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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

September 4, 2013

Guests: Margie Omero; Ryan Grim, Patrick Murphy, Cynthia Tucker, Wendy Murphy, Scott Taylor

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Yes, Ed. Thank you. And thank you for
tuning in tonight`s lead, the President Obama wins the first vote on Syria
late today. A key senate panel voted to approval resolution authorizing
the use of military force against the Syrian Regime. It sets up a vote wit
the full senate expected early next week. He came just hours after
President Obama speaking oversees in Sweden insisted the world must take


set a red line. The world set a red line. My credibility is not on the
line. The international communities` credibility is on the line. And
America and Congress` credibility is on the line because we give lip
service to the notion that these international norms are important.


SHARPTON: And today secretary of state John Kerry was back on Capitol
Hill telling House lawmakers that America`s credibility is on the line.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: The world is wondering whether the
United States of America is going to consent through silence, to stand
aside while this kind of brutality is allowed to happen without


SHARPTON: This is a serious issue that deserves serious debate today.
Many Americans still have real reservations about the plan for Syria. And
it`s to the president`s great credit that he has taken this resolution to
Congress for an open debate with the nation watching. It`s what is
supposed to happen in a representative democracy.

Joining me now is Karen Finney.

Thanks for coming on the show.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC HOST, DISRUPT: Good to be with you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Karen, what does the Senate committee vote today tell us
about the president`s support in Congress and the rest of the country?

FINNEY: Well, what I think tells us is, I mean, two things. Number
one, it sounds like senators, I mean, have the questions we know they have
had in terms of the scope and putting some limitations on what the
president will actually do in this action. Sounds like senators were able
to agree on language and that they got the questions that they need
answered at least in that committee. They got those answers from Senator
Kerry and the others who were briefing them. That`s what that suggests.

SHARPTON: Now, here`s what the Senate relations committee approved.
A 60-day authorization of military action with a 30-day extension possible.
And importantly, no ground forces for combat operations. That`s what they

FINNEY: That`s correct, Rev. I mean, and I`m assuming, I mean, I
think because there`s still a fair question -- I know it`s a question that
I have on the ground which is, so what happens the day after we stop the
strikes? What are we doing in terms of a political solution, a diplomatic
solution, are there other avenues we`re pursuing?

I would like to believe that in the classified sessions they had some
of those questions answered. Because I think part of the reason so many
Americans are leery about this is, you know, we have heard a lot of this
before. Obviously, the evidence her is very different and I think people
trust President Obama in a way they didn`t trust President Bush. At the
same time we all know what mission creep looks like and that`s where the
concern is.

SHARPTON: Let me turn, Richard Wolffe has joined us.

Richard, a lot of people on the right, on the left have serious
questions, including me. Trust the president but don`t agree with military
intervention. When you look at what the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
voted today, what happens if there is no response in the time limit and the
boundaries that have been set? Then what happens?

Syrians or --

SHARPTON: From the Syrians. If there`s no evidence that this has
changed Assad from moving forward in the way that clearly this is designed
to try to push him back.

WOLFFE: One thing we know is that it`s going to be noble. It is
going to be unpredictable. I don`t mean to sound like too much Donald
Rumsfeld here, but this will fall in very unpredictable ways.

Assad is not going to roll over and give up, right? This is a man who
is determined to cling onto power to such a degree prepared to kill his own
civilians with unconventional weapons. So, if he is going to react in any
number of different ways included rely on allies like Hezbollah and Iran,
the question is going to be how does the United States react when he lashes
out, when he attacks civilians, when there`s another humanitarian crisis?

SHARPTON: Or there is no reaction. If he waits and does nothing for
60 days goes other 30, it does not for 90 days, then what happen?

WOLFFE: He will hold onto power and enjoy thumbing his nose at
Americans because he will survive. This isn`t a regime change mission. In
which case, we are not trying to clear out his palaces and his bunkers.
However, command and control targets will be targeted. Because they are
not just going after the chemical supplies. In fact, they couldn`t because
that would unleash those chemicals on everyone else. So, this is going to
be difficult. It is going to protracted, there are models for it to work.
Kosovo is one of them, Bosnia are another. But there are also examples,
many examples where this is going on and on. And Congress is boxing
itself in, not boxing the president in.

SHARPTON: Karen, a lot of people are concerned is this potentially
another Iraq. The president emphasized again today that this is not the
same as the Iraq war. Listen.


OBAMA: Keep in mind I`m somebody who opposed the war in Iraq. And am
not interested in repeating mistakes of us basing decisions on faulty
intelligence. But having done a thorough evaluation of the information
that is credible, I can say with high confidence chemical weapons were


SHARPTON: Now, with the president`s red line, why was there no call
for military response in (INAUDIBLE)? But before we get to that, Karen,
tell me your response on the president deal in Iraq.

FINNEY: well, I mean, a couple of things, Rev.

I believe and I have great respect for the president, Secretary Kerry,
everyone. I mean, I believe that they believe the intelligence that they
are seeing. I believe they believe this is a way to go in and to try to
send a message to Assad. The problem is as we all know, we saw it in Iraq
where we weren`t prepared for counterinsurgency. We are seeing it in
Afghanistan. We are seeing Iraq sort of crumble before our very eyes.
There is a sort of what happens next that we can`t predict. Then that`s
where the questions are.

So, as much as I believe the president that his intention at this
moment is no boots on the ground, no quagmire like we saw in Iraq, I think
the concern is how do we know that is not going to happen? Because as
Richard was saying, if we are not going to have political change on the
ground in Syria, then essentially we`re sort of putting off, you know, an
on-going failed state that creates a real problem in the region.

SHARPTON: Now, Richard, I agree with the president going to congress,
even though I don`t deal with the military intervention. I think it`s the
right thing to do. But it`s gotten ugly first day that the Congress is
getting involved. Some Republicans tried to make this debate about the
president, not about Syria.

Listen to Congressman Joe Wilson who infamously shouted "you lie"
during the presidential address in 2009. Listen to Joe Wilson.


REP. JOE WILSON (R), NORTH CAROLINA: With the president`s red line,
why was there no call for military response in April? Was it delayed to
divert attention today from the Benghazi, IRS, NSA scandals, the failure of
Obamacare enforcement, the tragedy of the White House has trap the
sequestration, or the upcoming debt limit vote?


SHARPTON: So what Wilson is trying to say, well, I was going with
Karen. Is he saying when the president first brought out this red line,
why didn`t we have military action then? Because now we`re calling for it
so we can divert attention from the attack in Benghazi where the American
diplomats was killed or from the NSA scandal or the IRS scandal or the
failure of Obamacare. I mean, he actually said today in public with folk
watching that maybe this was timed because we wanted to divert attention
from Benghazi, IRS, et cetera. It doesn`t get much more uglier than that.

WOLFFE: Yes. It was the IRS. We may as well throw up our hands and
say it was all about the IRS. He is actually going to military strikes to
the IRS. Look, you know, you wonder if Joe Wilson could actually go any
lower than he did before? And it turns out that even when he`s reading
from talking points, yes, he can go actually lower.

I do think that if you look at the totality of house Republicans, this
is an interesting dynamic going on about how this is going across the party
lines and the fault lines exposing those fault lines within the party.

You have got the house Republican leadership coming out here along
with Nancy Pelosi saying yes, we agree, obviously for different reasons.
Joe Wilson is even more of an outlier to the same part of what`s left of
the Republican Party than he was before. I don`t think it`s challenging on
a political basis for the president. What looked like a tremendous gamble
over the weekend now looks a lot safer in the politics and foreign policy
still a huge gamble.

SHARPTON: No, the politics is much different.

Richard Wolffe, Karen Finney, thank you for your time tonight.

And watch "Disrupt" with Karen Finney weekends at 4:00 p.m. eastern
right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, look out America. Donald Rumsfeld is trying to give you
some advice. The GOP`s convenient amnesia when it comes to Iraq.

Plus, the secretary of explaining stuff. Former president Bill
Clinton today selling president Obama`s health care law. We will tell you
what he said about the Republicans.

And the stunning suicide of Ariel Castro. How could this happen? And
what are the victims saying tonight?

Also, what`s on your mind? E-mail me. Friend or foe, I want to know.
"Reply Al" is ahead.


SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will.

Today, people were looking forward to hearing President Obama`s
secretary of explaining stuff talk about health form.

Tisha says these two men working together are unstoppable.

Vickie says great move. They need to keep it up.

Patricia says I am glad he is going to explain the facts about the
affordable care act and stop the lying by the Republicans.

Well, we will see about that.

We have got more from President Clinton`s big speech coming up next.

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



something. Are we better off because President Obama fought for health
care reform? You bet we are.


SHARPTON: Former president Clinton`s speech at the Democratic
convention last year led to president Obama giving him a new title,
secretary of explaining stuff. The title fit and the role stuck. Today,
the secretary was back at it in a speech at his presidential library in
Arkansas, he made the case for President Obama`s health care law.


CLINTON: More than three million young adults under 26 like
(INAUDIBLE), now have health care coverage on their parents` plan. 6.6
million Seniors pay less for prescription drugs. 105 million Americans
have seen the limits, the lifetime limits on their insurance coverage
abolished. 27 million women, 26 million men have been extended preventive
benefits with no cost sharing. 17 million children with preexisting
conditions -- 17 million can no longer be denied coverage or charged higher
rates for it.


SHARPTON: The former president also took aim at right wingers trying
to block the law.


CLINTON: In Congress there have been 40 votes to repeal this law, but
no real alternatives presented to fix the current system. We are going to
do better working together and learning together than we will trying over
and over again to repeal the law or rooting for reform to fail. We all get
paid to show up for work.


SHARPTON: We are now less than a month from the last major piece of
the health care law going into effect. The sooner the GOP gets on board
and the misinformation stops, the better for everyone.

Joining me now are Margie Omero and Ryan Grim.

Thank you for coming on the show.


SHARPTON: So Margie, will the secretary of explaining stuff help cut
through all the GOP misinformation about this law?

OMERO: Well, it will certainly help for two main reasons. The first
is he gets coverage, and the second is he`s incredibly credible. He`s
popular. The last poll I saw showed former president Clinton with 71
percent favorability rating. So when he talks, people listen to him and
listen to what he has to say. And that speech, however, I will point out
is not like his convention speech. It was really more of a policy speech.
And I think that underscores that this shouldn`t be about politics. It
shouldn`t be about the political back and forth.

We`re now getting to the sign-up time, October 1st, and it`s important
to really spell out the important changes that Obamacare will have for
people who really need it. Rather than the politics that you see on the
other side where people deliberately say I`m an obstructionist or I`m going
to take votes that aren`t going anywhere. And it`s taking -- people`s
lives are at stake. And it`s costing taxpayers money just to perpetuate
that political back and forth.

SHARPTON: Now, it was not, Ryan, a speech like the democratic
convention speech. It was a policy speech. And he made the case that the
new law is a big upgrade from our current system. Watch this.


CLINTON: It`s better than the current system which is unaffordable
and downright unhealthy for millions of Americans. Number two, it gives
states the chance to devise programs that work best for them and their
populations. This does give us the best chance we have had to achieve
nearly universal coverage, provide higher quality health care, and lower
the rate of cost increases which we have got to do in a competitive global


SHARPTON: To compare it to our present system, is that the way to
help sell this, Ryan?

that`s one of the, you know, the most unspoken -- one of the biggest
unspoken problems that the Republicans have is that they kept saying far
long time we`re going to repeal and replace, repeal and replace. But we
saw the repeal 40 times but they have since dropped even the pretense that
they`re going to replace it with anything which means that they`re backing
the status quo system. And nobody who has experienced the health care
system and that`s just top one percent and that is everyone. That is all
of the 99 percent can say that that system works. You know, the costs are
out of control and outcomes are poor. I mean, there`s just no question
that -- and people understand that in a visceral way because they have
experienced that.

And I think what you`re going to see after October 1st is not just the
campaign from Clinton and other Democrats, but a real word of mouth
campaign where people start saying hey, you know, I just got health
insurance for my entire family for $250. $250 for the month? No, $250 for
the whole year. And they will say where can I get that? And I think that
kind of thing is just going to go from person to person and you`re going to
see a lot of signups. And that`s what Republicans are worried about.

SHARPTON: But, you know, Margie, tea party senator Marco Rubio is
calling for TV ads about Obamacare to be canceled. The ads will go up in
16 different metro areas and help explain the law to millions of people.
But senator Rubio says they are a blatant misuse of federal funds. At the
same time 80 house Republicans are now urging speaker Boehner to block
funding for Obama care. So the opposition is still there and still trying
to stop this.

OMERO: Yes. It`s terrible. I mean, really they are trying to make a
political point. They want Obamacare to fail because that will hurt the
president. But really it`s going to hurt their own constituents who need
this help. They need lower cost affordable health care. They need it to
survive. They need it so their children can go to the doctor. And it`s
unconscionable that people would use children and families really as a pawn
in a political game. It`s really outrageous and people should be outraged.
And unfortunately, there are a lot of folks working on getting people to
sign up. They are going out in communities, they are going door to door,
they are going to neighborhood festivals and county fairs to get people to
sign up.

And Ryan`s right. It`s going to take some time for people to have
some personal experiences. Health care is complicated. It`s complicated
for me navigating for my own family. And it`s complicated for a lot of
people navigating for their own family. Of course, it is complicated to
think about what reform is like nationally. And so, it`s just going to
take time for people to have personal experience.

SHARPTON: No, it is complicated and there is opposition.

But yet, Ryan, Americans are firmly opposed to defunding Obamacare. A
new poll out today shows just six percent of registered voters favored the
defunding and delaying of the health care law.

GRIM: And what`s so amazing and what`s so silly about this entire
national conversation is that Republicans can`t defund Obamacare. You
know, the Republican base seems to think that if they shut the government
down, then therefore there is no money for Obamacare.

I can understand why logically you would believe that, but what they
don`t understand is there`s a difference between mandatory spending and
discretionary spending. It`s complicated, but this is mandatory spending
which means that even if the government shuts down, they can close all the
parks, all the federal buildings. The mandatory money for Obamacare keeps
flowing. So the only way they could shut down Obamacare is to pass a bill
through the house, through the Senate, and have the president sign it into
law and that just is not going to happen.

SHARPTON: Yes. And you would think members of Congress would know
how it works.

Let me ask you talking about Congress, Ryan, while I have you, a
headline that you wrote. Former Boehner aide and GOP sources expect house
speaker will step down after the 2014 election. You wrote this story today
in the "Huffington Post." What can you tell us?

GRIM: Well, Boehner has a lot of reasons for wanting to step down
after 2014. It`s not the same job running the house that it used to be.
It`s awfully difficult. And, you know, he likes to live the good life. So
while he has plenty of reasons on that hand, on the other hand, he -- it`s
very unlikely that he could even win another election for speaker. If you
remember, he only won it by two votes. He got 220 votes last time and a
lot of the tea partiers sort of pulled back at the last minute last time
and said look, OK, we are going to give you a pass this time. Here`s two
more years.

If a handful -- if three more tea partiers, that`s all it takes, say
look, we are not supporting speaker Boehner, then he doesn`t become speaker
because you need an absolute majority. And there`s no indication and the
people around Boehner don`t believe that they have that amount of support
after coming though --look what he`s got to deal with -- the Syria vote,
immigration reform, debt ceiling, government shutdown. So even if he could
get it now, it`s extremely unlikely that he can find the votes.

SHARPTON: Well, has Boehner`s office responded to you On the Record
at all on this?

GRIM: They did. They id, you know, Boehner has said publicly that he
intends to stay in his position and that`s their public position. And also
they have to say that if he doesn`t fundraising, if doesn`t keep up all the
pretenses that he`s staying next term, he immediately loses all of his
power. So you have to say that you`re staying.

SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to have you leave it there.

Ryan Grim and Margie Omero, thanks for your time tonight.

OMERO: Thank you.

GRIM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the mission accomplished gang is giving us advice on
Syria. Donald Rumsfeld is back and has the gall to take pot shots at
president Obama.

Plus, the suicide of Ariel Castro. We`ll go live to Cleveland to find
out exactly what happened in that prison cell. And what Castro`s victims
are saying tonight. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Who was the last person Americans should listen to when it
comes to military actions overseas? How about Donald Rumsfeld? One of the
architects of the Iraq war is back and he`s giving America some advice when
it comes to Syria. That`s next.


SHARPTON: No matter way you stand on the situation in Syria, there`s
one person who`s not worth listening to. Former Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld. The man who planned the Iraq war. But today, he had the nerve
to criticize President Obama.


really is clarity and a vision. And there hasn`t been one. The so-called
commander in chief has not been acting as a commander in chief. These not
provided leadership.


SHARPTON: Rumsfeld today doubling down on the attacks he made against
President Obama last night.


RUMSFELD: The president is not, in my view, providing the kind of
leadership that I think almost any president in my adult lifetime would be
providing. Now, why do people criticize this? Well, you want to blame
somebody. If you want to learn how to blame, watch your president. This
is one time you`d like to see him suck it up and take responsibility for


SHARPTON: Take responsibility for something? That`s laughable.
Because Rumsfeld never took responsibility for the disaster of the Iraq


RUMSFELD: There are known knowns. There are things we know we know.

It could last, you know, six days, six weeks, I doubt six months.

There are known unknowns. We know there are some things we do not
know. As you know, you go war with the army you have. Not the army you
might want or wish to have at a later time.

But there are also unknown unknowns. The ones we don`t know we don`t


SHARPTON: Turns out, there were a lot of things Donald Rumsfeld
didn`t know. And whatever you think about getting involved in Syria, he`s
the last person the American people should listen to. Right now too many
Republicans have developed a case of convenient amnesia. Forgetting the
lessons of Iraq and ducking the tough questions on Syria.

Joining me now are former Congressman Patrick Murphy and Cynthia
Tucker. Thank you both for your time.



SHARPTON: Congressman, Donald Rumsfeld on taking responsibility, I
mean is there anything more pathetic?

MURPHY: Rev., there really is not. I mean, it`s not just amnesia
about the Iraq war. But look ten years earlier, Saddam Hussein used
chemical weapons on his own people, that was in the 1990s. In the 1980s,
Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons on the Iranians. And Iraq, Saddam
Hussein at time was getting materials under President Reagan where Donald
Rumsfeld served under. I mean, to me it`s like bizarre-o-world. These
gentlemen like Rumsfeld and Cheney, you know, these folks were so eager to
get us in every single war, every single foreign entanglement don`t know
their history.

SHARPTON: Now, Cynthia, when you look at the right wing pundits, they
seem they have forgotten Rumsfeld role, the role he played in the Iraq war.
Listen to one of the questions he was asked on FOX this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You know that Senator Kerry has called them a
friend and you know that Hillary Clinton`s called them an agent for change.
Do you blame Assad for getting mixed signals for the very people now asking
for war from the people that once put their friendship out?


SHARPTON: Cynthia? I mean, it`s incredible to me.

TUCKER: On the subject of hand of friendship, it`s incredible to me,
Rev. Rumsfeld and Cheney deserve a place in the hall of fame for people
who have the most incredible gall. You know, there is an infamous photo of
Donald Rumsfeld in the 1980s shaking Saddam Hussein`s hand.

SHARPTON: Sure. We have it on screen right now. We can show you
that. Right there. That`s right.

TUCKER: And he has the nerve to talk about the hand of friendship?
But, you know, none of these -- none of the Republicans -- not Cheney, not
Rumsfeld, not any of the Republicans in Congress have been able to utter
the word Iraq.


TUCKER: It hangs over this entire debate, but none of them -- I guess
they think we all have forgotten about what a disaster it was that a
republican president and Cheney and Rumsfeld led us into.

SHARPTON: Well, that`s the point. That is why I think we must make
sure we don`t forget the lessons. And it seems to me the more I hear,
Congressman, the more it seems that Republicans have lost their way on
foreign policy. They really don`t have a clear focus and a clear vision on
what their foreign policy is. Whether I agree with it or not, they seem to
be all over the place. And more beating up on President Obama than laying
out a real plan pro or con on what to do with our foreign policy.

MURPHY: That`s right, Rev. I mean, that the Republicans are like the
Hatfields and McCoys when it comes to foreign policy. They are all over
the map. They have the neocons who are pushing not just for a targeted
strike but some other almost some boots on the ground actions versus the
Rand Paul -- who were isolationists.


MURPHY: And they are over the map. And the problem is that they`re
only unified by pointing at Barack Obama. And they forget their own
history. As Cynthia just said in that picture you just showed, in 1980,
the Iraq people -- Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against the
Iranians. Nineteen ninety, Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons on his own
people. Bush and Cheney, you know, the Reagan and Bush here, they didn`t
do anything about it. And then now that Barack Obama is in charge, they`re
pointing, calling them freckles saying the so-called commander in chief.
How disrespectful? How disrespectful doing this time?

SHARPTON: And then you`re going back in flip-flopping. Look at Sean
Hannity. Last week he pushed back when he heard that President Obama did
need Congressional approval on Syria. Listen to this, Cynthia.


ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "MUGGED": I don`t think the president does have
to go to Congress to bomb someone. He`s the commander in chief under the
constitution. If it were necessary, a commander in chief could do it. I
do not -- well, I`m right. So let`s just leave it there and move on.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: I disagree, but go ahead.


SHARPTON: But listen to what he said once the President did go to
Congress, Cynthia.


HANNITY: Why now? Is he trying to push the blame if this goes wrong
onto you guys in the House and Senate?


SHARPTON: Now, last week the President should go to Congress. But
when he does, he`s using them as a scapegoat. I mean, that`s a big change
of heart in a week, Cynthia.

TUCKER: Well, they`re capable of changing their minds in a few days
or a few hours. Whatever the president is for, they`re against. If they
were for it yesterday and the president decides he`s for it, then they`re
against it. I mean, there are a couple of other Republicans who have been
notorious for that Inhofe.


TUCKER: Last year was calling on the President to enforce this red
line against Syria. And now he`s saying he, you know, he doesn`t want to
support the President on this. So when the President didn`t seem to be
inclined to take military action, there were Republicans criticizing him
for that. Now that he seems inclined towards military action, some of the
very same Republicans are still criticizing him so the only foreign policy
they have is if the president is for it, we`re against it.

SHARPTON: And, you know, the thing that is alarming is they get
bizarre, Congressman. Rush Limbaugh has another theory on why Republicans
are in such disarray. Listen to the head of the Republican Party, Mr.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The Republicans/conservative
right is just as confused about all of this because they`re scared to death
to say or do anything critical of Obama. They`re just paralyzed. And we
all have a pretty good guess why that is. And it`s race.


SHARPTON: So they don`t know what to do about Syria because the
President is black. I mean, this is as bizarre as it gets.

MURPHY: It is bizarre. It`s bizarre world. I mean, they are not
paralyzed. They are unified in being against whatever President Obama is
for. And the proof is in the pudding, Reverend. They were for health care
when it was Mitt Romney`s governor and it was a heritage idea. But when
Barack Obama became president, they were against it. Immigration, the
chamber commerce and labor are for immigration reform.


MURPHY: Now the Republicans are against it. And now with foreign
policy. Foreign policy should be the last place they`re playing politics.
Because we`re talking about the sons and daughters of Americans.

SHARPTON: But they`re afraid to be critical, Congressman, because of
race. Because he`s black. If they`re afraid to be critical, then I`d hate
to see them when they start being critical.

MURPHY: Yes. I don`t know what newspapers Rush Limbaugh is reading
out there in Missouri, but sure they`re ain`t the one are in Pennsylvania
where I live.

SHARPTON: Former Congressman Patrick Murphy, Pulitzer-Prize winner
Cynthia Tucker, thank you both for your time.

MURPHY: Thank you.

TUCKER: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Ahead, serious questions about the suicide of Ariel Castro.
How it happened and what his victims are saying tonight.

But first, advancing the dream. What happened to that little rock
nine? Those that we called the little rock nine on this day all those
years ago? And what it means in the fight for equality today. Stay with


SHARPTON: Half a century ago today, a major moment in the fight for
civil rights. On this day in 1957, Arkansas segregationist governor called
in the National Guard to stop nine black students from entering Little Rock
High School. He was defying the Supreme Court of the United States which
had issued the Brown versus Board of Education decision striking down
separate but equal doctrine in American schools. It wasn`t until later
that September when President Eisenhower sent in federal troops that nine
teenagers were able to attend the school.

The Little Rock nine as they came to be called changed the course of
this country`s history forever. That`s what progress looks like. People
fighting for what`s right with the courage of their convictions. At the
march on Washington 50 years ago, Americans join hands to recognize a dream
of equality. Now we`re looking ahead to the next 50 years. Advancing the
dream for generations to come. That`s why I`m hosting a special show this
Friday night live from the Apollo Theater to celebrate how far we`ve come
and yet the work that is yet to be done.

Join me along with Magic Johnson, Stevie Wonder, Tyler Perry, and
Condoleezza Rice for an MSNBC special "Advancing the Dream" live from the
Apollo. This Friday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. We hope to see you there.


ARIEL CASTRO, CLEVELAND KIDNAPPER: I am not a violent predator as
they say. I`m not a monster. I`m a normal person. I am just sick. I
have an addiction. Just like an alcoholic has an addiction.


SHARPTON: The story of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro rocked the
country. And we woke up this morning to another shocking turn. Castro was
found dead in his prison cell. An apparent suicide. The coroner believes
he hung himself using a bed sheet from his cell. He had served just one
month of a life sentence of plus-1,000 years for the abduction and repeated
rape of three young Ohio women. For his three victims, this yet another
way in which the system has failed them. They were held captive for
decades in a house of horrors without ever being found. That is until one
of them Amanda Berry made this frantic phone call to police.


DISPATCHER: Cleveland 911.

AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAP VICTIM: Hello police. Help me. I`m Amanda

DISPATCHER: You need police, fire or ambulance?

BERRY: I need police.

DISPATCHER: OK. And what`s going on there?

BERRY: I`ve been kidnapped. And I`ve been missing for ten years.
And I`m here. I`m free now.


SHARPTON: Yes, they are free. And today their captor is dead. But
once again, the system has failed them denying them the justice they
sought. The question is how did this happen?

Joining me now is someone who`s been following this case from the very
beginning Scott Taylor, investigative reporter with WOIO-TV in Cleveland.
And Wendy Murphy, a former child abuse and sex crimes prosecutor. Thank
you both for coming on the show tonight.



SHARPTON: Scott, you`ve been making calls on the story all day. What
can you tell us?

TAYLOR: Well, I can tell you I think the Ohio prison system has a big
problem on their hand. It`s a maximum security prison. Ariel Castro was
in a cell by himself 12 by 8 feet. He just had a bunk in there. State law
gives him hygiene products and also a uniform, a top and a bottom, and a
bed sheet. Somehow he took that bed sheet, wrapped it around his neck
according to the coroner`s office and killed himself.

But how in the world does this happen? He was not under suicide
watch. What they were doing is visiting him every 30 minutes to check on
him. Last night about 9:00, I believe he was there. He was checked on.
Then he had a 20-minute window, Reverend. And this is where things get
really strange. You know, this guy is a master manipulator.


TAYLOR: He is a tough cookie. And on top of that, he is a control
freak. So I think he wanted to get to the state prison, things relaxed on
the security, and then he would decide who kills him, how he dies, and
when. And he wanted that to be Ariel Castro on all three.

SHARPTON: Now, Scott, we`ve got details today on the conditions.
Some of what you have outlined. Castro was held in, he was not on suicide
watch. He was in a cell by himself. Guards made rounds every 30 minutes.
And his attorney says a request for a psychological evaluation was denied.
Now, was the system doing what was appropriate to prevent a suicide here?

TAYLOR: Well, I would think that a judge, a court would put some type
of psychological test with them. Though, you saw in court during his
sentencing, the judge believed that he was saying -- the psychologist
believed he was saying, they almost basically were calling him evil. You
would tests would be made. But you know, this guy again is a great actor.
I think he fooled the people here in Cleveland when he was here for three
months. He was on what`s called suicide precaution. Never a suicide
watch. They never thought he was going to hurt himself, but he was a high-
profile inmate so they wanted to get him to court. Then he decided to go
to -- you know, and fool these people on the state level. And I think they
bought it hook line and sinker.

SHARPTON: Now, Wendy, at Castro`s trial, a letter he wrote was
displayed where he admitted quote, I am a sexual predator. Some have
called that a suicide note. What do you think? Authorities have been
aware that Castro was a suicide risk, Wendy.

MURPHY: Yes. I mean, back in June he was being treated as a prisoner
at risk for suicide. And remember that was before he was found guilty and
put on display for the entire world to watch when he made those wild
remarks in court and was found guilty of being a monster no matter what he
said. You would think that if he was on suicide watch in June that it
would have been an even greater risk after he was found guilty and sent off
to prison. Something doesn`t seem right here.

And I don`t feel bad for the guy. Frankly, after that performance in
court in early August, if I can speak for most people in this country, I
would have kicked him in the perverted man parts myself and knocked the guy
dead if I could have. Because that`s how angry I felt. But it`s different
when you are in state custody. The government owns you and they have a
special duty to protect you.

So I -- you know, I`m still suspicious. I`m dubious that we`ve heard
the whole story yet. Look, maybe he did want to die. He didn`t strike me
as a guy who felt so bad. He`d struck me as a guy who couldn`t have cared
less about anybody especially his victims. And that`s not really the type
who you think is going to kill himself. Now, whether somebody else got to
him, I don`t know. Possibility.

SHARPTON: Well, Scott, talking about victims. At his sentencing last
month, Michelle Knight, one of the women he held captive had this to say.
Listen to this.


MICHELLE KNIGHT, KIDNAP VICTIM: The death penalty would be so much
easier. You don`t deserve that. You deserve to spend life in prison. I
have forgave you, but I will never forget. I spent 11 years in hell. Now
your hell is just beginning.


SHARPTON: How devastating is this for the victims, Scott?

TAYLOR: Well, I think they`re quite upset over this. They believed
in the justice system. They always said that listen, we want the justice
system to play out. We want this man to go away for the rest of his life.
Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus, Michelle Knight made it very clear they weren`t
interested in the death penalty. They wanted him to spend the rest of his
life in jail. And Michelle made it very, very clear. I`m going to
continue to enjoy my life every single day and while you`re in prison
you`re going to die a little bit every single day.

SHARPTON: You know, Wendy, from 2001 to 2011, there were 63 suicides
committed at Ohio state prisons. Not a whole lot. And clearly this had to
be probably the most high-profile prisoner they`ve had since 2001.

MURPHY: Yes. I mean, it does happen. People do get away with
committing suicide. Sometimes murder happens in prison. We certainly know
that there are crimes that occur there despite all the watchful eyes of
guards. And you know, it`s just so creepy to imagine that if you can`t be
protected from killing yourself in prison where you are supposedly such an
important prisoner that everybody is watching you extra, then, you know,
I`m not sure everybody`s doing their job. No one should be able to commit
suicide in prison. It`s not asking a lot to be able to at least keep these
guys alive.

SHARPTON: Yes. That`s a good point.

MURPHY: I mean, they`re in open cells with bars. You know, they
can`t hide. It doesn`t make sense to me.

SHARPTON: I`ve got to go. Thank you. It`s a good point. Thank you
Wendy Murphy, Scott Taylor. A gruesome story, but thank you for coming to
discuss it. We`ll be right back with "Reply Al."


SHARPTON: It`s time for Reply Al. Remember, friend or foe I want to
know. You know, when I was coming in the building today a man stopped and
said to me Reverend Al, tell me something you do that nobody knows you do.
Two things. I told him I would answer them on the air. I love to read.
And the other thing I like to do, I`m not going to tell you. Those that
know won`t tell and those that tell don`t know.

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


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