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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

April 30, 2013

Guests: Mark Herring; Nia-Malika Henderson, Benjamin Crump, Ken Padowitz,
Dick Harpootlian

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

Tonight`s lead, calling with calling out the GOP today. President
Obama ripped Republicans in Congress for their hypocrisy and selfishness on
automatic budget cuts that are hurting millions of Americans. At a news
conference today, the president unmasked the phony GOP argument.


Congress were suggesting that somehow the sequester was a victory for them
and this wouldn`t hurt the economy. What we now know is that what I warned
earlier, what Jay stood up here and warned repeatedly, is happening. It
slowed our growth. It`s resulting in people being thrown out of work. And
it`s hurting folks all across the country.


SHARPTON: These budget cuts are hurting. But Republicans refuse to
do the right thing.


OBAMA: You seem t suggest that somehow these folks over there have no
responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That`s
their job. They are elected, members of Congress are elected in order to
do what`s right for their constituencies and for the American people.


SHARPTON: To a lot of Americans, it seems like these Republicans in
Congress only take action if the problem affects them personally.

Last night Jon Stewart took a look at why lawmakers fixed only the
budget cuts that were affecting air travel.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Why, perchance, not part of the sequester.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: A few members after voting members left
Capitol Hill and headed to the airport for a week long recess.

STEWART: Oh, right! Oh, right! Because it`s the problem from the
sequester that affects them. They don`t care about meals on wheels unless
it`s rolling down an aisle.


SHARPTON: That`s funny. But what`s not funny is that the joke is on
the American people. Every day we`re getting reports from all across the


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Meals on wheels has served a lot of
seniors in our area. Now, the scary thing is, they don`t know how much is
going to be cut.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The seniors are not only going to miss out on
the nutrition, but that daily check from the delivery driver.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re looking at thousands and thousands of
young children who won`t get services across the nation if sequestration
stays in place.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Those on unemployment say the pain cuts

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s bad for me. I mean, I`m a mom of three
kids. And I`ve been job seeking since I`ve been laid off from two jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Head start meant to help low income
children really feeling it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My concern is that often the folks that we see
don`t often have a voice the same way many of the travelers who are
impacted by the FAA furloughs did.


SHARPTON: Kids on head start. Seniors with meals on wheels. They
deserve to have their voices heard. Even if they don`t have an army of
expensive lobbyists in Washington. The president said today, time for
politicians to listen.

Joining me now are Krystal Ball and David Corn.

Thank you both for being here.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks for having us, Rev.


SHARPTON: Krystal, let me ask you, can the president apply enough
shame and political pressure on the Republicans to force them to act on
these budget cuts?

BALL: I`m hopeful. I`m an optimistic person and I`m hopeful. But I
think it`s going to take a lot more of what he did today. And frankly, the
Republican position on the sequester has been dizzying. At first they
hated it. It was a sledge hammer. It was going to be devastating. Then
they decided they liked it. Now they decided these parts of it they don`t
like and they`re going to blame the president for that piece.

So, I think he really has to keep highlighting what the sequester
means not just to air travel, but to a whole gamut of really important
services. And as you pointed out in the lead, I think this is so
important. You know, the people who are depending on meals on wheels, the
people who are depending on head start, they don`t have expensive lobbyists
as you said, they don`t have super PACs. They are people who have the
least power in our political system as we had growing income and equality,
we have also had growing political inequality where people at the lower end
of the spectrum just don`t have a voice and aren`t organized to have that

So, I think that`s why you`re seeing this focus on things that frankly
aren`t as critical as some of the other issues that are being hurt by the

SHARPTON: Now David, and that the president really addressed what he
feels the GOP lawmakers are really worried about in these budget cuts.
Because one has to say, how can they have a blind eye to how this impacts
regular, ordinary people and those that are depending on some of these

Here`s what the president said is what they`re really worried about.


OBAMA: They`re worried about their politics and stuff. Their base
thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal. They are worried
about primaries. And I understand all that. And we are going to try to do
everything we can to create a permission structure for them to be able to
do what`s going to be best for the country.


SHARPTON: David, you`re there in Washington. You talk to people
there. Why are they so out of touch? Is it that they are afraid of right
wing primaries and they just can`t find the courage to stand up to the
right wing of their party who may challenge them?

CORN: You know, I`m not sure they are out of touch and they`re doing
something that they don`t want to be doing on their own. It is possible
that the president made a miscalculation early on with this deal. The
whole point of the sequester, if you go back a year and a half to the, you
know, the debt ceiling debacle, was that we would come up with this
punishment that was so tough on both sides, Republicans and the Democrats
in the White House, that they would have to get together and cobble
together a more reasonable deal. And what was tough for the Republicans,
supposedly, was that the sequester would apply to Pentagon spending, which
they`ve always loved and have always defended.

And Krystal, you know, was right to say early on, they said the
sequester was horrible because it would hurt the Pentagon spending. But to
get out of the sequester they would have to agree to some degree of tax
revenue increases and give up some of their tax cuts for the wealthy.


CORN: And as you know, as we`ve seen now, when it comes to this
calculation, the Republicans are generally saying you know, Pentagon cuts,
you know, taxes for the rich, yes, we will go with Pentagon cuts. Because
we don`t care about head start, meals on wheels, public defenders, you
know, federal parks and all that. We never cared to -- cared about that in
the beginning. So this is where the president thought he was trying to hit
them with a hammer in the Pentagon and they are saying we`ll take that hit
if we still don`t have to deal with you and taxes.

SHARPTON: So, when you look at the fact, Krystal, I mean, let`s look
at the effects of the budget cut. Six hundred thousand women and children
lose nutrition aid. One hundred twenty-five thousand families lose housing
aid. Seventy thousand kids lose head start. Twenty-five thousand fewer
cancer screenings.

I mean, when you look at who`s impacted by this, when you look at who
can`t defend themselves in some of the cases, the seniors and these kids, I
mean, are we becoming -- have we become so insensitive I Washington these
people are just, you know, they`re expendable at the alter of my political

BALL: Yes. I think David is right. A lot of what Republicans do,
their rhetoric around deficit cutting is really an excuse to try to cut
exactly these kinds of programs. And even if you`re a totally utterly
heartless person and you could care less whether that senior gets their
food, their meals on wheels that week, you`re really being penny wise and
pound foolish. Because ultimately, you want to have kids going to
preschool so that they can participate in the labor market later on. You
want seniors to be healthy and getting good nutrition so they don`t wind up
in nursing homes or more expensive hospital care. So it`s foolish even
just from a plain fiscal conservative point of view.

And one other thing I will point out here that makes this whole
conversation utterly absurd, we`re making these huge cuts at a time when,
a, the economy is still struggling, b, the deficit is dropping rapidly, and
c, this is the first quarter where we will actually be paying down the
debt. So, the whole construct of this conversation is ridiculous.

SHARPTON: And in this construct, people are suffering. That`s my

BALL: That`s exactly right.

CORN: Yes.

SHARPTON: Real live people are suffering.

Now, David, let me ask on another point. Maybe we can make some
progress. The president did seem to be confident about immigration reform.

CORN: Right.

SHARPTON: Despite the dysfunction in congress. Let me show you what
he said about that.


OBAMA: I feel confident that the bipartisan work that`s been done on
immigration reform will result in a bill that passes the Senate, passes the
house, and gets on my desk. And that`s going to be a historic achievement.
And I`m -- I`ve been very complimentary of the efforts of both Republicans
and Democrats in those efforts.


SHARPTON: Do we have a shot at immigration reform? I`m out of time,
but I want you to respond, David?

CORN: Well, I think it`s the president`s job to be optimistic. And
probably a good chance they can get something out of the Senate. I still
wonder whether there`s going to be a Republican civil war in the house over
supporting whatever it is that comes out of the Senate. So I think we`re a
long way from seeing this become a real law.

SHARPTON: Well, Krystal Ball and David Corn, we`re going to have to
leave it there.

Thanks for your time.

Be sure to catch Krystal on "the Cycle" weekdays 3:00 p.m. eastern
right here on MSNBC.

Ahead, bad news for a rising star in the Republican Party. The FBI is
now looking into whether he committed a crime. This one could have a big

And a surprising development for the man accused of murdering Trayvon
Martin. Big news from Sanford, Florida. With the trial just six weeks

And the fight night down south. Mark Sanford left his wife for his
girlfriend. But it was his political opponent who slapped him down last


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we talk about fiscal spending and we talk
about protecting the t taxpayers, it doesn`t mean you take that money we
saved and leave the country for a personal purpose.



SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will. Today, our fans were buzzing over this
photo of President Obama meeting Jack Hoffman. He`s the 7-year-old cancer
patient who starred in this video, scoring a touchdown during a Nebraska
cornhusker spring game. Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gives it to Jack. There he goes. Got blockers
out in front.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running to mid field. Listen to this crowd as
Jack Hoffman, the young man that as I mentioned has really been adopted by
this football team, just scored a touchdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, wow. What a moment.


SHARPTON: Wow. What a moment is right.

Betty says, I never thought I would cry over a touchdown, but I did
for this one.

Joe says, what a beautiful story. Thumbs up to Nebraska.

Frank says, this young fellow is a hero in his own right and deserving
of the president`s praise.

We want to hear what you think about this one, too. Please head over
to facebook and search "Politics Nation" and like us to join the
conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mid field. Listen to this crowd as Jack Hoffman,
young man that, as mentioned, has really been adopted by this football
team, just scored a touchdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, wow. What a moment.



SHARPTON: Remember governor ultrasound McDonnell, the Virginia
governor became infamous after supporting a bill that would require women
undergo vaginal probe prior to undergoing an abortion, well now, he is
getting a probe of his own.

Today, we learned FBI agents are looking into a relationship between
McDonnell`s and a major campaign donor. The agents have been asking an
associate about McDonnell`s about gifts provided to the family by star
scientific chief executive Jonnie R. Williams senior. And actions the
Republican governor and his wife have taken that may have boosted the

Williams covered the $15,000 that catered for the wedding of
McDonnell`s daughter. And the McDonnell`s family vacationed at a lake
house owned by Williams and drove the executive`s Ferrari from the home
back to Richmond. It was this Ferrari, to be exact. And today McDonnell
responded to the news.


GOV. BOB MCDONNELL, VIRGINIA: I`ve been blessed to have a lot of
friends, and Mr. Williams and his wife, Celeste, have been family friends
for four or five years. But I think it`s important that the people of
Virginia know that nothing has been done with regard to my relationship
with Mr. Williams or his company, Star Scientific, to give any kind of
special benefits to him or his company.


SHARPTON: Special benefits? That`s where things get tricky.
Williams` company sells this non-FDA approved dietary supplement. And just
three days before their daughter`s wedding Mrs. McDonnell flew to Florida
to tout the drug at a gathering of doctors and investors. Huh? What a

The McDonnells also allowed the company to hold an event promoting the
supplement at the governor`s mansion. At one point there was even a photo
of McDonnell smiling and holding the supplement on the company`s facebook
page. How about that? Looks like this is one Virginia probe that`s need.

Joining me now is "Washington Post" Nia-Malika Henderson.

Nia-Malika, thanks for coming on the show tonight.

to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: Now, if this probe is involving, you know, the FBI probe
can`t be a good thing. What can you tell us tonight about this probe?

HENDERSON: That`s right. Where the main focus of this probe is
trying to figure out if, in fact, there was a relationship where there was
quid pro quo from this donor, who owns -- or who`s the head of a
pharmaceutical company, to the governor. As you lay out there, they are
personal friends. They have been friends for about five years. And the
governor and his family have gotten gifts from Mr. Williams.

Now, in Virginia, candidates can get gifts or elected officials can
get gifts from donors. But they just have to report them if they`re over
$50. And family members as well can get gifts as well. So, in that sense,
he hasn`t broken any laws. Now this probe is trying to figure out if, in
fact, the governor has given any incentives, any financial incentives, to
his friend to promote this company. So far there isn`t any evidence of any
wrong doing. But it certainly doesn`t look good in terms of the governor
having to come out and say, listen, folks in Virginia, you can trust me.
That there hadn`t been so far any evidence of a quid pro quo. But we do
know this is an ongoing investigation. And that`s the ultimate question
that these FBI investigators are trying to answer.

SHARPTON: Now, in addition to gifts, Jonnie Williams, the owner of
the company, he was a big campaign contributor to McDonnell. He and his
company gave McDonnell and his political action committee more than
$120,000 in publicly disclosed campaign donations and gifts.

And as your paper "the Washington Post" reports, this supplement was
really important to the company. It was, quote, "crucial to the future of
the company which has been losing money for years." So it was when the
first lady of Virginia went to Florida and touted this in front of
investors and when they allowed this to have a reception of sorts at the
governor mansion, this was extremely important to this particular

HENDERSON: That`s right. The governor has said, a, this is his
friend. But b, he is doing this to promote Virginia businesses and to
promote the Virginia economy in his capacity as governor. That so far has
been his explanation.

I think another thing that eventually I think people will start to
look at is whether or not his attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, who has
also benefited from donations from Mr. Williams, whether or not there`s any
connection there. We, of course, know that Ken Cuccinelli is running for
governor. Will be on the ballot in 2013 in the fall of this year. And, so
that also is something that people are talking about in Virginia. As you
mentioned, McDonnell is, perhaps, was a rising star in the Republican
Party. Perhaps on the short list for Romney in 2012. And people mentioned
his names a possible candidate for 2016 as well.

SHARPTON: Now Nia-Malika, stand by one minute. I want to bring in
Virginia state senator Mark Herring. He is currently the Democratic
candidate for attorney general in that state.

State senator Herring, thanks for coming on the show tonight.

MARK HERRING (D), VIRGINIA STATE SENATE: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Now, you were the first one to call for a federal
investigation into this relationship. What did you think that the FBI
should get involved in?

HERRING: Well, I first called for an investigation on April 11th.
And we were just beginning to learn some facts that came to light because
of some reporting that was done in the "Washington Post" and some stories
came out about some very serious allegations. Allegations that the
governor accepted a very lavish gift, $15,000, from a company with business
in front of the state. Not only were there questions about whether the
governor was just out promoting the company`s product, but the state was in
a dispute with the company over a $700,000 tax assessment.

And so it`s important that Virginians know whether or not there was
any influence of public policy, it doesn`t smell good. And I thought it
was important for Virginians to get to the bottom of this. And because of
Ken Cuccinelli`s own involvement, it needed to be an outside, independent

SHARPTON: So they had business in front of the state. There was the
question of a tax fight involving $700,000 with the state. I`ll tell you
something else that was curious to me. Nia-Malika said there hasn`t been
anything illegal disclosed yet. But when you look at something strange,
governor McDonnell said that since this gift to his daughter -- was to his
daughter it didn`t need to be disclosed. But isn`t it strange that someone
would pay for the wedding of one`s daughter? I mean, you don`t pay for
your own daughter`s wedding? This guy, as you said, paid $15,000. But
"the Washington Post" reports when Williams, the donor, overpaid the total
catering bill, the $3,500 refund check to the catering was made out to
Maureen McDonnell and not to Williams or the newly married couple which
means they paid the governor`s wife the money back, not the daughter who
got married or her new husband. And not back to the guy who overpaid,
Williams. It`s a little strange to me.

HERRING: Well, it`s all very curious. And that`s one of the reasons
why we need to have this investigation to get to the facts. And initially,
the governor`s explanation just raised more questions. Initially, he said
that there was no need to report it. Virginia law didn`t require it
because it was a gift, a wedding gift to his daughter. Later, we learned
that the governor was obligated to pay under the catering contract and that
this payment to the cater relieved him of that obligation.

So, part of the issue is that the facts that the governor was giving
were not very forthcoming. And that the attorney general who might have
otherwise been in a position to investigate couldn`t do it because he`s
knee deep in this, too. He didn`t disclose his ownership interest in this
company when he should have. And so he had to recuse himself from the tax
case that he had been handling with this same company for a year or two.
And he had an ownership interest in the company that was, itself,

And now just recently, we learned that the attorney general had
accepted lavish gifts as well. Vacations at a lake house and didn`t
disclose it.


HERRING: And we just now learned about it.

SHARPTON: There`s a whole lot of questions.

HERRING: That`s why this investigation has to be done.

BALL: Whole lot of questions here, senator. We`re going to keep on
it. We`re going to watch it. He caught our eye with his probes last year
on women.

Nia-Malika Henderson and state senator Mark Herring, thank you both
for your time this evening.

HERRING: Thank you.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a major development in the Trayvon Martin case.
We`ll have the details.

And Michele Bachmann is playing fast and loose with the facts while
quoting Shakespeare. You will want to hear this.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: We`ve noticed a strange new breed of Republican in
Washington. Politicians who try to have it both ways on spending cuts.
And Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is right in the middle of it. On
Friday, she took to the House floor complaining about automatic budget cuts
affecting her home state.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The loss that we`ll see for
children through head start, for senior citizens through meals on wheels,
for children who will be dealing with various other food nutrition
programs. That breaks everyone`s hearts. We knew all of these calamities
were in the future. And so it reminds me of the Shakespeare line. Thou
protesteth too much.


SHARPTON: Thou protesteth too much? I think Mrs. Bachmann needs a
refresher course in Shakespeare. And while she`s at it, a refresher on her
own past. "The Washington Post" says, Bachmann voted against the sequester
cuts mainly because it didn`t slash spending enough. She wanted more cuts.
In fact, "The Post" fact checkers gave her four Pinocchios for her sudden
change of heart.

Saying she was, quote, "reinventing history." Did Mrs. Bachmann
seriously think we`d cut her a break for this historical fiction? Nice
try. But we got you.


SHARPTON: It`s been more than a year since many Americans first
learned about the stand your ground law in Florida. The law says that an
individual who believes he is in danger does not have to retreat and can
defend himself or herself by using force. And it`s that law that`s at the
heart of the case of George Zimmerman, who`s charged with murder for
shooting Trayvon Martin.

But in a Florida courtroom today, Mr. Zimmerman waived his right to an
immunity hearing on the stand your ground law that could have cleared him
of murder. The former neighborhood watch volunteer admits he shot Martin,
but says it was in self-defense. But today`s news means that there will
not be a hearing on stand your ground. But there will be a jury trial
expected to start on June 10th.

Joining me now, is Benjamin Crump, attorney for the Trayvon Martin`s
family. Attorney Crump, thank you for your time.

me, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you, what do you make of today`s hearing and --
and the move by Mr. O`Mara and Mr. Zimmerman, O`Mara being his attorney, to
waive their right to a trial -- a pretrial hearing for immunity on the
grounds of stand your ground law?

CRUMP: It was quite interesting, Reverend Sharpton. The state had
wanted an inquiry of George Zimmerman himself to waive his rights. And the
court inquired of him, and he did, in fact, waive those rights. Upon
advice of counsel. And what`s interesting about that is, these are
extraordinary rights when you consider the stand your ground law. It is a
pretrial immunity hearing that says if you prevail, you don`t have to stand
trial for any civil matter, any criminal matter. In fact, you can`t even
be arrested. So for him just to waive that hearing says a lot about how
strong they really felt their self-defense claim was or their stand your
ground claim was. Because they just waived it.

SHARPTON: So this was a big deal in your case. How does this affect,
in your opinion, the case for Trayvon Martin`s family who you represent?

CRUMP: It affects it in a big way because now we know it`s definitely
going to be a trial. And it really vindicates all the protesters out there
who said that there should be a trial, that he should be arrested for
killing an unarmed child. You know, the police said they didn`t arrest him
because of stand your ground. And they tried to say or they gave way to
the masses and the protests. Well, you have a judge, a court of law.

And if you thought that it was all based on emotion and such, this was
your opportunity to have your stand your ground hearing with a judge and a
court of law and you just waived that. And that`s telling, that how you
feel about your case.

SHARPTON: And I think you point out rightly a lot of people, me
included, just wanted to see a trial and let the facts be where they may.
But after a lot of people saying stand your ground covered him, for him not
to use that today was -- was kind of surprising, let`s put it that way,
given where we were a year ago in this country on this case.

CRUMP: Absolutely. And this became the litmus test for the stand
your ground law, which is still a very new law. It`s not well settled.
There`s a question if they`re going to try to argue aspects of the stand
your ground law in the actual trial. We believe that would tend to confuse
the jury. However, we do know there`s going to be a trial and there`s
going to be a jury who gets to vet all the evidence. And we`ve always
believed based on the evidence, and the evidence alone, the jury will hold
George Zimmerman accountable for killing Trayvon Martin.

SHARPTON: Attorney Crump, thank you for your time tonight.

CRUMP: Thank you so much, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Now, let`s bring in Ken Padowitz. He`s a former
prosecutor, and now criminal defense attorney. Ken, thank you for your
time tonight.

KEN PADOWITZ, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Thank you for having me on, Reverend

SHARPTON: Now, we`ve talked for a year about the stand your ground
law. What did today`s news mean as in regard to that law and in regard to
this case?

PADOWITZ: Well, this was a tremendous development. I mean, if I was
the special prosecutor on this case I would be very concerned about the
crafty and very strategic move that the defense did by waiving the stand
your ground hearing. This is something that the prosecutor should be very
concerned about. Because now they do not have an opportunity to have a
hearing and cross examine Mr. Zimmerman and get that testimony out on the

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, the difference now is that he will
have to use a self-defense defense at trial?

PADOWITZ: Absolutely. He now has an affirmative defense, as he
always has in Florida, of self-defense. And he can use this self-defense
argument during the trial. But he is not going to be able to use the
immunity statute of the stand your ground law in Florida. The Supreme
Court of Florida has carefully laid out that a pretrial hearing has to be
held prior to the trial. And in this situation today, the defense has
waived, strategically, and very craftily, waived that hearing and decided
to go for a trial.

SHARPTON: So when his Attorney O`Mara says that they can call for a
hearing later, you`re saying according to Florida`s Supreme Court, that is
not true. So in many ways, that is off the table in terms of him
affirmatively raising this at trial. Isn`t that a sign of weakness on
this? In this stand your ground defense?

PADOWITZ: Well, you waive a very interesting -- raise a very
interesting point, Reverend Al. Because the statute for stand your ground
has to be read in conjunction with the Florida rules of criminal procedure,
which lays the timetable to have this pretrial hearing, a motion to
dismiss. And since they`re waiving it now, they`re not going to be able to
bring this out at the trial.

So they`re going to be able to use a self-defense argument and we can
expect that`s what the argument is going to be.


PADOWITZ: But if I`m the prosecutor in that jurisdiction, I`m going
to be concerned about today`s developments. I think it was a very wise,
strategic defense move and the prosecution should be very wary of this.

SHARPTON: Now, the bar that you have to reach for self-defense is
much different than stand your ground. Stand your ground, as I said at the
beginning, is that you -- if you believe yourself to be in danger, you have
no obligation to retreat. That`s not true with self-defense. Is that not

PADOWITZ: Right. They`re two separate and distinct theories, that`s
correct. The immunity statute for stand your ground is something to ask
the court to dismiss charges so that you don`t have to stand trial.
They`re now foreclosing that. The defense is turning their back on that.
And they`re aiming specifically for a trial. They probably believe that
they would lose a stand your ground hearing in front of a judge. So
they`re going for all and everything at the trial using a self-defense
claim. Hey, it`s a wise move by the defense.

SHARPTON: But it`s also a big gamble by them, because you could win
it all or lose it all.

PADOWITZ: Absolutely. They`ve now foreclosed the possibility of
immunity. And now they`re going for broke. They`re going for all or
nothing at the trial stage.

SHARPTON: Ken Padowitz, we`ll leave it there. Thank you for being
here tonight.

PADOWITZ: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: One note. In civil court George Zimmerman has sued NBC
Universal for defamation and the company has strongly denied his
allegations. We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: At the end of President Obama`s press conference today, he
took a moment to praise Jason Collins, the NBA player who just announced
that he`s gay. The first male athlete in major sports to come out.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The LGBT community deserves
full equality. Not just partial equality. Not just tolerance, but
recognition that they`re fully a part of the American family. For, I
think, a lot of young people out there who, you know, are -- are gay or
lesbian, who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like
that who`s unafraid, I think it`s a great thing.


SHARPTON: A great thing for the pro-sports world. A great thing for
the country. We should all be proud of Jason Collins. Proud he stood up
and proud he says, I am who I am.


SHARPTON: I wonder if Mark Sanford is questioning this whole comeback
idea. Since announcing a run for Congress, his campaign has been a train
wreck in slow motion. First, he brought his former mistress on stage the
night he won the primary. Then we learned his ex-wife accused him of
trespassing on her property. And I`m still wondering what he was thinking
debating a cardboard cutout of Nancy Pelosi.

Last night, it was the real thing. No poster boards, no jokes. It
was Mark Sanford debating Elizabeth Colbert Bush. In the race for South
Carolina`s Congressional seat. And at this point, Colbert Bush didn`t
bring up the elephant in the room. But last night, let`s just say Sanford
wished the cardboard was back.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When we talk about fiscal spending and we talk
about protecting the taxpayers, it doesn`t mean you take that money we
saved and leave the country for a personal purpose.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Everybody needs to --

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: She -- she went there, Governor Sanford.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I couldn`t hear what she said.


SHARPTON: Oh, yes. She did go there. That Appalachian trail might
be looking pretty good today.

Joining me now is Dick Harpootlian, the chairman of the South Carolina
Democratic Party. Thanks for being here tonight, Dick.

you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: You know, after not talking about the affair, she did go
there in a big way last night. What do you make of the comment, Chairman

HARPOOTLIAN: Well, I think that Mark Sanford feigned deafness last
night to not have to answer that question. We`ve always known he`s
politically deaf. Maybe he`s really deaf. The most fascinating thing
about the debate last night was that Mark Sanford has been in political
office for 20 years and supposed to be a very adept politician just got
knocked around by Elizabeth Colbert Bush last night and clearly was shaken
by a number of the assaults she made on him about voting against funding to
build a bridge here in Charleston, the Ravenel bridge voting against
federal money to deepen the port here so to be competitive with other ports
on the east coast and able to accept these big ships from Panama. She had
him reeling. It was a wonderful thing to watch.

SHARPTON: Before we get away from the affair, the moderator kind of
pressed Sanford on the affair. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: When you were in Congress, you voted for the
Defense of Marriage Act and to impeach President Clinton for an
extramarital affair. Would you vote those ways again?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, I -- I would reverse them to you. And I
would say this. Do you think that President Clinton should be condemned
for the rest of his life based on a mistake that he made in his life?



SHARPTON: Now, this seems to be Sanford`s defense, Dick. How will
that play in South Carolina?

HARPOOTLIAN: Not -- not well at all. I mean, at the time that he
voted for President Clinton`s impeachment, he said it`s not that he lied
under oath, but he lied to his wife that makes him unfit for public office.
That was the quote from him. You`ll see it in TV ads down here. And so, I
mean, this guy is -- he`s all over the map on the affair.

By the way, Reverend Al, today, not an hour ago, Larry Flint,
publisher of "Hustler" endorsed Mark Sanford, sent him a check for $2,600,
calling him, quote, "A sexual pioneer and a man of the hour, the midnight
hour." I mean, Mark Sanford earned the endorsement of Larry Flint of
Hustler Magazine. This is a big development down here.

SHARPTON: Well, let me ask you about another endorsement. His ex-
wife -- has she endorsed him? What role was she play in this campaign, now
that it`s come out that she`s reported he trespassed.

HARPOOTLIAN: Well, I mean, she`s already played a role in the
campaign by reporting that. She has allowed the public to see the real
Mark Sanford. And if you remember correctly, he humiliated her on an
international scale with his trip to Argentina to see his mistress using,
by the way, taxpayer funds to pay for first class tickets to do that. And
I think that`s a little bit of pay back now.

I mean, the talk in Charleston is not so much about the political
issues, but the night he brought -- he won the primary and his -- his
fiancee shows up on the stage, if you look at the faces on his children,
it`s clear -- at that point it was clear they were uncomfortable. And then
Jenny Sanford revealed a few days later they`d never met her. The children
had never met his fiancee, quote, "slash mistress" until that night in a
public forum on the stage.

SHARPTON: Now, how does that play in South Carolina? Because it`s a
very conservative family values kind of state. How does that play in South

HARPOOTLIAN: It don`t play at all, as we say in South Carolina. He`s
in trouble with women. He`s in trouble with people that value family
values. And he just brushes it off and says, you know, I`ve been forgiven
by my lord so I ought to be forgiven by you. And Reverend Al, you can
speak to that more eloquently than I can, but I think maybe -- maybe God
has forgiven him. But I don`t think the voters of the first district will.

SHARPTON: Well, there`s a difference between forgiveness and being
elected. You can be forgiven. But you have to be elected if you`re going
to Congress. Dick Harpootlian, thank you for your time tonight.

HARPOOTLIAN: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a survivor of the Boston bombing tells his
indescribable story. Next.


SHARPTON: Tonight the powerful example of courage from Boston.
Thirty five-year-old Jarrod Clowery was watching the marathon with some
friends. And was just a few feet away from the second bomb when it
exploded. His legs and hands were badly burned. His doctor says he`s
removed a dozen nails from his body. Twenty two bbs are still in his body.
Today Jared was cleared to leave the hospital. But before leaving, he told
his incredible story.


was too much to look out so I tuck it in and I feel my legs. I look down
and I -- I didn`t want to look at those anymore. So I just knew to get to
the middle of the road and -- and that`s -- you know, that`s when a couple
off duty state police got to me. You know, and I -- I said, help me, help
me. And, oh, there they are.

Jeff Manino and Karen Morehead. I don`t need to look at my notes.
You know, I`m standing up and he`s -- I tell him, take a look at me. I
don`t know what`s happening around my back or anything like this. So he
looks at me and says, you`re going to be OK. And I tell him, you`d tell
anybody that, you know. And he says, Jarrod, believe me when I tell you,
there`s worse out here than you. And that`s when I remembered my friends.

And I said, oh, my God. My friends. My friends are all dead. You
know, this is what I thought. And those two -- those two right there, they
managed to sit me down and they -- and they managed to -- they managed to -
- they managed to get me in the ambulance. They stayed with me until I got
in the ambulance. And -- and that`s when I think was the beginning of --
of the real message. You know, it turns out that all three of my friends -
- you know, all my friends sustained injuries. Three of my friends lost

But, you know, I feel -- I feel blessed. When I got to the Emergency
Department, you know, I`m in pain. And it`s kind of chaos. And they`re
moving seamlessly. They know what each other`s thinking. And the
Emergency Room is chaos, but it`s working perfectly. And that`s when I
said in my head, well, I`ve never -- and this is what I said, too. I`ve
never seen in all the years in New England Tom Brady put a drive together
that was as good as this -- what these people were doing. It was amazing
to me. No disrespect to Tom Brady. I love him, you know. But he can`t
hold a candle to the people I just mentioned.


SHARPTON: A powerful story. But the survivors of the attack still
face a long road ahead. To find out how you can help Jarrod and other
victims affected by the tragedy, visit We cannot be
episodal and just react for a week or two. We must remember the long road
ahead for them and help them every step of the way.

Don`t let the headlines dictate your compassion. Don`t let the
headlines dictate how long you have interest and concern. Even when it`s
no longer on the front page, let`s have it in the front of our minds to
help fellow Americans that, for no fault of their own, have a long road of
trying to recover.

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


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