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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

October 21, 2014

Guest: Michelle Cottle, E Angela Rye, Alyona Minkovski, Chris Witherspoon,
Zerlina Maxwell, Alex Gibney

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight`s lead, no excuses. We`re two
weeks from the midterm elections and it`s a sprint to the finish line.
These are live pictures from Minnesota where the first lady is about to
speak at a campaign event for Senator Franken. She was in Iowa this

Former president Clinton is in Kentucky, stumping for Alison Lundergan
Grimes. At stake, control of the Senate. And whether that Senate will
work with president Obama or against him for his remaining two years in
office. I spoke to the president in an interview for my radio show, about
his closing argument to voters.


SHARPTON: What has been your message? I know you, over the weekend, went
home to Chicago, and voted yourself. You campaigned in Maryland. What is
the message that you want voters to hear?

OBAMA: Well, the message is one of progress, and the need to get some more
work done. We have created over ten million jobs. Longest uninterrupted
private sector job growth in our history. We`ve cut the deficit. We`ve
given millions of people health care who didn`t have it before. There`s
almost no measure where we haven`t made a significant difference.

The president also outlined an agenda for the future.

There are things that we could do right now to make a difference. Raising
the minimum wage, making sure there`s fair pay laws so women are getting
paid the same as men for doing the same work. Rebuilding our
infrastructure. But early childhood education that we know would have an
impact on kids` performance and prepare them for the jobs of the future.
The only reason we`re not doing it is because we have a Congress that will
not cooperate and says "no" to everything that matters to middle class
families and would make a difference.


SHARPTON: Throughout our discussion, the president emphasized one theme
above all -- get out and vote. Even if there`s voter I.D. even if some are
trying to suppress your rights, you need to get out and vote.


OBAMA: If we have high turn-out in North Carolina, then we will win. If
we have high turn-out in Georgia, we will win. If we have high turn-out in
clear Colorado, we will win. So across the board, it`s important for us to
take responsibility and not give away our power. Just turn out and vote.
But get out there and vote. Now is the time to do it. No excuses. Keep
on getting those folks out to the polls.

SHARPTON: Yes, sir.

OBAMA:: Tell them the president said no excuses. The first lady said, no


SHARPTON: This election is still up for grabs. Nine of the top 10 Senate
battleground races are within five points in polling averages. And one top
election analyst says, quote, this fight has a lot more uncertainty than
the computer models suggest.

One of the biggest questions now is a simple one. How many voters will
show up? Will democratic voters in key states stand up and say "no" to the
voter suppression laws in their state? From voter I.D., to fewer early
voting days. That`s the question. Will Democrats stand up as president
Obama says, there`s no excuse not to.

Joining me now Angela Rye and Michelle Cottle, thank you both for joining



SHARPTON: Angela, the president`s message to democratic voters is no
excuses. What are you hearing about this kind of attitude about Democratic

RYE: Well, I think we saw this before in 2012. Although the laws that
Republicans put forth to -- whether it`s get new identification, or stop
early voting days, or restrictions on absentee voting, they were not as
successful in 2012. But nevertheless, people stood up and said, not on my
watch. I`m still going to the polls. And the more that you try to push me
away from the polls, the more that I will not only go to the polls, but
bring folks with me. That`s what we saw in 2012.

I anticipate very much that we`ll see that in 2014 with the election just a
few days away. And I think even with the Supreme Court upholding the most
restrictive law in the land about voter rights, Rev., just this past
Saturday, saying, you know, people have to get an I.D. two days before
early voting starts. I hope that people will protest in a way that will
make sense to us, make sense to our democracy, and still go to the polls.

SHARPTON: You know, Michelle, President Obama`s comment to me on my radio
show about Democrats who haven`t embraced him on the campaign trail has got
a lot of attention. Listen to this.


OBAMA: These are all folks who vote with me. They have supported my
agenda in congress. They are on the right side of minimum wage. They are
on the right side of fair pay. They`re on the right side of rebuilding the
infrastructure, they`re on the right side of early childhood education. So
this isn`t about my feelings being hurt. These are folks who are strong
allies and supporters of me. And you know, I tell them, you know what, you
do what you need to win. I will be responsible for making sure that our
voters turn up.


SHARPTON: Now Michelle, will that strategy work, them standing up saying,
these are the things I vote for? Obviously they don`t agree with
everything with the president, but emphasizing they like minimum wage and
other things that he outlined, unlike the critics, he didn`t like they
would just followers of his. They were people that agreed on certain
specific issues.

COTTLE: That`s a pretty fine distinction now and my guess is that
Republicans are going to latch on to that statement. Because they have
been trying all along to nationalize this election in terms of painting
their individual democratic opponents as supporting the president on all
these key issues. They`re going to spin it their way.

Now yes, these are the issues, a lot of them are popular with the
electorate. And so, it will come up to jazzing up the base and getting
them to turn out. But my guess is Republicans are going to latch on to
this and use it to their advantage as well.

SHARPTON: But Angela see, this is where if I was one of the candidates,
I`d say, fine, let`s debate the issues. I disagree with the president on
something things, even though I`m a Democrat. But let`s deal with the
outlying, what I would vote with him on. He didn`t leave it up in the air.
He said minimum wage, he said equal pay, he said infrastructure. I
challenge you, my opponent, let`s debate the issues. And since you want to
race what the president said, let`s debate what he`s said.

RYE: Well, I think that`s exactly right, Rev., but here you will have a
problem and the president just brought it up at a rally that I was at on
Sunday. Anything that he says, even if he says apple pie, this is a direct
quote, apple pie is the best pie in the land, Republicans would say, no,
it`s not.

So you`re dealing with folks that are not being rational. It`s the person
they have a problem with. Folks have overwhelmingly said in this country
they support fair wages whether or not anyone else is tired of hearing
about minimum wage fund, fair wages. They support equal pay for equal for
work. They support rebuilding of our infrastructure. They support
Obamacare, even if you have t call it affordable care. These folks all
support that.

And so to your point, yes, folks have to debate the issues, but you also
can`t be afraid of the president because the GOP has made him the boogie
man. He`s not the boogie man. As he said earlier on, even though some of
his advisers have even said, you know, the president is not on the ballot,
but his policies are, and that is something, Rev., that you know polls very
well in your community. There are other communities where that does not
work as well. And so, you have to be sophisticated enough to massage the

SHARPTON: But at the same time, Michelle, you can`t get the turn-out you
need to win unless you can deal with these issues. Yes, they are
irrational on the other side, but I do not feel voters are irrational and
they proved that in 2012. If you look at the polls, what the president
outlined are cornerstones in the Democrats` 2014 agenda -- minimum wage,
equal pay, early childhood education. Poll shows 70 percent support
raising the minimum wage, 62 percent support the paycheck fairness act, 70
percent support expanded investment in pre-k education.

I mean, how big a factor will these issues be in the election if they`re
emphasized, and they did not listen to the noise from people that are not
going to support them, but go with the policies that will take hold and
bring their base out?

COTTLE: Well, a lot of it is going to be how they present that message. I
mean, the reality is, midterm elections are always tough for Democrats,
because the midterm voters tend to be older. They tend to be whiter. This
is the Republicans` base. So what you have to do, is not just present the
issues that they like. You have to go for the gut. You have to kind of
make clear what`s going to happen if the other side wins. And that`s one
of the things that kind of like presenting a good compelling message, not
just, you know, we know you agree with us on these issues so you should
come out. They got to get out there and whip up the get out the vote
efforts, or it doesn`t matter how many people kind of support them, they
have to get them to the polls.

SHARPTON: Well, you got to turn people on before you can turn them out.

RYE: That`s exactly right.

SHARPTON: And I think you got to deal with that with policy.

You know, GOP governor Chris Christie fell in line with Republicans
attacking the minimum wage during this cycle. Listen to this, Angela.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Tell you the truth, I`m tired of
hearing about the minimum wage. I really am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s your position?

CHRISTIE: I`m not going to repeal it. But I don`t think it serves a

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Any kind of studies indicate
it will cause 17,000 jobs here in Kentucky. I can`t think of a worse time
to be killing jobs for young people than right now.


SHARPTON: Now, that was Chris Christie today, Angela. I mean, is this
going to catch up with the GOP, with independent and moderate voters, these
kinds of positions?

RYE: Well, it has to. And these folks has to start holding them
accountable. You know, Chris Christie went on to say that American
families aren`t sitting at their table talking about, they sure hope their
children get minimum wage.

Well, here`s the problem, there are some folks that sit around their table
in their kitchen and there`s no food to put on them. There are some
families that sit around the table wondering how they`re going to pay the
light bill. So Chris Christie`s views have to come back down to earth
because there are tons of American families who are hard-working and
struggling. And they don`t want to talk about minimum wage anymore either,
Rev. They just want a raise.

SHARPTON: Interesting point to also, Michelle. Here`s what Ohio
Republican governor John Kasich told "Associate Press" about repealing the
affordable care act. Quote, "that`s not going to happen." And then he
went to say opposition to Medicaid expansion was really either political or
ideological. I don`t think that holds water against real flesh and blood
and real improvements in people`s lives.

Now Governor Kasich went on to twitter and insisted, quote, "the AP got it
wrong. Ohio said no to the Obamacare exchange for a reason. As always, my
position is that we need to repeal and replace."

The bottom line, a year ago Republicans hoped to use opposition to the
affordable care act in the midterm. Now it just seems to be tripping them
up, Michelle.

COTTLE: It`s gotten muddier which people knew that would happen as it went
along and people understand the good sides of it. I mean, originally they
were only hearing these scary stories. And now, they`re seeing that a lot
of people are getting coverage, it`s helping out a lot of people. And now,
and the governor did the classic Washington gaffe. He said something that
actually was a fact and then he had to spend his time back pedaling.
Because you can`t say that sort of thing and not have the base go berserk
on you. So he`s had to do a little bit of damage control.

SHARPTON: All right, I`m going to have to leave it there. Thank you both
Angela Rye. Thank you Michelle for being on and not trying to copy my red

RYE: Of course I did!

SHARPTON: Coming up, how some GOP pundits and politicians are trying to
use Ebola to literally scare people into voting Republican.

Also, backlash to Monica Lewinsky. Some ugly statements about her anti-
cyber bullying and the scandal that made her famous.

Plus, a powerful new documentary about the great life and legacy of the
godfather himself, James Brown.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My fight has just started. My fight is against the
past, the old colored man. My fight now is for the black America become


SHARPTON: I`ll talk live with the film`s director. Big show tonight.
Stay with us.


SHARPTON: "Politics Nation," now we have a way for you to keep up with us
even when we`re not on the air. Our "Politics Nation" newsletter. We send
you the stories we know you care about. Signing up is easy. Just go to and enter your email address. And one of those
stories is about Republicans using a shameless campaign of fear for
political gain. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Two weeks until Election Day, but only ten days to Halloween.
Fright night in the GOP. Republican pundits and politicians have a new
campaign message. Be afraid. Be very, very, very afraid.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone with Ebola really wants to come to the U.S.,
just get to Mexico and walk right in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Evil forces around the world want to harm Americans
every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ISIS militants may infect themselves with Ebola and fly
to this country, thus using the disease as a biological weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This president needs to rise to the occasion before we
all get killed back here at home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s the question. Do you think things are going
to hell in a hand basket, 58 percent said absolutely.


SHARPTON: Things are so scary.

They actually debated whether this country is going to hell in a hand
basket. It`s time for this fear mongering to end. Turn up the lights.
Turn off the music. Here`s the truth.

On Ebola, we`re seeing real progress. No reports of new cases in the U.S.
the quarantine period over for dozens of people. Nurse Nina Pham has been
upgraded to good condition.

And with ISIS, more countries are stepping in. The U.S. bombing continues,
and the right`s worst predictions haven`t come to pass.

Yes, the world can be a scary place, but using fear for political gain is
cynical, it`s irresponsible, and it`s time for the GOP to stop trying to
creep us all out.

Joining me now is Richard Wolffe, executive editor of Thanks
for being here.


SHARPTON: Richard, what is scarier, these kinds of attacks are the fact
that Republicans thing that they will work with these kinds of attack.

WOLFFE: The attacks aren`t scary. Let`s face it. I mean, if you`re
scared by the idea of -- well, you know, they didn`t actually say ISIS
fighters getting Ebola and walking across the southern border, but why not.

They`re ridiculous. They`re playing for what they call and political
strategy low information voters. I don`t know that even those people at
this stage are scared by that. Because we`ve seen the fever break in terms
of the Ebola coverage and the idea that this thing is out of control. It
clearly is under control.

What`s more shocking, I think, is the idea that Republicans really haven`t
broken out of that post 9/11 playbook. That was the politics of fear. It
worked for them really, really well. But it worked for them when they were
in government and they could say, we`re the only things that are protecting
you, even though Osama bin Laden was still out there. I don`t see how
making such a negative framework really works with anyone other than the
people who already hate President Obama and are already motivate his work.
Otherwise, all they`re doing is depressing the turn-out among people who
might be interested in Republicans, but don`t know anything about their
agenda other than, well, the world is pretty scary.

SHARPTON: You know, speaking of fear mongering, a former Bush speech
writer wrote a column about if the Ebola and ISIS threats would have
collide. This is the quote. "Terrorists could collect samples of infected
body fluids and then place them on door knobs, hand rails, or airplane tray
tables, allowing Ebola to spread quietly before officials even realize that
a biological attack has taken place. I mean, what effect does this have?

WOLFFE: So he is not just a columnist, (INAUDIBLE), however you pronounce
his name. I never quite know. He was a speech writer for Donald Rumsfeld.
So this isn`t just rantings or musing of someone in the whole conservative
chamber, this is the kind of rhetoric that used to come out of the Bush
administration and now finds its place on the op-ed pages of the
conservatives media.

It`s crazy talk. It`s not rational. It`s not science. It`s not based in
the facts. Does it whip up people? I guess, again, if you are, a, liable
to be scared which remember, the whole Rumsfeld approach is, you can`t
scare us, because we know how the world works. We have a plan.

But either you`re really scary -- easily scared, or again, you think the
president is incompetent, everything to do with the federal government is
incompetent and Ebola is coming down at you. In which case, you are
already voting Republican in this midterm election.

SHARPTON: Now, two recent focus group interviewed so-called Walmart moms
who shop at the store and have kids under 18. The authors reported, quote,
"moms consider Ebola a threat that needs to be contained, but they do not
necessarily fear it`s an imminent threat. And not one city -- not one
cites as a reason to vote against or for Democrats in November.

So are these epics and peer mongering even work, Richard?

WOLFFE: Well, if you`re not getting Walmart moms, and let`s face it, we`ve
seen election cycle after cycle, then you are not really getting anyone
who`s persuadable. And let`s face it, moms are just smart. They know how
the real world works. As a parent of young children, you know that
children are going to get diseases and infections and colds. And the
federal government isn`t going to save you one way or another. You`ve got
to be a smart mom, and thank God most of them are.

SHARPTON: All right, Richard Wolffe, thank you for your time tonight.

Coming up, Monica Lewinsky steps back in the spotlight. She step back
yesterday passionately speaking about fighting cyber bullying. And then
she immediately got cyber bullied. Why so many ugly responses?

Plus, it is a video I can watch over and over again. A voter in Chicago
telling the president, don`t touch my girlfriend. The president`s response
was priceless.

And the James Brown video you have never seen, the filmmaker behind a new
documentary on the godfather of soul, joins me live.


SHARPTON: We`re two weeks to go to the elections. Senator Mitch McConnell
is in the political fight of his life. So how nervous is he? How
desperate? This desperate.

This is a real headline from "the Hill." McConnell will pay expenses in
return for enthusiasm -- yes. Volunteers will get an all-expense-paid
three-day bus tour as long as they contribute an enthusiastic atmosphere to
his events. Meals, lodging and transportation are all included in the
trip. I wonder why he would need to pay for enthusiasm.


MCCONNELL: If I`m the leader of the majority next year, we`ll have a new
agenda. It will be an agenda that`s related to creating jobs, not
destroying jobs.


SHARPTON: Excuse me. I could hardly contain all that enthusiasm. It`s
well known Mitch McConnell has a little trouble in that department.
President Obama once even made this joke at his expense.


OBAMA: Some folks still don`t think I spend enough time with congress.
Why don`t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell, they ask? Really? Why
don`t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?


SHARPTON: Maybe if he offered to pay for meals, lodging and
transportation, the president would join him. Until then, did Senator
McConnell think we wouldn`t notice he`s trying to pay supporters on the
campaign trail? Nice try, but the bus stops here, right at the corner of
"Politics Nation." And we "Got You."


SHARPTON: We`re back with "Conversation Nation." Joining us tonight,
"HuffPost Live" host Alyona Minkovski, The Grio`s Chris Witherspoon and
Zerlina Maxwell. Thanks for being here to all of you.



SHARPTON: We start with, who else, Monica Lewinsky. She`s back in the
spotlight. Last night we talked about her powerful speech, the first time
she spoke publicly about the scandal. She was emotional and deeply
personal. It was all part of her campaign to end cyber bullying.


completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one. I was patient
zero. Staring at the computer screen, I spent the day shouting, oh, my
God. And, I can`t believe they put that in. Or that`s so out of context.
And those were the only thoughts that interrupted a relentless mantra in my
head. I want to die.


SHARPTON: But immediately following that speech, the backlash started
online. She was attacked in very personal and sexual ways. Most of it too
vulgar to even repeat on TV. So Zerlina, why so much anger against her and
why is she in the spotlight now?

MAXWELL: Well, I think it`s good that she`s in the spotlight. Because
cyber bullying is a very hot and important topic right now. And I think
that, you know, she`s the first person like she said, she`s patient zero,
she was the first person when the internet became a place in which we could
all talk to each other. She was the first person to really experience
cyber bullying and it is a problem. It`s something we need to deal with.
And women experience it, even more you`re two times more likely to have
suicidal ideations if you`re experienced bullying or cyber bullying.


WITHERSPOON: You know, I think that she has been a victim of cyber
bullying this time around. But if you look back at the incident that she`s
referring to, she`s bringing up these fresh open wounds, opening up old
wounds. I feel like Hillary Clinton was the victim in that. You know,
Hillary Clinton, she thought she was a home wrecker. Monica Lewinsky, she
ruined this home, this family. In a lot of ways, playing the victim or
crying this victim, I think is what outrages so many folks to turn to
twitter and get upset and call her these names, but that`s not called for.


ALYONA MINKOVSKI, "HUFFPOST LIVE" HOST: That`s the reaction if someone has
been victimized or something like that, is then to attack them and say
vulgar things. This is, unfortunately, welcome to the internet. This is
what people do and it really brings out I think the ugliest side of so many
people. And so, thankfully at this point Monica Lewinsky is a grown woman
and she`s been able to learn from all this. But the people she`s trying to
speak to are really often those who I think are young women that can be the
most damaged by something like this.

SHARPTON: But let me take something off of what Chris said, because
Zerlina, she really got emotional when she was recalling the days
surrounding the scandal. It was a lot deeper than a lot of people thought.
Listen to this.


LEWINSKY: I was threatened with up to 27 years in jail for denying the
affair in an affidavit, and other alleged crimes. Twenty seven years.
When you`re only 24 yourself, that`s a long time. Chillingly, told that my
mother to -- that my mother too might face prosecution if I didn`t
cooperate and wear a wire. And in case you didn`t know, I did not wear the
wire. My friends and my family were subpoenaed to testify against me.


SHARPTON: I mean, that`s a lot of stress and anxiety and threats and fear
to put on a young woman.

MAXWELL: Right. And I think we forget because everyone else in the story
is older. You know, Bill Clinton obviously and Hillary Clinton. She was
in her early 20s at the time. And I think that one of the things we have
to remember is that when people are very young, we have to give them sort
of freedom to make mistakes. And I mean, while I do agree that, you know,
Hillary Clinton was a victim in this story as well, so was Monica Lewinsky.
She was slut-shamed for something that, you know, two consenting adults did
and the America, everybody jumped in and judge her --


WITHERSPOON: And I think the problem is also, at 41-years-old, she hasn`t
quite moved on. This happened 16 years ago. And for me, it felt like it
was kind of shameful to bring it back up. The Clintons now are
grandparents. They have moved on, you know, Hillary Clinton might be
running for president, to me it was kind of away for her to --


SHARPTON: Isn`t it the point that she can`t move on? She`s Monica
Lewinsky and will always be known as that?

MINKOVSKI: Exactly. She can`t go into any other kind of career, any other
industry. She has tried to make hand bags, tried to do design.

SHARPTON: She`s Monica Lewinsky.

WITHERSPOON: I want her to try --


I want her to rally around a cause where she`s not playing the victim card.

SHARPTON: Cyber bullying.

WITHERSPOON: But she`s playing the victim.

MAXWELL: But she is the victim.


SHARPTON: Now I want to go to something before we run out of time. This
must see video. I`ve got to do this. It`s burning up the internet.
President Obama was in Chicago early voting yesterday, doing his early
voting. But while voting there, was an expected and very funny moment. He
ended up voting next to young woman who was there with her boyfriend, Mike.
And Mike said something to the president that has everyone talking today.
Watch this.


MIKE: Mr. President, don`t touch my girlfriend now.

(Audio gap)


SHARPTON: He says to the President. We have a little audio trouble. Mr.
President, don`t touch my girlfriend. And the President kind of, you know,
smoothed it out.

MAXWELL: Said, I wasn`t planning on it. Right?


MIKE: Mr. President, don`t touch my girlfriend now.

VOTER: Did you just say that?

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I really wasn`t planning on it.

VOTER: I am sorry. Please excuse him.

OBAMA: Now, there`s an example of a brother just embarrassing you for no

VOTER: Just embarrassing.

OBAMA: Just for no reason whatsoever.

VOTER: I know he was going to say something smart but I didn`t know.

OBAMA: And now you`ll be going back home and talking to your friends about
it. What`s his name?

VOTER: Mike.

OBAMA: I can`t believe Mike, he is such a fool.

VOTER: He really is.

OBAMA: I was just horrified.

MIKE: But she`s having a conversation with the President.

OBAMA: Fortunately the president was nice about it.

VOTER: I`m freaking out right now.

OBAMA: So was I.

VOTER: Thank you so much.

OBAMA: It`s alright. Mike seems like a decent guy. He`s a decent guy.

VOTER: This is not happening. This is really isn`t.


SHARPTON: Chris, your reaction?

WITHERSPOON: I think Obama --

SHARPTON: Is it good fun or inappropriate?

WITHERSPOON: I think Obama said it best. Mike, you are such a fool. You
get the golden opportunity to stand two feet away from the President of the
United States and you say something like that. It makes no sense. But I
think that it proves that Obama has the most swagger out of anybody out
there. He`s just cool.

MAXWELL: He has a great sense of humor.



MINKOVSKI: Well, what they didn`t show here was the end of the video when
the President left his, you know, his little booth and he walked up to the
woman and he gave her a kiss on the cheek and he said, that will give him
something --


MINKOVSKI: That will give him something, that will keep him talking. So,
I like it.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. This is POLITICS NATION. Show Alyona what
they`re talking.


OBAMA: You`re going kiss me, give him something to talk about. Now,
you`re really jealous.


SHARPTON: Is that what you were referring to?

MINKOVSKI: That`s exactly what I was referring to. It`s smooth, it`s
funny, but like I said again, the machismo, the man, they just have to show

MAXWELL: I know, talking about like, don`t touch my girlfriend as if she`s
a possession. Like that part of it I didn`t really like. But I think that
the President always has a good sense of humor and we saw that here.

SHARPTON: Zerlina is going to bring in that women is equal society.
Alyona, Chris and Zerlina, thank you all for your time tonight.


MAXWELL: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, my interview with the filmmaker behind a new
documentary about the one and only James Brown.

Also, remembering an icon`s impact on fashion. And on first ladies for
that matter. For over five decades.


SHARPTON: He was the hardest working man in show business, the godfather
of soul, and a father figure to me. He was James Brown. In nearly a
decade after his passing, he`s still one of the most fascinating performers
in American history. A new HBO documentary titled "Mr. Dynamite: The Rise
of James Brown" takes you through his journey from growing up poor in the
south to becoming one of the most influential American icons in history.
And how he carved out a sound that was purely his own.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Once "Sex Machine" came out and once he had enough time
to rehearse that band and rearrange his music to fit that band, it really
did kind of reinvent the James Brown template.


SHARPTON: The film, produced by long-time fan Mick Jagger of the Rolling
Stones. Also shows a side of James Brown that some might not know well.
The social activist, the man I saw fight to lift his community, who was
instrumental in the civil rights movement.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Around the country I`ve been doing a lot of things.
Guess I`m a little upset about people. Overlooking the city, I see the
torn buildings. Buildings that are still standing and that should be
removed. And you know who live there, the black people. You know, in
Washington, the houses we were walking in front of, condemned. No one can
live in these houses. I went and saw a lot of people standing there and
they have nothing to offer. I went from black America and I started
talking to white America, and I was saying, these are things that has to be
done. We need education. Got to go to the people that are not even
surviving. And my fight is just starting. My fight is against the past,
the old colored man. My fight now is for the black America become


SHARPTON: Joining me now is the director of "Mr. Dynamite," Oscar winner
Alex Gibney. Alex, thank you for being here tonight.


SHARPTON: Why did you want to make this film, and why is James Brown so

GIBNEY: You know, Mick Jagger reached out to me and asked me if I`d do it.
And I immediately said, yes. Because I`d always loved his music. And I
didn`t know enough about his story. Sometimes that`s why, you know, I get
involved in something. So I had an opportunity to dig. And one of the
things that I found so important was that he changed the culture and it
wasn`t just in his music. Though his music was important because he`s the
one figure in American music who goes from the big band era in jazz all the
way to hip-hop.


GIBNEY: But the other thing was, there was a political dimension to him
that I hadn`t fully appreciated going all the way back to the march against
fear, where he goes down and performs in the heart of Mississippi, right on
through to the famous song, I`m black and I`m proud. And to the role he
played in that pivotal moment right after Martin Luther King was
assassinated when he prevented Boston from erupting in violence.

SHARPTON: And all of that rare footage you have in this documentary is

GIBNEY: It`s amazing. I even have footage of him singing "I Feel Good"
with Hubert Humphrey.


GIBNEY: The last time you sing that too.

SHARPTON: I don`t think I`ve ever seen that and I think I`ve seen
everything on James Brown. And you talk to a lot of former band members in
the film and two of them opened up and talked about what a strong man he
was and how he demanded strength. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You had to approach him with strength. You had to
always be a man. And I really loved the guy. But I could never say to
him, hey, man, I love you, man. Because he had a way of taking advantage
of that, or taking that for weakness.

With men, he ain`t that super tough guy. He wants to be. He`s not. He is
with women. Brown would be a super tough guy with women, and the women do
what he wants, when he wants.


SHARPTON: I mean, he was a very hard taskmaster and disciplinarian. I
mean, I know that first hand, since I was a teenager and been around him.
You captured that in the film. Why was telling that part of James Brown so

GIBNEY: Well, first of all, he was a band leader more than anything else.
To understand how he led, but also, you know, he was beset by demons too.
And I think that was important to tell. It was really, and you said it,
late in the film, where he took a negative and turned it into a positive.
But it was that motivation, that will he got from growing up poor and
having his mother and father desert him when he was young that I think
really propelled him forward.

SHARPTON: I mean, one of the things and I did talk in the film, you have
several clips of me. One of the things that was amazing to me is his raw
will power. I mean he grew up abandoned by his mother and father and goes
all the way, and his commitment to civil rights. I think a lot of people
will get more than they`ve ever -- how Dr. King stopped the meeting once.
I`m going on here to see James Brown.

GIBNEY: Enough of the meeting, I`m going to see James Brown.

SHARPTON: And from King`s all the way to us, in the no justice, no peace
era. James Brown helped set a tone and I think people don`t understand the
social and cultural impact of that.

GIBNEY: He was just determined to make a mark. And he was determined that
he was going to represent, for his people, and to make sure that racial
injustice was not going to survive. And he was very powerfully motivated.

SHARPTON: One of the compelling scenes in the documentary is where he also
would jump on with those who were considered liberal, because he wanted to,
in his exchange with David Zoska (ph) and was a talk show host at the time,
where he wanted to define for himself what he thought empowerment for
blacks and others were. So he was -- now we would see that in private, but
you caught that where he`s sitting I think is on Mike Douglas show --

GIBNEY: Right.

SHARPTON: And really was very emotional. He would jumped out of his seat,
one time, straight on Douglas Zoska in the question of race. I mean, it
was fascinating.

GIBNEY: Well, David Zoska and it was, you know, I think he was coming at
it from kind of a condescending place, honestly and he said, you know, we
ought to live in a world where you ought to be as good as me. And James
Brown said, I am as good as you.


GIBNEY: You know, that was a really important moment. It was a conflict
between the kind of liberal idea of we`re going to help you, but in a sort
of super sillious or condescending way. And he was all about, you know --


SHARPTON: Well, that`s part of the story that has never been told.
Because a lot of when the movement came north, it was encountered by people
who kind of felt they knew better than those of us fighting, and still do.
But one of the things also that was very compelling to me is, you showed
how he was a historic figure, not just a guy that could dance. And though
no one could do what he did dancing. And that`s how he saw himself. I
mean, James Brown never wanted to just be a number one artist. He wanted
to make history and I think this documentary shows he did.

GIBNEY: He did. He changed the culture. I think there`s just no way of
saying it any better than that, he changed the culture of America.

SHARPTON: Well, Alex Gibney, I thank you for your time tonight and for the
great film. Really it premieres Monday night at 9:00 Eastern, HBO on this
coming Monday. It`s a film you need to see.

GIBNEY: Coming up, the lesson I learned from James Brown and how it
changed my life.

And we`re just getting some very good news in the fight against Ebola,


SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight on Ebola, and it`s good news. The NBC
News freelancer who got the disease in Africa has been just declared Ebola-
free. The CDC says, Ashoka Mukpo will be able to leave the hospital
tomorrow morning. Moments ago, Mukpo tweeted, quote, "Just got my results,
three consecutive days negative, Ebola-free, and feeling so blessed. I
fought and won. And with lots of amazing feeling, a lot of help." Mukpo
went on to say he was thinking about those two nurses and looking forward
to the day when they got the news like this too. This is obviously great
news, and we hope those two hero nurses will soon get well too.



SHARPTON: We come to break tradition. We know that in the recording
industry that they give a gold record to those that achieve a million-
seller. But we view your million-seller payback as a black record because
it`s relevant and says many of the things that young blacks have tried to
say and could not musically express in our own little way. And we feel the
paint back is sort of like the theme song of young black America in 1974.


SHARPTON: That`s a clip from when I appeared on "Soul Train" in 1974, 19-
years-old. You can see Don Cornelius is there when I gave an award to
James Brown. Mr. Brown became like a father figure, a father I didn`t have
at the time. And I carry him with me every day, every way I do. The
things he taught me. And one of those things was the importance of being
disciplined, being focused in all the things that you do. I thought about
that today when I heard Missouri Governor Jay Nixon talked about protests
in Ferguson after the police shooting of Michael Brown. Governor Nixon
announced the creation of a commission to address the conditions that have
fueled so much of the anger there.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Legitimate issues have been raised by thoughtful voices
on all sides. Shouting past one another will not move us to where we need
to go. This is a defining moment that will determine whether this place
will be known as a region marred by racial division and unrest, or a region
that pulled together to rise above and heal.


SHARPTON: The governor`s right. We must all keep having the conversation
to lead us to a more just and equal society. But he made it clear a
commission will examine complaints of inequality, not investigate Michael
Brown`s death. And yet my mentor, James Brown, would remind me to stay
focused on the issue of Michael`s death. For as much as I need to address
the larger problems, we must first solve the immediate issue of fully and
fairly investigating the shooting death of Michael Brown. I went to
Ferguson when the grandfather of Michael Brown asked me to come. We went
to get justice and a fair investigation. A big, broad conversation is
good, but we cannot step over the body of Michael Brown to have the
conversation, without first addressing a fair investigation.

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


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