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PoliticsNation, Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

April 11, 2013

Guests: Sheldon Whitehouse; Angela Rye; Melanie Sloan, Margie Omero, Sharon Robinson, David Robinson

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

Tonight`s lead, power of the people. Today, President Obama won a big
victory for his second term agenda with the crucial first vote on gun
control. Democrats and some Republicans crushed a right-wing attempt to
stop the guns bill dead in its tracks, to stop it from even getting a vote.
The Senate will now get to work fulfilling President Obama`s promise to
give gun safety and gun victims a real chance.

There`s a lot more work to be done. But today`s success shows what
the president can do when he summons all the power of his office, when he
goes beyond the beltway, when he speaks directly to the American people.


people speak loudly enough, lo and behold, Congress listens.

That`s what members of Congress need to hear from you.

Ask your members of Congress, write them an e-mail, post it on their
facebook walls.

We need your voices in this debate.

Stand up. Stand up.


SHARPTON: The Republican leaders now seem to be more worried about
keeping their jobs than passing good laws. Today "Politico" says John
Boehner is on the hot seat as it faces pressure from tea party and
extremists on the right. And "Politico" says that Mitch McConnell has
seemed to turn his attention single mindedly to protecting his right flank
at home where he faces re-election. This two Republicans have been the
problem from the very beginning. They are ring leaders of the block party
that`s tried to stop everything President Obama`s tried to do. And now
they are feeling the heat.

The tide has turned. President Obama has an ambitious agenda ahead of
him - immigration, voting, jobs, the budget. He can win these issues just
like he won today and just like he won re-election, by rallying the
American people to get it done.

Joining me now is Democratic senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode
Island. He voted to move forward on the guns bill today.

Senator, thank you for joining me.


SHARPTON: Now, how important is today in getting something done on

WHITEHOUSE: I think it`s very important. If the Republicans had been
able to kill this bill in the crib before we even had a chance to vote on
it and to offer amendments and to bring it to life, it would have been I
think a real blow for the Senate and I think it would have been dismaying
to the American public to think that after all the bloodshed they have
seen, we can`t even get to a vote on this bill. So, it`s very important
that we got through this particular obstacle. More obstacles lie ahead.
But, at least we are through this one.

WHITEHOUSE: Now, you know, I think that, you know, it would have been
the epitome of an insult to the American people if we couldn`t get this

WHITEHOUSE: Can you imagine that?

SHARPTON: But we`ve got a lot of hurdles to go and as happy as I am
to see the president and commonsense triumph through this first step --
let`s remember, a third of the Senate voted today to filibuster 31 senators
is unbelievable, wanted us to not even have the discussion. I mean, this
is unbelievable. And it shows what you are up against and what the
president is up against. In fact, senator Lindsey Graham who voted to
allow the gun bill to move forward today, he tweeted, the gun control
legislation can still be filibustered after today in the United States
Senate. So, by no means should we let our guard down and not continue to
rally the American people because we had to go with a full-court press to
even go this far.

WHITEHOUSE: That`s very true. And we see over and over on these
issues, the Republicans are responding to a narrow, extremist corner of
their base. They are seeking things that the American public is not
interested in, does not agree with. But they are going to persist in doing
that and just like you said they hear loud and clear from the American
people that the direction that they are going in is the wrong direction for

SHARPTON: The American people have to be clear on this. It`s their
rally and it`s their moving forward and the president appealing to them
that got us on what -- if I would have had this conversation with you
senator, after Newtown, we would have thought someone was crazy to say we
were going to have to fight like this just to get background checks. But
here we are getting background checks and trying to make that the beginning
of a long walk toward gun safety.

WHITEHOUSE: Yes. And we still need to vote on background checks.
It`s not clear that the Republicans who let us get to this bill won`t
filibuster those amendments and refuse to provide the votes necessary to
get them into the bill. So we will have to see.

SHARPTON: But we are seeing movement on immigration, we are seeing
movement and other issues but we`re going to have to fight for every one of
them. It is -- it seems to be leading in the right direction. Are you
confident or are you still very much in the zone of caution, senator?

WHITEHOUSE: I`m in the zone of optimistic caution. If Americans are
satisfied with democracy by proxy, elect people, let them go and return to
their other business, then we`re going to have trouble. If Americans see
this as a time when they want to directly engage in their democracy, make
sure that their voices are heard, let their elected representatives know
what they wish, then I think we can win on all of these issues because the
values we are fighting for, the principles and policies that we want to
enforce here are exactly the values and principles and policies that the
American people overwhelmingly support.

SHARPTON: Thank you very much, senator Whitehouse. I couldn`t agree
with you more. We`ve got to keep our guard up. Thanks for your time

WHITEHOUSE: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Now let`s bring in former governor Ed Rendell and Angela

Thanks for being here.


SHARPTON: Governor, what are the lessons of today`s vote for the rest
of the President Obama`s agenda?

something you said. The fact that 31 Republican senators would have voted
against allowing a vote to be held on this very simple legislation that 90
percent of the American people that has nothing to do with the rights of
legitimate gun owners is embarrassing. They should be ashamed of
themselves and they should pay for it. Because it`s absolutely incredible
that they would deny the victims of Newtown and Aurora and Tucson and
Blacksburg a vote on these issues. So, that`s number.

Number two, the vote is good vote though because it shows that with
presidential leadership, we can accomplish a lot and you were very clear
that immigration is next. And I think the president has played that
exactly right. And he`s going to have to hammer the entire details and
what the eight come up with. He will have the chance to get that through.

I believe this gun legislation will eventually be voted on unless
speaker Boehner decides to hold it up and not bring it to the floor and
then individual Republicans like my four suburban Republican house members
are going to have to decide whether they will sign a discharge petition to
make sure it will be voted on regardless of what speaker Boehner does.

So, I think there`s real possibilities on the horizon. The president
took an amazingly courageous step that got him in trouble with his face on
the budget, but he understand it. If we are going to do that grand bargain
that`s field is going to set America straight and get our economy moving
again, there has to be concessions on both sides. The president is
exercising strong leadership. It`s a good sign for the country.

SHARPTON: But Angela, when you look at the fact, and I must revisit
this, you have - we are watching as victims of Newtown family members
walked the halls of the Senate yet 31 of them voted to filibuster, 31 of
them voted not to even have the discussion after meeting with mothers and
fathers and sisters and siblings of people that lost their lives for no
reason, it shows you what we are up against and it shows you what this
president is up against.

So, I think that there is a victory here but I don`t think people need
to relax and I don`t think people need to feel in any way, shape, or form
we are not on the upside of that mountain trying to climb up. We`re not
near the mountaintop of coming down in victory.

RYE: No question about it, Rev. I think the most important thing we
can do right now is look at what the president has done with using his bold
leadership when he had the opportunity and that was to implement 23
executive actions.

In addition to that, now we are fighting or the Congress is fighting
the NRA lobby, the power of the NRA lobby versus what the people are
saying. The people out there that have been personally impacted by gun
violence, perhaps their neighbors, perhaps someone even closer. And so,
you have the money lobby and you have the people lobby saying the NRA
doesn`t speak for me and I need from my senator or from my member of
Congress, member of the House of Representatives to speak for me. I need
you to hear my voice because this is one of the most important and pressing
issues of our time.

So while the president has stepped up a long time ago and said what he
was going to do, we`ve already seen the DOJ grant to different communities
to make sure that the universal background checks would align with the
state background checks. But, it really is time to continue to keep the
pressure on. Sixty eight votes is tremendous but the 31 against is simply

SHARPTON: Now governor, you referred to the president having to have
a strategy and what he was able to do. In many ways, the president called
their bluff, the GOP`s bluff by reaching out, going to dinners and other
concessions with his outreach. I think that it exposed them as the
obstructionist and inflexible party that they are in terms of the party

RENDELL: No question about that. And they are really on the spot.
They are on the spot on guns, on the spot in immigration and certainly on
the spot on the budget. If they reject this as speaker Boehner seems to
have done and says it`s too little, it`s not too little.

The best sign of the fact that it took the president exercise
courageous leadership is the grief he`s getting from members of the left
members of the party, including yourself, Rev. The president`s hanging in
there because, look, if he were king, he would have a different way of
getting rid of this debt problem. But he`s not king and he`s got to make
concessions to the other side if he wants to get the adequate revenue that
we need to make this whole thing work.

So, he`s taking a very difficult step and he deserves tremendous
credit for it and the Republicans, if they stonewall him on this, I think
they are signing their death warrant for 2014.

SHARPTON: Well, governor Rendell and Angela Rye, thank you for your
time tonight.

I agree it will devastate them in 2014, but I`m concerned about those
that have to survive, those that are concerned about the safety of their
families, the rest of 2013 and in to 2014.

This is real, folks. We are talking about guns. We are talking about
bullets. We are talking about over 500 deaths in Chicago last year. We
are talking about Newtown. We are talking about things that matter and
these people on the other side are talking about brinksmanship. This is
serious and we need to continue to fight.

Ahead, did the most powerful Republican in Washington break the law?
Our next guest is calling for an investigation.

And why is Kid Rock saying he`s embarrassed to be a Republican? I can
think of a few reasons.

Plus, he broke the color barrier in baseball and became an American
hero. Jackie Robinson`s children are here to remember their legendary

It`s a big show tonight. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? Today the gun voters are a hot topic.

Larry says, this country deserves a strong gun law and to have all of
the laws enforced.

Ebony says, there is no justification for doing nothing. Gun control
laws can be improved. They must be improved.

And Alexander called out Mitch McConnell specifically for voting no
calling him an obstruction to the forward movement of this country.

His no vote is not the only reason senator McConnell is catching heat,
today we`ll tell you the other reason, next.

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: It`s just going from bad to worse for senate minority
leader Mitch McConnell. There are new questions today about whether he
broke federal law by plotting that smear campaign against actress and
activist Ashley Judd.

In the secret tapes released by "Mother Jones," we hear McConnell`s
campaign staff planning how to bring down Judd in case she decided to run
against him. Now, an ethics watch dog is filing a complaint calling on
officials to investigate whether McConnell broke the law by using Senate
staff and resources to conduct research against Judd. It`s a serious
allegation, an issue that surfaced on these McConnell campaign tapes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I`ll just preface my comments that this
reflects the work of a lot of folks. Josh, Jesse, (INAUDIBLE).


SHARPTON: The L.A.s is referred to a probably legislative aides,
staff member of McConnell`s office. These staffers are only allowed to
work on campaigns on their own free time, not on taxpayers` dimes.

And this is the question tonight. Did one of the most powerful
Republicans in Washington break federal law? Let`s try and get an answer.

Joining me now is Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog
group CREW. The watch dog group, CREW, filed the ethics complaint.

Let me thank you for being here tonight.

MELANIE SLOAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CREW: Well, it`s a pleasure to be
with you.

SHARPTON: Let me ask straight out, why did your group call for the
investigation into the McConnell campaign?

SLOAN: Well, look, if senator McConnell was misusing his office
staff, who, are paid for by our tax dollars to engage in campaign work,
that`s a violation of both federal criminal law and Senate ethics rule and
he should be held accountable for that. Senator McConnell has been anxious
for there to be an FBI investigation into this entire matter and he has got
one. The FBI has started looking at it. And so, it seems like an
appropriate thing for the FBI to investigate all the way around, a full
thorough and fair investigation. It would also look at whether senator
McConnell broke the law.

SHARPTON: Now, when you say that the breaking of the law is a
possible in terms of what the senator did, are you referring to what I
played in the tape, L.A., which are legislative assistants, would mean that
they were on his Senate staff, not his campaign staff?

SLOAN: That, and he also, the presenter on the tape refers to two
people by name, a guy named Phil Maxsin (ph) and a guy person named Josh.
And there is a person Josh Holmes who is senator McConnell`s chief of staff
and Phil Maxsin is also an aide - has been an aide to senator McConnell
since 2011. Neither one of those people have been paid by his campaign
committee. We checked the federal election commission reports/ But, they
both are on the Senate staff.

So, it`s clear that those two along with other unnamed legislative
aides have been doing this research, which is unusual. Usually campaign
staff would be engaged in that kind of work and it`s true that those aides
could do this if that was on their free time but they were spending a lot
of time on this. And L.A.s and chief of staff have pretty busy jobs as it
is. So, it seems like it may well have been on their official time that
they were doing this.

SHARPTON: And these are people paid by taxpayer funds and clearly we
looked up to Senate ethics rules. It reads, Senate employees are free to
engage in campaign activity as volunteers or for pay provided they do so on
their own time, outside of Senate space, and without using Senate
resources. So I --

SLOAN: That`s exactly.

SHARPTON: That`s the ethics laws. So, to do otherwise is in effect
to have taxpayers paying for your campaign or paying to help your campaign.

SLOAN: Yes. And in the past people have been prosecuted for this as
a theft of government services. It also violates a law saying that
appropriated money can only be used for appropriated purposes. And that it
violates senate ethics rules. So, it certainly seems like a matter that
merits serious inquiry and it would be easy enough for the FBI to look at
these people`s computers and see when the e-mails are going back and forth
about this kind of campaign work and see if these folks were engaged in
this work as the Senate McConnell staff is now saying on their free time or
doing it during official office hours. And that`s why we`d like to see the
FBI and Senate ethics committee investigate.

SHARPTON: Now, do you have any evidence that they were doing this on
staff time or Senate time? Do you have any evidence that they were not
doing this on their own time?

SLOAN: We really just don`t know either way right now. And so, it
certainly seems like a matter that merits serious inquiry because it`s
unusual for L.A.s and chief of staff to be engaged in this kind of
opposition research. Usually, that is campaign staff that does that kind
of work.

So, right off the bat, you have questions and that those were raised
on this tape. And so, it seems to me since there is already an
investigation, this is an important matter to investigate. You can`t have
the Senate minority leader engaged in misconduct and certainly we all
deserve to know. If taxpayer, if the senate minority leader is misusing
taxpayer resources.

SHARPTON: All right. We`ll have to leave it there.

Melanie Sloan, thank you for your time tonight.

SLOAN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, they are looking to Dick Cheney for help? This must
be some radical new way to rebrand the party.

And Kid Rock says he`s embarrassed to be a Republican. He finally got
to look at their policies.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Poor congressman Joe Barton seems to make head leans for
all the wrong reasons. In 2010 while the gulf coast was reeling from the
BP oil spill, Barton was giving his sympathies to the company`s CEO.


REP. JOE BARTON (R), TEXAS: I think it is a tragedy of the first
proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would
characterize as a shakedown. In this case, a $20 billion shakedown. I


SHARPTON: He apologized to BP. The he thought that holding BP
accountable was a real tragedy. And now he`s weighing in again on climate


BARTON: I think you can have an honest difference of opinion of what
is causing that change without automatically either being all in or it`s
all because of mankind or it`s all just natural.


SHARPTON: We hear this from the right all the time but the causes of
climate change aren`t a matter of opinion. More than 97 percent of climate
researchers say humans are causing climate change, the scientist who is
actually study these things. But Congressman Barton thought he would prove
them wrong by quoting chapter and verse.


BARTON: I would point out that if you`re a believer in the bible, one
would have to say the great flood is an example of climate change. And
that`s certainly was not because mankind overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.



The biblical flood doesn`t show humans are behind climate change. And
I happen to Noah a thing or two about the bible. I know Noah didn`t drive
a gas-guzzling SUV and he didn`t build the ark on a smoky factory. But
that has nothing to do with science and legislation in year 2013.

Did Congressman Barton think we would not notice that he is using the
good book to push bad policies?

Nice try but we`ve got you.


SHARPTON: Celebrities have always played a role in our politics.
Democrats and stars like Beyonce and Jay-Z on their side. And Bruce
Springsteen who rallied with crowds during the President`s re-election
campaign and the rights had some big names, too. No, I`m not talking about
Meat Loaf. I`m talking about kid rock. He campaigned across the country
for Romney and Ryan.


MEAT LOAF, MUSICIAN: God bless you all. God bless America. Go
Romney, go Ryan!


SHARPTON: That was then, this is now. In the latest issue of Rolling
Stone, he slams the GOP for passing laws that have raised ticket prices for
his fans, saying, quote, "that`s one of the items I`m bleeping embarrassed
to be a republican." And on the economy, the defining issue of our time,
well, he certainly doesn`t agree with the GOP. Quote, "Athletes and
musicians make astronomical amounts of money."

People get paid $100 million to throw a baseball. Shouldn`t we all
take less and pay some of the money on to others? Think about
firefighters, teachers, and policemen. We should celebrate people that are
intellectually smart and trying to make this world a better place. Helping
out the middle class? I think Kid Rock just revoked his republican

Joining me now are Toure and Margie Omero. Thank you both for coming
on the show tonight.



SHARPTON: Toure, Kid Rock is just one musician but do you think he`s
speaking for a lot of people in the party who are embarrassed by the GOP
policies though?

TOURE: I do. I mean, he`s a heartland figure, he`s a republican guy,
he`s sort of republican to the core. But he`s talking about progressive
taxation, he`s talking about being pr-women right to choose, he`s talking
about being pro-gay marriage. So, he`s certainly breaking from a lot of
the GOPers right there. I think you`re seeing two movements going on, that
Tea Party or and or fringe GOP, very conservative, very happy wanting to go
further and further to the right. And wanting principle and not caring
about winning elections, that very important thing.


TOURE: And then you see another group that`s floating more towards
what used to be the middle that saying, we`re not happy with this party, we
don`t like where this is going. For 30 years, the GOP ID has been dropping
democratic has been, the same, so clearly there are a larger group of
people who would want to call themselves independents, don`t want to be
down with the GOP.

SHARPTON: Now, Margie, did you know -- my first reaction was
cynical, where were his ears during the campaign? Why didn`t he understand
that that is what they were saying? But maybe it`s since the campaign in
this obstruction and this no matter what the President does and their
reaction to Newtown and others have kind of made some of their supporters
even say, wait a minute, this is not what I`m really for?

OMERO: Well, that`s certainly right. I mean, Kid Rock and -- the
Republican Party, he has a lot of company, actually. A majority of
Americans feel the Republican Party is too extreme. You even see that
among republican voters who feel that way and that also happens after a
party loses an election where even folks in their party says, let`s have
some introspection to figure out why we are losing voters.

I guess the republican celebrity outreach that they`ve been talking
about that was in the RNC report hasn`t gotten, they haven`t gotten to Kid
Rock yet and to bring him back into the fold as part of their next phase of
attracting younger voters. But the positions that Kid Rock shows and also
the fact that he doesn`t want to be pinned down by a certain label, that
doesn`t mean actually, a lot of voters share. A lot of voters have used
some of which sound republican, some of which sound democratic and they`re
not sure what party to identify with. That`s not uncommon.

SHARPTON: No, and you touched on that, Toure. The fact is that what
was interesting, is he talked as I quoted about the economy, he talked
about the astronomical amounts of money some athletes, some stars are
making, why can`t they pay more in taxes and how regular, ordinary working
people trying to make it a better world, that is the exact each. The
economy, President Obama said the election was about. Listen to this.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: This is not just another
political debate, this is the defining issue of our time. What are we
going to do to make sure that middle class families are secure and that we
continue to build ladders for people who are trying to get into the middle

This is a make or break moment for America`s middle class.

That choice is going to be up to you.



SHARPTON: So that`s the defining issue not only of the election but
of our time and they lost the election representing the policies that they
did. They are still holding fast. They are not losing support, this
highly visible support is like Kid Rock, what don`t they get?

TOURE: Well, they don`t get a lot of things and we could do a whole
of show about they don`t get. But we as America are losing this issue. At
this point in American history, you are very likely to end up in the class
that your father was born into, so we don`t have that intergenerational
mobility that we were used that defined what it meant to be America. That
would be, you would do better than your parents and especially even if you
could work at that lower middle class job, right, at GM or Ford, make it to
some sort of picket fence, some little lawn, middle class, I`m good, I can
take care of myself, I can take care of my kids and just worked there for
30, 40 years, that`s gone, right?

And if we have a country where you will be in a class that your
parents were in, that`s Europe. That`s not the way it`s supposed to be.
That`s the thing that defines America. That you have a chance to get rich
and you have the probability of doing better than your parents if you work
hard and do the right things. That`s not where we are anymore and that`s
not what we want to see.

SHARPTON: Sunday night, Margie, the progression from generation to
generation and the picket fence, the way this is going, some Republicans
are going to join me picketing the fence of the republican headquarters.
But, you know, I`ve got to ask you this. They are actually reaching out to
Dick Cheney. I mean, they have asked Dick Cheney to come and it`s just RNC
members this weekend about the party`s future. Now, and it comes after
he`s already addressed GOP lawmakers about North Korea. You have got to
explain to me what the strategy and there is certainly got to be something
I cannot figure out, Margie.

OMERO: Well, Dick Cheney has never been known for his popularity but
maybe there is some tactical lessons I can learn from. I don`t know, but
there is a republican narrative to tell that addresses the middle class and
addresses our economic prosperity. There is a republican narrative there
that doesn`t have to be exclusionary. But they didn`t have it in 2012 and
I think that`s the process of what`s going on, what`s been going on in the
last few months and what`s going on in the next few months where
Republicans are going to try to regain that message where they are reaching
out to voters but we`re going to see -- but if you have issues like for
guns for example, where you have folks threatening to filibuster on an
issue that 90 percent of Americans support, that doesn`t them back in the
inclusive language that keeps him in that inclusionary language. So, we`ll
see. Right now, about 60 percent of Americans and I -- this Gallup poll
say that they don`t trust the Republican Party on the economy. So, we`ll
see how this unfolds.

SHARPTON: So, to bring in Dick Cheney, Toure is going to help
increase the trust? I mean, at the same session now, they are bringing in
media specialists who are going to conduct workshops that include messaging
to women and minorities, workshops entitled Republicans messaging, how to
say that we are not mean and show we care, growing the party working with
minorities. Same session now that you`re going to have Dick Cheney who is
not sorry about anything he did around the Iraq war.

TOURE: I mean, you know, I don`t understand why they are bringing in
Dick Cheney. I`m sure he`s an intelligent person but this blast from the
past is not what they need when they say they`re trying to move to a
different future. And I`d be --

SHARPTON: I`m not talking about his intelligence. I`m talking about
if you are talking about rebranding, why are you going to bring in the
person that you`re trying to rebrand his kind of politics of why you`re
going to bring him --

TOURE: Absolutely. I`d be curious to see what some of these panels
look like. We`re talking about, we`re talking to Republicans about how to
deal with people of color, they did something similar. And you remember it
was the plantation room in Virginia right, and like, you know, they had an
all white panel, right, maybe one Latino person, no black men, no black
people. This is not how you move forward with a group of white people
talking about how to deal with people of color. So they`ve got a lot of
work to do.

SHARPTON: I want to leave it there. Toure and Margie Omero, thanks
for coming on the show tonight.

TOURE: Thank you.

OMERO: Take care.

SHARPTON: And don`t forget to watch Toure on "THE CYCLE," weekdays at
3:00 p.m. right here on MSNBC.

Ahead, death threats, racial slurs, attacks, Jackie Robinson faced it
all and he went to changed America forever. What was it like growing up
with an American icon? We will ask his children Sharon and David Robinson.
Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Some news about Dr. Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon who
recently became a rising star in the Republican Party until he went on FOX
News and said this about gay people.


HOSPITAL: Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be the guys,
be the NAMBLA, be the people who believe in bestiality, it doesn`t matter
what they are, they don`t get to change the definition. So, it`s not
something that against gays.


SHARPTON: Those comments didn`t exactly fit with the GOP`s attempt to
rebrand its image and they sparked a huge backlash and a public rebuke from
Carson`s boss at Hopkins University. Carson eventually apologized but the
damage was done. We`ve now learned that Carson has stepped down as the
university`s commencement speaker. It`s yet another sign that intolerance
is not acceptable.


SHARPTON: Nothing, nothing is more American than baseball. Once upon
a time, baseball, like everything else in American life, was completely
shut off to African-American players. And then came Jack Roosevelt
Robinson. On April 15th, 1947, he stepped on the Everett Field for the
first time in a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform, breaking baseball color barrier
and changed in a nation. In 1951, Jackie played a game in Cincinnati after
receiving a death threat. Two letters said, he would be killed while on
the field. Pitchers throw at his head. He was spit on by catchers and he
endures racial slurs in ball part all over the country. In a 1972
interview, he described what it was like to play in one city, Philadelphia.

And when you went to Philadelphia in the early years, you couldn`t
stay in the same hotel, you had to find your own accommodations and then
there was Ben Chapman and some of the other Phillies who were really the
worst kinds of guys that we ran into. The kind of taunts that they yelled
out were vicious and uncalled for.

Yet, he refused to respond with violence. He chose, instead, to fight
back by excelling in the field. And he did it all with the love and
support of the love of his life, his wife Rachel. This Friday, their story
comes to the big screen in a movie "42," the true story of an American
legend, and it depicts the struggle he faced.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Your enemy will be out in force but you cannot beat
him on his own low ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What are you going to do with this pitch to your


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You don`t belong here and you never will.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Get off the field.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Brooklyn Dodgers ain`t changing our way of living.


SHARPTON: Joining me now, two of Jackie and Rachel Robinson`s
children, Sharon and David Robinson. Thank you both for being here

al. Thank you.

DAVID ROBINSON, JACKIE ROBINSON`S SON: Thank you for the invitation.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you, as the movie is about to come out
everywhere, do you think that people today have any idea what your father
went through and what he had to get himself disciplined and prepared to

SHARON ROBINSON: There may be some idea because we certainly have had
lots of kids that are studying him as part of national history day. And
when you see the visual and you see it acted out, you know, dramatize, it
brings it all to life.

DAVID ROBINSON: Nineteen-forty seven, segregation, lack of civil
rights is not a long time ago in the history of the court or the history of
African-Americans but we are finding that seeing the people who see the
film have that reaction about I didn`t know.

SHARPTON: Because it was a real breakthrough. I remember when I was
still a teenager (INAUDIBLE) the liberation bread basket, I went to your


SHARPTON: And my mother was so swept to meet your father but I didn`t
understand what it meant to her. Let me show you a clip of the film and I
want you to explain to me what happened here.



ANNOUNCER: Over the line.

Robinson is down. Hit high above the leg and he is down.




UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No, no, get me up!

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Just get me the ball. Understand?


SHARPTON: He was hurt. He made them lift him up. He said the game
is important. What`s the message of that scene to you, Sharon?

SHARON ROBINSON: The message is, it`s not just about the individual.
It`s about, you know, he was in there struggling for the larger mission and
in this case it was the team coming together and yes he was hurt but he was
not going to let him stop him from what he had to do.

SHARPTON: Part of what it deals with is his relationship with your
mother. It was a bonding, it was two people being one and I want to show
this scene where you have an interplay in action between Jackie and Rachel


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I want you to know that I`m here for you even if
it`s words on paper.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ray, you`re in my heart.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You`re getting close now and the closer you get,
the worst they will be. Don`t let them get to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I won`t. God built me to last.


SHARPTON: Don`t let them get to you. I mean, is it true that it was
the power and strength of Rachel Robinson that helped give him that courage
and that rock to go forward and do what he did?

DAVID ROBINSON: Well, I think it was the power and strength of the
love between them that gave them the rock.

SHARON ROBINSON: He was a deeply religious man. So he had deep faith
in God. And also his mother was a rock in his life.

SHARPTON: He was the dad to you guys. He was an icon to the rest of
the world. What is it that you want people to know about Jackie Robinson?

SHARON ROBINSON: It was important to him as to all of us that he be
just dad and he worked really hard to be available to us and to have
privacy at our home. You know, he wasn`t a social man so when he wasn`t
traveling, he was home. He brought us into the civil rights movement by us
going on marches together as a family.


JACKIE ROBINSON, (JANUARY, 1919 - OCTOBER, 1972): My three children
wanted to come down here with me because they had seen your children going
to jail for what you believe in.


SHARPTON: Your dad used to go south to march and he would go down
with Joe Lewis and he would try to get other athletes to go and stand with
Dr. King and others.

DAVID ROBINSON: The other part of his life was completely dedicated
to challenging social injustice and equality and brutality as it was in the
south with the bombings of churches.

SHARPTON: Last week, the President hosted your mom and all of you to
the White House for the screening of 42. What do you think he would have
thought of President Obama, an African-American president of the United

DAVID ROBINSON: I think he would have been extremely proud but I
think he would have been very much aware that a first, there must be a
second and a movement behind the first.

SHARPTON: Sharon, what do you hope people walk out of the theaters
thinking and saying?

SHARON ROBINSON: Well, you know, since I worked with young people,
I`m hoping they`ll think through some of the character that Jackie Robinson
had to have to be successful against great ads.

SHARPTON: Well, he took a lot. More than he probably would have ever
shared. But he changed history because he took it and this human story on
screen I think is significant. Thank you both.



SHARPTON: Famous man and good men win games. Great men changed the
game. I`m grateful that in my youth I met a great man. His name was
Jackie Robinson. We`ll be right back.



OBAMA: We say that we are truly doing enough to give all the children
of this country the chance that they deserve to live out their lives and
happiness and with purpose. If we`re honest with ourselves, the answer is
no. We`re not doing enough. And we will have to change.


SHARPTON: We will have to change. Change is hard. It takes drive
and determination. And since that fateful day last December, we`ve seen
the president on a mission. In Chicago, he called for the community to
come together against gun violence. In Minneapolis, he applauded the city
as an example for how a community can come work together. In Denver he
pointed to Colorado as a model for the nation, passing three gun control
laws this year.

And in Hartford he called for Americans to make their voices heard.
Those voices had been heard all over America with rallies and marches and
protests. We`ve seen the courage of Gabby Giffords, the strength of Hadiya
Pendleton`s parents standing for gun control just days after their daughter
was killed and it becoming inspired by Newtown families who have been in
the fight in the time of unspeakable grief.

Today, many of their families were there in Washington for the gun
vote. They saw 31 senators vote against further discussion on gun
legislation. Thirty one senators trying to stand in the way of real
change, trying but failing. But the power of all those voices went out.
That is the show you fight for change, you don`t give up and you fight for
what you believe in. There`s a lot of work ahead but when we do it
together, changes possible. Changes not in -- no once incident, not one
episode would change things.

It must take a determination to keep going no matter what, and the
road sometimes look uncertain ahead. You can be certain that it`s better
than the torturous disastrous road we`re leaving. Let`s keep going
forward. The struggle is hard but the victory is certain. Thanks for
watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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