June 20, 2013
Guests: Nicole Lamoureux, Richard Wolffe, James Peterson, Dana Milbank,
Paul Henderson; Ken Padowitz; Benjamin Crump
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR, HARDBALL: If not, why are they wasting our
time passing another joke like they did back in 1986.
And that`s "Hardball" for now. Thanks for being with us. "Politics
Nation" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris, and thanks to you for
tuning in. I`m live tonight from Washington, D.C.
Tonight`s lead, a major development in the George Zimmerman murder trial.
After nearly two weeks of intense questioning, the jury has been chosen.
Six people and four alternatives will decide whether Mr. Zimmerman is
guilty or not. Guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. He has
pled not guilty and claims he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.
Here is the jury. All six of the jurors are women. The prosecution
described five of the jurors as white. The sixth juror was described as
Hispanic or black. Late today these jurors were sworn in by the judge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBRA NELSON, JUDGE: If you`ll stand up and raise your right hands to be
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raise your right hand, please. Do you solemnly swear
or affirm that you will well and truly try this issue between the state of
Florida and the defense according to the laws and rend area true verdict,
so help you, God?
CROWD: I do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
NELSON: Thank you. Please be seated ladies and gentlemen. You now have
been sworn to be the jury in this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: One year, three months, and 25 days after the shooting death of
17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a jury will now be asked to determine what
happened on that rainy night.
Opening statements will begin Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. in the case of
the state of Florida versus George Zimmerman.
Joining me now criminal defense attorney, Ken Padowitz, prosecutor Paul
Henderson and NBC News legal analyst, Lisa Bloom.
Thank you all for joining me.
LISA BLOOM, NBC NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
PAUL HENDERSON, PROSECUTOR: Thanks for having us.
SHARPTON: Ken, we have seated a jury. What`s your reaction?
KEN PADOWITZ, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, this is one of the most important
aspects of the trial, jury selection, which is kind of a silly name.
Because, it really is not jury selection. It`s jury elimination. Both
sides are looking for a specific type of juror. The prosecution obviously
wants jurors that will convict. And the defense wants jurors that are
going to find George Zimmerman not guilty.
And through this process of eliminating jurors, they come up with these six
jurors that are going to decide this case. They`re going to have to listen
to the evidence very carefully, and they got opening statements that are
coming up, which I believe is one of the other most important aspects of
SHARPTON: Now, Lisa, when you look at the fact that the jury makeup, it`s
an all women`s jury. The prosecution describes five as white. Says the
sixth jury is white or Hispanic. I mean, do you think this is a fair jury?
One, it certainly doesn`t represent the county. But what is your sense of
this jury, if anything?
BLOOM: Well, of course I think that an all female jury is probably a
highly intelligent jury. But with taking the other factors into account as
well, Reverend Al, the women on the jury are mostly middle aged or older.
They are majority white, as you say, and most of them are mothers. If we
had to do a composite of this jury, it would be a white, middle aged
mother, somebody a lot like me.
So, the question is do female jurors decide cases differently? And I took
a look at the social science of research on that. It`s inconclusive.
Generally, women and men decide cases about the same. But women can be
more sympathetic to victims. Of course in this case the question is who is
the victim, Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman? So it remains to be seen
what effect this will have.
SHARPTON: Paul, how do you view this jury? You look at Seminole County,
the demographics are 66 percent white, 18 percent Latino, 12 percent
Africa-American. The final six jurists do not reflect those demographics.
And we see that race was a central concern in the jury selection process
for both sides. Let me show you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK O`MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S LAWYER: I would ask that the state
identify a race and gender neutral reason for now having struck four white
women in a row.
NELSON: I understand that. But the court also understands the makeup of
this entire panel is a majority of women. And that`s a possibility that
O`MARA: Yes. I will strike m-75.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Staying with the race neutral.
NELSON: OK. What is your race neutral reason for striking m-75?
BERNIE DE LA RIONCA, STATE PROSECUTOR: For the record, she is a black
NELSON: OK, what is the race --
RIONCA: She is a black female.
NELSON: The race-neutral reason for wanting to strike e-22.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, Paul, Mr. O`Mara raised the point of the prosecutors
claiming they were going after white female jurors when he struck the only
two blacks, two of the blacks that was on the jury. We are told the one
that did make it is black or Hispanic, but he certainly struck two blacks.
SHARPTON: Does this raise any concern to you?
HENDERSON: Well, this is why you heard the judge saying what are your
race-neutral concerns because you have Angstrom (ph) wheeler restrictions,
so you can`t knock kick or trying to kick on people for race reasons? This
is all matters in a case like this because we know that the defense has an
affirmative defense and has to prove self-defense. And with the issues
that are bound to come up that drift into discussions of stereotypes and
drift into perceptions and apprehensions based on race, this is all going
to, no pun intended, but color how the evidence comes in to this trial,
which is why I`m really looking forward to the opening statements on
Monday, which is when we`re going to see both sides frame their arguments
and their very first presentation to the jury and all of this stuff is
going to matter. That`s why you see everyone dancing around the race issue
and not addressing while addressing what is the race of the jury that is
going to hear this evidence and make a determination in this case.
SHARPTON: So, what is your view of this jury?
HENDERSON: Well, I think the jury is going to be -- I like the fact that
there are a lot of women, because I think from my perspective as a
prosecutor, I think that they are likely to be more sympathetic with
Trayvon Martin in this case. And I also think that with this group of
women, they are less likely to have engaged in activities like Zimmerman in
the past where they acted aggressively, or initiated a confrontation or
followed someone that they had apprehensions about. So I like that about
having all the women on the jury there having a sense that is more closely
aligned to that approach than of the defense approach.
SHARPTON: Ken, let me ask you. When we look at the makeup of the jury,
juror b-37 is a white woman who described the protest as rioting and who
used to have a concealed weapons permit. Jury b-76 is a white female who
wondered why Trayvon Martin was out late at night. The state tried to
strike her but failed. Juror e-6 was a white woman whose husband owned
guns. The state tried to strike her and failed.
You know, these are concerns. One, as you know, I was there, so it`s worth
trying to call for a trial. I never saw a riot. And two, for a juror to
say that why was Trayvon out late. One shows some kind of a bias I would
question. And two, when did 7:15 at night become too late for somebody to
be out? It was 7:15 at night, around that time he was killed.
HENDERSON: Well, this is exactly what the issue is. You can infer that
there is some judgment there. Not necessarily rising to the full level of
bias, but those comments and how they were phrased is exactly why the
prosecution was trying to kick those jurors, because they reflected an
element of judgment or a tone of judgment about behavior that they alluded
toward Trayvon that they didn`t want in the jury pool.
But as you see, the judge kept them on, because you to show there is a
standard of bias. And those comments weren`t enough to be a clear
definition of bias to keep them off of the jury pool. But you`re listening
to the right things.
SHARPTON: But Ken, let me get your reaction to that. You are there in
Florida. You do not think that these jurors, the prosecution, tried to
strike then was unsuccessful? You think it showed not enough bias and not
PADOWITZ: Well, exactly. Clearly, the prosecution was concerned as I was
when I read about one of those jurors` comments that there was rioting,
because everyone knows from the actual fact there`s wasn`t, in fact, no
So, I would be concerned as a prosecutor. And that`s why the prosecution I
believe attempted to eliminate that juror and the other jurors for those
kind of comments. But it has to rise to that level and not be, you know,
racially -- a racial type strike. It has to be race neutral. And so, that
may be one of the reasons why the judge did not allow the strike from the
prosecutor. So he is basically stuck without having other reasons to
eliminate those jurors.
Hopefully, we cannot judge just, you know, from that one comment or those
various comments from each juror that entire juror`s background, and that
juror hopefully will be fair and base their verdict based on the evidence
that they`re going to see at the trial and not from some, you know, ideas
that crept in to the jury selection process.
SHARPTON: Lisa, it`s interesting to me that it is Mr. O`Mara that has
raised race today, probably more than anyone involved. And he again
accused the state of being racially biased in their selection. Listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`MARA: We`ve got a jury which is great. The case is pretty clear that we
are not to have a jury that is impacted on by gender bias, race bias, or
any type of bias. And it became very apparent to me that the strikes, four
in a row, I think that you would -- it`s almost simplistic at that point to
say they were striking white women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He is basically accusing the prosecutor of trying strike white
women. He brought up race. Clearly, he struck two blacks. I have not
heard the prosecutor charged him with race. Is this a strategy or is this
in fact a feeling that you think he is trying to credibly launch against
BLOOM: It is a strategy. If he wants to preserve all of his client`s
rights on appeal, and clearly he wants to do that, he has to raise now
before the judge any arguments about improprieties in jury selection. And
so, one of the improprieties would be discrimination based on race,
discrimination based on gender, or discrimination based on any protected
class. He has to raise it now. The prosecution, of course, can`t appeal
if there is an acquittal in this case. The defense can appeal. That`s
high the defense needs to do this now. And he is just doing his job.
SHARPTON: Let me get a final thought quickly from each one of you. Let me
start with you, Paul.
HENDERSON: Well, I think it`s really interesting that we have all women.
I think it`s really interesting, and I think people are going to be talking
about throughout the rest of the week and before Monday the race issue in
terms of what this jury reflects in context what that community reflects.
And all of the race issues surrounding this case. So I`m really interested
to hear how the opening statements incorporate this specific jury and how
the lawyers phrase their opening statements to this jury on Monday.
SHARPTON: Let me go to you, Ken. Your final thoughts on the jury that has
been seated now.
PADOWITZ: Well, I think we have a jury of our peers. Unfortunately, from
a perception standpoint, I would have liked to have seen more black
Americans on the jury. That is not the case, but hopefully the system has
worked and we have deselected out people who should not be on the jury.
And what is left from this jury elimination process is a fair jury.
They`re now coming into the opening statements, which I believe is really
the most crucial part of this trial.
BLOOM: Jurors are complex people, as we all are. And I think if this case
has taught us anything, it`s not to pigeon hole people based on race,
gender, or other criteria. Let`s be optimistic. Let`s give this jury a
chance to decide the case based on the evidence.
SHARPTON: Ken Padowitz, Paul Henderson and Lisa Bloom, thank you for your
HENDERSON: Thanks for having us.
BLOOM: Thank you.
PADOWITZ: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, will this be a fair jury? And how are the parents of
Trayvon Martin reacting to the jury being picked? We`ll hear from Martin
family attorney Benjamin Crump.
And I love hearing from you. Send me your e-mails. "Reply Al" is coming.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: The jury has been set in the George Zimmerman murder trial.
We`ll get reaction from the Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump, next.
SHARPTON: We`re back with our continuing coverage of the George Zimmerman
murder trial. As we said, we now know the makeup of the jury that will
decide Mr. Zimmerman`s fate. All six of the jurors are women. The
prosecution described five of them as white and the sixth as black or
There are also four alternates two, men and two women. The prosecution
described one of the alternate jurors as white. The race of the other
three jurors has not been characterized. Opening statements begin Monday.
Joining me now is Benjamin Crump, attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family.
Thanks for coming on the show tonight.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Thank you f having me, Reverend
SHARPTON: Now attorney Crump, you`re not prosecuting this case, obviously.
But you have been with the Martin family from the beginning. How are they
feeling now that the jury is set?
CRUMP: Well, Reverend Sharpton, they are putting their faith in the
justice system. And they pray that it doesn`t fail them. They`ve only
asked for equal justice for their child.
SHARPTON: Now, do they feel that the process has been fair so far?
CRUMP: Well, you know, we have said all along this case is about equal
justice. Equal justice under the law isn`t a black value, it`s not a white
value, it`s an American value. And with the makeup of this jury, five
white women and one Hispanic, it`s going to be -- the question, can every
American get equal justice no matter who sits on your jury panel. And so,
they`re just praying that they can get justice for their child.
SHARPTON: We`re still waiting to see if the audio expert that the state
has called is allowed to testify. We know the tape where you hear
screaming and you have the state saying they have an expert that says that
that screaming came from Trayvon Martin, and you have other experts saying
that they can confirm that their finding it is was not Zimmerman, even
though they did not say it was Trayvon, but Trayvon and Zimmerman were the
only ones that were there according to all witnesses. We`re still waiting
on a ruling on that from the judge.
We understand the arguments are over and the judge said tonight at closing
they -- she hopes to give a ruling tomorrow. How crucial will that
expert`s testimony be in your judgment, attorney Crump?
CRUMP: You know, Reverend Al, it`s interesting. You know for your
audience in America that no expert said that it was Zimmerman screaming.
They all said it was either Trayvon or they couldn`t tell.
But really, I want to draw everybody`s attention, reverend, al, to
something we talked about in your show previously. And that is three days
after the tragedy, George Zimmerman told detective Serino (ph) when he
played the 911 screams for George Zimmerman to hear that it didn`t sound
like him. So who is more of a expert on your voice than you are? We
already have an expert in this voice analysis issue, and it`s George
Zimmerman. And he said it doesn`t sound like him. So I think that is more
telling than anything else.
SHARPTON: Now, let me go by a couple of questions on the jury that I raise
to our experts in the first segment tonight. B-76, that juror is a white
female. She wondered why Trayvon Martin was out late at night. The state
tried to strike her, but she made the jury. Was Trayvon out late at night?
When was Trayvon out, and what time around approximately was that it he was
CRUMP: Reverend Sharpton, he left for the 7-eleven before 7:00. And as we
all know now, he was killed right around 7:16 that evening. So I don`t
know who thinks 7:00 at night is out late at night for a 17-year-old
But that`s the stereotypes and the things we have to overcome. And that`s
why this really is going to be an important case to make sure that Trayvon
Martin isn`t stereotyped and that the verdict is based on the evidence.
SHARPTON: Then we go to jury b-37 who is a white female. She described
protests in Sanford as rioting. And she used to have a concealed weapons
permit. And as you know, I was down there and helped organize some of the
protests asking for a trial. I never saw rioting and never heard of
rioting when I wasn`t there.
CRUMP: Right, Reverend Al. And that`s what we`ve been saying all along
that everybody who protested on behalf of Trayvon Martin was very peaceful.
And all his parents have ever asked for is peaceful justice. That`s it.
And the question I really have, Reverend Sharpton, once the jury based
their verdict on the evidence, and the evidence is overwhelming. And they
come back with a just verdict holding George Zimmerman guilty of killing
Trayvon Martin, will the other guys act right? And that`s the question we
don`t know. We know how everybody who supported Trayvon Martin has acted
thus far, and it`s been very peaceful.
SHARPTON: I think the family has made it clear that they want peace in all
that supported them and all that wanted this trial like me want to see
peace regardless of where it goes. There is certainly no one calling for a
riot no matter what.
And I would hope that we get fairness. I think, though, that we must deal
with the obvious is in terms of what the county demographics are, what is
on the jury. But we don`t think people can be fair or unfair based on who
they are. But we think the system ought to always be questioned as to what
Martin family attorney, Benjamin Crump, thank you for your time this
We will be right back.
CRUMP: Thank you
SHARPTON: The far right smear machine is now trying to cover its tracks.
In a new interview with "Playboy," FOX anchor Sean Hannity was grilled
about all of his attacks on President Obama. "Playboy" asked, you said
Obama grew up in Kenya. Do you regret saying that now? Hannity`s
response, but he did grow up in Kenya. And he told "The New York Times"
that he went to a school there and one of the most beautiful things on the
planet is Islamic prayer at sunset.
Actually, the president didn`t grow up in Kenya. He grew up in Hawaii and
also spent some time in Indonesia. The interviewer pointed that out to
Hannity, who then admitted his mistake.
The interview then asked, are you fueling the myth that Obama`s a Muslim
from Africa by saying that? Hannity`s response, I never fueled the myth.
How do you come up with this stuff?
He didn`t fuel the myth? Fact is Hannity poured gasoline on the fire. You
couldn`t stop him from talking about it on his show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: He talked about, you know, the prayer at
sunset being one of the most beautiful things he has ever seen. You talk
about this and he studied the Koran and prayers at sunset were some of
those beautiful things he saw in life. He did write about his early years,
that he did study the Koran. That one of the most beautiful things in life
was prayer at sunset.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And Hannity`s show has been a consistent form for birther
conspiracy theories on the right who question whether the president is a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: What`s the deal? Produce a birth certificate. It`s done. It`s
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: All the president has to do is show
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN, CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: There are so many things
that people don`t know about this man, where he comes from.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did he get into Columbia with bad grades at
occidental? If they`re looking for a guy from Indonesia and you have got
bad grades, but you are a good talker and a good interviewer and you have a
exotic story, you`re in.
HANNITY: He could get the birth certificate and it would be over. And I`m
just curious why he wouldn`t do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Did Sean Hannity think we wouldn`t call him out for trying to
sanitize his coverage of the president? Not even a nice try, but we still
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": We need to talk about the
health care crisis going on in the country. Right now millions of Africans
are forced to choose between buying food and buying medicine. There are
kids who can`t afford to see a doctor, adults who have never been to a
routine checkup. President Obama`s affordable care act is helping the
Today, we learned the law saved consumers nearly $4 billion in premiums
last year. A new study finds that in the nine states that have publicized
insurance rates under the exchanges, every brand came in cheaper than
estimated. And today we also learned the growth of medical costs is
falling for the first time. Since the 1970s. No question these are
positive signs. But right now some on the right are still blocking a
solution. Republicans in 21 states are blocking the expansion of Medicaid.
Let me be clear. They`re blocking uninsured residents from getting access
to care. Literally turning down money for the poor. How can they look in
the mirror at night? We should all be in this together helping our fellow
Americans. So we are taking action. We`re proud to partner with the
National Association of Free Clinics. On July 3rd, POLITICS NATION will be
live from a free clinic in New Orleans.
Joining me now is Nicole Lamoureux, the executive director of the National
Association of Free Clinics, our partner for free clinic July 3rd in New
Orleans, and Richard Wolffe, executive editor of msnbc.com. Thank you for
being here tonight.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC.COM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Thanks, Reverend.
NICOLE LAMOUREUX, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FREE CLINICS: Thank you so much.
SHARPTON: Nicole, today more signs the health care law is working. But we
see some putting politics over people. I mean who are the people that you
see coming to your free clinics?
LAMOUREUX: Rev, the people we see coming into our free clinics are people
who work every day. Eighty three percent of our patients come from a
working households. The last clinic I was at, I saw a man who hadn`t been
to the doctor, and he was 40 years old, because his employer wouldn`t let
him get health insurance that shouldn`t happen in this country. We`re not
a third world county. We`re America. We`re the best place. We should all
have access to affordable health care. It should be a right, not a
SHARPTON: Now, what kind of needs do you see at these free clinic likes
the one we`re going to do in New Orleans July 3rd?
LAMOUREUX: We see everything from physicals. Kids need physicals to get
into school. You know, substitute teachers need those physicals so they
LAMOUREUX: We see people who need physicals to get back to work,
construction people. But we also see times where people have breast cancer
and they come to us. People who have heart attacks, and we send them to
the hospital and save their lives. Everything you can think of, we`ll take
care of that day.
SHARPTON: Richard, is the politics changing on this at all as we see
things go forward toward this law going into full effect?
WOLFFE: Well, they are changing because you are seeing although there are
all those republican senators are holding out against Medicaid dollars, a
number of them are falling down. The dominos are falling. And yes, you`re
seeing an impact on the industry. And there are a lot of people in the
industry who don`t want to see things change but are saying we`re going to
have to adapt. That`s why you`re seeing these cost measures.
You`re seeing employers change what they do. This is having an impact now.
But, you know, I`ve got to tell you that it`s not going to be enough. And
that`s exactly why these free health care clinics are so important. You
know, this law was not defined and designed for the working poor, the
people that Nicole was just talking about.
WOLFFE: So, if we want to see health care change, we have to take action
on ourselves. And I`m going to call out our own website, tv.msnbc.com. Go
to the POLITICS NATION page, to your page. And there is a button that
there you can click and help out with these health clinics right now.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this, Richard. We all know Arizona Governor
Jan Brewer is not exactly best friends with the president. But she did
sign Medicaid expansion this week.
SHARPTON: And said this. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: I want to recognize the lawmakers who made
this moment possible. They displayed something we don`t see a lot of in
politics today, and that is courage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And today even Michigan Governor Rick Snyder told his fellow
Republicans, they should take a vote, not a vacation, because they failed
to vote on Medicaid expansion. So there seems to be some movement by some
WOLFFE: Yes. Look, it`s inevitable. Honestly, they are going to get all
the benefits, these republican governors, they get all the benefits by
saying we don`t like Obama. We oppose this thing. We think it`s a
terrible use of money. But they get even more benefits if they actually
help their voters. If they help people get this health care benefits that
are going begging for them. So, look, Jan Brewer is not a friend of the
WOLFFE: She has been very up-front, very aggressive with him. And yet
even she realizes. This is someone who could barely talk her way through
the first two minutes of a TV debate. And even she understands that this
is completely the right thing and a logical thing, and a politically
successful thing to do for her and her Republicans there.
SHARPTON: Nicole, take me through what are people`s needs. What are the
kinds of things we`re going to see at the free clinic in New Orleans July
LAMOUREUX: The first thing we`re going to see is many people haven`t been
to the doctor in more than five years. For many in New Orleans they
haven`t been to the doctor since we were there the last time with you all
here at MSNBC. We see people who just want to get access to health care.
And they have nowhere to go but the emergency room. New Orleans was hit
hard after Katrina. Then we had an oil spill. Then we had flooding.
These people need help. They want help. And that`s what we`re going to be
able to give them.
SHARPTON: Richard, you have the conspiracy theorists that will come out
when nothing else works, they try to scare people. Rush Limbaugh has a new
conspiracy on the health care law. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Purpose of Obamacare got nothing to
do with your health. It had nothing to do with your insurance. Democrats
supporting group are being given millions of dollars to promote the
Democratic Party, register democrat voters, get them to the polls on
Election Day. And the purpose? To set up a permanent one-party system in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now in California you`ll be able to register to vote when you
sign up for insurance exchange. But some, you know, some nonprofits are
getting grants to explain how the exchanges work. But some on the right
are saying this is a secret plot to create a one-party system? I mean,
Richard, what do they think will come up out of this? I mean, I just can`t
imagine what they would come up with next.
WOLFFE: I thought registering to vote was a good American thing for
democracy, right? I mean, you`re not registering to vote for a president.
You`re just registering to vote. And that should be in everyone`s
interest. There are Republicans who also need health care. And I`m
WOLFFE: .that Rush Limbaugh, who likes medication himself, he seems so
skeptical about this whole program.
SHARPTON: Yes. And it doesn`t matter what party you`re in, where you lean
politically. These free clinics will service you. And all are welcome to
New Orleans with us July 3rd.
LAMOUREUX: Exactly. Absolutely.
SHARPTON: Nicole and Richard, thank you both for your time. Nicole, we
look forward to seeing you on July 3rd.
I want to take a moment, though, to talk directly to the POLITICS NATION
family out there. It really takes a massive team effort to provide these
free clinics. And we need your help. I`m asking everyone to find it in
your heart to please donate. If everyone just donated $1, it would make a
difference. Just $1.
You can go to urgentcare.msnbc.com or the National Association of Free
Clinics site, nafcclinics.org. With your help, whatever you can do, we can
make a difference and get health care to so many Americans in need. We`ll
be right back.
SHARPTON: Here`s Glenn Beck`s distorted Tea Party comparison.
GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is a civil rights movement. It`s
time for us to start moving as a civil rights movement. We have to be
willing to have the dogs be unleashed on us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s a pattern. And I`ll have a response ahead.
SHARPTON: Fifty years after the march on Washington, the Tea Party has
found a new successor to the civil rights movement, itself, the Tea Party.
Here is Glenn Beck making the big announcement yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: This is a civil rights movement. And it`s time for us to start
moving as a civil rights movement. We have to be willing to have the dogs
be unleashed on us, because believe me, after what I saw today on the way
they`re handling things at the capitol, you`re not very far from having the
same kind of oppression coming our way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s unbelievable. He is talking about imaginary unleashed
dogs, when real heroes of the civil rights movement actually had to
confront those dangers. Yesterday, Beck made his case at a rally in
Washington. But even as he talked about civil rights, the slogans on the
signs told the story of fear and paranoia. It was similar to what we saw
at previous Tea Party rallies, where this historic president was compared
to a tyrant, accused of having a hit list. None of it slowed Beck down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Booker
T. Washington, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass` time was in
the 1800s. Martin Luther King`s time is past. This is our time.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.
BECK: And the long march towards civil rights is here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Dr. King`s time has passed? Just the opposite. His dream lives
on in battles over voting rights and women`s rights and gay rights and
economic justice. All things that the far right has tried to block,
obstruct, or roll back.
Joining me now is James Peterson and Dana Milbank. Thanks for coming on
DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Reverend.
JAMES PETERSON, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: Thanks.
SHARPTON: James, what is Glenn Beck`s obsession with the civil rights
PETERSON: It`s a fairly sinister obsession, Rev, and I appreciate your
comments opening up this segment. But when you look at it, it does two
things. At the same time it`s disrespectful to those folk who understand
the legacy of civil rights for African-Americans in this country, that
speaks directly to his base. So he is able to do two things here, Rev. He
can allow them to enter into the victim subjectivity, something they always
rail against, but they love sort of stepping into that role if and when
they can. And then two, his audience and his listeners are also going to
be stoked by the fact that he`s undermining and disrespecting that part of
our history. So, he gets the -- sort of force of his idiotic remarks here.
SHARPTON: Dana, you know a civil rights throughout the nation`s history,
as he mentioned Frederick Douglass, who fought to abolish slavery, Martin
Luther King who fought against legal segregation, and people not being able
to vote. Those out there today fighting against profiling and bias and
rollback on voter rights. What is the civil right that the Tea Party is
claiming they`re fighting for?
MILBANK: There is this straight and unbroken line between Frederick
Douglass and Gandhi and Martin Luther King and now Glenn Beck. And this
isn`t the first time he has done it. Head the march on Washington.
SHARPTON: I remember.
MILBANK: On the anniversary of the King speech. Now, in fairness to Beck,
his views are so extreme that there may be some sort of an ideological
disability here. He may be entitled to some civil rights protections under
the Americans with disability acts for his views. But, you know, everybody
gets into this sort of the politics of victimhood, the identity politics.
You know, what? If you`re a persecuted group, that makes sense. Otherwise
you just sound paranoid.
SHARPTON: But nobody is denying them anything, including the second
amendment. I mean, so I don`t understand what civil right he is claiming
is being violated.
MILBANK: Absolutely right.
SHARPTON: I`m giving him the best of all world, acting like there was even
a modicum of this being reasonable.
MILBANK: I think it`s a sign of flattery that he has decided this is what
his movement should be doing. And it`s not just Beck. I think we`ve seen
a lot of that in Republican Party, the persecuted minority of conservative
republican white males from the south.
SHARPTON: Now, you know when you go through this, James, it`s not just
Beck. It seems to be throughout the new right that guns are a civil rights
issue. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: The modern equivalence of the civil rights act is that you
people defending and loyal to the second amendment are not the Bull
Connors. You`re the Martin Luther Kings. You`re the people marching at
Selma. You`re having your civil rights denied.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Banning people and things because of the way they look
went out a long time ago. But here they are again. The color of a gun,
the way it looks, it`s just bad politics.
LARRY WARD, CHAIRMAN, GUN APPRECIATION DAY: I think Martin Luther King
would agree with me if he were alive today that if African-Americans had
been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country`s
founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: You know, James, I personally get offended by this. I`ve been
in civil rights all my life. I was made youth director of the organization
Dr. King founded when I was 12 years old. I`ve been in it ever since. And
to equate civil rights to fighting on these issues that have nothing to do
with any rights that are denied, and it`s all about their polarization is
really offensive. I mean we can disagree, but you don`t miscast things as
something that it`s not.
PETERSON: No, you`re right, Rev. And you should be offended by these
kinds of comments. They`re borderline absurdity when you put them in the
context of how the Tea Party emerged. Right? Because on the one hand,
there is no encroachment whatsoever on second amendment rights and the
whole conversation around common sense gun safety obscures the fact that
the people who bear the brunt of gun violence are inner city black and
brown poor folk. And so that irony is striking in those comments.
But when you look at the roots of the Tea Party and the ways in which they
racialize discourse in order to consolidate those groups, the ways in which
they`re funded by this upper-level big-time political donors who speak the
kind of rhetoric that is anti-the so-called 47 percent, they envision the
47 percent as being largely black and brown, right? When in fact in
reality, that`s not the case. But that`s how they see it. And so, to sort
of racialized ways in which the Tea Party even came into existence makes
these kinds of comments all the more offensive.
SHARPTON: Dana, wouldn`t it be more credible and interesting if they said
that they would have asked to Barry Goldwater, a famous right-wingers
throughout history. Why do they want to claim the people that have been on
the far right?
MILBANK: That would be more credible. But I think it`s larger than race
and civil rights. It`s sort of a reinvention of history in sort of this
Alice in Wonderland way. A lot of what Beck is been doing is saying that
he`s always talking about Hitler, every time he`s on the air, he`s talking
about Hitler, fascism, Nazism. He says it`s actually a product of the
MILBANK: It wasn`t in fact a product of the right. So it`s part of that
sort of reinvention. Take your opponents` strength and adopt it as your
own and use it against him.
SHARPTON: Yes. Sort of like where they use the analogy all the time of
Watergate like Watergate was a Democratic Party scandal.
SHARPTON: James Peterson and Dana Milbank, thank you both for your time
PETERSON: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Coming up, reply Al. And the day I met the actor James
Gandolfini, who just passed last night.
SHARPTON: It`s time for reply Al. Remember, friend or foe, I want to
know. I love hearing from all of you.
Daisy writes, "Hi, Rev. Like you, I`m a proud supporter of the president.
However, I`m curious to know if there are any key issues on which you
disagree with Obama on."
Yes, I`ve said on this show I disagree with Afghanistan. I disagree with
staying in there any length of time. And I disagreed on this show even to
the point where he finally announced leaving by the end of next year. I
disagreed with the use of drones. I disagree with Guantanamo Bay.
There are areas I disagree, but I`ve been a supporter of his and have been
mostly happy. And why? Because you usually support people that you agree
with. At least mostly. But no one do you agree with totally.
"Reverend Al," Albert says, "When Tea Party conservative Republicans talk
about taking their country back, which country are they talking about?"
Well, that`s a good question. Because the country that we live in is a
country that is evolving and becoming more and more a place for everyone.
I think they want to go back in time, not take a country back. Maybe they
really mean taking back words.
Tim asks, "Didn`t the Republicans run on the promise of jobs, jobs, jobs in
2010? So why are they spending all of their time passing bills that they
know full well will never become law?"
Well, Tim, today Speaker Boehner`s house was focusing on jobs by voting on
a farm bill that would have cut $20 billion from the food stamp program.
It was expected to pass, but was voted down 234 to 195. But hold on a
second. Some on the right voted no because it wasn`t extreme enough. And
republican leaders said the bill could come back to the floor. This is the
kind of party we`re fighting. And I think that it is outrageous, but
that`s why we have to keep fighting. I think that if we don`t fight, and
if we don`t continue to come together, that they are emboldened by our
absence of unity for the right causes.
And one final thought. Last night we learned the sad news that actor James
Gandolfini had passed away at the age of 51. Three years ago, I met him
briefly here. I really met him in New York, going into a fundraiser. I
told him that it was nice to meet him, and he told me he always had wanted
to meet me. And he complimented me on losing so much weight. We had a
nice and brief conversation, and I was teasing him, calling him Goldafini.
He was teasing me Reverend Albert.
And the next day I received a package, and in it was a three-pound salami.
And it was signed from James Gandolfini. He was that kind of guy. I don`t
eat meat anymore, but I was so happy to receive a gift from him. May his
family have their prayers and concern of all of us, and may James rest in
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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