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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

June 19, 2013
Guests: Faith Jenkins; Jan Schakowsky, Michelle Cottle, Jimmy Williams, Joe

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

Tonight`s lead. The hunger shames. The GOP has been called scary, narrow
minded, out of touch. And yet again today they lived up to their
reputation. Fresh off voting to roll back women`s rights, today
Republicans went after benefits for the poor. The House GOP wants to cut
$20 billion from the food stamp program. Money that goes to hungry kids,
disabled adults, struggling seniors. Why all the massive cuts? Well, just
ask Congressman Sessions.


REP. PETE SESSIONS (R), TEXAS: What we`re trying to accomplish is to end
eligibility of food stamps that compete against those families, those needy
families that we talked about for rapists, pedophiles, and murders.
Whether rapists, pedophiles, or murders will be eligible. But it`s
pedophiles, murders, rapists. Those who should have enough money.


SHARPTON: Pedophiles, murders, and rapists? The cuts the GOP want would
kick 200,000 kids off the school lunch program. Kids, not pedophiles, not
murders, not rapists, kids. The target of program where the vast majority
of Household includes children, seniors, or disabled people. That`s who
the GOP is targeting.

This isn`t about fraud. It`s a full scale war against the poor. Just look
at the amendments they`re offering. They are telling needy mothers they
need to get drug tested. They`re pushing new work requirements to qualify
for food stamps. And while the GOP can`t even talk about gun registry,
they want one for people on food aid. This party will stop at nothing to
tear down the poor. Just as they have time and time again.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Self-reliance means if anyone will
not work, neither should he eat.

really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working. And have nobody
around them who works. They have no habit of I do this and you give me
cash unless it`s illegal.

fish, he can feed himself for a life. Don`t simply feed fish.


SHARPTON: Wouldn`t it be nice if for once the GOP talked that way about
banks and oil companies instead of those struggling to get by?

Joining me now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat from Illinois.
She is just steps away from where the House is voting. She participated in
the SNAP food stamp challenge with others Democrats where they lived on
just $31.50 a week.

Also with me, Karen Finney, host of MSNBC`s "Disrupt."

Thank you both for coming on the show.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: My pleasure. Thanks.


SHARPTON: Congresswoman, does the GOP always target the poor when cuts
need to be made?

SCHAKOWSKY: You know, actually this is unprecedented. Over the past years
when there`s been check downturns. Programs like the SNAP or food stamp
program have always been protected. We have never seen anything like this
before where they are actually going to cut two million people including
200,000 kids off of their school lunch programs from actually putting food
on the table. They are taking food out of the mouths of hungry children.

SHARPTON: And you know what`s alarming, the GOP always claims they support
military families. So why, explain to me, if they support military
families, why is it they are cutting aid to these families who desperately
need it? Military families redeem $100 million a year in food stamp
benefits on military bases. And they would be cut.

SCHAKOWSKY: That`s a really good point. And a lot of other people who get
the SNAP program are working full-time. They are just working at such low
wages. And so, this idea that somehow these are sluggers or rapists or
murders that don`t deserve to get food stamps is absolutely wrong.
Reverend Al, one out of four American children is called food insecure.
Another way of saying go to sleep hungry at night.

SHARPTON: Karen, Congressman Stockman`s office pushed back at the food
stamp challenge that Congresswoman Schakowsky and other Democrats did and
are doing. Calling it, quote, "a left wing publicity stunt." His office
says that on the $31.50 in food stamp assistance poor people get each week
he said quote, "we have room to cut about 12 percent more." Now, I mean,
it is one thing to disagree with something. But how insensitive and cold
can you get? People on $31.50 of food a week and his answer is we can cut
12 percent more. I mean, how arrogantly insensitive is that?

FINNEY: And it also, Reverend, is yet another indication of how out of
touch the Republican Party is. I mean, they talk about wanting to, you
know, help people and you had Eric Cantor give a speech last month when
they say I don`t understand why people think we just want to take things
away from people. Well, guess what, Congressman, this is why. And it
shows, that kind of comment shows how little they understand about life in
America, how these programs are used by people to, whether it is to help
feed their children, to help during a tough time. I mean, they have no
concept of how these programs are benefitting Americans. Many of whom are
their constituents, by the way.

SHARPTON: You`re absolutely right.

Congresswoman, you know, the other thing that is so outrageous to me, they
claim they`re doing this all because of they have to fix the deficit. But
look at all of the deficit reduction we`ve seen under President Obama. The
deficit has shrunk by $800 billion since he took office. Health care costs
are falling for the first time since the 1970s. And the proposed
immigration law would slash a deficit by another $175 billion. All of
which we`ve had to fight them to get all of this done. So they want to cut
the deficit when it comes to poor people, but other things they fight the
president tooth and nail.

SCHAKOWSKY: They`re just losing that excuse. You are right, the deficit
is disappearing. But they hate these government programs. And the
consequences are so great. I`d like to see one of them live on $31.50 a
week. You know, it`s an important experience too. I have one dinner left
today and I have a sweet potato and some ramen noodles. That`s about all I
have left for the week. And you know, it`s a learning experience.

I`m done tomorrow, but American families all around this country, it`s
going to go on and on for them until they can get back on their feet again.
Most people are on the program for less than a year. It`s like a
trampoline. One beneficiary told me, to get me over a bad time.

SHARPTON: And you know, Karen, the right is always talking about people
are scamming the system. Like a scam artist would scam to get $31.50 in
food, I mean. But listen to this.


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 in the country and give it to others in the country.

SESSIONS: Why don`t we just pay for your clothes? Pay for your shoes?
Pay for your housing?

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: We don`t want to hand these out to people who
are gaming the system, so to speak.


SHARPTON: $31.50 a week in food. No scam artist would waste their time
doing that.

FINNEY: Yes. That is not gaming the system. But you know, here again, it
shows that they have no idea what is really going on in this country. And
they are protected. They don`t actually even understand that many people
don`t even have the opportunity to make the kinds of good choices that many
of us make. It`s not that people want to be on these programs, trust me.
It`s that they need these programs.

And one of the things the congresswoman said is so important. The data
actually shows that people who rely particularly on is SNAP, it is a patch,
it is a bridge during tough periods of time. These are working people who
go on these programs. These are not people who are kicking back trying to
collect their $37. These are people saying, I need a little bit of help.
I`m willing to do my part, can the government help me while I need it just
in the same we, we are going help people after a tornado, a flood, you name

SHARPTON: And we should help people out their tornado upfront. But these
people are in an economic flood. And we`re talking, Congresswoman, about
children, about seniors, about military families. We are talking about
people that we ought to be rushing to try to help any way we can during the
period that they need the help.

SCHAKOWSKY: And I want to say that there is not a district in this
country, I promise you this is true, where there are not hungry children.
Where there aren`t families that are struggling and senior citizens who are
getting in line at a food pantry. This is in suburban areas. This is in
every wealthy community. There are people that are really struggling. I
don`t know why they can`t see them, but they don`t.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Karen Finney, thank you both
for your time this evening.

FINNEY: Thank you.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And be sure to watch Karen Finney this weekend. "Disrupt" is
live at 4:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, drama in George Zimmerman trial today. He comes face-to-face
with Trayvon Martin`s parents.

Plus, over 24 hours after being exposed, Congressman Darrell Issa has yet
to come clean with his IRS witch hunt.

So many people are asking me about this. I`ll tell you what`s really going
on with President Obama`s approval rating.

And remember, friend or foe, I want to know. I keep those questions
coming. "Reply Al" is ahead.

Stay with us.



Europe as you strengthen your union. And we want to work with you to make
sure that every person can enjoy the dignity that comes from work. Whether
they live in Chicago or Cleveland or Belfast or Berlin, in Athens or
Madrid. Everybody deserves opportunity. We have to have economies that
are working for all people, not just those at the very top.


SHARPTON: Today we got many comments from our facebook community about the
president`s big speech in Berlin where he spoke from the Brandenburg gate
just as president Kennedy did some 50 years ago this month.

Doug says, thank God for giving us leaders like the Kennedys, Clintons, and

Abby says, I think it`s a great honor for our president to speak where
another great president did fighting for the same cause, equality.

Gregory says, President Obama always represents us well and with his
beautiful family traveling with him, even better.

We want to hear what your thoughts are on the president`s speech or
anything else. Please head to facebook and search "Politics Nation" and
like us to join the conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.


SHARPTON: Today marked a pivotal new phase in the jury selection in the
George Zimmerman murder trial. Forty jurors began round two of questioning
as lawyers try to whittle the field down to six jurors that will determine
Zimmerman`s fate. He faces 25 years to life in prison for the shooting
death of Trayvon Martin. Mr. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and claims
he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

For today`s questioning, the courtroom has been dramatically rearranged.
The defense and prosecution tables now face the jury box. This puts George
Zimmerman very close to where Trayvon Martin`s parents are sitting.

We also saw George Zimmerman`s family seated in the gallery for the first
time watching the prosecutor grill jurors on a wide-range of topics.


BERNIE DE LA RIONCA, STATE PROSECUTOR: I`m going to ask personal questions

So, what I want to know now is in the front row if anybody`s ever been
arrested. Do you feel you were treating fairly? Anyone feel like people
have the right to take the law into their own hands? Anybody had a
physical dispute with another person? Or he live in negated community?
Anybody live in the neighborhood that has neighborhood who watch? Does
anybody think that because of the way a person is dressed, that should
matter? Everyone believe in the second amendment, right to bear arms? Who
here has a firearm?


SHARPTON: Have you ever been arrested? How do you feel about a
neighborhood watch? Do you own a gun? These are the kinds of questions
that will determine who ultimately serves on this jury.

Joining me now is former criminal prosecutor Faith Jenkins and former U.S.
attorney Kendall Coffey, now he is an MSNBC legal analyst.

Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Faith, how`s the second round of questioning different from what
we have seen up to now for both the prosecution and for the defense?

JENKINS: Well first, look at the setup in the courtroom. It almost looks
like a classroom discussion and the attorneys are now the teachers
representing the head of the class as they`re asking these jurors questions
about how they feel about certain things, wanting open-ended questions so
they can get real answers. And we`ve talked about the fair and impartial
aspect of this. But the truth is they want jurors who are going to be most
susceptible to the arguments that they are going to be making in this trial
and who will side with them at the end.

SHARPTON: And today, it was the prosecution O`Mara, the defense, gets his
chance to go for it.

You know, the makeup of the jury in terms of race, gender, in terms of
their perspective that you can gain from questioning them from the voir
dire of the jurors, how important is that, Kendall?

COFFEY: Well, I think in a controversial case like this which has an
acknowledged racial divide, the composition of the jury is extremely
important. And from the standpoint of a verdict that`s going to have broad
acceptance, the closer it is to represent the demographics to the
community, I think the more fundamentally acceptable the verdict`s going to

And one of the biggest challenges the judge is going to happen in this case
is what if the defense begins to try to use its preemptory challenges to
strike African-Americans from the jury panel.

SHARPTON: And the preemptory challengers are that every each side gets
ten, is that right?

COFFEY: I think each side is getting six. It is initial will get
indicated ten, but it`s a six a side now.

SHARPTON: Now, of the 40 potential jurors, Faith, 27 are white, seven are
black, three are mixed -- of mixed race, and three are Hispanic. That`s of
the 40.

Now, as Kendall said, that`s not how it`s going to end. Same question to
you. How important is gender, not just race but gender, race, and
political views if you can get some of those views out during the voir

JENKINS: All of those things are going to be important in this case. I
think those numbers represent the numbers in that community and that
county. That county only has about 12 percent of its community African-
American. But gender, I can tell you right now the prosecution wants
women, mothers on that jury because there`s such an emotional aspect of
this case because they`re going to argue Trayvon Martin was a teenager, a
high school student walking home with no weapon and just some candy when he
was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. They are going for the emotional

SHARPTON: You have been a prosecutor part of putting a jury together. How
important is the setup? Sixty-six -- I`ll give you the breakdown of the
county, by the way Faith, 66 percent of the County of Seminole County is
white, non-Latino, 18 percent Latino, 12 percent African-American. So you
are right, in the 40, it is likely higher, but we don`t know where we`re
going to end up. How important is that in the mind of prosecutor or
defense attorney picking a jury? You have been there.

COFFEY: Well, it is starting out with t defense perspective. Now, a lot
of folks had thought maybe they`re going to try to get out of Seminole
County because of all the intense pre-trial publicity. The defense chose
to stay in the Seminole county. And I think the demographics with your
overwhelmingly white, perhaps speculated to be one of the reasons. Where
if goes from here in the final composition of jury is going to be
fascinating to watch, Reverend, because there`s a whole process, actually a
protocol and formula that Florida uses if either side prosecutor or defense
strikes individuals of a special protective group which would include a
racial minority. If that starts to happen in the next couple days, you can
expect to see some side bars. You can expect to see maybe even some
fireworks over the issue.

JENKINS: Because if the strikes are not for cause and the defense starts
striking African-American jurors, you can bet the prosecutor is going to
want a reason why On the Record. And they`re going to go before the judge
and they`re going to have a fight over every black juror that the defense
is trying to strike when it`s not for cause.

SHARPTON: Well, let me give you another scenario that I would like both of
you to respond to. Some of the jurors that did make it this far to round
two have expressed sympathies that would help the defense. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard discussion about his parents asking or making
the young man leave town and go visit whoever the relatives were in this
area because of some behavioral problems.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The opinion of was basically regarding what I heard
about Trayvon being up here because he was expelled from school. I don`t
want to judge, but I just want to say that this could have been prevented
had he not been up here. That`s all.


SHARPTON: Now, just for the record, Trayvon was not expelled from school.
But, we have also heard some jurors that made it this far that said things
that would seem to be sympathetic to the prosecutors. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seemed to me at the time a presumption was made
whereas instead of taking George Zimmerman in and asking him additional
questions at the station and booking him, that did not occur.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listened to the police officer whoever was telling
him to wait.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in that sense, do you think he did something wrong?



SHARPTON: How do you deal with people that have opinions that appear
either way? Is that a reason to remove him with cause, Ken?

COFFEY: I think you are going to see some attempts to renewed the
challenges for cause on some of those jurors because they may say at the
end of the day that they think can still be fair and impartial. They
walked into that courtroom with some thoughts and existing thoughts that
favor one side or the other. Bottom line, what the judge may say is look.
They say they are going to be fair and impartial, you don`t like what you
see about them, that`s what you have to use your preemptory challenges for.
You may only have six, but that`s what you have to save your preemptory
challenges for.

JENKINS: Both sides have been taking tremendous notes during this process
when the jurors speak. And they`re keeping track of what jurors are saying
what and who they believe is going to be more sympathetic to the other
side. As Kendall say, they`re going to try to get these jurors removed by
trying to get them to admit. Well you know what, really, I don`t think I
can be that fair and impartial, but if they can`t they`re going to use
their preemptory as the many of them as they can to remove these jurors.

SHARPTON: Now, how much of what the judge would want to see in a jury, how
does that come into play? And what do you think is in the judge`s mind?
With the bigger picture that you`ve outlined that this verdict when we get
there, the implications it will have. What`s in the judge`s mind? And I`m
sure it`s a guess, but.

COFFEY: Well, I mean, the thing the judge will articulate is the desire to
have a fair and unbiased jury to let the defense and prosecution exercise
their strikes because that`s where the rules are supposed to be. But in
the back of the judge`s mind, if I`m the judge, I want whatever the verdict
is, I want a verdict that is going to have public credibility and
acceptance. And I think that means not only the fairest possible jury, but
a jury that has some diversity.

SHARPTON: So, you think the judge does not want an all-white jury?

COFFEY: If I were the judge, I don`t want an all-white jury. She may not
be able to control it, she has got to follow the law, but that`s not good
for the system here.

SHARPTON: Faith Jenkins and Kendall Coffey, thank you for your time

JENKINS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Darrell Issa likes to be the one asking questions, but right now
he` got a lot to answer for.

Plus, I`m serving up a healthy slice of Republican hypocrisy. These guys
love to bash government money. Except when they take government money.
That`s next.


SHARPTON: Now for some Texas-sized hypocrisy being served up by Senator
John Cornyn. The deficit hawk. The guy preaching about the big bad


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: The solution is not to just keep on keeping
on and spending money we don`t have and racking up more debt and deficits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: The federal government spending is out of

CORNYN: You know, we don`t have a -- just a taxing problem. We have a
spending problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: The single biggest threat to our national
security is our debt.


SHARPTON: And just look at Senator Cornyn`s Web site dedicated to fiscal
responsibility and government accountability.

So I find it amusing to see this. This "National Journal" headline today.
Senator Cornyn reveals not one, not two, but three public pensions on top
of his salary. In the words of your Texas colleagues, oops. He has no
problem taking from the government when it`s going in his pocket. He`s
been collecting state money from three programs for his past work as a
district judge, a Texas Supreme Court justice, and a state attorney general
according to the "National Journal."

Cornyn took more than $48,000 from the judicial retirement system of Texas.
More than $10,000 from the employees` retirement system of Texas. And more
than $6,000 from the Texas county and district retirement system. For a
grand total of $65,380 in addition in all of this in public retirement
benefits last year. And he`s collecting all of this while working as a
senator making as a senator $174,000 a year. Did Mr. Fiscal responsibility
didn`t think we`d see him taking state-funded benefits with bashing
government spending?

Nice try, but take this three times. We got you got you got you.


SHARPTON: Today the right wing scandal machine came face-to-face with the
truth and it blew a fuse. Tea party activist and GOP lawmakers trotted out
this rally this afternoon to rally against the IRS. Desperately trying to
link that controversy to President Obama. Even comparing him once again to
Richard Nixon.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: When Richard Nixon tried to use the IRS to
target his political enemies, it was wrong. And when the Obama
administration does it, it`s still wrong.

REP. TIM HUELSKAMP (R), KANSAS: That`s why I call him President Barack
O`Nixon. Barack O`Nixon.


SHARPTON: Barack O`Nixon. Really? It`s amazing they`re saying this even
though the newly released transcripts show that no IRS official has linked
the controversy to the White House. Guess they`ve just got Watergate on
the brain.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Somebody the other day said to me this is
as bad as Watergate. Well, nobody died in Watergate.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: This makes Watergate look like
child`s play.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This far worse than Watergate. I mean, nobody died in

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Get to the bottom of it like we did in Watergate in

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: If you add Watergate and Iran-contra together,
and multiply it times maybe ten or so, you`re going to get in the zone of
what Benghazi is.


SHARPTON: Well, there is IRS, Benghazi, a Fast and Furious, these
Republicans seems to always bring their bucket straight to the water gate
well. No matter the facts. But the American people know better.

Joining me now is Michelle Cottle and Jimmy Williams. Thank you both for
being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Michelle, seems like Republicans are not really letting facts
get in the way of a good story. Despite the release of the IRS
transcripts, they`re sticking with Barack O`Nixon.

COTTLE: Which isn`t as catchy as you might hope for. Look, there`s a
segment of the party that deeply believes in its bones that this is an
illegitimate president. And they`ll just going to throw whatever they need
at the wall and see what sticks. I mean, whether its taxes or Benghazi or
anything. The facts as you`ll say are not really the main issue here so
much as kind of proving that this is a president who is illegitimate.

SHARPTON: Now, Jimmy, you know, the GOP`s lead attack dog here on the IRS
controversy is Darrell Issa has been crying wolf for a long time now.
Listen to this.


REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: He has been one of the most corrupt
presidents in modern times.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: President and his cronies are picking winners and losers
in the private markets.

ISSA: Clearly the American public was deliberately misled. His talking
points were changed. It`s hard to have confidence in what this attorney
general says or his people say, when so often it turns out not to be true.


SHARPTON: Now, with Darrell Issa as their top investigator, doesn`t the
GOP have a credibility problem?

WILLIAMS: Well, yes, considering he`s kind of sort of like a criminal in
and of himself. But yes, it is a problem. Because he keeps saying that
it`s the most corrupt administration of all time. Well, if that`s the
case, then why don`t you bring charges or do something besides just have
hearings, hundreds and hundreds -- actually, I think when he took over the
gavel of chairman of the government oversight committee, he said he was
going to have thousands of hours of committee hearings.

He`s done that successfully, but the problem is he`s actually proved
nothing. In fact, his ranking democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland just
released the transcripts from the IRS, quote, "scandal." And guess what,
it kind of proved that what Mr. Issa has been saying all along wasn`t true.


WILLIAMS: So, I`m not sure exactly where he`s going with this. At this
point, if I were in his shoes, I would just shut up and try to legislate
something as opposed to having hearings.

SHARPTON: You know, Michelle, what`s so interesting to me is that the
Republicans almost seem oblivious to the credibility problems that they had
under President Bush. I mean, we just saw former Vice President Cheney
addressing these issues just this weekend. Listen to this.


attention, frankly to what Barack Obama says. I find a lot of it in other
areas for example IRS, Benghazi not credible. In terms of credibility, I
don`t think he has credibility. The problem is the guy has failed to be
forthright and honest and credible on things like Benghazi and the IRS. So
he`s got no credibility.


SHARPTON: So he`s this weekend saying President Obama has no credibility.
Here`s the administration that brought us weapon of mass destruction that
wasn`t there, that did any number of things on a global level, and sunk the
economy. I mean, are these the people that really should be out front
discussing the credibility of this president when nothing has even been
alleged directly to have stopped or be brought to his office?

COTTLE: Well, the Republicans do need to be careful. And to their credit,
some republican leaders have basically been grumbling that Darrell Issa
should put a lid on it and not get too far out there with his wild comments
about most corrupt this, most corrupt that. I mean, if we learn something
from Bill Clinton`s presidency, is that when your political opponents get
to carried away. That actually works well for you.

And what Republicans don`t need is for their team to get so kind of intent
on bringing down this president that the public kind of -- there`s a
backlash. And people say now, wait a minute. You know, maybe this wasn`t
quite like what we`d want to happen, but you`re going overboard here. They
do really need to be careful about that.

SHARPTON: And you know, Jimmy, again, they seem to bring everything back
to Watergate. And, you know, it`s almost like young people would think
that Watergate was a Democratic Party scandal. But everything is Watergate
if it`s IRS controversy, Benghazi, immigration policy changed, Solyndra,
Fast and Furious, National Security leaks, the President`s birth
certificate. I mean, they`ve cried Watergate on President Obama on

WILLIAMS: You know, when I was working in the Senate, it was around the
time of the Clinton impeachment. And my republican -- back then things
were far less partisan than they are today. But I just think -- I remember
my republican colleagues, they would say things like, you know, this is
payback for Watergate. I guess they don`t think that impeaching Bill
Clinton for lying about sex, they think that because his popularity is as
high as it is today and his wife`s by the way, I guess they don`t think
they`ve gone far enough.

They have to bring this president down too. And that`s the inherent
problem here. It`s always about the revenge factor. And that`s where
they`re going to overplay, just as Michelle just said, they`re going to
overplay their hand here and every single time they do it, they get burned.
It`s like they touch a stove over and over and over again and they get
their degree burns. They don`t learn their lessons.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. Michelle Cottle, Jimmy
Williams, thank you both for your time tonight.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

COTTLE: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Rush Limbaugh never let facts get in the way of a good
conspiracy. He`s reviving an old smear against President Obama. And I`m
calling him out for it.

Plus confused about the president`s poll numbers? We`ll set the record
straight by answering your questions. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Today marks a momentous day in U.S. history. Juneteenth,
freedom day. When the last of America`s slaves were finally freed.
President Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation a hundred 50 years
ago. Free slaves in the southern state rebelling against the union. But
it took two years before that document could be turned into a reality. And
on June 19th, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston,
Texas, with 2,000 federal troops to enforce the emancipation and free a
quarter million of slaves in Texas. They were the last slaves in the
nation to win their freedom.

And in the decades since, Juneteenth has become a new holiday in America.
Celebrated across the country as a critical step towards this nation living
up to the true meaning of its creed. Fifty years ago this summer, Reverend
Martin Luther King led a march on Washington. Another step toward the
dream of a fair and equal society. We`ve come a long way, but there`s a
long way to go. From voting rights to economic opportunity, we must keep
up the fight and keep trying to create a more perfect union.


SHARPTON: The right wing isn`t good for much. They can`t pass laws, they
can`t win presidential elections, and they have no clue how to govern. But
they are good at one thing. Messaging. They`ve mastered the art of the
smear. Here`s how it happens. On Sunday, a right wing blog featured this
story. "AT&T to load iPhones with emergency alerts from Obama that you
can`t switch off."

It`s scary stuff. You can`t switch them off. These emergency alerts are
just President Obama`s big, bad government conspiring to get in your life.
Later on Sunday, the right wing drudge report picked up the story and then
the de facto leader of the Republican Party was talking about it.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: There is a third alert that was part
of the carrier update that you can`t turn off. And it`s called the
presidential update. The presidential alert is any time Obama wants to
talk to you. It is part -- I remember when the federal law was passed. It
was not that long ago. But that ability now exists for the president of
the United States to send out emergency text messages, essentially, to
every telephone.


SHARPTON: Oh, yes. Be scared out there. President Obama`s ready to send
you some text. But maybe, just maybe, these messages will alert people to
emergencies. The FCC explains the wireless emergency alerts were
established under something called the warning, alert, and response network
act. And guess when that passed, 2006 when President Bush was in the White
House. But they never let facts get in the way of a good conspiracy.

Joining me now is Joe Madison. Thanks for being here tonight, Joe.

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thank you. I appreciate talking about
this. I know a little bit about this having just recently been appointed
to the board of the Red Cross. And let me tell you something, this is one
of the most important alerts that one can get. Just ask the people of
Moore, Oklahoma.


MADISON: Tens of thousands of lives were saved because they had this early
warning system. We even received them here in Washington, D.C., because we
had tornado warnings and actual tornadoes that touched down. And my iPhone
went off. My blackberry went off. This is the dumbest thing.

SHARPTON: Now, these are the same alerts that are referred to in these


SHARPTON: And what Rush Limbaugh was referring to that I just played?

MADISON: Absolutely. That`s what these alerts are for. And where you
live in New York, just imagine that the number of people who got alerts
when Sandy went through there.


MADISON: And this is hurricane season. And that`s why these alerts. So I
just hope people recognize just how ridiculous the right wing is trying to
make this a conspiracy.

SHARPTON: But it`s not only this. I mean, it`s over and over the
conspiracies. I mean, Joe, the birther conspiracy is back, for example.
Listen to a sitting member of Congress on right wing radio. Listen to


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Any chance the House may actually pursue Barack Obama`s
phony identification papers?


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That`s the original scandal, Congressman. That`s the
original scandal.

DUNCAN: People should have voted against him in November. I`m afraid that
that wouldn`t get to the Supreme Court where it ought to get.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: But if we know that they`re lying about all these other
things, why not go back and say maybe the first scandal was a lie too.

DUNCAN: There you go. I`m all with you. Let`s go back and revisit some
of these things because Americans have questions about not only the IRS
scandal but also about the president`s validity.


SHARPTON: Questions about the president`s validity. This is a sitting
member of Congress still saying this now, Joe. I mean, these conspiracies
just never die with them.

MADISON: We talked about that, we played that very tape this morning. And
to be quite honest, we didn`t even get conservatives calling in on this
one. And listen to what they added. You always tell people to listen with
a third ear, read with a third eye. The IRS scandal. Well, Elijah
Cummings, your show, have proven that there is no scandal. Matter of fact,
the scandal may be the fact that you`ve got a chairman of a committee that
sat on information that the public should have known.

But to bring this up and then to say oh, his validity. There are people
that are still concerned about it. The man has been elected twice by an
overwhelming majority. Nobody`s concerned about it except these Limbaugh,
Hannity wannabes who, you know, call themselves talk show hosts. And quite
honestly I hate to even say they`re in the same profession that we`re in.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, one that we keep seeing over and over again, it
always kind of amuses me and angers me is the photoshopped conspiracies.
We`ve seen that a long time. Right wingers claim this picture of him skeet
shooting was photoshopped because he wasn`t holding the gun at the correct
angle. Another said this picture was of the president holding a football,
that was suspicious.

There was the claim that the president had been photoshopped on this
picture of him with his grandparents. In the supposedly real picture
without President Obama, you can still see his leg. And one conspiracy
theorist thought this picture of the president in the situation room was
mysterious claiming part of his ear was missing and his neck looked

MADISON: And Reverend Sharpton, you have tens of people in that room. I
mean, they know who was in that room. But let`s go back to the gun. I
also heard that it was photoshopped because most people who skeet shoot
wear a hat to keep the sun from blinding them. Excuse me. Wasn`t he
wearing sunglasses? I mean, that`s just how ridiculous it got. And then
they put it out there and the one thing I appreciate you saying the other
day, people always e-mail, aren`t you giving these folks more credit than
they`re due? Well, if you`re on the field of public opinion and you throw
these kinds of crazy conspiracy theorist out there, then we have a
responsibility to attack them. We have a responsibility not to allow them
to go unanswered.

SHARPTON: Joe, I`m going to have to let you let us leave it there. I
think I`m getting a text from the president. I`ve got to go. Thanks for
your time.

MADISON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Your e-mails are rolling in. So many are asking about the
President`s approval rating. Reply Al is next.


SHARPTON: It`s time for reply Al. Remember, friend or foe, I want to

Patricia writes, "Please tell me how and why the polls said Obama`s
favorability is down 17 points. This is the most ridiculous polling. I
did not hear how these polls were taken, but surely it`s inaccurate unless
all the Democrats are on vacation. Can you devote sometime to this subject
or should we just down play it?"

Well, Patricia, polls go up and down. And today we have a new poll from
pew that shows his approval rating at 49 percent with 43 percent
disapproval rating. That`s nearly identical to last month when the
president had 51 percent approval rating and that same 43 percent
disapproval. So don`t get caught up on a poll. A poll is a snapshot. You
just keep watching over a long period of time.

Sam writes, "Hi, Al. I`m confused as to why there will only be six jurors
determining the verdict in the George Zimmerman case. Why aren`t there 12?
Aren`t there supposed to be 12?"

On non-capital cases in the state of Florida, there`s only six jurors. On
capital cases, there are 12. And that`s true in other states as well.
It`s not just this case. If it`s a non-capital punishment case in Florida,
it`s always six as in other states. In some other states, I should say.

Andrew asks, "Why are you so biased against Republicans?"

The issue I want to know Andrew is why are Republicans so biased against
voting rights and against in most cases civil rights? The republican
leadership of today. My mother and father were Republicans until John
Kennedy stood up with Martin Luther King and they became Democrats. People
go with the people that stand up for their interests. The present
leadership of this party, the Republican Party, are not the leaders that
have shown they`re not biased against most American people. There was a
time you had the John Lindsay Nelson Rockefeller Republicans. People
responded much differently to.

We want to answer your questions. E-mail me Remember,
friend or foe, I want to know.

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



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