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PoliticsNation, Friday, February 7th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Friday show

February 7, 2014

Guests: Clarence Page; Paul Butler; Faith Jenkins, Angela Rye, Mark Hannah,
Joe Madison

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in. I`m live tonight from Jackson, Mississippi.

Tonight`s lead, breaking news in the Chris Christie bridge scandal. It`s
been the biggest mystery in this whole story. Why did the Christie
administration shut down access lanes to the world`s busiest bridge,
causing massive traffic delays for emergency vehicles and children on
school buses?

Tonight, the Democratic mayor at the center of it all, the mayor whose town
was overrun by traffic during those four days in September, and who begged
for help from the state while it was going on. Tonight, that mayor says it
was all because of political retribution.

In an interview with "the Bergen Record" newspaper, Mayor Mark Sokolich
links the bridge closure to his refusal to endorse governor Christie for
reelection. The report says, quote, "Governor Christie`s administration
orchestrated an extensive campaign over two years that involved gifts to
Fort Lee, including port authority-funded shuttle buses, snowplowing,
pothole repair, and emergency radios to convince the borough`s mayor to
offer his endorsement of the governor during his reelection campaign."

Mayor Mark Sokolich said in his most extensive comments today on the George
Washington Bridge scandal, when Sokolich did offer his endorsement -- he
did not offer his endorsement or refuse to, he says he was punished by
paralyzing traffic jams at the bridge that were ordered by Christie`s
appointees at the port authority during five days last September.

The mayor has not given us this level of detail before. In fact, he at
times seemed uncertain that the endorsement issue led to political payback.


MAYOR MARK SOKOLICH, FORT LEE, NEW JERSEY: I don`t recall a specific
request to endorse, but, you know, the events that led up to all of this I
guess you can interpret to be somehow attracting me to endorse. I didn`t
want to endorse for several reasons, not the least of which is I`m a


SHARPTON: Tonight, the Chris Christie administration accused the mayor of
contradictory statements. But it`s clear that with his comments in the new
interview, the Fort Lee mayor leaves no doubt that he thinks political
payback explains the mystery of the lane closures.

Joining me now are Clarence Page and E.J. Dionne. Thank you both for being



SHARPTON: E.J., this is a heavy, heavy change here. What do you make of
this latest reporting?

DIONNE: Well, I think it`s clearly a big deal. I mean, up to now, Mayor
Sokolich has been very reluctant to reach this conclusion. He told Rachel
Maddow that he didn`t think he was important enough in terms of an
endorsement or a non-endorsement to warrant the attention that the bridge
closure, you know, represented. But this finally clears up, as you said
earlier, a mystery. Because we still -- we didn`t know until this point
that there had been this previous relationship with Sokolich. I mean, he
got a kind of local government gift basket there from the port authority
shuttle buses, the snowplowing and the like.

He also said something interesting. He brought David Wildstein in the
story and had David Wildstein tell him I`ve been told to be nice to you.
So this creates a kind of linkage we didn`t have before in terms of
motivation. So it kind of advances the story. And while the Christie
folks said the mayor absolutely contradicted himself, I don`t think the
contradiction is absolute. But I think we`re going to be -- I think the
governor`s office is going to have to sort of respond further to this.
Because you finally got a link to why the bridge closure happened.

SHARPTON: Now, Clarence, as E.J. said, the governor`s office is saying
this is contradictory. But this is the most we`ve heard from this mayor.
And whether or not it appears it does not go with some of what he said in
the past, it is clearly more extensive. And if these specific gifts were
given, is this a big deal and hard to explain for the governor`s people?

PAGE: Well, it certainly tightens the screw you could see on a key part of
this entire narrative, which is a linkage between the mayor`s endorsement
or potential endorsement and Governor Christie`s efforts to try to elicit
it and the lane closures on the bridge. It`s not the kind of thing that
you call a smoking gun, and there are some inconsistencies here. Why is
the mayor copping out now with this detail? Why wasn`t he more explicit
before about the relationship that he had had with the governor`s office
and the governor`s people? But it`s not a direct contradiction as far as
we can tell. And it does expand on the story and does provide that kind of

I think, you know, for those of us who are from outside the New York-New
Jersey area, the big question is, how does this affect Chris Christie`s
national image and potential presidential prospects? And certainly the
answer is not good.

SHARPTON: Now, E.J., let me go back to the article and something you said.
In "the Bergen Record" article, mayor Sokolich said Christie`s aides would
strongly hint that he should endorse. Here is one example. Quote,
"Sokolich said Matt Mowers (ph), a political operative for the Christie
campaign, would meet with him and tell him about other Democrats who
endorsed Christie. What do you think? Sokolich said mowers asked him."

This is clearly saying the discussion of the endorsement was on the table
by an operative of Christie, and he was even telling him of other
democratic mayors who had endorsed the governor.

PAGE: Right. And you know, I think Clarence pointed to an important
question that obviously Governor Christie`s people are going to press,
which is why was he so reluctant to say what he said today earlier, and why
did he say it now? And I suspect mayor Sokolich is going to be asked that,
and he is going to have to explain it. Because from this account, the
linkage between what the port authority had done for him and the desire for
endorsement is pretty clear.

And so, again, you have -- there have been all kinds of stories and
speculation about why the bridge was closed. If this proves to be a kind
of definitive account, then we finally know, which is why I think you`re
going to see the governor`s office pressing hard to try to figure out any
way they can to undercut what mayor Sokolich said.

SHARPTON: But E.J., when you -- well, let me go to you, Clarence, on this.
When you look at "the Bergen Record`s" story, mayor Sokolich even says he
was given a tour of the 9/11 memorial.

PAGE: Right.

SHARPTON: Quote, "Sokolich and his cousins were given a personal tour of
the 9/11 memorial plaza by Wildstein, then the port authority`s director of
interstate capital projects. I`ve been told to be nice to you", Sokolich
remembers Wildstein saying during that tour."

Now, the tour was before the memorial was even open, and Wildstein is the
key figure asking for immunity in this case. Now, this is certainly not
something you can say is normal procedures for giving a mayor who was not
considered on the radar that the governor said.

PAGE: Right. And I would think also not an episode that would be easily
forgotten. Quite the opposite. That`s pretty dramatic. You know, the
port authority, of course, the world trade center is a port authority
property. Here, mayor Sokolich getting an exclusive tour of the memorial
before its completion, and he has some out of town relatives as I recall
from the story.

And, you know, the kind of thing that, again, one wonders why he waited
until now to go into this details so far as his earlier relationship with
Chris Christie`s people. But even so, it is the kind of an effort,
especially that line, I`ve been told to be nice to you. This is shaping up
like one of those nod and a wink New Jersey politics story that we
Chicagoans love to see.

DIONNE: You know, Reverend --

SHARPTON: But E.J., let me go back to you. Go ahead.

DIONNE: What I wanted to say is, you know, if the question for mayor
Sokolich is why are you only saying this now, the question for Governor
Christie is he seemed to suggest in everything he said that Wildstein
wasn`t on his radar -- I mean, that mayor Sokolich wasn`t on his radar.

So you got, you know, those two questions. There are two questions and
they go both ways. And I think the mayor -- the governor, rather, is going
to have to explain why was all this nice stuff done for mayor Sokolich,
assuming that is all true. And he seems to have been a pretty straight
forward guy up to now, the mayor.

SHARPTON: Certainly -- it certainly begs a lot for both sides to explain.
But there is one theory in the article`s that is new, but one theory
already being floated that maybe investigators have now gone back over the
last couple of years and are asking about these certain unusual gifts,
which has brought the mayor to where he is coming forward, linking it or
maybe it is occurring to him that maybe some of these things came together.
We are in the middle now of people being investigated and being sharpened
in their memories.

DIONNE: No, I think that`s right. And you wonder what kind of
conversations has mayor Sokolich had with the mayor of Hoboken, who is
obviously try to kind of first broke part of this story open. So, it is
very possible that he has looked back and said, you know, wait a minute,
this may be -- there may have been more going on here than I thought.

Nonetheless, if you do get all those favors out of the port authority, you
would think he would notice that as mayor and might even be grateful,
though not grateful enough to endorse Chris Christie.

SHARPTON: Another part of this that has to be looked at, Clarence, is "The
New York Times" reported recently that Christie`s reelection campaign was
extremely focused on winning big to set the stage for 2016. It kept a list
of top 100 swing towns that could bolster Christie`s argument he would be
electable nationally. It called them mini Ohios or mini Floridas. And it
kept color-coded dossiers on the mayors, crowned with information about all
of them.

Now, does this focus on mayors touch on the question of motive and whether
the lane closings was all about punishing the mayor of Fort Lee when he
didn`t agree to endorse?

PAGE: It certainly provides circumstantial evidence of a political quid
pro quo, even though we aren`t talking about direct cash that makes such a
sexy expose. There is a question here about favors and targeting certain
areas of the state.

Here we`re talking about a couple of Democratic mayors whose endorsements
for a Republican incumbent governor certainly would carry a lot of weight.
And we also are talking about areas of the state that have a lot of swing
voters. And that was certainly impressed Republicans around the rest of
the country. And we`re also talking about the old political balance, which
is reward your friends, punish your enemies.


PAGE: So if the mayor went from the old friends to new enemies list that
would be a possible motive for the lane closures.

I`m going to have to leave it there. We`ll be certainly following this,
Clarence Page and E.J. Dionne. Thank you for your time this evening.

PAGE: Thank you.

DIONNE: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, George Zimmerman`s celebrity boxing match will be the
public outrage over the fight stop it before round one?

Also, a dramatic day in the murder trial that re-ignited the debate about
stand your ground. Emotional testimony from teenagers in the car with
Jordan Davis when he was shot and killed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tried to pull him down, but when I pulled him down,
he just fell into my lap. When I reached and touched him, blood appeared
on my fingers.


SHARPTON: And a new low for the GOP`s impeachment hysteria. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: The debate over stand your ground is back with a new murder
trial in Florida. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Seven months after the George Zimmerman verdict, self-defense
and stand your ground are again at the center of a Florida murder trial.
In November of 2012, Michael Dunn opened fire on an SUV full of teenagers
parked at a gas station after an argument about loud music. One of those
teens, Jordan Davis, was killed. Today dramatic testimony from the three
teens who were in the car with Jordan Davis when he died.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened to Jordan Davis as Tommie Stornes was
backing up? Did he stay sitting up or did he do something else?

TEVIN THOMPSON, FRIEND: No. I tried to pull him down. But when I put him
down, he just fell into my lap.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you first learn that Jordan Davis had been

THOMPSON: When Tommie began to call our names, me and Leland replied, but
Jordan didn`t. We found out Jordan was hit, that`s when everybody went
into panic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you touch anything that led you to believe he had
been shot?



THOMPSON: When I reached and touched him, blood appeared on my fingers.

TOMMIE STORNES JR., FRIEND: If you met Jordan and know Jordan, he had a
big heart like this. You know you can get a vibe of what type of person he


SHARPTON: Some emotional testimony for the jury today. Meantime, the
cases on both sides are starting to take shape. The defense claimed Jordan
Davis, who was 17-years-old, had a gun. But the prosecution points out
that a gun was never found.


CORY STROLLA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jordan Davis threatened Michael Dunn with
a shotgun barrel sticking out of the window or a lead pipe, whatever it was
that is a deadly weapon.

JOHN GUY, PROSECUTOR: Jordan Davis, the only thing he had on his person
was a cell phone and a pocket knife. And both of those things were in his
pockets when he was shot and killed.


SHARPTON: A teenager is dead. An older man is on trial. At the heart of
this case is the question we`ve heard too many times before. Was it self-
defense or was it murder?

Joining me now are former prosecutors Faith Jenkins and Paul Butler. Thank
you for being here.



SHARPTON: Faith, how do you think the three young men did today in their

JENKINS: Reverend, I thought they presented themselves very well. They`re
all relatively young men. They experienced something very traumatic by
seeing their friend shot and killed right before their very eyes, as they
said, in the SUV that night. And they came into court today and they told
their side of the story.

Now, the defense here is trying to play these kids up that they were some
kind of thugs and threatening and had a gun in the car, and then they
present themselves today and they just came across as very young and sort
of just telling exactly what happened, how it was. And what struck me, one
of the witnesses said today, one of those young men said the first time he
ever saw a real gun in real life was when Michael Dunn, the defendant,
pulled out his and pointed it at their SUV.

SHARPTON: Now, when you have the gun charge or the accusation of a gun
being alleged by the defense, Paul, saying that in fact Jordan had a gun,
and no one has ever come up with the gun, no gun has ever been found, how
important is that to the prosecution and how harmful is that to the defense
that a gun has never been found?

BUTLER: Well, Reverend, the defense says that there was a gun, and there
is never going to be a gun found because we all know there was no gun. The
problem for the defense is that the defendant shot a child, an unarmed
child in cold blood. And then he engages in all these activities that we
call consciousness of guilt. He flees the scene. How do you shoot a car
ten times and then drive away, you go to a bed and breakfast, and you order
pizza? I mean, the jurors were going to wonder, what was he thinking? And
if he takes the stand, he is in big trouble, because if he doesn`t have a
good explanation for that, and there is not a good explanation for that,
those jurors are going to think he is lying to them. And if it`s one thing
that jurors don`t like it`s being lied to.

SHARPTON: Now, Faith, the prosecutor`s case, and Paul laid out a lot of
it. But the prosecution case says they say no gun or weapons were ever
found in the teens` car. The defendant, Michael Dunn, left the scene. He
never called 911. And they say he wasn`t being threatened, and he did
check into a bed and breakfast, eat pizza, and was arrested the next
morning. Yet you have this stand your ground law there in Florida.

Is the fact that this law is in the opinion of many of us so nebulous, does
that stand up against all of this evidence that seems very well established
by the prosecution?

JENKINS: Stand your ground allows cases like this to go forward because
Michael Dunn argues he doesn`t have a duty to retreat. He was being
threatened and imminent force was about to be used against him, therefore,
he was able to open fire on these kids. And that`s problem here, because
without stand your ground, there is a duty to retreat. He could easily get
into his car, back away if he thinks he is being threatened. But he didn`t
do that here. And that`s why he is able to assert this defense.

You`re going hear it in the jury instructions. He didn`t have a duty to
retreat. He didn`t have a duty to leave. He could meet force with force.
The problem here is words are not enough to cause someone to be in
reasonable fear for their lives. And so, that`s why there is the assertion
of a gun here. Because he knows that words, cursing at him, a 17-year-old
cursing at him is not enough for you to be able to pull out a gun and open
fire on a car full of teenagers.

SHARPTON: Well, isn`t this, Paul, the problem withstand your ground?
Because the defense is arguing that Dunn acted in self-defense. They claim
Jordan Davis had a weapon, even though one was not found, that the other
teens hid the weapon somewhere, and that the police investigation was

BUTLER: Reverend, stand your ground is this macho fantasy that real men
don`t walkway from a fight. It says shoot first, think later and the law
has your back. And the George Zimmerman verdict sent this message that you
can shoot a skinny, unarmed child and walk away from it.

But here is the thing. The same prosecutors in that case as in this case.
So Reverend, they have to win the case. This prosecutor, this state
attorney, has to send the message that in Florida in her jurisdiction, it`s
not open season on young African -American children.

JENKINS: That`s right.

SHARPTON: Faith, yesterday the prosecution played surveillance video where
you can hear the gunshots. Watch this.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my God, somebody is shooting. Somebody is
shooting on a car.


SHARPTON: Now today we heard a witness describing those gunshots in his
own 911 call from that night. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like pop-pop-pop-pop-pop. It stopped for a
second, and you hear pop-pop-pop-pop-pop.


SHARPTON: Now, how important is that pause in the witness` description,

JENKINS: It`s very important. And the prosecutors are going to use that
to argue that the defendant was not in fear. He was infuriated, because he
thought that Jordan Davis had disrespected him that pause is the defendant
getting out of his car, aiming his gun at their fleeing SUV and continuing

SHARPTON: Faith Jenkins and Paul Butler, thank you both for your time.

JENKINS: Thank you.

BUTLER: Great to be here, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, will DMX actually get into the ring with George
Zimmerman? Big news tonight on the boxing match that has made a lot of
people angry.

Plus, are Republicans going back to the 90s for their plan to impeach
President Obama?


SHARPTON: They just can`t help themselves. One of the key leaders of the
phony impeachment of president Clinton has just announced his next target.
That`s right, it`s president Obama. It`s wrong and it`s next.


SHARPTON: For five years, the Republicans have denigrated and disrespected
this president every way they can. But now it`s reached fever pitch, and
they have learned all the wrong lessons from their last despicable attempt
to destroy a Democratic president. The man who led the charge to impeach
President Clinton now has his sights set on President Obama. In 1997, then
Republican Congressman Bob Barr introduced the first resolution mentioning
possible impeachment. Now he is running for Congress again.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I was with some folks just recently, and I pulled out of
a file in my office the House resolution, the House resolution that I
introduced on November 5th of 1997 that was the very first official inquiry
of impeachment filed against Bill Clinton. And what I did is I took that -
- took that document, figuratively, kind of dusted it off. Added a little
bit of language to it, and darned if it doesn`t sound pretty good with
Barack Obama`s name in there.


SHARPTON: He wants to dust off the old impeachment resolution and put in
Barack Obama`s name instead of Bill Clinton`s? It sounds like a bad joke.
But today he said he is serious.


impeachment as you did on that radio show? Is that the type of divisive
politics you think that we need in Washington?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Chuck Todd, I don`t know what you`re talking about.
That wasn`t a joke. I was asked a question about impeachment, and I
answered it very seriously.

FMR. REP. BOB BARR (R), GEORGIA: In 1999, Bob Barr was one of 13 House
floor managers to prosecute the impeachment charges before the Senate. If
he goes back to Capitol Hill, he`ll join a list of at least 15 of the
Republicans talking about impeachment.


REP. STEVE STOCKMAN (R), TEXAS: We want all tools available to use,
including that impeachment.

REP. KERRY BENTIVOLIO (R), MICHIGAN: So tell me how I can impeach the
President of the United States.

REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD (R), TEXAS: If we were to impeach the president
tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives.

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: People may be starting to use the I-word
before too long.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The I-word meaning impeachment?


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If it continues, could that build up to make a case for
possible impeachment?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: All options should be on the table.


SHARPTON: If this sounds like a growing trend, that`s because it is.
During President Obama`s first term in office, the number of news articles
mentioning him in impeachment stayed pretty steady, maybe because the
right-wingers thought they would beat him in 2012. But after President
Obama won re-election, impeachment talk exploded. Look at that. A huge
spike after the election. If they can`t beat them, they try to impeach
him. It`s something they tried to do before and it didn`t work back then

Joining me now are Angela Rye and Mark Hannah. Thank you both for coming
on the show tonight.



SHARPTON: Angela, the Republican Florida general who fought to impeach
President Clinton now wants to impeach President Obama. I mean, has he
learned nothing?

RYE: He hasn`t learned anything. But here is what we have learned, Rev.
He needs to have a seat. And it`s not a Congressional seat. It`s probably
one of those good old lazy boy chairs. We need to sit-down somewhere. And
I think this is really good grounds to either have another segment. I know
you have nice try, we got you. But maybe it`s time for come on, son,
because this is ridiculous.

SHARPTON: Bob Barr, you know, was one of those that had really pushed
hard, harder than anyone else to impeach President Clinton. Listen to him
in 1998 during those House impeachment debates.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: A frontal assault on our constitution. You have the
constitution. You have the United States criminal code as violated by this
president. And you have the evidence. They support a vote for article
three of impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton for obstructing justice
in America.


SHARPTON: Mark Hannah, I mean, here is Bob Barr with that kind of spirit
and energy driving at an impeachment, we may see it again.

HANNAH: Look, I think Bob Barr is a one-trick pony in this regard, and he
kind of admitted himself that he was just kind of recycle the old language
from the Clinton impeachment hearing. There is nothing -- I think Chuck
Todd was absolutely right that there was nothing more divisive in our
political recent history than the impeachment proceedings for President
Clinton. But I do think this could backfire in a major way against the

Even talk of impeachment could energize and animate Democrats who want to
come out in 2014 and protect the president. Right now the thing that the
Democrats don`t have going for them is that the president`s name is not on
the ballot in the midterms. But if Democrats start to feel like they
should come out and support the president, that could backfire majorly
against the Republicans.

SHARPTON: Well, Angela, let me be real clear so we all understand. Bob
Barr`s first resolution mentioning impeachment came before the Monica
Lewinsky scandal broke.

RYE: Right.

SHARPTON: It accused President Clinton of trying to, quote, "obstruct,"
undermine and compromise the legitimate and proper functions and processes
of the executive branch. Now last year, House Republicans used similar
language in a resolution aimed at President Obama. Quote, "President Obama
frequently oversteps the limits placed on executive branch power by the
constitution." It`s the same language. Republicans love strong
presidents, except when it`s a Democrat.

RYE: That`s exactly right, Rev. You also have to look at our recent
history with what they did with Attorney General Eric Holder. They tried
to hold him in contempt of Congress based on a scandal that really began
happening under the George W. Bush years. So, again, to your point, they
love for presidents to go rogue and to be maverick candidates like John
McCain, but the minute they are Democrats, the minute they take a stand,
the minute they try to use an executive order because we also know they
have been telling that lie about the number of executive orders issued by
this president, they go berserk.

And part of it is somebody needs to tell them, impeachment is not a word
that you can just throw around when you don`t like the policies. That`s
not what you do. You actually engage. You lean into making policies that
fit your constituency. So if you don`t like something, you work to
compromise on it. You don`t just fight to get the person out of office
because you don`t like how they comb their hair, the color of their skin or
the fact that they`re black in the White House. That`s not what you do.

HANNAH: Angela is absolutely right, Rev.



SHARPTON: Mark, let me show you some of how they deal with some of policy
because House leaders this week said immigration reform won`t happen
because the president can`t be trusted to enforce the law. Listen to this.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: He is feeding more distrust about whether he
is committed to the rule of law. Listen, there is widespread doubt about
whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws. And it`s
going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The president`s got to demonstrate frankly the country
and the Congress can trust him to implement laws. Look what he has done
with ObamaCare. He has selectively enforced that law.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Here is the issue all Republicans agree on.
We don`t trust the president to enforce the law.


SHARPTON: So now you don`t pass a law or debate a law that will affect
literally millions of people because you don`t trust the president to
enforce it? I mean, this is unheard of in American politics.

HANNAH: It`s absolutely convenient that the Republicans could say this.
But more than the majority of people who voted for the president do trust
him. The majority of the people that support the president do trust him.
The people who have the credibility problem in this country, if you look at
favorability numbers or poll numbers are Republicans in Congress. So for
them to point the finger at the president and say we would be willing to
collaborate and work cooperatively with the president except for the fact
that Americans don`t trust him, that`s just bogus. They trust him and they
don`t see eye to eye with him maybe, but to say that there is a lack of
trust is just disingenuous on its face.

RYE: Well, there is a lack of trust, but lack of trust is the American
people towards Congress because they can`t get anything done. They
continue to beat that record.

HANNAH: Yes. I think both these issues --

SHARPTON: Angela Rye, Mark Hannah, I`m going to have to leave it there.

HANNAH: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Thank you both and have a good weekend.

HANNAH: You too.

RYE: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, big news tonight about George Zimmerman`s so-called
celebrity boxing match. Signs the public outcry may be having an effect.

Also, President Obama`s message to American athletes fighting for civil
rights and social justice at the Olympic Games. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: The news that George Zimmerman may participate in a so-called
celebrity boxing match with rapper DMX has caused a huge national outcry.
Thousands of people have spoken out against the idea, signing petitions to
stop this thoughtless stunt. And now DMX may be backing away from it too,
saying nothing is set in stone.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: DMX, the word is you got a fight coming up.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, I was challenged, I was challenged. I mean, I
still haven`t really decided if I was going to do it. But if I did do it,
whatever money was supposed to go to him would have to go to charity.


SHARPTON: The fact that the money might go to charity wouldn`t justify a
fight. It`s being called a celebrity match. The only reason George
Zimmerman is famous is because he killed an unarmed teenager. And what has
he been doing since his trial ended? He has been pulled over twice for
speeding after a domestic incident with his estranged wife in September, he
was questioned by police. In November, he was arrested after a disturbance
call where his girlfriend accused him of pointing a gun at her.

Charges were dropped after she changed her story. He then sold this
painting for $100,000 on eBay. And now he is in the middle of a legal
fight with the Associated Press, which claims he copied their photo in a
painting he is trying to sell. George Zimmerman is free to do what he
wants, but that doesn`t mean we should treat him like a celebrity. And the
pressure is on to keep it that way.

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


SHARPTON: We`ve seen a huge response to this story. Now DMX seems to have
second thoughts. Do you think the public pressure will put a stop to this?

MADISON: Oh, yes. And I heard your radio show this morning at drive time
afternoon, my drive time morning show. Basically the same response. Let`s
understand the root word of celebrity is celebrate. What is there to
celebrate when a 17-year-old unarmed person is killed? And he is not
famous, he`s infamous. And so we should not be celebrating a tragedy for
both him and quite honestly, Trayvon Martin`s family. You know, this
weekend in Miami, they are celebrating the life of Trayvon Martin with a
march and a dinner and to raise money to teach and help young people who
won`t be prone to violence.

Now, if you`re going celebrate anything, let`s do that. But here is what
is happening. People are absolutely outraged. And I think DMX could do a
lot by simply saying he will not be used, because if this is a popular
show, let`s say for some reason it gets a lot of viewers, we`ll be seeing
George Zimmerman on TV for a very long time.

SHARPTON: Well, the thing that also concerns me, I think again George
Zimmerman has the right to do what he want. But what concerns me is
defining celebrities in this regard.


SHARPTON: I mean, we have another case now in Florida that I just talked

MADISON: Oh, yes.

SHARPTON: If this man is acquitted, does he become a celebrity? Does he
do a wrestling match? I mean what are we saying now? Become celebrity,
something to celebrate in this country. What kind of signal are we sending
to our children?

MADISON: Can I repeat something I heard you say on your show this
afternoon? We ought to look in the mirror and, and I`m paraphrasing you, I
think, and check ourselves. We should check our values. Like you said,
George Zimmerman can do what he wants to. DMX can do what he wants to.
But for those of us who participate, who add to this, we need to check
ourselves and look in the mirror and ask are these our values? And I think
that`s a very poignant position.

SHARPTON: I think a statement from DMX`s spokesman says the boxing match
between George Zimmerman and DMX is not officially confirmed. No
contractor paperwork has been signed or agreed to yet. Should we take this
as a good sign, Joe?

MADISON: Yes. I think we ought to take it as a good sign. You know, it`s
stepping back. I mean, I heard someone e-mail they made a joke, that maybe
what they ought to do is throw a ringer in it and substitute him with
Meriwether. But they were speaking in humor. The reality is I don`t care
whether this goes to charity who wants that kind of money coming from once
again a person who is not famous, he is infamous. He is not a celebrity
because there is nothing he has done about during this whole trial, before
the trial. You`re not to celebrate someone who kills a 17-year-old unarmed
kid. You don`t celebrate that, and you certainly don`t make a celebrity
out of him. So how can you call it a celebrity boxing match?

SHARPTON: And I think that`s the point that most disturbed me. A
celebrity boxing match. Why would we celebrate someone whose only claim to

MADISON: That`s right.

SHARPTON: No matter what your view is of the case, his only claim to fame
is killing an unarmed teenager.

MADISON: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And now we celebrate it, now we raise him as someone famous that
we go and watch him do certain exhibitions and certain things and pay money
for it. What are we establishing as the values among our young people in
this society? That`s what bothers me. Thanks for your time.

MADISON: OK. I want to watch him disappear. That`s what I want to watch
him do.

SHARPTON: Well, thanks for your time. I knew you were great on radio. I
didn`t know you listened to great radio.

MADISON: Yes, I do, Reverend. Every chance.


SHARPTON: Going for gold and going for justice at the Olympic Games. The
Olympics aren`t just about athletics at times. Culture, politics, and
justice have crept in. At the 1936 games in Munich, Jesse Owens stunned
Adolf Hitler by winning four gold medals, defying Nazi theories about the
Aryan race. He saluted America, overshadowing the German silver medalist
who saluted Hitler. At the 1968 games in Mexico City, Tommy Smith and John
Carlos raised their fifth in a black power salute. It was a powerful
rebuke to racial oppression around the world, including the United States.

And today at the Sochi games, athletes are standing up against anti-gay
hate and discrimination in Russia. One Dutch snowboarder raised her
rainbow glove to the camera after her first qualifying run. The Greece
national team wore rainbow gloves as well. And today President Obama
talked about why he made a point of sending openly gay athletes as part of
the American delegation.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We wanted to make very clear that
we do not abide by discrimination in any forms, including discrimination on
the basis of sexual orientation. That I think is consistent with the
spirit of the Olympics. It is certainly consistent with American values.
And we wanted to make sure that people understand that.


SHARPTON: We honor athletes when they push their bodies to the limit. But
we also honor them when they push the world to do the right thing.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, "Advancing the Dream" here in Jackson,
Mississippi. This is a city where heroes have fought and died to win the
rights we have today. Heroes like Medgar Evers who was assassinated here
in Jackson in 1963. He was the field secretary for the NAACP, gunned down
in his own driveway. Heroes likes the civil rights activists who staged a
sit-in at the world wide -- an angry mob powered mustard and ketchup all
over them. But the protesters stayed in their seats and changed history.
We made a lot of progress here in Mississippi, but some are trying to roll
back the clock.

Governor Phil Bryant has proclaimed February voter registration month. I`m
all for it. But he has also signed a voter ID law that is unnecessary and
wrong. Since 2000, there have been 5.7 million votes cast in Mississippi.
But just 32 convictions on voter fraud. That`s 0.0006 percent. What a
joke. Voter ID laws here in Mississippi and elsewhere aren`t necessary.
In fact, they`re a step backwards as we celebrate the progress we made, we
must also protect that progress. And we must do it with all we have.

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


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