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PoliticsNation, Friday, March 21st, 2014

Read the transcript from the Friday show

March 21, 2014

Guests: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Joe Madison, Goldie Taylor, Jay Rollins, Jim

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

Tonight`s lead, Obamacare is saving lives and the Republicans are telling
lies. We`re just ten days away from the deadline to sign up for health
insurance but even though the clock`s ticking, we can`t lose sight of how
far we`ve come.

This weekend marks the fourth year anniversary of a law that brings
affordable health care to millions of people. Today vice president Biden
said it brought a fundamental change.


about the health care bill is this is the first time in American history we
have at least legislatively ended the debate. Health care is a right not a



SHARPTON: Health care is a right that millions more people can now enjoy.
Today the administration announced the law saves $7.9 million seniors more
than $9 billion on prescription drugs. Obamacare means $129 million people
with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage. $71 million
people gained coverage for free preventive care. And three million young
adults have been able to stay on their parents` plan. These are real
people seeing very real benefits all across the country?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Carl signed up for health insurance recently
through ACA web site and said finally it`s something he can afford. Last
week he got his first checkup in years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did a complete physical, EKG, blood work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My prescriptions for out-of-pocket expenses for my son
were, you know, $500 a month and now we can get it down a more reasonable

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Working with a specialist and filling out
forms on line, the Jones were able to find a plan that worked for them.

As for Mohammed Jani, hi qualified for government subsidies and he found a
plan with a premium that was half of what he used to pay.


SHARPTON: Lower premiums, checkups for the first time in years and peace
of mind. That`s what this law does. But for the last four years it`s
faced constant attacks and a campaign of misinformation from the right.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Obamacare is a disaster. It is hurting millions
of people.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The government`s making the decision
who lives and dies. That`s what Obamacare is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing that has
happened in this nation since slavery and it is in a way -- it is slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It allows the federal government to have all of your
Medical records. They`ll know all of your deepest secrets.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Let`s repeal this failure before it
literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens.


SHARPTON: She`s literally got to be kidding. But do Republicans want to
go back to the old system where women were charged more than men? Where
people with pre-existing conditions couldn`t get insurance? Where
insurance companies could cut you off once you got sick? Is that the
Republican plan to go back to the way things were? No way! It`s time to
move forward.

Joining me now are Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Democrat of Missouri, and
former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, also an MSNBC contributor.

Thank you both for being here.

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Good to be with you, reverend.


SHARPTON: Congressman, is that what Republicans want? To go back to the
old health care system?

CLEAVER: Obviously, that is what they want or they don`t know what they
want. Look, you can`t condemn one plan if you have no plan and what I
don`t think the Republicans understand is that subpoena that blowing out
another`s candle does not make your candle shine brighter. And that`s all
they`re doing is blowing out candles. And unfortunately, the candlelight
belongs to men and women who are now in the light in terms of their health

This is a heavy dose of irrationality being pushed out on the American
public at a time when we really need everybody to work together. Here in
Missouri, for example, if we don`t expand Medicaid, we will deny 300,000
Americans, 3000 people from Missouri, who are Americans, health care. And
that`s all over the country.

SHARPTON: And that`s in Missouri alone.

CLEAVER: Missouri alone.

SHARPTON: Governor, what amazes me is people like you and I wanted even
more. We wanted single payer. Here these guys are acting like there`s
something radical about providing health care for young people, pre-
existing conditions. I mean, these are real people in a very mainstream,
moderate kind of way doing something that is far from radical.

SCHWEITZER: Well, they negotiated this all in the Senate finance
committee. This so-called gang of six and they were attempting to get some
Republican votes for a bill that was designed by the heritage foundation
back in the `90s.

SHARPTON: Modeled after Romney care in Massachusetts.

SCHWEITZER: Absolutely. Now, here`s what`s interesting about the politics
of this. so you`ve got Republicans running for office that are saying
apparently we like the old system where insurance companies could force you
go to bankruptcy. Where they could call it a pre-existing condition if you
were born with something or it was a pre-existing condition if you were a
woman because they could charge you higher premiums, get this, higher
premiums because there`s a chance you could be a mother. So these
Republicans are for insurance companies and I can`t find anybody who likes
their health insurance company, and against motherhood. I like our

SHARPTON: Now, talking about women, Congressman, President Obama this week
talked about how the health care law bans insurers from discriminating
against women. Watch this.


it was routine for insurance companies to charge women significantly more
than men for health insurance. It`s just like the dry cleaners. You send
in a blouse, I send in a shirt, they charge you twice as much. But what
was happening, the same thing was happening in health insurance. And so
this is -- we`ve banned that policy for everybody.


I mean, is this what they want to go back to? An old system like that,

CLEAVER: It appears that we have an effort being put forth by people on
the rigid right to take us back and every American who has a mother, who is
a mother or has a daughter ought to be just fit to be tied when you think
about people trying to send us back to a period when women`s health care
cost more and women were considered to be a health risk because they could
get pregnant and they therefore were either denied health care or charged

Any time you do anything new there is a human part that resists. It`s
almost instinctive. But when you add the political perjury that is being
committed by some on the right, it makes our task much more difficult and
that`s why given this opportunity we need to encourage everyone to sign up.
And if you know anyone who`s not signed up, particularly your daughters and
your mothers and grandmothers, get them signed up today.

SHARPTON: March 31 is the deadline.

You know, Governor, vice president Joe Biden talked today about the
Republican governors who refused the Medicaid expansion. Listen to this.


BIDEN: Imagine if every governor did the right thing and signed up for
Medicare. I am convinced as a practitioner the so-called art of politics
that they all will over the next several years. They will not be able to
sustain the heat.


SHARPTON: Now, the states that are refusing the Medicaid expansion are
denying insurance to nearly five million people.

Governor, you were governor of Montana. I mean, is the vice president
right? These governors won`t be able to keep up their opposition?

SCHWEITZER: He`s absolutely right and the way that it`s designed is that
if you are 133 percent of federal poverty or above you can join the
exchange and a portion of your insurance will be paid for. But in those
states that didn`t expand Medicaid, 133 percent and below, you have no
protection and they`re going to end up going the emergency rooms and
they`re going to get expensive health care which will be shifted on to the
backs of other people in their state. This is bad business that these
Republican governors are doing in each of these states.

SHARPTON: You know, Congressman, despite all that they are saying, most
Americans support the health care -- affordable health care act and want to
fix the law or keep it as it is. Just 28 percent want to eliminate it.
Are Republicans in danger of overreaching with this obsession they have on
repealing the law?

CLEAVER: They are overreaching and every poll suggests that the American
public is interested in repairing the ACA as opposed to repealing the ACA.
And I think that in time people are going to catch on and come to the
conclusion that there are people trying to deny me health care and we have
the same thing when Medicare was launched, actually, signed right here in
Kansas city at the Truman library, Lyndon Johnson came to Harry Truman to
sign it and we had that grandfathers, if you will, of today`s Republicans
scaring people about Medicare. Now people believe that when they were born
god gave them Medicare.

SHARPTON: Congressman Cleaver and Governor Schweitzer, I`m going to leave
it right there. Thank you both for your time. Have a great weekend.

CLEAVER: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the Democrats` new plan to fight the Koch brothers
and their efforts to flood the political system with their money.

Plus, why is Ted Cruz wing about the most lawless administration we`ve ever

What might have been going on inside the cockpit minutes before the
Malaysia plane lost contact? Some fascinating details emerging today.

And the dance everyone is talking about. Congressman John Lewis cuts a rug
and it will put a smile on your face.

It is a big Friday show here. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Happy eighth birthday to twitter. In just eight years twitter
has changed the world and the world of politics. Twitter has connected
politicians with the public a way we`ve never seen before, before Ellen`s
Oscar selfie, the president set the record for the most re-tweeted photo
ever when he shared this picture of the first lady on election night 2012.

Today, Congressman John Lewis tweeted "thank you for all the kind words
about my dancing. Everyone should dance for happiness. Send me your happy
dancing and I`ll re-tweet my favorites." He`s talking about this epic
dance that`s been seen by nearly a half million people on our politics
nation web site.


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: This is my song.


SHARPTON: Now that`s a way to celebrate a twitter birthday! We`re sending
our submission now so please follow us at


SHARPTON: For years, you`ve heard how the sometimes-secretive billionaire
Koch brothers were going to beat Democrats with their millions. The
political network they support spent more than $420 million on the 2012
campaign and they lost. They tried to derail Obamacare, even bankrolling
ads trying to scare Americans from Obamacare -- and failed.

But today a new plan. The front page of the "New York Times" reveals the
Koch-backed group spending freely and attacking government stepping up its
ground game with grass-roots activists knocking on doors basically taking a
page from the Obama play book. And their groups of undisclosed donors are
throwing millions into this year`s midterm elections. They`ve spent $2
million so far in Michigan, more than $3 million in Louisiana, $8 million
in North Carolina. So far they`ve poured a whopping $30 million into races
all across the country.

But today Democrats are fighting back. We learned a Democratic political
action committee is planning a $3 million ad campaign to challenge the Koch
brothers in five key states. The democratic senatorial campaign committee
launched a web site dedicated to following the Koch money. And senator
Harry Reid recently ramped up his attacks, accusing the Kochs of terrible
dishonesty and calling them as un-American as anyone he can imagine. Not
only are they rigging the system, he says, but the GOP is addicted to Koch.

And recently President Obama himself has gone on the offense about the
Kochs` efforts to convince young people not to sign up for health care.


OBAMA: Some of the tea party`s biggest donors, some of the healthiest men
in America, are funding a cynical ad campaign trying to convince young
people not to buy health care at all. I mean, think about it. These
billionaires several times over, you know they`ve got good health care. Do
you think if you get sick or you get hurt and you get stuck with a massive
bill these same folks are going to help you out?


SHARPTON: This is all part of the effort to bring the Koch brothers and
their dark money out of the shadows. Big money is trying to buy elections
and the Democrats are fighting back. Joining me now, E.J. Dionne.

E.J., thanks for being here.


SHARPTON: You write this week about how President Obama needs to fight
back against big money. I want to read this to the audience. Quote "going
on offense means first building on what Senate majority leader Reid is
taking on against the Koch brothers and other right wing millionaires
trying to buy themselves a Congress. It is also about drawing a sharp line
between the interests and policy goals of those fronting that money and the
rest of us. The Koch brothers dark money machine is powerful. Can the
Democrats fight back, E.J.?

DIONNE: Well, they can`t beat it if they don`t which is why I think they
did need to go at it. And then I think going directly at them serves a
number of purposes as once. First of all, it gets people over time asking
why am I seeing all these ads on television attacking this particular
candidate. What`s in it for her opponent? What do these guys want that
she or he doesn`t want? And so you can begin to get voters themselves kind
of asking questions about the ads, and the ads can start turning into a
boomerang if they run them too often. They become the issue.

But Brian Boitler in a piece in "Salon" made another powerful point which
is that there are the Kochs in various states are not popular because of
their company. I mean, he points to Michigan where there was a controversy
over dumping petroleum Koch. In Alaska where they shut down a subsidiary,
people are unemployed, there were cleanup costs to their enterprise. And
so you can begin to bring -- if they want to be in the dialogue, which they
do, then the other side is going to bring them into the dialogue as well.

SHARPTON: Well let me show some of that, because we`re seeing more and
more ads associating Republican candidates with the Koch brothers money.
Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Koch brothers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The billionaire Koch brothers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not believe it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They come into our town, buy our refinery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just ran it into the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of Alaskans are losing jobs and I`m definitely
concerned about the drinking water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t go down. They them what to do, I don`t expect
them to come up to Alaska and tell us what to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Out-of-state billionaires spending millions to rig the
system and elect Bill Cassidy. Their goal? Another politician bought and
paid for. Their agenda -- protect tax cuts for companies that ship our
jobs overseas, cut Social Security and end Medicare as we know it. They
even tried to kill relief for hurricane victims. Cassidy`s billion-dollar
backers. They`ve got a plan for him. It`s not good for Louisiana.


SHARPTON: Those are ads that are running in Alaska and Louisiana where
Democrats are in very tough races and are dealing with opponents who are
getting help from the Koch brothers kinds of money, E.J.

DIONNE: Right. I mean, it`s got to be to create a cost for something
because otherwise it`s all gain for the Republican candidate and all loss
for the democratic candidate. And I think there`s a bigger argument here,
which is in that very good "New York Times" piece. They pointed out that
the Americans for prosperity, the Koch group, is not just going after
Obamacare because they want to win elections, they`re going after the
affordable care act because they want to discredit the idea of using
government to solve problems and to make us more just. They`re trying to
discredit all kinds of programs through their attacks on the affordable
care act.

SHARPTON: That`s the big fight that the "New York times" piece really
breaks down. It`s a fight against big government that they`re after and
saying that government is the enemy and clearly question I`ve got to keep
monitoring this because this is a real fight.

E.J. Dionne, thank you very much and have a great weekend.

DIONNE: Have a great weekend, Rev., thanks.

SHARPTON: Coming up, was a mystery phone call placed from the pilot
minutes before the Malaysia airlines plane took off?

Plus, it`s a trend on the right, calling for President Obama`s impeachment.
What the leader of the party says it won`t happen.


LIMBAUGH: I`m not so sure that the people of this country would ever
support removing the first black president. I just think it`s never going
to happen.


SHARPTON: And it`s March madness, the annual tradition of Republicans
losing their minds over the presidential basketball picks. Next.


SHARPTON: It`s March madness! Or should I say the right wing`s March
madness. For the last six years President Obama has made it a custom to
make his college basketball bracket picks on ESPN. And each time a
different kind of madness comes from the right.


LIMBAUGH: Barack Obama is filling out on ESPN his March madness brackets
while all of this is going on. And over here in Crimea and Ukraine
Vladimir Putin is openly laughing at the president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama was picking brackets when Vladimir
Putin was in red square being very, very Russian.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: He`s doing his NCAA brackets and I see
Michelle`s flying off for an all expense paid vacation to China without any

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first lady going to a major nation --

HANNITY: And in the a middle of a crisis this man seems so out of touch.


SHARPTON: Hold on. Hold on. I`m calling timeout. So it`s about Russia
shah this year? But I thought it was about the budget!


HANNITY: The misplaced priorities of our celebrity president were on full
display yet again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight, presidential priorities -- basketball or

HANNITY: President Obama took time out of his busy schedule to fill out
his march madness brackets. He continues to break the law, he has yet to
submit his budget.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to know what you think about president Obama
getting his brackets done but not his budget for us. Are you outraged or
this just not a big deal?


SHARPTON: I`m going to take "not a big deal" on that one. And three years
ago it was about Japan and the Middle East.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well as Japan`s crisis grows there is a new round of
questions about president Obama`s response. Critics are now challenging
the president for yesterday focusing on his picks for the college
basketball championships.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were busy playing golf! We had to fill out our NCAA

HANNITY: So he`s filling out brackets, he`s going to fund-raisers, parties
and golfing. And I`m thinking, Libya, the Middle East.

That`s a technical foul. Did the right wing think we wouldn`t notice the
annual march madness? Nice try, but your bracket is busted because we got


SHARPTON: Just in time for the basketball tournament, right wingers have
dreamed up their own Obama derangement brackets. One GOP group put out the
lawless not so sweet 16 with all the ways the President is supposedly
breaking the law. Another bracket which says which is President Obama`s
worst constitutional violation? Make your picks. It`s the GOP`s favorite
new talking point, that President Obama is somehow shredding the
constitution. And you don`t have to be picky about which particular right
he`s supposedly violating. Ted Cruz says, it`s all of them.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: It seems almost as if this President is going
down the bill of rights violating each one of them one at a time. This
administration is the most lawless administration we`ve ever seen. There
has never been a president before this one who has taken the view if he
doesn`t agree with a federal law he`ll just refuse to enforce it.


SHARPTON: The most lawless administration ever? Violating the entire bill
of rights one by one? Why stop there? What`s next on the President`s hit
list? Uncle Sam? Bald eagles? What about mom and apple pie? It`s
ridiculous. Republicans have no credibility left when it comes to this
president. They`ve accused him of anything and everything. But voters
know they should believe nothing the Republicans say about it.

Joining me now are Joe Madison and Goldie Taylor. Thank you for being



SHARPTON: Joe, don`t Republicans have a credibility problem when it comes
to all these over-the-top claims about the President?

MADISON: Of course they do and all of us sitting here, the three of us and
I think most of the nation knows that the President has more attorneys, the
White House and the administration has enough attorneys to prevent him from
violating any constitutional right that exists. Now, let`s also add
something else quickly. We have something called the United States Supreme
Court and if the President of the United States is violating every single
bill of right, you would think that the Supreme Court would have stopped
him a long time ago.

SHARPTON: You know, Goldie, the extremism has really seemed to hurt their
brand more than it has the president. When you look at the fact that just
25 percent of voters now identify as Republicans, that`s an all-time low.

TAYLOR: You know, I think you`re right about that Reverend Sharpton and
that`s the grand irony here, that this kind of talk, this kind of, you
know, baiting really works well when you`re talking to a group of, say, 50
people at your Saturday morning GOP breakfast, when you`re talking about --
talking to base voters, those activist voters. But when, you know, when
the rubber meets the road you can`t bring the charges. You don`t have a
single place where this president has violated this constitution, this
president has done something that has risen to the level of an impeachable
offense, you don`t have charges. What you do have is that you have
political fodder, fodder that you can get activists out, you know, working
on your behalf with.

Fodder that you can get $5, $10, $25 kinds of contribution, the kind of
contribution that it really takes today to fund national campaigns that
kind of grass-roots effort and so this is the kind of bait that these GOP
candidates are using. And you know, I just find it a little bit
distasteful -- actually very distasteful that they would do this kind of
thing and sort of, you know, infect the electorate in this way and keep us
off of the real issues at hand. You know, unemployment, environmental
concerns for heaven`s sake. We`ve got bigger fish to fry than someone`s,
you know, individual political career and whether or not they can return to
Congress because, you know, they were unable to assail the President in the
way they wanted to.

SHARPTON: But it`s not just political, you know, Joe. Senator Cruz, for
example, he seems to think President Obama has launched a war on
Christians. Listen to this.


CRUZ: We have never seen an administration with such hostility towards
religious faith. The federal government is now trying to force private
citizens to violate their religious believes. It`s wrong and it`s


SHARPTON: So it`s just like anti-President Obama at different levels, any
shot they can take.

MADISON: I`m sorry, I lost you.

SHARPTON: I said it seems as though they`re taking any shot that they can
take whether it`s political, religious, whatever as long as it`s anti-
President Obama.

MADISON: Right. And I think what they`re doing, and we better be very
careful with this, they`re priming the pump. Even Rush Limbaugh is saying
oh, you can`t impeach this president because he`s the first black


MADISON: Let me tell you, that`s a little reverse psychology. Remember,
now, the first thing they started with in the first administration -- the
first term was birtherism. That didn`t work. Now what they`re doing is
priming the pump for impeachment and what they`re saying is they`ll get us
looking at 2016 when in reality they`re focused on 2014 because they know
the only thing standing in their way is quite honestly the control of the
United States Senate and so be very careful. This is priming the pump,
getting the American people to start thinking impeachment and then that`s

SHARPTON: And even if it never happens, if they can get the midterm
elections operating under an impeachment cloud it can affect some very
close Senate races.

MADISON: That`s right. That`s right.

SHARPTON: You know, Goldie, though, there`s something that I think really
has sunk to a new low in this Obama derangement that`s going on. Over at
FOX News they are actually using the Malaysia airplane tragedy to bring up
Benghazi. I mean, this is a new low. Listen to this. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The Malaysian government was obviously blindsided, they
didn`t know what to do, sort of their Benghazi scandal.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Leading the nightly newscast in America for the last 11
days, these newscasts don`t know focus on things like Benghazi, fast and
furious and IRS.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: America could close this investigation fast if it wanted
to. Well, as long as the plane`s not hidden in Benghazi or the IRS


SHARPTON: I mean, we are talking about 239 human beings that are missing.
We don`t know what happened. We`re praying that the worst that every day
that seems closer and closer to these families that they don`t know where
their loved ones are and you`re going to use this to say that it is being
talked about so that they can avoid talking about Benghazi?

TAYLOR: Yes. I have to agree with you there, Reverend Al, that we`re
talking about real people`s lives. Real people lost their live at
Benghazi, real people, we don`t know what happened to those people on that
plane as of today. And so to point the finger at this administration or
even at the administration in Malaysia to say that they did something that
cost the lives of, you know, their citizens of human beings I think is very
unfortunate. And to mishmash it all together and play politics with it, to
look for votes with it, to look to raise your cable audience with it, to
look to get more people to tune into your radio show by raising these kind
of very fake scandals I think is really an unfortunate thing. We`ve
reached a new low in our politics unfortunately where we don`t even look at
the sanctity of human life as something that ought to be off limits.

SHARPTON: Yes, well, I thought that was low. Every time I think that some
right wingers has gone as low as they can go they show me that I
overestimated their ability in terms of staying on a higher plane. Joe
Madison, Goldie Taylor, thank you both. Have a great weekend.

MADISON: You, too, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, we might be learning more about the final 54 minutes
of communication from missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 360. And on a much
lighter note, First Lady Michelle Obama`s playing pink pong in China. But
what`s President Obama doing at home? Wait until you hear this one. Stay
with us.


SHARPTON: For the first time, we`re learning about the final 54 minutes of
communications from missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. London`s
telegraph newspaper has reportedly obtained communications between the
cockpit and air traffic controllers before the plane vanished. NBC News
has not independently confirmed this information. It`s believed that the
sole communicator to ground control was the 27-year-old co-pilot. Much of
the banter sounds perfectly routine except for this.

At 1:07 a.m., according to the telegraph`s transcript the plane delivered a
message from the cockpit saying that the plane was flying at a cruising
altitude. This message was unnecessary as it repeated a call that had
already been delivered six minutes earlier. 1:07 happens to be the same
time that one of the plane`s communications systems sent out its last
transmission. Does that mean anything? Or is it simply a striking

Joining me now is Jay Rollins, a retired American airlines captain and a
former U.S. Navy pilot and Jim Cavanaugh, an NBC law enforcement analyst.
Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.



SHARPTON: Jay, let me start with you again. We haven`t confirmed this
news report, but if it is true, it certainly lends the impression that
everything was pretty much normal right up until the transponder shuts off.
What`s your reaction?

ROLLINS: I read over the transcript that they put out and I don`t see
anything that odd in it, Reverend. All I saw was pretty much normal
communications with regard to the repeating the flight level the second
time. Sometimes a pilot will do that. They may have forgotten than they
just did it with the previous call in and they just wanted to make sure.
That doesn`t particularly bother me, either. The fact that they haven`t
found anything in that debris field --

SHARPTON: Well, before you go into the debris field because I want to talk
about that. Jim, what stands out to you about this latest report?

CAVANAUGH: Well, Reverend, you know, just like Jay said, it seems like
normal. I read the transcript that the telegraph put out and the pilot
take nation team sent it to me and I read it. And I felt the same thing as
Jay, it`s very normal. And also the second call, I don`t think, is that
unusual but it felt like to me that he was nudging, nudging maybe air
traffic control to release him. He`d already told them his altitude. Now
it doesn`t mean he did, just a feeling when I read it I thought well, the
pilot says it again and then immediately comes back that air traffic
control releases them to Ho Chi Minh City.

So it was almost like just a nudge. That doesn`t mean it`s evil, but
that`s just the way it felt reading it, but I think what Jay said is
important. All the communications from the time they were on the deck all
the way up there seems very normal and what I read into that was I just
sort of diminished in my mind the scenario of a violent, hostile takeover
of the cockpit by multiple hijackers. You know, this communication is very
-- seems very normal. It`s spaced every few minutes apart. You know,
where is the time for this violent takeover of the cockpit?

SHARPTON: So, Jim, what would you be looking for? If you were
investigating this, what would you be looking for?

CAVANAUGH: Well, I`d be looking for, of course, the pilot and co-pilot
clearly we`d talk about that. I`d also be looking -- there`s anybody on
that plane that was a close associate or friend to them and might have been
in the cockpit, invited in as a guest. You know, the co-pilot has done
that before. Was there any passenger on a plane that ever trained on the
flight simulator at the captain`s house? I`d want to know that. I`d want
to look at the videotapes of the airport and see if the captain and co-
pilot were there before? Was there any people talking to them, associates,
did they know anybody on the plane that could have been invited in because
the cockpit is the -- essential element of where this deliberate turn was

SHARPTON: Jay, let`s go back to you, you started talking about debris. We
don`t have debris, but what else should investigators be looking at? Is
security footage from the airport -- I mean, what else?

ROLLINS: I think that one of the things they definitely are looking at and
should continue to look at and take apart is the captain`s computer from
the flight simulator. That will give us insight into his state of mind
with respect to flying. And that coupled with the lack of debris is
starting -- assuming that we don`t find anything in that flight simulator,
it`s starting to take me in a direction that there could have been a slow
evolving emergency that the pilots didn`t discover until it was too late.

Back to what I was mentioning yesterday about a smoldering tire or one of
these lithium batteries that apparently they had on board in the cargo
hold. If any of that is going wrong and putting noxious fumes into the
cockpit or smoke and they don`t have their oxygen masks on it`s
understandable that they could have passed out.

SHARPTON: Now, Jim, Malaysian authorities are also investigating reports
that the captain of the plane made a call from the cockpit prior to
takeoff. What can they learn from that?

CAVANAUGH: Well, we certainly can learn who he called and interview that
person and find out the conversation. They should also find out if the
captain has ever filed or the co-pilot ever filed that flight plan before.
You know, it could have been some kind of emergency backup, emergency get
out for him. So I`d want to know if it was ever filed before on other

SHARPTON: Jay Rollins and Jim Cavanaugh, thank you both for your time this

CAVANAUGH: Thanks, Reverend.

ROLLINS: Thank you, reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, 49 years after the Selma-to-Montgomery march, how
we`re still fighting for voting rights today. But first, First Lady
Michelle Obama is in China, so what`s President Obama doing at home? He
tells you, next.


SHARPTON: It was an action-packed day for the First Lady Michelle Obama,
on her first full day of her good will tour of China. She started the day
with China`s first lady, visiting a high school in Beijing where she tried
her hand at Chinese calligraphy. And look at this. She practiced her own
brand of ping-pong diplomacy, volleying a few rounds after getting a crash
course of table tennis. And the two first ladies then visited the
Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing where Chinese emperors once lived
and ended the day with a surprise visit from China`s president. Quite a
day. But while the first lady and the first daughters are in China, the
President is home alone and Ellen DeGeneres wanted to make sure he`s OK
flying solo.


ELLEN DEGENERES, TV HOST: Mr. President, Michelle said, she`s out of town
and she wanted to know, did you make your bed this morning?




OBAMA: And, you know, when she`s out of town things get a little slovenly
around the house. Sox every, shoes.

DEGENERES: Have you eaten today and are you taking care of yourself? Did
you exercise?

OBAMA: I did exercise, I did eat and I ate healthy and I had some carrot
sticks along with the potato chips.


Sounds like he`s having good day. But according to Jimmy Fallon, the
President`s not loving his week of bachelor life.


JIMMY FALLON, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: You can kind of tell Obama`s lonely just
by the tweets that he`s been sending out. Like last night he tweeted "Hey,
Michelle Obama, having eight pancakes you better stop me, hashtag, kind of
wish you would, hashtag, lonely talk." He wrote "Just texed Putin, you up?
Best frenemies."


SHARPTON: Don`t worry, Mr. President, you`ve only got five more days to be
home alone.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, "Advancing the Dream." On this very day back
in 1965, Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and more than 3,000 marchers
left Selma, Alabama, to begin the long march to Montgomery in support of
voting rights. It was their third attempt at the march the first attempt
was bloody Sunday. Hundreds of civil rights demonstrators were attacked by
police and state troopers as they crossed Selma`s Edmund Pettus Bridge.
The second attempt came two days later.

Marchers were forced to turn around because of a restraining order by a
federal judge. But they didn`t give up. They tried again and by the time
protesters reached Montgomery, the march had swelled to 25,000 people.
Despite tear gas and Billy Clubs they didn`t back down so we can`t give up
now. Those gains are under attack now. Last night GOP lawmakers in
Wisconsin voted to scale back early voting, a clear attempt to suppress the
state`s minority vote. Democrats were outraged.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You are placing barriers, barriers, against minority
voters from participating.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We should not be limiting time for voting. We should
be encouraging people to vote. We should be solving our problems and not
fixing elections.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You think you`re going to cut down the votes in large
urban areas, that`s your goal, because that`s where democratic votes come
from. Let`s be honest about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The Democrats want to fix problems and the Republicans
want to fix elections.


SHARPTON: Democrats want to fix problems, Republicans want to fix
elections. And in Wisconsin, the Republicans are being called out by one
of their own.


ST. SEN. DALE SCHULTZ (R), RICHLAND CENTER: But the fact is, it ought to
be abundantly clear to everybody in this state that there is no massive
voter fraud. We should be pitching as political parties our ideas for
improving things in the future rather than mucking around in the mechanics
and making it more confrontational at our voting sites and, you know,
trying to suppress the vote.


SHARPTON: Just three months into the year, Republicans are attacking voter
rights in state after state after state. It`s why I spoke out at a rally
last night in Ohio to add my support to a voters` bill of rights. We saw
the determination of Dr. King and that generation in the `60s in the Deep
South against all odds, 20 years later in the north some of us marched
against eggs being thrown in others because we learned from those in the
south. Now 20 years later, it`s a little more sophisticated, but it will
require the same kind of determination, the same resolve that we can`t let
anyone take from us the rights that was paid so dearly for us to have in
the first place.

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


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