Democrats tackle liberalism and electability. TRANSCRIPT: 7/31/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Darrick Hamilton, Richard Blumenthal, Marianne Williamson, Tara Dowdell, Chuck Nice

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  We will bring you the expert analysis hosted by

Brian Williams. It all starts approximately – we`ll it start at 10:30. 

But we know as soon as the debate is over, you know where to switch.


That`s all for us. We will back tomorrow with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY. 

“THE BEAT” with Ari Melber starts right now.


Good evening, Ari.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Chuck, you know where to switch that`s a very

realistic tease. You`re not asking political junkies to do anything other

than switch once they`ve taken the debate.


TODD: They know where to go man. All you got to do 00 here`s what we know,

Ari, just keep - hit the previous button.


MELBER: There you go.


TODD: You know folks hit the previous button. It`ll get you where you need

to be.


MELBER: All right. We`ll all be watching Chuck. Thank you as always.


TODD: Thank you brother.


MELBER: We have a lot to get to in this edition of THE BEAT with Air

Melber. Joe Biden, Kamala Harris heading for a rematch, we`re going to get

into what`s at stake.


Later, we`ll be joined live by Marianne Williamson, the most Googled person

on stage last night, did you know that? And also new reporting on election

security, why Mitch McConnell`s outraged over these attacks like “Moscow



But we begin tonight hours away from, as I was just discussing with Chuck,

10 more Democratic candidates taking this debate stage. And tonight`s

debate has several famous names, including Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.

Some arguing that he really has to bounce back from the rough night he had

at the first debate.





in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public

schools and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.


JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: –mischaracterized my position across

the board.


I agree that everybody once they in fact - my time is up. I`m sorry.




MELBER: Everyone knows debates are a type of performance and that means

expectations do matter. Biden, now previewing a strategy, saying he won`t

be quote “As polite tonight”. He`s also personally assuring donors, the

things are still on track.


These debates are, of course, about reaching voters. For lesser known

candidates this is the main way tonight that people are meeting them. In

fact, over 11 million people watched that debate last night on TV or

online. But it`s not just about that. It`s also for some of these

candidates sparking the kind of moments of interests that will generate

necessary polling and fundraising to even continue.


Consider this basic fact, most candidates still haven`t qualified formally

for the next debate in September. Now all this is after the first round of

contenders debated last night with leading progressives in that race

Sanders and Warren squaring off over what came to be a push in pull with

the moderates about whether these ideas are big and bold in the way to take

on Trump or somehow so quote “extreme or unrealistic” they could backfire.





anybody goes to all the trouble of running for President of the United

States just to talk about what we really can`t do and shouldn`t fight for.


JOHN DELANEY (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think Democrats win when we run

on real solutions, not impossible promises. When we run on things that are

workable, not fairy tale economics.



of Democrats afraid of big ideas.



plans that are written for press releases that will go nowhere else–



here tonight, I almost wonder why you`re Democrats. You seem to think

there`s something wrong about using about using the instruments of

government to help people.




MELBER: Snap. I`m joined by Jason Johnson Politics Editor, The Root;

economist Darrick Hamilton, who leads the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State

and has advised several of these very Democrats running for president

including on policy, Sanders, Warren, Harris and Booker - busy man. Zerlina

Maxwell, a top aide in the Clinton campaign who is now Director of

Progressive Programming for SiriusXM. Nice to see all you here.



see you Ari.


MELBER: Your first time on THE BEAT, sir.





MELBER: If people know universal income, they know baby bonds, these are a

lot of issues you`ve been writing about and that`s why we mentioned. Your

work has been cited by more than one candidate.


When it comes to this debate, over big and bold or more tax cuts what did

you think came through last night?


HAMILTON: I think there was clear distinctions about vision. There was one

of economic inclusion towards rights of healthcare, right towards the job,

right for an environment that we all can have in a sustainable way versus

more moderate middle of the road approaches.


MELBER: Did you think that that was a sick burden by Elizabeth Warren

saying what you`re running for President to tell us what we can`t do?


HAMILTON: Yes, there were a few sick burns in that debate last night. I

think Sanders had one, Elizabeth Warren had one and then Marianne

Williamson had one that you just showed.


MELBER: Yes. And I`ll ask her about that, because she`s on later. What did

you see?


MAXWELL: Well, I think that it showed that Elizabeth Warren is doing

something different than some of the other candidates. She`s showing up

with plans on what she is going to do if she becomes the President, and

that`s very clear. I mean, no one can ask like what does Elizabeth Warren

stand for and what would she do as President.


And every single candidate has the job of coming to a debate and explaining

that and for some reason she`s the best at it. Bernie Sanders also was very

good at it and effective at communicating his message last night.


And I just think that that moderate, progressive fight was substantive, so

that`s good. But I think in some ways it`s misguided to say that Democrats

are going way too far to the left. “Oh no this is so scary”. Because just a

few years ago we were debating the same thing when we were talking about

Obamacare and Republicans were saying the same things about the ACA, which

is now actually the moderate position.


So if we don`t have amnesia collective way in this moment, we can look back

to that debate, because it can inform this debate. Essentially, we`re a

little further to the left, right. We`re starting further to the left.

Before we were starting as a public option, now, we`re starting with

Medicare for all. So maybe we`ll end up with a public option, negotiating–


MELBER: Right. You talk a little about what they sometimes call the Overton

Window or what are people seeing as possible.




MELBER: But Warren, Jason, to Zerlina`s point is very comfortable doing

that. And when she wants to reframe - and obviously given the intelligent

academic that she is, she`s good at it. She`s go - I`m not going to accept

your frame. That`s a Republican talking point. What we can`t have and now

I`m going to reframe.


And you saw that, I`m going to play a little bit - you saw that on

healthcare and how they went back and forth. Take a look.




WARREN: We are the Democrats. We are not about trying to take away health

care from anyone. That`s what the Republicans are trying to do.


BULLOCK: It used to be just Republicans who wanted to repeal and replace.

Now many Democrats do, as well.


SANDERS: What I am talking about and others up here are talking about is no

deductibles and no co-payments. And, Jake, your question is a Republican

talking point.




JASON JOHNSON, THEROOT.COM, POLITICS EDITOR: No one`s ever won election by

saying, you know yes we can`t, or yes we kind should talk about it and put

it together at the meeting. Elizabeth Warren is the only person - her and

Bernie are the only people who seem to understand that casting a vision for

what you want the country to be is what you`re supposed to do.


But there`s a second thing here that I think was unique to her that`s

different from Bernie. Bernie ran in 2016. There`s lots of people -

certainly his supporters will say, “Look, at the polls, Bernie can win,

Bernie can win, and Bernie can win.”


Elizabeth Warren had to prove that she`s tough. She got a body last night

with Delaney. She put him out - she put him out. And even though a Delaney

was never really going to be a maybe a candidate–


MELBER: You think there`s probable cause there that?


JOHNSON: I called it in. I was like - she has a plan.


MAXWELL: 911 - murder.


JOHNSON: I just saw murder. She`s got a plan. And - but that was a good

moment for her, because it didn`t show I`ve got a vision. It`s like I`m

willing to fight for this, and that`s the thing that Elizabeth Warren was



So I love the fact that she and Bernie basically did a Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

They knocked out all the moderates and said look we`re going to make this

about us too. So it was a really good night for both of those candidates.


MELBER: Yes. And this also goes to something that I think it`s very

litigated in Democratic primaries, which is the sort of notion of being

quote-unquote “Responsible or adult”, which anytime you talk like that can

start to sound patronizing. Well that patronizing just to the people with

quote unquote “more expensive plans”.


I mean, war is expensive and Presidents in both parties have started big

wars and nobody said well we can`t possibly do that. So it starts to become

a kind of a trick. And I raised that in the context of what you`re saying

with a new video out from Joe Biden that shows two things.


One, he`s somewhat shook, because he`s making an attack going into the

debate. As you know the debate is going, he`s already attacking other

people. If you truly believe you`re the front-runner you don`t do that.




MELBER: But, two, he is comfortable staking out the position and maybe he`d

argue that with his Washington experience, he`s the one to do it. That some

of the health care ideas are too expensive. Take a look.




SANDERS: Health care costs money.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And all this is done without a middle class tax cut?



tax, yes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 30 trillion over 10 years?


HARRIS: There are ways to pay for it.


SANDERS: Are people going to pay more in taxes? Yes.


WARREN: So, yes, I`m with Bernie on Medicare for all.




JOHNSON: Smart move by Joe Biden and here`s why. What you saw last night is

how difficult it is to actually be a moderate in this environment. And the

fact that he`s managed to maintain his frontrunner status, while being a

moderate, has been really, really difficult.


And he`s saying that by like, “Look, I can give you everything that you

want. Not only am I going to increase healthcare, but I`m also going to

give you the middle-class tax cuts like we`re back in the 1990s.”


So I think it`s a smart move by Joe Biden. I still think he`s going to be

in trouble tonight, and I don`t know that he`s going to be able to maintain

this status if he has a second screwed up debate.


HAMILTON: Yes. Seems like the party and the population, in general, is

beyond the Biden Democratic frame that took place in 2008. And I guess it`s

hard for him to run on a something that would be against what he was

originally in 2008. But we can look and see what the policies are and where

the temperature is.


And we can see that Bernie Sanders` historic run that last time has kind of

paved the way for these big–


MELBER: Professor, are you saying its hard out here for a moderate?


HAMILTON: Which is a good thing.


MAXWELL: I think this is smart. To backup Jason`s, what I think this is

smart, because obviously, that`s the only lane he can go in in terms of

this particular issue, because you have so many candidates taking out a

very pure position on Medicare for all and anything that is seen is not

truly Medicare for all, you`re copping out.


But I think that the danger here is to act like the ACA is perfect and is

in no need of any improvements. I don`t think that any Democrat would say

that that`s true, even Democrats that support the ACA.


So I think that, while this is effective, I think he should at least allow

there to be an opening to say, look, the ACA was a giant leap in the right

direction. But here`s what I propose to improve upon it. And he is talking

about a public option and that was always a necessary piece of the puzzle,

because it would keep costs down and that`s one of the major problems with

the current law.


MELBER: You know, one of the other things about this comes back to where

people think they are, right. Barack Obama really did see himself as a

bridge builder and essentially a center-left figure, although the Iraq war

burnished him in a way with the base.


And other people had ideas about him. There were people who thought he

would be more progressive and he was for various reasons, which don`t tell

you who someone is, right, what`s inside if you want to go back to



Does Joe Biden think that he`s more liberal than he is in today`s party?

Because sometimes you just - you both just referred to him de facto as a

moderate. I`m not sure given his life history and some of the votes he took

back in the day of - he`s got a long record - it`s mixed. I`m not sure that

he even thinks he`s a moderate.


JOHNSON: He doesn`t. He`s like, I`m friends with the black guy, of course,

that makes me liberal. That`s what he thinks. But he is really, really

moderate. And in fact, what`s strange to me about Joe Biden`s lack of

awareness about himself, why do you think Barack Obama picked you as his

VP? It`s because you were the moderate. He needed the old white guy to go

into the Senate and talk to people who wouldn`t talk to him.


So Joe Biden doesn`t realize who he is. The problem is, everybody is–


MELBER: –who he is today.


JOHNSON: Who he is today. But everybody wants to project something on him.

Barack Obama`s best friend, Uncle Joe, they got with the TransAm on the

front porch. So if he can still maintain this image of everything that you

want me to be, in addition to how I imagine myself in my head, he can stay

the frontrunner.


MAXWELL: I don`t think Joe Biden has changed, the party has changed. The

party is more diverse and more inclusive. There are people any positions of

power that are representative and who look like. The attacks on “The Squad”

are instructive, because the people who - the Democrats need to vote for

them in order to win, look like “The Squad” and that`s why that that fight

was instructive.


Because you need someone who can stand up for people who look like you. And

if you can`t stand up for “The Squad” then you`re not going to run for

president and stand up for me.


HAMILTON: I would say that is more than just a party, the whole population

has changed. I think Joe Biden`s strength has historically been foreign

policy. We`re not here to relitigate the Obama presidency. But in a lot of

ways it was missed opportunity. And the Democrats today are trying to seize

upon that and create new opportunities where we can ultimately get to the

society we want to get to.


MELBER: I got to fit in a break. You guys make a lot of interesting points.

I`m going to probably ask Marianne about some of them, as we have a

candidate on tonight. Jason, Darrick and Zerlina, thank you so much.

Zerlina will also be part of our coverage of post-debate night later on.


Coming up the inside story of this “Moscow Mitch” nickname and why it is

rivaling Mitch McConnell as he blocks security bills. A secret tape

revealing racist language from not one but two American Presidents and the

Republican Party, we`re going to get into that. If you haven`t heard. It is



And later, as mentioned, Marianne Williamson, the most Googled candidate is

here live on THE BEAT and a look at the best debate memes, even some of the

punchlines. All that plus a special conversation with a very young 2020

reporter, who is yes, blowing up the net.





their vote. I`m not trying to push them to vote for no specific candidate.

But I`m trying to push them to educate themselves on the candidates.




MELBER: We`ll get educated on that and a lot more tonight. I`m Ari Melber,

you are watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.




MELBER: Congress is on recess, but many of its members are escalating their

confrontation with Donald Trump tonight with New Democrats now endorsing

impeachment. Take a look at these numerical facts as they add up.


Back during the very first vote to impeach Trump, when Republicans ran the

House in 2017, you see there about 30 percent of Dems voted to impeach.

When that same bill came back to the floor last month, from Congressman Al

Green, the number jumped to about 40% of Democrats.


And now with New Democrats endorsing impeachment, tonight the figure has

already now jumped for the first time to 49% or 114 Democrats. What you`re

looking at maybe a new center of gravity for a caucus that has largely

stopped short of advocating impeaching Trump.


And the House shift is part of the context for new pressure on the top

Republican in the Senate tonight, Mitch McConnell. He`s been blocking a

series of election security bills despite warnings from Bob Mueller and

U.S. Intelligence that Russia is still at it.


Some have dubbed him “Moscow Mitch”, progressive groups running billboards

in his home state of Kentucky, plus there are these provocative images -

this one going viral on social media, imagining McConnell in a Russian

military uniform.


Now McConnell has taken to the Senate floor to protest exactly that kind of

politicking, stressing his past opposition to Putin and arguing this is

basically read scare tactics against him.


Meanwhile, there`s reporting that he is genuinely fuming about all this, a

contrast to his embrace of other Democratic nicknames like the “Grim





SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): For the first time in my memory, I agree with

Nancy Pelosi. I am indeed the “Grim Reaper”.


The accusation that I`m quote “un-American” was broadcast on MSNBC. I don`t

normally take the time to respond to critics in the media. This modern-day

McCarthyism is toxic.




MELBER: I`m joined now by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal from the

Judiciary Committee. His election security bill would require federal

campaigns to report offers of any foreign assistance. It is one of the

proposals blocked by McConnell. I`m also joined by Malcolm Nance, former

counterintelligence operative for the U.S. military. Good evening to both

of you.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Good evening thanks for having me.


MELBER: Senator let`s get to the bill. But, first, I got to ask does the

Senator a point in his criticism as he mentioned the media, he mentioned

MSNBC, he mentioned what he views as McCarthyism. Is any of this out-of-

bounds in your view or no?


BLUMENTHAL: The plain fact is, we have no idea why Mitch McConnell has made

it his unrelenting business to block these measures. Three times I`ve gone

to the floor for the Duty Report Act, which requires any campaign, any

family member, any candidate to report illegal offers of foreign assistance

or acceptance of them, because Donald Trump has said I`d take it, his son

said during the campaign I love it.


And the reason why he is blocking these measures is simply - has no

explanation. Maybe it relates the fact that we`re seeking greater access to

the ballot box for ordinary Americans or ending the impact of big business

on those elections. But the simple fact is that he takes pride in being

called the “Grim Reaper” not so much “Moscow Mitch”.


MELBER: Malcolm?



Scarborough named him “Moscow Mitch” he made quite an argument that Mitch

McConnell`s behaviors were in support almost direct support of the

strategic objectives outlined in the Muller report about Russia`s attack on

the United States and damage to its electoral process.


No other person has ever stood for a foreign power to intervene in our

elections. And now we find out that in August of 2016, Mitch McConnell was

the one that that Harry Reid was talking about, when he said that there was

opposition to naming names as to who was actively attacking the United



Three years on almost to the month, we need to understand whose interest

does he work for. Does he work for the people of the United States? Prove

it, who defend this nation with your oath of office by giving us the

election security we have. Otherwise, that - to gear is going to stick with



MELBER: Well, Senator, look at what we`ve learned both from the Mueller

report which Malcolm mentions, as well as somewhat we learned from Senate

investigations, and you know all about it, which has to do with whether

this is as Mueller said on going and where it is.




I want to put up something that is pretty straightforward. Here`s the map

United States and here are the states that have been targeted by Russia

according to the Senate report. Eagle-eyed viewers will note every state is

red, because every single state was targeted. What does that tell us?


BLUMENTHAL: What that map tells us is that this effort is ongoing and as

Robert Mueller said it`s ongoing by quoting him many other nations. There

was report just last week about the Iranians conducting a disinformation



So it`s not just Moscow, it`s other foreign governments that want to

interfere in our election and it is perhaps one of the greatest threats to

our current national security. Our nation is under attack and yet the

Republicans are blocking common-sense measures. They`re a matter of simple

morality and patriotism.


And by the way common sense is a term overused in this city that displays

common sense less often than it should. But these matters ought to be

bipartisan and it would be bipartisan–


MELBER: Well, let me–


BLUMENTHAL: –but for the Republican leaders.


MELBER: And let me press you there, because part of what we`re discussing

here is the nature of the attacks on Mitch McConnell which as a reporter

got his attention, but which are impugning him, right. And it was it was

liberals historically who were compared about efforts to tie them to the

Red Scare, to tar them, and all these type of things.


So you`re talking senator about why he opposes it. I want to give the

Senator McConnell`s view here some airtime. He cites several reasons and

this is this is from reporting a long-standing resistance to federal

control over state elections, right, which is something that many

Republicans were talking about pre-Trump.


Newly enacted security improvements that were shown, he argues to have

already worked in 2018, and he`s suspicious that Democrats - I guess, this

would be you sir, are trying to gain some kind of harvest advantage through

these proposals.


So taking him seriously, what is your response to that? That`s not just the

Trumpian thing of “Oh, can`t talk about Russian meddling, because it

undermines Trump.” He`s saying, hey, he and Kentucky have had a long

skepticism of federal involvement elections, although some of that`s

controversial for many other reasons, including civil rights. But your



BLUMENTHAL: Point-by-point. First of all no federal control would result

from these measures - certainly, not from my Duty to Report Act, not from

providing funding for election security.


States would continue to control their own elections, not from setting

auditing or cybersecurity standards, not from requiring paper ballots,

which most states now have. And the states themselves, contrary to what

Mitch McConnell said, are asking for this additional funding that we want

to provide.


Yes, 380 million has been provided, but a lot more is necessary and a lot

more is absolutely a matter of national security. And finally, as for the

partisan advantage, these measures would be bipartisan. If Mitch McConnell

allowed them, he needs to lead or get out the way.


MELBER: You want him to come to the table. Malcolm, almost out of time.

What`s the most important thing that you are watching for as people wonder,

“Well if Mueller said it, are we in trouble? Are we at risk?”


NANCE: Well the thing that I`m watching for is exactly what Senator

Blumenthal said. He needs to show some leadership and let me give him a

little advice as an old Navy Chief. Get up and do your job. This nation

needs to be defended. It is not partisan to defend the flag. It is not

partisan to defend the Constitution.


What is going to take for him to actually understand that this is critical?

Will it take the Iranians to have to the hack votes against him in the next

election and make him lose his position? That is possible. The North

Koreans can do it, the Russians can do it, anyone can attack us and leaving

us defenseless is just malpractice of the worst sort.


MELBER: Senator Blumenthal, Malcolm Nance, thanks to both of you. Important

topic. Meanwhile, a 1971 tape of Reagan and Nixon exchanging blatantly

racist remarks, newly unearthed, with a lot of context when we`re back in

30 seconds.




MELBER: Now we turn to some new information in context for President

Trump`s race-baiting rhetoric and discriminatory policies. Donald Trump has

been rebuked as racist by the U.S. House. He`s been called out by civil

rights leaders across the nation recently and now his new approach is to

blame everyone else.





gone down a long way, because everybody`s called the racist now. I`m the

least racist person there is in the world.




MELBER: Critics know trump uses that exact line as a taunt. He doesn`t

appear to believe it or expect most others - given that he entered politics

pushing the race baiting birther conspiracy. Ran for President on a

religious ban that was so blatantly discriminatory, his own lawyers later

claimed he never tried to enact it, as a kind of defense.


And of course, now kicked off his reelection campaign with these attacks on

minority members of Congress and basking in those MAGA chants to send

people home.


As a political project, Trump`s figured out how to appeal to some

American`s desire to go back in time. Hence, the plagiarized Reagan slogan,

“Make America Great Again”, and the echoes of Richard Nixon`s appeals to

law and order.


Well, there are those who argue that Trump is basically corrupted, those

otherwise acceptable types of appeals. That those slogans and words could

mean something different in Trump`s hands.


And that`s what makes this newly released audio recording from the Nixon

Presidential Library so relevant right now, with what America is going

through right now. As you are about to hear this repugnant racist language

deployed by former top American officials.


Recording is from 1971, then Governor Reagan called President Nixon who was

opposed at the time to how the UN had just formally recognized the People`s

Republic of China. Obviously, a bit of a complex international piece of

history, but that`s relevant, because in this call when the two men

believed they were speaking privately, you have Reagan blaming the African

delegations in very particular language.


Now this is all newly released historical material. It is in the news, but

first a warning. It is deeply offensive, so keep that in mind if you choose

to keep the sound on.




RONALD REAGAN, 40TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Last night, I tell you, to watch that

thing on television as I did.




REAGAN: To see those, those monkeys from those African countries - damn

them, they`re still uncomfortable wearing shoes.


NIXON: (Laughter) Well, and then they - the tail wags the dog there,

doesn`t it?




NIXON: The tail wags the dog.




MELBER: Yes. President Nixon laughingly appearing to agree with Reagan`s

statements, not at all objecting of course to the language, and then

placing a call to Secretary of State William Rogers, basically invoking

Reagan`s depiction for a conversation about policy within the Nixon





NIXON: –for example just had a call from Reagan - California and he`s been

out there and so forth. And as you can imagine there`s strong feeling that

we just shouldn`t - as he said he saw these cannibals on television last

night , and he says, they weren`t even wearing shoes.  And he says, here

the United States is going to submit its fate to that, and so forth and so

on.  And you know – but that`s typical of a reaction which is probably –




NIXON:  – quite strong.




MELBER:  This is new from history.  What people say can be revealing

especially when they don`t think it`ll get out.  And what they do can be

revealing given the civil rights record of that same Nixon administration

and how Reagan would go on to campaign.


So what did make America great again mean then?  What does it mean now? 

The politics of the Southern Strategy, the attacks on welfare queens by

Reagan, the relentless fixation on law and order by Nixon, law and order by

a president who was found by his own party among others to be committing

high crimes in office.


So it`s not all just history it is the foundation of discrimination and

racism and the politics of hate that has long stained America.  Be wary of

anyone who wants to deny history or facts because we need a firm grasp of

both to overcome so many of our nation`s mistakes.


Now have a lot more to come tonight including all kinds of highlights and

some of the lowlifes from these big debates and what might stick in voters`





REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You don`t know that, Bernie.



know it.  I wrote the damn bill.




MELBER:  And many are saying Marianne Williamson had a breakout night at

the debate.  She`s the most searched name on Google across the nation. 

She`s right here live on THE BEAT next.







particularly communities of color and disadvantaged communities all over

this country who are suffering from environmental injustice.  I assure you

I lived in Grosse Pointe.  What happened in Flint would not have happened

in Grosse Pointe.  This is part of the dark underbelly of American society.




MELBER:  2020 candidate Marianne Williamson getting cheers and applause you

heard there in Detroit.  It has a lot of folks thinking about her today. 

In fact, some are calling her the break out winner from this debate and a

standout performance.


As for the public online, well, trending on Twitter and the most searched

Democratic candidate on Google.  In fact, look at the map.  If you want to

win this country, well she was the most searched name in 49 states thanks

to last night`s performance.  And there were many passionate answers

including this moment on reparations.




WILLIAMSON:  What makes me qualified to say $200 to $500 billion.  I`ll

tell you what makes me qualified.  If you did the math of the 40 acres and

a mule, given that there was four to five million slaves at the end of the

civil war, four to five – and then we`re all promised 40 acres and a mule

for every family of four.  If you do the math, today it would be trillions

of dollars.




MELBER:  Marianne Williamson is back on THE BEAT.  Thanks for coming back.


WILLIAMSON:  Thank you so much for having me, Ari.


MELBER:  Of course.  What do you think you got across last night?


WILLIAMSON:  Well I hope I got across a more meaningful discussion of race

the minute you have such a short period of time.  But I hope that with the

answers that I gave about race, about Flint, about health, about the

environment, and about politics in general, that I think was a larger theme

which is that we have to go deeper than just talking about external fixes.


We have to have a politics that speaks to more than just watering the –

watering the leaves, we have to water the roots, and I think that theme

came through.


MELBER:  You mentioned the roots.  You`re clearly tapping into something. 

We mentioned folks searching, then they`re watching, then they`re looking

for more.  Would that – would that suggests depth as you stay longer than

even the short answers that these ten-person debates require?


And with that in mind, I want to play one of your other answers last night

where you really talked beyond just what many Democrats see is the crisis

of Trumpism and about what`s really going on.  Take a look.


WILLIAMSON:  The racisms, the bigotry, and the entire conversation that

we`re having here tonight, if you think any of this wonkiness is going to

deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this

president is bringing up in this country, then I`m afraid that the

Democrats are going to see some very dark days.


We need to say it like it is.  It`s bigger than Flint.  It`s all over this

country.  It`s particularly people of color and particularly people who do

not have the money to fight back.  And if the Democrats don`t start saying

it, then why would those people feel that they`re there for us?  And if

they think they don`t see it, then they won`t vote for us and Donald Trump

will win.




MELBER:  How do you define that collectivized hatred as you put it?


WILLIAMSON:  Well, we have a very serious problem on our hands.  You take

racism, and bigotry, and anti-Semitism, and homophobia, and xenophobia, and

Islamophobia, all those worst aspects of human character.  You put them all

together in a collective field, you put them all over the social media, and

then you have a President of the United States who is not above harnessing

all those things for political purposes, you have a problem on your hands. 

And that problem cannot be defined in strictly political terms.


This man, our president is not just a politician, he`s a phenomenon.  And

an insider politics game will not be able to defeat that.  We need to

create a politics which is a phenomenon of equal strength and power.  And

that will only come from a deeper conversation, a deeper level of truth-

telling, a willingness for America to get real about itself in a way that

the current political establishment is not used to doing.


MELBER:  Well, you say all that and here is that depth.  You`re what many

would call an untraditional candidate, but you want to be President so

there`s questions about what you believe in your policies.  Let me play for

viewers something that you said that`s gotten some real criticism about

depression.  Take a listen.




WILLIAMSON:  I`ve lived two periods of time that by any – by any means

today would be called clinical depression.  But even that`s such a scam,

all that means is somebody in a clinic set it.




MELBER:  Should people take from that, that you don`t believe there is a

real clinical depression and how would you approach what doctors in science

says is depression as part of mental health treatment if you were



WILLIAMSON:  Yes.  That clip that you just showed was a podcast I did with

Russell Brand.  I think maybe – I don`t know, maybe I was trying to

impress Russell Brand.  I was speaking glibly.  I was not a candidate yet. 

I was – when I said that of itself is such a scam but that was wrong of me

to say and I`m sorry that I said it.


There is such a thing as serious, serious depression for which I`m sure the

psychotherapeutic drugs are very, very helpful, even life-saving, and I

certainly believe that about things such as bipolar and schizophrenia,

things about which I would never weigh in on.


However, what I have talked about and written about and stand behind is the

idea that there has been a medicalization of what has traditionally be

considered a normal – a spectrum of normal human despair.


And about that, I feel that there was a very legitimate conversation in

this country when you see you know just the idea as I – as I`ve stated

before, a divorce, a heartbreak because somebody that you know left or

died, or you went to a financial hardship, or breakup, or you`re in your

20s.  These things are difficult but they`re not mental illness.


And the idea of turning everything that is a sad day into a reason for such

a quick jump and a knee-jerk jump that is often made today to the question

of pharmaceuticals, I think that that is a very legitimate questioning.


We`re living at a time when Attorney General`s all over this country are

indicting big pharmaceutical executives for their role in the opioid

crisis.  Predatory pharma is a serious, serious issue.  It is a legitimate

thing to talk about in our country.


And I don`t understand why anyone would think that now given everything we

know about the role of big pharmaceutical executives in the opioid crisis,

why should we just assume that in every other area there`s just a paragon

of virtue and it pure intent and concern for the common good.


And if you add to that the lack of regulatory oversight that I think most

Americans assume on the part of the FDA, for instance, 75 percent of the

review process for drugs a mark on is done by big pharma.


So I think that the average American is coming to realize that the role of

our regulatory agencies in many areas, not only having to with big pharma,

having to do with the environment, when you look at something like the EPA

overturning the ban on the sale of pesticides that we know harm a child`s

brain simply because of you know, our current head of the EPA or the one

before that, whether it was the chemical company executive, the oil company

executive met in the Houston hotel room with that with Dow Chemical

executives.  There is – I would think that Americans would want a

president who asked these questions and looks into these things deeply,


MELBER:  Well, you laid out a detailed answer and you also mentioned you

apologize for the wording there.  I interview candidates.  I could tell you

that`s a little different than some of what we hear from certain



I guess to press you in the follow-up and to have this conversation in the

depth that it warrants, one of the questions is one that`s often post

sometimes about Republicans who are knocking, for example, climate science

which is these are your views, where do you come down on who you get your

cues from on medicine or science, because as you know in a related issue,

there was this question on vaccinations.


You just mentioned the well-being of children and pesticides.  You had cast

skepticism on vaccinations.  I wonder if you could better explain to us

where you come down on that given the science and the concern that

vaccinations do work and people need them to keep these communities safe.


WILLIAMSON:  Well, once again, I think it`s an overstatement to say that I

cast skepticism on vaccinations.  On the issue of vaccinations, I`m pro-

vaccination, I`m pro-medicine, I`m pro-science.  On all of these issues,

what I`m bringing up that I think is very legitimate and should not be

derided and should not be marginalized particularly in a free society is

questions about the role of predatory big pharma.  And –


MELBER:  Well, let me – I`m going to jump in and then let you – let you

respond, obviously, but just so my viewers are keeping up with us, I`ll

read a little bit of what you said since you`re talking about the picture,

and then I`ll hand it back to you.




MELBER:  The quote here was, it`s different – it`s no different than the

abortion debate.  The U.S. government doesn`t tell a citizen in my book

what they have to do with their body or their child.  Vaccine mandates were

in your view at the time “draconian and Orwellian.”  I hand it back to you.


WILLIAMSON:  Well, the issue of draconian and Orwellian, this is the issue. 

When I was a child we took far fewer vaccines, and there was much less

bungling, and there was much less chronic illness.


I don`t know why – you know this is not a topic that I have consciously

chosen to.  This is not some big topic for me.  But I have to tell you, it

should not be –


MELBER:  But do you think vaccinations are contributing to things being

worse now?  Is that – is that what you`re suggesting?


WILLIAMSON:  No, no, no.  What I`m saying is that in 1986 there was this

vaccine protection law.  There was and there have been $4 billion in

vaccine compensation payments that have been made, and there was much less

chronic – there was something like 12 percent chronic illness among our

children previous to that law, and there`s 54 percent now.


I don`t see why in a free society – you know, what is going on here?  When

you look at the fact that big pharmaceutical companies lobby Congress to

the tune of $284 million last year alone as opposed to oil and gas which is

lobbied Congress to the tune of $125 million last year.


When you look at all the money that is spent by pharmaceutical companies

even on our news – on our news channels, when you look at the fact that

there are two pharmaceutical lobbyists for every member of Congress, and

even when you look at the tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars

that have been paid into the conference of even presidential candidates,

why are we – why are we so OK with the complete shutdown of any

conversation about this topic?  Once again, I would think that the American

people –


MELBER:  I wouldn`t – I would argue – I would argue, Miss Williamson,

it`s not that we`re shutting down the topic but we`re engaging it as we do. 

When you – when you come back to –


WILLIAMSON:  No, hear that and I thank you.  And I wasn`t saying that you

were shutting it down.


MELBER:  No, I appreciate – and I appreciate you on that.  Is this – is

the science and the medicine in a potential administration of yours is

going to be guided by the Surgeon General by doctors etcetera or is it –


WILLIAMSON:  Oh, I tell you what.


MELBER:  Go ahead.


WILLIAMSON:  No, I`m pro – I want more scientific – more scientific

research.  I want more scientific research that is not paid for by big

pharma.  In a Williamson administration, there will be more scientific

review, more scientific – science what has been happening.


And you can see this with this president is about cutting money to the FDA

just like he wants to cut money to the Centers for Disease Control.   He

wants to cut money for most things to the National Institute of Health, the

things that most people care about.  What I want is more scientific review. 

I want less scientific review that is paid for by pharma.  For me –


MELBER:  And my last question is – just so we`re clear, your view though

of federal or state government vaccination requirements is they are valid

or you may impose them?


WILLIAMSON:  Absolutely – there are – there are – with any medical

intervention, there are benefits and there are risks.  The government

always has to come down on the side of the public good.  Absolutely, I was

vaccinated, my daughter was vaccinated.  Of course, of course, I am.


I just want to know that when it comes to the review of our drugs, and when

it comes to all issues related to drugs, just as we have to allow learn

from what is happening in the opioid crisis, I want independent regulation

that is conducted by the government that is not paid for by big pharma. 

That`s what I want.


MELBER:  Excellent.  Well, Marianne Williamson, I appreciate you coming

back on The BEAT.  I`ve talked to you before.  Many people thought you had

a big night last night.  We set aside time to get into it.  I appreciate

your time.


WILLIAMSON:  Thank you so much.


MELBER:  Thank you.  When we come back, we have a lot more including the

must-see debate moments and the ones that went viral, plus the preview for





MELBER:  You know what it is.  We have your must-see debate moments, the

good, the bad, and even the mean.  I am joined now by a comedian and friend

of THE BEAT Chuck Nice and Democratic Strategist and former Apprentice

Contestant Tara Dowdell.  Nice to see you both.


CHUCK NICE, COMEDIAN:  Good to be here.


MELBER:  Let`s get right to it.  Sanders, Ryan clashing.




SANDERS:  Medicare for all is comprehensive.  It covers all health needs

for senior citizens.  It will finally include dental care, hearing aids,

and eyeglasses.  Second of all –


RYAN:  But you don`t know that – you don`t know that, Bernie.


SANDERS:  I do know it.  I wrote the damn bill.




NICE:  You got to love it.  By the way, let me just say this.  One, it`s

nice to see that Senator Sanders is writing legislation for himself, and

two –


MELBER:  You think he had help?


NICE:  No, I`m just saying, it`s dental, glasses, and hearing aids.


MELBER:  Oh, I get it.


NICE:  Just saying.  Just saying.


MELBER:  This guy.  You are a comedian.  You did sign up for this.


NICE:  Yes, well, come on, what are you going to do?  I mean, you know –

but the other thing is what is it with Bernie where everything – I don`t

care what he says, no matter how important it is, it sounds like you kids,

go play where you live.  I don`t know why.


MELBER:  You`re getting that vibe from him?


NICE:  Yes, just that vibe.  It`s like he`s telling them off.


MELBER:  Politically, does it help when they snap back like that, do you



DOWDELL:  I think for Bernie because he is always yelling.  So I mean, he

brings that fire.  That`s that get off my lawn fire.


MELBER:  Mo Fire if you will.


DOWDELL:  Yes, Mo Fire, exactly.


NICE:  Get off my lawn fire.


DOWDELL:  Like get off my lawn fire.  So I think – look, I think it was a

good moment for him.


NICE:  It really was, yes.


DOWDELL:  I mean, did the audience responded well?  It was immediate and

organic reaction from the audience, and it was telling.


MELBER:  Right.  It`s almost like you got – if this is your brand or your

vibe, then you don`t fight it, lean into it.  Maybe that`s part of the next

thing we`re going show you because Sanders also getting testy with John






force Americans to make these radical changes, they`re not going to go

along.  And you — throw your hands up.  But you haven`t –


SANDERS:  I will.




MELBER:  That was very real.


NICE:  That was real.


MELBER:  I mean, you can`t coach a candidate to do that in the moment,



NICE:  No, exactly.  That was – that was somebody just cut me off on the

L.I.E., you know what I mean?  That was a moment –


MELBER:  Some people – some people, Chuck, are saying it was Bernie`s

Outkast moment.


NICE:  Oh really?


MELBER:  Throw your hands in the air.


NICE:  Except he waves it like he does care.  That`s the problem.


MELBER:  And here`s the – here`s the meme.  For folks at home who don`t

want to go on the internet, we got it for you.  This is what the internet

is doing.  It`s replaying the moment.


DOWDELL:  Bernie was ready.  He was ready last night.  I mean, my favorite

thing about Bernie was that he was literally going after Jake Tapper too. 

In the first part of the debate, he was debating Jake Tapper.


MELBER:  Well, this is where the – this is where the jokes meet the

politics.  Historically, Republican debates tend to pick on the media more. 

Here you saw, as you just said, Sanders and Warren, when pressed on things,

they said, well – and we mentioned this earlier in our politics blog, not

at our fun blog – oh, if you can afford wars, if you can afford everything

else, why are liberal Dems being told it`s only their stuff that you can`t



DOWDELL:  But that`s – see, this is what Democrats are getting much better

at.  Do not argue within the frame of the Republican Party.


NICE:  Right.


DOWDELL:  That is Republican Party framing.  And both Elizabeth Warren and

Bernie Sanders, and some of the other democrats too, were ready for it, and

they were arguing their point and framing the conversation themselves, and

that`s the right thing to do.


MELBER:  And take a look –


DOWDELL:  You don`t win arguing within your opponent`s frame.


MELBER:  Right, because that`s set up against you.


DOWDELL:  Right.


MELBER:  The other moment I want to look at viral, also viral, big theme,

Elizabeth Warren, John Delaney, and it`s not so much what she says but what

she does.




DON LEMON, ANCHOR, CNN:  Congressman Delaney, I`m coming to you now.  Your

estimated net worth is more than $65 million.  That would make you subject

to Senator Warren`s proposed wealth tax on the assets of the richest 75,000

homes, households or so in the United States.




MELBER:  Going viral here because people notice it.  That`s what they call

a GIF, some people call it a GIF.


NICE:  Yes, either one.  It`s –


DOWDELL:  The birdman.


MELBER:  The birdman.


NICE:  Yes, she was licking her chops.


MELBER:  That`s saying put – not put some respect on my name but –


DOWDELL:  Put some respect on my name.


MELBER:  Put some – put some zeros in my tax plan.


NICE:  Right, exactly.


MELBER:  Catchy.


NICE:  Your $0.02, that`s what – I`m about to take your $0.02, not give

you my $0.02.  That`s what she is saying.


MELBER:  Let me ask you something because you`re here as a performer, and

this a performance.  How much do you see performers` techniques where she

does that because she knows that`s going to play better than a long speech? 

She`s – do you think she`s playing to that or do you think it`s more



NICE:  I think that was a genuine moment, like yo, this is about to go

down.  Like this is good.  I`m feeling this.  I really do.  I don`t think -

- I don`t think she did that for the camera.


DOWDELL:  I think – so I said this.  If you`re going into a debate, be

ready to be attacked.  Be ready to be attacked on all fronts.  And so I

think that the candidates took that lesson from what happened to Joe Biden. 

And so I think people were ready.  They were ready to defend their



We know what the attacks are, right.  If you`re Elizabeth Warren, you know

what the attacks are, right?  They`re going to come for you, your

opponents, the Republicans, they`re going to come for you around health

care, right?


So most of these candidates know where the attacks are coming from, so they

all should be doing this.


NICE:  Right, exactly.


MELBER:  Yes, and be ready.  Let me show you a little bit of –


DOWDELL:  Stay ready.


MELBER:  – what some of your – stay ready.  What some of your fellow

brethren, the late-night comedians made of all this.


NICE:  OK, yes.




STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN:  It`s hard to sum up what happened tonight, but

most of it was a bunch of guys with no chance to win the Democratic

nomination yelling Republican talking points at the people who can.


TREVOR NOAH, COMEDIAN:  Instead of jumping straight into the debates, CNN

started with a long fight night promo, right?  And then an endless stream

of all the Democratic candidates shaking hands with each other which took

forever because there are like 50 people on the stage.


SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN:  Ultimately, this was a deeply substantive debate

that showcased genuine differences among the candidates on key policy

questions.  And no matter what you think of any of them, eventually one of

them is going to go up against a guy whose campaign slogan is basically –






NICE:  That was the best one of them all.


MELBER:  Was it too much handshaking?


NICE:  Yes, it was, without a doubt.  I mean, seriously, that`s like Wu-

Tang shaking hands before a concert, you know.


MELBER:  The segment is not even over.  I just wanted to give you –


NICE:  I appreciate that.


MELBER:  I want to give a shout out to something really great.  You know,

so often in the news, we`re dealing with conflicts, we`re dealing with

politics, we`re dealing with division.  I got to meet through the

television last night a young reporter, Jaden, who just got this exclusive,

which he bragged about a little bit, and well-earned with Senator Warren,

and he is doing all this reporting online.  He is out pounding the

pavement.  His name is Jaden.  He is 11 years old.  Here`s how he recapped

the night last night.




JADEN JEFFERSON, 11-YEAR-OLD REPORTER:  I would definitely say from what

I`ve seen, I can tell that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, they kind

of had a friendship today, and many people were hinting at that, that they

do have a friendship, but they`re still competitors.


Candidates like Elizabeth Warren, who also made a lot of great points

today, you know, really trying to get out there to the people and Bernie

Sanders.  I would definitely say those two are the people that we`re really

trying to reach to the American people.




NICE:  Bernie and Liz, sitting in a tree.  I like it.


MELBER:  Jaden Jefferson, 11 years old.  Does it give you hope?


DOWDELL:  Oh, tons of hope.  What an inspiring young man.  I mean, he`s –

he was amazing.  I watched the interview last night.  I thought he was



MELBER:  You saw it live?


DOWDELL:  Yes, I saw it live.


MELBER:  Did he jumped out to you?  I know I`m putting you on the spot, but

he really was something.


DOWDELL:  No, he was.  I mean, you were asking him questions the way you

would ask a colleague questions that`s your – that is your age.  And he

handled the questions I mean, with aplomb.  He was – he was amazing.


NICE:  He was OK.


DOWDELL:  Chuck is jealous.


MELBER:  I mean –


DOWDELL:  Hater!


MELBER:  I was speaking to someone – I was speaking to someone before I

got on set today and it wasn`t like 11 going on 20, but it`s like 11 going

on 30, like research.


NICE:  Impressive guy.


MELBER:  And wasn`t it Drake –


DOWDELL:  He takes notes, Chuck.


MELBER:  Take notes.  Take notes.  Wasn`t it – wasn`t it Drake who said

tell these kids to keep dreaming because they sure do come true.


NICE:  Nice.


DOWDELL:  That`s right.


MELBER:  Did we end on a hopeful note?


NICE:  Yes, yes we do.


MELBER:  Do want me to shake your hand again?


NICE:  You know what?  I`ll take that.


MELBER:  Now we really are going to go because it`s time for “HARDBALL.”




MELBER:  Thanks for watching THE BEAT tonight.  Thanks to Chuck Nice, Tara

Dowdell and all of our great guests.  I`ll be back at 9:00 p.m. Eastern

anchoring the debate coverage tonight.







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