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PoliticsNation, Thursday, June 4th, 2015

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Date: June 4, 2015
Guest: Areva Martin, Gail Saltz, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Spencer Overton;
Austan Goolsbee

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to you for tuning in.

Tonight on "Politics Nation," a wake-up call for Washington. A new poll
shows what voters really think of minimum wage, inequality, and fair play.

Also, Hillary Clinton`s new call for a 20-day early voting period,
nationwide! Think voting rights was a big fight in 2012, wait until you
see 2016.

And new questions from the Duggar`s sex abuse interview, the family
breaking their silence, but should they be speaking out at all?

Welcome to all my friends in "Politics Nation." We start with the
question, what does America want? Today, we have some answers. Let`s talk
about it. A new poll from "The New York Times" shows 57 percent say
government should do more to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor,
57 percent!

Now, I`m not surprised the poll says that. Because as I travel around the
country, people of all communities, all economic strata have said to me, we
need to deal with this gap, Reverend Al. Let`s see what else the poll

Sixty-six percent says distribution of wealth should be more even. Now, I
know those on the right say, that`s just some left-wing, far-out, extremist
views, 66 percent, two-thirds of Americans, according to this poll, said
that we need the distribution of wealth to be more even. These are
Americans that think this.

Let`s see what else they said. Sixty-eight percent support raising taxes
on millionaires. Not anti-millionaires. Not anti-people at the top, but
let`s have the equality in the percentages that we pay, 68 percent. This
is not the left-wing, this is not extreme, this is not marginal -- 68
percent of the poll says this.

Let`s go to some -- to one other, 71 percent support raising federal
minimum wage to $10.10. Again, we`re not extremists. We -- I`m quoting
"The New York Times" poll. This is not Reverend Al`s poll done in the
office. "New York Times`" poll, American people, we need to listen to what
Americans are saying about income and economic inequality in this country,
because this is what we`re facing as we go into the 2016 election. The
question is, if this is what Americans think, then what do the candidates

This is a struggle for the GOP. Like Rick Perry, who said today that he`s
running for president. But his economic policies don`t match these
numbers. Don`t match what Americans are saying.

Jeb Bush is about to jump in later this month. Again, his policies don`t
match the number. This is not partisan, these are the numbers against the
issue. The issue isn`t complicated. Americans want economic justice.
It`s nothing to figure out, it`s whatever party you like, whatever style
you like, but our interests, we must vote, and the American people are
saying, what they feel their interests are.

Let`s talk about it now. Let me walk over and welcome democratic
strategist, Tara Dowdell, and in Chicago, Austin Goolsbee, former chair of
President Obama`s council on economic advisers. Thank you both for being


ADVISERS: Yes, thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Austan, these numbers are pretty striking. They`re not even
close. What does that tell you?

GOLDSBEE: Well, you know, in some ways, they`re even more striking than
you said, because they broke it out by party. And on several of those
points, even the majority of Republicans are saying they agree with that.

And I -- what I want to know is every major Republican candidate for the
last 50 years, I think, has proposed a substantial tax cut for high-income
Americans, as part of their campaign platform. The majority of Republicans
in the survey do not support that. They support the opposite. So I want
to see what happens.

SHARPTON: And I think that`s what`s critical. You know, even on minimum
wage, Tara, we have the numbers now, on this poll, and other polls that
I`ve seen, but we use "The New York Times`" new poll. The numbers say
that. Listen to what people that were workers said about minimum wage.
Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We come in and we work hard and we bust our butt and
all we want to get is our hard-earned money that we work for. We be at
work more than we be at home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a family and I have to support them. If I
don`t do this to get minimum wage higher, how am I going to get it? How am
I going to survive in this expensive city of New York?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, we go way, way back. It is ant race to the
bottom. This isn`t what America is about. We can do better. It`s time
for people to start standing up and fighting for their rights, for a decent
wage and a livable existence.


SHARPTON: Tara, I hear this everywhere -- north, south, east, west. All
the races, all the regions, everywhere I can go, I hear this. That`s why
I`m so -- I`m so surprised when I hear people act like this is just some
partisan view or some ideological view. Minimum wage people want it.

DOWDELL: Paid family sick leave, people want. People want all of these
things. Basically, what that poll did was it put a rubber stamp on the
Democratic Party`s policies. That`s what that poll did. And I`ve said
this many times before. And Democrats need to say this more. Republicans
are acting like we have a rich people aren`t rich enough problem in this
country. We have a workers aren`t earning enough money problem in this
country. And Democrats need to be better about, as a whole party, not just
individual Democrats, as a whole party hammering these points home. One
message, all the time, nonstop.

SHARPTON: But, it goes, Alan, you even pointed out, when you break the
poll down, and I`ve seen the breakdown, it`s not even just a rubber stamp
on the Democratic Party. I understand Tara is a Democratic strategist and
she`s got to get that in there. But Republicans are saying it. And
Republicans are changing their language. Look at Rick Perry today, the
language he used. Watch this.


RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To the one in five children in
families who are on food stamps, to the one in seven Americans living in
poverty, to the one in ten workers who are unemployed, underemployed, or
have just given up hope of finding a job, I hear you! The American people,
they see this red game, where the insiders get rich, the middle class pays
the tab.


SHARPTON: American people see a rigged game, Rick Perry`s saying that.
But do the policies match? We, you`re not the only one. Listen to some of
the others. We see -- we see many of the others that are saying the same
thing. Why Republicans are suddenly talking about economic inequality.
"The New York Times" wrote the article. Others are talking about it, but
their policies don`t match. Let`s show that number again. Sixty-six
percent say distribution of wealth should be more even, Alan. And I think
that is the point. And the question is, we, Tara, we, Austan, are not
talking just, of course, Democrats, but Republicans are saying it too,
Austan, as you point out.

GOLDSBEE: Yes, look, I tell you if you just played that quote from Rick
Perry, we would be open to that message come the Democratic primary. I
think what`s hard to reconcile is they feel like they want to talk about
helping the middle class, helping people who are suffering, but then,
they`re turning around and saying, no, we`re not going to extend Medicaid.
We`re going to fight the Obamacare as much as we can. We want to cut off
all for -- we want to reduce the minimum wage. We want to oppose expanding
the earned income tax credit. We want to oppose all the policies that are
exactly about the very thing that he said in the previous sentence. And I
don`t know how you reconcile that.

SHARPTON: Tara, it is lip service. It`s like knowing there is a malady,
knowing there is an illness, reading the right diagnosis, but prescribing
something that gets you even sicker.

DOWDELL: Exactly! And, see, what I think the Democrats need to do,
though, is two things. Very simple, actually, expose and propose. They
need to expose this hypocrisy, like Austan mentioned. When you talk about
the earned income tax credit, which is essentially a de facto increase of
the minimum wage, it puts money in the pockets of low-income workers. And
the data actually shows, it encourages people to find jobs, which is what
we want to have happen. And when you talk about that, the Republicans have
consistently wanted to refuse to expand it, and some have even opposed
having it altogether. At the same time, they want to make corporate tax
cuts permanent, at a time when corporations are doing perfectly well.

And also, the child care credit. Which -- the child tax credit, which
President Obama expanded just like the earned income tax credit.
Republicans don`t want to make that permanent either. So there`s a record
of success and Democrats can tell on these issues, when having the
opportunity, and also, they can also talk about how they`re going to
continue to bring these issues forward. How they`re going to continue to
promote these policies, that help the most vulnerable, and help working --

SHARPTON: But we don`t even have to go dc and Republican. And I know you
have to be Democratic, Democratic strategist, but we can just deal with the
opinion of people. If I were dealing in the debates, and I ran for
president, I know how those debates are, I`d say, here is what people are
saying, here`s the numbers, Austan. Now, tell me, candidate one, candidate
two, candidate 14, if it`s the Republicans, how your policy answers this.
Match this. Match this. That`s how we ought to do the debates.

GOLDSBEE: Look, I got to think that`s right. And look, you have
experience running for president, so you know how people would react. Now,
I think in the case of the Republicans, how they would react is, they would
try to bend themselves over backward and do a triple lots flip to get
themselves to portray that their policy is trying to support that.

I think, it`s really matter of philosophy, in the sense that the Democrats
have, on their side, the reality that if the middle class is strong, the
economy is going to grow in a stable, sustainable way. And when you have a
very concentrated benefits going to just a few people, you`re much more
likely to have a bubble. So, contemporary art, the prices are up 50
percent in one year. Why? Because the people who buy fancy art, their
incomes are way up. You`re going to have bubbles when you have
concentrations of wealth and people just interested in buying the same
types of stuff.

SHARPTON: Well, Austan Goolsbee and Tara Dowdell, I`ve got to leave it
there. Thank you for your time tonight.

DOWDELL: Thank you.


SHARPTON: Coming up, Hillary Clinton threw down the gauntlet on voting.
She got specific. I like that. She got personal. I like that even more.
And she got right after the Republicans. That`s why I`m still standing up.

Also, reaction to that sex abuse interview from the Duggar family, new
questions about what happened and what they`re doing now.

Also, a fascinating new look inside President Obama`s powerful Selma
speech. His handwritten notes and his personal vision for a speech that
will definitely go down in history.


so we could run. What could be more American than what happened in this



SHARPTON: Today, mourners gathered in Delaware to pay their respects to
beau Biden, the state`s former attorney general and son of vice president,
Joe Biden. Beau Biden was laid in honor this afternoon. It was obviously
an emotional time for the vice president and his family, who greeted
mourners for several hours. Beau Biden died of brain cancer at the age of
46. President Obama will speak at his funeral mass this Saturday. Our
thoughts and prayers are with the Biden family.


SHARPTON: It will be one of the biggest issues in 2016. Making sure every
American can vote. And today, as Hillary Clinton was honored with an award
remembering Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, she blasted the voter suppression
we`ve seen in recent years.


Jordan fought to extend the voting rights act, its heart has been ripped
out. What is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and
disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end
of our country to the other.


SHARPTON: This blatant discrimination has swept the country, and it could
be getting worse. According to the Brennan Center, 21 states have passed
new voter restriction laws since 2010. And in 14 of those states, next
year will be the first time those restrictions will be in effect for
presidential elections. That`s why Clinton`s recommending a series of
changes, like restoring the voting rights act and creating 20 days of early
voting nationwide.


CLINTON: We should set a standard across our country of at least 20 days
of early, in-person voting, everywhere, including opportunities for weekend
and evening voting. If families coming out of church on Sunday are
inspired to go vote, they should be free to do just that.


SHARPTON: Republicans have attacked Sunday voting, to go to the polls
after church, called soul to the polls. And African-American voters are
predominant in that effort. President Obama and former attorney general
Eric Holder have fought those efforts. And today, Hillary Clinton promised
she would, too.


CLINTON: We owe it to our children and our grandchild to fight just as
hard as those who came before us, to march just as far, to organize just as
well, to speak out just as loudly, and to vote every chance we get for the
kind of future we want.


SHARPTON: Now, let`s bring in Spencer Overton, president of the joint
center for political and economic studies and author of "stealing
democracy: the new politics of voter suppression." Also with us, MSNBC`s
contributor and president of Voto Latino, Maria Teresa Kumar. Thank you
both for being here.


SHARPTON: Spencer, let me start with you. How much of an impact could
these new voter suppression laws have in 2016? Because it`s very, very, I
want to underscore, 14 of the states that had passed the laws don`t go into
effect until next year. So even though we saw long lines and were able to
overcome it somewhat in 2012 and in the midterm 2014, now we have 14 states
that didn`t have the impact until next year. It could be a deciding factor
in the election.

STUDIES: It could be, especially if the election is close. Let`s just
take early voting, for example. Early voting is important, because it
reduces lines on Election Day. And if we look at Election Day in 2012,
African-Americans were almost twice, they stayed in line almost twice as
long as whites did, on average, across the country. So, early vote reduces
that pressure, and it reduces long lines on Election Day.

Another piece of this is just, frankly, political. Mitt Romney and Barack
Obama tied among people who voted on Election Day, but in terms of early
voters, Obama won those voters by six points. So, could have a huge
outcome, impact on in outcome of the election, especially if it`s close,
like in 2000.

SHARPTON: You know, Maria, Mrs. Clinton today was specific. And I like

We need specific.

SHARPTON: Yes, I`m not always saluted a lot of what she said, but she was
specific. I like that. And she`s specifically went after some of her
Republican opponents, for voter suppression, specifically on this issue.
Listen to this.


CLINTON: Here in Texas, former governor Rick Perry signed a law that a
federal court said was actually written with the purpose of discriminating
against minority voters. In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker cut back
early voting. In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation to
extend early voting. And in Florida, when Jeb Bush was governor, state
authorities conducted a deeply flawed purge of voters before the
presidential election in 2000.


SHARPTON: And Maria, she didn`t just name call, name and what they did,
name and what they did. This is the way you have a responsible election.
Can this work for Mrs. Clinton? Is this a good tactic and a good strategy
for her?

KUMAR: Well, with first of all, I think that this is -- she`s putting
people on notice that she`s going to be tough. But the fact that she`s
going after the voting rights and actually talking about the reason why we
need to have access to our election system is huge. Reverend, that map
that you showed earlier, when you look at the ones where the voting rights
act is actually gutted and preventing people from the polls, those are the
states that have had a high population increase in Latino voters.

So it`s not by chance that these folks, the Republicans are scratching
their heads saying, we don`t know what to do with this growing demographic,
let`s suppress the vote. So I think the fact that she`s naming names and
being very clear that this is not about politics, but more importantly it`s
about our democracy and what it stands for, is incredibly important.

SHARPTON: Hillary Clinton talked about Texas voter I.D. laws specifically.
It is one of the strictest in the country, Spencer. It lets people present
a concealed gun license as a valid I.D., but not a university I.D. or
tribal I.D. and it`s disproportionately affecting African-American and
Latino voters. Is it important that Clinton gave this speech in Texas?

OVERTON: It is. Texas is ground zero in terms of the assault on voting
rights. As you mentioned, in terms of that I.D. in Texas, they found that
African-Americans and Latinos are two to three times more likely not to
have the proper I.D. in order to vote. So, you know, it is critical to
give this speech, in Texas, where the action is. As Ferguson is to
policing, Texas is to voter restrictions.

SHARPTON: Maria, we see that there were huge lines, but that was because a
lot of us, you, me, others, went out and told people the danger of not
voting, whoever they voted for. I`ll never forget riding around with
bishop victor curry in Florida, all over Florida, watching the huge lines
that his operation, among efforts that it inspired, in other parts of the
country. But we can`t depend on lines and people`s enthusiasm. We`ve got
to get their rights back on the books. Republican and Democrats and
protect them.

KUMAR: That`s absolutely right. And I think what folks forget the fact
that because we`re asking people to stand in line, that`s another type of
poll tax. It`s a time tax. How many people that are working class can
actually afford to spend seven or eight hours in line and forego a day`s
pay? That`s impossible. It`s unfair. And by -- why Hillary Clinton is
basically saying is, it`s time for us to get our voting systems into the
21st century. We have to modernize our voting systems. We are able to
basically digitize everything, except for the ability to do this properly.
And I think the fact she`s putting this on the campaign trail now, it
should be an issue for both parties, because at the end of the day, our
democracy is only as is strong as our participation.

SHARPTON: Well, you should vote for who protects your vote.

KUMAR: That`s right.

Spencer Overton and Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you for your time.

OVERTON: Thanks.

KUMAR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, breaking their silence. The Duggars speak out about
their son`s molestation scandal. And many say it only raised more

Also, it`s been called the best speech he`s ever given. Tonight, we go
inside President Obama`s personal Selma speech. The drafts, the re-writes,
and why it meant so much to him. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: It`s no secret that the 2016 GOP candidates have been a little
tripped up talking about the Iraq war and foreign policy, but not Senator
Lindsey Graham. He knows exactly what he would do.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The only way I know to defend
this country is to send some of us the back to Iraq and eventually to
Syria, to dig these guys out of the ground, destroy the caliphate, kill as
many of them as you can, hold territory, and help people over there help

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: But senator, that`s a tough -- it`s a tough message,
because a lot of people are just worn out by war.

GRAHAM: Well, don`t vote for me.


SHARPTON: Hey! Hey! You heard the guy! If you don`t want anymore war,
don`t vote for Lindsey Graham. Good to know! But today, I was just as
interested in a different GOP candidate, and what he had to say about
foreign policy.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: The most immediate responsibility we have
is to help them build a functional government, that can actually meet the
needs of their people in the short and long-term, and then ultimately from
that, you would hope it would spring --

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: That sounds like nation building?

RUBIO: Well, it`s not nation building, we are assisting them in building
their nation.


SHARPTON: Wait a minute, Senator Rubio, can you repeat that?


RUBIO: Well, it`s not nation building, we are assisting them in building
their nation.


SHARPTON: Mmm. That`s what I thought you said. "It`s not nation
building, but it`s helping them build their nation." Is it sort of like
how you weren`t water grabbing here, you were just awkwardly grabbing for a
bottle of water. It`s a distinction without a difference. And here`s
another one, Senator Rubio. Don`t think of this as us getting you, think
of it as, we got you.


SHARPTON: The Duggars are breaking their silence about their family`s
scandal. They spoke out on FOX News about the moment their oldest son told
them he had improperly touched under-aged girls.


JIM BOB DUGGAR, "19 KIDS AND COUNTING": Our son, Josh, came to us, on his
own, and he was crying, and he had just turned 14. And he said that he had
actually improperly touched some of our daughters. And it was --

MICHELLE DUGGAR, "19 KIDS AND COUNTING": We were shocked. I mean, we were
just devastated. I don`t think any parent is prepared for a trauma like


SHARPTON: They revealed that Josh Duggar molested four of his sisters and
one other girl who was not a member of the family. And they added that he
approached them on three separate occasions about it, before they asked for
help from someone outside the family.


M. DUGGAR: That same day -- he just was weeping and shared immediately
what he done and so we were weeping. And the little one was like, what`s
wrong? Where is -- why are daddy and Josh leaving? And as we were all
weeping, the next day, and for days and days, I was saying, you know, Josh
has done some very bad things and he`s -- he`s very sorry.


SHARPTON: The couple was asked why they would launch a reality TV show,
knowing they have this issue in their past.


J. B. DUGGAR: We had nothing to hide. We had taken care of all of that
years before. And when they asked us to do the reality TV show, all of
this had been taken care of five years before. And we had a clean bill of
health from the state. It had said, you have gone through counseling, you
had told the police.


SHARPTON: This interview lit up social media, and while many people did
support the Duggars, a majority of Twitter users slammed the couple of the
interview. So, did this interview raise more questions than it answered?

Joining me now are legal analyst, Areva Martin and Dr. Gail Saltz,
psychiatrist at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Thank you both for being



SHARPTON: Areva, what are your questions after seeing this interview?

MARTIN: You know, the biggest question I have is, how come the Duggars
continue to try to minimize what their son did. They keep using words like
"Bad Choices," as if he, you know, he forgot to turn in his homework. They
have not come forward and talked about the serious crime that was committed
by his son -- by their son, not once, but on multiple occasions, with four
sisters and someone outside the family. And when we talk about sexual
molestation, as if it`s not the crime that it is, we minimize the damage
that`s been done to the victims, and in some ways, we legitimatize the
conduct. So I still want to know how come the Duggars won`t just call it
what it is, which is a crime, a violation of Arkansas penal code, that
we`re talking about, and not just bad choices.

SHARPTON: Well, that`s the legal side. Dr. Saltz, let me go to you on
that. Because I want to get your take on how the Duggars describe what
happened and your take on this. Listen to how they describe it.


J. B. DUGGAR: For us, of course, this is public shame, that our son did
this, back 12, 13 years ago. This was not rape or anything like that.
This was like, touching somebody over their clothes. There were a couple
of incidents where he touched somebody under their clothes. But it was
like, a few seconds.

M. DUGGAR: It was more of his heart, his intent. He knew that he -- it
was wrong. But they weren`t even aware. It was like, you know -- it
wasn`t to them, they probably didn`t even understand that it was improper

J. B. DUGGAR: What Josh did was inexcusable, but it was not unforgivable.


SHARPTON: Your reaction to how they dealt with this?

SALTZ: Yes, I think it`s an understandable compartmentalization and
somewhat a denial of the seriousness of it. I`d have to agree. And what
concerns --

SHARPTON: Is that common with family?

SALTZ: Very common. I mean, you love all your children. And so it`s very
understandable that you don`t want to believe the worst.


SALTZ: And you do want to kind of compartmentalize things. But the
problem with that, since they have come forward, since they are a public
family, is that the issue of abuse is one of public health. It is not
uncommon. The public needs to understand how to deal with. And dealing
with it by having your child see a counselor -- counselor is not a
meaningful word. Counselor is not a psychologist, necessarily, a
psychiatrist, necessarily. A person who is trained -- you could call
yourself a counselor. Anybody can call themselves a counselor.


SALTZ: So we don`t know if either the victim or the perpetrator in this
case got appropriate care, the kind of treatment that they would need.
That`s very important. And we also don`t know if it`s really understood
how and why this happened in the first place. So, earlier they mentioned
this happens a lot in households. You know what happens a lot in
households? Playing doctor. Mutual curiosity that needs to be stopped,
mind you.


SALTZ: But it is not the same as repetitively touching someone who has not
given consent and in terms of them not understanding the problem with this
abuse is really, it`s for the purpose of sexual gratification. And so
assuming that just because you`re a young child, you wouldn`t understand
that, is unlikely. And that`s the trauma that`s involved that needs to be

SHARPTON: Areva, also, there`s a legal side, because many have criticized
how the Duggars reported this to law enforcement. Listen to what they say


J. B. DUGGAR: We felt like it was an important step for josh to confess to
the police, what he had done, because he had broken the law. I had a
towing business for years, and so I did know a lot of the officers around
here, but we went into the Arkansas State Police and --

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: At police headquarters?

J. B. DUGGAR: At the police headquarters. Walked in, this man was there,
we went in and talked to him and said, hey, my son has something that he
needs to share with you.


SHARPTON: Areva, from a legal point of view, how do you respond to how
they reported this?

MARTIN: Well, I`m very concerned about it, Rev, because, first of all,
they didn`t report it when it was first made aware to them. They waited
over a year before they went into that police department and made the
report. And we`re also hearing from the state trooper that he was only
told about one incident. In any event of it, it raises for me the question
of an unequal justice system. If someone walks in and says that there`s
been some, you know, impermissible touching, some molestation of young
children, there should have been a full-fledged investigation of this.
That child should have been removed from that home. The parents should
have been investigated as well. And we know in this case, none of that
happened. This trooper, so-called, gave a stern talking to to Josh Duggar.
Again, that`s not what the law says. That`s not what should have happened
under the legal system, and so the legal system failed these children. The
victims in this case, who were not spending a lot of time talking about,
Rev, which is also a problem.

SHARPTON: Now, let`s talk something about the victims here, Dr. Saltz,
because listen to Michelle Duggar discuss what her daughters are going


M. DUGGAR: They`ve been victimized more by what has happened in these last
couple of weeks than they were 12 years ago, because they honestly -- they
didn`t even understand or know that anything had happened, until after the
fact, when they were told about it.


SHARPTON: I mean, from your experience, what do you think of their
assessment, and the fact they`re talking about the last couple of weeks.
What about 20 years ago?

SALTZ: Right. Well, first of all, it`s not great for any of them, that
we`re talking about this, to be honest. It`s not great. Even whether they
were very traumatized or only mildly traumatized, this can`t be helping.
However, it`s very unlikely that there are no repercussions, because we
know that victims of abuse do have an understanding and we know that they
have a greater incidence of depression later in light, anxiety disorders
later in life, difficulty with relationships and intimacy for themselves
and that`s why treatment is so important. And of course, whether they
don`t believe that they really knew what was going on until they were told,
either way, they were told. And they did understand that their brother had
done this to them. And that means that they really needed good treatment
to not have ongoing repercussions. That`s why, you know, I`m not a lawyer
so I can`t comment on whether they should have gone to the law right away,
but what they should have done is go to a proper mental health
professional, right away. And that clearly did not happen.

SHARPTON: Well, let me say this, as we have to move on, we hope this
family gets the help they need. None of us should forget the victims and
the family and the understandable feelings parents have for their children,
including the son.

Areva Martin and Dr. Gail Saltz, thank you both for your time tonight.

Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: Thanks, Rev.

SALTZ: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Coming up, one of the President`s most personal speeches, the
behind-the-scenes story of how his Selma speech came together.

Plus, why have millions of people watched this interview of a man living on
the streets. Stay with us.



PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We honor those who worked, so we
could run. We must run so our children soar. And we will not grow weary,
for we believe in the power of an awesome God. And we believe in this
country`s sacred promise.


SHARPTON: In March of this year, I was honored to join other civil rights
leaders as we marched with President Obama across that bridge in Selma,
Alabama, that 50 years ago, led to the voting rights act, when civil rights
activists at that time were beaten. I told him, as we walked, I walked
between he and Amelia Boykin, one of the original marchers, this is great,
but it followed one of the greatest speeches I ever heard. I said, Mr.
President, I think this is your best speech. I mean, it really moved me.
Now an article in "The Washington Post" is offering a new and intimate look
at how the speech was conceived and written. Including rough drafts with
the President`s own personal notes, some even written on the plane to
Alabama that very morning. The Selma speech highlighted the President`s
beliefs about what really makes this country great.


OBAMA: What could be more American than what happened in this place?


What could more profoundly vindicates the idea of America, than plain and
humble people, unsung, the down trodden, the dreamers not of high station,
not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition, but many,
coming together to shape their country`s course.


SHARPTON: And his own notes show his strong vision of what it means to be


OBAMA: What greater form of patriotism is there, than the belief that
America is not yet finished. That we are strong enough to be self-
critical. That each successive generation can look upon our imperfections
and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely
align with our highest ideas.


SHARPTON: The Selma speech was not only meant to honor the legacy of the
civil rights movement, it revealed President Obama`s hopes for this
country. And what it means to him to be an American in the 21st Century.

Joining me now is a great civil rights leader in her own right and someone
who was also there at that speech, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton,
democrat of Washington, D.C. Thank you for being here, first of all.


SHARPTON: This "Washington Post" article confirms what many of us have
known, this was a uniquely personal speech for the President, wasn`t it,

NORTON: Oh, you could sense that. And I agree with you, Reverend. As I
sat listening to this speech, I said, this is not Obama`s normal, super
inspirational speech. Something different is happening here. It was
virtually definitional. Here was the president, almost re-defining
exceptionalism, Americanism, patriotism, to be aspirational, to be always
trying to do better. Not the way some of my colleagues define it, as
exercising American power. If power made you exceptional. There are a
great many exceptional countries or nations in the world today. I mean, in
that case, China is exceptional. This notion that each generation can do
best by being self-critical of its own country, and that that`s how you get
progress, came through in the speech. It`s as if the President said, how
can I write a speech that fits this historic occasion?

SHARPTON: Yes. Yes, that is what I felt. You know, one part of the
speech appears to be a rebuttal of President Reagan`s famous city on a hill
speech, in which he called the country`s freedoms fragile. President Obama
had a different take. Watch this.


OBAMA: We respect the past, but we don`t pine for the past. We don`t fear
the future. We grab for it. America`s not some fragile thing. We are
large in the words of Whitman, containing multitudes. We are boisterous
and diverse and full of energy, perpetually young in spirit.


SHARPTON: Is this the vision of the country now for the 21st Century? Is
this what we need now, big and noisy and diverse?

NORTON: And that`s what we are. And instead of sitting on a hill, we`re
climbing the hill. And we are in a different world. The President
understood that this was not the world of post-World War II, where we were
king of the hill. It`s a world in which there are a number of nations,
China, the Asian nations, insisting that they, too, must have world power.
How do you keep your greatness if you`re being challenged? Because we`re
being challenged, and he says, you keep climbing the hill, on the hill, you
understand, you`re not sitting on the hill, because you just sit there, you
will be overtaken. You keep perfecting American democracy. If we hadn`t
been perfecting American democracy, then I think we would not have
understood what the founders understood. When they said, all men are
created equal, was there one of them that believed all of us were equal?
It was aspirational. It was saying, make it so. Make it come true. And
that`s what the President was saying. This will go down, I believe, at
least thus far, as one of the great speeches of the 21st Century.

SHARPTON: Do you believe that it will go down in history as one of the
great speeches of the 21st Century?

NORTON: I do believe -- I believe that. Because when you think of
speeches that you revere from American presidents, there are very few of
these. Ask not what you can do -- you can ask for your country, ask what
you can do for your country, for example. This is the kind of speech where
people will take out parts of it to say over and over again. And it helps
us at a time where we are feeling that there are others who are claiming
power and yet to understand how important we have been, we have to keep
climbing, or we will lose power, we will lose exceptionalism. We will lose

SHARPTON: Thank you, Congresswoman, Eleanor Holmes Norton. Thank you for
your time tonight.

NORTON: Always a pleasure, Reverend.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: Still ahead, one man`s story touches millions. How an interview
with a homeless man went viral. It`s emotional and raw. And is hitting a
deep nerve. Spurring people to take real action. That`s coming up, next.


SHARPTON: We close tonight with a video from the streets that`s gone
viral. And touched millions of people. A Texas filmmaker recorded his
conversation with a homeless man named Obedeiya. He said he was once a
successful contractor, but fell into drugs.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You asked me if doing prison was the hard part, and I
spent over 12 years in prison. In 18 years, I did 12 total. And it wasn`t
the -- the hard part wasn`t going to prison, it was getting out and trying
to be part of society again. I became a citizen again. I can actually
vote. I can actually go in and vote for the president. But I can`t get a
job here or here or here. I can`t have any apartments, because they won`t
accept felons.


SHARPTON: For many ex-felons, the odds are stacked against them. Obedeiya
also talked about how people literally don`t want to give him the time of
day and how he`s lost faith in humanity.

That video has been viewed by nearly 800,000 times on Reddit and over
800,000 times on YouTube. Over eight million views on Facebook. And some
of those strangers contributed to a GoFundMe page to help him out. But the
truth is, there are many others that need help. We`ll be judged in our
life by not how many elbows of the rich and wealthy we rubbed, but how we
help the least of those that others ignored.

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


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