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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

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Date: May 12, 2015
Guest: Jim Fassel, Joe Sullivan, Allison Samuels, Midwin Charles; Marq
Claxton; Barbara Lee; E.J. Dionne

Opal Tumedi (ph), thank you so much for your time tonight.

That`s "the Ed Show." I`m Michael Eric Dyson in for Ed Schultz. "Politics
Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.

Good evening, Rev.

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Dr. Dyson and thanks to
you for tuning in.

We start with developing news on the progressive push ahead of 2016. Today
lawmakers, labor leaders and activists from across the country announcing a
prod new plan to fight income inequality. I was there and signed the plan
in my role as a civil rights leader. Senator Elizabeth Warren and New York
City mayor Bill De Blasio calling for action today.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The middle class is on the ropes
and now is the time to fight back. I believe in the working people of
America, and I believe that if we show a little backbone, if we show a
little gumption that we can rebuild America`s once invincible middle class,
and I believe this is the fight worth having.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK: The progressive agenda comes down to a
very simple concept. We need to reward work again.


DE BLASIO: We need to reward work, not wealth.


SHARPTON: The agenda announced today includes raising the minimum wage to
$15 an hour, passing comprehensive immigration reform, national paid sick
leave and making pre-k after-school programs and child care universal.
Plus, nine other goals.

It`s a concrete specific plan and it sets a standard for presidential
candidates, including Hillary Clinton who is under pressure from leading
progressives. And it`s a sharp contrast to the right wing contenders
exposing their trickle-down policies. The fight for fairness is too
central to American politics. It`s right now American politics, and today
at a separate event President Obama talked about the heightened focus.


moment, in part because of what`s happened in Baltimore and Ferguson and
other places, but in part because a growing awareness of inequality in our
society where it may be possible not only to refocus attention on issue of
poverty but also maybe to bridge some of the gaps.


SHARPTON: Now, of course, progressives don`t agree on everything. In
fact, Senate Democrats today blocked a vote on the president`s trade bill.
You can disagree with that opposition as I do, but still find common ground
on larger goals we all share. And right now President Obama meeting at the
White House with Senate Democrats talking about how to move forward on

It`s about fairness, opportunity, equality. You can disagree on how to get
there, but the goal is the same.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Democrat from California. She
was at the unveiling of the progressive agenda today and signed it and E.J.
Dionne of "the Washington Post." He moderated President Obama`s discussion
on poverty today. Thank you for being here.

REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: Glad to be with you, Reverend Al.


SHARPTON: Congresswoman, don`t progressives have a broad united view on a
lot of goals despite the kind of disagreement we saw today on trade?

LEE: Progressives have had for many, many years a very clear agenda that
really I must say is mainstream American agenda. When we fight for a
living wage, when we see people who are living below the poverty line, who
are working and living below the poverty line, that`s just downright wrong.
Progressives want not only an increase in the minimum wage but a living

Also, when you look at education, when you look at making education
affordable for everyone, from pre-school all the way through community
college or college, we have so many gaps there and inequities that we need
to begin to be able to close these gaps. Progressives have always stood
for that. Also tax reform, we have a very unfair tax system, Reverend Al.
I mean, it`s about time that we insist that corporations and CEOs pay their
fair share. And I have to say I come from a great area, Oakland and
Berkeley, California, where the progressive agenda has always been an
agenda that Democrats have embraced. And I`m very pleased to see the
national movement now led by a great bold mayor, mayor de Blasio, kick this
off in Washington, D.C. with many, many progressive organizations.

SHARPTON: Now, I think that what was impressive all of us may not agree on
how to get there. I think I said in my statement we may not agree on the
play but we all agree on the goal line and touchdown. And I think that`s
how you really begin turning around this whole question of economic and
income inequality.

LEE: Absolutely. And we have to remember also we`ve got to include racial
justice in this.

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

LEE: When you look at poverty rates in the African-American community, 27
percent, in the Latino community 23 percent, and you have the national
average that`s about nine percent, and so we don`t want to leave anyone
behind. We want people who are living below the poverty line to really be
able to find pathways out of poverty so that they can, too, get into the
middle class.

And I have to say, Al, I was very proud of the president today because I
was a member of the drafting committee for the platform of the Democratic
Party, and for the first time we wrote in there that it is a priority of
the Democratic Party to eliminate poverty, and so we`re beginning to see
more Democrats talking about not only preserving and fighting for the
middle class but also those who are really working hard just to get into
the middle class.

SHARPTON: Now, E.J., at your event today the president, when I think has
been probably the most progressive in my lifetime, he talked about how pour
a vilified in the conservative media. Listen to this.


OBAMA: If you watch FOX News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu
they will find, right, folks that make me mad. I don`t know where they
find them, right? And I don`t where they find them, right? They are all
like -- I don`t want to work. I just want a free Obama phone or whatever.


SHARPTON: I mean, how do these false depictions of the poor undercut
serious discussions we need to have, E.J.?

DIONNE: I think what they do is they harden and solidify opinion on a
particular side of the debate. But I think there is a lot of room to fight
for programs that would lift up the poor. One of the striking things about
this event that the president spoke at today is that it`s a -- it was
organized by a group of Catholics and a group of evangelicals, white
evangelicals mostly, with a whole lot of other participants. And, you
know, the whole point was if you take the gospel seriously, you cannot
ignore the fact that the poor -- Jesus talks about the poor all over


DIONNE: And that what the president put on the table today were very
practical things ranging from, you know, building infrastructure to
universal pre-k to child care, to some of the very things in the program
you signed today. And one of the things that strikes me is there`s a kind
of intellectual effervescence right now among progressives that we haven`t
seen really since the battering of the economic mess back in 2009. There`s
this proposed, set of proposals out of Roosevelt institute. I was involved
in a similar set of proposals that came out of the center for American
progress a few months ago.

We`re all moving to say, you know, we can`t just talk about inequality or
poverty. We need to put some specific things on the table and over the
long run let the voters decide is this a better program than something that
looks a lot like laissez faire.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, we talked about the progressive agenda. But on
the right, it is a much different story. For instance, all the big-name
2016 Republicans are opposed to raising federal minimum wage. That may
work in a GOP primary, but how will it affect working class voters in the
general election?

LEE: Well, it may or may not work in a primary. We saw several states
with heavy Republican population in the last election pass ballot measures
to raise the minimum wage. And so I think when we raise the minimum wage
and move towards a living wage, the majority of the American people want to
know why their candidates are not standing for that.

Republicans, independents, they need a raise. They need a living wage, and
not only Democrats who need this. But also Reverend Al going back to
pathways out of poverty I introduced legislation to cut poverty in half in
ten years, support from the faith community. We know exactly how to do
this. We`ve seen it work, and we have all of the tools and the measures in
place that we need to vote on. But, of course, we can`t get the Republican
speaker to bring this bill to the floor. We have a lot of work to do, but
I tell you I`m so proud of young people that`s really beginning to put the
street heat that I call it on to make sure elected officials are
accountable to an American agenda that raises people out of poverty and
ensure that we begin to close the racial and economic gap in terms of what
we see taking place in our country.

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

You know, E.J., "Politico" reported on ongoing pressure progressives are
putting on Hillary Clinton, calling today`s event, quote, "the latest step
in the Democrats` primary within the primary. Liberals efforts to figure
out how to push Hillary Clinton to the left." I mean, how much concern is
there on the left, and was Hillary Clinton listening today?

DIONNE: Well, you know, Hillary Clinton`s positions right now are quite
progressive on a whole series of issues. People have noted, for example,
what she said on immigration, and I think for now the pressure should be,
for example, on the minimum wage, not only as congresswoman suggested have
those Republican states voted for it, but a very large number of rank and
file Republicans want to raise the minimum wage.

I was struck by what mayor de Blasio said about rewarding work. A lot of
the Republicans who want to talk about poor people and demonize them as if
they don`t want to work, in fact, they do want to work, but they want work
to pay for them. And I think that`s one of the reasons why this is a
unifying issue. It trumps all these issues to demonize the poor because
what they want is jobs that they can raise their families on.

SHARPTON: Well, I think it has been a highlight day from your session with
the president to the progressive agenda to what Senator Warren did to the
president sitting down right now with democratic leaders of the Senate.
Again, a common agenda for working people to have livable wages. We can
debate specifics on how we get there, but I think we`ve established the
goal line for America today.

Congresswoman Lee and E.J. Dionne, thank you for your time tonight.

DIONNE: Thank you, Reverend.

LEE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Breaking news. No charges for the officer who shot and killed
an unarmed teen. Moments ago the victim`s family spoke out and they have

Also tonight Tom Brady fighting back. He`s getting ready to appeal his
suspension, and it looks like this fight is getting nasty. We`ll go live
to Foxborough.

Plus, Jeb Bush tries to explain his odd statement about invading Iraq, and
the Obamas make it official with big news today about Chicago. Stay with


SHARPTON: Breaking news out of Madison, Wisconsin. Officer Matt Kenney
who shot and killed unarmed 19-year-old Tony Robinson Jr. on March 6th will
not face charges. The officer was responding to calls that Robinson
assaulted two people at an apartment and was running in traffic. Police
say Robinson attacked officer Kenney. Today a decision from the


deadly police force and that no charges should be brought against officer
Kenney in the death of Tony Robinson Jr.


SHARPTON: Moments ago Tony Robinson`s family spoke out.


TURIN CARTER, TONY ROBINSON`S UNCLE: This was a 19-year-old kid whose life
was cut short before he was able to fully realize his potential.

SHARON IRWIN, TONY ROBINSON`S MOTHER: I wear a sweater because this is the
only comfort I have left. I don`t have an option to hold him anymore, and
I want you to know that I miss him and really love him. He`s a great kid.


SHARPTON: The shooting set off peaceful protests in Madison and in two
months produced a decision. But we`re seeing a different kind of process
in Cleveland. After five months still no decision about charges in the
police shooting of a 12-year--old boy. Why? That`s next.


SHARPTON: How long does it take to investigate the killing of a 12-year-
old boy that`s caught on video? A Cleveland police officer shot and killed
Tamir Rice more than five months ago. And today we found out the
investigation still isn`t finished.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While a few more witnesses need to be interviewed and
more forensic evidence needs to be collected and the majority of our work
is complete.


SHARPTON: But Tamir`s family is wondering why all of their work isn`t
complete? Today their lawyer said we`re seeing, quote, "undeserved and
unnecessary delays. Our cautious optimism is waning by the day. Justice
requires a little more diligence."

The video of the shooting shows the police officer fire at Tamir just
seconds after arriving at the scene. The boy had been playing with a
pellet gun that the officer thought was real. And while this investigation
dragged on, this child`s family can`t get closure. They haven`t even
buried him. The attorney says that`s in part because of the cost and in
part because they worry the medical examiner will need to re-examine his
body, and his mother wants answers.


SAMARIA RICE, TAMIR RICE`S MOTHER: Less than a second my son is gone, and
I want to know how long I`ve got to wait for justice.


SHARPTON: She`s been waiting for justice for 170 days.

Joining me now is legal analyst Midwin Charles and Marq Claxton, former New
York City police officer and director of black law enforcement alliance.
Thank you both for being here.

MIDWIN CHARLES, LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks for having me.


SHARPTON: Midwin, should it take this long to make a decision in a case
where there`s a video?

CHARLES: I`m surprised that it`s taking this long. Usually when police
officers or the sheriff`s office in this case investigate these kinds of
shootings, my guess is that this isn`t their first investigation. My guess
is that the people who are doing the investigation are skilled. They have
experience. They have the know-how and they have contacts in place in
order to get things done.

I think the attorney for the family said it best. Justice requires
diligence and justice delayed is justice denied. I can`t understand why
it`s taking this long, particularly since it`s not a complex case. It
doesn`t involve a lot of people. There were two officers on the scene.
Tamir Rice was the only other person carrying this alleged weapon. So I
can`t quite understand why it`s taking this long.

SHARPTON: Marq Claxton, in a statement the sheriff talked about the work
his investigators had done. Let me play that.


SHERIFF CLIFF PINKNEY, CLEVELAND COUNTY: My investigators have pored over
thousands of pages of documents and conducted numerous search warrants with
witnesses. We also reviewed any and all surveillance from the surrounding
area and conducted a 3-d measurement scan at the Reck center. So as you
can see we have been tirelessly working on this investigation.


SHARPTON: But is there enough, Marq, for a decision on charges? I mean,
as you just heard Midwin say, how long do you need with a videotape there?
Is this unusual to you to take this long?

CLAXTON: It`s highly unusual, and what`s disturbing is what the sheriff
just described. I figure it should take maybe two or three weeks top.
Unless you`re investigating and have to interview half of Cleveland,
there`s no excuse for this investigation to drag on this long without any
decision or decisive action taken on the part of the investigators unless
there`s no real will to conclude this investigation, unless you`re looking
for an out as opposed to try to establish whatever probable cause exists.

I mean, this isn`t a who done it. This is not an investigation of who is
the second shooter at the grassy knoll. This is a homicide investigator
that any skilled investigative team with the will and desire to conclude
would have concluded within a six-month period. It is absolutely
reprehensible and inexcusable

SHARPTON: Now, Midwin, it started with Cleveland police. Then it went to
the sheriff. I mean, you can`t help but compare what`s happened in
Cleveland to what happened in Baltimore. In Baltimore it was just 12 days
between the death of Freddie Gray and the prosecutor`s announcement to
bring charges. It has been 170 days that Tamir Rice, this 12-year-old
died. About a week after Tamir Rice`s death the justice department
released a very critical report on the Cleveland police department. It
found some officers fired at suspects without justifiable cause, beat
suspects in hand cups and then tried to cover things up failing to write
accurate police reports. How do they start to fix this department?

CHARLES: With a lot of work and with a lot of desire to get it fixed? I
think that the report was horrible. The report said of laid out what`s
happening in Cleveland, and it does not bode well for what happened to
Tamir Rice, especially when you consider the fact that the officer who shot
and killed Tamir Rice had already resigned under very unusual circumstances
from another police department because he had exhibited behavior that
indicated that he was someone who couldn`t handle being -- using a gun. So
it`s very, very troubling, and I think that the Cleveland police have a
long road ahead of them in fixing this problem for sure.

SHARPTON: You know, Marq, you would think that with the justice department
report that it would have made this department try to move at least more
expeditiously and really not even expeditiously but in a more timely manner
given most cases in the Tamir Rice case. It seems like this report has not
caught the attention in terms of really regarding how the community feels
about the process.

CLAXTON: Yes, and really what it points to is just how insidious that this
systemic abuse, if you will, exists, how entrenched it is in law
enforcement in general and policing, more specifically how deeply
entrenched many aspects what have people are calling for reform against is
in these departments because even facing, you know, a scathing report from
the department of justice, troubling report that sounds like it happens in
some third world country, et cetera, I mean, they still have no real reason
or motivation to expedite matters, to pursue justice in a rapid fashion or
even to be honest and open.

I mean, to say it`s going to take us a little while because we still have
evidence to collect, that`s just, you know, I`m telling you that`s just,
you know, dishonest on so many different levels and it`s a shame pause this
family has suffered and this community demands and deserves justice.

Midwin Charles and Marq Claxton, thank you both for your time tonight.

CHARLES: Thank you.

CLAXTON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And as we talk about these issues of policing and criminal
justice, it`s important to remember that the danger is faced every day by

This weekend saw the tragic shooting of two police officers in Hattiesburg,
Mississippi. Officers Benjamin Deen and Tate were killed after pulling
over a speeding vehicle. Four people have been charged in the shootings.
And yesterday a memorial was held to honor the lives of the slain officers.

As we debate policing in America, we must remember that these brave men and
women risk their lives for our community. Our thoughts and prayers are
with the families of the fallen.


SHARPTON: Jeb Bush is locking to hit the rewind button. He got slammed by
folks both on the left and the right yesterday for his answer to this
question on the Iraq war.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: What we know now, would you have authorized
the invasion?

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I would have and so would have
Hillary Clinton, just to remind anybody and so would almost everybody who
was confronted with the intelligence that they got.


SHARPTON: He took a ton of heat for that. But late this afternoon he said
it was just a big misunderstanding.


BUSH: I interpreted the question wrong, I guess. I was talking about
given what people knew then would you have done it rather than knowing what
we know now and knowing what we know now, you know, clearly there were
mistakes as it related to faulty intelligence in the lead up to the war and
lack of focus on security. My brother`s admitted this, and we have to
learn from that.


SHARPTON: Wait a second. He still didn`t answer the question. Would he
have decided to invade Iraq if he knew then what we know now? Another guy
who is thinking about running for president got asked the same thing this


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Knowing then what we know now, know WMD in
Iraq, et cetera, was that the right decision to go to war?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: No, it wasn`t. I don`t think you can
honestly say that if we knew then that there was no WMD that the country
should have gone to war, so my answer would be no.


SHARPTON: Yup, it`s a simple yes or no. One more try for Mr. Bush.


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I don`t know what that decision
would have been, that`s a hypothetical, but the simple fact is mistakes
were made.


SHARPTON: It is a hypothetical. That doesn`t mean you can ignore the
question. Did Jeb Bush think we`d let him get away with that wishy washy
answer? Nice try but we gotcha.


SHARPTON: Now to Tom Brady fighting back. The superstar was given a four-
game suspension without pay for his role in so-called deflate-gate. The
superstar has until Thursday at 5:00 to file his appeal, and his agent says
it`s coming. Quote, "the discipline is ridiculous and has no legitimate
basis." He also said the deflate-gate report was not independent and in a
conference call today the attorney behind the report is firing back at
Brady`s agent saying he crossed the line.


TED WELLS, NFL DEFLATEGATE INVESTIGATOR: This is the first time that after
I`ve issued my report that I find somebody is questioning my independence
and someway suggesting that I was influenced by the league office, and I
think that is wrong. I think those attacks are out of bounds and unfair
and just plain wrong.


SHARPTON: Joining me now from outside the Patriots home stadium is MSNBC`s
Steve Kornacki, former New York Giant head coach Jim Fassel and Joe
Sullivan, sports editor of the "Boston Globe." Thank you all for being



SHARPTON: Steve, you were on that Ted Wells call. What struck you as you
were listening to Ted Wells?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Well, Ted Wells basically laid out the story
of how he got from launching this investigation to coming to the
conclusions that he came to last week that set this whole penalty phase in
motion. The timing, no coincidence because when the punishment came down
last night the owner of the Patriots Bob Kraft, the agent for Tom Brady,
Don Yee, both indignant about what the league did in terms of the
punishment, so this call this afternoon in response to that and to
basically what Ted Wells said in this call is that he stressed that the
league, when this began and first received a complaint from the
Indianapolis Colts about potentially deflated balls, he says the league
didn`t really take it that seriously, didn`t expect to find anything.

But he didn`t launch his investigation. He said this was not a sting as
the Patriots alleged. He says Tom Brady is iconic, he did not go into this
warning to muddy Tom Brady`s reputation. But he said two things, two
things in the course of this investigation jumped out at him. Number one
he said is when he discovered the text messages involving Jim McNally, Jim
McNally who had access to the balls, the Patriots employee who had access
to the balls before the game, when he discovered the text messages in which
McNally referred to himself as the deflator, Wells says he then asked for a
follow-up interview with McNally and at that point essentially the Patriots
stonewalled, wouldn`t make him available. He said that`s very suspicious,
it`s not circumstantial evidence, those text messages but direct evidence
and the second thing he said that really got his alarm bells going off is
Tom Brady.

He said that Tom Brady was totally cooperative with the investigation
except when it came to the question of turning over material, turning over
digital records, texts basically from his cell phone and he says he made
this offer to Tom Brady`s camp. He said you don`t have to turn over your
phone to me. I`m not going to go snooping through your phone. He said,
you give me documents that are responsive to my questions and I will take
your word, and he said even faced with that offer of just turn over what
you think is relevant, I`m not going to look at the phone, even in the face
of that offer Brady`s people refused and the Patriots refused and I think
that leads to this conclusion the NFL has come to here saying the Patriots
were not cooperative with the investigation which plays into the

SHARPTON: Now, Steve, I want to ask you about the mood up there but Joe
based on what Steve just said there is a 243-page report without a smoking
gun. Today Wells addressed the critics who say there`s not enough
evidence. Listen to this.


WELLS: If I were sitting on a jury and the judge had charged the jury that
it should apply the preponderance of the evidence standard, I would have
checked the box that said prove it.


SHARPTON: Now, do you think, Joe, that that will do anything to quiet the
critics. He said the preponderance of evidence.

SULLIVAN: You know, I think this is really geographically divided Al. I
think that in New England and up here I don`t think it`s going to change
many mind. Across the country I think it`s just going to confirm what they
are already thinking. I think the battle lines have been drawn in this,
and I don`t think they are going to change even though Ted Wells was really
convincing and vehement today.

SHARPTON: Now Steve what is the mood on the ground? What are people
saying there up in that area? You`re there at the stadium, the home
stadium of the Patriots.

KORNACKI: Yes. No, I mean, Joe says, look opinion is sort of hardened
here in New England. I would say it divides into two camps. I think
there`s a small camp of Patriot fans who just don`t believe any of this.
They think this is the league essentially framing the Patriots, that
there`s jealousy involved here, things like that. I think most Patriots
fans though when they look at this they are willing to tell you, yes, you
know, we think something is going on here, maybe it was just the equipment
guys, maybe Brady is in on it, too. We think there`s something to this but
where they object to this they say it`s very disproportionate, they look at
the initial punishment for Ray Rice last year for beating up his fiancee at
two games and they see a four-game suspension levied against Tom Brady for

And they look at it and they say they think that Goodell the commissioner
is buckling to public pressure. All those fans across the country who
think the Patriots are cheaters and want to see them taken down and they
think he`s buckling to the 31 other owners in the sense among so many other
owners that Bob Kraft, the Patriots owner, is too cozy with Roger Goodell,
the commissioner, that they protect each other and so a lot of Patriots
fans will tell you they think this is Goodell basically answering to those
31 owners, and saying, yes, so you know what, I can go hard on the Patriots

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Jim, do you think there is grounds for an
appeal, his agent, the agent, of course, of Tom Brady is saying, they will
appeal. Do you think there`s grounds for an appeal?

FASSEL: Well, I do, because, you know, we all have heard all the stuff.
Nothing`s come out concrete, and I think that Roger Goodell, I`ve known
Roger for a lot of years. I think he lowered the hammer on him and
everybody talks about his friendship with Bob Kraft, but he didn`t hesitate
there, but it always comes back to sit down, let`s talk about this and I
think there will be an appeal process, and I think they will probably
change some, I don`t know how much, but, you know, Al, when I was on your
show before. I mean, this is crazy. I played quarterback. I coached
quarterbacks. Half a pound or a pound here or there doesn`t change how the
guy is going to play, although you can`t break the rules.

SHARPTON: Yes, but the -- the process in the NFL can be up predictable. I
mean, look at the assault case, Jim, of Ray Rice. At first the league
suspended him for two games and then they increased the suspension to
indefinitely and then he appealed. He was reinstated to the league. I
mean, if it`s this crazy why do they do it?

FASSEL: Well, in the Ray Rice situation, according to the league that they
didn`t see that videotape. They just heard about what went on and then
once the videotape came out, well, then they changed their punishment and
then came back and change it again. Now, I think that`s because they got
new evidence. Now, if they got new evidence on Brady and they got
completely off the texts or something like that, well, you know, everyone
is going to say he should be penalized and I would agree with that. But to
me again, it goes back to the fact that if they have no evidence that he
did that, I mean, that`s pretty harsh punishment right there.

SHARPTON: Yes. All right. Well, let me ask you this, let me go back to
you, Joe. Bob Costas weighed in on the suspension saying we have to
consider the context of the decision. Listen to this.

BOB COSTAS, HOST, "FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA": It`s been a bad couple of
years for the NFL with bountygate, with the bullying scandal, with domestic
violence and with child abuse and the way the NFL has ruled in each of
these cases was sometimes perceived as random and sometimes perceived even
as incompetent and Roger Goodell wanted to make sure that he got this

SHARPTON: Do you think he got this right?

SULLIVAN: I think it`s excessive, Al. I think that one game would have
been plenty. As Jim pointed out the weight of the football really doesn`t
affect how a quarterback plays, and I don`t think this affected the outcome
of any game. So, I don`t think the scores would have been different if the
footballs were -- had a higher PSI, so I do think it`s excessive, and I
think we probably will see a reduction when -- when the appeal goes on.

SHARPTON: All right. Steve Kornacki, Jim Fassel and Joe Sullivan, thank
you for your time tonight.


SULLIVAN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Straight ahead, it`s official. The Obamas pick Chicago south
side for the presidential library. What will the future hold? And later
my commentary on the ugly and unfair right wing attacks on Michelle Obama`s
commencement address.


SHARPTON: It`s official. It`s sweet home Chicago. The Barack Obama
presidential center and library will be built on the south side of Chicago.
Today the President and First Lady announced the big news in a video.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: With a library and a foundation on
the south side of Chicago, not only will we be able to encourage and effect
change locally, but what we can also do is to attract the world to Chicago.

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: I`m thrilled to be able to put this
resource in the heart of the neighborhood that means the world to me.
Every value, every memory, every important relationship to me exists in


SHARPTON: It`s the neighborhood that means the world to both of them.
It`s where the President became rooted in public service, working as a
community organizer there for over three years, and it`s where he met his
wife and where their two daughters were born. As Chicago Mayor Rahm
Emanuel said today, it`s their home.


MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO: He walked these streets, knocked on these
doors and believed in the audacity of hope. His journey began on the south
side and now we know that it will come full circle with his library coming
home to the south side of Chicago.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Allison Samuels, contributing writer for
"Vanity Fair" and author of "What Would Michelle Do?" Thanks for being
here tonight.


SHARPTON: How special is the library in Chicago for the Obamas, Alison?

SAMUELS: Oh, it`s incredibly special. To think of this community that has
shared -- you know, had so much violence, so many things happen with the
children not getting the proper education, with so many deaths, with so
much violence, to have this kind of resource now, you know, right -- at
their foot, to be able to go and learn about the President, to have him
show his importance and show how much he cares about this city by bringing
such a major resource to that area is incredible. I think that the city is
going to do well, and I think that community is really going to improve
with this huge resource at their reach.

SHARPTON: The President talked in more detail about why he picked Chicago
to host the presidential library. Listen to this.


OBAMA: All the strands of my life came together, and I really became a man
when I moved to Chicago. That`s where I was able to apply that early
idealism to try to work in communities in public service, that`s where I
met my wife, that`s where my children were born, and the people there, the
community, the lessons that I learned, they are all based right in this few
square miles where we`ll be able to now give something back and bring the
world back home after this incredible journey.


SHARPTON: I mean, he clearly, Allison, loves Chicago. Do you think that`s
where the Obamas will beheaded in 2017?

SAMUELS: Well, the great part is they are going to stay in Washington
until Sasha graduates from high school which I think is a credible given
that that was such a pivotal age for her and I`m really happy that they
decided, you know, that that`s important to be there until she gets out of
high school. After that I see them sort of maybe going between New York
and Chicago, going back and forth. They are going to be like rock stars.
They are going to be so popular once his administration is over, once they
are out of office, that they will probably be -- I don`t know if they will
have a permanent home. They will going to be moving and traveling so much.
But, again, what I love is that they understand that Sasha`s last year of
high school is the most important thing and they want her to feel, you
know, comfortable and confident as she, you know, begins to sort of empty
the nest and go on to college.

SHARPTON: You know, recently the President had talked more openly about
his plans for life after the presidency. Here`s what he told a group of
students just a few days ago.


OBAMA: I`ll be done being president in a couple of years, and I`ll still
be a pretty young man so I`ll go back to doing the kinds of work that I was
doing before, just trying to find ways to help young people get educations
and help people get jobs and try to, you know, bring businesses into
neighborhoods that don`t have enough businesses and, you know, that`s the
kind of work that I really love to do.


SHARPTON: Do you see the president doing this kind of work?

SAMUELS: I see him going right back to sort of where he began with
community service. I think he`s going to be very much like President Jimmy
Carter was and still is, very involved in sort of, you know, improving the
conditions for the people who don`t have. Poverty, education, I think that
is something that`s going to show how Obama`s compassionate brilliant man,
that President Carter was as well, but you didn`t really get a lot of that
until after he got out of office with President Carter. With Barack Obama
we`ve seen it, I think we`re going to see even more of that once he leaves
office, that you`ll really going to see the kind of man that he is.

SHARPTON: Allison Samuels, thank you for your time tonight.

SAMUELS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the First Lady gets personal, and some on the right
get ugly. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: This is "American Idol," GOP 2016 edition. You`ve probably
heard the news about how the iconic show will finally be going off the air.
So we tried to imagine what it would be like if all the "Idol" judges, past
and present, got together for one last competition, the GOP presidential
primary. Through the miracle of tape, here it is.


constitution is a cafeteria plan, where you kind of get to pick and choose
the rights that you like.

RANDY JACKSON, "AMERICAN IDOL" JUDGE: I wonder if you took chances, but
you know what, I kind of liked it. It was a little pitchy in spot started
a little rock, but I kind of liked it.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: America, true freedom and prosperity do
not come from the mighty hand of the government.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, Nicki. What, what are you listening to?

entry level position.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes! That was so good.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: We will look for you. We will find you and
we will kill you.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: My, my, my. Is it hot in here or is it just me?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We need to repeal every word of ObamaCare!

SIMON COWELL, FORMER "AMERICAN IDOL" JUDGE: There are only so many words I
can drag out of my vocabulary to say how awful that was.


SHARPTON: Harsh, but check out the verdict on a real reality star, Donald


DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: I have the biggest crowds, I have the biggest
standing ovations, and not because they like me. I think I`m actually a
nice person.

JACKSON: I say no for Hollywood. You`re not ready yet.

POWELL: Paula?

PAULA ABDUL, FORMER "AMERICAN IDOL" JUDGE: Unfortunately, you`re not ready

POWELL: Unfortunately, you`ll never be ready.


SHARPTON: Ouch. The judges were harsh. We`ll see what the voters say.


SHARPTON: This weekend First Lady Michelle Obama was the commencement
speaker at Tuskegee University. She spoke of the challenge she faced
leading up to the White House.


MICHELLE OBAMA: As potentially the first African-American First Lady, I
was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations,
conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others.
Was in too loud or too angry or too emasculating? Then there was the first
time I was on a magazine cover. It was a cartoon drawing of me with a huge
afro and a machine gun. Now, yes, it was satire, but if I`m really being
honest that knocked me back a bit. It made me wonder, well, just how are
people seeing me.


SHARPTON: But she went on to tell the grads how she didn`t let others
define her.


MICHELLE OBAMA: By staying true to the me, I`ve always known I found that
this journey has been incredibly freeing because no matter what happened I
had the peace of mind of knowing that all of the chatter, the name-calling,
the doubting, all of it was just noise. It did not define me. It didn`t
change who I was, and most importantly it couldn`t hold me back. I have
learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values and follow my
own moral compass then the only expectations I need to live up to are my


SHARPTON: That was a powerful message, but some on the right attack, one
person said she showed a deep-rooted anger, another said she was race-
baiting. These critics didn`t hear the same speech I heard, what she said
was don`t allow people with preconceived notions define you. Define
yourself and stay faithful to who you are. Their criticisms only proved
her point of their preconceived notions and how they won`t change.

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


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