Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 2/7/2016
Show: MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY
Date: February 7, 2016
Guest: Christopher Borick; Basil Smikle; Elise Jordan; Boris Epshteyn;
Camry Wilborn; Ryan Wolfe; Cam Midgol; Erica Jordan, Karen Weaver, Brittney
Cooper, Michael Arceneaux, Dave Zirin, Adam Howard, Shana Renee Stephenson,
Ben Leber, Jane Kim
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: This morning, my question, will Beyonce
and cam own this weekend?
Plus, the mayor of Flint, Michigan, joins me live.
And wake the vote is here.
But first, fight night in New Hampshire.
Good morning. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.
And last night`s presidential debate was the eighth time we have seen the
top contenders for the Republican nomination square off on a national
stage. The last before Tuesday`s New Hampshire primary. But the first
since the Iowa caucuses, shifted and reshuffled the field of contenders.
So in some ways, it was like watching them debate for the very first time.
Gone was the undercard of low polling also rans (ph). We bid farewell to
drop-outs Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum - hi, guys. And
other low pollers still in it to win it, Carly Fiorina and Jim Gilmore,
they just didn`t make the cut for the stage.
But making Saturday night`s debate a prime time to reorder the politics of
the 2016 race. And that seems to be precisely what happened at the GOP
governors came out swinging from the opening bell and unrelentingly pursued
the senators, the doctors, and reality TV hosts throughout the night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For anybody who is here
tonight, if I get elected president, head out tomorrow and buy a seat belt
because there`s going to be so much happening in the first 100 days, it`s
going to make your head spin, and we`re going to move America forward. I
promise you we are going to move this forward.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The shame is you would criticize
somebody for showing up to work, plowing the streets, getting the trains
back on time, when you have never been responsible for that in your entire
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What Donald Trump did was use
eminent domain to try to take the property of an elderly woman on the strip
in Atlantic City. That is not public purpose. That is downright wrong.
To turn this into a limousine parking lot for his casinos is not a public
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, it was revenge of the governors. After all the
Republican Party currently controls, 31 governors seats in this country.
And until the election of then-senator Barack Obama back in 2008, American
voters had shown a pretty strong preference for electing governors to the
See, governors are suppose said to be the adults, the ones with the real
policy positions. Clear cross party constituencies and a record of tough
Look at what happens when Donald Trump is asked about the divide between
law enforcement and communities of color.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m telling you that not only me
speaking, minorities all over the country, they respect the police of this
country, and we have to give them more respect. They can`t act. They
can`t act. They`re afraid for losing their pension, their job. They don`t
know what to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: OK. But then Governor John Kasich of Ohio weighed in with
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I created a big
collaborative in Ohio made up of law enforcement, community leaders, the
head of my public safety and a former Democrat liberal state senator Nina
Turner, run it. They got together. They made recommendations on
recruiting, on hiring, on the use of deadly force, and what we`re about to
do is to bring community and police together so we can have a win-win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: See the difference? Kasich saying specific things. Talking
about, you know, Nina Turner. So what the Republican governors pushing
back hard against the upstart outsiders, has the force finally awakened in
the GOP establishment?
Joining me now are Boris Epshteyn, who is a Republican strategist and
former communications aide with the McCain/Palin campaign. Elise Jordan,
who is NBC News and MSNBC political analyst and a former senior adviser for
policy with the Rand Paul campaign. Basil Smikle is executive director of
the New York state Democratic Party, and Christopher Borick who is
professor of political science and director of the Muhlenberg College
Institute of public opinion.
So Boris, I have to tell you, Kasich was showing to me last night why
governors typically win the U.S. presidency.
BORIS EPSHTEYN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Kasich, Bush, and Christie all had
a very good night. There is no question about it. I thought Christie on
the attack on Rubio really showed why he is a strong executive. Showed
that power that he has about him, which I think is attractive to voters in
New Hampshire and beyond.
Kasich, he knows his stuff. He was in Congress for a long time. He will
be the first to tell you about the Kasich claim. He knows his stuff.
There is no question about it.
But I thought Trump still won the debate. Beyond all that, Trump leading,
he didn`t do anything to hurt himself. And some of the answers he gave in
particular, I thought on the police, he was good. And he did give more
details on immigration. Gave more details on the economy. So while the
governors were good, Trump was still the best.
HARRIS-PERRY: Elise, do you agree with that?
ELISE JORDAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I do disagree with that. I think
Christie`s moment with Rubio, if these debates actually matter, it could
potentially break the race open just because Rubio was ordained as the
establishment pick after his momentum in Iowa. And Christie just
demolished him with what Christie`s message has been all week, that Rubio
sticks to canned talking points, that he is a Republican version of Obama.
And Christie just hammered that point home.
HARRIS-PERRY: You know, Obama got elected to the presidency twice, though.
I mean, like – so even if one dislikes President Obama, I just want to
point out –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the Republican Party, that a bad thing, right?
HARRIS-PERRY: No, no. I get it. But from an electoral standpoint, I will
just point out that even to make that claim is still a bit of an odd one
for electability. But part of what you said there, Elise, I think is
useful, is you said if these debates matter.
And so, part of what I`m interested in is, you know, the granite state
primary voters are famously late deciders. So does this debate matter?
Not just for the national audience that is watching but for the actual New
CHRISTOPHER BORICK, PROFESSOR, MUHLENBERG COLLEGE INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC
OPINION: Yes. That`s the point, Melissa, last night if you`re looking at
it. And just think, if you`re giving Rubio some consideration, you are one
of those moderate voters in New Hampshire and you are giving him a really
good look and you are thinking electability, and you see that performance
last night, are you really going to move from Kasich? Are you really going
to move from Bush? Are going to move from Christie given what you saw from
Marco Rubio last night?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, absolutely not.
JORDAN: I don`t know.
HARRIS-PERRY: But my question is, do you move from one of the outsiders to
a Kasich. Like this must –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You like Kasich.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I do. No. I have to say, I feel like, you know, I
just want my country to have a grown-up in the presidency. And so, even
though I`m not a Republican, I have to say, I want strong candidates on
both sides. And Kasich makes me feel like, OK, good, I can just – if he
got elected, OK, I`m not going to agree but –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this is a guy who even in his own state bucked the
Republican Party by expanding Medicare on the affordable care act, which a
lot of Republican governors did not do. I think of that group, he is a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kasich is the Democrats` favorite Republican?
HARRIS-PERRY: Probably. Probably.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a grown-up. He shouldn`t be insulting the
audience in New Hampshire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only person you`re talking about is Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who you said won the debate?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did win the debate. He will do anything do to hurt
him. You`ll see in the polls, he`s been leading by 20 points as it is.
The tracking poll will continue to do that. They only have two days. He
didn`t do anything to take away votes.
HARRIS-PERRY: Does Trump actually have to win New Hampshire, though? So,
here is – you know, I thought that sort of what Trump did in Iowa, right,
so coming in second, and then not giving a very strong concession speech.
There`s ways to give concession speeches. And he didn`t kind of come out
and do, yes, I was second, but I`m about to take this. He was like, all
right, peace, I`m out. You know, does he need to actually win and win
decisively in New Hampshire in order to keep going?
JORDAN: I think absolutely. I think he absolutely has to win in New
Hampshire because the loser narrative with Trump will really start to set
in. That`s a narrative that is repel about to his followers, to him. It
brings out the absolute worst in him. And you look at Iowa. He made a lot
of tactical errors in the run-up to Iowa. He didn`t have a strong ground
organization. He thought he could cruise through on the strength of his
polls. He didn`t do the debate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The debate could have hurt him. And he said that the
debate could have hurt him. But we`re talking –
HARRIS-PERRY: The FOX debate that he didn`t do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said that it couldn`t hurt him. He said he would do
it all over the same way which, you know, he talk about the $6 million for
veterans and all that. Now, we`re talking about him losing. He is up 20
points in the latest tracking poll. He may lose.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the electorate is 40 percent independent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s still leading by a lot. Everything we`re talking
about Rubio being hurt, we didn`t talk about Trump being hurt. Maybe that
exchange an eminent domain.
JORDAN: They have their own – it`s a big rallying cry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hasn`t hurt him in the polls.
HARRIS-PERRY: And go to beyond the polls for just a second. It is part of
the reason I want you at the table. So what does the 40 percent undecided
mean? Are those - I mean, given how well known a commodity Mr. Trump is at
this point, are those 40 percent of folks who are likely to break for Mr.
BORICK: You know, the New Hampshire undecided in many ways are in many
ways really undecided. It is not like a lot of the people we polled in.
There`s movement. We have seen this traditionally in the polls in New
Hampshire. Lots of movement at the end, sometimes some surprises. Now, as
Boris said, that`s a big, big gap.
EPSHTEYN: That`s a huge gap. Again, if you look from a voter who is not
as zeroed in as we all are, right, in New Hampshire. You need to step back
and you look at what Donald Trump did. And again, talk about police, talk
about foreign policy, he is the one who came out the strongest. He didn`t
even dive into the details to all the details like Kasich did, but he said
when you elect me, I`m going to lead the country and we`re going to do
well. And that is very (INAUDIBLE).
HARRIS-PERRY: You know whose name we did not say one time in this block?
The guy who supposedly won Iowa, Ted Cruz. Did he manage to snatch defeat
from the jaws of victory?
Also, last night, the candidates that we were asked very important
prediction. Who do they think will win today`s super bowl.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Peyton manning is supporting me and I`m for Denver.
MARCO: Well, I was going for Peyton Manning. But now I`m going for
BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With 100 percent certainty, I
will predict the winner. It will be either Denver or Carolina.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Our country that we love so much doesn`t win anymore. We don`t win
with the military. We don`t win on the border. We don`t win with
healthcare. We don`t win with trade. If I`m elected president, we will
win and we will win and we will win. Thank you. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: That was Donald Trump during last night`s GOP debate
channeling DJ Colin with his insistence on nonstop victory, going to win,
win, win, but the primary season is rarely so clean. Take Senator Ted
Sure, at first glance, Cruz`s numbers, it looks like he won in Iowa.
Certainly looks impressive. But only in politics can you finish first and
still not quite win. Take a look at the Iowa exit polls. Now, it`s clear
that Ted Cruz won Iowa because he won among voters who described themselves
as very conservative.
But take a look at those who describe themselves as somewhat conservative
or moderate. Cruz falls way behind, trailing the candidate who surpassed
expectations in Iowa, to land strong within spinning distance of Cruz and
Donald Trump at that three spot. And you know who I`m talking about.
There he was on caucus night with his wife and kids, looking victorious and
there I say rather presidential, even in defeat. And polling in second
place in New Hampshire.
So can you feel the Marco-mentum, well, maybe not after last night because,
you know, although he wore out of Iowa, Senator Marco Rubio, let`s say he
struggled in Saturday night`s debate in New Hampshire as the GOP governors
targeted him and his inexperience.
Obviously, there was a talking about this last night, I mean, talking about
what this looked like last night. How big – clearly, he really did look
like the winner out of Iowa even though he came in third. Ted Cruz, even
though he won, looked awfully weak. Where do you think Marco will end up?
EPSHTEYN: He`s going to end up out of the top three because of this
performance in New Hampshire. He crushed himself. Well, Chris Christie
crushed him. And it was right out of the gate. And you could see it
coming. It was like this slow pitch that you could see coming. And it
just killed him. When he kept repeating himself with that Obama line –
HARRIS-PERRY: It was really that bad?
EPSHTEYN: I thought he was maybe having a breakdown. It reminded me of
the 1960 Richard Nixon moment. He started sweating, his makeup came off.
I mean, it was really bad. And what`s worse is I`m hearing –
HARRIS-PERRY: Was it worse than the little water bottle moment?
EPSHTEYN: I`m hearing the establishment on the Republican side now is
taking another look at saying can we really support this guy? Now with
them, look out for Jeb Bush or Chris Christie.
HARRIS-PERRY: Although, so it`s super bowl Sunday, though. Isn`t it true
that sometimes you get that one loss, you actually don`t want to go into
the super bowl with the perfect season, right? You actually don`t want to
go in undefeated. You need a loss to kind of pull yourself back together
BASIL SMIKLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DEMOCRATIC PARTY: He may have actually
done as well as he did in Iowa is potentially because Donald Trump pulled
out of the last debate and he took some of his voters. That might be the
case. But I like what Axelrod said, that Chris Christie went full New
HARRIS-PERRY: It was real jersey.
SMIKLE: I mean, yes, the man may have some great message discipline, but
it did not resonate at all.
JORDAN: With Rubio, also, he had this momentum going into New Hampshire,
but I was still not totally quite buying it because immigration is such a
huge issue in New Hampshire, oddly enough. And I think that this debate
chipped away at his invincibility because it hit him in immigration and
that moment with Christie was so bad for him.
SMIKLE: He even flip-flopped on his football pick.
HARRIS-PERRY: He did.
EPSHTEYN: He said he was going to like Denver, but now Jeb Bush who used
to be his mentor and he used to look up to but now he doesn`t, he picked
Carolina. It`s kind of sad.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, that is it. Sometimes people are running, when they
are running for president, they are actually running for different kinds of
things, right. Sometimes people are running for HUD secretary, strange
enough, but isn`t it also possible that part of what Marco Rubio is doing
here is running for vice president, right? Like this, you know, it seems
pretty clear that really whether Sanders or Clinton win that nomination on
the Democratic side, it is highly likely going to be actually the HUD
secretary, Mr. Castro, who is very likely to end up the VP pick on the
Democrat, side. Marco doesn`t make a bad VP pick, right, as a young guy
with the beautiful family, kind of demonstrating the, you know, diversity
on the Republican side. He doesn`t make a bad candidate.
EPSHTEYN: We tried the young guy thing with the good friend and now
diverse. We tried Paul Ryan last time. You can`t just pick a VP
candidate. And also, Rubio, if you look at the polling in Florida, Rubio
doesn`t do well. What is most interesting of the numbers you showed in
Iowa, 35 percent of moderates broke for Donald Trump? What does it tell
you? It tells you that he really is appealing to a much broader spectrum -
HARRIS-PERRY: You`re killing me with the Donald Trump. Are you really
going to nominate him with the U.S. presidency?
EPSHTEYN: Right now, I mean, he`s probably the safe bet.
HARRIS-PERRY: Sir, are they really going to nominate Donald Trump for the
BORICK: There`s more than a fair chase of that happening.
And last night placed in that. I mean, I think that`s why it`s so
important. I never want to overstate or go into hyperbole for a single
debate, but the time last night. It was Rubio`s chance coming out of Iowa
with momentum. He is feeling real momentum. And New Hampshire voters, as
we talked about before, a lot of them are undecided. They`re finicky.
They`re going to wait and they are going to look. And if they wanted
electability, and a lot of Republicans want electability, in that moment
last night where he had a chance to sway some of the voters and really say
they can coalesce around them, he dropped the ball.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was really important last night.
SMIKLE: That`s why I think Ted Cruz won Iowa, because they feel he`s
closer to Donald Trump in terms of ideology, but he`s also electable.
HARRIS-PERRY: But Ted Cruz disappeared last night. Didn`t you feel like
SMIKLE: I do feel he disappeared last night, but I think also Republicans
like to see Donald Trump on stage because he`s saying a lot of things that
Republicans want people to say, but I can`t imagine that they want him to
be president of the United States.
EPSHTEYN: If you look at the polling in most states where you have seen
recent polling, right, South Carolina, Florida, going to Super Tuesday.
And again, all we can go on are polls now. You know, polls can be wrong,
but Trump is winning state after state after state. Cruz is not – let me
finish. Cruz is –
HARRIS-PERRY: OK, (INAUDIBLE). And we appreciate it. We will give you a
JORDAN: OK. No, Cruz has been running the best campaign by far, though,
of all candidates. And we did see in Iowa where that really matters. You
look at what Cruz is doing with and it is absolutely incredible. He had 77
micro-points that matter to Iowa voters. He had honed in on I think 30
people who supported states fireworks laws. Yes, his campaign is really
going deep with hyper-data driven, so that matters.
HARRIS-PERRY: Ted Cruz is a nerd. Who knew?
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, who just dropped out. That`s right. Iowa doesn`t
matter for you.
EPSHTEYN: Iowa is not as big of a deal as it seems.
HARRIS-PERRY: Up next, the Republican candidates on reproductive rights.
But as we go to break, a word from the Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I`m so sick of the 1 percent getting this preferential treatment.
Enough is enough. We need to unite and work together if we`re all going to
get through this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sounds like socialism to me.
SANDERS: Democratic socialism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s the difference?
SANDERS: Huge difference.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huge?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: After a strong finish in Iowa, Senator Marco Rubio entered
Saturday night`s New Hampshire debate as a target for his GOP opponents.
And under the intense pressure, he stumbled. But late in the debate, he
was responding to tough questions with at least one really important,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIO: It`s a difficult issue because it puts in conflict two competing
rights. On the one hand is the right of a woman to choose what to do with
her body, which is a real right. On the other hand is the right of an
unborn human child to live. And they are in conflict. And as a
policymaker, I must choose which size takes presidents. And I chosen to
ere on the side of life. I would rather lose an election than be wrong on
the issue of life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: OK. I don`t agree with Mr. Rubio on this point, but I
actually thought that the response represented exactly what any candidate
has to do. After they win the primary, they have to pivot in the general.
And what he did there was say this is actually a hard question. It`s one
that puts into question two competing values. I recognize that Americans
see there are two competing values and then I`m going to come down on my
EPSHTEYN: He didn`t give you really an answer there, right. He didn`t say
that I`m pro-life with necessary exceptions which I believe in, also,
right, health, incest, rape. He didn`t say that.
HARRIS-PERRY: He did. He said there`s competing ones, and then he said in
there, then was like, but he came back with strong, like I don`t know. I
feel like that felt stronger to me than the kind of just the pandering
piece that sometimes – and I don`t mean just around abortion. I mean, on
a wide variety of issues where you`re going for like just the primary.
There`s tape people will play your answers in the general election.
BORICK: I agree. I think that was his best moment in the whole evening.
And I think one of it was, first of all, I do like, as a professor, the
idea of competing goods.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, right. Maybe, that`s what it is.
BORICK: A lot of these things are tough questions in politics. But also
the point that he – look, it`s going to be a tough decision. He`s going
to have to hold his ground on a certain thing. You know what? I`m going
to make some tradeoffs. And then make some tradeoffs in other things. I
can`t make a tradeoff in this. I thought it was a good pitch that he made,
especially to conservative Republican voters.
SMIKLE: Which is interesting because in the previous debate, I think he
sounded more like that. That he was sort of in charge of the policy that
he was talking about. I don`t agree with him on any of it, but he sounded
a lot stronger. He sounded a little more thoughtful and a little more
passionate. But all of that was lost last night.
JORDAN: I think it was in the first debate with Megyn Kelly. She asked
him about his – what he believed on abortion and did he believe abortion
should be allowed in the case of rape or incest, and he gave the worst
answer for a general election. And so, now this answer allows him to have
a little cover if he does get the nomination, can say I have softened.
EPSHTEYN: Outside of the first ten minutes, he had an OK debate.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. But the first ten were death.
EPSHTEYN: The first ten was the headline, and it really killed him. And
so, this was sort of buried beyond the headline.
HARRIS-PERRY: There was another moment, I have to say, when I`m making
this point about, I need – on both sides, I need a grown-up in charge. I
was almost like this weird thing that happened around the selective service
question. I want to play a little bit of the sound here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me what you would say to American people out
there who are sitting at home, who have daughters, who might worry about
those answers, and might worry –
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Why would they worry?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That the draft is reinstituted.
BUSH: Well, the draft is not going to be reinstituted. But why if women
are accessing –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you just going to do away with it?
BUSH: No, I didn`t say that. You asked the question not about the draft.
You asked about registering.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You register for the draft.
BUSH: But we don`t have a draft.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: You know, that had been set up with, OK, now women can be in
combat. So, should they have to register for the draft? And the right
answer, right, has been over the years, no. Our daughters should not have
to register for the draft. And each and every one of them was like, yes,
they should register. I was like, I wonder if they know what they`re
answering. It really was a question for me about whether or not there was
an informational confusion about what selective service is for people who
are planning to be the commander in-chief. And it was distressing for me.
Was I reading that moment wrong?
EPSHTEYN: I thought the moderator tripped up Governor Bush, because he
knew what he was talking about, and then she confused selective service
with the draft. And they`re definitely not the same thing. As we know,
selective service is something you register for early on, at 18, and then
if there is a draft at some point, you`re eligible for the draft.
HARRIS-PERRY: But right now, only boys, only men have to register.
EPSHTEYN: I do think it should be both, right. I think it should be men
and women at 18 should have to register because now, you know, women serve
in military. They are able to participate in combat. There`s full
equality. We should keep that consistent throughout.
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s a relatively new position is my only point.
JORDAN: I think this is actually a bright spot in Republican Party is
trying to grow the platform when it comes to women. Because you know,
Marco Rubio actually has consistently supported women in combat, since
about 2013. And that`s been a really hotbed issue on the Republican side.
And so, they are actually being consistent. And I thought Chris Christie
really nailed the answer in terms of. And he also is surrounded by a ton
of strong women in the top levels of his campaign. He is always been great
with women`s issues. And so, I thought he particularly did well there.
SMIKLE: You talk about Chris Christie and pivoting in a general election.
He is a man who hugs the president of the United States and he gets
pillared by his own party for it.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, but then in that debate, you know, a few months ago,
he also said kind of horrible things about the president.
SMIKLE: Absolutely. No. That`s absolutely right. And what`s interesting
to me is that, you know, of the governors that – I mean, he had this
really strong, passionate response to government and to being the
executive, which no one really, even among the governors, really could –
EPSHTEYN: He`s the most in charge of the governors, correct? He has
something that Donald Trump has. He has that strength about him, but he`s
also a governor. So he brings a long time of making executive decisions.
I thought that that contrast that he drew with Rubio again early on came
out so good for him. And also, the U.S. attorney experience that he has,
talking about national security, talking about foreign policy. I wish they
talked more about foreign policy last night, because that is really what
the presidency should come down to. Bernie Sanders, for example, never
talked about foreign policy.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. Well Madeleine Albright was clear about that
Thank you to Boris, Elise, Basil and Chris. You know they are going to be
back over the course of this election season. My panel is going to be back
in the next hour.
Up next, we are going to go live to New Hampshire with the latest on the
campaign trail. But before we go to break, we are going to be talking
super bowl later in the show.
And NBC`s Kate Snow caught up with some political strategists and asked
them about the game.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Super bowl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m watching.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know who`s playing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I take that back. The Eagles? I`m not sure.
I`m on the campaign trail. I`m on the campaign trail.
HARRIS-PERRY: Today before the New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton is
focusing on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which will host a
Democratic debate next month. Now, Clinton will tour Flint today with the
city`s mayor, Karen Weaver, and meet with the residents dealing with the
consequences of the lead contaminated water.
NBC`s Kristen Welker joins me now from New Hampshire with more.
Kristen, what is the goal of Mrs. Clinton`s visit to Flint today?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Melissa, good morning.
This is an issue that Secretary Clinton has been talking a lot about
lately, both on the campaign trail. She is also been bringing it up at the
debates. It`s an issue obviously that impacts a large African-American
community in Flint, Michigan. So it is something that resonates with a lot
of her constituents, particularly if you look at a state like South
Carolina, where they have a large African-American population there. And a
visit like this could actually resonate for the folks in South Carolina and
some of those Super Tuesday states that are going to be very critical for
Secretary Clinton, particularly if she loses here in New Hampshire.
Chuck Todd asked her about her trip earlier today on “Meet the Press.”
Take a listen to what she told him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m worrying about the kids
in Flint, Michigan, right now, trying to figure out what we`re going to do
to make sure they are not damaged irreparably. The mayor asked me to come.
This is as earliest we could get it done. I want to lend my support. I`m
very hopeful that Congress which is trying to work in a bipartisan way will
come up with funding to deal with the problems that have afflicted the
community. And I`m going to keep doing everything I can to help them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WELKER: Melissa, Secretary Clinton trails Bernie Sanders here in New
Hampshire by double digits. So once she leaves Flint, she`ll be back here
in New Hampshire campaigning. And her goal here is to really try to close
the double-digit gap. If she can narrow that gap to single digits on
Tuesday, her campaign is going to try to sell that as a win to some extent
because it`s not the loss than they could get if she loses by 20 points,
So her strategy here has been to talk a lot about the work she has done for
women`s rights. By the way, she`s trailing women voters here in New
Hampshire, which surprised a lot of people. She`s trailing younger voters
as well. So she is trying to reach out to them in her campaign speeches.
The other part of her strategy that we are seeing, Melissa, she has been
talking about Senator Sanders` foreign policy criticizing him for that.
And yesterday, she brought in one of her surrogate, former secretary of
state Madeleine Albright, who had very strong words for senator Sanders in
an interview that I did with her, saying he essentially doesn`t seem
prepared on the foreign policy front. So that`s the strategy moving
forward here in New Hampshire. Her husband, former president Bill Clinton,
will be here on the trail today while she`s in Flint.
Back to you.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you so much NBC`s Kristen Welker in New Hampshire.
And indeed, Madeleine Albright did have very strong words yesterday.
I`m going to speak live with the Flint mayor, Karen Weaver, at the top of
the next hour.
But up next, wake the vote of wake Forest University is here live in
HARRIS-PERRY: All right, the premise is simple. If you want to understand
American democracy, really understand it, then you can`t be just expected.
You have to be part of the process. Which is why in January, Wake Forest
University where I`m a professor, launched Wake the Vote. It`s a full year
deep immersion, civic engagement program where students learn about
American elections by, well, actually taking part in them.
So, you met two of my wake the voters on MHP show last week, just one day
before their first Iowa caucus. And what a raucous caucus they had. I
mean, these students, somehow, they managed to hang out with everybody from
Marco Rubio to Sarah Palin to John Lewis to Josh Hutchinson, and they are
just getting started.
Before the sun was up on Saturday morning, while wake the voters were
bidding farewell to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Benson Center Circle
and they were on their way to New Hampshire to work in Tuesday`s primaries.
And here`s the twist with wake the vote. So it`s a whole year program, but
initially, right now, we assign the students to campaigns without regard
for partisanship or ideology. Now later this summer, the students is going
to get to choose to work for an extended period of time for the candidate
of their choice, but in the early primaries, wake the vote, offers these
young people a fairly unique opportunity, to campaign for a day for a
candidate that they may not have initially chosen. Now, the rules can be
Take Erica Jordan, who was assigned to work for Marco Rubio in Iowa. She
wrote this piece afterward. The political process that I got to be part of
in Iowa today made me challenge all of the assumptions I made about the
parties and their bases, and my place within the system as a black woman,
and I`m extremely glad that it did.
Joining me now is Erica Jordan, a first-year student planning to major in
politics and international affairs and English. Cam Migdol who is a
sophomore majoring in politics and international affairs who also live and
work in Israel this summer. Ryan Wolfe who is a sophomore majoring in
political science and international affairs and communication, and Camry
Wilborn, a senior majoring in politics, international affairs and women and
gender and sexuality studies.
I`m so happy to have to you all here and some although wake the vote
colleague that are here standing behind you. There is 22 Wake the Voters
I want to start with you, Erica. I quoted a little piece. Everybody has
to write reflections after each of your experiences. What happened for you
in Iowa when Mr. Rubio actually walked into the Iowa campaign office? What
was your experience?
ERICA JORDAN, WAKE FOREST STUDENT: It was totally energizing. All the
volunteers had been working so hard beforehand. But I was kind of, you
know, not feeling it. I was like, I don`t know. I`m the only person in
here that looks like me. So it was little jarring at first. When he came
in, I really got to meet him. He was so nice and so genuine that I got
swept up into the spirit. I got really heavily invested in the success of
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. I got to say one of the most enjoyable experiences for
me was sitting and watching the returns that night. And on the one hand,
everybody rooting for their actual candidate. But also rooting for the
candidate that they worked ford.
So Cam, you also worked on the Rubio campaign and had one of the selfies
that sort of went mini viral that day. Actually, what`s it like to meet
someone who is actually running for president?
CAM MIGDOL, WAKE FOREST STUDENT: It was incredible. You realize these are
real people. And I think Rubio came off as such a real person, not just
this larger than life kind of guy. And coming through, shaking our hands
just talking to us, thanking us. It really, like Erica said, energized us.
Really made us think whether we actually agree with him completely
ideologically, like wow, I`m proud to work for this guy. Let`s do
everything we can to help him win here because this is our job right now,
and I like this guy right now.
HARRIS-PERRY: So I`m thinking to myself, you know, it is one thing to work
across party lines. For you and me, it may have been even harder because
you are working within the party that you generally identify with before
the other candidates that who you would have normally thought you
supported. You were working on Hillary Clinton`s campaign. Tell me about
that experience for you.
CAMRY WILBORN, WAKE FOREST STUDENT: So I definitely think that I went into
the experience not really committing to either candidate but leaning
towards Bernie Sanders. But because I went in with such an objective view,
I think that I was able to really evaluate the weaknesses and strength of
who is campaigning. And so, with that being said, I think that she does a
very good job with technology. And you know, she is experienced. This is
her second time around. But on the other hand, I think that Bernie is
really experienced in talking to voters and getting the young people and
very figuring out what voters want.
HARRIS-PERRY: So you actually receptive on something very similar. In
your piece, when you wrote about working for Hillary, you actually said
precisely that in your piece. You said, you know, it is one thing to have
a campaign that is sort of technically great, but you also learn something
about sort of the connection to voters. Tell us more about it.
RYAN WOLFE, WAKE FOREST STUDENT: Exactly. But I think, you know, Hillary
and her policy and her campaign operation is incredible for her voters.
But I think one of the things that I felt on the ground that she was
lacking was that kind of passion and being genuine to her voters, and just
in the campaign in general. Sometimes it feels like she is an extension of
her campaign operations herself. You know, she changed her policies and
her views based on what people think.
And so, I think with Sanders, people really see someone who is passionate
and he is steadfast in his points and he won`t change. So I thought that
was really appealing, especially to youth voters.
HARRIS-PERRY: So Ryan, I`m worried that your parents, given that first you
worked for Hillary Clinton and now you are on MSNBC, are going to take you
out of Wake Forest, right. You`re a good Republican kid, raised in jersey.
You worked on Republican campaigns. What has this experience been like for
you, working across this line?
WOLFE: You know, it is really awesome. It is cool, kind of, to see the
mechanics of how the other side works. And it also kind of neat to be part
of the other team for a day and to really feel their, you know, world view
and perspective and really get to learn about that. I think it helps kind
of uniting people across partisan lines.
HARRIS-PERRY: When we come back, we are going to talk a little more about
the Iowa experience. And I also want to ask you guys what you are looking
forward to in New Hampshire, hopefully the main thing I`m looking forward
to you is that the experience will not be on the travel back like it was
You can follow the progress of the Wake the Vote students online at
#wakethevote. Remember, my real job Monday through Friday is I teach at
Wake Forest University. So we are going to be following the Wake the Votes
student throughout the campaign cycle. It`s so much fun. You can follow
them online at #wakethevote.
HARRIS-PERRY: All the Wake the Vote students have to, of course, it`s a
class, write about their experiences after they have had them. And this is
part of a reflection from sophomore Cam Migdol after working on the Iowa
He writes, this is Iowa, he explained. Do whatever you think is right.
Don`t do what you think is wrong. This is what he ultimately instructed
me. It was at that moment that I put the pieces of this remarkable Iowan
political culture together. People trust each other to do the right thing.
People aren`t afraid that others will cheat or corrupt the Democratic
So I love that you were talking about, you know, trying to figure out where
you are supposed to put the signs, where you can do electioneering, you
were talking to an older gentleman who was like, I`m not exactly sure what
the rules are but do what you think is right. Tell me more about the
lessons you took away from the Iowa experience.
MIGDOL: It`s an incredible political culture. Like I wrote that it
involved so much participation. It`s not just stop by the poll and vote.
It is you have to go to a caucus and sit there and maybe stand there in a
corner and put your vote out there and even cheer for your candidate, sway
other people. It`s not a secretive private thing. It`s I`m out here part
of the community and we are all getting involved in this civic space,
whether it`s a church or a gym. And I think it`s an incredible aspect of a
Democratic process that you don`t see everywhere. And I think they`re very
lucky to have and we are so luck a y to see.
And it contrasts so much in places like North Carolina where they just
passed the strictest voting ID laws. You can`t just walk up the day and
register right there at the place. You have to go to the RMV and get a new
state issued I.D. And it`s just such a crazy contrast between two places
yet the same government, the same country.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. Come in, we want you to be part of it. I mean, the
kind of proximity of everybody together. You know, I was there when Erica
you and some of the other Wake the Voters ran up and met Sarah Palin
because she just happened to be standing there. And there`s just kind of
an enthusiasm, like all of the folks that I see as characters in the
American political system are actually available to have as part of my
JORDAN: Yes. I think it was typical of what the Iowa experience is like
overall. It was just being really engaged in the democratic process in a
way that made it feel more realistic than it sometimes can because when
you`re watching people on TV, it`s often these inflated personalities. But
when you get to meet them in real life, you really could just see like an
authentic side of them.
HARRIS-PERRY: So Ryan, one of the ways that we can close those gaps, I
mean, part of it is like being physically together, you know, here comes
Marco Rubio into the room. There`s Sarah Palin walking across the hotel
But the other is social media. And Wake the Vote has been doing a great
job on social media. You are one of the most active members of both Wake
the Vote but also even in your own social media. I have seen you have
opportunities to interact across miles with folks. How is that part of how
young people are engaging the political process and actually building
WOLFE: Yes. Well, I think social media is really important because now
for the first time really, you can reach anyone anywhere in the country in
using like twitter and hashtags and things like that. If there`s certain
things that people want to learn about on the ground, they can find it
fast. And so we had the opportunity in Iowa really to be on the ground, to
share our experiences with everyone and also to get feedback. So I think
that`s really awesome.
HARRIS-PERRY: Cam, you`re a senior. And so, that means that for you, you
are part of this big process, but you are also going to be making some big
decisions moving forward. Is anything you`re learning as part of the
process affecting kind of part of what you are thinking about next? Are
you thinking about joining a campaign or going into politics? How is it
impacting how you`re thinking about American politics in the broadest way?
WILBORN: I`m definitely thinking on engaging in politics after I
graduated. Working on Hillary`s campaign definitely piqued my interest. I
think that she could use me on her campaign. And so, I think I have a
minor in communications. So I think that really getting involved in that
sector in politics would be really engaging for me.
HARRIS-PERRY: I want to play a little bit sound from last night`s
Republican debate. There was a conversation about millennial voters. I
just want to play a little bit and ask you to react to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On one hand, it`s clear young people across the
political spectrum increasingly favor same-sex marriage. However, young
voters have not moved to the left on abortion. In fact, large numbers of
them favor at least some modest restrictions that conservatives have
supported. How do you speak to millennials on both these issues while
Democrats will inevitably charge intolerance and extremism?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: All right, you all are millennials. How important will
social issues like marriage equality, like reproductive rights be when it`s
time to make a decision at the polls?
JORDAN: I think that`s one of the first issues that millennials look to.
That`s how they first start to get engaged in the Democratic process and
then they move into more economic and foreign affairs. But I think it`s
really important to connect in a way that makes it feel like the parties
aren`t pandering specifically to milelians. And not really kind of a
cheesy look at this clip on You Tube way, more I understand where you`re
coming from and I`m trying to adjust on the issues so I can be more align
with how you are feeling.
HARRIS-PERRY: Anybody else want to weigh in on that one?
MIGDOL: I agree with that, especially being students on a campus. We`re
not concerned with jobs and working quite yet. But right now, what we are
discussing and studying is social issues. That`s what we are discussing
and learning about in our classes and that`s really the hot button for us.
And I think that they can argue back and forth about jobs and security, but
I think that for younger people, it`s definitely the social issues. And
that`s, of course, relevant to us.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I can`t wait. We are going to watch the super bowl
together this afternoon and we are getting on the bus. We are heading to
New Hampshire. Follow us at Wake the Vote because there`s going to be a
lot more happening.
Thank you to my students, Erica Jordan, Cam Midgol, Ryan Wolfe and Camry
And coming up next, later today, Hillary Clinton will be in Flint,
Michigan, to attend a meeting with Mayor Karen Weaver. We`ll talk to the
Also, Beyonce and Cam Newton and our countdown to Super Bowl 50.
There`s more Nerdland at the top of the hour. Take a listen to a few more
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Super bowl Sunday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know who`s in it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do know who`s in it, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Super bowl Sunday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Panthers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. And today, Hillary
Clinton will take a break from the campaign trail in New Hampshire to go to
Flint, Michigan. Where she will meet with Mayor Karen Weaver. And
community members about the city`s lead contaminated water. Now, people in
Flint are still reliant on bottled water for daily needs, and inmates at a
local prison have had no chose but to use the poisoned water until last
week. Yesterday, we spoke with Flint resident Melissa Mays about the
heartbreaking, infuriating real-life consequences of this crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA MAYS, FLINT RESIDENT: My 12-year-old can`t sleep at night because
his bones hurt so bad. My 11-year-old, his white blood cell count is four.
He`s so anemic, he looks exhausted all the time. He gets sick anytime he
goes anywhere. My kids want to play sports and I`m too scared to let them
because their bones are brittle. Unless you have a child under six, they
give you one case of water. We go through that a day, at least that. We
wash our vegetables and meats in bottled water. Everything we can possibly
do, wash our face, brush our teeth, everything in the bottled water. And
so the one case isn`t enough. So, we just continue to buy it at the store,
and my newest water bill came a couple days ago and it`s $1,064. We`re
left with no options when want we need to home filtration and pipes
replaced and we`re getting anything about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: In recent weeks, Hillary Clinton has made Flint a focal
point of her platform, putting the crisis in the campaign spotlight as an
example of inequality and government failure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve had a city in the
United States of America where the population, which is poor in many ways
and majority African-American, has been drinking and bathing in lead-
contaminated water. And the governor of that state acted as though he
didn`t really care. I`ll tell you what. If the kids in a rich suburb of
Detroit had been drinking contaminated water and being bathed in it, there
would have been actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Clinton`s opponent Bernie Sanders has also criticized the
response to Flint`s water crisis, calling for Governor Rick Snyder to
resign. And last week, Clinton pushed for a democratic presidential debate
in Flint, which is now scheduled to take place in March. Mayor Weaver
endorsed Clinton last month, praising her response to the crisis.
And joining me now is Flint`s Mayor, Dr. Karen Weaver. So nice to have
you, Mayor Weaver.
MAYOR KAREN WEAVER (D), FLINT, MICHIGAN: Thank you for having me.
HARRIS-PERRY: So yesterday, when I had Flint resident and mom Melissa Mays
on, we asked her beforehand whether or not there was anyone in government
who she now trusts after everything that has happened. And her response to
us was that you are the only person who she now trusts. So, tell me why.
What steps have you been trying to take to bring some relief to the people
of Flint despite the inaction of others at other levels?
WEAVER: Well, you know, one of the things that I have always let people
know when I got into office was, the question I was asked was, what could I
do? Because at that point, I didn`t have local control. I didn`t have
power. But one of the things I always pledged to people was, I would speak
up and speak out on behalf of the issues that I knew our community was
facing. And nothing was going to stop me from doing that. And that`s what
I`ve continued to do.
HARRIS-PERRY: So one of the things, I know you`re working on right now is
actually a private/public partnership for trying to fund a full replacement
of the piping in the city. Talk to me about what that looks like.
WEAVER: That`s exactly right, because you know, one of the things we know
is lancing also had some issues with lead in their pipes. It didn`t get to
the extent that we have it here in Flint. They were able to do something
before it got to this level. But we have been talking with them, and we`re
looking at what we can do, because one of the things we know we cannot do
is wait on the state to come in and fix this problem. We have been waiting
for almost two years. And so, we want to do what they did in lancing
because we know it doesn`t require the digging, it doesn`t take as long and
it doesn`t cost as much. And time is of the essence, and we need to move
HARRIS-PERRY: There`s obviously sort of multiple layers of Government
Issue here going on. You know, one of the things that we have been talking
HARRIS-PERRY: – about is the way in which this is in part a set of choices
that were made by an emergency manager because there wasn`t local control.
That emergency manager was reporting to at the level of the state, but then
the EPA is also implicated here. So, talk to me, when you`re kind of
looking at kind of the whole broad sweep here of the federal, the state,
what are the different levels that you need response from for the local
people of Flint?
WEAVER: You know, what I need response on the level of the state and
federal. Because we know that there was a breakdown, there was a failure
on all levels. And so at this point, and that was why I wanted this
declared an emergency. And really, I wanted Flint declared a disaster area
because we know this is bigger than the state financially. We know we need
some federal assistance as well. But I don`t want to take the focus off
over the state. The state has a huge responsibility in this because we had
been under emergency manager. And so we know there`s money there, and
that`s what we`re requesting. That`s what we should be the priority, and
that`s what the residents are demanding, money, financial assistance from
the state. But we also know we need it at a federal level because of the
cost of the infrastructure and also the human cost, which is going to be
more than the infrastructure, I would imagine.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, I want to talk about the human cost for a second.
Because obviously, everyone in Flint is at risk, but there are some
communities that are particularly vulnerable. We started by talking a
little bit about those who are in prison, who were still drinking the
water, including even pregnant prisoners who were still drinking the water
up to a week ago. I also highlighted on the show last week some of the
challenges around Spanish-speaking communities. Mr. Sanders, Bernie
Sanders, put out a statement just yesterday saying that the federal
government must also halt all immigration raids immediately because these
inhumane raids are having a chilling effect across the country, especially
in Flint, preventing some of the most vulnerable people from stepping
outside their homes, let alone seeking clean water for their families.
Have you seen this for yourself?
WEAVER: And you know what. That`s what I`ve heard. I haven`t seen it
firsthand because I have been out in the streets, and you know, helping to
do the delivery. But one of the things we want people to know is they are
not supposed to be doing that. You are not supposed to or required to show
I.D. If you come to one of the places where we`re dispensing the water or
if we`re coming to your home, that should not be a requirement. If that
happens, I would really like them to call the 211 number and report that to
us. Because that should not be happening.
This is not the purpose of this. But you know what. That`s one of the
other reasons we believe that, you know, we appreciate the National Guard
coming in. We appreciate the help and the support that we`ve gotten, but
it`s time for us to be able to help take care of ourselves and be part of
this healing process. And instead of that money going to them, we would
like to use our own people, our own local people, to help with this water
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you, to Mayor Karen Weaver in Flint, Michigan, you
have been absolutely heroic in this process. We have – this is tough.
And listening to Melissa Mays yesterday really talk about the human cost of
this, thank you for the work that you continue to do.
WEAVER: Thank you so much.
HARRIS-PERRY: Before we go to break, a quick programming note. You can
see Senator Hillary Clinton and Mr. Donald Trump on “Meet the Press” at
2:00 p.m. Eastern today, right here on MSNBC.
Up next, Beyonce broke the entire world yesterday with her new music video
formation. You do not want to miss the Nerdland conversation about it.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, there we were – we were putting together our annual MHP
show, Super Bowl segment. And because you know how we do it here in
Nerdland, it gets complicated because it`s always football`s biggest day is
about so much more than football. This year, it`s all about unapologetic
blackness and the heightened scrutiny of a black body and vulnerability the
police violence and displacement of marginalized people, and we`re going to
talk about all of that late, but later. Because in the middle of our
planning, Beyonce broke the internet again. Out of nowhere.
I mean, in just under five minutes, she somehow managed to use her black
girl magic to read our minds and tackle all those complicated questions of
race and justice in one Beyonce video to rule them all. And you all, where
do I even begin? First, I can`t help but to notice the timing, the
surprise drop of her new video formation came the day before television`s
biggest audience gathered to celebrate our favorite national pastime. And
as we watch the entertaining spectacle unfold today in the stadium in Santa
Clara, Beyonce is asking us to recall the shameful spectacle that unfolded
in a stadium in New Orleans more than a decade ago. Because there she is
on top of a New Orleans and OPD New Orleans police car that is sinking
slowly beneath the rising waters and that image paired in the next moment
with a young African-American boy in a hoodie dancing defiantly before a
row of armed police threading the needle between the Black Lives Matter
movement and the police violence against black bodies.
And its early roots in a movement that arose when systemic violence against
black bodies was unveiled when the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina.
I mean, B. She`s not only showing us images that evoke New Orleans
suffering. Formation also reveals and revels in New Orleans joy. The
video shows us the city`s undeniable blackness, its authentic, unvarnished
images of people that both honor their individual humanity while
celebrating the unique culture of New Orleans that binds them together.
There`s Beyonce performing her own heritage, as she says that creole with
that negro in a way that both affirms a corseted color conscious skin that
must be shaded from the sun model of respectability even as she demolishes
that respectability bouncing and twerking in the broad daylight hard
alongside the squad of brown girl dancers flinging frost from the kinkiest
and of the hair texture spectrum.
Hair that by the way, she`ll style however she damn well pleases on her own
child when she sings I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros. With a
co-sign from blue ivy who rocks said style in cameo appearance. This is
Beyonce making an artistic statement that is boldly, unapologetically
black. She`s giving us black bodies and a black politics that will not be
silenced or shames but instead command space for the one thing the video
tells us they are most definitely here to do. As Beyonce says in the
refrain, I slay.
Joining me now, Brittney Cooper, assistant professor at Rutgers University
and contributor at Salon.com. Michael Arceneaux, columnist at Complex
Magazine. Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation magazine and host of
the Edge of Sports podcast. And Adam Howard, reporter for MSNBC.com.
Where do we begin? So what is the formation?
BRITTNEY COOPER, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: I begin with my
COOPER: Hot sauce and my bag swag. Listen, there`s just so much wonderful
stuff that we can say about this, but I think one of my most favorite
moments happens about the 3:45 mark.
HARRIS-PERRY: About the 3:45 mark. Have you watched it?
COOPER: I was watching this, right. When the young man is dancing in
front of that police line.
HARRIS-PERRY: Right, and that`s clearly the Baltimore picture come to
COOPER: That`s right, and then immediately, it shoots to a clip of black
women in formation. And so I love that she is saying the police are
getting in formation, but it`s also black women who are in formation,
running this movement, telling it how it is going to move, choreographic
freedom. She literally shows us a young black boy, choreographing freedom
and then black women falling into line and figuring out how to create a
spine for the movement that moves and shifts and changes in the way that it
HARRIS-PERRY: And the slaying, right?
COOPER: That`s right.
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s also the language of the slaying. Because for me, part
of it is, when we think about the slaying of the young black male body
felled by bullets. But when this boy slays the police. When they have to
put their hands up, right, he`s slaying them with his talent. Right? It`s
a different. And she`s slaying everybody with all of her everything.
MICHAEL ARCENEAUX, COLUMNIST, COMPLEX MAGAZINE: Can I just say, I wanted
to stand Melissa throughout the whole intro.
I`m a gay black man from Houston with the last name Arceneaux. Like
everything that was in that video speaks to me.
ARCENEAUX: And Beyonce has always actually been really, really black.
Everything that`s continued to build like from B-Day became Beyonce and
Beyonce came – she`s always included gay black people. She`s always been
very pro black women. She`s always been very pro-Black. And what I
really, really, really love about her is that the biggest pop star in the
world is unapologetically country as hell, and owns it because so often,
even between us, that strain of blackness is not celebrated. It`s looked
HARRIS-PERRY: Because a lot of those images, so, there`s the images that
are shot, that are – where be herself is in them, but many of those images
are actually coming out of a documentary, a bounce documentary, and some of
the sound that you hear is actually big Frida.
ARCENEAUX: That just means so much. Like she helped me become comfortable
with even my feminine ways with the B-Day album. Like she wants you to
celebrate who you are. Like I literally want to run around and just like,
thank you, mother. She makes me so happy.
DAVID ZIRIN, SPORTS EDITOR, THE NATION MAGAZINE: I`m never going to look
at a couple eating at red lobster the same way.
ZIRIN: I`m always going to –
HARRIS-PERRY: I did maybe invite my husband to red lobster once.
ZIRIN: Oh, Mr. Perry.
But I have to say, like, watching it, it took me – there are more
indelible images in this video than any movie I can remember.
ZIRIN: I mean, it`s a five-minute video. The artistic accomplishment of
this is remarkable. If it wasn`t for a blog called New Southern Negress
and a writer name Zandria, I wouldn`t have understood half of it. And
frankly, that`s part of the beauty of it, because it`s not for me to
understand. It is an unapologetic statement not just of blackness, but
southern blackness. And to have it happen the day before the Super Bowl,
it`s like Beyonce is the Cam Newton of popular culture, or maybe Cam Newton
is the Beyonce of football.
HARRIS-PERRY: And literally, she did the socks and sandals. She had the
actual socks and sandals. How could that have happened? Like the timing,
how is that even possible that that could have happen?
ZIRIN: And a real dialogue that happened with a friend of mine that said,
when have we seen something so unapologetically southern and black in
recent history. And my friend said, how about a week ago when Cam Newton
said our team is like collard greens.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well –
ZIRIN: I agree. So the ties are really tight. And not just because both
Cam Newton and Beyonce what they have in common is a level of just physical
attractiveness that makes you feel like they`re not only breaking molds,
they are creating new molds.
HARRIS-PERRY: I don`t even know how you get that in way for us.
ADAM HOWARD, MSNBC.COM REPORTER: This is about to be #SuperBowlsoblack I
think. No, I mean, I`m such a Beyonce fan, I can`t always be exactly
rational when I think of –
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. I do. I worry about that. Like my students were
pushing back on me a little bit because I do stand awfully hard for her.
HARRIS-PERRY: And so, they were like, but wait a minute, maybe actually
the inscrutability of it is problematic around the kind of whether or not
it actually operates as an intervention in the Black Lives Matter movement.
HOWARD: Yes. I mean, even if I`m predisposed to love everything she does,
I don`t think anyone can deny the power of this video. I think of it as an
act of righteous defiance. It`s a provocation poised on the eve of the
Super Bowl. It`s something she didn`t have to do. She`s at the pinnacle
of her career. She could just lay back and crank out hits and everybody
would love it. But she chose to do this. And I think it`s part of a
narrative she`s been telling over several albums. If you follow her
career, it`s an evolution of –
HARRIS-PERRY: We`ll going to have a break. I promise we`ll have more when
we come back from break – come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEYONCE KNOWLES, MUSICIAN: I remember growing up, watching the Super Bowl
with my family, and it`s an event that families come together and watch. I
knew I had to make the best of the moment, and I wanted it to be something
iconic and something that people would never forget.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: That was Beyonce in a new and rare interview with CBS
talking about her extraordinary halftime performance at the 2013 Super
Bowl. And judging by the video she just dropped for formation, you bet her
Super Bowl appearance tonight will probably be another game changer. So,
you know, for me, again, part of what I loved about the visuals here is the
way that she looks at southern black culture with such love. And it
reminds me of “No Angel” and the way she does the Houston Third Ward, and
it could through certain eyes feel exploited, but when she`s looking at it,
it feels very loving, but she did just do a kind of problematic kind of
anthropological gaze in the Coldplay piece. So, break that down dear.
COOPER: That`s right. So, look, I think it`s problematic, and I very much
viewed it as appropriation. So, the challenge here though is that she`s
such an important artist that I thought, man, we`re going to have to break
up, and now I`m like, let me get you these cheddar bay biscuits. Because
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right.
COOPER: You know, so but look, the other thing that I want to say here,
though, is one, she really challenges the king narrative very subtly. She
said he`s more than a dreamer. That`s so important, right? And it`s also
a real clap back at anybody that would sort of read her as white or leaning
towards whiteness to extract that king narrative. And the last thing I
want to also shout out Professor Zandria Robinson`s piece because the thing
she says in this piece is, in the end when Beyonce is sinking down into
that water and I thought, why would she drown? How is that triumphant?
And she said, she uses her body and her black woman labor to finally sink
the car and submerge it. And I think that that is such a tribute to the
labor of black women in this movement, that they`re saying we`re not going
to let the state continue to take us out, even if we have to put our bodies
on the line.
HARRIS-PERRY: Can we talk about how long and how uncomfortable it is? How
long she holds the double middle finger, right? Because there`s a moment
in flawless where she gives us a quick middle finger, right? But she just
is like, for a really long – like patriarchy, you take all of that.
ARCENEAUX: No one is as gracious and commanding at the same time with
offering an f-you as Beyonce. And even in the song, she gets at Black
people who participate in anti-blackness with respect to her child and her
son, because a lot of that was in house.
HARRIS-PERRY: Uh-hm. Almost all of it was.
ARCENEAUX: And she got them together. Like she just – I literally just
want to just like fallout and say, thank you, mother. I love her so much.
HARRIS-PERRY: But it feels to me like part of what that is, part of what
that is, it is the anti-respectability politics. Right? So, it is the
sinking of the car, and the getting at folks on her child`s hair. But also
getting at a whole movement that is saying, you know, she`s signaling a
Black Lives Matter movement that is doing something different than a civil
rights movement that is saying, we`re just not doing – also, did anybody
notice she`s having sandwiches again, which obviously she ate. Like, thank
HOWARD: Only she can start conversations like this right now. There`s no
other pop artist who can –
HARRIS-PERRY: Literally what she says.
HOWARD: But she`s right.
HARRIS-PERRY: The line is actually like you know you`re that be where
anybody, when you`re starting all the conversations.
HOWARD: Yes. Sorry to interrupt. But she does a genius thing by not
oversaturating the markets. So, when she drops a single, everyone stops in
their tracks and must bow down.
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right.
ARCENEAUX: I wanted to say, I don`t like the comparison like, oh, you like
this, but you didn`t like Kendrick Lamar`s song. Kendrick Lamar`s song,
while it got people talking, but not necessarily for a good reason because
he was essentially blaming black people for being victims of racism that is
beyond their control. Like black on black crime, that is a very stupid
reductive way of looking at things. We need to move beyond that. That
video is a celebration of every facet of blackness and a direct f-you to
much of the white supremacy and institutionalized racism that causes all of
HARRIS-PERRY: Maybe you get the last word on Beyonce.
ARCENEAUX: I just wanted to say, without queer black women, there is no
Black Lives Matter movement, and without the courage of black mothers like
Jordan Davis, his mother, Trayvon Martin`s mother, there is no Black Lives
Matter moment. What Beyonce did was in a pop-cultural sense center queer
black women, black mothers as the reason why we have this new civil rights
movement. And that`s not done nearly enough in our popular culture or in
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, amen. Thank you to Brittney Cooper and Michael
Arceneaux. And Michael, anytime you want to come back and just say Beyonce
is better than Kendrick Lamar, you can come.
All right. David and Adam are sticking around, and up next, Super Bowl
Sunday, the whole country will be watching and dabbing. Superman
impersonating Cam Newton. We have a lot to talk about. As we go to break,
some more predictions about tonight`s big game.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sunday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patriots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re not in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At least you know who`s playing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: – and the Broncos.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You will be watching?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea. I hope so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s the most watched event of the year. Not New Hampshire,
not the presidential election. Not even Beyonce swooping down to earth and
slaying with unapologetic southern girl blackness. No, this is about
football. Super Bowl Sunday is finally here. With about six hours left
until kickoff, all eyes are on Northern California, as the Carolina
Panthers and the Denver Broncos meet for the most hyped, flashiest
spectacle in sports. Now, the only thing representing my beloved New
Orleans at this year`s Super Bowl isn`t the Saints, but Beyonce`s
formation, and that is just going to have to be good enough for me.
But you know team MHP isn`t just watching the halftime show. We have our
eyes on the quarterback of the moment. Carolina Panther Cam Newton. The
end zone dabbing Superman channeling star quarterback who runs the 40-yard
dash in 4.59 seconds and who has dominated defenses, throwing a career high
35 touchdown passes and a career low 10 interceptions for a team that lost
just once. Yet, the newly minted MVP has launched a firestorm of criticism
along his road to the Lombardi. The reason? Cam likes to dance. When
celebrating a touchdown, a dance that just gnaws at some folks in game,
like the Titans coach who said, it`s a little rubbing it in your face.
There`s a little code of ethics in the NFL. It`s not a good move.
ZIRIN: NFL is so ethical.
HARRIS-PERRY: Fans pile on Newton, too, like the unsettled onlooker who
penned an open letter to Newton, because his celebratory moves scandalized
her and her nine-year-old daughter, complaining about, quote, “the chest
puffs, the pelvic thrusts, the arrogant struts, and the in your face
taunting.” Tack on angry editorials about Newton being an unwed father
irked headlines about his fashion sense and shoe game, along with these
choice words by former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODNEY HARRISON, FORMER PATRIOTS SAFETY: If I was playing against Cam
Newton, I would try to take him out. I would try to take him out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean?
HARRISON: I would try to hurt him. I would go right at his knees.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. Yes. That`s real ethical. And then on Thursday, just
when we thought there was nothing left to criticize about a man who has
done nothing but win and act joyful about it, he was asked this question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you wearing socks with sandals?
CAM NEWTON, PANTHERS QUARTERBACK: Why are you wearing jeans – with shoes?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Seriously. Sandals and socks?
Joining my panel now is Shana Renee Stephenson, founder and editor-in-chief
of All Sports Everything. Also joining me from Minneapolis, Minnesota, is
Ben Leber, former NFL linebacker and sports radio host on KFAN. So, may I
ask, is that like, are socks and sandals like a thing that is somehow bad
for the NFL? Like I`m sorry, this just really feels – this feels like an
odd pile-on for a guy who is having this level of accomplishment.
BEN LEBER, FORMER NFL LINEBACKER: Well, look, when somebody wears Versace
pants, right? You want to think that he`s got the greatest fashion sense,
whether you like the pants or not listen, nobody wears socks with sandals.
HARRIS-PERRY: Everybody wears socks with sandals.
LEBER: No, no. Your dad wears socks with sandals on the beach. And you
criticize him for it. Cam Newton probably shouldn`t wear socks with
sandals, but the thing that everybody loves about Cam Newton is he does it
his own way. So, there`s no way you can totally criticize him.
HARRIS-PERRY: OK. So, for me, I want to come out, for me, I guess the
thing I`m finding most difficult about this is the idea that there is some
ethical code of behavior in a game where the rule – like the actual rules
are hit the other guys. I mean, so beyond everything else that is going on
in the NFL, right, just even the basic rules of the game, and this kid is
dancing when he wins.
SHANA RENEE STEPHENSON, FOUNDER AND EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, ALL SPORTS EVERYTHING:
Right. I mean, that`s the sheer irony of this whole thing. And I think
that what it boils down to you is that Cam Newton is a black quarterback,
as he stated last week, and he is excelling at the game, winning at the
game, in a position where black quarterbacks haven`t necessarily been
accepted in a very long time. And he`s doing it his own way. He`s a dual
threat. And that in essence is a threat to those who aren`t necessarily a
fan of his.
HARRIS-PERRY: I`m literally shocked. Actually shocked that I`m doing this
segment. How could it possibly be true in 2016, Adam, that we`re doing a
segment about people can`t get their heads around a black quarterback. You
know, I don`t wanted to be the Obama like, we have a black president for
eight years thing –
HARRIS-PERRY: But for real, are we seriously having emotions on a black
HOWARD: Yes. I think so. Because I think –
HARRIS-PERRY: How could we have emotions about a black quarterback?
HOWARD: Well, I`m not having emotions –
HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, as a country.
HOWARD: There`s a certain segment of this population that thinks that
black athletes should be seen and not heard. And we have dress codes to
keep them from expressing themselves. We have rules that keep them from
enjoying themselves in the end zone. And there`s something that is very
visceral to certain people when a black athletes says, yes, I am the
greatest and I am amazing. And try and stop me. We saw it happen with
Muhammad Ali. We saw it with LeBron James when he had the audacity to say,
you know what I want to play for a team that might be able to win. And
it`s happening now with Cam Newton who by any measure actually deserves to
HOWARD: I mean, he`s been the best player in the NFL this year. So, he`s
ZIRIN: It`s because he`s unapologetically black, and he is playing the
position of quarterback in a way that is very transgressive because there
are these unwritten rules if you`re going to be quarterback, you have to be
like Rodney Harrison`s quarterback Tom Brady and look constipated on the
field. Look, like, I am only – I have to go to the bathroom and I hate my
teammates and I`m going to yell at you on camera. And somehow, that`s not
showing off, that is not showing people up, that`s not arrogance, but Cam
Newton actually looking happy to be there is arrogance.
HARRIS-PERRY: OK, but let`s back up. Let`s back up to the first time that
I became really aware of professional football was 30 years ago, and it was
the Super Bowl shuffle. It was the Chicago Bears. It was a whole team of
like wonderful arrogant guys, led by the most arrogant quarterback of all
time, right? Jim McMahon, who actually mooned the, you know, but we loved
him for it. We embraced him for it. Ben, I mean, that was 30 years ago
that we saw McMahon doing that. And in fact, you know, we all wore the
headbands and like, that was the thing.
LEBER: Yes, it was. And the thing I think that he gets a lot of criticism
for is because he not only appeals to the urban but also the suburban. And
this is a black issue whether people want to admit it or not. You know,
he`s only the sixth quarterback to ever start a Super Bowl being African-
Americans. So, yes, there is that story line, but he pulls it off so
perfectly. He`s perfectly flawed, I think in his leadership abilities. He
does a great job with community stuff. The teammates love him. So, you
have that aspect where he`s respected by the guys in the locker room. Does
he celebrate too much?
Yes, I think he does. I think he does pushed the envelope on being
disrespectful at times. But he`s so polarizing that he dresses nicely,
he`s one of the sharpest dressed guys in the NFL. So, black or white,
young and old, you do love him because he is entertaining. And this is an
entertaining business. He`s just playing quarterback in a whole new way
that is new age and for some it`s hard to handle.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. We`re going to go to break, but I don`t know if he`s
celebrating too much. I`m just going to give it a little Beyonce. And I
think he`s twirling on them haters. We`re going to break. We`re coming
back on all of this.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, we`re back, and we`re continuing to talk about the
complications around race and the Super Bowl and also just this idea about
sort of this notion that there`s some sort of code of ethics.
And David, I wanted to come to you on this, in part because obviously,
particularly as we`re thinking about head injuries and we`re thinking about
sort of how the league treats its players, the furor around Cam dancing
feels to me awfully misplaced.
ZIRIN: Yes. I mean, code of ethics. There`s a commissioner in charge of
the National Football League who took the ALS ice bucket challenge while
his league formally denies that there`s any connection between head
injuries and ALS. This commissioner stood up, Roger Goodell, in front of a
whole group of reporters. And they said, what do you think about football
being dangerous? And his response was, well, it`s also a dangerous to sit
on the couch. I mean, this is tobacco company level stuff. Remember, the
tobacco people said, well, you could also die from eating too much
ZIRIN: I mean, that`s where Roger Goodell is, he`s reached peak tobacco
when it comes to his comments.
ZIRIN: And so, to call Cam Newton ethical is just – it really does boggle
my mind. And with Cam Newton, like Beyonce has done, is he has opened up
political space to have wider discussions in the culture.
ZIRIN: I was listening to the show Mike and Mike on ESPN, which is if all
due respect kind of a jackass show, and on it was this guy Domonique
Foxworth, brilliant guy. And he said, Cam Newton reminds me of WEB Dubois,
and the negation of double consciousness. This idea that you have to be
one person in front of black people and another person in front of white
people. And I`m like, oh my God, they just said WEB Dubois on Mike and
ZIRIN: And that`s what Cam Newton brings to the table, a cultural power to
HOWARD: And one of the coolest things about him is when he gives those
footballs away to little kids after he scores a touchdown, most of those
little kids are white.
HOWARD: And they have no knowledge of Warren Moon and how the NFL forced
him to play in Canada for years. He won every championship in the world
for them to even allow him to start. And they`re going to grow up in a
world where Cam Newton is commonplace. And nothing about his race is going
to necessarily permeate their consciousness. And I think that alone is a
STEPHENSON: Well, Warren Moon was Cam`s mentor and one of the pieces of
advice that he gave him was be yourself. Like that`s one of the regrets
that he had when he was a player, that he felt that he really couldn`t be
himself. And so, what we see is Cam heeding that advice and doing it to
the fullest power.
HARRIS-PERRY: And I wonder if that also, Ben, let me go to you on this. I
wonder if that also releases something in him as a player. I mean,
literally, we know from research that sort of having to hide some portion
of yourself, having to conceal, having to have the double consciousness can
actually affect performance on things like tests or athletic performance.
LEBER: It really can. You know, you look back in his young NFL career,
and he wasn`t a great leader. He had poor body language when things got
tough. And when his teammates need him the most, you know, there you see
him with the towel on his head, his head down, and not being a leader. And
I think, you know, he took a lot of that advice and said here`s my
epiphany. I need to start having fun, I need to be myself. Because when
you`re yourself, you`re relaxed. And as football players, we tell our
players all the time, you play the best when you`re prepared and you`re
relaxed and not thinking.
Whether it`s Xs and Os or this read or that read, but it comes to your
personality as well. If you can be yourself, then your leadership comes
out of you naturally. And I think that`s what`s happening. He is having
fun, and they talk about it`s the most fun team to watch, because it
permeates through the locker room. Defensive guys are feeding off it,
offensive guys. And it has created a team culture, a winning culture that
everybody is going to be going after if they win the Super Bowl today.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I will say, one of my favorite be yourself just kind
of permeate your leadership things is actually going to happen in a Super
Bowl commercial today. It`s a Pantene commercial. And it`s going to be –
you`re going to see these guys doing the hair of their daughters. And I
just going to do one more shout-out for the university where I work, Wake
Forest University. And actually this commercial – this Pantene commercial
is based on research done by one of my colleagues at Wake Forest University
about father/daughter bonding. And so in a league that has also had some
real issues and challenges around gender, it will be a nice moment to see
these men acting as fathers in this role. It will be a nice one.
But thank you to Ben Leber in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
LEBER: Thank you.
HARRIS-PERRY: Also thank you to my guests here in New York, Adam Howard,
Shana Renee Stephenson. And Dave is going to stick around a little bit
longer because up next, how Super Bowl also became the story of
HARRIS-PERRY: We now bring you a tale of three cities. The first one,
Santa Clara, California where later today, the Panthers and the Broncos
will take the field in nearby stadium for a football`s greatest game. And
there`s San Francisco, less than 50 miles north, the host of the Super
Bowl`s pregame festivities. And within that city is a city some of you
have never heard of because it`s only been around for about a week. Super
Bowl City. Like a pop up Disneyland for a football heads directed at a
foot – about a foot of market straight, a quote, “A fan village dishing
out its special blend of fireworks, concerts, heightened police presence
and an $8 bud light.”
It`s a place that many of the actual residents of San Francisco are
navigating with caution or avoiding all together. A scene that hip hop
journalists Dave Dee (ph) likened to the Hunger Games. Telling my guest
Dave Zirin in an interview that quote, “You have an elite drinking
champagne and eating caviar standing right alongside people who have been
smashed on economically and socially who are sitting there trying to make
sense out of what just hit them.”
Because San Francisco has been hit hard. Under that majestic veneer of the
Golden Gate Bridge, the Victorian architecture reputation for quirkiness
and liberal politics, San Francisco was very much the epicenter of
troubling social issues of city where the homeless population is getting
sicker and older facing displacement by gentrification. A city that was
ranked the second highest for income inequality in the nation and where
some residents are getting booted out of their homes by the influx of
skyrocketing rents, luxury condos, tech industry arrivals and the rich and
force San Francisco the Super Bowl tale comes with no trophy. Local
taxpayers are footing a $5 million bill in Super Bowl cost. While Santa
Clara where the actual game is being played is not paying a dime.
Joining me now is Jane Kim, elected member of the San Francisco board of
supervisors who has introduced legislation to renegotiate the city`s
agreement to host the NFL. So, nice to have you this morning, Jane.
JANE KIM, MEMBER, SAN FRANCISCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Good morning.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, we know that your city loves football, but share with us
why the Super Bowl has touched a nerve for San Francisco residents.
KIM: First I should say that this isn`t about whether we welcome the Super
Bowl or not. The debate around the Super Bowl is really about a larger
systematic issue which is the growing economic divide and the question of
whose city is this for. This is no longer a divide between the rich and
the poor. This is a divide between the ultra-wealthy and everybody else.
The NFL has said to San Franciscan, well, what`s $5 million? Well, $5
million may not be a lot to one of the wealthiest companies in the world.
They raked in $12.4 billion last year and its highest paid executive made
$44 billion in 2012.
In fact, the NFL will make $5 million in one 30 second commercial this
afternoon. But $5 million is a lot to a San Francisco family that is
homeless and living in its car and $5 million is a lot to our middle class
household who make good money but are still struggling to live in San
Francisco. San Francisco has an eviction crisis and affordability crisis.
A homelessness crisis. So, this is really a policy debate about how best
been down, public dollars that everyone contributes to. Is it to pay and
subsidize for party for the wealthy or she will use it to address this
really critical issues.
HARRIS-PERRY: It feels to me, and I just want to go to David for just a
second. David it feels me, like what Jane has just lay out there are
precisely the kinds of things that I haven`t even heard about in the
context of Olympics for example.
ZIRIN: Yes. It`s very similar the World Cup and Olympics. It`s using
sports as a method to push neoliberalism and gentrification into a city and
using our love of sports as a kind of neo-liberal Trojan horse to push it
through. I mean, you realize at this game today in Santa Clara, they are
going to be selling sausages with real gold flakes on top of them.
ZIRIN: So you can eat gold on top of your sausage while you have as many
as 10,000 people homeless living in shelters and tent cities in San
Francisco. I mean, you couldn`t make this up. I mean, Hunger Games looks
more like a cautionary tale when you think about this. I mean, we are
reaching peak Marie Antoinette territory with what`s happening here and
there needs to be a response. The one statistics I want people to live
with is 61 percent of the homeless in San Francisco were working at the
time when they lost their homes.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, Jane, let me come to you on that. Because the critique
that I have heard pushed back on this is, well, the folks who are angry
about the Super Bowl also are people unwilling to change the zoning of San
Francisco, unwilling to let San Francisco build up and to create a more New
York-looking skyline that would allow rents to come down. What do you say
KIM: So, you know, this actually comes down to another issue which is that
I really reject the notion that cities shouldn`t negotiate aggressively for
KIM: So, I hear the same argument from our market rate housing developers
that we shouldn`t ask for more, that if we asked for more, they won`t build
in our city, that they won`t come to San Francisco. The same as the NFL
and the Super Bowl host committee. But last year I was able to negotiate
two major housing deals where we won 40 percent affordable middle income
housing after developers said that even 10 or 15 percent would prevent them
from building at all. This is really about making sure that we are
negotiating and fighting for our residents to make sure that this is a city
that includes everybody.
HARRIS-PERRY: Jane, let me ask one last question here. Mayor Ed Lee said
that the homeless are going to have to leave the street for the Super Bowl.
Is that right?
KIM: The mayor did say that earlier this summer. And, you know, I should
add to the statistic that was just mentioned, a third of our homeless count
are children between the ages of five and 17. This is a moral and ethical
issue not just for San Francisco, but cities across the nation. And one
last thing that I will say is that the NFL has said that San Francisco will
make millions of dollars from these parties and I think that remains to be
seen. But what we do know for sure is that the NFL is going to make tens
of millions of dollars from these parties and they`re not going to pay for
any of it.
HARRIS-PERRY: I want to say thank you to Jane Kim in San Francisco, it`s
tough, right? For those of us who is do in fact, love sports but we do
have to keep our eyes on the ways in which there are these big ethical
issues that are right at the heart of it. Thank you so much for joining us
KIM: Thank you.
HARRIS-PERRY: And right here in New York, a big thank you to our good
friend Dave Zirin.
ZIRIN: Thank you.
HARRIS-PERRY: To have Dave Zirin on a Super Bowl Sunday.
ZIRIN: You want a Super Bowl fans bag (ph)?
HARRIS-PERRY: I do want a Super Bowl fans bag.
ZIRIN: All right. Real quick. This is Super Bowl 50. Cam Newton is
responsible for 50 touchdowns this year, it`s in the bay area where they`re
going to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding or the Black
Panther Party. Cam Newtown`s team is the Black Panther. His name is Cam
Newton, he was born in 1989, the year that Huey P. Newton was killed.
HARRIS-PERRY: Dave Zirin, only Dave Zirin doing all the 50s.
That is our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. Happy
Super Bowl Sunday in only the way the Nerdland can bring to you. And you
can see who might wake the vote. Students are rooting for because Wake
Forrest University is in North Carolina. I`m going to see you next
Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Let`s see those wake the vote students!
Remember that you can see Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on “Meet the
Coming up, two days for the New Hampshire primaries. It`s going to
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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.>