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PoliticsNation, Thursday, August 27th, 2015

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Date: August 27, 2015
Guest: Cedric Richmond; Mitch Landrieu; Dana Milbank; Susan Del Percio;
Jamal Simmons; Ryan Grim

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Right now on "Politics Nation," breaking
news. President Obama in New Orleans ten years after Katrina. I`ll talk
with Louisiana congressman Richman and Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Also 2016 politics, Donald Trump makes the case that he`s for real.

Elizabeth warren`s impact on Joe Biden`s potential run.

And the emotional homecoming of Zion Harvey, the 8-year-old boy who became
the first child in the world to receive a double hand transplant.

We start with breaking news from New Orleans where President Obama just
finished speaking. Marking ten years since hurricane Katrina devastated
the city and much of the gold coast -- the gulf coast, the images from the
days following the storm were burned into the nation`s collective memory.
And one of the most difficult lessons learned was that some of the worst
damage could have been avoided.


started out as a natural disaster became a manmade disaster. A failure of
government to look out for its own citizens. And the storm laid bare a
deeper tragedy that had been brewing for decades. Because we came to
understand that New Orleans like so many cities and communities across the
country had for too long been plagued by structural inequalities.


SHARPTON: The President referring to longstanding disparities in New
Orleans in housing, education and unemployment. But he also raised the
city up as an example of resilience in the face of despair.


OBAMA: This is a city that slowly, unmistakably, together, is moving
forward. Because the project was to build the city as it should be. A
city where everyone, no matter what they look like, how much money they
got, where they come from, where they`re born, has a chance to make it.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is NBC news senior White House correspondent
covering the president in New Orleans, Chris Jansing.

Chris, first of all, how was the speech received?

city that is very proud of what`s happened in the last ten years. They are
proud of this rebirth. And so, for the president to come here and affirm
it meant a lot.

This is his ninth visit as president. But if I can I want to go back to
his visit before he became president. He was somebody, a young senator who
a lot of people thought was a long shot at best to become president of the
United States. And he said then what he reiterated today. That he
believes that the, prior to Katrina and what happened after Katrina is an
example of how government doesn`t work. What has happened in the ten years
since and what`s happening now is a reflection of the good that government
can do.

Now, $70 billion has been pumped into this economy. But you are seeing
some of the benefits of it as you drive through this neighborhood. And I
was here ten years ago in the lower ninth ward. You see the new houses
that are here. You see this beautiful $20 million community center. But
you also talk to some of the young people who look ahead to wanting to stay
here and help continue to rebuild this community. And they acknowledge
that there is still a lot to be done. So I think there are mixed emotions
celebrating what has happened here over the last ten years, but recognizing
the reality of what still lies ahead, Rev.

SHARPTON: NBC`s Chris Jansing, thank you for your reporting.

In his speech, President Obama also highlighted deep issues of deep
inequality. The president in New Orleans and, they were present in New
Orleans and they were well before Katrina came ashore. He talked about the
progress in the last ten years and also the work that still needs to be


OBAMA: It doesn`t allow for complacency. It doesn`t that mean we can
rest. Our work here won`t be done when almost 40 percent of children still
live in poverty in the city. Our work won`t be done when a typical black
household earns half the amount of a White House holds in the city. Our
work is not done yet.



SHARPTON: Joining me now, New Orleans Congressman Cedric Richman.

First of all, thank you for being with us tonight.

REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D), NEW ORLEANS: Thank you for having me, Al.

SHARPTON: Congressman, I want to talk about issues of inequality. First,
what are your feelings ten years after Katrina?

RICHMOND: Well, we`re certainly not where we were after the storm. But
we`re not where we want to be either. We still have some hard work to do.
The lower ninth ward is still incomplete, so to say. And we still have far
too many people around the country that want to come home that are not home
and we need to make a way to get them home. And then the people that are
here who are not whole, we need to figure out a way to make them whole.

So it is a good point ten years later to stop and take an assessment of
where we are, but then we now have to go and double down and make sure we
get on where we want to be.

SHARPTON: President Obama talked about issues of structural inequality
before and after the storm. What is your take on that?

RICHMOND: Well, the president is absolutely right. Right now in New
Orleans, we have 52 percent unemployment in terms of African-American
males. And then you have African-American households earning half of their
white counter parts. And so, when you see things like that, you know that
there`s a problem and you have to dedicate the resources and the commitment
to fix that. And I don`t think that`s a problem unique to New Orleans. I
think that that is a problem that we see it all across the United States.
But we have to talk about it in order to fix it. And we have to have the
will to do the things necessary to fix it.

SHARPTON: You know, some of the issues of inequality that still impact New
Orleans, as you referred to some of them. African-Americans make up 59
percent of the city`s population, but 90 percent of the local prison
population. And on unemployment, 52 percent of working age black males are
either unemployment or out of the work force. What is the way forward?
How do we address these issues? These are real issues.

RICHMOND: Well, two things come to mind very quickly. We have to complete
the job of criminal justice reform. The war on drugs, we now know was the
wrong way to go. And we now have to make sure that we have a smart
criminal justice policy.

The second thing that we have to do is make sure that we get everyone to
adopt the concept of ban the box. When people come home, formerly
incarcerated individuals, we have to make sure that they have the
opportunity to live a law-abiding life but also be able to provide for
their families. And right now we don`t do that.

And then another thing we can do is to stress disadvantaged business
programs. And make sure that small minority businesses get shots to
develop and prosper and grow into bigger businesses. Because we know that
they`re the ones that take chances on hiring African-American males who may
have been incarcerated. African-American males who may not have all the
education they need. But we know that these business there`s take those
chances. So those three steps I think are probably a good first start.
But overall, we just have to have the commitment to address the problem.

SHARPTON: I remember right after Katrina, many of us came down. I was
part of leading marches and all because as the president referred to,
government failure. And the levies breaking showed a lot of the
infrastructure disrepair in the country that still exists all over the
country. You and your colleagues have tried to get your colleagues out to
deal with infrastructure.

What do you think? Will in memory of what happened ten years ago, do you
think after Congress reconvenes, we can see something about infrastructure
happening in this country? All over this country, bridges, tunnels,
highways, still in disrepair. We could have other kinds of Katrinas.

RICHMOND: You are absolutely right. And I think the only way is going to
happen in the short term is if the American people start changing the
conversation and stop talking so much about what we`re spending as opposed
to talk about what return we get on the investment of what we spend.

So we know that investing in our country`s infrastructure, which has to be
done, gives us a greater return on our investment. And you can take that,
create jobs, spare the economy, and then you can take that money and pay
down the national debt and reduce the deficit and those things.

But right now, we should invest in our infrastructure because of all the
things I mentioned before, and we have to do it. So, Al, you being a
homeowner, you would know. When you have a leak in your roof, you can fix
it for a certain dollar amount. But if you leave it leaking for years, so
you are going to have to change sheet, rug deal with mold and all of those
things and that`s the position the country is in now.

We can fix the problems we have right now for a certain amount. But if we
don`t, the deferred maintenance costs are going to be tremendous in years
to come. So we just need to change the rhetoric that we hear about
spending and marge in our children`s future. We need to spend money on
things that gives us the time like infrastructure, like early childhood
education, like criminal justice reform and all those things.

So - but the American people have to demand it. And if we just continue to
allow them to use talking heads and do sound bites and just talk about
spending, we won`t get to where we need to be.

SHARPTON: New Orleans Congressman Cedric Richmond. Thank you for your
time as we remember this important event.

Earlier, I had a chance to speak with the New Orleans mayor, Mitch
Landrieu. I asked him about the move in his city as it marks ten years
since hurricane Katrina.


MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU (D), NEW ORLEANS: Well, you know, for us, it is
always somber because we lost over 1,800 of our brothers and sisters and
our mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles and in some instances,
children. I mean, heart rendering stories of just unbelievable
catastrophe. And the whole world has seen all of the pictures. And also
the notion that the word gas was the possibility of losing a great American
city. So first, that`s always a sober time for us to kind of relive those
difficult things.

But we`re coming up on ten years. So what I wanted to do this week was
make sure the nation and the world knew how grateful the people of New
Orleans were for the nation feeding us, clothing us, helping us out,
lifting us up. People in 32 states housed all of us when we were there.

And so, this is really a story of a nation coming together. And the
rebuilding of New Orleans is the great American comeback story, you know,
because you remember, ten years ago, we were 17 feet underwater. And some
people said we will dead in the water. We would never come back. Some
people sad we shouldn`t even think about coming back. People of New
Orleans not only said no but they said hell, no. And we are going to
rebuild our city. We are going to build it better than it was before.

SHARPTON: New Orleans face a lot of challenges before Katrina. They were
compounded by the storm. What kinds of progress has been made in issues
like public education and gun violence?

LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, gun violence continues to be, and as you and
I have talked about many times, a national epidemic. The depth of young
African-American men on the streets of America, in my opinion, is a
national shame and it is a moral outrage. And we have really got to figure
out how to keep our young men safe.

On criminal justice reform effort, we`ve really worked hard to try to find
the way to be smart, right, and tough at the same time. On the health care
piece, we`ve done a really great job because before the storm, a mama would
have to go to the emergency room at charity hospital, which you know is our
acute care center. If her baby boy had an earache. And she could sit
there 13 hours. And as she work in the service center, she maybe she lose
her job because she couldn`t show up to work.

Now, we have 54 primary healthcare clinics around the city where folks with
insurance or without insurance can go get their preventive care and you
know what that means. And we also just open today, our new university
medical center, which is a world class state-of-the-art facility that is
going to provide the best health care for New Orleans citizens whether you
have change in your pocket or you don`t.

On the education front, a little bit of a controversial piece would move to
the Charles (ph) school movement here that public schools but was
physically rebuilt almost every school in the city. So our kids now are
going to first class state-of-the-art 21st century knowledge based schools.
The kids are going out to school now. The graduation rates are up.
Dropout rates are down. And here is the thing that juices me a lot.

The achievement gap between the kids in the city and the kids outside the
city has closed. So as long as we can stay focus on the kids, I`m not
really that concern about the fights that adults have about structure and
all the stuff. Not to say that they are not important issues, but here is
the thing. The kids have to have an opportunity to learn. Because when
they do, that`s when they`ll take off and hopefully take over when you and
I get a little bit older.

SHARPTON: Well, I agree with that, Mr. Mayor. Well, we want to keep the
urban agenda in front of this presidential election and we don`t want
people to forget as we did with this, the tenth anniversary of Katrina.

New Orleans` mayor Mitch -

LANDRIEU: Well, Reverend Sharpton.


LANDRIEU: Well, I just want to say, that is a very important thing.
Because, you know, the urban agenda went away a long time ago. And as we
look at criminal justice reform, education, healthcare, none of the
presidential candidates at least on the side that is getting the most
attention now, are speaking to those issues. Cities, 85 percent of the
people in America live in cities now. People are moving into the cities.
And we have to figure, Al, on how to make this thing work for all of the
country because like in New Orleans, you can`t go follow unless everybody
goes with you.

SHARPTON: Everybody has to go with us. Thank you so much New Orleans
mayor, Mitch Landrieu.

LANDRIEU: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Thank you for your time. And we`ll be thinking of your city
this week.

LANDRIEU: Thank you. Thank you. Come see us.

SHARPTON: All right.


SHARPTON: Coming up, a new poll shows Donald Trump dominating the
Republican field.


message is, essentially, we`re not going to take it anymore. We`re just
not going to take it anymore.


SHARPTON: Also ahead, the new clues today about whether Joe Biden will run
for president. Find out who he is meeting with.

And the first kid in the world to undergo a double hand transplant. The
new details in the inspiring story of Zion Harvey.

There is much more ahead. So stick with us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump is now in a feud with both Univision and
FOX News. Yes. Today he`s going to insult Meerkats (ph) and get into a
feud with animal planet.



SHARPTON: Up next on "Politics Nation," Donald Trump crushes the rest of
the Republican field. But can he sustain his momentum?


TRUMP: I don`t wear a toupee. It`s my hair. I swear. You have to do an
inspection. This is getting crazy. This is crazy. Real quick. We don`t
want to mess it up too much because I do use hairspray.

Say it please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I believe it is.

TRUMP: Thank you.



SHARPTON: Donald Trump had an interesting message today in South Carolina.
It`s for real.


TRUMP: I don`t wear a toupee. It`s my hair. I swear. Come here. Come
here. Real quick, we don`t want to mess it up too much. I do use
hairspray. Is it mine?


TRUMP: Say it please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I believe it is.

TRUMP: Thank you.


SHARPTON: But it`s not just his hair. It is becoming more clear that
Trump`s candidacy is for real, too. A new poll shows him with one of his
biggest leads yet, 28 percent of Republicans say they vote for him. And
he`s blowing the competition away. Jeb Bush was supposed to be the GOP
savior but he`s down to single digits. And when voters were asked, the
first word that comes to mind about Bush, all they could think to say was

Republicans just aren`t interested. They want something different. And no
matter what we may think of Donald Trump, he is definitely different. He
is not an elected politician. He is not predictable. And he`s winning
over that base.


TRUMP: I talk about the silent majority, a term that you haven`t heard for
a long time. Because we have not been heard for a long time, but we`re
being heard now big league. We have a message. And the message is,
essentially, we won`t take it anymore. We are just not going to take it
anymore. There`s something happening. There`s something happening.


SHARPTON: There`s definitely something happening. Candidates like Jeb
Bush left a big opening for someone who sounds different. For better or
for worse, that describes Donald Trump.

Joining me now, Republican strategist Susan Del Percio and Dana MILBANK of
the "Washington Post." Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Dana, no other candidate would pull a gag like that with his
hair. I`m not going to ask Susan to show that mine is not a toupee either.
We`ll do that another time. But is he resonating on the right? Is that
what it is? That he`s just different?

MILBANK: Yes. You see this hair tug thing may be what`s actually keeping
Joe Biden out of the race here, so. But look. There are many reasons
behind Donald Trump`s success, not least with him which is policy. He`s
hit all the right notes for the Republican primary electorate. And he
could basically reinvent himself from start.

But a lot of it is also just the fact that politics is all about celebrity
and name recognition. And we have an actual celebrity on the ballot at the
moment. And I think that`s what you`re seeing a lot of in these early
polls. So it is Donald Trump against a field of 16 others.

When it becomes Donald Trump versus whoever else it is, if it is Scott
Walker, Jeb Bush, then I think things begin to change. Still hard to see
that Republicans would be so suicidal to say this is the man they want to
nominate for president but he is endlessly entertaining. So, you know, at
least in my line of work, we`re encouraging this as much as possible.

SHARPTON: Susan, suicidal? I mean, Trump is doing much better than
expected by many. But Jeb Bush also doing a lot worse. Why?

DEL PERCIO: Well, what`s interesting, in that poll that came out today,
there was a question. Do you want someone with Washington experience or
outsider experience? And it was split pretty evenly, 45-48. But when you
look at the Republicans, 77-21 wanted an outsider. Democrats, the number
were in fact reversed. It was actually something closer to 23 want an
outsider and 72 want someone with Washington experience. And among even
independents, it was 55-34 that want someone different.

SHARPTON: So Democrats and independents overwhelmingly want someone with
Washington experience. And Republicans are the reverse.

DEL PERCIO: Actually, just the Democrats. Democrats and Republicans are
the reverse. Independents are the more moderate, but they still want to
watch --.

SHARPTON: How do you explain it?

DEL PERCIO: That people are sick of the system.

SHARPTON: Republicans.

DEL PERCIO: Republicans.

SHARPTON: Democrats are people too, Susan.

DEL PERCIO: Democrats are people too. But I think that`s, for example,
that`s why Bernie Sanders is doing so well because he has an innovative

SHARPTON: But he`s a Washington senator.

DEL PERCIO: He is. And that`s why the numbers are the way they are. But
this is very troubling news for Jeb Bush. The one interesting thing also
in the poll was there was a lot of good news for Marco Rubio. His numbers
were much more favorable among even though he was only at seven percent
along with Jeb, his favorable/unfavorable were 39-29. Whereas Jeb and
Trump both have reverse numbers. Meaning their negatives outweigh their
positives by a lot. So if there`s a lot to take a look, and I think if I
was right now Marco Rubio, I would be a happy person.

SHARPTON: But you`re still at 7 percent, Marco.

But, you mentioned people in your business, Dana. Another big moment in
Trump`s press conference. He read part of an article from "The New York
Times." Allowed -- he read this aloud to the audience. I want you to
listen to this.


TRUMP: Trump who has dismissed some Mexican immigrants, listen to, there
as rapists and criminals, or simply put, as Hitler. Do you believe that?
The Hitler one I`ve never heard until this morning when I woke up. I`m not
a fan of Hitler.


SHARPTON: Now, the article actually says that some critics have compared
him to Hitler. But for Trump, it`s just another chance to say he is under
attack. Is part of it him playing to this, you know, I`m under attack for
you guys?

MILBANK: Well, sort of. There are a couple things going. And one is we
are talking about earlier is that populist appeal that he has. It is kind
of funny that this billionaire is the man who is looking out for the little
guy. But that has a lot to do with what is behind his success on the right
and behind Bernie Sanders` success on the left. So that`s a piece of what
is going on.

But there is also some dog whistling going on here. And you know, when he
talks about Mexico sending over rapists, and when he takes on Megyn Kelly
and others in what I think is very plainly a sexist if not misogynist way,
he is appealing to a rather base element in the country, in the Republican
Party. And I think it is unnecessary because that`s not really where his
support is coming from. But that is a piece of what he`s doing.

SHARPTON: Susan, he is leading in the polls but he is also leading when
the question was raised. Who would you not vote for in terms of being --
who wouldn`t you support? The question, I want to get it right was who
wouldn`t you support? And he is leading in that area, too. Is this why it
is so hard to figure out, is Trump for real?

DEL PERCIO: It is really hard. And it is also hard to figure out what
voters will actually do when it comes to pulling that lever. Are they into
his message? Do they like what they`re hearing from a popular point of
view? But when they go in that voting booth, will "a," they show up?
Because they show a lot of his supporter from people who don`t really vote
in primaries. They vote maybe for president once every four years. So
will they show up, number one. And you can and ask Ron Paul who had a lot
of support like populist support like that. Tons of people, thousands
showing up but no one going out to vote. So will they show up is probably
his biggest concern.

SHARPTON: All right, Susan Del Percio and Dana Milbank. Thank you both
for your time.

Still ahead, the justice files. The jury deliberates in the trial that is
putting one of the country`s most elite prep schools in the spotlight.

Also, Joe Biden meeting today with a political power player and what it
means for 2016.


SHARPTON: Still ahead on "Politics Nation," what the family of journalist
Alison Parker is promising just one day after she and co-worker Adam Ward
were shot to death live on television.


SHARPTON: Developing now, we`re waiting for a verdict in the rape trial
that puts an exclusive New Hampshire prep school in the spotlight. Jurors
will be back to deliberate tomorrow morning in the case involving a St.
Paul`s graduate, Owen Labrie. Closing arguments wrapped up today. Labrie
is accused of raping a 15-year-old girl when she was a freshman and he was
a senior last year. He has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer says the
interaction in question was part of a contest involving senior boys, having
sex with younger students. A school statement about the contest says in
part, current allegations about our culture are not emblematic of our
school or values.

MSNBC`s Jamie Novogrod is live outside the courthouse. Thank you for being


SHARPTON: Let me ask you something. We`re waiting on the verdict. Walk
us through the last thing the jurors heard.

NOVOGROD: Well, the last thing jurors heard in closing was the prosecution
making a point that it is not the school`s that is at fault here, it is not
the school`s hook-up culture which you made reference to just a moment ago.
But it is instead the defendant himself that he made his own decisions in
the case, and that he is responsible for himself. And that he deliberately
led this girl, the accuser in the case, up the steps up the campus math and
science building, deliberately choosing a secluded area in order to carry
out the alleged assault so no one beneath him or around the building at the
time of the incident could hear what was going on. That was one of the
last points that jurors heard before the defense ended its closing


J.W. CARNEY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: And that environment of the St. Paul`s
school that I referred to at the beginning of my closing. Where you`re
expected if you`re a boy on a senior salute to score, to sex life, to have

JOSEPH CHERNISKE, PROSECUTOR: He put aside 45 minutes to slay her. And
the only two things he brought were a blanket and a condom. On the last
night before graduation, nothing. Not even a girl saying no and holding on
to her underwear was going to stop him.


NOVOGROD: OK. Prosecutors, as you heard, said that it was the defendant`s
choice to lead that girl up to the secluded area in order to carry out the
alleged assault there. The defense says that the meeting was consensual.
And Labrie, as he took the stand only yesterday, told the court that he did
not have sex with the girl and he left some of his friends believing that
he had because, Reverend, he said that he wanted to boast about his senior
salute. And the school as you say, says it was not emblematic of its
values or its culture.

SHARPTON: Jamie Novogrod, thank you so much for your reporting tonight.

I want to turn now to Seema Iyer, host of the "Docket" on shift by MSNBC.
Thank you for being here, Seema.


SHARPTON: Let`s take a big picture look at this.

IYER: Sure.

SHARPTON: Was it the right move for the defendant to take the stand?

IYER: Yes. He had to. And here is why. Four of his friends testified
that he told his friends he had sex with.

SHARPTON: Four of his friends.

IYER: Four of his friends testified. So he had to at least address that.

Also, there was DNA found on the girl`s underwear. Now, there are
conflicting reports as to whether it was his DNA, but one witness
testified, it was his DNA to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty.

Additionally, Rev., the woman who performed the rape kit, she said that the
victim had a laceration consistent with penetration. So the question is
what was the penetration from? And all of these issues, the defendant had
to address.

SHARPTON: But it also opened it up for the prosecutors to take advantage
of cross-examination. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were excited about having sex (bleep) correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was excited to see her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were excited to see her because you wanted to have
sex with her.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were excited to see her because you wanted to slay

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like I said, I was, I was waiting to see how the night


SHARPTON: Now given the witnesses that you described against him, and
watching a little of his cross-examination, what do you think?

IYER: Well, those witnesses didn`t have one of the best lawyers in the
business, this guy did. This guy had the benefit of being prepped probably
for days and weeks on how to keep himself under control when he testified.

Additionally, Rev., as he good candidate to testify because he is young, he
is educated and he didn`t have a record.

SHARPTON: All right. I want to go back to the closing arguments. You say
he had a great defense lawyer. I want to go back to the closing arguments.
Listen to this.


CARNEY: It had an impact on both ends of the senior salute. The boys at
one end, and the girls at the other. That led to the tragedy that both of
these kids got caught up in.


SHARPTON: Do you think the jury will buy the argument that this was school

IYER: No, I don`t. And I think she was raped. I think what the jury
doesn`t understand, and what people don`t understand is that a rape victim,
initially you are physically probed. Then you go on to have to tell your
story over and over and over again and just thoroughly embarrassed. And
then you have to take the stand and have your reputation be dissected. So
I think she is telling the truthful. But unfortunately, there seems to be
some reasonable doubt. There seems to be a view of the evidence that could
lead to reasonable doubt because the defense attorney in his defense, did a
splendid job of addressing all of these issues. Like the laceration, like
the DNA, having some explanation, which I have to say, is somewhat
ridiculous that the DNA penetrated through several layers of clothing to
end up on her underwear. But the jury could believe this. Because I think
he did a good job on the stand.

SHARPTON: Let me ask this. You know, before the jury started
deliberations, the judge decided which members would be alternates. It
leaves nine men and three women on the jury. How could the jury make
effective deliberations and eventually the verdict?

IYER: So glad you brought this up because when picking a jury, it may be
counter intuitive but women are usually harder on women. So having nine
men on the jury, they, I believe, will be more sympathetic to the victim.
Women are so much more critical. So it is more likely that a female juror
would say, why didn`t you go to the police right away? Why didn`t you do
this? Why did you email him 119 times? So I think this could favor the

SHARPTON: Seema Iyer, Thank you for your time tonight.

IYER: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: And don`t forget to watch Seema on the "Docket" on the Shift by
MSNBC. It is on every Tuesday at 11:00 a.m.

Ahead, the Joe Biden drum beat growing louder as he meets with the key
political power broker.

Plus, Zion Harvey`s emotional homecoming, the first boy in the world to
receive a double hand transplant leaves the hospital.


SHARPTON: Will he or won`t he? That`s the question everyone is asking.
Is Joe Biden considering whether he will jump in the race for the White
House? Today`s speculation mounted as Biden met with AFL-CIO president
Richard Trumka, a sign that he is seriously considering a run.

But just yesterday, Biden told a group of Democrats, he wasn`t trying to
figure out if he has, quote, "the emotional fuel for the run or not."


thought and dealing internally in the family now about how we do this. If
write to announce to run, I would have to be able to commit to all that I
would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul. And right now,
both are pretty well banged up.


SHARPTON: It is a tough decision for the vice president. But voters would
back him if he ran. A new Quinnipiac poll shows Biden with a commanding
lead over potential Republican rivals. Hillary Clinton`s lead over those
same Republicans is smaller than the vice president`s. There is little
question. Voters like Joe Biden. But is that enough to get him in the

Joining me now are Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for the "Washington
Post," and political strategist Jamal Simmons. Thank you both for being

RYAN GRIM, HUFFINGTON POST: Thank you, Reverend.


SHARPTON: Jamal, does the meeting today with AFL-CIO president tell you
anything about which way the vice president is leaning?

SIMMONS: I don`t think it tells us which way he is leaning but it does
tell us he is trying to figure it out. That call he did yesterday or the
day before, that`s Joe Biden`s secret weapon. This guy wears his heart on
his sleeve. I remember he went back to Charlotte after the president gave
that eulogy that was so touching. After the shootings there, he went back
to Charlotte that Sunday and sat in the second pew of that church of Mother
Emanuel and worshipped with those folks, because he wanted to be around
people who felt that.

This is Joe Biden`s secret strength. It`s not a secret. This is his
strength. And I think the more he wrestles with it in public, the more
people identify him and I think support him.

SHARPTON: You mean the shooting in Charleston?

SIMMONS: Well, the more he wrestles with his own choice about whether or
not he should get in in public and talk about it.

SHARPTON: You know, I`m saying, when you say he went back to the church,
you are talking about in Charleston.

SIMMONS: Yes. He went back in the church in Charleston.

SHARPTON: Ryan, let me say, the vice president`s favorabilities are
soaring with Democrats. Really, 83 percent see him favorably, 76 percent
have a favorable view of Secretary Clinton. And Senator Bernie Sanders is
seen favorably by 54 percent of Democrats.

But if you ask Democratic voters, who should be the democratic nominee,
look at the responses. Forty five percent say Hillary Clinton, 22 percent
say Bernie Sanders, just 18 percent say Joe Biden. They like him. But
they don`t think he should be the nominee, Ryan.

GRIM: Right. And also, you want to look at those likability numbers in
the context of his being a non-candidate at this moment. It is always
easier to be out of spotlight to garner sympathy in that way. Once he gets
in, then the stories start to come out going back over his record and kind
of reintroducing him to Democratic voters. And that won`t go terribly well
for Biden. He sees himself as kind of Mr. Middle class. But you know, his
decades of representing Delaware in the Senate gave him a long paper trail
of, you know, backing financial institutions and credit cards and that will
make it tough for him to make the sell on equality. The 1994 crime bill
was the Biden crime bill. You know, that is kind of the cornerstone of
mass incarceration over the next decade plus. And you know, those are the
two key issues that Democratic voters care about. So you know, that is
certainly not going to help him.

SHARPTON: Jamal, we know Joe Biden met with Elizabeth Warren last weekend.
And if he decides to run, he`ll have to win over progressives who support
her. But today "Boston globe" reports that Biden and Warren have a frosty
that past. Quote, "clashes between the pair began more than a decade ago.
Biden was an early opponent of Warren as she cut her teeth in national
politics and he became one of the first in a long list of Democrats who to
be called out by her for not sufficiently supporting the pro middle class
policy that`s she has made a reputation promoting."

Now, the Globe says their relationships has gotten somewhat better. But
how difficult will it be for him to get her endorsement and the support of
the progressives?

SIMMONS: I`m not sure why it would be in Elizabeth Warren`s interests to
endorse anybody at this point. If I was here, it would like what she is
doing stay neutral, advice everybody, push the issues and make everybody
react to Elizabeth Warren.

Now, if you`re Joe Biden, what he got the other day from a president was
also a little bit of a gift. But the president`s spokesman acknowledged
that this was Barack Obama`s best choice as president was picking Joe
Biden. So what that could do is open up African-American voters to begin
take a second look at the vice president.

Now, here is a thing. Hillary Clinton is probably going to be the
Democratic nominee. But if she runs against Joe Biden, it is steel on
steel and one of them will come out a sharper candidate and they will be
able to take on the Republicans. What makes never most nervous is that
democratic voters have yet to get excited about this nominating contest.
And you need somebody like Joe Biden in there to help make this a more
exciting race.

SHARPTON: All right. Well, let me ask this to you, Ryan. Some bad news
for Hillary Clinton. A new Quinnipiac poll asked voters, the first word
that came to mind when they talked about Clinton. Their top three
responses -- liar, dishonest, untrustworthy. If this is how voters see her
now, is it time for the well-liked Joe Biden to enter the race?

GRIM: Yes, it`s brutal. And it is that kind of performance. That is kind
of vacuum that is having people like Joe Biden start thinking about jumping
in. I think, you know, party leaders are wondering, you know, where this
is headed. So I think that is certainly.

And to Jamal`s point, they certainly do have, you know, frosty Warren and
Biden have a frosty relationship. Warren is pretty are pragmatic. So you
know, I can see her, seeing Biden as having cleaved himself off Delaware.
And you know, if he is going forward with a different agenda, then maybe
she could get behind him. Maybe one of the only possibilities is really to
lasso himself to Warren and say, you know, I`m only going to do one term
and `m going to bring Warren along as my VP or my treasury secretary of
something like that. Because otherwise, it is hard for him to distinguish
himself from Clinton.

SHARPTON: Cleaved himself off Delaware. Steel to steel. And they say I
do sound bites.

Ryan Grim and Jamal Simmons, thank you for your time tonight.

GRIM: You got it.

SIMMONS: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the father of slain journalist Alison Parker vowing
to become the John Walsh of gun control. Can he make a difference?

But first, a medical miracle, a little boy`s dream comes true in an
historic surgery.


SHARPTON: Now to a heartwarming update from a brave 8-year-old boy as he
now embarks on a new journey. This week, Zion Harvey finally went home,
this time with new hands. Last month, Zion became the first child in the
world to receive a double hand transplant.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody asked me, do I want a hand transplant and it
came true.


SHARPTON: There are certainly challenges ahead for Zion as he gets used to
his new hands. But if we have learned anything from this boy`s big heart,
he will figure out a way to make everything all right.


SHARPTON: Finally, fighting to change America`s gun laws. Today we
remember journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward who were shot and killed
during a live interview yesterday. Law enforcement officials say the
shooter, former co-worker Vester Flanagan, legally block two glock handguns
from a dealer in Virginia last month. Despite Flanagan`s reputation as an
unstable co-worker, nothing in his back ground disqualified him from buying
a gun. We need to learn from these recurring tragedies. That was part of
the message from Parker`s father, Andy who says the shootings are


ANDY PARKER, ALISON PARKER`S FATHER: It is senseless that her life and
Adam`s life were taken by a crazy person with a gun. And you know, if I
have to be the John Walsh of gun control and, look, I`m for the second
amendment but there has to be a way to force politicians that are cowards
and in the pockets of the NRA to come to grips and make sense, have
sensible laws so crazy people can`t get guns.


SHARPTON: We need to tighten gun laws. And address mental illness
together. Because we`re seeing far too many senseless shootings. And we
can`t go two or three days of nodding our heads in disgust and go on to
whatever is the top new story. We need gun laws to stop this and not wait
on the next tragedy to begin talking about it.

I`m Al Sharpton. "Hardball" starts right now.


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