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PoliticsNation, Thursday, June 7th, 2013

June 7, 2013

Guests: Donna Edwards; Jonathan Alter, Faith Jenkins, Lisa Bloom, Terry O`Neill


Tonight`s lead, Republicans trying to create scandals while President
Obama is creating jobs. A new jobs report out today shows that President
Obama has created 1.4 million jobs since his re-election. That`s why the
American people voted him back into office. That`s what they are focused

Outside the beltway bubble and the GOP scandal machine, Americans are
focused on getting people back to work, and so is the president.


distracted by chasing every fleeting issue that passes by, but the middle
class will always be my number one focus, period. The housing market is
coming back, the stock market has rebounded, our deficits are shrinking at
the fastest pace in 50 years. People`s retirement savings are growing.
The American auto industry has come roaring back. So we`re getting
traction. The gears to the economy are turning. We are starting to make
progress, but we`ve got to build on that progress.


SHARPTON: And that progress is clear. We`ve now seen 39 straight
months of private sector job growth. The economy is growing and so is Wall


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Stocks are soaring on Wall Street,
ending what has been a wild week for the market. Take a look at how are
they selling out on the day. Dow Jones industrial average recording the
second best day of the year today.


SHARPTON: So much for the GOP`s socialist president. In fact, this
recovery is vindicating President Obama`s economic agenda. So what do
Republicans say about it? Same old, same old.

Speaker John Boehner says, quote, "today`s modest job growth is a
positive sign, but we can do a lot better."

That`s right, Mr. Sequester, we can do better if Republicans stop
killing government jobs and stop trying to shred the safety net. We`ve
still got a long way to go. Too many people are hurting. Too many people
still don`t have jobs. But the president has the country moving forward.
Republicans are trying to hold us back.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Democrat from Maryland
and Jared Bernstein, former economist for vice president Biden.

Thank you both for joining me.



SHARPTON: Congresswoman, shouldn`t jobs and the economy be the number
one priority for our leaders in Washington right now?

EDWARDS: Well, it`s a no-brainer, of course. I mean, listening to
speaker Boehner really sort of celebrates modest growth while he`s saying
that we can do more while he hasn`t done anything is rather extraordinary.

There are a ton of things that we could be doing now in Congress that
would actually create jobs and opportunity for the American people. And
we`re just not doing it and the one who is in charge of that is John
Boehner. He has not created a single job, 13 bills passed out of the
congress. None of them a jobs bill in this year. It`s pretty

SHARPTON: Now, Jared, when you look at the fact that even pollsters
say that the American people don`t think the Republicans in Congress are
spending enough time on issues they care about, 75 percent, people care
about jobs. People care about the economy and the Republicans seem not to
get that.

BERNSTEIN: Well, you`re right. And there`s been this growing split
between what people in this town, particularly policy makers, unlike Donna
Edwards think about, and what people outside the beltway think about it.
The president nailed that when he talked about the middle class and jobs.
For years you`ve had members of Congress running around saying we have to
do something about a budget deficit, a budget deficit. Well now, the
budget deficit is coming down, as we all expected it would, when the
economy began to improve and as the recession faded in the rearview mirror.

So, the idea that you can`t go around screaming about that anymore, at
least the numbers don`t support you, you would think that maybe you can
move to the jobs deficit. Frankly, we should have been there a long time
ago. But the movement hasn`t happened because they don`t really care about
the jobs deficit or the budget deficit.

SHARPTON: You know, Congresswoman, one of your colleagues kind of
caught my eye. And I`m talking of the congressman Stephen Fincher, who is
a Republican member of the house. Last month explaining his vote to cut
funding for food stamps, this is what he had to say.


REP. STEPHEN FINCHER (R), TENNESSEE: The role of citizens, of
Christians, of humanity is to take care of each other but not for
Washington to steal money from those and the country and give it to others
in the country.


SHARPTON: Now, food stamps, now he`s talking about why he voted
against food stamps, he is saying is to steal money from those in the
country and give it to others in the country. Yet, this very same
congressman, Congresswoman Edwards, he voted to cut food stamps by $21
billion but he received, he himself, 3.48 million in farm subsidies since
1999. So, he`s a man that would vote against food stamps, in large portion
of which goes to children, while he himself gets a little under $4 million
in farm subsidies. This is the kind of -- and he defends this saying, that
it`s the right thing for citizens and Christians to do.

EDWARDS: Well, it`s hard to even know how to respond, Reverend Al.

What I will say is this. Republicans in Congress need to understand
what it is that the American people already do and that is that they want
us focused not on scandals, they want us focused on job creation. They
want us rebuilding all of those 55,000 bridges across America that are
falling apart, just like the one in Washington actually did. They want us
to make sure that we are investing in all of our infrastructure, research
and development and education, all of the things to strengthen the economy
and yet all they are focused on is investigations because they want to play
a gotcha with the president while Americans go unemployed.

I mean, it`s rather amazing that under President Obama we`ve had 39
straight months of job growth and even this last month a lot of that in the
private sector, even as Republicans have been cutting back on government.
So the job growth is happening despite them, it`s just not happening in the
robust way it would if Congress would get off their duff if Republicans in
Congress would get off their duffs and do the job for the American people.

SHARPTON: And Jared, and not only do their job but also the
sequester, things that they are doing that cuts back on the public sector.
The reason that some communities, African-American and others, have higher
unemployment is because the public sector is not producing jobs and would
cutting programs and this president has produced despite all of that.

When you look at the fact that President Obama has produced two
million jobs so far and President Bush, who was in eight years, we`re
talking five years with Obama, two million. In eight years, President Bush
only did one million and a point, eight percent jobs. So, there`s n
question about who has been producing more, but look at what we have to
deal with the sequester and the obstructionism from the Republicans.

BERNSTEIN: So, on the sequester, you really start to see that in this
month`s jobs numbers. If you look over the past three months, employment
in the federal government is down 45,000, OK? And it was three months ago
that the sequester took effect in March.

Now, that`s the direct impact on government jobs. But then you have
contractors in the private sector. And so you`re not even counting those
in the government jobs. We`re also talking about things like kids losing
head start slots and seniors losing meals on wheels. That`s not going to
show up in GDP or jobs. But I think it`s critical to the role of

So, yes, you`re absolutely right. I`m not going to ask -- I think
Donna Edwards is right about the things we should do. Here`s what I would
like to ask the congress. I actually don`t expect you to do the right
thing right now because of all of this political craziness, but get out of
the way and stop inflicting wounds on a recovery that`s trying to improve.

SHARPTON: And that`s my point, congresswoman. Even if you don`t want
to do something in a forward motion, even if you don`t want to lean
forward, don`t take innocent people, don`t take the most vulnerable and
knock them backwards.

BERNSTEIN: Well said.

SHARPTON: We are talking about --

EDWARDS: Get out of the way.

SHARPTON: That`s right. Cutting food stamps. Doing to seniors and
to the poor, congresswoman, some in the house, certainly not you and those
you are voting with but some of your colleagues on the other side of the
aisle is not about not leaning forward. They are like pushing us

EDWARDS: Well, let`s look at what is going to happen this month in
addition to what you`ve described. Loss of meals on wheels, loss in terms
of head start teachers, student loan rates about to double. I mean, this
is a real strain on the economy. It`s a strain on the American people.
And so I would say to Republicans in congress, fine, you don`t want to do
anything, get out of the way.

SHARPTON: Jared, and what sequestration has done got all the way in
the way with a lot of these programs. We`re not talking about lavish trips
to some island for some agencies personnel. We`re talking about basic
things for seniors, meals on wheels, head start. I mean, real things that
are necessary.

BERNSTEIN: Housing support, our national parks, you know, they are
not going to be opened as much as they should be this summer.

Look, again, it`s time to stop inflicting wounds on the economy. And
you know, people think that the sequester is a one-year program. It`s not.
It`s actually a nine-year program. So while the sequester may be -- is
certainly in place now and probably for the rest of 2013, there is still
work that we can do. The president, Democrats in the Senate and in the
house, they have alternatives. So, let`s stop inflicting wounds.

SHARPTON: And I must say, despite all of that and despite my
outreach, I am still so hopeful because despite all of that, this president
has made jobs happen and we are moving forward and we`re seeing progress
and that is the good thing. Progress in the midst of all of this

BERNSTEIN: Here, here.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Edwards, Jared Bernstein, thank you so much
for your time tonight.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you, Rev.

EDWARDS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, President Obama on the road in California today.
It`s the story Republicans don`t want to you hear.

And three days away from George Zimmerman`s murder trial, a very
dramatic day inside a Florida court. He listens to a 911 call at the heart
of the trial.

And we`ll hear Trayvon Martin`s mother reflect on her son`s death.

And were you five years ago today? If you were supporting Barack
Obama, he had just won the nomination. But for every Democrat, it was a
day to remember. One of the great political speeches of our era. It was
Hillary, the trailblazer, and a banner day for all women.


to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you,
it`s got about 18 million cracks in it.


SHARPTON: And I`ve got some great e-mails from the "Politics Nation"
nation family. Keep them coming. Friend or foe, I want to know. I`m
responding tonight.


SHARPTON: We`re back with more news the Republicans don`t want you to
hear. All over this country the president`s health care law is already
working. President Obama drove that point home in California today.


OBAMA: A lot of the opponents of the affordable care act said they
had all kinds of skies falling, doom and gloom predictions that not only
would the law fail but what we would also see is costs would skyrocket for
everybody. Well, it turns out that we`re actually seeing that in the
states that have committed themselves to implementing this law correctly,
we are seeing some good news.


SHARPTON: It is good news. Sick children are no longer being denied
coverage. Seniors are seeing drug costs drop, millions are getting access
to insurance. That`s what this president has always been about and it
defined his 2012 campaign.


OBAMA: By the way, you know what, let me tell you, I have no problem
letting Obama cares. I do care.


SHARPTON: This is the backbone of the Obama presidency. It`s about
fairness. It`s about doing what is right. It`s about working together.


OBAMA: For we the people understand that our country cannot succeed
when a shrinking few do very well and the growing many barely make it. We,
the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of
security and dignity.

The election four years ago wasn`t about me. It was about you.


SHARPTON: It`s about you. And it always has been.

Joining me now is Jonathan Alter, the author of a new book about the
Obama White House and the president reelection. It is called the "the
center holds, Obama and his enemies." And also with me is Jonathan

Great to have both of you with us.



SHARPTON: Jonathan Alter, let me start with you. Your book really
looks deep into the 2012 election. You call the election quote " a hinged
of history. It struck me at its core as the titanic ideological struggle
over the way Americans see themselves and their obligation to one another.
He won. His vision won. The progressive policies are high. Why can`t
Republicans realize this, Jonathan?

abide by the re-election terms. The country sent a message that we are not
going to become a right-wing nation. That is what this was about. That
was why, just to give you one example that`s stunned observers, African-
Americans that turned t in greater numbers in 2012 than in 2008. Remember
all of those stories about how they were going to stay home, enthusiast and
stuff like that? Folks realized it was all on the line this time.

SHARPTON: And they did that despite voter suppression?

ALTER: Yes. I have a chapter, Rev., called the voter suppression
project. This was a concerted effort by Republicans to disenfranchise
voters to hold down the totals, not just of African-Americans and Latinos,
but of young voters by making it hardly a student ID for instance to vote
and hundreds of other things.

It was done in 19 states that wasn`t defeated and there hadn`t been a
backlash against it, this president wouldn`t have been re-elected. And if
that had happened, if Mitt Romney were in charge now, the sequester would
look like patty cake. There were people in that party who were willing to
make cuts that were three or four times as great of what we were seeing
right now in the sequester. Not cutting programs but eliminating them
entirely, shredding the contract.

So my book is about -- I`ve covered nine presidential elections, this
was the most important of my lifetime. Pull back that curtain and explain
what was going on behind the scenes, even scenes with you and the president
and other black leaders of what he was saying in those meetings and in
meetings in a situation room where normally reporters, you know, don`t find
out what is going on. I wanted to tell readers the real story of voter
suppression, of the 47 percent and how that whole thing went down, how
Obama recovered from a bad first debate and the rest of what was really

SHARPTON: You know, Jonathan Capehart, I`ve read the book already.
And he does get into a lot of what happen, the voter suppression, a lot of
us had to deal with, young people, a lot of things. I think this was epic
race and we`ve still seen the Republicans fight with sequester and other
things to try to undo what the voters did.


What you have here, Rev., is a Republican party that`s enthralled to a
shrinking and reactionary base but it`s a base that still holds sway
electorally within the Republican Party. That`s why you see people bending
themselves into a pretzel. "The Washington Post" had a terrific story this
week about just sort of the fresh hell that speaker John Boehner, house
majority leader Eric Cantor and majority whip Kevin McCarthy are going
through with these far right Republicans in the party who have no respect
for leadership, no respect for sort of the way things are done in the house
and that`s sort of tied up the Republican leadership to the point where
they can`t do anything.

So that`s what`s happening here in Washington. You fan that out
across the country and what you have is a party that is willing to, you
know, go up against the president no matter what he is trying to do, even
on programs and policies that think actually support or at least they did
in years past.

ALTER: So here`s the good news, though. Before they get too
depressed, look at the glass half full for a minute. If Romney and Ryan
had been elected, things would be so much worst.


ALTER: The president has the veto pen. I actually think he`s going
to get immigration reform and several of other priorities in the next few
months. But even if he doesn`t, he`s going to stop anything bad from
happening. So, a lot of the things that you talked about in your show for
a long time, voter suppression, the Ryan plan, repealing Obama care, they
aren`t happening. That`s not going to happen because the president is
still in office and will be until 2017.

SHARPTON: And he`s talking tough for it, Jonathan. Look at this
president, Jonathan Alter and Capehart.


OBAMA: I will not negotiate around the debt ceiling. But they will
not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy.
Ordinary folks, they do their jobs. The notion that our elected leadership
cannot do the same thing is mind boggling to them and it needs to stop.
It`s not fair. It`s not right. The American people don`t think it is
fair. Everybody here understands this. I mean, this is not a complicated


SHARPTON: Jonathan Alter, you have written two books on the
president. How has he evolved in the presidency?

ALTER: Well, I think that he is a very effective leader as president.
And the issue for him has always been the political part. In some ways,
his disdain for politics, as usual, makes him appealing for most of the
country but causes problems inside of Washington because he is kind of
missing that smooch gene, you know, that slapping thing.

And so, I think now he`s beginning to change on that and he` starting
to spend more time with members of Congress, working more because he`s
playing golf now with some Republicans now. And I think he`s also
beginning to use outside pressure. Remember, this was an historic
campaign. I tried to tell, for anybody who worked on that campaign, I tell
them, your story, what it was like for you getting this guy re-elected,
they are still a big instrument.

You know, I talked today -- I was talking today to a delivery man,
Keith Sims (ph) on 26th street today. And he said, you go on Reverend Al
show and tell him, they`ve got to lose again. We`ve got to stay strong so
they lose again in 2014. He`s talking about the Republicans. And what he
meant was, that this coalition that the president built has to stay intact
to finish the job. So that`s the unfinished business.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it.

Jonathan Alter, I`m going to have to leave it there.

Jonathan Alter, Jonathan Capehart, thanks for your time.

And don`t forget, the book, once again, is "the center holds," very
important book.

Thank you, Jonathan Alter for the book.

ALTER: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: And three days away from George Zimmerman`s murder trial,
we have new key pieces of evidence. A 911 call made the night Trayvon
Martin was killed. We hear from Trayvon Martin`s mother on how she`s doing
days before the trial starts. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: It`s been nearly a year and a half since the death of
Trayvon Martin. The death has caused Sybrina Fulton to become an activist,
attending rallies and speaking out against gun violence and the policy of
stand your ground. Recently at a moving prayer rally, she says it is her
faith that has helped her get through it all.


SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN`S MOTHER: I stand her as a mother and
my heart is hurting and I know that I know that I know that God will work
this out. I no longer have any regrets and say why me.


FULTON: Because God decided it was me. And I don`t know why but I`m
not going to question it. I`m just going to be obedient to his will.


SHARPTON: His will. Powerful words.

Up next, all the news from a critical hearing today in Florida about
the Trayvon Martin case. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: George Zimmerman was back in court today for a hearing with
some critical testimony ahead of his second-degree murder trial due to
start on Monday. Mr. Zimmerman is accused of killing Trayvon Martin. He
has pled not guilty and claims he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense. The
hearing today focused on the 911 call made the night Trayvon Martin was
killed. The judge heard arguments on whether the jury will hear this
testimony from prosecution experts about who they believed was screaming on
the 911 call that night.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The screams don`t match at all so that`s -- that`s
what tells me that, OK, it`s not George Zimmerman.

ALAN REICH, AUDIO EXPERT: In a very high-pitched, very loud screams,
that`s how we describe screaming, the words that were at a scream level
were almost entirely those of Trayvon Martin.


SHARPTON: The hearing on this issue will resume tomorrow morning. We
also saw this dramatic moment in the hearing when the 911 call itself was
played with Mr. Zimmerman sitting right there in the courtroom.


911 OPERATOR: Does he look hurt to you?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I can`t see him. I don`t want to go out there.
I don`t know what`s going on.

911 OPERATOR: They are sending him. Does he keep yelling help?



SHARPTON: Silence in the courtroom for that 911 call with the
screaming. And the fatal gunshot. So who is screaming on that call?
That`s the critical question. Only days after the shooting, Zimmerman
himself listened to that phone call in an interview with police. Here`s a
clip from that interview. We`ve redacted the part of the call where the
witness gives her address.


911 OPERATOR: 911, do you need police, fire, or medical?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hear that voice in the background?

911 OPERATOR: I`m not sure. There`s just someone screaming.

911, do you need police, fire, and medical?

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

911 OPERATOR: OK. What`s the address?




911 OPERATOR: And is it a male or female?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Are you hearing yourself?


SHARPTON: It doesn`t even sound like me.

Tonight, there are important questions about crucial evidence still
unanswered, just three days before the trial starts.

Joining me now is legal analyst and former criminal prosecutor, Faith
Jenkins, and NBC News legal analyst, Lisa Bloom. Thank you both for coming
on the show.



SHARPTON: Faith, how important is this evidence about the 911 call to
both the prosecution and to the defense?

It`s critical because here, George Zimmerman has asserted self-defense
claim. Obviously if Trayvon is the one screaming help and the jury finds
that Trayvon is the one screaming help on this tape, that is going to
completely undercut his self-defense claim. That`s why the defense wanted
this Frye hearing. They want to keep these experts off the witness stand.
They don`t want them to come before the jury and say, we`ve listened to
this 911 call, we`ve come to a conclusion and in our expert opinion, it`s
not George Zimmerman`s screaming for help.

SHARPTON: But Lisa, they are fighting to keep this out. And if it
was George Zimmerman, why would they not want it in the trial, A, and, B, I
just played the interview he did with police and he said it didn`t sound
like him. Isn`t it interesting he never said, oh, yes, but I was

BLOOM: Absolutely, Reverend Al. I think you really put your finger
right on it. The defense does not want this in. They don`t want the
emotion that we all feel, I just felt hearing these screams which sure
sound like they are from Trayvon Martin in the final moments of his life.
They don`t want the jury to hear that on an emotional level and on a
logical level, they don`t want the jury to come to the conclusion that
Trayvon was the victim and that George Zimmerman was the perpetrator and
that`s what this tends to show.

SHARPTON: Now, Faith, you also have the state`s audio experts said
this in his report. 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." Now, he`s identified the
screams as Trayvon Martin. How vital is this for the prosecution`s case?

JENKINS: Again, it`s critical. Because they want to put their
experts on the witness stand, they convince the jury that Trayvon was the
one who as the victim here. This is a case where the state does not have a
lot of direct evidence. It`s circumstantial. Every witness, they are
going to build their case piece by piece, brick by brick, layer by layer.
This is one of the pieces that they want to put in the puzzle to convince
the jury, Mr. Jury that Trayvon Martin was the true victim here and George
Zimmerman was the aggressor from the very beginning.

SHARPTON: And Lisa, if this is a self-defense case, then how could
they say that he was defending himself if Trayvon Martin was the one

BLOOM: Well, exactly. This is going to be a case about who made the
first move? Who escalated the fight? Exactly what was going on bit by bit
as Faith said. But it sure sounds like if one person is screaming and one
person is not and Trayvon Martin, the unarmed17-year-old boy who winds up
dead at the end of this incident, it sure sounds like Trayvon is the

SHARPTON: Well, here`s a portion of the 911 call from Zimmerman that
the audio expert is referring to. Listen to this, Faith and Lisa.


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, SHOT TRAYVON MARTIN: He`s coming to check me out.
He`s got something in his hand. I don`t know what his deal is.

911 OPERATOR: OK. Just let me know if he does anything else.

ZIMMERMAN: Please get an officer over here.

911 OPERATOR: We`ve got them on the way. Just let me know if this
guy does anything else.


These (bleep) holes, they always get away. Yup.


SHARPTON: Now, this is a raw, un-cleaned up recording. How could
this testimony affect the jury, Faith?

JENKINS: Well, the jury is going to hear this and if George Zimmerman
takes the witness stand, he`s going to have to answer the question of why
he made this presumption at the very beginning that Trayvon Martin was
somehow a suspect to him. That`s going to be a key piece of evidence for
the prosecution because he`s going to have to answer that question. There
is no good answer to that question once he takes the witness stand. How
did you come to the conclusion in your mind at that moment, you don`t know
Trayvon, you don`t know his history, you don`t know anything about him,
that he was somehow a suspect to you.

SHARPTON: And Lisa, he says, they always get away. Who was they?

BLOOM: Right. And to clean it up, I mean, he`s saying these people.
He curses. These people always get away. You know, what is these people?
He`s obviously referring to African-Americans and, as Faith said, he`s
jumping to a conclusion. The one thing here that might help him though is,
he seems to have believe that Trayvon Martin had something in his hand. I
would assume he`s going to argue at trial that he thought he was armed,
perhaps he thought there was a weapon and so he felt the self-defense was
necessary. I`m going to look for that during the trial.

JENKINS: But the fact that he didn`t have anything in his hand but
iced tea and skittles again undercuts that. He was wrong.

SHARPTON: And audio expert says, what he refers to as the final cry
before the gunshot wound is Trayvon Martin`s voice and, quote, "the word
appears to be stop." This is what the experts says, "I conclude
tentatively that the word was produced by the younger of the two male
speakers, Trayvon Martin." Faith, could this testimony hurt Mr.
Zimmerman`s self-defense claim?

JENKINS: Absolutely. And if the jury believes this -- because this
is what it`s going to come down to for these experts, once they take the
witness stand, the defenses want to have their own rebuttal expert I`m
assuming to come out and go against this expert. But if the jury believes
this expert and what he is saying is true, Trayvon Martin, this 17-year-old
unarmed kid was shot while begging for his life. This is not a self-
defense case. It`s not a stand your ground case. It`s murder.

SHARPTON: Give me the bottom line, Lisa, on what we`ve heard so far
in these hearings. Where does it come down to you as one that has
certainly done a lot of legal analysis?

BLOOM: You know, if I may put aside my legal hat for a moment, just
hearing these screams, this boy saying stop, I`m begging you, and knowing
that these are the final moments of his life is so powerful. It`s powerful
to me just hearing it through the television screen. I think this is going
to be tremendously compelling in court for the jury.

SHARPTON: Well, tomorrow morning they will resume the hearing to see
if this stuff is admissible. This is very, very important, how this
decision and what this decision will end up being from the judge. Faith
Jenkins and Lisa Bloom, thank you for your time tonight.

BLOOM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And full disclosure, in civil court George Zimmerman has
sued NBC Universal for defamation and the company has strongly denied his

Coming up, five years ago today a speech that may have changed
history. The day Hillary shook the glass ceiling. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Five years ago today it with a trail blazing speech for
women. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Five years ago today, it was a turning point in the Obama-
Clinton relationship and a trailblazing speech for women. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Five years ago today, Hillary Clinton made history as she
threw her support behind Barack Obama who just clenched the democratic
nomination for president. She went on to deliver one of the great speeches
of our era. A rallying cry for women and women`s progress as she famously
cracked that glass ceiling 18 million times.


started, people everywhere asked the same questions, could a woman really
serve as commander in chief?


Well, I think we answered that one.

You can be so proud that from now on it will be unremarkable for a
woman to win primary state victories. Unremarkable to have women in a
close race to be our nominee, unremarkable to think that a woman can be the
president of the United States and that is truly remarkable, my friends.


As we gather here today in this historic, magnificent building, the
50th woman to leave this earth is orbiting overhead. If we can blast 50
women into space, we will someday launch a woman into the White House.


And although we weren`t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass
ceiling this time, thanks to you, it`s got about 18 million cracks in it.


And the light is shining through like never before filling us all with
the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next


When that day arrives and a woman takes the oath of office as our
president, we will all stand taller, proud of the values of our nation,
proud that every little girl can dream big and that her dreams can come
true in America. And all of you will know that because of your passion and
hard work, you helped paved the way for that day. So I want to say to my
supporters, when you hear people saying or think to yourself, if only or
what if, I say, please don`t go there. Every moment wasted looking back
keeps us from moving forward.



SHARPTON: Joining me now is Terry O`Neill, president of the National
Organization of Women. Terry, thanks for being here tonight.

to see you again, Rev.

SHARPTON: Good to see you. That speech said a lot about Hillary and
a lot about how far our country had come and women struggle for equality.
You were there that day. What do you remember?

O`NEILL: It was just an amazingly, powerful experience, actually.
There were many women weeping. But I think that what was so remarkable
about it was the power of Hillary`s speech. She, I think, got stronger and
stronger and stronger over the course of that primary election. And her
dedication to the ideals that she lives by to the values that she has
worked to promote as a public servant, you can see that throughout that
speech. I think that a large number of her supporters were right then and
there inspired to go forward and support and work for the election of
Barack Obama in a large measure because of that speech.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, I supported President Obama, then Senator
Obama over Senator Clinton at that -- during that time, even though I knew
Senator Clinton from my home state. But I have to say, I`ve given a few
speeches and I can tell when you`re caught up, she was caught up very
inspiring and inspired when she gave that speech that day.

O`NEILL: She really was. I think she showed what a remarkable leader
she really is. And, you know, her performance as secretary of state, I
think one of the most important aspects of her service as secretary of
state has been her promotion of the organized women`s movement in every
country that she has visited, I think Hillary Clinton understands that in
the 21st century and moving forward, women`s leadership is going to be key
to solving many of the world`s problems.

SHARPTON: Now, she talked about why it was important for women to run
for president that day. Listen to this.


CLINTON: I run as a daughter for benefited from opportunities my
mother never dreamed off. I ran as a mother who worries about my
daughter`s future and a mother who wants to leave all children brighter
tomorrows. To build that future I see, we must make sure that women and
men alike understand the struggles of their grandmothers and their mothers.


SHARPTON: Looking forward, Terry, Americans now show that they are
more ready than ever for a female president. I`ll give you an example. In
December 2006, 55 percent say the country is ready for a woman president.
By July 2007, it was going to 58 percent, by April of 2008, it was 70
percent, last month a whopping 86 percent said, they believe America is
ready to elect a woman president. That`s a huge growth.

O`NEILL: Yes. It really is. And I think it`s very much because of
Hillary Clinton. Not only her run in the primaries but her leadership
after the primaries. And I don`t have any illusions. I know that Hillary
Clinton will be attacked. You know, it`s still ongoing. Women who step
into the public sphere, even if it`s not politics but very much political
women stepping into the public sphere are repeatedly attacked in
misogynistic ways and sexiest ways, so I have no illusions, I`m sure that
will happen if Hillary Clinton decides to run for president again. But I
think it will be less power and I think people are more ready to name it
and to say, and to call it out and say that that`s just wrong.

SHARPTON: Right. Well, what a day. Five years ago today and what a
speech, Terry O`Neill, thank you for your time tonight.

O`NEILL: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Your e-mails are rolling in. My response is next.


SHARPTON: It`s been an amazing week of e-mails. I love hearing from
viewers at POLITICS NATION. So, let`s get right to it.

Jake writes "These scandals are not simply partisan politics at play
but a government versus civil liberties concerns, as an American who every
day exercises the right to free speech, why wouldn`t this concern you?"

Well, it does concern me Jake and I have said that I am opposed to the
IRS targeting conservatives or anyone based on politics. I am concerned
about freedom of the press. But I don`t see where any of these have led to
directly or indirectly bringing the president in a scandal or some of the
members of his cabinet, like the attorney general.

So I`m concerned about what has happened but I am also saying that I
don`t see where it is a presidential scandal, the connection is not there.
And let me also say while I`m at it, that we`re hearing a lot about people
that are overreaching in terms of the government listening or being able to
listen in to people`s phone calls, read texts, NSA in this whole thing of
looking and hearing and reading what Americans citizens have to say.

I oppose the patriot act which started all of this gate, empowered
this possibility. I opposed it when Bush was president, I opposed it with
President Obama being in. I trust President Obama but it`s a bad president
because he won`t be president forever. I am opposed to government
overreach and government infringement upon the privacy of citizens.

Steve writes, "No question today, just proud to watch you continue to
lead the struggle. Keep on going on, sincerely from a child who was born
in the `50s and raised in the south."

Well, Steve, your e-mail comes on an important date in our history.
On this date in 1892, a Louisiana man named Homer Plessy was arrested for
riding in a white`s only train. He was one-eighth African and by state law
only allowed to ride in the colored car. He argued his case all the way to
the Supreme Court but Plessy lost and the justices established separate but
equal. Their decision made segregation the law of the land.

Plessey versus Ferguson is something that we had to fight all the way
until the civil rights movement looked at it with Brown versus the Votovich
(ph). We fight not against customs, we fight against laws that are unjust
as well.

Thanks for all of the great questions. Keep them coming. E-mail me.
Remember, friend or foe, I want to know.

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


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