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PoliticsNation, Friday, May 31st, 2013

Read the transcript from the Friday show

May 31, 2013

Guests: Benjamin Crump, Marina Zenovich, Jennifer Lee Pryor


our businesses created nearly seven million jobs of the past eight months,
500,000 are in manufacturing. We`re producing more of our own energy and
we`re importing less from other countries. The housing market is come
back. The stock market has rebounded. Our deficits are shrinking at the
fastest pace in 50 years.


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Folks, forget the side show.
This is real promise.

The deficit, down $800 billion since the president took office. The
jobs are continuing to come back 38 straight months of private sector job
growth. In Detroit, car sales are booming and plants are working overtime.
And what about that socialist in the White House? Well, Wall Street is
literally breaking records. So, I guess we`ll be waiting for the apology
from this crew.


socialist. He believes in socialism, in redistributing wealth, in
confiscating hard earned dollars.

who wants to turn America from another European style social welfare.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: This might be the last election
to turn the nation around before we go down the road to socialism.
President Obama and his socialist policies must be stopped.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Obama socialist policies are bankrupting


SHARPTON: So out goes that old talking point. Out and here comes
plan b. The so called scandals. But guess what, Americans aren`t buying

A new poll shows 73 percent say the economy and jobs are flat out more
important than any other GOP fueled controversies. Three quarters of the
country are focused on the economy and so is this president.


OBAMA: We are seeing problem and the economy is starting to pick up
steam. The gears are starting to turn again and we are getting some


SHARPTON: We are getting some traction. We are seeing progress. And
how about this one? Forbes magazine is asking economically could Obama be
America`s best president. Looks like they better get ready for plan c.

Joining me now Is Melissa Harris-Perry and E.J. Dionne.

Thanks for coming on the show tonight.


Rev. and with Melissa.


SHARPTON: Melissa, the president was really touting the comeback in a
big way today. How much more are we going to hear?

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I think a lot. And I think this is actually
going to be the most difficult challenge the president has going into the
midterm midterms. And in part, it is about shifting away from the scandals
or so-called scandals are not really very scandalous. But it is that on
the one hand he`s got to be able to make a claim about sort of that we are
getting traction, things are starting to get better without overselling it.
Because the fact is, that for ordinary people on the ground, the housing
market may be improving, but it`s still really hard to get a new mortgage.,
right? There may be new jobs but people are still struggling to put food
on the table.

And so, it has got to be simultaneously be, we are coming back. But
also, as your president, I`m not putting on rose colored glasses. I
recognize that in fact people are still feeling the pain. And if they are
largely feeling the pain because the president hasn`t been able to push the
Republican led Congress to in fact share wealth, right? So, this is the

SHARPTON: He has made the progress we sided despite them and could
have probably made more if they weren`t obstructionists.

But I think she is absolutely right, E.J., when you look at the fact
as I stated there`s been 38 straight months of private sector job growth
but not public sector job growth and a lot of communities have been
marginalized -- African-Americans, Latino, weigh in the public`s sector and
are suffering. We need progress there not taking anything away from what
the president has achieved in the private sector market.

We are also not there because today, we learned the average U.S.
household has regained just 45 percent of the wealth lost during the
recession. So, we still have way to go but Republicans block the
president`s job act. They force massive budget cuts. Where would we be
now without obstruction, E.J.?

DIONNE: We would be growing a lot faster and that`s not just pro-
Obama view. Almost every economist believes that if we didn`t have the
sequester in place, that if his payroll tax cut holiday had gone on for
another year, we would be adding more jobs and GDP growth would be higher.

Your intro, by the way, reminded me of one of my very favorite old New
Yorker cartoons which shows we have been here before. It`s two old rich
guys sitting in their big plush chairs in their club. And one says to the
other, I don`t understand it. Every time these socialist Democrats get
elected, I make a pile. And you look at those Wall Street numbers at the
Dow Jones and clearly that part of economy is back.

And that is very tricky for a Democratic president. Because I think
Melissa is right. He has to say we are getting better, but we could do a
lot more and these guys down the street aren`t letting me do it.

SHARPTON: Now, and let me, on that Wall Street analogy you gave, let
me show you, Melissa, in 2009 right wingers blamed him for the stock
market. Look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: It`s been another terrible week for
stocks and President Obama now has the dubious distinction of being the
worst president ever in terms of the stock market during his first six
weeks in office.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: He`s been elected has tanked the

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The Dow Jones industrial average
is down 166 points today. The markets know Obama`s coming back and so the
markets are plummeting.

LOU DOBBS, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The stock market has lost 20 percent
since this president had sworn in. He has his own bare market.


SHARPTON: Now, they blamed him for the markets in 2009. Now the
markets are booming making record numbers. Will they give him credit?

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. And obviously, when you are talking about in
the first six weeks in office. I mean, no one thinks what the president
does the first six weeks of office, short of declaring war, for example,
has that kind of impact on the market.

SHARPTON: Especially following George Bush who had tanked the

HARRIS-PERRY: Right, exactly. Obviously, what the president ought to
be getting credit for and I think this is part of what`s so difficult here.
So, the president has massively reduced the deficit which is something the
right claimed they really cared about the deficit hawks. He has
fundamentally overseen this enormous expansion of Wall Street profits.
Something the right claims and it cares about.

So, these things that the right claims and cares about, on those
metrics, the president`s administration, both the first and this so very
young second one, have done extraordinarily well.

But, on the more populous issues of making sure that those profits
come down to the 99 percent. See, that`s what the president can`t do
alone. That`s what he needs legislative action, that`s need, the states
and governors to be part of. And that is what they are obstructing.

So, it is this weird things that on the one hand, the very things that
he has been able to oversee are things that they claim they care about, but
these important populous and the things that actually make living in this
country better for ordinary people, they need to get on board in order to
make it possible for regular American families to put food on the table.

SHARPTON: E.J., to get that done yes, you need governors, you need
mayors. You may also need a new Congress.

And let me ask you the question. Where in fact, the headline in
"Politico" today was rising economy shifts 2014 election landscape. Quote
"the altered terrain, if it hold, could benefit Democrats and challenge
Republicans. " Your view on that, E.J., and will it be enough to change the
majority in the house?

DIONNE: With that, majority in the house is going to be a heavy lift
because of the way mostly Republicans drew these districts. They are in
pretty safe districts. But, they have a strategy where they, the
Democrats, where they take a number of these Republicans are actually
vulnerable. They are still sitting on seats with fair number of Democrats
in them, significant minority populations. And so, yes, I think a rising
tide could lift a number of Democratic candidates and could also help save
them Senate. I mean, the Democrats are vulnerable in the Senate and a few
other close races could tip their way if the economy stays on this track.

SHARPTON: Wouldn`t the president have to really thread the needle
carefully, Melissa, to get the turn out by saying yes, we made progress,
but if we had not had the obstructionists we could have done more so we
need you to come out and vote because it`s a danger in making people relax.
It`s a danger in overplaying you haven`t got a lot done because you played
to the cynicism by the right. So, here is news like really threaten a
political leader.

HARRIS-PERRY: I just want to president to just over and over again in
the next 18 months keep saying remember 2010. Remember what happened in
2010. That between 2008 and 2010 with President Obama in the White House
and Nancy Pelosi as speaker of house, we had the most incredible
legislative session in American history, everything from the healthcare
reform that we have been trying to do for decades, one of the most active
Congresses, and then, 2010 happened. They gerrymandered these districts,
as E.J. was just saying, and we get this republican obstructionist Congress
that has stood in the way of the president`s entire legislative agenda, and
all of that progress that we have made as a country began to grinds as a
halt. And I just want him to say, over and over again, remember 2010,
don`t stay home. Remember 2010, get out and vote.

SHARPTON: I think if he doesn`t remember it, a lot of us need to say

Melissa Harris-Perry and E.J. Dionne, thanks and have a great weekend.

DIONNE: You too, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Don`t forget, catch Melissa Harris-Perry weekends at 10:00
a.m. eastern, right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, a hard look another my interview with the lawyer for George
Zimmerman. He made a lot of claims but do the facts back him up? I will
get a response from the lawyer from the Trayvon Martin family.

Plus, the war on women has started a civil war over at FOX News. It`s
the take down you have got to see.

Plus, the genius of Richard Pryor. I will talk to the star`s widow
about the new tribute to the superstar who made us laugh and who pushed
envelope on racial stereotypes like in that famous skit about being the
country`s first black president.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ve been caught in an awful lot of white
women. Will this continue?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as I can keep it up. Why you think they
call it the White House?


SHARPTON: All that plus ask Rev. Do you have questions? I have


SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will. Today, that conversation included a lot
of talk about Oprah`s graduation speech at Harvard. She`s getting some
rave reviews.

Eugenia says, she is still a breath of fresh air.

Mary says, she has always been herself. That`s the reason she has
accomplished so much.

Nancy says, no one could be a better role model.

Stick around to hear about the political issues Oprah hit on in her
speech. But first, come join the "Politics Nation" conversation. Just
head over to facebook and search politics nation and like us to join the
conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.


SHARPTON: You may have heard about a big study getting a lot of
attention this week. It shows mothers are the sole or primary providers in
four in ten households with children. But it`s this response on national
television that`s getting even more attention.


DOBBS: I want to turn to a study and then the research showing that
women have become the breadwinners in the country and a lot of other
concerning and troubling statistics. When we are watching society dissolve
around this one, what do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something going terribly wrong in American

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bottom line it could undermine our social order.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you look at the natural world, the roles of a
male and a female in society and the other animals, the male typically is
the dominant role. The female is not (INAUDIBLE) or it is not competing.
It is a complementary role.


SHARPTON: What in the world is he talking about? Male and female
animals undermining social order? And now, you are not watching the
Flintstones or Madmen. This is an all male, yes, all male panel freaking
out over women in the workplace in the year 2013. Their own colleagues
went on the attack.

Greta Van Susteren writes, have these men lost their minds?

And Megyn Kelly absolutely shredded one of the panelists.


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: What makes you dominant and me
submissive and who died and made you scientists in chief?

And I do think you are judging people. To me, you sounds like
somebody who is judging but want to come out to say I`m not, I`m not, I`m
not. Now, let me judge, judge. And by the way, it`s science, it`s
science, it`s science, it`s fact, fact, fact, fact. Well, I mean, I have a
whole -- this is a list of studies saying your science is wrong and your
facts are wrong.


SHARPTON: Wait. Since when did they start caring about facts?

Joining me now are Nia-Malika Henderson and Maria Teresa Kumar.

Thank you both for your time tonight.


SHARPTON: Now, this kind of talk has a major political effect. But
first, Maria, the image of this all male panel saying what they said is
really stunning. How do you react to it?

stunning, it`s completely out of touch. And it is not -- it is actually
not place in this debate right now. When you find out that 40 percent of
women are basically heads of households in America, your first reaction
should be is what policies are we doing to ensure that we`re supporting
these women? What policies are we ensuring that these women, especially
poor women who don`t have a choice of whether they go out to work or stay
at home, how to ensure that they are actually protecting their families and
their kids at home. And instead, what they did is they went -- they sent
us back to the 1950s and basically reminded women most, you know, women,
why we`re not part of the Republican Party.

SHARPTON: You know, Nia-Malika, another FOX host piled on merely 24
hours after that panel. Watch this.


ERIC BOLLING, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If you are a single mom, breadwinner
of the family and you get pregnant, aren`t we pushing towards more
abortions? It seems like we are.


SHARPTON: Now, these are just TV talkers but they represent a lot of
thinking on the right, Nia-Malika.

think that`s right. And I think they, instead of using this as an
opportunity to talk about policy and talk about the underlying economic
shifts that have led to a lot of these stats, they used it to talk about a
culture war, really. It`s the mommy wars that have been brought to life by
FOX News.

I think when you look at what`s going on, you had this massive shift
in terms of jobs availability, particularly in the manufacturing sector.
Now, the economy is coming back, to a certain extent, even in the
manufacturing sector. But over the last many decades, you have seen a
massive shift from jobs in those Midwestern cities, typically men could
come out of high school and women could come out of high school and get
jobs and support their families. Women often could have the choice of
staying at home or going into the work force and now often they don`t have
a choice because you do have to have these two income earner households to
raise kids.

SHARPTON: You know, you said, Maria, that this is why women are not
in the Republican Party and clearly they struggled with women in the 2012
elections. Listen to this.


ROMNEY: I went to a number of women`s groups and said can you help us
find folks. They brought us a whole binder full of women.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Life is a gift from God. And I think even with
life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it`s something that god
intended to happen.


SHARPTON: Now, this was a big effect in the 2012 election, no doubt
about it. But, it doesn`t seem like they get it. The policies haven`t
changed. What is going to happen to or what can happen to make them get
it, Maria?

KUMAR: They have to stop talking about social issues and they have to
start talking about fiscal issues. Issues as a woman who is, you know,
head of household. What you are going to be interested in this, how are we
going to make sure that my kids can go to college? How are going to make
sure that I can pay my mortgage or you make sure that I can find a job.

If they stuck to those issues and actually talked to American women as
women that are smart, savvy, actually, you know, are head of their destiny,
they would be better off. But instead, what they are doing is, going back
and recoiling and talking about issues, social issues that don`t really
have place in the debate because again, they have to modernize. And if
they don`t modernize, the Republican Party is going to be a sun setting

There`s no way they can win without the majority of women in this
country. You have, when you start talking about who went out to vote in
this last election, over 50 percent of women that were single and head of
households were actually the ones that registered voters and participated.
But they are not going to be able to have that conversation if they keep
talking about social issues and not talking about ways that women can
empower themselves and actually thrive in this economy that`s unfortunately
constantly depressing them.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, Nia-Malika, when she was talking, I thought
about the fact they had a retreat earlier this year. And in the retreat a
pollster told them to stop talking about rape. I mean, the fact that
someone has to tell you that says how serious the problem is. But, this
president, let`s go to the other side, Nia-Malika. The president talks a
lot about women`s rights. Listen.


OBAMA: We shouldn`t have to remind people that when it comes to a
woman`s health no politician should get to decide about what`s best for

I think about Malia and Sasha and think to myself, well, you know, we
are not going to have an America where they have fewer opportunities than
somebody`s sons. I don`t want them having fewer choices than anybody`s
boys do.

For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and
daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.


SHARPTON: I mean, the fact is, Nia-Malika, the first bill he signed
as president was the Lily Ledbetter act. You cover Washington thoroughly.
How big a priority is women`s rights to this president?

HENDERSON: Well, it is a big priority and now Valerie Jarred is over
at the office about women and girls and they are working on a whole manner
of problems. And you hear from the president, I mean, he talks about
issues that resonate with women whether it`s raising minimum wage or early
childhood education. And so far, Republicans haven`t had very practical
solutions for these issues that are so important to women`s lives and men`s
lives. They still tend to talk, I think, about people rather than as
human, they talk about them as sort of symbols in a cultural war. And I
think in that way, they have failed to connect.

Polls show that people still tend to look at the Republican Party as
stuck in the 1950s. I do think that all of this could be remedied. I
mean, if they are able to nominate a figure on the national level that can
talk about these issues not only in a different way rhetorically but also
in terms of policy they could see a turn around.

SHARPTON: Nia-Malika Henderson and Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you both
for your time night.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

KUMAR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, new reaction to my interview with George Zimmerman`s
lawyer. Was he really accurate when he talked about the night of Trayvon
Martin`s death? I will talk to the lawyer for Trayvon`s family, Benjamin

Plus, Oprah Winfrey gets political. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: We are ten days away from George Zimmerman`s second-degree
murder trial. He`s accused of killing Trayvon Martin. Last night I talked
with the lawyer for George Zimmerman but he raised more questions than he
answered. I will talk about that with the attorney for Trayvon Martin`s
family, next.


SHARPTON: In just ten days George Zimmerman goes on trial for the
second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin accused of killing him and charged
with second-degree murder.

Mr. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and claims he shot Trayvon Martin
in self-defense. Last night, for the first time, I was able to talk about
that defense with Mr. Zimmerman`s lawyer, Mark O`Mara. One of the key
pieces of evidence we discussed was Mr. Zimmerman`s call to police and his
admission that he was following Trayvon Martin just minutes before he shot
and killed him.



911 DISPATCHER: He`s running? Which way is he running?

ZIMMERMAN: Down towards the other entrance of the neighborhood.

911 DISPATCHER: Which entrance is that that he`s heading towards?

ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance.

911 DISPATCHER: Are you following him?


911 DISPATCHER: OK. We don`t need you to do that.



SHARPTON: Last night Mr. O`Mara said there was no evidence Zimmerman
continued to follow Trayvon Marin after the dispatcher told him not to.


MARK O`MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S ATTORNEY: You have to understand that
there is no evidence whatsoever and the state has not brought forth any
evidence to suggest that Mr. Zimmerman was following Trayvon Martin after
the dispatch said you don`t have to do that because Mr. Zimmerman`s answer
was OK. There`s no evidence to support that he continued to pursue.


SHARPTON: No evidence he continued to pursue. It`s a key question
and the police asked Zimmerman about it in one of their interviews.


are you following him and he said, we don`t need you to do that, what went
through your mind?

ZIMMERMAN: He`s right.

SERINO: So, you should stopped and went back to your vehicle.

ZIMMERMAN: I still wanted to give him an address.



SHARPTON: The police say Zimmerman should have returned to his truck
but he didn`t. In his own walk through with police Zimmerman showed how he
continued down the sidewalk to get an address before turning around and
walking back to come face-to-face with Trayvon. A few months later, Mr.
Zimmerman went on national TV and gave this explanation of what he meant by
following Trayvon.


ZIMMERMAN: I meant that I was going in the same direction as him to
keep an eye on him so I could tell the police where he was going. I didn`t
mean that I was actually pursuing him.


SHARPTON: Mr. Zimmerman says, he wasn`t following Trayvon Martin. He
was merely going in the same direction as him. Seeing which way he was
going. This is a key question for the trial. Was this armed man actively
pursuing Trayvon Martin in the final minutes before the shooting.

Joining me now is the lawyer for the Trayvon Martin`s family Benjamin
Crump. Benjamin Crump, thank you for being here.

having me Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Now, what`s your reaction to what the defense has said
about Mr. Zimmerman following Trayvon Martin?

CRUMP: Well, I think you just illustrated with those series of
confessions as show confessions from George Zimmerman about his pursuit of
Trayvon Martin and the story keeps changing. And we have remember, Trayvon
isn`t here to tell us his side of the story. So, George Zimmerman says has
to be vetted very carefully. Because an unarmed kid has been killed. And
we have to remember credibility is the issue. And we know that George
Zimmerman has already had credibility issues with the court because he told
an untruth or misled the court when it was concerning him getting out of

So, the question for the jury is, will this person tell an untruth or
mislead the court to not go to prison. And I think that is certainly
something that`s going to be very relevant in this trial. We heard
objective evidence of him pursuing Trayvon Martin.

SHARPTON: Now, when he says he was just following to see where he was
going, but he wasn`t pursuing him. I mean how do you make a self-defense
claim if you were told by a dispatcher we don`t need you to follow. You
say OK but you decide to follow any way. Is this a critical point in the
trial, Mr. Crump?

CRUMP: It is very criminal aspect. There are several critical
points. I think the voice analysis is critical. But when you think about
the fact that the objective evidence shows us that he was running out to
Trayvon Martin. Not what I say, not what Mr. O`Mara says but what we hear
with our own ears. We hear the wind blowing as he`s running and what does
he say when he first get out to chase Trayvon Martin.

These a-holes always get away. Oh, he`s running now. And then you
hear the chase and the dispatcher say, are you chasing him and he says yes.
Now, he wants us to believe that he just stops and goes back to his car,
but there`s no objective evidence that he goes back to his car other than
his word. So, it does become about credibility and will George Zimmerman
tell an untruth to not go to prison for killing unarmed Trayvon Martin.
That is the question for the jury. They have to judge his credibility.

SHARPTON: Now, there`s another point that you just mentioned is going
to be critical and that is the tape. O`Mara says to me last night the
state`s voice expert never said it was Trayvon Martin screaming on the 911
call. Listen to Attorney O`Mara telling me this last night.


O`MARA: You also mentioned that the state expert said that it was
Trayvon Martin and they actually didn`t say that. If you look at the
reports, they suggest that at times there was Trayvon`s voice and at other
times, particularly before the shot, that it was George Zimmerman`s voice.
There`s none of the state`s experts that have come back and said
conclusively that was Trayvon or conclusively that was George.


SHARPTON: But we went to the report and this is what the report says,
quote, "The other male speaker was identified tentatively as Trayvon Martin
from the audio track of a digital video file present on Mr. Martin`s cell
phone. His voice is younger and he generates much of what some observers
have called screams." The state`s voice expert does believe it was Trayvon
martin screaming at the end of the 911 call. Mr. Crump.

CRUMP: Reverend Sharpton, you`re absolutely right. The voice experts
we know that they either said it`s Trayvon Martin`s voice and that`s two of
them and they said it`s either Trayvon and George Zimmerman screaming for
help. Either way it`s very troubling for George Zimmerman`s defense
because my God, if Trayvon Martin is yelling for help and he shoots him in
the heart anyway, that`s not second-degree murder, that`s first-degree, but
if it`s a situation where Trayvon is screaming for help, George Zimmerman
is screaming for help, it contradicts George Zimmerman`s version that
Trayvon Martin was trying to kill him because he`s screaming for help.

And so, why shoot somebody who is screaming for help? And that is a
big issue in this case. And when you really think about it in the totality
of circumstances George Zimmerman as this neighborhood watch patrol
volunteer going around the neighborhood with a gun on prescription
medication is every parent`s worst nightmare because God help you if he
comes up to your teenage child and says, what are you doing around here and
your teenager doesn`t answer the question right then you have a Trayvon
Martin situation at your doorstep. And we can`t have that in a law-abiding

SHARPTON: Just one thing before I run out of time. Let me go back to
this tape that the experts have said. This expert said was Trayvon and Mr.
O`Mara says, he didn`t say it. Let me play you part of the police
interview with George Zimmerman where they play him the 911 call with
screaming. We`ve redacted the part of the call where the witness gives the
address but listen to this.


SERINO: Listen to this one.

911 DISPATCHER: 911. Do you need police, fire or medical?

SERINO: You hear that voice in the background?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`m not sure. There`s just someone screaming.

911 DISPATCHER: 911. Do you need police, fire or medical?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Maybe both. I`m not sure. There`s just someone
screaming outside.

SERINO: That`s you.

911 DISPATCHER: OK. What`s the address?



911 DISPATCHER: OK. And is it a male or female?

SERINO: You hear yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I think it`s a male.

911 DISPATCHER: And you don`t know why?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I don`t know why.


SHARPTON: The police say that`s you. Are you hearing yourself? He
says, Zimmerman says to the police, it doesn`t sound like me. It`s him
saying that himself.

CRUMP: Exactly, Reverend Sharpton. And you know, it`s very ironic
that here they are trying to attack Tracy Martin who within 48 hours of
losing his son, they`re saying, do you recognize this and play a clip. But
when George Zimmerman is played the same clip, he says he doesn`t recognize
it. So, shame on them for attacking this grieving father when the
defendant himself, the killer himself, their client is saying that it
doesn`t sound like him. Isn`t he more relevant? He was there that night.
He was one of the only two people who knew exactly who was screaming for
help and he said in his own words, it doesn`t sound like me. That is very
telling. That is very relevant.

SHARPTON: What was interesting to me is he says that it doesn`t sound
like me but he could have also said if it were the case, but I was
screaming for help that night. He just said, it doesn`t sound like me.
Never said anything about, he was screaming or there was some screaming
going on. Very interesting and we`ll see when this goes to trial.
Benjamin Crump, thank you for your time tonight.

And full disclosure. 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: Oprah Winfrey can add Harvard degree to her incredible
resume. She received an honorary doctor of law degree and gave the
commencement speech where she got political speaking out on immigration.


OPRAH WINFREY, TV TALK SHOW HOST: And we understand that most
Americans believe in a clear path to citizenship for the 12 million
undocumented immigrants who reside in this country because it`s possible to
both enforce our laws and at the same time embrace the words on the Statue
of Liberty that have welcome generations of huddled masses to our shores.
We can do both.


SHARPTON: We can do both. Well done Oprah.


SHARPTON: Richard Pryor was one of greatest comedians of all time and
he paved the way for generations of comics to follow in his footsteps.
Pryor started his career as a young standup comic in New York making his
mark with clean cut routines but over the years, his stand up routine
became more daring.


RICHARD PRYOR, DECEMBER 1940 - DECEMBER 2005: I went to penitentiary.
I did a movie, not me personally, I mean, I went to do a film in
penitentiary. Six weeks, I talked to them and thank God we got


I asked a dude why did you kill everybody in the house? He said, they
was home.


SHARPTON: And eventually, his over the top R-rated acts made him one
of the hottest comedians in the world. Pryor was one of the first black
comedians to transfer his popularity on stage to a blockbuster of career in
film. But despite all his success, Pryor was haunted by personal demons
all his life. A decades long drug habit nearly killed him and for nearly
20 years, he struggled with a debilitating case of multiple sclerosis.
Now, a new documentary looks -- his life, his triumphs and struggles.
Yesterday, I sat down with two of the film makers.

Joining me now is Marina Zenovich and the director of Richard Pryor
"Omit the Logic." And Jennifer Lee Pryor, Richard Pryor`s widow. She is
an executive producer on the documentary. Thank you both for being here

MARINA ZENOVICH, DIRECTOR: Thank you for having us.


SHARPTON: Let me start with you, Jennifer. Why was it important for
you to get this film made about Richard?

PRYOR: Well, it`s important because we have to let another whole
generation know how fantastic and what a genius Richard Pryor was and
remain -- this day. He broke barriers down, he basically was just
brilliant on the stage as many comics attest too. And it`s important that
we introduce a new generation to Richard and a genius.

SHARPTON: Now, Marina. Where does the title "Omit the Logic" come

ZENOVICH: Well, it`s a fantastic title that the minute I heard it, I
said that`s the title of the film. I was interviewing a gentleman named
David Banks who worked with Richard for a long time and was a good friend
of his. And when I was interviewing him he didn`t really think that I was
getting the full thrust of what he was saying, and so he kind of looked at
me and said, look, with Richard, you have to omit the logic, and it kind of
just is what his life is all about. You have to kind of see him through a
different lens to understand him.

SHARPTON: Jennifer, you were his fourth and seventh wife. You
married him a second time surely before his death. You knew him better
than most people.

PRYOR: That`s right.

SHARPTON: What kind of man was he?

PRYOR: Rev, he was a fantastic man. He was obviously, you know, a
man who was tremendously flawed and complicated but at the same time
vulnerable, generous, sweet, kind. Just had the capacity to go from A to

SHARPTON: You know, Jennifer, you talk about how he ended up using
tragedies in his own life in his stand up routine. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Richard Pryor was always in the news. Richard
Pryor has a scar. Richard Pryor has a heart attack. He ran into these
tragedies one after another. But you also knew that three months go by or
six months go by or a year goes by and then he was going to bring this
experience back to you.

RICHARD PRYOR: Anyone have a hurt attack? That (bleep) hurt. I was
walking in the front yard. I was just walking and someone said, don`t
breathe. I said hmm. It said you heard me (bleep), I said, don`t breathe.
OK. I won`t breathe. I won`t breathe. Then shut the (bleep) up then.
OK, don`t kill me. Get on one knee and prove it. Don`t kill me. Thinking
about dying now ain`t you? Yes. You didn`t think about it when you were
eating all that pork.


SHARPTON: Jennifer, that`s amazing how he could use his own
experiences and make a comedy stand up about it.

PRYOR: Absolutely. Pain into comedy. That`s how I believe Richard
also survived his own demons. He absolutely -- you could have a fight with
him one night and the next night he was on stage telling everybody about
that fight he just had with you. So, you know, nothing was sacred. There
was no sacred -- there. He was going to put it all out there and tell the
whole truth. I`m basically thrilled to be in -- lies in some of Richard`s

SHARPTON: I have to ask you this, Jennifer, he used the N world
liberally in his act for years but after a trip to Africa, he decided he
wasn`t going to do that anymore. Now, here is a clip from one of his stand
up shows about that choice, that epiphany.



RICHARD PRYOR: I was sitting in a hotel and a voice said to me, said,
look around, what do you see. And I said, I see all colors of people doing
everything. And a voice said, do you see any (bleep)? I said, no. I
said, you know why? Because there aren`t any. And it hit me like a shot.
Man, I started crying. I was saying, yes, I`ve been here three weeks. I
haven`t even said it. I haven`t even thought it. And I made me say oh, my
God, I`ve been wrong. I`ve been wrong. I got to regroup my (bleep). I
mean, I said I ain`t going never call another black man (bleep).


SHARPTON: That`s pretty powerful Jennifer.

PRYOR: Yes. I was with him. We were in the lobby of the Hilton
Hotel in Nirobi and he was stunned, he absolutely froze, looked at me and
said, Jennifer, look around you and said, what do you see? And I was
completely perplexed. I don`t know what you`re talking about. And he
delivered that news to me. That news flash. And when we came back, he
absolutely, you know, basically made an announcement. I think Reverend Al,
you probably remember that.

And it was a big event for Richard and personally in the African-
American community and now of course, it still reverberates. But it was
hard on him too. Because a lot of people felt he was abandoning his roots
and of course, a lot of people really, a huge contingent really respected
it and didn`t like the use of the word any way and it`s time to drop it.
But it was certainly controversial.

But it was huge for Richard. It was very, very intense for Richard.
And people expected him from then on to be some sort of leader and by
default of course he was. But it was his work and his comedy that led
really and spoke to the truth to people.

SHARPTON: Well, I think Marina and you helped to capture this. And
when I see big comedians and actors today. It`s hard to be impressed
because I knew someone prior to them. Pun intended. Jennifer Lee Pryor,
Marina Zenovich, thank you for your time tonight. And congratulations on
the film.

ZENOVICH: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Richard Pryor "Omit the Logic" premiers tonight at 9:00 on
show time.

A party in reverse. Jackie Robinson and James Brown. It`s time to
ask Rev, next.


SHARPTON: It`s time to "Ask Rev." Remember friend or foe. I want to

Loretta writes, "It seems like there`s a spirit of ignorance that
looms over the party of reverse. Do you think it will every change?"

Well, I hope it will change and I hope that if people keep telling the
truth, it will enlighten some even in that party to start rising to a
responsible level of doing what`s right for all Americans.

Hal asked, "Do you think President Obama is the Jackie Robinson of

Well, he`s certainly broke the glass ceiling at a presidential level
and he certainly, like Jackie Robinson, has had to take a lot of undue,
unearned criticism and attack.

Time for one more. Bob asks, "In all your time with the godfather of
soul, did you ever get to meet Elvis?"

No. I never met Elvis. I met everybody that could come around.
James Brown would take me around like his son from Mick Jagger to, you name
it. But I never met Elvis but James Brown used to talk about Elvis in very
endearing terms and I think they had a lot of respect to each other for
what he would tell us.

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


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