So they`ll be looking for pattern and practice of
behavior. And if the government chooses to at a federal level, they can
essentially take over that entire department, control a lot of the funding
that goes and how cops are paid, how cops are hired, and then mandate how
they actually execute their job in terms of their training, how they appear
on the street, and have accountability with an independent oversight agency
watching and monitoring them. And so, it`s an open door. And all options
are on the table.

SHARPTON: It could be concrete. It`s not just to try to get past a
crisis.

HENDERSON: Absolutely. And it`s long-standing. It`s not a short-term
thing typically either when something like this happens.

SHARPTON: Senator Pugh, let`s talk about the police department in
Baltimore.

Since 2011, it`s paid out $5.7 million in 102 civil suits alleging police
brutality. And since 2012, five people have died while in police custody.
Does this speak to the need for justice department investigation? And for
your new committee to look at things?

PUGH: I think it`s quite obvious. I mean, just think what we could do
with that kind of money into our communities and our neighborhoods,
especially in a neighborhood as you well know that is very depressed. And
I inherited much of this community through the redistricting. But if you
walk out into those neighborhoods and you look at those communities, they
look like the 1960s. Many of them look like war zones.

And so, I think this is really important in terms of the oversight, looking
at how we move forward. I think that if we look at reforms that need to
take place in our communities that we will see that it`s not just the
police reforms that are needed, it`s the sharing of wealth, the economic
inequities that exist in our communities, the disparity of wealth that
exists in our neighborhoods.

So I think this investigation, this civil investigation is very important.
And was already said, this really shines a light on policing, and police
activities. And I think will encourage police departments, not just in
Baltimore, but around the country, you know, who don`t want to come under
this kind of civil oversight to look at how they -- how they make their
police departments better and more excessive and communicative to the
neighborhood.

HENDERSON: And accountable.

PUGH: And accountable, absolutely.

SHARPTON: Paul, let me tell you something that caught my interest this
afternoon. Former president Bill Clinton said his 1994 crime bill cast too
wide a net.

PUGH: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: It put too many people in jail. And he would support calls by
his wife to change it. Listen to this, Paul.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We wound up spend it
putting so many people in prison that there wasn`t enough money left to
educate them, train them for new jobs, and I strongly support what she is
doing. And I think any policy that was adopted when I was president in
federal law that contributed to it should be changed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, in full disclosure, I was one of those that raised
questions and protested his crime bill. So I give him a lot of credit for
taking this position publicly. But does this show the kind of political
shift we`re seeing when it comes to policing, Paul?

HENDERSON: I think it absolutely does. And in all of these cases, I think
it`s very wise now as a political movement to recognize that we have to
look at the mass incarceration process that we faced in the past and figure
out how to address the disenfranchised communities that are constantly
being underserved or over served by the justice system. There has to be an
equity.

And I think his comments speak to that in understanding and hindsight that
mistakes that have been made overall with the justice system that has
created this problem that we`re seeing flaring up in different parts of the
country. But again and again and again, it`s the same story that we`re
seeing played out over and over where we need an intervention to address
the need to have disenfranchised communities have parity in the justice
system. And it`s being played out on the ground with the police
departments obviously in Baltimore and clearly from his statements he wants
that to take place throughout the rest of the nation.

SHARPTON: It suddenly has impacted Baltimore.

HENDERSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: Mass incarceration.

PUGH: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: A lot of these things. How do you react to President Clinton`s
statement today?

PUGH: Well, I think it was a great statement to make. Because as you well
know, in this country, two million people incarcerated at a cost of $30,000
to $80,000 a year.

HENDERSON: $48,000.

PUGH: Education, where we are talking about spending less than $15,000,
$10,000 in some communities. Imagine again what we could do with that
money.

But the thing that is really sad about all of this, the number of people
who have been incarcerated, who now have records for small minimum crimes
or issues that they`ve been confronted with. And you know, what about all
those people who need to expunge their records, who don`t even understand
the process that they have to go through. And I can tell you, personally
having dealt with the young man who ended up having to go -- went to the
hospital because people thought that he had been shot. But what we found
out later is he had not been shot, but he had some issues of his own. But
at the same time, when I asked the young man, I said how old are you? He
says 23. I said do you have your high school diploma? No. Do you have
your GED? No, he doesn`t.

A frightened young man, misguided, not given the opportunities that need to
be given. And at the same time, has been in contact with the law before.
And that`s so many young people in this country who come in contact with
the criminal justice system. And so, you know, it concerns me that we did
this mass incarceration. So what do we do to turn the lives around of
those individuals who have gone through that.

SHARPTON: Paul, I want to ask you about a legal development.

HENDERSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: One of the officers charged in Gray`s death, Edward Nero, is
disputing the claim that the arrest was wrongful. He says the knife
Freddie Gray was carrying was illegal. And you can see in the charging
documents police described it as a spring-assisted one-hand operated knife.
Can you shed light on this issue?

HENDERSON: Absolutely. What they`re talking about is -- and it`s going to
be very esoteric and down in the weed evaluating whether or not the actual
knife was a spring blade knife. Now, one of the things that is very
interesting about Maryland, is that it`s an open carry weapon state for
knives. So if he was just carrying that knife, it`s not illegal at all.
The issue is going to turn on if he was concealing the knife and if he was
concealing a knife that was -- had a spring blade reaction when you open
it. That may have been illegal. But the question that you have to ask is
beyond the detention, when they knew that he had the knife and how they
knew it. Because even if they had a right to detain him, I don`t know that
they had a right to search him to find a knife if the knife was concealed.
And even when you do all of that analysis, it`s only going to take out two
of the charges. Because at the end of the day, this is in the weeds. And
the bigger picture is because of whatever happened with interaction with
Freddie Gray, he ended up dead because of the actions of the people that
have been charged. And that`s the real issue.

SHARPTON: That`s the real issue.

HENDERSON: So I think the knife is a side issue, and it gets an
interesting legal discussion. But I think it`s esoteric outside of the
bigger picture that I think the justice department has focused on, that the
mayor`s office has focused on and the prosecutors there are going to be
focused on. But all of that will come to light and all of it will be
argued when they have the preliminary hearing and the detention hearing for
the officers.

SHARPTON: State senator Catherine Pugh and Paul Henderson, thank you both
for your time tonight.

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

PUGH: Thank you, Al. Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Breaking news ahead, a bombshell Deflategate report from the
NFL. It claims Tom Brady was likely aware of deflating footballs, despite
what he told the press.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM BRADY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOT QUARTERBACK: I would never do anything
outside of the -- the rules of play. I would never, you know, have someone
do something that I thought was outside of the rules.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The big question, so what will the NFL commissioner do now?

Plus, how Hillary Clinton`s big push on immigration is putting Republicans
in a tight spot.

And why an old comment about poverty, quote, "poverty pimps," is coming
back to hunt Scott Walker. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Two weeks ago President Obama welcomed the super bowl champion
New England Patriots to the White House, and he joked with the players
about the Deflategate questions hanging over their victory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I usually tell a bunch of
jokes at these events. But with Patriots in town, I was worried that 11
out of 12 of them would fall flat.

All right, all right, all right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Quarterback Tom Brady was missing from that celebration, and he
is definitely not laughing at the explosive report released today. More on
the Deflategate findings next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight with a bombshell. NFL report on the
Deflategate scandal. And it`s not good news for super bowl MVP Tom Brady.
The report saying, quote, "it is also is our view that it is more possible
than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate
activities." And it says two team employees likely took part in a
deliberate effort to release air from game balls.

At a news conference right before the super bowl, Brady flat-out denied
knowing anything about deflated balls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRADY: I didn`t alter the ball in any way. I feel like I`ve always played
within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules. I have no
knowledge of anything. I have no knowledge of any wrongdoing --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Nobody did anything wrong?

BRADY: Yes. I`m very comfortable saying it. I`m comfortable saying
nobody did it, as far as I know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Head coach Bill Belichick and Patriots ownership were found to
have no knowledge of any wrongdoing. And today Commissioner Roger Goodell
says he`ll vigorously work to protect integrity of the game and promote
fair play. But what will that look like? And what will this means for Tom
Brady?

Joining me now from Boston is Joe Sullivan, sports editor of "the Boston
Globe" and " Huffington post" sports columnist Jordan Schultz.

Joe, what do you think this report means, and what is the reaction like in
Boston?

JOE SULLIVAN, SPORTS EDITOR, THE BOSTON GLOBE: Well, I think everyone is
shocked, Al. I think that people did not expect Tom Brady to share in the
blame when the findings came down. So it really -- I think everyone is in
a little bit of shock. I think Patriot fans being the loyalists that they
are look at this as a lot of circumstantial evidence and that it doesn`t
really draw a direct line to Tom Brady. But I think anyone who reads the
report, even part of it, can see that he is most likely involved in the
deflation of balls.

SHARPTON: So they`re saying that it doesn`t directly say it, but it
directly says it without directly saying it. I mean, they didn`t have to
name him at all.

SULLIVAN: Yes. Look, there is a lot of lawyer talk that more probable
than not, that it doesn`t come out and say that Tom Brady was involved. So
I mean, that`s an out for, as I said, Patriot loyalists. I think most
people if they`re objective and read the report, it`s pretty hard to
believe he was not involved.

SHARPTON: Jordan, Roger Goodell has made -- he really has a decision to
make, really. What kind of punishment do you think we`re looking at here?

JORDAN SCHULTZ, SPORTS COLUMNIST, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well you go back to
Spygate. You`re talking about a quarter million, half million fines that
have been put down on the Patriots before. I think you`re going have
something similar here. It is worth mentioning, Al, that you`re talk about
an owner in Robert Kraft and a commissioner in Roger Goodell who
notoriously have a very close relationship. And I think that kind of
bothered people throughout this process. Was he giving Robert Kraft maybe
a little special treatment? Were the Patriots getting special treatment?
So I think it`s going to be a big fine, a substantial fine. But I don`t
think you`re going to see any type of suspension moving forward. I would
be very surprised.

SHARPTON: Now, Joe, let me go back to you on Brady. Because the report
says, quote, "Brady`s refusal to provide us with his own email, text
messages, and phone records limited the evidence available for our review
and analysis. It doesn`t look like Brady cooperated, Joe.

SULLIVAN: Well, he certainly didn`t in that area, you`re absolutely right.
He answered their question, but he wasn`t going to give up his cell phone
or let them look at his email. So I guess that`s cooperating somewhat, but
not completely.

SHARPTON: Go ahead.

J. SCHULTZ: I will say this. What you were talking about before is that
Goodell has delegated the disciplinary action of this to Troy Vincent. He
is not going to make the decision.

SULLIVAN: Yes, Troy Vincent, a former player. Maybe he can, you know,
help with this more. But there is a loft factors here going on. And
they`re calling this guy the deflator. That was really his nickname, one
of the staffers that was deflating the balls. Tom Brady saying hey, I
don`t like the way the balls are inflated on this particular game. It goes
back not just this season, but before. Because of the play-offs and super
bowl, it`s amplified. A loft strange things starting to come out that
maybe even Patriot fans were surprised about.

SHARPTON: Well, Patriots owner Bob Kraft says, quote, "to say we`re
disappointed in its findings which do not include any inconvertible or hard
evidence would be a gross understatement. The time, effort, and resources
expended to reach this conclusion are incomprehensible to me." He says no
hard evidence. Is that a problem with this report, Jordan?

J. SCHULTZ: That`s why I don`t think you`re going see a suspension. And I
think Robert Kraft, you know, he obviously has one point of view that is
very specific. He doesn`t feel like his guy has done anything wrong. They
won the super bowl fair and square. That`s fine. But the report clearly
states there are some serious things going on here. But there is that lack
of hard evidence I think. And that`s why I said earlier, Al, I don`t think
you`re going see a suspension moving forward as a result.

SHARPTON: All right, Joe, take it out of the legal context for a minute.
Is this a real PR problem for the Patriots, or for that matter for the
league?

SULLIVAN: It is. I think it`s a PR problem for the Patriots, it is not
the league. I think -- look I don`t think these deflated footballs really
affect results of games. I think they went on the win the super bowl with
obviously footballs that were inflated correctly. But it is breaking the
rules. And so I think they will be punished for it. It looks bad for the
Patriots with this on top of Spygate that they`re an organization, a team,
a coach and now a quarterback who will really pushed the boundaries of the
rules.

SHARPTON: Well, Jordan, in January, a reporter asked Brady straight out,
what should happen to the person responsible. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: It`s important for you and the legacy of
this team someone is held accountable.

BRADY: Well, that`s for, you know, I`m not the one that imposes, you know,
those type of, you know, accountability. It`s, you know, discipline, all
that, that`s not really my job. So, you know, obviously, I`d like to know
what happened, as you all would too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: How will this discipline process play out, Jordan?

J. SCHULTZ: Well, I think the wells report, it`s over 240 pages. I mean,
there is a lot of stuff in there that we need to go through. But I think
as time goes on, the negative perception of the Patriots will be minimized
because of the fact that there is not that necessarily hard evidence that
we as fans really want. That to me is a big deal here, Al.

SHARPTON: Joe Sullivan, Jordan Schultz, thank you both for your time
tonight.

SULLIVAN: You`re welcome.

SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight, a tornado emergency in Oklahoma. Severe
weather warnings affecting millions across the region. We`ll have the
latest.

Also, Hillary Clinton`s big move to the left on immigration could give
Republicans a real headache. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news. Severe weather in the Midwest tonight with a
tornado emergency near Oklahoma City. This afternoon at least three
confirmed tornadoes touching down in Kansas and Oklahoma. There are
reports of minor injuries. Dangerous storms throughout parts of Kansas,
Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Texas are reducing large hail and strong winds with
reports of some damaged homes in the region. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Hillary Clinton is making a bold move to the Left, and doing it
early. She is coming out big on immigration reform, vowing to go beyond
the anti-deportation policies put in place by President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will fight to stop
partisan attacks on the executive actions that would put dreamers,
including those with us today at risk of deportation. And if Congress
continues to refuse to act, as president, I would do everything possible
under the law to go even further. There are more people, like many parents
of dreamers and others with deep ties and contributions to our communities
who deserve a chance to stay, and I will fight for them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Today the right is hitting back. Governor Scott Walker
personally tweeted today, quote, "Hillary Clinton`s full embrace of amnesty
is unfair to hardworking Americans and immigrants who followed the law to
achieve these rights." And Mike Huckabee saying, quote, "Hillary has
started her presidential campaign with an open plea to win Obama`s third
term." But Latinos are a vital demographic for any 2016 hopeful. And Jeb
Bush knows it. In a new Spanish language video, he highlights his close
ties to the Latino community.

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

SHARPTON: But since George W. Bush, the GOP is seeing declines in the
Latino vote, from 40 percent steadily declining to 27 percent. And the GOP
has to deal with that very early move to the left from Hillary Clinton.
Let me bring in democratic strategist Jamal Simmons and executive editor of
Blue Nation Review Jimmy Williams. Thank you both for being here.

JIMMY WILLIAMS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good evening.

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: Hillary is going hard to the Left on immigration reform early.
How much of this is to box republicans in, and how much of this is about
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? Jimmy?

WILLIAMS: I don`t know that it has anything to do with Elizabeth Warren or
Bernie Sanders, both sitting United States senators. I think this has
everything to do with the evolution of Hillary Clinton. Listen, on every
single social issue, she has done something remarkable. She has moved with
the country. Not ahead of the country, but with the country. She is with
us on the issue of marriage equality, civil rights, choice. She is with us
on immigration reform. The country is dead left on those issues, and she
is right there.

What she said without actually saying it is the following. That under the
republican Congress, they want Latinos in this country to be separate but
equal. It`s a pleasant mind-set if you will. They have no legislation.

SHARPTON: Right.

WILLIAMS: They have passed nothing. So if they don`t have legislation,
all they have are just talking points, then they have to do something
besides separate but equal, and they aren`t doing that. She is saying
separate but equal or second class citizenship is not okay if she is
president, and we accept and embrace it.

SHARPTON: You know, Jamal, Hillary Clinton is not just highlighting her
progressive policies, she is also using this as an opportunity to call out
her opponents. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Make no mistake, today not a single republican candidate
announced or potential is clearly and consistently supporting a path to
citizenship. Not one. When they talk about legal status, that is code for
second class status.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She obviously sees this as a chance to hurt the GOP`s Latino
outreach, Jamal. Will it work?

SIMMONS: Oh, absolutely. Here is the thing, Rev. It`s not just Latinos
and what we saw in your -- the numbers you showed earlier is George Bush
was the last republican to get close to 40 percent of the Latino vote. And
you know what? He won. So, as you lose, further away from 40 percent, 37,
32, 29, you`re going lose. And it`s not just Latinos that you lose with.
You lose with young white Americans, millennial generation because there is
nothing else that seems to bind together many of these voters is they have
an intolerance for intolerance. They want to see LGBT marriage equality.
They want to see African-Americans treated well on the streets of Baltimore
and Washington, D.C. and all these cities. You see interracial coalitions
marching up and down these streets. So Hillary Clinton knows that. Not
only does she appeals to Latinos taking this position, she also appeals to
younger voters who are going to need to be excited to get her elected.

SHARPTON: Jimmy, you know, immigration reform is an interesting one for
Jeb Bush. A new poll out today is showing Jeb Bush trailing six other
republicans. He comes in seventh among republican presidential hopefuls.
Winning just five percent support from likely GOP caucus goers. It`s still
early, but he is trailing Ben Carson. How might this play out for him?

WILLIAMS: Listen, this is the same --

SHARPTON: This is in Iowa.

WILLIAMS: This is in Iowa, the home of Steve King. Steve King is the guy
that said you had immigrants going across the border with -- what is it?
Calves the size of cantaloupes because they were running drugs. And so he
had that summit back a few months ago, and I called it the cantaloupe
conference because all the cray-cray right wingers came running for
president and bowed down to him. Now the problem here is that Jeb Bush did
not do that. And Jeb Bush has an essential base issue, which is if he does
not come out strong, and he is not going to, by the way, then he is going
to have a very hard time in Iowa. He will probably have a hard time in New
Hampshire. And I can tell you as a son of South Carolina, he will have one
heck of a time in South Carolina maintaining his current immigration
stance, if you will. Then let`s watch him move to the other southern
states which are right after that. It`s a death knell for him.

SHARPTON: So if he has problems in Iowa, New Hampshire and then South
Carolina, that`s the first three one caucus, two primaries.

WILLIAMS: That`s right.

SHARPTON: Is Jeb in trouble, Jamal?

SIMMONS: He is in trouble. As Jimmy is sort of alluding to, you got to
win somewhere.

WILLIAMS: That`s right.

SIMMONS: Anywhere.

WILLIAMS: Right.

SIMMONS: Right.

SHARPTON: But those are his choices.

SIMMONS: Right. You can be a great second and third place finisher, but
at some point you got to win to keep, you got to keep the money up, keep
the momentum up. And voters like to be with a winner. So, if they don`t
see you able to hold together the republican coalition, it`s a very hard
case to make to even moderate republicans that you can actually win a
general election if you can`t keep republican faithful on board.

SHARPTON: Now, there is a lot of talk about progressives pulling Hillary
to the Left. On "Morning Joe" this morning Jimmy, New York Mayor Bill de
Blasio refused to endorse Hillary Clinton for president. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, "MORNING JOE": Is Hillary one of those democrats
who is afraid to preach what progressives want her to practice?

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK: I`m optimistic about where she is going.
I think she is beginning to fashion a progressive agenda. I think a lot of
us understandably want to hear the core ideas around fighting income
inequality, because that`s what people are struggling with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: How will the left impact Clinton`s politics, Jimmy?

WILLIAMS: With all due respect to the mayor of New York who I like very
much and I know you are friends with, I disagree with them. It`s not that
Hillary Clinton is beginning to get a progressive agenda, I think she`s had
one. I just said that earlier. Secondly, more importantly, it`s not that
there are outside voices from the far left or even the far far left that
are pushing her this way, that`s where the country is. Progressives want
her. And by the way, so do independent women. You don`t win elections in
this country, period, no matter what, unless you can garner a majority of
the independent female vote. And she can do that.

By the way, Bernie Sanders cannot. Elizabeth Warren, who is not running
for president, cannot. And cannot win in a general election. So if that`s
the case, what Hillary Clinton is doing is being progressive. She is being
thoughtful. She`s talking about women`s issues and by the way, I might
want to remind Mayor de Blasio that he was in fact the chair of her last
campaign. So I don`t know why there is a turnaround this time.

SHARPTON: We`re out of time. But I would push on that. I mean, even Bill
Clinton said today that he made moves with the crime bill, welfare reform.
I would push you a little. And that`s not de Blasio, that`s me. But we`ll
do another.

WILLIAMS: We can agree to disagree.

SIMMONS: If I can get in here for a second, I think -- I`m going to push
back on Jimmy just a little bit. I don`t think it`s a bad idea for
democrats from different parts of the spectrum to push out what they --
what their agenda and push out what they want Hillary Clinton to talk
about. She is not going to have a very big candidate running against her.
So that means that some of the groups and some of the people who represent
different parts of the party are going to have to push. And here is why
it`s good for Hillary Clinton. Because at some point she is going to lay
out her agenda enough that people like Bill de Blasio are going to be happy
and feel like she has actually answered the questions. And when he comes
on board the Hillary Clinton campaign, that is going to matter. That`s
going to matter.

SHARPTON: We can have different opinions, but we can`t have different
facts. Jimmy Williams and Jamal Simmons, thank you for your time tonight.

SIMMONS: Thank you very much.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, a jaw-dropping poll about what millionaires think
about their economic status. You`ll want the see this one.

Also, a senator`s controversial comments about the Middle East. Why it was
much more than just a word.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Why is it so hard to talk about inequality in this country?
Maybe because most of the richest people don`t think they`re rich. A CNBC
survey of millionaires finds 44 percent of them consider themselves middle
class. Forty people percent said upper middle class. Just nine percent
described themselves as wealthy, rich, or upper class. So how do we have a
real conversation about leveling the playing field and get rid of divisive
rhetoric on the poor? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: On this vote, the ayes are 51, the nays are 48, the
conference report is agreed to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s the sound of republican senators showing their true
priorities. Voting last night to gut programs for seniors and the poor.
Over ten years their budget plan would cut more than $4 trillion from
benefits like Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps. And they`re not just
going after the safety net in Washington. They`re doing it on the campaign
trail too. In a new op-ed, Jeb Bush writes, quote, "Trouble is from the
war on poverty to the persistence of liberal big city mayors, the same
government programs have been in place for over half a century and they
have failed." But the facts showed that Jeb Bush is wrong. A new study
found that in 2012, the federal safety net lifted 48 million people out of
poverty, including 12 million children. Despite the facts, some on the
right pretend the safety net makes things worse. Just check out Scott
Walker in this 2008 clip from the Wisconsin eye TV station.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I think for too long, and I`ll say this
is a fairly aggressive term, but I think there are too many poverty pimps
in our society, too many government officials who rely on poverty as a way
of means of political control. Too many community-based organizations who
rely on their existence by perpetuating that cycle of dependency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Poverty pimps? Government workers trying to help the poor are
actually poverty pimps? Walker`s office said what he meant was that
citizens, not the government, know what`s best for them. But I think what
he said was pretty clear.

Joining me now is Jonathan Capehart of "The Washington Post" and Joel Berg,
executive director of New York City Coalition Against Hunger. Thanks for
being here to both of you.

JOEL BERG, NEW YORK CITY COALITION AGAINST HUNGER: Thank you.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: So Jonathan, poverty pimps? I mean, how does that fit into the
kind of rhetoric we`ve heard from the right over the years?

CAPEHART: It fits neatly into the rhetoric that we`ve heard from the right
over the years, going all the way back to President Reagan when he talked
about, quote, "welfare queens." Or the last presidential campaign when
Newt Gingrich called President Obama -- what did he call him, the food
stamp president. Mitt Romney talking about how the President was
guaranteeing people, quote, "free stuff." This idea that the government
and that sort of unworthy people are taking from us and giving it to them
is something that the Republican Party has been dealing in for a very long
time.

SHARPTON: Yes. Joel, voting to cut the safety net, saying the war on
poverty`s failed. What would happen to the people that you work with if
these conservatives got what they wanted?

BERG: Tens of millions of Americans would be devastated. And make no
mistake about it. I know it won`t shock you or Jonathan to say some of
this rhetoric is racially based. When Jeb Bush talks about inner cities,
he is playing a pretty strong dog whistle. We know that vast pockets of
white Appalachia are among the poorest counties in the United States. Out
of the 20 states that have the highest rates of food stamps snap
participation in the country, 16 voted for Mitt Romney. So they`re playing
an old political game with some horrible background to it when they`re
ignoring the facts that these cuts are going to hurt real working families,
children, seniors and veterans.

SHARPTON: And it`s going to hurt people of all races, Jonathan. There may
be a racial element, but the economic reality is it hurts Whites, Blacks,
Latinos, Asians, everybody in the country.

CAPEHART: Right. And the one thing that we have learned since -- well,
during the 2012 campaign and certainly since then is that income
inequality, how the middle class is being squeezed, how folks in the
working class can`t climb up, and those who are the working poor are mired
there with no means of climbing up, which has always been the American
dream, to move from one class to another, everybody is concerned about
that. Everyone White or Black, Latino, everyone in this country is worried
about their mobility. And so for the Republican Party to try to pit people
and groups against each other, I think in the short-term, it`s great. In
the republican presidential primary it seems because, you know, the farther
right you can go for republican primary voters, the better your chances are
of getting the nomination. But when it comes to the general election, the
Republican Party is going to find out once again that the American people
are a whole lot further along on all of these issues than where the party
is.

SHARPTON: Joel, Gallup has a new poll that finds most Americans think
wealth should be more evenly distributed. Check out all the groups that
agree. It`s democrats, independents, moderates, liberals, younger people,
older people, people who earn less than 30,000, and people who earn more
than $30,000. The only people who don`t think wealth should be more evenly
distributed are republicans and conservatives. Are more and more people
recognizing inequality as a problem?

BERG: Absolutely. And I think most Americans believe as I do that we
should really be about equality of opportunity, not guaranteed outcomes.
But the truth is people working hard and playing by the rules just are
being left behind.

SHARPTON: You know, Jonathan, Jeb Bush made another point that republicans
love to talk about in his op-ed about single parents. He wrote, quote, "If
our government leaders want to attack poverty, they should first
acknowledge that an effective anti-poverty program is a strong family led
by two parents. Our goal should be to build up families." What is he
trying to say here?

CAPEHART: Well, he is trying to say that marriage is a good thing, that
marriage -- I notice he said two parents and not, you know, one male, one
female. But anyway, he is saying that marriage --

SHARPTON: But if you have two unemployed parents, how does that address --

CAPEHART: Well, right, right. So, he is trying to say that marriage is
this poverty cure-all when it`s not. And also, we have a lot of single
parent families in this country who need help and could use help for what
Joel just said. The opportunity to succeed and work in this country. And
as you said, Rev, if you`re got two parents who are unemployed, that family
is not going to stay together much longer.

SHARPTON: And it`s not going to help their economic condition.

CAPEHART: Right. Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Joel. But progressives are pushing a different agenda. Today
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced something like the old GOP
contract with America, but for the Left. He talked about it on "Morning
Joe." Listen to this, Joel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DE BLASIO: I actually think there is a yearning out there for a set of
solutions. I think the typical American believes in progressive taxation
and wants to see those who have done well pay their fair share. You see
this incredible movement around the country for the $15 minimum wage. It
reflects the reality that people can`t make ends meet on the current
minimum wage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He talked about it on Joe`s show. You know, minimum wage, fair
tax system. Isn`t that what regular people want?

BERG: This is a common sense agenda for America. Republicans are so pro-
family, why in the world do they oppose family and medical leave? Why in
the world do they oppose raising the minimum wage so working parents can
support their families? I welcome a national conversation on poverty from
both parties. But the other side`s got to put up some policies, not just
some rhetoric.

SHARPTON: Jonathan Capehart, Joel Berg, this is going to be a huge issue
for 2016 and beyond. Thank you both for your time.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, some controversial comments from Senator Lindsey
Graham, and why the words we use matter.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is getting a lot of
attention for his controversial comments about Muslims. He said, quote,
"Everything that starts with Al in the Middle East is bad news." Now "Al"
in Arabic is similar to the English word "The." And Graham`s comments
seemed to indict anyone who speaks Arabic. In an increasingly diverse
world, we need to respect each other`s differences, while celebrating our
own traditions. This issue was also raised by that attempted terror attack
in Texas. Two gunmen opened fire on a center hosting a contest to draw a
cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, something many Muslims consider extremely
offensive. That is never an excuse for violence, never. And the group
hosting that contest had the right to do so.

But just because you have a right to do something doesn`t mean you should.
There are about 3400 Muslims on active duty in the United States military,
risking their lives to defend our rights, including our right to free
speech. We shouldn`t let that free speech turn into hate speech. We
should regard and respect others as we want to be regarded and respected.
That is the tenets the country was founded on. That is the tenets that we
still are seeking to live up to. We`ve not always got there, but we`ve got
to keep striving for it. And not going backwards.

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



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