Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: October 31, 2014
Guest: Kitty Higgins; Sam Rabadi; Devi Nampiaparampil, Ed Rendell, Michael
Steele, Alyona Minkovski, Mark Hannah, Tara Conley
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: We start tonight with breaking news.
Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo exploded and crashed today in California`s
Mojave Desert. At least one person is dead and one is seriously injured at
These are the first images of debris. The space tourism rocket was on a
test run when it exploded. The company said it suffered, a, quote,
Virgin group chairman Richard Branson tweeted that he is flying to Mojave
following crash of spaceship to be with the team. The national
transportation safety board will send a go team to investigate. That team
is expected on the ground tomorrow morning. Moments ago, Virgin Galactic
CEO addressed the tragedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE WHITESIDES, CEO, VIRGINIA GALACTIC: Our primary thoughts at this
moment are with the crew and family. Space is hard and today was a tough
day. We are going to be supporting the investigation as we figure out what
happened today. And we`re going to get through it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So where does this investigation go from here? Joining us now,
James Oberg, an NBC news space analyst and former missioner controller.
And Katie Higgins, former national transportation safety board member.
Thanks to both of you for speaking with us.
JAMES OBERG, NBC NEWS SPACE ANALYST/FORMER MISSIONER CONTROLLER (via
phone): Yes, hello.
SHARPTON: KItty, let me go to you first. You`ve been on the scene for
many crashes. What are investigators going to be looking for?
KATHERINE HIGGINS, FORMER NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD MEMBER (via
phone): Well, Reverend Al, at the beginning of the investigation, they
will look at everything that might have happened with this accident. They
will look at whether -- they will look at the pilot`s training and
experience. They will look at the maintenance records of the vehicle.
They will look at the fuel source. Apparently there was some a new fuel
being used on this particular flight. They will rule everything in until
they can systematically rule things out.
So at the beginning, it is everything on the table and then day by day, as
they go through it, they will take things off the table.
SHARPTON: Kitty, how is a rocket like this different to investigate than,
say, a commercial plane?
HIGGINS: Well, in some ways, it`s the same. And remember, the safety
board has investigated, for example, the challenger accident. And so, they
are familiar with the workings of spacecraft. I think the mechanics are
different and the fuel source and what the flight is trying to do are
different. But the fundamentals remain the same. That you`re looking at
all aspects of the operation and the physical structure of the plane as
well as weather and human input.
SHARPTON: James, what are your questions tonight?
OBERG: I want to know what the timeline is about this because it`s still
unclear. All early reports tend to be garbled and we`ll find out more.
It`s a new engine on board. They were having trouble with the old design
of engine. They couldn`t get it to work. In fact, the old engine had
blown up on the ground several years ago and killed three of their
So now this new engine was for the first time being test-fired in-flight.
So somewhere along the way, it might look like somewhere went wrong with
the engine. Kitty is exactly right. Having a theory is not the way you go
into an investigation. You have to keep your mind clear so you won`t bias
yourself as to look at information and evidence. But this is going to be a
serious setback to the company involved and the people who ought to fly on
But this kind of development is working with many different vehicles out
there and elsewhere in the world just to get access to this sub orbital
space close to the earth, but not out in orbit. But people want to fly
there. And scientists want to fly there. So this will continue. Maybe
this vehicle is going to be delayed. There are other vehicles still
SHARPTON: James, we know that it took off at 9:18 and it was already down
by 10:00. Does that tell you anything?
OBERG: No, that doesn`t. Because the airplane, (INAUDIBLE), one pretty
airplane called the White Knight that carries it up to an altitude, takes
about an hour to get to altitude, about 45,000 feet. They dropped the
rocket plate under the belly of this carrier plane, and then it lights its
engine. It makes a quick dash up into space and then dropped back to
earth. So that doesn`t help right now.
But that will all come clear. They`ll find out what -- they will find out
who made the mistake. Because space is hard when we do things perfectly.
And people make mistakes and that`s what happened. By the way, mistakes
don`t get made. Mistakes aren`t made. They are made by people. And when
you look into it and you see what the mistake was, you find something you
can fix. The investigators will track that down and they`ll fix it. It
may take a while. Take more money and some more delays.
SHARPTON: Kitty, the CEO said he detected nothing abnormal during the
initial moment of the flight. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STUART WITT, CEO, MOJAVE AIR & SPACE PORT: I will tell you from my eyes
and my ears, I detected nothing that appeared abnormal. I will tell you
that I knew when other things weren`t happening, it wasn`t because of
something did happen. It was a what I was not hearing and not seeing. And
so it was, you know, if there was a huge explosion, it didn`t occur, I
didn`t see it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So kitty, what does that tell you? And James said that his
people may have made mistakes. What is your view of that?
HIGGINS: Well, again, I think we can speculate, but I think it`s not
appropriate at this point. We want to look at, and the investigators will
look at everything. They will look at what the pilots did. They assume
there were some kind of recorders on this aircraft. They will look at all
the mechanics. They will look at maintenance. They will look at the new
engine. They will look at the fuel source. They will examine everything.
And they will -- it`s putting together the pieces of a puzzle and in the
end, they will come up with the whole picture and be able to tell us
exactly what happened and why.
SHARPTON: Are there black boxes on these aircrafts like they are in
regular commercial flights? And will they be able to tell us something if
there`s a black box?
HIGGINS: You know, I assume that there are, but I don`t know that for
SHARPTON: James, do you know?
OBERG: I don`t know. It is not commercial. If it is commercial and so I
presume there are recorders. Because the craft came down in pieces and did
not burn, a lot of the instruments on board will be readable. So there
will be data from that as well.
Now, I was there ten years ago when the first version of this took off. I
was there twice for some of these launches. Went straight up into the air
after it was air-dropped. It`s exciting technology, and it`s going to make
more space access to more different applications. This kind of setback is
something that you shouldn`t tolerate because it`s not just one of these
things. It`s something that you fight every time. You can suppress the
chance of it happening. Unfortunately, as you know, even in the shuttle
program with all the government money behind it, twice they lost shuttle
crews. And that was because people made bad management decisions. Not
because it was an act of God or something out of the blue. It was based on
bad decisions. And it`s probably the same thing here. The question is
what decision, what hardware, how long does it take to fix?
SHARPTON: You said there`s a lot of setbacks. I just want to follow that
up because there`s a lot of people interested in traveling into space. The
whole idea, Richard Branson was cultivating this. How big a setback will
this be, James?
OBERG: Well, this is definitely a setback. Just because the vehicle is
gone, they`re building other vehicles. They have a giant hanger there,
which they`re producing, both these carrier aircraft and the SpaceShipTwo
models. They intend to build half a dozen and use some themselves in space
board (ph) in New Mexico, and sell others to foreign users.
So it`s supposed to be a new transportation system. This will definitely
delay that. There are other companies. There`s one that is called Blue
Origin, that`s also under much greater secrecy, working on the same kind of
capability, and there`s a small group called Excore, that will fly not
quite as high and with only one passenger, but they have flights scheduled
in the next year or two. And other players as well.
We are going to see this kind of technology developed. It`s just sad to
see the high cost of it as is exacted today.
HIGGINS: If I could --
SHARPTON: Go ahead.
HIGGINS: As to the investigation, it`s important to remember that there
were two crew members on board. Unfortunately, one was a fatality, but one
did survive. I believe it was the pilot. And hopefully his injuries will
allow him -- will not be so severe that he can be interviewed. And his --
what he has to say about this will be extremely important because he was
there when it happened, and he can tell us as a first-hand source of what
he understood to have happened that went wrong.
You know, and we will -- every accident we learn from. And that`s why our
aviation system is as safe as it is, because improvements are made after
every major accident to deal with the problems identified to make it safer.
And this will be true here as well.
SHARPTON: Kitty, what are the questions that you still have, and what will
solve this and what kind of time frame to do you think we`re looking at?
HIGGINS: Well, it will take a while. The NTSB which is will be arriving
tomorrow will always says it would takes up to a year for them to complete
their work, because of interviewing -- the work that goes into any one of
these investigations. So I don`t think we should be looking for quick
If there are things they find right away that they can point out and can be
fixed, that will happen. But I don`t think we should assume that it`s
going to be -- that it`s going to be resolved in a week, or month or even
OBERG: The saddest part about learning from accidents, as Kitty mentioned,
at least in the NASA area, things that NASA learned from the Columbia and
challenger disasters were unfortunately, things that NASA had already
learned, had already knew, and just some people forgot.
So that may be the main lesson, it is a cultural issue, not just an issue
of tricks or technology. You learn things, and just don`t forget them.
Because the biggest thing you learn is if you forget, you got to pay again.
And the tuition for these kind of lessons is not just money and metal, it`s
SHARPTON: James, you know, Richard Branson is the one who is the innovator
of this and has really brought this fantasy of going into space more a
reality. Is this going to happen? Are we going to see the time where we
can develop -- where people -- average, non-astronauts can actually go into
OBERG: I think we can. And that`s a good point to make. A lot of times
people look at the high cost and they think that they`ll never go down.
But the kind of things that people do now in a routinely, whether it be
scuba diving or skydiving, many activities that we do that are high
technology activities, but were originally prohibitively expensive, until
it began being done by the government and by, let`s face it, by rich people
with too much money. They pioneered it. (INAUDIBLE) and made the great
sacrifices in flying it.
So I think we`ll see the same sort of development. It`s not going to be
stopped by this one accident. Because there are other companies doing
other vehicles to perform much the same function.
SHARPTON: All right, I`m going to have to leave it there, James Oberg and
Kitty Higgins, thank you both for your time tonight.
OBERG: Thank you.
HIGGINS: Thank you, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Coming up, the dramatic capture of accused cop killer Eric Frein
after 48 days on the run. Many want to know, did he have help?
Also, would you ever dress up as an ISIS terrorist for Halloween? When
does pushing the boundaries cross the line?
And the real scare on this Halloween, how Republicans are trying to take
the Senate and what they`ll do with it once they get it.
SHARPTON: We have more breaking news now, the story of that nurse who was
under Ebola quarantine, now free to go wherever she wants. A judge in
Maine today rejected that state`s attempt to place nurse Kaci Hickox under
a court order, restricting her movement. Today`s order does require Hickox
to submit to daily monitoring. But she`s free to go where she wants.
The judge said Hickox currently does not show symptoms of Ebola and is
therefore not infectious. But also cautioned that Hickox need, quote, "to
demonstrate her full understanding of human nature and the real fear that
exists. She should guide herself accordingly."
Today Hickox praised the ruling, but said she is sensitive to people`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KACI HICKOX, NURSE IN QUARANTINE FIGHT: I am very satisfied with the
decision. I don`t want to make anyone uncomfortable. You know, I`m a
nurse and a public health worker. I don`t want to make people
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
HICKOX: This is a good question. I am taking things minute by minute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Maine`s governor called the ruling unfortunate.
Joining me now is Dr. Devi of the NYU school of medicine. Dr. Devi, first
of all, thank you for being here.
DR. DEVI NAMPIAPARAMPIL, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Nice
to see you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: What`s your response to the ruling?
NAMPIAPARAMPIL: The judge is right that she`s not infectious. You can
only catch Ebola from someone who is actively having symptoms. And then
when they`re having symptoms, you actually have to come in to contact with
their bodily fluids so that and they have to get into your bodily fluids,
so that part is right.
But I don`t think it addresses what sparked the controversy in the first
place which was Dr. Spencer`s case. So that was here in New York city
where the doctor actually developed symptoms in his apartment, which is OK,
but it need, you know, people are safe. But it made you wonder if he
developed symptoms or somebody else developed symptoms in the subway, what
would we do then? Because so many people would be in close contact with
you. So I think that`s what sparked up this quarantine controversy, that
people aren`t sure --
SHARPTON: She drew a distinction between urban and rural. Is there
credibility to that point?
NAMPIAPARAMPIL: I think so. I think so, because if you`re living in a
rural area and you are walking on a bike path or going for a bike ride like
she did earlier, then the thing is, there aren`t necessarily people right
around you, right? So if they see you, especially she had a whole
procession of reporters and photographers. You know, if they see you, they
can also move out of the way. I mean, she has as much right to that area
as somebody else, right?
Whereas I fell like in a major metropolitan area like New York city, I
mean, your actions might affect somebody else, because it`s hard to kind of
keep a distance from people if you go out in to --. But still, it`s still
very difficult to catch Ebola. I don`t want people to worry.
SHARPTON: But the reality is, there`s a lot of fear, Dr. Devi. A recent
poll this week asked people what should happen to U.S. citizens returning
from west Africa, 80 percent said they should be quarantined. I mean, how
do we balance the need to calm the public`s fears with the rights of the
individual who may face quarantine?
NAMPIAPARAMPIL: Well, it`s a difficult question. While I agree with you
that I think we have to balance the two and look at maybe a voluntary in-
home quarantine. I think people would volunteer to do this if they were
compensated appropriately. So for some people, that might mean money. I
mean, they can`t work during that time. But for some people, I mean,
they`re already risking their lives, they are giving up their time to go
save other lives. So for them, it might not just be about money. And
maybe we could give food or medical supplies or something else to the
relief organization, do something above and beyond what we`re doing right
But I think you have to get the support of the folks who are coming back
from West Africa because otherwise, they can find another ways. I mean, we
don`t want the situation to be different depending on which airport you fly
into it. We don`t want to make people lie. We don`t want to make people
feel stigmatized. So that`s a big issue.
SHARPTON: Absolutely. All right, Dr. Devi, thank you so much for your
time tonight. Have a good weekend.
NAMPIAPARAMPIL: You too.
SHARPTON: Coming up, breaking news from the White House. Minutes ago,
President Obama handing out candy to military families trick-or-treating.
A lot of great costumes there, but some we`re seeing online are creating
controversy. That story is coming up.
SHARPTON: Developing news in northeastern Pennsylvania, where tonight
Halloween is back on, with kids free to trick-or-treat safely. This after
the capture of accused police killer Eric Frein on the run for 48 days. He
was found in an abandoned airplane hangar yesterday.
This morning, Frein was arraigned in court, charged with nine counts,
including murder in the first degree. He`s accused of ambushing state
police officers, killing corporal Brian Dickerson -- Dixon, and seriously
injuring trooper Alex Douglas. Prosecutors say they will seek the death
penalty. Today, police talked about how they located Frein.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. COL. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: This was not a result
of a tip or a sighting. This was a result of the ongoing pressure put on
Frein by law enforcement. And so we continued the grid searches, the
woodland searches, the house-to-house, cabin-to-cabin searches. And as a
result of that, one of the U.S. marshals located him on a sweep through the
woods they were conducting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Officials say they`re still investigating and are declining to
talk about Frein`s possible motive.
Joining me now is Sam Rabadi, special agent in charge in the Philadelphia
field division of the ATF, brought in as part of the team conducting the
search for Frein.
Thank you for being here, agent Rabadi.
SAM RABADI, ATF SPECIAL AGENT: Thank you, Al.
SHARPTON: Your thoughts tonight now that Eric Frein has been captured and
charged? Your thoughts?
RABADI: Well, it`s very gratifying on the part of law enforcement to be
able to bring some sense of closure to the families of trooper Dixon and
trooper Douglas, as well as bringing that sense of closure to the community
as a whole.
SHARPTON: Now, today police talked about how Frein survived for the last
48 days. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIVENS: He was able to get into cabins, into other unoccupied structures,
find food. In other cases, he had things hidden, but he was able to get
shelter and get in out of the weather, much as we had suspected was
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, is it possible that anyone was assisting Frein?
RABADI: Well, we`re currently looking at a number of things, post arrest
here, in the course of our investigation, to include if anyone out there
actually assisted him during this 48-day manhunt. We`re going to look at
the evidence that was recovered, both from the arrest yesterday, as well as
prior evidence that was recovered during the course of this case. We`ll be
looking at all different elements of this investigation.
SHARPTON: Now, there are reports that Frein is talking to police, talking
a lot to police. Is there anything you can share with us that is coming
from Frein, of his motives, or what he`s saying to police?
RABADI: Unfortunately, I can`t get into the specifics of the -- some of
the interview that occurred with Mr. Frein. But I can tell you, with all
of the law enforcement investigators involved in this, we are extremely
confident we have our man. Everything from the evidence that was recovered
to the circumstances of the arrest, are very consistent with Mr. Frein
being involved in this alleged crime.
SHARPTON: All right, ATF special agent Sam Rabadi, thank you so much for
your time tonight. Have a good weekend.
RABADI: Thank you, you too.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, the real horror show this Halloween. What the
Republicans plan to do if they control both houses of Congress. Also,
would you want to run into a guy dressed up as an ISIS terrorist at your
Halloween party tonight?
And trick-or-treaters at the White House. "Conversation nation" is ahead.
SHARPTON: Why do some people have a problem with Kim Kardashian selling
What would you do if you ran into a guy dressed up as an ISIS terrorist for
And what is Michael Jordan saying about President Obama`s golf game?
A big Halloween Friday edition of "conversation nation" is coming up.
SHARPTON: Happy Halloween to all of the POLITICS NATION. It`s the
scariest day of the year. You`ve got witches and goblins and ghosts oh,
But this year, we`re seeing something even spookier. I`m of course talking
about the republicans trying to get into the U.S. Senate. You`ve got
candidates who made it harder for people to vote, a republican who backed a
measure that could outlaw birth control, one who`s even talked about using
a gun to defend herself from the government. Talk about a fright. But you
know what`s even scarier? What these folks would do if they got control of
the Senate. They`d try to rip apart the Affordable Care Act, block
everything the president proposes, go after women`s rights, maybe force
another government shutdown, and even impeach the President.
But I`ve got some good news. Let`s turn the lights back on. We still got
four days until Election Day, and there`s one simple way we can avoid all
these scary outcomes, the President`s talked about it before, so even
though it`s Halloween, don`t just say boo, vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Don`t boo by the way, I want you to
Don`t boo now because what I want you to do is vote.
Don`t boo. Vote.
Now, don`t boo. Vote.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Boo! I`m just kidding. And if all the democratic voters get
out there the day after Election Day won`t be scary at all.
Joining me now are the chairman, former Pennsylvania governor and DNC
Chairman Ed Rendell, and former RNC Chairman Michael Steele. Thank you
both for being here. And Michael, I hope we didn`t scare you off with that
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: Oh, man, yes, I got a little nervous.
SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, let me go to you first. We`re four days away
from the election. How scary is it out there?
ED RENDELL, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: Well, it`s hard to pin this down. Some
of the polls have been running towards republican candidates. Some of the
polls, like the one in New Hampshire, has been running towards democratic
candidates. So it`s hard to pin down. But the early voting patterns have
some potential good news in there for democrats. A high percentage of the
people who are voting early didn`t vote in 2010, when there was the biggest
democratic drop-off from the presidential to a midterm election. So that
means that there are voters who are getting out there who were not midterm
voters who are voting this time. And I think all of the talk has gotten
the base, it may not be quite as enthusiastic as some of the republican
base, but I think they`re going to surprise people, and I think they`re
going to vote. And if they do, as you said in your intro, good news for
SHARPTON: You know, Michael, let`s talk about that a minute. Because this
race is still really tight. But we`re seeing some positive signs for
democrats. The "New York Times" looked at early voting in Georgia, North
Carolina, Colorado and Iowa. Three million people in those states have
voted and 20 percent of them didn`t vote in 2010. Could this be a sign
that more democrats will vote than expected, Michael?
STEELE: Well, I think there`s some possibility, real possibility for that,
Reverend. My only question about that number, whether it`s the 20 percent,
or whatever the number is, you know, yes, they didn`t vote in 2010, but are
we assuming they`re democrat voters. Or are we peg them or have we
identified them as such? And are we assuming that those democrat voters
haven`t gotten so frustrated with the process that they`re coming out to
vote possibly for republicans as we see in some other areas? So I think
there`s good news in numbers like that, but I still think you should be
cautious in assuming too much.
SHARPTON: Now, you know, this headline really caught my eye, Governor.
The Hill says, a civil war news for the GOP. It says conservatives are
salivating over the prospects of a huge victory on November 4th, but there
will be huge clashes if they win. What`s your reaction? Is there`s a lot
of disagreements between conservatives and more moderate members of their
party. What`s your reaction to that, Governor?
RENDELL: Well, you can make a case, Rev, that the democrats chances for
2016 will actually be enhanced if the republicans take the Senate. Because
they`ll going to have to walk a fine line, particularly leadership, as
Senator McConnell and Representative Bader. And do they let the whacky
ideas, and you outlined some of them in your intro, like banning birth
control. Do they let that go to a vote with the possibility that that
carries and then it`s hung around their neck for the 2016 presidential? Do
they let some of those ideas, you know, that are emanating from the Tea
Party be voted on? That could be disastrous to their chances in 2016. On
the other hand, if they don`t let them go to a vote, are they going to face
a Tea Party revolt? So, you know, for all those republicans who are
salivating about getting the Senate back, there`s the old saying, be
careful what you wish for.
SHARPTON: Now, Michael, let me ask you, you chaired the party and you`re a
senior leader in the party. Will there be a civil war? Will you win and
then snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory?
STEELE: Well, I think there`s a real possibility of that, Reverend. And
you`re hearing republicans of a variety of stripes begin to articulate
exactly what the governor just said, exactly what you just laid out there.
That walking this tight rope is going to be important. The leadership is
in a very precarious situation, particularly in the house, if they`re
looking to see somewhere between 12 to 20 additional republican seats
picked up there. That balance between the House and the Senate is going to
be a delicate one, as you deal with some of these big issues. There`s
going to be an immediate push to repeal ObamaCare, whether Mitch McConnell
wants to do that dance right out of the box, he`s already indicated he
doesn`t. He thinks there should be a different approach. That`s already
before we`ve been get to the election, Rev, stirred some ire amongst
conservatives. So I think this victory is going to be one that`s going to
have some real danger points to it if the party doesn`t hunker down and get
its act together.
SHARPTON: You presided over the party in 2010 and you won a lot of seats,
I mean, huge number of seats in 2010 in the house. Not that you were
rewarded for it, but that`s another time. What`s your gut? What are you
feeling out there?
STEELE: I think that the momentum towards the Senate is real. And I agree
with the governor that it`s unsure exactly where it breaks. You still have
Louisiana and Georgia, for example, that will going to go to a run-off.
Which could make it very interesting. Kansas is still a question in some
polls. So I think that the momentum is there, but there are some break
fronts that democrats still have. The House is secure. I think what
they`re looking at in the House is building on the numbers that we
developed in 2010. We`ve added 63 House seats at that time. They`re
looking at adding 12-plus potentially this time. So the House is going to
be secure. And that really is going to weight the balance a little bit
different between the two chambers come 2015.
SHARPTON: Governor, no one knows politics better than you. What do
democrats need to do for turn-out this weekend, these last four days?
Because this may come down to just turn-out in some of these states.
RENDELL: Well, we`ve got to energize the base. If we energize the base.
Take Pennsylvania, for example, 1.1 million more registered democrats than
republicans. If we turn out in equal numbers to the republicans, we`ll
have a landslide in the governor`s election, and we may pick up some seats
in the Congress and even some seats in the state legislature. So, we have
to generate the base. But Rev, I predict Kansas and Georgia are going to
be the two key states. I think Michelle Nunn can win in Georgia and I
think democrat, the independent can win in Kansas. If that`s the case, the
republicans need to win eight seats currently held by democrats. And I
think that`s too much for them to do. So I`m not sure we`re ready to run
up the white flag on the Senate. But everyone who is out there listening,
and if you`re a democrat and you care about this, get out to vote and bring
three or four friends to the polls.
SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to have to leave it there.
STEELE: Rev, can I make a pitch for republicans to get out and bring their
friends to the polls too?
SHARPTON: Sure. You can.
STEELE: I think all Americans need to vote come Tuesday, regardless of
your party. Get off your tail and go vote.
SHARPTON: I agree with that. And they should vote for people who support
the minimum wage and women`s right to choose --
And voter rights.
RENDELL: And contraception.
SHARPTON: Ed Rendell and Michael Steele, thank you both for being on.
Michael, you had been on a while, we had you on Halloween. You determine
if it was a trick or treat.
Coming up, Michael Jordan slams President Obama`s golf game. Was it fun or
And this is a contender for baby costume of the year. Yes, America, it`s
Ruth Baby Ginsburg. But I think I have one to top it. You`ll be the
SHARPTON: We`re back with a Halloween edition of "Conversation Nation."
Joining us tonight, HuffPost Live host Alyona Minkovski. Democratic
analyst Mark Hannah, and founder of Media Make Change, Tara Conley. Thank
you all for being here tonight.
MARK HANNAH, DEMOCRATIC ANALYST: Thank you, Rev. Happy Halloween.
SHARPTON: Now, on this Halloween, we already are seeing some truly
controversial costumes, causing backlash. And it has people asking, how
far is too far? There`s the Ebola hazmat guy, where the company says it
will literally be the most viral costume of the year. Then there`s the
sexy Ebola nurse. We`ve seen a few Ray Rice costumes. A Ray Rice costume
complete with blowup dolls and black eyes. But now this, apparently
dressing up as ISIS for Halloween is a trend. BuzzFeed compiled these
photos have social media. And I have to say, it`s really disturbing,
Alyona. How far is too far, Alyona?
ALYONA MINKOVSKI, HUFFPOST LIVE HOST: Well, I certainly think these are
insensitive, especially for those people like the families of James Foley
and Steven Sotloff, because ISIS is out there beheading people, right? But
if there is one positive that maybe you could find from this, I think that
it means that maybe people aren`t being terrified of terrorism the way that
we`re told here. We weren`t thinking of it as this threat that is going to
absolutely end our lives. And they`re laughing --
SHARPTON: I don`t know if people not being terrified of beheadings is a
MINKOVSKI: Well, it`s not the biggest threat that we face.
HANNAH: I agree with you, Rev. I mean, I think ISIS has become so
abstract, it has become, it`s almost this entertainment. We don`t realize
that these are actual concrete threats. Look, these guys aren`t going to
win points for good taste and they`re definitely not going to win points
for originality with their costumes. You know, if thanksgiving and
Christmas bring out our, you know, gratitude and generosity and all these
good traits, halloween can bring out some pretty bad demons, you know, and
not necessarily it`s, you know, the best time to shine.
TARA CONLEY, FOUNDER, MEDIA MAKE CHANGE: Yes. Well, you know, the reason
that we`re talking about this is, I think, because of social media. Right?
We have access to seeing all these sorts of people with their costumes.
And before, we didn`t really have access to this much. So now there`s so
much people talking about the way people are dressing in certain
provocative ways, sexism, racism is all over the place. So I think it`s
important for us to have these conversations, because it is serious.
HANNAH: And they`re all on Instagram, too. That`s how BuzzFeed compiled
this is through Instagram.
HANNAH: So, people are broadcasting to the whole world there, the kind of
tasteless costumes they`re putting out there. And they don`t realize it`s
going to backfire, it might show up on national TV.
MINKOVSKI: Well, yes. And they`re going to have people judging them and
shaming them, but at the same time if, you know, ISIS also distributes
their propaganda via the internet and via YouTube, and so this is maybe
showing them that people aren`t giving into it.
SHARPTON: But let`s change gears. Because I don`t want to be a Halloween
party poopers. We do have some costumes that are really making us smile
today from kids. The office loved this. First, we had baby Rand Paul.
The senator tweeted this out today. Then there`s Ruth "baby" Ginsburg.
BuzzFeed says, she officially wins Halloween. But I`m going with this one,
yes America, this is the Chuck Todd baby, complete with goatee. Alyona,
can you top that?
MINKOVSKI: I`m missing, you know, some facial hair. Apparently, I like
that one. That`s the winner for me.
HANNAH: Imitation is the best highest form of flattery. You know, Maybe
Halloween costumes are the highest form of flattery. I`m jealous of Chuck
Todd right now.
CONLEY: We`re missing one though. We`re missing a Reverend Al.
HANNAH: Oh, yes.
SHARPTON: You know, they`ve had it out in few years, I wasn`t flattered.
But they don`t have my new slim look.
HANNAH: Oh, yes.
SHARPTON: You know, a Kansas mom versus the Kardashians. The mom is
trying to ban the Kardashian kids clothing line from Babies R Us, saying,
quote, "I don`t want my child to grow up to be a sex-tape star." Thousands
agree with her. Tara, what do you think? Is this getting out of control
CONLEY: You know, I`m surprised it took the Kardashian this long to come
out with a baby line. That`s my only shock at this point. The Kardashian,
you know, they`re in it for the money. They want to make money. They want
to do what they want to do. We live in a capitalist society. They`re
going to do it. But the good thing is that people are coming out, when
they realize they don`t want to buy a product, don`t buy it. Have a
petition, sign a petition. I think it`s a free market, we can do what we
want to do.
HANAH: I think it`s kind of absurd, I think there are more important
things politically for people to be focusing on, signing petitions about.
But getting back to good taste and babies wearing Kardashian-styled
outfits. No, it`s, you know, good for these parents for starting --
Are they stylish? I don`t know.
MINKOVSKI: There was one article of clothing that this particular mother
took issue with, it was a leather little skirt. The rest of the stuff, I
got to say, I think is pretty cute. And, you know, as you`re saying, you
have the purchasing power, as a consumer. Just don`t buy it. And rather
than waste your time coming up with a boycott for a Kardashian baby line,
that you know, you channel your energy into something better or just be as
a parent maybe.
SHARPTON: Now to Michael Jordan taking on the President. I`ve got to deal
with this. Jordan is an avid golfer who recently asked who his dream
foursome would be.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If you had to pick a foursome to play with.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Any people, all people, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: All people.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Never played with Obama, but I would. But no, that`s
okay, I take him out. He`s a hack. Be all day playing with him.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do you really want to say that about the president of
the United States?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I never said he wasn`t a great politician, I`m just
saying he`s a (bleep) --
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No, he`s not a bad golfer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Mark -- I mean, be there all day playing with him.
HANNAH: Yes. I don`t know. Look, I`m glad he didn`t at least disses
basketball game and he stuck to golf. Because, you know, that takes some
serious confidence to kind of nag on the President like that. You know? I
CONLEY: Yes, you know, the President`s got a good sense of humor, and I`m
sure he`s thinking about the more important things than what Michael Jordan
has to say. You know, Michael Jordan, he is one of the greatest athletes
of all time.
SHARPTON: And he`s very competitive.
CONLEY: Yes. So, I mean, I don`t think it`s disrespectful in the sense
that he was just, you know, talking and playing around now. As you were
saying, in another context show we can have a conversation.
SHARPTON: But forget disrespectful, Alyona, do you think the President
will love it?
MINKOVSKI: I do think the President has a good sense of humor. It`s not
like Michael Jordan is sitting there judging the President`s moral
character. Because Michael Jordan probably wouldn`t be the best person to
do something like that but --
HANNAH: Tiger Woods --
SHARPTON: Does the Obama defense come out of you? Say boom boom here.
MINKOVSKI: No, no. There`s plenty to critique on either side. But like I
said, Michael Jordan when it comes to sports, probably he can talk a little
HANNAH: Hey, Tiger Woods though, to be fair, said that the President, you
can putt, you can chip. He`s a good golfer. And I give more credence to
Tiger Woods and I do, Michael Jordan when it comes to the golf game, I
SHARPTON: Yes. Well, they used to complain about Clinton`s game too.
CONLEY: What kind of game?
SHARPTON: Golf game.
CONLEY: Oh, yes, yes, the golf game.
SHARPTON: It`s Halloween, you all are really acting devilish.
MINKOVSKI: If the President was too good at golf, and people would
criticize him for having too much time to play.
SHARPTON: How did he learn to play that well? That would be a new
republican slogan for the weekend. Right?
HANNAH: Exactly. Exactly.
SHARPTON: Alyona, Tara, and Mark, thank you for being here tonight. Have
a great weekend and happy Halloween. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Today I met with the family of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old
killed by a police officer over months ago in Ferguson, Missouri. To get
their reaction to all these leaks and rumors we`ve been hearing about the
investigation into the shooting death of their son. I have news about that
and about the Trayvon Martin case, next.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the long road to justice. I was in Ferguson,
Missouri, earlier today, standing with the family of Michael Brown, as we
continued to work towards justice for their son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We cannot abandon this family and their pursuit of justice.
They have not made an accusation. They have said that there`s probable
cause, let`s go to trial and let a jury decide. But don`t go in a back
room and play games with the lives of our son. And our commitment is,
Michael Brown`s life is a value, just like any of our children`s lives.
And if you cheapen his life, you cheapen our lives. That`s why folk are
here from around the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: As Michael Brown`s parents wait for the grand jury to come being
b back, they continue to urge peace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESLEY MCSPADDEN, MOTHER OF MICHAEL BROWN: Be peaceful with your
protesting, keep supporting us, and keep praying for us. And we are going
to get the justice that we waiting on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We will only accomplish justice if we are peaceful every step of
the way, and focused on the goal of justice. From the beginning, people in
this community have demanded a fair and transparent investigation. That`s
why we`ve called for a federal investigation from the start. I also pushed
for a federal civil rights investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin,
and now more than two years after Trayvon`s shooting, we`ve learned that a
federal grand jury will meet next week in a civil rights case involving
George Zimmerman. When I heard about this grand jury convening next week
on Zimmerman, I thought about how long it has been. Some cases take little
time. Some, longer time. But I`m reminded Martin Luther King Jr. said,
"The arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice." We can
never give up if it`s justice that we are truly pursuing. And we should
never waver in the face of what we believe to be. Right.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. Have a safe and happy Halloween.
"HARDBALL" starts right now.
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Show: POLITICS NATION