tv Politics Nation MSNBC April 1, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
h that. in tirks i'd rather have these wells in my county and a fracking on my land rather than a 400-foot windmill. >> send me your address and i'll have trex come to you. >> jane and david, thank you both for being here for the debate. that's "the ed show." "politicsnation" with al sharpton starts now. good evening reverend. >> good evening. thanks for tuning in. breaking news tonight a major shift in the next battleground over anti-gay legislation. the republican governor of arkansas asa hutchinson backs down and announces today that he wants changes. >> i asked that changes be made in the legislation and i've
asked that the leaders of the general assembly to recall the bill so that it can be amended to reflect the terms of the federal religious and freedom act. >> the governor wants the arkansas bill to be more like the federal religious freedom law and not like the version in indiana, which opened the door to anti-gay discrimination. that indiana bill sparked national outrage. much of it aimed at governor mike pence. the arkansas governor saw what happened there and he wanted no part of it. he felt pressure from big business including walmart, which is based in arkansas he felt pressure from two members of the little rock nine who famously integrated central high school in little rock. they put out a statement against the bill saying legislators are
attempting to enshrine their own hatred into law and felt pressure from regular people protesting at the statehouse. >> with legislation like this besides it hurting the economy and driving away business it -- i mean it's not what america is about. >> we heavily depend on how the state commercial, on people moving here on jobs coming here on conventions and this bill is bad, obviously, for that equation and also the state of arkansas. >> please don't let our legislature give you the impressive that our state is not inclusive. >> the governor heard their voices and today a positive step from little rock. >> my responsibility is to speak out on my own convictions and to do what i can as governor to make sure this bill reflects the values of the people of
arkansas protects those of religious conscience but also minimizes the chance of discrimination in the workplace and in the public environment. >> joining me now is state representative eddie armstrong, the arkansas house minority leader and jonathan capehart "the washington post." thank you both for being here. >> thanks rev. >> representative armstrong, what's your reaction to the governor today? >> i still remain optimistic, rev. from the inception of this bill being drafted in february they have been working directly down the middle for bipartisan language that would have matched the federal rfra law. however, as you saw from representative ballinger, he led members to believe that it's exactly the same when in fact that was not the truth.
after the governor's comments this morning, i left that meeting with a very optimistic and positive outlook that the governor's word was going to be his bond and we could work towards a day that hopefully, as the winding hours of the session come to an end, we can look at either recalling the bill that is now on his desk or continue to work through options that are still on the table before we adjourn this session. >> now, could the governor have sent a stronger message with a veto instead of just asking for changes? >> well let's be clear. we understand that the governor and his party are now the party in the majority and, like other states that have been hit by this windfall from the right, the governor was in a very tough position. personally yeah i think his opinion or statement could have been stronger but i think the strongest statement sent to the governor was the loud outcries from constituents across the state that stepped up joined
the human rights campaign movement, came to our state capitol day in and day out to say this is wrong. if we're looking toward what the intent of this legislation will do versus what the actual possibilities of what this legislation can bring by way of discrimination lawsuits by way of the legalities of this policy by way of economic growth and being able to attract and retain new businesses in arkansas, several implications could have come out of the governor signing this bill into law. and so i took a step back and let the governor know that i was pleased with his efforts and let him know that our caucus was working towards whatever needed to be done in a bipartisan manner because we didn't want to drag this out and make us become the next state on the radar for setting us back as opposed to taking ten steps forward. i'm still hopeful. there's lots of steps to be done. >> jonathan you hear
representative armstrong talk about the voices of the people. one of those voices is interesting because the governor said today, his own son wanted him to veto the religious freedom bill. i want to play that for you. >> my son seth signed the petition asking me dad, the governor, to veto this bill. and he gave me permission to make that reference and it shows that families and there's a generational difference of opinion on these issues. >> now, polls show there's a generational divide on this jonathan. 49% of americans think wedding-related business should be required to provide services to same-sex weddings but among people 18 to 29 years old, it's 62%. isn't this a sign of how much the country is changing jonathan? >> oh, absolutely it's a sign that the country is changing and we've been seeing it really for
certainly the last five years, six years. but definitely over the last ten or so years with break-neck speed. we've seen sort of the civil rights for gay and lesbian americans has gone from being a sort of not vague but an outlier concern and when you have young people being polled from all aspects of life all strata ideological strata they all overwhelmingly support the rights of gay and lesbian americans and their right to same-sex marriage. one thing i want to point out, rev, you mentioned the folks from little rock from the civil rights movement calling on the governor to veto that bill. and back when folks in the civil rights movement african-americans, were trying
to integrate lunch counters and public accommodations, they didn't have a lot of people on their side. they didn't have -- >> that's right. >> they probably had big business siding with segregationists. flip to what is happening now. walmart, the number one employer in arkansas the number one private employer in the united states, number one on the fortune 500 list headquartered in arkansas made it clear to the governor before the bill even got to their desk that he should not sign that bill. that shows how far we have come in talking about civil rights for everyone. >> representative armstrong, a huge factor is walmart. walmart has 131 stores in the state. it's the largest private employer in arkansas. more than 47,000 employees and today walmart tweeted that it commended the governor for reconsidering. how significant was walmart's position on this issue?
>> i think walmart's position along with several other corporations was significant. i think the governor as well as representative ballinger needed to take a pause after you have the likes of walmart, local corporations, local bakery owners and store owners that said, hey, look we've had our legal staff look at this and i understand it's a lawyer that brought this forth but these big companies paying these wealthy salaries to some of our great legal teams across the united states and in particular here in our own backyard offered up an opinion that could not be refuted by the governor. and i think after taking a longer harder look at it and, even more importantly, the governor highlighting that it was a generational issue, it is a race issue, there's several implications as to what could have been had he signed that into motion. and i think him taking a pause showed responsibility as our governor, as a new governor here showed a sign of respect
for all arkansans. we have way too many issues that have put a dark cloud over arkansas and i think if the governor had to sign this into law, we could have seen a dark cloud in what has been a step in the wrong direction. >> there is a dark cloud -- excuse me for cutting you off. i'm trying to get a lot of this in. there's a dark cloud in indiana because governor nor pence talked repeatedly how much he hated discrimination but here's what he's said about gay rights in the past. >> there's no question that to mainstream homosexuality within the active duty military would have an impact on recruitment an impact on readiness. >> the problem here is by extending the reach of federal law to cover sexual orientation, employment discrimination
protections, in effect can wage war on the free exercise of religion in the workplace. >> so against the repeal of don't ask, don't tell against gays and lesbians in the workplace, how does that square with what he said this week jonathan? >> i don't know. try to square that with not being able to answer a yes or no question from george stephanopoulos when he asked, do you think it's right for businesses in indiana to jim nate? he could not give a yes or no answer. so the governor found himself in a tough bind on sunday a tough bind yesterday and luckily arkansas governor hutchinson saw what happened as as we saw, did not make the same mistake. >> much different reaction. representative armstrong, let me
ask you this. a lot of the 2016 candidates on the republican side went out there with governor pens on this, even though indiana is now revisiting the bill they got caught out there. are they stuck out there on a limb now, particularly since your governor has kind of dealt with this differently? >> well let's be clear, this is a national movement and i think governor nor pence and those members that have gotten themselves caught in this have to back peddle and specific out what will potentially cause harm by way of discrimination. i would hope, as i've mentioned at the outset of the show that our members on the republican side of the aisle look at this as a more long-term approach as we look towards 2016 and they are now in control and most of these states that you see that have been cascaded across the country. and take a step back and look at the reality of what the people want. we've been elected for and by
the people and when the people show up things change and you saw that here in arkansas. i think we've still got a long ways to go. before we know what the governor's final say is on this. we will continue to actively work in a bipartisan responsible manner for the people that have elected us to come here and serve them. >> well we have a long way to go but we've come from a long way to get to where we are. so we can take the rest of the journey if we use this same commitment and determination. arkansas state representative eddie armstrong and jonathan capehart, thank you both for your time tonight. >> thank you, rev. coming up the injustice of an innocent man who spent 30 years on death row. you'll see my exclusive interview with the prosecutor who put him there and who's trying to make sure it never happens again. you want to see this. >> i am gratified that mr. ford
was released but it doesn't take away the pain that i feel that i've caused that man. i believe that there's a special place in heaven reserved for people like lynn ford who have suffered so much prosecution during their lifetime. >> also outrage over republican lawmakers who call loretta lynch, quote, unfit to serve as attorney general. and i'll tell you why hillary clinton made a surprise visit to my old neighborhood in brooklyn brownsville. but first, the least surprising thing you hear all day. the donald talks about his pick for 2016. >> i think donald trump is the best by far. >> but you're not in there. >> no, i haven't announced. i haven't done that no. but i feel very strongly about a guy named donald trump. create new york city's first self-serve frozen yogurt franchise.
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breaking news bob menendez has been indicted on federal corruption charges. he's been under investigation by the fbi for two years and faces 14 charges, including bribery and conspiracy over his ties to a florida eye doctor. defense say menendez helped the doctor with medicare billing in exchange for gifts and contributions worth close to $1 million, including flights on a private jet and vacations in paris and the caribbean. the senator has denied any wrongdoing but is expected to step aside as ranking member on the senate foreign relations committee. tylenol was ok, but it was 6 pills a day. but aleve is just 2 pills all day. and now, i'm back! aleve.
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the fight over loretta lynch. the nomination is facing a delay and the house gop urging the senate to block her confirmation entirely. eight republicans writing "we believe loretta lynch falls in the unfit category and we cannot be certain that miss lynch has such a commitment." unfit? and possibly not committed to the rule of law? these are audacious claims.
ignoring a long career that began with a degree from harvard law and she was confirmed twice as a u.s. attorney. and even republicans were aware of her legal representation. just listen to ted cruz. >> i'll note a number of my friends and colleagues who practice law in new york have reached out to me with words of praise for you describing your tenure as a u.s. attorney as a no nonsense prosecutor and as a u.s. attorney who honored and represented the law. >> but ted cruz still decided to oppose lynch and now eight house republicans are trying to attack her integrity and stop the senate from confirming her as the head of the justice department.
joining me now is pamela president of the national bar association, the and ryan grimm. >> thank you for having us. >> pamela how can anyone consider loretta lynch to be unfit to serve as attorney general? >> as an 18-year attorney i cannot completely understand it. if you look at the rationale behind what declared her unfit, you will see it's a collateral issue connected more to their disdain to president obama than anything to do with her qualifications or her fitness to hold the office. >> you know, brian, the eight republicans in the house who wrote the letter quote, as attorney general miss lynch would be required to swear an oath to the constitution and not to the president and certainly
not to uphold and defend a political agenda. i mean she can't be dependent upon the constitution. how did those gop attacks on lynch get so personal ryan? >> they believe the person nominating her is himself unfit. you know most of the people who signed that letter. so this is just an extension of their war on the president. any attorney general that carries out the president's policies is therefore, unfit. they are getting a lot of pressure from these grassroots or these washington-based quote/unquote organizations causing an amnesty issue, saying if you appoint to confirm this nominee, then you're affirming that what the president did here is legal.
of course, that's not the case they are the ones who will ultimately answer this. but it's interesting, they really put their senate colleagues in a bind here because, you know they'd like to see lynch confirmed without their votes. >> you know, "the new york times" write republicans don't want to vote for lynch but still hope she gets confirmed. "senator mitch mcconnell of kentucky, the majority leader now finds himself in a conundrum. members of his party will vote no on ms. lynch but hope yes that she will squeak through." aren't republicans playing with fire here pamela? >> i don't think they are only supplying with fire. they are playing with justice. they understand and know that
she's well qualified. that's why they hope she gets confirmed because justice demands that they confirm her. here they are saying we want to play it safe and we want to play to our constituents but who are they really? these are obstructionist ak tactics. if they are republicans that adhere to the law, we are really abiding to the law that they say they add here to they would not play top cop. loretta limplg loretta lynch has a history of not playing politics. she will prosecute those republicans that break the law and those democrats that break the law. she's a lover of the law and defends the constitution and deep within their hearts they know that and know that the tactics that they are using are
the ones that accused the democrats of using a couple years ago. justice demands for them to do this. if they do nothing else to give loretta lynch an up or down vote. anything else is troubling and offensive to the lawyers that that practice in this country. it's not just fire. >> the vote could impact some senators up for election in 2016. here they are. republicans from states president obama won twice. most of them have not announced whether they will vote for lynch. two indicated they will not. how could this affect their campaigns, ryan? they are up for election next year in states that president obama won. >> i think mark kirk on that list is most likely to come around.
he's from illinois and he's going to face a very difficult shot at re-election. they are trying to thread the needle. they don't want to get beat by a tea party challenger on the right but don't want to go too far right so that by the time they get to the general election they get wiped out. in some ways this is similar to the death ceiling fight that we had where they didn't want their finder prints on it. the difference here though is that eric holder is the attorney general and he's quite happy -- he's willing to stay on the job as long as he needs to and they despise eric holder. >> which shows you how contradictory and hypocritical they are. we'll see pamela next week at the national action network 2015
convention april 8th to the 11th right here in new york city and certainly the loretta lynch issue will be widely discussed at national action network convention led by you, pam, and others next week. straight ahead, jeb bush is trying to distance himself from his brother. but news today shows that's hard to do. plus the pressure on governor pence grows with david letterman speaking about his home state. first, these republican governors love bashing obamacare but i have a diagnosis of hypocrisy, next. audible safety beeping audible safety beeping audible safety beeping
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and the republicans are way overdue for their reality checkup. luckily, that's what i'm here for. tonight, dr. sharpton is making a house call to four republican governors and potential 2016 contenders. scott walker chris christie bobby jindal and rick perry have made it their mission to diagnose obamacare as a failure. but according to reuters, they've taken $352 million in funding through grant programs set up or expanded by the law. you're not hallucinating. this is really how much money they have taken -- each of them have taken for their states while they are saying this about the law. >> it's about taking our country back and it starts by repealing obamacare. >> the overall policy of
obamacare is a bismal failure. >> he so wants us not to be focused on this abomination. >> obamacare will not succeed. it just won't. >> sounds like these guys took the hypocrite oath. president obama already predicted the republicans' perfect remedy. >> once it's working really well, i guarantee you, they will not call it obamacare. >> all they have to do is change the name. did republicans think we wouldn't notice they are coming down with a nasty case of flip-flop-itis? good news is this pre-existing condition is covered by
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it's time for "conversation nation." joining me tonight, radio host stephanie miller executive editor of blue nation review.com jimmy williams. thank you all for being here tonight. >> thanks, rev. >> the governor of arkansas will not follow indiana's lead. for now, he's blocking a controversial plan to let businesses discriminate against gay people. but the backlash against mike pence just keeps growing. miley cyrus says it's a stupid law and she will speak for the young people who want to change it. ellen says, acceptance and
progress takes time but always arrives. and david letterman who grew up in indiana just set aside the jokes and got serious about this issue. >> this is not the indiana that i remember as a kid. i lived there for 27 years. and folks were folks and that's all there was to it. he's holding a press conference today saying that -- i don't know what he's talking about. it may be legal. it may not. >> liz, how will these calls from celebrities make it a difference? >> we know the power of celebrities. they have an incredible amount of influence and all of the celeb brett teas that you have mentioned, some of them are straight, some are gay and some are in between. in terms of this issue, into a human rights issue, that everyone can care about and everyone can get behind.
yeah, i think it's incredibly powerful. >> jimmy, isn't that what is sort of impressive to have such a difference of people and institutions all chiming in on this from walmart to people in the far left that are young kids? >> i think that's exactly right. what liz has described and you have described is for all intents and purposes this great american melting pot called america. the fascinating thing about america is that you can be an extremist. on either side by the way. but a super majority of america sees this this overreach, this federalism, this state right and they are morally opposed. guess who is not. the far, far religious right. also guess who is not? every single republican running for president and spending time in iowa and new hampshire and
south carolina is not only for it but on board with governor pence. that should tell you something about where the state of the republican party is today. they are on the far, far right wing extremist element of the party and that's a far cry from our political process. >> stephanie? >> it's just at our core. people feel it's unamerican to refuse service to gay people. if i go into a christian deli in indiana, can i get who have a sandwich? remember, they said the swimming pool wouldn't take jewish kids. my daughter is only half jewish. can she go up to her knees? >> that's interesting because i said on my radio show today, how do you enforce it? i have relatives who are gay. if we go out to eat, are they going to ask, is this one gay, is that one not? how do you determine and in its
application it doesn't make sense. but let's move on. can jeb bush be his own candidate since announcing he was considering a run for the white house? jeb has tried to put daylight between himself and his famous family. >> just for the record one more time, i love my brother, i love my dad. i actually love my mother as well. i hope that's okay. and i admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions that they had to make. but i'm my own man and my views are shaped by my own thinking and my own experiences. >> but today, reuters reports jeb's taking on two republican economic veterans who served under his brother. he has 19 foreign policy advisers from his brother and father's administration.
>> i think by all accounts and by anybody that knows politics knows that jeb bush is the smartest guy in the room. he's a very smart man. and i think george w. bush relied far too heavily on advisers specifically dick cheney. i don't think that is jeb bush's inherent problem. but if he's surrounding himself this early with all of his brothers and advisers, it just begs the question, where is the depth and the republican bench at this point? where are the people that are coming up that are advising republican if you have to go back and poll paul wolfowitz? >> all right. liz? >> at this point it's like show. don't tell. we get t you say you're your own
man. prove it. and to me look he has had some benefits. it's helped him in terms of fundraising and these alliances with his family have been ben beneficial. he's going to have to deal with the downfalls, especially with young voters that's not going to be appealing to them when they are looking to a leader with new ideas. >> stephanie, will these family connections hurt him down the road? >> oh listen rev, he's signaling he's going to bring back the bush economy, the 10% unemployment instead of the almost 5% we have now? he's going to bring back the 700,000 jobs a month instead of the ones we were losing? please, hug it spoon it like a koala. i love it. >> everyone stay with me. we'll be right back with the question that keeps scott walker up nights. can you win the presidency if you're allergic to dogs?
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- by 2018, there will be more than 2 million jobs available in engineering, science, technology, arts, and math. so let's give our kids the skills for success. it all starts with education. the more you know. . we're back with our panel, stephanie, jimmy and liz. for presidents loving dogs is almost a job requirement. president obama takes breaks with his dogs bo and sunny.
the first president bush had milley running by his side. lbj had fun with her on the white house lawn and fdr had his dog with him as he led the country. something about the dog makes the most powerful man in the world more relatable but scott walker because the homeowner has a dog. walker's allergic to dog dander. his spokesperson saying it's unfortunate because he loves animals and it's unfortunate because dogs are a mainstay at the white house. so stephanie, did walker's possible campaign just go to the dogs? >> who let the dogs out, rev. i'm a huge dog lover but so are most americans. scott walker hates puppies. do you want to live in an america that hates puppies? we don't think so.
vote hillary. we're done. >> liz, i see you shaking your head. >> well look full disclosure i'm allergic to dogs too. i feel scott walker's pain. >> you're not trying to have his -- >> that's right. i care more about his stance on women, on immigration, on the lgbt committee. look, he's flip-flopped on all of those and maybe he will flip-flop on his dog allergy. >> jimmy? >> i'm also allergic. i don't know if you've ever named the dog and liz,
stephanie, jimmy, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> when we come back a powerful story that advances the discussion about our criminal justice system. a louisiana man spent 30 years on death row for a crime he didn't commit. now the prosecutor is apologizing for the injustice. it's courageous. his emotional apology is next. you're selling the mitchmobile!? man, we had a lot of good times in this baby. what's your dad want for it? ..like a hundred and fifty grand, two hundred if they want that tape deck. you're not going to tell your dad about the time my hamster had babies in the backseat, are you?! that's just normal wear and tear, dude. (vo) subaru has the highest resale value of any brand... ...according to kelley blue book ...and mitch. love. it's what makes a subaru a subaru.
now to a story that shocks the conscious. the state of louisiana is refusing to pay restitution to a man who spent 30 years on death row for a crime he didn't commit. an all white jury convicted him in the death of a woman in a robbery but he didn't do it. last month based on new evidence, ford was exonerated and set free. >> i can't go back and do anything. i should have been doing when i was like 35, 38, hostuff like that. my son was a baby. now he's grown. >> today, he's been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. last week, a judge used a legal technicality to justify denying
him any payment for past decades in prison. now the lead prosecutor on that case apologizes. "in 1984 i was 33 years old, i was arrogant judgmental i was not as interested in justice as i was in winning." he says the physical evidence was "pure junk science at its evil worst". and "i apologized to glenn ford for all of the misery i've caused he and his family." stroud said the entire criminal justice system was broken. >> they are out to win whatever the cost.
they don't care about the victim or this or that. they care about the record. and back when i was in my early 30s, i was caught up in that instanin insanity, that the end justified the means, that we didn't try people that were innocent. bottom line it's not justice. >> joining me now is that prosecutor marty stroud thank you for joining me. >> thank you for having me sir. >> you know we don't see many prosecutors come forward and speak out. why was it important for you to write this op-ed. >> "the new york times" wrote an editorial that mr. ford was entitled to compensation. i had never written a letter to any paper at all but i thought i would write a letter in support of the editorial because i had
been one of the participants in the trial and to give the paper my views on what happened at the trial. >> you know request the "the times" asked ford what some of the challenges were after living three decades behind bars. watch this mr. stroud. >> learning how, my computer skills, i can't turn anything on. but i believe i will never catch on to the internet as i should. >> you're not missing too much. >> yeah. >> i mean isn't that why we need to fix the system? all the money in the world can't buy back those lost experiences
or time mr. stroud? >> i agree with that. i don't think any amount of money can compensate a person for spending 30 years on death row for a crime he didn't commit. it's just -- i think we're incapable of obviously trading those years for mr. ford and i think it's an indication we shouldn't have -- this shouldn't happen in our system. but unfortunately, it does. >> what would you say to young prosecutors now who are in the same situation that you were in 30 years ago? >> i would tell them that if you go back and look at the old case law, a prosecutor is there to do justice, not to win convictions and i think they should take heed in the fact that if something does go wrong, like happened in this case it will be with them to the day they leave this earth and the fact i am gratified that mr. ford was
released but it doesn't take away the pain that i feel i caused that man and i believe there's a special place in heaven reserved for people like glenn ford who have suffered so much prosecution during their lifetime. >> if you could talk to mr. ford, what would you say to him? >>. >> first of all, i would apologize again. what amazes me he does not appear to have any anger. when you see him on tv he's not speaking from anger. he's speaking i think from his heart and he is -- the way he has handled this should be an inspiration for anyone who watches him or hears him speak. >> marty stroud thank you for coming forward to share your story. >> thank you, sir. ring eye.
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finally tonight, big news out of the nablgd whereeighborhood where i grew up. the brownsville section. hillary clinton was joined by the first lady to launch a new program called talk to your baby to encourage early childhood development. >> the research is very clear that when the adults parents uncles older siblings begin to interact with that child from the very earliest stage, you are building a very strong foundation and our kids offer the future. >> clinton has been working on the word gap between lower and high-income kids by challenging
parents to build their child's voek cab vocabulary. i was raised by a single mother on welfare. don't under estimate what she did today. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. the indiana time bomb. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. three big stories tonight. first, the time bomb started in indiana is blowing nationwide. the governor of arkansas said today he'll have no part in what many say is a gay bashing move. second, the