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PoliticsNation, Friday, February 27th,2015

Read the transcript from the Friday show

Date: February 27, 2015
Guest: Emanuel Cleaver, E.J. Dionne, Clarence Page, Emma Dumain, Tara
Dowdell, Noah Michelson, Julia Cunningham

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

We continue with the breaking news. A stunning failure by House
Republicans putting funding for homeland security in jeopardy. We`re now
just six hours from a shutdown of the agency. The clock is ticking down.
And the mood in Washington is frantic. With reports of speaker Boehner
furiously still trying to drum up for votes a last-ditch short-term bill.

It`s a major surprise. This was the scene less than an hour ago. With
Republicans holding open a vote for nearly 50 minutes desperate for
passage. That bill would have extended funding for three weeks. But
dozens of Republicans refused to go along because the bill didn`t undo the
president`s immigration actions. And the Democrats refused to bail out the
speaker because the bill would have triggered another funding crisis in
gist three weeks.

For Speaker Boehner, it`s a public embarrassment. Another failure to
control the right wing caucus. And the result tonight a homeland security
shutdown is looking more and more likely.

Joining me now is Dana Milbank and Clarence Page, thank you both for coming
on the show.



SHARPTON: Dane, how surprise were you at this voted?

MILBANK: Well, in the larger sense you`re never surprised to find out that
Congress isn`t getting something done. So we should never be surprised
that they failed to do something. But everybody figured what it would come
down to in the end s basically they were just punting for a few weeks. And
that`s the sort of thing that Congress can still do is punt.

So this is entirely surprising that this particular vote failed, and now
John Boehner has a very serious choice. Is he more concerned about keeping
his job as speaker or is he more concerned about doing what needs to be
done to the country right now?

SHARPTON: Now, the clock, for our viewers, the clock you see is ticking
away toward midnight. That is when homeland security will close down.

Clarence, give me a minute. I want to bring in Congressman Emmanuel
Cleaver, Democrat from Missouri. Thank you for being here, Congressman.

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Are you surprised at the Republican failure to get any bill
passed with the deadline now less than six hours away?

CLEAVER: I`m surprised at the margin of that loss because I thought that
they would twist enough arms to get the bill crossed. Keep in mind, votes
are supposed to remain open for 15 minutes. They kept the vote open for 45
minutes. And during that 45-minute period they were twisting arms and
still couldn`t get the votes. So I think that there`s a section in that
conference that will not support anything that they think will be of value
to the president.

SHARPTON: Congressman, we`re talking homeland security, we are talking it
a week when three people were arrested talking about joining ISIS. This is
a very, very serious time. Do Republicans have any plan to avoid a
homeland security shutdown, to your knowledge?

CLEAVER: As I left the capitol just a few minutes ago after the vote,
members were grumbling and mumbling. I think they`re going to gather later
on tonight. I can`t imagine getting very many people to switch. I mean,
if you had been on the floor to see the tension of the floor and seeing all
that pressure being applied to no good end, at least as far as they are
concerned, and the leadership was concerned.

So I`m not sure that they`re going to be able to do anything tonight. We
have up until 11:59 to fix this problem. I don`t see it being fixed by
then unless Boehner puts his speakership on the line.

SHARPTON: So they don`t have, from what you can see, a plan b. You`re
saying they seemed adamant on the floor that they were not going to budge,
these far right conservatives?

CLEAVER: Absolutely. As the time remained open, they were actually losing
votes to pass the three-week CR. So they were going in the wrong
direction. So I can`t imagine anything happening that would cause them to
change their mind.

SHARPTON: Now, you said unless Boehner puts his speakership on the line.
What do you mean by that?

CLEAVER: Well, it thank we can pass this bill, there`s no question about
it. We can pass this bill in ten minutes if they call the vote and put a
clean bill on the floor, it sails through, and it will go to the Senate and
the president will sign it and all will be fine in the United States.

But it would mean that the speaker would have to tell his caucus, look, I`m
going to put this bill on the floor because it`s in the best interest of
the country and you guys do what you want and do what you have to do. And
I think under those circumstances, he would be in jeopardy as the speaker.

SHARPTON: So you`re saying that if a clean bill was put on the floor
without any of this about taking out the president`s executive action on
immigration, it would pass, but the speaker would have to say I`m going to
put everything on the line even if my caucus comes back against me, I`m not
going to let this country have homeland security shut down. That`s what he
would have to do?

CLEAVER: That`s exactly what he would have to do. I would vote for it and
I think every single democrat would vote for it and half the Republicans
would vote for it. But you know, and I like John Boehner so I hate to see
him lose his speakership, but I think at this kind of a point, it`s either
the nation or a group of 50 or 60 people who are holding hostage the
Republican Congress.

SHARPTON: Wow, it`s either the nation or 50 or 60 people. Do you think,
from your own knowing and dealings with the Republicans in the house, do
you think he would lose his speakership?

CLEAVER: I think it would be very, very close. I think this would be a
dangerous vote for him. And I think he understands that as well. So this
is moment for John Boehner like no other moment since he became speaker of
the house. And I would hate to lose him, let me just say that, because I`m
not sure who we would get to replace him. And we could be in much more
serious trouble if we got someone who came to Congress with the absolute
commitment to disrupt, who is anti-government and serving in government.

SHARPTON: Congressman, stay with me a minute. I want to bring in Clarence

Clarence, stunning, stunning events. How do you see this? Were you
surprised? Are you still surprised?

PAGE: Well, I am. I still expect Speaker Boehner to do the right thing
before the shutdown as we`ve seen in the past. He`s been willing to go
along with their far right wing of his caucus up to the point where it
really puts the nation`s security or finances in jeopardy. Of course, I
also predicted that Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel wouldn`t have to face a
runoff either.

So I`ve been wrong once this week. I`d hate to be wrong twice especially
on something of this import. But I like the thing that Speaker Boehner is
the speaker and not Louis Gohmert of Texas, but I`m beginning to doubt.

SHARPTON: Dana, explain to the American public how do you explain, if you
can, given such power, if you`re Boehner, to just 50 members of the house?

MILBANK: Well, I mean, there`s the Hastert rule in the Republican cog, and
he basically can`t bring something to the floor unless it has majority
support in his caucus. So it`s not just those 50 guys who voted against
this legislation. He must feel that he does not have a majority in favor
of the Senate bill, the clean bill, as they say. And if he doesn`t have
that and he brings the bill forward anyway. He`s violated this cardinal
principle and that would be the justification for them to have this sort of
a coup and toss the speaker out of his job.

Now, you know, as the congressman was saying, he has Democrats here
certainly willing to back him up on this vote. So they`ll certainly win
the vote if he brings the Senate bill up. And, of course, everybody votes
for the speaker of the house. And it`s even theoretically possible that
the Democrats would help him keep his speakership, but that`s completed
uncharted territory here and that`s not something he wants to rely on.

SHARPTON: We are now, Congressman, under six hours until the DHS funding
expires. Here`s what a shutdown of homeland security would look like,
30,000 workers will be furloughed, 200,000 workers won`t get paid, and
there will be a loss of some funding to local law enforcement. This is a
game of politics gone wrong. And now hitting the real world, isn`t it,

CLEAVER: Well, yes. You know, we should be able to say to each other that
the politics stops when we put the security of the American people in
jeopardy. I`ve long believed that we have become politically tribal in
Congress to the point that we are only put ideology ahead of logic and we
put ideology quite often in front of the public. And that`s got to stop.

And this may be the vote that will change things. The public may become so
outraged that they will make a new commitment to elect people who are going
to be able to work together and compromise.

Nobody is going to have their way. My voters didn`t send me to Washington
to have my way. It means I have to compromise. And I`m willing to do so.
But I`m not going to put the American public in jeopardy. And I think that
the overwhelming majority of the public, including Republicans, want this
thing settled before 11:59 tonight.

SHARPTON: Congressman, bottom line, do you think we`re going to be able to
stop this or not?

CLEAVER: I think that when I get out of here and I`ll go over and see what
the temperature is over near the conference room meeting, I think we`ll
have a better idea. Right now, I would say it doesn`t look good. But
something may happen, and this may be another one of those all-night
sessions where we`re here until the wee hours of the morning to get
something done. And I think people are willing to do that, but they also
are not going to budge in terms of getting a clean continuing resolution on
the floor that doesn`t require that we come back every three weeks to the

SHARPTON: Congressman, feel free to come back. This is very, very serious
to the people of this country.

Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, Dana Milbank and Clarence Page, thank you all
for your time tonight. Have a great weekend, as best as we can. This is
very serious.

MILBANK: Thank you.

CLEAVER: Thank you. I won`t be great over here.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the boo birds turned out for Jeb Bush at the right-
wing summit. You won`t believe why his big appearance came a little late
and then, of course, there`s this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s blue with black.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blue and black.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Blue kind of thing.



SHARPTON: Where were you when the dress broke the internet? And why do
different people see different colors? We called in an expert opinion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Reverend Al, Bill Nye here. That thing about the
dress. It is all about the dress. Maybe there`s something to it. I think
there is really. I think it might have to do with --


SHARPTON: We`ll bring you Bill Nye`s explanation ahead in conversation

Plus the latest from Capitol Hill where the scramble is on to find some way
to stop a homeland security shutdown.


SHARPTON: Ahead, more of the breaking news tonight. Under six hours away
from a homeland security shutdown. Reports of Speaker Boehner furiously
trying to get votes for a late-night last-ditch short-term bill. What
Boehner is planning. We are live on Capitol Hill with the very latest


SHARPTON: Today the entire political world was tuning in to see how Jeb
Bush did in his first big primary test. An appearance at the right wing
CPAC summit. But what they got instead was this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you call the 110 million people who have
sexually transmitted illnesses? It`s the revenge of the hippies. Sex,
drugs and rock `n` roll have come back to haunt us. If I didn`t care about
you, why would I bring this up?


SHARPTON: That`s right. Duck dynasty rambled incoherently for nearly half
an hour delaying the start of Jeb`s interview. CPAC organizers put up this
message urging him to, quote, "please wrap up now." They even played music
to get him off the stage just like at the Oscars. But when Jeb Bush
himself finally came out, it`s fair to say he got a mixed reaction,
especially when he talked about immigration.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You supported in-state tuition prices for
those children of illegal immigrants that weren`t citizens. Wait a minute.
Hang on.

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: We should give them the path to
legal status where they work and where they make a contribution to our
society. That`s what we need to be focused on.



SHARPTON: The boo birds were out. It`s clear the right wingers are not
thrilled with Jeb. One radio host even blasted Jeb from the same stage
earlier in the day.


LAURA INGRAHAM, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: Why don`t we just call it quits
and Jeb and Hillary can run on the same ticket? So I`m designing a bumper
sticker that could be Clush 2016. What difference does it make?


SHARPTON: It is what happened when the crowd was polled on their favorite
potential 2016 candidates.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rand Paul. Who likes governor Scott Walker?
Very impressive. Jeb Bush, any supporters?


SHARPTON: If Jeb Bush thought he was on the fast track to the GOP
nomination, today he definitely hit a speed bump.

Joining me now from the conference is MSNBC`s political correspondent Kasie
Hunt, and E.J. Dionne of "the Washington Post." Thank you both for being



SHARPTON: Kasie, Jeb Bush didn`t exactly get a rock star reception, but
did he get credit for just showing up?

HUNT: Reverend, I think that he did. I think that he absolutely passed
the test that was set up for him here today. He started off a little bit
tentative. He almost seemed nervous like he was a little bit punchy, but
he relaxed into it. And while there were some tense moments with Sean
Hannity, who you saw there, interviewing him, he really by tend of it had
gotten into this comfortable sparring rhythm. And honestly he gave the
kind of performance that would make you think he would be pretty formidable
on a debate stage, whether in the Republican primary or against Hillary
Clinton. And his staff also did a good job of making sure that the room
was filled with his supporters.

So while he did get something of a mixed reception, it was clear there were
a lot of people in room that were specifically cheering for him while the
other half maybe the usual CPAC attendees weren`t quite as sure how to
react. It was not the kind of falling apart that would have caused
everyone to say, you know what, Jeb Bush is no longer the front-runner. He
came in the front-runner and he leaves the front-runner.

SHARPTON: E.J., this was, in fairness to Jeb Bush, this was not his crowd.
I mean, he certainly was going into a crowd that are very, very much to the
right, and he seemed to survive it even though he hit a bump or two here or

DIONNE: In fact, as Kasie said, this is so much not his crowd that they
had to bus in a bunch of people to make sure he had some cheers out there.

I was struck by how much this performance showed how complicated Bush`s
path is. Because on the one hand, on the other hand. For example, he
totally danced around when he was asked about Congress` handling of the DHS
funding. He basically gave a strong statement that President Obama
shouldn`t have done what he did with the executive actions on immigration,
but then said, and I`m paraphrasing, Washington rules aren`t my thing.
Well, he does know something about Washington. And he was kind of going
back and forth trying to be anti-Obama and anti-Hillary enough for the
crowd but not to back away from some of his core positions.

So that my view is this did show how much trouble he is going to have with
the right, but he really does want to try in some way to separate himself
from the farther fringes of the right. And we`ll see if that can work in a

SHARPTON: But do you think he`s still the most formidable candidate? Do
you agree that he`s still the number one candidate in the Republican
sweepstakes at this point?

DIONNE: I think he is the democrat`s favorite candidate at this point.
I`m not sure he`s the Republican`s favorite candidate in the Republican
primary. I run into a conservative Republican who said recently, look,
Jeb`s got money, he`s smart, he`s got standing.

The only thing he`s missing is votes. And I think that this is a much more
conservative party than the party was that his brother got nominated by in
the year 2000. That even though Jeb Bush is very conservative, it`s still
not clear to me that he`s conservative enough for where the party is which
is why you`re hearing so much talk about Scott Walker.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you, Kasie, you were in the room. What did you hear
in the room this week? I mean, was there anyone that broke through?

HUNT: Well, look, E.J.`s right in that this crowd was always going to be
the crowd that was looking for the conservative alternative. And right now
the conservative alternative is definitely Scott Walker. He`s the person
that sort of lit up this room probably the most, at least in a surprising
way. They reacted well to Senator Ted Cruz as well but I think everybody
sort of felt that was to be expected.

Walker, of course, has made a couple of stumbles or at least, you know,
some critics have seized on comments he`s made over the course of the past
couple of weeks. And the remark that he made here about ISIS and labor
unions, he said that taking on union protesters would help prepare him to
fight ISIS.

In an interview with me, Governor Rick Perry criticizing for the calling it
a mistake and inappropriate because these people are Americans. I think
that if it becomes clear that there`s a pattern of him saying these things
the and having to defend against them, there are going to be serious
questions about whether or not he`s ready for prime time.

But I think so far he`s successfully used those moments to, if anything,
add more excitement from voters like the people here at CPAC. So he also
passed the test of this conference in that way.

SHARPTON: Now E.J., he didn`t back down. Jeb Bush didn`t back down on
immigration. He kind of stood his ground. But he danced around -- your
words not mine, though I agree -- around the DHS shutdown. But doesn`t
that really show the power of the conservatives in this party that we are
less than six hours away from a possible shutdown of the department of
homeland security in this climate with Americans really on edge and we`re
talking about a shutdown in less than six hours? Doesn`t that show the
power of the conservatives in this party?

DIONNE: Well, in brief, yes. It absolutely does. And I think it`s
another difference you see from 2000 and 2016. Jeb Bush went out of his
way on a number of occasions to separate himself from the Republican
congress, Gingrich, then Dennis Hastert on issues like the earned income
tax credit. He really wanted to show middle of the road voters I`m not

This time the party is so focused and particularly the conservative parts
of the party that it`s not as easy for Jeb to disentangle himself from the
party. So instead of saying we should pass this and fight the president on
this at another time, he felt obligated to do the dancing. And I think
that really tells you something about where the Republicans are right now
and where the power is.

All right, Kasie Hunt and E.J. Dionne, thank you for your time tonight.
Have a great weekend.

HUNT: Thank you, Reverend.

DIONNE: And you too. Thanks.

SHARPTON: Ahead, more on the breaking news tonight. Under six hours away
from a homeland security shutdown, Speaker Boehner is reportedly scrambling
right now to get votes before the clock expires. How will it all go down?
We`re live on the hill.

Plus moments ago attorney general Eric Holder`s official portrait was
revealed and he got very emotional. You will want to see this big news
tonight. Please stay with us.


SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight, the clock is ticking towards midnight on
Capitol Hill. And a shutdown of the homeland security department. It`s a
huge embarrassment for speaker Boehner. So does he have a plan b? And
what`s the view from the White House? We`ll go there live next.


AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": We`re back with tonight`s
breaking news. A major failure from House Speaker John Boehner who could
not get the votes this evening to pass a last-minute budget bill to fund
the Department of Homeland Security. That leaves us less than six hours
away from an agency shutdown. The bill would have only funded the
department for three weeks, but a group of conservative republicans still
refused to vote for it because it didn`t attack the President`s executive
action on immigration. So now the big question, can Speaker Boehner fix
this mess by midnight.

Joining me now from the White House is NBC News White House correspondent
Kristen Welker. Also with us staff is Emma Dumain, staff writer for Roll
Call. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Kristen, I want to get to the White House in a minute, but
first, Emma, you`re on Capitol Hill. What was it like up there?

DUMAIN: It was something else. It`s not every day that you see a bill
like that go down spectacularly, actually. You know, people said it was
going to be close. It was going to be a squeaker, but it was much wider a
margin than anybody anticipated. And it was pretty amazing. I was in the
gallery watching over the chamber floor. And you could just see, you know,
the startle on some people`s faces and the satisfaction on democrats` faces
that they were able, all but 12 were able to stand together and think this
because they didn`t like that it didn`t fund the department, the full six
months, the end of the fiscal year. And you could see republican leaders
scrambling with their cards trying to change votes.

SHARPTON: When you say you could see people startled, the startle in their
face, you`re talking about members of Congress.

DUMAIN: Members of Congress.

SHARPTON: And what was the leadership, the republican leadership, what
were they looking like?

DUMAIN: They were huddling with their folks. They were talking amongst
themselves. You know, this was a case where people knew the vote was going
to be so close. Speaker Boehner actually voted himself. It`s very rare
for the Speaker of the House to take a position in a Roll Call vote. He
knew he had to play his part here. It was open for over half an hour,
maybe even closer to 40 minutes while they tried to change votes. And it
was actually they kept the clock going on the same -- you know, you keep
that vote open thinking maybe we`ll lose one or we`ll gain one. And it
just stayed exactly as it was for, you know, at least 10 or 15 minutes,
just sort of crystallized.

Then the other amazing thing to see happen is once it got to the point
where you knew that it was going to go down, all the republicans who had
been holding out or had been voting yes suddenly realized that they could
vote no and the democrats who didn`t want to vote right away were starting
to make their positions known, and either the more moderate democrats who
wanted to vote yes or the ones who wanted to vote no after it became clear
that they had that kind of power in that situation to force leadership`s
hand. So it really was a stunning moment.

SHARPTON: Very, very dramatic on Capitol Hill. Let`s go to the White
House. Kristen, what`s the reaction to this whole situation from the White

WELKER: Well, Reverend Al, I have to tell you a lot of surprised faces
here at the White House as well. I think the presumption for most of the
day on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue was that ultimately House Speaker
John Boehner would come up with the 218 votes that he needed within his own
party to get this passed. We`ve been hearing from democrats all day long
who said that they`re not going to vote yes on this because it only funds
DHS for three weeks. So now officials here huddling, trying to determine
what their next steps if any will be. We haven`t seen a very robust
outreach from the White House. Instead we`ve really seen DHS Secretary Jeh
Johnson taking the lead. He has been the one on Capitol Hill. President
Obama taking his message on the road, defending his immigration actions
and, of course, pressing for DHS to be fully funded.

The White House making the argument that if funding runs out at midnight,
it will impact national security. They say that will happen because 30,000
workers will be furloughed, and then 200,000 essential employees will have
to go to work and they won`t get paid. TSA officers, border patrol
officers, FEMA workers and Secret Service agents. And of course, this
comes at a critical time when the nation is fighting ISIS at home and
abroad. So the strategy from the White House has really been to put the
pressure on just by getting that message out. So here we are just a few
hours away from midnight. I think the White House trying to determine what
their next steps will be as they wait for House Speaker John Boehner to see
if he has a way out of this.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s interesting. This President hasn`t backed down from
standing up to these far right republicans in the House, and the democrats
did not bail Speaker Boehner out tonight by voting for this. Very, very
interesting. Very, very dramatic, Kristen.

WELKER: It is. And the strategy, I think, is they perceive House Speaker
John Boehner to be boxed in essentially because they know that this is a
republican issue. Homeland security. If you listen to Peter King from New
York, he makes the argument that essentially republicans, by wavering on
this, are giving this issue over to democrats. So ultimately I think the
White House knows that House Speaker John Boehner wants to get something
passed. He`s getting a lot of pressure from the conservative members in
his party who want to take action on the President`s immigration actions.
They want any legislation to block the President`s immigration action and
of course President Obama has the power to veto that and he has said
explicitly he`ll veto any legislation that comes to his desk that blocks
his immigration plans.

So, ultimately I think the White House thinks they have the upper hand
there. The thinking in this instance was that House Speaker John Boehner
would get this passed and then they would wait for those three weeks to see
what happened in the courts, and then that could perhaps give Speaker
Boehner an out after those three weeks. But as you point out, Reverend Al,
those democrats didn`t budge. They didn`t cave. So now big questions
about how this is going to get resolved with just six hours to go.

NBC`s Kristen Welker and Emma Dumain. Thank you both for your time and for
your good reporting tonight.

DUMAIN: Thank you.

WELKER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, President Obama honors the legacy of Attorney
General Eric Holder. His comments about justice, civil rights and the
fight ahead.

Also the Donald Trump circus returns to the GOP. Just in time for the 2016
presidential race.

And why the dress became such a phenomenon. "Conversation Nation" is next.


SHARPTON: We`re watching that breaking news tonight of potential shutdown
of the Homeland Security Department. Will republicans find a way to fix
the mess they`ve created? We`re keeping an eye on that. But now it`s time
for "Conversation Nation."

Joining me tonight political strategist Tara Dowdell, "The Huffington Post"
Noah Michelson and Sirius XM radio host Julia Cunningham. Thank you all
for being here tonight.




SHARPTON: He`s trying to fool everyone again. My friend Donald Trump is
hinting at running for president again.


DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: I already told the apprentice people, you
know, NBC wanted to renew. And I said I`m doing something else. It`s very
important to me. I`m doing something very important. So I`m looking at it
very seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Where are you on the scale, in terms of where are you
think you are in deciding to run?

TRUMP: One to 100, I would say 75 and 80. I am really inclined. I wanted
to it so badly. You know, I have the theme. It`s my theme. It`s to make
America great again. That`s what I want to do.


SHARPTON: And on the big stage, he decided to joke about President Obama`s
birth certificate again.


TRUMP: As far as the birth certificate, Hillary Clinton wanted his birth
certificate. Hillary is a birther. She wanted it. But she was unable to
get it. But Trump comes along and said, birth certificate. He gave a
birth certificate.


SHARPTON: Tara, he`s flirting with republicans, but is Donald Trump a
liability for the party?

DOWDELL: Oh, absolutely. I mean, he may play well with the extreme part
of the base by attacking the President which is the easiest way to
ingratiate yourself with the republican base is to go full birther and to
attack the President. But he`s not serious. He hasn`t formed any kind of,
hired any staff, he`s not formed any kind of infrastructure for a campaign.
So, this is just a vanity play for Donald Trump.


MICHELSON: I totally agree. I mean, this man spends more time with
reality stars than he does to politicians. He`s full of hot air. He`s not
going to win, he`s not going to run. And if he does, I`m moving to the

CUNNINGHAM: I`ll move with you.

SHARPTON: Julia, you`re going with him.

CUNNINGHAM: I`m going to go to the moon. First of all, I`d love to go
there, it sounds amazing.

SHARPTON: If he runs or if he wins?

MICHELSON: If he runs.

CUNNINGHAM: Even if he run, I don`t think we don`t have to jump to the
moon right away, I think we have plenty of time because he`ll get shut out.
He loves to bring out an oldie and a guttie but the birther jokes get new

SHARPTON: Do you think that he would be competitive if he ran, Tara?

DOWDELL: No, absolutely not. Because he`s a one-trick pony. The birther
thing, attacking the President, that`s all he has. That`s why he does it
so much because it allows him to escape talking about actual policy. He
was saying, we should come down on China, meanwhile he`s manufacturing
things in China. So, he doesn`t want any of that to come out. So, he goes
on the offensive brings the birther thing up and that`s a distraction.

SHARPTON: Okay, let`s talk about the dress, shall we? And now, I`m sure
you`ve all seen it, debated it, fought over it. The picture that broke the
internet. Is blue and black or is it white and gold?


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It`s blue with black.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Blue and black.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Blue purple kind of thing.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: White and gold, yep.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: How is that possible, really? This is weird.


SHARPTON: The dress has been the top trending topic on twitter for almost
24 hours. It gave BuzzFeed its best day ever. 29.8 million hits. It`s
setting social media on fire. Ellen tweeted, "From this day on, the world
will be divide into two people, blue and black or white and gold." Here`s
a funny one showing Madea to make their point. We love this one. The
llamas united us, the dress divided us. And who knows? Maybe the dress is
actually left shark. So why are people seeing the colors differently? We
call in the big guns to find out.


BILL NYE, COMEDIAN: Hey, Reverend Al, Bill Nye here. This thing about the
dress, it`s all about the dress rather than being all about that bass. I
think it might have to do with polarized light. You know, when light
reflects, it polarizes partially. And so you got to think when it goes
through the lens of your eye it would change like things reflect and gets
just kind of weird.


SHARPTON: Okay. Let`s go first around to everyone starting with Noah,
what color do you see?

MICHELSON: I see both, actually. It keeps switching for me. Yes.


CUNNINGHAM: I am team black and blue.


DOWDELL: White and gold.


CUNNINGHAM: That`s insane.

DOWDELL: White and gold. It`s right there, see in white and gold.

SHARPTON: Have you had this all day, white and gold, it doesn`t change for

DOWDELL: It has not changed for me yet.

SHARPTON: But it changes for you, Noah.

MICHELSON: Oh yes, I just saw blue and black this time but I saw white and
gold before. I think the interesting thing though is why this story
captured so many people`s attention. Now I think because unlike politics
or religion or things on the internet that we fight about, everyone has an
opinion because it`s so simple. So fundamental. What color is something
is something that we can all talk about.

CUNNINGHAM: Especially something that`s messing with your mind. Everyone
stop tweeting, I`m trying to watch "How to Get Away with Murder." It`s
more important like, hashtag who killed Laila? I don`t care about the
color of this synthetic dress.

SHARPTON: But it shows the power of social media.

CUNNINGHAM: Oh, it`s insane how much it took over. Insane. More people

DOWDELL: And I think also there`s so much negativity going on right now,
you have the republicans trying to shut down the Department of Homeland
Security. You have ISIL, you have all this negative news.


DOWDELL: So I think people just wanted a break. They wanted something

SHARPTON: And don`t believe your lying eyes. Everyone stay with me.
House of Cards is back. What does this say about our politics?


SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Tara, Noah and Julia, the real life
drama playing out in the nation`s capital tonight reminds me of that made
for TV political drama "House of Cards" season three is out. The show
centers on a man`s mission for political power and, spoiler alert, Kevin
Spacey`s character finally becomes the President.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You want to know what takes real courage? Holding it
all together when the stakes are this high.


SHARPTON: This guy killed, lied and cheated his way to the White House.
Julia, what does this show`s popularity say about our politics in the real

CUNNINGHAM: Well, you know, sometimes people will say that Washington,
D.C. is sort of the other Hollywood. Right. They want to see sort of the
excitement that people see on TV come out in real life. So, yes, wouldn`t
you kind of think it would be fascinating if you found out the President
made its way to the White House because he shoved a reporter in front of a
moving subway? It could be kind of cool but it`s also be terrible. It can
happen in the real life. But I think people want to see that excitement
and things happen so quickly to come true and that`s not the way politics

SHARPTON: Why are people so fascinated with this kind of corruption and
conniving and ruthlessness, Noah?

MICHELSON: I think especially now, you know, a lot of our diets are based
on reality TV. And so, when we see that play out in politics as well,
people are hungry for that. They love that. But it`s ironic that so many
people love the show because so few Americans actually are interested in
politics. It is like the dark underbelly that they`re actually interested

SHARPTON: But do you think people are thinking that this is real or parts
of it is real, Tara, or do you think that people are just saying this is
the extreme and it`s entertainment?

DOWDELL: I think that some people absolutely think that this is real.
I`ve heard people comment and they think that, yes, this is how a lot of
politicians behave. I was actually surprised by that. And I can see as
someone who worked in politics, the majority of people that do work in
politics are good people. But I will say this, the bad people do make it
really tough.


SHARPTON: One of the things that`s striking is that you see a lot of
maneuvering and a lot of ruthlessness in politics, but in many ways on both
sides of the aisle it`s for a bigger purpose, for a greater good. But in
this show, it`s about power there is no goal in terms of changing public
policy that Spacey`s character is after.

CUNNINGHAM: Yes, only legacy. The whole goal of the show is legacy for
Frank Underwood.

DOWDELL: Well, and there are some people like Frank maybe not to the
extreme, not killing people.


DOWDELL: But in terms of ruthlessness, are there people like that in
politics? I mean, I still have some knife wounds in my back.

SHARPTON: Give us some names, Tara.

DOWDELL: Wait for the book. No, I`m not naming names.

SHARPTON: Noah, do you think people actually exist like this?

MICHELSON: I think for sure. And I think because politics are transparent
that we don`t know, and the average American doesn`t know and so they`re
likely to believe it.

SHARPTON: But I`ve seen some great moments in politics. I`ve seen people
rise and do some very noble and great things, but they don`t get Netflix
shows, I guess.

CUNNINGHAM: No, they get "the west wing."

SHARPTON: Yes, I guess so. Tara and Noah and Julia, thanks for joining
the "Conversation Nation" tonight. Have a great weekend.

CUNNINGHAM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: When we come back, honoring Attorney General Eric Holder. And
he got emotional, next.



PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Let me be clear, the Attorney
General serves the American people. And I have every expectation that Eric
will protect our people, uphold the public trust and adhere to our


SHARPTON: President Obama in 2008 announcing Eric Holder would be his
nominee for Attorney General of the United States. It was a seminal
moment, to watch a black man become the head of the Justice Department.
And it was proof that progress can and will come to fruition. No Attorney
General in history has a civil rights record equal to Holder`s over the
last six years. From the fight for voting rights to criminal justice
reform to Ferguson, to gay rights. And as the Loretta Lynch Senate vote
gets closer, Eric Holder is telling NBC News` Pete Williams what he wants
his legacy to be.


started as Attorney General?

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I say it`s more worrisome. I say that
it`s different. The threat is more diffuse than it was when I started six
years or so ago. We focused on core al Qaeda at the beginning of this
administration and now we`re concerned about core al Qaeda much less and
more concerned about al Qaeda affiliates.


SHARPTON: Today the Justice Department unveiled the Attorney General
Holder`s official portrait, and President Obama was there with a personal
and heartfelt statement.


OBAMA: That sums up Eric`s career. A life guided by justice aimed at his
north star. His bedrock belief in the fundamental rights and equality of
all people. You`re a good man, and you know, having good men in positions
of power and authority who are willing to fight for what`s right, that`s a
rare thing. That`s a powerful thing. It`s something that shapes our
future in ways we don`t even understand.


SHARPTON: Over the last six years Eric Holder`s taken a lot of shots from
the right. But he never showed it. Tonight the queen of soul Aretha
Franklin was also there to thank him and sing to him. He got emotional.


SHARPTON: Over the last couple of decades seen Eric Holder up close.
We`re not buddies or friends, but in various capacities, I`ve worked in
certain situations that put me in front of him. Usually public officials
are not as good as their friends say and not as bad as their enemies say,
but Eric Holder`s one of the few I could say is better than the good his
friends say. He really is and has been about what`s fair and just.

Thanks for watching. I`m al Sharpton. Have a great weekend. "HARDBALL"
starts right now.


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