Skip navigation

PoliticsNation, Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Date: June 11, 2015
Guest: Jawanza Colvin; E.J. Dionne; Jamal Simmons, Terry O`Neill, Linda
Goler Blount, Jerry Penacoli

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on "Politics Nation," news. A judge
says there`s probable cause to charge a Cleveland police officer with
murder in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. What will the
prosecutor do now? We are live in Cleveland with that.

Also tonight, 2016 Republican hopefuls need some advice and they`re going
on a retreat with Mitt Romney to get it?

And the GOP war on women is also an ugly war on the poor. It is a civil
rights issue that needs to be address.

Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m live tonight from Buffalo, New York.
And we start with breaking news. An Ohio judge has found probable cause
that a Cleveland police officer should be charged with murder in the
shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

This opinion is just an advisory statement. The decision to actually
charge officer Timothy Loehmann is still up to the grand jury. But the
judge`s opinion had some powerful words about what happened in that park
when Tamir was shot while playing with an airsoft gun 201 days ago.

The judge says, quote, "the video in question in this case is notorious and
hard to watch. After viewing it several times, this court is still thunder
struck by how quickly this event turned deadly." He added quote "the video
does not display the toy gun in Tamir`s hands. There appears to be little
if any time reflected on the video for Rice to react or respond to any
verbal or audible commands." And quote "literally, the entire encounter is
over in an instant."

The judge also said probable cause exists to charge the other officer in
the case with negligent homicide and dereliction of duty. This opinion
today comes in response to a motion filed by a group of activists and
clergy members.

On Tuesday they used an obscure Ohio law to ask the judge to review the
matter directly. Tonight it rests in the hands of Judge Timothy McGinty.
He will present the case to the grand jury with will decide whether to
charge the officers. But today`s opinion could certainly affect how the
public views that process.

Joining me now from Cleveland is the Reverend Jawanza Colvin. He is one of
the clergy members who filed court papers, an outstanding leader in that
community. They filed the payments asking the judge to review the case.
We are also joined by Ari Melber, NBC`s chief legal correspondent and co-
host of "the Cycle" on MSNBC. Thank you both for being here.


having me.

SHARPTON: Reverend, what is your announcement first of all?

COLVIN: Well obviously, Rev., having been part of those what we call in
the Cleveland eight, those eight individuals who filed the citizens
affidavit, we are pleased to see that the Judge saw what millions of others
saw around the world. And that is the 12-year-old boy did not have a
chance in any way, shape or form to demonstrate any aggressive behavior,
and in less than two seconds his life was taken.

And so, for us, we know that this is only a part of the judicial process.
And that the wheels of justice slowly grind. But we know that this was an
important step toward demonstrating and letting this process know and the
world know that there is a judge and there are people who know that lives
matter and this young boy`s life matters.

SHARPTON: Now, the strategy behind this, you and the Cleveland eight went
and took an obscure law, filed this with the judge, though he did not and
could not directly charge. But he released, what struck me as a very
powerful statement, saying there was no toy gun in Tamir`s hands. Saying
that it happen in an instant. Saying there was no time for Tamir to react
and saying this while the world is looking at Cleveland, while Lebron and
them are doing the championship games. I mean, this is a very serious
impact on the public, if not on the actual charging of the officers.

COLVIN: Absolutely. We`re all in with the Cavs but more important, we`re
all in for justice. You know, it is interesting that people have talked
how this is a 60-year-old law. But the oldest law in the books is thou
shall not kill and thou shall not shed innocent blood.

And so, for us invoking the Ohio revised code, which is really, it is part
of the same subsection in which is also given the right to officers to file
charges when they are, in doing their duties. It is a part of that same
code and that same provision. We simply exercised that. And for us as we
studied and researched ways in which we can begin to exercise citizens`
power, we realized that there was a tool already on the books in which we
could use the tools of democracy in order to move this. And it is for us
really, really important as we become a part of this larger movement for
law enforcement reform around our country. Because we`ve seen response
that have been in many ways destruct and unproductive. But in the
tradition of (INAUDIBLE), with the NAACP, the legal defense funnel, and
that grand tradition, we have now used the law to advance the cause of
equality and the cause of democracy in this country.

SHARPTON: Ari, what impact on the legal side does this have on the overall
investigation into whether charges will be filed in this case by this
prosecutor and the grand jury?

MELBER: Well, I think this kind of order has a significant real world
impact because the video that we are watching up on the screen, the video
that so many people have seen and debated exists out in the real world.
This is an independent judge issuing his own independent conclusions about
what the video means whether under the probable cause standard that was at
play here, that lower standard, whether there is a justification for
charges. So that`s simply significant because it is new today. That it
wasn`t the case yesterday. So six months into an investigation, this
really is the first statement from the legal process.

Now having said that, as you mention in your set-up to this news, Rev., it
is certainly true that there is no automatic legal trigger here and the
judge in careful legal language emphasizes that in the order. Saying that
while it is possible that a prosecutor through the grand jury system can
base further charges, partly on what was found here because it is legally
significant. They do not have to under the rules, under the state laws of
Ohio while this is a mechanism to have this advisory opinion and review, it
is up to the sole discretion of the prosecutors how to handle the case.

The only other point I`ll make which is somewhat obvious but certainly true
tonight, is that these kinds of cases aren`t processed in a vacuum to begin
with. There is tremendous pressure on DAs who work the police, day in, day
out to process every other case to be very careful when they`re dealing
with allegations of police misconduct.

So for those who are concerned that there is a potential conflict there,
which doesn`t mean by the way, there is anything wrong with what the police
or the prosecutors are doing, but rather an inherent conflict in working so
closely with certain people and then turning around and trying to
investigate them. For those concerns about that kind of thing, this is an
independent adjudication of the issue that is countervailing pressure, that
goes pressed against that and says well, hey, look what a judge already
found. There is a problem here. There is potential crime here. And so,
ultimately, that should have some impact, although, it doesn`t
automatically do anything.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m certainly one that has raised that possibility of a
conflict all across the country. And in fact, I`m in Buffalo speaking at
the judges conference as to that now.

We`ve just received a statement from prosecutor Timothy McGinty. And this
is what he says. Quote, "this case as with other, with all the fatal use
of deadly force cases involving law enforcement officers will go to the
grand jury. That has been the policy of this office since I was elected.
Ultimately, the grand jury decides whether police officers are charged or
not charged."

Ari, what do you read from that? And what concerns me, and as people know,
I`ve been out to Cleveland, spoke at the justice revival, Reverend Colvin.
So I`m very concerned about this case as many Americans are that it come to
a just conclusion.

But the question remains, this is the same prosecutor that took over almost
two years to prosecute in the case that we just saw, the acquittal. He
took almost two years to even bring charges there. Where 140 shots were
shot at two unarmed people in a car, Ari. So, could he try to wait this
out? And people forget what this judge said?

MELBER: Well, I don`t want to prejudge his process here with the grand
jury and we don`t know, of course, what`s happening in that process as they
go through it. It is generally fairly secret under the rules.

I will say that it seems potentially problematic in the statement you just
read for him to put so much of the onus or the burden on the grand jury
itself, as if that is somehow something the jurors are doing.

I think any lawyer will tell you, whether they`re prosecutorial or defense
minded, that everyone knows in the American system the prosecutor has great
weight when they present to the grand jury. And so, one of the concerns is
that on every other normal day in case, the prosecutors come in and push
hard to get indictments. And then suddenly in some cases of alleged police
misconduct, suddenly it is a different mode and they`re saying, well, we
just leave it to the jurors. That`s a pattern we have seen. Again, not to
prejudge this particular case. Too early to know. But the wording there
does raise that kind of concern.

SHARPTON: But doesn`t the fact, Rev. Colvin, that this judge came out
after you filed this Tuesday, and in less than a week he came to a
conclusion, how can the then prosecutor not act in a reasonable point of
time to bring this to a grand jury and proceed? Certainly he is under
pressure to deal with what a judge, an independent judge had to say in a
very short period of time saying there`s nothing there. There`s no gun in
his hand. There is no audible or verbal response that he could have given,
that he heard that he could have responded to.

COLVIN: Absolutely. Now, we have had a judge look at the video. We`ve
had the county sheriff to conduct investigation. And now even the county
prosecutor said he will conduct his own investigation.

Well, the world is now watching. And so interesting from that statement
that you read, 99.9 percent of people who go through grand jury process
don`t get the luxury of going into the grand jury process without there at
least being a charge. What the prosecutor is saying, when he is not only
just talking about an indictment, that he potentially would have these
officers and have the evidence presented against these officers or
regarding these officers without even a charge. And that is not what we
see in our criminal justice system every day.

Rev., you work on these issues, I work on these issues at a local and a
state level. And 99 percent of the people who go through grand jury
process, when they have already been arrested, they go into the grand jury
process already having been charged. And then it is upon the prosecutor to
lay out the case to substantiate any number of those charges.

What you`re hearing from, Mr. McGinty, is that without-- potentially
without having them charged, they would be able to go into the grand jury,
maybe offer self-serving testimony out which then he could determine
whether it is a charge and an indictment. And I would like to hear from
the attorney also being interviewed. Because I`m not sure if that`s what
99 percent of the people who go through the criminal justice system
experience. Almost as if police are protecting.

SHARPTON: I don`t know if it is 99 percent. But as we wind up, I know
that in the last several weeks, we saw in South Carolina, in the deep
south, an officer was arrested and charged and he was just indicted by the
grand jury this week. We saw in Baltimore a charge, just an indictment
this week. So clearly what you`re saying has been a pattern, we`ve seen
recently in different parts of the country, including the deep south. So I
think the onus is on this prosecutor.

I am reminded the former chief New York in New York, former chief judge
(INAUDIBLE) Air used to say, you, if a prosecutor wants to, he can indict a
ham sandwich. The reverse is also true, he cannot indict a ham sandwich if
he doesn`t want to. The world will be watching to see when this prosecutor
does, particularly now judge has said this, an independent judge looking at
the evidence. Thank you both for your time tonight.

Ari Melber and Reverend Jawanza Colvin, thank you both for your time

MELBER: Thank you.

COLVIN: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Make sure you watch Ari on "the Cycle," weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, where are the two killers on the loose? Today, a potential lead
with dogs picking up a scent. And did a prison worker help them escape
because she was in love with the killer?

Also tonight, the war against women`s rights, why proposed abortion
restriction hit poor women the hardest? It is a civil rights issue that we
need to talk about.

And a celebrity reporter interviewing President Obama gets personal on how
Obamacare saved his life. He joins us ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Because you pretty much saved my finances
and my life.

of battling courageously against an illness.



SHARPTON: Now, a potential lead in the manhunt for the murderers who broke
out of the prison in upstate New York six days ago. Today, police swarming
this wooded area just miles from the prison after a police dog picked up
the scent of one or both of the escaped inmates. More than 500 law
enforcement personnel in the area, looking for Richard Matt and David
Sweat. They`re using search helicopters, closing roads and telling
residents to lock their doors.

But a new focus today on prison worker Joyce Mitchell. Sources familiar
with the investigation telling NBC News she planned to be their getaway
driver and that Richard Matt charmed Mitchell, and quote, "she thought it
was love." Mitchell is expected to be charged with a crime and she is
talking to investigators. We`ll be following this story.


SHARPTON: Have you noticed a trend? Everyone seems to be talking about
income inequality. Not just Democrats, Republicans too. You can`t deny,
it will be a defining issue of the 2016 election. That`s why what is
happening right now is kind of funny.

Top Republican hopefuls are gathered at this Utah resort for a three-day
retreat with Mitt Romney. Yes, the candidates are looking to Mitt Romney
for help. Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, Chris
Christie, Carly Fiorina, they want his advice.

But maybe it`s smart. With the country demanding fairness, they can learn
a lot from his mistakes.


people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right? There
are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who
that they are victims, who believe that government has responsibility to
care for them, who believe they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to
housing, to you name it.


SHARPTON: This was a peak into Romney`s world. The haves and the have-
nots. The makers versus the takers. It was a defining moment for the
campaign and for the country. Romney would later agree, saying it, did,
quote, "real damage to his campaign."

Today income equality is dominating politics. Look at this number, 66.
Sixty six percent say the distribution of wealth should be more even. But
these candidates aren`t getting it. They still sound just like Mitt


ROMNEY: State waivers from Obamacare to begin its repeal.


ROMNEY: Propose that we bring our rate from 35 down to 25.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Bring up corporate down to 25

ROMNEY: I will act to speed the approval of the key stone pipe line.

not to have agreed to build the pipeline.

ROMNEY: The spread of the culture dependency.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Nobody signed my year book dear Scott,
good luck become independent the government, right? That`s not the
American dream.


SHARPTON: If the GOP wants a chance, they need to change and get real
about the middle class. Get real on minimum wage. Get real on taxes. And
get real, period.

Joining me now are E.J. Dionne from the "Washington Post" and Democratic
strategist Jamal Simmons. Thank you both for being here.


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

SHARPTON: E.J., have 2016 Republicans learned anything from the 47 percent

DIONNE: Well, I suspect Mitt Romney is going to tell them, make sure that
when workers are working the fund-raiser, have them leave their cell phones
outside the door. And I suspect he is also going to tell them, never use
the words self-deportation.

But I think there`s something important about that 47 percent that suggests
Republicans have solved the problem. David Frum sometimes dissident
conservative writer noted that When Romney said those words, he was
speaking for a view deeply held in the Republican party. People have been
talking that way in the party for a long time about makers and takers and
all that kind of thing.

And so, it wasn`t a shock to anybody in that room. And I think it just
came off on his lips. And the problem Republicans have is their donor base
especially. But the primary base is well to the right of the rest of to
the party. And they have to say a lot of things during these primaries
that could well hurt them in the election which is what happened. And it
is not just liberals they lose. Barack Obama carried moderates by 15
points over Mitt Romney. And if they keep talking like this, they`re going
to lose moderates again.

SHARPTON: Jamal, the 2016 GOP economic policies sound just like Mitt
Romney`s. Should that make Republicans worry?

SIMMONS: They should absolutely be worried. Here`s the problem.

The problem is that Republicans have been out there telling people they
wanted to get back to a flat tax. Telling people they wanted to get rid of
Obamacare. Ted Cruz himself said he wanted to repeal every single one of
President Obama`s executive orders. That means that includes executive
order that saved the dreamers, the young people who were brought here as
children from other countries and who are now immigrants. That means that
he wants to repeal the order that keeps them in the country and keeps them
from being hounded by the immigration police.

So these are the things that they are going to have to answer for. And as
soon as the American public gets pass all the back and forth of the primary
eating pigs in a blanket at the Iowa state fair and all that stuff. As
soon as they get pass that, they start listening to what these guys wanted
to do. They`re going to know they don`t really want any of them in the
White House.

SHARPTON: But E.J., isn`t this really going to be about fairness? I want
to show you this poll. This is on the issues of income inequality, 57
percent say Americans should do more to reduce the gap between rich and
poor, 68 percent support raising taxes on millionaires, and 71 percent
support raising the federal wage to $10.10. How central to 2016 will this

DIONNE: Well, I think these issues are why Republicans can`t get a lead on
Hillary Clinton. You know, if you look at the polls, Hillary Clinton has
had a pretty rough six months. So then story after story about her and the
Clinton foundation and the server and all of that, and she`s lost some
ground on some of her ratings. But she is still running ahead of all these
Republicans in head to head tests.

And why is she doing that? She is doing that because on a whole lot of
these issues that you just mentioned. The country is closer to her and the
Democrats than it is to them. And I think we are going to have a really
interesting moment over the next couple of months because she announces on
Saturday, she is going to be giving a lot of speeches on policy trying to
push this more to a lecture of policy and all these other stories. And I
think it is going to be very interesting to see how the Republicans react
to that. Because on a lot of issues she is going to pick, they are going
to be very popular in things like family leave or better childcare, higher
minimum wage. It is going to be a real test for them this summer.

SHARPTON: Let me go to a related issue, Jamal, at the 2012, after that
campaign, Romney also said he failed to reach out to minority voters.
Listen to this.


ROMNEY: We weren`t effective in taking my message, primarily to the
minority voters, TO Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans, other
minorities. That was a real weakness. We`ve got to do a better job taking
our message to them to help us understand why we are the party with the
ideas that will make their life better.


SHARPTON: How are the 2016 Republicans doing in that area, Jamal?

SIMMONS: Frankly, the only one who is doing anything remotely associated
with people of color is Rand Paul who has been fairly out front, talking
about criminal justice issues and police militarization and all that stuff.
But for the rest of the candidates, all the big mainstream candidate, you
haven`t heard anything and their policies are clearly going to take us into
the direction.

I have a suspicion, Rev. I have a suspicion that every time Jeb Bush is on
the news, his name is a negative ad for Republicans. The very fact that
you say Bush is a negative ad for Republicans, meanwhile, Hillary Clinton,
of the things that holding her up is her name is like a positive ad for
Democrats. People have a good feeling about the Bill Clinton era. Bad
feelings about the George Bush era. And so they are going to be digging
out of that hole as long as Jeb Bush is on the scene.

SHARPTON: E.J., he mentioned Rand Paul who, by the way, is not at the
Romney retreat. But he mentioned Jeb Bush. And your paper wrote an
article about his campaigns stumbles saying quote "he has slip in polls
from the presumed frontrunner to one of several candidates jumbled toward
the top of an increasingly crowded field. What went wrong with Jeb Bush,
E.J.? Is there a GOP frontrunner now in your opinion?

SHARPTON: No, I don`t think there is a frontrunner right now. I mean,
that is a very good piece that talks both about structural problems and
some real infighting inside that campaign. But also, I think Jeb Bush was
never as strong as he looked, partly because of the Bush name, as Jamal
suggested. And it is not just that Bush was unpopular with liberals or
Democrats, a lot of conservatives think Bush was too moderate and they`re
holding that against Jeb Bush. And I don`t think he was prepared for the
kind of questioning he could get when he couldn`t answer a question about
what he would do about Iraq and how he responded to his brother`s policy,
he should have known that question was coming about one year ago and he
wasn`t ready.

SHARPTON: E.J. Dionne and Jamal Simmons, thank you both for your time

SIMMONS: Thank you, Rev.

DIONNE: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, President Obama`s extra push on health care. A
surprising personal twist when a reporter tells the President Obamacare
saved his life.

But first, a license to discriminate in North Carolina. We`ll give you
that story next.


SHARPTON: Today, North Carolina`s religious exemption gay marriage bill
became law. As of right now, court officials in North Carolina can refuse
to perform gay marriages based on personal belief. Republican Governor Pat
McCrory initially vetoed the bill. But today the republican legislature
voted to override it. So even though gay marriage is legal in North
Carolina, court officials can now refuse to perform gay marriages based on,
quote, "sincerely held religious objection." Do you know what I call this?
A license to discriminate. And we must fight it.


SHARPTON: Women`s right under attack by conservatives in the halls of
Congress and in states across this country. Today GOP Senator Lindsey
Graham introduced a controversial 20-week abortion ban. And on Tuesday, a
federal court upheld a Texas law that could force all but eight abortion
clinics in the state to close. Right now, more than half the states have
at least four abortion restrictions in effect and women are pushing back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a nationwide fight against women and Texas is
grounds. We refuse to be silent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The implication that women are incapable of personal
pregnancy decisions themselves without the interference of state lawmakers
is beyond insulting. It is ridiculous.

KRISTY DAVIS, WLWT ANCHOR/REPORTER: The fate of the center, the judge
decides whether or not to uphold a ruling to shut it down.

CANDACE CHRISTIANSEN: Any legislation that takes away choices from women I
believe harms women. It harms everybody.


SHARPTON: This attack on women`s rights is also an issue of social justice
and fairness. These rulings disproportionately affect low income women and
women of color. Take a look at this. A woman seeking an abortion in Texas
would need to take a day off work to go to a clinic. She will miss work
and she may not get paid. There`s a mandatory 24-hour waiting period.
Another day off work. Another day without pay. With clinics shutting
down, she may have to drive over 150 miles to see doctor. If she doesn`t
have a car, she is out of luck. And if she already has a child, which a
large percentage of women seeking an abortion do, she would have to find
childcare while she is away. Who is going to pay for that? And then there
is the cost of the procedure itself. Without insurance, that could be
upwards of $1,000. The more barriers that go up, the more it affects the
most vulnerable women in our society.

Joining me now, Terry O`Neill, president of the National Organization for
Women and Linda Goler Blount, president and CEO of Black Women`s Health
Imperative. Thank you both for being here.

for having us.


SHARPTON: Terry, are these attacks on abortion rights a particular problem
for low income women?

O`NEILL: They absolutely are, Reverend. In fact, two thirds of minimum
wage workers in this country are women. Very disproportionately women of
color. Minimum wage workers are the ones who don`t have health insurance,
they also don`t have paid time off. So, exactly what you were talking
about. The delays, the requirement of going to the doctor twice, the
shutting down clinics, you have to drive, some women in Texas are now going
to have to drive upwards of 300 miles just to get to an abortion clinic.
And by the way, the abortion clinics also provide other reproductive health
care services so you are withholding healthcare services beyond abortion
along the spectrum of reproductive healthcare. So you`re making life much,
much harder especially for the most vulnerable women and it is a complete
outrage. That`s why the National Organization for Women is calling these
things anti-life as well as anti-women legislation.

SHARPTON: Linda, isn`t it time to start thinking about access to abortion
as an issue of fairness and social justice?

BLOUNT: Rev, it absolutely is. Access to abortion is part of health care.
This is a reproductive justice issue. And when women don`t have access to
services, as you`ve mentioned, as Terry has mentioned, then they can`t make
the best choices for themselves. And when we`re talking about low income
women and women of color who can`t get this kind of access and are forced
to have children that they are not financially prepared for. That then
plunges them deeper into poverty and their children into poverty and we
know that children who are born into poverty have about a one in 25 chance
of ever getting out of poverty. So this issue actually causes many women
to live in poverty and may never be able to get out of it or their

SHARPTON: Terry, in an interview this year on MSNBC, Supreme Court Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg talked about how poor women are affected by these
abortion restrictions. Listen to this.


women. It is not true that it is inaccessible women of means. And that`s
the crying shame. We will never see a day when women of means are not able
to get a safe abortion in this country. Who does that hurt? It hurts
women who lack the means to go someplace else. All the restrictions, they
operate against the woman who doesn`t have freedom to move, to go where she
is able to get safely. What she wants.


SHARPTON: What`s your reaction to the justice?

O`NEILL: She`s absolutely right. In fact it is as if we`ve been pushed
back to the 1950s. Part of the reason why Roe v. Wade was decided the way
it was, is that the justices realized that high income women, well-off
women were able to get safe abortions. It was the lower income and in fact
middle income women that were being restricted. And they`re thinking
impart was, why should these women have access to good health care and all
these other women not have access to health care. And then they decided
Roe v. Wade. We cannot allow men like Antonin Scalia and John Roberts and
Samuel Alito to push us back to the 1950s. And quite frankly women are
mobilizing right now. And we`re not going to allow them to do that.

SHARPTON: The reason I`m talking about this today, we`re bringing it up
because Lindsey Graham is still pushing this issue. They`re still pushing
this. And Lindsey Graham came out big and bold and strong in this today as
a presidential candidate. And a member of the Senate. I want to go back
to something Terry said, Linda. That these clinics don`t just provide
abortions. They provide a lot of other health services. Breast and
cervical cancer screenings, diabetes and high pressure screenings, wellness
exams, and family planning services. How vital are these services to low
income women, Linda?

BLOUNT: These services are absolutely vital. Think about these clinics.
This is where a lot of women have their usual source of primary care. If
it were not for these clinics, they wouldn`t have access to care. And
these services diabetes, screenings as you`ve mentioned, breast and
cervical cancer screenings save lives. Many women are alive today because
they had access to these services. If they suddenly have to drive 300
miles to get access to a mammogram, for example, or cervical cancer
screening, they won`t do it. Because as you said, they`ll either miss time
from work, not get paid or many instances just get fired. Because they
don`t have positions of power in their employment. And this is what`s
going to happen and we`ll see this happen across the country if these
restrictions take place the way they`ve been proposed.

SHARPTON: Terry O`Neill and Linda Goler Blount, thank you both for your

BLOUNT: Thank you, Reverend.

O`NEILL: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Jeb Bush is responding to those comments he once made
about shaming single mothers. And an interview with President Obama gets
personal. From the reporter who says the President saved his life. He
joins me next.


SHARPTON: Within the next few weeks, the Supreme Court is set to make a
major ruling on ObamaCare that could lead millions of people without
coverage. President Obama says this isn`t a political issue. It is a
moral issue. This law should be kept because it saves lives. One of those
helped by the law is Jerry Penacoli, a correspondent on the "Extra" TV
show. He was diagnosed with cancer but was able to get treatment because
of the Affordable Care Act. Today, he got a chance to interview the
President about the laws that helped him. And has helped so many others.


JERRY PENACOLI, "EXTRA" CORRESPONDENT: Thank you because you pretty much
saved my finances and my life.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Jerry, I know the story of you sort
of battling courageously against an illness. And one of the goals for the
Affordable Care Act was not just to help people get insurance who didn`t
have it. It was to give better protections for people who already had

PENACOLI: I think a lot of people don`t understand that.

OBAMA: You were a perfect example of somebody who could be caught with
debilitating bills or alternatively not being able to get the care you
need. This has nothing for me to do with politics. I`m just letting you
know that it made a difference in your life.

PENACOLI: That it made a difference in my life.

OBAMA: I appreciate that.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is "Extra" correspondent, Jerry Penacoli so much
for being here.

PENACOLI: Of course Reverend Sharpton, nice to see you after all these

SHARPTON: Yes. Nice to see you as well. You know, first, I want to hear
more about your story. Tell us how this law helped to save you.

PENACOLI: Okay. Well, basically in 2010 I was diagnosed with melanoma
stage three. Which is obviously a very serious diagnosis. And about a
month later I was given the old one-two punch with the diagnosis of thyroid
cancer, unrelated. And at the time, I had been for probably a decade
before that, I had been dealing with a blood disorder that is very common,
actually. Where your platelets become very dangerously low. It has a long
name which I won`t bore you with. That issue actually took my insurance
benefits to just an all-time low. And when I was diagnosed with these two
forms of cancer, my benefits ran out. My lifetime benefits maxed out.

So, I was sitting at home sick and calling social workers, trying to find
out how I was going to be able to pay these bills. Now, I`m just a middle
class individual. Imagine all the other people who don`t have a platform
like this to really tell their story. So once the Affordable Care Act was
enacted, it was, you know, I heard a hallelujah chorus in my head and
everything else because my lifetime benefits were back. And there was even
better news. There was no cap.

SHARPTON: What is so striking about your story, here you are, clearly a
successful person. Solid middle class American. Not looking for a
handout. Not a freeloader but just got beyond the mean of what you could
pay with insurance. And as the President said in your interview that we
showed and thank you for letting us show it tonight.

PENACOLI: Of course, absolutely.

SHARPTON: As he said, this is not just somebody looking for insurance for
the first time. This is someone who did everything, the right thing to do.
Cover themselves. And it just went beyond your ability to be able to
afford it.

PENACOLI: Yes. Now, listen, I want to make this really clear too,
Reverend Sharpton. That, you know, for me, and I said this to President
Obama today, this really doesn`t have anything to do with politics. I am
not taking a stance on the Affordable Care Act. You know, it is very
polarizing issue as you know. And there are people at home right now,
probably you know, who are against and it want it repealed for saying, oh,
well, whatever. Here`s a guy that could have afforded any treatment. Oh,
that`s not true. I couldn`t.

SHARPTON: The issue that you raise about it is polarizing, the Affordable
Care Act. But I don`t feel it should be. And on many issues I take
positions are polarizing to some Americans. We`re talking about health
care. We`re talking about you who we watch on "Extra." We`re talking
about moms and dads in Middle America that just need to be able to sustain
their health insurance. That shouldn`t be a partisan issue and shouldn`t
be polarizing to anyone. It`s a moral issue as far as I`m concern.

PENACOLI: Yes. And President Obama would agree with you. And the bottom-
line for me is no matter what you think of President Obama, whatever his
stand is. This law helped me. Aid good experience. And that`s it period.
And that`s as far as --

SHARPTON: That`s it.

PENACOLI: You know, that`s really plain and simple.

SHARPTON: Well, I appreciate you coming on and sharing it. And again, it
has nothing to do with politics. It is your story. I don`t know if you
voted for Romney or Obama and it doesn`t matter. What matters is that
you`re able to do what you need to do to remain Jerry Penacoli. Thank you
so much Jerry for your time tonight and congratulations on the interview
with the President tonight.

PENACOLI: Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: You can watch more of Jerry`s interview with the President
tonight on "Extra." Check your local listings for the time.

Coming up, Jeb Bush speaks on that controversy over his comments he made
about shaming single mom.


SHARPTON: Last night I talked about those old Jeb Bush comments saying
that we should, quote, "shame single moms." Today he is responding to the
controversy. We`ll play you what he said, next.


SHARPTON: Today Jeb Bush addressed those controversial comments about
single moms that he made back in a book back in 1995. He wrote, quote,
"one of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and
more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that
there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior. No reason to feel
shame. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching
some sense of ridicule to this behavior."

Does Governor Bush still feel this way? That single mothers should be
shamed and ridiculed? He was asked about it earlier today.


book, the book was written in 1995. My views have evolved over time. But
my views about the importance of dads being involved in the lives of
children hasn`t changed at all.


SHARPTON: He says his views have evolved. But he side stepped the
specific comments about shaming single moms. Millions of single moms
deserve a full explanation.


BUSH: The country has moved in the wrong direction. There were 40 percent
plus percent out of wedlock birth rate. And if you think about this from
the perspective of children, it is a huge challenge for single moms to
raise children in the world that we`re in today.


SHARPTON: Single moms do face challenges. But they should be celebrated
for all they do. Not shamed. After my parents broke up, I was raised by a
single mom. I know the struggles they could face and they don`t need it
added to their struggles to be shamed and to be ridiculed. And to be
suggested by someone who wants to lead their nation.

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


<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2015 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Transcription Copyright 2015 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of

Sponsored links

Resource guide