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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

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Date: July 15, 2015
Guest: Ed Rendell; Tara Dowdell; Paul Butler, Clarence Page, Jonathan

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on "Politics Nation," the $10
billion candidate, Donald Trump puts his money where his mouth is, finally.

Also Bill Clinton admits to a bill mistake. It could affect Hillary`s run
for office and a key part of President Obama`s agenda.

Plus, controversial video of a deadly police shooting in California. It`s
a key test case of officer privacy versus the public`s right to know.

Welcome to "Politics Nation."

We begin tonight with Donald Trump saying he filed his financial disclosure
report with the federal election commission. He didn`t release the actual
form, but he did put out a very Trump-like press release. Basically
stating this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ll show you that next time.


SHARPTON: Yes, the release saying, the FEC report was, quote, "not
designed for a man of Mr. Trump`s massive wealth." And I love this part.
His net worth is in excess of $10 billion. That`s $10 billion in all caps.
And his income for the year of 2014, was $362 million.

Some skeptics doubted Trump would actually follow through with this, but if
he did file this form, here is the headline. He will be on that debate
stage in 22 days. And right now, he`s number one if the polls.

Today he was on "Morning Joe," vowing he`d win the Hispanic vote.


TRUMP: I would beat Hillary. And a vote that I will win is the Hispanic
vote. I employ thousands of Hispanics and I will tell you, I will win that
vote. I`ll create jobs and I`ll get the Hispanic vote. I have so many
thousands that work for me and thousands that have over the years. And the
Hispanics love me. So I will win the Hispanic vote, and you would be
surprised to hear that, because I talk about illegal immigration, which I`m
opposed to. But I will win the Hispanic vote because I will create jobs.
And by the way, Jeb Bush wouldn`t know where to go to create a job.


SHARPTON: And while so many Republicans are running away from him, Ted
Cruz is fully embracing him, calling for a meeting with Trump today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why have you scheduled a meeting with Donald Trump?

friends. We`ve sat down a number of times before he was a candidate and
we`re sitting down again today. What I salute him for is focusing on the
problem of illegal immigration.

I like Donald, he`s bold, he`s brash. Part of the reason people are
supporting Donald Trump right now is, they`re fed up with politicians in


SHARPTON: But this morning, Trump wasn`t exactly sure why they were


TRUMP: Ted Cruz called me and I don`t know why I`m meeting him, to be
honest, but I do have respect for him. I respect the fact that along with
a couple of others, he came out and he came out very strongly and agreed
with what I said on illegal immigration. And he came out strongly and he
came out early and I respect that. I like him. He called me, he wanted to
meet and we are going to meet.


SHARPTON: And tonight, we know Trump has a date with nine other
Republicans at the debate in 22 days. It might be late night at the RNC
headquarters tonight.

Joining me now is Tara Dowdell and Ed Rendell. Thank you both for being
here tonight.


SHARPTON: Governor, I mean, it appears Trump is for real. What do you
make of his press release today?

Donald Trump`s going to have enough money if he wants to spend it. That`s
the key. If he wants to spend it. He`ll have enough money to wage a very
well financed campaign for the Republican nomination. Can he put two,
three, $400 million of his own money into the effort? Yes, he can.
There`s no question about that. He may have problems being that liquid,
but he could certainly mortgage any of his properties and get a ton of
money. He`ll be a force to be reckoned with financially.

The question for Donald Trump on August 6th, he`ll be bold, he`ll be brash,
he will be attacked. How he responds, and does he look presidential?
Because in the end, although people want somebody who`s tough and appeals
to the anti-Washington sentiment, they also want somebody who`s classy
enough to be president. And that`s what Donald`s going to have to convince

SHARPTON: He`s number one in the polls, Tara. You got to say that he`s
going to be on that stage, and that he`s resonating with certain voters.
So how do you deal with him? You`re a political strategist -- if you`re
opposing him in the primary where he`s showing popularity?

DOWDELL: Well, one thing that I think that people don`t talk about enough
is the fact that Donald Trump is a celebrity. He`s been a celebrity since
the 1980s. He`s actually a global celebrity. People know him all over the
world. So the fact that people are acting as if that`s not playing a role
in his popularity. People feel like they know him because he`s been in the
news so much. So that`s part of what`s driving this.

The other piece is, and I`ve mentioned this on the show a few weeks ago,
but in the Republican primary, it`s not enough to have a record of
conservatism, to have govern that the conservative like a guy like Jeb
Bush. The Republican base, particularly the most active and angry part of
the base, they want you to talk nasty. They want you to say things that
are bold, brash, and ugly. Ugly. And Donald Trump and being very ugly.

SHARPTON: But I think you hit something that`s very important. At the end
of the day, though, you want someone that will stand up and advocate and in
a very direct, forceful, passionate way, even if it`s ugly. But a
president, you want to feel, can govern, and that is more stable. And when
the rubber meets the road, or the vote hits the booth, do they go for the
celebrity who`s brash, or do they go for the reasonable conservative person
that believes in their values, but that can govern? And is that what
someone like Ted Cruz is banking on, that he`s going to act supportive of
Trump, but he`s going to act like I`m one step on this side of, I am more
of a governing or a policy kind of guy? In fact, moments ago, he was asked
about that, whether he was supporting Trump out of self-interest. Let me
play this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump is one of the opponents that you have in
this race. Do you see him as a plausible occupant of the oval office,
plausible president of the United States, or are you simply defending him
because you expect him to collapse and you want to inherit his votes?


CRUZ: Well, let`s be clear, I`m running to win, so I expect everyone to
collapse, I`d like to inherit all their votes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be comfortable with him as the Republican

CRUZ: I will support the Republican nominee, whoever the Republican
nominee is.


SHARPTON: So is that Cruz`s strategy? He doesn`t think Trump will last,
he thinks he will collapse. And he doesn`t seem too at ease with a Trump
presidency either.

RENDELL: No, and no one does. Look. Donald Trump appeals to a certain
segment of the Republican electorate. Let`s say 17, 18 percent right now.
Can he get higher than that without acting presidential, without convincing
people, as you said, that he could be a plausible occupant of the White
House? No, he can`t.

And what Ted Cruz is banking on, what Chris Christie is banking on, what`s
Scott Walker has been banking on, is they`ll inherit the tough-guy mantel
when Donald Trump goes away? And the question is, is he going away, or
does he have staying power? Can he get that 17 percent to the mid and high
20s to be a real threat, and those things are determined. And Donald was
determined that himself, how he acts from here on end.

He can keep the side show going. And the side show will get him that 17 or
18 percent, or he can pivot off that and try to build. But if he
collapses, Ted Cruz is well positioned to inherit some of that vote. So is
Chris Christie. Chris Christie is the other tough guy in the race who
tells people what he believes and not what they want to hear.

So it will be interesting, if Donald does collapse, and I`m not saying that
he will, who is going to get the mantel of those Trump voters.

SHARPTON: You know, I want to go back to something you said, Tara.
Because a Gallup poll just said that 25 percent of Americans take Trump
seriously, but 41 percent of the Republicans do. Now, what is it say about
the Republican base that you were talking about?

DOWDELL: The Republican base, for them, Donald Trump is saying the things
that they want their candidates to say. They`re saying the things that
they are thinking, but they know are not even remotely appropriate to say.
And so, Donald Trump is basically channeling that part of the Republican
base and saying what they want to hear, and saying what they want to say.
And that is a big part of that appeal. Make no mistake about it.

SHARPTON: Talking about appeal, I said in the set-up, governor, that
Donald Trump keeps saying he`s going to win the Hispanic vote, but when you
look at the facts, the polls say 61 percent of people in the country, of
all Americans, view Trump negatively. But 81 percent of Hispanics do. He
would have to really perform a political miracle to win the Hispanic vote,
given those numbers.

RENDELL: And it`s not going to happen. If Donald Trump gets into a
general election, and he wins the Hispanic vote, I will eat 100 tacos in 60

SHARPTON: Will you do it on "Politics Nation" is the question?

RENDELL: Absolutely. 6:00, right at the top of the show.

SHARPTON: We are going to need the top of the show for that one.

You know, Jeb Bush is one who`s criticized Trump, Tara, but now he`s trying
to tie him to President Obama. That was interesting. Listen to this.


BUSH: We need to focus on the things that tie us together. And whether
it`s Donald Trump or Barack Obama, their rhetoric of divisiveness is wrong.
A Republican will never win by striking fear if people`s hearts. A
Republican can win, and will win, if we have an aspirational message that
gives people hope that their lives will be better when we apply
conservative principles the right way.


SHARPTON: Well, will that work, governor?

RENDELL: Will it work? I think Jeb Bush is right, in a general election,
that`s what you`ve got to do. You got to be aspirational. You got to give
people a reason to vote for you. You can`t just give the people a reason to
vote against the other guy. It won`t work.

SHARPTON: Will it work, Tara?

DOWDELL: Not tying Trump to President Obama. They could be farther apart
from each other. But I will tell you this. What Jeb Bush is doing, he`s
playing the Obama card. The base wants to hear Obama insulted. So if he
ties, you know, Trump to Obama, that`s something that the base would --
he`s thinking will resonate with the base, but I think they see through

SHARPTON: Well, thank you, Tara Dowdell, and Ed Rendell, we`re looking
forward to you and that 100 tacos.

RENDELL: It is not going to happen, Rev. Not going to happen.

SHARPTON: Thank you both for being with me tonight.

Straight ahead, a court releases this video showing California officers
fatally shooting an unarmed man two years ago. Why did police fight to
keep it private?

And tonight`s President Obama`s growing legacy from his historic Iran deal
to Cuba to Obamacare to gay marriage.

And Bill Clinton admits his crime law has made mass incarceration worse.
It comes as the president is ready to make history tomorrow on criminal

But first Jimmy Fallon talks about the Donald.


JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: We`ll be taking a look at the pros and cons of
going to a Donald Trump campaign rally. Pro, hearing his plan on how to
prevent our biggest threat from invading the U.S. Con, realizing he`s
talking about minions.

Pro, he puts the u back in USA. Con, he takes the H out of huge. New golf
courses, huge.



SHARPTON: Former president Bill Clinton admits he made a big mistake with
the crime bill he signed back in 1994. Tomorrow, President Obama makes a
historic move to make it better. That`s ahead.


SHARPTON: Disturbing newly released video of a shooting in California is
raising new questions about police transparency and accountability. A
judge just ruled that the California city of Gardenia cannot stop the
public from seeing this dash cam video of a deadly shooting in 2013. The
city appealed and received a stay on that ruling. But not before the L.A.
Times posted the video on You Tube. It`s a bit hard to see what`s going on
in the video.

The two men you see were looking for a stolen bike, but the officers
thought they were the suspects. Lawyers for the men in the video say it`s
clear they were unarmed. But police say they thought one man was reaching
for a weapon.

NBC`s kNBC affiliate in Los Angeles has more.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER (voice-over): A federal judge today ordered
the release of these police dashboard videos, showing Gardena officers
shooting to death Ricardo Diaz Severino (ph) and wounding his friend two
years ago. Both men were unarmed. The chief says officers were justified
and no criminal charges filed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was not complying with his orders, and the officers
could not see his hands at one point. The detailed analysis is in the
district attorney`s opinion letter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: After Gardena settled for $4.7 million WITH
Severino`s (ph) family and the injured survivor, the judge ruled taxpayers
should see the videos. The chief (INAUDIBLE) says the city respectfully

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don`t want our community members to feel distrustful
of us because they know at some point their situation may end up on video
or the internet. So there`s a balance approach.


SHARPTON: The prosecutor decided the shooting was justified. All three
officers are now back on the job.

Across the nation, cities and states are moving to videotape more of police
interactions with the community. But there`s one big question we must
answer. Once that video is recorded, who should be allowed to watch it?
How do you balance a police officer`s right to privacy with the public`s
right to know?

Joining me now is former federal prosecutor Paul Butler, thank you for
being here.


SHARPTON: Did the argument to keep this video private stand a chance?

BUTLER: No. When the taxpayers spend $5 million to settle a case, they
have a right to know what happened. In this case, the police shot a man
who was unarmed. He had one hand in the air. The other hand, he had a
baseball cap on. That`s reckless homicide. I don`t understand how this is
not a criminal case. The police don`t get to shoot you because you take
off your hat.

Now, in this situation, what they should have done was take cover. You
don`t expose yourself and then use that as an excuse to shoot. Yesterday
the president talked about how the United States is the world`s leading
jailer. It seems like we don`t have a problem prosecuting anybody except a
cop who shoots an unarmed civilian.

SHARPTON: And now they`re fighting, as we have been involved in these
police accountability movements, they are fighting that now that we are
successful in some places, not nearly enough, getting the dash cam cameras
and the body cameras, they`re fighting the release of them, which brings
another hurdle to fight in transparency.

The judge`s order, and it goes back to something you said, Paul. The
judge`s order to release the video, talks about the settlement the city
paid to the victims and the public`s right to know. The judge writes quote
"this right is rooted in citizens` interests in keeping a watchful eye on
workings of public agencies. The fact that they spent the city`s money,
presumably derived from taxes, only strengthens the public`s interest in
seeing the videos." Isn`t the judge`s point here about transparency?

BUTLER: Absolutely. Look, there are legitimate privacy concerns. If I`m
at my favorite dive bar at 2:00 a.m. and a fight breaks out and the cops
respond, I don`t want a video online of me out at the club popping bottles.
You know, the police go to a lot of private places where people have a
reasonable expectation of privacy, but that has to be balanced against the
public`s right to know, against the transparency of our public agencies.
And in this case, they fought tooth and nail to keep this video private.

SHARPTON: Two years.

BUTLER: Yes. And we all know it wasn`t because they were concerned about
privacy. They didn`t want the world to see what these cops did.

SHARPTON: Well, the case brings up questions about what will happen when
cities and states start using body cameras right now. Look at the fact in
Georgia, there`s a proposal to release the body camera video to only those
involved in the case.

In Oregon, a proposal to allow for the release of the video if it`s part of
a court proceeding or a use of force case.

Seattle, they put the video online, but it`s blurred and silent.

Where do you draw the line here, Paul? How will this issue be resolved?

BUTLER: So, eventually there will be a technological fix. We`ll come up
with a way to blur the faces of people who are private citizens, but still
allow us to see what`s going on. In the meantime, we have to figure out
how these new body cam videos apply to other kinds of information that the
government has, that they release through the public, through these open
disclosure records.

So there`s some clear people who ought to have access to the video. People
who are depicted in the video, defense attorneys and prosecutors. And like
the judge says, if a city spends millions of dollars to settle a case, the
public has a right --

SHARPTON: Well, let me bottom line it. Because you know, I am a big
advocate in this area, as well as on my radio and TV show. Bottom line,
more transparency or less, what do we need?

BUTLER: We need more transparency.

SHARPTON: That`s all I want to know.

Paul Butler, thank you for your time tonight.

BUTLER: Great to be here.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a big surprise from President Clinton on a major issue,
saying he was wrong on criminal justice. What it means for the right`s
fight for reform.

Plus the Iran nuclear deal and the new chapter in President Obama`s legacy.

And uncovering the Donald Trump conspiracy, what if he`s been a secret
democrat all along?


SHARPTON: Now presidential candidate Scott Walker is talking up a key
issue for his campaign.


here in Wisconsin that requires people to be signed up for one of our
employability training programs, one of our job training programs before
they can get a welfare check. And now as of the budget I just signed, we
make the same requirement to make sure people can pass a drug test before
they get a welfare check.

I just signed a budget a few days ago that said not only that now, but you
want to get that welfare check, you got to show you can pass a drug test on
top of that.

If you want a welfare check and you`re able to work, you got to pass a drug
test as well.


SHARPTON: He wants drug testing for all welfare recipients. And he`s now
suing the federal government to allow Wisconsin to drug-test people getting
foot stamps. The department of food and nutrition services policy clearly
prohibits states from mandating drug testing for food stamps applicants and
recipients. But this week, Walker signed a law claiming, an individual who
is a recipient under the food stamp program is considered to be a welfare

Let`s look at the facts from other states.

In Oklahoma, 0.123 percent tested positive.

In Mississippi, 0.05 percent tested positive.

In Arizona, 0.002 percent tested positive.

Drug use in the general population is much higher, at 9.4 percent.

Did Governor Walker think he -- that we wouldn`t put his flawed logic to
the test. Nice try, but here`s my test, we gotcha.


SHARPTON: Tomorrow President Obama will be the first sitting president to
visit a federal prison in Oklahoma. Trying to draw attention to his push
to change federal sentencing laws. Today he talked about the need for


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: This huge spike in incarcerations
is also driven by non-violent drug offenses, where the sentencing is
completely out of proportion with the crime. And that costs taxpayers
enormous amounts of money. It is debilitating communities who are seeing
huge proportions of the young men in their communities finding themselves
with a criminal record, rendering them often times unemployable. So it
compounds problems that these communities already have.


SHARPTON: Also today, a major admission from former President Bill
Clinton, admitting he made a mistake, signing the violent crime bill when
he was in office.


BILL CLINTON (D), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I signed a bill that made the
problem worse. And I want to admit it.


And most of these people are in prison under state law, but the federal law
set a trend. And that was overdone. We were wrong about that. That
percentage of it, we were wrong about it.


SHARPTON: The 1994 law imposed tougher sentences and gave nearly $10
billion in funding for new prisons.


CLINTON: So the good news is, we had the biggest drop in crime in history,
and the first eight-year decline in crime in history, the bad news is, we
had a lot of people who were essentially locked up who were minor actors,
for way too long. The larger problem is the one President Obama is now
trying to address, that all people who just have sentences that cannot be
justified by their length compared to what they did, and that`s important.


SHARPTON: This comes as there`s growing support for reform and a historic
push from the President. Let`s bring in "Chicago Tribune`s" Clarence Page
and MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Clarence, President Clinton admits he made a mistake in signing
that bill. And I remember protesting it 21 years ago and for him to admit
it is certainly striking to me. What do you make of his timing, though?

PAGE: Well, it`s striking when any politician admits to making a mistakes
or comes up and repudiates one of their own moves. The timing of this
particular move by President Clinton comes after President Obama has made
his moves toward reforms. It comes though after several years of growing
bipartisan efforts to reduce sentencing across the country, a move back to
sensible sentencing, you might say. This has especially come in red states
like Texas and Georgia, where the incarceration rate has been highest. So
has the cost. And therefore, you have a lot of people on the Right --


PAGE: -- who see this as an inefficient spending of money and people on the
Left to want to see more humane reforms. We can get along sometimes.

SHARPTON: The cost is weighed a lot on the right, Jonathan, but also today
President Obama spoke about four ex-offenders he met yesterday and what
struck him most about their stories. Watch this.


OBAMA: What was remarkable was how they had turned their lives around, and
these were some folks who had been some pretty tough criminals. In each
instance, somebody intervened at some point in their lives. Once they had
already been in the criminal justice system, once they had already got in
trouble and said, you know what, I think you can live a different way, and
I`m willing to help you. But the point was, somebody reached out to that
person and gave them a chance.


SHARPTON: So this is not just about fixing the criminal justice system,
it`s bigger than that, Jonathan.

ALTER: Yes, it`s about saving a whole generation of young people who have
been caught up in something that has, in some cases, ruined their lives, or
potentially ruined their lives and giving them a chance at redemption. So
this is big step, big important stuff for our society. I`m fascinated that
President Clinton admitted that the crime bill though was a mistake. That
was one of the biggest achievements of his first term. And what they
didn`t do in the early `90s, partly because they were coming out of the
crack epidemic, you know, coming out of this three strikes and you`re out
mentality, they didn`t draw the bright line that President Obama did today
between violent and non-violent.

SHARPTON: Yes, it was everything.

ALTER: And when you think about it, they were putting people in jail for
long periods of time who were sick.


ALTER: Drug abuse is an illness more than a crime. And so we put in
thousands and thousands --

SHARPTON: But let me ask you --

ALTER: Thousands of people were ill.

SHARPTON: You`ve been covering things in politics a long time. What do
you think of Bill Clinton admitting this -- it was wrong today?

ALTER: I think it`s a very important move. As far as I know, other than
admitting he was wrong on Rwanda --


ALTER: -- when he didn`t intervene in the case of genocide, this is the
first thing that I can really remember where he admitted error. And it`s
very appealing when politicians or former politicians do it. I think the
public is very understanding of it. Even people who have, you know, kids
or other relatives who have been in jail for long sentences because --


ALTER: -- of something that President Clinton may have done, I think they
will respond positively to this.

SHARPTON: But Clarence, you know that many will going to say he`s doing it
to help Hillary`s white`s campaign. In fact, one of her first major policy
addresses on the campaign was on criminal justice. Watch this.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is something profoundly
wrong when African-American men are still far more likely to be stopped and
searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison
terms than are meted out to their white counterparts. It`s time to end the
era of mass incarceration. We need a true national debate about how to
reduce our prison population, while keeping our communities safe.


SHARPTON: Is it, Clarence, a genuine reflection and apology, or is it a
set-up for Hillary`s campaign, this admission by President Clinton

PAGE: Well, either way, I`ll take it, first of all.

SHARPTON: I will too.

PAGE: Secondly, you know, I don`t know how much of a political advantage
this is going to have, because as I say, this has become a bipartisan issue
now. This is -- you`ve got people like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz wanting to
abolish mandatory minimums. I mean, both the Right and the Left want to
make some moves here, so I think Hillary Clinton is on the right track.
President Clinton is on the right track, President Obama is on the right
track, and the states are way ahead of the federal government, I should
point out, on this.


PAGE: This is certainly something that has bubbled up from the states and
the Feds need to catch up.

ALTER: Not all of the states --

SHARPTON: Wait. Hold on one minute. I need to take a break. And we`ll
keep you guys with us. Clarence Page and Jonathan Alter, stay with me.

Straight ahead, President Obama on his historic Iran deal and his growing

And I floated this theory, now a republican congressman is on board. Is
Donald Trump a secret democrat? We`ll break out the chalk board for the



OBAMA: We`ve got a historic chance to pursue a safer and more secure
world, an opportunity that may not come again in our lifetimes. As
president and as commander-in-chief, I am determined to seize that


SHARPTON: President Obama today calling the Iran deal a historic chance to
stop that country from building the bomb. It`s the latest in a series of
landmark moments for President Obama, including two Supreme Court
decisions. One upheld the signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act.
Another made gay marriage the law of the land. Just days later, the
President was in Charleston, delivering a speech and a song that helped
bring the nation together. He followed it by signing a 12-nation trade
deal and then by announcing the re-opening of embassies in the U.S. and
Cuba. It`s a remarkable streak.

And so today, I put on my historian hat to try and imagine what the history
books might say about this president. The first paragraph may go something
like this. The first black president, President Obama, restored the
economy after the great recession with a stimulus and auto bail-out, passed
universal health care, and Wall Street reform, and was the first president
to embrace marriage equality. He ordered the mission to kill Osama bin
Laden, moved to normalize relations with Cuba, and reached a historic deal
on Iran`s nuclear program.

Back with me are Clarence Page and Jonathan Alter. So, Jonathan, the
President`s not done yet and there are still questions on things like Iraq
and Gitmo, but how`s that first paragraph looking to you?

ALTER: It`s looking pretty accurate, Rev. I mean, we don`t know on Iran.
It`s going to be many years before we know whether there was a
transformative deal or something that just allowed Iran to jerk us around,
you know, play hide and go seek with their program. So we don`t know on
that. Sometimes history takes decades before you can really render a


ALTER: But most of the rest of what you described is secure, and that part
of his legacy can never be taken away from him. We didn`t know that for
sure until this most recent Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare. But now
these decisions are in the history books, and they will add up to him being
a very good president no matter what happens in the next 18 months.

SHARPTON: And Clarence, we`re not even adding him fighting to maintain
things like the voting rights that his Justice Department fought for and
policing and all. I mean, how does that first paragraph look to you?

PAGE: Well, it looks impressive. I would think we in the Daily Press
have, of course, our own pathologies of looking at every great event by
what happened today. We tend to live in the moment. But when you look at
the broad expanse of things, we have definitely seen a trend in this part
of his second term, where he`s moving to do whatever he can that doesn`t
require the approval of the Republicans and the House. I`d say, well, like
that. And there`s a lot that he can do and he`s doing it. He`s moving a
lot of balls down the field. Jonathan`s right about Iran. We don`t know
in the short-term, how well this is going to work, but there are enough
safeguards in it that if it doesn`t work, then it bodes well for any future
prospects for peace.


PAGE: But I think because we are dealing with radioactive materials here,
it makes it a little bit easier for IEA to hold Iran accountable than it
might otherwise. So, I`m optimistic about it. So, I`m hoping for the

SHARPTON: You know, looking at big picture again, and historic, Jonathan,
then Senator Obama campaigned saying that he would do things like talk to
Iran, talk to Cuba, or go into Pakistan and get Bin Laden. Listen to this.


OBAMA: As President Obama of the United States, I would be willing to lead
tough and principled diplomacy with the appropriate Irani leaders at a time
and place of my choosing.

That`s the way to bring about real change in Cuba, through strong, smart,
principled diplomacy.

And we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If
we have actionable intelligence about high value terrorist targets and
President Musharraf will not act, we will.


SHARPTON: Opponents criticized him for these statements, Jonathan, but he

ALTER: Yes, he looked like a kid when he was making those promises.


ALTER: He did. He`s delivered on a very large number of the promises that
he made. At the end of my first book on Obama, I cataloged all of them,
and even very early on, he kept most of them, except closing Guantanamo,
which any of the Congress basically made it almost impossible for him to do
that with a vote in his first year in office. So it`s not like he hasn`t
tried to do that. Most of this other things he`s come true, the big thing,
two big areas where he has not succeeded, one was to get beyond red and
blue America.


ALTER: That`s how he first came to public attention in 2004, in that
convention speech, was to bring us all together. That`s proved to be
impossible, for reasons largely beyond his control, because of the
determined and often ugly opposition. And the other is restoring the
American middle class, and raising more people out of poverty. I think
this was affected by the great recession, which was, you know, the largest

SHARPTON: And the obstruction.

ALTER: And the obstruction. Yes.

SHARPTON: But Clarence, you know, in a recent phone call with former
staff, President Obama recently compared himself to Ronald Reagan, saying
he strived for a transformational presidency. Now, this is an idea that`s
always been in his mind. I remember he said when he was running he wanted
to be a transformative president, that Reagan was a transformative
president, and a lot of people blasted him. He`s saying Reagan, but he was
talking about he wanted to be transformative. This is what he always
really wanted to be.

PAGE: That`s right. He was speaking of Reagan the same way he would speak
of FDR.


PAGE: Who was a transformative president in moving America in the other
direction. I think what we`ve seen here is both President Clinton and
President Obama have -- Clinton slowed down the Reagan revolution, you
could say, and Obama moved it farther down the track with the Affordable
Care Act and other moves he`s made. Recent polls show remarkably the word
"liberal" is starting to get redeemed now. People are no longer running
and hiding from the label. I mean, that in itself is a transformative
moment that I think his administration has had a lot to do with.

SHARPTON: From Reagan and two bushes, you had the ship of state headed one
way and I think Clinton slowed it down a little, but I think President
Obama has turned the ship going another direction. Clarence Page and
Jonathan Alter, thank you for your time tonight.

ALTER: Thanks, Rev.

PAGE: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Straight ahead, a theory that`s so crazy, it just might be true.
What if Donald Trump is a secret democrat?

Also, giving kids a fair shot, President Obama`s new program to bring the
web to children in poor homes.



SHARPTON: Is Donald Trump secretly a democrat? I`m serious. How else do
you explain the huge political mess he`s created for the GOP?


SHARPTON: That was me just a few weeks ago. They said Reverend Al was
crazy, they said Reverend Al had finally lost it. Donald Trump a secret
democrat, how could it be? But now people are starting to see the light.
A republican congressman just said, quote, "There`s a small possibility
that this gentleman is a phantom candidate. Mr. Trump has a close
friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton. They were at his last wedding.
He has contributed to the Clintons` Foundation. He has contributed to Mrs.
Clinton`s Senate campaigns. All of this is very suspicious," end of quote.
It is suspicious, but I`ve got it all figured out. And this simple chart
explains everything. Look at it. People, it`s all right there, plain as
day. From the Clintons to health care, to Obama, Bush, it`s all connected.
But look at what the man has said.


TRUMP: Hillary Clinton I think is a terrific woman. I mean, I`m a little
biased because I`ve known her for years. I just like her. I like her and
I like her husband.

I`m very pro-choice.

I think Bush is probably the worst president in the history of the United

I would tax people of great wealth.

A liberal on health care. A liberal on health care. A liberal on health


SHARPTON: See the truth is out there. Trump`s been talking like a liberal
for years. Once he even said he would hire President Obama and agreed he
saved the economy. Of course Trump did his best to deny it all on FOX News
earlier today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So that`s what you`re doing, you`re actually helping
the Democrats?

TRUMP: Yes, she`s my worst nightmare. Believe me, I will tell you, from
Hillary`s standpoint, the one person she doesn`t want running against her
is Donald Trump.


SHARPTON: Of course he claims he`s not a secret democrat. Isn`t that what
he`d say if he was a secret democrat? Now, I`m no conspiracy theorist, but
I think the evidence speaks for itself.



OBAMA: That`s what middle class economics is. The idea that this country
does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair
share, everyone plays by the same set of rules.



SHARPTON: President Obama addressing the need for everyone to get a fair
shot at his State of the Union earlier this year. It`s the backbone of his
presidency. Today a new report reveals black children are almost four
times as likely as white children to be living in poverty. The latest
evidence that the economic recovery is leaving behind some of the United
States most vulnerable citizens. To fight poverty, you need action. These
children need a level playing field. Today, President Obama announced a
new program to increase high-speed internet access to over 275,000 low-
income households, and close the 200,000 low-income children.

We cannot hope to have a society when an even playing field and equality,
if even in their infancy, even as children, they start off unequal. We`ve
got to invest in equalizing it in the younger ages. So, as the ages grow
and society grows, equality grows together. It`s the only way we can
correct the institutional and structural inequality that plagues us.

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


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