Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: March 6, 2015
Guest: Joe Madison, Ryan Grim, Stephanie Miller, John Burns, Seema Iyer,
Jim McDermott; Austan Goolsbee; E.J. Dionne
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you for
tuning in. I`m live tonight from Montgomery, Alabama, ahead of the 50th
anniversary of bloody Sunday. It`s one of the landmark events of the civil
rights era. And we`ll be covering it throughout the show tonight.
But we start with developing news on the best jobs record in 37 years. You
wouldn`t know it by listening to Republicans, but the economy under
President Obama is on a hot streak. For the first time in over three
decades, it`s now added over 200,000 jobs a month for a full year and
that`s just the start.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This morning we learned that
our economy created nearly 300,000 new jobs last month. The unemployment
rate went down. Unemployment rate ticked down to 5.5 percent which is the
lowest it`s been since the spring of 2008.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: For years Republicans claim the president`s policies weren`t
working, and for years they were dead wrong. This is a chart of private
sector job growth. Five years ago this month the president signed the
affordable care act into law. And already that very month Republicans were
claiming it would kill jobs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: With our desperate needs
for jobs and economic growth, is this really the time to raise taxes? To
create bureaucracies and burden every job creator in our land?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But it didn`t kill jobs. In fact, that month marked the
beginning of the longest streak of private sector job growth in history and
it`s still going 60 straight months. Speaker Boehner`s been wrong about
this for five straight years. And today I`m told he finally issued an
apology. I have it right here.
Quote "while it is welcome news that more Americans found work last month,
middle-class families continue to be left behind by the president`s
Wait. Wait. That`s not an apology. Speaker Boehner, what about those
claims that the affordable care act is killing jobs?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: The president`s prescriptions for income inequality have actually
made things worse. And whether it`s Obamacare, whether it`s all of the
other rules and regulations coming out of this administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s right. Republicans are still making these bogus claims,
and the country is still creating jobs at record pace.
Joining me now are Congressmen Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington, and
Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of President Obama`s council of economic
Thank you both for being here.
REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Good to be here.
SHARPTON: Congressman, did I miss something or did Speaker Boehner forget
to apologize today for his bad economic predictions?
MCDERMOTT: You didn`t miss anything, Rev. He does not ever want to admit
that the president has ever done anything in the last eight years that`s
worth talking about. The fact is that what he really ought to be talking
and apologizing about is not bringing a bill to the floor to raise the
minimum wage. We got lots of people working now, but their income is not
going up because they`re making below what it takes to get out of poverty.
In Seattle, it takes $15 an hour to really get out of poverty. So that`s
why people went out there and raised it themselves because they knew the
politicians weren`t going to do anything. And that really has to happen
all over the country. We have to raise the minimum wage.
SHARPTON: Austan, let me get your assessment of what these job numbers
mean. You chaired the president`s economic advisers. What do these
numbers mean? And how do you make of the Republicans` continued to run the
same negative reaction and appraisals to the president`s policies?
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMICS ADVISERS: Well, you
know, they got the old thing of if everybody`s going that way, get out
front and call it a parade. The Republicans in Congress did more than just
not apologize. They then started to try to take credit, said it was a
That`s not going to work. They said that Obamacare was going to lead to
the ending of full-time jobs and everybody was going to be forced into
part-time jobs, that`s proven completely wrong. We`ve had eight million
full-time jobs. The number of part-time jobs is barely up.
I think the numbers today were very positive. The only thing that I think
is we shouldn`t get complacent because the world continues to be a
dangerous place, you know, Europe, China, a lot of places slowing down.
So, it could always slow down our growth, but we`ve been on a good run in
the job market.
SHARPTON: Congressman, let me go back to something you raised about wages,
though. Because one of the cautionary notes from today`s job reports is
wages aren`t rising fast enough. Republicans are starting to talk about
this. But look at their economic agenda. They oppose the fair pay act.
They`re against the president`s plan to close tax loopholes on the wealthy,
and they oppose raising the minimum wage. How can Republicans attack
inequality and stagnant wages but then oppose the policies that would fix
MCDERMOTT: Well, they have to believe in the tooth fairy or something, I
don`t know. All the things that you need to do, you just enumerated. They
have to raise the minimum wage. If you -- in India, a lot of people are
working, there`s millions of them, for $2 a day, working and having a job
is one thing, but working and having a job that gives you an opportunity to
get out of poverty is another thing altogether. And it means they have to
raise the minimum wage.
It is simply not enough to say 40 hours a week at $7 an hour is going to
get you out of poverty. It isn`t. You have to have 12, 13, $14 and that`s
really where we ought to be going.
SHARPTON: Austan, one of the things that`s striking, bringing the
unemployment rate down to 5.5, something we have not had that low, the
unemployment rate since 2008. And this kind of generating of jobs. This
would have even been lowered if we had public sector jobs that were coming
in. These are private sector jobs. Had we had a jobs bill, had we not had
Republicans cutting back in the public sector, this would even be a more of
a phenomenal achievement.
GOOLSBEE: I do think it would be bigger, for sure. You know, we`ve had
what the economists consider fiscal drag pulling down the growth rate of
the economy. If you just look at the job growth, the private sector job
growth has been all but astounding. I mean, equal to any of the strongest
years that we`ve had in the last half century. And a lot of the job losses
have been on the government`s side. So there is that irony that you see
the Republicans saying that`s because the government is choking things.
The government is shrinking. We made a shrinking share of government as a
share of GDP and of employment.
SHARPTON: Now, Congressman, let`s look at the job records of the last four
presidents. Four Republicans, two democrat combined. Both President Bushs
created just over a million private jobs -- private sector jobs, just over
a million combined. Presidents Clinton and Obama have combined to create
almost 29 million jobs. What would it make it harder for a Republican
candidate in 2016 to argue the GOP has the right solutions on jobs
especially if their candidate is named Bush?
MCDERMOTT: You`re going to have guys out there twisting themselves into
pretzels trying to make it seem like Republicans care about people and
jobs. They`ve refused to put money into public sector things like building
roads and building bridges and water systems, and that kind of
infrastructure stuff they simply have been unwilling to do anything to help
people get jobs. Somehow they think magically it`s all going to happen
without them doing anything. And that`s not going to work. And the people
are not going to buy it in 2016.
Now, I don`t care what Jeb Bush says about his brother and his father. He
is not going to be able to convince people that Republicans are going to
provide jobs. They don`t.
GOOLSBEE: Reverend, think about it --
SHARPTON: Austan -- go ahead.
GOOLSBEE: The last two democratic presidents have come in to clean up the
mess left by President Bush. What, third time`s a charm? I mean, this --
I don`t think that`s going to work.
SHARPTON: Now, well, let`s talk about what Bush would say. Let me
actually play what Jeb Bush, not George Sr., not George Jr., this what Jeb
Bush said about Obamacare or the affordable care act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Obamacare is clearly a job killer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best thing we could do to help people who are
unemployed or underemployed is fix Obamacare.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Obamacare adds a cost to employment. If you
increase the cost of employing someone, you will cause unemployment.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Obamacare is the biggest job killer in this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, these are the ones that are out front ahead of the pack,
running in 2016, and all of them are saying that Obamacare or the
affordable care act is a jobs killer with the numbers are speaking for
themselves 60 straight months, 60 straight months, Austan, of job creation.
How do they run on this, how do they stand there and tell the American
people something that the American people see is blatantly untrue?
GOOLSBEE: Look, you remember in the `90s when the Clinton job machine was
cranking along and then Newt Gingrich said, well, really it was the
Gingrich economy. I predict they will try to come up with some way to
explain how we had 60 months of job growth because of what happened in the
midterm elections a few months ago.
SHARPTON: Well, they can try, but 60 months clearly does not --
SHARPTON: -- not include just the midterm elections and their policies,
Congressman, have not done anything that you can remotely say caused the
continued job growth that we were already having before on a consistent
basis, by the way, before the midterm elections.
I`ll have to leave it there, Congressman Jim McDermott, Austan Goolsbee,
thank you both for your time tonight. Have a great weekend.
GOOLSBEE: We`ll see you again.
MCDERMOTT: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, Democrats hit back against the GOP`s Hillary scandal
machine. Why the new Republican obsession with email-ghazi could backfire.
Also, the NRA`s outrageous tweet about Gabby Giffords.
And why are Republicans refusing to attend the bloody Sunday events this
weekend? Fifty years later, the civil rights milestone reveals how far
we`ve come and the fight that yet remains.
SHARPTON: Developing news tonight, investigators have moved the plane that
Harrison Ford crash-landed on a California golf course. And they`re now
examining the wreckage to figure out why he was forced into that emergency
maneuver. Ford landed his World War II plane yesterday on a southern
California golf course just yards from a local neighborhood. One witness
said the 72-year-old actor saved several lives. Today the NTSB addressed
the last-second decision made by Ford.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK JONES, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: When you take off
from an airport and you need to return to that airport or you need to land
an aircraft, you have to pick the best spots that there are. And this was
apparently the best spot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Ford is recovering today at a local hospital after reportedly
going -- undergoing surgery on a broken ankle and pelvis. We wish him a
SHARPTON: Mark your calendars, mark your calendars, folks. Today might be
the day that Republicans jump the shark on the Hillary Clinton email
controversy. The Benghazi committee has already subpoenaed a big batch of
those emails. And now the rest of the gang wants a piece of the action.
"The Wall Street Journal" reports other congressional panels are exploring
their options and jurisdiction.
So now we know what Republicans are going to do with their new majority in
congress. They`re going to spend month after month and probably millions
of dollars going through Clinton`s old emails. Emails that she herself now
wants the state department to release. And the 2016 crowd is singing the
same tune. Listen to Jeb Bush in a radio interview in Iowa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: For security purposes, you need to be behind a firewall that
recognizes the world for what it is, and it`s a dangerous world, and
security would mean that you couldn`t have a private server. I don`t --
just -- it`s a little baffling, to be honest with you, that that didn`t
come up in secretary Clinton`s thought process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s interesting that Bush says that because he owned a personal
email server that he used as governor, just like Hillary.
Scott Walker is jumping on the bandwagon, too. His spokesman saying quote
"Hillary Clinton`s potentially evasion of laws is something she should
answer questions about." But his own hometown paper says quote "Walker
hits Clinton on private email, like the one he used as county executive."
It`s almost like these guys are ignoring their own personal history in
order to launch partisan political attacks. Now, of course, there are
legitimate questions that Clinton still needs to answer, but that no excuse
for a right wing fishing expedition or for another phony scandal that
nobody outside Washington cares about.
Joining me now is E.J. Dionne of "the Washington Post." Thank you for
being here, E.J.
E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you,
SHARPTON: Clinton needs to address this more fully, but is the GOP about
to dive off the deep end with more Hillary conspiracy theories, E.J.?
DIONNE: As you were suggesting, Reverend, we were wondering what this
Congress would do. And now it may break all historical records by having
more committees investigating one person than any time ever in Congress. I
find it sort of peculiar on their part because there`s an old rule in
politics that when your opponent is in some trouble, your best move is
often to sit back and shut up. In this case, the press is asking all kinds
of questions of Hillary Clinton, and there`s no reason for the Republicans
And if you go back to the bill Clinton scandal, there were a lot of people,
including Democrats, who were mad at president Clinton for what he did.
But what helped save him was people reacted against his opponents. His
opponents, whether it was Ken Starr or the impeachers in congress, kept
going way beyond where the American people wanted them to be. And if
they`re not careful, the Republicans are going to do the same thing all
over again with another Clinton.
SHARPTON: It seems that they`re headed down that track because they`ve
gotten into overdrive on this. And clearly, as I said, she needs to be
more thorough and forthcoming with her answers. But again, I don`t know
that it rises to congressional hearing, certainly Benghazi being brought
up, and raising the fact that other committees get involved. We`re talking
about spending a lot of money. And I don`t think anyone thinks that
Hillary Clinton, if she was doing something questionable, would have it on
emails. I would doubt that, but we have to look into it, but certainly not
at the levels they`re raising.
DIONNE: Well, you know, I mean, I stipulate two things. I think everybody
now agrees that people in government should carry out government business
on government emails. And I think she is going to have to explain why she
did it this way even though she didn`t --
DIONNE: You know, Obama administration knew she was doing this and nobody
raised questions at the time. And Democrats made a big deal of Bush
administration people using private email.
But what the Republicans are doing, if they get this all kind of inveigled
in their Benghazi investigation is that they are getting this mixed up with
one of the most partisan investigations that we have seen. They
investigated and investigated in the case of Benghazi, and they didn`t come
up with any smoking gun. It was a tragedy, not a scandal. And if they
continue down this path, they`re going to make it easy for Democrats to say
there they go again, and you already have a lot of Democrats saying that.
SHARPTON: Now, there`s been some criticism of secretary Clinton`s response
to the email controversy. Bloomberg is reporting that quote "the hope of
Clinton`s inner circle is that she`ll be able to address the email
controversy as a minor element of her expected announcement."
Does she need to address this more fully before then, E.J.?
DIONNE: I think she`d be better off doing that. I think that, again, it
doesn`t look like she broke any law. It looks like a lot of this can be
explained, and you know, there are those questions out there, a colleague
of mine, who is not anti-Clinton wrote a list of 13 questions she thought
that she could usefully answer.
I think she`d be better off to try to get some of these answers out before
she announces. And we`ll see if they do that or if they go with this
strategy of addressing it indirectly. I think they`d be better off to get
it out of the way.
SHARPTON: E.J. Dionne, thank you for your time tonight.
DIONNE: Very good to be with you.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, still ahead, why so many people are upset today
about what the NRA tweeted about Gabby Giffords.
Also, what President Obama is saying about that disturbing justice
department report on Ferguson.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: We`re following developing news. Sources tell NBC News the
justice department is expected to file corruption charges against New
Jersey senator Robert Menendez as soon as this month. The investigation
was triggered by allegations that a campaign donor helped Menendez pay for
underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. The woman who made those
claims later recanted. But authorities kept investigating whether Menendez
used his office to hand out illegal political favors to the donor. Now
they look to be ready to bring charges.
Both Menendez and the donor have denied any wrongdoing. In a statement, a
spokesman for the senator said, we believe all of the senator`s actions
have been appropriate and lawful. And the facts will ultimately confirm
that. We`ll be watching.
SHARPTON: I`m here tonight in Montgomery, Alabama, to mark the 50th
anniversary this weekend of bloody Sunday. This weekend is all about the
past and future of the civil rights movement because it`s clear we`ve still
got a long way to go. Moments ago Attorney General Eric Holder spoke about
his reaction to the Justice Department`s investigation into Ferguson,
Missouri`s criminal justice system.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I was shocked towards the end by the
numbers that we saw and the breadth of the practices that we uncovered.
The impact that it had on the lives of the ordinary citizens of that
municipality is just appalling, appalling, and that`s not something we`re
going to tolerate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Today new details about the issues in Ferguson. "The New York
Times" reporting that two police supervisors have resigned after being
linked to racist e-mails. And another official, the city`s top court
clerk, has been fired. Obviously, Ferguson has problems, but there are
different kinds of serious issues in Washington, too. Senate republicans
still refuse to hold a vote to confirm Loretta Lynch, our new -- our next
attorney general. She`ll be the first African-American woman to hold the
post. But she`s had to wait weeks longer for confirmation than any other
recent attorney general nominee. And republicans are also refusing to take
action to renew the voting rights act. So this weekend we need to honor
the struggle that brought us to this point, but we also need to summon the
strength to march again for what`s right.
Joining me now is Sirius/XM radio host Joe Madison and the Huffington Post
Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim. Thank you both for being here.
JOE MADISON, SIRIUS/XM RADIO HOST: Thank you, Reverend.
RYAN GRIM, HUFFINGTON POST WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Joe, you spoke with President Obama this morning about some of
these issues. I want to play part of that.
MADISON: All right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We just saw the Ferguson report
come out. I don`t think that is typical of what happens across the
country, but it`s not an isolated incident. I think that there are
circumstances in which trust between communities and law enforcement have
broken down and individuals or entire departments may not have the training
or the accountability to make sure that they`re protecting and serving all
people and not just some.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He says Ferguson wasn`t an isolated incident.
SHARPTON: Is criminal justice reform the next step in building on the
legacy of Selma, Joe?
MADISON: No ifs, ands, buts about it. Let`s remember Jimmy Lee Jackson.
He was, in essence, murdered. There was police brutality not only on
bloody Sunday but in Marion, Alabama, with almost every march that took
place. Some of the very same things that people went through 50 years ago
plus we`re now seeing being repeated. I think someone said, one of the
elders in Selma, that civil rights didn`t end with the election of
President Barack Obama, it simply took a nap. And all it takes is one
incident like Michael Brown to spark that, but your callers, like my
callers, they tell you these stories every day, from coast to coast across
this country. But the one thing that we can say is that the President has
done something about it. And you know as one who has talked to the
Attorney General and the President, he`s pulled together law enforcement
officers black and white, district attorneys, to try to do what? Find
solutions. And they`ve come up with some very strong recommendations.
SHARPTON: Now, Ryan, while former President Bush and several rank and file
GOP lawmakers are going to Selma to join us, none of the top republican
leaders in the House are attending, Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin
McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise are all skipping the event. Now,
this runs contrary to their wanting to reach out and wanting to have a
nonpartisan kind of procedure when we deal with the issues of race and
unfairness. I might add, I`m concerned that some leading democrats are not
here either, but the democratic leadership is clearly supporting bringing
this effort for the 50th anniversary, and I`m talking about in the Senate
when I say some leading democrats. But certainly Miss Pelosi, the former
speakers here and others. But Ryan, how do you rationalize republicans
talking about reaching out and none of their leadership here?
GRIM: The only way you can rationalize it is to say that it just simply
isn`t on their radar. You know, they talked 2012 that they wanted to fix
their brand. But this is an extraordinarily easy thing to do. You know,
you get on a plane, you fly down there, you participate in this event.
I`ve never been to it, but I understand it`s quite a moving thing and it`s
something that people should be privileged to be part of. It`s not
something that`s really a burden. And in fact, the place is surrounded by
golf courses. So they could easily schedule a fund-raiser, you know, if
their problem is that, well, they have to raise x amount of money. You
know, there`s no shortage of republicans in Alabama that they could get to
a golf course at, you know, $5,000, $10,000 a head. So, you know, clearly
this is just something that they`ve decided not just to prioritize. And
especially with Scalise, you know, who got himself in trouble for saying,
you know, for saying that he had spoken at a white supremacist event, you
know, people thought that maybe at least he would go. But, you know, he`s
not going to show up.
SHARPTON: Joe, it is not a hard political thing to do. It`s standing up
for American history. George Bush will be here. But here`s what former
RNC Chair Michael Steele said about it, quote, "We do dumb real well. It
is astounding to me that whether it is supporting the continuation of the
voting rights act or commemorating a pivotal part of American civil rights
history, republican leadership prefers to sit on the sidelines. Isn`t that
exactly right, Joe?
MADISON: It`s exactly right, but you know what it does, it fits into what
Lee Atwater created a couple of decades -- a few decades ago, the southern
strategy. Remember what the southern strategy was. Dixie-crats were very
upset. These are southern democrats, that African-Americans had gotten too
much political power. They had gone too far with the civil rights bill,
the voting rights bill, and they were looking for a home. And sure enough,
the Republican Party came up with this southern strategy.
MADISON: Which basically said, we`ll use code words, we`ll be abstract.
You can`t bring your overt racism, but here`s what we`ll do. We`ll be
abstract. There`s a great audio we play --
SHARPTON: Not only abstract. They`re being absent this weekend at a
pivotal moment. And you know, Ryan, also at a time that they`ve not
scheduled the vote on Loretta Lynch who would be the first African-American
woman to be attorney general, the second African-American attorney general
in history. Haven`t even scheduled to vote. That`s how we go into this
weekend here. Much work left to be done here, Ryan.
GRIM: Right. And part of the problem is our political system where, you
know, there`s a regional system in Congress and there`s a national system.
So they`re having trouble winning national elections because in order to do
that you need more than just white southern voters, but they can hold on
to the house for the foreseeable future with the base that they have
without adding a single African-American vote on election day. Now, I`m
told that, you know, Loretta Lynch has got out of committee about four days
ago, and you know, she`s been up for a long time, but I`m told that she
will get a vote soon. So, maybe this is pressuring them on that front.
MADISON: Well, but they missed a historical moment.
SHARPTON: We`ll see. We`ll see. I`ve got to go, Joe, I`ve got to go.
SHARPTON: But clearly we`ll see to that. And as I said, it`s already
taken much longer than any recent attorney general --
MADISON: That`s right.
SHARPTON: -- in history. Joe Madison and Ryan Grim, thank you both for
your time tonight. Have a great weekend.
MADISON: Thank you.
GRIM: Thank you, Reverend.
MADISON: You too.
SHARPTON: Coming up, why people are pretty upset today about the NRA`s
tweet about Gabby Giffords.
Also, Apple and other corporations make a big splash for equal rights.
"Conversation Nation" is next.
SHARPTON: It`s time for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight radio
host Stephanie Miller, legal analyst John Burns and host of the Docket on
Shift MSNBC Seema Iyer. Thank you all for being here tonight.
SEEMA IYER, MSNBC HOST, "THE DOCKET": Thanks, Rev.
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thanks, Rev.
JOHN BURNS, LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Today a Connecticut state commission presented its final report
on the Sandy Hook school shootings outlining proposed changes to gun laws
and public safety policies. And earlier this week, former Arizona
Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was back on Capitol Hill supporting new
legislation to expand background checks, but following her calls, the NRA
struck back, tweeting, quote, "Gabby Giffords, everyone should have to pass
background check my attacker passed."
Stephanie, how could the NRA tweet anything like this about Giffords after
all she went through?
MILLER: You know, Rev, just when you think like, is there no low they
won`t go to? Here`s your answer. I had a caller on my show say that
today. Is there no low that is too low? And by the way, I have the great
good fortune to meet Gabby Giffords and her husband last year in Tucson.
And their goodness just shines through. They would like to sincerely, Rev,
prevent this from happening to any other families. The same as the Newtown
families. Background checks wouldn`t have stopped Adam Lanza. He got his
gun from his mother. They`re still trying to help other people not have to
go through this pain and the NRA gets more disgusting every time we hear
SHARPTON: Seema, you see a lot of gun violence in your work.
IYER: I do, Rev. And backing up on what Stephanie just said, whatever
brings a spotlight back to mental illness, she mentioned other cases, and
that`s exactly the great thing about this tweet. Is that, yes, it`s a low,
but as Stephanie said, their goodness knows no bounds. So these mentally
ill people are going to pass the background checks unless we change the
BURNS: Yes, I completely agree. I wasn`t surprised by the opposition
clearly of the NRA, but I think it was pathetic and I agree with Stephanie
and Seema, it was an all-time low for them to mock Gabby Giffords` 2011
shooting. And I really think they`re missing the point here. Gabby
Giffords and other lawmakers are not suggesting that this would have
prevented that shooting from taking place. They`re simply saying that
these types of expansive background checks would really make it more
difficult for criminals to access firearms, which is important, and we
can`t deny --
BURNS: That making it more difficult for background checks is very
important. Making it more difficult for criminals to access firearms is
SHARPTON: But my point is, and we`ll move on, is you can argue the policy,
you can argue those of us that want to see stronger and stricter laws, but
to have a woman who has suffered what she suffered in any way be a subject
to this kind of tweet --
IYER: Because they don`t care, Rev, because they don`t care. Because
certain politicians are ruthless.
SHARPTON: Let move on.
IYER: But it seems like someone else. It wouldn`t have stopped Gabby
SHARPTON: Let me move on. We`re going to run out of time. And I want to
get to another issue. Next the country`s evolution on gay marriage is what
I want to get to. Just a decade after it was a big wedge issue in the
elections, gay marriage could soon become the law of the land. With a
major case coming up in the Supreme Court, this week 379 companies
including Apple, Facebook and Coca-Cola filed a friend of the court brief
pressing the court to legalize same-sex marriage. And 300 republicans,
including Tom Ridge and David Koch, have filed a similar brief supporting
same-sex marriage. So Seema --
SHARPTON: Now corporate America and many top republicans are supporting
marriage equality, has the country turned a corner?
IYER: No, Rev! Nobody`s turned a corner. Okay, corporate America will
throw their support behind anyone who will make them money. And
republicans need votes. Let me just quote, the growth in opportunity
project report says we need to campaign among Hispanic, Blacks, Asian, gay
Americans to demonstrate we care about them. Nobody cares about anybody.
Everyone throws ideology aside to get what they want, boom. Done.
MILLER: Well, I think it`s a good sign Rev that I asked Siri to marry me
right before the show and she said yes. So I think it is a quantum leap in
our civil rights battle in this generation, Rev.
SHARPTON: Well, there`s breaking news. John?
BURNS: No, I agree. And I applaud these entities and for these lawmakers
to come out and really take a stance in filing these amicus briefs. I said
it before and I`ll say it again, I think it`s important that we overturn
these marriage bans because denying the rights of same-sex couples to marry
and therefore divide and not providing them with the rights and
responsibilities that come with marriage is completely against equal
protection clause of the constitution.
SHARPTON: Now, Seema, I get that they do whatever they --
SHARPTON: -- seem to feel they can make money.
SHARPTON: But isn`t it a fact that now that so many republicans and
corporate American leaders have come out on the record publicly, hasn`t it
shown the climate in the country around this has changed a lot, where it
was a wedge issue that it could be used against you for votes ten years ago
now they see no risk coming out publicly supporting this.
IYER: I agree with you, Reverend, Al, absolutely. And I think we`re
always forgetting that there`s a huge part of the republican base that is,
in fact, gay. So yes, the climate is changing.
SHARPTON: All right. Everybody stay with me. We`ll be right back with a
study that says you`re smartphone may be making you dumber.
SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Stephanie, John and Seema. Finally,
are smartphones actually making people dumber? A new study says
smartphones are making us lazier and less inclined to think for ourselves.
It found that people who use intuition over factual analysis to make
decisions are more likely to turn to their smartphones than their own
brains for answers. Researchers in Canada say their study shows an
association between heavy smartphone use and lowered intelligence. They
also say more research has to be done to see if smartphones actually
Stephanie, what do you think, are smartphones making people less
MILLER: Hang on, Rev, let me check my iPhone and my iPad before I answer
that question. Yes, I mean, I do think -- here`s the good news. I`m so
old I`m really bad at technology, so I don`t really know how to use them
that well anyway. So I still have a few brain cells left. But yes, I`ve
literally been on vacation with a friend. And I said to him, we haven`t
made eye contact in three days. I`m going to throw that friggin phone in
MILLER: I do think we`re a little overly dependent.
IYER: Rev, can I just jump in here?
SHARPTON: Well, there goes your marriage proposal, Stephanie. John?
BURNS: I mean, we might be overly dependent, but I don`t think it`s making
us more stupid. I think quite to the contrary, having access to all this
information with the click of a button is amazing. We have to remember,
though, years ago, having access to information was limited by a number of
different factors and one of those factors was socioeconomic. So I think
having access to technology is a great equalizer. So, it really equals,
levels the playing field and really allows everyone to have access to that
IYER: Rev, that study was showing addiction to the smartphones.
BURNS: Right, right.
IYER: And that study says addiction is shown by evidence of taking selfies
and posting them on social media. I`m addicted to my cell phone but I do
not take selfies because I`m horribly un-photogenic, yet I sleep with my
cellphone, I cradle it, I wake up in the morning to read e-mails from your
producer requesting me to come on POLITICS NATION. So yes, I`m addicted,
but no --
MILLER: Then the study says --
SHARPTON: I don`t know that he sends that that early in the morning.
We`ve got to have a staff meeting when I get back to New York. Stephanie,
John and Seema, thank you for your time tonight. Have a great weekend.
BURNS: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Be sure to catch Seema on "THE DOCKET" every Tuesday at 11:00
a.m., on Shift by MSNBC.
Up next, my final thoughts on the 50th anniversary of bloody Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Don`t tell me I don`t have a claim
on Selma, Alabama. Don`t tell me I`m not coming home when I come to Selma,
Alabama. I`m here because somebody worked for our freedom. I`m here
because you all sacrificed for me. I stand on the shoulders of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That was then-Senator Barack Obama in Selma in 2007. He`ll
return tomorrow to deliver a speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of
bloody Sunday. As this historic weekend gets under way, we remember the
sacrifices of those very giants he spoke of eight years ago. Like Miss
Amelia Boynton, a key leader of the voting rights movement in Selma, lying
bloody then unconscious. Her image was splashed across newspapers of the
country shocking the conscience of the nature. Eight-year-old Sheyann
Webb, the youngest marcher that day. Here`s what she recalled in the PBS
documentary, "Eyes on the Prize."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEYANN WEBB, 8-YEARS-OLD IN 1965: All I could remember was outbursts of
tear gas. And I saw people being beaten and I began to just try to run
home as fast as I could.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And of course civil rights icon John Lewis who was badly beaten
on bloody Sunday, marching back to the struggle just hours later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN LEWIS, CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: I was beaten by state troopers, knocked to
the ground, and I was released from the hospital about an hour ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Those are just some of the giants who shoulders we stand on
today. I was only 10 years old in Brooklyn, New York, 50 years ago when we
marched, when they went across the Edmund Pettis Bridge over the last two
decades. I`ve come with others who were too young to come then and some,
many were unborn. But we all come tomorrow as we watch a president that
could not have taken that seat had there not been those that sacrificed.
But we also come in the week of a Ferguson report, in a week that Loretta
Lynch doesn`t have a confirmation date for her vote. We come where we
still have a lot to struggle for. We cannot let the Shelby decision of the
Supreme Court reverse what they came across that bridge for. We march not
only in commemoration. We march for continuation of a struggle that will
make America live up to its promise for everyone. That`s why we`re here.
And that`s why we`ll head home to continue the struggle after this weekend.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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Show: POLITICS NATION