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PoliticsNation, Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

Date: February 12, 2015
Guest: Eugene O`Donnell, Liz Plank, John Burns, Tara Dowell, Dana Milbank;
Karen Bass

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks to you for tuning in. I`m live
tonight from the fake Galapagos Island. Happy Darwin day.

Two hundred and six years ago Charles Darwin was born. He would develop
his theory of evolution from what he saw right here in Galapagos islands.
Yes, we have gone back in time tonight all the way back to 1835 when Darwin
discovered the animals that led to his famous theory.

Hey look, there`s the famous Galapagos seals. But back in reality people
all over the world are celebrating Darwin`s birthday today. There are over
100 parties across the globe.

In Ohio, they`re wearing Darwin beards, and do 24-hour readings of the "the
origin of species."

In North Dakota, you can hang out with a life-sized cutout of the guy.

In Portugal, you can even go speed dating with evolutionary biologists.

But one guy who hasn`t RSVP to the parties, Wisconsin governor Scott
Walker, who was asked if he believed in evolution.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE MODERATOR: Are you comfortable with the idea of
evolution? Do you believe in it? Do you accept it?

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, WISCONSIN: For me I`m going to punt on that as well.


WALKER: That`s a question a politician shouldn`t be involved in one way or
the other.


SHARPTON: So the new GOP star, the guy Rush Limbaugh is gushing over,
can`t answer a question on evolution? He tried to clarify it. Quote "both
science and my faith dictate my belief that we are created by God. I
believe faith and science are compatible and go hand in hand.

But 98 percent of scientists believe that humans evolved over time.
There`s a growing problem with the GOP and science. We all know about this
image, the evolution of man, but there`s the evolution of the GOP, it looks
like it hasn`t evolved on policy issues from healthcare to women`s rights
to economic fairness to immigration. The world is changing. It`s about
time the GOP starts evolves, and a good way we could start -- answering
simple questions on evolution. They shouldn`t need this fake vest, or be
in the fake Galapagos islands to do it.

Joining me now is congresswoman Karen Bass, Democrat of California, and
Dana Milbank of "the Washington Post." Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Congresswoman, first of all, happy Darwin day to you.

BASS: Thank you, same to you.

SHARPTON: How do you explain Scott Walker?

BASS: Well, I will say that Scott Walker was auditioning to run for
president, and I think he failed on his first audition. There`s no
explanation for that and there`s no excuse to dodge such a fundamental
question as that.

SHARPTON: And there`s no contradiction of having faith and science.

But Dana, Scott Walker has been kind of the flavor of the week lately in
the GOP, but if you can`t answer a question on how he feels about
evolution, how can he survive a presidential primary?

MILBANK: Yes, I wonder about that, Reverend. And what is it about every
time a Republican goes over to London, they wander down some blind alley
and end up in the 19th century. So just a week ago yet Chris Christie
disparaging vaccination when he was over in Britain, and now you have this
on evolution.

I would say that the -- at the rate that Republicans are evolving right
now, I think you`ll see a blue hydrangea evolve into a bald eagle before
you see this party evolve into a modern political party.

SHARPTON: Well Congresswoman, talking about how the GOP is evolving, what
would you like to see your Republican colleagues evolve on?

BASS: Just I could go down a long list, but we do have to acknowledge that
they are consistent. Because they also don`t believe in global warming,
because there`s a lot of snow in Boston. They haven`t evolved when it
comes to the question of women`s health, and some people believe that women
have magical powers. So I think we see this consistently.

And then what they`re doing here in Congress, we voted for the 56th time to
repeal Obamacare, so we really could call this the cut-and-paste Congress.
We are literally doing the exact same thing we did last session and just
repeating it this session. It`s a ritual that we have to do every few
months. I guess that`s the way they satisfy their base.

SHARPTON: Dana, another thing Republicans haven`t evolved on is funding
the government. The department of homeland security could be headed for a
shutdown, because Republicans keep passing bills that defund the
president`s executive action on immigration. And Democrats won`t vote for
them. Here`s Senator Ted Cruz on the situation to date.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We are in a time of growing threats at home and
abroad, and for Senate Democrats in a partisan vote to filibuster funding
for the department of homeland security is both reckless and irresponsible.
The answer is for Senate Democrats not to be obstructionists.


SHARPTON: But "the Hill" reports that one senior GOP senator whispered to
"the Hill" reporter, quote "of course, Republicans will get blamed for a
shutdown." So if there`s a shutdown at homeland security, who will get the
blame, Dana?

MILBANK: Well, of course the Congress, which is controlled by Republicans
will get the blame for this.

BASS: Right.

MILBANK: And you can hear people already complaining privately,
Republicans complaining privately that Ted Cruz has done this to them
again. Look, since taking over Congress, you know, a month or so ago,
they`ve been slipping on one banana peel after another, whether it`s been
with abortion, whether it`s been with immigration, the keystone pipeline
and now this homeland security thing that Ted Cruz served up. And they,
just as he did to them in the fall of 2013, they seem to have no way out of
this thing other than climbing down in humiliation, or forcing a shutdown
that they`re bound to lose.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, I heard you kind of making noise. You want to
weigh in on that same question?

BASS: Yes, I certainly do because think of the irony. You have the
Republicans who want to go to war. The president has asked for the
authorization of the use of force. He really wants to have it tailored and
have it narrowed. The Republicans want it to be more expanded, but yet
they`re not going to fund the homeland? So we will be prepared to have a
war, but yet TSA and the other things we they`d to protect our own country
here, that`s what they`re holding up.

You can`t say that the Democrats are responsible for shutdown if it
happens. They control everything now. They control the Senate, they
control the house. The whole enchilada is in their lap.

SHARPTON: You know, Dana, the Republicans are criticizing the president`s
request authorizing military action against ISIL, as you said. But listen
to this from the crew over at FOX.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seems that it comes with a ton of restrictions,
restricting the war-fighting discretion of the president there, specific
limits seem to be put in the language of this agreement here on ground
troops. A limited time, really saying this is going to be done in three
years. What does it say to the enemy? Pretty much outlining all the
things we won`t do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell us what we`re going to do and stop telling us for
what we`re not going to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems the president has caught up in 2008. He`s not
George Bush. He wants to tell us every other day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or tell the enemy every day how long they need to
wait us out.


SHARPTON: I mean, the president doesn`t want endless war. How can they
criticize that, Dana?

MILBANK: But think about the hypocrisy here. Like every other day you
tune into "FOX & friends" and they call the president a dictator who`s
seizing power. So here, he`s come forwards with a narrow force resolution
that`s asking Congress to limit his powers, saying no, we want to give him
way more power than he wants to accept here. So basically whatever this
president is proposing, they`re opposed to it regardless of what the
American --.

BASS: Exactly.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, some Republicans have gone even further than
that. One member said he`s not sure he should vote for the military
authorization, because the president might help ISIS. Listen to this.


REP. SCOTT PERRY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: We have a commander in-chief who
seems, not only not really, not unwilling, but really working
collaboratively with what I would say is the enemy of freedom and of
individual freedom and liberty and western civilization and modernity. In
that context, how do you vote to give this commander in-chief the authority
and the power to take action? He actually might use it to further their
cause in what seems to be his cause and just drag you as a complicitor in


SHARPTON: Congresswoman, this is outrageous. The president working with
an enemy? I mean, how can a sitting member of Congress get away with it?

BASS: I mean, that was so garbled. I`m not sure what they were saying.
But I will tell you that, you know, they say he`s overextended his power.
He is gone beyond his power. He is coming to Congress asking us to give
the authorization. And so, now there is a problem with that.

So on a daily basis, you can see it doesn`t matter what the president says,
they`re going to be against it, even if they were to have written the bill,
if he puts his name on it and says he supports it, they will be against it.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Karen Bass and Dana Milbank, thanks for your time
tonight and happy Darwin day.

BASS: Same to you, Rev.

MILBANK: You too, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, FBI director James Comey speaks out in a very candid
way about hard troops and racial bias in policing today. Much more on that
speech ahead.

Plus, was it a hate crime? Developing news tonight on the triple murder of
three Muslim Americans.

Plus, why are GOP senators delaying Loretta Lynch`s attorney general
nomination vote? Democrats are not holding back today.

And President Obama`s viral video that has everyone talking today.







SHARPTON: Social media has been on fire over this new BuzzFeed video with
President Obama. It features the. Like we`ve never seen him before --
posing with a selfie stick, making funny faces.

Shirley wrote on our facebook wall, loved it, but couldn`t help thinking
that I wish they would have cleaned that mirror.

Good eye, Shirley.

Robert said oh, boy, can`t wait for the conservative backlash on this.
Doesn`t he have anything better to do et cetera, et cetera. It`s great.

Well, Robert, the wait is over. It`s happening more on that with our panel

But first, please keep the conversation going on our facebook page or tweet
us @politicsnation.


SHARPTON: Developing now, President Obama`s pick to be the next defense
secretary is ready to be sworn in. The Senate easily confirmed Ashton
Carter today. No drama, no delays. And he should take over at the
Pentagon sometime next week.

This moved fast, and it highlight a clear difference in the Republican
handling of another Obama nominee.

Loretta Lynch for attorney general. Republicans have been slow-walking her
nomination, and just pushed back on a key vote on Lynch to the end of the
month at the earliest.

Look at the numbers. It took Ash Carter 67 days to get from nomination to
past the committee. Now look at Loretta Lynch. We`re at 96 days and
counting since the president announced she was the one for the job. Today,
Senate Democrats said it`s not right.


SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: I think that Loretta Lynch is being held
to a double standard, and her nomination is listed on the agenda. Her
nomination has been pending longer than any modern attorney general

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Clearly, she`s been treated
differently, I guess because she`s a woman. What I object to is she is
singled out.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: People want to vote no, that`s fine.
That`s your right, but let`s just vote. I don`t believe there`s any excuse
to delay the confirmation of such an exceptional nominee.


SHARPTON: So what`s the holdup to a vote on a woman praised by both
parties as a great pick for the job?

Joining me now is Sirius XM radio host Joe Madison.

Joe, thank you for being here.


SHARPTON: Joe, Lynch has a lot of support for both sides. What do
Republicans have to gain by dragging their feet?

MADISON: I think two things. One, they get a chance to profile in front
of their constituents. They`re bringing up the whole issue of immigration
as a way of delaying it. Number two, they seem to be confused. You know,
we all don`t look alike, and we all don`t think alike. And they somehow
want to -- I think dig one last dig at Eric Holder. He`s probably been
mentioned more in these hearings than she has been mentioned. And I think
that`s really the reason. This seems to be an opportunity to take a last-
minute dig at Eric Holder.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, when Democrats raise concerns that we played
earlier, Republicans seemed caught off-guard today. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m just a little surprised at the argument.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, this is a case of faux outrage, if I ever saw

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s a bogus argument to try and make big fuzz
out of this.


SHARPTON: I mean, they call it bogus? What about this outrage do they
think is fake, Joe?

MADISON: I mean, I don`t know. I mean, I absolutely don`t know. You have
some of the most senior members of -- Republican members of the committee
that already are in support of her. And I don`t know what this outrage is.

Now, you know, I`ll just say it outright. They could be -- it could be a
double standard, as you ahead, because she`s a woman. There also could be
a double standard because she`s got two problems -- not a problem, but in
their mind a problem, that she`s a woman, and she`s African-American. And
we might as well put that on the table also.

But what is the outrage? The reality is, as the senators said, look, we
know who`s going to vote against her. They`ve already done the arithmetic.
Just go ahead and take the darn vote, because now we will be looking at
March before a full vote is even taken in the Senate, and, you know --

SHARPTON: Absolutely. But I want to press on this, because today Senator
Feinstein laid out how long it took to confirm the last five attorney
generals. Lynch hasn`t been approved yet, and the process is by far the

MADISON: The longest, that`s right.

SHARPTON: Why is she being treated differently, is the question?

MADISON: And let`s just be straight up. Maybe she has, in their mind, two
strikes against her, one she`s a woman, she`s African-American, and they
want to make sure she`s not Eric Holder.

Well, take a look. She is not Eric Holder. And a matter of fact, she may
turn out to be even better than Eric Holder as attorney general. She`s her
own woman. And that`s one of the reasons that President Obama nominated
her and they need to move forward.

SHARPTON: Joe Madison, thank you for your time tonight.

MADISON: And thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, breaking news as thousands gather to remember the
three Muslim students gunned down in North Carolina. Was it a hate crime?

Also a political announcement today that could have a big impact on Hillary
Clinton`s future.

Bus first, Karl Rove is dancing his way back into tonight`s got you.


SHARPTON: Here is not a news flash. Karl Rove is criticizing President

In today`s "Wall Street Journal," the right-wing pundit slammed the
president on foreign policy, calling him blind to consequences and
delusional. The newspaper gave it the headline "the dangers of make-
believe foreign policy."

Wait a second, if anyone knows about make-believe foreign policy is Karl
Rove, Bush`s brain in the White House that led us to a disastrous war in
Iraq, and he`s continued to defend that war long after.


KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I do believe that the Iraq war was the
right thing to do and the world is a safer place to having Hussein gone.


SHARPTON: But foreign police isn`t the only make believe Karl Rove has
bought into over the years. I seem to recall he had a little trouble
believing the math behind President Obama`s reelection victory.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that Ohio has been settled?

ROVE: No, I don`t. And look, if we are calling this on the basis of 74
percent of the vote being in, and when 77 percent is in, secretary of state
Web site, I have the director of the Ohio campaign for Romney on the other
end of the line --


Here`s something else that`s settled. When it comes to foreign policy, Mr.
Rove should just keep quiet. Until then, nice try. But you can`t make
this up, because we got you.


SHARPTON: Was it a hate crime? Right now that`s what North Carolina
authorities are investigating in the murder of three Muslim American
students near the University of North Carolina Campus. Tonight for a
second straight day people are gathering at a vigil at North Carolina
State, just hours after the victims` families, friends and supporters laid
them to rest. More than 5500 people attended. Tomorrow the families,
along with the coalition of Muslim groups, are planning to deliver a letter
to the Department of Justice, calling for a hate crime investigation. So
far police say their preliminary investigation shows the suspect, 46-year-
old Craig Stephen Hicks, was motivated by a parking dispute, and that the
shootings were not related to the victims` faith. Hicks` wife has spoken
out, saying she agrees with that. But today the father of two of the
victims said his previous encounters with his daughter indicate the
killings were motivated by hate.


MOHAMMAD ABU-SALHA, VICTIM`S FATHER: He came to their apartment with his
gun two or three times before the murder, on different occasions. My
daughter claimed and she told us that she felt that man hated them for the
way they looked and the Muslim garb they wore. I would call on the Chapel
Hill police, UNC, and President Obama, churches, mosques, synagogues, and
the American nation, if this is not a hate crime, what is a hate crime?


SHARPTON: Joining mess now at the vigil in Raleigh is`s Aliyah
Frumin. Aliyah, you`ve been there all day. What`s the mood in the
community today?

ALIYAH FRUMIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, here at North Carolina
State University, there are literally hundreds of people behind me, here to
memorialize the three American-Muslims who were shot to death on Tuesday.
The feeling here is just an outpouring of grief and sadness and most of all
shock that such a tragedy could happen here in the community. The youngest
victim was a student here studying architecture, and many of them are here
today to memorial lies that victim Razan, just a feeling of anger, sadness,
and a desire for justice.

SHARPTON: The family wants this to be investigated as a hate crime. What
are people saying?

FRUMIN: Right, well, we have spoken to several people here at the vigil
who have also expressed that sentiment. Earlier today there was a funeral
in Raleigh. And the father of two of the victims, who you mentioned
before, got up and stage said, quote, "this has hate crime written all over
it." And he called on President Obama, federal and state authorities to
investigate this as a hate crime, and we`re hearing some of the same
sentiment here at the vigil as well.

SHARPTON: Aliyah Frumin, thank you for your time tonight.

Now, I want to bring in Eugene O`Donnell, professor of law and police study
at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Thank you for being here, Eugene.


SHARPTON: If you were on this case, what are you doing today trying to see
if hate motivated this?

O`DONNELL: Well, that`s really what it is. It`s clearly it`s a criminal
act, a horrific criminal act. The issue really is going to be could the
prove beyond a reasonable doubt it is hate motivated. So it`s very much
parsing these interactions, these, some of the victims did wear distinctive
clothing that identified them, their religion. There were some Facebook
posts. I think this guy is a self-proclaimed atheist, so he`s not unaware
of religion, he`s made some elliptical references to the Middle East. It`s
a fairly high standards far, the attorney says they`re not there, I believe
the lead folks are still the local people but the FBI is monitoring this.
And the world is watching, so I hope that they`re giving it a full-court

SHARPTON: Let me press you on that. Because the suspect posted Facebook
messages, as you referred to, that referenced religion. Like one that
read, quote, "People are saying nothing can solve the Middle East problem.
Not mediation, not arms, not financial aid. I say there is something.
Atheism." And his wife spoke about his Facebook page. Listen.


KAREN HICKS, WIFE OF SHOOTING SUSPECT: He often champions on his Facebook
page for the rights of many individuals, um, for same-sex marriages, um,
abortion, uh, race.


SHARPTON: I mean, how important could the suspect`s social media posts be
in this case, Eugene?

O`DONNELL: It could be very important, obviously. It`s a high threshold,
so you`re not quite there yet. I don`t think on what`s publicly known, but
again he`s not unmindful of religion, he`s interested in the Middle East.
These victims were distinctively clothed, which is one of the criteria the
FBI uses, but it would very much be a full-court press, I hope search
warrants will be executed, they`ll go to any kind of social media
references, neighbors, to see if he`s referenced this. Obviously whether
or not the case is ultimately brought, there is a deterrent effect to
having federal agents watching this, should anybody likeminded out there be
watching, they should be aware that law enforcement will be brought to bear
in these situations.

SHARPTON: A local prosecutor`s office reluctant to bring about hate crime

O`DONNELL: Well, here you`ve got very serious charges, so you have -- you
have capital or certainly first-degree murder charges, but the truth is, it
is a reality if you`ve been around for these cases, the local people,
including in a city, you go to New York in a neighborhood sometimes when
you have an event, people try to downplay it. They try to say everybody
gets along, there`s no trouble here, so it`s important I think to have a
separate set of eyes. And it`s good that the federal government is
monitoring it. It doesn`t mean they`re ultimately going to jump in, but at
least they`re monitoring, so there won`t be a temptation to just pave over
the reality.

SHARPTON: You were an assistant district attorney. What`s the standard
for a hate crime?

O`DONNELL: It`s a pretty high standard. General on a state level, it`s
really been -- issue, so you have a crime and then you look to see whether
there was a motivation that had to do with one of the protected classes,
but it really only allows you to get more serious. The rub here is that
the charges on their own, the state charges, the murder charges, this is
the guy will never see the light of day on those grounds, but there is this
deterrent issue. You do have to be mindful of not only the impact on going
after this guy, but anybody who would target people because of these
protected classes, as the law -- as the law sets forth.

SHARPTON: Well, we are going to be watching this. This is a very
important case. A lot of people have a lot of questions. A lot of
legitimate concerns. Eugene O`Donnell, thank you for your time tonight.


SHARPTON: Coming up, extraordinary words from the FBI director. Candidly
speaking about racial bias in policing today. Much more on that speech

Plus, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks out on gay marriage.

And President Obama doing what everyone does, but doesn`t talk about. It`s
must see, and it`s next.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, thanks Obama.



SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining us tonight, senior
editor at, Liz Plank. Legal analyst John Burns, and democratic
strategist Tara Dowdell. Thank you for being here tonight.




SHARPTON: First up, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinks
Americans are ready for gay marriage. In a new interview, Ginsburg says,
people are more accepting now than ever before.


people came out and said this is who I am, and the rest of us recognize
that they are one of us. I think it would not take a large adjustment.


SHARPTON: Want to know what she`s talking about? Check out this video on
Facebook that`s gone viral of one Alabama resident doing a tongue in cheek
report of all the changes he`s seen since gay marriage was legalized in his


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This pile of brush is still here, and there are no
homosexuals laying on top of it doing homosexual things. We`re not going
to be subjected to any kind of plagues of homosexuals falling from the sky.
Everything is pretty much still the same.


SHARPTON: You know, Tara, a funny way to make a point. The sky is not
falling. The issue has moved so quickly in our politics, but is the
justice right, what she says?

DOWDELL: The notorious RBG is absolutely correct. I believe most
Americans --

SHARPTON: The notorious RBG.

DOWDELL: That`s right. That`s right. She is absolutely correct, America
is ready and has demonstrated that we are ready for gay marriage. Now, are
their people who are hate-riots? Who still oppose that yes, but they are
getting fewer and farther in between these days.


BURNS: Well, I totally agree with Tara. I she`s absolutely right. I
think it`s time for the Supreme Court to come out and legalize gay
marriage. I think it`s important for him to come out and say, it`s
constitutional because we have to guarantee rights for everyone for same-
sex couples under the equal protection clause of the constitution. I think
it`s vital.


PLANK: I mean, notorious RBG might be 81 years old.

SHARPTON: And hate-riots.

PLANK: Yes. You should copyright that. But the fact, you know, she`s 81-
years-old and yet he`s so in touch with what`s happening. Right? And who
is powering the future right now.

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

PLANK: And if you look at the numbers, I mean, 71 percent of millennials
are for gay marriage. We know that love doesn`t belong to one religion or
to one party. It belongs to everyone.


PLANK: So it`s really nice to see her.

SHARPTON: And even some of the older people, even in Alabama, where
there`s resistance, have openly claimed to move toward a let people be
people and have equal rights.

DOWDELL: Absolutely. And I think when we see more and more prominent
people coming forward and saying, this is who I am, I think that`s also
help to fuel it. And I think that the LBGT community also pushing
legislatively pushing the issue in the various states, I mean, that made a
difference. And I`m glad to see they did a state-by-state strategy.


DOWDELL: Because sometimes if you can`t get it at the federal level
immediately, he can`t get it at the Supreme Court level immediately, state
by state is a good way to do it. And that was a smart strategy.

SHARPTON: All right. Thanks on that. Let me go tonight to tributes
pouring in for Bob Simon. The legendary "60 Minutes" correspondent who
died last night in a car accident here in New York City. Bob is remembered
for his humor, courage and grace. Reporting some of the most dangerous war
zones in the world.


BOB SIMON, FORMER CBS CORRESPONDENT: This is Israel`s most advanced
position on the southern front.

Lebanese officers in the hill say they needed the ceasefire.

And the steps are being wheeled up to a plane bearing the words "The Arab
Republic of Egypt." Will miracles never cease?

After 27 years, his head was high and his fist was clenched. Nelson walked
out of a victor first step prison today like a chief of state.

On January 21st, four CBS newsmen disappeared in the Saudi Arabian desert
near the Kuwaiti border.

This is a story that could have ended another way, but it`s had a happy

A lot of people are spending a lot of money underwater in a cage and hope
to get a good look at a shark.

This pygmy possum couldn`t get enough camera time.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Bridge still honors the grand dragon of the KKK.

SIMON: What do you think of that?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It`s a great pleasure in directing scenes on the


SHARPTON: John, the irony is here`s a man who reported literally from some
of the most dangerous zones, dangerous stories in the world, and himself
was in danger, yet he died a few blocks from his house in a car accident.
And there was no one who seems to not have liked him a lot.

BURNS: Yes. You know, it`s incredibly ironic. This man, as you`ve
mentioned that was in the most dangerous place across the world. Probably
one of the most dangerous places in terms of modern history as -- has gone
into and survived in the come back and down the streets in New York. It`s
just kind of ironic, but I think he was such a pioneer in his field but he
was also an individual that told just compelling stories of the human


BURNS: And I think it`s really, really befitting that his last interview
was Ava DuVernay who is of itself is a testament to the human spirit.

SHARPTON: Who did the --

BURNS: And it showcases into Martin Luther King who is an essential figure
in terms of overcoming obstacles in the spirit of just someone who can do


DOWDELL: I mean, what an icon. I mean, he was even tortured. That`s
something that we haven`t heard much about, but he was tortured.

SHARPTON: Himself.

DOWDELL: Tortured himself.


DOWDELL: This is a journalist who showed courage. They don`t make many
journalists like this anymore. This is actually a loss because --

SHARPTON: They didn`t make any then.

DOWDELL: Yes, exactly. And they certainly are making very meaning now.


DOWDELL: So, seeing him. Losing him is a real loss to journalism.
Because he was there for some of the most historic moments of our time
around the world.

BURNS: Around the world.

DOWDELL: And he covered the story honestly, with candor, and with


PLANK: Yes, I mean, as a young person in journalism, I mean, I looked up
to him on a lot of things. And I think what`s great about his work is that
it`s out there for all of us to watch and see. So, I`m hoping that a lot
of people will spend of time, spend the weekend watching the incredible

SHARPTON: Well, he left a high bar and a really great journalist.

Everyone stay with me. We`ll be right back with the democrats` choice for
the 2016 convention. And Obama video everyone is talking about.


SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Liz, John and Tara. Next up, there`s
going to be a lot of democrats eating cheesesteaks next year. Philadelphia
has been picked as the site of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the
city of brotherly love, home of the liberty bell, independence hall, and of
course cheesesteaks. The other finalists were Columbus, Ohio, and my
hometown, Brooklyn, New York. Tara, I have a biased opinion here, but what
do you think of the choice?

DOWDELL: I`m shocked you have a biased opinion.


DOWDELL: I think that Philly was a great choice. Because number one, both
Mayor Nutter, the mayor of Philadelphia, as well as the governor of
Pennsylvania, have been very key President Obama supporters. And remember,
the governor campaigned with President Obama when many other democrats were
running from him. Also, point two, Pennsylvania is still considered
somewhat of a swing state, and republicans still think that they can at
some point get Pennsylvania and win Pennsylvania.

SHARPTON: Liz, does it matter where the convention is?

PLANK: Well, I think it matters where the best food is. I mean, let`s be
honest. No, obviously it would have been awesome for it to be New York.

SHARPTON: Brooklyn. Be specific.

PLANK: Brooklyn, it`s true. Very different. Oh, why not? Oh my God!
I`m not sure a New Yorker. I think it will be great and as you say, just
want to say, we want to make sure together.

SHARPTON: Now, John, everybody is asking me on social media, when I ran
for president, did I eat cheesesteaks --

BURNS: Right.

SHARPTON: In Philadelphia.


SHARPTON: Let me show you how everybody did when they ran.

BURNS: Okay.

SHARPTON: There`s Kerry. There`s Hillary Clinton. There`s President

DOWDELL: Yes, going to town on that too.

SHARPTON: There`s Joe Biden, who also ran for president. He`s from
Scranton, digging in there. As I said, John Kerry. The question is, did I
eat cheesesteak? I ate everything back then.


BURNS: Me too. Me too.

SHARPTON: By the size, look at -- I mean, there`s going to be a lot of
politicians not running for president, but holding office eating
cheesesteak next year in Philly.

BURNS: Yes. Yes. And to your point, Rev. Philly is a perfect city, too
because it`s logistical with all the restaurants, the hotels,
transportation centrally located, so people can really convene and be that
community Phil which is so important with conventions.

SHARPTON: All right. Let me go to the final story tonight. The video
getting all the buzz online today. President Obama`s featured in a
BuzzFeed video called things everyone does, but doesn`t talk about, like
taking selfies and talking in the mirror.


OBAMA: Deadline for signing up for health insurance is February-rue.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Not like any other Wednesday.

OBAMA: That`s not right.


OBAMA: February.


OBAMA: February 15th. February 15th.




OBAMA: Can I live?

Yolo, man.


SHARPTON: The young man in the video was the BuzzFeed reporter, but Liz,
some say this video demeans his office, but isn`t this an effective way to
reach young people?

PLANK: It`s a historic way of reaching young people. I`ve never seen the
President do something like that before. And it doesn`t even come off as
contrived. He`s just so relatable in that video. I mean, I just want to
watch it over and over again. He`s serious.


BURNS: You know, absolutely. I completely agree with Liz. He`s a human
being. And so, I`m very guilty of doing all those same things, too. It`s
good to see the President step away from the President from the executive
and be a human being.

SHARPTON: Why did you go to Liz first? I`m young, too. I`m also young.


BURNS: All right.


DOWDELL: No, I think that the President -- first of all health care reform
is important. And we want to get people to sign up for it.


DOWDELL: So, whatever we have to do to reach people, I think we do it.
And this video has millions of millions of hits, so clearly it`s reaching


SHARPTON: Well, Liz, John and Tara, my young panel tonight --


BURNS: Yes. Very young panel.

SHARPTON: Thanks for your time tonight. We`ll be right back with a
history-making speech from the head of the FBI.



JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: We simply must speak to each other honestly
about all these hard truths. In the words of Dr. King, we must learn to
live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.


SHARPTON: That`s the FBI Director James Comey earlier today in what`s
being called the most candid speech on race and policing ever given by the
head of the FBI. Remember the FBI wiretapped Dr. Martin Luther Jing, Jr.
and repeatedly and shamefully branded civil rights activists as communist.
Comey said he keeps a copy of the order to wiretap Dr. King in his office
to remind himself every day of the bureau`s past mistakes. Decades later,
Comey said we must recognize the long history of injustice in the country,
and the problems that still exist today.


COMEY: There is a disconnect between police agencies and the citizens they
serve, predominantly in communities of color. Serious debates are taking
place about how law enforcement personnel relate to the communities they
serve, about the appropriate use of force. Many people in our white
majority culture have unconscious racial biases and react differently to a
white face than a black fate. In fact, we all, white and black, carry
various biases around with us.


SHARPTON: That`s true, and recognizing and overcoming this bias is the
challenge we all face. Comey talked about his personal experience growing
up as a descendant of Irish immigrants.


COMEY: I am descended from Irish immigrants. A century ago the Irish knew
well how American society and law enforcement viewed them, as drunks,
ruffians and criminals. Law enforcement biased view of the Irish lives on
in the nickname we still use for the vehicles we use to transport groups of
prisoners. It is, after all, the paddy wagon.


SHARPTON: Comey said, police must understand that the criminal justice
system has been brutally unfair to certain communities, but he also said
residents must appreciate that most police officers are good people,
putting their lives on the line to do the right thing.


COMEY: Racial bias isn`t epidemic in law enforcement any more than its
epidemic in academia or the arts. In fact, I believe law enforcement
overwhelmingly attracts people who want to do good for a living, people who
risk their lives, because they want to help other people, and they do some
of the hardest, most dangerous policing to protect communities of color.


SHARPTON: He`s right, and it`s important we point that out. The FBI
director said we`re at a cross roads in how we deal with race and policing,
and to move forward we have to be willing to talk about these hard truths.
And yes, I`m sure that he will be attacked by some, and many that have had
the courage to address this, have been castigated and demonized.

I often wonder why there`s such a visceral reaction when we raise this
issue, and maybe the discomfort shows that we have not solved it. And that
it is still something that someone will want to run away from. He`s right.
We have to deal with hard truths and make hard decisions to change things
that can no longer remain the way they are, and maybe of leaders like him
stand up and at least bring the conversation up, we can get to that change
by having the real hard conversations.

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


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