Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 08/30/15

April Ryan; Christine Chen; John Sides, Julian Castro, Judith Browne Dianis, Will Jawando, Tef Poe, Terrence McCoy

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: This morning my question: just what is
Jeb Bush`s strategy?

Plus, HUD Secretary Julian Castro joins us live in Nerdland.

And the history of led in our homes.

But first, all of Washington is asking, will Joe run?

Good morning, I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.

It`s hard to imagine now, but Joe Biden is an extremely unlikely vice
president. Remember that he ran in the 1988 race for president? He was
out before the end of 1987. And when he ran again in 2008, he got less
than one percent of the vote in the Iowa caucus and dropped out before the
New Hampshire primary. Perhaps his biggest headline from that time is from
when he was still in the primary and described then-senator Barack Obama`s
candidacy in February 2007.


sort of, mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean
and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that`s a storybook, man.


HARRIS-PERRY: Man, yes. That happened. But candidate Obama clearly
didn`t hold it against him. And in August 2008 announced Joe would be his
running mate. There was so much interest in who would be the robin to
Obama`s batman that the campaign turned it into a way to amass contact
information of supporters by encouraging people to sign up for a text
message that would announce the decision first before it even hit the
press. The campaign collected phone numbers that they then used to remind
them to vote and to encourage them to sign up as volunteers. That text
message was received by nearly three million people. And of course the
rest is, well, history. Until now.

We now know that the VP is considering a run for the presidency. Biden has
been reaching out to supporters and fellow Democrats, including Senator
Elizabeth Warren to discuss a possible run. There are reports claiming
that his son Beau`s dying wish for his father was to run for president.
With Beau`s death at the age of 46 just three months ago continues to weigh
heavily on the vice president.


BIDEN: If I were to announce to run, I`d have to be able to commit to all
of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul.
And right now, both are pretty well banged up.


HARRIS-PERRY: Still, a lot of people are riding with Biden. At least one
big Obama strategist has joined the draft Biden campaign so far, and hell
if for no other reason they are generating a great match-up to report on,
I`d also like to see him run.

But I`m also a political scientist. So let`s look at the cold hard numbers
of a possible Biden candidacy. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton
still dominates the Democratic field, even when you include Biden in the
numbers. The latest Quinnipiac poll has Clinton at 45 percent, 23-points
about Senator Bernie Sanders at 22 percent and 27 points above Biden at 18

And while those numbers are pretty decent for someone who hasn`t even
declared yet and well above declared candidates like Martin O`Malley,
they`re not great numbers for someone who is also the sitting vice
president of the United States. Let`s not forget that Biden has already
run against Clinton in a contest for the Democratic nomination and he
didn`t do well. In fact, he consistently polled at least 30 sometimes 40
points behind Clinton.

On the other hand, Biden does do well in potential 2016 general election
match-ups, even better than Hillary. Biden would beat former Florida
governor Jeb Bush by six points, Senator Marco Rubio by three and Donald
Trump by eight. The poll also has Clinton beating them all. Goodbye,
narrower margins.

Actually, the only match-up that had Republicans winning was Rubio versus
Sanders. Well, anyway, here`s the key number for me: trust. That recent
Quinnipiac poll asked voters if they find various candidates or potential
candidates quote “honest and trustworthy.” For Clinton, the answer is a
resounding no. Thirty four percent think she is trust worthy, 61 percent
say she is not. And for Biden, those numbers are almost flipped. Fifty
six percent say he is honest and trustworthy while only 33 percent say he

When you consider that the words most associated with Hillary Clinton are
liar, dishonest and untrustworthy, these are numbers that could make a
Biden bid possible.

Joining me now is John Sides, associate professor at George Washington
University and contributor to the “Washington Post” Monkey Cage blog.

I`m so happy to finally have you on the show.

having me.

HARRIS-PERRY: Even if I had to come to D.C. to get you here. So talk to
me about what you see as a matter of the data. Is there a pathway, however
narrow, for Joe Biden to win the nomination?

SIDES: I would say it`s about as narrow a pathway as you could imagine at
this point in time. Clinton is such a dominant candidate that she has
something like 124 endorsements from sitting Democratic governors, Senators
and members of the House of Representatives. It is an extraordinary lead
in the invisible primary and it would be an extraordinary achievement for
Biden to come from behind and beat that.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, isn`t that, however, what senator Obama did in 2008 when
he first announced in 2007 he had a 16 percent, lower, even, than where Joe
Biden is?

SIDES: It`s true that he could have that same kind of lead in 2008, but it
wasn`t as dominant as it is in 2015-2016. So I just think, you know, for
Biden, it`s already so late, right? He has to ramp up a campaign from
scratch, and it`s almost September before the election year. And I think
he also has to make a persuasive case that he`s offering something
different to the party than Clinton is. And you know, Sanders maybe can
make that case because he stake out position to Clinton`s left. But Biden,
it`s not really as clear what he`s offering other than perhaps he doesn`t
have an email scandal going drip, drip, you know, every day.

HARRIS-PERRY: OK. So, let me make a suggestion about what I think is
possible just based on what I see on the numbers. So, when I look at
Biden`s numbers with non-white Democratic primary voters, they are double
those of Sanders. Now, granted, they`re only about a third that of Hillary
Clinton`s, but they are substantially higher than those enjoy by Bernie
Sanders and he`s not even started making his case as like, you know, the
third-term of the Obama presidency. Could he get those key non-white
Democratic primary voters?

SIDES: He as to be able to say something different of them than Hillary
Clinton can say, and I`m not exactly sure what that is. People are

HARRIS-PERRY: I`m Barack Obama`s vice president?

SIDES: Well, but she was Barack Obama`s secretary of state. And I think,
you know, people are already dredging up things from Biden`s Senate career
where his positions on things like crime and job penalties were not
exactly, you know, where maybe minority voters would want him to be. I
mean, I think at this stage it`s so easy to be excited about a Biden
candidacy because he`s not really running and he`s not facing the scrutiny
that a candidate would typically face.

HARRIS-PERRY: When you talk about how late it actually is and you talk
about how many endorsements, how much money there is with this huge
fundraising edge, but when we look at that fundraising edge, we see it not
only on the Democratic side for Hillary Clinton, we also see it, for
example, on the Republican side with Jeb Bush. He has way more money in
his war chest, and yet it doesn`t seem to be translating into the capacity
to actually be leaving there.

SIDES: Yes. I think early money is useful, but it`s not necessarily the
most important thing. I think really what candidates want is to be
building support among party leaders. Typically that`s the most visible of
endorsements, but obviously they`ll get it in other ways we can`t see.
What`s happening on the Republican side this year is the pace of
endorsements is really slow, it`s slower even than 2012. And so, in some
sense the party really hasn`t begun to coalesce around a front runner.

HARRIS-PERRY: (INAUDIBLE) Eric Cantor endorsement.

SIDES: You know, that is, you know, that`s good news from Bush`s
perspective, but the fact of the matter is most Republican leaders are
sitting on their hands and not wanting to commit right now.

HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask you one more question around how Hillary Clinton
may be thinking about this. I want to take a listen when she was talking
about the lessons she learned from the 2008.


put the numbers together to secure the nomination. As some of you might
recall, in 2008, I got a lot of votes, but I didn`t get enough delegates.
And so, I think it`s understandable that my focus is going to be on
delegates as well as votes this time.


HARRIS-PERRY: She`s got a very clear delegate-based strategy. Is that
part of why Biden will have a hard time finding room here?

SIDES: I mean, he has to be able to build a campaign that can execute that
kind of strategy and has to be ready to run, you know, four to five months.
For Clinton, I mean, that quote tells you that she learned a major lesson,
right? As a political scientist, we appreciate that the rules of the
process matter and that rules determine the delegates and the delegates
determine who gets the nomination. And in 2008 her campaign team seen sort
of breathless – breathtakingly clueless about it, and now in 2015-2016, it
is clear that they`re playing the right game, a smarter game. Maybe a game
that in some sense ignores some of the day-to-day news cycle chatter about
polls and this and that. And you can see it the same thing about the way
in 2012. Mitt Romney was widely viewed as having this sort of really rocky
path to the nomination because of Gingrich and Santorum are winning primary
in certain states. But if you actually watched the delegate now, he was
doing delegates on top of delegates on top of delegates and no one was
making a dent.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, let`s just take a moment and come out of the Democratic
primary and think a little bit about what the general election would look
like. Because you wrote that you believe Hillary Clinton`s running mate is
likely to be a man. I think that makes sense for a lot of reasons,
including the fact there are many more men in the kind of elected office
positions that one usually chooses a vice presidential candidate from, but
what sort of man? Who do you think is the right compliment is, in fact,
Hillary Clinton were to become the nominee?

SIDES: Well, I think, you know, it will be clear it will be someone
younger than she is. I mean, she is, you know, probably on the older side
of presidential nominees. I think you will see the usual kinds of
calculations. They`ll be looking at candidates from states where they
think that maybe there might be some marginal benefit into winning the
electoral college battle in that state.

I don`t know really if there is a name out there that is worth tossing
around. I hate to engage in that kind of parlor speculations at this
point. But I think it`s the usual calculations. You know, from a
political scientist perspective, we know that it`s not really clear that
vice presidents really bring a lot of extra bang to the ticket. You know,
maybe in extraordinary circumstances when you have a figure such as Sarah
Palin that really commands a lot of attention, that`s one thing. But for
the most part, you know, the vice president really is, you know, not sort
of a central asset or even, you know, a detriment to the campaign.

HARRIS-PERRY: Although I have to say, when I heard that VP Biden was
meeting with Elizabeth Warren, I thought, now, if the two of them came out
as a kind of co-ticket, then you would see that kind of potential
enthusiasm, right?

SIDES: I think there would be many Democrats that would be excited about
that. And the question is, whether that is a ticket that is going to be
able to, you know, bring interest from, you know, the average voter as

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, absolutely. Thank you to John Sides. Again, so thrill
to finally have - to talk with you.

Up next, the person who might take down a Joe Biden presidential bid?
Olivia Pope.


HARRIS-PERRY: Sometime next year, HBO will air a new film about the Senate
confirmation hearings of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas. Central to
the film titled “Confirmation” are allegations by Anita Hill, now a
respected law professor.

The nation first learned of her as a former coworker of Thomas who claimed
she had been sexually harassed on her job. Carrie Washington, best known
as Olivia Pope on the hit show “Scandal,” will star as Anita Hill. Yes!
And we already have a picture of her in the role.

But more to out point this morning, as we look at 2016, also depicted in
the film will be Joe Biden who at the time was chair of the Senate
Judiciary Committee, and therefore, the leader of the hearings. Critics of
Senator Biden said he went too easy on Thomas and allowed other senators to
browbeat Anita Hill in trying to discredit her claims. He was also
criticized for not reading Hill`s allegations to public attention until
they were leaked to the press. Biden responded that Hill herself had
wanted to keep the allegations confidential.


BIDEN: Some have asked, how could you have, the United States Senate voted
on Judge Thomas` nomination and leave senators in the dark about Professor
Hill`s charges? To this I answer, how could you have expected us to force
Professor Hill against her will into the blinding light which you see here


HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. This is one of the things that will undoubtedly come
up in part thanks to a new movie should vice president Biden declare his
candidacy for the top job.

Joining me now, April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington bureau
chief for American Urban Radio networks and author of “the presidency in
black and white, my up-close view of three presidents and race in America.”
Also E.J. Dionne, MSNBC contributor and “Washington Post” columnist and
senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO and
president of vote Latino and an MSNBC contributor. And of course, Robert
Traynham, former Bush-Cheney senior adviser, MSNBC contributor and VP of
communications for the bipartisan policy center.

Thanks for being here. I love being in D.C., getting my D.C. folks.


HARRIS-PERRY: I already live in too many places. OK listen, what kind of
candidate would Joe Biden be if he decided to run?

would be a candidate right now who is human. He`s still dealing with
issues of his son`s death, someone he was very close to. If he were to
run, OK? But he also behind him has some strong wind. He`s been in
politics in Washington for 40 years. He`s been a part of so much to
include the movie that`s getting ready to come out.

People are going to see the fact that this man was involved in history.
And you have to remember, for those who will criticize him, 1991 was a
different time. It was scandalous to even talk about the Pepsi man
(INAUDIBLE). And I remember that. That was very scandalous. But at that
time he held himself and he held that chamber with respect as much as he
could with all the kind of details that came out.

But I think he`s someone who people like. They like him as being a real
person, but I think a lot of his, the weight of what`s happening in his
life is going to plague the campaign.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well - go ahead.

E.J. DIONNE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I was going to say, my favorite line of
the day on Biden is Matt Dowd to Maureen Dowd in her column this morning.
He said Trump is the only one who can make Biden look disciplined. That
fact about Biden at the moment is an asset rather than a liability. I
think he`s got two things going for him. One, you know, everybody talks
about his gasps. He`s almost immunized like he`s taken a serum because
people say, that is Joe Biden. So there is kind of an acceptance of it.
And there is said to be a longing for authenticity. We`ll see if that
longing lasts all the way to next year. And Lord knows he`s authentic.

I think, you know, we`ve seen, one, you know, down side is he`s run two
times and he didn`t make it. He`s a warm, likeable person. The party
likes him. But I also think lastly, if he gets in, the whole idea of, wait
a minute, Hillary Clinton had the chance to be the first woman nominee last
time, now all of a sudden, she really has a chance now and people are going
to jump in the way. I think that`s more complicated than what people are
talking about now.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I actually think that what Biden is
doing is having these conversations with Elizabeth Warren, he`s basically
trying to get the media to talk to him, but I think it`s because Democrats
circles realize if there is a falter in Hillary Clinton`s campaign, they
don`t have a plan b.

HARRIS-PERRY: If you look at Iowa, she is in Iowa deeply vulnerable.

KUMAR: The difference between Biden jumping in today with someone who has
a political machine that has been basically building this machine to the
last eight years, he doesn`t have that infrastructure. So I think he says,
you know, let me actually my name to be in the press. Let`s actually see
what happens with Hillary Clinton. And if something, if she falters big
enough where the donors start withholding their money, then all of a sudden
he can come in.


RYAN: But he`s the alternative, though.

KUMAR: He`s not a real alternative.


KUMAR: This is the challenge with Sanders is he has a very progressive
white base, but he`s having a very difficult time with the African-American

HARRIS-PERRY: That is exactly where I see the potential lame for Biden.
When you look at the numbers in the new poll around non-white voters – and
I was talking about this to John earlier, right? Hillary Clinton has 61
percent right now, right? That`s to be expected. And in fact, one might
be much higher than that. But look, Joe Biden is more than double that of
Bernie Sanders.

ROBERT TRAYNHAM, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: What`s interesting about this, and I
think E.J. and Maria make a very good point. Let`s remind ourselves why
Joe Biden was picked in 2008. Average Joe, right? So he connects with
white middle class, at least he did. That authenticity that he brought to
the table, very much still translates to 2016. So the question becomes is
whether or not Hillary Clinton has a glass draw. She does, because her
numbers are so soft. And we see that, we see that so very well with the
huge numbers that Bernie Sanders is getting in the poll.

I mean, take a look the cross tabs that the vast majority of people are
saying, you know what, I respect Secretary Clinton. I think she`s a very
smart person, but there`s something about the trust factor here that does
not translate. When you ask that question of Joe Biden, that`s completely

HARRIS-PERRY: And this is the drift, drift of the emails, right? Not that
the email themselves. Because I hear you, Maria, that if some scandal
breaks out, but that actually strikes me as less of a concern than the
drift, drift, piece by piece destruction of the sense of her as an honest
person that can happen just as a result of the scandal existing out there
even if it doesn`t become the one thing that takes her down.

DIONNE: But I think there are two kind of polling to look at. One is
Iowa, New Hampshire and the other, the country. In Iowa, New Hampshire
Bernie Sanders is doing incredibly well. These are broad, mostly white
states with a lot of progressives in the democratic primary who loves what
Bernie has to say.

In the national polls, he`s been creeping up, but he still doesn`t really
challenge Hillary Clinton. Her numbers among Democrats, despite a
miserable three months, are still pretty strong nationally. The question
is, does Biden help or hurt her? Obviously she thinks – anybody would
think you get a stronger opponent in there, you wouldn`t like it. I kind
of think it would help her in two ways. One is why is there all this focus
on email? Well, partly there isn`t a real contest on the Democratic side.
God bless Bernie, he is strong, but people still, as we reflect here, Joe
can be the nominee. Suddenly, the press can cover a contest.

Secondly, I think that so much of the country`s attention is now on the
Republicans because of Trump, Democrats need somehow to draw eyeballs to
their side of the story.

RYAN: I want to bring something back to what we were just saying about the
black and the Latino vote. You`re not hearing the vote going to any
candidate right now because everyone, the Black Lives Matter issue on the
Democratic side, Bernie Sanders, of course, O`Malley, that`s not even a
consideration with the crimes issue in Baltimore. But when you come to
Hillary, she has been talking to this. But just still not hearing that
groundswell. And of course, on the Republican side, blacks and Latinos are
not thinking about trying to vote for Donald Trump who is talking about
every community, and then some of the other candidates.


HARRIS-PERRY: The Republicans also don`t need African-American and Latino
voters to vote for them, they just need them to stay home.

RYAN: They just need them because Obama is not on the ballot.

HARRIS-PERRY: But, maybe, his vice president will be.

Still to come this morning, Secretary Julian Castro joins me live.

And later, the justice of the United States Supreme Court on this day.


HARRIS-PERRY: A man in Harris County, Texas has been arrested in the
shooting of a sheriff`s deputy, at a suburban Houston gas station Friday
night. Officials say Shannon Miles ambushed Deputy Darren Goforth,
shooting the deputy as he return to his car. Police have not released a
motive in the killing. But hours before the arrest was announced, Sheriff
Ron Hickman suggested a link to the Black Lives Matter movement.


SHERIFF RON HICKMAN, HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS: So in any point, the rhetoric
ramps up, the point where calculated any time there is a cold-blooded
assassination of police officers happened, this rhetoric has gotten out of
control. We`ve heard black live matter, all lives matter, well, cops`
lives matter, too. So why don`t we just drop the qualifier and say lives


HARRIS-PERRY: (INAUDIBLE), a Black Lives Matter activist told the Houston
Chronicle quote “I grieve for the victims of violence. It is unfortunate
that Sheriff Hickman has chosen to politicize this tragedy to tribute the
officer`s death to a movement that seeks to end violence.”

For more now, we go to Jamie Novogrod live on the ground in Houston.

Jamie, what do we know at this point about the arrest?


Shannon Miles, the suspect here, is behind bars today. Police have
identified him. He`s 30 years old. He was charged yesterday, and he`s
facing capital murder charges, police say. Meantime, there`s been an
outpouring of grief here. Hundreds of people at the gas station last
night. And as you can see behind me, already a handful of members of the
public and sheriff`s deputies here.

The deputies, Melissa, are posted officially here as an honor guard in
keeping with department practice. There are also deputies with the fallen
deputy`s family, Darren Goforth with his family, and also Melissa, with his
body until funeral services are held. And as you mentioned, no apparent
motive yet in the attack, according to police. And yet, during this
emotional press conference yesterday, the sheriff drew a link to the Black
Lives Matter movement. He blamed in part a rhetoric having to do with
police. He blamed that rhetoric for creating an atmosphere that he said
puts law enforcement at risk. But again, no apparent motive yet, the
sheriff says. The suspect has a criminal record. He has been arrested in
the past on trespassing charges and on charges of disorderly conduct with a
gun. We hope to learn more about him later today and there will be a vigil
held tonight at a local church, Melissa.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to NBC`s Jamie Novogrod in Houston, Texas.

Up next, Jeb Bush is stumbling. Donald Trump is crowing and the GOP field
is just entirely fascinating!


HARRIS-PERRY: It has been a long week for GOP presidential hopeful Jeb
Bush. He is waking up this morning to a new Iowa poll showing him mired
toward the back of the pact. A national Quinnipiac poll released Thursday
showed only seven percent surveyed would vote for him, a record low since
November 2013. And then yesterday “Politico” reported that three of his
fundraising consultants abruptly called it quit. The former Florida
governor is facing backlash for his recent use of the term “anchor babies.”
It is pejorative phrase used to describe the U.S. born children of
unauthorized immigrants.

On Monday he attempted to dig himself out of that hole.


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I was talking about was the
specific case of fraud being committed where there is organized efforts,
and frankly, it`s more related to Asian people coming into our country,
having children in unorganized efforts, taking advantage of a noble concept
with its birthright citizenship.


HARRIS-PERRY: The suggestion that Asians were to blame for the
exploitation of U.S. birthright laws has apparently brought affront to the
Asian-birth terrorism industry, particularly among Chinese women. Now,
there are no reliable statistics on how why spread this maternity terrorism
trended in which foreign nationals participates in its most.

Joining me and my panel now is Christine Chen, executive director of the
nation Nonpartisan organization Asian and Pacific Islander American vote.
Nice to have you this morning, Christine.

Good morning.

HARRIS-PERRY: So may I ask have you heard in Asian-American communities
how that comment by Mr. Bush is being received?

CHEN: Well, the comment from Jeb Bush, as well as other candidates, are
being seen as tactics that are demeaning and divisive by focusing on such a
minute issue. What we`re looking for is hearing about policy changes and
consensus building, about passing comprehensive immigration reform and
really addressing the issue of the millions that are actually on the

Also historically what we found is that rhetoric like this only promotes
blaming of immigrants when they`re trying to make a case of the economic
downturn or uneasiness. And with that rhetoric, we also find there will be
an increase of hate crimes and also scapegoating.

What we`re also finding is by them promoting this rhetoric, they are really
providing a stereotype that Asian Americans are also this perpetual

HARRIS-PERRY: All right, so this is interest to me. It`s part of what I
really want to dig into with you, because it does feel to me like for Jeb
Bush, it actually might be easier or more politically palatable to do this
kind of stereotyping, kind of strong arming against Asian-American
communities that against Latino community, both because they are seen as
less relevant in the content of the Republican primary, but also because
Jeb Bush is hoping to make himself in part kind of the candidate who is
most palatable to Latino voters moving forward. And I guess I`m just
wondering about that pitting of Asian- American voters against Latino
voters on this question of immigration.

CHEN: Well, you know, actually Asian and Latino voters are actually on the
same side when it comes to immigration. We are both actually advocating
for comprehensive immigration reform.

Also, in terms of Jeb Bush, this is actually a turn in his thinking.
Because back in 2013, he was the one that actually noted that Asians are –
Asian voters are actually the canary in the coal mine for the Republican
voter. And that 73 percent of the Asian vote went to Obama and that would
actually be seen as a problem for the Republican Party.

HARRIS-PERRY: So stick with us, Christine. I want to come to you, Maria
Teresa Kumar on exactly this. Because it just felt to me like, wait a
minute, did he just like kind of make that term because somehow –

KUMAR: It would offend the Latino vote but I`m going to feed the one that
can actually help me push me over the top. Well, and this is actually – I
have to say that this “anchor baby,” that that folks are talking about,
it`s less about immigration and it`s more about the changing demographics
of our country. Because what is another word for an anchor baby? An
American. Let`s be clear. That`s what our constitution says.

HARRIS-PERRY: Also, we know that, in fact, U.S.-born children are actually
not anchors to their parents. It`s been one of the critiques of the Obama
administration is the deportation of undocumented parents that split up

KUMAR: And to that point you have roughly over 3,000 American kids in
foster care because their parents have been deported and they cannot cross
– they can`t cross country lines because they`re U.S. citizens and their
parents are not. So that`s a nonsense argument.

But it is - but it is more goes to the heart of the changing demographics
and trying to basically make recently arrived parents of children and those
American children other. And we all know what happens in other.

DIONNE: I mean, the politics of what Jeb just did there is


DIONNE: I thought he would be a better candidate than he`s been so far.
We talk a lot about how Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by almost 3-1 among
Latinos. He also beat Mitt Romney by 3-1 among Asian-Americans. Asian-
Americans once voted for Republican candidates. The Republicans actually
did pretty well among them in the mid-terms. They cannot lose Asian-
Americans in a margin like this.

HARRIS-PERRY: Christine, let me come to you on that, because certainly
part of what we saw around a strategic Asian-American vote was in 2008 in
Virginia, and it was in part about candidate Obama at that time, but it was
also about the slur from Virginia Governor Allen sort of earlier that had
helped activate that community. I`m wondering if this actually ends up
sort of pushing back and actually activating Asian-American voters and
they`re like, wait a minute, this is not acceptable.

CHEN: Right. What we`re hearing from the grassroots community is there is
actually more interest in organizing voter registrations and get out the
vote activities even for the 2015 local elections. And when you look at
the Virginia population, especially with the growth of our community, you
know, in 2012, Obama won his election with 115,000 votes. Well, the Asian
American electorate in Virginia is actually double that. So when you start
looking at Virginia, Florida and Nevada, the Asian-American electorate, as
well as, especially when you combine it with a Latino electorate, can
really makes a difference.

HARRIS-PERRY: I promise, we going to come back. I do want to say thank
you to Christine Chen of this.

We`re going to come back on this issue and we`re going to talk a little bit
more about the Republican Party and how it talks about not just Asian-
Americans, but in this case about Asia, when we come back.



should cancel Xi Jinping`s visit to Washington next month. I also don`t
believe we should be rolling out the red carpet for him. This is an
opportunity to speak bluntly to this authoritarian ruler, not to treat him
to a state dinner.

to an official state visit, those are something – that`s one of the
highest prizes we can give to countries that we work with that are allies
and partners. I think we need to not just look the other way, I think we
need to stand up and do something about it.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Chinese leader is coming
over here next week. We`ll give him a great dinner, we`ll celebrate him.
You don`t do that to people that – let`s have lunch. You don`t need these
big state dinners.


HARRIS-PERRY: So, April, I mean, we were talking in the last block about
this notion of Asian American voters being harmed in part by the language
we heard from Jeb Bush, but it`s not just Asian American voters, it`s this
idea of like China as this great, dangerous villain out there that soviet
Russia once played in our defense.

RYAN: China is very important to the United States. We have a very
interesting relationship, I will say. One, we owe China a lot of money.
We have borrowed so much money to fund the war because of China. They gave
us money. Not only that, but we have issues with them with human rights.
One-child policy, we can go on, but right now China hold a lot of cards.
What if the Iran deal does not go through? They, along with China, along
with Russia could actually – their sanctions could just fall through on
Iran. They`re very important to us.

Then also when it comes to China, let`s look at the currency issue. Last
year the IMF said they were the greatest world economy, and look what`s
happening now. So we have to deal with China. I think this is a great
thing for both sides to come together in bilateral meetings to talk about
the issues that are on the table. And the community here in China is
strong. It`s a big economic community. If you look at the jobs numbers
every month, they have the best unemployment rate out of anyone in this

KUMAR: But I think really what this is, is that, Obama has had an Asian
strategy. And with the markets tumbling in China, all of a sudden what we
have is an opportunity in the United States to go back into Asia and
basically say, you know, China is weak. You have to come back and
negotiate with us. You have to make sure that we are part of the

And yes, China has large investments in our economy. They don`t want us to
default on our debt, so it`s actually an opportunity. And let me be
straight, too. The idea that we don`t want to engage with people that
remain not see eye to eye with it is absurd. Ronald Reagan would never say
don`t come to dinner. He would say sit down with me and let`s have a

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. But this is precisely the politics of this. This is
part of what I find interesting, Robert, is, you know, in a moment when one
person is governing or one party is governing and the other party is on the
outside, it is always sort of this role that you can play. I would do it
so differently and I would be tougher. And particularly that top
discourse. And I guess part of what I`m wondering is whether a nuanced
analysis can emerge out of the Republican primary field right now or if
it`s all just about like yelling at the same volume.

TRAYNHAM: So I think that`s a brilliant question, Melissa. So, in the
primary is going to be black and white, figuratively speaking. But of
course, when you`re governing it turns to shades of gray. And so, right
now, remember, this is a Republican primary and remember there are a lot of
conservative voters out there saying to your point the red scare, China.
It is us versus them. I see my job go over to Beijing and it`s not coming
back. I see the browning of America and these people don`t look like me,
so therefore, this is a country I don`t recognize anymore.

So the point that Donald Trump is making and also these other people are
making in the Republican field, it resonates with the Republican voter.
I`m not saying it is right. But I`m saying those are the retail politics
that resonate with –.


DIONNE: The opposition party is always anti-China and the party left out
always says we have to deal with it.


DIONNE: But I think even on this subject where Republicans might have
gotten some traction, Trump`s campaign kind of got in the way. A colleague
made this point, I hadn`t seen it. You know, when he went after Jorge
Ramos and Megyn Kelly, he dominated the news in the beginning week. He
buried those comments by Marco Rubio and Scott Walker. But I do think
Trump race, the fascinating issue is let`s have lunch so we can debate the
politics over lunch to politics of dinner.

RYAN: The issue with Donald Trump, and I`m really surprised he just wants
to have lunch instead of dinner. Trump is a businessman. I would think he
would think about the issues of trade. Our trade with China is so

HARRIS-PERRY: But his discourse isn`t I`m a businessman who understands
global trade, it is about I`m a guy who will just beat others.

RYAN: This is how he would govern if he was in China.

HARRIS-PERRY: When we come back, if it is election season, then you know
that everybody is talking about women`s bodies. That`s next.


HARRIS-PERRY: This summer the battle over reproductive rights has raged.
Several undercover videos were released by an anti-abortion group
suggesting that Planned Parenthood affiliates illegally profited from
selling tissue from aborted fetuses.

Despite reports that the videos were manipulated, they have helped to
galvanize a movement to defund Planned Parenthood. So much so that last
week massive demonstrations occurred outside 300 Planned Parenthood clinics
around the country.

Also this week in Ohio, lawmakers are pushing to criminalize abortion if a
fetus has received a down-syndrome diagnosis. Ohio governor John Kasich,
a GOP presidential contender, has not publicly taken a position. But he
does oppose abortion, and since entering office, the two-time governor has
entered 16 anti-abortion measures and then Jeb Bush. Another GOP
presidential contender had this to say.


BUSH: I don`t think Planned Parenthood ought to get a penny, though, and
that`s the difference. Because they`re not actually doing women`s health
issues. They are involved in something way different than that.


HARRIS-PERRY: But the biggest headlines on women`s health did not come
from the right this week. They came from Democratic front-runner Hillary


CLINTON: Extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the
terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don`t want to live in the
modern world. But it`s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who
want to be the president of the United States.


HARRIS-PERRY: So, Maria, was this too far - I mean, it`s a good, strong,
clear position from candidate Clinton, but it also suggested that
Republicans are terrorists.

KUMAR: Well, I think what she was saying is that in our minds, one of the
reasons why the terrorists are at the forefront is they have basically put
women back in the Stone Age. And she`s trying to create that parallel.

But Hillary all of the sudden was also able to break through to the news
cycle. And that was what the big deal was for her. She - folks were no
longer talking to her about her emails. They were no longer trying to
figure out whether or not she has an authenticity or whether or not she is
the wrong candidate for Democratic Party. If anything, she was able to
say, look. This is a clear contrast between the Republicans and me. Let`s
not forget that we are the party for Democratic women in the right to
choose. And she is trying to again energize her base because she`s having
a bit of hard time with a lot of progressive women.

HARRIS-PERRY: She might have needed that rhetoric to breakthrough.

KUMAR: It was no longer about Trump, it was no longer about Jeb Bush. And
I think that was –


TRAYNHAM: I flip my argument. Notice this is a Democratic primary. She
has potentially maybe two people that may get into the race, whether it
would be Elizabeth Warren, there`s some chatter about that, or vice
president Biden. So what she is trying to do, and she did very well, to
Maria`s point is to change the narrative here and energize her base. This
is about fundraising, this is about energizing the base. And remember, she
was in Ohio where the registering voters right after that primary - I mean,
right after that speech.

And then lastly, what`s interesting about this is I talked to some Hillary
Clinton folks and they`re saying, look, what we have to do is we have to
change the narrative here from the defense as opposed to the server, to
E.J.`s point, and make it about what something that Hillary is going to
stand for, that she`s going to fight for.

HARRIS-PERRY: So on this point, I mean, I so appreciate, you know, both of
you go right to the important politics of it, and I did as well, but there
is also part of me that thinks, why in the world is this part of the
political football? Like I just – there are some things I wish were off
the table. So I don`t think we should talk about, you know, the bill of
rights. I don`t think we should talk about whether or not if I get to be
president, then you have the right to marry. Like I think there are some
basic rights. And for me, this is a settled matter of the Supreme Court.
People have a right to privacy, that right to privacy extends to the right
to terminate a pregnancy.

RYAN: But you know, I think that`s one of the key pieces of the Republican
Party. The abortion issue is one of the huge pieces. Every presidential
cycle we`ve had same-sex marriage, we`ve had the war, we`ve had so many
different things. Now, I think this is part of it, but the fact that`s not
coming out is clearly, and is not articulated as I would think it should
be, is the fact that Planned Parenthood only has three percent of their
health of women`s issues is dedicated to abortions. And that`s the thing
that I am not hearing in this discourse. You`re hearing, you know, the
terrorist thing, and you know, I don`t think women`s health should be
funded, but the issue is that`s three percent.

DIONNE: No, I agree with that. And I think it`s an important point
because - I mean, if you look at that video, I found it disturbing. I
don`t see how anybody cannot find it disturbing, even if you understand
that this is a doctor talking about medical stuff. But more of Planned
Parenthood`s money goes into family planning which actually reduces the
number of abortions. But the fact is abortion isn`t a settled issue in our
country. And, in fact, it`s probably less settled than gay marriage is,
because what you`ve seen is a lot of steady movement in favor of gay
marriage, and I think that issue is going to go away.

The numbers on abortion really haven`t changed. You`ve got a majority
that`s pro-choice but kind of a narrow majority. You`ve got a lot of
Americans who are ambivalence. And politics can never speak to that
ambivalence. Because if you are ever ambivalent as a politician, you`ve
got problems.

HARRIS-PERRY: So let me ask in part as we start of the show, like talking
about Joe Biden, the possibility of Biden jumping in here. And so, E.J.,
when you are talking about, OK, Hillary Clinton has to make her position
clear, especially if there are other folks jumping in. But Biden, part of
his sort of narrative is his strong Catholicism. He`s also been pro-choice
in the past, but those could be very difficult to hold intension if you`re
the presidential candidate.

DIONNE: Well, Catholic liberals have been struggling - politicians have
been struggling with this for 25 or 30 years. Pope Francis makes it a
little easier for them because Pope Francis, he`s very pro-life, he`s very
anti-abortion, but he says this is not the only issue. He has gone back in
a way to what used to be called the seamless garment or the consistent
ethic of life where the church also talks about poverty, war, the death
penalty, immigration. And so, it`s going to be very interesting during his
visit to see what does this do to the internal catholic conversation?

TRAYNHAM: Well, and to that point, I`m sorry. Go ahead, Maria.

KUMAR: But I think also part - and this is what you are saying earlier.
The fact that the Republican Party right now is really image bashing
because they`re changing demographics. We`re talking about the red scare
in China and the Soviet Union. And even this women issues, you actually
recommends to the electorate and it`s an older generations and that`s where
their long term problem is. Sure, this may be nice as it sounds. But how
are they going to maintain control?

HARRIS-PERRY: I hear you, Maria. I mean, their electorate may be older
but the Democratic Party`s candidates are much older. And so I will say
what the Republicans have is a lot of young people and a very big, wide,
broad, can last for a long time bench.

RYAN: What you`re going to find, though, is Joe Biden is going to be just
like Obama. He has to look at the religion and also being president of all
of America.

HARRIS-PERRY: All of it.

Thank you April Ryan, also Maria Teresa Kumar. E.J. Dionne and Robert
Traynham are going to be back in our next hour.

But still to come this morning, HUD secretary Julian Castro joins me live.

Plus the surging candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson. It is happening, America.

More Nerdland at the top of the hour.


HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry and we are live in
Washington, D.C. this morning. Yesterday in New Orleans, a series of
commemorative events marks ten years since the levees broke, sending a
deluge to the city. But we begin this hour looking at one of the most
important policy decisions to come from government in the years immediately
following Katrina. This was the dramatic scene in New Orleans on December
20th, 2007. The day that the city council met to vote on the demolition
and redevelopment of the city`s largest public housing developments in the
wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Chaos erupted as police officers used pepper spray and tasers against
protesters who showed up to oppose the plan as a land grab that would only
exacerbate the vulnerabilities of New Orleans` most impoverished residents.
Their police fell on deaf ears, and eight years after the council`s
unanimous vote to oppose the demolition, the 4500 units of sturdy brick
buildings that made up four housing projects are gone, as is most of the
city`s public housing. What has taken their place is a mixed income
communities. But are also a signifier of the mixed outcomes of the city`s
plan to rebuild.

Today offers to redeveloped housing has still fallen short of the scale
that was lost in the demolition. And according to the Times-Picayune, the
new communities which seemed to have made at least some headway towards the
goal of decentralizing poverty in the city housed just nine percent of the
nearly 20,000 households served by the Housing Authority of New Orleans or
HANO. The remaining 91 percent are holding sectionate vouchers that would
meant to allow them the option to choose neighborhoods with less crime,
better schools and improved access to jobs and health care.

According to a report from the data center, a large percentage of those
families were pushed out of the places that had been their homes for
generations only to find themselves segregated again and pockets of poverty
on the outskirts of the city.

Joining me now is Secretary Julian Castro in the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development. It is a pleasure to have you here.

Great to be here.

HARRIS-PERRY: You were in New Orleans this week in part to mark the 10th
anniversary. In the 10 years since the vote to bring down the public
housing. Do you think that was the right decision?

CASTRO: I believe that the decision was made with the right intention, and
ultimately, whether or not that was the right decision is going to depend
on whether we get it right now and in the years to come, right? Because
this idea that we ought to get folks into, at their choice, areas of higher
opportunity makes a lot of sense. Just a couple months ago, there was very
powerful research from a group out of Harvard lead by Rouch Cheddy (ph)
that said, when you get families into higher opportunity areas, that has
great outcomes in terms of educational achievement, in terms of income.

At the same time, you can`t forget about the distressed areas and investing
in the older urban core neighborhoods. So, I believe that generally,
getting this mix right of using housing choice vouchers plus reinvesting in
those older, traditional public housing, that getting that balance right is
sometimes challenging, but it makes sense. And so I would say that it`s on
the right track as long as we stay true to that balance.

HARRIS-PERRY: So that balance strikes me as important when I often hear
people talking about getting families into communities of greater access
and opportunity. But you makes sense if you think that sort of the
egalitarian or just outcome is family by family. Part of what I was want
to say to that is, how we make every community a community that has access,
that has opportunity, and it does feel like housing is such a big part of
that. So, how might HUD policies actually make a difference not only in
New Orleans but in other cities across the country?

CASTRO: That`s a great question. In fact, one of the things that I think
will be a lasting legacy of the Obama administration, and I saw this when I
was mayor of San Antonio, is for the first time it came in and said, look,
in these distressed urban communities, it`s not enough just to focus on
improving the housing or just improving the education or transportation,
you have to focus on all of these things. So the work that we`re doing
with the choice neighborhood initiative, the work that we`re doing with
promised zones, for instance, the work that the Department of Education is
doing with promised neighborhoods is all about making sure that we invest
in those older urban core neighborhoods, that we invest in the people
there, and that ultimately we lift up the level of economic opportunity and
quality of life. So it`s that place-based work that I believe is the
strongest answer to the question of, well, what do we do to not forget
about folks who also want to live there where they`ve lived forever.


CASTRO: You know? I had the chance when I was in New Orleans to meet
families who have lived in these neighborhoods a long time. That`s their


CASTRO: You know, that`s where they want to be. If you gave them a choice
to go somewhere else, they wouldn`t because they want to live there, and
there`s a good reason for that. And we can`t forget about them, and
fortunately, the Obama administration has taken this holistic approach to
investing in those neighborhoods.

HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask you a political sort of pause of the day
question. Clearly Mr. Trump, the current republican front-runner, is
making headlines with comments that many in the Latino community see as
outrageous, as painful, as inaccurate. Can I ask you what your response to
the kind of headline-making comments of Mr. Trump are?

CASTRO: Well, you know, I see it on different levels, of course. I see it
as somebody who has been in politics, and I understand why it`s politically
advantageous. He`s not doing it by accident, you know, he`s doing it
because it appeals to his republican base, and we`ve seen folks from Pete
Wilson 20 years ago to Jan Brewer just a few years ago to Steve King in
Iowa that drum up resentment against immigrants in order to get elected.
At the same time, personally I can only imagine what so many folks are
feeling of different colors and backgrounds who have an immigrant history
in our country. And I know my grandmother came when she was six or seven
years old in 1922 from Mexico as a young orphan, and she worked her entire
life as a maid, a cook and a babysitter.

And so she didn`t reach, quote-unquote, “The American dream.” But because
of that, my mother was able to graduate from high school, go to college,
and my brother and I have become professionals and then public servants.
So what he`s doing, the plan that he`s put forward, is a dangerous one,
it`s offensive, and I don`t think that it`s practical for an America that
is operating in a 21st Century global economy. And my hope is that
ultimately that people will choose reasonableness and this sense of
embracing our immigrant past instead of the divisiveness and the rhetoric
that Trump is offering.

HARRIS-PERRY: Mr. Secretary, that is an almost seamless answer that
included a really lovely reminder about your own story. Are you thinking
about running for vice president?

CASTRO: I am not. I`m thinking about doing a great job at HUD.


CASTRO: First of all, you can`t run for vice president.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, have you been approached for potentially, sort of eyed
by the folks who are currently running in the Democratic Party?

CASTRO: Well, I can tell you no one has approached me about that.


CASTRO: Of course I`ve seen that, but no, I mean, I`ve learned in life
that if you want to have a good future that you have to do a great job with
what`s in front of you, so I`m trying not to forget what`s in front of me
and do a fantastic job at HUD.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you so much, and thank you again for being in New
Orleans, for listening to folks. It is a city I love greatly and want to
see good things there.

CASTRO: It`s a great city.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you.

When we come back, Donald Trump may be at the top of the GOP pack, but be
careful! You got to look at the candidate drafting right behind him, and
the unlikely contender is also an unlikely republican, and that`s next.


HARRIS-PERRY: With all eyes on Donald Trump and his surprise emergence at
the head of the American presidential pack, you may have missed the guy
behind him in the number two spot, an equally unlikely frontrunner among
contenders for the GOP nomination. Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben
Carson is the only other candidate in the crowd of republican field pulling
support numbers in the double digits. In a New Des Moines register poll of
likely GOP Iowa caucus goers has them rising to 18 percent of support,
within five percentage points of Trump. His numbers are more impressive
when you consider that Carson has outpaced experienced political veterans
in his first ever foray into electoral politics.

And that even among all pump and circumstance of the Trump spectacle, the
comparatively mild-mannered Carson has still managed to attract his own
sizeable share of enthusiastic supporters. Just last week in Arizona,
12,000 people turned out to a Carson campaign rally at the Phoenix
Convention Center, more than vote Trump and Bernie Sanders had attracted to
the same venue in recent weeks. And while he may speaks softly, Carson
addresses his supporters with the Trump`s same flare for his dramatic in
his political rhetoric. He has advocated sealing all for the country`s
borders. And has in the past called ObamaCare the worst thing to happen to
America since slavery. In fact, it was Carson`s critique of the law during
his speech at the 2013 National Prayer breakfast that marked his first
emergence onto the national political stage.


DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here`s my solution. When a
person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record
and a health savings account to which money can be contributed pre-tax from
the time you`re born to the time you die. When you die, you can pass it on
to your family members so that when you`re 85 years old and you got six
diseases you`re not trying to spend up everything. You`re happy to pass it
on and there`s nobody talking about death panels.


HARRIS-PERRY: Carson`s attack on President Obama`s signature legislation
while the President was just sitting a few feet away transformed him into a
hero among Tea Party conservatives who saw him as someone unafraid to speak
truth to power. For his new fans on the far right, Carson and his personal
story of overcoming a childhood of poverty to become a world-renowned
neurosurgeon was the very embodiment of conservative ideas of self-reliance
and individual responsibility. But long before his emergence as a Tea
Party truth-teller, those same conservative values had already elevated him
to hero status in the African-American community.

For a generation of young people who came of age in the `90s, Carson`s
memoir, “Gifted Hands” was practically required reading as parents and
educators track to instill the message of bootstraps uplift trended
throughout his life story. His narrative was improbable, a young troubled
man raised in the city of Detroit by a single mother who goes on to become
Johns Hopkins youngest chief neurosurgeon and the first ever to
successfully separate twins conjoined at the head. But for those African-
Americans who saw in his life the share – of family, religion, person
morality, present example maybe improbable feel possible.

In the GQ profile of Carson earlier this year, writer in Baltimore native
Ta-Nehisi Coates said of Carson`s frequent visits to inner city schools
during his residency of Johns Hopkins, quote, “Anytime anyone wanted to
bring out any sort of inspirational figure for young back kids, especially
for young black boys in Baltimore, they turned to Ben Carson.” But more
than 20 years later, Carson`s re-emergence as a Tea Party hero has exposed
some of the nuances in black political identity because those same young
people grew up to elect as their president another inspiration feature with
a figure with an improbable success story and a message of personal
responsibility. And the same message that has brought African-American
audiences to their feet into the polls for President Obama may not have
quite the same resonance when it comes wrapped in Carson`s republican

Joining me now, Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement
Project. E.J. Dionne, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor.
Will Jawando, democratic candidate for Maryland`s 8th Congressional
District and a former White House aide. And Robert Traynham, MSNBC
contributor, former Bush/Cheney senior advisor of vice president of
communications for the Bipartisan Policy Center.

So, Will, I actually want to start with you, because I think there is a way
in which Carson`s kind of bootstraps, individualist, politics of
respectability is not that different from what we hear from President
Obama, for example, in “My Brother`s Keeper.” But then the valiance feels
very different when it`s republican versus democrat.

You`re exactly right. I think what Dr. Carson does if he gets 70 percent
of it right. That the ideas of personal responsibility, of working hard,
of parents that care, of church, of family, of values, same things the
President talks about and believes and I believe. I grew up similar to
him, very poor in Silver Spring, Maryland. My mother stayed on me hard.
But the difference was I had a structure around me and I was fortunate to
get scholarships to high school and college and law school, and what he
fails to recognize is that from chattel slavery to Jim Crow to the failed
drug war that`s led to mass incarceration, these are state sanction systems
that make it harder to succeed, and so it`s not all about personal
responsibility. I`ve had good friends like probably Dr. Carson that didn`t
make it out because they didn`t have scholarships, they didn`t have
mentors, and so he fails to see that connection between the two.

HARRIS-PERRY: Is that were it falls apart Robert Traynham, because it does
feels me like that, that kind of conservatism, right? Not the
partisanship, but the conservatism is I mean, that is just a thread
throughout. Much of like, not to me, because I don`t believe in
respectability politics, but for many, many people that is a common, common

TRAYNHAM: Absolutely.

HARRIS-PERRY: But then it really does feel different when it comes
packaged republican.

TRAYNHAM: Absolutely. Well, let`s pack up first. Dr. Ben Carson is my
brother, he`s your uncle, he`s your grandfather, he`s one of us in the
black community with someone who is literally brilliant, who pulled himself
up from his bootstraps. So, let`s just acknowledge that, that he`s a black
man that has pulled himself up, that is very, very smart. The difference
is, is that, guess what, he`s a black republican. And so, therefore when
we start whispering it, then all of a sudden, the kind of the new car smell
of the veneer kind of goes off a little bit. So, then he`d sees in the
eyes of the African-American community, I`m very proud of him, you know,
this brother does a good very job, but you know, he`s a republican so
therefore, he is not one of us. But he`s kind of like an Alan Keys, but
he`s kind of like a Bill Cosby, but he`s kind of like a Barack Obama, but
the fact of the matter is that he`s a republican, therefore, he`s
discredited and that`s a shame. That`s a shame in the black communities,
it`s also a shame across this nation.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, this is very interesting to me. I think it`s a thing we
often hear from black Republicans is that sense of somehow being kind of
cast out of the race, of being racially inauthentic in some way. But I
actually would want to go all the way back to the first claim which is,
let`s just go ahead and say he`s a brilliant guy who pulled himself up by
his own bootstraps. It`s amazing I want to say is, I will totally give you
that he is brilliant, there`s no question about that, but I don`t know
whether or not he pulled himself up by his own bootstraps. My suggestion
to be actually is that`s probably is not the full story.

TRAYNHAM: Well, how can you say that when his life story, single mom in
Detroit, his mom works three jobs, apparently.


TRAYNHAM: How can you not say that?

HARRIS-PERRY: Because I think that hard work is necessary but insufficient
condition for success. Which is simply to say, must we work hard?
Absolutely. But does hard work necessarily lead to success? No. And so I
always want to think about the other side.


TRAYNHAM: But that`s his story though. That`s his story.

E. J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: I think there are two issues
here. One is, do we admire what Ben Carson made of his life? You bet we
do. This is an amazing story. It`s a great thing. And I think it`s a
deep debate in our country`s history about is individual effort all by
itself always enough? I mean, my feeling is not a single one of us is
self-made because there is always somebody – first of all, there is a mom
or a dad. There is somebody in the neighborhood, there is a coach, there`s
a teacher, and often there is a scholarship, there is – I got to go to
college partly on scholarship and Social Security.


HARRIS-PERRY: I go even further – but I go even further because I think
that even still leaves us within the realm of the kind of like civic action
that`s still I think is very neatly within a small government world. My
bet is that there is also almost always a public school –


HARRIS-PERRY: A health plan. Like, in fact, yes, it`s both – we have the
people around us. But there is almost always public policies, too.



DIANIS: There are policies that get cited, and that`s where I differ with
you. This is not just about a black man being cast out because he`s a
republican. He`s pushing policies not recognizing structural racism, not
recognizing all of the things that add to making lives harder for black
people in America. So, it`s not just about the republican run. You know,
feel-good story. Yes, we all read about it. We do hold him up like, oh,
my God, Ben Carson, he`s brilliant. He`s brilliant when it comes to
medical science, but I will tell you, that when I`ve heard him talk about
policy, I wouldn`t say, he`s brilliant on everything.

HARRIS-PERRY: I just have to show Ben Carson at the Iowa State Fair
talking about the brains because it just makes me happy. Let`s show him
after a second.


CARSON: With the kind of brains that God endowed us with, we do not have
to limit ourselves in any capacity whatsoever. The human brain is the most
magnificent organ system in the universe. I mean, it remembers everything
you`ve ever seen, everything you`ve ever heard, can process more than two
million bits of information in one second.


HARRIS-PERRY: So like my Nerdland so love that! I want to go to the Iowa
State Fair and hear somebody talk about brain science! It`s sounds great,
but it also doesn`t quite make me think that he`s going to make the policy
I need. Stay with us. More on this.

But up next, I`m going to bring in one of the key activists in St. Louis
who rightfully demands and respected even if not doing so with a
respectable way. We`ll going deeper to this when we come back.


HARRIS-PERRY: This week some of the most visible criticism of Black Lives
Matter came not from white progressives but from conservative African-
Americans. In a scathing editorial for USA Today, republican presidential
candidate Ben Carson writes, the idea that disrupting and protesting Bernie
Sanders speeches will change what is wrong in America is lunacy. The Black
Lives Matter Movement is focused on the wrong targets, to the detriment of
blacks who would like to see real change and to the benefit of powerful
white liberal funders using the attacks on Sanders for political purposes
that mean nothing for the problems that face our community.

Carson`s editorial came just days after former U.S. vets navy veteran Peggy
Hubbard`s Facebook`s screed against the movement when viral with more than
seven million views. But amid this argument against the movement`s
strategy, this week also brought a response to one of its original demands.
As the Ferguson Municipal Court announce a major overhaul in accordance
with the new St. Louis County law that will include the withdrawal of all
warrants issued before December 31st of 2014.

Joining me now from St. Louis is Tef Poe, co-founder of Hands Up United and
the hip-hop artist who just released his latest album “War Machine 3.”
Tef, nice to have you here. Does the announcement sound to you like a
victory, this announcement about the municipal court changes?

TEF POE, CO-FOUNDER, HANDS UP UNITED: I mean, I think it`s a noteworthy
achievement, but I also feel as if it`s irrelevant to the lives of the men
and women that are struggling with the things that the system has impounded
upon us. You know, there is a lot of talk in St. Louis right now about the
rates raising and really defining what poverty means and what hardship
means to people of color in this city, and I think that any type of
dialogue that we have for myself personally, poor people have to be in the
forefront of that discussion.

HARRIS-PERRY: Can you respond a bit to these critiques that have come from
kind of a black conservative world? Are you saying, look, the Black Lives
Matter is either just focused on the wrong things or using the wrong
strategies or just simply disreputable?

POE: You know, we live in a world where people are telling us to be
respectable to targets that just aren`t respectable. There`s nothing
respectable about white supremacy, there is nothing respectable about
oppression, there is nothing respectable about sexism, and misogyny, and
rape and murder and pillage. So, for me the conversation is deeply rooted
in respect too, is the same people that sort of Palestinian children and
not to Iraq and with the tank is a war machine that came to destroy a
village and genocide their people. So, this is the dilemma that we have.
We have a non-respectable enemy that`s asking us to essentially respect his
humanity while they don`t even acknowledge ours.

HARRIS-PERRY: Tef, stick with me. I want you to – don`t go away. But
Will, I want to come up to you. One of the reasons I wanted you at the
table is a piece you wrote for The Root this week. So, you were kind of
talking about, oh, you know, I believe in many of the same values that both
President Obama and Dr. Ben Carson believe in, but you also wrote about how
sort of respectability won`t necessarily save you from injustices or
inequality in this case.

JAWANDO: That`s exactly right. You know, I write a piece talking about
how we`re going to need more voices in the criminal justice reform, debate.
I`m a lawyer, I`m a White House aide, I`m a father, but I`ve also been
arrested. And the circumstances are different, it was a mistake, the
charges are dropped. But people don`t know that and this is a republican
and a democratic problem. That we`re at critical point. We`re not at an
infliction point, we are at a breaking point. And to say that when you
have one out of two African-Americans that have been arrested by the time
they`re 23, 44 percent of Latino men, 70 percent of the juveniles locked up
today across the country are people of color, are children of color.

To say that this is – we`re supposed to just be calm and to these young
people and that we`re supposed to be a very calm and peaceful and
respectful movement, I think is crazy. And what we`re seeing the
beginning, the tip of the iceberg of the success of this movement. And I
want to tell my daughter in 15, 20 years that I was at the forefront
running for Congress, pushing the democratic primary, too, to not just make
people understanding it but understand that we have to move. Because if
it`s respectable, Bernie Sanders, Senator Sanders does not release a racial
justice platform if he`s not interrupted and I believe that. And so, we
can`t be respectable.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, Judith, talk to me a little about this. Because it does
feel to me, you know, part of this is organizations, or the movements like
Black Lives Matter can sometimes feel like it`s contesting judicial civil
rights organizations like NAACP or urban league or others. So, how do sort
of use all those aspects of community to push an agenda?

DIANIS: Well, I mean, it`s important to have a spectrum of voices, right,
and the movement for Black Lives is clearly staking out a position that is
pushing us into a discourse that we would not have otherwise had in this
country. You know, for him to call it lunacy, no, let`s talk about the
kind of changes that are happening, the kinds of conversations that are
happening and we`re seeing real systemic reform that`s kind of a ripple
effect of young people calling out racism in this country.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, Tef, let me come back to you, because it does feel like,
you know, again I can cite something actually happening in St. Louis around
policy. We heard Will here cite Bernie Sanders actually coming out with a
racial justice platform. So, certainly Black Lives Matter is not declaring
victory or doing a victory lap, but I wonder, are you starting to see some
meaningful victories?

POE: I believe so. And I think that, you know, it`s also important to
note that in any frontier of a battle, you have different planks, you have
different areas and different people with different skill sets and
different capabilities. One thing I was talking with one of my elders
yesterday about Jamala Rogers, she brought up the fact that, you know, we
need not shoot down different ideologies and different methods just
because they don`t look some of a tour a route that we may deem is capable
of bringing about victory for us. I believe that you need people on the
front line with the gas mask and the bandanas and their shirts off and the
young ladies with their fists up, wearing the tank tops just much as you
need young women, at the Pentagon wearing Hillary Clinton`s suits.

So, I think that, you know, this is a vast assortment of people. And I
also want to note that, you know, when white supremacists like Donald Trump
look at black people, when they look at people like Harriet Tubman, to him
Harriet Tubman is the same exact person as Nicki Minaj. So, when we talk
about respectability politics, we need to note that our enemy doesn`t have
a conscience. Donald Trump doesn`t have a conscience. People like him,
they really don`t care about our general perception of ourselves to them.
And I think that within the Ferguson movement, that`s one thing that a lot
of the protesters began to notice. In the early days, people were in the
streets and we thought that we could chant our way into making police
officers respect us, we could chant our way into making politicians view us
as valid members of society. I think now we realize that`s not possible
and no matter what you look like, you can have a suit and a tie on –
Martin Luther King is just as dead as Tupac Shakur.

HARRIS-PERRY: Tef Poe in St. Louis, Missouri as always bringing us lots to
think about. I appreciate you joining us here in Washington. Thank you
Robert Traynham. The rest my panel is sticking around.

Still to come this morning, the big business of buying structured
settlements from those suffering from lead poisoning.


HARRIS-PERRY: If you grew up in the `70s or `80s, you probably remember
the public service announcement warning parents about the health risks
associated with lead-based paint. Paint containing lead was popular in the
19th and early 20th Century because it was bright, durable and quick
drying. It`s also extremely toxic, with miniscule amounts causing serious
health problems. Lead poisoning can affect the entire body, resulting in
symptoms including headaches, irritability, confusion, memory loss,
abdominal pain, nausea, loss of appetite and kidney damage.

It can even result in seizures, comma and death. And children are
especially at risk, babies and small children want to put anything and
everything into their mouths and lead paint chips are very sweet tasting.
Even lead paint that isn`t peeling can shed harmful dust which can settle
on toys, beds and floors. Compounding the danger is the fact that children
absorbed lead into their systems faster than adults, and because they`re
still growing, lead poisoning inhibits developments resulting in permanent
learning disabilities, behavioral problems and stunted growth.

Many countries in Europe band lead paint in the first decades of the 20th
Century, and the League of Nations pushed for a worldwide ban in 1922. At
the time, the United States was the world`s largest producer of lead, so
despite widespread knowledge of the dangers interior lead paint could
bring, it wasn`t officially banned in the U.S. until 1978. Lead paint was
banned going forward, but what about the millions of homes already covered
in it? Removing lead paint is extremely difficult, as a process and often
results in dangerous exposure. Those who could afford to hire
professionals to remove lead paint from their homes or who could afford to
move did so.

What about those who couldn`t afford it? Let`s look at two cities. In
Chicago the rate of lead poisoning in children under six growing up in poor
black communities is six times the city`s average. In 1995, more than 80
percent of children tested in the city`s upper class Lincoln Park
neighborhood had elevated levels of lead, nearly the same rates as those in
the low income Austin neighborhood. By 2013, the percentage of children
exposed in Lincoln Park had fallen to zero. But in Austin, nearly a
quarter of children still had dangerous levels of lead exposure. Now, in
Baltimore, the rate of children with lead poisoning is nearly three times
that of the national average.

As in Chicago, the toxic rates of lead exposure are concentrated in low-
income, predominantly black neighborhoods. Many children suffering from
permanent disabilities as a result of lead poisoning have filed lawsuits
and received settlements worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. But a new
investigative report reveals why some of those people are getting only a
fraction of what they were awarded and why other people are making millions
off of their suffering. And that story is next.


HARRIS-PERRY: Next week important court hearings will begin in the Freddie
Gray case to determine if the trial should be moved out of Baltimore, if
state`s Attorney Mary Mosby should be recused and if charges against six
police officers should be dismissed. Freddie Gray died in April from a
spinal cord injury suffered while in police custody. But a different
tragedy began for Freddie and for so many others decades earlier. Gray was
awarded a structural settlement after his family filed a lawsuit in 2008
based on the lead paint exposure Freddie and his siblings suffered in their
rented home. Two years before his death, he agreed to sell $146,000 worth
of his settlement to a company called access funding. In exchange he
received $18,000. In other words, over time he would have received
$146,000 in small amounts, but by agreeing to sell his right to that 146,
he received 18,000 up front as a lump-sum payment.

According to the paperwork Gray signed, it said Gray wanted to pay off debt
and improve his credit. And an investigative report in the “Washington
Post” this week details how companies like access funding approach
recipients of structured settlements. The companies offer quick cash for
significantly less than what would be the cumulative total. Access
funding, one of the many companies that buy structured settlements, says
the industry helps people who have urgent needs. But critics say that
these companies profit off of vulnerable individuals and communities.
Gray`s stepfather told the “Washington Post,” quote, “they sucker you in.”

They didn`t know they were giving up so much for so little. Because the
city is dotted with old homes full of lead, many Baltimore residents have
received lead paint settlements and Gray is hardly alone for selling his
for pennies on the dollar. According to the post, access funding has
purchased about 200 structured settlements in Maryland since 2013. And one
such person is Vincent Maurice Jones, Jr., he grew up in one of the lead
painted home on Baltimore`s Mosher Street, and he didn`t graduate from high
school, suffers from severe learning difficulties and lives with his mother
in a house he purchased with money from a structured settlement.

In 2013, Jones signed several contracts with access funding indicating he
wished to sell $663,000 worth of his settlement for just $50,000 in return.
And despite already owning a home, the paperwork for access funding, Jones
says, indicates that he needs money because he doesn`t want to pay rent
anymore. We reached out to access funding to see if anyone would join us,
and in response to our invitation, they provided this statement. Quote,
“Previous media coverage contained numerous factual inaccuracies and
presented a material misleading depiction of our practices of our business
and industry. We are eager to work with consumers, policymakers and others
to educate them as to the actual practices and regulations already in
place. We are also supportive and have pro-actively adopted various
initiatives being discussed to update the current Maryland structured
settlement transfer laws to be on par with other more stringent policies
throughout the country.”

So, with us, Judith Browne Dianis, E.J. Dionne, Will Jawando and joining me
now, the reporter who has been digging into those numbers, and talking to
the people who are agreeing to such contracts. Terrence McCoy of the
“Washington Post.” Did I get that right, Terrence?

Yes, you got it right. And I think the most important thing to remember
when you`re talking about what these are called, structured settlements,
they`re different than traditional settlements which are paid out in one
lump sum. And the reason these structured settlements started the way they
did is because these people are vulnerable recipients and they may not have
much experience being able to manage wiring sums of money. So what they do
then is they tried to eke out that money over decades to help that person
really weather the stresses of everyday life. And a lot of times, this is
the single assets that these people have. And, but at the same time,
disability is expensive, poverty is expensive, that pile up. And in that
desperation creates opportunity. And that really is what was gave rise to
this industry that really comes in and pays out what sometimes can be dimes
on the dollar for these structured settlements.

HARRIS-PERRY: In fact, the story about this industry reads to me almost
like the kind of predatory lending that we`ve seen not only in mortgages
that I think we`re used to hearing about, but also in used cars, in the pay
day loans. Is it in that category?

MCCOY: Well, I think critics definitely do say that this is predatory
lending because what happens is these contracts are extremely complicated.
They stretch across at least a dozen pages, and then when you think about
the people who are striking deals with them a lot of times, especially if
they come from circumstances like in Baltimore when they have lead
poisoning, they have diminished capacity to be able to understand
complexity like that. And again, in that sort of situation, it gives rise
to the situation you see, where these dollar amounts just don`t even seem
to equate.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, Judith, I wonder if there`s ways that we could begin to
think of this sort of issue as a civil rights issue or as an inequality
issue in ways that I think we often don`t.

DIANIS: Right. No, I definitely think so. I mean, your analogy to
predatory lending is spot on and we do need to be looking at this as a
violation of civil rights. Because I`m sure if we actually got some real
data behind this that we would see African-Americans and Latinos probably
hit more disproportionately by these kinds of practices.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, and it makes sense given what you report here about
the lead, right? That the lead in the homes is most likely to happen in
communities where people have fewer housing choices and options.

MCCOY: This story is steeped in the historical sweep of Baltimore when you
think of decades of segregated housing policies that really crammed a
certain demographic in certain neighborhoods, and then those neighborhoods
started atrophy. And in that atrophy, you have situations like lead paint
poisoning because those houses aren`t being maintained properly. So, if
you just follow the footsteps all the way back to the origin of the story,
you can make it into a civil rights issue.

DIONNE: First of all, I`m very biased here, but I do want to say let`s
hear it for good, old-fashioned journalism.

HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely. Exactly.

DIONNE: Terrence – saying, it took four months – three months to put
this story together. We need this kind of journalism, so let me just put
that out there. But, you know, this does link up to the conversation we
had in the last segment about Black Lives Matter, and there is clearly a
linkage between class issues and race issues, and there are coalition
opportunities there. And, you know, when you go back to Dr. King, you
think about two aspects of his approach, aspect one was militancy and


DIONNE: And you have to put problems before people, you have to put them
in people`s faces.


DIONNE: For myself, it wasn`t at the front of my mind before that when my
22-year-old son goes out in the street, I don`t worry that he`s going to be
shot by a cop.


DIONNE: That`s the one side of it. The other side of it is if you look at
what he did, Dr. King was very focused on the conversion of adversaries
and on coalition building, and I think when you look at that movement, you
have the first half where you need the militancy to get the problem out
there, but you need coalition building to solve it. And I think that
that`s –

HARRIS-PERRY: And it`s okay for it to be different people doing that work.

JAWANDO: And I think E.J. is exactly right. You need the militancy as the
starter. It`s the match that lights the flame. But you also need a new
set of leaders that have lived experience, that can go in and talk to – I
think now you have Republicans that just don`t understand a lot of these
issues or deny them, and then you have many Democrats that care, want to
care, but don`t understand the urgency. Baltimore has been a democratic
city for a long time, I know a lot of people there, and I think you need
folks that have lived through it to be some of these leaders that can help
bring these coalitions together and get us real policy. You need that
merging. But one without the other doesn`t work.

HARRIS-PERRY: And Terrence, you know, I would add to that also, and this
maybe goes back to the kind of hands clap for journalism. You`re also
inputting issues in front of people to be able to tie those links. I saw
appreciated this idea that, you know, we all meet Freddie Gray in this
moment of his arrest, but that the questions about what impacts Freddie
Gray`s life are these large structural questions that go much beyond it.

MCCOY: The arc that Freddie Gray traced from his early life and slum
housing in Baltimore all the way to his death, this is the stuff that has
been repeated by hundreds of different people in those urban centers. When
you think about being born into lead paint tenements and then you see the
compounding damages of failures in the classroom, truancy and run-in with
the law. All these things add up to what you could see happened to Freddie
Gray. And then the aftermath of those protests and the frustration that
you see that happens.

HARRIS-PERRY: And the story becomes that much more complicated and rich.
I want to say thank you to Judith Browne Dianis, to E.J. Dionne, to Will
Jawando, and to Terrence McCoy, his plan to be in Washington, D.C. –


Up next, the civil rights activist confirm to the nation`s highest court on
this day 48 years ago.


HARRIS-PERRY: On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was confirmed to the
Supreme Court becoming the first African-American justice on the nation`s
highest court. But long before his historic appointment, Marshall
established himself as one of the legal giants of the 20th century. And a
tireless warrior for racial equality. As a student he was denied admission
to the University of Maryland law school because of his race. And Marshall
went on to attend Howard University Law School. Graduating first in his
class. Shortly after graduation, he successfully sued the very Maryland
law school that rejected him, forcing an end to their segregation policies.
For more than 20 years, Marshall worked as a chief counsel of the NAACP
Legal Defense Fund, where he helped formulate the strategy of using
litigation as a tool of social reform. He traveled the country taking on
major and minor cases involving questions of racial justice.


prejudice overnight by the emancipation proclamation was issued in 1863,
90-odd years ago. I believe in gradualism. I also believe that 90-odd
years is pretty gradual.


HARRIS-PERRY: He won key victory challenging Texas` whites-only primary
elections and racially restricted housing covenants. But his most
significant legal victory came in 1954, as the lead attorney in Brown
versus the Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court case that struck
down segregation in public schools. Marshall argued 32 cases before the
Supreme Court, earning an impressive record that President Lyndon Johnson
noted when he nominated Marshall for the high court declaring that it was,
quote, “The right thing to do and the right time to do it.”


cases before the Supreme Court. He has won 29 of them. And that`s a
batting average of 900.


HARRIS-PERRY: For the next 24 years, Justice Marshall was a fierce
advocate on social justice issues, standing up for affirmative action and
reproductive rights and against the death penalty. Both in and out of
court, he was known for making his case in blunt, straightforward language.



MARSHALL: You ought to go around the country and show yourself a Negro and
you`re an inspiration. For what? These Negro kids are not fools. They
know to tell them that there`s a possibility that someday you`ll have a
chance to be the only Negro on the Supreme Court, that those odds aren`t
too good.


HARRIS-PERRY: I just love him. Marshall retired from the court in 1991.
And though the current Supreme Court with its conservative majority has
undercut much of what Marshall fought for by gutting the heart of the
voting rights act and laying the groundwork for further rollback for
affirmative action, it is also more diverse than ever. A court that
includes three women, including the first Latina on the court. A
transformation that began with the historic confirmation of Thurgood
Marshall to the Supreme Court of the United States on this day, August
30th, 1967.

And that is our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. And
thank you to the team here in Washington, D.C. You all have been
extraordinary, I`m going to see you next Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern
back up there in New York. But right now it`s time for a preview of

those guys in D.C. Thank you so much, Melissa.

A fan falls to his death at a baseball stadium. What went wrong and was
foul play involved.

Chris Christie fighting up criticism over his plan to track foreigners with
some help from FedEx.

Plus, what to expect on Wall Street after a very wild week. What you can
do to protect your investments. Don`t go anywhere. I`ll be right back.


WITT: New polls and reaction. The Bernie Sanders surge gets fresh
momentum in Iowa. And what`s happening on the GOP side could be a bigger

The only woman in the GOP field. Will she be part of the main event at the
next republican debate or part of the undercard? I`ll talk to her deputy
campaign manager.

Police now have a suspect in that execution-style killing of an officer in
Houston. But one very big piece of the puzzle remains a mystery at this


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