PoliticsNation, Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

March 4, 2014

Guests: Kendall Coffey, Emanuel Cleaver, Sister Simone Campbell, Goldie
Taylor, Chris Smith

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

Tonight`s lead, Republicans playing politics with national security.
Obama, the president is facing a major crisis with Russia`s invasion of the
Ukraine. We`ve already seen Russian soldiers firing warning shots in a
standoff today.


SHARPTON: This is serious. But here in the U.S., some of the right are
using the crisis to do what they do best, attack a president sitting in
office named Barack Obama.

Today, GOP Senator Lindsey Graham connected Ukraine back to the right`s
favorite topic, Benghazi. Tweeting, quote, "it started with Benghazi.
When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of

Russia invading Ukraine started with Benghazi? Benghazi doesn`t have
anything to do with it. But Graham`s not the only one launching baseless
attacks on the president.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: This president does not understand Vladimir
Putin. He does not understand his ambitions. It`s time we woke up about
Vladimir Putin. It`s time that this administration got real.

misunderstands the world, that he had limited experience of it and in it.
And I think he has proved as Oscar Goodman, the mayor of Las Vegas said in
another context to be a very slow learner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Putin is playing chess, and I think we`re
playing marbles.


SHARPTON: The president doesn`t understand? He is a slow learner? What
happened to politics ending at the water`s edge? And while Republicans are
denouncing Russia`s invasion, some also can`t help but express admiration
for president Vladimir Putin.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAJOR: Putin decides what he wants to
do and he does it in half a day. He makes a decision and he executes it
quickly. Then everybody reacts. That`s what you call a leader. President
Obama got to think about it. He`s got to go over it again. He`s got to
talk to more people about it.


SHARPTON: That`s what you call a leader? Apparently, the folks over at
FOX nation agree. They posted a quote, "must watch highlight reel of Putin
doing macho things." Because, really, who cares if Putin is invading a
sovereign country. The man is macho.

The right`s handling of this crisis has gotten so ridiculous that some are
even attacking the president`s wardrobe. One former Bush official says,
quote, "talking with the president of Russia about an invasion in a button-
down shirt and jeans is not up to the task." And he is not the only one.


SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Obama`s -- the perception of him
and his potency across the world is one of such weakness. And, you know,
look, people are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for
oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates
and bloviates.


SHARPTON: Mom jeans? Macho Putin? This is serious. People have died.
And America`s president is mobilizing the world to respond. Wouldn`t it be
nice if the right looked beyond this kind of petty politics?

Joining me now are Richard Wolffe and Michelle Cottle. Thank you both for
coming on the show tonight.



SHARPTON: Richard, let me start with you. Why is this crisis all about
mom jeans and macho Putin for the GOP?

WOLFFE: Well, it`s not new for this Republican party to approach this
president and say he is not up to the job. He`s, you know, he doesn`t have
the intellectual capacity or the moral strength or the backbone to do this
job. They`ve been doing this for years. And maybe that`s what parties do,
right? There were very similar criticisms coming from McCain about
President Clinton and his foreign policy. Of course, they ignored the Bush
record, and they get very annoyed when we talk about the Bush record. But
it is worth considering a president who dressed up in the oval office who
just launched a war that was the biggest foreign policy disaster since

For serious Republicans, and for some reason, you know, people in the media
still consider senator graham to be a serious foreign policy person in
spite of the comments he just made. But, you know, Senator Graham
obviously has forgotten one of his heroes. Ronald Reagan had a chance to
be tough against the soviets when they rolled in tanks in Poland during the
solidarity crisis, and he backed down. He did not in fact punish people
who killed Americans when the marines died in Beirut. And yet, he was a
hero of the cold war. He ended up, at least, in Republican version of
events winning the cold war single handedly. So they have to ask
themselves if they are serious about foreign policy, where is the

SHARPTON: Well, Michelle, I want to go back to what Senator Lindsey Graham
tweeted. He said earlier, quote, this is the tweet, "it started with
Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this
type of aggression." I mean, why do all roads lead to Benghazi with the
GOP, Michelle?

COTTLE: That has been where they`ve managed to get the administration on
the ropes or the closest to it. But, you know, that kind of comparison
sounds daffy when you just kind of look at it. But when you think about
what Uber Hawks like Graham and McCain have always thought of this
president, it makes total sense. Because for them not everything starts
with Benghazi. Everything starts with the election of Obama. Because in
their mind, he has always been weak, feckless, not up to the task. And
everything that happens on the globe in their minds confirms that

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Richard, Mr. Rumsfeld blasted the
administration`s handling of Russia, calling this administration weak.
Take a listen.


problem is bigger and critically important America, and that is America`s
weakness. Specifically, the U.S. is behaving in a way that tells the world
that we`re in decline, we`re in withdrawal. We have created a leadership
vacuum in the world. And it is being filled by the Putins of the world.
It is U.S. weakness that has shaken the world.


SHARPTON: U.S. weakness that has shaken the world. Richard?

WOLFFE: Yes. Well, it`s rich hearing this kind of stuff from Don
Rumsfeld. The name-calling must give him some kind of satisfaction. But,
again, if you`re a serious Republican foreign policy-minded person, then,
what is the alternative? Tell us what they think this shot do other than
sounding tough or wearing a suit in the oval office. So what are the
alternatives, what are any alternatives if they are really talking about
rolling back Russian forces out of Ukraine? And let`s hear them say that.

But more to the point, what kind of strength did Donald Rumsfeld project
when he got bogged down in the quagmire of Iraq. Did America look like it
was filling a leadership vacuum because of their foreign policy disasters,
or is there a stronger policy in building coalitions, withdrawing from wars
that don`t make any sense, and maybe, you know, ordering up the attack that
killed bin Laden?

SHARPTON: Well, you know, Michelle, the right wing had a very different
reaction, as a matter of fact, when Russia invaded the country of Georgia
back in 2008 when President Bush was in office.

Karl Rove said, quote, "I don`t think that Putin spit in the eye of the
president. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said, quote, "I
don`t think Russians are reckless. What they are doing is reasserting

Another FOX guest simply said, quote, "there is no easy answer. Russia is
a tough nut to crack." So it seems like things were a lot different when
President Bush was in and there was this invasion of Georgia than we`re
seeing today as they`re responding to what is going on with Russia and Mr.

COTTLE: Yes. If you look at their responses back then, they are correct.
This is a tough nut, you know. Russia`s relationship with Crimea is very
complicated and there are not a lot of good options here. But to hear them
tell it now, all you really need is a president with unbridled machismo,
and we wouldn`t have this problem or any of the other problems that we`ve
been looking at in the last few years.

SHARPTON: But Richard, they not only blamed this president and go back to
all of what has been their talking points, "the Daily Beast" points out now
the GOP is also trying to blame Russia`s invasion on Hillary Clinton.
Quote, "Republicans are pointing fingers at former secretary of state
Clinton, who during her tenure saw resolution and hope in the now fury-
filled Russia."

WOLFFE: Yes, that`s a lot to dump on a secretary of state. But, you know,
if she is to blame for the reset, then maybe she was just following the
leader, George W. Bush, who looked into Putin`s eye. It`s so ridiculous
the caricatures that are being played out around this. If they want to
play out 2016 on Ukraine, good luck to them. That`s seriously
underestimating Hillary Clinton.

SHARPTON: And Michelle, as Richard points out, it was George W. Bush who
said he looked into Putin`s eyes, not President Barack Obama. So I mean,
are we now so partisan and so petty that we deal with lives, we deal with
the possibility of everything from sanctions to military movement based on
who is in office and what party, and we do not deal with American
interests, American lives and other lives as a priority over partisan

COTTLE: Well, what you have with Republicans right now is the freedom of
the party that is not in control of foreign policy. To talk and whine and
point fingers and do whatever they want to. And then it is fundamentally
lies with Obama to do what needs to be done.

SHARPTON: Richard Wolffe and Michelle Cottle, thanks for coming on the
show tonight.

WOLFFE: Thanks, Reverend.

COTTLE: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Ahead, developing news in the Chris Christie bridge scandal.
The feds turn up the heat on two of his former aides in what is being
described as a criminal investigation.

Plus, surprise, surprise, turns out Paul Ryan may have been playing fast
and loose with the facts in his new attack on the safety net.

Also, surveillance video of a Walmart shooting that is raising some
disturbing questions about self-defense and America`s gun culture.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A fight just broke out near the checkout. A man has
been shot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are they outside or inside?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone is applying direct pressure to a chest wound.


SHARPTON: Now, one man is dead and the shooter has not been arrested in a
case that`s reviving debates about guns and justice. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Governor Christie`s former campaign manager appears to be a
target of a federal criminal investigation. Will he start talking? A
former U.S. attorney joins me next.


SHARPTON: Are the feds closing in? A developing story in the George
Washington bridge scandal tonight.

Chris Christie`s former campaign manager appears to be the subject of a
federal criminal investigation. In a court filing, Bill Stepien`s attorney
says his client is in, quote, "the throes of a criminal investigation, and
that the feds have tried to contact Stepien directly, saying that on
January 17th, an FBI special agent called Stepien`s cell. Shortly later,
two assistant U.S. attorneys called Stepien`s lawyer. Then in mid-
February, an FBI agent along with the department of justice investigator
paid a visit to Stepien`s home.

We`re also learning the U.S. attorney`s office tried to contact former
deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly and her parents. Both Stepien and
Kelly were very close to Christie, and they are the only two to publicly
say they will not turn over any documents. So where is this investigation
going next?

Joining me now, former U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey. Kendall, thanks for
your time tonight.

KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Hey, thanks for inviting me,

SHARPTON: A criminal investigation, what does that tell you, Kendall?

COFFEY: Well, it tells you that they decided that there are indeed
potential federal crimes here. They`ve got three highly qualified and
experienced federal prosecutors assigned with probably lots of federal
agents. So this is very, very serious business. And it`s a fascinating
development, the way they seem to be putting a maximum of pressure early
on, on two of the key people, Bridget Kelly and of course Stepien, who, if
anybody knows one way or the other whether Chris Christie is implicated,
those two do. And they`re trying to get right to them as fast as they can
be a maximum of pressure.

SHARPTON: Now, why would investigators go to Stepien`s home?

COFFEY: Well, normally you build an investigation going to the top, as
high as the evidence will take you, one step at a time, until you get to
the very top of the staircase. Here they seem to be wanting to taking an
elevator to the penthouse suite and get to the people who would have
knowledge and find a way to send them a message. They know they`re not
going to get usable stuff out of interviewing Stepien`s landlord, asking
about was Stepien rowdy, stuff like that.


COFFEY: What they`re doing, Reverend, is delivering a message, that
Stepien`s got telescope, a microscope, a stethoscope looking at him. If
there is anything at all there he better be plenty concerned if he wants to
talk to the feds about what he might know, this is a really good time to
start talk.

SHARPTON: So are they trying to rattle Stepien? Is this what they`re

COFFEY: They want to shake him up, rattle him, and roll him against Chris
Christie if in fact he has information that could be relevant. This is a
highly focused effort. It`s not an accident that they`re sending this guy
a message. And if you`re Stepien right now, it`s got to be pretty tough to
sleep at night, not knowing where this thing is going to go.

SHARPTON: Now, what if he clams up? Then where do they go?

COFFEY: If he clams up, then he has lost his chance to do early
cooperation. Again, we don`t know if he has any incriminating information.
But whether he does or not, this chance is now. If he passes up on it,
they are going to go about their investigation deliberately, carefully,
build as they often say one bird at a time. And if in fact he is clean,
then Stepien`s got nothing to worry about. But if this is anything
incriminating, they`re going find it, and serious consequences are going to

SHARPTON: Now, let`s not forget that Governor Christie cast Stepien aside
the day those bombshell e-mails became public. But listen to the reasons
Christie gave for pushing Stepien out.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I had earlier conversations with Bill
Stepien where as I expressed to you at the time that bill told me he knew
absolutely nothing about this. So, you know, and certainly the e-mails
yesterday, e-mails involving Bill Stepien were well after the fact. So --
but that`s not the basis upon which I made my decision on Bill. My
decision on Bill was made based on the fact of the tone, the tenor, and the
conduct that was evidenced in those e-mails. I lost confidence in his
judgment. And that`s why I made the decision I made as to Bill.


SHARPTON: Now, there has been nothing at all to implicate Governor
Christie as of yet that we`ve heard or that anyone has brought forward.
But, you know, Governor Christie is famous, Kendall, for his tough
rhetoric. Would it strike prosecutors as odd that he would fire Stepien
for using tough language?

COFFEY: Well, I think the prosecutors are assuming that if anybody knows
whether or not there is something to implicate governor Christie, it is
Stepien. And one of the realities is that when you throw somebody
overboard, whether it`s for good reasons or bad, you got to expect that
sometimes once they`re overboard, they`re going swim over to the
government`s ship. And if they`ve got things to say, they may start
talking at some point.

SHARPTON: Kendall Coffey, thank you for your time tonight.

COFFEY: Hey, thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama reveals his vision to give
opportunity to every American.

Plus, wait until you hear what we`re learning about Paul Ryan`s poverty
report. Who is saying they were misunderstood and misrepresented?

And self-defense or murder? An Arizona man shot to death inside a Walmart.
No arrest was made. It`s re-igniting the debate over stand your ground
today. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Congressman Paul Ryan is supposed to be the GOP`s big expert on
the safety net. He is supposed to be the one who knows all about the real
ways to reduce poverty. Only problem, his facts are a bit skewed. That`s


SHARPTON: While Republicans look for more ways to slash the safety net,
President Obama released his new budget plan today, pushing to reduce
inequality in our country.


address, I laid out an agenda to restore opportunity for all people. To
uphold the principle that no matter who you are, no matter where you
started, you can make it if you try here in America. The budget I sent
Congress this morning lays out how we`ll implement this agenda in a
balanced and responsible way.


SHARPTON: The president`s budget calls for universal prekindergarten
education. It increases tax credits for the working poor and supports
early childhood programs like head start. To help offset those costs, the
budget would end some tax breaks for the wealthy and raise taxes on

Ending tax breaks for the wealthy. Guess what the Republicans think?
Speaker Boehner said, quote, "The president has offered perhaps his most
irresponsible budget yet." And the GOP`s go-to budget guy, Paul Ryan? He
called it, quote, "yet another disappointment."

You know what is actually a disappointment? Congressman Ryan`s new
report on poverty, which is nothing more than a justification to cut
programs that helped the poor.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We spent about $800 billion on nearly
100 programs for the poor on welfare programs. And it`s getting worse.
More people in poverty. The poverty rates at a generation high. And with
these new programs has put in place like ObamaCare, what we`re learning is
that more people will stay in the poverty trap.


SHARPTON: These programs don`t put people in a trap. They help lift
them up. But it`s no surprise Congressman Ryan doesn`t have his facts
straight. Some of the experts in his poverty report cited he
misrepresented their research. If Republicans want to get serious about
fighting poverty, that`s great. But I`m not going to hold my breath.

Joining me now are Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, democrat of Missouri,
and Sister Simone Campbell, the executive director of the Catholic Social
Justice Organization Network. Thank you both for being here.

Good to be with you, Reverend.


SHARPTON: Congressman, what is your reaction to Paul Ryan`s report on

CLEAVER: Well, you know, I`m pleased that Chairman Ryan wanted to get
an assessment of the poverty programs. I`m a bit disappointed that he
either misinterpret order misrepresented what many of the authors of the
report said. And head start is just one of the many programs that I think
he misunderstood. And in some ways, Reverend, I got to say, I resent the
idea that helping people puts them in a trap. My mother and father raised
four children. We started out in a House with no running water, no indoor
plumbing, moved to public housing. We needed help for a while.

My father worked a full-time job, six days a week, got up and cleaned
offices on Saturday mornings, and we moved out of that house. And my
father live notice this house at this very moment. So we were not in a
trap. My father was a trapaholic in trying to get out of it. And that`s
what millions of Americans are trying to do. And I think they need to be
careful about the language. Because people are working hard every single
day. Nobody enjoys being poor.

SHARPTON: Nobody. And I grew up under similar circumstances with a
single mother. And she was not in a trap. She kept us from being trapped.
Sister Simone, how do you respond to this trap language that is being used
by Mr. Ryan?

CAMPBELL: Well, I`m totally shocked by it. The fact is that 26
million people in 2012 lived in poverty because their wages were so low.
The issue is often is wages. The earned income tax credit that the
president is proposing to expand is one of the most empowering programs
there is. There are. And last week I was in Detroit at some amazing
programs that help people get their GEDs, help people really overcome
learning disabilities as adults, and make a significant step forward.
Sharon last week told me because she got her GED, she was now able to get a
raise and finally lift her family out of poverty. These are helpful
programs that are moving people ahead.

SHARPTON: Now Congressman Cleaver, Congressman Ryan`s report included
lots of citations. But a reporter for the fiscal times talked to some of
the experts cited. He writes their reactions, quote, "Range from
bemusement to anger, claiming that Ryan either misunderstood or
misrepresented their research." One expert said, quote, "It`s an odd way
to cite the research." Usually you use all the available data. And
another thought Congressman Ryan simply misstated the findings of one of
her papers. I mean, this is not exactly an endorsement, is it,

CLEAVER: It`s not an endorsement. And I think Chairman Ryan, I don`t
know him well. I don`t want to suggest that I do know him and we know each
other. But I think he would like to change the dialogue between those who
are pushing for the poor and those who are seen as being the people who
push back. And I think he would like to have a new narrative for
Republicans that they are interested in trying to help the poor. The
problem I think is that Chairman Ryan probably is not taking into account
the millions of Americans who live that every day and who could help them
design programs and policies.

We have right now 46 million Americans living in poverty. That is an
insult and a shame. The other thing, the President in his budget did
something that Republicans should jump up and down in supporting. And that
is he is going to, if it`s approved, provide some tax cuts for poor working
people with children.


CLEAVER: Presently, the -- I mean, without children, the tax cuts are
for people who work -- low income people who work and have children. And
so Republicans like tax cuts. Here is an opportunity to say we want to
help the poor. And that is what we`re going to do. Support the
President`s proposal.

SHARPTON: Expanding the earned income tax credit that Sister Simone
you referred to. But let me show you this, Sister Simone. It`s
interesting that Congressman Ryan is championing the fight. But here is
what he said in the past about the poor and raising the minimum wage.
Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Will you support or seek to block increasing the
minimum wage?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: It`s bad economics, Andrew.

We don`t want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-
bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency.

Teach a man how to fish, he can feed himself for a life. Don`t simply
feed fish.


SHARPTON: I mean, do these kinds of comments inspire confidence,
Sister Simone?

CAMPBELL: Well, not for me, Reverend. But I think what really needs
to be pointed out is that our Pope Francis, Paul Ryan and I share the same
faith. And Pope Francis said that the role of government is to work for
the common good. And common good includes making sure that all workers
have livable wages. Right now our workers do not. And what we just heard
in that clip from Paul Ryan indicated that he was not in favor of making
sure that all workers can live on their wages. We need to make a change.
This is wrong. The right way forward is for wages, for work supports, and
for making sure that everybody in our nation has an opportunity.

SHARPTON: You know, it`s interesting, Congressman, that -- it`s
interesting that Sister Simone raised St. Francis. You and I both are
ministers. And the president said today that a budget is about values.
Let`s watch.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Our budget is about choices.
It`s about our values. As a country, we`ve got to make a decision if we`re
going to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans or if we`re going
to make smart investments necessary to create jobs and grow our economy and
expand opportunity for every American.


SHARPTON: I mean, what do the Republicans` budget choices say about
their values, Congressman Cleaver?

CLEAVER: Well, you know, I contend, and I think you agree with this,
being a minister, is that you look at a budget and you can tell who a
person is, what they believe in, what they want to do. Either as an
individual or a nation. The monotheistic religions of the world Christians
and Judaism and Islam all push its members to fight against poverty. But
right now the United States of America, the rich are getting richer, and
the poor are getting what the rich don`t take with them.

SHARPTON: Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and Sister Simone Campbell, I`m
going to have to leave it there. Thank you both for your time tonight.

CAMPBELL: Thank you, reverend.

CLEAVER: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, a top democrat calls out Republicans for their
dependence on billionaire Koch Brothers.

But first, new surveillance video of a deadly shooting inside a Wal-
Mart. One man is dead and the shooter has not been arrested. We`ll talk
about it next.


SHARPTON: Tonight, new surveillance video from a deadly shooting
inside an Arizona Wal-Mart that is raising some disturbing questions about
self-defense and guns in America. Last month, Kriston Charles Belinte
Chee, there on the left was shot and killed by Kyle Quadlin there on the
right. The surveillance video shows them apparently getting into an
argument at a service counter. We don`t know what the argument was about.
Belinte Chee followed Quadlin towards the exit and they continue arguing.

Things get physical when Belinte Chee begins pushing and shoving
Quadlin. The two men scuffle. Just a few seconds later, Quadlin takes out
his gun and shoots Belinte Chee in the chest who somehow manages to run
away afterwards. Quadlin is seen walking around with his gun still in his
hand. The tape also shows terrified adults shielding children and other
kids, fleeing in fear as witnesses call 911.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: A fight just broke out near the checkout. Man has
been shot.

DISPATCHER: OK. Are they inside or outside?


DISPATCHER: OK. Did you witness anything?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I saw some people struggling. I saw them go down
behind a display case, and then I heard a gunshot. Then somebody -- the
guy who was shot just got up and ran past a couple of the checkout stands
and then collapsed on the floor. Someone is applying direct pressure to a
chest wound. Um, you need get somebody here really quick. He is bleeding


SHARPTON: Belinte Chee was bleeding profusely and soon died, leaving
behind a wife and three kids. Quadlin himself also called police to say he
was acting in self-defense.


out. And I didn`t even get to the front door and this guy attacked me.


QUADLIN: And it should be on cameras and everything. He is kind of
doing whatever he can. I had to get it off safety and I didn`t try to kill
the guy or nothing, but I aimed as low as I could.


SHARPTON: Police didn`t arrest Quadlin because he told them he was
losing the fight and was in fear for his life when he fired. But the
victim was unarmed, and the shoving match lasted just a few seconds.
Arizona is a stand your ground state. And this shooting is once again
highlighting a crisis in this country. Too many guns and too many victims.
It`s time to fix these laws, and we can start right here where it all
began, Florida.

Joining me now is Florida State Senate democratic leader Chris Smith,
who has introduced a bill to fix some of the flaws in Florida`s stand your
ground law. Also joining me is Goldie Taylor. Thank you both for being


STATE SEN. CHRIS SMITH (D), FLORIDA: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Senator, we`re seeing stories like this from all over the
country. Isn`t it time we addressed these issues of self-defense and stand
your ground?

SMITH: Definitely, Reverend. Stand your ground started here in 2005.
But since recently in the last year or so, you see an uptick in these types
of cases because people are now getting a type of courage. They now see I
can use the stand your ground to escalate that argument that I used to have
with that neighbor. Or I can escalate just a simple shoving match or
something and use this great law to finally get my aggression out, get my
gun out, and do what I`ve always wanted to do. When we know, when we know
as human beings in a civilized society, there are times when you shouldn`t
take a life, there are times when you shouldn`t use a gun.

But this law, people are seeing it, especially since the Trayvon
Martin case and you see Zimmerman walking away, doing interviews, they see
this as an opportunity to finally get those aggressions out and
unnecessarily take a life. And I think we`re just going see more and more
of this as these laws stay on the books as is. And that`s sad in a
civilized society that we`ve gone there.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you. This new bill in the Florida
legislature could change stand your ground. It calls for new neighborhood
watch guidelines that would ban watch groups from confronting individuals.
It would make it more difficult for aggressors to use the stand your ground
defense. And it would eliminate civil immunity in stand your ground cases.
It`s not a full repeal, but it`s a start. Why is this bill so important to

SMITH: Well, I`ve been working on these cases. I voted against stand
your ground in 2005 when I was in the House. And I`ve been working for its
repeal. But that`s not likely to happen in Florida. So I`m teamed up with
the Republican colleague to try to put some common sense back into the
bill. So when juries go back and start deliberating, when judges look at
it, they can start to look and see that, OK, this is not a stand your
ground case. This person was an aggressor. This is not what this law is
intended for. And so we`re trying to give juries and judges a little
something else to think about and something else to hold their hat on as
they stem the tide of these violent people using this law to just act out
on their aggressions when they don`t have to.

SHARPTON: Now, this is not like the warning shot bill that is being

SMITH: No, sir. This doesn`t encourage you to shoot in any way.
What this says is, you know, if you`re the aggressor, if you escalate an
argument, if you are the person that initiated the contact, you cannot use
stand your ground.


SMITH: You can always use a standard self-defense, but you can`t
stand under this stand your ground and not be arrested and all the other
protections stand your ground give you. We`re trying to put some common
sense back into this law, because as you see, since the Trayvon Martin
case, you see more and more -- and sadly, Reverend, you`ve done a great job
highlighting these cases. But sadly, you see more and more of these cases.
And if these laws go unchecked, you`re going see more.

SHARPTON: Well, Goldie, this is really concerned a lot of us in the
civil rights communities, a big rally we`re doing there Monday around
you`ve got to look at these laws.

TAYLOR: Right.

SHARPTON: And you`ve got to look at stand your ground law is applied
unequally. Take a look at this. From 2005 to 2010, 36 percent of shooting
deaths with a white perpetrator and black victim were found to be
justifiable. Only three percent of shooting deaths with a black
perpetrator and white victim was considered justifiable. So it`s not even
an equal application. But either way, I would have serious concerns about
this law.

TAYLOR: You have to have serious concerns about a law. But if you
look at gun deaths around this country, homicides around this country, it
is never the race of the shooter that is sort of, you know, the deciding
factor as to whether somebody will be heavily investigated, whether you
know, it will be more rigorously prosecuted. Even the length of the
sentence. It is almost always to the person decided upon the race or the
gender of the victim. And so this country has developed this sort of
ranking system for the value of life based on, you know, someone`s economic
background, someone`s racial heritage, someone`s gender.

And so those kinds of biases are baked unfortunately into our judicial
system. In this kind of law, this kind of law, stand your ground or shoot
first laws, which are really in as many as 25 to 26 states in this country
really codify our fears, really make the law ratify them, make them legal
to act on those fears. And so I think that we do -- we are in for some
reforms in those states. But I`m afraid as I look at Florida and the vote
count there`s, as I look here in Georgia and the vote counts here and some
of these other states that are, you know, not necessarily controlled by
more progressive or democratic legislatures, I`m concerned that we won`t
get the kind of modifications that we need.

And so, I do believe that we have to challenge this both in the state
level, but I think we also have to begin to take this on to the federal
level when we talk about the equitable outcomes. Because I just don`t
believe that these kinds of laws that have this kind of an inequitable
outcome, I just can`t believe that they`re constitutional.

SHARPTON: Well, I think that`s part of the reason some of us are


SHARPTON: Earlier today though, Senator, Florida Governor Rick Scott
gave a state of the state address. But there was some glaring omissions.
He didn`t mention one time the phrase stand your ground or self-defense.
He didn`t say the name Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, or Marissa Alexander.
Don`t these issues deserve the attention of the state`s governor?

SMITH: Well, our governor has been writing letters to the president
about Venezuela and about things outside of state of Florida, but he has
neglected to mention Floridians that are dying. He has neglected to
mention that this is a topic around the nation about his state. And I was
very disappointed as I sat there listening to the state of the state that
here is a major topic. Here is something that people are talking about
around the nation about his state, and he didn`t bother to mention or at
least give condolences to the families that are out there suffering. The
Florida families that are suffering, he has neglected to mention, give
condolences, or anything. And so I was disappointed in his lack of
leadership and compassion when it comes to Floridians.

SHARPTON: And we`re not saying, Goldie, that he ought to take a
position on the case.


SHARPTON: People who rally on Monday, are not taking positions on the
case. It`s about concerns about the law and concerns about what is
happening. And he could do that as governor, as President Obama had to
Trayvon Martin`s parents and Jordan Davis` parents at the White House last
week when he did my brother`s keeper. Not taking a position or interfering
with the case, but you`re dealing with concerns of citizens and law.

TAYLOR: Well, you know, I think he ought to be concerned about the
safety and welfare of all of his citizens. He ought to be concerned about
the application of a law and even a sentencing that comes behind this
thing. You know, Marissa Alexander faces some 60 years in prison because
of a 10-20 life law on the books in Florida.


TAYLOR: Now certainly Michael Dunn is facing that same 60 years
because, you know, of the attempted murder charges arising out of his case.
But, you know, governor really needs to take a very hard look at all of
this. And I think it`s incumbent on him to make public statements about

SHARPTON: State Senator Chris Smith and Goldie Taylor, I`m going to
have to leave it there. But thank you both for your time.

SMITH: I`ll see you next week, Reverend.

SHARPTON: See you Monday.

Ahead, very good news tonight on ObamaCare. It has to do with
Republicans and the Medicaid expansion.

And what democratic leader handed the billionaire Koch Brothers today
for, quote, "campaign of deception." You`ll want to see this, next.


SHARPTON: Harry Reid is going to war against the Koch Brothers. The
Senate majority leader is making headlines today after a blistering attack
against the billionaire conservative mega donors on the floor of the


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: What is un-American is when
shadowy billionaires pour unlimited money into our democracy to rig the
system to benefit themselves and the wealthiest one percent. Senate
Republicans, Madam President, are addicted to Koch.


SHARPTON: Addicted to Koch. Addicted to what Senator Reid called
unlimited money from shadowy billionaires. Addicted to what that money can
buy. According to "The Washington Post," Koch-backed groups raised $400
million during the 2012 election.


REID: The Koch Brothers already believe they can play by a different
set of rules. Think about how an America rigged by the Koch Brothers would
look. The Koch Brothers don`t care about guarantee of affordable, quality
health insurance for every American. That`s obvious from the misleading
ads that they have paid for from all over the country.


SHARPTON: Many of those misleading ads are coming from the Koch-
funded group Americans for Prosperity. The same group the Post reports has
already spent $30 million this election cycle. A spokesman for the Koch
Brothers responded, saying, quote, "We are disappointed that Senator Reid
is attacking private citizens, rather than the problems facing this
nation." A lot of people are afraid to stand up to the Koch brothers.
They are a lot of money and even more power. But Harry Reid isn`t afraid.
He is a former boxer. And today he proved that he still knows how to throw
a punch.


SHARPTON: Tonight a major victory for ObamaCare. Extremist
Republicans in Arkansas failed in their attempt to roll back the state`s
Medicaid expansion, keeping alive a program that covers nearly 94,000
people. This is a big step forward. It could be a sign of things to come.
Republican governors and lawmakers in 19 other states have rejected the
Medicaid expansion, leaving millions without health insurance. Last month,
President Obama told those Republican governors that it`s time to help
their constituents.


OBAMA: States that don`t expand Medicaid are going to be leaving up
to 5.4 million Americans uninsured. And that doesn`t have to happen. Work
with us to get this done.


SHARPTON: Despite all that Republican obstruction, Americans are
getting covered, and that`s a good thing. Thanks for watching. I`m Al
Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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