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PoliticsNation, Friday, June 5th, 2015

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Date: June 5, 2015
Guest: Marc Morial; Ryan Grim, Pamela Meanes, Ari Melber, E.J. Dionne,
Victoria DeFrancesco Soto

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

Tonight on "Politics Nation." big news from the Obama economy. Why don`t
Republicans want to talk about it? Because it`s getting better!

Also disturbing new sexual abuse accusations about former house speaker
Dennis Hastert and the mystery about where he is tonight. And I guess she
hit a nerve. Some GOP governors are crying out after Hillary Clinton
called them out on voting.

Happy Friday to all my friends in "Politics Nation" and on this Friday.

Good news. Take a look at this number, 280,000. Why does it matter?
Because that`s how many jobs were added in May. The fact of the matter is
that when President Obama came in eight years ago we were two million jobs
down. They have added every month jobs to the private sector.

Last month may 280,000. That`s a big deal. The economy is getting better.
That means people can provide for their families. That means that people
can live without the anxiety. Everywhere I go people are saying it`s not
where we need to be but it`s getting a little better, adding a little at a
time, and that is why the Republicans keep getting caught up in their web
of denial. They are hitting Obama on the economy. Listen to what Jeb Bush
said this week.


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s breathtaking. It`s like our
president is living in an alternative universe. People have just given up,
and he`s saying that things are better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I take it you do not agree?

BUSH: Mark me down as no.


SHARPTON: Now, this is Jeb Bush, the same Jeb Bush whose brother sunk the
economy where we had unemployment in double digits. We`re now a little
over five percent, and he`s saying what is president Obama talking about?
What are you talking about, Jeb Bush?

Yes, we`ve got a long way to go. Yes, people are still suffering, but
we`re not like we was under the last Bush, but we can do better and
President Obama has a plan to do better. Why would I trust it if he
brought us this far, why wouldn`t I think maybe his plan can continue since
he turned the ship around?

Let`s look at his plan. First, infrastructure investment, roads, bridges,
highways, tunnels, airports. Everywhere I go, I`ve not been to a city
where I couldn`t see where roads need to be rebuilt and where tunnels and
bridges need to be rebuilt.

Let`s go to another one. In the GOP budget cuts, we are seeing new jobs in
the private sector, not the public sector. Why not the public sector? GOP
-- GOP`s budget cuts are cutting in the public sector area. Imagine if we
had the public sector cuts back, the jobs that would be provided and the

What`s the third one? Raising the minimum wage to $10.10. Everyone, last
night I showed you the figures. All of Americans just about have said
we`ve got to close the gap and a huge amount have said we`ve got to have
minimum wage.

Let me walk over and talk to two people that can help expound upon this.
We`ve got to do better. We`re getting good news but good is not great.
Glad to have with me tonight Marc Morial, the president of the national
urban league.


SHARPTON: And, of course, we`re glad to have my partner, one of my
colleagues and let me -- let me say, Krystal Ball, let me start with Mark.

You do a report every year on black America, but you study the economic
trends period. Tell us what we need to do to go better, 280,000 jobs last
month, a big deal. How can we improve this?

MORIAL: So we have this wonderful job creation. It`s a powerful engine of
almost 200,000 new jobs being created almost every month with a few
exceptions for nearly two years. However, what we need, Reverend, is
targeted investments, targeted at young Americans, teenagers, where the
unemployment rate remains high, very high. Targeted at inner city urban
communities, and I would say even some rural communities where the
unemployment rate is higher than the national average.

And I think targeted policies is what we need. A broad increase in the
minimum wage at the national level is better than what we have today which
is a patchwork of minimum wage increases by states and cities across the

SHARPTON: Because, Krystal, when you look at the job growth in the private
sector since 2008.


SHARPTON: I think we have a chart, that, if you look at the job growth,
here is where we were under President Bush. I wasn`t just picking on Jeb.

BALL: Right.

SHARPTON: That`s the facts.

BALL: Right.

SHARPTON: We can have different opinions, not different facts. When
President Obama came in we started going, and look at how it has gone up.
Marc says target and minimum wage. Now, this is the longest streak on
record in the history of about adding jobs, but we still are not where we
need to be.

BALL: That`s right, 63 straight months to your point of job growth, and
that is nothing to be sneezed at, and I think Jeb Bush must be living in an
alternate reality if he doesn`t think things have gotten better, they
definitely have. But as Marc and you are pointing out people are still
feeling the pinch because we lost a majority of middle class jobs in the
recession, in that financial crash and a majority of what we have gotten
back have been low-wage jobs and that`s part of why we`ve seen wage growth
so slow. Now, this month we did see a little bit of wage growth.

SHARPTON: But not --

BALL: Eight cents an hour.

SHARPTON: Not where we need to be.

BALL: Not where we need to be. And partly what we need to do is we need
to give power back to workers. They need to be able to advocate for
themselves in the workplace. As you know, Republicans have decimated
unions so that workers no longer have collective power.

SHARPTON: You`ve got to have collective workers. And you also got to deal
with other reality.

BALL: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: You did a report on black America. The national unemployment
rate is 5 percent. Let`s look at minorities. Latinos is 6.7 percent
unemployment, 10.2 percent blacks, almost double the unemployment number.
Now, we`re a lot better than when George Bush left office, but we`re still
almost double that to white and we`re still double digits. We`ve got to
target these areas that have digs proportionate unemployment.

MORIAL: And let me say this, that 10.2 reflects a national phenomenon. If
you look at cities, Baltimore, Cleveland, New Orleans, and you look at
inner city America, you probably find the black unemployment rate, in fact,
we found it`s much higher.


MORIAL: Upwards of 15 percent.

SHARPTON: And young people 30 percent or 40 percent.

BALL: Wow.

MORIAL: But let me add. One way we could also create jobs is if Congress
would get off of its and pass a transportation infrastructure bill.

SHARPTON: Exactly.

MORIAL: You can`t fix roads from overseas. Those jobs are good-paying job
that have to be carried out right here in the USA.

SHARPTON: Infrastructure is what I was saying was one of the points the
president was making because the key here that a lot of people, I think you
and I were in a meeting once with the president, civil rights leaders, the
key that people don`t understand is these are private sector jobs that he`s
been able to create, not public sector because the Congress will not pass
things like infrastructure.

BALL: That`s exactly right.

SHARPTON: And most minorities work in the public sector.

MORIAL: And that`s where this -- this excessive focus on austerity. If
you look at cities, they have seen cuts in the community, to the block
grant investment program, cuts in community-orienting policing so cuts to
state and local governments have exacerbated and slowed down the recovery
in many of the communities.

SHARPTON: And Krystal, we`re not talking about charity or handouts here.


SHARPTON: We need to rebuild bridges and roadways and highways.

MORIAL: And parks and schools and sewers.

BALL: That`s absolutely right. This would be an investment not only in
the people that are doing the work, it would be an investment in the future
of our country. Our infrastructure right now is rated a "D." That`s
hardly where we need to be in terms of a nation in terms of businesses able
to get their goods where they need to go and being able to compete in an
information economy. We`re certainly not where we at.

SHARPTON: And you noticed where you`re mayor of New Orleans but inequality
is a big issue. You talk about low wages. Inequality is a huge issue.
Fifty seven percent say government should do more to reduce gap between the
rich and the poor, 66 percent sadist abuse of wealth should be more even,
68 percent, this is more than two-thirds, support raising taxes on
millionaires, 71 percent, Marc, say support raising the federal minimum

MORIAL: What these number show is a broad consensus across the board to
address income inequality, to address the wealth gap, to create more
opportunities for working people and poor people in America. And I think
that`s got to be on the agenda for the next presidential election, the next

BALL: That`s got to be central.

SHARPTON: You`re president of the urban league but you were mayor. This
has got to be in my opinion, Krystal when we determine who we`re going to
vote for. We -- Republican, Democrat, whoever can best address these
issues and that are towards the American public, that`s where we need to

MORIAL: Reverend, what makes America great is the ability for people move
up the economic ladder and what we`ve seen is it`s been difficult. People
are working again but their ability to move up the economic ladder. You
know, the debt that students have to take on, the stagnant wages that we
see, the uneven recovery that we see. There`s unfinished business out
there. We have to give this president credit because this economy has in
fact turned.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it.

MORIAL: But the unfinished business is what the next round of presidential
candidate has to focus.

SHARPTON: No, he has turned the ship around. But now, we got to get it to
shore. We`re not at shore yet. We can see the shore but there`s a lot of
waves in between.

Marc Morial and Krystal Ball, thank you for your time tonight.

BALL: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Both of you have a great weekend. And be sure to catch Krystal
on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m. eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, new allegations in the sexual abuse scandal against former house
speaker Dennis Hastert, the sister of another alleged abused victim is
speaking out.


systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American
citizens from voting. What part of democracy are they afraid of?


SHARPTON: Let`s just say those Republican governors aren`t taking that too
well today.

And why are social conservatives so worried about Caitlyn Jenner?

Big show tonight. Please stay with us.


SHARPTON: Developing news tonight from the Dennis Hastert case. New
accusations of sexual abuse victim, but not the person cited for extorting
money in that federal indictment. The mystery is growing. We`ll talk
about it next.


SHARPTON: Developing news in the scandal surrounding former speaker of the
house Dennis Hastert. Today a new allegation of misconduct. The sister of
a man who died in 1995 tells ABC News and "the Associated Press" that her
brother told her he had a sexual relationship with Hastert. When Hastert
was the coach of the young man`s wrestling team, the sister says she never
asked Hastert for money and that she does not know who individual "A" is.

(INAUDIBLE) tells ABC news her brother Steven Reinboldt opened up to her
about the alleged abuse when he told her he was gay.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I asked him, Stevie, when was your first same-sex
experience? I mean, he just looked at me and said it was with Dennis
Hastert. And I -- I just -- you know, I was stunned. I said why didn`t
you ever tell anybody, Stevie? I mean, he was your teacher. Why didn`t
you ever tell anybody, and he just looked at me and said who is ever going
to believe me? In this town who is ever going to believe me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And was it your sense that this happened more than

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said was it all through high school? And he said
yes, all through high school.


SHARPTON: NBC has not independently confirmed the story, and we`ve made
multiple attempts to contact Hastert, but they have been unsuccessful. But
a friend Reinboldt who did not want to be named told NBC News that
Reinboldt told him he had sexual contact with Hastert. The friend said I
was hanging out at Steve`s house in December of 1974. I seem to recall we
went for a drive, and he told me that he was gay. He also said that his
first sexual encounter was with Denny Hastert. Reinboldt`s sister tells
ABC News she confronted Hastert when he unexpectedly showed up at her
brother`s funeral.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just looked at him and I said I want to know why
you did what you did to my brother. He just stood there and stared at me,
and then I just continued to say I want you to know that your secret didn`t
die in there with my brother, and I want you to remember that I`m out here
and that I know.


MORIAL: NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez is in Yorkville, Illinois with the latest on
the investigation.

GABE GUTIERREZ, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Reverend Al, there is a lot of shock
and disappointment here in Yorkville at the high school where Dennis
Hastert coached for so many years, from 1965 to 1981. And two people have
come out within the past 24 hours and described this alleged sexual abuse
that happened while he was a coach here.

As you mentioned, Al, there was the sister of Steven Reinboldt who came out
in that ABC interview who said that in 1979 she was told by her brother
that this sexual relationship occurred and then an NBC News interview this
afternoon, a friend and classmate also said that he was told about a sexual
relationship in 1974.

However, there`s still one main question that remains unanswered and that
is who is individual "A," the person referred to in the federal indictment?
Federal prosecutors say that Hastert agreed to pay individual "A" $3.5
million to conceal past misconduct and federal law enforcement officials
say, tell NBC News, that this misconduct was sexual in nature and involved
a male student.

However, Hastert still has not commented since that indictment was
announced. His attorney that`s listed in court records has not commented
either, and the firm won`t even confirm whether they are representing
Hastert. He is due in court, however, next week.

Here in Yorkville, again, there`s a sense of just disbelief that this could
have happened with such a prominent member of the community - Reverend.

SHARPTON: Thank you, Gabe.

Joining me now is "Huffington Post" Ryan Grim.

Ryan, what`s the reaction to this investigation in Washington?

RYAN GRIM, HUFFINGTON POST: The sense that you get from a lot of
Republican insiders is that this -- this kind of just, you know, heightens
the -- their sense that they are glad that this particular battle in the
culture war is kind of coming to an end and that they are losing it.

You know, urban -- contemporary urban Republicans never waged this battle
with their heart in it, particularly the ones who were closeted and which
we`re learning with more and more of the people who kind of directed or
guided this strategy, you know, Ken Mehlman from the 2004 campaign, you
know, which was heavily driven by homophobia, you know, has since come out.
And then you have the speaker of the house at the time, Dennis Hastert, you
know. He`s now been -- he`s now been forced out and it just kind of puts
an exclamation point on how quickly the culture has turned around here.
And, you know, for Republican insiders who kind of, you know, they would
like to just see this -- I think this entire chapter turned around. You
know, marriage equality is not the law of the land yet which is ironic,
but, you know, that does appear to be coming soon.

SHARPTON: Yes. But, you know, there are some who are accusing Hastert of
hypocrisy, you know. I know a lot of the Republicans, as you say, would
like to just move on, but some are saying that this shows real hypocrisy.
For example, look at what congressman -- former congressman Barney Frank
said to Andrea Mitchell this afternoon.


BARNEY FRANK, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Dennis Hastert became speaker to preside
over the impeachment of Bill Clinton who was being attacked because he had
sex with an intern of age with a much less coercive relationship. He then
went on as speaker to put before the house twice constitutional amendments
that would have banned same-sex marriage. And so it is a reaffirmation of
the hypocrisy that`s existed, particularly in the Republican side because
they are the ones who have tended to try to make political capital out of
particular personal behavior patterns even when they themselves are
engaging in them.


SHARPTON: So what is Washington saying about things like what Barney Frank
is raising? He was the speaker when president Clinton was brought up for
impeachment about an intern. He supported and introduced legislation
against same-sex marriage, yet we`re hearing these accusations about his
own personal life.

GRIM: The hypocrisy is so breathtaking that there`s almost nothing that
you can say about it. Almost every single member of the leadership team
that led the impeachment of president Clinton was engaged at that moment in
some type of, you know, morally questionable behavior or they were doing
something in the closet. Tom DeLay has since been indicted.


GRIM: Livingston lasted, what, a day as house speaker. Newt Gingrich, you
know, had his own affair and now we learned what Dennis Hastert had been
covering up all of this time and these were the people that decided that --
that they were the men to lead this moral crusade against president Clinton
and once you stack those facts against each other there`s almost nothing
that needs to be said about it.

SHARPTON: Ryan Grim, thank you for your time tonight.

GRIM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, why are social conservatives terrified about this
photo? It says a lot about the country and the GOP.

Also, Hillary Clinton on the attack tonight. Republicans are shocked,
shocked, that she called them out on voting.

And we`ll look at Donald Trump`s top secret, 100 percent success guaranteed
plan to take down ISIS.


SHARPTON: Can you feel the anticipation in the air? We`re all waiting for
a big announcement from Donald Trump. He`s scheduled to reveal his 2016
plans on June 16th. I for one can hardly wait. The Donald and I go way
back. I saw him just a few months ago at the "SNL" red carpet. We don`t
agree on much of anything, but we`re always friendly, and now he`s starting
to talk about foreign policy and his plan to defeat ISIS.


DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR: There is a way of beating is so
easily, so quickly, so effectively, and it would be so nice. I know a way
that would absolutely give us guaranteed victory.


SHARPTON: Wow. This is obviously a very complicated issue. We would love
to hear the plan.


TRUMP: But I hate to say it cause as soon as you say it they`re going to
be just -- you know, it`s an idea that in my opinion is foolproof.


SHARPTON: Wait? He`s not going to tell us what it is. How come?


TRUMP: You would think somebody from the administration would at least
call me and say, hey, could you tell us what it is. I keep thinking of
General Patton and General McArthur, they spin in their grave when they
watch these people that just don`t know what they are doing. We have
leadership. They`re all a bunch of clowns.


SHARPTON: A bunch of clowns? President Obama might have a comeback for
that one. We all remember this one.


OBAMA: Donald Trump, also here tonight. All kidding aside, obviously we
all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example,
you know, seriously, just recently in an episode of "Celebrity Apprentice"
and there was a lot of blame to go around, but you, Mr. Trump, recognized
that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately you
didn`t blame little John or meatloaf, you fired Gary Busey. And these are
the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night.


SHARPTON: So continue making those kinds of decisions. Until then, did he
think we wouldn`t notice his foreign policy sales pitch is falling flat?
Nice try, but we Got You.



systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American
citizens from voting. What part of democracy are they afraid of?


confronting Republicans who want to make it harder to vote. And she named
names. Clinton called out Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Rick Perry and Chris
Christie, giving specific examples of times they have suppressed voters.
And today all but Jeb Bush tried to hit her back. Scott Walker slammed the
speech saying, quote, "Hillary Clinton`s extreme views are far outside the
mainstream." Far outside the mainstream to be worried about discriminatory
laws? And Rick Perry tried to deflect.


photo I.D. to be able to vote. When I got on the airline to come up here
yesterday I had to show my photo I.D. Now, Hillary Clinton may not have
had to show an I.D. to get in an airplane in a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: She`s in a private jet.

PERRY: If she will fly commercial you show that.


SHARPTON: That`s Governor Perry`s attempt at a joke. We get it. Hillary
Clinton`s flown on private planes, but let`s get to the substance. You do
have to show an I.D. to fly but guess what, nobody has a constitutional
right to get on an airplane. We do have a constitutional right to vote and
you shouldn`t need a special I.D. to exercise it. But I`ve got one more
republican response to Hillary Clinton`s speech, and this one`s my


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Secretary Clinton doesn`t know the
first thing about voting rights in New Jersey or in the other states that
she attacked. And my sense is she just wants an opportunity to, you know,
commit greater acts of voter fraud around the country.


SHARPTON: His sense is Hillary Clinton wants to commit voter fraud? My
sense is Governor Christie wants to change the subject but that`s not the
way to do it, Governor.

Joining me now is Pamela Meanes, president of the National Bar Association,
the country`s oldest and largest group of African-American attorneys and
judges. And Ari Melber MSNBC`s chief legal correspondent and co-host of
"THE CYCLE" on MSNBC. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Ari, Chris Christie accusing Hillary Clinton of wanting to
commit voter fraud. Doesn`t that seem a bit desperate?

MELBER: I think it`s out there. I think it suggests politically she has
struck a nerve, and, Rev, starting with the politics here. She`s been
doing these small events, this sort of meet and greets in Iowa. This was
her first big campaign rally speech that I`ve counted. It`s got a lot of
attention. It`s certainly the first address since she`s declared she has
gotten kind of a response from Republicans and I think it`s clear she`s
picked an issue that she thinks is substantively important. She co-
sponsored the count every vote act. Back when she was in the Senate. She
has a long record on it.

SHARPTON: She has a record, yes.

MELBER: So, politically this is something that`s putting Republicans on
defense. Legally, of course, these issues are open for debate. The
Supreme Court has upheld certain forms of voter I.D. although the Texas law
which Rick Perry has been defending there has also been struck down in part
by independent judges saying it was discriminatory and that hasn`t been
fully resolved. So, this is one where the politics clearly makes sense for
her but the policy and the law which we`re continuing to debate is one that
is very important to anyone who cares about having maximum turnout which in
the old days is something that a lot of people thought shouldn`t be

SHARPTON: But Pamela, many of us have been involved the last several years
questioning these laws, and we know what Hillary Clinton has raising
because we`ve been in the trenches dealing with it, no less group than
yours, the National Bar Association and Hillary Clinton trying to
highlight voter suppression tactics. How much have those tactics hurt the

MEANES: Those tactics have done an excellent job of hurting voters, and I
applaud Hillary Clinton for bringing this topic up in an off-election
season. She has it hot out there because the right to vote should be as
fundamental as the right to receive an education, and we shouldn`t be
limiting people opportunity to that right. We should be expanding it, but
what we find is that individuals who may not be able to afford an I.D. are
cut off from their fundamental right to vote. This is not just a political
issue. Reverend Sharpton, you hit it on the head. When you said it`s a
constitutional right to vote, Rick Perry and others are deflecting the
issue because what he didn`t talk about is he approved the right to use a
rifle I.D. to vote, but he wouldn`t approve the right to use a student I.D.
to vote. Let`s see. Which I.D. is better than the other?

SHARPTON: See, I think that`s important, Pamela, because I was saying to
Ari they give the people the impression we`re talking about let people vote
with no I.D. We`re not saying that. People have always had to have I.D.
to vote. We`re saying why do you have to have special I.D. and in some
states different types of special I.D. to vote? These restrictive laws are
not the first to established I.D., there`s always been an I.D. It`s now
special I.D. when there`s no fraud proven.

MEANES: You`re exactly correct, and there is no fraud proven and nobody
wants to have this conversation. They are not just talking I.D. Let`s do
away with early voting.


MEANES: Let`s also make it restrictive on other levels so we`re talking
about a fundamental right and where does it hit most? It hits most in
diverse communities. You know, when the U.S. Supreme Court, because it`s
not just those that are sitting on the right that`s gutting the voting
rights laws, let`s look at the cases that are coming out of the Supreme
Court. It`s done an excellent job to say you have antiquated data so you
really can`t prove discrimination is going on, get enough data and show it.
But Reverend Sharpton, you know we`ve been in the trenches and we
understand the number and the numerous individuals who are turned away from
the poll whose vote don`t count.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

MEANES: Because they don`t match up and fit that restrictive box. Why --
why are people afraid?

SHARPTON: Ari, let me go to you. Republicans always talk about voter
fraud, but it`s practically nonexistent. I saw you shaking your head when
Pamela was talking. One study of all U.S. elections since 2000 find 31, 31
possible cases of voter fraud involving 200 individuals. That`s out of
more than one billion votes cast, 31 out of a billion votes. So a possible
fraud rate of 0.00002 percent. I mean, do conservatives really think this
is a national problem?

MELBER: I think that this is one of the areas where the so-called
conservative establishment or experts have created the perception there`s a
problem and folks who don`t research it may hear and may genuinely believe
it. That is to say some people may be confused. The experts know better
for the statistics you mentioned. The Brennan Center has independently
studied it, the courts that have looked at this have independently said
it`s not a high incidence. That makes sense because anecdotally if you
think about it trying to steal an election by coordinating, what, Rev,
thousands of people to go out in the street and do this and every one of
them has to be perfect and no one can be caught and they all keep it
secret. That`s no way to logically do it and for the conservatives to talk
about the founders and our history, we went through a vast majority of
American history through voting without this kind of concern -- fraud or

SHARPTON: We`re going through it now. We`re going through it now. The
fraud -- I just gave you the number.


SHARPTON: Pamela, the things that Mrs. Clinton was calling for a speech
yesterday, they don`t seem controversial to me. Restore the voting rights
act, start automatic universal voter registration and have 20 days of early
voting. Are those the kind of reforms that many Americans want to see that
you talk to, Pamela?

MEANES: Absolutely, and they don`t seem controversial to me either,
Reverend Sharpton. The real fraud here is a skewing of the numbers that
you`ve been presenting and the fact that we see more minorities going to
the poll. Got to stop them somehow, Reverend Sharpton. Those are not
controversial what she`s calling for and I applaud her for putting the
issue square front and calling out individuals who would limit the right to
vote on a bases of this misnomer that there`s fraud.

SHARPTON: Well, this is definitely going to be a major issue, and we`re
going to be going all the way through it continuing to raise this issue as
we did in 2012 and 2014.

Pamela Meanes and Ari Melber, thank you both for your time tonight. Have a
great weekend.

MELBER: Thanks, Rev.

MEANES: You, too, reverend.

SHARPTON: And be sure to watch Ari on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up next, is the change in America`s culture finally catching up to
the Grand Ole Party? Why conservatives are so worried about Caitlyn

Plus, is Miss Piggy the new face of feminism? How a muppet is becoming a
role model?



MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: I wish someone had told me when I
was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to
take showers in P.E. I`m pretty sure I would have found my feminine side
and said, coach, I think I`d rather shower with the girls today.


SHARPTON: The GOP is panicking when they see this cover because it really
brought home how they are so out of touch and they are losing the culture
war in 2015 going into 2016. Today the "Washington Post" did a story of
how Caitlyn Jenner comes out and social conservatives take an apocalyptic
view. They are losing the culture war. It is like the apocalypse has come
because they have been able to use social views all the way up until now,
but now people have turned the other way. Americans have moved forward.
Should undocumented immigrants in the U.S. be allowed to stay? It`s
another one of these issues. Overall 72 percent say, yes. Yes, that they
ought to be able to stay.

This is something that they used to be able to win the argument and scare
people on immigration, but look, let`s go down into the numbers.
Democrats, 80 percent say, yes. Maybe you said that`s not surprise, but
look at this. Should undocumented immigrants be allowed to stay?
Independents, 76 percent, and you`re going to have to get independent votes
to win the White House. But here`s the big one. Republicans, 56 percent
say, yes. Fifty one percent of Republicans, so not only have they lost the
culture wars in terms of trying to use the whole question of people`s
bedroom or people`s personal decisions in terms of their lives, immigration
has turned around on them even with Republicans.

Let me walk over and talk to Victoria DeFrancesco Soto and also E.J. Dionne
from "The Washington Post." Thank you both for being here.


E.J. DIONNE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Good to be with you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: You`ve got to Victoria, as one that`s been active in immigration
rights for a while. You`ve got to be happy seeing where this country is
going when I show those numbers.

SOTO: Reverend, I`m happy. I see those numbers but I`m not going to tell
you that I fully buy it that the Republican Party going into 2016 is going
to hear the voice of the people. The Republican Party right now is having
its own civil war. You see some factions, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush who say we
need to be practical about immigration. We`ve got so many folks here, we
just can`t send them back but you have folks that are digging in their
heels and saying they don`t deserve to be here. We`re going to send them
back and instead of reforming immigration reform we`re just going to build
more fences.

SHARPTON: But does that number, 56 percent of Republicans polled, does it
surprise you?

SOTO: It doesn`t surprise me but the folks in power, the folks who are
leading the Tea Party movement are so vehemently against immigration, I`m
worried that they`ll going to push against that republican majority.

SHARPTON: E.J., in the face of the cultural change, in face of the fact
that these numbers show that the American mainstream have shifted and you
have though this strong hard core that Victoria is referring to far right
wing that does -- that`s in denial, how do they negotiate between the
primaries that they have got to deal with this hard core and reality that
America has moved on?

DIONNE: Well, you put your finger on it when you used the word primary. I
mean, these are issues that once were wedge issues against Democrats that
are now wedge issues against the Republicans. The republican primary
electorate is much older and much more homogenous, almost entirely white,
and it is very, very conservative, and when the turnout isn`t big, it`s
even more conservative, so you have the conservative republicans who vote
in the primaries and then you have vast majorities of everybody else on the
other side. It`s also about a big generation gap. Republicans again are
much older than country as a whole and they are really risking in the next
election not only getting clobbered among Latinos again but also getting
clobbered among younger voters again.

And when Karl Rove uses his column in "The Wall Street Journal" as he did
this week to say, hey, wait a minute, we can`t win an election just by
turning out the base, you know that there are some people in the leadership
of that party who are really worried about the split between the people who
are going to select their nominee and everybody else in the country.

SHARPTON: Tell me, E.J., about the Jenner effect. Your paper did this big
story today about how the Republicans are worried about Caitlyn Jenner and
what this means.

DIONNE: Well, you know, I think the Republicans are shocked at the
positive response to Caitlyn Jenner, and I don`t think they should be. I
mean, what you`ve seen already is a stunning reversal in a very short time
in the public`s attitude towards gays and lesbians. We are now so much
more open to country. Why? Because so many Americans, whether
conservative or liberal or not political have friends and people they
respect who are gay and lesbian. Now that --

SHARPTON: Family members.

DIONNE: I`m sorry, and family members, you bet. And now that`s starting
to happen with transgender people and with Caitlyn Jenner out there, an
admirable figure, somebody people admired, it becomes much more difficult
to just have transgender as some abstract category. It`s about actual
human beings.

SHARPTON: What happens, Victoria, if social conservatives don`t come out
to vote, if they are riling up an audience that is aged and in some cases
no longer there, may have in many ways moved on and become more tolerant in
their views?

SOTO: Yes, and we`re seeing that. In the GOP we know that between 18 and
29 self-identified Republicans are in favor of gay marriage over 60
percent, so that internal battle that we`ve been talking about with the GOP
is going to have to face up to the issue of gay and bisexual issues.
However, again, the Tea Party is alive and well. I think sometimes we
forget about that. I live down in Texas. I see it on a daily basis. They
have a lot of power and a lot of motivation, and going into the 2016, they
are not going to give up that easily.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s going to be an interesting next few months and
certainly after reading the story today in "The Washington Post" on their
fear, you know, I drink a lot of tea. Tea doesn`t taste the same when you
put the bag in cold water.

SOTO: This is true.

SHARPTON: E.J. Dionne, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, thank you for your time

DIONNE: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back with a special look at a feminist icon and
oh, we`ll talk about Gloria Steinem, too.


SHARPTON: Now to honor ground breaking women who helped blaze a new trail,
Susan B. Anthony, sojourner truth, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day
O`Connor. And, of course, Gloria Steinem, and now someone new joins that

That`s right, Miss Piggy. The beloved muppet just received the first
Sackler Centers first award honoring women who are first in their fields.


spirit, for your determination, for your grit, for your humor, for your


SACKLER: I will.


SHARPTON: To avoid accusations she was hogging the spotlight, Miss Piggy
even sat down with Gloria Steinem to talk about what it means to be a
feminist in the 21st Century.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Gloria, what kind of advice have you given miss piggy
on being a feminist icon?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, I don`t believe that we`re icons. I don`t think
I`m an icon either, so I -- I wouldn`t dream of giving her advice.

MISS PIGGY: Only an icon would say that.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: But what`s great about Miss Piggy, and I think each
one of us, is that we are unique, absolutely, and we`re part of the whole


SHARPTON: Congratulations to Miss Piggy and all the wonderful and
inspiring women we all should go hogwild for.


SHARPTON: We`re back with news about the tragic death of Vice President
Biden`s son Beau. The news today that former President Clinton and Mrs.
Clinton will both be in attendance at the funeral tomorrow where President
Obama will deliver the eulogy. Another viewing was held today in
Wilmington, Delaware, where members of the public paid their respects to
the Biden family. After his death, the family helped launch a foundation
in Beau Biden`s name to help the youngest victims of domestic violence.
It`s already raised nearly $200,000 in just a few days, but is this photo
that many people are tonight talking about.

You see, the heartbreak and grief of the Biden family in ways that no words
can express, but when we lose a loved one, whether we be public figures or
not, we can take instruction from what the Bidens did. Form something that
will have a legacy, that will connect their names for eternity. With Beau,
they are supporting a foundation on domestic violence so even though they
weep for losing Beau physically, they can rally around a cause that Beau
stood for and fought for as attorney general in the state of Delaware.

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


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