Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 10/25/15
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: This morning, my question, will there be
justice for Corey?
Plus, Jeb Bush regroups after another week of bad news.
And Drake`s hotline bling blows up the internet.
But first, the big decision facing the movement.
Good morning. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.
And this week, the protest movement to end police violence increased its
visibility in the 2016 presidential election when both national parties
gave a stamp of approval for their candidates to face tough questions from
the movement. On Wednesday, “the Washington Post” Wes Lowry reported on
letters sent from the Democratic National Committee to the activists
offering the DNC`s support for a town hall on social and racial justice.
The letters were sent to the two different groups both at the forefront of
the movement. The #blacklivesmatter network, which shares its name with
the broader movement and operates as an umbrella organization with local
chapters cities across the country, and campaign zero, a separate group
that has coalesced around a ten-point agenda to reduce and eliminate police
The DNC`s recognition of both groups signals not only the growing influence
of the voice of this movement in American politics, but it also suggests
that we have reached a point where there is space and establishment
politics for those voices to be heard. There is no question that the black
lives matter movement is having a moment.
But in the responses to the DNC from its two most prominent groups this
week, we saw two very differing approaches on how to seize the moment.
Campaign zero welcomed the DNC`s offer to promote a town hall with the
Democratic candidates to reign the (INAUDIBLE) a leader within campaign
zero told the “Washington Post” that his group is moving forward with
organizing the town halls and that he is working with the DNC to confirm
participation from all current presidential candidates. He is also in
talks with the RNC which issued its own support for a presidential forum
later in the week.
However, for the Black Lives Matter network, the DNC`s offer fell short of
its expectations. In a petition addressed to DNC chairperson Debbie
Wasserman Schultz, they requested a seventh democratic debate to the
committee`s schedule to focus specifically on issues of racial justice.
When the DNC instead offered the town hall and an explicit refusal to add
another debate, the BLM, Black Lives Matter network, responded with a
statement saying in part, we were made unequivocal. That the presidential
town hall with support from the DNC does not sufficiently respond to the
concerns raised by our members. We want a debate supported by the DNC that
will speak directly and proactively to the issues impacting black people in
Two organizations united in their goals but diverges in their strategic
engagement. That`s actually part of a long history of social movements
seeking to instill institutions of power by both working with them and
pushing against them for change. Even the coalition that won the singular
victories of the civil rights movement included activists with very
different relationships to American political power.
In 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. found himself at odds with other members of
the movement who disagreed with a compromise offered by king`s powerful
ally in the White House, President Lyndon Johnson. Mississippi had sent an
all-white delegation to represent the state at the Democratic National
Convention in Atlantic City. And the Mississippi freedom Democratic Party,
an integrated delegation comprised primarily of African-American delegates,
crashed the convention to challenge the segregated delegates.
Their demand to replace those delegates and be recognized as the official
delegation from the state of Mississippi was most profoundly and powerfully
expressed by Fannie Lou Hamer. Hamer, a Mississippi share cropper turned
activist who was brutalized by police while working in the movement, gave
this testimony before the DNC credentialing committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FANNIE LOU HAMER, ACTIVIST: The plantation owners came and said, Fannie
Lou, do you know, did they tell you what I said? I said, yes, sir. He
said, well I mean that. If you don`t go down and withdraw your
registration, you will have to leave. That then, if you go down and
withdraw, that you still might have to go because we`re not ready for that
in Mississippi. And I addressed him and told him, I didn`t try to register
for you. I tried to register for myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Hamer`s moving testimony caused a stir at the highest levels
of the party because presidential Johnson feared Hamer and her delegation
would alienate southern white Democrats and disrupt his path to the
So the DNC offered a compromise. The Mississippi freedom Democratic Party
could seek two at-large delegates and the segregations delegations who
oppose civil rights will get to keep all 16 of their seats.
Dr. King, who had initially told Johnson he would fight to see the
integrated delegation seated at the delegation eventually joined other
leaders including (INAUDIBLE) in trying to convince the delegates to accept
the compromise. But the Mississippi Freedom Democratic party will resolute
in their resolve, and it was Hamer who most succinctly articulated their
refusal when she said, we didn`t come all the way up here to compromise for
no more than we`d gotten here. We didn`t come all this way for no two
seats because all of us is tired.
In the end, the course LBJ would go on to win the presidency and another
term that he used to push through passage of the voting rights act of 1965.
It was a transformational shift in American power. It was a shift that
like the change sought by the modern day push for racial justice was all
thanks to the effort of the movement made of many pushing from within and
Joining me now, Joy Reid, MSNBC national correspondent and author of
“fracture, Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the racial divide.” Patrick
Murray, director of Monmouth University polling institute, Maria Hinojosa,
executive producer and agar of Latino USA and DeRay McKesson, a cofounder
of campaign zero. Also with us from San Francisco, Alicia Garza, co-
creator of #blacklivesmatter. So nice to have you all here.
Alicia, I want to start with you. For you, and for your organization, why
was the response of the parties to endorse a town hall insufficient?
ALICIA GARZA, CO-CREATOR, #BLACKLIVESMATTER: You know, for the BLM
network, our members felt really strongly that it was important that the
Democratic Party given its resolution that it passed in late August in
support of our network and in support of the broader movement, it was
really important to us that the Democratic Party put its actions behind its
And to be quite frank, there will be many, many town halls where candidates
will get to engage directly with community members. However, what we want
to see happen is the Democratic Party take more seriously the issues
impacting our communities which means it needs to fundamentally encourage
each other and themselves to really grapple with the issues facing our
neighborhoods and our communities. Not just police brutality and police
violence, although that`s a significant issue, but certainly, we also want
them to address things like economic justice. We want them to address
things like gender justice. We want them to address questions of access to
democracy and voting rights and re-enfranchising black voters. We haven`t
seen a commitment from the Democratic Party beyond words to really dig into
the question that really impact black communities today. That`s why a town
hall for us doesn`t meet the demand we raised. What we said was we want to
see a debate. We want to see what the candidates proactively are coming up
with to insure that black lives will actually matter in this country.
HARRIS-PERRY: OK. Stick with us, Alicia.
DeRay, let me come to you. You have once the town hall was on the table,
you have been working really hard to make it happen, including even
potentially putting what might be a kind of unique opportunity to have
Democrats and Republicans on the stage together at this moment. Tell me
why it does work for you as a forum?
DERAY MCKESSON, BLACK LIVES MATTER ACTIVIST: Yes. To be clear, the
request always from the team I`m with was a town hall forum, a forum –
HARRIS-PERRY: So not a debate initially from the requesting –?
MCKESSON: Correct. So a forum that has real people asking real questions.
We have a unique opportunity to do that. A debate, while it`s an
interesting format, it`s heavily moderator-led. And what does it mean of a
town hall form is having it`s true to the movement and true to the people
that I stayed with when I`m protesting in Ferguson and Baltimore and
Charleston, that allows real people to push the candidates and ask real
questions. I think that we can get a lot of publicity around it, I think
we can get it aired. That it can be an event that people watch and look
and they are accountable to people in a way that I think is true to the
movement space, and in working with the parties to understand the rules a
little better, I want to clear, the RNC does not support or oppose town
Just to clear about that. But working with them to understand the rules a
little better. The only thing that`s different is that the candidates
wouldn`t be able to directly engage each other, but it would offer a chance
for the candidates to help us understand better what their positions are
instead of having a format that caters to sound bites, which we know that
debates do. I think that we would have this happen around January or
February. And there would already be a couple debates that would anchor
them in some core positions. But the town hall, again, is a format that
allows real people to ask real questions in a way that would be unique in
terms of its focus on race and injustice.
HARRIS-PERRY: So this has been such an interesting moment for us, both
DeRay and Alicia, we as a team trying to think about how to have this
conversation today. Because what we don`t want is necessarily a debate
between the two of you, but we do want is an engagement to think about the
strategy necessary, the kind of movement you all are part of is big and
And so, Alicia, help me to understand a little bit why a kind of, look, the
DNC passed a resolution. The resolution said that Black Lives Matter and
say her name are important. Right? And so you`re saying as a result of
that, what you want to see is a specific format. Help me to understand
sort of why that format matters so much in terms of addressing that
GARZA: Sure. So I think the big thing that we`re concerned about is that
thus far, the Democratic Party has not done the work that it needs to, to
genuinely engage black voters. And we have been doing that work. So has
my colleague, DeRay. And certainly, again, it`s less a question of the
format to us. We want to make sure that the Democratic National Committee
is having serious conversations at every single level about how to address
the crisis facing black communities today. And what we think that does not
mean is resting it on the shoulders of black folks to do that work for
HARRIS-PERRY: So that`s interesting. Hold for me just one second because
of timing. I want to let DeRay in real quick before the commercial. But
this is an interesting point. What I heard you say was town halls are good
because then the people are asking the question. What I heard Alicia say
there was, is that leaves us to doing all of the work. You guys are the
ones in-charge. If not you, but the candidates are the ones with the actual
access to power.
MCKESSON: Yes. I think, again, I will always err on the side of real
people asking real questions of the candidates. The candidates have to
answer questions that are true to people`s experiences. This format allows
that to happen. I think a moderator-led format is interesting, too, we
have seen that in many spaces in the debates. But again, I think that like
a forum with real questions asking real questions to candidates and sort of
makes them engage emotionally too is important from a voter perspective.
HARRIS-PERRY: All right. We`re going to take a break. Alicia, stick with
us. DeRay, stick with us. We are going to bring in the rest of the table
more when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the reason that the
organizers use the phrase Black Lives Matters, was not because they were
suggesting nobody else`s lives matter. Rather, what they were suggesting
was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American
community that`s not happening in other communities. And that is a
legitimate issue that we`ve got to address.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: That was President Obama on Thursday making clear where he
stands on the question of the need for a movement that specifically focuses
on black lives in America.
So Joy, if we need a movement that focuses on it, do we also need a debate
or a town hall forum that specifically focuses on it?
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it`s interesting because the
discussion that you guys were having, I think, it did clarify. We are
talking a little bit on the break that it was a little bit clarifying. And
that I feel like what Alicia is saying is that for the Democratic Party to
really feel like it is showing actual real concern for the movement, it
needs to give the movement the respect of the format that it gives the
larger body politic, which is the debate format. Because I think in terms
of what DeRay was saying, if the question is what should the candidates do
for black Americans? You would think you want the movement to tell them.
You don`t want the candidates to cook up an idea and tell us, you know,
this is what we`re going to do for you. You want it to be organic and come
from people. So I think like the two are not that far apart from what they
want in the end. I could be wrong, but it just felt like the difference
here is the idea that the party would give a stepped-down version of the
discussion by not agreeing to the actual debate idea. I don`t know if
that`s right or wrong.
HARRIS-PERRY: So Alicia, let me pull you in here for a second. Just in
general, when you think about all of the kinds of policy changes that
campaign zero and black lives matter the network are interested in
enacting, at what point is presidential politics relevant as compared to
the other levels where these kinds of policy decisions are made?
GARZA: Yes, great question. I think what`s relevant is the question of
our access to the democratic system. And what`s also relevant is the
question of how democracy works right now, which to be honest, and to be
frank, is locking out people like the members of our network from
participating in genuine ways.
The issue with the lack of response from the DNC, and this is not a new
demand, right? There`s lots of conversation happening in the DNC about
opening up the process so more people can participate. And actually
opening up the process so candidates can get closer to movements without
being sanctioned for doing so.
Having six debates sponsored by the corporate media and not allowing
sanctions candidates from participating in other debate formats that would
help them get closer to the demands of movements, not only privileges
candidates who are more familiar to the voting public, but it also
sanctions movements. It doesn`t allow us to be in frank and real
conversation between our members and folks who are seeking the oval office
and other offices. That`s a huge problems in terms of access to democracy.
HARRIS-PERRY: DeRay, let me let you respond to that.
MCKESSON: Yes. I think (INAUDIBLE). We want to make sure there`s space
for robust conversation, right? And that the movement has been about
making sure that we press people, I mean, hold them accountable for the way
they make decisions that impact our lives.
I think what is interesting about the town hall forum, again, is that it is
real people asking real question, which I think is true to the movement
base. But it also, with the DNC`s support, I think that we can push the
DNC, given the statements that they have made, to make sure that this
format doesn`t have the constraints that the debates has, but allows us to
really dig deep.
So when I think about reviewing the 2012 town hall debate rules, town hall
forum rules, they were much more open from the debates that allowed people
to have interplay, that allowed the moderator to ask follow-up questions,
Candy Crowley, that hall, that exchange that happens, in a way that the
debate rules actually really strict.
When I have done the research with both parties sort of understanding the
debate rules, I think it doesn`t allow for as robust a conversation and it
tends to support the sound bite, and we don`t want that, right? We want to
know where people stand on these issues in a deep way.
HARRIS-PERRY: Maria, I`m going to let you in.
MARIA HINOJOSA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LATINO USA: I`m just kind of
wondering, is there a problem we can`t do both? Why can`t we – do we want
that kind of serious engagement? Why are we having town halls on a
consistent basis and why isn`t there a debate? I mean, I just see like we
all want to increase the conversation and hold them accountable, bring in
the authentic voices, and push for both. I mean, I love -
HARRIS-PERRY: But I think there`s – I do think there`s in part an answer
to that. And that is because you have to ask in any of these, what is in
it for the parties and candidates? I don`t mean like I think that`s a
good. I mean, I think that`s a realistic. And so, if I am Hillary Clinton
or I am Bernie Sanders, what is the value for me in engaging in an ongoing
way in this space? This is constituency I already expect to get, and I
could mostly only make a mistake. And so, I guess that`s, for me, Alicia,
let me ask you that as a kind of an insider-outsider part of what movements
do is to go ahead and say actually I`m not worried about what incentivizes
you. But of course, if you`re doing an inside strategy, then you have to
wonder about what incentivizes those you are in power.
GARZA: That`s right. Well, what should incentivize those in power are the
brave residents of Ferguson and Cleveland, South Carolina, Charleston, and
Oakland, right? That should be the incentive. But unfortunately, what it
looks like from our perspective and the perspective of our membership is
what the incentive is, right, is being aligned with the theory of black
lives matter without having to really demonstrate your commitment. And
again, that is something that is unfortunately being sanctioned by the DNC
because of the ways in which they`re restricting genuine conversation,
genuine solutions, and actually, genuine pressure on some of these
candidates to do more than sound bites, which they will do in both formats,
to be honest.
HARRIS-PERRY: So we have nearly ten seconds. I`m going to give you a last
chance to respond.
MCKESSON: Yes. I think, you know, I wouldn`t say this would be one of
many town hall formats. I think we can push the DNC to make the rules such
that this is a deeper conversation. And I don`t know anything more genuine
than having real people sort of push the candidates in a real way that
makes them have conversations with people, and I think that is true to the
movement space and has always been. So I`m hopeful we can push the DNC to
make this space as robust as possible, that this is not a concession. This
is actually a re-imagination of what town halls can be.
HARRIS-PERRY: I want to say thank you to Alicia Garza in San Francisco,
California. I also want to say thank you to DeRay McKesson right here on
my panel. The rest of my panel is sticking around. And we have got a lot
more coming up, including how the director of the FBI seems to be on a very
different page than the president he works for. Stay with us.
HARRIS-PERRY: We turn now to Stillwater, Oklahoma, where four people
including a 2-year-old boy, were killed after a car crashed into a crowd
gathered at an Oklahoma State University homecoming parade around 10:30
central time yesterday morning. Forty seven people were injured. Police
suspect the driver, 25-year-old Adacia Chambers was intoxicated at the
time. And she has been charged with driving under the influence. This
morning, 17 people are still in the hospital, five with critical injuries.
NBC news correspondent Jacob Rascon joins us now from Stillwater,
Jacob, what can you tell us about the people who were hurt in the crash?
JACOB RASCON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I want to start with over my right
shoulder is this memorial that is growing. A steady stream of people have
been showing up to pray, to, you know, leave flowers and signs. Some of
those who knew the people who were involved in the accident, and others who
we talked to who were witnesses to the accident. Really, you can feel the
impact here, right here at the scene. It just isn`t stopping, the people
coming and going.
As far as those who are hurt, as you said, five people are still fighting
for their lives. The others, the 12 who are still hospitalized are
expected to survive. Half of them are children. One of them, 1-year -old.
And this morning, as well, investigators have new video to review showing
the moment of impact. We won`t show the entire video but you can see a
gray sedan plowing into the crowd. No brake lights are visible there. One
of the witnesses tells the governor the driver had to be held down after
She, of course, was arrested on a charge of DUI. Investigators telling us
that possible charges range from negligent homicide to manslaughter, even
to murder, depending on her intentions, her driving history, and whether or
not she was intoxicated. Of course, the investigation continues this
morning – Melissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Jacob Rascon in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Up next, we`re going to play you some of what FBI director James Comey said
on Friday because this is something you really have to hear for yourself.
HARRIS-PERRY: Just one day after President Obama explicitly defended the
Black Lives Matter movement, one of the people who work for him was on a
very different message.
FBI director James Comey on Friday added his name to the roster of law
enforcement leaders openly speculating that increased scrutiny on police is
the reason for increased crime in some cities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: I do have a strong
sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind that has blown over
law enforcement over the last year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Now, we have heard this idea before. It`s called the so-
called Ferguson effect. The idea that police officers around the country
are so afraid of being caught in a viral video doing something they
shouldn`t be doing that they are just choosing not to prevent crime as much
as they otherwise would. Of course, there is some essential problems and
empirical one with that theory that is the utter lack of proof, something
the FBI director himself noted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMEY: The honest answer is I don`t know. And I don`t know that that
explains it entirely.
I think it`s embarrassing, honestly, and ridiculous that we as a government
don`t have the data. Every single conversation about law enforcement and
use of force by definition is uninformed. I cannot tell you whether
shootings are up, down, or flat because we don`t have the data.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Joining me now from Columbia, South Carolina, Marquez
Claxton, retired NYPD detective and director of the Black Law Enforcement
Marquez, this man works for the president. He was speaking at the
president`s former employer, the University of Chicago. He was speaking at
one point to one of the president`s former campaign strategists. And he
seemed to directly undermine the president. Will he still be FBI director
MARQ CLAXTON, DIRECTOR, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: If it was up to
me, no, but I`m sure he will be because conveniently, a lot of times some
of the quote/unquote “experts” and high level officials have the ability to
maneuver and kind of readjust. By tomorrow, he will be further explaining
what his rationale or reasoning was. So it`s disappointing.
And I think what he spoke about and what`s been regarded as the Ferguson
effect, it really is an examination of the lack of initiative and know how
in law enforcement. They can`t put their fingers on what is driving some
of the crime increases throughout the nation. And because they lack
innovative thinkers and initiative and new ideas, they`re just blaming it
on police apathy, if you will. Any professional police officer who would
be apathetic in the face of crime and not necessarily crime increase, but
crime in general, should not be a police officer. And that is the bottom
HARRIS-PERRY: Stick with us. One of the things that seems so odd to me
about this is, you know, Comey has actually been relatively good on some of
these issues in his discourse previously, but it`s specifically him saying
we don`t have the data. I just have a feeling about it. And so, I`m
wondering about, Patrick, how we intervene by saying, you can`t make those
sorts of claims unless you have data.
PATRICK MURRAY, DIRECTOR, MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY POLLING INSTITUTE: The fact
that we don`t have the data actually, one thing I`ll agree with him, is
incredible, that these things haven`t been collected. You know, we are
starting to look at things. There`s enough of it out there, if it gets
collated, because these seem to be anecdotal incidents that just happen,
that get noticed specifically because of the context of other things that
are going on in the world.
Interesting things, one thing we do know about is the racial disparity in
people who are being stopped by police for different things, whether it`s
just as simple as a traffic ticket. And one of the things I actually
included in a poll in addition to that is what the flipside of that. How
many people feel the police have gone out of their way to help them? And
we don`t see as big a disparity in that, which may suggest this is not just
something that African-Americans or Latinos are reporting because they want
to get police into trouble. This is something that is really happening on
their side, so then the question is, on the flipside, are they actually
going out there? The numbers don`t seem high enough to claim there`s some
sort of statistical correlation.
HARRIS-PERRY: And to the extent there are data, I mean, we were looking at
the law enforcement officer fatalities. Every fatality is someone in the
line of their job is awful. We do, of course, see there is an uptick, but
between 2014 and 2015, but those – that uptick is from traffic accidents.
It`s from the dangerous jobs that officers do, often chases folks in
circumstances. So traffic fatalities. They`re actually not shootings.
Compare that to what we know in St. Louis itself, and in the St. Louis area
where the uptick in violent crime precedes Ferguson, not follows it. So
anything that happens before something, I mean, after something, can`t
cause what happened before it.
REID: Right. And not only that. But you have now data collected by
people like the “Washington Post” that are started to collate the number of
fatal encounters between police and civilians. The racial disparity in
that, the racial disparity in just things like ticketing and traffic
tickets and the way that those things are being used to fund communities
that we saw in places like Ferguson, that we`re seeing in states. So we
see that data and we also see the anecdotal data of police unions just not
liking to hear about the data and not liking to hear about things like
black lives matter, and being annoyed by mayors like Bill de Blasio
actually saying that police probably are not to be engaging in fatal
encounters from a traffic stop or from somebody selling loose cigarettes.
So if you just look at the data that there is, it all leads toward really
what the libertarian sort of end of the argument is, is that perhaps the
problem is too much interaction for low-level offenses. And that maybe
what we need is not more emission of police into communities but maybe
less. And that the more encounters there are, because they`re
disproportionately traffic stops and because they`re disproportionately
focused on communities of color, maybe that actually is the problem. And
that because the police unions have an attitude about it, that doesn`t mean
there`s some sort of statistical correlation between the movement and
police not being able to fight crime.
HARRIS-PERRY: We are going to take a quick break. We are going to get you
back in, Maria on very next, I promise because up next, the attorney for
the family of the Florida man killed by a plain clothes police officer.
Stay with us.
HARRIS-PERRY: This is Corey Jones. He was killed last week by a Florida
police officer at the age of 31. And here is what we know. Jones, a
musician, was driving the night of October 18th when his car broke down off
the interstate. And while he waited for a tow truck around 3:15 a.m., Palm
Beach gardens police officer Numen Rasha pulled up. Officer Rasha was on
duty, was in plain clothes, in unmarked police vehicle. Jones had a gun
legally purchased just three days before and police say the box and
paperwork were still in his car. The officer shot Corey Jones. Corey
The police department says the officer had stopped to investigate where he
thought was an abandoned vehicle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF STEPHEN STEPP, PALM BEACH GARDENS POLICE: As the officer exited his
vehicle, he was suddenly confronted by an armed subject. As a result of
the confrontation, the officer discharge his firearm resulting in the death
of Mr. Corey Jones.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Police say the officer was not wearing a body camera, nor
was his vehicle outfitted with a dash cam. Police say they found a hand
gun on the screen on the ground outside Jones` car. And Jones` family said
he did not fire his gun. They also say that they were told by the state
attorney who is investigating the shooting that the officer didn`t show
Jones his badge before firing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN CRUMP, JONES` FAMILY ATTORNEY: How did Corey know that this was a
police officer? How did – why didn`t he identify himself? Why didn`t he
show the badge? You know, he rolls up on him in an unmarked white van with
tinted windows. He doesn`t know if he`s about to be robbed, if he`s about
to be killed. Imagine yourselves on the side of the road at 3:00 in the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: In addition to the independent investigation by the Palm
Beach county state attorney, the county sheriff`s office is also conducting
its own investigation. The sheriff`s office said it has requested
assistance from the FBI. And both say they are not commenting pending
their investigations. Officer Rasha is on paid leave.
Joining us now is the attorney for the Jones family, Daryl Parks, founder
of Parks and Crump law firm.
Mr. Parks, so we have heard from police that Corey bought that handgun
three days before he was killed. Do you know why he purchased the gun?
DARYL PARKS, LEAD COUNSEL FOR COREY JONES FAMILY: Well, Corey obviously,
being a band member, he`s often paid in cash. He often has very expensive
equipment with him as well. So he found the need to protect himself. So
like any American, he went out and purchased a gun so he could insure his
security. And obviously, he would find himself on the side of the road at
3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, would be a situation where everyone would want
to protect themselves, especially from a white van with tinted windows
coming up on you with a guy who steps out, who is not the police, or
doesn`t identify himself as the police, who approached you. So he had
every right to arm himself.
And I think that we ought to look here, because the officer says he`s
armed, it doesn`t mean that he tried to use the gun against the officer.
Just because you`re armed doesn`t mean an officer has the right to shoot
HARRIS-PERRY: Officer Claxton, what`s the protocol for a plain clothes
police officer in a situation like this?
CLAXTON: Well, it`s an interesting point because it`s often said in police
circles that good tactics saves lives. And in this particular case, bad
tactics can end lives. And you`re looking at an individual with, one,
limited experience in that particular police department. From reports,
he`s only been there six months. He`s alone at night, 3:00 a.m. in the
morning, out of uniform, unmarked van. I mean, it`s really a recipe for
disaster. And I think oftentimes what happens is immediately, the knee
jerk reaction is to do a victimology, the police department and state and
local government decide to examine the victim in this particular case
I think there also needs to be an examination of the tactics and the
individual, the police officer involved in this particular case because
this is a situation, this could be a situation where the police officer
initiated and instigated what ultimately happened to Mr. Jones, a pure
HARRIS-PERRY: Maria, let me let you in on this because you were telling a
story on a break about witnessing something with a police officer was in
HINOJOSA: Right. And actually, as I`m watching more about this, you know,
I`m thinking about is Amado Diallo. The case of Amado Diallo who was
stopped, I think it was around midnight, 1:00 in the morning, it was at
least four police officers all undercover, and Amado is coming home from
vending and all of a sudden he is being chased by four guys wearing, you
know, sweatpants or whatever. You know, you don`t know in this situation.
The story that I witnessed is much less problematic than this. It was
simply undercover police officers at 125th street detaining some people, at
least one woman who may have jumped the turnstile.
What`s interesting for me, first of all, I`m a journalist, right? So I`m
always – that`s my job. I`m always witnessing, watching, and asking
questions. But when you see a group of people just standing and watching,
nobody was filming it, just standing and watching, I thought, well, isn`t
this what public servants are supposed to do, right? You are working for
us. And we want to assure that this interaction is safe and smart. And in
the end, the two people they had stopped, they let them go. And we heard
them say, you know, try not to do this next time. Both of them, very
decent looking people, again, but don`t we want people to be watching and
as somebody who lives in Harlem and has a lot of undercover police
officers, I have said to my kids, you need to watch because we don`t know.
And it`s an issue, I get police tactics. But at the same time, these
things can backfire.
HARRIS-PERRY: And Joy, this happened in Florida, more like stand your
ground has been at - so here is a man with a legal firearm, who thinks he`s
being rolled up on by somebody who may not be an officer.
REID: Yes. We live in a world with the Hiller decision, an individual
right to bear arms, I mean, reaffirm by the Supreme Court in a state of
Florida that has the stand your ground law, the original stand your ground
law that says if you`re in your own domicile (ph), which in Florida,
includes your car, you have a right to stand your ground and use deadly
force if you feel your life is threatened. One in 17 Floridians have a
concealed carry permit which Mr. Jones did.
And I had a conversation with (INAUDIBLE), no relations. He is a state
representative who has a family sort of connection to the late Mr. Jones
because the band used to play to his father`s church a lot, and we had a
conversation that was interesting because the question is this. Had – it
does appear the officer was startled by an armed man, right? But what if
Corey Jones, having been startled by an armed man, had been the one who
shot and killed the officer? Would he be charged with murder? Would he be
now be under arrest? The probability is yes because that person was a
So what we see is an unequal standard. Each of them is startled, each of
them is armed, each of them in theory, one stand your ground as a civilian,
one exercising deadly force as a police officer. Why are those two
standards so wildly different in a state like Florida? In a state like
Florida, it`s really port because like Ohio, which is even further, it is
open carry, are we asking police to respond to the commission of an actual
crime or are they doing prevention of a possible crime by scoping around
people who are otherwise behaving lawfully. That`s a problem.
HARRIS-PERRY: Mr. Parks, let me come back to you for a moment. What are
the unanswered questions that the family has, that they want to have
PARKS: Well, without question, we now know that the officer issued a full
statement that they had not fully disclosed and gave the details on what
the officer said. For example, we know that the gun was found between
Corey`s body and the car, but we don`t know exactly where. So the
placement of those things becomes very important. Also, they have to
answer the question as to did the officer radio the interaction before he
got out of the car? And they weren`t able to answer the questions in the
meeting we had with the state attorney`s office.
So these are very serious questions because although they went to great
lengths to examine Corey, we need to now go to great lengths to examine the
officer. Remember, the first thing we heard from the Palm Beach gardens
police chief was talking about Corey, Corey`s gun, and when it was
purchased. Why was that more relevant than the officer who did the
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you, to Daryl Parks in Las Vegas, Nevada. I hope we
get those questions answered soon.
I also want to say thank you as always to Marquez Claxton in Columbia,
Also, there was big news this week that largely went unnoticed, but don`t
worry, we got you covered. That big news is next.
HARRIS-PERRY: Outside of the Benghazi hearings and vice president Biden`s
announcement this week, other big news rippled onto our radar. News that
drastically impacts our ballooning prison population.
On Thursday, the FCC took big steps in lowering inmate calling costs which
can go as high as $14 a minute by capping rates and eliminating most add-on
fees. Now, that news in and of itself was big news, but it wasn`t the only
criminal justice reform headline this week. A new group emerged this week,
a group that because of who its members are could have a real impact on the
goal of reducing incarceration rates. They call themselves law enforcement
leaders to reduce crime and incarceration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONAL SERPAS, LAW ENFORCEMENT LEADERS TO REDUCE CRIME AND INCARCERATION:
Our group has over 130 members from all 50 states of this nation. Police,
prosecutors, sheriffs, state, local, and federal. All united to say we
must seize this moment to reduce incarceration in the United States. While
keeping down crime at the same time. We can do it. And we know we can do
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: In its debut on Wednesday, the coalition offers three areas
for reform. More mental health and treatment, reclassification of crimes
and changing mandatory minimums for drug and nonviolent crimes.
Joining me is Benjamin David, district attorney for the New (INAUDIBLE) in
Benjamin, I understand that you and other members of this group were at the
White House on Thursday. And I`m interested in what your take away from
that meeting was.
BENJAMIN DAVID, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, it was a great honor to meet with
both President Obama and the attorney general, who like us, is from North
Carolina. And to really have a meaningful discussion about how we can
reduce both crime and incarceration in this country at the same time. It
sounds counterintuitive but we can do it by focusing not just on life and
liberty but the pursuit of happiness.
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s interesting. Follow up on that a little bit for me.
DAVID: Well, it`s about community engagement. We know for instance that
two out of three people in prison today are high school dropouts. So we
need to make sure that people are staying in school when they are kids.
Stopping the school to prison pipeline is what many people call it. And my
community has just passed that with our local school board and court
And then for adults returning from prison, we need to have meaningful
reentry. Right now, 98 percent of the people who we put in prison are
getting out and 66 percent of them are back in that prison cell within
three years under the current rate of recidivism. That`s completely
unacceptable and that`s obviously unsafe for everyone. So getting them
into jobs, removing the scarlet letter than the felony often carries
through meaningful ex-punishment laws for non-violent felons and
misdemeanor is absolutely essential to all of our public safety.
HARRIS-PERRY: So Maria, I want to have you respond to this. I know you
have been doing some of this work on your show.
HINOJOSA: Right. So there is more money spent right now in immigration
detention and deportation and enforcement than all other federal law
enforcement agencies combined. And I didn`t see that talked about in this
meeting at the White House. So Latinos also have one of the fastest
growing rates of being put behind bars. Every kind of bar. Jail, prison,
and detention centers. So, you know, when you read in the “New York Times”
that they`re releasing several thousand prisoners on a federal level.
HARRIS-PERRY: And a third of them were going to be immediately deported.
HINOJOSA: Well, probably not immediately because if they`re losing money
in where they`re not being held in prison, then they are going to put into
a detention center where they`re going to make some money before they`re
deported. And then, of course, we get to the whole question of who is
actually a criminal within the context of immigrant and who is defined as a
criminal by the administration.
So I`m really happy that this conversation is happening. I mean, I`m just
very glad. I think it`s a manifestation of a mature democracy that we`re
discussing this. But there`s this whole other thing happening in our
country that we`re not seven seeing. Of course, we`re reporting it on
Latino USA, but on the main stream national conversation, it`s not being
HARRIS-PERRY: So it is interesting, because you went also to the profit
piece of it. Also, one of the things we keep hearing is that the one thing
creating a bipartisan coalition around any of this is this idea of how
expensive incarceration is.
MURRAY: I mean, when you get Ted Cruz calling mandatory minimums
draconian, you know you have bipartisan support.
HARRIS-PERRY: You know it is 1994 anymore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that`s why.
MURRAY: They realize it doesn`t work. There is – the number of – you
have John Kasich in Ohio, who instituted sentencing reform there. And
there`s no question it`s bipartisan. It`s because of the cost. This is
what has made this politically powerful.
HARRIS-PERRY: Mr. David, let me come back to you.
DAVID: Thank you. Actually, it`s not even bipartisanship because that
means you`re surrendering something to meet in the middle. This is
actually the rarest of all creatures in Washington. This is truly a left-
right coalition. I actually have an identical twin brother who is the
neighboring elected district attorney. He happens to be an elected
Republican, and I`m an elected Democrat, and we both feel the same way.
HARRIS-PERRY: Mr. David, I feel like I`m going to bring a camera on down
to Wilmington next week. Because the fact that the two of you are
identical twins, one Democrat and one Republican, both holding this office,
just sounds like a story all by itself.
DAVID: Well, but when it gets down to justice, we need to be taking
politics out of it. I mean, whether it`s for reconciliation, forgiveness,
second chances on one side, or just bad business on the other, everyone
agrees that we have to reform the system. And this really is about public
safety. We want the right people in prison. There`s no question. Rapist,
murders, arms robbers, everyone agrees that they should be in prison.
Mentally ill, drug addicts, no one thinks we should warehousing those folks
and we need to do more trust building in the community, both with our young
people, keeping them in school, and adults to break that vicious cycle of
recidivism we`re seeing, the revolving door not just at the courthouse but
in our justice system.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Benjamin David in Wilmington, North Carolina
with a fascinating story I`m going to learn more about.
Still to come this morning, a seventh church fire set in the St. Louis
And the growing feud between Mr. Trump and Mr. Carson.
And hip-hop star Drake dancing like nobody`s watching.
There is more Nerdland at the top of the hour.
HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. We have a lot to
get to this hour, including the church fires being set in the St. Louis
area, and what`s happening between Mr. Trump and Mr. Carson in the
But first, we want to get you the latest on the dangerous flooding being
seen in Texas as a result of the remnants of what was hurricane Patricia.
There was record rainfall yesterday in numerous cities including Houston,
Austin, and San Antonio. As much as 10 inches of rain fell in parts of the
Houston area overnight. That`s on top of the nearly six inches that fell
on the city yesterday. Today, the flood threat shifts to the central gulf
coast where heavy rain is expected to spread to the lower Mississippi
Valley into Monday. In the past 24 hours, the Houston fire and police
departments responded to 28 weather-related rescues.
Joining us now is Charles Hadlock, in Houston Texas. Charles, we talked to
you a couple of times yesterday. What are the conditions there now?
CHARLES HADLOCK, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Melissa. We`re at the edge
of downtown Houston. This is Buffalo Bayou behind me. Now, it looks like
a dramatic picture, a lot of water in front of the downtown buildings, but
the downtown area is not flooded. This is just part of Buffalo Bayou as it
goes around the northern edge of downtown Houston. Buffalo Bayou is one of
many streams here in the Houston area which got to bank full today, but
really no major problems here. The flood stage here at this point was 21
feet. It got up to 23. But compare that to the Labor Day – or the
Memorial Day Flood a few months ago when it got up to about 30 feet and
inundated homes and buildings.
That is not the type of flood that has happened here today. We got about
10 inches of rain over a 12 to 18-hour period. The bayous here can handle
that time of flooding. In fact, the office of emergency management here in
Houston has gone back to routine status, up from their high alert over the
weekend. So they obviously think that the worst is behind them. The low
pressure system that generated this part of the remnants of Hurricane
Patricia is now south of Galveston, heading to the east. It will affect
the Lower Mississippi Valley in the days to come. But for now, the worst
is over for Houston. We`re waiting for the sun to come out to start drying
things out in the next day or two – Melissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to NBC`s Charles Hadlock in Houston, Texas.
This morning, congregations are gathering at seven churches all within ten
miles of one another in St. Louis, Missouri. In spite of scorched marks
burned into the doors of these places of worship. In the last two weeks,
seven fires have been intentionally set at these churches, most of them
started with the accelerant applied to the exterior doors. The most recent
fire was Thursday set at the front door of the shrine of St. Joseph. The
search is in a relatively secluded neighborhood leading the St. Louis
police chief to suspect the person who set the fire scouted the area and
knew they could get away without being seen.
Most of the fires left minimal damage but one church was nearly consumed by
flames. And while the seven churches targeted vary in denomination, six
served predominantly Black congregations. Investigators say they have not
determined whether race is a motive, but the ATF did say in a statement,
quote, “This fire setting activity is meant to send a message.” Thursday,
firefighters from across St. Louis canvass the city letting neighbors know
about the $9,000 reward and the fire chief called on the community for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF DENNIS JENKERSON, ST. LOUIS FIRE DEPARTMENT: It`s becoming fairly
apparent that somebody is trying to send a message. We don`t know what the
message is yet. I like to send a message back right now. You know, the
churches have always provided assistance to everybody in the St. Louis
region. Now it`s our time for people of the region to provide assistance
to the churches.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s important to understand the string of fires happened in
St. Louis, a city that has been the epicenter of protest and distrust
following the death of Michael Brown last year. And all of the fires
occurred near Ferguson where last year the Justice Department found a
pattern practice discrimination against African-Americans by the city`s
government and police. Burning churches has been a tactic deployed by
white supremacist groups for decades and as a living memory of the civil
rights movement. So, when it happens again, regardless of whether or not
we know the actual motive, in this case, the linkage is made through the
feelings, the experience of community.
Joining me now from St. Louis is Antonio French, alderman of the 21st Ward
in St. Louis. Nice to have you here, Alderman French.
ANTONIO FRENCH, ALDERMAN, 21ST WARD IN ST. LOUIS: Good morning.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, Mr. French, again, I want to be really clear. We don`t
know anything about the motivation of the arsonists, but I do wonder about
how the community is receiving and reacting to these fires.
FRENCH: Yes. Well, the community has really come together, religious
leaders from various faiths, from different denominations have all come
together to stand together against this act of terror, really. And that is
what it`s seen in the community as an act of terror where somebody is
deliberately trying to, as the chief said, send a message, though we`re not
clear exactly what that is. But people are angry, disturbed. And
motivated to help find this person and make this stop.
HARRIS-PERRY: You know, it`s interesting when you talk about the community
coming together. So much of what we`ve heard and seen in St. Louis and in
Ferguson has felt as though community was being rent apart. But there`s
something about the sacred space, not unlike the tragedy that we saw in
Charleston, South Carolina, where people just say, these sacred spaces,
that`s too far.
FRENCH: Right. You know, churches have historically been safe places,
these are places where people come together to worship, to love. And for
someone to target churches of all places, for destruction and to send some
kind of message of hate or anger or whatever this message is, is really
disappointing, especially in the face of all this community has gone
through over the last year.
HARRIS-PERRY: I`m wondering if there`s a federal presence there. I know
that obviously, the Department of Justice coming in the context of policing
post-Ferguson was an important turning point. I`m wondering if there have
been FBI investigations of these fires.
FRENCH: Yes, so the ATF is on the scene working with local authorities,
both local police and fire arson investigation. But as of yet, we have not
had any leads that we know of. And certainly have not arrested anyone yet.
Most of these fires, as you noted, have been at African-American churches.
This last one, though, seemed to be a different pattern. It was at a more
mixed church in a different area. So it`s not clear if this is the same
person or maybe even a copycat.
HARRIS-PERRY: Uh-hm. Hold on for me a second, Alderman French. One of my
guests, Maria Hinojosa would like to jump in. She has a question for you.
MARIA HINOJOSA, NPR`S LATINO USA: Alderman French, I was just wondering
when I first heard about this story, and I`m sorry if this is a strange
question, but the reward of only $9,000, I don`t understand that. To me,
it seems very small. Why isn`t that reward a larger amount? Is that
anything that`s come up at all? It just seems like such a small amount to
motivate somebody to come forward.
FRENCH: Yes, I expect that number to grow. You know, this has happened
over a very short period of time. I think the original amount started at
$2,000 and grew to $5,000 and then grew to $9,000. I expect that to grow
even higher. But frankly, it shouldn`t really take a reward for somebody
to give information for this. This is our community, and if anybody has
any information, it should not be motivated by financial gain. We should
just come forward and do the right thing.
HARRIS-PERRY: Alderman French, let me ask one last question one last
question that a slightly different topic. Just one last question. We have
been talking a lot about policing this morning. One of the things that we
have had a conversation about is the idea of this Ferguson effect, that
post the Ferguson experiences after the death of Michael Brown, more than a
year ago, that there is now kind of concern that police officers around the
country are not actively policing. Is that a conversation there in St.
Louis and what`s the nature of that conversation?
FRENCH: Yes, that`s been a conversation from the very beginning. There
were some talk from some in law enforcement to explain an increase in crime
as somehow the Ferguson effect. I think if there is a Ferguson effect, it
is that vital connection, that relationship between community and police,
has been broken and damaged. And it`s very difficult for police to do
their jobs without the support of the community. It`s very difficult to
catch criminals, and especially violent criminals and murderers without
people coming forward. And that is why that relationship is very important
and we have to do whatever we can do to repair it as quickly as possible.
And it`s how some of these, some of these discussions about accountability
relate to high crime rates.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Alderman Antonio French in St. Louis, Missouri,
this morning. I appreciate you joining us.
FRENCH: Thank you.
HARRIS-PERRY: Up next, we`re going to turn to politics because this week,
wow. Just wow.
HARRIS-PERRY: A key component to Donald Trump`s campaign is his popularity
in the polls, which is been something he`s loved to talk about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do we love these polls?
Somebody said, you love polls. I said that`s only because I have been
winning every single one of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: But in the latest Quinnipiac Iowa poll, Dr. Ben Carson has
surpassed Trump for the first time. And Trump responded by saying the
pollsters just don`t like him and then he turned his attention to the new
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Donald Trump has fallen to second place behind Ben Carson. We
informed Ben, but he was sleeping. Ben Carson is super low energy, right?
Super. He`s super low.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Carson`s team hit back, saying, quote, “I have news for Mr.
Trump. Dr. Carson was very much awake as poll number one was announced and
poll number two and then poll number three, from the Jindal campaign, all
saying the same thing. Carson takes the lead in Iowa. Wide awake.” But
there is good news for Trump once the candidates move past Iowa. A new
poll shows 42 percent of all republican voters regardless of who they
support, believe Donald Trump is most likely to be their nominee. And many
in the republican establishment dismissed the summer of Trump for a myriad
of reasons, name recognition to politicians, fatigue, expecting a plummet
in the rankings which has not yet happened. Fearing the outspoken Trump
could win the election, now there are rumblings of a possible takedown.
But if Mr. Trump were pushed out, who would supporters choose in his place?
I want to bring in my panel, Joy Reid, MSNBC national correspondent, author
of the new book “Fracture, Obama, the Clintons, and the Democratic Divide.”
Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Maria Hinojosa, executive producer and anchor of NPR`s Latino USA, and
Gian-Carlo Peressutti who is a republican strategist and former press
secretary to President George H.W. Bush. I want to come to you because we
have been talking about Mr. Trump, and the polls for months.
PATRICK MURRAY, DIRECTOR, MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY POLLING INSTITUTE: Yes.
HARRIS-PERRY: What is happening?
MURRAY: Trump hit a bump. And go to Dr. Seuss on this one. No, I mean,
this Iowa poll was real, in fact, we have our Iowa poll coming out tomorrow
that shows this is definitely a real trend in Iowa. The evangelical vote
in Iowa is absolutely going for Ben Carson. But nationally still, there is
this fascination with Donald Trump. He doesn`t do well among a number of
key voting blocks, we have been talking about African-Americans and
Latinos, but I`m not sure that he does have a path to the nomination. I
mean, he does have a path to nomination. I think, though, however, he`s
not going to have a majority of delegates by the time that we get to the
end of the primary season, and so the big question will be what do the
other candidates do to coalesce around an alternative to Donald Trump.
HARRIS-PERRY: So this question for me is the big one. So, who is the
alternative? I mean, Ben Carson sort of right now, but if I were a
republican, I mean, this would be quite a moment. I would be a little
GIAN-CARLO PERESSUTTI, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think that Donald Trump
has shown the blueprint for his own demise here. We saw in your clip how
fond he is of talking about polls. But I would remind viewers that early
in the summer, he was very dismissive of polls prior to the time when he
actually started leading in them, and then that`s all he could talk about.
To paraphrase Rahm Emanuel, it was a noun, a verb, and a poll. And that`s
all we heard from Donald Trump. And now one poll that has shown not the
results that he might like, he`s back to denigrating that again. And I
think that it`s that kind of inconsistency that`s going to begin to dawn on
the minds of republican primary voters that, hey, wait a minute, maybe this
is not our guy.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, Carson pulled ahead of Mr. Trump is Dr. Carson. And he
was just on “Meet the Press” this morning. I want to play a little bit the
sound and ask you about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if somebody has an unwanted pregnancy? Should
they have the right to terminate it?
DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. Think about this. During
slavery, and I know that`s one of those words you`re not supposed to say,
but I`m saying it. During slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that
they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave. Anything that
they chose to do. And what if the abolitionists had said, you know, I
don`t believe in slavery. I think it`s wrong. But you guys do whatever
you want to do. Where would we be?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: The comparison between the Dred Scott decision and the Roe
v. Wade decision is a very common one within pro-life movements. The
conversation about sort of the bodily integrity of each person also
extending to the fetus is a standard one, but I think when it deploys
specifically from an African-American candidate, I think there is a kind of
power to it in the public sphere that will undoubtedly mean that comment is
going to get played a lot.
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Absolutely. And I think
it`s important to note that that, as you said, that signal that`s being
sent by Ben Carson is one that may shock sort of the average person when
you hear it, but if you`re in the evangelical movement and the anti-
abortion movement, that`s a signal that says, okay, he understands it,
it`s very common. And most of the addressing of African-Americans in the
right-wing side of the movement is talking about the genocidal nature of
Planned Parenthood`s founder toward African-Americans. The genesis nature
of abortion, et cetera. So, I think –
HARRIS-PERRY: Alan Keyes was the master, he was incredible at this. Yes.
REID: Right. And so, I think part of the reason for Ben Carson`s staying
power is that you have each wing of the Republican Party has their guy.
And he has surpassed Mike Huckabee as really being the avatar for the
evangelical wing of the party. And it`s just interesting to me the way the
party is breaking down. The neocons have Marco Rubio, sort of Jeb Bush
although he kind of fall in the wave. The sort of establishment people
have their guys. But the evangelicals have Ben Carson. And that`s, I
think, a durable, at least through Iowa, I think support.
HARRIS-PERRY: And yet, let me just say though, I want to go back to the
one poll result that really this week had us going, really? Is that 42
percent are saying, yes, well, whatever we want, we actually think that Mr.
Trump is going to end up as the nominee. Is that – is like, how important
is that particular piece?
MURRAY: Those things tend to be the most predictive. More than the polls
themselves. If you look at these predict markets, and we don`t have
intrade anymore, but people are very good. And there`s a whole theory
about this called the wisdom of crowds.
MURRAY: People are very good at figuring out what the mass of other people
believe in the aggregate. And if you aggregate their believes about what
everybody else thinks, they tend to be very accurate.
HARRIS-PERRY: I would be interesting to see whether or not the party
thinks that. So, it`s one thing to talk about kind of, you know, likely
primary voters in Iowa caucusers, but when the party leadership are
together, not that we are all together on a room or something, but when the
party leadership is together, is that also kind of the received wisdom?
PERESSUTTI: Well, I think Patrick to your point, one of the other things
about these predictive polls, who`s going to get the nomination, they tend
to be lagging indicators as well. And we just had this massive number of
weeks of positive coverage for Mr. Trump, the polls bore that out, and it
really sunk into the consciousness of the so-called establishment that,
hey, this might happen. I don`t think the establishment is spending too
much time worrying about whether it will or won`t as much as what they can
do about it. That`s really the tricky dynamic I think at play in the race.
Because as we all know, if the establishment sticks its snorkel out of the
water and if the Koch Brothers and if Reince Priebus` aunt Harriet launch a
Super PAC to go after Mr. Trump, and that`s only going to feed into his
base of support and get them even more fired up to support their candidate.
So, it`s how you bring Trump down and the way in which you do it that I
think is occupying a –
HINOJOSA: Okay. But I still don`t get to how Trump wins, actually
numerically or in terms of the demographics. How he`s actually able to win
HARRIS-PERRY: The general?
HINOJOSA: The general. I`m talking about the general. There`s an
assumption that he`s going to get the nomination, which I still think is
difficult and really challenging. But aren`t you as Melissa said kind of
freaking out about what that means for the Republican Party?
PERESSUTTI: When it comes to general, 100 percent. I was speaking in the
context of the primary. In the general, it would be a 40-state plus loss
for Republicans if Trump would be the nominee, no question.
REID: But you do see, I think because of that, you`re starting to see this
sort of undercurrent of potentially going after Jeb Bush and pushing him to
HARRIS-PERRY: Hey, hey, don`t be jumping over to my –
Joy Reid, just now she didn`t told you everything we`re going to do on the
Up next, last night was a very big night for the Democrats. Wait until you
see what happened at the Iowa Jefferson Jackson Dinner. Katy Perry.
HARRIS-PERRY: Last night in Des Moines, Iowa, the State Democratic Party
held its Annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner. The night is always a big one
for Democrats but in a presidential primary years especially so.
Candidates are there to make their case to the party`s most fervent
activists and make it last night, they did.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As I said at the debate in
Las Vegas, I`m a progressive who likes to get things done.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MARTIN O`MALLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And while all of the
candidates here tonight share progressive values, not all of us have a
record of actually getting things done. I do.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: About eight years ago, all of
the political experts talked about how another democratic candidate for
president just couldn`t win. He was unelectable. You remember that guy?
What`s his name? Oh, it`s President Obama. Well, Iowa, I think we are
going to prove the pundits wrong again. I believe we`re going to make
history one more time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: And there for all of that excitement last night was NBC`s
Kelly O`Donnell, who joins me now from Des Moines. Now, look, Bernie is
not wrong there. The 2007 JC Dinner was a big breakout moment for then-
Senator Obama. Was there a big breakout for somebody last night?
KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC NEWS CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Melissa, I
think it was different. For President Obama, it really was a turn of the
page from that moment on, he was on his way to the nomination. The feeling
was different last night, although still very instructive about where
Democrats are. This is a pinnacle event. And so the test is really how
well did the campaigns organize. And for Hillary Clinton, it was a day
with a lot of showbiz and a polish in the sense she had Katy Perry in who
was attending the dinner as well as doing a free concert earlier in the
Her supporters had these sort of blue glow sticks that created fabulous
imagery. But on the other side, the Bernie Sanders team was a little
rougher and a whole lot louder, significant in number. And their strategy
was to make a deafening noise. So when the speakers, the candidates are at
the center of the stage, around them are the tables for the official dinner
fund-raiser, and then another ring of almost stadium like cheering
sections, bleachers, if you will. And so for Bernie Sanders, the energy
was unmistakable. And he seemed, as a candidate, to really come, putting
everything out there.
Whereas Secretary Clinton, who gave a very strong speech, seemed a bit more
subdued in her energy level and of course, she had a heck of a week,
having prepared for and doing the 11 hours of testimony before the Benghazi
Committee, and so sort of her objective might have been a bit different.
For Hillary Clinton, she was trying to make the message of she`s always
been a democrat, and able to get things done. And for Bernie Sanders, it
was one hit after another, subtly, sort of attacking the record and the
positions of Hillary Clinton. So a very eventful night for Democrats here
HARRIS-PERRY: Man, I love Iowa, Kelly. And I`m actually be bringing 20 of
my Wake Forest students up to Iowa for the caucuses. And I just can`t
wait. It`s so exciting. Blue lights and cheers and stuff. It`s good
All right. Thank you to NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell in Des Moines, Iowa.
Still to come this morning, the incredible, electrifying, and yes, head
scratching and head scratching inducing dance moves of superstar Drake.
Oh! But first, what`s going on with Jeb Bush. It`s not Drake, it`s
HARRIS-PERRY: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is in Texas today,
reportedly meeting with family members and top funders to discuss his
campaign finances. Mr. Bush appears to be attempting to regroup after
announcing on Friday that he`s slashing his campaign staff pay by 40
percent. And that`s not all that`s going on with the GOP`s one-time front-
runner. Campaigning in South Carolina yesterday, Mr. Bush sounded a bit,
well, just listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If this election is
about how we`re going to fight to get nothing done, then I don`t want any
part of it. I don`t want to be elected president to sit around and see
gridlock just become so dominant that people literally are in decline in
their lives. That is not my motivation. I have a lot of really cool
things that I could do other than sit around being miserable, listening to
people demonize me and me feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a
joke. Elect Trump if you want that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: And here is Governor Bush`s response when asked about the
perception that his campaign might be falling apart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Blah, blah, blah, blah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what they`re saying?
BUSH: That`s my answer, blah, blah, blah. Watch it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: And finally, Jeb`s reply when asked about Donald Trump`s
drop in Iowa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I have – I`m past Donald Trump.
HARRIS-PERRY: Sorry, what is happening with Jeb?
PERESSUTTI: Low energy, that`s not so far as these clips are concerned.
HARRIS-PERRY: I just can`t. Don`t even ask me about Trump anymore.
PERESSUTTI: No, I was going to say, I mean, to me, clearly, the campaign
is not in a position that it thought it would be at this part of the race.
We know that. And I think that`s due to several factors. But primary
among them is the fact that Jeb knew all along he was going to face an
anti-establishment opponent in this race. What the conventional wisdom
thought that it was going to come in the form of the right wing.
PERESSUTTI: And in fact, it`s now turned into what has become sort of the
broken wing of the Republican Party. And I think that part of that
surprise, if you will, on behalf of the campaign, is reflected in Jeb`s
struggles to date. But he`s husbanding his resources. And he`s also going
to do what he said he was going to do at the beginning of the campaign,
which is run a race that will enable him to have the resources he needs to
compete late into the spring or I believe this race has had it, and God
forbid, maybe even into the summer to –
HINOJOSA: So, you`re saying, you know, that`s a smart administrative
decision of somebody who wants to the law – he`s going to have to –
PERESSUTTI: Yes, and let`s just be realistic. The fund-raising numbers
for the least quarter came out. Jeb raised $13 million. He has the
benefit of a $100 million Super PAC behind him. Those numbers are going to
carry him through this race as long as he wishes to stay in it. So, any
comparison to Rick Perry, Scott Walker is –
HARRIS-PERRY: But how long will he wish to stay in a race where the
headlines are consistently that he is in fifth place, sixth place, seventh
place, that he`s polling at five percent. I mean, one might ask why we
even, in a headline, why he still gets to be in the headline?
PERESSUTTI: Once the voting starts, that`s when we`re going to know.
Iowa, you know, I don`t feel good about his chances there, to be frank, but
every single state after there, he has going to have a real shot.
MURRAY: I`m not totally – I`m not convinced of Bush. Because it`s the
issue, you said, they thought that he was going to fight an anti-
establishment candidate. He`s fighting against the establishment
candidates for positioning right now. And that`s what`s really surprising.
And I think Marco Rubio is going to do a lot better in Iowa. And this is
going to be the problem for Bush. I think Bush could do better in New
Hampshire, but the problem is do Kasich and Christie do better in New
Hampshire than Bush does? And then it becomes we`re heading to March 15th.
The establishment knows that Florida is winner take all, and they know that
Donald Trump will definitely win that state if it`s both Bush and Rubio in
HARRIS-PERRY: I want to ask a polling question in part on this, because
the Vice President choosing not to get in means that we are much more
likely, even more likely, right, to see Hillary Clinton as the democratic
nominee. So, do you now at this point start polling each of these
republican candidates over and against a Clinton in the general election so
that republican voters can start making the decision based on what they
presumably will be facing?
MURRAY: Well, I`ll tell you a secret here is that you won`t see much
difference. Because right now, when we poll that question, it`s any
republican against Hillary Clinton, and it`s really a referendum on Hillary
Clinton at this point until a real true leader emerges in the republican
REID: And yet, it`s just interesting. First of all, the peevish Jeb is
the Jeb that people in Florida know. Right? Jeb is a peevish guy. I
mean, he`s not his brother. He doesn`t have the sunny personality. And
any time he`s been pushed in politics when there was a fight over him
abolishing affirmative action by decree and black lawmaker said and in his
op-ed, his response was to go in front of television cameras pointing at
him and say, get their (bleep) out of here, okay, that he was not a guy who
has never been not churlish, it`s just who he is. So, unfortunately, he`s
sort of showing a little bit of leg, right, in terms of who he is as a
HARRIS-PERRY: Although maybe that would be a good campaign strategy in
this particular primary where, like, apparently, that`s what people want to
PERESSUTTI: To the extent that this is a race about authenticity and about
republican – the republican electorate wanting authentic candidates, Jeb
has remained true to himself. He has not morphed his disposition into
being something that he`s not.
HARRIS-PERRY: To try to being something that he`s not.
PERESSUTTI: And I think that that will all go well for him the longer he`s
in the race.
REID: But the problem is, so the establishment has to decide which of the
Kasich, Christie, Rubio, or Jeb can actually emerge as the anti-Trump
candidate. And as you said, Jeb Bush has $100 million. Now, what Marco
Rubio is doing, he doesn`t have his hands on it, but there`s a nonprofit
organization with the same name as the Super PAC`s supporting him that is
spending 100 percent of the money that`s being spent to try to make him the
candidate that emerges from the scrum. So, what you might now see is Super
PAC versus Super PAC. People with a lot of money trying to establish who
the candidates is. But there`s something just a little bit desperate,
sorry, about these undercurrents of maybe what should happen is all that
money should go to Rubio because I think people are thinking general –
REID: – election in the republican establishment and saying maybe we need
to do an ethnic play.
HARRIS-PERRY: 2016, cantankerous curmudgeons and Super PAC battles.
Joy Reid is sticking around. Thank you to Patrick Murray and to Maria
Hinojosa and to Gian-Carlo Peressutti.
And up next, how Drake blew up the entirety of the internet with hotline
bling, and black man vulnerability.
HARRIS-PERRY: Have you seen Hotline Bling? The new video from the hip-hop
also R&B artist Drake, blew up the entirety of the internet when it was
released on Monday. Why? Well, it`s hard to say. I mean, there is not
anything particularly flashy about it or provocative or cutting edge.
Drake doesn`t kidnap and torture anyone, ala Rihanna`s “B, Better Have My
Money.” And he doesn`t show his entire assets, ala Beyonce in patrician.
He did record a 24-hour music video through the streets of L.A. like
Pharrell did for happy. No. Drake just dances. I mean, not like Justin
Timberlake or Michael Jackson or even Channing Tatum, he just kind of,
well, you see what`s happening there.
Now, Drake was roundly mock the – like this one of Drake making a
pepperoni pizza. Uh-oh, what? Or this one, with a cameo by Carlton from
fresh prince, but we were just hate watching hotline bling. We`re also
kind of loving it, thus my gray sweatshirt, because it takes some boldness
to be this dorky, to be vulnerable and soft and wearing an enormous
turtleneck, cha-chaing for millions of people, and especially bold coming
from a rapper-ish, and especially from a black man. And that`s the thing,
being dorky or vulnerable or soft isn`t the antithesis of black manhood,
it`s just yet another way to be authentically black. Like Drake himself
says, just be yourself. Joy Reid said she wanted in on this. So she`s
still here. And when you talk about dorky black men, we said we have to
talk to Mychal Denzel Smith.
– contributing writer at The Nation. And Rembert Browne, senior writer at
Grantland. So nice to have you all here.
REMBERT BROWNE, SENIOR WRITER, GRANTLAND: I now know why we`re here.
Great. I get it.
HARRIS-PERRY: Mr. Brown, honestly, you know, we have been obsessed with
this video in Nerd Land and we actually thought that your take on it was
the most perfect of all the many takes. So if just want to read this one
part. In this video, you`re seeing the confidence of someone who has been
going to the same bar every other weekend for three years. It`s post-
posturing. It`s when you show up in sweats at 1:00 a.m. because you can.
It`s how you dance when a public space becomes your living room. You`re
beyond needing to impress strangers because you`re not the stranger,
everyone else is.
BROWNE: I wrote that.
HARRIS-PERRY: You did, and it`s lovely. Expand. Say more on that.
BROWNE: As soon as I saw the video within about ten seconds, I started
thinking about different friends of mine that I had that behave the exact
same way. And it would be, on an island, it would be embarrassing for that
one person but typically when there is ten of us all doing the same thing,
there`s this power in numbers, this confidence. And I think the reason
that the video of Drake by himself is so interesting that he doesn`t have
anyone – he has no support system.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, no.
BROWNE: Just by himself.
HARRIS-PERRY: Just doing it.
BROWNE: Yes. Like if I`m doing that, I want my crew to be like right next
Like the same thing. But he`s by himself.
HARRIS-PERRY: But it really actually is a level of vulnerability. And I
think that`s part of what`s interesting about Drake constantly, and it was
so different about the back-to-back, you know, kind of feud songs. He does
this vulnerability thing.
MYCHAL DENZEL SMITH, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, “THE NATION”: He does that in a
certain space, but then you have to unpack like what else is going on
around Drake that kind of allows him to be vulnerable, is that, you know,
if he doesn`t come through Lil Wayne and doesn`t come through cash money
and doesn`t have that sort of like credibility to co-sign him, are we as
accepting of him. Right?
SMITH: If he doesn`t have like hotline bling, where he`s basically
chastising this woman for like not talking to him anymore.
HARRIS-PERRY: But here`s not really quite chastising. I mean, there`s a
little bit of chastising but it`s so pitiful. It`s like, you used to call
me, now you don`t call me. Why don`t you call me? Are you calling
somebody else? Like, it`s not quite the same thing.
SMITH: Yes. I mean, so that vulnerability does exist, but I feel like,
it`s also like packaged with a certain, like, what some people are calling
nice guy misogyny. We`re like Drake is the prototype of the guy who, like,
believes that he`s supposed to be deserving of attention and like is mad
that you`re not giving into to him. But then like he just dances by
himself, but you`re like, yes, like obviously, like yes. This is you,
HARRIS-PERRY: Because there actually is something about that. And I think
I love the story you told her about like you start thinking about – like
the first time you watch it, like he so ridiculous, I mean, you`re like,
oh, I totally do that. Back in February, you wrote about Drake in a
totally different video, but just talking about it`s one of those Drake
songs that makes you smirk as you become the protagonist. And in this one,
when you become the protagonist, when you start draking, as I now calling
it – you`re like, oh, I also am not cool.
REID: Yes. No, I love this video. I mean, there are a lot of critiques
of it in terms of the derivative nature of it that he`s inside that
lightbox which is they`re the famous sort of installation artist left in
the trail. Who he`s kind of stealing from him, and there`s another artists
who did the cha-cha before him. And people like the song is derivative of
this other artist drum song. There`s actually a lot of critiques of this
video on the other side of it, but the actual video and the performance
that Drake is doing I think is so geeky and so off the idea of what hip-hop
is supposed to be that it`s infectious. I went into a vortex on the means
of this video and I could not get out.
REID: I couldn`t get out because it`s so goofy.
HARRIS-PERRY: But the goofies happened before. I mean, I`m thinking about
like fresh prince and getting jiggy with it. I mean, that is not –
SMITH: He`s tapping into sort of a heavy D having fun, with like doing
hip-hop. But like, that`s not supposed to be our superstar. Like Drake is
the most popular rapper in the world right now. And he is a dork. Like,
that`s not supposed to be the thing.
BROWNE: For me, it`s almost like he`s rubbing it in everyone`s face. He`s
like, look what I can get away with.
REID: Like I`m not hard core.
HARRIS-PERRY: For you, he`s in on it. Because we`re not watching him, I
have a little bit – when you say he`s not supposed to be our superstar. I
do have a little bit of the like appreciation that black folks don`t have
to be cool. So, even if you think about President Obama who initially
running in part of the kind of like aesthetic of the black cool, and you
see him in the – and then like you have President Obama in the mom jeans,
and particularly President Obama dancing in which he basically looks like
Drake when he dances.
I mean, how is that different?
REID: That`s cold.
REID: That`s cold. That`s cold.
BROWNE: Oh, God.
REID: He trying to do the Jack and Jill.
HARRIS-PERRY: My point is like, because black dorkiness could lead you to
Harvard Law School and the Oval Office. I mean, not for Drake. But, you
BROWNE: Not cool is the new cool. This is the thing. I mean, I think for
the thing about the video and you were kind of saying this, it`s like, it`s
such a mirror –
BROWNE: And you`re looking at someone kind of like, you know, show
themselves a little bit and like really let go of all pretense. And it
makes you – it makes you – he`s found another way to make –
HARRIS-PERRY: Right, so pause for a second. Because when we come back,
also there`s a couple other things going on just visually here that I want
us to play around with. Also, I want to see if I can make Mychal Denzel
Smith cry when we come back.
HARRIS-PERRY: We`ve been talking about Drake`s new Hotline Bling video.
And we would be remiss if we didn`t, you know, wish Drake a very happy
birthday, even if it`s a day late. Also celebrating a birthday this week,
his 44th was Snoop Dogg. And Snoop`s son wrote a birthday message to his
dad on Instagram and explained why Kordell, the son, a four-star recruit
for UCLA`s football team walked away from the game in August. He wrote,
played football for my father because I thought that was the only way he
would love me and be a part of my life. It took me 12 years to realize he
loves Kordell the person, not Kordell the football player. The best day of
my life was when I heard those exact words. So, I wonder is this a
redefinition of masculinity. Moment that we`re in, for folks who are
saying, you know for real, we can understand that love one another, affirm
one another`s sense of manhood without having to look in this very narrow
SMITH: Yes. That`s certainly a shift. I hadn`t even seen that. Like
that`s a beautiful thing to understand that you have the love of your
father like despite what you conceived would be the way to get that love.
And, you know, that now it`s because you have a connection as human beings
and it`s beyond sort of the performance of masculinity. So, yes.
Certainly things that are shifting. I don`t think that we`re completely
there yet that we`re embracing it wholeheartedly. But I think that we can
take pride in those little moments.
HARRIS-PERRY: And it feels like it matters when it happens through hip
hop. Like because hip hop has sort of operated as this version of
aspirational black manhood that when it`s Snoop, when it`s you know, Drake,
when it`s you know, Kanye if we were talking about. Like this moment
couldn`t have happened without Kanye initially, that it matters.
BROWNE: Yes. It`s the co-sign. And it`s like, well, if they`re cool with
it, then I guess I can talk about my dad, too, on Instagram. If I see
someone else like being the first to take that vulnerability step.
HARRIS-PERRY: I also wonder if it`s a version of queer politics being
about something bigger than marriage equality. So, let me just push this a
little bit. It`s just to say that part of what happens when hip hop has to
back off of its one and only this being, I mean, you`re gay, which was sort
of like 20 years of hip-hop when asked to kind of back away from that, it
needs some other kind of – some other way of defining what is problematic.
And so you can, you know, like this is actually part of the process.
REID: I think that is part of the process but I think it started a little
bit earlier. I mean, when ice cube sort of made that transition in that
generation, the gen-xers in –
HARRIS-PERRY: We got old. We got old.
REID: Started doing like, you know, buddy pictures. And then where do you
go from there? Once they did Friday and they were comedians. It was kind
of a different world.
SMITH: There`s only so much space for hip hop to have been countercultural
and get accepted into the mainstream. Try to still be countercultural.
So, what is counter-cultural at this point? Like rejecting all the things
that you once believed in.
HARRIS-PERRY: I also – the other counter piece to me, and you brought up
before, he is alone, his crew isn`t around him and there`s this kind of
empty space aspect. It`s also the thing that I like best about the “Single
Ladies” video. So, there are many Beyonce videos that I loved for many
reasons. But just the fact that we actually watch them in this kind of
blank space actually performing the whole time. It just gives you a
different sense of engagement with the performance.
REID: Yes. And can we say it one time for the big girls?
Yes. Just all the way back. And the big girls also like I think they are
doing some interesting stuff there. Because on the one hand, they`re like
bored with the sexual performance on the Hot Line. Like, oh, yes,
whatever, you know, your feet, whatever, and then their bodies are doing
that kind of like just standing there. But then at the end like they`re
dorky dancing right along with him.
BROWNE: Every single thing, I think what both of you are saying is like
the thing that works with Drake and I think the thing that works with Ice
Cube, the thing that works with a lot of people, even Beyonce is like Hot
Line Bling right now really only works because he also has like a back-to-
BROWNE: Like you can be vulnerable –
BROWNE: But we`re still not at a point of pure 150 –
SMITH: – doesn`t get accepted without big boy being a pimp. You know,
what I mean?
SMITH: So, we`re not like, I don`t think he can come out with five more
Hot Line Blings.
SMITH: Like there has to be a balance or something.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, it`s okay to be dorkyish but not full dork yet. That`s
all right. We`re working on soon authentic full black Nerdland. Thank you
to Joy Reid, Mychal Denzel Smith and Rembert Browne.
We have one more little item to report this morning before we go. And
that`s a birth announcement. Check out this adorable, beautiful and
utterly perfect baby Sidney Solomon Steplight-Tillet, son of frequent
Nerdland guest Salamishah Tillet and Solomon Steplight. His name this
beautiful baby is inspired by the saxophonist and jazz great Sidney Bechet
and actor and civil rights legend Sidney Poitier. And Sidney was born six
pounds, nine ounces and shares one heck of a birthday with me and my
executive producer, October 2nd. We here at MHP want to say, welcome to
Sidney and congratulations to the entire family.
That`s our show for today, thanks to you at home for watching. I`ll see
you next Saturday at 10 a.m. Eastern. Right now it`s time for a preview of
“WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT.”
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