Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 09/12/15

Lizz Winstead, Nina Turner, Jemele Hill, Mary Pilon, Gina Glantz, Beverly Johnson

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning, my question. Should we
care that Hillary Clinton is a woman? Plus, supermodel Beverly Johnson
live in “Nerdland.” And, I don`t care what happened yesterday. Serena is
still the greatest of all time. But first, the class of `16 tries to laugh
its way to the White House.

Good morning, I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. And this week, may of the serious
2016 presidential candidates spent considerable time with some decidedly
provocative public figures. And while these inviting public rendezvous may
seem surprising, it`s heard out that if you look carefully you will see
that big-name politicians have been doing it for a long, long time. John
F. Kennedy did it with Jack Parr in 1960, five months before he was elected


JOHN F. KENNEDY: The judgment of the president, his responsibility, his
confidence, his experience, his vigor really are going to decide whether
we`re going to live in peace, whether we`re going to live in security, what
are relations are going to be with the communists, what our relations are
going to be with the people around the world. It`s the president.


HARRIS-PERRY: Richard Nixon did it two months before the 1968 presidential
election. With Rowen and Martens (ph) laughing.


RICHARD NIXON: Sock it to me?



HARRIS-PERRY: And, of course, we all know Bill Clinton did it. I mean
Bill Clinton did it bigger, better and sexier than any had done it before
when he did it with Arsenio Hall on June 3, 1992.


BILL CLINTON (playing saxophone)



HARRIS-PERRY: And presidential hopefuls aren`t the only ones to do it. In
2003 Arnold Schwarzenegger did it with Jay Leno, and he was just doing it
to announce his intentions.


ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: He is failing them terribly and this is why he
needs to be recalled. And this is why I`m going to run for governor of the
state of California.



HARRIS-PERRY: Candidates with comedians. George W. Bush, John McCain,
Howard Dean, John Edwards, Barack Obama – they all did it. And it is one
thing to do it as a candidate and another thing altogether to do it as
president. In 2009 a few months after his inauguration President Obama
made history by becoming the first sitting president to ever appear on a
late night talk show as a guest on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.


BARACK OBAMA: I ran for president because I thought we needed big changes.
And I do think in Washington it`s a little bit like “American Idol” except
everybody is Simon Cowell.


JAY LENO: Wow. Wow. That`s rough. That`s rough.



HARRIS-PERRY: Now don`t think of President Obama, though, as just a one-
night talk show stand-up. As president he has pushed the boundaries of
conventional vanilla media and pursued an aggressively unconventional
relationship with new media forums. One might argue that no one has ever
done it quite like this before.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to know, what is it like to be the last black

BARACK OBAMA: Seriously? What`s it like for this to be the last time you
ever talk to a president?



HARRIS-PERRY: In a fractured media universe, to be heard candidates must
go beyond the news shows and press conferences and embrace the comedian.
Last night Donald Trump did it with NBC`s Jimmy Fallon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next question, how are you going to create jobs in this

TRUHARRIS-PERRY: I`m just going to do it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. Right. But how?


TRUHARRIS-PERRY: By doing it. It just happens. Just by doing it.




HARRIS-PERRY: And on Tuesday Jeb Bush did it with Stephen Colbert.


STEPHEN COLBERT: Your campaign poster is just Jeb! With a j-e-b and
exclamation mark.


COLBERT: Why the Jeb? Why?

JEB BUSH: Because I`ve been using Jeb since 1994.


JEB BUSH: It connotes excitement. It connotes …


COLBERT: Jeb! How many of us when we got excited about things didn`t just
go Jeb!


JEB BUSH: In Florida, they do. When they see me, most of them either out
of happiness or deep anger.



HARRIS-PERRY: Hillary Clinton did it with Ellen showing that the talk show
form allows candidates to clear the air.


ELLEN DEGENERES: Let`s talk about the e-mails.


DEGENERES: Okay. What?

ELLEN: What?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I want people to understand this, so I`m glad you
asked. I used a personal e-mail account. It was allowed by the State
Department. But I should have used two different accounts. I made a
mistake, and I`m sorry for all the confusion that has ensued. I take
responsibility for that.


HARRIS-PERRY: Now Vice President Joe Biden, who is not yet officially
running for president, did it, too, with Colbert on Thursday, and answered
the question so many Americans have on their minds.


COLBERT: I want to talk about the elephant in the room which, in this
case, is a donkey.


COLBERT: Do you have anything you`d like to tell us right now about your



BIDEN: I think you should run for president again and I`ll be your vice



HARRIS-PERRY: But perhaps the more memorable moment had nothing to do with
politics nor was there anything at all comedic about it. Rather, it was
the vice president talking about his son Beau who died of brain cancer in


BIDEN: A couple of months before he died I was at his house and he said,
dad, sit down. I want to talk to you with Hallie, his wife, an incredible
kid, and he said, dad, I know how much you love me. You have to promise me
something. Promise me you`re going to be all right. Because no matter
what happens, dad, I`m going to be all right. Promise me.


HARRIS-PERRY: Which just may go to show that the true value of these
appearances is not so much about the campaign win. It may not even be
about being funny. As the vice president displayed with raw emotion, it`s
that sometimes the late-night hot seat is about something else entirely.
Being human. Joining me now is someone who knows a thing or two about the
intersection of politics and comedy shows, she is the co-creator of “The
Daily Show” Lizz Winstead, writer, comedienne and author of “Live Free or
Die” essays and Nina Turner, former Ohio State Senator. I can`t believe
they ….


HARRIS-PERRY: I`m so excited to have you. So, I want to play what I think
was my favorite moment of all the conversations this week, and it is –
well, OK. Well, maybe we`ll actually wait on that for a second. But talk
to me in general. What do you think is - were the big wins of this week,

WINSTEAD: As far as – well, I`m not sure – it was funny because people
are like, Jeb held his own. But first of all, you can`t put the
exclamation point after your name.



WINSTEAD: Other people do that. It`s like saying I`m edgy. Let others
decide. So – but I think that Joe Biden wins and I think what I liked
about Joe Biden is I`m personally getting a little weary of the word
authentic because what`s happened to authentic is it used to be about
reality. Now people are using it with Trump. Well, he`s just being
authentic, saying what people think. It`s like well, he`s not saying what
I think. And, also, sometimes your authentic self, you can be it to a
certain degree, but if you want to hold higher office, does your whole
authentic self get to – will your whole authentic self get elected?

HARRIS-PERRY: Ok, so, Lizz, so now we do have - I just heard her back from
our control room. Now we do have my favorite moment of the week. And, you
know, I`m dying to know what you think about this. I`m going to play it
for just a moment. This is – oh, well, no, apparently, we don`t have it.
They totally - don`t have it. OK. So talk to me – I will tell you what
my favorite moment of the week is and hopefully we will someday have it.


HARRIS-PERRY: But it is Hillary Clinton doing the ne ne on “Ellen.” It
just was quite a moment. And I`m wondering if you think that moment was a

NINA TURNER, FORMER STATE SENATOR (OHIO): Yeah, I mean, any moment that
shows someone kind of more relaxed and into the other self is a beautiful
thing. I mean that is the reason why they go on “Late Night.” But I have
got to say, professor, when President Bill Clinton played the saxophone,
the sister wanted to get up and say, amen, hallelujah, somebody.

HARRIS-PERRY: OK, so this is interesting. OK. Because I love the Hillary
Clinton doing the ne ne, next to Bill Clinton playing the sax, in part
because of them have a recognition that African-American and youth
audiences are going to be critical for them to be elected. Right?

TURNER: Right.

HARRIS-PERRY: Whether it`s - now. But you go to the authenticity point, I
thought it was funny, Hillary Clinton doing, but it didn`t feel quite like
she was performing herself. It felt like she was performing this cultural
moment. But, of course, we also know that eventual President Clinton was
also just performing. And man, people loved it.


HARRIS-PERRY: And I think you train to play the sax. Right? You learn
it, you are a sax player, that need to know - probably know about jazz, you
know about, you know about a lot of things. But it`s a cultural context
that`s authentic. When Hillary Clinton does the ne-ne, it feels to me like
a bunch of staffers, how can we appeal to black youth?

TURNER: Are you saying she just doesn`t do the ne-ne all the time? In her
private time?


TURNER: I feel you, though.

HARRIS-PERRY: I feel like her authentic – what is your authentic self and
then show that. The other thing I feel like, are we substituting this
entirely knowing how somebody is going to make my life better? I also think
Trump had a bit of a win. He reminded me very much of the Sarah Palin
moments on “SNL.” You just play yourself, but because yourself is kind of
bigger than life thing, it works. So what? He was genuinely good,
genuinely funny. That doesn`t mean I think he ought to be the president.

TURNER: I know, but we kind of need these moments because they are
touching people in places who don`t necessarily watch regular news. We
need this. But, Professor, your whole they`re all doing it made me think
of LL Cool J`s doing it, doing it, doing it real, ok?


TURNER: But we do need to see the other side of folks, even if it`s just a
snapshot. Even if it`s just a window. Imagine if they did govern that

HARRIS-PERRY: But I also wonder if that little window can also be the
danger zone. There was this moment on that same Jay Leno – at this point
the president, President Obama, has been elected, but he makes a slip-up.
I wonder if we have that sound. Okay. So he makes a slip-up and he`s
talking about bowling, and he`s saying he`s not a good bowler, and he says,
oh, I bowl like I`m in the special Olympics. And so, again, at this point
he`s already elected. But it`s this moment and you realize, oh, in that
being relaxed, you say something that is clearly kind of offensive and
troublesome. He got in trouble. He had to kind of go back and manage it,
and it seems that`s always the danger that`s in that space.

WINSTEAD: I think that that`s what makes it interesting, because who
doesn`t and hasn`t had a slip. All of us are those people who are our
authentic selves almost all the time.

TURNER: We`re human.

WINSTEAD: And so the question is, how does society define you, though? By
your slip? Are you able to come out of it? All of those things are really

HARRIS-PERRY: (inaudible) supermodel Beverly Johnson says Bill Cosby
drugged her. Now says she`d forgive him. She will join me live in studio.


HARRIS-PERRY: Here is a look at some of the other stories in the headlines
this morning. In Phoenix, police are questioning a man in connection with
a string of highway shootings. The 19-year-old is also being held on
charges of possessing marijuana. Police say he is not a suspect, but a
person of interest. At least 11 vehicles have been hit by bullets and
other projectiles while traveling on or near interstate 10 over the past
two weeks.

In California, a rapidly expanding wildfire has 2700 people preparing to
evacuate their homes. The fire grew Friday to 65,000 acres, threatening
the town of San Andreas, about 60 miles southeast of Sacramento. The
governor of California has declared a state of emergency for the area. And
former Texas Governor Rick Perry has become the first member of the class
of 2016 to drop out. He officially announced yesterday he is suspending
his campaign. Perry had struggled in the crowded GOP field, and in the
latest national poll, he had less than a percent support, and last month
stopped paying some staffers. While announcing the end of his campaign,
Perry took a parting shot at GOP front-runner Donald Trump.


FORMER GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: The conservative movement has always been
about principles, not about personalities. Our nominee should embody those
principles. He or she must make the case for the cause of conservatism
more than the cause of their own celebrity.


HARRIS-PERRY: Perry`s decision to end his second bid for the presidency
comes just days before the next GOP debate. Up next, Hillary Clinton`s
hammered home one part of her political strategy this week, even though
it`s the one thing we all already knew.


HARRIS-PERRY: During the 2008 Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton
downplayed her identity as a woman, regularly responding to inquires about
the historic significance of her campaign by asserting that she was the
best candidate. Full stop. This time she has a decidedly different
strategy. She frequently reminds voters that if elected, she would be the
first woman president in our country`s history.


CLINTON: Well, I may not be the youngest candidate in this race, but I
will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States.


HARRIS-PERRY: And this week the Clinton campaign has had gender front and
center as Hillary appeared at women for Hillary events across the country.
Last Saturday she was endorsed by Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who was New
Hampshire`s first elected woman governor and first woman senator. At an
event where Clinton made a solidarity appeal to women voters.


CLINTON: If we women stand together and fight together, we can make our
country stronger, we can make our country fairer. We women are not afraid
of hard work. And that`s good because we`ve got some hard work to do.


HARRIS-PERRY: And on Thursday she took a swipe at Donald Trump over his
comments about women.


CLINTON: And there is one particular candidate who just seems to delight
in insulting women every chance he gets. I have to say if he emerges, I
would love to debate him.


HARRIS-PERRY: And she also said another one of her favorite lines.


CLINTON: If calling for equal pay for equal work is playing the gender
card, deal me in. I am ready to play.


HARRIS-PERRY: So clearly Clinton is looking to drum up excitement by
arguing that a victory for her would be a victory for all women, which is a
really interesting question. Would American women find Hillary Clinton`s
presidency empowering? Now the answer might seem obvious. No other
candidate in either party can boast a professional record as focused on
gender equality as Clinton`s. But Clinton is not exclusively making a
claim about her substance. She`s also implying that there is symbolic
power in the possibility of a woman as president. The symbolic power of
President Obama has been apparent since his earliest moments in office.
The raw displays of emotion at the first inauguration were only partly
about Obama himself. Much of the exuberance wasn`t seeing a black man
assume the presidency and seeing the American state embodied in a black
body when so many black bodies had been broken, exploited, marginalized and
shunned by that very state since its founding. History will yet decide the
substantive impact of the Obama administration on the lives of African-
Americans, but the symbolic meaning of his presidency is already written.

Our question for 2016, will the election of Hillary Clinton have a
similarly deep, effective symbolic meaning? Maybe. Maybe not. Despite the
historic and continuing reality of women`s equality, gender identity has
never held the same kind of political meaning as racial identity in
American politics. In other words, gender doesn`t predict the way you vote
nearly as much as your race does. From 1920 all the way until 1980, there
was no gender gap. Women voted for Democrats and Republicans at the same
rate as men did. In 1980, women started breaking for the Democratic
candidates, but that so-called gender gap, that`s also really about race.
You see, in 2012, a majority of white women voted for Mitt Romney. It was
only the overwhelming support of black women and Latinos that delivered the
women`s vote to the Democrats, and black women voters chose Senator Obama
over Senator Clinton by huge margins during the 2008 primaries.

Was it because they did not experience Senator Clinton`s candidacy as
meaningfully historic in the same terms as they understood Senator Obama`s?
Answering that question is crucial to the Clinton campaign, because these
are the women who hold the keys to the Democratic Party`s edge in the
general election.

Joining the table now is Gina Glantz, founder of Gender Avenger, an
organization dedicated to ensuring women`s participation in the public
arena, and she is also the former campaign manager for Bill Bradley`s 2000
presidential run.

Gina, does Hillary Clinton connect on this gender piece when she is talking
about the history, that with the actual women that are Democratic voters,
mostly African-American women, Latinas, and young women?

GINA GLANTZ, GENDER AVENGER: I think she does. She runs as a woman
because she is a woman. She is judged as a candidate because she is a
woman. I think that you can`t be it unless you can see it. That was
clearly part of what the motivation was around voters with Barack Obama and
will be with Hillary Clinton. Young women might have the experience of
seeing a woman president. I think that`s a motivating factor in voting.
And older women, like me, we want to see one before we die.

HARRIS-PERRY: So I hear you on that, and I don`t know that I agree with
the idea that you can`t see it – you can`t be it unless you see it. I
think part of the genius of the black American experience is consistently
being able to imagine ourselves as free and equal even when there was no
freedom or equality around us. I guess my other part of the concern is for
me, whether or not seeing Hillary Clinton empowered feels empowering to so
many women, and not because – not just for womanhood, but specifically her
connection to – I mean, she comes through being first lady. There are
ways that may not necessarily feel like it`s opening the system. It may
feel like it`s closing it.

TURNER: No, you hit the nail on the head, professor. I don`t think it is
that same raw emotion, and this has nothing to do with the secretary


TURNER: Because we are being socialized in a society that is very much
still male dominated, but I don`t believe that this country embraces the
whole notion of having a woman as president in the same spiritual way that
the African-American community embraced the election of the first African-
American president. And dare I say even in that other segment, where the
comedian asked President Obama how does it feel to be the last, African-
Americans are already thinking about that. If you look at the Democratic
ticket right now, if I can just go there, there is not an African-American
running for the presidency, and I believe that African-Americans need to
run every single election cycle along with my Latino brothers and sisters
and Asians, all the people of color, the rainbow coalition, every single
election cycle.

HARRIS-PERRY: This point to me feels really important actually on the
question of whether or not Hillary Clinton then feels empowering. Part of
the reason we don`t have a broad group of people running on the Democratic
side – it could be that Democrats just don`t want to be president, it`s
possible, right, but I presume it`s because we have this inevitability
narrative that emerged around Hillary Clinton`s candidacy which, again, and
this is not necessarily about the secretary herself, but it`s just bad for
the health of a party if you think that you`re about to enter a coronation.
And so that doesn`t feel empowering. It feels stifling.

WINSTEAD: Especially a coronation of a woman. Right? To say there`s a
woman now, nobody get in her way, messaging can be will somebody challenge
her and make her not seem the most competent? It`s still not saying this is
the great woman. It`s interesting when we have this whole conversation
when I looked at my own life and when I was – somebody asked me when I was
in college, you should go into stand-up comedy. The stand-up comedy women
that I knew that were very successful were Joan Rivers and Toni Fields and
Phyllis Diller. I saw them, but I did not see myself in them, and that`s
something that`s very different. It`s not just about seeing a woman so you
can be it, it`s can a woman do it – can I do that because I`m not like

HARRIS-PERRY: Gina, I do want to point out, though, because we are talking
about the symbolic piece, that substantively, as a candidate, as a first
lady, as a senator, Hillary Clinton has been talking about gender issues
for a long time. I want to play probably what was the key moment, which
was her `95 Beijing speech as first lady. Let`s play a moment of that.


CLINTON: It is time to break the silence. It is time for us to say here
in Beijing and for the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to
discuss women`s rights as separate from human rights.


HARRIS-PERRY: This is 20 years ago when she makes that statement is the
breakout. I guess honestly, I`m a little surprised that in `08, she didn`t
run more on the historic nature of a woman president, because this had been
her breakout moment.

GLANTZ: That`s true, but we as women running for office, we`re repeatedly
told you`d better look strong. You`d better look more male like in your
ability to do the job. That being a woman was not an attribute that was
going to take you into the presidency. I think that`s changed in the last
eight years. I don`t think it`s –

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, Sarah Palin was part of the changing that. Not
because – again, this is that substance versus symbol piece. It`s not
like I am generally supportive of Sarah Palin`s policies, but in terms of
just being like, well, I`m going to run this real differently in my high
heels –

GLANTZ: She owned –

HARRIS-PERRY: She really did.

GLANTZ: She owned herself.

HARRIS-PERRY: She responded to that, well, that looks –


HARRIS-PERRY: We`re going to dig into this a little bit more. Up next I
will ask my panel, could a woman do what Joe Biden did this week?


HARRIS-PERRY: Vice President Joe Biden gave a heartwrenching interview
this week on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” He spoke about whether
he has the emotional energy to run for president while grieving the death
of his son Beau.


said that I knew I was there.


HARRIS-PERRY: Biden is often contrasted with Hillary Clinton when it comes
to authenticity. But as Michelle Goldberg argues in “The Nation,” his
emotional vulnerability would not work for a woman candidate.

Quote, “No woman could say on national television that she might be too
emotionally fragile to run for president and still be seen as someone who
could actually run for president.” You were making this argument in the
commercial break how media reads Hillary Clinton`s attempts at authenticity
or actual authentic moments, right, is troubling.

GLANTZ: Right. She became a grandmother, a new feature of her life. As a
grandmother, I can tell you the most remarkable, wonderful, terrific
feature of any grandparent`s life, and she talks about it. And what does
the media write? What did they tell the public? They tell the public that
her campaign told her to be softer and talk about her grandchild. That`s
not why she does it. And so I think there`s a different standard that`s
being set for her authenticity.

HARRIS-PERRY: Sure. That said, I do – so I agree that it is in part
about gender. We saw this even with first lady Obama when she would make
any kind of choices. Now the media is doing this or telling her to do this
or acting her to be this way. On the other hand, part of it is also
Hillary Clinton is not an unknown, brand-new candidate. We have seen and
watched her for a long time. We went back and watched, I mean, this was
like a moment last night. I went back and watched the 1992 “60 Minutes”
moment. So if you weren`t watching politics at the time, let`s watch this.


CLINTON: I`m not sitting here like some little woman standing by my man
like Tammy Wynette. I`m sitting here because I love him and I respect him
and I honor what he`s been through and what we`ve been through together.
And, you know, if that`s not enough for people then, heck, don`t vote for


HARRIS-PERRY: That is her responding to the allegations about the Gennifer
Flowers affair. But, I don`t know. I think in part because we`ve seen
that moment and this one –

TURNER: That`s the moment we want to see. She should embrace and own who
she is. She`s not a touchy kind of feely kind of woman. And that should
be okay. She needs to own it. And the contrast that you gave about
Governor Palin owning who she was. Come hell or high water, she did. The
secretary should do the same thing. And take a page from Congresswoman
Shirley Chisholm in 1972, unbought and unbossed. When she said in her
speech, I am African-American, I am black and proud, but I am not running
as that. I am a woman and I`m equally proud of that as well. But I am
running to lift the people. I`m paraphrasing her. You have to bring that
out. And the secretary and all women stand on the shoulders of the great
Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, who dared when everybody was against her,
even people in the African-American community.

HARRIS-PERRY: Listen to me when I hear you say I stand on the shoulders of
Shirley Chisholm, that makes me feel taller. When I hear a woman of
privilege and wealth who came through as being first lady say I`m standing
on the shoulders of Shirley Chisholm, not that she said that, but if she
did – I literally believe the resonance would be different. I would be
like, get off her shoulders. Stop that. Stop standing on the black woman.
This is – historically what it means to stand on someone when there`s
class and racial differences.


TURNER: She owns this moment in the same way President Obama or any woman
who dares to dream to hold that office. We have a gender or race problem
in this country. Who knew? 44 other presidents, we only have one African-
American. We may or may not have a woman in 2016. This country has a lot
of catching up to do.

HARRIS-PERRY: So let me ask the Joe Biden question. Because you were
saying a little bit earlier. So if Biden runs, and I am undignified in my
desire for Biden to run, just because I think we need to have a more robust
Democratic primary, for the good of all American politics. So I am
undignified in that desire. That said, does he immediately get framed by a
whole portion of the party as once again another guy coming to stand in
Hillary Clinton`s way?

GLANTZ: No, because he`s not just a guy coming in. He`s the guy who has
been in the administration for eight years, he`s a guy who was a senator,
he`s a guy who was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He is a
guy who has had a lot of guy experience. Having said that, the thing that
I find myself getting rageful for women is that society refuses to accept
complexity in women. And men, it`s a given. And for us to not be able to
say sometimes I have to check myself where I`m at emotionally, because
things happen. But women are forever and have since the history of time
had to balance and function with many juggling emotional things happening
at once, and we have done it.

HARRIS-PERRY: You want to talk about the complexity of women, we`ll talk
about Carly Fiorina and -


HARRIS-PERRY: Still to come this morning, Beverly Johnson is live in
studio. But first, we will talk about the person whom Donald Trump is
insulting now.


HARRIS-PERRY: Hillary Clinton isn`t the only woman running for president.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is doing relatively well in a
crowded Republican field, clocking in at number six out of 16 candidates
according to the RealClearPolitics average of several recent polls. But
this week, Fiorina had to respond to Donald Trump being Donald Trump. In a
“Rolling Stone” profile published Wednesday, Trump has described reacting
to seeing Fiorina on TV. And saying, look at that face, he cries. Would
anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?
I mean, she`s a woman, and I`m not supposed to say bad things, but really,
folks, come on. Are we serious? Are we?

Fiorina had this response when asked about the Republican front-runner`s


FIORINA: I`m not going to spend a single cycle wondering what Donald Trump
means, but maybe, just maybe, I`m getting under his skin a little bit,
because I am climbing in the polls.



WINSTEAD: So there`s nothing that makes me more angry than those kind of
attacks, and when I`m on Twitter, I will defend anybody who disagrees with
me ideologically. What makes me feel – it`s expected from Donald Trump,
but I would like to remind everybody that Carly Fiorina was caught in the
makeup chair talking about Barbara Boxer, when she was running for the
Senate, saying, oh, her hair. It`s so `80s. It`s so last year. It`s so
tired. So, you want to know what? Everyone stop it and check yourself
also, Carly Fiorina. I just have to say that. It was really upsetting. I
hate hearing it, and I don`t like it when anyone does it.

HARRIS-PERRY: So it`s an interesting point, and, Gina, I guess it`s part
of what is my challenge as I try to think through this. Part of it was the
Gender Avenger, we look at some of the pacts and organizations that have
come up with the goal of increasing the descriptive representation of women
in elective office. The goal is to have more women, and that is a worthy,
valuable, critical goal even if I ideologically disagree with some of these
women or where they`re coming from. I actually think it matters to have
your leadership look like your country, but I also wonder if we then get
stuck in the only thing that matters is a woman as opposed to the policies
that a woman candidate has relative to other women.

GLANTZ: It speaks to – I`m going to go back to the coverage. If all
we`re talking about is what Donald Trump says about Carly Fiorina`s face,
all we`re talking is menstruation for five, six days, we`re not talking
about policies. All we`re talking about Hillary Clinton is why she isn`t
sounding more authentic. We`re not talking about every single one of her
policies, which she has come out with very directly. So, you know, what is
it that causes us to measure based on some kind of profile that`s expected
rather than the policies that are being issued?

HARRIS-PERRY: The first time Hillary Clinton was able to break through the
news cycle and have it not be about e-mails, was this moment when she sort
of repeats a very interesting war on women narrative. Let`s take a listen.


CLINTON: Now, 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. It`s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want
to be the president of the United States.



TURNER: It`s really the substance of what the candidate has to say. And
we have to remember, we are socialized in this country. It is in our DNA,
and we have to deconstruct our construction on a regular basis, that we
hold women, no matter how much substance, to a different standard in the
media. That being said, first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the country,
senator of New York, secretary of state, and now running for the presidency
of the United States of America. She is there. She can handle this. She
can do this. All women can, and madam CEO is handling her business, too.
Fierce women shake the world. But we should not just vote for women
because of their DNA. We should vote because of the substance. But I will
tell you, it`s not just women, it`s the whole African-American, Latina.
When I was running for secretary of state, I had a consultant say to me,
now Senator, you`re black, but don`t bring attention to that.

HARRIS-PERRY: I think they noticed.

TURNER: Like, hello. When I walk into a room. So you`re always
challenged about how people want you to be and respond. Be you. Do you,
baby. Do you.

HARRIS-PERRY: Lizz and Nina will be back in the next hour. But I want to
say thank you to Gina Glantz. For those interested in Gina`s work about
ensuring women are part of the public dialogue, check out her website, Up next, I will ask Beverly Johnson why she`s prepared
to forgive Bill Cosby.


HARRIS-PERRY: In 1974, Beverly Johnson became the first black model to
grace the cover of “Vogue” and would go on to take the fashion industry by
storm, paving the way for black supermodels to come. Last year Johnson
made headlines again when she alleged she was drugged with the intent of
sexual assault by Bill Cosby. Her story in “Vanity Fair” was published
just as accusations against Cosby were growing exponentially. Dozens of
women had come forward, alleging they were sexually assaulted by the
television superstar. Cosby has not been charged with a crime and has
denied the allegations. This week appearing on ABC`s “Good Morning
America,” Johnson had this to say about Cosby.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would you say to him now?

BEVERLY JOHNSON: I forgive you.


HARRIS-PERRY: Now Beverly Johnson is telling her full story, from her
childhood as a self-described nerd to her unlikely rise in the fashion
industry to her personal struggles and triumphs that followed, in her new
memoir, “The Face That Changed it All.” Joining me now, Beverly Johnson.
Thank you for being here.

JOHNSON: Thank you for having me.

HARRIS-PERRY: I`m going to ask the follow-up question on Cosby in a
minute. But I want to walk through your book a little bit first before we
get there. So probably one of my favorite lines in the book is very early
on, page 16, when you`re talking about being a kid and you are talking
about your sisters on both sides. You say I was simply an African-American


HARRIS-PERRY: Well, we like black nerds around here. So tell me what you
mean by that when you say that?

JOHNSON: My older sister was this really beautiful, tall, statue-esque
with the long black straight hair we called good hair. My baby sister was
the 5 foot 5, high yellow house, brickhouse body of a sister, and then
there was me, very tall, thin, flat chested.

HARRIS-PERRY: Nose in a book.

JOHNSON: Nose in a book all the time, was a competitive swimmer. I really
loved school. And I was quiet, an introvert. So I was really different
from my sisters, but also my other two brothers.

HARRIS-PERRY: When you write about your family, the dominating figure, the
person who over and over again shows up to help you, to bring you out of
your shell, to do – is your mother.


HARRIS-PERRY: And you write about her I think the way many Southern black
girls use the first and last name, Gloria Johnson, what it means to be her
daughter. She`s struggling now with Alzheimer`s. What is that experience
for you?

JOHNSON: Well, it`s very traumatic for our family. But we`ve accepted it.
And what`s wonderful about it, it really gives you the appreciation of the
moment, and I have this closeness with my mother, which I`ve always had,
but it`s different because I`m – we giggle together. We look at
photographs together. She came to this big launch event that I had at a
Museum of the City of New York. I`m getting a little bit emotional. And
she was there on the red carpet with me, and so there are some times when
she`s very lucid when she says, oh, they told us to turn this way. They
told us to turn that way. And although she doesn`t know me or know my
name, she knows that, you know, we love each other. So in a way, it`s
really a shame a mother went on to get her bachelor`s degree at 70-
something years old, but we`re handling it.

HARRIS-PERRY: So I wonder, and I could be wrong here, but I wonder – as I
was trying to puzzle through your response to the question what would you
say to Mr. Cosby and the fact that your response was I would tell him that
I forgive you, I`ve been puzzling through that. That was hard for me to
hear. I wonder if it`s at all connected to the experience you`re having
with your mother in this moment, this idea of being in the moment, watching
what it means to come to our life`s end. You tell me, why would you
forgive Mr. Cosby?

JOHNSON: Well, it does have something to do with my mother and how we were
raised. We were raised not to harbor anger and bitterness, and I believe
she also taught me to move on. And in order to move on, you have to
forgive, and that`s what I did and that`s what I`m doing, because I`m
moving on. I`m still standing with the women and the victims, but the
overall message of this conversation that we`re having about violence on
women is so needed because Cosby is just a lightning rod for this
conversation because we all know as women this goes on in every aspect of
life regarding women.

HARRIS-PERRY: In fact, I think people who read the book should know – I`m
a survivor and I did not realize how prominent sexual assault was in your
story from adolescence, 12 years old, all the way through to the Cosby
story. So because of that, I was somewhat surprised when I get to the end
of the text, and you`re talking about your friend, Mike Tyson.


HARRIS-PERRY: And Tyson, who goes – who is convicted in part of a sexual
assault against Desiree Washington. And as you write about it, you said
even though I love Mike to pieces, I wasn`t in the room that night with the
two of them. I have no clue what actually happened. The hospital report
said the girl`s physical condition was consistent with that of someone who
had been raped, and as a woman, I had to respect that finding for what it
was. So it`s respectful, it`s clear, but it also – you had so many
experiences of being betrayed by men in this way, I guess I was surprised
you didn`t just presume that Desiree Washington was telling the absolute
truth. And I wonder how that fits for all of us who are survivors.

JOHNSON: I really did know she was telling the truth. I really did feel
that the justice system worked. And although it was unfortunate because of
Tyson and who he was and how he grew up, poor judgment, bad decision, and
he paid for it. I have not spoken to him since that time, but I most
certainly agreed with the justice decision on that.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, as I said when you sat down, my favorite part of the
book are the photographs. Maybe that makes sense in a book about a model,
but it`s actually not the high glamour. It`s not the extraordinary “Vogue”
cover as historic as it was, it`s all these pictures of you and your family
from a previous time. It`s a lovely and intimate –

JOHNSON: Thank you. Thank you so much. I really wanted it to be about me
and my family and who I am, because people naturally assume they know who I
am because I`ve been out there since I was 18 years old, but in the book
you will realize you really don`t know who I am, and so I like to share
this book. As African-Americans, we really don`t pass stories down because
of our painful past, and I really wanted to be a part of the cycle of
really leaving my story there for people to read.

HARRIS-PERRY: You do not shy away from the difficult stories, thank you
for your book.

JOHNSON: Thank you very much.

HARRIS-PERRY: And thank you, Beverly Johnson. The book once again is “The
Face that Changed It All,” a memoir. Coming up next, it could become the
largest city in America where women have no access to abortion, and why
Serena is still the GOAT around here in Nerdland. Greatest of all time.
More Nerdland at the top of the hour.


HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.

And this month, a law that may shut down the Planned Parenthood clinic in
Cincinnati could make that city the nation`s largest metropolitan area
without women`s access to surgical abortion.

The law passed in June by Ohio`s Republican controlled legislature gives
abortion clinics 60 days to obtain an exception known as a variance to a
requirement that providers have a patient transfer agreement with a private

The private hospital requirement, another of the legislators` restrictions,
poses a challenge for provides, because of religious affiliation of many
private hospitals makes them unwilling to enter into agreements with
abortion clinics. The exception, which is granted by Ohio Department of
Public Health allows clinics to remain open without an agreement in place
and must be renewed every year.

Now, currently, the Planned Parenthood clinic is awaiting approval of the
renewal as is women`s med, another clinic in Dayton. The clock on both
clinics starts ticking down on September 29th, the day the law goes into

Now, according to the “Cincinnati Inquirer”, the Planned Parenthood
facility in Cincinnati waited more than a year to receive its latest
exception and Women`s Med clinic in Dayton has been waiting nearly for two
years for its variance.

If the Ohio Health Department doesn`t move much faster than it has in the
past and approve the exemption within 60 days of the 29th, both clinics
will lose their licenses, effectively wiping out abortion access in
southwestern Ohio. The loss of those two clinics would mean women in the
region who are seeking an abortion will have to travel 220 miles roundtrip
to Columbus or more than 500 miles roundtrip to Cleveland for women who are
more than 16 weeks pregnant.

Last week, Planned Parenthood and Women`s Med pushed back with a lawsuit
asking a federal court to declare the new law unconstitutional and to stop
it from taking effect.

But as the clinics are making their business heard in the fight over
abortion rights in Ohio, the man who has been leading the charge against
those rights has also remained silent about his pivotal role, the man whose
signature has enacted everyone of the 16 laws that has restricted abortion
in Ohio since 2011, under whose tenure the number of providers in Ohio
offering abortions has been reduced 16-8 and counting. Namely, Ohio
governor and GOP presidential candidate John Kasich.

Kasich`s record against reproductive rights is so strong that the head of
Ohio Right to Life described to him by saying, quote, “There is no
candidate running for president who has done more for the pro-life movement
than John Kasich.”

It would be a ringing endorsement for Republican candidate who`s
positioning himself as the choice du jour of the far right, which is
precisely why you won`t hear mention of that record while Kasich is on the
campaign trail, because it`s also a glaring red flag if you`re trying to
convince moderate Republicans that you`re their best bet, which is
precisely what Kasich is trying to do.

You see Kasich entered the campaign tracking away from the right and
positioning himself as a centrist alternative, an electable option for the
GOP establishment.

The Kasich`s stump speech version of his record paints him as a common
sense centrist, the guy who was down with Obamacare`s Medicaid expansion,
believes in climate change and is open to immigration reform, who gave the
sympathetic answer to the same-sex marriage question during the GOP debates
and who managed to get re-elected by a whopping 31-point margin in Ohio –
what FiveThirtyEight describes as the swingiest of the swing states.

It`s a strategy that has made Kasich a serious contender among the crowded
field of Republicans. He`s managed to pick up a string of big name
endorsements. In the latest NBC News/Marist poll, he`s risen to the number
two spot among the moderate Republican voters in the crucial primary state
of New Hampshire.

And Kasich has so far been able to sidestep accountability for his record
on reproductive rights in the election. Before his campaign announcement,
John Kasich wasn`t a familiar name to most Americans outside of Ohio and
many of the anti-abortion restrictions he approved were tucked away inside
budget bills where they drew little notice beyond the state.

That all may be about to change, the next abortion item up on the
legislature`s agenda. The new bill would make it illegal for a doctor to
perform an abortion for a woman who wants to end her pregnancy because of a
fetal diagnosis of Down`s syndrome. And although the bill follows those
that came before it in an ongoing erosion of incremental abortion rights,
it is likely to attract attention because of what sets it apart. As noted
by “The Economist”, where the 17th new restriction on abortion like the
others it might join the roster without much fuss, but it is different in
kind because it targets the motives of women – excuse me, mothers seeking

The bill is expected to arrive on Kasich`s desk where he`s expected to sign
it around Thanksgiving. Just more than two months shy of the caucuses in
Iowa and the primary in New Hampshire, which could leave Kasich with a lot
of explaining to do, when voters who look to him as their centrist choice,
find him at least on this issue the furthest of the far right.

Joining me now is Lizz Winstead, writer, comedian and author and co-founder
of Lady Parts Justice, Nina Turner, former Ohio state senator, and Irin
Carmon, national reporter for MSNBC.

Nina, what in the world is the matter with Ohio?

NINA TURNER, FORMER OHIO STATE SENATOR: Crazy. It goes back to voting,
Professor. You know, this is my thing. We sat out in midterm elections
and Democrats advocated their responsibility to secure state legislatures.
If we had a state legislature that was more dominated by Democrats or at
least folks that believe that women should have pure choice, we would not
have to endure this. So, memo and message to the Democrats, don`t sleep
out on midterm elections.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, this point, that here was in midterm 2010, at that
point, you know, 2008 we had just gotten ACA through, we had a Democratic
in the House, we had a Democratic, excuse me, White House and Democrats in
House and Senate, and yet we have seen this incredible new series of
abortion restrictions emerging after those in 2010, not only Ohio and
around the country, Irin, is abortion basically – has Roe v. Wade been
overturned through an access tool?

IRIN CARMON, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: Well, we`re moving through your
rights depend on the states you live in. So, if you live in a state that
has been taking over the legislature, is now dominated by folks who oppose
abortion, there are a series of restrictions meant to put roadblocks in the
way of women. Now, what`s interesting is that this Ohio lawsuit is coming
just as the Supreme Court has been asked to hear these kinds of clinic

I think it`s really important to see the clinic regulations in context. In
some ways, they`ve been the most effective abortion restrictions. Just you
having to explain it, right now, I bet that are folks` eyes glazed over
because they involved zoning and regulation and the Health Department.

HARRIS-PERRY: Exactly. It`s not sexy.

CARMON: It`s not sexy, but the impact is, closing the doors of clinics and
what has proven the most effective in standing in the way of women`s
choices, is just shutting down the clinic, not changing their minds, not
stigmatizing abortion, making it impossible to legally and safely access
it. At the same time, all these are regulations are functioning to make it
seem abortion clinics are unsafe, dirty, back alley butchers, even though
the safety record is such that it`s much safer than carrying a pregnancy to

LIZZ WINSTEAD, AUTHOR: Also, one of the things – the dirty little secrets
about these TRAP laws that are in place, these trans laws (INAUDIBLE), some
of states that want to require a physician to have admitting getting
privileges at the hospital, the physicians are having a problem getting the
admitting privileges to the hospital, because part of getting the
privileges, is that you have to be able to show that you will bring a
clientele to the hospital, because the abortion procedure is so safe, many
physicians, they say, I can`t show you that because I don`t have that


WINSTEAD: You have this crazy opposite thing and I feel like – with
Oregon being the only state that has not had curb since Roe, it`s not just
Ohio. This is happening all over the place and people need to really
recognize what is happening. But John Kasich is a monster on this issue.

TURNER: It`s the master plan and if we don`t wake up, I mean, just think
about this, that Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land, but it doesn`t
feel like that anymore because they are just chip, chipping away.

And for a chance of agreement, I want your viewers to understand this, that
basically if an emergency were to happen at a clinic, at a clinic that
provides reproductive health care for women, that woman would be
transferred to a hospital. Hello?


HARRIS-PERRY: Right, always. I mean, this is also true if you`re getting
Lasik surgery.

TURNER: That`s right.

HARRIS-PERRY: It`s also true if you`re having a dent al – if there is an
emergency during a medical procedure then you are transferred to a
hospital. And admitting privileges are not related to that.

TURNER: That`s right.

CARMON: Well, one of the real successes of the anti-abortion movement has
been to segregate abortion care. One the reasons we have this standalone
abortion clinics in all kinds of states, is that the gynecological services
have been boycotted for providing abortions. There`s been laws passed that
you can`t provide abortions in public hospitals. You can`t use Medicaid in
many states.

So, first, these abortion procedures are being segregated such that only
people who are really committed to serving women with this service are
opening their doors and then it makes it easier for them to be targeted by
protesters and to be targeted by laws.

HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask you a question, though, this piece, the new piece
about Down`s syndrome, does feels different than the TRAP laws you were
talking about, because it doesn`t sound like we`re trying to help and
protect. It sounds like we`re going at women`s choice. And not just
women, but for the most part, families who are making extremely difficult

Will that be the kind of threat that will unravel this –

CARMON: Well, there`s no asterisks in Roe v. Wade that says unless we
don`t like the reason the woman is having the abortion. It`s blatantly
unconstitutional. Whether it will be challenge is another question. It
probably will be very difficult.

The other problem with it, the real genius of it from an anti anti-abortion
perspective it draws a wedge between the disability rights movement and the
pro-choice movement, and that`s the intent to say, well, imply there`s some
sort of eugenics happening here or lack of support for disabled families.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, right, I see that wedges disability rights. The other
thing, though, that I see is the potential that we saw in Mississippi where
the personhood was turned back which is often those choices about reduction
are being made by those with more access to resources who are often using
IVF and other kinds of third party reproductive spaces for reproduction.

And they don`t – they may not be so much about abortion, but they do want
to have that available to them and that was the winning combination in
Mississippi in terms of pushing back personhood.

So, up next, we`re going to stay on this topic, because the GOP plans to
shut it all down again.



REP. JOHN CONYERS (D), MICHIGAN: Federal funding is for Planned
Parenthood`s many critical health services. Surely, we in the Congress
have better things to do than to spend our time helping to undermine an
organization that provides such vital health services.


HARRIS-PERRY: That was Congressman John Conyers speaking Wednesday at a
congressional hearing on Planned Parenthood`s tissue donation program. The
hearing ominously titled, quote, “Planned Parenthood exposed,” examining
the horrific abortion practices at the nation`s largest abortion provider
was triggered by secretly recorded videos targeting Planned Parenthood from
the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress.

Planned Parenthood has disputed what is shown on those recordings, calling
them deceptively edited. The videos have also fueled the latest round of
government shutdown threats, as a group of house conservatives announced
this week, their intention to block any spending bill that includes funding
for Planned Parenthood.

So, we are back to shutting it all down. Is this – is this good politics?
I mean, just –


TURNER: Those folks got elected, Professor, this is the thing here that we
need to understand. Any elected official that would be that callous and
cavalier about the entire United States of America, and everybody that
depends on a functioning government, I mean, the last time they pull this,
what was it, a $26 billion, $24 billion loss to the U.S. economy? Give me
a break.

WINSTEAD: Not to mention, it shows this dedication and willful ignorance
to believe such blatantly edited things, a lack of knowing about pathology
in general, a lack of saying, wow what an interesting, brave person that
would say I need to terminate a pregnancy and want to make sure when I do
that my fetal remains will go to lifesaving measures. All that.

HARRIS-PERRY: I hear you. But those videos are hard to watch.

Like, so I just – because part of what I want to point out is the strategy
being used by those interested in reducing reproductive rights access is a
good, by which I mean simply effective strategy, in that it has truly
limited it and I guess part of what I`m wondering is, given how powerful
those videos have been in shifting our discourse around Planned Parenthood,
like you can`t just keep saying you`re not seeing what you`re seeing.
There has to be some other – some other things and strategies.

CARMON: It was almost five hours, the hearing this week. I watched all of

HARRIS-PERRY: I`m sorry.

CARMON: They`re occupational hazard.

There was something really interesting happening, which is that they
weren`t talking about fetal donation. They weren`t talking about where the
money for Planned Parenthood actually goes to which has nothing to do with
fetal tissue donation, and, in fact, nothing to do with abortion, it has to
do with contraceptive women`s health access. That`s the status quo whether
you like it or not.

What they were talking about was abortion and the strategy here is to make
people uncomfortable, try to make people think about the difficult issues
around what is a difficult medical procedure for many people, people bring
different feelings to it but, again, focusing on the nitty-gritty of the
procedure to try to back pro-choice activists into a corner, and it was
really interesting because the witnesses even were the familiar people.
They were the same people who were involved in a, quote/unquote, “partial
birth abortion ban. That was a debate, again, that made pro-choice people
run scared.


CARMON: And by focusing on later abortions, which are rare and people have
all kinds of reasons for having them, it backs people away and it makes
them sort of be afraid to stand up for the larger question.

HARRIS-PERRY: It`s also, too, the name of the hearing was loaded, no one
from Planned Parenthood there. And I feel like the interesting thing for
me in watching all of this unfold in my Twitter feed, activists and people
who are watching these videos – and this is very telling to me because I
don`t believe that pregnancy is a baby and that fetal development dictates
that, not whatever – for people to be coming into my feed after watching
those videos that were really hard to watch and making jokes about it at me
calling me a hypocrite putting memes up showing that, says to me, you
really don`t believe what you are saying because for those who looked at
those videos and wanted to believe it and felt emotionally distraught about
it, I would no more make a joke about what`s going on in Syria right now,
Sudanese, the Holocaust, you know, for them to be able to that should be a
message to people that they are not sincere, that this is not about those

And just what you said, too, none of this was about fatal tissue research
at all, all this other stuff that went around Planned Parenthood.

TURNER: But we need to fight back with the same emotional fervor that you
are getting at, if your hair is on fire, act like your hair is on fire.
This is a full frontal assault against women`s access to reproductive
health care and the belittling of women that we need legislative daddies to
tell what`s to do, we are grown women and know what to do and we need women
to fight back and to fight back hard about that in this country. They`re
taking us back.

HARRIS-PERRY: I think that`s part of it. We push back against the highly
emotional, effective, you know, sort of tools with our data. I mean, our
data matter, right? There is, in fact, an STI epidemic in the city of New
Orleans, for example. There is a syphilis epidemic in the city which is
being treated in large part through the affordable health care Planned

I mean, these are the kinds of real numbers, but it doesn`t move people
quite the same.

TURNER: They`re pro-birth. They`re not pro-life, because if you`re pro-
life, Representative Conyers hit the nail on the head, you have better
things to do. We got children who need to be educated. We have
infrastructure in this nation that needs to be repaired.

Why don`t you invest that kind of money in that? But to be – to say that
you`re going to shut down the entire government of the United States of
America is criminal.

CARMON: What`s interesting, too, all of these new laws and the Planned
Parenthood videos as well are being couched as protecting women. So, you
use this phrase “legislative daddies.”

So they`re trying to co-opt feminist rhetoric, say that had is about
protecting women. But, you know, I listened to the hearing for a long
time. I did not hear very much about the actual realities that women face

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, and the very difficult choices with later term
pregnancy as you`ve written about.

CARMON: Or the women who go to Planned Parenthood for all kinds of

HARRIS-PERRY: Lizz Winstead is sticking around.

I want to say thank you to Nina Turner and to Irin Carmon.

Still to come this morning, after Serena`s upset yesterday, is she still
the greatest of all time?


HARRIS-PERRY: It was an incredible day at the U.S. Open yesterday and
we`re getting to the dramatic video highlights in just a moment.

But, first, we have to talk about another tennis superstar and another
dramatic video we`ve been waiting to see. This week while about to make
his way to the U.S. Open, James Blake, the Harvard educated, retired tennis
star, was tackled and arrested outside a hotel in Midtown Manhattan in a
case of mistaken identity.

Now, the basic facts are shocking enough, and then yesterday, the New York
Police Department released the video. And as you can see, Blake is
standing against the wall when suddenly out of nowhere a man in a white
shirt comes and wrestles him to the ground and handcuffs him.

Now notice that the man is in street clothes, not in a police uniform.
Notice that as Blake explained to “The New York Times,” he wasn`t running.
He wasn`t putting up resistance. But the police received a tip from a
witness who misidentified Blake as a suspect in a fraudulent credit card

But Blake says the arresting officer never identified himself or explained
why he was detaining Blake. And people watching probably didn`t even know
what was going on. I mean, I really can`t even get over the people just
walking past, just walking past, looking.

But even New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton had to admit this arrest
was suspect.


force used appropriate and initially we believe that it may not have been.
I don`t believe at all that race was a factor. A white police officer, Mr.
Blake, is African-American, this rush to put a race tag on it, I`m sorry,
that`s not involved in this incident at all.


HARRIS-PERRY: Now, Blake may not agree with that sentiment. He told “The
New York Daily News” that there was probably a race factor involved. And
in the interview on ABC, he called for the police to be held accountable.


JAMES BLAKE, FORMER TENNIS STAR: I`d like an apology. I`d like an
explanation for how they conducted themselves. I think we all need to be
held accountable and police as well. They`re out there doing a difficult
job and I said that. I do think most cops are doing a great job in keeping
us safe, but when you police with reckless abandon, you need to be held


HARRIS-PERRY: Now, Blake did get personal apologies from the New York
police commissioner and New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, and the arresting
officer has been placed on desk duty pending the outcome of an

But the tennis star says, quote, “Extending courtesy to a public figure
mistreated by the police is not enough. As I told the commissioner, I`m
determined to use my voice to turn this unfortunate incident into a
catalyst for change in the relationship between the police and the public
they serve.”

Game, set, match, Mr. Blake.

Up next, the other tennis superstar in the news this week. Why Serena
Williams is still the greatest of all time, no matter what happened


HARRIS-PERRY: Serena Williams ranked number one in women`s singles and has
been for more than 250 weeks. She has won 21 grand slam titles, as many as
all active women players combined and at the U.S. Open specifically, Serena
has been crowned champion six times.

The woman some called the most dominant athlete of a generation has won 33
consecutive matches in grand slam events. The last time she lost a major
championship was at Wimbledon in 2014 and until yesterday when Serena
Williams lost to Italian player Roberta Vinci in a major upset.

Many Serena fans reacted with sadness, disappointment and anger.

Now, Vinci, ranked number forty-three, even found herself apologizing to
the crowd after her win at the New York stadium.


ROBERTA VINCI, TENNIS PLAYER: The American people, for Serena, the grand
slam, and everything, but today is my day. Sorry, guys.


HARRIS-PERRY: I appreciated that.

Look, the narrative, she disrupted what everyone so many Americans,
particularly young black women and girls, desperately wanted to hear, it
would have gone something like this – Serena Williams will enter the U.S.
Open finals, inching closer to becoming the first player to win a calendar
grand slam since 1988.

Of course, we know that`s not how the story goes this year. But does that
make her qualifications for greatest of all time any less powerful? Other
athletes we consider among the greatest and suffered great losses
throughout their careers, take LeBron James` NBA finals loss, even Michael
Jordan, the basketball legend James is often compared to, faced defeat.


MICHAEL JORDAN, NBA LEGEND: I missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.
I`ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I`ve been trusted to take the
game-winning shot and missed. I`ve failed over and over and over again in
my life. And that is why I succeed.


HARRIS-PERRY: Perhaps what makes a player the greatest is not the speed of
her serve or the strength of her backhand. Perhaps it`s not simply the
number of wins but the number of losses she can endure while continuing to
move forward and that ability, that resilience, is a huge part of what
makes Serena Williams such a role model to so many, including young tennis
players like those we met at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy just ahead of
yesterday`s match.


UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I`m actually a really big fan of her, and she`s like a
role model to me.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I hope one day to be successful like her and be the
number one player and be famous.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: And I wish I was like Serena, too. And I`d seen her
win the trophy every time.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: The way she plays and how she wants to win, she doesn`t
want anything to stop her. She just wants to win it. She doesn`t smile
when she plays because she`s focused on what she`s doing. She doesn`t stop
being focused until the end of the match.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: She is a great competitor because she practices.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: She exercises. She gives, like, kids help and that`s
what is most important.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: One day I want to become Serena and break her records.


HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, those kids.

Still with me writer, comedienne and author Lizz Winstead. And joining me
now, Jemele Hill, co-host of ESPN 2`s “His and Hers” podcast, and Mary
Pilon, a sports journalist and author of “The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury
and the Scandal Behind the World`s Favorite Board Game.”

OK. I`m a little broken. I`m a little broken. I had to talk myself
through to get through that.

So, what do you make? I mean, yesterday was huge. Again, I also love –
we do have to give credit where credit is due. An amazing effort there.

But is she still the greatest of all time in the sense?

JEMELE HILL, EPSN 2`S “HIS AND HERE”: Well, I don`t think that for
somebody to be the greatest of all time is not defined by – it`s not
defined by ranks, in this case slams. I mean, she is still third all-time
on the slams list. This is still what – how she has dominated this sport
at this stage in her career is remarkable, something like they haven`t seen
before in tennis. And just where she`s elevated the game, single-handedly
carrying this sport, and that is a level of greatness I don`t even think we
fully appreciate.

And she still has, again, the major slams record to chase, so while this
narrative for a lot of us – you know, my little black girl dreams were
crushed, too, especially because I have tickets to the game.

HARRIS-PERRY: You`re really crushed.

HILL: I`m really crushed. I think she still maintains a very strong piece
in the conversation. For me, she is, but I understand the counter-
argument. It doesn`t change how great she is.

HARRIS-PERRY: I had a little bit of a conversation then about whether or
not it was happening in the press conference afterward was her being a good
champion or not. Oh, she actually gives credit where credit is due. She
doesn`t just say it`s her having a bad day, right? She says her opponent
had a good day.

Others were like, well, it was brief. It was not, you know, very friendly.
What are your thoughts?

MARY PILON, SPORTS JOURNALIST: We can`t pretend to get into her head.
When you think about athletes and the role they play, we forget they`re
human. I think that`s part of what makes Serena great and the press more
than fans, she is human and part of being human is being vu vulnerable and
you are going to lose.

I think that also makes her relatable. I think we focus on her today and
she`s this titan in the sport, is a huge deal, but it takes a long road to
get there.

HARRIS-PERRY: And we`ve seen her lose, too, walk that road. When she
comes to the public, she is like the little kids we were seeing, right,
Baby Venus and Baby Serena. I almost couldn`t believe when they were
announcing they were in their 30s, oh, wait a minute. What is happening to
the world?

PILON: Her career has lasted so, so long and she still is number one in
the world. And the whole game and a lot of women`s sports ages are ticking
up. So, there`s always next year. It will be really interesting to see
what she does career wise after this. There just hasn`t been somebody
playing at that level that long ever in tennis.

HILL: Let`s get back to the press conference because she did take –

HARRIS-PERRY: Let`s play a little bit if folks haven`t seen so you`ll know
what we`re talking about.


WILLIAMS: I don`t want to talk about how disappointing for me. If you
have any other questions, I`m open for that. I think she played literally
out of her mind.


HILL: Well, she, of course, took a lot of criticism for how she handled
that press conference, but this is the box that they put a lot of female
athletes in. When men do that, it`s being ultra competitive and they`re
taking the game to heart. When women do that, especially a black woman, it
begins to fit a certain narrative of being angry and emotional and all
those other kinds of stereotypes.

HARRIS-PERRY: Marshawn Lynch was like, I`m only here – I do not get fined
which is basically in the last one when she was there until 11:30 at night,
look, I would like to go to bed. People had the feeling because she wasn`t

HILL: This is why I love her. When you line her up, she`s not just the
greatest woman female tennis player but is along the likes of Michael
Jordan, of a Kobe Bryant. She has that mentality. It`s a killer

How do they expect her to respond to losing when she`s never been this much
of an overwhelming favorite?

HARRIS-PERRY: Lizz, the most serious question –

WINSTEAD: Because we really want to hear –


WINSTEAD: It is really – is this Drake`s fault? #blamedrake. Where is

HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, the Internet went all the way. I mean, Roxane Gay,
feminist, she just tweeted – she literally said Drake is trash.

I was like, whoa! You`re wrong for that. I also really appreciate Drake
still stay off his girls tour.


WINSTEAD: But for real I think listen to how just this table of people and
how Twitter reacted to this defeat. To then have to go to a press
conference, I think whatever she wanted to say in that press conference was
literally mitigating her emotions. It was the most professional thing she
could have done. I`ll talk to you about this. I`ll do that.

The last thing I will say is, when you look at a great, she is a great for
the game and a great in the game and, like, how can you even argue – if
anybody were even to put her anywhere less than where she is, she wins.

HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask, are we not talking about the woman who won a
major upset yesterday, by not saying, all right, we should have scrubbed
the Serena segment and talked about this woman who managed to beat Serena.
Like, you know, what about her due?

HILL: Well, she was just as surprised as everyone else because she talked
about how she had a plane ticket to go home today. She didn`t think she
was going to win.


PILON: In this tournament we see these women follow because Serena is such
an intimidating force in the sport. And so I think there`s also a great
flip to this point that there is a great underdog story here and part of
what Serena has done for tennis, she`s increased the entire level of the
sport. The fact that you can be ranked – a player ranked like that now
versus ten years ago is bringing a different level of the game because of
Serena. So there is this interesting thing she is almost a victim of
having created such competition at that part of the rankings.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, even she means playing out of her mind, she means that
as a compliment, which I also thought is also kind of the Serena change.

Up next, we`re going to stay on ladies in sports. We`re going to talk
about athletes who completely dominate their sport because there is a woman
who ESPN says is the best fighter in the world.


HARRIS-PERRY: Many fans and commentators have taken to calling Serena
Williams the best, most dominant athlete in the world. There`s one other
competitor who might give Williams a run for her money on that designation.
Like Williams, she is known for incredible power, agility and the speed
with which she can serve her opponent defeat on a silver platter.

MMA fighter Ronda Rousey, the athlete who became the first woman to fight
in an ultimate fighting championship match in 2013. She`s won every UFC
match she has ever fought, named best female athlete and best fighter at
the July Espy Awards.

The former judo Olympian defeats challengers in less than 30 second. Her
record 14 seconds. It`s also the UFC record.

In May, “Business Insider” named the 28-year-old the most dominant athlete
alive, topping a list of 50, including Serena Williams. No athlete is the
best in their sport by a wider margin than Rousey, the “Business Insider”
report wrote.

Rousey is known for her action outside the UFC octagon. Most recently,
Rousey coined the now notorious term “DNB” during a UFC video interview
that aired ahead of her August 1st fight with Bethe Correia. Rousey
defined the term DNC and responded to people who have criticized her body
for being too masculine.


RHONDA ROUSEY, UFC CHAMP: I call it a DNB all the time, the chick that
just tries to be pretty and taken care of by somebody else. That`s why I
think people say that my body looks masculine or something like that,
there`s not a single muscle on my body that isn`t for a purpose.


HARRIS-PERRY: Those comments were most recently seen flashing across the
screens ahead of Beyonce`s performance of “Diva” at the Made in America
Music Festival last week.

It has inspired criticism with some arguing it is shaming language. But
love or hate her words, it`s hard to argue with the reality of her athletic

So, Rousey brings us to this question of the greatest of all time, because
she also made a set of comments about transgender athletes in her sport.
So specifically saying that transwomen who want to compete in the sport are
basically still – just very transphobic comments I don`t want to say. I
don`t want to say – I don`t have to say some of the words that are part

But she is athletically dominant. Is greatest of all time about like the
big designation of the whole person, or is it just about the actual sport?

HILL: I think it has to be about all of that, because she is given her
position in her sport, she`s the ambassador for it, too. So, she`s got
that responsibility. And part of that responsibility is to not spew
ignorance. I really like Rhonda Rousey and I understood her comments when
she talked about DNB, and I was at Made in America with Beyonce.


HARRIS-PERRY: People were crazy.

HILL: And I was just like, oh, man, what`s happening right now. I
understood what she is saying. So often women like her and Serena
Williams, they have both been body shamed in various respects and she says
I have another purpose other than to just be this kind of stereotypical
woman that we all know and has been highlighted in our society. So, I get
that part of it.

Her greatness in her sport, that does also carry a lot of responsibility,
and she seems to be ready for it, but she has to know when she is asked
about social issues or transgender athletes, that she has a responsibility
to educate herself because what she said wasn`t true.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. So this is interesting to me, this question of her
in part as an ambassador for her support because that puts her in a
different position than Serena, right? Serena is an interloper on her
sport. Tennis was the wealthy white girl club for much of its history and
Venus and Serena break into that sport from a different socioeconomic
position, from a different neighborhood, from a race that we had not often
seen represented on the court.

With Rousey, she is the person who is introducing this sport, right, to so
many for the first time.

PILON: Absolutely. And if you think about tennis and particularly women,
the U.S. Open has equal prize money since 1973. If you look at the
wealthiest female athletes in the world, a lot of them are tennis players.
Actually, the history for women, compared to other sports, you know, Billie
Jean King, there`s a history there.

UFC, this is really, really new. I`m very curious to see – and it`s a
rapidly growing sport that`s just becoming hugely popular. I`m curious to
see whether the women`s side of the sport really develops, if we`re going
to see more Rouseys, if we`re going to see more athletes so she has more

And so, I think when we go to this conversation being the greatest, there`s
this question of being first and she`s –

HARRIS-PERRY: Why do you think it`s growing like that? I mean, I find it
a fascinating idea that in this moment when we`re talking about head
injuries over on the NFL side and kind de-escalating in certain ways, that
you have this aggressive, intense, hand-to-hand kind of sport.

PILON: That`s what`s fascinating about UFC, it`s growing and growing so
fast and across the board. I`ve reported on smaller matches in rural
communities. It remind me of boxing in the `30s or `40s and then you get
into interesting questions of human nature and football and especially with
concussion, the NFL this week, the concussion conversation I think fans are
way more attuned but they`re still watching. I don`t know and I don`t know
how the UFC is going to handle that going forward, particularly the safety
of the sport.

HARRIS-PERRY: What does pay equity look like in the UFC?

PILON: Fascinating question. There are just so few women that it`s hard -


PILON: Something that`s part of her that`s so interesting about her and
Serena, too, is their marketability and what makes a woman marketable, and
she has been very – she had a cameo in “Fast and Furious 7”, she`s getting
endorsements. So, she`s also first on that front and she`s attractive and
this and that and the way people talk about her is very interesting.

HARRIS-PERRY: To the Serena point, right, she makes less in endorsements
than some folks who are ranked far below her who are more sort of
classically presumed –

HILL: But that`s a different consumer audience. That doesn`t justify it
but, in fact, it just highlights the racism and classism in it because if
you look at Maria Sharapova`s endorsements, Bentley, all these high end
products, people think like Serena can`t do that.

HARRIS-PERRY: Can`t do that.

Thank you to Lizz Winstead, to Jemele Hill and to Mary Pilon. Liz has more
to say, I`ll make her say it on the break.

I want to mention that Liz Winstead has an upcoming event on September 26
with her group Lady Parts Justice in various cities across the country.
For more information, check out

And up next, our very fashion forward foot soldier.


HARRIS-PERRY: It`s Fashion Week here in New York and the city is playing
host to nearly 300 runway shows in what`s believed to be the largest
fashion event in the world. More than 100,000 people, designers, model,
buyers, journalists and special guests are converging on New York for the
big event.

Not our foot soldiers. Our fashion forward foot soldier is back home in
Arizona going grade school. Because this week`s foot soldier, 10-year-old
Xavier Elliot from Phoenix, Xavier has experienced some tough times during
his life. His father is an Iraq War veteran who struggles with PTSD, his
mother has a rare brain disease that slows her down and his family has
lived in six different shelters over the years.

But recently things have settled for Xavier and his family so he decided to
find a way to help others who face their own difficult circumstances.
Xavier`s mother Stephanie began sewing as a way to relax and Xavier would
often keep her company by the machine.

One day, the ten-year-old decided he, too, wanted to learn to sew and
Stephanie started by teaching him the basics, threading the needle, cutting
from patterns, sewing pieces together. And she was really surprised that
her son, who struggles with ADHD, could sit still for such long periods as
he learned to sew.

To support his passion, Stephanie signed Xavier up for design u fashion
camp where youth learn to sketch and create their own garments and as his
skills developed, Xavier hatched a plan. He decided to use his allowance
money to buy fabric so he could make clothes for less fortunate families.
Soon after, the mom and son duo teamed up to make clothes which they
donated, stylish creation, hand stitched with love.

Stephanie created a Facebook page, Clothes for Charity by the Elliot
Family, where they posted pictures of their creations and people from
around the world took notice, sending them fabric and even thread and even
a brand new sew magazine for Xavier.

Recently, Xavier and his mom have been making clothes for a family in
Baltimore who lost everything in a fire. Xavier`s custom-tailored dress
for the daughter, a big fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Xavier`s current interest is making in Halloween costumes for kids and
color-me tote bags designed to be colored with markers. His mom Stephanie
told us Xavier`s six-year-old brother also wants to learn to sew. And his
first project, sewing the sleeves to her favorite shirt shut. Maybe Xavier
can give him a few tips.

For those giving those in need clothes made with care and inspiring love of
all ages, to give back, Xavier Elliot is our foot soldier of the week.

And that`s our show today. Thanks at home for watching. I`m going to see
you tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

Right now, it`s time for a preview with “WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT.”

Hey, Alex.


Copyright 2015 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>