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PoliticsNation, Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

Date: November 13, 2014

Guest: Maria Teresa Kumar; Dana Milbank; Allan Lichtman, Ryan Grim, Tara
Dowdell, Julia Cunningham, Josh Zepps, Midwin Charles

Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.

Good evening, Rev.

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

We begin with breaking news. Bold action planned by the president to
reform our broken immigration system. "The New York Times" reports
President Obama could protect up to five million undocumented immigrants
from getting deported and he may announce his plan as soon as next week,
fulfilling a promise he made in his second inaugural address.


until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who
still see America as a land of opportunity.


SHARPTON: The president`s executive action could mock a huge step forward.
And it is also setting up a huge showdown with the GOP.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I`ll just say this. We`re
going to fight the president, tooth and nail if he continues down this
path. This is the wrong way to govern. This is exactly what the American
people said on Election Day they did not want. And so, all the options are
on the table. We`re having discussions with our members and no decision
has been made as to how we will fight this if he proceeds.

Our goal here is to stop the president from violating his own oath of
office and violating the constitution. It is not to shut down the


SHARPTON: All options are on the table. Stop the president from violating
his oath of office? What is he talking about? Impeachment? And then his
goal may not be to shut down the government, but it sure looks like that is
what some of his members want.

"The Wall Street Journal" says more than 50 house lawmakers have signed a
letter saying that language barring the president from acting alone should
be attached to legislation needed to keep the government operating after
December 11th, when its current funding expires.

If you put that into plain English, it is clear what Republicans are
plotting. Yet another government shutdown. And some on the right are
itching for it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Quickly before I let you go? Any chance you
would seek to de-fund things like the department of justice, you know,
other departments that might participate in this plan? That is the big --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We really want to fund the department. What we don`t
want to fund is only one thing. We don`t want to fund a -- the ability to
prevent id cards and checks on these individuals and give them legal


SHARPTON: De-fund this or that agency, gin up another budget shutdown,
shutdown the government. It`s governing by crisis and by threat. But the
president won`t be intimidated. He is not backing away from doing the
right thing.

Joining me now are Dana Milbank and Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you both for
being here.



SHARPTON: So Dana, speaker John Boehner says all options are on the table
if the president moves on immigration. What is he really talking about?
Impeachment? Government shutdown? What is he talking about?

MILBANK: Well, there is three options I can think off. One, is they can
try to sue him again. Remember when they sue him with the Obamacare?
Actually they never even filed a lawsuit.

SHARPTON: What happened to the lawsuit?

MILBANK: They decided maybe that was not such a good idea. It doesn`t
really work to sue the president. You could go ahead and attempt
impeachment or you could attach this to something that absolutely has to go
through like something keeping the government running thereby prompting a
shutdown. The problem is, Republicans have said explicitly McConnell,
Boehner, and they have been campaigning on this saying we`re not going to
have a government shutdown. We`re not at all interested in impeachment.
You know, when they tried to attach Obamacare to funding the government,
they lost that shutdown battle.

Immigration reform is much more popular than Obamacare. So you can imagine
which way this is going to go.

SHARPTON: You know talking about immigration, Maria, "the New York Times"
had several details about what the president`s plan on immigration
included. It would allow undocumented parents with American children to
obtain legal work documents, it would provide more protection for
undocumented immigrants who came here as children and it would create more
opportunities for immigrants with high tech skills.

Now, how much of -- how much do these measures get at the overall problem,

KUMAR: It starts to (INAUDIBLE). And I think what the president is
providing is a blueprint of what he would like Congress to look at. He
recognizes that he can`t go full force and provide relief for all 11
million. But he says we need to do something.

I think the fact that John Boehner is saying the president is doing
something that might be unconstitutional, he forgets that the president is
a constitutional lawyer. He is very well versed. And he is not the first
president that will actually taking executive action to provide relief for
immigrants. And this actually -- this type of exercise actually dates back
to president Eisenhower who he, actually, who also did something very
similar, but most recently, president Reagan and Bush where they provided
relief for over 1.5 million immigrants, recognizing that they are
unfortunately if Congress doesn`t move there has to be some type of relief.

So again, the president is not acting unilaterally. There is president.
And more importantly, he is saying -- he is calling the Republicans` bluff.
He is saying you have to act on immigration. It is a broken system, we
have 11 million people living within our borders that we don`t know who
they are. Until you do something, I`m going to stand firm and deal with it
today, figuratively, but today.

SHARPTON: You know, we don`t mean today, today. You mean, now. I`m with
you, Maria.

But you know, Dana, I mentioned that we are hearing rumblings about a
government shutdown from some of the Republicans. But listen to this from
the house appropriations chair, Hal Rogers.


REP. HAL ROGERS, APPROPRIATIONS CHAIRMAN: There is no one more strong than
me against unilateral action than the president on this subject. However,
like it has been said before, don`t take a hostage you can`t shoot. I
don`t want a shutdown. And I don`t want the threat of a shutdown because
that doesn`t serve our purposes.


SHARPTON: Don`t take a hostage you can`t shoot. I don`t want a shutdown.
Are we about to see a big fight in the GOP between the tea party and the
GOP establishment, Dana?

MILBANK: Well, you know, certainly Ted Cruz has no problem shooting his
policy hostages. So yes, there is going to be that struggle in there. But
there is something to be said -- maybe it would have been better if the
president did this early on. But there is also something to be said for
getting it out of the way as fast as possible so they can huff and puff
about poisoning the well and tooth and nail and red flags in (INAUDIBLE)
and everybody can go home for the holidays, and they can start over again.

I mean, the well was pretty well poisoned to start with. So, it is not
exactly a great time for any sort of legislation to be passing. So the
president is not taking that huge of a risk here.

SHARPTON: Maria, I hear you chiming in?

KUMAR: I think that is absolutely right. The well has already been
poisoned. Now that Mitch McConnell is the majority leader, it doesn`t mean
that he is actually going to play well with -- for president, especially
when he has a more tea party Senate and Boehner has a more tea party
Congress. I think that what the president needs to do is he needs to move
more boldly and he needs to move quickly and provide them the space they
need come the new Congress so they can craft a piece of policy that will
actually amendable to the American people.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, some Republicans won`t explicitly threaten a
shutdown, Dana, but are threatening to defund certain program. Congressman
Tom Cole told "the Washington Post," your people, quote, "you can issue all
the executive orders you want, if you don`t have any money to enforce them
they don`t go very far. We`re going to be pretty aggressive in using the
power of the purse." Could they do real damage here?

MILBANK: Well, they have that power. That is what Congress can do. But
the president can veto it. And then you`re stuck with the question of a
government shutdown and who gets blamed for it.

Now, we saw what happened a little over year ago in October over Obamacare.
I suspect, and that is why you hear Hal Rogers saying that, they don`t want
to take that risk again. But you know, if the Congress doesn`t like, the
first thing they should is pass an immigration legislation and if they
can`t get their act together to do that, well, then they can take on the
president with the power of the purse and see how it plays with public

SHARPTON: Maria, isn`t that the options, though? Does the president move
forward or the Republicans ought to come up with an immigration reform

KUMAR: Well, this is the thing, the president can move forward. And the
moment that they provide something for him to sign, the executive action
becomes obsolete. So, it doesn`t overwrite legislations. It is basically
kind of a stop gap measure until legislation comes.

Let`s not forget we have 11 million people here that are living in our
shadows, that we don`t know who they are, and are living in constant fear,
that are getting exploited by different employers. And the American people
are suffering at the same time because they unfortunately are competing
unfairly for wages, because they can`t have -- there are a lot of folks
that are going to paid under the table. So what the president is trying to
do is a stop-gap measure saying, I will do an executive action until
Congress, you actually give me something that I can sign.

SHARPTON: But, Maria, let`s not forget the Senate has passed an
immigration bill over 500 days ago, I think it is the 503rd day, 1200
Republicans voted for. I mean, bipartisan, it is not like there is not a
bill for them to vote on. Looks like 14 Republicans, I believe.

KUMAR: That is exactly right. And they actually have an opportunity in
the Senate in the lame-duck session to pass that. If I were John Boehner,
I would actually try to pass it now where I have less tea party headaches
to deal with than the new Congress.

He could actually galvanize right now the majority of the folks in the
House if he does not -- I mean, he keeps referring to the Hastert rule
saying he needs x amount of Republicans to pass it. He actually -- Hastert
himself has said, the Hastert rule doesn`t exist. If he would pass it on
the floor today, if he would actually presented it on the floor, it would
pass today with the Republicans and Democrats. Unfortunately, he is
choosing not to.

SHARPTON: Dana, bottom line is for me, are we going to have immigration
reform by the end of the year?

MILBANK: We are going to have it. The question is, will it be a temporary
one that the president will extend as long as this president is in office.
Or is there a long shot that Republicans in Congress say fine, we`ll cut a
deal. I wouldn`t count on it.

SHARPTON: Dana Milbank and Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you both for your
time tonight.

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

KUMAR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Straight ahead, the immigration fight and the Obama legacy.
What the president`s strategy could mean for the next two years.

Plus, it is a big day for anyone fighting for a level playing field.
Elizabeth Warren just got a new leadership job.

And this.


SHARPTON: It`s the right wing`s glory days, attacking Bruce Springsteen,
even if it makes no sense. Conversation nation is ahead.

SHARPTON: Our social community sounded off on Senator Elizabeth Warren`s
new leadership position today.

Ray wrote, the Dems need to get tough and get things done. Senator Warren
will see to that.

Ruth says, she is an asset to the Democratic party if they are smart enough
to cooperate with her.

John posted, about time. This is what we need.

More on that role ahead. And please keep the conversation going on our
facebook page or tweet us @pliticsnation.


SHARPTON: We`re back with breaking news, President Obama`s historic plan
on immigration. It is an issue that has confounded presidents of both
parties for a generation.

Over the years, many have tried to deal with the immigration through
executive action.

In 1987, President Reagan deferred the deportation of children in over
100,000 families.

In 1997, President Clinton gave deferrals to 40,000 people.

In 2002, the president suspended elements for green card holders.

But nothing in recent history has been on this scale. President Obama`s
plan is expected to protect five million undocumented immigrants from
deportation. Ever since the midterms, the president has been clear he
intends to take bold action, despite ugly rhetoric and threats from the


OBAMA: The principles that we`re fighting for -- the thing that is
motivate me every single day and motivate my staff every day, those things
are not going to change. More than anything, what I want to communicate
over these next two years, is the promise of possibility of America.

I still consider this the best job on earth. And I am going to try to
squeeze every last ounce of possibility and the ability to do good out of
this job in the next two years.


SHARPTON: Today`s news shows the president meant those words. The
president came into office vowing change. We saw it with health care and
bank reform. And now immigration reform stands to become another piece of
the Obama legacy.

Joining me now is professor Allan Lichtman, presidential historian at
American University. Thank you for here, professor.


SHARPTON: Put this move into immigration in a perspective, how significant
is this?

LICHTMAN: This move is of great significance, but it is not as Republicans
have charged an unprecedented use of executive power --


LICHTMAN: Two things, you already mentioned smaller precedents for
deferring deportation. But the most sweeping change in immigration policy
without changing the law of Congress was made by a Republican president.

Herbert Hoover in 1930 said no one gets into this country unless they have
the money to support themselves. That cut immigration without changing the
law by 90 percent.

SHARPTON: Let me read something you said a few months ago about the
president`s legacy. You said quote "I think Obama will go down as the most
consequential democratic president in the 50 years for the following
reasons. Number one, his policies are bailing out the auto industry, the
financial industry and the stimulus stopped us from sliding into another
depression. Secondly the affordable healthcare act." How might the
immigration change figure into the president`s legacy?

LICHTMAN: I think it figures enormously into the president`s legacy.
Immigration, like healthcare, has been a lingering saw (ph) on the American
society and body politics. Congress, as you see, has absolutely been
incapable of dealing with it. So following the precedent of previous
presidents, the president is taking unilateral action that is going to
burnish his legacy and live for a very, very long time.

Remember, you can toss around abstraction like amnesty, we`re talking about
500 million real people, real families, who either have to live in the
shadows. They`re not going to be deported. That is impossible. Or have
their lives legalizing regularize in some way.

SHARPTON: You know, after 1995, Republicans had taken control of the House
that year and it gave them both chambers of Congress. President Clinton
had to defend himself as relevant. Listen to this.


gives me relevance, the power of our ideas gives me relevance, the record
we built over the last two years and the things we are trying to do to
implement it give it relevance. The president is relevant here especially
an activist president.


SHARPTON: Well, professor, there is no question here that President Obama
is relevant.

LICHTMAN: Not just on immigration, but also, we saw on climate change, one
of the most consequential problems facing humanity, with the Congress
paralyzed, the president has acted. Let`s not forget, the Republicans can
talk, but for six years they have not given Obama a tea cup of cooperation.
He has got to act alone, because for all the rhetoric, they`re not going to
come to his side. They have said openly their objective is to pace every
possible defeat on this president.

SHARPTON: Well, Professor Allan Lichtman, thank you for your time tonight.

LICHTMAN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, look out Republicans. Here comes Elizabeth Warren.
A new role could be great news for Democrats.

Plus, right-wingers go to war against Bruce Springsteen. We`ll tell you
what they`re doing and why they`re totally wrong.


SHARPTON: Breaking news, a new report on that stunning security laps that
led an intruder hopped a gate and actually get into the White House. The
Times says a secret service officer with a canine could have stop the
intruder. But quote "the officer did not realize that an intruder had made
it over the fence because he was sitting in his van talking on his personal
cell phone."

And quote "the officer did not have his radio earpiece in, and had left the
second radio he was supposed to have in his locker."

The review also found that the secret service`s alarm systems and radios
failed to function properly. We will stay on this story as we learn more.


SHARPTON: Since taking over Congress, Republicans have been promising to
quote, "turn the economy around." But by most measures, the economy is
booming. The Dow Jones is up 122 percent since the day President Obama
took office. This year alone, 2.3 million jobs have been created. And
prices at the pump are plummeting. Down to an average of $2.92 a gallon.
That is all great news.

But to many Americans, too many are not feeling it. It is because of this.
For middle income workers, wage growth has remained stagnant for over a
decade. And look at this. The top 0.1 percent owns 22 percent of all
wealth in the country. That is the same amount that the bottom 90 percent
of Americans control.

These Americans, millions of them, need someone to speak for them. And
Democrats need a strong voice to stop Republicans from pulling the rug from
under them.

Today, Democrats elected Elizabeth Warren to a leadership role in the
Senate. She will help to craft the party`s positions moving forward. Her
plan, to fight for all Americans.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Families all across this country
are struggling. We have to make this government work for the American
people. And that is what we`re here to fight for. That is what we`re all
going to be here doing every single day. That is what we`re about.


SHARPTON: Fighting for all of the American people, not just the rich.
That message of fairness is central to her and to the Democrats.


WARREN: This is my life`s work. It is what is happening to America`s
middle class. And it is, it is at every part of it, giving young people an
opportunity to get an education. It is about seniors having the
opportunity to retire with some dignity.

We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty.
That means raising the minimum wage, and we will fight for it. So, the way
I see this, is we can whine bit. Or we can fight back, I`m fighting back.
I`m ready to fight back. Are you ready to fight on this?


SHARPTON: Joining me now are Ryan Grim and Tara Dowdell, thank you both
for being here this evening.


SHARPTON: Ryan, you interviewed Elizabeth Warren this afternoon, what did
she have to say about her new role?

RYAN GRIM, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Her goal here was to have a seat at the
table when democrats are making decisions on what they`re going to be
fighting for. Okay, let`s say you have eight different things they could
for, one and say a messaging thing about carry-on bags, the other is
increasing Social Security payments, she`ll be pushing. Let`s do the
bigger picture, let`s go for Social Security, let`s go for Wall Street
accountability. Because you know a minority caucus in the Senate can only
do so much. So she wants them to pick their battles more wisely.

SHARPTON: Tara, "The Washington Post" said a key part of the GOP success
in the mid-terms was this, quote, "the failure of the democrat`s economic
message to win over persuadable voters. Pollsters describe this as a
serious problem affecting the Democratic Party. That must be addressed
heading into 2016." How will Elizabeth Warren help dictate the democrats`
economic message moving forward, Tara?

DOWDELL: Well, one thing I have always said, Reverend. It is not just
about messaging, it is about message penetration. And what I mean by that
is, the reason why you heard the republicans saying Benghazi over and over
and over again is because to cut through the noise you have to constantly
be on message, saying the same thing over and over again that you stand
for, message discipline, message penetration. Elizabeth Warren has not
once deviated from her message of economic fairness, from her message of
saying that she wants to provide a pathway for working poor people to
become middle class, the middle class people to move up even further. She
has never deviated from that message. And so that is why she would be such
a great advocate, because if you go here and there and everywhere with your
message, then you have no message. And it doesn`t reach the people it
needs to reach. And like I said many times, we don`t have a rich enough
people or a rich enough problem in this country, as democrats we need to
drill that point home more and she`s the right person to do it.

SHARPTON: Elizabeth Warren wrote an op-ed for "The Washington Post," last
weekend. One, Ryan, quote, "before leaders and Congress and the President
get caught up and proving they can pass some new laws, everyone should take
a skeptical look at who the new laws will serve. There is no shortage of
work that Congress can do, but the agenda should not be drawn up by a bunch
of corporate lobbyists and lawyers. This government belongs to the
American people and it is time to work on America`s agenda." How will
Warren shape public debate as republicans move ahead with things like the
Ryan budget and giveaways to big oil?

GRIM: Well, you know, there will be somewhat of a push to do bipartisan
things over the next couple of months just for the sake of doing bipartisan
things. And so Elizabeth Warren is going to be at the table saying no,
we`re not going to do this bipartisan thing just because the other party
wants to do it. It also ought to be something that is good for people. So
she will be trying to argue the opposite approach. Now, we did a survey
right after the election that asked people two questions. They said what
did republicans run on? And your perception, what did democrats run on?
Voters said overwhelmingly, republicans ran on the economy. Democrats,
meanwhile, they ran on social issues and women`s issues. This is something
that Elizabeth Warren can kind of flip. She constantly is talking about
economic issues. And this is one of the only ways you can explain, how it
is with voters who agree with democrats with all the economic issues vote
with the republicans. Even though they agree with the democrats because
they said oh, well, the republicans are the ones that are talking about the
economy. So, now Warren will talk about the economy.

SHARPTON: Tara, you talked about getting the message across, Warren has
not been afraid to take on republicans. Watch this.


WARREN: You may remember Senator Cruz is the guy responsible for last
fall`s government shutdown, to talk about a financial genius. I have to
tell you, given what Mitch McConnell has been doing in the United States
Senate the way it is just block, block, block, no, no, no, Paul Ryan says,
don`t blame Wall Street, the guys who made billions of dollars cheating
American families. That may be Paul Ryan`s vision on how America works but
that is not our vision of how this great country.



SHARPTON: I mean, she doesn`t pull any punches, Tara. And one of the
things that just annoys me beyond words is the other democrats that have
shown no back bone, no stand-up. Will her presence in the leadership get
some of them to go toe to toe and to stand up to stand for something?

DOWDELL: I think it absolutely will. I mean there are always going to be
a few rogues in the party which we always have. But I think some people
out there saying, oh, this is a ceremonial position. That is what`s being
sort of portrayed by some folks. And I will tell you this, Elizabeth
Warren is not the type of person that will allow herself to be marginalized
or not have a seat at the table. So when you give her a seat at the table,
she`s going to stay at that table. And so, I think she`s going to force
democrats who are scared, because let`s face it, some democrats are scared
to run on what we are as democrats. But she is going to force them to have
the take a stand. And I think when the effectiveness of her strategy is
seen, which it will be seen, you can tell by her own popularity and the
fact that you don`t see the level of a tax against her that you see against
other democrats, because people respect her, even if they don`t like her,
they respect her and they know she is authentic. And I think she will
force other democrats to kind of come in line on many of these issues which
will make sense. And it helps the country.

SHARPTON: You know, polls, quickly Ryan, say that Americans don`t feel
good about the economic future of the country, exit polls last week. What
has to happen and what can Elizabeth Warren contribute to that happening?

GRIM: So governing is moving away from Congress and towards the executive
branch and towards the judiciary. Elizabeth Warren`s position in
leadership gives her more power to influence these regulatory agencies that
are going to have more and more impact on people`s lives every day.

SHARPTON: Ryan Grim and Tara Dowdell, thank you both for your time this

DOWDELL: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Straight ahead, President Obama is ready to act on immigration
and republicans are threatening a shutdown. Is it a good strategy?

Plus, the governor of Arkansas is pardoning his son. Is it fair? Or is it
special treatment?

And the right wingers rising up to slam Bruce Springsteen. It makes no
sense. We`ll debate it next in "Conversation Nation."


SHARPTON: It is time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight,
host for Entertainment Weekly radio on Sirius XM, Julia Cunningham,
HuffPost Live host Josh Zepps, and legal analyst Midwin Charles, thank you
all for being here.




SHARPTON: We start with the big political news. President Obama`s
executive action. As we mentioned, "The New York Times" reporting
President Obama`s immigration action could protect up to five million
undocumented immigrants. And already the right is threatening government
shutdowns and impeachment. Midwin, what do you think of the President`s
strategy of pushing ahead even if it causes friction?

CHARLES: Well, I think his strategy is one of which someone who is trying
to get something done for the country. I think he has tried all along to
work with Congress with respect to trying to pass immigration reform and he
has been unsuccessful in doing so. And whether or not he is going to sort
of draw a fire from republicans for doing this. You know, I think
President Obama is darned if he does or darned if he doesn`t. So, I think
this is a way for him to try to get this done. Five million people`s lives
and families are impacted by the failure for immigration reform to sort of
go through.

ZEPPS: Well, maybe he is damned if he does or damned if he doesn`t, but we
don`t know until we don`t try.

CHARLES: Try, what?

ZEPPS: Well, if he try to reach across the aisle --

CHARLES: But he has done that --

SHARPTON: Wait, wait -- let me let Josh finish his point.


ZEPPS: He has not done that in the final two years of his administration
while the republicans controlled both houses of Congress. There is a
vested interest from Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to actually have a
Congress that does something, to go into the 2016 elections saying, we
achieved something. Now, maybe they can`t rein in the Tea Party, maybe
they can`t rein in the Ted Cruz, it`s entirely possible. But at least give
them a chance. If you come out guns or blazing right now, you blow any
opportunity to get collaboration on, for example --

SHARPTON: But Josh, they have a Senate bill that`s already passed, all
they have to do is let that the House vote on it and pass it, I mean --

ZEPPS: In the last Senate, Reverend. I mean, you know, look, let`s treat
this as a recess and at least offer a possibility of the glimmer of hope of
some kind of a bipartisanship. If Obama is going to be remembered for
doing anything in the final few years of his presidency, then he`s going to
have to do something with the collaboration of Congress, it can`t all be
the executive actions, otherwise you end up with the --

SHARPTON: All right. Let me get Julia because I want to move on, but the
Senate is already voted that bill, Josh, but go ahead, Julia.

CUNNINGHAM: I was just going to say, if we need to make a point where we
need to make a splash at a time to do, and this is an issue that`s very
important to people and some that he`s going to actually make a splash
with. And I think maybe acting a little rash might be a good thing.

SHARPTON: All right, now to Bruce Springsteen, under fire from the right,
it all stems from the boss` performance at a concert for vets this week.
He is saying the classic Vietnam era anthem, "Fortunate Son" that deals
with the class issues and the draft.


The Weekly Standard criticized Bruce saying, quote, "The song not to put
too fine a point on it is an anti-war scream. Taking shots at the red,
white and blue." And Bruce, tone deaf. And then came this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Bruce Springsteen headlines an anti-war song on Veterans
Day in front of our vets. So much for HBO`s concert for valor.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Nobody had the brains to stop and say, you guys might
want to pick a different song.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: How come Bruce Springsteen couldn`t find a song that
wasn`t derogatory to military?


SHARPTON: Julia, was it tone deaf?

CUNNINGHAM: No, it is un-American to say this song is un-American, this is
a song you do at an event like this. Reverend, it`s insane. I mean, the
song is not anti-war. I mean, it isn`t some ways but it`s really about
saying that this people who fought for us that are back home need to be
treated with respect. And that is the point of him singing the song was.
A lot of times, you know, in the terms of the music it is about not having
that option. Like it was like a practical thing to go into war, not just
because of the enthusiasm into war, and that is what has been show cased
with Bruce Springsteen performing this song, I thought it was fine.

SHARPTON: But josh, the republicans on the right that criticized, did they
hear the song? He talks about senators` kids being able to duck the draft
-- he is not talking about the --


ZEPPS: That`s the way that the military works. Look, this is a song that
is pro-soldier and anti-tragedy that we put military families through.
Unless you believe that the Pentagon is always consistent with what is pro-
American and is always operating in the interest of military families and
always makes the right call then it is ridiculous to say this is anti-
American. It is pro-American because it is pro-freedom.


CHARLES: Well, I personally don`t see what is the problem with a song
being anti-war. Who wants to be pro-war? I think the point of the song is
that we should go into war cautiously and be overly abundantly cautious
whenever we want to send our loved ones, our troops into war. And I think
that`s what the song is about. And if he sang it, at this concert, which
was free to honor veterans and to honor people who have served in the Armed
Forces, then I think that is a wonderful thing.

ZEPPS: It is about the nuance. Isn`t it? I mean, it is just about having
a bit of nuance in our relationship and the military.

SHARPTON: But Julia, isn`t it something that we could consider that Bruce
Springsteen has now become a big supporter of certain democratic candidates
and democratic causes, isn`t there some partisan nuance here?

CUNNINGHAM: Sure, I mean, no, that is a fair statement. I mean, he is
definitely aligned with certain parties but at the same point, he is also
associated with certain strengths and that is lyricism, and I think he took
this song because he knows it meant something. I think it`s better than,
you know, Rihanna was there also and was just performing hits, like that
necessarily meant anything. And I think, you know, the people on the crowd
appreciate Rihanna to have that just source of entertainment. When you
have Bruce Springsteen coming to an event like this and he doesn`t do
something political I would be disappointed.

SHARPTON: All right. Josh, let`s move on from one son to another, let`s
go to the Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe`s son. He will pardon his son Kyle
from a felony drug charge from over a decade ago. He was charge for
possessing marijuana with intent to deliver. In a letter wrote to his
father, Kyle wrote, "At the time of my arrest I was living in a fantasy
world. Not reality. I was young and dumb. I am asking for a chance to be
a better son to my parents and to prove to them I am the person they raised
me to be." The governor says, he has pardoned more than 700 people, and
this one is no different.


GOV. MIKE BEEBE (D), ARKANSAS: If they straighten up to get their life
back on track and have a second chance, so this is no different. It is
different because it is my son.


SHARPTON: Josh, is this legitimate or special treatment?

ZEPPS: It seems to be legitimate, much as I would love to jump on this guy
and scream nepotism? The reality is that, I mean, his son doesn`t abrogate
his own rights just because his father happens to be the governor. You
know, he has to be treated fairly and it does seem that if this were
another case, the governor has pardoned more than 700 other people over the
course of his governorship. So, you know, we can`t treat him unfairly just
because he`s a governor`s son. It doesn`t seem to be out of bounce to me.

CUNNINGHAM: It was also, it should be noted that with this going through,
there are also nine similar cases that were also pushed through. So, I
think if there were just like, his kind of slipped under the door, it would
be a little bit more shady --

ZEPPS: That`s right.

CUNNINGHAM: But it`s also seemed to be completely legitimate.

CHARLES: This is all absurd, this is all absurd, this is nepotism with a
capital N, I mean, if this doesn`t smack nepotism, I just don`t know.


SHARPTON: Why is it nepotism, Midwin?

CHARLES: Because it is his father --

ZEPPS: So, you want him to stay behind bars --

CHARLES: When you are in a position of power and you are an official, you
always want to make decisions that don`t appear as though there are
appearances of impropriety. What he should have done is recuse themselves
from this position and not done it all. Imagine if every teenager got this
opportunity, wow!

ZEPPS: They do --

CUNNINGHAM: Not every teenager.

ZEPPS: Some pay the price for the fact that he happens to have a governor
for a dad.

CHARLES: It`s his son. And that is what nepotism is, is you have a family
member you gives you a special, you know, favor, because that person is in


SHARPTON: Wait, wait, wait, is it the appearances of a conflict of
interest that is troubling, or because he has pardoned 700 people, but I am
sure there is a lot more. So is the appearance at all a factor here?

CHARLES: Talking to me?


CHARLES: It is not the -- it`s the appearance and the actual fact. And
the fact that he has done this, I think what it does is it sends this
message that hey, I`m in a position of power and I`m going to do this for
my son. What he should have done is taken the better decision and recused
himself and not done this at all.

SHARPTON: All right, I have to go. Everyone, please stay with me. Up
next, when the billion dollar divorce is not enough. That is next.


SHARPTON: We`re back with our "Conversation Nation" panel, Julia, Josh and
Midwin. Final topic, when one billion dollars isn`t enough. One billion
with a b, we told you how oil tycoon Harold Hamm and his wife are divorcing
after 26 years of marriage. He`s the country`s 24th richest man, worth
over $18 billion, a judge ruled must pay her $995.9 million. But now, her
lawyer says quote, Sue Ann is disappointed in the outcome of this case.
She dedicated 25 years as Harold`s faithful partner in family and business.
She plans to appeal the court`s decision."

Midwin, what is the legal angle? Does the wife here deserve more money
from this divorce?

CHARLES: Well, Rev, I was here two days ago and, you know, we spoke about
this case. And what I did was outline basically what courts look at when
they`re looking to do a divorce settlements. And what they look at is,
what was the spouse`s contribution during the course of the marriage, and
often times, it is half. I mean, you can`t after 25 years of marriage say
that your spouse didn`t have something to do with what you have achieved
during those 25 years.

SHARPTON: But you said often, which means that it doesn`t have to always
be that way if they determine you did something worthy of her.

CHARLES: No, it is actually almost always the case, and the court will
look into that. Especially if the wife stayed at home which wasn`t the
case here. I mean, she was an attorney, she worked at the company for a
long time. But what the courts are going to do is they recognize that
there is a value that a spouse brings to a marriage, and usually it is
half. And frankly she is entitled to half. I would be surprised if she
gets half, though.

SHARPTON: Josh, would you take the billion dollars and run?

ZEPPS: I would take the billion dollars and run all the way to Rio for the
rest of my life. It would be fantastic, this is, you`re setting aside the
legal implications, you know, for a moment, just the morality of this.
Because the legal implications in the United States are very different from
a lot of other countries.


ZEPPS: We have to ask ourselves, are we feminists or not? Do we believe
that women are as capable as men at achieving great things or not. In
which case, the idea of splitting things right in the middle -- a billion
dollars is a lot of money. They`re not have done any work?

CHARLES: What do you mean they`re not have done any work?


You ask any married couple, that is a lot of work.

SHARPTON: Let me let Julia get in because I`m going to run out of time.

CHARLES: It is. It is.


ZEPPS: -- Hard working poor women don`t do as much work?


SHARPTON: Wait a minute. Just a minute, Josh, Julia, because I`m going to
run out of time and you haven`t spoken to this.

CUNNINGHAM: Reverend, it is the fact that she worked as an executive, and
I think Josh gets to mention that she didn`t just work at home. Josh, she
worked as an executive in this company, in the marketing department. You
have to take off all those zeros and think about it, if they were splitting
$10, would she get five? Yes, she deserves $9 billion, is she going to get
it? Maybe, and I don`t know if necessarily she needs it but yes, she is
entitled to get it.

CHARLES: It`s the principle of the thing --


SHARPTON: All right. It`s a hot one but we got to go. Thank you, all.
Julia, Josh, and Midwin. Josh disagreed a lot tonight. I think he has an
Al Sharpton complex.


We`ll be right back with the FBI`s secret war against Reverend Martin
Luther King, Jr.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, a disturbing revelation from the FBI`s long
secret war against the civil rights movement. And in particular against
the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The FBI followed him, wiretapped
him, smeared him as a communist, and worse. The "New York Times" just
published a newly uncovered unredacted letters were sent anonymously to
King in 1964. The letter was written as if it were from a disgruntled
former supporter but it was really written by the FBI agents. In the
letter, they called Dr. King, quote, "an evil, abnormal beast," and said,
"You are done, there is but one way out for you, you better take it before
your filthy, abnormal, fraudulent self is banned from the nation." One way
out, a clear suggestion that Dr. King commit suicide. The FBI director at
the time John Edgar Hoover (ph) made no secret of his desire to take King
down. King suspected the letter came from the FBI and refused to be
intimidated. Instead, he fought harder than ever and hit back at Hoover
directly. When the FBI director called him a liar in public, he hit back.


Well, I was quite shocked and surprised to learn of this statement from Mr.
Hoover questioning my integrity. And very frankly, I don`t understand what
motivated the statement. The only thing that I can see is that Mr. Hoover
is probably faltering under the awesome responsibilities, complexities and
demands of his very important office.


SHARPTON: I remember discussing the letter with Martin Luther King III for
years, but now that it has surfaced. It only brings home more, the
sacrifices, stress, pain, set-ups and all kinds of entrapments people
endured to get some of the rights we enjoyed. It should make us hold onto
them and be aggressive about making sure their sacrifice was not in vain.

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


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