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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

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Date: June 30, 2015
Guest: Jared Bernstein; Ed Rendell; Angela Rye; Erin McPike; Matt Black

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST, THE ED SHOW: It`s certainly a huge issue. Thanks
for joining us tonight.

That`s the Ed Show. I`m Ed Schultz. "POLITICS NATION" with the Reverend
Al Sharpton starts right now.

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on "Politics Nation," President
Obama`s best week ever with a big bounce in the polls. He`s talking about
the road ahead including a pay raise for millions of Americans.

Also better late than never. Chris Christie looks to shake up the 2016
race. But did he already miss his best chance?

And it`s a Bromance. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are in a mutual admiration
society, and it is bad news for the GOP.

Thanks to you for tuning in. We start with President Obama. Loose,
energized and with momentum coming off what many are calling the best week
of his presidency. Today a reporter asked him about it.


now, my best week, I will tell you, was marrying Michelle. That was a
really good week. Malia and Sasha being born excellent weeks. There was a
game where I scored 27 points. It was a good week.


SHARPTON: It was a light-hearted moment but the momentum is real. The
president signed a major trade deal. His Charleston speech was stirring
maybe even healing. Two Supreme Court rulings cemented his legacy on
Obamacare and gay rights. We saw the White House lit up in rainbow colors
after the ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.


OBAMA: I did not have a chance to comment on how good the White House
looked in rainbow colors. That made it a really good week. To see people
gathered in the evening outside on a beautiful summer night and to feel
whole and to feel accepted and to feel that they had a right to love, that
was pretty cool. That was a good thing.


SHARPTON: And the president talked about his plans to build on the


OBAMA: I think last week was -- was gratifying. In many ways last week
was simply a culmination of a lot of work that we`ve been doing since I
came into office. How am I going to spend whatever political capital that
I built up? You know, the list is long. And my instructions to my team
and my instructions to myself have always been that we are going to squeeze
every last ounce of progress that we can make as long as I have the
privilege of holding this office.


SHARPTON: He mentioned political capital. And today we`re seeing it. His
job approval is at a two-year high, 50 percent. A strong number for a
president at this point in office.


OBAMA: One of the things I learned in this presidency is that there are
going to be ups and there are going to be downs. But as long as my focus
and my team`s focus is on what is going to make a difference in the lives
of ordinary Americans. Are we going to give them more opportunity so that
if they work hard they can get ahead? Are we going to make this a more
inclusive economy, a more inclusive society, a more fair, just society? If
that`s our north star and we keep on tacking in that direction, we`re going
to make progress. And I feel pretty excited about it. So I might see if
we can make next week even better.


SHARPTON: A more fair, just society. That is a pillar of the Obama
presidency. And today he revealed his latest fight for fairness. A new
plan on overtime pay that could give five million American workers a raise.
He`s doing this without Congress. Who knows? Maybe next week will even be

Joining me now is former Pennsylvania governor and DNC chair Ed Rendell and
Jared Bernstein, former chief economist to vice president Biden. He`s
writing today about the new overtime pay rules and his research helped
drive the new initiative.

Thank you both for being here.

you, Rev.


SHARPTON: Governor, the president looks as confident as, frankly, I`ve
ever seen him in tackling his agenda. Whatever happened to lame duck?

RENDELL: He`s not a lame duck. And the president is enjoying, actually,
having not to run again because it gives you a sense of freedom. In my
second term I was free to do and say whatever I wanted and to accomplish my
agenda. And the great thing is last week when the affordable care act was
affirmed it meant that 8 million Americans would keep their health care
subsidies. And that`s the only way they were going to keep health care.

With the president`s new initiative, raising the income level for people
who get mandatory overtime for work more than 40 hours from a low $23,000 a
year to $50,000, as you said, five million Americans are going to get a
significant opportunity to earn more money. That makes you feel terrific.
It`s a high like none other and it spurs you and drives you on.

And the president`s right. I said the same thing. He`s going to use every
single day he`s president to push the agenda forward, and he should.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s a high, Jared, for the president, but it`s certainly
a high for five million workers as they gets this done.

The president wrote about his plan to raise overtime pay today, and I`m
quoting from what he wrote. "That`s good for workers who want fair pay,
and it`s good for business owners who are already paying their employees
what they deserve since those who are doing right by their employees are
undercut by competitors who aren`t."

Jared, tell me about the president`s new overtime plans. How significant
is this?

BERNSTEIN: Very -- highly significant. And what you just articulated is
something that we call labor standards, OK? There are a set of rules that
were put in place in the 1930s under the fair labor standards act. The
minimum wage is one of them. We often talked about that as well, keeping
the other wage for, high enough for low wage workers. While overtime pay
is part of that, too. And absent these standards being updated to the
modern economy, the threshold for the salary, as was mentioned, is just too
low. And that means that there`s something like five million workers out
there who are working long hours per week and they`re not getting overtime

Now, they should get overtime pay. Certainly the standard that was
embodied in the original law said they should. But inflation eroded that
threshold and the president took a step to bring that threshold back into
the current labor market thus making sure work pays for a lot more middle
class people.

SHARPTON: You know, governor, the president has been talking about his
intention to take action on overtime pay for a few months. Listen to this.


OBAMA: What we`ve seen is increasingly companies skirting basic overtime
laws, calling somebody a manager when, you know, they`re stocking groceries
and getting paid, you know, $30,000 a year. Those folks are being cheated.


SHARPTON: Folks are being cheated, he said, governor. Isn`t this really
about basic fairness, Governor Rendell?

RENDELL: It`s about basic fairness and it`s a very important step to doing
something about the income inequality that`s eating away at the heart of
this country. And Reverend, it`s a tremendous move by the president. And
I would just make a plea to those businesses out there. They might think
that they can avoid this by dropping their workers down to 34, 35 hours a
week and hiring additional workers. Don`t do it. Don`t do it.

America works best when all of us are taken care of properly, when all of
us make a decent living, when all of us can be good consumers. Don`t do
it. What the president has done is the right thing, and you should abide
by it.

SHARPTON: Jared, another thing the president talked about today was the
next step on Obamacare, expanding Medicaid, Medicaid expansion. Let me
show that.


OBAMA: If we can get some governors that have been holding out and
resisting as expanding Medicaid primarily for political reasons to think
about what they can do for their citizens who don`t have health insurance
but could get it very easily if state governments acted, then we could see
even more improvement over time.


SHARPTON: If state governments acted, Jared. Now that we have the Supreme
Court ruling, will we see a shift in the politics at a state level with
some of these governors?

BERNSTEIN: I certainly hope so. And my guess would be that we`re going to
see some of that. You know, in some states you`ve got governors who want
to do the right thing, take the Medicaid expansion, cover millions of
workers with a very important health coverage under Medicaid and the states
themselves don`t even have to pay for it for the initial few years. After
that, they never have to pay more than 10 percent. So this is a program
that is a huge and important benefit for their citizens.

Now, I thought your connection vis-a-vis the Supreme Court case was an
important one because, as time goes on and this affordable care act takes
hit after hit after hit and keeps on going, why does it keep on going?
Because it`s working. It`s working well. And people are recognizing this
is now embedded in the system. As that becomes the reality of the land, I
sure hope more governors put down their ideology and take this Medicaid

SHARPTON: Governor, you know, the president ticked off a number of agenda
items today taking action on overtime pay which he`s doing, rebuilding
infrastructure, criminal justice reform, job training programs and two
years of free community college. How much of this can he realistically get

RENDELL: Well, he can get a lot of it done. Some of what he can get done,
as you pointed out, Rev., without Congress like the overtime pay, some of
it is going to be hard. There is going to be pressure on Republican
governors who for only, as Mr. Bernstein said, for only political reasons
have avoided expanding Medicaid.

But then there are Republican governors like Governor Kasich of Ohio,
Christie of New Jersey who took the Medicaid expansion because not only is
it good for hundreds of thousands of their citizens, it`s very important
for their hospitals as well. Hospitals do well when Medicaid is expanded.
So I think the president has got the wind at his back. He`s got momentum.
Just like in sports, momentum is often the key to getting progress.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it.

RENDELL: So I`m looking forward to the next few months.

SHARPTON: Big, huge weekend, maybe even better weeks to come.

Governor Ed Rendell and Jared Bernstein, thank you for your time tonight.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you, Rev.

RENDELL: Thanks, rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, down but not out. Governor Christie jumps into the
presidential race trying to make a splash in a very big field.


problem with so many people is getting attention. And I never had any
problem getting attention. So I think I`ll do OK.


SHARPTON: Plus we`ll tell you why the new Ted Cruz/Donald Trump Bromance
could spell big trouble in 2016.

Also the woman arrested for taking down the confederate flag is breaking
her silence.

And America`s most famous ballerina is dancing into history today.


SHARPTON: Breaking news on a big step forward on U.S. relations with Cuba.
The U.S. and Cuba have reached an agreement to re-establish formal
diplomatic relations and open embassies in each other`s capitals.
President Obama and Secretary Kerry will make a formal announcement
tomorrow morning. A big shift in America`s foreign policy.


SHARPTON: Right now New Jersey governor Chris Christie is in New Hampshire
for the first official town hall of his presidential campaign. These are
live pictures from the event. This morning he made his home town of
Livingston, New Jersey, vowing to tell it like it is.


CHRISTIE: I am not running for president of the United States as a
surrogate for being elected prom king of America. I`m not looking to be
the most popular guy who looks in your eyes every day and tries to figure
out what you want to hear, say it, then turn around and do something else.
When I stand up on a stage like this in front of all of you, there is one
thing you will know for sure. I mean what I say and I say what I mean, and
that`s what America needs right now.

All the signs say telling it like it is, but there`s a reason for that. We
are going to tell it like it is today.


SHARPTON: But the reality is it`s very unlikely he`ll win the party`s
nomination. Three years ago, he was a political star on the right. Many
Republicans wanted him to challenge Romney. But a lot has changed. His
approval rating in New Jersey is at an all-time low, just 30 percent.
After his announcement, NBC asked him about it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you explain your poll numbers at home falling?

CHRISTIE: You know, listen, I think part of it is you`ve been around for a
long time. Part of it is that, you know, we had the bridge-gate situation
in which turned out not to be anything about me but the coverage was
overwhelming and the last thing is you make hard decisions for a long time.
If you look at the history of my poll numbers they`ve gone up and down in
this state. I earn political capital to spend it. Not to keep it in a
drawer or put it in a frame on the wall. And so, when you do that, you
know, people get upset when you make hard decisions. Whatever you do,
you`re making someone happy and someone angry, usually more people angry
than happy, but it is the right thing to do. So I don`t worry about that
stuff. I guarantee you before this is all over, it will be back up where
they need to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you qualify for the first debate?



SHARPTON: We`ll see what happens, but I think that Bridge-gate situation
might come up on that stage.

Let`s welcome back political analyst Erin McPike and political strategist
Angela Rye. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Angela, he`s in. Does he have any shot at this?

RYE: Not a chance, Rev. The song that comes to mind is run "the thrill is
gone" by BB King. His moment and come and gone over and over again. And
Chris Christie -- Christopher James Christie just does not have a chance
here. I think that he called it right when he was interviewed in the clip
you just showed. There was bridge-gate which absolutely had something to
do with him, it had everything to do with him. And he also had these
abysmal poll numbers at home in New Jersey. If you can`t win your own home
state, where can you win? And I think that`s the biggest issue here.

SHARPTON: Erin, you know Governor Christie talked a lot about his record
in New Jersey today. Listen.


CHRISTIE: We balanced six budgets in a row. We have refused to raise
taxes on the people of this state for six years. We made the hard
decisions that had to be made to improve our education system. In New
Jersey as governor I`ve stood up against economic calamity and
unprecedented natural disaster. We have brought ourselves together. We
have pushed back that economic calamity and we`re recovering from that
natural disaster.


SHARPTON: But here`s the reality in New Jersey under Christie. The
unemployment rate is 6.5 percent, that`s 44th in the country. He cut
education funding by around $1 billion. And the state`s credit rating has
been cut nine times since he took office. How will he run on this record,

MCPIKE: Well, it`s spotty. You know, look, he has had some colossal
setback, but he`s had successes as he mentioned. He also has a lot of
experience as a two-term governor. Now, I have to disagree a little bit
with Angela. I do think he has a chance and his chance is in New
Hampshire. And I think he does fit stylistically and ideologically with
the voters of New Hampshire.

I don`t think he`s necessarily a policy heavyweight. He really focusing on
his leadership style. Some voters may like that. Now, I say that he`s not
a policy heavyweight because you may remember that mark (INAUDIBLE) wrote a
cover story in 2014 and he asked Christie a lot of questions about foreign
policy and immigration and some other big national issues and Chris
Christie said that he wasn`t ready to talk about that.


MCPIKE: And I think he needs to be ready to answer a lot of these
questions and New Hampshire voters are going to ask him a lot about that.
And it depends how well he answers them, how well he`ll do in New
Hampshire. And if he has a chance to stage a comeback.

SHARPTON: He is right there now. He went straight there first stop after
announcing. He`s up there right now.

You know, Angela, NBC`s Matt Lauer has an exclusive interview with Christie
today, talking about what comes next. Listen to this.


MATT LAUER, NBC ANCHOR: Back in April when we got together, you said,
here`s the great thing about politics. None of it matters until the game
starts. None of it matters until you see how people perform under these
lights. All right. So the game has started.


LAUER: All right. How do you think you`ll stack up against those other 13

CHRISTIE: I believe in myself and I believe in what I have to offer the
American people. And I believe I`ve always been able to connect with real
people. And I think if I do those three things over the course of the next
18 months, I`ll be the next president of the United States. And if I
don`t, I won`t.

LAUER: It`s very crowded. Is that an advantage or disadvantage to you?

CHRISTIE: Hard to tell. But I`ll say this much. I think the biggest
problem with so many people is getting attention, and I`ve never had any
problem getting attention. So I think I`ll do OK.


SHARPTON: All right, Angela, put on your strategist hat. He is ninth in
the polls right now. How does he break away from the pack?

RYE: So, Rev., there are a couple things. One is the only person whom
he`s beating right now in the polls is Donald Trump and those are the two
candidates who tell it like it is. And you need far more than telling it
like it is, whatever that really means because it`s certainly not the
truth. We know that Donald Trump is losing things left and right because
of him telling it like it is. That doesn`t get you far enough.

The fact that 55 percent of the Republicans, of the GOP won`t support Chris
Christie speaks volumes. You need far more than New Hampshire. The only
other candidate, Rev., that`s been to New Hampshire more times than Chris
Christie is John Kasich. So he better win New Hampshire, Erin, you`re
right. He better win New Hampshire, hut he`s going to need 49 other

SHARPTON: Well, Erin, I have to disagree with Angela. He`s not beating
Donald Trump. Some polls has Trump up at number two in the polls. But
again, how does he break away? At one point the attack on him is that he`s
policy light. You referred to that. And another point, if he gets too
policy now, too policy oriented in terms of his presentation, how does he
break away from the Pac?

MCPIKE: Well, I would remind you that back at this point in 2007, going
into the 2008 presidential election, we were all watching John McCain`s
campaign and many stories were written about how he could not possibly
continue running and would he drop out of the race. And he buckled down
and he was in a campaign bus through New Hampshire for the rest of the
summer and the fall and he worked his way back up into the top of the polls
in New Hampshire and then he ended up winning New Hampshire and, of course,
won that nomination.

SHARPTON: But he didn`t have 13 other people in the race including Donald

MCPIKE: Well, that`s absolutely correct. But Chris Christie was right
about one thing. He has never had any trouble getting attention. And
people have been talking a lot about his style on the campaign trail and
that he`s brash and that he yells at people all the time, but it does allow
him to stay in the news.

There are 14 candidates now by the end of July there will be 16 candidates.
And you have to be able to break through and make news in order to keep
yourself alive in the polls. And I think we`ll see him rise a little bit
again come this fall.

SHARPTON: Well, we`ll be watching, Erin McPike and Angela Rye. Thank you
both for your time tonight.

RYE: Thank you, Rev.

MCPIKE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, look who`s coming to Donald Trump`s defense -- Ted
Cruz. What could possibly go wrong on a debate stage?

And later we`re learning more about a South Carolina Ku Klux Klan rally
supporting the confederate flag.

But today there`s also good news on the flag controversy.


SHARPTON: It feels like just yesterday I held a "Politics Nation" funeral
for so many of those dead GOP talking points on Obamacare. One of the
talking points I laid to rest that night was this one.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course there are death panels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Death panels. This is how they`re going to manifest

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should not have a government program that determines
you`re going to pull the plug on grandma.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It will be very unpleasant if the death panels go
into effect -


SHARPTON: That long ago buried death penal talking point is back, rising
from the dead like a zombie apocalypse. Since the Supreme Court`s decision
protecting the law, right wingers bringing back their favorite Obama scare


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: And I`m telling you, death panels will
exist. Because you know what that death panel is going to be?



SHARPTON: It feels like just yesterday I held a POLITICS NATION funeral
for so many of those dead GOP Talking Points on ObamaCare. One of the
Talking Points I laid to rest that night was this one.


SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Of course there are death panels.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Death panels. This is how they`re
going to manifest themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We should not have a government program that determines
you`re going to pull the plug on grandma.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: It will be very unpleasant if the
death panels go into effect.


SHARPTON: That long-ago buried death panel talking point is back! Rising
from the dead like a zombie apocalypse. Since the Supreme Court`s decision
protecting the law, right wingers bringing back their favorite Obama scare


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: And I`m telling you, death panels will exist.
Because you know what? You know what that death panel`s going to be? It`s
going to be called a morphine drip. You get your morphine drip. It
depresses your respiration and, guess what, you die.


SHARPTON: It`s not just the right-wing media. This zombie infestation has
made it to the halls of Congress.


REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: Well, the independent payment advisory board,
that`s going to be the entity that decides whether a group of people live
or die. People are going to be dying because of ObamaCare because they`re
going to be denied coverage. The kinds of illnesses that threaten to kill
people, that are expensive to treat, that`s where they`re going to tell you
to get your affairs in order because they`re not going to provide coverage
and you`re going to die.


SHARPTON: People will be denied coverage and die? That`s the exact
opposite of what`s happening under ObamaCare. Seventeen million have
gained insurance under the law. And insurance companies can no longer set
lifetime limits to coverage. I think it`s time the death panel talking
point goes right back to where we buried it. Did they think we wouldn`t
notice this zombie was running wild? Nice dry. But here`s my talking
point. We got you.


SHARPTON: Donald Trump today filing a half billion lawsuit against
Univision because the Spanish language network decided not to air his Miss
Universe show. After Trump`s controversial comments saying most
undocumented Mexican immigrants are rapists and drug dealers. Trump`s suit
called Univision`s decision a, quote, "politically motivated attempt to
suppress Mr. Trump`s freedom of speech." Things are getting tense. But
one person sticking by Trump, Senator Ted Cruz.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: When it comes to Donald Trump, I like Donald
Trump. I think he`s terrific, I think he`s brash, I think he speaks the

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should he apologize for what he said?

CRUZ: I don`t think you should apologize for speaking out against the
problem that is illegal immigration. I recognize that the pc world of
mainstream media, they don`t want to admit it, but the American people are
fed up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they mostly drug dealers and rapists, are they
coming across the border?

CRUZ: Look, they`re not mostly that. But Donald Trump, he has a way of
speaking that gets attention. And I credit him for focusing on an issue
that needs to be focused on.


SHARPTON: Cruz loves Trump and apparently the feeling is mutual. Trump
tweeted a thank you to Senator Cruz this morning. They`re all buddy buddy,
but right before that thank you, Trump tweeted, quote, "I love the Mexican
people, but Mexico is not our friend. They`re killing us at the border and
they`re killing us on jobs and trade fight." If Trump the Mexican people,
he`s got a funny way of showing it. But he`s not just alienating himself
from the Hispanic community, he`s creating a problem for the whole GOP.
The latest 2016 poll showed him in second place meaning Trump will be on
the debate stage this summer. So who on that stage will condemn his
offensive remarks about immigrants? Will they stay quiet or will they
praise him like Ted Cruz did?

Let`s bring in Abby Huntsman.


SHARPTON: How are you doing, Abby?

HUNTSMAN: I`m good.

SHARPTON: So who is going to stand up to Trump? He`s on the stage if
these polls hold. What happens?

HUNTSMAN: I hope he`s on that debate stage. I mean, that`s great for
entertainment purposes. It`s great for cable TV. It`s interesting to see
these two gearing up together because I think in the long run, Trump is
going to be stepping on the toast of someone like Ted Cruz because he`s
speaking to this far right, the base that craves the language that he`s
speaking to them. So if he`s on the debate stage, I think it will be
interesting to see the dynamics. Who it helps is Jeb Bush.


HUNTSMAN: In my opinion. Because I think Jeb Bush is leading the polls
right now and he can say, I`m the adult in the room. I`m going to rise
above the fray and you guys all fight it out below and I`m going to be the
winner at the end of this thing. It allows him to remove himself from the
nonsense that is being said from a lot of these folks right now. I think
it puts him in an actually a good position. He should be grateful for it.

SHARPTON: So, you got Trump, you got Cruz, you got a bunch of people that
kind of get out there and go wild in terms of rhetoric and style. They
kind of collide into each other and Jeb plays above the fray.

HUNTSMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that`s probably what we could
see happen. There are a lot of people running though this time, as you
know, Chris Christie announcing today.


HUNTSMAN: He`s number 13, I believe. So, they`re all trying to own
specific lanes to get an audience, to get enough votes to keep going.

SHARPTON: You need a big highway for these lanes, 13 to 14 candidates and
still building. Let me show you though, you brought up an interesting
point about Jeb Bush which I happen to agree with. Let me show you what he
said about Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any thoughts on Donald Trump`s comments on

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t agree with him. I think
he`s wrong. I think he`s wrong and I don`t agree with him. Pretty simple.
Maybe we`ll have a chance to have an honest discussion about it on stage
somewhere, who knows?


SHARPTON: Now, here are some of the headlines Abby that we`re seeing right
now about Trump. NBC is cutting ties with him. Mexico is pulling out of
Miss Universe and the Miss Universe USA co-hosts is stepping down. Are
these the headlines the GOP party leaders want to see right now?

HUNTSMAN: No, I honestly think Donald Trump is far more dangerous than
many Republicans realize at this moment. I don`t know if you`ve met Trump
in person.

SHARPTON: Oh, yes, many times.

HUNTSMAN: But off the screen he`s actually somewhat normal, decent, he`s a
nice person. And you see him out here and he`s saying these crazy things
because he wants this air time. It`s all about show business for Donald
Trump. And he`s going to keep going as long as he possibly can. The
problems is, these comments that he makes, they dominate the air waves for
days after. Look, we are talking about it right now. And people are going
to think that this is sort of the narrative for the Republican Party. And
I have a theory here, that if he`s not the nominee, which I don`t think he
will be, he`s going to keep going and say, all right, I`m going to remove
myself to the party. I`m going to run as an independent now. And what`s
going to happen then? All out 1992 that helps the Democrats.

SHARPTON: So, yes, you have nothing to lose. But the problem is, will
anyone take him on? RNC Chair Reince Priebus was asked about Trump.
Listen to what he said.


REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIR: Those particular comments, not helpful. But
you know --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you find them discriminatory?

PRIEBUS: I do say that -- listen, they`re not helpful, but I think you
have to look at every candidate as a package and not everything is going to
be, I think a hundred percent copacetic all the time.


SHARPTON: Now, here`s a guy that had an autopsy to rebuild the party, to
reach out. And how when you have a glaring statement he says, you have to
look at the whole package?

HUNTSMAN: Yes. I think they want to broaden this to everyone that`s
possible. And they think that this debate is a good one and probably
secretly hoping that he`s going to bow out at a certain point because they
know that ultimately this doesn`t look good. And if anyone is going to
stand up to him, it`s probably going to be someone like Jeb Bush or Chris
Christie on the debate`s issue. Imagine the two of them going at it.
That`s what I want to see.

SHARPTON: Abby Huntsman, thank you for your time tonight. And be sure to
watch Abby on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern right here on

Still ahead, dancing through the color barrier. The ballerina Misty
Copeland makes history.

Also for the first time, we`re hearing from the woman arrested for taking
down the confederate flag.

But first, an important journey to find the real faces of poverty in


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: But the idea that a child may never
be able to escape that poverty because she lacks a decent education or
health care or a community that views her future as their own? That should
offend all of us. And it should compel us to action. We are a better
country than this.


SHARPTON: It`s a crippling problem. Poverty in America. Today 45 million
people are poor in this country. Fifty one percent of America`s public
school children come from low-income households. That`s nearly 15 million
kids living in poverty. These kids are living in cities, in the country,
in suburbs all across America, and to show this stark reality. MSNBC has
launched a project called "The Geography of Poverty." Over the next
several months, MSNBC is following photographer Matt Black as he takes a
cross-country journey taking portraits of America`s poorest places.

He`ll visit more than 70 communities considered poverty areas, meaning that
more than 20 percent of the people living there are poor. Along with MSNBC
reporter Trymaine Lee, black is documenting the stories of the people he
meets along the way, people who have been marginalized and who don`t have a
voice. It`s one thing to talk about poverty from some think tank in
Washington. It`s quite another to put a face to the problem and give a
voice to those who need it most.

Joining me now is MSNBC national reporter Trymaine Lee who has been
reporting for this project and photographer Matt Black joins me on the
phone. He`s traveling across the country and just left New Orleans. Thank
you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Matt, let me go to you first. What`s this journey been like so

BLACK: Well, you know, I`m about a month into it now, and in a lot of ways
it feels like I haven`t left with Central
Valley, California, which is where I`m from. The same sorts of conditions
which I`ve been photographing there for about 20 years.

SHARPTON: This is a personal journey for you. You wrote on your webpage
that, quote, "For most of my adult life I`ve witnessed and photographed the
impact of poverty. To grow up poor is to grow up in a world that tells you
that you don`t matter." How has photographing people in towns affected by
poverty impacted you personally?

BLACK: Well, I mean, I`ve taken that as, you know, my role as a
photographer is to document these communities and document these things.
And you know, to try to give a voice to places that really don`t have a
voice. Yes. This is a part of America that, you know, I know, I
understand, but I feel like a lot of Americans think we do not recognize as
out there.

SHARPTON: You know, Trymaine, that`s the point. A lot of Americans don`t
realize it`s out there. There`s a lot of misperceptions about poverty in
this country. Take a look at these stats. Here`s who the poor are in this
country. Nearly 15 million children, over four million seniors, 11 million
black people, nearly 13 million Hispanics and nearly 19 million white
people. Poverty doesn`t discriminate. Aren`t there a lot of
misperceptions about poverty in this country, Trymaine?

LEE: Because we live in such segregated worlds and we live so far apart.
There`s always these issues that seemed like it`s their problem.


LEE: But when you take a look at this geography of poverty from the
southwest, in places along the border with Mexico, you look at the south
between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, you look through the rust belt in the
northeast, and every shade is represented here. Unfortunately, because of
stereotypes and these institutional racism it always seems to be focused on
black and brown.

SHARPTON: They make the face of poverty black and brown when it`s not that
way when you look at the stats.

LEE: Exactly. And that`s what`s amazing about Matt Black`s work which is,
if anyone hasn`t seen them go to our website,
You see the faces of these people who are forgotten, who are marginalized,
and who said, who don`t have a voice. There are so many people whose
homes, you go in and you open your refrigerator, there isn`t any food
there. And they`re scraping by and they are grinding. And people have
this perception that poor people are lazy. They`re some of the hardest
working people in this country. Especially when you think about people
along, in the southwest. These migrant workers who are, you know, running
from the law. They`re working in your fields, they are taking the fruit
that we take for granted for eating every single day. And this is America.
This is us.

SHARPTON: Matt, has anything out there in this journey for this particular
project surprised you? Have you encountered anything that surprised you?

BLACK: The most surprising thing really is what I`ve said earlier and that
it all feels connected. And I think that`s what we`re looking at here is
that there are many different ways to slice poverty into different
communities, different ways of looking at it. But, you know, this
continuous journey that I`ve been on one mile after another, it feels like
one America to me. And the degree to which that feels true, you know, into
this trip, that`s what surprised me.

SHARPTON: And Trymaine, it really is another America, outside of those
that clearly the super-rich but even the comfortable even middle class,
there is another America that does have no food in the refrigerator, that
are struggling to make it and work every day.

LEE: Well, that`s right. Many of them we call the working poor. As you
talk about 45 million people living in poverty. There are countless other
millions who dance along that federal poverty line who don`t necessarily
fall below the poverty line to where they can get federal benefits but they
are working hard every day. But not only are people economically isolated.
Spend time on a Native American reservations where they`re geographically
isolated away from everything. But then you go to that -- between Baton
Rouge and New Orleans --


LEE: -- where there are old poor black towns where folks are suffering
because of big industry. They talk about mysterious deaths, sores that
won`t heal, all these small poor black towns all clustered around what is
more refineries and big industry than anywhere in the western hemisphere.
And so often people don`t care because again, a lot of time we view it as
us and them and that`s part of the problem.

SHARPTON: Trymaine Lee and Matt Black, thank you so much for your work on
this project. And you can see more of Matt`s photos and Trymaine`s
reporting at Check out the MSNBC Instagram
feed @MSNBCPhoto.

Coming up, the Ku Klux Klan plans to rally at the South Carolina statehouse
in support of the confederate flag. But we`re also seeing a lot of
positive steps today. That`s coming up.


SHARPTON: Misty Copeland is dancing into history. Today she got promoted
to principal dancer at the American ballet theater. The first African-
American to do so in the company`s 75-year history. Another dancer posted
this video of the reaction to Instagram.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Misty, take a bow.



SHARPTON: Earlier this month Copeland performed in the lead role of "Swan
Lake" in New York. It was the first time an African-American woman assumed
the iconic role at the met. Copeland drew a huge crowd and a big ovation.
It`s the same reception she got for the role earlier this year in
Washington, D.C., when a new generation of dancers talked about how she`s
inspiring them.


UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I want to be the future Misty Copeland.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I just want to -- just to spin around and be like her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can finally see what it would look like if I were
to be on stage or something like that.


SHARPTON: Congratulations to Misty Copeland and to all the tiny dancers
out there following her lead.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, moving past the symbol of hate. The protester
who was arrested for taking down South Carolina`s confederate flag is
breaking her silence. She told the Blue Nation Review, quote, "It`s the
banner of racial intimidation and fear whose popularity experiences an
uptick whenever black Americans appear to be making gains." This flag has
sparked a lot of soul searching in this country but also some backlash.
The KKK has obtained a permit to rally at the South Carolina statehouse
next month to protest the confederate flag being taken down for, quote,
"all the wrong reasons." But they can`t stand in the way of history. Two-
thirds of state lawmakers have said, they`ll vote to take it down. One of
those, the son of the late Senator Strom Thurmond who I talked to just last


STATE SEN. PAUL THURMOND (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This flag symbolized racism
and hatred. These radical groups continue to take this flag and use it in
such ways to really perpetuate racism and hatred, and so it`s time for it
to come down.


SHARPTON: On social media, we`ve gotten a lot of positive comments about
that interview. Rickey says, "We need to lead the way to change and the
healing process." And Sidney says, "Truly an amazing time to be alive to
see both the end to the symbol and the beginning to a better America for
all." Yes, we must end the symbol and we must address the substance. To
start the healing process, we must be determined to do all that is
necessary to deal with what makes us separate and unequal and unfair. The
symbol is the beginning. The substance will make us harder, stronger and a
better nation. And we must be determined to go from the flag to changing
the base of unfairness that the flag rests on.

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

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST, "HARDBALL": The main event, Trump versus
Christie. Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. P.T. Barnum, creator of
the greatest show on earth said, "If you want a crowd, start a fight."


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