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PoliticsNation, Friday, August 21st, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: August 21, 2015
Guest: Clarence Page; Ed Rendell; Faith Jenkins; Terry O`Neill, James
Peterson, Phillip Rucker, Susan Del Percio, Jimmy Williams



REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Right now on "Politics Nation," Donald Trump
stomps the GOP field. We`re just flowers the biggest 2016 rally yet and
it`s putting Republicans on defense.

Also, remember this guy? Todd Akin`s comments were infamous. But are GOP
candidates now even worse on women`s rights?

The push to draft Joe Biden in 2016 gets a big boost and Jon Stewart`s next
act could he the debate moderator?

Welcome to "Politics Nation." We begin hours away from what could be the
largest 2016 political rally so far. Donald Trump`s campaign expects at
least 36,000 people at this football stadium in Mobile, Alabama. It`s the
biggest, most visible sign of just how much Donald Trump is now dominating
the GOP field. On "Morning Joe" this week, Trump talked about the
insatiably appetite on the right to see him speak.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mobile, Alabama, is amazing. We
took a ballroom, we had 500 people, we thought, and they called and said
we`re being swamped. So then we took a room for 1500 people and they
called and said we`re swamped. And then they took the convention center
and now I understand they`re going to have like 30 or 40 or something
thousand people. They ended taking the football stadium. So it`s going to
be an amazing Friday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But it`s not so amazing for the other GOP candidates. The
"Washington Post" reports on three strategies from his opponents. Some are
emulating Trump like Ted Cruz. Others, including Jeb Bush, are starting to
assail him. And a few like Marco Rubio are trying to stay silent. But
while they`re scrambling to react, it looks like Trump is starting to
believe his own hype.

"USA Today" reports Trump and his allies are starting to plot a path to
victory. And we`ve seen a chip from Trump himself from a guy who hedged
his bets to one who expects to win.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I would say that it could be that my campaign doesn`t resonate and
I`ll call you guys and I`ll say, John, Mark, it`s not working. I`m not so
proud.

I`m just chugging along. I mean, maybe people will get tired of me, who
knows? I mean, this press is crazy. I don`t know, maybe people get burned
out.

Because I really think I`m going to win. I`m, you know, I`m an optimist.

In four years you`ll be interviewing me saying, what a great job you`ve
done president Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Ed Rendell and Clarence Page, thank you both
for being here.

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Governor, 36,000 people expected tonight. What does that tell
you?

ED RENDELL, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: Well, it tells you that Donald
Trump has hit a nerve, disaffected voters and he`s doing well because he`s
a larger-than-life personality. The question is does Donald have a
ceiling? Is the ceiling 25 percent, 28 percent of the Republican base
primary electorate? If he`s hit that ceiling then he can`t win in the end
because when the field narrows, Rev., from 17 to three or four or
eventually just two, he can`t go much higher than that 28. The trick for
Donald is to take that ceiling and keep pushing it up and up and up and I`m
not sure that he can do it.

SHARPTON: Are the people coming out to see a celebrity or coming out to
support him in a serious way for president, governor?

RENDELL: Well, I`d say out of the 36,000, my guess is 25,000 are there to
support him as a serious candidate for president, but 9,000 or 10,000 are
there to see a celebrity and haven`t made up their minds yet. So Donald
has some convincing to do. Again, I think he has a ceiling of 25 percent.
Can he move that ceiling upward? That is going to be the key test.

SHARPTON: Clarence Page, how does he move that ceiling up if the ceiling
is, as governor Rendell says, 25 percent, 28 percent and narrows down two
or three candidates, he can`t win 25 percent, 28 percent with only facing
two opponents. He`s facing now, what 15 or 16. How does he move that
ceiling? And how does he move it without losing some of what brought him
to 25 percent, 28 percent?

PAGE: Well, he`s got a big credibility gap with the rest of the folks out
there. The polling that I have seen shows him hovering around 24, 25
percent of Republican voters. But when you ask people, you know, would you
not vote for Donald Trump even if your life depended on it, that group is
about 60 percent on different numbers. But it`s a larger group than those
who are supporting him.

So what does that mean? He has won over some of those people, will win
over some but there are others that he`s not winning over and already
you`ve got some of his current supporters who are say can you talk about
something besides immigration. He`s kind of harping on that issue and
we`ve also seen that he`s had a remarkably fact-free campaign. He speaks
in platitudes and grouchy statements that sounds a lot like an internet
troll to me. But I`ve talked to people who like him and they say, well, he
speaks the truth.

Well, you know, he does say things that people like to hear because they`re
things they already believe. But, what does he back it up with? What`s
his program? What`s his agenda? He`s only begun to give us that
substance.

SHARPTON: Governor, the "Washington Post," here`s their take on how the
rest of the GOP is coping with Trump. Quote "party elites said they have
no plan to take him down. Donors feel powerless, Republican officials have
little leverage, candidates are skittish." Are they going to figure this
out or are they just crossing their fingers hoping that it will go away
sooner or later?

RENDELL: Well, a little of the latter, Rev. But I think there are three
different strategies. For Ted Cruz, for example, he wants to be there to
inherit the Trump voters when Trump crashes and burns. Of course, he`s
betting Trump will crash and burn. He may, he may not.

For Jeb Bush and John Kasich and Marco Rubio, they want to be the leader of
the rest of the non-Trump field so they can get him one on one and win
because he can`t move that ceiling. So they`re going to attack Trump a
little bit but basically going to ignore him and try to win the rest of the
voting field.

And then for the long shots, the Chris Christies, I think they have to take
him on and try to bring him down and be rough and tumble to try and get
attention. But right now nobody`s figured it out. Nobody.

SHARPTON: Clarence, the fact that he`s in Alabama, when grow from Iowa to
New Hampshire, South Carolina then you fly to the big three, Alabama is one
of them. Is this a signal he`s running to win now? I mean, he is going
down what would be the right map politically if you`re running the primary
tables.

PAGE: You know, I`m impressed that he is going down to Alabama. He is not
just hitting the usual spots, the big media centers, places you expect to
see a Donald Trump. But when I heard today that he was expected to get
30,000 people tonight I was impressed. When I heard it was Alabama I was
less impressed because that`s where you expect him to draw a big crowd.

SHARPTON: Exactly.

PAGE: And also, I understand Lynyrd Skynyrd is on the bill, too, so that
muddies the waters a bit on judging what Trump`s appeal alone is. But
nevertheless, let`s give him credit. I mean, there are a lot of people out
there who want to see him live and be able to talk about it later, but the
governor is right. You know, he`s got to have substance behind that will
appeal to people who really want to know what the next president is going
to be like.

SHARPTON: Governor, the big problem, I want to bring you into the one
issue that was referred to because one of the biggest problems Trump has
created for the GOP is the birthright citizenship controversy. Earlier
this week, Scott Walker said he was for repealing it. But check out what
he said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Did people misunderstand? You`re actually not
for ending birthright citizenship?

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not taking a position
in way or the other. I`m saying that until you secure the borders and
enforce the laws any discussion about anything else is really looking past
the very things we have to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, this is almost astonishing. He won`t take a position.
I mean, is he afraid of Trump that he will not say he will defend the
constitution, governor?

RENDELL: That`s what it appears. I mean, it`s incredible how he`s
dominating the field and moving the field, not necessarily to the right or
left, but moving the field to his outlandish positions because they`re
simply afraid, most of them, to take him on.

Look, Bobby Jindal who was a birthright citizen himself says we should
repeal that part of the constitution. That`s mind-boggling. How someone
who became a U.S. citizen that way is going to deprive future U.S. citizens
from getting their citizenship that way. The field is head over heels
confused. They don`t know what to do. And I think Donald Trump is doing
some long-term damage to the Republican Party. Because with this anti-
immigrant talk, it`s going to be very hard for whoever the Republican
standard bearer is to even get to 27 percent of the Latino vote that Mitt
Romney got. So I think he`s doing some real long-term damage.

SHARPTON: Now, we were all surprised, Clarence, when we saw 28,000 people
come out for Bernie Sanders. Now you may have thousands more tonight for
Donald Trump. Is this a moment or is this a movement?

PAGE: Do you know what band is playing for Bernie Sanders is one question
I would have. But more seriously, I think you`re seeing with Bernie
Sanders and Donald Trump a reflection of public discontent on the right and
the left with the way things have been going in Washington. There`s too
much gridlock. Nothing`s getting done. There`s too little inspiration.
President Obama, bless his heart, seems to have one foot out the door
already and I don`t blame him. I mean, the time has come to talk about
what the next administration is going to be like. And are we going to have
more of the same or will there be clang? And I`m really impressed by
people coming out for both Sanders and for Trump. They are folks who want
some kind of change to happen. I think it has got crystalized just what
they really want but that`s where leadership comes in.

SHARPTON: Well, MSNBC will have the speech tonight. Clarence, I don`t
know if they`ll have the band.

Ed Rendell and Clarence Page, thank you both for your time. Have a great
weekend both of you.

RENDELL: You, too, Rev.

PAGE: You too, Reverend. Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: Straight ahead, we are following breaking developments in the
case of the North Carolina police officer charged with killing an unarmed
college football player.

Also ahead, new calls for vice president Biden to jump in the race as
Hillary Clinton`s email controversy looms.

Plus, Jon Stewart, former "Daily Show" host and now presidential debate
moderator? We`ll explain.

But first, Michelle Obama and Jimmy Kimmel want you to eat your fruits and
veggies. They came out with this new public service announcement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: Can I sleep over in the --

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: No, no. You can`t sleep
in the Lincoln bedroom, Jimmy.

KIMMEL: Can I wash my hair in the Lincoln bathroom?

OBAMA: No, no, you can`t do that, either.

KIMMEL: Can I have this tomato?

OBAMA: Yes. You may have the tomato. It`s all yours.

KIMMEL: Thank you. I got a tomato.

OBAMA: Eat your veggies. You, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It was a tumultuous day on Wall Street. The Dow plunged 531
points today down 3.5 percent in one day amid fears of global economic
slowdown. Investors say it could signal a correction of the market which
saw directed highs earlier this year. And that we could see even more
selloffs next week. We`ll continue to monitor this story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news out of North Carolina, a mistrial was declared
late today in the case of a police officer accused of shooting an unarmed
man. Officer Randall Kerrick had pleaded not guilty to voluntary
manslaughter in the death of Jonathan Farrell. Prosecutors say he shot
Farrell ten times. Farrell was looking for help after a car accident two
years ago. Kerrick says he thought Farrell was going to take his gun. You
can see the moments right before the shooting this n this police dash cam.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)

SHARPTON: Today, after four days of deliberations, the jury was unable to
break a deadlock. According to the "Charlotte Observer," it`s not yet
known which way the jury was leaning. It will be up to prosecutors whether
to try the case again. Already we`re seeing a small protest outside the
courthouse.

Joining me now is judge Faith Jenkins. Thanks for being here, judge.

FAITH JENKINS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Sure. Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Judge, what`s next for the prosecution?

I think they will take a look at the case and the questions the jurors
asked during deliberations and they will make a decision as to whether
they`ll go forward and try the case again. I think they will because I
think they believe in the prosecution in this case and they`ll go forward.

Every prosecutor knows when you`re prosecuting a police officer you`re
going to face challenges in an excessive force case like this. Why?
Because look at the burden. Look at how the jury was charged. Was
excessive force used? How do you make that determination? What would a
reasonable police officer do in those circumstances?

A lot of people don`t like to put themselves in the shoes of a police
officer because we don`t make the same life or death decisions they do
every day. And so, whenever there`s a shooting and there are questionable
circumstances, a lot of people tend to give deference to police officers.

SHARPTON: Now, take a look at how the jury voted each day. On Tuesday,
the vote was 8-4. On Wednesday 7-5. On Friday the jury was back to 8-4.
Now, we don`t know which way they were voting but what, if anything, does
this tell you, the way these numbers break down?

JENKINS: It tells me that from the very beginning people had their minds
made up once they heard all the evidence in the case and there wasn`t a lot
of movement based on the deliberations because you go in and you discuss
the case and this case, really, that one issue, one charge here and they
were out for several days. That tells you that it was a very difficult
decision, there wasn`t a lot of movement and people made up their minds
early on.

SHARPTON: So now if the prosecutor goes forward, a whole new jury, the
whole new case all over again.

JENKINS: It`s a new trial from the start.

SHARPTON: Does it give the prosecutor or the defense or both a chance to
kind of fine tune their case?

JENKINS: It does. Especially in this case for the prosecutors because the
officer testified on the witness stand for several hours. So they now have
his testimony. That`s now recorded evidence that they can use, they can go
back, look at that testimony, look at the videotape again, look at all the
other witness testimony and use that going forward and try to make their
case better the next time around but the key for them is jury selection.
They know it.

SHARPTON: Faith Jenkins, thank you for your time tonight, judge.

JENKINS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Remember former congressman Todd Akin? Here`s what he said
about rape three years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TODD AKIN, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: If it`s a legitimate rape, the female body
has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That statement caused major problems for the GOP. But did they
learn from it? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AKIN: It seems to be first of all from what I understand from doctors
that`s really rare. If it`s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to
try to shut that thing down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It was three years ago when Todd Akin said that statement. But
did the GOP learn from it? The GOP is going hard right on women`s issues
with candidates are pushing extreme positions on abortion.

Bloomberg writes quote "in the way that certain candidates speak of women
facing the prospect of abortion, there is a presumptiveness, a kind of
candidate knows best." That attitude has been front and center in the
early stages of this campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not sure we need a half billion
dollars for women`s health issues. Abortion should not be funded by the
government. Any government, in my mind.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It shouldn`t just be defunded,
it should be prosecuted?

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Would you really let a mother die rather
than have an abortion?

WALKER: I`m pro-life. I`ve always been pro-life and I`ve got a position I
think is consistent with many Americans out there.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This notion that we just
continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that
unborn child`s fifth and 14th amendment rights.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I have advocated is we
pass a law that says all human life at every stage of its development is
worthy of protection.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And their push to cut women`s health funding isn`t an empty
threat. Some Republicans have even said they`d shut down the government to
defund Planned Parenthood seizing on those undercover tapes that critics
say were misleadingly edited. Now Planned Parenthood is hitting back in a
new ad blitz attacking four vulnerable Republican senators.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First Pat Toomey voted to defund Planned Parenthood,
risking health care for millions of women. Now Republicans want to shut
down the government to block funding for Planned Parenthood. What would a
shutdown mean for Pennsylvania?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Three years later, has the Republican Party failed to learn this
lesson when it comes to attacking women`s rights? It sure doesn`t look
like it.

Joining me now is Terry O`Neill, president of the national organization for
women.

Terry, did they learn their lesson from the past?

TERRY O`NEILL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: You know,
Reverend, they said they did. After 2012 Republican leaders, John Boehner
and others said we get it, we are going to soften our language, we are
going really to try to reach out to women, but now fast forward, here it
is, heading into the second half of 2015 and they are indeed moving further
to the right, more and quite frankly vicious policies to cut off women`s
access to birth control.

A vote against Planned Parenthood that just happened in the Senate recently
was a vote against birth control. And now they`re saying victims of rape,
victims of incest, women who are even at death`s door, they`re not -- their
rights and their needs don`t matter. What matters only is stopping
abortion.

SHARPTON: No, it doesn`t matter what the circumstance is. And that`s in
direct contrast. If you go back to the RNC`s autopsy after losing the 2012
election they had what they called an autopsy. The report said quote "the
party should be conscious of developing a forward-leaning vision for voting
Republican that appeals to women." When it comes to social issues, the
party must in fact and deed be inclusive and welcoming. If we are not, we
will limit our ability to attract young people and others, including many
women. Now we`ve gone from this autopsy to Donald Trump attacking Jeb Bush
on women`s issues. I mean, what happened?

O`NEILL: Well, I just don`t know, Reverend. It`s mind bonging. The
Republican Party is losing women voters in drove. Their base is -- they
already knew their base was heavily white, heavily male, suburban, married
and older men. With these anti-woman policies they are losing the young
people`s vote, men as well as women. They are losing communities of color
votes for -- both for their immigrant policies but also for the added
attacks on women`s rights.

I mean, one in three women will have an abortion by the age of 45 so that,
you know, it is a common and necessary aspect of our basic reproductive
health care. And when you say no to birth control and no to abortion under
any circumstances -- rape, insist, health of the woman, life of the woman -
- that is a recipe for rendering the Republican Party, frankly, irrelevant
to most women.

SHARPTON: But Terry, I`m out of time but I must say. This it`s so extreme
when they say under any circumstances. Mike Huckabee was asked this
weekend about a ten-year-old girl in Paraguay who was raped by her
stepfather and denied an abortion. He defended that position. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUCKABEE: I think what we have to do, Dana, is remember that creating one
problem that is horrible -- I mean, let nobody be misled, a ten-year-old
girl being raped is horrible. But does it solve a problem by taking the
life of an innocent child? And that`s really the issue. But let`s not
compound the tragedy by taking yet another life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is the GOP 2016 much of the candidates.

O`NEILL: You know, Rev, that`s exactly right. What would have solved the
problem would have been to give that young girl autonomy. To give her the
decision making of what was going to happen to her after she had been
viciously raped over and over again by her stepfather. The one thing that
she needed was control over her life and men, like Mike Huckabee, who would
take control away from her once again, they are effectively denying her
right to live.

SHARPTON: Sad. Sad. And unbelievable. Terry O`Neill, thank you so much,
have a great week end.

O`NEILL: Thank you, you, too.

SHARPTON: Check out these live pictures from Mobile, Alabama. In less
than two hours, Donald Trump is expected and he`s expecting 36,000 people
in the largest with 2016 rally so far.

Up next, can Ted Cruz tap into that energy? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the noise surrounding Donald Trump making it
harder for you to get your message out?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To the contrary. I think it is
terrific that Donald Trump is in the race. I like Donald.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Ted Cruz likes Donald Trump, but can he be like Donald Trump?
Today, Cruz was out playing to the conservative base at the Iowa State
Fair. He also stopped by right wing talk show host Jan Mickelson`s show.
The same host who proposed this immigration plan earlier this week.

JAN MICKELSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We find that you`re still here after
we`ve given you the deadline to leave, then you become the property of the
state of Iowa. And we have a job for you and we start using compelled
labor, the people who are here illegally would therefore be owned by the
state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think everybody would believe it sounds like
slavery.

MICKELSON: Well, what`s wrong with slavery?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What`s wrong with slavery? It`s offensive and it disqualifies
him from any serious conversation about immigration. But today Ted Cruz
was on his show. He was his guest. Cruz talked about immigration and once
again praised Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: One of the real benefits of Donald Trump`s staying in this race is
it`s forced the mainstream media to talk about illegal immigration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Ted Cruz is going to great lengths to align himself with Trump.
Politico writes today, quote, "Ted Cruz has quietly embarked on a strategy
designed to reclaim the mantle of the anti-establishment presidential
candidate. Even as Donald Trump keeps a firm grip on the title for now."
In less than two hours, Donald Trump will hold the biggest 2016 rally so
far. Can Ted Cruz tap into that energy?

Joining me now are MSNBC contributor James Peterson, Phillip Rucker from
the "Washington Post" and republican strategist Susan Del Percio. Did I do
you right?

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL STRATEGIST: You did. Thank you.

SHARPTON: All right. I don`t want to be accused of being partisan.
James, what do you make of Ted Cruz`s latest moves? I mean, are we seeing
a mini Trump in the making?

JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Rev, I think he was mini Trump
before Trump was the phenomenal sort of candidate that he has become in the
kind of reality and TV moment that we`re experiencing on republican
presidential contexts. But here he`s a very smart strategy, Rev. You
know, he`s sort of playing with very right wing activist in the south, in
Mississippi and South Carolina, he`s building sort of a good campaign along
with the sort of right wing base that he needs in the south and in Iowa.
He`s not going to be outflanked by Trumped. That`s why he`s chummying up
to him. That`s why he won`t allow him to outflank him at any of these
issues that Trump is trying to interject into the political process right
now. And at the end of the day, I think the campaign strategy of Cruz is
that eventually the Trump campaign will implode and he will be sitting
right there to collect those votes.

SHARPTON: Susan, you`re a republican, you`re a strategist. What would you
tell Cruz to do and is he already doing what you would advise?

DEL PERCIO: He is, actually, doing exactly what he should be doing. First
of all, he doesn`t want to take on attacks from Donald Trump because he
won`t survive them, especially considering he`s so far to the right. And I
think James was exactly right, he should be there when Donald Trump
implodes. He`s going to hope to have some of that support but Donald Trump
could really damage Ted Cruz if he went after him so this is the best
strategy right now.

SHARPTON: Phillip, you wrote today about the GOP field`s new strategies to
ride out the Trump tornado, quote, "Cruz is positioning himself to inherit
Trump`s support should the front-runner collapse. Cruz also has cultivated
a chummy relationship with the developer." Philip, inside the Cruz camp,
what is the dream scenario for the next 14 months, say?

PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think the dream scenario is to
continue to do what he`s doing for the next little bit. Which is to build
support in these southern states, to build support in Iowa, to get some key
endorsements. But then at some point later, this fall early into the
winter, to see Trump start to collapse and then Cruz can step in, take
those vote, inherit those voters, perhaps if Trump were to drop out of the
race somehow, they`re hoping he might even endorse Cruz, Cruz actually
invited Trump to come down to the border with Mexico and be his guest, sort
of do a joint event together. So Cruz is really trying to stay close to
Trump.

SHARPTON: James, listen to what Ted Cruz said as a Senate candidate in
2011 on birth right citizenship versus what he`s saying this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: I think it`s a mistake for conservatives to be focusing on trying to
fight what the constitution says in birth right citizenship.

We should end granting automatic birthright citizenship to the children of
those who are here illegally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is Cruz making a conscious attempt to sound more like Donald
Trump? Because that`s clearly what was not his position in 2011.

PETERSON: He`s definitely changed his position and I think this is the
Trump effect on republican presidential politics right now that he is
trying to be anti-establishment. He`s been very, very effective at doing
that. He`s taking positions that the hard right identifies with that the
red meat republican base identifies with. It`s a smart strategy, Rev.
What Cruz is doing is he`s doing the same thing. That`s why he won`t allow
Donald Trump to outflank him but he has the cover of Donald Trump`s sort
of, you know, magnificent presence in the campaign so he can take those
positions and kind of hide out underneath the shadow of Trump until he`s
essentially biding his time. And it looks as if -- we think about
presidential politics looking back at the last couple of elections, folks
like Trump don`t last, their campaigns aren`t sustainable so it seems like
Cruz is making the smart move here.

SHARPTON: Now, Susan, if he`s making the smart move hoping that the
predictions are right at some point Donald Trump collapses, has he
distinguished himself enough from the other candidates that he would be the
logical heir to the passion and emotions of the Trump supporters? I mean,
does he have to worry about someone else also trying to fill in that vacuum
if it becomes a vacuum?

DEL PERCIO: Well, he also has to worry about it for a few reasons. The
first reason is that Trump`s movement is a lot more populist than it is
conservative. So, you`ll going to see those supporters going to a lot of
different candidates. And the other thing is that there are two other
candidates who is doing as well or insignificantly better than he is in the
polls, and that`s Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina. Both are actually
legitimate outsiders. Senator Cruz is, in fact, a senator. He`s part of
the Washington establishment, so he has to be extremely careful on that to
try and break out. And I think he will and I think that`s impart also why
he`s trying to do the Trump mini me, if you will.

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: Phillip, everyone is saying that Trump will collapse, this can`t
last and he`s so far not only has outlasted those predictions he seems to
be going. January we start seeing the Iowa caucus and we`re off to the
races with primaries. When must he collapse by before it becomes
irreversible that he`s going to ride this all the way out?

RUCKER: Well, I`ve stopped predicting what`s going to happen with the
Trump campaign.

SHARPTON: Yes. But give me a timetable that if he`s still here and
leading in the polls at this point, it`s too late to reverse it. When do
we get to that point?

RUCKER: I don`t know. I mean, he could win the Iowa caucuses if he went
from there to win New Hampshire and some of those early states and then
sweep what`s being called the S.E.C. primary down in the south, March 1st,
it could become very difficult to stop him. That being said, I think if we
get to November and December of this year and he`s leading in the polls,
we`ll going to see a fairly well-funded sort of deliberate strategic effort
by the forces in the Republican Party to try to stop Trump. I don`t think
they want to let it get that far.

SHARPTON: Susan, if we see a well-funded, well-orchestrated attempt to
drop Donald Trump by the republican establishment, would that also in your
judgment mean they will try to get some of the candidates out of the way
and get them to drop out and consolidate behind one candidate?

DEL PERCIO: No, my guess is that to have that well-funded pack if you
will, they would have to basically get a lot of people or, you know, few
people with a lot of money who all say that the only purpose of this PAC is
to go after Donald Trump. We all have our different preferences but that`s
the only way it will possibly succeed, if you see some kind of super PAC
dedicated to going after Trump which I think is certainly something that`s
very viable.

SHARPTON: James Peterson, do you think that if Trump is replaced that the
damage he`s done to a lot of the general election voters that are very
offended by the immigration and women`s stands and other things he`s done,
do you think that will be forgotten even if he`s not the candidate?

PETERSON: That`s a great question, Rev. I mean, you know, people have
sort of short memories when it comes to presidential elections and I think
unfortunately the kinds of things that Trump is doing now will be
completely obscured by whatever coalition comes together to try to bounce
on him once he gets weaker or somehow finds his way outside of this race.
They are going to try -- they are going to focus more on rallying on what`s
left of the republican candidates as opposed to worrying too much about
what Trump said that set the stage for our political discourses this
summer. Unfortunately too many of us have short memories when it comes to
presidential politics.

SHARPTON: James Peterson, Phillip Rucker and Susan Del Percio, thank you
all for your time, have a great weekend.

PERCIO: Thank you.

RUCKER: Thanks, Rev. You too.

SHARPTON: Up next, will Joe Biden run for president? It`s been a big
talker this week and now the draft Biden movement made a big new hire.

And later, have you heard about the draft Stewart movement? More than
180,000 people have an idea what the former "Daily Show" host should do,
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Will Joe Biden run for president? The "Wall Street Journal"
asking the day if he could draw key working class democratic voters if he
decides to challenge Secretary Clinton. It comes after a key democratic
strategist who helped President Obama win Florida twice joined the Draft
Biden Campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE SCHALE, DRAFT BIDEN CAMPAIGN: The skill set the vice president
brings to the table that no candidate in the race has is 45 years in public
service. There really isn`t many issues that he`s not had his fingerprints
on since he was first elected to the U.S. Senate. There are very few
people in politics, you have been in politics as long as the Vice President
and you haven`t sort of lost their authenticity and I think really that is
the appeal to a lot of people to the vice president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is the executive editor of BlueNationreview.com,
Jimmy Williams. Jimmy, first of all, thank you for being here tonight.

JIMMY WILLIAMS, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLUENATIONREVIEW.COM: Good to see you.

SHARPTON: Do you think Biden gets in, Jimmy?

WILLIAMS: I don`t know. I mean, I mean, to all disclosure, I worked for
then Senator Biden when we were in the majority of the United States Senate
back in 2003, I think it was for a very short period of time. I don`t know
the answer to this. I can tell you that people in -- the political elite,
if you will, in South Carolina, are all buzzing about it. He is certainly
making some decisions at this point in time. He has not filed from the
S.E.C. So he can`t hire campaign staff person, you know, that sort of
thing. If there`s anything out there, it`s the gentleman that you just saw
Steve Schale on the Draft Biden movement.

SHARPTON: Right.

WILLIAMS: But I can tell you this, I have had the conversation with some
of the Clinton folks and listen, they love Joe Biden, everyone loves Joe
Biden. There`s nothing about it that we don`t love Joe Biden. But if he
wants to get in, he`s welcome to get in.

SHARPTON: Well, let me bring in this into the conversation. New poll
numbers from Quinnipiac show that there might be room for Joe Biden in this
race. Voters in three key states were asked who they found honest and
trustworthy. Look at these numbers, Jimmy. The majority of voters in
Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania said they did not find Hillary Clinton to be
honest and trustworthy but most of those same voters found Joe Biden was
both trustworthy and honest. Isn`t this going to be a big issue in this
race and could it be an opening for Joe Biden?

WILLIAMS: I think that there certainly is an opening for Joe Biden but
look I want to be very clear about the Quinnipiac poll. First, it was
weighted far heavily more towards Republicans. Secondly, Hillary Clinton -
- that`s the -- the poll number you just showed was honest and
trustworthiness. Her favorable though, she tops all the Republicans and
the Democrats in that same possible. So, look, and this is an outlier poll
in my opinion. I`ve not seen any poll in Ohio, Florida or Pennsylvania
that`s shown these numbers to date. What I do think this shows us is that
the over year and a half long barrage of Benghazi gate and the Trey Gowdy
committee that`s now at $4.1 million, they`ve had three hearings, they`ve
released nothing, I think that that is out there.

I think the political press that we are walking around hook line and sinker
into this, I don`t think that there`s an e-mail scandal because, frankly,
if there were, then you know, look, the barrage is a drip, drip, drip, drip
here and it`s working from the republican side. I went on MSNBC two days
after Benghazi happened and said, "I think that they will try to pin this
around Hillary Clinton politically. And guess what? They`re doing it.

SHARPTON: Right. But has she -- has she respond -- they put out a video
today, they`ll be getting the push back, is that what they need to do?

WILLIAMS: You know what I think she should do? I think she should do is
she should do a big presser, like an address. Spin the money and do in the
states that matter. And just lay it out on the line. I think she should
talk about the fact that in the Bush White House they lost millions of Karl
Rove`s e-mail, state secrets, and no one complained about that. That`s
what she should do. She should go out and she should defend herself though
and very heavily.

SHARPTON: Jimmy Williams, thank you for your time. Have a great weekend.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, have a great weekend. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the fight for equal pay in Hollywood. What actors
are saying about the fight for women`s equality? But first, what`s Jon
Stewart`s next job after "The Daily Show"? One hundred and eighty thousand
people have an idea to put him to work.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: No joke! Jon Stewart is back. Or he might be if fans get their
way. Earlier this month, a group launched a petition to have Stewart
moderate a 2016 debate and the petition is picking up serious steam. More
than 194,000 supporters have now signed on, even democratic presidential
hopeful Martin O`Malley supports the idea tweeting, "Signed, Jon Stewart
moderating or not, we need debate." Then he shared a link to the petition.
Don`t write off this idea just yet. There`s no secret that Stewart is
qualified. The petition points out Stewart has played a huge role in
American politics and media over the past 16 years, during this time he`s
interviewed 15 heads of state, 22 cabinet members and 32 senators. But if
that`s not enough, let`s just watch Stewart in action during the 2012
debates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I`m sorry, Jim, I`m going to
stop the subsidy to PBS, I`m going to start all the things I like PBS, I
love big bird. I actually like you, too. But I`m not going to keep on
spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.

JON STEWART, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: Mother (bleep) fired big bird!

ROMNEY: The day after the attack it was an act of terror. It was not a
spontaneous demonstration. Is that what you`re saying?

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Please proceed, Governor.

STEWART: When you feel you`re about to spring what you, Governor Romney,
think is the check mate moment of the debate and your debate opponent says
to you, "Please, proceed."

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: I want to underscore the same point the President made. I felt
the same as the president did, I supported his action there. It`s
absolutely the right thing to do to have crippling sanctions.

(APPLAUSE)

I think Romney is leaning Obama.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So far neither Stewart nor the commission on the presidential
debates has commented on the petition. We`ll keep an eye open on this one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news moments ago, Donald Trump`s plane flying over a
rally at a football stadium in Mobile, Alabama. The Trump campaign expects
more than 36,000 people to attend the event. It gets under way in about an
hour. This will be the largest rally so far in 2016 on either side and you
know his republican rivals are taking note. Here`s what Trump said on
"Morning Joe."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mobile, Alabama, is amazing. We
took a ballroom, we had 500 people we thought and they called and they
said, "We`re being swamped. So then we took a room for 1500 people and
they call and said, "We`re swamped." And then they took the convention
center and now I understand they`re going to have, like, 30 or 40 or
something thousand people? They ended up taking the football stadium so
it`s going to be an amazing Friday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, the Trump phenomenon continues. How long will it last?
Many in the republican establishment hope not long. Many on the other side
hopes it keeps on going.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton, have a great weekend. "HARDBALL"
starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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