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PoliticsNation, Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

Date: February 20, 2014

Guests: Dwight Bullard; Phyllis Giles, Bob Ingle, Dana Milbank, Joe

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: I`m good. And good to talk to you Ed.
And thanks to you for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, the retrial of Michael Dunn. Today we learned the state
plans to retry Michael Dunn on first-degree murder charges in May and back
in Jacksonville. In a new interview with WTEV in Jacksonville, prosecutor
John Guy speaks out on the mistrial, on everything from the verdict to his
critics to if Dunn can get a fair trial. But the headline, he is confident
this battle is far from over.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Did Michael Dunn get away with murder?



SHARPTON: Not yet. We heard from juror four yesterday who thinks Dunn did
get away with murder in the killing of 17-year-old Jordan Davis. But was
there something the state could have done better?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Do you have run across your mind you wish
you had done anything differently?

GUY: Always. There is always things you can do differently, different
evidence, different argument, better performance. There is never a perfect
trial. Slow it be better the next time.


SHARPTON: So he is talking about different evidence and different
arguments. What`s the new strategy? And how could it affect the new

Joining me now, former prosecutor Faith Jenkins, Florida defense lawyer Ken
Padowitz, and Lisa Bloom, legal analyst for And she is also
author of "suspicion nation: the inside story of the Trayvon Martin
injustice and why we continue to repeat it." Thanks for being here.




SHARPTON: Lisa, the focus is now on different evidence. What might he be
alluding to?

BLOOM: Well, I certainly hope it`s the admissions of racism that came from
Michael Dunn himself both in his jailhouse letters where he called African-
Americans thugs and gangsters, and said the more he gets to know them, the
more prejudiced he is against them. And now the new phone recordings
released where he calls African-Americans animals.

I mean, this is a prosecution that needed to show malice, hatred, ill will.
They had it right there. They didn`t use it. I know the judge initially
ruled that these letters wouldn`t come in. But once the defense put on
character witnesses and said this man is gentle and peaceful, they should
have tried again on cross-examination or through rebuttal witnesses. They
didn`t do that. I sure hope they do that next time.

SHARPTON: Now let me ask you this, Faith. Another juror has come forth,
Juror Eight. A 20-year-old -- she broke her silence today saying race did
not play a role in the decision. Listen to this.


this was a black kid, this was a white guy, because that -- that wasn`t the

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: So the people who say, you know, here is
another white guy who got away with shooting and killing a black kid. What
would you tell them?

JUROR EIGHT: I would tell them that they really should acknowledge
themselves all along (ph).


SHARPTON: So, she says that she never thought about race and that people
that think it`s that situation should look deeper into the law.

JENKINS: Well, with all due respect to this juror, because I do believe
she talked about how they worked really hard to come to a decision about
the case. She was disappointed there was a hung jury. But with all due
respect, I think it`s naive to say that in this case. Because answer this
question. Think about this question. Had those been four white teenagers
blasting Justin Bieber music, would we even be here? Would Michael Dunn
have been able to advance the narrative that he did in this trial and say
all of the sudden they pulled a shotgun on me. They were thugs. They were
gangsters. No. He did that because they weren`t white teenagers listening
to Justin Bieber. They were four black kids listening to rap music.

So yes, there was an underlying issue throughout the trial and allowed him
really to come up with I think a manufactured fear. I don`t think for one
second Michael Dunn ever feared for his life. I think the whole defense
was completely manufactured.

SHARPTON: Ken, you don`t feeling on this.

PADOWITZ: Well, I think the juror looked at the case that she was
presented. I think there were enough clues there that this had to do about
race. But some of the important evidence she was not exposed to. Not
exposed to because of the judge`s rulings and not exposed to because the
prosecutor did not go through that open door that occurred during the trial
when he could have argued to the judge now that character evidence has been
presented by the defense, we should be able to now come in showing this
evidence, the letters from the jail, showing that he had in fact had racism
in his mind and that did in fact affect his decisions on the day that he
pulled that trigger.

So I think clearly in the next pretrial, the prosecution has to redouble
their efforts in getting this evidence in so that jurors like this woman
who spoke that race had nothing to do with it would have a different
opinion if they had the full picture of all the evidence in this case.

SHARPTON: And Lisa, she did say they should look at the evidence. Well,
there was no evidence of racism presented to this jury, which was your
point. The state might try and go after Dunn`s character using a letter
Michael Dunn wrote from jail. Quote, "this jail is full of blacks and they
all act like thugs." This is Dunn writing. Another. "This may sound a
bit radical, but if more people would arm themselves and kill these idiots
when they`re threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change
their behavior."

I mean, if this were presented in front of this jury, it might have not
only changed this juror`s feeling, it might have changed others.

BLOOM: This is toxic, explicit racism of the kind that you rarely get in
courtrooms today. You know, a lot of times we`re guessing. Is this guy
racist or not based on his conduct? Well, here we have in writing very
clear language from Michael Dunn himself just months after the shooting
where he is clearly a racist with the capital R. That evidence should have
come in.

But I do not blame these jurors, as you say. They were not given the
evidence. They were instructed to follow the law. They did follow the
law. Stand your ground was a great big problem for them. That`s not their
fault. That`s not the prosecution`s fault. That`s the fault of all of
news and a democracy who are allowing these laws to continue.

So in my book I don`t blame the George Zimmerman jury. They clearly
struggled. And I tell the story behind the scenes of what they had to go
through. If they had all the evidence, I think they would have come to a
different verdict. And I think the same thing is true in the Michael Dunn
case. The difference is in the Michael Dunn case, the prosecution has
another chance. I hope they take advantage of it.

SHARPTON: Well Faith, when you look also what Juror Four said, she spoke
about the testimony of Michael Dunn`s fiancee. Here is what she said,
quote, "that was a big deal for me because he testified he wouldn`t say or
use the words "thug", but he said he would use the words "rap crap."
However, in his interview he did say thug a few times."

That testimony really undermined Dunn`s credibility. What can the
prosecution do to highlight that?

JENKINS: Well, there are two things. First, just the use of the term
"thug" and now that we know, prosecutors know that Michael Dunn endorses
thug and gangsters. To me, that opens the door for the prosecutors now to
put Jordan Davis` parents on the stand and say was your son in a gang? Is
he a gangster, right? Because if Dunn is going to open this door using
basically a narrative to call him that and refer to him as that, I think
the prosecutors have to go back and argue in front of this judge they
should be able to rebut that. Now, with evidence that he is not a thug and
he is not a gangster.

Second, that`s a great point by that juror. And the prosecutors have to
seize on this argument now in the next trial in order for you to believe
Dunn`s testimony, you to disbelieve his own fiancee, the police, the other
three eyewitnesses in the car and the forensics. And there is no reason
for you to do that.

SHARPTON: Now, Ken, one of the criticisms of the prosecution was they
didn`t humanize this young man enough. In fact, as Faith said, they could
have asked his father when he was on the stand about him in terms of
whether he was violent, what type of kid he was. Now the door is open.
They can do that in retrial. They can call a school teacher since he
refers to idiots here. What he an idiot? I mean, do you think one of the
things they could do in the retrial is to deal more with humanizing who we
lost in this 17-year-old young man?

PADOWITZ: That`s a very interesting question. Florida evidence code is
very restrictive, really hamstringing the prosecutors in bringing out a lot
of evidence concerning the victim. However, the exception is when the
defense puts on evidence that opens the door, the prosecution can respond
by rebutting to that.

So what Faith just mentioned is very, very true. If in fact in this new
trial, it comes out where the door is opened again about him being a thug
or one of the kids in the car being a thug, kit be rebutted I would argue
by the prosecution by evidence showing that he was in fact not a thug, that
he was peaceful, just the opposite. They get the opportunity to rebut if
that door is open. So in the next trial, they should be looking very
keenly to see if they can rebut that evidence if in fact that door is

SHARPTON: Now, we also see that the Jury Four said a key moment in the
trial was when Dunn`s attorney had directed the jurors to read the self-
defense law in the closing statements. Watch this.

All right. We`ll find that. But he talks about turn to page 25.


SHARPTON: Which, Lisa, was in fact what you were referring to, the key
here was the stand your ground law. I think I have it now.



Start with page 25.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Page 25 reads "the use of deadly force is
justifiable if Michael Dunn reasonably believes that the force is necessary
to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.

VALERIE: And we took a poll. There were two of us undecided, two for was
justified and the rest were not justified.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Why were you and the others so convinced that
Dunn was guilty?

VALERIE: We all believed that there was another way out, another option.


SHARPTON: So the vote, Lisa, of the jury was one thing, but what
established stand your ground was the vote of the Florida legislature.
That`s the vote we also have to look at in this case.

BLOOM: That`s right. And this information from this juror I think is key
to understanding the entire case. Because she comes from a very common
sense place of human decency. I thought he had other options. I didn`t
think he had to shoot. And she says there were nine other jurors for a
total of ten who felt that way. Two wanted self-defense. The problem is
they could look on page five of those jury instructions and they could look
at all of the other pages and they wouldn`t find anything to help them.

Before 2005 when stand your ground was enacted, they would have. They
would have found language that said if he could have retreated, he would
have had to have done that. And you can`t claim self-defense unless you
avail yourself of retreat.

After 2005 and stand your ground, that`s gone. And so that`s why the jury
struggled and struggled and ultimately hung. It`s precisely because of the
stand your ground law.

SHARPTON: Faith Jenkins, Ken Padowitz and Lisa Bloom, thank you for your

BLOOM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And this program note.

PADOWITZ: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Tomorrow night, I`ll be joined by Jordan Davis` father, Ron
Davis. That`s tomorrow night, 6:00 p.m. eastern here on MSNBC.

Ahead, high profile murder cases in Florida have put stand your ground laws
in the national spotlight. Today, we`ll introduce you to another story
that has many questioning the justice system.

Plus, why was there no bridge gate questions at Chris Christie`s town hall

And Ted Nugent called President Obama a subhuman mongrel. So why are some
Republicans coming to his defense today?

And it`s the rap I never thought I would see, but I`m glad I did. Stay
with us.


SHARPTON: After the Michael Dunn verdict, more and more Americans are
looking at stand your ground. And self-defense law, wondering if they`re
fair. Are they right? Are they allayed equally to everyone?

Up next, the case of an airman now serving 25 years in prison whose claim
of self-defense was rejected by a jury. What makes him different from
Michael Dunn? That`s next.


SHARPTON: After the mistrial in the Michael Dunn case, we`re seeing
renewed attention on self-defense laws, especially in Florida and whether
they`re evenly applied. Now, we`re learning about the case of Michael
Giles, a former U.S. airman who was outside of a Tallahassee club one night
in 2010.

When a fight broke out. No one reported seeing Giles fighting, but he was
separated from his friends and got a gun from a car for which he had a
concealed carry permit. He then says he returned to the crowd to look for
his friends and a man punched him. Giles said he believed his life was in
danger, and he fired his gun. The other man was hit in the leg. He was
out of the hospital the next morning. And Giles was charged with attempted

One witness testified the man who threw the punch, quote, leaped like a
frog to Giles and just went at it to his face. She says before he punched
Giles, he was, quote, "excited and acting crazy and talking and cursing and
upset and angry and agitated." The victim testified, quote, "honestly, my
motive was to hit the first person I get to I was going to hit them." And
when he was asked if he, quote, "ran his entire body to strike this
person," he answered yes.

Prosecutors said Giles was standing when he was fired. But a defense
expert testified, quote, "the initial trajectory of the bullet was just
above the surface of the asphalt, suggesting he was knocked to the ground.

Michael Giles was convicted of aggravated battery and sentenced to 25 years
in jail. But his family says he was standing his ground, and they`re
fighting for his freedom.

Joining me now is Phyllis Giles, Michael Giles` mother and Florida State
Senator Dwight Bullet, who was been pushing for Michael Giles` sentence to
be commuted. Thank you both for being here.

STATE SEN. DWIGHT BULLARD (D), FLORIDA: Thank you, Reverend Al Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Phyllis, you believe this was a clear case of self-defense. Now
somebody question why mike. Retrieved his gun. What would you like to say
to those that would question that?

PHYLLIS GILES, MICHAEL GILES` MOTHER: When Michael went to retrieve his
gun, he really don`t go to -- it wasn`t planned. He did not go to the car
to get the gun. He went to the car as a rally point. I`m proud of
military, so is Michael in military at the time. So, he is at the rally
point where you get separated from your friends or from your team, you have
a rally point. So the car was the rally point that Michael and his friends
got separated, which happened.

Michael went to the car and he retrieved his gun at the time after everyone
was standing around him. He was afraid to stay at the car. So at that
point, he got the gun from the car and then he went back to the crowd to
find his friends so they could leave. And in that point he got punched
from behind.

SHARPTON: Now, when he returned looking for his friends, he got punched
from behind, and he is saying that he felt threatened and witnesses say
this guy was appearing crazy and agitated. So he shot the guy, and the guy
was hit in the leg and was out of the hospital the next morning. Yet
Michael was prosecuted for attempted murder.

GILES: Correct.

SHARPTON: Senator, you`d like the governor to commute Michael Giles`
sentence. And you wrote him a letter saying, quote, "his act of
frightening away an attacker by firing a gun was as much self-defense as
that allowed under stand your ground provisions. The only difference in
Mr. Giles` case is he allowed his attacker to live."

This is what you wrote. As you see it, is that the problem with stand your
ground, Senator?

BULLARD: Yes. As we`ve seen with both the Zimmerman verdict and the
verdict of Michael Dunn, it seems as though in Florida, you can only go to
jail if you miss the victim as opposed to killing them and that is
problematic. And that`s the wrong message that the law is sending.

All the proponents have said well, the law wasn`t intended for that
purpose. But as we`re seeing in case after case after case, whether it`s
Michael Giles, whether it`s Marissa Alexander, that seems to be the
occurrence that keeps happening.

SHARPTON: Now, are all of the supporters of stand your ground and all of
them that are attacking people like me that disagree with it, have they
rallied behind Mr. Giles? I missed the rallies and the support for Mr.
Giles by the self-defense and stand your ground proud in Florida.

BULLARD: Well, oddly enough, you`re absolutely right. All the proponents
and the sponsors of stand your ground have yet to use Mr. Giles as the same
rallying point as they did with Mr. Zimmerman in the case of Michael Dunn,
who is the so-called responsible gun owner.

In the case of Mr. Giles, we`re talking about an air force veteran, an
Iraqi war veteran, someone who did have a concealed carry permit. And if
anyone was a glaring example of someone who should have everyone rallying
to his defense, it should be Michael Giles. And so, I felt it very
important that the governor look at Mr. Giles case and commute his

But, again, although he encouraged Florida to pray for the family of
Trayvon Martin, I have yet to hear him speak to the flight of Mr. Giles.

SHARPTON: Now Phyllis, you started a petition to commute
Michael`s sentence. More than 100,000 people have signed. What does that
mean to you as a mother?

GILES: It means we have a lot of support, and the people do care and
everyone wants to see justice in Florida. That`s what it means to me.

SHARPTON: Senator, Michael was sentenced to 25 years because of mandatory
minimums known as the 10-20 life law in Florida that means if you`re in
possession of a gun during a felony, you`re sentenced to a minimum of 10
years. If you fire a gun during a felony, minimum of 20 years. And if you
injure or kill someone with a gun, you`re sentenced to 25 years. What is
wrong with that law, senator?

BULLARD: Well, naturally, what`s wrong with it has been wrongfully applied
in two high profile cases. In the case of Ms. Alexander, and of course in
the case of Michael Giles, you see a situation in which you have a victim
of domestic violence. And in the case of Mr. Giles, the victim of assault.
So somehow you create the commission of a crime when there was no crime
committed. And in both instances, you wrongfully convict both a woman who
is being abused and, again, I can`t reiterate enough, a war veteran who was
being assaulted outside of a club here in Tallahassee. And that for me is
problematic in terms of its application. And it seems to be a constant
occurrence, especially among people of color.

SHARPTON: Phyllis, how long has Michael been in jail now?

GILES: Just at four years, sir.

SHARPTON: How is he doing? Is he still hopeful?

GILES: He is hopeful, specially with (INAUDIBLE) So he is very hopeful
that when the petition rolls up 200,000, he is very hopeful.

SHARPTON: All right, Phyllis Giles and State Senator Dwight Bullard, thank
you so much for your time.

GILES: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And I promise we`ll be following Michael`s story closely.

BULLARD: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

GILES: Thank you, sir.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, is Chris Christie trying to avoid questions about
the bridge scandal? We`ll tell you what happened at a town hall held in
very friendly territory.

Plus, the GOP`s Ted Nugent problem. Why are some Republicans trying to
downplay his vile comments about President Obama?

But first, a new attack ad against Obamacare is making headlines for all
the wrong reasons. It`s tonight`s "got you."


SHARPTON: The Obamacare distortions keep on coming. The right wing group
Americans for prosperity has an emotional new ad out featuring a woman
battling cancer. But the claims at the end of the ad are raising some


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I received the letter. My insurance was canceled
because of Obamacare. Now the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it`s


SHARPTON: We`ve seen similar claims before, but those stories are often
more complicated than they first appear. So "the Washington Post" fact
checker took a deeper dive. That woman`s plan was canceled, but she got
new insurance under Obamacare. She found a plan that had her doctor in the
network, and her monthly premiums were cut in half.

That`s right. Under Obama care, her monthly payments are half of what they
used to be. That wasn`t mentioned in the ad.

And what about those high out-of-pocket costs? The fact checker looked at
that too. Quote, "the premium savings appear to match whatever out-of-
pocket costs she now faces." So at worse, she may be breaking, even at
best, she may be saving money. Overall, the false fact that gave the ad
two Pinocchios, of course we have great sympathy for anyone -- and hope but
nothing but the best for a full recovery. But what we don`t have sympathy
for is right wing groups spinning human stories to try to score political
points. So to the group behind the ad, I say, "nice try, but we got you."


SHARPTON: Today we saw Chris Christie`s first Town Hall since the
bridge scant scandal exploded. The public`s first chance to ask him
anything they wanted in person. Christie`s office says the questions
weren`t screened beforehand, but they don`t have to be, because Christie`s
aides scheduled the event in a friendly district where he won 70 percent of
the vote in his reelection. A district whose state lawmakers are all
Republicans. The result?

Not a single question about why a top Christie staffer order lane
closures at the world`s busiest bridge. In what some critics say may have
been political payback, not everyone was satisfied. This woman held a sign
reading "Resign Christie "which she was confiscated. And outside the
event, protesters made it clear they wanted answers. The governor didn`t
talk to them. And he didn`t talk to the press either.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Thirty seconds? Two minutes, governor?


SHARPTON: The governor didn`t answer. But we still have a lot of
outstanding questions. Why were the lanes closed? Who ultimately gave the
order? And was there a cover-up?

Joining me now is Bob Ingle. He is the author of "Chris Christie: The
Inside Story of His Rise to Power." Bob, thanks for being here.

pleasure, sir.

SHARPTON: How carefully did the governor`s team choose this venue for
this Town Hall?

INGLE: Very -- they knew exactly what they were doing. They wanted
the governor to come back and get the attention for what made him very,
very popular last year, having to deal with the aftermath of a terrible


INGLE: Right. Sandy. And he got deserved credit for that. And
since then things have been going in the other direction. And they`re
trying to get back to that. They`re trying to show his sympathetic side.
They`re trying to show that he cares about people. And he is trying to
show that nobody cares about that bridge but us.

SHARPTON: Do you think he is going to do another epic news
conference, any time soon?

INGLE: I wish he would, but I doubt it seriously. I`ve been calling
for him to do it for some time now.

SHARPTON: And he has not responded favorably?

INGLE: No he hasn`t. I think when he does his next town hall, it
ought to be in Fort Lee.

SHARPTON: You know, a judge in New Jersey issued orders to Bridget
Kelly and Bill Stepien, the two key figures in this so far over their
refusal to hand over documents. The judge ordered them to explain in court
next month why they`re invoking the fifth and refusing to comply with
subpoenas. Now, the stakes in this legal showdown seem to rise every day.
Where is this headed in your opinion?

INGLE: Well, I think it`s going to go through the state courts for a
while. And however it turns out, it probably will wind up in federal court
because there are federal issues at stake here.

SHARPTON: Now, newly released documents include a puzzling
handwritten note made by a Fort Lee police chief about a conversation he
had with a Port Authority police officer Chip Michaels. It includes this
note. Chip Michaels month last relieve Rt. 95 from executive Jersey City.
Now the " Wall Street Journal" explains it means Fort Lee was being told
the closures were part of a month-long study. In other words, the traffic
may have been intended to last a month, this traffic jam. So this was
supposed to be even more damaging than it was, it turns out.

INGLE: I can`t imagine. Look what happened in only four days. Why
would they think they can get by with this for a whole month? You would
have to be an absolute lunatic to think that.

SHARPTON: And yet yesterday MSNBC`s Steve Kornacki asked the head of
the Port Authority about the official who closed the lanes, David Wildstein
who has since resigned. Watch this.


someone in that position whether David Wildstein or someone else would have
zero about impact on the Port Authority.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: What was his job? Since there was no
formal job description we`ve been able to find, what was your understanding
of what his job at the Port Authority was?

FOYE: I understood he was primarily interested in politics. Next


SHARPTON: He was primarily interested in politics. No job
description. Yet this does not have anything to do with the governor?

INGLE: Well, I think that what this shows us, Rev, is that they need
to go in and clean house. These people don`t have real jobs. Why don`t we
get rid of all of them and see if we can lower those outrageous tolls.

SHARPTON: And he was getting paid a pretty decent salary.

INGLE: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: And no job description, something to do with politics. And
this is the executive director of the Port Authority that can`t answer

INGLE: It`s a patronage pit for hacks. It always has been.

SHARPTON: Christie seems to want to go back to business as usual. Is
that going to work?

INGLE: Wouldn`t you, I mean, under the circumstances? No, it`s not
going to work. I think they were counting on this being two, three weeks,
a month or whatever and then we would move on to something else because
that happens a great deal in the news business.


INGLE: But MSNBC is not moving on. Neither is the "Wall Street
Journal" or the "Bergen Record" or the -- newspaper that I worked for.
We`re going stay on it. It`s not going away.

SHARPTON: And neither is Bob Ingle. Thank you for your time tonight.

Coming up, some in the GOP under fire for ties to a rocker who called
President Obama a subhuman mongrel. Wait until you hear what they`re
saying today.

And wait until you see Brian Williams and Lester Holt rapping. Stay
with us.


SHARPTON: Politicians have to make lots of tough decisions. But some
choices are easy. For example, it should be easy to distance yourself from
these vile comments from rocker Ted Nugent.


TED NUGENT, MUSICIAN: A Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated,
communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel like the A.C.O.R.N. community organizer
gangster Barack Hussein Obama.


SHARPTON: Our president referred to as a subhuman mongrel. That`s
disgusting. We shouldn`t have to care what Ted Nugent thinks, except here
is the problem. Some Republican elected officials, they`re embracing him.
When asked about the controversy, Governor Rick Perry said, quote, "That`s
just Ted. Anybody that`s offended, sorry. But that`s just Ted." That`s
just Ted? Actually, that`s just wrong. And here is Senator Ted Cruz.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Those sentiments there of course I don`t
agree with them. You never heard me say such a thing, and nor would I.


SHARPTON: So far so good. But then he was asked this.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Would you campaign with Ted Nugent?

CRUZ: You know, I haven`t yet, and I`m going to avoid engaging in


SHARPTON: Cruz hasn`t campaigned with Nugent yet? So he might do so
in the future? He might want to chat with Texas Attorney General Greg
Abbott. At first Abbott was more than happy to campaign with Ted Nugent.
But now he doesn`t really want to talk about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. Abbott, why did you think it was a good idea to
campaign with Ted Nugent?

reactive the Davis campaign is to this. Ted Nugent was a way to expose
Wendy Davis for her flip-flopping on gun-related issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is Texas. But this is Texas. Finding someone
who is pro-guns is not that hard. Why does it have to be Ted Nugent.

ABBOTT: What is your question?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. Abbott, would you give us a chance to clarify
on Ted Nugent?

ABBOTT: You already asked it.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Why would you associate yourself with someone who
describes the sitting president as a sub-human mongrel, has described
female politicians in vile ways? Will you use him again in a campaign?


SHARPTON: Leaders are elected to lead. Instead these politicians are
embracing the worst kind of extremism. Joining me now are Dana Milbank and
Joe Madison. Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.



SHARPTON: Joe, what does it say about some of these GOP leaders that
they`re afraid to condemn these ugly comments about the president?

MADISON: Well, it probably says the same thing that your mother told
you, that my mother told me. We`re often judged by the company that we
keep. It also says that they are willing to appeal to anyone who believes
and thinks the way that Ted Nugent speaks. And for some reason, they think
that they need those votes. You know, I have never heard in all the times
that I`ve been involved in politics anyone say anything like that about a
sitting president of the United States of America.


MADISON: So, you know, the reality is, Reverend, that we called upon
or others called upon, remember President Obama to kick Jeremiah Wright
under the bus because he is allegedly said something unpatriotic. And here
we are now with no major person in the Republican Party suggesting that
this man, Ted Nugent should not only be kicked under the bus, but he ought
to be buried in any pothole deep enough to place him.

SHARPTON: You know, in that same interview, Ted Nugent attacked the
president on Benghazi. Listen to this in a language he used, Dana.


NUGENT: A lot of people call that inflammatory speech. Well, I would
call it inflammatory speech where it`s your job to protect Americans and
you`re asked to look into the television camera and say what difference
does it make that I failed in my job to provide security and we have four
dead Americans? What difference does that make? Not to a chimpanzee or to
Hillary Clinton, I guess it doesn`t matter.


SHARPTON: I mean this is some way over the top stuff, Dana.

MILBANK: Yes, I mean, he has been using the language of the Nazis,
the language of the slave holders. You know, back many years ago when
people actually listened to Ted Nugent`s music, he had a popular song
called "Stranglehold." And I think he is actually -- it`s appropriate
because he seems to be strangling the Republican Party right now. They are
talking about reaching out to minority voters. They`re talking about
reaching out to women. But can`t seem to avoid the grip of Ted Nugent, who
was using some of the most hateful language that has been devised in the
English language.

SHARPTON: You know, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Senator Ted Cruz
were asked about Nugent`s comments, Joe, and then both deflected to the
president. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We need more associated with Barack Obama than
anybody in the state. I don`t think there is anybody in the state who is
disliked more than Barack Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Is this a proper thing to say?

CRUZ: I`d be willing to bet that the President`s Hollywood friends
have said some pretty extreme things.


SHARPTON: So is that the strategy, Joe? You challenge them about
hanging out with someone who says all of this and they try to deflect it
over to President Obama?

MADISON: Deflection is they are masters at deflection. You`ve got it
there is no if, and, butts about it. And one of the things that they do is
that they will rush to call you what they really are. And so this is what
we`re seeing. And to hear Ted Nugent talk about, oh, saving American
lives. Wait a minute. Coming from a draft dodger during the Vietnam War
who decided he didn`t want to go, not for any ideological reasons, but
because he wanted to make money with his band. And now he is this great
patriot? And you still want to embrace him? So the reality is that the
deflection needs to be called what it is. And, you know, the reality is
that Texas is almost a blue state. And if they want to hold on to Ted
Nugent, he may rush them to that color before it`s too long.

SHARPTON: You know, the democratic candidate, Dana, Wendy Davis, she
had this to say about Greg Abbott`s embrace of Ted Nugent. Listen. Let me
read it. It says when I read what Ted Nugent has said about women, I was
outraged. Greg Abbott feels differently, calls successful women vulgar and
disgusting names and demeans and degrades not just the women of Texas, but
anyone who disagrees with his narrow minded, disrespectful point of view.
Of course she is talking about Nugent there.


SHARPTON: The GOP clearly has a problem with women. Why embrace
someone like this when you already have a problem?

MILBANK: Well, it clearly was a political mistake for Abbott to do
this. You know, there is nobody who was -- who he is gaining by having Ted
Nugent out there with him on the campaign trail. People who are Nugent
fans were already going to be voting for Abbott. And now he has offended a
much larger group. And given at least a fundraising benefit to his
opponents, who let`s face it is an underdog. Any Democrats going to be an
underdog in Texas. But as Joe is pointed out, they`re sowing the seeds for
some real disappointments down the road by associating self with people
like this. Because it`s not just a matter of, you know, trying to tar your
opponent with a president who is unpopular in that state. Declaring the
president of the United States subhuman takes things to an entirely
different level that`s beyond the pale even in our sort of debased
political culture.

SHARPTON: And that`s what I`m saying here, Joe. All of us throughout
our careers have said things we would have wanted to take back and live
with it for decades. But to call a sitting president subhuman. And we`re
not talking about decades ago. We`re talking about in these recent times
and election cycles. And then for those that are embracing you, not to
denounce you for saying it is unbelievable in a serious adult political

MADISON: And anyone who understands human history knows, look, that`s
what Klansmen referred to. You can pull up clips of Klansmen talking about
not having integrated schools because we`ll create a mongrel race. So what
is he talking about, because he is of mixed race, he is a mongrel? And
then a subhuman? And this is the language of Klansmen. It`s the language
of what German Nazis said about Jewish people. This is -- this is just
what it is. And anyone who is decent would reject it and reject anybody
associated with it.

SHARPTON: You said it right. It is what it is. Dana Milbank and Joe
Madison, thank you for your time this evening.

MILBANK: Thanks, Rev.

MADISON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Republicans in a key swing state are trying to
roll back the clock on voting rights. Will people have to wait up to ten
hours to vote once again?

But first, Brian Williams and Lester Holt as you have never see it.


SHARPTON: Jimmy Fallon`s already making a splash as the host of "The
Tonight Show." We`ve seen the evolution of hip-hop dancing with Will
Smith. And even a barbershop quartet. But he left the rap to his NBC
colleague. Who knew Brian Williams and Lester Holt knew this 1979 sugar
hill gang classic.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I said a hip, hip, to the hip hip you don`t stop
the rock it to the -- up jumped to the rhythm of the beat, now what you
hear is not a test, I`m rapping to the beat, and me, the groove and my
friends are going to try to move your feet see I am wonder and I`d like to
say hello to the black to the black the white, the red and the brown, the
purple and the yellow. But first I got to bang bang up jumped the bogey to
the bang bang, let`s rock, you don`t stop, rhythm that will make your body
rock. So far you heard my voice, but I brought two friends along, and next
on the mic is my man Hank, sing that song.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Check it out. And you see I go by the code of the
doctor I`ll tell you why. You see I`m 6`1" and tons of fun and I dress to
a T. You see I got more everybody go hotel, motel, what you going to do


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (INAUDIBLE) Everybody go hotel, motel, say if your
girl starts acting up then you take her friend


SHARPTON: That was amazing. I think we`ll need two more seats at our
Apollo show this year.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, troubling news in the fight to protect
voting rights. Already this year lawmakers in 19 states have introduced
bills to scale back voting rights. And now the Ohio House has passed bills
that would limit early voting, end same-day registration, and put new
limits on absentee ballots. And these bills are headed to the desk of the
Republican governor to sign into law. So now it`s time to fight. Voting
rights were a big part of the meeting I and other civil rights leaders had
on Tuesday with President Obama.

I never thought as Representative Alicia Reece said Ohio in 2014 we
would be fighting to maintain our voting rights. But fight we will as we
told the president and he assured us, the great thing of this country is
giving people the right to vote. And now that it`s threatened, we`ve got
to fight. We`ve got to fight with all we have.

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


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