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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

October 8, 2013
Guest: Donna Edwards, Richard Wolffe, Krystal Ball

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to
you for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, dishonoring our fallen heroes. This Republican
shutdown of the government has created a new outrage that`s shocked the
conscience of the nation. NBC News reports since the shutdown, the
military has been unable to pay death benefits to the families of U.S.
troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

This is marine lance corporal Jeremiah Collins. His family called him
Jay. Jay died Saturday while serving in Afghanistan. Corporal Collins was
just 19-years-old. His body was returned to Dover Air Force Base in
Delaware yesterday. By now, his mother should have received a death
benefit from the military. But instead, she`s gotten nothing.


this pain. For the sacrifice that our kids are making at the age that
they`re making them, I don`t understand how this can be a benefit that`s
withheld. I will not -- I won`t ever understand it.


SHARPTON: This poor lady, this poor mother, this poor heartbroken
woman didn`t get anything for her son`s sacrifice. Families of fallen
troops are supposed to receive $100,000 death gratuity immediately after
their loved one`s death to help them in the midst of their tragedy.

Five service members were killed in Afghanistan this weekend. None of
their families got this benefit. None.

This is reprehensible. America is better than this. And today
Republican Senator John McCain, a former POW in Vietnam, spoke out against


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Shouldn`t we be embarrassed about
this? Shouldn`t we be ashamed? What do the American people think when
they see that death benefit for those who served and sacrificed in the most
honorable way are not even -- their families are not even eligible for
death benefits. I`m ashamed. I`m embarrassed. All of us should be.


SHARPTON: It`s shameful. This Republican government shutdown has
created this injustice. It`s dishonored the memory of our fallen troops.
Republicans need to end this government shutdown now.

Joining me now are two veterans. Former congressman Patrick Murphy,
the first Iraq war vet elected to Congress and Goldie Taylor, a former
member of the United States Marine Corps.

Thank you both for joining me.



SHARPTON: Congressman, what`s your reaction to this?

MURPHY: I think it`s disgusting. They should be embarrassed. This
Republican shutdown is now screwing with our military families who have
lost their loved ones overseas. I know you talked about Jay Collins,
Reverend. I think about Ashley Peters who lost her husband Jeremy this
weekend who is a stay-at-home mom in Springfield, Montana, who has a son at
home. She was one of those who didn`t get the death benefits, who can`t
have the reception at the memorial service, who is now struggling who at
her darkest moments. The government`s not there for them because the
Republicans in Congress won`t put it up for a vote. Just vote. Just put a
clean CR, let`s get on with this.

Senator McCain is right. Him and the (INAUDIBLE) should take Ted Cruz
after the wood shaved and have a conversation with him.

SHARPTON: Goldie, it is alarming, it is startling. When you look at
the fact of the death benefits not being paid to the family of fallen
troops during the shutdown, housing allowance, burial expenses, travel
expenses. I mean, this is outrageous. The mother of that fallen marine
talked about the stress of paying for the burial. Listen to Shannon


COLLINS: I think we need to remember that these young men and women
are going to places that the majority of us would not sign up to go to.
And the one thing they deserve is to be guaranteed the benefits. Families
shouldn`t have to worry about how they`re going to bury their child.


SHARPTON: These people, this is not about foreign policy, this is not
about what our view of what engagements we are involved in. This is about
people standing up representing the country that lose their lives.


Reverend al, time and time again, the people who are losing their
lives on the front line happen to be our children. They are 18, 19, 20-
years-old by and large. I remember the day that a battalion of nearly a
darn squad in a Navy men came down my front driveway because my nephew
Teddy had been killed in the line of duty.

You know, there is nothing, nothing like a Navy chaplain showing up at
your front door to tell you in person that your loved one is gone. And
then not to have the death benefit paid right away so you can bury them
respectfully, that you can bring your family together in an earnest and
meaningful way to salute your young fallen sailor or your young fallen
soldier, it`s simply immoral.

At the end of the day, it`s about this. They are out to pick winners
and losers. And right now our servicemen and women are losing on any
number of fronts. This isn`t just about wages for uniformed people. This
is about travel. This is about death benefits. This is about our
readiness as a military to confront the challenges that we face around the

And so, I say to these Republican house members, put it on the floor.
Let`s vote tonight on a clean CR.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you Congressman. You know, when confronted with
this, John Boehner seemed to blame the military for not making these
payments. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Can you tell us, please, what would you
say to military families who`ve been denied death benefits due to the

Congress passed the pay our military benefits act. We gave broad authority
to the department of defense to pay all kinds of bills including this. And
frankly, I think it`s disgraceful that they`re withholding these benefits.


SHARPTON: Now, the Pentagon says they don`t have the legal authority
to pay these benefits during the shutdown. So wasn`t it disgraceful, I
mean really disgraceful for Republicans to shut down the government in the
first place given these implications?

MURPHY: Absolutely, Reverend. Absolutely. But you got to
understand, Goldie and I were one of those select few that served in the
military. It`s about one percent of America that serves and goes overseas.
John Boehner`s not part of that. He doesn`t understand that these five
families that lost their loved ones this weekend in Afghanistan don`t have
the death benefits. He doesn`t understand that the VA just closed down 56
centers, educational centers. He doesn`t understand they shut down
regional centers in the VA. He doesn`t understand that every day 1,000
veterans will get their claims backlogged because they had over 3500 folks
laid off.

It`s a disgrace what`s gone on. And I don`t want care if your viewers
are Democrat or Republican. They should get on the phone, they should let
their folks know those members of Congress know especially those Republican
members of Congress know don`t be hood winked by the Ted Cruz tea party
wing of your party.

Be America first. Put the country first over the disgraceful politics
that we see right now in Washington, D.C.

SHARPTON: But speaking of Ted Cruz, let me remind you of this,
Goldie. Ted Cruz, Senator Ted Cruz, he trotted down to the World War II
memorial to pose for photos with veterans. Then he went right back to the
Senate floor and said this.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We ought to be able to say regardless of
what happens in the battle over the shutdown, our veterans should be beyond
politics. Why would the Senate want to hold veterans hostage? Because of
disagreements over Obama.


SHARPTON: Now, he`s the one that led the shutdown. How can he
accuses Democrats of holding veterans hostage?

TAYLOR: You know, I`m beginning to question if Ted Cruz has a single
bone of integrity in his entire body. To say that Democrats are the cause
for this government shutdown is one of the most despicable things I have
ever heard. It is a fact that they got together and planned this
particular tactic to get their own way, to try and undo a law that is
certainly the law of the land.

Look, I want my baseball cards to won the 2012 World Series, but the
giants aren`t going to give it back to me. And so, at the end of the day
we really, really, really have to tell Ted Cruz and the entire caucus to
understand and they need to put a bill on the floor tonight that reopens
this government, they need to raise this debt limit without even putting
our veterans, our service members at risk. They need to do it and do it
right now.

SHARPTON: Congressman, President Obama told John Boehner it`s time to
stop the excuses on the shutdown. Listen to this.


speaker has been and will continue to be let`s stop the excuses. Let`s
take a vote in the house. Let`s end this shutdown right now. Let`s put
people back to work. There are enough reasonable Republicans and Democrats
in the House who are willing to vote yes on a budget that the Senate has
already passed. That vote could take place today. Shutdown would be over.


SHARPTON: Congressman, do you agree with the president?

MURPHY: Yes. The shutdown, Rev., would be over. I mean, what I get
frustrated like a lot of Americans that have been following this, about one
month ago Eric Cantor, the majority leader, the Republican majority leader
in the house said if we get a clean CR, continuing resolution bill, we will
vote for it. Because it makes the president want spending levels here,
it`s lower than that.

They are getting the CR that they wanted a month ago, but they keep
moving the goal post. But now because, they are moving the goal post
because they are the ones, the Republicans, that are shutting down the
government. It is our military families, our military veterans who are
bearing the true cost of their politics.

SHARPTON: Well, I think that I`m going to have to leave it there, but
I don`t want to leave without saying, again, how disgraceful I think it is
that the shutdown causes grieving families of people that lost their lives
for all of us with not even the burial expenses to deal with their grief.
This should be inexcusable to all of us regardless of what political
ideology we subscribe to.

Thank you for your time.

MURPHY: I agree, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Thank you Patrick Murphy. Thank you Goldie Taylor.

Thank you both for your time tonight.

Ahead, why is speaker John Boehner refusing to take a vote to reopen
this government?

Plus last night, we revealed the secret big money plan to destroy
Obamacare. Today, President Obama went after those shadowy billions in a
very tough way.

And my book, "the Rejected Stone" is out today. Connie Chung
interviews me on my life and my evolution.

Also, friend or foe I want to know. E-mail me. "Reply Al" is ahead.


SHARPTON: Eight days in and the Republican shutdown is taking a
nationwide toll.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: About 90 percent of skyline chili`s
business comes from IRS workers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was pretty rough. Last week was really
rough. I had a day where I made, like, nine bucks total.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: That`s barely enough to support her two
children age seven and eleven.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Abby suffers from a Lease (ph) disease,
a rare incurable disorder that affects the central nervous system. Abby
was scheduled to participate in a new clinical trial at the National
Institute of Health. But 73 percent of NIH workers, more than 13,000
workers are furloughed due to the government shutdown. And new clinical
trials are on hold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: A teacher in the government-funded head
start program, Robinson has also lost her child care and has no savings.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m at a loss for words, really, about it because I`m
not used to not giving my kids a Christmas.


SHARPTON: And it`s the same story in community after community. In
California, officials can`t track a salmonella outbreak that sickened
almost 300 people.

In Kansas, farmers and ranchers can`t make basic business decisions.
Because they`re not getting critical information about the nation`s

In Arizona, thousands of employees are stranded inside Grand Canyon
national park without pay. A non-profit is delivering 1200 food boxes to
make sure they get something to eat.

But to the right wing pundits and politicians holed up in Washington,
D.C., it`s no big deal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the American people have seen this as a
government slowdown and not shutdown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People will recognize they can live with a lot
less government than what they thought they need.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If they`re going to sit this out for
two months or however long the president wants to be arrogant and not talk
to anybody, they`re going to sit it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are not --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- honestly, if you are on to nutritional
assistance from the federal government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a really important point to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The state of Arkansas could help out, localities
can help out, churches could help out. I believe that no one is going to
starve in Arkansas because of the shutdown.


SHARPTON: No one is going to starve because of the shutdown. Each
day the Republicans hold the government hostage, it causes real pain. It`s
past time for them to do something about it.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Democrat from Maryland.

Thanks for being here, Congresswoman.

REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: You met with some furloughed workers this week. What did
they tell you?

EDWARDS: I did. I can tell you first of all, from the pain of being
identified as nonessential and told not to come to work to the woman from
the environmental protection agency administration who is on furlough, and
she said that she takes care of her mother. That`s what she does in
addition to taking care of herself with her federal salary. So, she`s
worried about it.

To the woman who works at the department of health and human services
who has an 11-year-old who is at home who is a child with special needs.

I mean, all of these workers are really feeling the pain in addition
to the businesses that aren`t getting business. The real impact on our
local economy, and the impact on people`s lives. This isn`t just about
bureaucracy. It is actually about people.

SHARPTON: You know, President Obama left no doubt today, none, where
he stands, saying Republicans are guilty of extortion. Listen to this.


Republicans want to talk about these things again, I`m ready to head to the
hill and try. I will even spring for dinner again. But I`m not going to
do it until the more extreme parts of the Republican Party stop forcing
John Boehner to issue threats about our economy. We can`t make extortion
routine as part of our democracy.


SHARPTON: Is this extortion in your judgment, Congresswoman?

EDWARDS: Well, absolutely it is. And I think the president has
really made clear that this kind of recklessness is not only costing people
jobs, it`s not keeping our government open, and they are on the brink of
sinking our entire economy.

And so, we can`t allow the recklessness to continue. And there`s no
indication, frankly, that if the president were to give in to this
extortion now, that there wouldn`t be another ransom down the road.

And so, I think the president is right to say, you know what, we keep
our government open and can do that with a clean funding bill and we pay
our bills on time. And then, let`s sit down at the bargaining table and
talk about what other things we can negotiate fairly as for the American
people. But this is no way to do business. It`s reckless and
irresponsible, and on the Republicans` watch. This is their shutdown.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, you said wreck our economy. We are eight
days into the shutdown. We are only a few days before we have to deal with
raising the debt limit. How is this possibly going to lead to a ruining
our economy? If I`m sitting home, I`m not on the Beltway. Explain to me
why this is so dangerous.

EDWARDS: Well, I`ll tell you very simply. I mean, first of all, it`s
already cost $10 billion. Every week that the government is shut down,
actually, it costs taxpayers $10 billion. And then you add to that, you
know, when the government is shut down you may still get your Social
Security checks and your retirement checks. But when the debt ceiling is
reached and we default, you don`t get those checks at all. And so that is
really the difference between even a government shutdown and a default.
And it`s not an exaggeration.

I talked to bankers who are saying we are not able to lend. We saw
business start to go up and now it`s going down. We have seen what happen
to the markets. We saw in 2011 when they engaged in this exact same
recklessness that the stock market plummeted 17 percent. We are all in
danger of losing our retirement accounts again because of this

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Donna Edwards, thank you for your time

EDWARDS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, more fallout from the right wing`s secret plot
to take down Obamacare days after the second inauguration. Today, the
president sounded off on right wing this financing campaign. You will want
to hear this one.


SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama went right after the
conservative billionaires secretly pulling the strings. That incredible
moment next.


SHARPTON: We`re back with the remarkable moment from the president
today. It has to do with the explosive report we told you about last
night. "The New York Times" revealed this shutdown crisis was months in
the planning. It was a secret conservative scheme hatched days after the
president`s second term began. When a group of activists planned to cut
off funding for the entire federal government or get rid of ObamaCare. It
was largely bank rolled by conservative donors like the billionaire Koch
Brothers. Who`ve secretly poured millions into right wing groups? Well,
today President Obama took aim at that secret billionaire money in a way we
haven`t heard before. He went right after the ideologues who are
influencing our democracy.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I continue to belief that
Citizens United contributed to some of the problems we`re having in
Washington right now. You have some ideological extremists who has a big
bank roll and they can entirely skew our politics. And there are a whole
bunch of members of Congress right now who will privately tell you I know
our positions are unreasonable, but we`re scared that if we don`t go along
with the Tea Party agenda or the -- some particularly extremist agenda,
that we`ll be challenged from the right. And the threats are very
explicit. And so they tow the line.


SHARPTON: They tow the line. You wonder why Speaker Boehner is too
chicken to call a vote. He`s doing what the billionaire donors want.
Instead of doing what`s good for their constituents. And with the Supreme
Court hearing another case on campaign finance, President Obama won about
this continuing.


OBAMA: The latest case would go even further than Citizens United. I
mean, essentially it would say anything goes. There are no rules in terms
of how to finance campaigns. There aren`t a lot of functioning democracies
around the world that work this way. Where you can basically have
millionaires and billionaires bank rolling whoever they want however they
want and in some cases undisclosed, and what it means is ordinary Americans
are shut out of the process.


SHARPTON: Ordinary Americans have been shut out. But today the
president went after the political bullies. He went after the secret
money. And made it clear he`s fighting for our democracy.

Joining me now, Richard Wolffe, MSNBC.COM executive editor and author
of "The Message: The Reselling of President Obama." And Krystal Ball, co-
host of "THE CYCLE." Thank you both for being here.

KRYSTAL BALL, CO-HOST, "THE FIVE": Thank you for having us, Rev.

SHARPTON: You know, Krystal, it struck me hearing President Obama
attack the secret money right after that report revealing a secret scheme.
It was really striking for him to do that today.

BALL: It was. And especially with everything else that`s going on in
the country right now. But I think anyone, and I don`t care whether you
like ObamaCare, hate it, whether you`re conservative or democrat, I think
everyone should be terrified by the idea that a few billionaires can get
together in a cabal and eventually down the road just from then gin up
enough motion in Congress to shutdown the government and threaten a debt
default. I mean, that should be a terrifying idea.

And as the president pointed out, what`s really different is you see
these right wing ideological groups and it started with the club for
growth, and now we also have Tea Party Express and we have Heritage Action.
We have a proliferation of these groups that are willing to enforce purity
on the Republicans and challenge them from the right. It really has led to
a lot of the dysfunction we see in D.C.

SHARPTON: Yes. You know, Richard, I mentioned "The New York Times"
reported that a number of conservative groups met in D.C. to plot their
shutdown strategy. The group included billionaire right wing activists and
people who attended are still keeping the location of the meeting secret.
The meeting produced a blueprint to defunding ObamaCare. That called for
really shutting down the government over the health law. Now, Richard,
this is what the president is talking about. This is the politics that get
skewed. Right?

RICHARD WOLFFE, AUTHOR, "THE MESSAGE": Sure it is, but we`ve seen
this movie before. In the Clinton years it was called impeachment. Where
they didn`t know how to deal with a successful Democrat who could get re-
elected, so they come together in a pretty organized way with a singular
goal of not just gumming up a piece of legislation, but taking down a
presidency. That`s what really this is about. It is about something
bigger than actually this president at this point. It`s about
constitutional balance of power. But their goal here, look. They tried
this in the first term. Remember? They met on the eve of the first
inauguration to say how do we stop this guy?

We`re going to give him absolutely nothing. That didn`t work. Right.
OK. So they got back in the midterms. But the legislative agenda,
ObamaCare still went through and a whole bunch of other stuff. This is the
same again, but it`s even worse. They`re not just giving him any votes.
They`re saying we`re going to shut down -- honestly, it`s not just about
the shutdown anymore, it`s about the world economy. We`ll take down the
global financial markets just because of this president who won twice and
we can`t stand.

SHARPTON: And that`s really what we`re looking at. And, you know,
Krystal, this isn`t the first time President Obama has called out the Koch
Brothers. Last month we learned they bank rolled this creepy Uncle Sam ad
that told young people not to get insurance. Here`s what the president


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Some of the Tea Party`s
biggest donors, some of the wealthiest men in America are funding a
cynical ad campaign trying to convince young people not to buy health care
at all. I mean, think about it. These are billionaires several times
over, you know they`ve got good health care.


SHARPTON: I mean, when you really get down to this, Krystal, it`s
Obama versus the billionaires. You have billionaires literally trying to
scare young people from getting insurance and putting millions of dollars
into this scheme. And you have the president on the other side. This is
unprecedented in our history as a country.

BALL: Yes. That particular ad campaign, I just can`t -- it`s
unconscionable that you would spend money trying to convince young people
take the risk, right? Stay uninsured. Even though you could get this
great benefit from ObamaCare, we hate the president so much that we want
you to sacrifice yourself to the cause of defeating him and his agenda of
providing health insurance to millions of people. It`s unbelievable
particularly because conservatives have always been the ones that have said
if you don`t take personal responsibility for yourself and buy health
insurance and work to buy health insurance, then you deserve to get sick,
you deserve the consequences of what you get. And now they`re turning
around and trying to keep young people from buying health insurance. Back
to Richard`s point, just to undermine this president.

SHARPTON: But no president, Richard, that I can find in U.S. history
has had to face secret billionaires, almost unlimited money and trying to
push the law where it can be even more unlimited. Having this kind of bank
rolled secret opposition to him. No president has had to fight this.

WOLFFE: I mean, you`d have to go back to another era. Bill Clinton -
- you have to go back to the `30s and I mean, before that, the 1800 to find
something like that. But the scale of it is so strange. You know, Bill
Clinton had the right wing ideologues, really rich people going after him.
But the campaign finance limits meant it was much, much harder. Remember
`96 and all of the campaign finance allegations against the Clinton
campaign. This is a completely different scale. You`re talking about
billions of dollars in play. And that means, you know, it all sounds like
funny money, but it is obscene.

They could put money into building religious universities. I mean,
they could put money into hospitals and constitutions. Whatever they want.

SHARPTON: And literally, I mean, you`re not just imagining this
stuff. These are part of the schemes. And after Citizens United, the
door`s wide open and they have another campaign finance case in front of
the Supreme Court now. We don`t know if there`ll be any regulation at all,

BALL: Yes. And the sad fact of the matter is that the system is so
messed up to start with, that regardless of what the Supreme Court does in
this case, I mean, it has such a corrosive impact on our democracy,
ordinary citizens feel shut out and like they have no voice at all.

SHARPTON: Now, talking about what it does to our democracy, besides a
shutdown, Richard, we`re getting closer to a federal default. Economists
say that it would be catastrophic. But some Republicans say it would be no
big deal. Listen to this.


REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: I don`t think the credit of the United
States is going to be collapsed. I think that all this talk about a
default has been a lot of demagoguery. A lot of false demagoguery.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If you don`t raise the debt ceiling, what that
means is you`d have a balanced budget. It doesn`t mean you wouldn`t pay
your bills.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Anyone that uses the word default is being horribly

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This talk of default by the U.S. treasury is


SHARPTON: You know, what`s scary to me is not the pending
catastrophe, that is very frightening, let me not say it is not. But that
they act as though it`s no big thing which means to me they won`t even let
caution guide them while they`re playing these brinksmanship games.

WOLFFE: Reverend, it`s profoundly depressing that people who want to
play politics with something called a debt ceiling do not understand the
impact of playing politics with the debt ceiling.

BALL: It`s terrifying.

WOLFFE: Default is the actual result of not raising the debt ceiling.
They can paint it any which way they want. Standard & Poor`s downgraded
America`s credit last time around precisely because of this nonsense. They
haven`t learned any lessons. They`re going to find out the hard way,
unfortunately it`s going to be so much worse than not giving people health
care or shutting down the government. This will tank the world economy and
they are on the path to wrecking this place. And they think it`s no big

SHARPTON: The fact that they would wreck this economy, the fact that
they would on a global level render this country in such an untenable
position Krystal shows the kind of vociferous anti-Obama kind of political
hatred that they have against this president.

BALL: All to get their way. I mean, they lost the election right,
they lost ObamaCare in the Supreme Court, they lost at the ballot box. All
they could do now, they`ve exhausted all their constitutional options. The
last thing they could do is to break their rules to hold the country
hostage and they`ve decided to go in that direction. And they`re
pretending like it`s no big deal.

SHARPTON: Krystal Ball, Richard Wolffe, thank you both for your time

BALL: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: And catch Krystal on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
Eastern right here on MSNBC.

And one more note, we reached out to the Koch Brothers for comment
today. And have not heard back.

Ahead, I`m so excited about my new book "The Rejected Stone." It`s
out today. Connie Chung is here to interview me on my life. Stay tuned.


SHARPTON: Today, the president blamed the Republicans for shutting
down the government. New polls suggest that Americans increasingly agree
with him. Despite Speaker Boehner`s best efforts, Americans see right
through the GOP antics. A "Washington Post" poll shows 70 percent of the
nation disapproves of the way the Republicans are handling the shutdown.
There`s more. A national journal poll shows 69 percent disapprove. And if
that wasn`t enough, a CBS News poll shows 72 percent disapprove. The
president`s clear on this. And so are Americans. It`s time for
Republicans to see the light.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Today is an exciting day.
My new book is available today. It`s called "The Rejected Stone." And
just a short time ago, we flipped the tables and I asked a special guest to
interview me about the book.

CONNIE CHUNG, MSNBC ANCHOR: I`m Connie Chung, not Reverend Sharpton.
And I`m sitting here because I`m hosting this particular segment. Have you
ever heard someone say, oh, yes, Reverend Sharpton, I know him he`s that
loud mouthed troublemaker hustler from the hood. You know, the guy who
wears sweat suits and those gold medallions and he`s got that James Brown

Well, Reverend Sharpton did run for U.S. mayor, the U.S. Senate in the
`90s. Even president in 2004. A national civil rights leader who`s seen
with Bush, Clinton, Obama, Mandela, Shimon Farish (ph) and even Arafat.
Who is he? Is he really an ordained minister? Well, in fact, he started
preaching at his church when he was only four years old. They called him
the boy preacher, the wonder boy preacher. The Reverend Alfred Sharpton.
He even traveled the circuit on the road opening for the great gospel
singer Mahalia Jackson. Right?

SHARPTON: That`s right.

CHUNG: Now, do you grew up in a nice neighborhood in Queens? You had
a house, mom, dad, older sister. And everything was really pretty good.
Your father was in the construction business.

SHARPTON: Own a business. Yes.

CHUNG: Yes. And you had Cadillacs.

SHARPTON: Yes. He used to buy two a year. One for my mother, one
for him.

CHUNG: So you were a happy little guy. You even took your sister`s
dolls and lined them up as if they were sitting in pews and then you used
to practice.

SHARPTON: Yes. He -- my mother had built me a little church in the
basement and I`d line up and preach to my sister`s dolls. The best
congregation I ever had, by the way. They never complained.


CHUNG: You were kind of weird to your friends, but then one day
something terrible, terrible happened and it really shattered your world.
What happened?

SHARPTON: My father left the family, abandoned the family. My
stepsister and he had an affair.

CHUNG: This is separate from your --

SHARPTON: From my mother`s first marriage. And they moved out. And
this incestial relation lead to a total abandoned of the family. We stayed
in the house, my mother and my older sister and I as long as we could.

CHUNG: Couldn`t pay bills.

SHARPTON: Couldn`t pay bills. And I went from being this boy
preacher that everyone knew when they would passed Al, they would -- and
you`ve got to remember, I`m nine years old to the kid who didn`t have
lights and gas in the house. Had to do homework by candle light. And I
became, like, the laugh, the joke, the finger point. It was very
humiliating. But I think what was even more of -- I felt more abandoned by
my father. Because I looked up to my father. A successful businessman, I
looked like him, named after him. And he left me. I think it was --

CHUNG: You felt personally --

SHARPTON: I took it very personally. More than I wanted to admit
growing up, I think.

CHUNG: Well when you all had to move to Brooklyn. And you describe
it as a ghetto.

SHARPTON: We moved at first to what is called -- projects, into an
apartment in Brownsville. And I had never lived in the quote, "hood."
Because I grew up and my father owned the houses I was born in and in the
one in Queens. And now I`m in an area where they don`t pick up the garbage
every day, where there`s crime, where there`s all kinds of things. You
call an ambulance, it doesn`t come. And I had never known that existence.
And I think Connie, that`s when my activism started. I was around ten
then. Because I knew a better life and didn`t understand why it was
different there and that started my rebellion.

Because I`m saying to my newfound friends, what do you mean they pick
up the garbage on Saturday? They supposed to pick up every day. What do
you mean the ambulance will be here in hours? Somebody is suffering. And
I think that`s where I started getting even at that young age a sense of it
was different for different zip codes.

CHUNG: Well, did you get into drugs and alcohol like everybody else?

SHARPTON: No. I mean, it was there. I think what saved me from
drugs and alcohol was the church. I was still a boy preacher. I got more
involved in the church. My bishop, Bishop FD Washington (ph) kind of took
me even closer to him. Because he knew the trauma I was going through. He
would literally take me to then sears and roebucks in Brooklyn and buy me
suits to preach in and let me run the service on Friday nights. And my
mother became a domestic worker. This woman who used to drive her own
Cadillacs every year was now scrubbing floors.

CHUNG: And you were on welfare too.

SHARPTON: And welfare and food stamps. But she would never ever let
me accept that that was an excuse not to do well. I would walk her to the
subway every morning, 5:30 in the morning. I think that`s why I still get
up early.

CHUNG: Why did you do that?

SHARPTON: Because I was afraid someone would snatch her pocketbook.
And I would walk her all the way to the subways every morning. And she
would say to me you`re going to be somebody. Don`t worry about this. You
grow up and you be somebody. And she would put me around people like
Bishop Washington and later Reverend Jones. And I took to them to be the
father I didn`t have to try to learn manhood. And I went through a life of
searching for fathers.

CHUNG: Yes. And you did. You found in James Brown. You found him
at 18. And you followed him around on the road but then you left him.

SHARPTON: Yes. And then I talk about that in the book "The Rejected
Stone" because I wanted people -- it`s not as much about my story as giving
anecdotes of my story for people to find out what really for them.

CHUNG: But, you know, what? Let me talk to you about that. Because
you were very, very introspective in the book. And I never realized that
you engaged in such self-examination from the time -- for example, when you
were in jail, you were incarcerated and you instead of -- I don`t know,
doing what other people do in jail, you read. You read about Nelson
Mandela. And you thought about your life and what you were doing. Now,
throughout the book, you do that, and you impart and the wisdom that you
garnered from living the life of hard knocks.

SHARPTON: I went to jail 90 days for leading a non-violent protest in
Puerto Rico. Protest of environmental conditions. And in those 90 days, I
used it to have a meeting with Al Sharpton. And I thought about, I said a
lot of things, all my life I had been in social justice and the ministry,
but some of this stuff you got extreme. Some of this stuff, you`re being
more theatrical than you could have. Are you going to gear toward really
getting things done? Are you going to gear toward just drama with no
strategy for end results?

CHUNG: OK. Let`s take Tawana Brawley as an example.

SHARPTON: All right.

CHUNG: Here`s a 15-year-old girl, you became indelibly linked to her
because you stood up for her cause. Fifteen years old, accused a gang of
white men of raping her. In your book you said you have made some painful
mistakes and linked in there when you`re discussing Tawana Brawley, you
said the mistake you made in that case was being too emotional.


CHUNG: Allowing your personal emotions to get through.

SHARPTON: Well, my emotions didn`t make me do something that I did
not believe was true. I never said anything about Brawley any other case I
didn`t believe. What I did do was make it personal, make a personal
attacks between the prosecutor and us whereas now like when I`m in a
Trayvon Martin case or the Gina 6 case, it`s not about the prosecutor.
It`s about getting justice. And it`s not even about representing the
particular victim. It`s about representing the cause. I would do all of
these cases the same but not the same way. Because our job is to fight to
get them in a court of law as we did the Zimmerman case so they can be
properly litigated.

CHUNG: I`ve hijacked your show long enough.

SHARPTON: I thought you were a journalist.


"Rejected Stone."

CHUNG: "The Rejected Stone." There you go. Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Thank you for doing this.

CHUNG: And thank you for having me. We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: Well, a big crowd met me today on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan
as the book went into stores all over the country. And hundreds came out
as we signed autographs. And we unveiled the book. But the book is not
about Al Sharpton. I give some anecdotes, stories, things I learned from
Michael Jackson to President Obama. But it`s all about how you deal with
rejection, how we deal with society rejection of groups and you dealing
with rejections in your life. "The Rejected Stone." I`ve been one. Deal
with your rejection. This book can help you.

Thank you, Connie Chung for helping to co-host tonight. And thank you
for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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