Skip navigation

PoliticsNation, Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Date: June 24, 2015
Guest: Terri Sewell; Terri Sewell; Brian Levin, Shira Center, Jimmy
Williams, Ryan Grim

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST, THE ED SHOW: That is "the Ed Show." I`m Ed
Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts now.

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on "Politics Nation," honoring their
memory, a new push to turn grief into action and restore voting rights for
all Americans.

Also the truth about terror threats here at home. New evidence this kind
of hate is what police are really worried about.

And have you heard about Jindal mania? What about Trump-mentum? The GOP
field gets bigger every day and party leaders are starting to sweat.

Welcome to "Politics Nation," we begin tonight with their fight for change
after the tragedy in Charleston. Today a horse-drawn carriage brought the
body of state senator and reverend Clementa Pinckney to the South Carolina
state house, where he lay in state for four hours, giving mourners a chance
to pay their respects.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was very strong in his faith. He loved his fellow
man. He cared about his family, and he loved his children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He fought long and hard for righteousness. He fought
in the lord`s honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I knew the type of life that senator Clementa Pinckney
lived, so I`m joyful even though I`m sad.


SHARPTON: As Senator Pinckney lay in state, the confederate flag still
flew on the state house grounds. And a black drape blocked the sight of
that flag from the mourners. But as South Carolina`s debate over the flag
continues, we`re seeing action all across the country.

Alabama`s governor ordered confederate flags be taken down today from state
house grounds.

Mississippi`s Republican senators have joined the push to remove
confederate imagery if their state flag.

More and more, governors want to take the flag off license plates, and
we`re seeing a renewed push to protect the right to vote all across the
country. Tomorrow marks two years since the Supreme Court`s ruling that
gutted the voting rights act. Today Democrats introduced a bold new bill
to restore its protections.


SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: A generation ago Martin Luther King told
people at the church in Charleston, that voting rights was the key to
achieving the American dream. Dr. King was right then, and that ideal
remains true today.


SHARPTON: Dr. King talked about voting rights at mother Emanuel church.
Today we can renew the fight for those rights in honor of those who died at
that church.

Joining me now are two sponsors of the bill, Senator Patrick Leahy,
Democrat of Vermont and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee
and Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Democrat of Alabama, thank you both for
being here.

LEAHY: Thank you.

TERRI SEWELL (D), ALABAMA: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Senator, you referenced mother Emanuel church where this
horrific act this week had happened, and you referenced them in your
remarks from Dr. King had spoken there years ago. Could this tragedy,
senator, help inspire a new commitment to voting rights?

LEAHY: Well, I would hope that we have that commitment to voting rights,
like everyone has said, this never should have happened. This is America,
some of the blatant racism, we still see in this country. But let`s also,
we focus on what happened there, we focus on getting rid of the symbol of
the flag. But let`s do what is even more important. Let`s make sure that
the people who can decide issues like the flag, have a right to vote.

Right now, more and more blacks, Hispanics, others in this country, are
denied the right to vote. Since the Supreme Court`s decision which goes
against any reasoning whatsoever. Since that happened, you`ve state after
state pass laws that are designed solely to disenfranchise voters. That`s
in the a nation we should be proud of. That`s a nation we should change.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Sewell, you know, it`s been a very difficult week,
not only for Charleston, but for the whole country, and I remember sitting
in the Supreme Court that day at the hearing with you and congressman John
Lewis, Martin Luther King III, and all of us, when one Supreme Court
justice talked about a racial entitlement, I remember you and I for years
marching across from bridge in Selma, remembering how we got this right in
the first place, in your hometown. Do you think -- I think that the
senator said it right -- symbolism is great. I want to see the symbols
down, but the substance on protecting the right to vote is everything. If
we don`t get that, taking the flag down will only be window dressing.

SEWELL: I think you`re absolutely right. You know, I applaud all the
efforts to take down the confederate flag. In fact, it`s a long time
overdue, but at the end of the day, it`s about action. It`s about
substance over a symbol. And I think that I was honored today to be able
to drop this bill, the voting rights advancement act with senator Leahy on
the senator side. So many activists groups have worked hard to come up
with a modern day formula that will restore preclearance back into the
voting rights act.

You know, those of us who are legacies of John Lewis and the movement on
that bridge, we owe it to the food soldiers, to not just have a Kumbaya
moment, like we did for the 50th anniversary that day, it was great, a lot
of speeches, but at the end of the day, it`s about what we`re going to do,
how we`re going to really rectify the situation and promote racial equality
and justice for all. It starts with voter equality.

SHARPTON: Now, senator, I want to get into some of the details for your
new voting bill. It requires 13 states to get preclearance for election
rule changes. It says federal approval for new voter I.D. laws and other
changes that target minority voters, and public posting of any changes to
voting rules with 180 days of an election. Now, this bill goes even
further than the others proposed in the past. Why are these protections
need, senator Leahy?

LEAHY: Because we have seen that when you don`t have those protections,
Reverend, voters are disenfranchised. Look at a court that found the Texas
photo I.D. law, an unconstitutional poll tax. Well, it could have
disenfranchised 600,000 voters. That`s the population of my whole state.


LEAHY: This is just ridiculous. We want to make sure every state has to
follow the law. If any state doesn`t, then they`re going to have to prove
to the department of justice why and why they haven`t disenfranchised
voters. We have areas where we know the voters have been disenfranchised
over and over, let`s change that.

I mean, I would say to those governors and those legislators that think
that they get a temporary advantage by cutting people off the rolls, what
are you doing? You`re diminishing this great country. You`re making it
less of a country. You`re doing things that some of the terrorists groups
from outside our borders could never do, you`re taking away our right to
vote. Don`t do that. That is not an American way.

SHARPTON: You know, congresswoman, the need for this bill is so high.
Twenty one states have passed voter restriction since 2010, and in 14 of
those states, next year will be the first time they`ll be in effect for a
presidential election. So many are saying, well, I didn`t feel the impact.
In 14 of those states, they don`t kick in until now.

SEWELL: Yes, you`re absolutely right. Reverend Al, this bill will
actually have covered 13 states, including the state of Alabama. Previous
bills that have been introduced while bipartisan, only had four states that
were covered. And by including Alabama, North Carolina, and South
Carolina, as well as Mississippi and Louisiana, even New York and
California would actually be covered under our act. I think it`s so
important that we protect vulnerable communities who deserve to have the
right to vote. You know, Reverend Al, my dad has had a series of strokes
over the last ten years, he`s been wheelchair bound. Alabama`s photo I.D.
law restricted his ability to vote. Now, he was highly motivated because I
was on the ballot. But it took us over five hours to get my dad moving and
in to the Dallas County courthouse and up those stairs in order to get his
photo I.D.


SEWELL: I think about all our senior citizens who have been
disenfranchised by these photo I.D. laws. And you know, this bill that we
introduced today, I`m just so proud of senator Leahy`s leadership on this
and all of the civil rights activist groups that have been so involved in
writing this bill. You know, it`s truly an ambitious bill, but you know
what, it`s all about being inclusive in making sure that all Americans had
that sacred right to vote.

SHARPTON: And it ought to be bipartisan, because I remember in 2006, I was
among the civil rights leadership there, senator Leahy and others, stood as
George Bush signed a -- not the re-enactment --

SEWELL: The reauthorization.

SHARPTON: -- but the reauthorization of the voting rights bill. So this
is something that all parties ought to be in. I have to go, but I need to
ask you congresswoman, your reaction to your governor in Alabama ordering
the confederate flag being taken down in Alabama?

SEWELL: Listen. The confederate flag is a relic of the past and that`s
where it should always have remained. I think it`s important that my
governor did take it down off the grounds of the state capital. But you
know, I think the more meaningful change is to get all Alabamians and all
Americans the right to vote. And I think that it`s all about the
substance, and not just about symbol.

But I am proud that he was able to remove it. It should have been history
in the past where it belongs. It`s always been a symbol of the fight
against, you know, abolishing slavery. And so, it is a symbol that doesn`t
have a real place in American history today.

But I really want my governor and my whole Alabama delegation to do more
than just take down the flag. I`d like for them to be supportive of
efforts like this voting rights amendment act to be inclusive and to stop
the restriction of access to voting all across this country.

SHARPTON: Well, that`s what we need. That`s what we must challenge going
forward. I believe that that is what our reverend Pinckney, who I knew,
would want.

Senator Leahy, thank you for your leadership here.

LEAHY: Thank you. I thank the congresswoman. The congresswoman has been
fantastic in her eloquence about this, and she`s right.

SHARPTON: Well, the congresswoman is fantastic, period.

Thank you both for your time tonight. And for your work on this important

Coming up, what`s the bigger threat here at home? Islamic extremism or
neo-Nazi hate? The answer may surprise you.

Also, how President Obama is rewriting the rules about what a lame duck can
do. A big victory for him today in Congress.

Plus, Bobby Jindal is jumping in. Donald Trump has momentum, and GOP
leaders are not happy about it.

Also, how would you feel if your mom put up a billboard celebrating your
graduation? Proud? Embarrassed? You`ll hear from this young man and his
mom, ahead.


SHARPTON: Coming up, terrorism and the accused Charleston shooter. Today
the FBI says it`s not ruling out terror charges. And a new report lacks at
who commits extremist murders in America. It might surprise you. And it`s
coming up next.


SHARPTON: Now to the Charleston shooting and what it reveals about terror
attacks in America. Today, the FBI said it`s not ruling out terrorism in
its investigation into suspect Dylann Roof, who wore apartheid flags and
apparently published a racist manifesto. Now, a new report is shedding
light on other acts of terror in the U.S., showing he may be part of a
surprising pattern.

The report reveals extremist killers here at home are more often motivated
by anti-government, or white supremacist views than by radical Islamic
views. Since 9/11, 48 people in the U.S. have been killed by non-Muslim
extremists, 26 people have been killed by Muslim extremists. It gives new
context to the shooting in Charleston and other attacks we`ve heard about
all around the country.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By the bodies, the killers allegedly placed a
swastika, a don`t tread on me flag and a note declaring the start a

The night of Frein`s (ph) arrest, Frein (ph) told police he shot the
troopers because he want a change in government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say this is the man responsible, 40 year old
Wade Paige, the former singer in a white supremacist band, showed up at
this Sikh temple with .9 millimeter handgun, plenty of ammunition and said
nothing before opening fire, killing six members.


SHARPTON: Joining me now are Brian Levin, the director of the center for
the study of hate and extremism at California State University, and Jim
Cavanaugh, retired ATF special agent in-charge who helped track down the
Olympic bomber in the `90s. Thank you both for being here.


SHARPTON: Brian, some Americans may be surprised at this finding. More
killings by non-Muslim extremists than by Muslim extremists. What`s your
take on this?

availability and unfamiliar event uristics (ph), that`s what economist
called. But what it basically means is our fears aren`t dictated by the
facts. So the manner in which these cases are reported, how long they`re
reported, skews our fears about terrorist attack. So there have been more
homicides by anti-government and racist extremists, than they have by
southeast jihadist extremists. However, if you expand it into all
casualties, including injuries, then the southeast jihadists have a greater
number of victims. So it all depends on how you look at the data.

The other thing I want to say, there`s qualitative stuff going on as well.
And that is with ISIS, we have the most sophisticated Internet, recruiting
and radicalization effort ever done. So that affects things as well.
There`s a danger in using retrospective data, but I think it`s effective in
this regard, and that`s we are not putting enough resources at the anti-
government racist, extremist end of the spectrum. We`re putting all our
eggs in one basket because we are perceiving that that threat is greater,
and that`s where we`re going wrong.

SHARPTON: Where in fact, in some areas, it is much less, and other areas
it`s greater, but to only concentrate on that area only helps enables the
other areas of the racist and the supremacist and the anti-government crowd
that is actually doing a lot of the damage, and in some areas, more damage.

You know, Jim, researchers asked law officers around the country for their
three top terror threats, 74 percent listed the threat of anti-government
violence. Whereas only 39 percent listed Al-Qaeda inspired violence. So
law enforcement is clear about what the more likely threat is, according to
this, right?

CAVANAUGH: Right, Reverend Al. Well, you know, police officers know
what`s happening in their area, they know who`s dangerous, they know who`s
done those kinds of crimes in the past, who`s violent. They know the
demographic of these Nazis and white hate guys that are out there. They
have come across them. They learned about them. They`ve worked on them
with federal officers to try to stop them. So they`re very well-tuned in.

And just like Brian said, you know, this stuff happens. It`s been going on
for 50 years. I mean, the connections are amazing. If you look at James
Earlray (ph), who might have been trying to get a reward offered by a white
citizen council member in St. Louis to kill Dr. King, and how this guy,
Roof, is inspired by the council of conservative citizens, a specific hate
group that uses that name, you know, it`s the same old white citizen
council, the suit and tie clan that we used to call them, still around,
still culminating and many other groups, (INAUDIBLE). So the government
can do much better. There`s a lot of things we can do without changing
laws. We can do much - be much more effective against them.

SHARPTON: Brian, you know, in 2009, the department of homeland security
was warning about this. Quote, "white supremacist lone wolves pose the
most significant domestic terrorist threat because of their low profile and
autonomy, separate from any formalized group which hampers warning
efforts." The report got a lot of critics from the conservative circles,
but now does it look like it may have been on target?

LEVIN: It was on target, and this is the problem with injecting politics
here. It was written by a conservative fellow who -- and it started under
the Bush administration. This was not anything political. It was a well
done report and it has been vindicated.

And indeed, let me just say one thing. You know, assessing a threat, we
have to look at what particular threat, for the fast majority of the
geography of the United States, for most police departments, the threat is
more for domestic right-wing and anti-government. For major cities, it`s
probably more southeast jihadists.

Additionally, in a journal that I just edited, Dr. Marc (INAUDIBLE)
interestingly written that there seems to be a greater concentration with
regard to the active shooter, lone Wolf terrorist of the white supremacist,
neo-Nazi and anti-government. So it really depends on where you`re
looking. Both of these are threat, but what we have to do is understand
that injecting politics with respect to the far right-wing threat and
wrong, and we must expend more resources to that, not just to the real
threat of southeast jihadists.

SHARPTON: Now Jim, senator -- the Republican senator Lindsey Graham of
South Carolina said Dylann Roof had Mideast hate, I`m quoting him. Listen
to this.


sit with somebody for an hour in a church and pray with them and then get
up and shoot them. That`s Mideast hate. That`s something I didn`t think
we had here, but apparently we do.


SHARPTON: Do Americans have to come to grips with the reality that a lot
of this home-grown hate and not projected away? This is home-grown, Jim.

CAVANAUGH: Right. This is home-grown hate. And what happened in
Charleston, we need to also look at it a little differently, Reverend Al.
This is a targeted assassination of a civil rights leader, pastor Pinckney.

You know, Roof lived two hours away. If he wanted to just shoot African-
Americans, he could have done that on the street, he could have done in his
hometown or in Columbia. He drove specifically to the church, the mother
Emanuel there and he asked specifically for the pastor.

This was a targeted assassination of the pastor and the other civil rights
heroes that died that night. He went there with a purpose. That is not
unlike, you know, (INAUDIBLE) killing of (INAUDIBLE) and Ray killing Dr.
King. And we are missing that. We`re acting like it`s a random shooting
of nine people. It`s not. It is a very targeted purpose here.

This guy`s a racist, he`s a bigot, and he wanted to affect he discussion.
He wanted to start the race war, they all say that. But it was a targeted
assassination of a civil rights leader. And I hope we put these names up
and marvel them at church and right this guy, Roof`s name, in dust and
nobody will remember it, except guys like Brian and me and journalists like
you and anchors, but not America.

I hope America will remember the people who were killed, pastor Pinckney,
for trying to make America better.

SHARPTON: Brian Levin and Jim Cavanaugh, thank you both for you time

LEVIN: Thank you, Reverend Al, I have a "Huffington Post" piece front-page
piece on it right now.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m on my way back to Charleston.

LEVIN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still to come, a big moment for the Obama legacy today. He gets
a big win in Congress today heading into the fourth quarter of his

Plus, it`s a rare triple gotcha for Scott Walker tonight. You`ll want to
see this next.


SHARPTON: How did Governor Scott Walker end up in tonight`s gotcha. Let me
count the ways. Number one, comes from his home state where Walker`s facing
a republican revolt over the budget. Quote, "critics say the governor`s
spending blueprint is aimed more at appealing to conservatives in early
voting states like Iowa, than doing what is best for Wisconsin. That`s
right, his own party got him. Next, reason number two. Listen to what
Scott Walker recently said when asked about equal pay.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I believe that the President and now
Hillary Clinton tend to think that politically they do better if they pit
one group of Americans versus another.



SHARPTON: Wait, wait. Fighting for fair pay is pitting one group against
another? Scott got himself with that one. And finally, reason number
three, here`s what he said about Republican`s favorite boogie man --
government dependency.


WALKER: For them, their measure of success in government is how many
people are dependent on the government, how many people are dependent,
whether it`s Medicaid, or food stamps or health care or other things out


SHARPTON: Wow, he`s really pulling out all the stops. Governor, a helping
hand isn`t a hand-out. These programs are life lines for working families.
And on this one, we got you. Does Scott Walker think he`d get out of this
triple whammy?

Nice try, but we got you, got you, got you.


SHARPTON: After the 2012 election, Republicans had two jobs for 2016.
First, keep the fringe candidates out. And second, keep the debate stage
from getting too crowded. Well, today it certainly got more crowded.
Welcome to the party, Governor Bobby Jindal.


just a tirade about the problem. We owe them honesty about our solution.
I will do the things that you cannot do in Washington. I will say the
things you cannot say.


SHARPTON: This brings our total to a whopping 13 declared candidates on
the right. Thirteen. They`re already struggling with how to fit them on
one stage. And when it comes to the so-called fringe candidates, they are
in the race and they`re getting a lot of attention. Just ask John Stewart
about Donald Trump.


JOHN STEWART, COMEDIAN: The more he talks, the more he appears on
television, the more he makes the other Republicans` crazy seem kind of
reasonable by comparison.


I mean, honestly, let Trump run, let`s have fun, what`s the harm of riding
this crazy train as long as it will take us?

The shake-up in the republican race for president. New numbers just in
show businessman Donald Trump making huge gains. He`s in second place in
New Hampshire.



SHARPTON: That`s right. You can see the top four candidates here and
Trump`s in second place in New Hampshire. I think some of these candidates
could use a little advice from their newest colleague, Bobby Jindal.


JINDAL: We`ve got to stop being the stupid party. And I`m serious. It`s
time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults. It`s time for us
to articulate our plans and our visions for America in real terms.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Shira Center from the "Boston Globe." And
MSNBC contributor Jimmy Williams. Thank you both for being here.


SHARPTON: Jimmy, in 2013, Bobby Jindal said the GOP should talk like
adults. Now he`s entering the race alongside Donald Trump. What`s going
on here?

JIMMY WILLIAMS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think he met Duck Dynasty, he just
forgot the dynasty part.


Listen, we`re now at the stage where the Republican Party, I`m just waiting
for Maine Governor LePage to get into the race and Kansas Governor Sam
Brownback, because at that point, we`re surely watching a 1970s show of
sort of Saturday morning Looney Tunes -- what would you call it? I guess
Saturday morning comics. That`s what this is about. Bobby Jindal sitting
in the 30s right now in approval rating in his home state. Chris Christie,
who will also declare next week, sitting in the 30s. I`m not sure exactly
why they`re scraping the bottom-of-the barrel, but I supposed there might
be a republican governor sitting in the 20 somewhere in the other 48
states, we just have to find him. And that would be not very hard to do.

SHARPTON: Shira, isn`t this what the republican leadership was trying to
avoid? This couldn`t be what they wanted.

not want this many candidates running for the republican nomination. This
is a party, Republicans have been plagued by primary problems for several
cycles now, on the House and Senate level, and now on the presidential
level. They wanted a smaller field and they didn`t want to have to deal
with the issue of fitting 13, maybe even 18 candidates in a single debate
or on a single debate stage. This is not what they wanted. But I will
mention something about Bobby Jindal. He said the Republican Party should
not be the stupid party -- he just put it. Bobby Jindal is a really smart
guy, he`s road scholar, he`s a former congressman, he ran a government
agency at 24. He has great credentials, but I don`t know how smart it is
for him to run for president at this point with such a crowded field. The
odds are just not in his favor.

SHARPTON: You know, Jimmy, earlier this year "The Washington Post"
reported, quote, "The Republican National Committee has spent months
seeking to devise a set of rules that will bring more order to the process.
RNC Chair Reince Priebus said, he regarded the 2012 debates as an
embarrassment and ridiculous for the party. So what`s changed since 2012,

WILLIAMS: Well, they`re moving the debates up, they`re moving some of the
primaries around, and they`re shortening the amount of debates. However,
where they`re losing on the back end is the sheer number, which we are
talking about, of the crazy -- of the crazies that are running on the
republican side. And this is their inherit problem. You know, if Reince
Priebus was actually serious in the autopsy report that he presented to the
RNC membership after the last election, that the party needed to expand its
base, et cetera, et cetera, that`s all lovely. But look at every single
person that`s now running, that`s now declared that they`re running for

All the republican side. Bobby Jindal, he`s moving so far to the right,
he`s trying to pre-empt Ted Cruz with the religious right. That`s
impossible to do. Look at Chris Christie, he`s a moderate, right? But he
is a conservative in a moderate state. A red governor in a blue state
twice again sitting in the 30s and he has Bridgegate. So, I`m not sure if
getting -- reducing the number of debates and moving the primaries around
so that there`s more control by the central party is a wonderful idea for
the Republicans. The problem is, the people that are populating those
debates are all crazy.

SHARPTON: Well, Shira, let me give you an example of the people
populating. Donald Trump, in his campaign announcement, Trump said Mexican
immigrants are bringing drugs and crime to America. Today he tried to walk
those comments back. The key word here, "tried." Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do great with Latino voters.
I employ so many Latinos. I have so many people working for me. I`m a job
creator. I create jobs. I`m a master job creator. And you know, the
Latinos love Trump. And I love them.


SHARPTON: Is there someone in the field or in the party who should be
calling him out on this?

CENTER: I think the American voters will hopefully call him out on this.
That`s just one of those comments I shake my head, I almost bang it against
a wall. You don`t know what to do with it. And also, you know, maybe I`ll
challenge him. Take a poll of your workers, see how much they really like
you. Donald Trump. I know a whole lot of workers that don`t like their
boss, and when given the opportunity in privacy, they`ll say so.

SHARPTON: You know --

CENTER: Not at the "Boston Globe," of course.

SHARPTON: You know, Jimmy, Politico reports that New Jersey Governor Chris
Christie, you can`t refer in the way they are in the polls, he could enter
the race though next week as early as next week.


SHARPTON: But if you look at his approval ratings at home, which you`ve
been referring to, 30 percent of New Jersey voters approve of the job he`s
doing. Fifty five percent disapprove. This will make 14 candidates. How
and when will the field start to come into focus here, Jimmy?

WILLIAMS: Well, I suppose if you`re a governor of a -- a republican
governor of a state and your poll numbers get just so low, you only have
one thing to do which is, to think that you can win the entire country.
That`s delusional. And so, I think that look, I don`t take Donald Trump
seriously. I don`t even -- he`s certainly filed his paperwork with the FEC
to run for president. There`s nothing about that candidacy that is
credible at all. But when it comes to Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal,
they are governors of state, twice elected between the two of them, with
both of them. And so they have to be credible on the stage. The question
becomes is, why would they even do it with those bad poll numbers? Listen,
Bobby Jindal will win his state. Chris Christie won`t. That`s the
ultimate problem with these candidates.

SHARPTON: Shira Center, Jimmy Williams, thank you both for your time

WILLIAMS: Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, rewriting the rules for a so-called lame-duck
president. A big win for the Obama legacy today. And he`s got plans for
more. But first a story to make you smile. A single mom in New Jersey
just bought her son a billboard for graduation, as he gets ready to study
chemical engineering in college.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It says, a mother can`t raise a man, but I raised a
gentleman. We have the total package.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was kind of like nervous because I don`t like to be
put on the spot like that, but at the same time, I was happy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She knew she had to be strict with A.J. in order for
him to take the right path in a city plagued with drugs, crime, and low
graduation rates, but today she`s not the only one proud in their house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think she deserves a billboard?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It will come.




PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: My presidency is entering the
fourth quarter. Interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter. And I`m
looking forward to it.


SHARPTON: The fourth quarter of the Obama presidency is anything but lame.
NBC`s first read says that quote, "Right after the 2014 midterms, many
political observers believed Obama had officially entered lame-duck status.
But we were wrong. This June is a beg legacy month for the president."
And today, another big win for the president. The passage of a historic
trade bill, giving President Obama fast-track authority. Whether you agree
or disagree with this trade bill, and a lot of Democrats oppose it, you
can`t deny this is a huge victory for the president.

He`s still relevant and in the game in a way few presidents have been at
this point in their presidency. Since the midterm, he`s taken executive
action on immigration, reached a climate change deal with China, and moved
toward normalizing relations with Cuba. He`s also been more outspoken on
the issue of race and what he`s saying is having a big impact.

Joining me now is Ryan Grim of "The Huffington Post." Ryan, this seems to
be a different path for a president this late in his second term.

RYAN GRIM, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": I think that`s undoubtedly true. And
you could throw into that the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear

SHARPTON: Correct.

GRIM: You know the Ayatollah may have pushed back a little bit recently,
but often that`s a sign that a deal is about to happen. Up on Capitol
Hill, there`s kind of a saying among reporters, that, you know, that the
moment that everything looks dead and all the cards looks like they`re
piled on top of each other, that means you`re about to get to a deal. So,
if he can strike a deal with Iran on top of all of these other achievements
that you laid out, you know, that can reshape, you know, global
geopolitics. You know, it could reshape the Middle East. Like you said, a
lot of Democrats opposed him on this trade deal. He managed to push it
through. It was certainly a tactical victory, in terms of his legacy, it
will be the kind of thing that depends on how it plays out. Does this
create jobs? Does this benefit the world in the long-term? And that`s
something that nobody can really know at this point.

SHARPTON: You know, take a look at the President`s approval ratings, Ryan.
President Obama`s job approval rating right now is 48 percent. President
George W. Bush`s approval rating from around the same time in his
presidency was only 29 percent. What does that suggest about the lame-duck
or fourth quarter of this presidency?

GRIM: This surprised a lot of people. You know, and even a lot of
political scientists believed that there was just a certain pattern to the
way that these things unfold and that people get kind of tired of a
president, that he or she overstays his welcome, and that the low approval
ratings that he was suffering from a year and year-and-a-half ago were kind
of baked in. What he did though is he kind of returned to a lot of
progressive principles and, you know, as Dan Pfeiffer said, you know, in a
recent interview, said, you know, we have never regretted taking kind of
bold progressive action and, you know, his rebound has coincided with his
return to kind of progressive action, a lot of it done unilaterally, which
is the kind of thing that the D.C. media establishment would say, do not
do, you know --


GRIM: You need consensus, you need to get everybody in a room and come to
agreement. He tried that for years. Didn`t happen. He said, you know,
what? I`m just going to do it. You know, what he called his bucket list
at the White House Correspondents Dinner and people have responded
favorably to it.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this Ryan before we have to go, the trade deal.
The trade deal that he just was able to get through, is headed to his desk.
Hillary Clinton will be forced to respond. Quote, "If Clinton had hoped to
leave the trade debate behind if fast track failed, its success means she
may have to take a position on the trade deal itself, sooner or later."
Does this trend this late in the presidency complicate her run for the
White House, Ryan?

GRIM: It`s tough for her politically, particularly with somebody like
Bernie Sanders, who has such a kind of vocal and eloquent opponent of it.
Martin O`Malley, you know, is also opposed to it. She, you know, helped
craft it, as secretary of state and I think people that are close to her,
think that kind of in her bones she likes this deal, and if she were
elected and it hadn`t become law yet, that she would actually probably try
to usher it through. So she, you know, but it does put her in a difficult
position, because, you know, she doesn`t want to get cross wise with the
progressive base. And the timing is going to be difficult. Where it could
come up in, you know, late fall, early winter, and that`s the time that
will be, you know, will be in Iowa and New Hampshire, and kind of, in the
thick of this.

SHARPTON: Not the best time for her.

GRIM: No, but she doesn`t have kind of any extremely well-funded opponents
beyond, you know, somebody like Bernie Sanders. So in that sense, she kind
of dodged that bullet.

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

GRIM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Next, it`s a fight for civil right, a major ruling on gay
marriage is expected from the Supreme Court any day now. And President
Obama talked about it moments ago.

Plus, guns in public places, it`s gotten out of control. And action is


SHARPTON: As early as tomorrow, we could see a historic decision from the
Supreme Court on same-sex marriage. Just moments ago, President Obama
spoke about the fight for equality as he marked pride month.


OBAMA: Together we`ve been able to do more to protect the rights of
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans than at any time in our


There are still battles to wage, more hearts and minds to change. As long
as there`s a single child in America that`s afraid they won`t be accepted
for who they are, we have more work to do. But if the people in this room
and our friends and allies across the country have proven anything, it`s
that even in the toughest of circumstances, against the greatest possible
odds, in America, change is possible.


SHARPTON: When we talk about gay rights, or voting rights, or women`s
rights, we`re really talking about human rights. And we need to move
forward together.


SHARPTON: We close tonight by talking about gun culture in this country,
taken to the extremes. Here`s what people in Gulfport, Mississippi saw
last Sunday night when they turned on their local news.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve received multiple reports of an evacuation at
the Walmart on Highway 49. We`re told by witnesses and a store employees a
man with a gun may have entered the building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he was coming out with the shotgun, him and another
guy, loading the shotgun and pumping it, like putting it in the chamber.


SHARPTON: It turned out the men involved had gone to Walmart just to
exercise their Second Amendment Rights. It`s an open carry state. So they
brought that shotgun into the store, just to show that they could.


actions of these two men are sanctioned by state laws, what they did
negatively impacted our community. The actions of these two men could have
inadvertently led to a very violent misunderstanding.


SHARPTON: Unfortunately, this isn`t an isolated incident. Just a few
weeks ago, this man carried a loaded assault rifle through the Atlanta
airport. He said he carried the gun for safety, because, quote, "You never
know where something might happen." Again, legal under the law. But that
doesn`t make it right.

As I head back down to the funerals in Charleston, I will be thinking, yes,
about those families and their pain. I`ll be thinking about racism and the
confederate flag. I`ll be thinking about voting, but I`ll also be thinking
about, we`ve got to deal with guns and gun culture.

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