Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 03/21/15

Guests: Alfonso Aguilar, Shane Goldmacher, Sabrina Siddiqui, Kai Wright,Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, David Zirin, Vince Warren, Valarie Carey, EricSanders

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: On the real madness of March. And Joy Reid reports on a hanging in Mississippi. But first, why is no one running for president? Good morning, I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. March Madness is in full swing right now. The national obsession with rankings, matchups and the guessing game over whether the top seed will go all the way or be toppled by the surprise Cinderella. And I`m not talking about the NCAA basketball tournament. I`m talking about the other big dance, the one that only comes around every four years, the race to be president of the United States. Just like that other big tournament, the race for 2016 has already seen lots of fanfare, rousing pep rallies, fiery speeches and plenty of trash talking. But unlike that other tournament, we can`t fill out ore 2016 brackets yet because we lack - crucial piece of information. The actual players. After all, the ink and the air time that has been spent on the 2016 presidential race we have the same number of official candidates that we started the year with, zero. Now compare that to the last presidential campaign without an incumbent. By this point in 2007, at least seven Democrats and four Republicans had already launched their campaigns. And one of those candidates, then Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, it already announced and dropped out of the race. So far, we have seen many of the likely 2016 contenders create super PACs, hire staff and spend a lot of time with the suddenly and once again very popular folks in the critical states of Iowa and New Hampshire. We have heard them talk about why they love America and why they don`t love our current president. But we have not heard anyone officially say they want to be the next president. Of course, they have been asked and even though they are making what looks like campaign trips to what looks a lot like campaign rallies and forums and many of them have actually put on payroll a lot of what looks like a campaign staff, let`s listen to what they actually say though. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST: Why do you want to be president of the United States? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven`t made that decision yet, Sean. It was a good try to give me . (CROSSTALK) (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE) SCOTT WALKER: I did run in track. I was good at the half mile, the quarter miles. And I did run in three times in the last four years, so I`m getting pretty used to it. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So coy, but despite his coy answer, Scott Walker did acknowledge last week that hey, maybe he is the front runner for the GOP nomination, to which likely opponent Jeb Bush had this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH: I`m not a candidate. I don`t think he - maybe he is, I don`t know. But I`m not. You can`t be a front runner until you start running. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So said former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who just happened to be in New Hampshire. Well played, sir. See what he did there? He imagined to avoid making an official announcement while still putting down one of his toughest competitors. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul seems to be a candidate in every way, but officially. Especially now that he`s picked a political director for his operation in New Hampshire. For a moment last weekend it seemed that Paul had become the first to make a public declaration after tweeting "I`m the only candidate who thinks the NSA program on phone records should be shut down." Then Paul tweeted his verification. "Re-candidacy comments. I am a candidate for the U.S. Senate." But the queen of the artful dodge may be former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. She`s not officially a candidate for the White House, but she is using the White House as a source for her new communications team. Jennifer Palmieri, the White House communications director is leaving to join the Clinton team, which prompted this pointed comment from the White House spokesman on Friday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSH EARNEST, W.H. PRESS SECRETARY: I think it`s possible that while today is her last day in this White House, it may not be the last time that she serves at the White House so we`ll see. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: And yet despite major hints like that, Clinton is still hedging on whether or not she`s actually going to run. Here`s what she had to say while speaking to the powerful political action committee analyst earlier this month. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: And I suppose it`s only fair to say don`t you someday want to see a woman president of the United States of America? (APPLAUSE) HARRIS-PERRY: Hillary Clinton`s verbal gymnastics around the question of whether she`s running are so common the non-candidate candidate mim is now material for "Saturday Night Live." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There will be no mistakes in my rise to the top. If I decide to run, who knows? And right now, as you can see, I`m just relaxing at home. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: This trend, let`s call it #runningnotrunning of the 2016 cycle is neither accidental nor coincidental. There is good wings in the hold out, and largely what it comes down to is cold, hard cash. Here to help us understand features Kai Wright, editor of "The Nation," Sabrina Siddiqui, who is a political reporter for "The Guardian," Alfonso Aguilar, who is executive director of the American Principles projects, Latino Partnership and Shane Goldmacher, who is senior political correspondent for "The National Journal?" And author of the article "When It Pays to Pretend You Are Not Running for President." So I`m going to start with you, Shane. Why is it a good idea to play hard to get to not actually officially announce? SHANE GOLDMACHER, NATIONAL JOURNAL: I mean you have answered this question and it`s just money. For all of these people, there`s an advantage to waiting. And the advantage is, they can raise more money from more people now and then when they actually get into the race they can tap them for the smaller contributions, you`re limited to once you`re actually a candidate. And when you`re folks that are out of office entirely like Jeb Bush, you can actually coordinate with a super PAC that`s raising money. You can raise money in hundred thousand dollar increments. Once you are actually a candidate, $2700 is your cap. HARRIS-PERRY: You have a great line in the piece that says something like the best way to run for president is to be unemployed and not actually running. GOLDMACHER: Yeah, this is his great advantage. And it`s one of the - the first people who are expected to announce are actually the sitting U.S. senators. Rand Paul sort of has an announcement scheduled for April 7th. And the reason is, because he`s in office. He doesn`t get these advantages. Once you`re a federal official, you don`t get to get around the rules. So, is the people out of office, you can especially take advantage of this - sort of loophole. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. He`s a candidate for the U.S. Senate. I also wonder if there`s something in particular about the Republican field. About the way that Republicans make choices in their primaries, which is a somewhat different literally process in the way that Democrats do. I just - I guess I am stunned in what is going to be an open seat race, that so few people, particularly on the Republican side, where it is wide, wide open haven`t thrown their hat in the ring. ALFONSO AGUILAR, EXEC. DIRECTOR, LATINO PARTNERSHIP: Well, some are going to announce soon. HARRIS-PERRY: Sure. AGUILAR: But I have to say it`s happening on both sides. Because as you said at the beginning, we don`t have any candidates on the Democratic side or the Republican side. HARRIS-PERRY: But let me just real quick - because I - when I look at the Democratic side, I presume that is because there is an elephant in the room, there`s a big foot in the race, there`s - there`s even though she`s not declared, Hillary Clinton`s presence kind of -- but on the Republican side, it`s just far more open. AGUILAR: Well, I mean, I think certainly money is part of it. They are waiting so they can raise money for the super PACs that eventually will support their campaigns during dependent expenditures. But I don`t think it`s only money. I think this is the new reality of 21st century of politics with a 24-hour news cycle and the infinity of media outlets. Before you had to announce in January and February because you have to getting yourself known by the American public. Now you can wait. You don`t want to be - you don`t want to get burned. And you can get known in a short period of time because you have so many media outlets. Social media to connect with voters. I think that`s part of it. HARRIS-PERRY: So, it`s interesting. You actually framed that a little differently than I thought to say, OK, because of this proliferation of media, then like the capacity to introduce yourself rises. But I guess part of what I have been thinking is, is it, in fact, because once you announce, you are open to a certain level of scrutiny that you would not otherwise be open to. SABRINA SIDDIQUI, THE GUARDIAN: Absolutely. I do think that this 24/7 media environment that we live in does expose candidates to higher level of scrutiny. And one can argue, of course, that they were already being scrutinized. Every move that they make. If you look at all the staffers who have had to resign, you know, Liz Mair, high profile GOP operative, who is hired by Scott Locker, made some comments about Iowa and 48 hours later, all those tweets, she was forced to hand in her resignation. This has happened to Rick Perry as well hiring someone who had made questionable comments about women. That`s the kind of scrutiny that these candidates are already facing. But you are right. You know, people start the feeding frenzy when you officially throw your hat in the race. That`s when the Apple, of course, also comes out, and it`s really hard for these candidates to then stay on message while also having to, you know, take care of - and then handle these distractions that are, of course, unflattering for their candidacy. HARRIS-PERRY: Look, it is leading to some wonderful moments. I want to take a listen to Jeb Bush at CPAC. Just the way that he talks about himself running and not running is so funny. Let`s listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH: If I go beyond the consideration of the possibility of running, which is the legal terminology, that many of the people here are coming to see PAC - or probably are using to not trigger a campaign, if I get beyond that and I run for president, I have to show what`s in my heart. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: What? (LAUGHTER) HARRIS-PERRY: I didn`t even - at the end I was like, wait a minute, your heart? I don`t even know how did we get there? KAI WRIGHT, FEATURES EDITOR, THE NATION: It`s an absurdity. And I think it`s this kind of absurdity that does connect substantively to their disengagement. And, you know, I think I have done a lot of reporting on poverty in particular, for instance, and people always talk about well, you know, you look at poor folks and how much they do or do not vote and what do they feel about the system, and across the spectrum, across the political spectrum, you hear consistently people saying, well, what are those - and the politicians - they have nothing to do with my. They have nothing to do with my life because they plainly represent the powerful and the rich. And I think this sort of unvarnished playing of games with campaign finance is the sort of thing that turns people off and says, well, this doesn`t have anything to do with me. So . AGUILAR: But let me disagree with that, because the involvement of the super PACs, at least on the Republican side in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, it`s actually promoting border engagement. They are organizing events where candidates are -- or potential candidates, whatever they are, are connecting directly with people and talking about issues. This super PACs work with grassroots organizations and regular people are getting very involved in the process. HARRIS-PERRY: And so, both of these things could be true at the same time in the sense that the work of the super PAC in early primary organizing like this could absolutely activate those primary voters who we know are a nonrandom draw from the box. Right. But - and yet the kind of notions of us sitting around a table at this point and saying, are you running, are you not running, can make ordinary people trying to bounce their checkbooks and make sense out of life feeling like what is Washington doing. Stick with me, because up next we`re going to talk about the Stephen Colbert effect. But before I get there, I do want to talk a little bit about some developing news. We need to report this on a tragic story this morning out of Brooklyn where a home fire killed seven children, left two other people in critical condition. Officials say all of the victims are believed to be from the same family. More than 100 firefighters responded to the scene, brought the fire under control around 1:30 a.m. The New York City fire marshal spoke earlier this morning about what caused this fire. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently it was a hot plate that are used to keep food warm. A hot plate was left on. A malfunction occurred and the fire started in the kitchen. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPHEN COLBERT: How do I turn this into a super PAC? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All you have to do is send a cover letter to the commission that says this PAC is actually a super PAC. COLBERT: Here`s my form. That`s a regular PAC that cannot take money or a gift from Viacom. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. COLBERT: Now it`s a super PAC? (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. COLBERT: OK. PAC, super PAC. (LAUGHTER) HARRIS-PERRY: Well, very bare bones lesson in campaign finance from comedian turned one time candidate, Stephen Colbert. Now, you may remember in the run-up to the 2012 presidential campaign, Colbert created his very own super PAC called "American for a Better Tomorrow Tomorrow." But once he launched his run for the president of the United States and South Carolina, he could no longer be associated with the real life super PAC per campaign finance law. So Colbert handed over control to his partner in comedy "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart. Now, according to the NBC News political reportedly and - real life potential candidate Jeb Bush may be following Colbert`s playbook. Once Bush announces his candidacy for presidency, it is expected that a close ally of his will take over his super PAC right to rise. With real life politicians taking cues from satirical ones, we have to wonder if Colbert was right. Is our campaign finance system just one big joke. So Kai suggested that this kind of gaming turns people off. I just wanted to listen to the solution that President Obama offered this week for this problem. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: In Australia and some other countries, there`s mandatory vote. It would be transformative if everybody voted. That would counteract money more than anything. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Is that the solution to the money problem? GOLDMACHER: It`s going to be a hard sell to get mandatory voting in the United States. HARRIS-PERRY: Really? You can`t - like the Australians do it, so here we go. GOLDMACHER: The fascinating thing about the Stephen Colbert example is that he was doing it this cycle, he wouldn`t be creating a super PAC. He would be creating a secret money nonprofit group that would never have to disclose its donors at all, and that`s actually what some of these candidates are already doing. Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, I guess, non-candidates. All of whom have created or closely affiliated with a nonprofit that can raise money from people, and never disclose where they got the money in the first place. And in fact, as this campaign goes along, most likely, they are not going to just have a super PAC helping them out. They are going to have a secret money nonprofit group too. HARRIS-PERRY: Is this bad for democracy? GOLDMACHER: I mean if you ask most folks, they want to know who is funding their candidates. AGUILAR: To be fair. I mean they have to disclose it to the FCC. They don`t have to discuss it publicly. Look, this is the legacy of Citizens United versus FCC. We had the same thing happen in 2012. I`m actually a believer that government should not impose the limits in free speech and - but basically did that decision said that corporations, unions, nonprofits can raise money indefinitely. So, I support that. I think what we have to need some rules in terms of, you know, specifically coordination when already somebody has announced that he or she is a candidate they can`t coordinate with a super PAC. Well, what exactly is coordination or before they announce when exactly are they using that super PAC to explore? Those are the two type of rules that we need. But I have no problem in allowing organizations to raise as much money as they can to educate voters. And get voters involved in the political process. WRIGHT: Yeah, but I mean I don`t think that -- first of all, there is what kinds of voters are we talking about? Again, when we are in the primaries, we`re not talking about getting a broad swath of voters involved in the process. We`re talking about targeting a very specific piece of your base that is going -and often suppressing everyone else. And the second question of coordination is really actually what - is at stake here. Is at what point are you representing your donors and not your -- and not the people who you`re voting for. HARRIS-PERRY: OK. All right. So, when you say that, like so this question of who you`re representing, like to me, this is part of what is fascinating is watching the big money happen largely behind the scenes while there`s this attempt to play regular Joe on its face. So, I want to listen to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. We talked a bit about him last week. I want to take a listen to him doing this thing about sort of being a regular guy out shopping. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R) WISCONSIN: I know after many years of practice that if I`m going to go buy a shirt, I go to that rack that says it was $29.99 and now it`s $19.99 and then I get the Sunday insert out with the little scratch off and I take it up to the cash register along with my Kohl`s credit card. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So, there he is in New Hampshire, not campaigning campaigning -right? And he`s doing this, you know, here`s how I manage my money at the Kohl`s. Now, maybe he does, but it does seem like a bizarre reference point when we know the many millions going to these campaigns. SIDDIQUI: And I think that is why as Kai mentioned earlier in the program, turns the American public off about this process. There could be a debate over what kind of caps we should have legally in terms of how much people can contribute to campaign, but it`s this dual game that these candidates are playing where they want to present themselves as an average Joe, but they are, as Shane noted in the article, navigating the loosening of campaign finance rules so that they could use these super PACs for as long as they can to raise more and more money and then declare much later in the race when those limits then kicking on to their campaigns. I mean is really what I think people find as obstructing the democratic process. HARRIS-PERRY: And you know, we`re picking on the Republicans here in park, because they just have a more interesting field full of bunch of candidates, but it is not a Republican problem exclusively. And in fact, still to come this morning, Dave Zirin coming to Nerdland to talk sports and no, we are going to talk about the other side of this, the democratic side. Because there is in fact an alternative to the current Democratic front runner, not-runner campaign, not campaigning. Actually, he`s in Iowa right now. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: While it really does appear that the GOP presidential nomination is up for grabs, commentators keep behaving as though the Democratic nominee is a foregone conclusion. In the latest poll, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a commanding double-digit lead over all the possible Democratic challengers. Not only is that early lead not necessarily a good thing for the Democratic Party, it`s not even necessarily a good thing for Hillary Clinton. During her first presidential run in 2008 Hillary Clinton faced a contentious primary against a young senator from Illinois. And some Democrats worried that all that tension would hurt voter turnout. It didn`t. In fact, the 2008 presidential campaign had the highest voter turnout in four decades, due in part to a vigorous and protracted primary that energized and registered the Democratic base. Maybe a little friendlier or even not so friendly competition is a good thing. And some Democrats seem to agree. In the wake of her e-mail controversy, there are signs that Hillary Clinton is losing support among some Democrats. Some returning to the obvious second Senator Elizabeth Warren in hopes that she will run, but she`s not the only progressive alternative to Clinton. Former Maryland Governor Martin O`Malley is looking a lot like a contender this weekend, meeting and greeting Democratic supporters in Iowa where he`s already spent a lot of time and money. And in an op-ed for the "Des Moines Register" he struck a very warrant like tone going after big banks and one of Clinton`s biggest political vulnerabilities. O`Malley writes, "Structural reforms aren`t enough. We must bring fundamental change to the culture of Wall Street beginning with accountability." So, you wrote that Hillary Clinton is most likable when she`s not running. Is that the problem here? GOLDMACHER: I mean this is the fascinating part of Hillary Clinton polling. Is that when she was secretary of state from the moment she was announced until a few months after she left office, she was in the `60s nationally. Democrats, Republicans, Independents. Now that she`s getting back in the political fray, the most recent CNN poll has her exactly at the same level she was when she left the last presidential campaign. It`s a good spot, it`s 53 percent. But she`s disliked most when she`s actively a candidate. HARRIS-PERRY: So, I have long held that her biggest problem isn`t how disliked she is, but simply how known she is. So, you were making the point earlier up on about the opportunity to introduce yourself. And I just - we went back to the 2008 presidential campaign to kind of this moment, sort of March night 2011, 2007 and people were asked have you never heard of or had no opinion of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. 19 percent of people had never heard of Barack Obama, 16 percent had no opinion about him. Look how tiny those numbers were for Hillary Clinton? So, what is he getting an opportunity to? Introduce himself, teach people about himself and it feels like there`s no room for her to do that. People already love her or hate her. AGUILAR: Right, look, that`s one of the reasons why she`s postponed her announcement. She knows that once she announces the media is going to go after her. They are going to uncover - they are going to uncover the past scandals and they are going to uncover the new scandals. Look at the e- mail scandal which, personally, I think is a very serious thing. Dealing with government, serious business, in a private e-mail server, I think that`s a serious thing. And I think that`s going to - that issue has legs. But again, it`s not only the issue, it`s how she responded. HARRIS-PERRY: So, right, I would disagree with . AGUILAR: There`s impunity to the Clintons. And while lawyer . HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah. Yeah. I would say I disagree that the issue itself has particular legs, but the responses can, right? And there`s a way in which it makes you feel again that sense of disconnection. SIDDIQUI: There`s a sense of entitlements that she exhibits. And that`s what bothers a lot of people about her. And the inevitably of her campaign, too, I think she felt like she was very defensive - do they really have to explain why she had just this personal e-mail account. And, you know, to the points that have been made, I think that it`s very beneficial to not just - Hillary Clinton, but also to Democratic Party at large to have more contested primary. She needs to be put in a position where she more clearly articulates her vision, her policies and that would also improve, I think the obstacle that she faces of being so well known. She can actually reintroduce herself to the electorate and that would only be possible if there`s an Elizabeth Warren just pushing her a little bit to the left. If there`s Martin O`Malley, if - or even a Joe Biden who`s adding that extra bit of pressure. HARRIS-PERRY: See, you just said the vice president`s name. Why does nobody ever say the vice president`s name? (LAUGHTER) WRIGHT: Vice president, I can say his name a lot easier. (LAUGHTER) HARRIS-PERRY: That`s true. WRIGHT: I mean I think particularly the issue is challenged on equity and her relationship to Wall Street, I think that`s going to be helpful for her as a candidate ultimately. And helpful for the world. But also, I have to say that I think part of the Clinton`s problem, but her problem and the Clinton -at great large, is their relationship to power generally. If they are going - they understood to be in constant pursuit of power. So the minute she`s running, she`s in pursuit of power and she`s immediately turned off. But that`s also an advantage, I think, amongst some Democrats who are ready for someone who says, hey, listen, it`s time for a powerful Democrat around here. And I think if she can introduce that part of herself and again, if she has got a challenger, it might raise those kinds of hackles, she might do better. HARRIS-PERRY: Kai Wright and Sabrina Siddiqui and Alfonso Aguilera are all sticking around and are going to be back in the next hour. I want to say thank you to Shane Goldmacher. Still to come this morning, Rahm Emanuel`s challenger in Chicago, Chui Garcia, but first, what the class of 2016 can learn from Senator Barack Obama. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Right now, there are big decisions to be made. Clinton, Bush, Christie, O`Malley, Walker, Webb, Carson, Jindal, Cruz, Paul, Senators Fiorina, Rubio, Santorum, Perry Graham. All of the class of 2016, and all of this I`m not a candidate candidates will, if they do take the plunge, likely make their intentions official in the coming months. Maybe even in weeks or days. Yes, we are about to experience the onslaught of presidential campaign announcements. Each of these would-be commanders-in- chief having one opportunity to own the news psycho with a big splash. Each of them with one chance to introduce or reintroduces themselves to the country. To look presidential, to show they have the wind at their backs, announcing your home state or an early state, announce via tweet, a video message or a speech, indoors or out, the announcement is carefully crafted moments of political stage craft. The timing, the location, the backdrop, the audience, the words, all of it is carefully selected for maximum impact. And it`s a tricky business. The class of 2016 has plenty to go on based on their predecessors. Let`s start with like a 1960, when then Senator John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy in the Senate caucus room to a group of reporters. There was little fanfare and he even took some questions. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN F. KENNEDY: I am today announcing my candidacy for the presidency of the United States. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Kennedy, if you don`t win the presidential nomination, will you accept the vice presidency? KENNEDY: I shall not in any condition be a candidate for vice president. If I fail in this endeavor I shall return and serve in the United States Senate. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Or a candidate can take the Reagan route. In 1979 Ronald Reagan made his announcement directly to the voters in a pre-taped half hour long video that aired on national television. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RONALD REAGAN: Good evening, I`m here tonight to announce my intention to seek the Republican nomination for president of the United States. If I`m elected, I shall regard my election as proof that the people of the United States have decided to set a new agenda and have recognized that the human spirit thrives best when goals are set and progress can be measured in their achievement. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: In 1991 Bill Clinton announced his candidacy to an enthusiastic crowd of supporters from the steps of the old state house in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was pure presidential stage craft complete with American flags and the would-be first family by his side. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL CLINTON: To provide that proven leadership is our challenge in 1992 and that is why today I proudly announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) HARRIS-PERRY: In 1999 George W. Bush showed there was no need to announce just once when he and his wife Laura sat on patio chairs in Austin to give a preannouncement announcement to Texas-based reporters. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH: I wanted the Texas press and therefore, my fellow Texans to hear it from me first that this coming Sunday I`m going to announce the formation of an exploratory committee to determine whether or not I should seek the presidency. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Now, one of the 2016 likely candidates has already run for president. Hillary Clinton announced in January 2007 with a simple statement on her website, I`m in and I`m in to win. Like President Reagan, she also released a pre-taped video speaking directly to the camera. Her sitting was a cozy living room and she made clear she wanted to chat. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON: I announce today that I`m forming a presidential exploratory committee. I`m not just starting a campaign, though, I`m beginning a conversation, with you, with America. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Now, living rooms are nice, but perhaps what Secretary Clinton and really all of the class of 2016 are aiming for is the kind of moment our current president had in February 2007 in front of a cheering crowd of 16,000 people packed into a square in Springfield, Illinois, despite the single digit temperature and despite the fact that Senator Barack Obama was polling 19 points behind Hillary Clinton. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA: I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America. (CHEERS) OBAMA: I know that I haven`t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington . (CHEERS) OBAMA: But I have been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: The class of 2016 that is a presidential announcement. You`re up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Richard N. Daley served as mayor of Chicago for 22 years. Daley won his first election in 1989 with 55 percent of the vote. In 1991 Daley secured another four years with 70 percent of the vote. Then after Daley`s third landslide win in 1995, the Republican-controlled Illinois general assembly changed the way the election game was played. Suddenly the primary general election format was gone. Instead the general assembly called for one single nonpartisan election with every candidate`s hat in the ring. A runoff would be held if no candidate earned more than 50 percent of the vote. For Richard Daley, though, rule change never mattered. He went on to win the next three elections never dipping below 70 percent of the vote. Daley never faced a runoff. Rahm Emanuel is not Richard Daley and this year for the first time in Chicago`s new system the incumbent mayor will face a runoff election leading off to Chicago`s February 24th election, Emanuel had raised more than $15 million in campaign funds. Also in his arsenal, an endorsement from former boss, President Obama. Money, yes, endorsement, yes, but the votes, 50 percent of them, no. Mayor Emanuel had just 45 percent of those. The run off was on, it is on and it will happen on April 7th. And Emanuel will face Cook County Commissioner Chuy Garcia. Garcia emigrated from Mexico with his family as a child to become a citizen in 1979. He`s served on the Chicago City Council and in the Illinois state senate. Recent polls show Emanuel with a commanding lead over Garcia, but the challenger has picked up key endorsement from the Chicago`s teachers union and the service employees international union, SEIU. Joining me now live from Chicago is Democratic candidate for mayor Chuy Garcia. So nice to have you this morning. Yesterday . JESUS "CHUY" GARCIA (D) CANDIDATE FOR CHICAGO MAYOR: Good morning, Melissa. Great to join you. HARRIS-PERRY: Very nice to see you. Yesterday, "The Chicago Tribune" endorsed the mayor. Do you have a real chance of unseating him? GARCIA: We definitely do, this is a campaign that`s gathered tremendous enthusiasm and momentum over the past two weeks since the February 24th election. Ironically the day that the tribune endorses the mayor, the Chicago public schools bands are downgraded once again now. So it shows that his stewardship of what he says is a strength the finances in Chicago is in a financial freefall. The city has never been this bad, and it`s just a testament to his tenure over the past four years. HARRIS-PERRY: So, you brought up, I think, one of the key and central issues in this campaign and now certainly in the runoff and it is this question of revenue, the question of the city`s finances. And in fact, this morning the "Chicago Sun-Times" is reporting a variety of issues around this, but part of it is saying that you`re being clear about what some of your revenue willingness is and that some of it has to do with potentially gambling and maybe even with trying what some other cities have tried, which is the legalization and taxing of marijuana. What are other kinds - you know, are those on the table for you and what are the other issues that are on the table for you? GARCIA: You know, we`re looking at a host of potential revenue measures to shore up the city`s finances. But obviously, the mayor has done a terrible job as a financial steward of the city. It`s important to understand that what people are really concerned about in Chicago the school closures and the future of the Chicago public schools, obviously, the mayor`s stewardship is undermining them. People are concerned about the 10,000 shootings that Chicago experienced over the past four years and people in the neighborhoods are saying where is the prosperity that we see in the central business district. We don`t see that in the neighborhoods. People in Chicago neighborhoods feel abandoned and that`s why 55 percent of them voted for change on February 24th and that will catapult us to victory on April 7. People are tired of the wrong priorities of this mayor. They think he`s made bad decisions and that he`s broken promises to fix the schools and the school finances in the city and to make it safer. Those are his three prime promises four years ago and he`s failed on each one of them. HARRIS-PERRY: So, two of those are things that we have discussed a lot on this show. One is the issue of the schools. The other one being the horrible violence that has particularly racked certain neighborhoods in Chicago. So talk to me about the school piece in particular. You`re being backed now by the teachers union. Tell me what your plans are for managing a real crisis going on in the Chicago public schools. GARCIA: First of all, we have to stabilize the finances of the schools and obviously, that`s been a terrible job that this mayor has performed. We begin doing that by opening the books to show where the revenues have been going, where the revenues need to stop going to privatization to politically connected contractors to billionaires and millionaires who are friends of the mayor who provide him with large campaign contributions. That`s a central issue in this campaign. The other is ensuring that schools everywhere in Chicago, not just certain parts have educational equity. That means good teachers, computers, books, support staff in those schools especially in the poorest parts of the city to ensure that children actually learning. We also have to get away with - from so much standardized tests because we`re over-testing and under-educating children in Chicago. So, it is about equity. It`s also about bridging the separation and the divide between the very prosperous central business district and the neighborhoods which have been left behind. Inequality has multiplied under the tenure of this mayor. People in Chicago have come together across race and ethnicity in a really fascinating coalition that seeks to take Chicago back and reprioritize where our resources are invested. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Jesus Chuy Garcia in Chicago, Illinois. It is undoubtedly a fascinating race. And we will all be watching it quite closely. GARCIA: Thank you. HARRIS-PERRY: Up next, Dave Zirin on the edge of sports and the true madness of March. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: With off season for the NFL, but the most stunning sports news of the week was about a San Francisco 49er and his decision to quit the game. After playing just one season, and at the age of 24 Chris Borland announced his retirement on ESPN`s outside the lines. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS BORLAND, ANNOUNCED RETIREMENT FROM 49ERS: It`s a unique decision to me. I have done a lot of research. What I have experienced in past, projected to what I would have to do to be the linebacker I wanted to be and for me it wasn`t worth the risk. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That risk, of course, being neurological diseases or earlier death caused by concussions, head injuries and brain trauma. The announcement caused shockwaves both on and off the field. Borland is the fourth player age 30 or younger to announce his retirement in the past week. And he`s one of the most promising players a star rookie who stood to make tens of millions of dollars over a decade of possible playing time. Also, this week as President Obama made his pick for the 2015 NCAA basketball tournament. For him it`s Kentucky all the way. Players suited up to kick off March Madness. On the same day the tournament began, lawyers at the NCAA asked a federal appeals court to overturn last summer`s landmark decision that college athletes should be paid. And then the basketball tournament brings in more than $700 million each year and right now all the players, the super stars, and the bench riders get the same amount, nada. Joining me now from Washington Dave Zirin, sports editor for "The Nation" magazine and author of "Brazil`s Dance for the Devil: The World`s Cup and Olympics and the Fight for Democracy." So, Dave, it is NCAA Madness time. And part of that madness is $700 million coming in every year and the players don`t - we are talking about - don`t actually make any kind of salary. What is the defense there? DAVID ZIRIN, SPORTS EDITOR, "THE NATION" MAGAZINE: I have no idea what their defense is at this point other than them hiring lawyers who, by the way, aren`t working for free, to go and argue that no, no, no, the money has to stay away from the players` pockets. I mean look, anyone who has watched the tournament this week knows what they saw. It`s an incredible spectacle. It`s absolutely narcotic. It`s a national obsession. More people interact with the NCAA tournament than even the Super Bowl. More money is bet on the NCAA tournament than the Super Bowl. And who are we really tuning in to watch? Who is wearing the corporate logos as they run up and down the court? It`s the players, that`s who we`re watching and yet they do not get paid for it. And so, we all become party to this kind of rank exploitation, Melissa. We become collectively corrupted as myself included. As we watch this thing so acidulously. And I`ll tell you what`s so disturbing about it to me is that when you dispense what the niceties of it are, when we stop trying to speak in politically correct language, what we`re looking at is the organized theft of black wealth. And if we want to talk about it more broadly, the organized theft of youth wealth. I mean it really is like, imagine if we`re watching "The Facts of Life" and only Mrs. Garrett is getting paid. I mean this - what we`re looking it, and we are all a party to this. And I`ll tell you the thing that I find the most obnoxious, the thing I find the most personally offensive is when people argue that players should not be paid because they already have too much of a sense of entitlements and they would be feel even more entitled if they were paid for their labors. You know who has the sense of entitlement in this scenario? The coaches have a sense of entitlement, the NCAA has a sense of entitlement. They think they are entitled to all the money. They think they are entitled to the sneaker money even though they are not wearing sneakers. That`s entitlement. And I`ll tell you something. I would much rather have 18 to 22-year-old kids with those billions of dollars in their pockets because they will spend it in their communities. (LAUGHTER) ZIRIN: They are not going to stick it in some offshore accounts in some cat shelter or in some Haiti sweatshop and that money never gets circulated back in our country. Give the money to the kids. At least they will spend it. And if problems develop from that, I could totally see problems developing from that, of young people getting that money, but you know what, there are problems right now with them not getting the money. HARRIS-PERRY: And so, David, so it`s interesting because I think the other argument is made in addition to the entitlement one is, well, they are being paid. They are being paid in free education. Right? You know, getting particularly being on a college campus where people are paying many tens of thousands of dollars to go. You know, the idea is while you`re making $40,000 or $50,000 in that you`re getting free tuition. But I think you have made this point before and we see it if we shift a little bit to the NFL story here as well, you know, the idea that these players may actually be opting out of making millions of dollars because of the concern about the protection of their minds, the protection of their brains and some of them having really lovely brains. I love our Baltimore Raven John Urschel who did this insanely complex math piece that he published in a math journal. And I keep thinking if they are not - if they are also not getting fully educated, they are not having opportunity to be nerds, then here is also something else is being stolen? ZIRIN: Absolutely. You know, they are being robbed of their right to be able - and football it works what we are talking about, they are being robbed of their right to use their brains when they hit their 30s, 40s and 50s. It`s an old expression that if you play tackle football, particularly at the pro-level, you`re giving up your right to a middle age. You`re going straight from being young to being old. And that`s what Chris Borland was saying. What made Chris Borland`s retirement so electric is that he`s doing this in advance of getting concussions. Because he`s saying as a history major as someone who earned his degree from the University of Wisconsin, he`s actually applying what he learned at school. And you see a lot of people in the NFL cognoscenti punishing him for actually applying what he learned. It`s like when Kain Colter, the quarterback for Northwestern, attempted to organize a union, he did that because he took a labor law class at Northwestern and said, wait a minute, my labor situation is pretty messed up. What I`m learning applies to my life as a student athlete and he was punished and attacked for actually applying what he learned. That`s the big sham in all of this. And what you want is that there`s really going to be an educational component, you want people to be able to use that education. And that`s the biggest sham of all. I mean I interviewed Jimmy King who was with the Michigan Fab Five and he called it a big hustle because you`re not even really getting that education. You`ve got to practice so much. You`ve got to travel so much. It`s not even there for you to do. The big fear of the NFL is that it`s going to go straight gladiator and what you`re going to have is people who come from middle class backgrounds who have options are just going to leave and it`s going to be poor kids, disproportionately black, bashing their brains in for wealthy fans. HARRIS-PERRY: Dave Zirin in Washington, D.C., always bringing all the fire on your analysis of the sports, the politics and the questions of labor fairness, thanks for joining us this morning. And up next, all the things that happened and the one thing that doesn`t in 133 days. There`s more Nerdland at the top of the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. One hundred thirty-three days -- it`s been 133 days since the president of the United States said this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I couldn`t be prouder that today I can announce somebody who shares that fierce commitment to equal justice under the law as my nominee for the next attorney general, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. (APPLAUSE) It`s pretty hard to be more qualified. She`s spent years in the trenches as a prosecutor, aggressively fighting terrorism, financial fraud, cyber crime -- all while vigorously defending civil rights. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was November 8th, 2014, 133 days ago. Since then, a lot has happened. The St. Louis County grand jury chose not to indict Officer Darren Wilson and outrage gripped the people of Ferguson. A Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict the police officers involved in the death of Eric Garner, and protesters shut down the streets of New York City. Across the country, a nascent movement of those with hands up, explaining they could not breathe, dying in and declaring black lives matter, demanded our attention and shaped our discourse. Two officers were senselessly murdered in Brooklyn and the city`s police turned their back on the mayor. Loretta Lynch, she waited to be confirmed. We celebrated Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, we even rang in the New Year. The 114th Congress started and brought with it a historic proportion of women and people of color as legislators. The world mourned with Paris in the wake of the "Charlie Hebdo" massacre, and the courts expanded marriage. We debated deflated footballs, lobbied for our favorite movies, endured what seemed like endless winter and finally got to see the Apple Watch. The Department of Justice released a report from Ferguson and announced a plan to make changes in police departments across the country. Loretta Lynch waited to be confirmed. Two weeks ago, the nation remembered the transformational courage of those who dared to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. And for those who had come to Selma, Loretta Lynch`s waiting did not go unnoticed. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call your United States senators and tell them that they must confirm the first African-American attorney general. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So, how did we get here? I mean, when the president nominated Lynch just days after the 2014 midterms, most competitors could barely fathom a controversy. She has a Harvard Law education, decades of experience, and an un-assailed reputation. During her confirmation hearing, she had one especially valuable characteristic, given the current A.G.`s icy relationship with Congress. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: Let me just stipulate, you`re not Eric Holder, are you? LORETTA LYNCH, ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: No, I`m not, sir. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: But despite assurances that she is not Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch is still waiting, 133 days after being nominated. What is the holdup? Mitch McConnell announced Sunday that he would not schedule the vote until the Senate passed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. On the face of it, that doesn`t sound like it`s going to be difficult, except that Republicans stacked the bill with anti-abortion language that Democrats oppose. The bill calls for anyone convicted of human trafficking to pay into a restitution fund for their victims, but money in the fund cannot be used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape or incest or if the life of the woman is in danger. Language like this is actually fairly standard in these annual spending bills. The problem here is about precedent. Democrats worry that including this language in a bill that does not have to be reauthorized each year could lead to more abortion restrictions in the future. So, at the moment, no compromise looks likely. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to turn to a debate on the budget next week. And then the Senate goes on spring break. That means the vote could have to wait until at least mid-April. The whole thing has gotten so maddening that President Obama weighed in on it on day 132. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: You don`t hold attorney general nominees hostage for other issues. This is our top law enforcement office. Nobody denies that she`s well- qualified. We need to go ahead and get it done. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Joining me now, Kai Wright, features editor of "The Nation", Sabrina Siddiqui, who is political reporter for "The Guardian", Alfonso Aguilar, who is executive director of the American Principles Projects Latino Partnership, and Vince Warren, executive director at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Vince, what is going on? VINCE WARREN, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: This is crazy. As you laid out, holding the chief position, law position in the country during a time when we have one of the emerging issues that we have now is the state of race relations with the police department where we have people -- police officers are getting shot, protesters are getting tear gassed, this is going back to the 1960s. And to hold this particular position hostage at this it time is a tremendous problem. It`s a tremendous problem. HARRIS-PERRY: Guess who agrees with you? Rudy Giuliani. (LAUGHTER) HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, there are not going to be a lot of times I`m going to be able to look at you, Vince Warren, over the Nerdland table and be like, you and Rudy Giuliani, are down with each other. He wrote, "My interpretation has always been that the president should be given the deference to choose his cabinet, unless a nominee is unqualified to do the job, has a history of unethical behavior, or is so ideologically rigid as to be incapable of making rationale choices in the public interest. None of these disqualifiers apply here. If this is not about Loretta Lynch, if no one thinks this is about her, is this at all a reasonable way for Republicans in the Senate to be behaving? AGUILAR: Look, sadly, the relationship between the executive and the legislative branch is in shambles. The president has a terrible relationship with Congress, with the Senate and I think this is one of the reasons why this is taking so long. I would say to clarity, because Senator Durbin and others have implied that somehow race is part of this issue, that`s the worst kind of race-baiting - - of racial identity politics. HARRIS-PERRY: I want to pause you right there, just because I want to play it. In case folks haven`t heard it, let`s have them listen to what you`re talking about. So, this is Durbin and then we`ll listen to McCain right behind him making a point that`s on this same issue. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: So, Loretta Lynch, the first African- American woman nominated to be attorney general, is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar. That is unfair. It`s unjust. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The need for decorum and dignity of the United States Senate, I would say to the senator from Illinois, for him to come to this floor and use that imagery and suggest that racist tactics are being employed to delay Ms. Lynch`s confirmation vote. Such inflammatory rhetoric has no place in this body and serves no purpose. It was offensive and unnecessary, and I think he owes this body, Ms. Lynch and all Americans an apology. (END VIDEO CLIP) AGUILAR: I agree with Senator McCain. When he voted, when Senator Durbin voted against Condoleezza Rice for secretary of state, was he being racist? Of course, not. It`s ridiculous to imply that. Look, Mitch McConnell has said that the next issue after the human trafficking bill they are going to deal with is the confirmation of Loretta Lynch, she will be confirmed. The only reason why this is taking so long at this point in time is because the Democrats are intent in subverting the consensus policy that we have had with Hyde Amendment of the federal government not providing funding to abortions. It`s radical abortion tactics, if anything, that are holding up Loretta Lynch`s confirmation. HARRIS-PERRY: So the idea, I want to give you your full say on that. I know that is the line. But I will say, the idea that radical abortion tactics, which first of all I think we are not in a consensus place with the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment is simply that position that has become the de facto position, but that does not make it consensus. That said, when we look at Janet Reno, 29 days, Alberto Gonzales, 86 days, Eric Holder, who they really do not like, 64 days, and Loretta Lynch at 133, the idea that something that has nothing to do with her job, not single thing to do with her qualifications would be associated with it, does seem to be like a malpractice. WRIGHT: How many days when the Hyde Amendment became the issue? HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. WRIGHT: Before that, which I think is probably still the core issue, is immigration. They still want to use Loretta Lynch to beat the president up on his executive order. And, you know, I would just once like to see Republicans as outraged about race and racism when it comes up in our many plays as they are when Democrats bring it up. SIDDIQUI: I do think that immigration is still at the core of this, and it goes back to Alfonso`s point about just how poor the relationship is between the executive and legislative branch, and this is another opportunity for Republicans to rebuke the president`s executive action on immigration. Conservatives are particularly outraged in the hearing when Loretta Lynch did defend those actions, as you would expect her to do, of course, being a potential appointee in the Obama administration, but it mounted a lot of outside conservatives opposition. Obviously, a lot of the right -- the hard right commentator has been against her nomination. I think this delay buys Republican leaders more time to maybe peel off some of the support that she does have -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: Right. So, I think this is in part why we have to be very careful about how we understand how race is operating here. What I do think is absolutely sort of almost ludicrous is to suggest they don`t want a black attorney general. They have a black attorney general, right? One they really don`t like. So, all this does is keep Eric Holder in office. But that doesn`t mean it`s not about race in these other kinds of ways, which is to say that talking about it around issues of immigration is to look at -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: I promise. We`re going to take a break and come back. We have more to say. And I`m going to make a suggestion that this may be about more than just a waiting game. The notion that we know how this is going to turn out might not be how it turns out. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Last week, the acting assistant attorney general for the civil rights division of the Department of Justice released a statement that read in part the results of the civil rights divisions investigation into the practices of the Ferguson Police Department remain a top concern and priority. So, you see that statement, it`s a e reminder of two issues. First, the DOJ is in the midst of long-term work even while the Senate stalls the confirmation of the person who should be leading the department. Second, the person currently charged with overseeing the civil rights division aspect of this work. Vanita Gupta is herself an acting assistant A.G. Now, Gupta is herself terrific. But why is her title acting? Because she steps into the role after the Senate denied confirmation of a qualified attorney to lead the civil rights division for wholly political reasons. In Debo Adegbile was forced to withdraw his name from consideration for assistant attorney general of the civil rights division. Adegbile who was a 1970s "Sesame Street" kid was one of the most respected civil rights lawyers and served as acting president of the NAACP legal Defense and Education Fund. You know the LDF. It was led by none other then Thurgood Marshall when successful argued Brown v. Board of Education, and overturned segregation in American public schools. Given his experience, Debo`s experience, his representation and accomplishments, nominating Adegbile for the assistant A.G. of the civil rights division was obvious, noncontroversial, until conservatives launched a smear campaign because the LDF had defended Mumia Abu Jamal in an appeal after his conviction for killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981. Don`t miss this. Adegbile headed a civil rights organization that did what every lawyer is ethnically bound to do in our criminal justice system, vigorously defended the rights of the client. And for that, he was denied the position for which he was qualified and nominated by the president of the United States. And it wasn`t just Republicans. Eight Democrats joined the vote that has left the civil rights division of the Department of Justice without a permanent director, even as that division is tasked with reforming policing across America. So, if you have been thinking, surely, it`s just a matter of time before the Senate confirmed Loretta Lynch because she`s qualified -- just remember Debo. I asked the attorney general about it when we spoke in February. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: He did what a lawyer is supposed to do. You know, take on tough cases that are unpopular and he did so extremely honorably. The fact that he got penalized for doing that sets I think a very bad precedent. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: Yes, the problem that we`re seeing here is that both in the context of Debo Adegbile`s nomination and Loretta Lynch`s is that we now have eminently qualified people of color that are necessary to lead our country through the justice path that we actually have right now. And these are getting blocked by political and partisan pieces, no question about it. But also it reminds me of Loretta Lynch`s story. You remember, when she was in high school in North Carolina, she was the valedictorian and as the valedictorian scored higher than anybody, that through this bureaucratic means, she was not allowed to shine as the valedictorian and they had two other white students because the world wasn`t ready for a strong, smart, qualified black girl to lead. We have a situation now where the Congress is seeing exactly the same thing, that they are inhibiting the leaders that we need to move us through this, through these bureaucratic means and I frankly don`t care whether the Republicans are playing tit-for-tat with the president or whether this is about the immigration bill, there are black lives and white lives at risk right now that are getting slowed up because they are not moving this forward. And we have to change that. AGUILAR: I have to disagree with this. This has nothing to do with race. This is not political or smear. Let`s be honest. I`m not saying -- HARRIS-PERRY: It is political. AGUILAR: It is political, but it`s not just partisan. He did something which is defend a person who killed a police officer. Now, an attorney, as an attorney -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: First of all, I want to be clear about that. AGUILAR: In an appeal. HARRIS-PERRY: No, no, but I also would like to be clear about that. He was not the lead attorney. The LDF defended -- AGUILAR: But he was part of the appeal team. HARRIS-PERRY: Sure. AGUILAR: As an attorney, you choose your clients. And you have to live with -- HARRIS-PERRY: This is a Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP. AGUILAR: That`s fine. I`m not saying -- they have the right to defend whoever they want to defend. But at the end, you have to live with the consequences. You defended a person who -- look -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: He defended him against the death penalty. He actually did not -- I want to be clear because the lives and the smears that have been told about Debo are precisely the point that I`m trying to get at here. He did not defend him as an individual attorney making a big defense profit force. So, I want to be clear about that. He was a part of a nonprofit organization that defends peoples` civil rights, and they defended the man against the death penalty, not against conviction, which is a wholly different issue relative to the question of civil rights. And he was being nominated for the issue of civil rights. And so, I bring this to the face because what is important here is that we not think about race as an issue of the racialized bodies that have been nominated. That is too easy. We have to look at what it`s saying about a broader system of justice and the ways in which it impacts people of color dramatically differently. AGUILAR: But, Melissa, to be fair, there was outrage because he was involved in this appeal, defending this individual who killed a police officer. And it wasn`t only conservatives. Senator Casey -- HARRIS-PERRY: There are numbers of the Supreme Court of the United States -- AGUILAR: Senator Casey of Pennsylvania came forward and oppose this -- HARRIS-PERRY: I was very clear about what I think about those Democrats. (CROSSTALK) SIDDIQUI: -- shockingly came forward and sided with Republicans when this got politically inconvenient for them. But also, it`s important to note that the court agreed with him on that death penalty piece, too. So, the court did lessen the sentence to life in prison. So, that`s also important to note when we`re following the facts. AGUILAR: Let`s be fair. Why when Democrats are appointing somebody to the bench or an important position, they are fully qualified? When a Republican nominee eminently qualified, oh, no, no. HARRIS-PERRY: This is not the Supreme Court. Gonzales was nominated and confirmed in less than two months. The notion that Democrats have stood in the way of the appointment, and again, at the point we`re talking about Debo, and so many others who have been stood in the way of by the Senate, we are not talking about cabinet level position. We`re talking about a Senate that`s created a system of massive resistance every time this president has tried to nominate people. WRIGHT: This is a cautionary tale because three weeks is a long time. And Rudy Giuliani and law enforcement statements in the past couple days are not coincidental, because they also know there`s going to be a campaign over the next three weeks to find Mumia and Loretta Lynch`s history -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: And Giuliani I think has a respectful and long-term relationship with Lynch, it`s like stop this, move forward. WRIGHT: We`re going to be fighting over her record over the three weeks. SIDDIQUI: And it is political because, you know, the gun lobby got involved this week too. The National Rifle Association is spending (INAUDIBLE) members, we have to oppose this Obama nominee. She`s going to be Eric Holder 2.0 is -- (CROSSTALK) WRIGHT: But in the way if you are a black person fighting in civil rights, you are much easier target in these United States because of the fact that you are inevitably going to find yourself fighting against power. You`re going to find yourself fighting against the way in which our criminal justice system is set up. HARRIS-PERRY: When we come back, I want to go live to MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid with details on the story of a man found hanging in rural in Mississippi. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: This morning, federal officials are investigating the death of a man in a rural area near Port Gibson, Mississippi. The man identified as 54-year-old Otis Byrd was found hanging from a tree near his home on Thursday. The image of a black man hanging from a tree is a shocking and powerful one, particularly in the South. And speculation rooted in America`s bloody racial history of lynching has already begun to define coverage of this incident. Both the FBI and Department of Justice are on the case. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DON ALWAY, SPECIAL AGENT, FBI: So, we would expect next week some time to find a preliminary report as to the cause of death. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid is in Port Gibson, Mississippi. Joy, what have you learned? What`s the latest on this investigation? JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Melissa, as of yesterday, the FBI had dispatched about 30 field agents to this community in Claiborne County, Mississippi. I`m here in Port Gibson, which is the county seat, but there are much more rural areas we were driving around to where field agents are essentially going door to door, trying to find family, trying to friends, relatives of Otis Byrd to talk to them to find out what they knew. Authorities have also searched a storage locker that Byrd rented to try to glean any evidence from that. And, of course, we are waiting on that autopsy result which should come perhaps within a week, to try to sort of put together the last day of his life and figure out what happened to this man and to determine whether or not his death was a suicide or a homicide. HARRIS-PERRY: So, Joy, obviously, this is a small town in the Deep South, but authorities are now under a national spotlight, where there`s now national attention on this. We have seen local authorities do well under these circumstances and do poorly under these circumstances. Have you had an opportunity to talk with anyone and think about how they are handling this? REID: Yes. And, Melissa, it`s interesting because I think the key to what you said is this is a very small town. The county sheriff grew up in this community of fewer than 10,000 people in the whole county. He was the immediate past president of the NAACP. Everyone seems to know everyone. We went to a McDonald`s in town, which is one of the newer buildings in town, and everyone seemed to come in, everyone said that they knew Otis Byrd, claimed to have known him, people grew up together and trust one another. And so, you don`t have that element of mistrust of local law enforcement. This is a predominantly African-American community, about 85 percent, as is the sheriff. So, I think that, plus the federal presence, you don`t have that sort of trigger of mistrust. But I will tell you, people are withholding judgment but they are also really paying attention to this, because as many said to us, this is the Deep South that a man hanging from a tree in the Deep South, this is a very serious issue and people want answers. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. There just is a historical resonance, and we have to be honest about from the beginning. Thank you to MSNBC`s Joy Reid in Port Gibson, Mississippi. REID: Thanks. HARRIS-PERRY: I want to talk about another developing story. This one is actually out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida Police Department. Officials yesterday announced the firing of three officers and the resignation of another. The officers exchange racist texts like these. Quote, "We are coming and drinking all your beer and killing N-word." And, "Get that N-word out from under that wagon." One of the officers also made and shared a racist video that included KKK hood and an image of a black man on the ground being bitten by a dog. Now, obviously, these are -- when we see these kinds of moments, and let`s be clear, the Mississippi moment is quite different than the Fort Lauderdale one. So, I`m talking specifically about the Fort Lauderdale incident. It -- this notion of a kind of undermining of local police force, I think - - or the sense of trust in that police force is precisely part of why the DOJ is so critical and crucial in this moment. SIDDIQUI: Yes, absolutely. It goes back to we were talking about with Dave, we don`t have a permanent head of the civil rights division within the DOJ. We have an attorney general nominee who`s been sitting for 130 days. And it`s coming at a time when race relations are once again under a national spotlight. The Ferguson report had found systemic targeting on the ends of police as well municipal courts. We have the police brutality issue at large. It underscores the need for a robust civil rights division of the DOJ. WRIGHT: It`s going to be a meaningful issue in the 2016 campaign as well, frankly because the difference between the office of civil rights under Eric Holder and in the previous eight years is striking, that that office was turned into a mockery of itself during the Bush administration. HARRIS-PERRY: There was a report in 2009, not long after President Obama was inaugurated and took office, and that report was scathing about what happened in those years between 2001 and 2008. WRIGHT: So, the stakes are high. We have seen what can happen when you have an active Justice Department and as these kinds of events keep coming up. As we reached a political moment, where we`re no longer prepared to give police departments the benefit of the doubt. And so, I think having an active and real Justice Department is going to be important, and I hope that`s going to be part in place. HARRIS-PERRY: Now, I will say, the attorney general said that he is -- he is working. So, I wonder if we have that sound on Eric Holder gave a phone interview to MSNBC. In it, part of what he said was, look, I still am working. Do we up -- in the control room, do we have that? Yes, here we go. Let`s take a listen to the current attorney general, Eric Holder. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) HOLDER: No one should be under the illusion that I`m simply here marking time. I`m here as a fully-engaged attorney general doing the work that every attorney general would be expected to do, and I`m doing this work in a way that`s consistent with how I have done this job over the past six years. (END AUDIO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So, Holder says, don`t worry, I`m on it. But there must be a kind of like waiting for the new person that happens in any organization or institution. WARREN: It happens in any organization, and it becomes particularly problematic when it happens in the Department of Justice. And we saw after Debo was being strung along for a long time and then ultimately forced to move out that there was a lot of questions within the Department of Justice and the civil rights division, how were we going to move these issues forward. So, civil rights groups, human rights groups like my organization were asking for questions about partnership. What are you going to do about this, what are you going to do about that? No one can really give concrete, long-ranging answers about how that was going to go down because of the uncertainty. And we have to remember what we`re seeing in America is a structural racism question. And it is very hard for individuals to tap into those structures, to be able to figure out is the police responsible for this, is the county courthouse responsible for this like in Ferguson? And we actually need the Department of Justice to move forward and answer those questions. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, uncertainty is bad for markets, and it`s bad for justice. Thank you to Kai Wright and to Sabrina Siddiqui, also to Alfonso Aguilar and to Vince Warren. Up next, a wrong turn near the White House and a deadly confrontation. But that`s just part of the story. When we come back, the rest of the story that you may not yet have heard. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: On October 3rd, 2013, three days into a historic government shutdown, there wasn`t much happening on Capitol Hill. But at around 2:30 in the afternoon, chaos erupted in Washington as breaking news reports scrambled to make sense of what was going on. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TV ANCHOR: We are following some breaking news on Capitol Hill. There are reports of shots fired near the Capitol. Some offices are said to be on lockdown right now. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: This dramatic video shot by the U.S.-funded Arabic TV station Alhurra shows Secret Service officers firing gunshots at a car that ended up close to the Capitol after a high speed chase the begin blocks away near the White House. Just minutes earlier, the car, a black Infiniti, with Connecticut tags, had made a wrong turn into the blocked entry to a White House checkpoint. Witnesses reported Secret Service officers shouting at the driver, who one bystander told "The Washington Post" appeared to be scared or lost. When an off duty Secret Service officer used a metal bike rack to block the vehicle`s exist, the driver struck the rack and the officer while attempting to flee the scene. The chase then continued to the west side of the Capitol where the gunshots were reported. It went on as the driver backed away from the officers driving away from the Capitol until coming to a stop when a flurry of gunshots fired by Secret Service and Capitol police officers. Carey had driven to Washington from Connecticut with her 13-month-old daughter who had been sitting in the backseat of the car the entire time, whom miraculously survived unharmed. By the end of the day, U.S. Capitol Police had ruled out a terror threat, calling it an isolated incident. Months later, the Justice Department announced that no charges would be filed against the Secret Service or the Capitol Police due to insufficient evidence. DOJ`s investigation concluded that Carrie was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and there were no weapons inside her car. And the news cycle moved on. But the end of the day`s biggest news was just the beginning of the story for Carey`s family. According to a "Mother Jones" report that revisit the story this week, Miriam Carey`s death certificate lists the manner of death as homicide, but her family has yet to receive a full account of exactly what occurred. More than a year later, they are still left with lingering questions about the circumstances surrounding her death and wondering why Miriam Carey had to pay for one wrong turn with her life. Up next, I`m going to talk with a member of her family about their search for answers and for justice. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Missing from the list of familiar names that have prompted a movement to condemn violence and remind America that black lives matter is a name of Miriam Carey. We don`t know why she drove from her home in Connecticut to Washington, D.C. We don`t know what prompted her to make that U-turn at the White House check point. In fact, we were wrong even in what we thought we knew about her actions on that day. Police initially reported that she tried to breach two Washington landmarks and that the incident was not an accident. But according to reports in both "The Washington Post" and "Mother Jones", none of that turned out to be true. What is true that is that Miriam Carey`s life mattered. We know that she was a mother to a beloved daughter. She had family, friends and co-workers at the dental practice where she was a valued employee. We know the Secret Service and Capitol Police fired 26 bullets trying to stop her. We know that after being struck by five of those bullets, Miriam Carey was unarmed when she died. But what we don`t know and what her family is hoping to find out is why stopping her alleged reckless driving required the use of deadly force. Joining me now is Miriam`s sister, Valarie Carey, and Eric Sanders, an attorney representing the Carey family. So, Valarie, I want to start with you both because you`re family but also because you`re former NYPD. With what you have learned about the actions of the Secret Service, the actions of the Capitol Police, at least what you know at this it point, what is your professional judgment even beyond the personal loss here? VALARIE CAREY, SISTER OF MIRIAM CAREY: Well, we know little. It would be great if we could get the police radio transmissions, which would tell a bigger story. But those haven`t been made available to us, a videotape that was obviously taken at the scene either. Professionally, there was no need for deadly physical force. My sister was unarmed. My sister was a law abiding citizen. She had no criminal record. She was not committing any crimes. And she was shot multiple times to her back. HARRIS-PERRY: This happened in October of 2013. Since then, the deaths of Michael Brown and of others have led to a public conversation about this use of deadly force and the value of black lives even when they are unarmed. ERIC SANDERS, ATTORNEY: Right. HARRIS-PERRY: But Ms. Carey was not part of that conversation for the most part. I suspect it is because many of us thought, well, this was tragic, but you know, D.C. and the White House and the Capitol, and so, if you act that way, you`re probably -- that`s probably going to be what happens. But then these recent incidents of breach of exactly that space of the White House perimeter and even just very recently the Secret Service themselves breaching that space has forced us to go back and reconsider having removed Carey from our conversation around this. SANDERS: Well, we knew from the beginning it was a bad shooting. But we know that from law enforcement training. People like to believe that Washington, D.C. is a magical place, but the United States Constitution applies there, too. As a matter of fact, the Secret Service director, the outgoing, the woman, her name escapes me at the moment, she admitted as much that we have constitutional limitations. And that applies to them, that applies to the U.S. Capitol Police, and just because you think you suspect there may be a committee, you have to follow protocols before you use force. And all we want is full disclosure. We`re not asking to litigate this case in the media. We want full disclosure, just like Eric Holder said with Ferguson, Obama said with Ferguson, release all the records. We`re sure that the facts will back up what we`re seeing from the beginning. This is an excessive use of force and completely unnecessary and unlawful. HARRIS-PERRY: Valarie, nothing can bring back your sister. Nothing can bring back the mother of your niece. What does justice for your family look like right now? CAREY: Justice looks like transparency, those that were involved to be held accountable. We still don`t know the names of the officers involved. HARRIS-PERRY: You as a family don`t know the names of the people who fired the 26 bullets into the car that killed your sister and potentially endangered your niece. CAREY: Correct. SANDERS: Endangered her. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, you don`t know their names. CAREY: No, we do not. So, justice would be those that were involved to be held accountable. The initial officer that I feel was the catalyst to this, which is the off duty officer who still remains unnamed, there were two uniformed officers on the scene at the time. I don`t see why he felt compelled to take what he thought was police action when there were two uniformed officers on the scene. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. So, this is the officer -- that`s -- I think that`s part of how the language got -- language about putting -- that she had rammed a gate, because he actually moved this kind of a mobile bike gate in front of the car after she`s already in that state. CAREY: Right. And she was actually trying to leave. SANDERS: That`s a police barrier, like I said from the beginning, (AUDIO GAP) on that cooler. And now we see the cooler means something but they didn`t do anything about it to investigate it. As you see, this agency has a chronic drinking problem. It`s been reported over and over again, Obama`s team, the teams that went down in Colombia, Venezuela, they are being sent become because they are drinking too much alcohol. So, was it - - (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: Right. Since we don`t know, then the question becomes why don`t we know? SANDERS: Or maybe they do know and just didn`t disclose it. HARRIS-PERRY: I`m also obviously -- part of the pain here is that in the fog of how this was initially reported as though it were an attempted terrorist attack, there is a moment in the Congress where there are applause for the Secret Service officers. CAREY: A standing ovation -- SANDERS: Oh, yes. CAREY: -- that lasted for about two minutes, applauding the death of an unarmed U.S. citizen who was law-abiding and didn`t commit any crimes. And to this day, there hasn`t been apology, any acknowledgement, anything. HARRIS-PERRY: If that apology from the lawmakers, the elected officials part of what you seek in this question? CAREY: Part of it, yes. SANDERS: And like I said from the beginning, I think part of the problem of the Miriam Carey shooting, as well as all these other shootings, like I said before in other interviews, the U.S. Patriot Act is a source of a lot of this stuff because we`re on the guise of terrorism. So, we believe we`re stopping terror. I don`t know what terror we`re stopping. We haven`t stopped anything. All we have done is increased unarmed police shootings all over the United States. That`s not what we expect here, as citizens. HARRIS-PERRY: I`m chilled every time I have to say that her 13-month-old was in the back of the car. My daughter is 13 months right now. And, you`re right, here`s no justice, no applauding, killing an unarmed woman with her child in the car. Thank you to Valarie Carey and Eric Sanders. I promise we`ll keep our eye on this story. SANDERS: Yes, ma`am. HARRIS-PERRY: Up next, our foot soldier of the week. She`s part of the public space revolution. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: In 2013, the city council of Columbia, South Carolina, voted unanimously to make being homeless a crime. The move caused such a massive public backlash, they later reversed it. This past November in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, a 92-year-old World War II veteran was arrested for the third time for feeding homeless people in parks because of a citywide ban on public food sharing. A church in San Francisco just this week finally stopped a two-year-long practice of dumping water in its alcoves (AUDIO GAP) sought refuge at night. In 2009, we`ve seen an all-out assault on the homeless, cities around the country have been responding to the issue of homelessness by attempting to criminalize it, passing laws prohibiting camping in public, sleeping in public, loitering and even sitting in public. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty has been tracking the uptick in legislation criminalizing the homeless and found these attempts to be costly and ineffective. Our foot soldier this week is doing something very different. Liz Coleman is a reference librarian at the Nashville Public Library. She began her work with libraries as a volunteer with her school in the fifth grade. Liz has been working in the Nashville public library system for 15 years and has always been impressed how the library caters to their homeless patrons. At its most basic, the library provides a safe, warm place with restrooms and outlets so that people can charge their cell phones. Liz says librarians instinctively want to help and serve their community. Liz started small. She befriended frequent patrons, getting to know their names and stories and making sure there were staff members available to help with basic computer skills and Web site navigation. Her chance to do even more came last year when the administrators of the library decided to remodel, to replace some printed periodicals with more computer space. Also, through the recently established homelessness advisory committee, Liz was able to establish a relationship with Nashville metro services. Now, once a week, the library is visited by a social worker who helps patrons search for housing, get food stamps and access other city services. Also once a week, a mental health professional visits the library to service homeless patrons and Liz points out that the warm, welcoming environment of the library helps people otherwise reticent to enter a cold government building more likely to receive these essential services. And in the future, she hopes to do even more, like health screenings, stress reduction, financial counseling, nutrition and even yoga. For the past 25 years, the American Library Association has had in place a policy urging libraries to grant full access to poor and homeless patrons. But few have put in as much effort as the Nashville Public Library. Lines form outside the library in the morning as homeless people wait for the doors to open to the one place where they know they can find warmth, safety, entertainment and now the services that can make such a difference in their lives. For looking out for some of our most vulnerable citizens and ensuring that public spaces in fact before the public, Liz Coleman and the staff of the Nashville Public Library are our foot soldiers of the week. And that`s our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. I`m going to see you tomorrow morning, 10:00 a.m. Eastern. We have a big show planned. On the one thing that everybody seems to be talking about -- that`s right -- race. We`re going to talk about it from Starbucks to SAE to Kendrick Lamar`s new album. It`s race talk, everywhere you look. But right now, it`s time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT". Hey, Alex. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END