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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

April 10, 2013

Guests: Jillian Soto; Maria Teresa Kumar; Ryan Grim, Lauren Ashburn, Joe Madison, Marc Morial

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to
you for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, making progress on guns. Today, a lead on background
checks and a key vote set for tomorrow. The prospects of gun reform have
never been brighter. But it was the first lady today going back to her
home town of Chicago who showed what the debate is all about.

The first lady talked about Hadiya Pendleton, the teenager who was
shot just days after attending the inauguration. She talked about
attending Hadiya`s funeral and asked if we are doing enough to protect our


weighing on my heart when I met with Hadiya Pendleton`s classmates on the
day of her funeral. Dozens of them later spoke at the service, each
referring to her as my best friend. And let me tell you, it is hard to
know what to say to a room full of teenagers who are about to bury their
best friend. But I started by telling them that Hadiya was clearly on her
way to doing something truly worthy with her life.


SHARPTON: Now, our leaders must do something to honor Hadiya, to
honor the students and teachers at Newtown. Today we saw activists reading
the names of all the people who have died since the Newtown shooting. We
saw the sister of Victoria Soto, one of the teachers who died at Sandy
Hook. She was overcome with emotion before Victoria`s name could be read.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Age 7, December 14th, 2012, Newtown, Connecticut.

Victoria Soto, age 27, December 14th, 2012, Newtown, Connecticut.


SHARPTON: That`s what this debate is all about. It`s about people,
not politics. But some Republicans still don`t get it.

Today, John Boehner, the speaker of the House, was asked point blank
if he`d allow a vote in the house once the gun bill passed the Senate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Bipartisan-control bill comes out of the
United States Senate from do you see a vote on the house floor?

bill that passes the Senate, we are going to review it. In the meantime,
we are going to continue to have hearings looking at the source of violence
in our country. But I`m going to wait and see.


SHARPTON: Wait and see? Boehner`s going to wait and see if he will
allow a vote? At the state of the union two months ago, Boehner stood and
applauded when the president called for a vote.


a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote.


SHARPTON: When the entire nation was watching, speaker Boehner stood
and applauded, but now, he won`t stand up for the victims?

Starting with the vote tomorrow, Americans will want to see a little
more political courage and a little less political cowardice.

Joining me now is Jillian Soto, who you just saw on that tape.
Jillian traveled to Washington this week with President Obama and she was
there to lobby and stand for gun reform. And we are also joined by Karen

Thank you both for your time.


SHARPTON: Miss Soto, also, our condolences on your loss.

SOTO: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Karen, this was a big day but there is more work to do?

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. There is absolutely more
work to do. And look, I think for those members of the Senate and anyone
in the house who does anything to try to block movement and just the
discussion and a vote, that is, you know, Reverend Al, that is to me, that
is voter suppression of a whole new kind because that is really trying to
suppress the will and the voice of the people like Miss Soto who deserve a

And these members of Congress, part of what they are trying to do here
is protect one another so that they don`t have to be on record as taking a
vote that they know will be hard to explain to their constituents back
home, given the numbers of people who support very simple commonsense
measures, like background checks.

SHARPTON: Let me talk to Jillian a minute.

Jillian, you have shown real courage stepping out, bearing the pain
that I don`t -- I couldn`t imagine. And being there in Washington, not a
politician, not a lobbyist, all of this brand new, what gives you the
strength and motivation to bear that pain and be there and stand up and say
the things you`re saying about gun legislation?

SOTO: None what happened to my sister. My sister was brutally
murdered on December 14th, fighting to save her students` lives. And I
find my strength in that, knowing that she died fighting for her students.
Now, I will do whatever I have to do to fight for change, speak to every
senator who is against doing something about this. I will speak to. I
will do as much as I can to tell them we need change, to demand them allow
us to have a vote.

SHARPTON: Now, your sister did nothing short of what was heroic. She
literally put herself in danger`s way and lost her life to protect her
students. She didn`t run to hide to protect herself. And she showed great
courage and great heroism and you`re demonstrating that kind yourself. All
you`re saying is you wanted to see a reform and to give your vote. Am I

SOTO: Yes.

SHARPTON: Now, what do senators say to you? How do you look at
someone`s sister who died the way your sister died? What can they possibly
say to you? I mean, I just can`t understand how they can look at you in
the eye and say, no, I don`t want a vote.

SOTO: I say the same thing to myself. And all I can do is tell them
what happened in my sister`s classroom, remind them that my sister was
brutally murdered, going to school on a Friday, to make ginger bread houses
with her first grade students, her 6th and 7-year-old students. She was
brutally murdered. And tell them that we need change before this happens
to them. Because if it can happen to me, it can happen to them. And
that`s all I can do is remind them. Every time I talk to them what
happened to my sister, what happened in Sandy Hook and remind them that if
it can happen in Connecticut, it can happen here in Washington and it can
happen to anybody. If it can happen in a first grade classroom, it can
happen at any place in this country and we have to do something before we
lose anybody else.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this, Jillian, and then I`m going back
to Karen. Did anyone persuade you or the other Newtown family members to
come forward, did anyone convince you to be political, or is this something
that you and the other family members that you know want to do?

SOTO: I can`t speak for anyone other than myself. I have stood up on
my own. I have not been advised by anyone of what to say and what not to
say. Everything I have said is from my heart and how I truly feel. Nobody
has advised me with anything that has ever come out of my mouth regarding
this issue. And I will continue to stand by myself and do what I have to
and speak my mind and only my mind.

SHARPTON: You know, the reason I ask that, Karen, is Texas senator
Ted Cruz actually accused the White House of taking advantage of the
Newtown shooting.


SHARPTON: Listen to this.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: You have got the horrific tragedy in
Newtown which the administration is I think trying to take advantage of.

LAURE INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Is it exploitation, senator?
Is this the exploitation by the Democrats of the horrific deaths of

CRUZ: I think it`s certainly taking advantage of a horrible tragedy.


SHARPTON: I mean, Karen, taking advantage? You have family members,
you have Jillian here saying, I`m saying and doing what I believe. How is
this about any party taking advantage of it? It`s like people don`t love
their own sisters or their own children?

FINNEY: Right. And this is not a partisan issue. I mean, you know,
a bullet doesn`t know the difference between whether or not you`re a
Democrat or Republican. Senator Cruz, unfortunately, and I think certainly
in the face of Jillian`s courage, as you all were just talking, really it
underscores just the cowardice of someone like senator Ted Cruz who is
threatening to filibuster and that mean, not to even have the conversation
about taking and then the take a vote. I mean, that`s really something.

You know, the other thing that we are seeing here, Reverend Al, in
terms of the politics, you have got, you know, John Boehner. I think part
of the reason today he refused to say what he would do is, you know, they
are trying to obfuscate and say the White House is, you know, making people
do this he and they are trying to skirt the issue.

He`s hoping he doesn`t get a bill he then has to deal with because he
knows the question will become whether or not he is going to, you know, go
with the Hastert rule. Because if he were to let it come for a vote, it
would passed likely. So, there`s a lot of - and the president talked
about, you know, very eloquently this week, gamesmanship going on that
really does disturb. And frankly, someone like Jillian should not have to
be here and should not have to expose so much of her own personal pain for
these gentlemen to do their job.

SHARPTON: Well, Jillian Soto and Karen Finney, thank you both for
your time tonight.

And Miss Soto, thank you for your courage.

SOTO: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: I hope the people in Washington vote. And I hope they vote
not for the president, not for the party, but for people like her sister
that stood in danger`s way and lost their lives. They deserve a nation
that responds to protect people. Remember her when you decide to vote
tomorrow and what your vote is going to say.

Ahead, Rand Paul`s epic fail on minority outreach at Howard
University. You won`t believe what he said about President Obama. And his
own record on civil rights.

And he`s back. Republicans are asking Dick Cheney for advice on how
to avoid war. I`m serious.

And buzz today about the man who was once one of the most passionate
voices in progressive politics. Can Anthony Weiner stage a comeback?

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? Today everyone was talking about Rand Paul`s speech at
Howard University especially his (INAUDIBLE) history on his support for the
civil rights act.

Patricia says, he has an acute case of Romnesia.

Sherry wonders, who is he trying to fool?

Nicky says his speech was full of references to the past Republican
party. The problem is, that party does not exist anymore.

But that wasn`t the most controversial comment Paul made today. Stick
around to find out who he`s blaming for the black community struggles.

But first, we want to hear what you think. Please head over to
facebook and search "Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation
that keeps going long after the show ends.


SHARPTON: Days like today are why President Obama was re-elected and
why it`s so important. He crossed the court fighting for justice for
victims of Newtown, for Hadiya Pendleton, for Gabby Giffords. And it looks
like they`ll get a vote tomorrow.

We are also on the verge of immigration reform for the first time in
30 years. A bipartisan bill is expected next week. Today, tens of
thousands flooded Washington to rally in support of that change.

Also today, the president called for a sweeping budget that would
protect the middle class and tackle our debt and he`s calling the GOP`s


OBAMA: If anyone thinks I`ll finish the job of deficit reduction on
the backs of middle class families or to spending cuts along that actually
hurts our economy short term, they should think again. When it comes to
deficit reduction, I have already met Republicans more than halfway. So in
the coming days and weeks, I hope Republicans will come forward and
demonstrate that they are really as serious about the deficits and debt as
they claim to be.


SHARPTON: Republicans might not be serious but this president is.
And the progress he`s making speaks for itself.

Joining me now, Ryan Grim and Maria Teresa Kumar.

Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.


having me.

SHARPTON: Guns, budget, the economy. Maria, the president has been
busy. How has he been doing balancing so many priorities in his second

KUMAR: I think he has an incredible team that is behind him and more
importantly is that he is going directly to the American people. He is
using his presidential pulpit and talking them say, let me level with you.
Nothing is going to get done in the senate or in the House unless you come
with me. And that is exactly what he is doing. And the fact that the
president now is bypassing the house and going directly to key senators
saying we need to have a fiscal - we need to talk about guns, the budget
and now immigration. I think it demonstrates how increasingly irrelevant
that the house has becoming because again, they recognized that it is
polarized, that the only way he actually can get stuff done is at the
Senate side.

SHARPTON: Now Ryan, a lot of people, including me, have concerns
about what we are going to give up in order to get things moving forward in
this budget. And the president has said that he has compromised, he`s gone
more than halfway and that is he willing to do something about the deficit
but he wants revenue. And putting things on the table, frankly, that many
don`t want to see on the table.

But when you look at the other side, Ryan was asked today, the
congressman Paul Ryan, well, what are you willing to compromise? What are
you willing to do? Let me show you what he says.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: What are you willing to put on the
table that your base won`t like?

-- we put a budget that balances. We have said here is how you
fundamentally restructure Medicaid and Medicare. We have for lots of these
things in there. The Republicans have already done things to move to the
middle to get to common ground that have not been entirely popular but we
have not seen reciprocal moves on the other side of the aisle.


SHARPTON: We put on the table cutting Medicare and Medicaid, that`s a
compromise? We put on the table cutting the things that you want the most.
Not one dime in revenue did he mention, not any of the things that are
required to help us from the other side. We put on the table everything
you don`t want on the table. That`s what Ryan said to us, Ryan.

GRIM: Yes. I mean, that`s what the Republican party wants. So,
saying that they are offering that as some sort of a concession is a
strange thing to say. That`s like the president saying, Well, you know,
I`ve put the Buffett rule out on the table or, you know, I have raised
taxes on millionaires and billionaires and that`s not popular with
everybody. So, that is the concession that I`m making here.

No. It just doesn`t make any sense. But you know, Ryan`s budget in
general, you know, doesn`t make sense. The numbers just simply don`t add
up. So, you know, the idea that that is at all a meaningful contribution
to the conversation they are having is a fanciful one. You know, the
debate is going to happen within the narrow confines. You`re going to talk
about, you know, tweeting the way that Social Security benefits calculated
and those types of things. Like, these ideas about getting rid of Medicaid
and Medicare, you know, that`s not exactly a serious contribution.

SHARPTON: No, it`s not. And it`s not a balanced contribution,
Maria, when you look at the fact that the president is talking about the
rich paying more in taxes, more revenues, closing loopholes, and the
Republicans are talking about going after people that need Medicare, people
that need the stability of their Social Security. I mean, it`s like a ham
and egg sandwich saying it`s equal contribution from the pig and the
chicken. The chicken drops an egg, the pig drops a leg. That`s not equal,

KUMAR: You`re trying to -- I`m trying to keep my face straight with
that analogy, Reverend. But no, in all seriousness, the biggest problem
with the Ryan plan is he basically leaves the future behind. When he says
he`s not going to touch Medicare, he is not going to touch Medicare today,
but he`s going to for future generations. And he is going to cut future

And what the president has done today is recognized that he has to
make compromises all around. He is coming into the middle between the
Senate plan and Republican plan and says, he said there are compromises,
but I`m not going to hold back the future. And I`m going to make sure that
we are investing in our future. That`s one of the reasons why he`s funding
one of the elements that he announced pre-K was so important to him.

And I think that the more the Ryan plan can actually talk straight to
the American people and tell them the truth that he is holding back the
future with this type of budget, then, he`s going to be at least leveling
with him, but at least he can actually have some sort of conversation.

But Ryan Grim is absolutely right. You can`t immediately say that
you`re going to strip out Medicare and basically he can say that with a
straight face.

SHARPTON: You know, and no matter what he does, Ryan, it`s not enough
or it`s going to be marked, he is having dinner tonight with some of the
GOP senators and clearly they are not interested in outreach. His meeting
has not been mocked by Republican national committee chairman Reince
Priebus. He issued a statement on Tuesday to complain that the president
and Senate Republicans will be dining at an upscale restaurant and offered
to order the lawmakers pizza even though actually the dinner is at the
White House.

But, I mean, it`s that kind of, you know, contemptible kind of no
matter what they are not going to reach back and they are not going to give
him credit for reaching out trying to work something out to move this
country forward.

GRIM: There have been a couple Republican who is have welcomed his
Social Security cuts but the two major responses have been to say, hey,
it`s not enough. It`s not a serious cut. We want deeper cuts. And then,
on the other hand, to attack him for cutting Social Security for the
elderly, say that this is an attack on the elders. So Republicans are
hitting him from the right and the left here.

You know, which does make you wonder, what is he going to get out of
this? You know, he is proposing cuts to Social Security and for what? You
know, he will call the Republicans` bluff as he did because they said this
is not enough and didn`t come back with any of their own cuts but at the
same time now they are going to go into 2014 facing Republicans calling
Democrats the party that wants to cut Social Security. And it doesn`t
really help for them so say, well, we would only cut your Social Security
if we can also raise taxes. You know, just from a purely political short-
term perspective, that doesn`t seem like something that would work too

SHARPTON: And that`s the problem, when you look at ways that have
moved him on this gunfight, on immigration we are moving forward and now
they have a choice. They have a choice of saying, we are going to deal
with revenue or we are going to tell the world that we are the ones that
would not deal with trying to salvage Social Security and Medicare and
Medicaid because we were not willing to go up one penny, one penny on rich
people paying their taxes.

GRIM: Right.

SHARPTON: How is that slogan going to help you in 2014?

Ryan Grim and Maria Teresa, we are going to leave it there. Thanks
thank you for your time this evening.

KUMAR: Thank you, Reverend.

GRIM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Rand Paul talking about civil rights at a
black college, what could go wrong? The answer is plenty.

But first, why is the GOP steal Dick Cheney`s party? That`s next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: There is new word that North Korea
appears closer to carrying out a missile test.

trigger because of all the threatening talk of late from this young and
experienced leader.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What`s difference is the capacity and
intention and the fact that no one has been able to stop North Korea.


SHARPTON: We are hearing a lot about North Korea, as the country
signals, it may launch a missile. It`s a serious situation and the U.S. is
watching closely. But guess who house Republicans are looking to for
expertise? It`s literally the last president that should be advising
anyone on foreign policy. Go ahead. One guess.

If you guessed Dick Cheney, you`re right. I mean, can you believe
this? Republican majority with Kevin McCarthy invited Cheney to speak to
lawmakers yesterday about North Korea. His thoughts, quote, "we are in
deep doo doo. There`s that hard-hitting analysis."

He also told Republicans that the North Korean leader is unpredictable
and like Saddam Hussein, you could never know what he was thinking. Is
this some kind of late April fool`s joke? I mean, haven`t I heard this
somewhere before?


stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass

What we did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do if I had to
recommend it all over again, I would recommend exactly the right, same
course of action.

Things have gotten so bad inside Iraq from the stand point Iraqi
people. My belief is we will in fact be greeted as liberators.


SHARPTON: Greeted as liberators. And America, Republicans are
looking for that guy to give them advice in North Korea? It`s like asking
Karl Rove to predict an election or asking Marco Rubio how to get through a
speech or Donald Trump how to keep a low profile. I mean, do you get what
I`m saying? Cheney is the last person they should turn to. Especially
because he still won`t admit his mistakes.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What do you consider your main fault?

CHENEY: My main fault? Well, I don`t spend a lot of time thinking
about my faults, I guess would be the answer.


SHARPTON: No faults. Cheney still won`t admit all he`s done wrong.
But did the GOP think we wouldn`t call them out for continuing to take his
advice? Nice try but we got you.


SHARPTON: So far the GOP`s attempt to reach out to minorities has
been one debacle and disaster after another but today may have been the
worst one yet. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was at historically black Howard
University rewriting history and claiming President Obama has failed


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The poor have gotten poorer in the last
four years. Black unemployment is 14 percent, nearly twice the national
average. This is unacceptable.


SHARPTON: Unacceptable? What is unacceptable is that Senator Paul is
ignoring the Bush recessions and four years of GOP`s attacks on the poor.
But it didn`t stop there. He`s also rewriting his own history.


PAUL: No republican questions or disputes civil rights. I`ve never
wavered in my support for civil rights or the civil rights act.

I`ve never been against the civil rights act. Ever.


SHARPTON: That`s not true. Did Senator Paul think we`d forgotten
about his infamous interview with Rachel Maddow?


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: And should Woolworth lunch counter
should have been allowed to stay segregated? Sir, just yes or no.

PAUL: What I think would happen -- what I`m saying is that I don`t
believe in any discrimination. There`s ten different titles, you know, to
the civil rights act and nine out of ten deal with public institutions and
I`m absolutely in favor of one deals with private institutions and had I
been around, I would have tried to modify that.


SHARPTON: He`d like to modify the civil rights act? Rand Paul is
just not being honest about himself or his party.


PAUL: The Republican Party has always been the party of civil rights
and voting rights. How do the Republican Party, the party of the great
emancipator lose the trust and faith of an entire race?


SHARPTON: Good question, Senator. How did the Republican Party lose
their support? Maybe it was all that talk about welfare queens and blacks
people and free stuff and Obama -- and birthers and voter ID laws and
state`s rights and 50 years of cold war and scapegoats and policies
designed to roll back the clock on progress. Maybe that`s why the GOP lost
93 percent of the black vote in November.

Joining me now is Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League.
Today, the league released its state of black America report. Carl redeem
the dream, jobs, rebuild America. Thank you for your time tonight, Mark.

be with you. Thank you for your advocacy.

SHARPTON: Now, what`s your reaction before we get into the report?
What`s your reaction to Senator Paul`s speech today?

MORIAL: Well, you know, you question whether it was drive by politics
or whether it was a sincere effort to reach out. And I think that a
symbolic gesture of one speech at a great historically black university
does not constitute reaching out. And the real question is whether
policies are going to modify and policies are going to change and that 50-
year history of cold words is going to become something different. And I
just see it as drive-by politics. Now, we appreciate it and think people
ought to reach out. But coming to Howard and saying, I`ve always been for
civil rights when the record is otherwise is not the way to begin a serious
new relationship.

SHARPTON: No. It`s like a man and a woman have been married 30 years
and the last ten years he`s been verbally abusing her and he says, well,
remember how I was 25 years ago? That`s not a reason to reconcile now.
And the fact is, right now we have two voter rights case, two cases for the
Supreme Court on affirmative action. One on voter rights. He didn`t
address any of that. He did not address section five of the voting rights

He did address the fact that Republicans in his party stopped the jobs
bill as the President put forward which would have significantly reduced
black unemployment. He didn`t address health care that we
disproportionately are uninsured and needed the pre-existing conditions.
He talked about civil rights 50 years ago, none of the challenges today.
And I think that`s an insult to our intelligence.

MORIAL: Well, you know, it`s interesting that this is the day we
released our state of black America report and I was over on Capitol Hill
with Senator Gillibrand, Congressman Fattah and Congresswoman Fudge as well
as with the whole lot of members earlier in the day, in the middle of the
day and we were introducing a new urban jobs act. We were introducing a
new project ready -- and the best example for reaching out would be for
Rand Paul to put his name on those two bills and to be serious about those
things that he suggested today at Howard University.

So this year`s state of black America report, Reverend, was very
important because in the context of this recovery, somewhat of a difficult
recovery for many, people in our community, it`s also important that we
took that 50-year retrospect.


MORIAL: And you know, all of us have been looking at how far we have
come since 1963. In that report, our state of black America report show
progress and great challenges, a reduction in black poverty, a reduction in
the number of African-American children in poverty, increase in high school
graduation, and college enrollment rates but still a great disparity when
it comes to jobs, wealth, and income in attacks on voting rights, the case
in the Supreme Court and attacks on affirmative action the case in the
Supreme Court.

SHARPTON: And what was compelling about the report you released
today, it shows great progress in the last 50 years since the march on
Washington with Dr. King made the famous "I Dave a Dream" speech that you
and I and others in the civil rights community will be dealing with this
August. But you also at the same time showed the lack of the center
progress and the economic arena that right today, every dollar that whites
earn, blacks only earn 60 cents to every dollar whites earn. So the
economic gap, which was the thing Dr. King was working on upon his
assassination, is still there.

MORIAL: And let me say this. We came arm today on Capitol Hill with
our new initiatives jobs rebuild America and I was pleased to see the
President`s budget with an emphasis on jobs. Because his budget and a
number of his proposals really dovetail with a number of things that we`ve
been recommending. And a number of things that are in our jobs rebuild
America idea.

And so the President got out there in his budget bill in favor of
early childhood education, promise zones, emphasis on manufacturing where
you have better paying jobs, a significant new investment in workforce,
development, those kinds of things. They are things that we applaud
because they say that the President has heard the recommendations we`ve
made over the past two years on the issue of jobs.

SHARPTON: And he`s talking about building infrastructure creating
some of those jobs and infrastructure. You used to be mayor of New
Orleans. You know needs repairs. We`re not talking about creating jobs
that are not needed. We`re not talking about handouts. We`re talking
about what is needed, what is necessary, and would provide jobs.

MORIAL: When you build roads, build bridges, build community centers,
libraries and schools, you put people to work but you also improve the
quality of life. What we`ve got to make sure is that we have a mechanism
to train people in our community for those kinds of jobs in these
construction and trades industry. So this is an important part of this
jobs rebuild America but an important part of the state of black America
that we`ve come armed with solutions.

We think that the President has offered some ideas. Our jobs to
rebuild America initiative is going to include efforts in some 30
communities across the nation to expand job training, after school
programs, and entrepreneurship initiatives. We`ve come on with solutions.
We`re not just at the complaint desk. We`re at the solutions desk.

SHARPTON: Well, Martin Morial, thank you for your time and we will
continue to monitor as we go forward on the anniversary of the march in

MORIAL: Thank you, reverend.

SHARPTON: Thank you for your time.

MORIAL: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Anthony Weiner`s revealing interview. He`s talking
about the scandal, his marriage, and, yes, getting back into politics,


SHARPTON: Anthony Weiner, a disgraced politician? Anthony Weiner for
mayor of New York? Could be. That`s next.



and I`ve done things that I deeply regret. I`ve brought pain to people I
care about the most and people who believed in me, and for that I`m deeply


SHARPTON: Nearly two years later and former Congressman Anthony
Weiner wants redemption. In a revealing interview, Weiner talks about what
he calls that one fateful tweet. He and his wife reveal their personal
struggle to keep their marriage alive and talk candidly about how the
scandal unfolded.

Weiner says, quote, "I sat down with Huma and said, listen, I can`t.
I don`t want to lie. I just didn`t want to lie anymore to her." Here his
voice cracks and tears well up in his eyes. "She was devastated. She`s
given," he stopped again, could barely get the words out. "She`s given me
another chance and I`m very grateful for that and I`m trying to make sure I
get it right." And now he`s eyeing the New York mayor`s race. Can he get

Joining me now, Lauren Ashburn and Joe Madison. Thanks to both of you
for being here tonight.


SHARPTON: Lauren, there was a lot of tears in this interview from
Anthony Weiner. How do you think people will react to it?

forgive once they have ripped them down, which is exactly what the press
and the people in his district did by voting the bum out but what is
happening now is what`s happen when people used to go and sit on Oprah`s
couch and say, mea culpa, I did such a terrible thing but now he`s doing it
in The New York Times, and if I were a media strategist and I`ve talked to
several, I would say they picked the perfect venue to ask for forgiveness.
You can`t look at his facial expressions, you can`t tell if he`s really,
really, really truly sorry and you get your message across, obviously, two
millions of people.

SHARPTON: Joe, but not only is it a perfect place to do it, we are in
a climate of Governor Sanford who had an affair, this was not photos who
had an affair after misleading people in his state South Carolina and he
was other than the way he was and he just want a republican primary for
Congress and on and on and on, we`ve seen politicians that have done things
a lot more serious morally and some even legally that have been forgiven in

MADISON: And it cannot be a bipartisan or I`m sorry, a partisan issue
because we`ve seen it on both sides, haven`t we? You know, I live in a
town, Washington, D.C., where Marion Barry can walk into a room and people
still recognize him as mayor for life and he`s been re-elected to every
office that he has run for. But I think you`re absolutely right. We live
in a society where people do get a second chance. We`ll watch the masters
soon. Look what Tiger Wood is done. He`s reinvented himself. He`s come

Charles Barkley, we see it in sports. He did the same thing. I think
Reverend, it`s a question of, one, is this the best that New York Democrats
will have to offer? So that will depend on his competition, his opponents.
The other thing, of course, is, remember, he`s got a lot of money in his
campaign treasury so he can buy a lot of time and then the third and final
point is, what does he offer the people of New York?

You know, his problem is with he and his wife and, of course, yes, he
lied to the world but the reality is people really want to know, do you
have qualities of your characters that will do us good? Is he good for New
York? That`s what people want to have to ask.

SHARPTON: Lauren, isn`t that going to be the issue? One, do we
believe in redemption? If a governor can get redemption in the Bible belt,
can you get redemption in New York when you have no real physical acts
here, you just have the photo? Second, what role will his wife play and,
third, the crowd he`s up against, are there any strong enough candidates in
the democratic primary that would stop him from having a strong showing, if
not a victorious showing? Are those the three things we really have to
look at, Lauren?

ASHBURN: I`ll go backwards. He`s got the cash, he`s got the name
recognition, he has the beautiful wife who has forgiven him. And he has as
the author of the New York Times profile said, rarely have we ever got a
full some look at any politician like we did this one and I have to agree
100 percent. He has it all and right now he has told all, to all of these
potential voters. There are going to be no surprises here.

He has come clean. He even went above and beyond over the top, it was
almost like a therapy session reading this and hearing how he`s in therapy
and he struggled with this and his wife and he and their 13-month-old child
are staying together as a family. So, I think to enter all of your
questions, because of his media strategy, because of who he is and how he
has conducted himself, by giving this interview, by getting all of that
money, he has a very good shot at this.

SHARPTON: Now, Joe, if you were advising his opponents, are they
taking great risk if they came in the race for them to raise issues, one,
because it will look like their polls to redemption and tow because every
reporter in New York would start going through their lives to see if they
can come up with anything that they may not want to have in the middle of
the campaign?

MADISON: I don`t know. Look, you know Mrs. Madison. She wouldn`t
vote for him and she made sure I knew that before I came on this show.

SHARPTON: You`re talking about Mrs. Joe Madison?

MADISON: That`s right. She will not -- she wouldn`t vote for him.
So your opponents know that no matter how much redemption might be out
there, no matter how forgiving the white, if there`s a large segment of the
voting population that simply will not vote for him and that`s who they
will play to. That is who they will actually play to.

ASHBURN: Joe, I think that`s a lot more true in the south even though
the south does believe --

SHARPTON: That`s in the Bible belt. I mean, he look what`s happened
to Republicans.


ASHBURN: And look at Louisiana.

SHARPTON: But I must say this Lauren and Joe, I`d have to go. In
fairness to Mrs. Madison, she would forgive him. She probably wouldn`t
vote for him but --

MADISON: She would forgive him but not vote for him.

ASHBURN: And that`s a good woman, right?

MADISON: Yes, she is.

SHARPTON: Lauren Ashburn and Joe Madison, we`ll be watching. Thank
for joining us.

MADISON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, fighting for man who was one of the greatest
fighters of all times, America`s first black heavyweight champion. That`s


SHARPTON: One of America`s greatest fighters was also one of his
great fighters for change, even if he never meant to be. In 1908, Jack
Jackson became the first black heavyweight boxing champion of the world.
Back then, blacks faced severe restrictions on their civil rights and was
subject to violence at any moment. But Johnson was determined to live his
life the way he saw fit. He didn`t care about what anyone said, black or

He constantly sparred with white supremacist and thumb his nose at Jim
Crow laws, he bragged about his fighting skills, dressed like a movie star,
bought a home in a white neighborhood and he openly dated and married white
women. So, in 1913, after years of trying, the U.S. government used an
obscure law to knock Jack Johnson out. He was convicted of bringing a
white woman across the state lines for, quote, "immoral purposes" and
sentenced to a year today in prison. His life was the subject of a 2004
Ken Burns documentary, "Unforgivable Blackness."


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Jack Johnson was warned to be more a discreet. He
was unrepentant. I have the right to choose who my mate should be without
the dictation of any man, he said. I am not a slave.


SHARPTON: It`s long past time that this injustice is corrected. Last
month on what would have been Jack Johnson`s 135th birthday, his family
renewed a call for full presidential pardon to clear the record for the
history books. Duane Wickham of USA Today said it was an unrelenting
pursuit of Jack Jackson. This misuse and manipulation of the man act has
been corrected but it cannot be corrected if the victim is left with his
name scarred. Jack Johnson`s name must be cleared. It`s the right thing
to do and we ought to do it now.

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


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