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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

Date: February 11, 2015
Guest: Jonathan Capehart, Jackie Speier, Brian Wice, Stephanie Miller,
Jimmy Williams, Michelle Bernard

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

Breaking news tonight, destroying ISIS without dragging us into another
endless war. That`s the strategy from President Obama who today officially
asked Congress for new authorization to use military force against ISIS.


today does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq
or Syria. This resolution repeals the 2002 authorize of force for the
invasion of Iraq and limits this new authorization to three years. I do
not believe America`s interests are served by endless war.


SHARPTON: The president doesn`t want ground troops. He doesn`t want
endless war, but he is putting forward a strategy to stop ISIS and he does
want Congress to go On the Record about this fight. Already some
Republicans are blasting his request, claiming it doesn`t go far enough
while others claim he doesn`t understand the threat.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The words radical Islamic terrorism do not come
out of the president`s mouth. The word jihad does not come out of the
president`s mouth.

If you are not aware of what you`re fighting, you`re not going to defeat


SHARPTON: The president has been fighting terrorist groups since he took
office. He`s fully aware of the threat. But some Republicans seem unclear
about what side he`s on?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only did he vilify Christianity, but he actually
made a case to defend radical Islam.

REP. RANDY WEBER (R), TEXAS: I was at Israeli function and AIPAC function
couple weekends ago and one of our great friends there said, Congressman
Weber, we`re not sure the president has Israel`s back. And I looked at him
dead center and said, friend, we`re not sure he`s got America`s back.


SHARPTON: These Republicans questioned whether he wants to protect America
that even accused him of defending ISIS. There is no place for that kind
of talk. It`s ugly and a distraction from the issues that really matter,
including taking out this brutal group.


OBAMA: This is a difficult mission and it will remain difficult for some
time. It`s going to take time to dislodge these terrorists, especially
from urban areas. But our coalition is on the offensive. ISIL is on the
defensive and ISIL is going to lose.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congressman Jackie Speier, Democrat of
California. She served on the House armed services committee and "the
Washington Post" Jonathan Capehart. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Congresswoman, the president says ISIS is going to lose. Can we
beat them under the strategy he sent you today?

SPEIER: Well, first of all, he needs to be applauded for sending an
authorization for the use of military force to the Congress. There are
some of us on the democratic side that while we applaud him are concerned
about the open-ended nature of the proposal.

So, yes, we can defeat ISIL. We will defeat ISIL. But I`m not going to be
one who supports putting troops back on the ground. And while the
president has said and has made it clear that we are not going to have
enduring offensive ground troops, the question really is, aren`t we going
to have troops on the ground? And we already have 3300 on the ground.


SPEIER: So there`s still much that needs to be worked out with the war
powers resolution, the authorization that he has sent to Congress.

SHARPTON: That`s very interesting, Congresswoman, saying some Democrats
are considered that it`s too open-ended because Republicans are criticizing
him saying it`s not open-ended enough.

SPEIER: Well, it`s really very clear. You could put ground troops on the
ground in Iraq even in Syria in this proposal as long as it`s for defensive
purposes or you could put offensive troops on the ground as long as it is
not enduring. So I would disagree with the Republicans that they think
it`s not giving the president enough latitude to work within. It gives him
a great deal of latitude.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, the Republicans are squabbling about the president`s
request but will they vote against it?

CAPEHART: You know, that`s a very good question. Speaker Boehner has said
there will be hearings on this and it`s a good thing that there will be
debate on Capitol Hill about the president`s request. But the idea that
we`re in this fight against ISIS or, as the president calls it, ISIL, and
that the United States Congress would not give the president the authority
to go after these people who have killed Americans, who have killed
Japanese, who have killed other citizens from around the world, I think it
would be a stunning dereliction of duty.

SHARPTON: You know, Congresswoman, we`ve learned that there are 20,000
foreign fighters who have gone to join ISIS and other extremist groups.
That includes at least 3400 from western nations and 150 Americans. I
mean, these numbers, Congresswoman, are staggering. How long will it take
to destroy is?

SPEIER: Well, I think the president and certainly General Dempsey and
others have said this is not a short-term engagement. This will take two
to three years. And while we all are very interested in making sure that
we move swiftly to degrade ISIL, it is not happening overnight even though
we have already bombed over 2300 sites alone by U.S. forces in the region.
Jordan has now joined forces with us as well. We really need to make sure
this coalition stays intact and that there are ground troops from other
countries engaged as well.

SHARPTON: Now, Jonathan, a lot of Republicans say the president put too
many limits on his request. Here`s Speaker Boehner.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I believe that if we`re
going to authorize the use of military force, the president should have all
the tools necessary to win the fight that we are in.


And then Alabama Congresswoman Mel Brooks, he said quote "I hate to think
that this president is favoring another Vietnam-like action." Jonathan, I
mean, what do Republicans want? Do they want ground troops but they just
won`t say it?

CAPEHART: You know, that`s what it sounds like. As the congresswoman
said, the president`s request of Congress says that there could be troops
on the ground for rescue operations, for -- I might have this wrong,
correct me if I have this wrong, Congresswoman, you know, sort of forward
offenses. So is there a problem with what the president wants is that he
put a three-year time limit on it.

You know, Democrats -- some Democrats I`ve seen have criticized the
president`s request because it`s too broad. They see it as too open-ended.
So the two sides are going to have to come together and recognize that, you
know, the president is trying to thread a very fine line here. He is
leading a war-weary nation but he has to still continue to fight this war
against people who are not only threatening our national security but are
destabilizing a very important region of the world.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, I mean, let me cut to the chase. Do Republicans
want boots on the ground? Do they want another Iraq war?

SPEIER: There`s no question they want boots on the ground. They just
don`t want to say it. And, you know, in some respects, I have not seen a
war engagement that they haven`t wanted to be in. You know, just a couple
of years ago they wanted us to go fully into Syria. They want us to go
into Libya. I think they are very interested in seeing us engage in many
hot spots around the world. We don`t have the bandwidth to be in every hot
spot around the world and we have to be very clear at what is, in fact, at
risk for our nation. When our homeland is being threatened, then we
absolutely need to protect it. When we are trying to be the police force
for the entire world, we have to think twice.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, we`ve heard that there could be weeks, even months of
debate on this issue. Here`s what the president said about that.


OBAMA: I believe this resolution can grow even stronger with the fought
for and dignified debate that this moment demands. And I`m optimistic that
it can win strong bipartisan support and that we can show our troops and
the world that Americans are united in this mission.


SHARPTON: Jonathan, do you think we can have a dignified debate on this?

CAPEHART: You know, it pass its pro-log (ph). The answer is no. But I
always believe in hope that when it comes to matters war, of national
security, of putting men and women of the armed forces in harm`s way,
especially against in a new fight against a new enemy, that will put aside
the mindless bickering of the last six years and be very sober about the
conversation that they are going to have on Capitol Hill.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s a huge, huge issue, huge situation that affects us
all. We`re going to really stay on top of it.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Jonathan Capehart, thank you both for your
time tonight.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

SPEIER: Thank you for the invitation.

SHARPTON: Coming up, dramatic moments in the "American Sniper" murder
trial. What Chris Kyle text about his killer moments before his death?

Plus, how Jeb Bush is fighting inequality while charging $100,000 a plate
at a fundraiser.

And saying good-bye to Jon Stewart. What his amazing run has meant to
comedy and TV news.


to serve one party.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: You were not elected.


SHARPTON: All that, plus 25 years since Nelson Mandela walked out of
prison and into history.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: We`re tracking breaking news after shooting of three Muslim
students open the University of North Carolina campus. Police say their
best information at this point is a parking dispute led to the triple
shooting Tuesday evening. And that it doesn`t appear related to the
victim`s faith. Though authorities are looking at the suspect`s computer
and email and interviewing neighbors.

That suspect, 46-year-old Craig Steven Hicks is being held without bond.
He appeared in court today charged with three counts of first-degree
murder. This afternoon, his wife said the victim`s faith played no role.


KAREN HICKS, SHOOTING SUSPECT`S WIFE: I can`t say absolutely with this
incident had nothing to do with religion or victims` faith, but are fact
was related to the long-standing parking disputes.


SHARPTON: But family members of the victims say they want the shootings to
be investigated as a hate crime.


shock and will never be able to make sense of this horrendous tragedy. We
ask that the authorities investigate these heinous murders as a hate crime.


SHARPTON: The shootings today inspiring an outpouring of support for the
victims on social media, including this trending image, a blue ribbon with
the #Muslimlivesmatter. Yes, they do.

We`ll be following this story.


SHARPTON: Developing news tonight, opening statements in the "American
Sniper" murder trial. Eddie Ray Routh is accused of killing Chris Kyle,
the real-life sniper from the hit film. And along with that he was accused
of killing his friend Chad Littlefield in 2013. Prosecutors say Ralph
gunned down both men at Texas gun range. They had taken him there as part
of a way to help with the PTSD he got after serving in the marines.

Today, prosecutors say Ralph used two guns to shoot the men more than a
dozen times and that he used drugs earlier that day.


ALAN NASH, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: He used this wet marijuana that morning and
he drank whiskey with it. And he admits that he murdered these two men,
that he took drugs and he drank whiskey with it. But he admits that he
murdered these two men, that he used drugs and alcohol that morning, and
that he knew what he was doing wrong.


SHARPTON: But his defense says he`s suffering from a severe mental


TIM MOORE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: When he took their lives, he was in the grip
of a psychosis, a psychosis so severe at that point in time that he did not
know what he was doing was wrong. He thought he had to take their lives
because he was in danger.


SHARPTON: Now a jury will decide whether Ralph knew right from wrong when
he pulled the trigger.

Joining me now, our Texas criminal defense attorney Brian Wice and former
prosecutor and host of "Judge Faith," judge Faith herself, Judge Faith
Jenkins. Thank you both for being here.


SHARPTON: Judge Faith, based on their opening statements, how will
prosecutors try to show that Ralph knew what he was doing?

JENKINS: Well, they are going to go forward with the evidence. You can
tell in their opening statements, they are getting out ahead of the game on
the mental illness defense that the defense attorneys are trying to put
forward here. And they address it head-on. They said, even if he suffered
from mental illness, he knew what he was doing was wrong. And so, they are
going to look at the facts and they are going to argue the facts. Look
what he did, look at the crime that he committed, look at what he did
afterwards. He ran away. A person who knows when they`ve done something
wrong, what do they do? They often run. They try to hide. He went to his

He did tell his relatives that he killed someone but he didn`t go to the
police. He didn`t stay at the scene. So they are going to use those
factors to say, yes, he committed a terrible crime. Yes, he may suffered
from mental illness, but knew what he did was wrong.

SHARPTON: Brian, this is a tall order for the defense. What`s the main
argument they want the jury to hear?

BRIAN WICE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think, Rev., they`ve got to
craft a narrative that this small town Texas jury can understand. And
they`ve got to tell this jury that while every crime is a tragedy, every
tragedy is not a crime. And that when their client acted in a moment of
madness and ended the lives of these two men, he was simply incapable of
distinguishing between right and wrong and that our judicial heritage is
rich in the notion that no matter how heinous the crime, we don`t convict
people who are insane at the time that they engage in that conduct.

SHARPTON: Faith, the defense introduced text messages that Kyle and
Littlefield sent each other after they met Ralph. Kyle wrote, quote "this
dude is straight up nuts." And Littlefield replied, he`s right behind me.
Watch my six. That`s military jargon for watch my back. How will the
defense use those messages to makes this case?

JENKINS: Those text messages were sent when the three were together going
to the shooting range. Ralph`s state of mind hit the key moment when his
state of mind is really an issue in this case is when he committed the
crime. So there you have Chris Kyle and his friend talking about this guy
being nuts just moments before Ralph kills them. So they are saying --
which helps the defense, that he was so -- he was suffering from some type
of psychosis, so much so that even Kyle comments on it right before they
get to the shooting range.

SHARPTON: Brian, we want to play part of the 911 call made by Ralph sister
and her husband. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was recently diagnosed with PTSD.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, post-traumatic stress disorder.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he`s been acting little weird from that. He just
got out of a mental hospital, actually.


SHARPTON: Now, prosecutors mentioned this call today. How will it play
into their argument, Brian?

WICE: Well, you know, Rev., there`s going to be testimony of this
defendant`s repeated stays in psychiatric facilities in this psychiatric
back story that would seem to suggest that he could insane. But what this
jury is going to be instructed on is that doesn`t make any difference. His
voluntary intoxication, his decision to drink and to take drugs is not a
defense to the ultimate prosecution.

And the fact that he may have had the psychiatric back story, well, like
they say in west Texas, Rev., mashed potatoes don`t mean gravy. Anybody
who is ever watched a lone order repeat is fond of hearing Jack McCoy say,
you can form intent in an instant and if at the time this defendant pulled
the trigger he could understand the difference between right and wrong,
then there`s only one verdict and that`s guilty of capital murder.

SHARPTON: Faith, the movie "American Sniper" didn`t come up in opening
statements. Did that surprise you?

JENKINS: No, it shouldn`t come up. And I would imagine, Rev., that when
they selected the jury, they probably selected people who had not seen the
movie and had not read the book because you don`t want jurors forming an
opinion about the case based on facts they`ve heard outside of the
testimony in the courtroom. So this movie should not come up in the trial.

SHARPTON: The defense talked about Ralph`s drug and alcohol use. Does
that make a difference here, Brian?

WICE: Well, again, it provides context, if you will, Rev., but this jury
was told during jury selection, they will be instructed again at the close
of the evidence from the court`s instructions, that this defendant`s
voluntary intoxication is not a defense to capital murder.

And while it may provide context, it is not going to be a legitimate legal
defense. The only way that this defendant avoids conviction for capital
murder is a jury believing the defense narrative that at the moment he
pulled the trigger and ended the lives, again, of an American hero and his
friend, that he was incapable of distinguishing between what was right and
what was wrong, Rev.

SHARPTON: Now, you mention a small town. This trial is happening in Erath
County. The population is less than 40,000. You know this area well.
What`s it like to try a case in a small Texas county town?

WICE: Well, Rev., there`s good news and bad news. The good news is,
you`re always going to be able to find a parking spot and a great place to
eat in the courthouse square. The bad news is, and I guarantee you, that
district attorney Alan Nash knew a bunch of the jurors who came in on that
initial jury panel. Why? Because in a small town like Stevensville and a
small county like Erath, their kids play little league together. They go
to church together. They go to Walmart together. And the home court
advantage that any prosecutor has in any criminal case becomes that much
more dramatic in a small town and small county.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. Don`t forget, Faith,
mashed potatoes don`t mean gravy.

Brian Wice and Faith Jenkins, thank you for your time tonight.

JENKINS: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, would you pay $100,000 to have dinner with Jeb Bush?
Even some on Wall Street are shaking their heads.

And did this really happen? Did that really happen? Sadly, it did. Jon
Stewart is leaving "the Daily Show." His cultural impact on politics,
entertainment and journalism is ahead.


STEWART: How many times a week does Biden show up in a wet bathing suit to
a meeting? Just ballpark figure?

OBAMA: I had to put out a presidential directive on that. We have to stop

STEWART: You have to put towels down.

OBAMA: I have to say, though, he looks pretty good.


SHARPTON: Today, a group of the country`s bravest public service officers
were honored by vice president Biden and attorney general Holder with the
medals of valor, the nation`s highest award for courage. Among the
recipients, seven police and firefighters who helped save lives in the
aftermath of the 2013 Boston bombing. Two police officers who responded to
the 2012 shooting at the sheik temple in Wisconsin and 13 other law
enforcement officers.

The attorney general and vice president talked about what this award really


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Each of these awards citations serve
as a straight testament and a fitting remainder the time when this country
is grappling with deep challenges involving public safety, law enforcement
and community engagement, that the work being done by those who guard our
neighborhoods and protect our nation is exceptional, essential, and it is

You`re all crazy. We love you for it. We need you. You are the best
thing we have going for us.


SHARPTON: As we debate policing in this country, we have to remember all
those officers across America who are putting their lives on the line to do
their duty is not police versus community, it`s police and community. And
we should all remember that.


SHARPTON: Say it ain`t so, Jon. It`s really happening. Jon Stewart is
retiring from "The Daily Show." For 16 years he redefine political satire
and changed the way Americans consume news. No politician or party was off


FMR. PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), UNITED STATES: I was not elected to serve
one party.

JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": You were not elected.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We do not fix our health care
system, America may go the way of GM.

STEWART: What? Did you just threaten us? That if we don`t change our
ways, we`re going to get a multibillion dollar bailout? Gram. Why can`t
you take no war for an answer?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The reason I wanted to strike Assad was to punish him.

STEWART: I wanted to see him squirm.


Yes. Apparently the website has 99 problems but a glitch is
all of them.


SHARPTON: He made us laugh but when the occasion called for it, he knew
how to comfort us, too.


STEWART: I wanted to tell you why I grieve. But why I don`t despair.

If comedy is tragedy plus time, I need more time but I would really settle
for (bleep) less tragedy to be honest with you.

I know very few people who go into comedy, you know, as an act of courage,
mainly because it shouldn`t have to be that. It shouldn`t be an act of


SHARPTON: More than anything else, Jon Stewart is a brilliant comedian and
his no holds bar style is what had us all laughing for nearly two decades.


STEWART: There concern is a six foot pole made out of beer cans. It`s
Florida. You`re lucky there`s not a stripper named Christmas swinging on

I apologize. I apologize. No disrespect. I apologize. Let`s continue
with the meeting.

Are you (bleep), a (bleep) fork? Ah! No!

By the way, math you do as a republican to make yourself feel better?


Is a much better slogan for FOX than the one they have now.


SHARPTON: Jon, we already miss you. Joining me now are radio host
Stephanie Miller, and whose comedy album just came out today on iTunes.
And MSNBC`s Toure. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Stephanie, what`s your reaction to the big news?

MILLER: Well, number one, you are right, he is irreplaceable. And number
two, all I know is that I made a list of top seven replacements for Jon
Stewart at The Daily Banter. So, if you don`t mind, I will just take this
moment to thread on his not even cold body for a shameless plug.

SHARPTON: All right.

MILLER: But no, I really do think he is irreplaceable, he is brilliant and
it will be interesting to see what direction "The Daily Show" goes.

SHARPTON: Toure, were you as shocked as I was?

TOURE: Yes. Well, I don`t know how shocked you were I was definitely
extraordinarily shocked to think about all that this man has brought in
terms of bringing the news to a lot of Gen Xers and millennials. He was a
"prime news" source for a lot of them. When you think about all the folks
that he brought into comedy and brought to our attention, you know, from
John Oliver, to Michael Chay and on and on and on, you think about the sort
of muscular liberalism that be brought.


TOURE: I mean, he was a proud liberal, you know, unapologetic, you didn`t
see a lot of that on television, especially outside of this place. And the
thing that I love about him is that he loved to attack politicians but even
more than that he was a media critic and sort of the most interesting media
critic --

SHARPTON: I mean, he always had fun with politicians and newsmakers.
Let`s watch this.


STEWART: Do you have a favorite shape for that home office?


Do you like that -- would you like that office -- would you like that
corner or would you like that not to have corners?

world is so complicated, the fewer corners --

STEWART: I know your father is backstage and he`s very proud of you. But
would he be mad if I adopted you?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We would both very much like Bruce
Springsteen to hug us.


CHRISTIE: And he did hug me recently.

STEWART: Did he really?


STEWART: How many times a week does Biden show up in a wet bathing suit to
a meeting? Just a ballpark figure.

OBAMA: I had to put out a presidential directive on that, we have to stop
that. I have to say though, he looks pretty good.


SHARPTON: That`s what you were talking about, Toure.

TOURE: Yes, all of that stuff. I mean, who else could talk to Christie
and Malala and Obama and the conversations that he had with Bill O`Reilly,
those are legendary that no one will ever forget what he did on
"Crossfire," over on CNN back before the early iteration of that show,
which destroyed that show and changed cable news.

SHARPTON: Now Stephanie, it`s remarkable that on the same day the news
came of Brian Williams being suspended and Jon Stewart retiring, two of the
biggest names on the news won`t be in air. In Brian`s case, at least for a
while. That`s pretty amazing, don`t you think, Stephanie?

MILLER: You know, Reverend, I think that my favorite comment, ironically,
on the Brian Williams thing came from Jon Stewart, who said, oh finally
someone is being held to account for a lie about Iraq. I mean, when, you
know, I`m fine with him being suspended as soon as Bush and Cheney go to
the Hague in my opinion. You know, when Brian Williams is responsible for
the death unnecessarily of American soldiers and innocent Iraqis over lies
about weapons of mass destruction, then we can talk.


MILLER: And that`s the nerve that Jon Stewart is always able to hit.
Toure is absolutely right and for a younger generation, I think more people
trusted Jon Stewart than a lot of news anchors. So it`s ironic, isn`t it?

And you know, we can do a whole show Toure on clips but as a native New
Yorker I think one mucking Donald Trump for taking Sarah Palin to pizza in
New York is one of the best things I`ve seen. Check this out.


STEWART: Donald, I don`t want to say anybody, but if you`re taking an
esteemed visitor to get real New York pizza, Familia`s in it.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Dinner was great. Wasn`t that good? That was real
New York pizza.

STEWART: No, no, it`s not. Unless a real authentic New York pizza can
also be found in terminal four of the Phoenix Sky Harbor International

I apologize. I apologize. No disrespect. I apologize. Let`s continue
with the meeting. Are you eating with a fork?

I want to see your long-form birth certificate. I don`t think you were
really born in New York.



SHARPTON: I mean, you can`t beat that. That is priceless.

TOURE: Now, that stuff is incredible. But also I love his impression of
Lindsey Graham as a turtle and the way that he would do that. Oh, Mitch
McConnell as a turtle. Lindsey Graham he did as a whole -- thing, and when
Lindsey Graham declare he`s going to run for president, oh, we`re going to
have a year of Jon Stewart --


TOURE: Wreck wrecking Lindsey Graham. I couldn`t wait for that. We have
to go to 2016 without Jon Stewart.

SHARPTON: And Stephanie, you never knew what it was. I mean I enjoyed
doing the show. Watch this.


STEWART: First of all, let me say this, hunger strikes agree with you.
You look magnificent.

SHARPTON: Well, they didn`t give me any of the barbecue sauce, we were
boycotting --

STEWART: But here`s the thing though. You never won any election. How
can you go from there to president?

SHARPTON: That`s exactly why you should vote for me, because I`m not
responsible for the mess you`re in.


STEWART: You shouldn`t have to be objective.

SHARPTON: That`s exactly right. I`m Jon Stewart and --


TOURE: That doesn`t look like you.

SHARPTON: And you`ve had to try to do a give -- you`ve had to try to do a
give and take step -- but you knew you were going to lose.

MILLER: You know, what? I have never seen you more cuddly and I already
consider you very, very cuddly. And also, can I say, it takes a rare
talent to make Sarah Palin look even dumber than she actually is. He is a
genius. He shall be missed.

SHARPTON: I won`t judge that one. Stephanie Miller and Toure, thank you
both for your time tonight. Make sure you catch Toure on "THE CYCLE"
weekdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Still ahead, the sad news about the little league team that won our hearts.
Should the kids be punished for the adults` mistake? Also, Jeb Bush
follows up his new focus on poverty by charging $100,000 a plate.

And the terror scare you didn`t know about at President Obama`s first
inauguration. "Conversation Nation" is next.


SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight, host of
"THE DOCKET" on Shift MSNBC Seema Iyer, Democratic strategist Jimmy
Williams and president of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics and Public
Policy, Michelle Bernard. Thank you all for being here.


POLICY: Thank you.


SHARPTON: How much would you pay to have dinner with former Florida
Governor Jeb Bush? Well, if you`re heading to the Park Avenue home of
private equity mogul Henry Kravis, tonight you`re shelling out $100,000 a
plate for that honor. One invited Wall Street executive reportedly said,
quote, "I shook my head when I heard the number." People close to the
former governor say the goal is to eventually reach between $100,000.
Jimmy, $100,000 a plate. I mean, is this just getting out of control?

WILLIAMS: You know, I`ve actually worked for billionaire, I don`t think I
ever ate anything that caused $100,000 at his dinner table. And the other
great irony of this is, it shouldn`t be lost on anyone that Governor Bush
is doing this on Wall Street, he`s not doing it in Des Moines, he`s not
doing it in national New Hampshire, he`s not doing it here in South
Carolina. Those are called early primary states. If he tried to charge
anyone $100,000 at a fund-raiser, I`m pretty sure it won`t go over so well.
So hey, if we`re going to have conversations about economic populism and
economic patriotism, what better place to do that than on Wall Street.

SHARPTON: But Michelle, if we`re raising $100,000 per person on Wall
Street, aside from the fact that the figure is certainly something that is
-- makes you take a double take, does it affect the policies that he will
in fact advocate since he`s clearly getting money from people that have
their own theories about income inequality and other economic issues.

BERNARD: Well, I mean, here`s the two things that this impacts. Number
one, if you`re giving a $100,000 to a perspective candidate for the
president. Not only does it mean that you believe that their chances of
winning are reasonable but it is reasonable to expect that that person who
is giving the money is going to make demands that affect public policy to
their benefit.

IYER: Absolutely. Right.

BERNARD: And the other thing is, if you are the person who lives in
section 8 housing.


BERNARD: That lives in a neighborhood where their schools are awful, where
you have no grocery stores and where you have very little ability to take
care of yourself, let alone your children, no one, you can`t pay to go to a
fund-raiser and there is no politician out there, at least as far as I can
see right now that is running for on the republican ticket, that is going
to hear your voice and hear what it means to be a member of the working
poor in this country.

IYER: Rev, I just want to point out that Kravis` is private equity firm,
his fourth quarter profits fell 94 percent and that`s from 2014. So, it`s
just alluding back to what you said earlier, Reverend is that there is this
quid pro-quo. And of course it`s going to affect what a policy decisions
Jeb Bush makes. And also, I`d love to remind everyone how Jimmy used to be
a republican strategist. So I definitely take everything that Jimmy says
on this topic.

SHARPTON: All right. Now to a scary terror revelation. On President
Obama`s first inauguration in his book, David Axelrod reveals serious
concern about a group for Somalis. The President had a statement to read,
if terrorists struck the inauguration, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel asked
him to write the statement telling Axelrod, quote, "Meet him right before
the ceremonies in the speaker`s office and give it to him. He`ll put it in
his pocket in case it`s needed." Thankfully it was a false alarm. But
what a fascinating look inside the presidency. Michelle, imagine the
President in that moment with that letter, a fascinating revelation, right?

BERNARD: You know, Reverend, I read the excerpt from the book and,
frankly, it just sent chills up my spine. We -- it is a reminder that in
this post- 9/11 world, we are never safe. You know, many of us were so
worried on inauguration day 2009, that our newly elected in our first
African-American president in history might be in danger because of
domestic terrorism and now we`re realizing that not only was that fear
plausible but it was also plausible that we could have been subject to
another act, a foreign terrorism and it`s just frightening and sad.

SHARPTON: But Seema, it also occurs to me, because I remember watching him
that day and it was freezing out there.

IYER: Right.

SHARPTON: And how cool and calm he delivered the inaugural address. We
had no idea he had a letter in his pocket --

IYER: Exactly. Right.

SHARPTON: -- to make a statement and had been warned of a possible
terrorist attack.

IYER: That is our President, Rev. He`s always cool and calm. But could
you imagine what kind of message that would have sent on the inauguration
of our first black president, that instead of giving the inauguration
speech, he would have had to have read that letter, possibly putting
millions of people, including himself and his staff in danger and what
message does that send to the world of the leader of the United States?

SHARPTON: Yes. Jimmy, and you know, Axelrod didn`t write in the book what
was written on the note.


SHARPTON: Maybe the President will reveal that. If he writes a book once
he leaves office.

WILLIAMS: Which I hope he does. That would be very interesting about all
of the meetings he had in the White House with the republicans that didn`t
go so well. But back to what Michelle said, I was in the capital complex
on 9/11 working as a Senate staffer and I knew in that moment that our
lives had changed forever. The idea that we could just walk freely through
the capital even as staff, that that was going to change. Fast forward to
2009, a very different world, a very different president. But the system
to keep him safe and everyone around him, it was in place and it worked and
I`m very proud of that.

SHARPTON: Finally, another cheating controversy hits the world of sports,
except this time it`s pants size, pint-size, little league size, little
league baseball stripped to cargo base, Jackie Robinson West of its title,
suspended its coach for using players who live outside of the area that the
team represents. The organization found team officials went to neighboring
districts to scope out players and build a so-called super team. Today,
the catcher for the team made a statement.


hard all year long and we went down there to play baseball and we weren`t
involved in anything that could have caused us to be stripped of our
championship but we do know that, we know that we are champions, our
parents know that we are champions and the team knows we`re champions and
Chicago knows we`re champions.


SHARPTON: This is an incredibly disappointing story. But should the kids
pay for the adults` mistakes?

IYER: No, but they are in essence, right Rev? They are going to have to
pay for their mistakes by not being able to move forward with their team.
However Rev, this is a tiny lesson in their large lives and they will move
past this and their talent and their skill will see them through.

SHARPTON: Seema, Jimmy and Michelle, I`m going to have to leave it there.
We`re out of time. Thank you for joining "Conversation Nation." Make sure
you watch "THE DOCKET" on shift by MSNBC on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

When we come back, 25 years after Nelson Mandela`s long walk to Freedom.


SHARPTON: Twenty five years ago today, Nelson Mandela took a giant step in
his long walk to freedom leaving prison and giving his first public speech
in nearly three decades. It was a moving and emotional day that we can all
still learn a lot from. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Twenty five years ago today, the world stopped and watched as
Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison, walking out a free man.
The entire country of South Africa rejoiced and poured out into the
streets. In Cape Town they sang and danced and cried tears of joy. After
27 years, Mandela was free and he had a message of reconciliation, not
revenge. He had one clear goal above all, end apartheid.


decisive moment. We call on our people to seize this moment so that the
process towards democracy is rapid and uninterrupted. We have waited too
long for our freedom.


SHARPTON: He was a freedom fighter, peacekeeper and a visionary, never
bitter or warning the settle scores for the decades he lost in prison.
Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and in 1994 he became the
first black president in country`s history. I was in South Africa to
observe that election and I had the honor to meet Mandela on a number of
occasions. As I thought about this 25th anniversary today, I thought of my
American civil rights hero, Reverend Joseph Lowry. He always said to me,
Sharpton, there`s a difference between the infamous and great. To be great
is how you use your fame. If you`re good, you can get famous. But if you
seek to be great is what you use your fame for. Nelson Mandela used his
fame to transform a nation, rise not only about his enemies but rise above
the enmity.

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


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