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Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 08/30/15

Guests: April Ryan; Christine Chen; John Sides, Julian Castro, JudithBrowne Dianis, Will Jawando, Tef Poe, Terrence McCoy

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: This morning my question: just what is Jeb Bush`s strategy? Plus, HUD Secretary Julian Castro joins us live in Nerdland. And the history of led in our homes. But first, all of Washington is asking, will Joe run? Good morning, I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. It`s hard to imagine now, but Joe Biden is an extremely unlikely vice president. Remember that he ran in the 1988 race for president? He was out before the end of 1987. And when he ran again in 2008, he got less than one percent of the vote in the Iowa caucus and dropped out before the New Hampshire primary. Perhaps his biggest headline from that time is from when he was still in the primary and described then-senator Barack Obama`s candidacy in February 2007. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I mean, you got the first, sort of, mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that`s a storybook, man. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Man, yes. That happened. But candidate Obama clearly didn`t hold it against him. And in August 2008 announced Joe would be his running mate. There was so much interest in who would be the robin to Obama`s batman that the campaign turned it into a way to amass contact information of supporters by encouraging people to sign up for a text message that would announce the decision first before it even hit the press. The campaign collected phone numbers that they then used to remind them to vote and to encourage them to sign up as volunteers. That text message was received by nearly three million people. And of course the rest is, well, history. Until now. We now know that the VP is considering a run for the presidency. Biden has been reaching out to supporters and fellow Democrats, including Senator Elizabeth Warren to discuss a possible run. There are reports claiming that his son Beau`s dying wish for his father was to run for president. With Beau`s death at the age of 46 just three months ago continues to weigh heavily on the vice president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: If I were to announce to run, I`d have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul. And right now, both are pretty well banged up. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Still, a lot of people are riding with Biden. At least one big Obama strategist has joined the draft Biden campaign so far, and hell if for no other reason they are generating a great match-up to report on, I`d also like to see him run. But I`m also a political scientist. So let`s look at the cold hard numbers of a possible Biden candidacy. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton still dominates the Democratic field, even when you include Biden in the numbers. The latest Quinnipiac poll has Clinton at 45 percent, 23-points about Senator Bernie Sanders at 22 percent and 27 points above Biden at 18 percent. And while those numbers are pretty decent for someone who hasn`t even declared yet and well above declared candidates like Martin O`Malley, they`re not great numbers for someone who is also the sitting vice president of the United States. Let`s not forget that Biden has already run against Clinton in a contest for the Democratic nomination and he didn`t do well. In fact, he consistently polled at least 30 sometimes 40 points behind Clinton. On the other hand, Biden does do well in potential 2016 general election match-ups, even better than Hillary. Biden would beat former Florida governor Jeb Bush by six points, Senator Marco Rubio by three and Donald Trump by eight. The poll also has Clinton beating them all. Goodbye, narrower margins. Actually, the only match-up that had Republicans winning was Rubio versus Sanders. Well, anyway, here`s the key number for me: trust. That recent Quinnipiac poll asked voters if they find various candidates or potential candidates quote "honest and trustworthy." For Clinton, the answer is a resounding no. Thirty four percent think she is trust worthy, 61 percent say she is not. And for Biden, those numbers are almost flipped. Fifty six percent say he is honest and trustworthy while only 33 percent say he isn`t. When you consider that the words most associated with Hillary Clinton are liar, dishonest and untrustworthy, these are numbers that could make a Biden bid possible. Joining me now is John Sides, associate professor at George Washington University and contributor to the "Washington Post" Monkey Cage blog. I`m so happy to finally have you on the show. JOHN SIDES, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Thanks for having me. HARRIS-PERRY: Even if I had to come to D.C. to get you here. So talk to me about what you see as a matter of the data. Is there a pathway, however narrow, for Joe Biden to win the nomination? SIDES: I would say it`s about as narrow a pathway as you could imagine at this point in time. Clinton is such a dominant candidate that she has something like 124 endorsements from sitting Democratic governors, Senators and members of the House of Representatives. It is an extraordinary lead in the invisible primary and it would be an extraordinary achievement for Biden to come from behind and beat that. HARRIS-PERRY: So, isn`t that, however, what senator Obama did in 2008 when he first announced in 2007 he had a 16 percent, lower, even, than where Joe Biden is? SIDES: It`s true that he could have that same kind of lead in 2008, but it wasn`t as dominant as it is in 2015-2016. So I just think, you know, for Biden, it`s already so late, right? He has to ramp up a campaign from scratch, and it`s almost September before the election year. And I think he also has to make a persuasive case that he`s offering something different to the party than Clinton is. And you know, Sanders maybe can make that case because he stake out position to Clinton`s left. But Biden, it`s not really as clear what he`s offering other than perhaps he doesn`t have an email scandal going drip, drip, you know, every day. HARRIS-PERRY: OK. So, let me make a suggestion about what I think is possible just based on what I see on the numbers. So, when I look at Biden`s numbers with non-white Democratic primary voters, they are double those of Sanders. Now, granted, they`re only about a third that of Hillary Clinton`s, but they are substantially higher than those enjoy by Bernie Sanders and he`s not even started making his case as like, you know, the third-term of the Obama presidency. Could he get those key non-white Democratic primary voters? SIDES: He as to be able to say something different of them than Hillary Clinton can say, and I`m not exactly sure what that is. People are already-- HARRIS-PERRY: I`m Barack Obama`s vice president? SIDES: Well, but she was Barack Obama`s secretary of state. And I think, you know, people are already dredging up things from Biden`s Senate career where his positions on things like crime and job penalties were not exactly, you know, where maybe minority voters would want him to be. I mean, I think at this stage it`s so easy to be excited about a Biden candidacy because he`s not really running and he`s not facing the scrutiny that a candidate would typically face. HARRIS-PERRY: When you talk about how late it actually is and you talk about how many endorsements, how much money there is with this huge fundraising edge, but when we look at that fundraising edge, we see it not only on the Democratic side for Hillary Clinton, we also see it, for example, on the Republican side with Jeb Bush. He has way more money in his war chest, and yet it doesn`t seem to be translating into the capacity to actually be leaving there. SIDES: Yes. I think early money is useful, but it`s not necessarily the most important thing. I think really what candidates want is to be building support among party leaders. Typically that`s the most visible of endorsements, but obviously they`ll get it in other ways we can`t see. What`s happening on the Republican side this year is the pace of endorsements is really slow, it`s slower even than 2012. And so, in some sense the party really hasn`t begun to coalesce around a front runner. HARRIS-PERRY: (INAUDIBLE) Eric Cantor endorsement. SIDES: You know, that is, you know, that`s good news from Bush`s perspective, but the fact of the matter is most Republican leaders are sitting on their hands and not wanting to commit right now. HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask you one more question around how Hillary Clinton may be thinking about this. I want to take a listen when she was talking about the lessons she learned from the 2008. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is really about how you put the numbers together to secure the nomination. As some of you might recall, in 2008, I got a lot of votes, but I didn`t get enough delegates. And so, I think it`s understandable that my focus is going to be on delegates as well as votes this time. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: She`s got a very clear delegate-based strategy. Is that part of why Biden will have a hard time finding room here? SIDES: I mean, he has to be able to build a campaign that can execute that kind of strategy and has to be ready to run, you know, four to five months. For Clinton, I mean, that quote tells you that she learned a major lesson, right? As a political scientist, we appreciate that the rules of the process matter and that rules determine the delegates and the delegates determine who gets the nomination. And in 2008 her campaign team seen sort of breathless -- breathtakingly clueless about it, and now in 2015-2016, it is clear that they`re playing the right game, a smarter game. Maybe a game that in some sense ignores some of the day-to-day news cycle chatter about polls and this and that. And you can see it the same thing about the way in 2012. Mitt Romney was widely viewed as having this sort of really rocky path to the nomination because of Gingrich and Santorum are winning primary in certain states. But if you actually watched the delegate now, he was doing delegates on top of delegates on top of delegates and no one was making a dent. HARRIS-PERRY: So, let`s just take a moment and come out of the Democratic primary and think a little bit about what the general election would look like. Because you wrote that you believe Hillary Clinton`s running mate is likely to be a man. I think that makes sense for a lot of reasons, including the fact there are many more men in the kind of elected office positions that one usually chooses a vice presidential candidate from, but what sort of man? Who do you think is the right compliment is, in fact, Hillary Clinton were to become the nominee? SIDES: Well, I think, you know, it will be clear it will be someone younger than she is. I mean, she is, you know, probably on the older side of presidential nominees. I think you will see the usual kinds of calculations. They`ll be looking at candidates from states where they think that maybe there might be some marginal benefit into winning the electoral college battle in that state. I don`t know really if there is a name out there that is worth tossing around. I hate to engage in that kind of parlor speculations at this point. But I think it`s the usual calculations. You know, from a political scientist perspective, we know that it`s not really clear that vice presidents really bring a lot of extra bang to the ticket. You know, maybe in extraordinary circumstances when you have a figure such as Sarah Palin that really commands a lot of attention, that`s one thing. But for the most part, you know, the vice president really is, you know, not sort of a central asset or even, you know, a detriment to the campaign. HARRIS-PERRY: Although I have to say, when I heard that VP Biden was meeting with Elizabeth Warren, I thought, now, if the two of them came out as a kind of co-ticket, then you would see that kind of potential enthusiasm, right? SIDES: I think there would be many Democrats that would be excited about that. And the question is, whether that is a ticket that is going to be able to, you know, bring interest from, you know, the average voter as well? HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, absolutely. Thank you to John Sides. Again, so thrill to finally have - to talk with you. Up next, the person who might take down a Joe Biden presidential bid? Olivia Pope. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Sometime next year, HBO will air a new film about the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas. Central to the film titled "Confirmation" are allegations by Anita Hill, now a respected law professor. The nation first learned of her as a former coworker of Thomas who claimed she had been sexually harassed on her job. Carrie Washington, best known as Olivia Pope on the hit show "Scandal," will star as Anita Hill. Yes! And we already have a picture of her in the role. But more to out point this morning, as we look at 2016, also depicted in the film will be Joe Biden who at the time was chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and therefore, the leader of the hearings. Critics of Senator Biden said he went too easy on Thomas and allowed other senators to browbeat Anita Hill in trying to discredit her claims. He was also criticized for not reading Hill`s allegations to public attention until they were leaked to the press. Biden responded that Hill herself had wanted to keep the allegations confidential. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: Some have asked, how could you have, the United States Senate voted on Judge Thomas` nomination and leave senators in the dark about Professor Hill`s charges? To this I answer, how could you have expected us to force Professor Hill against her will into the blinding light which you see here today? (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. This is one of the things that will undoubtedly come up in part thanks to a new movie should vice president Biden declare his candidacy for the top job. Joining me now, April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio networks and author of "the presidency in black and white, my up-close view of three presidents and race in America." Also E.J. Dionne, MSNBC contributor and "Washington Post" columnist and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO and president of vote Latino and an MSNBC contributor. And of course, Robert Traynham, former Bush-Cheney senior adviser, MSNBC contributor and VP of communications for the bipartisan policy center. Thanks for being here. I love being in D.C., getting my D.C. folks. (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: I already live in too many places. OK listen, what kind of candidate would Joe Biden be if he decided to run? APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORK: He would be a candidate right now who is human. He`s still dealing with issues of his son`s death, someone he was very close to. If he were to run, OK? But he also behind him has some strong wind. He`s been in politics in Washington for 40 years. He`s been a part of so much to include the movie that`s getting ready to come out. People are going to see the fact that this man was involved in history. And you have to remember, for those who will criticize him, 1991 was a different time. It was scandalous to even talk about the Pepsi man (INAUDIBLE). And I remember that. That was very scandalous. But at that time he held himself and he held that chamber with respect as much as he could with all the kind of details that came out. But I think he`s someone who people like. They like him as being a real person, but I think a lot of his, the weight of what`s happening in his life is going to plague the campaign. HARRIS-PERRY: Well - go ahead. E.J. DIONNE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I was going to say, my favorite line of the day on Biden is Matt Dowd to Maureen Dowd in her column this morning. He said Trump is the only one who can make Biden look disciplined. That fact about Biden at the moment is an asset rather than a liability. I think he`s got two things going for him. One, you know, everybody talks about his gasps. He`s almost immunized like he`s taken a serum because people say, that is Joe Biden. So there is kind of an acceptance of it. And there is said to be a longing for authenticity. We`ll see if that longing lasts all the way to next year. And Lord knows he`s authentic. I think, you know, we`ve seen, one, you know, down side is he`s run two times and he didn`t make it. He`s a warm, likeable person. The party likes him. But I also think lastly, if he gets in, the whole idea of, wait a minute, Hillary Clinton had the chance to be the first woman nominee last time, now all of a sudden, she really has a chance now and people are going to jump in the way. I think that`s more complicated than what people are talking about now. MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I actually think that what Biden is doing is having these conversations with Elizabeth Warren, he`s basically trying to get the media to talk to him, but I think it`s because Democrats circles realize if there is a falter in Hillary Clinton`s campaign, they don`t have a plan b. HARRIS-PERRY: If you look at Iowa, she is in Iowa deeply vulnerable. KUMAR: The difference between Biden jumping in today with someone who has a political machine that has been basically building this machine to the last eight years, he doesn`t have that infrastructure. So I think he says, you know, let me actually my name to be in the press. Let`s actually see what happens with Hillary Clinton. And if something, if she falters big enough where the donors start withholding their money, then all of a sudden he can come in. (CROSSTALK) RYAN: But he`s the alternative, though. KUMAR: He`s not a real alternative. (CROSSTALK) KUMAR: This is the challenge with Sanders is he has a very progressive white base, but he`s having a very difficult time with the African-American population. HARRIS-PERRY: That is exactly where I see the potential lame for Biden. When you look at the numbers in the new poll around non-white voters -- and I was talking about this to John earlier, right? Hillary Clinton has 61 percent right now, right? That`s to be expected. And in fact, one might be much higher than that. But look, Joe Biden is more than double that of Bernie Sanders. ROBERT TRAYNHAM, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: What`s interesting about this, and I think E.J. and Maria make a very good point. Let`s remind ourselves why Joe Biden was picked in 2008. Average Joe, right? So he connects with white middle class, at least he did. That authenticity that he brought to the table, very much still translates to 2016. So the question becomes is whether or not Hillary Clinton has a glass draw. She does, because her numbers are so soft. And we see that, we see that so very well with the huge numbers that Bernie Sanders is getting in the poll. I mean, take a look the cross tabs that the vast majority of people are saying, you know what, I respect Secretary Clinton. I think she`s a very smart person, but there`s something about the trust factor here that does not translate. When you ask that question of Joe Biden, that`s completely different. HARRIS-PERRY: And this is the drift, drift of the emails, right? Not that the email themselves. Because I hear you, Maria, that if some scandal breaks out, but that actually strikes me as less of a concern than the drift, drift, piece by piece destruction of the sense of her as an honest person that can happen just as a result of the scandal existing out there even if it doesn`t become the one thing that takes her down. DIONNE: But I think there are two kind of polling to look at. One is Iowa, New Hampshire and the other, the country. In Iowa, New Hampshire Bernie Sanders is doing incredibly well. These are broad, mostly white states with a lot of progressives in the democratic primary who loves what Bernie has to say. In the national polls, he`s been creeping up, but he still doesn`t really challenge Hillary Clinton. Her numbers among Democrats, despite a miserable three months, are still pretty strong nationally. The question is, does Biden help or hurt her? Obviously she thinks -- anybody would think you get a stronger opponent in there, you wouldn`t like it. I kind of think it would help her in two ways. One is why is there all this focus on email? Well, partly there isn`t a real contest on the Democratic side. God bless Bernie, he is strong, but people still, as we reflect here, Joe can be the nominee. Suddenly, the press can cover a contest. Secondly, I think that so much of the country`s attention is now on the Republicans because of Trump, Democrats need somehow to draw eyeballs to their side of the story. RYAN: I want to bring something back to what we were just saying about the black and the Latino vote. You`re not hearing the vote going to any candidate right now because everyone, the Black Lives Matter issue on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders, of course, O`Malley, that`s not even a consideration with the crimes issue in Baltimore. But when you come to Hillary, she has been talking to this. But just still not hearing that groundswell. And of course, on the Republican side, blacks and Latinos are not thinking about trying to vote for Donald Trump who is talking about every community, and then some of the other candidates. (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: The Republicans also don`t need African-American and Latino voters to vote for them, they just need them to stay home. RYAN: They just need them because Obama is not on the ballot. HARRIS-PERRY: But, maybe, his vice president will be. Still to come this morning, Secretary Julian Castro joins me live. And later, the justice of the United States Supreme Court on this day. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: A man in Harris County, Texas has been arrested in the shooting of a sheriff`s deputy, at a suburban Houston gas station Friday night. Officials say Shannon Miles ambushed Deputy Darren Goforth, shooting the deputy as he return to his car. Police have not released a motive in the killing. But hours before the arrest was announced, Sheriff Ron Hickman suggested a link to the Black Lives Matter movement. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHERIFF RON HICKMAN, HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS: So in any point, the rhetoric ramps up, the point where calculated any time there is a cold-blooded assassination of police officers happened, this rhetoric has gotten out of control. We`ve heard black live matter, all lives matter, well, cops` lives matter, too. So why don`t we just drop the qualifier and say lives matter. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: (INAUDIBLE), a Black Lives Matter activist told the Houston Chronicle quote "I grieve for the victims of violence. It is unfortunate that Sheriff Hickman has chosen to politicize this tragedy to tribute the officer`s death to a movement that seeks to end violence." For more now, we go to Jamie Novogrod live on the ground in Houston. Jamie, what do we know at this point about the arrest? JAMIE NOVOGROD, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Melissa, good morning. Shannon Miles, the suspect here, is behind bars today. Police have identified him. He`s 30 years old. He was charged yesterday, and he`s facing capital murder charges, police say. Meantime, there`s been an outpouring of grief here. Hundreds of people at the gas station last night. And as you can see behind me, already a handful of members of the public and sheriff`s deputies here. The deputies, Melissa, are posted officially here as an honor guard in keeping with department practice. There are also deputies with the fallen deputy`s family, Darren Goforth with his family, and also Melissa, with his body until funeral services are held. And as you mentioned, no apparent motive yet in the attack, according to police. And yet, during this emotional press conference yesterday, the sheriff drew a link to the Black Lives Matter movement. He blamed in part a rhetoric having to do with police. He blamed that rhetoric for creating an atmosphere that he said puts law enforcement at risk. But again, no apparent motive yet, the sheriff says. The suspect has a criminal record. He has been arrested in the past on trespassing charges and on charges of disorderly conduct with a gun. We hope to learn more about him later today and there will be a vigil held tonight at a local church, Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to NBC`s Jamie Novogrod in Houston, Texas. Up next, Jeb Bush is stumbling. Donald Trump is crowing and the GOP field is just entirely fascinating! (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: It has been a long week for GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush. He is waking up this morning to a new Iowa poll showing him mired toward the back of the pact. A national Quinnipiac poll released Thursday showed only seven percent surveyed would vote for him, a record low since November 2013. And then yesterday "Politico" reported that three of his fundraising consultants abruptly called it quit. The former Florida governor is facing backlash for his recent use of the term "anchor babies." It is pejorative phrase used to describe the U.S. born children of unauthorized immigrants. On Monday he attempted to dig himself out of that hole. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed where there is organized efforts, and frankly, it`s more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children in unorganized efforts, taking advantage of a noble concept with its birthright citizenship. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: The suggestion that Asians were to blame for the exploitation of U.S. birthright laws has apparently brought affront to the Asian-birth terrorism industry, particularly among Chinese women. Now, there are no reliable statistics on how why spread this maternity terrorism trended in which foreign nationals participates in its most. Joining me and my panel now is Christine Chen, executive director of the nation Nonpartisan organization Asian and Pacific Islander American vote. Nice to have you this morning, Christine. CHRISTINE CHEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ASIAN & PACIFIC ISLANDER AMERICAN VOTE: Good morning. HARRIS-PERRY: So may I ask have you heard in Asian-American communities how that comment by Mr. Bush is being received? CHEN: Well, the comment from Jeb Bush, as well as other candidates, are being seen as tactics that are demeaning and divisive by focusing on such a minute issue. What we`re looking for is hearing about policy changes and consensus building, about passing comprehensive immigration reform and really addressing the issue of the millions that are actually on the backlog. Also historically what we found is that rhetoric like this only promotes blaming of immigrants when they`re trying to make a case of the economic downturn or uneasiness. And with that rhetoric, we also find there will be an increase of hate crimes and also scapegoating. What we`re also finding is by them promoting this rhetoric, they are really providing a stereotype that Asian Americans are also this perpetual foreigner. HARRIS-PERRY: All right, so this is interest to me. It`s part of what I really want to dig into with you, because it does feel to me like for Jeb Bush, it actually might be easier or more politically palatable to do this kind of stereotyping, kind of strong arming against Asian-American communities that against Latino community, both because they are seen as less relevant in the content of the Republican primary, but also because Jeb Bush is hoping to make himself in part kind of the candidate who is most palatable to Latino voters moving forward. And I guess I`m just wondering about that pitting of Asian- American voters against Latino voters on this question of immigration. CHEN: Well, you know, actually Asian and Latino voters are actually on the same side when it comes to immigration. We are both actually advocating for comprehensive immigration reform. Also, in terms of Jeb Bush, this is actually a turn in his thinking. Because back in 2013, he was the one that actually noted that Asians are -- Asian voters are actually the canary in the coal mine for the Republican voter. And that 73 percent of the Asian vote went to Obama and that would actually be seen as a problem for the Republican Party. HARRIS-PERRY: So stick with us, Christine. I want to come to you, Maria Teresa Kumar on exactly this. Because it just felt to me like, wait a minute, did he just like kind of make that term because somehow -- KUMAR: It would offend the Latino vote but I`m going to feed the one that can actually help me push me over the top. Well, and this is actually -- I have to say that this "anchor baby," that that folks are talking about, it`s less about immigration and it`s more about the changing demographics of our country. Because what is another word for an anchor baby? An American. Let`s be clear. That`s what our constitution says. HARRIS-PERRY: Also, we know that, in fact, U.S.-born children are actually not anchors to their parents. It`s been one of the critiques of the Obama administration is the deportation of undocumented parents that split up families. KUMAR: And to that point you have roughly over 3,000 American kids in foster care because their parents have been deported and they cannot cross -- they can`t cross country lines because they`re U.S. citizens and their parents are not. So that`s a nonsense argument. But it is - but it is more goes to the heart of the changing demographics and trying to basically make recently arrived parents of children and those American children other. And we all know what happens in other. DIONNE: I mean, the politics of what Jeb just did there is incomprehensible. (CROSSTALK) DIONNE: I thought he would be a better candidate than he`s been so far. We talk a lot about how Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by almost 3-1 among Latinos. He also beat Mitt Romney by 3-1 among Asian-Americans. Asian- Americans once voted for Republican candidates. The Republicans actually did pretty well among them in the mid-terms. They cannot lose Asian- Americans in a margin like this. HARRIS-PERRY: Christine, let me come to you on that, because certainly part of what we saw around a strategic Asian-American vote was in 2008 in Virginia, and it was in part about candidate Obama at that time, but it was also about the slur from Virginia Governor Allen sort of earlier that had helped activate that community. I`m wondering if this actually ends up sort of pushing back and actually activating Asian-American voters and they`re like, wait a minute, this is not acceptable. CHEN: Right. What we`re hearing from the grassroots community is there is actually more interest in organizing voter registrations and get out the vote activities even for the 2015 local elections. And when you look at the Virginia population, especially with the growth of our community, you know, in 2012, Obama won his election with 115,000 votes. Well, the Asian American electorate in Virginia is actually double that. So when you start looking at Virginia, Florida and Nevada, the Asian-American electorate, as well as, especially when you combine it with a Latino electorate, can really makes a difference. HARRIS-PERRY: I promise, we going to come back. I do want to say thank you to Christine Chen of this. We`re going to come back on this issue and we`re going to talk a little bit more about the Republican Party and how it talks about not just Asian- Americans, but in this case about Asia, when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not believe that we should cancel Xi Jinping`s visit to Washington next month. I also don`t believe we should be rolling out the red carpet for him. This is an opportunity to speak bluntly to this authoritarian ruler, not to treat him to a state dinner. GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just think when it comes to an official state visit, those are something -- that`s one of the highest prizes we can give to countries that we work with that are allies and partners. I think we need to not just look the other way, I think we need to stand up and do something about it. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Chinese leader is coming over here next week. We`ll give him a great dinner, we`ll celebrate him. You don`t do that to people that -- let`s have lunch. You don`t need these big state dinners. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So, April, I mean, we were talking in the last block about this notion of Asian American voters being harmed in part by the language we heard from Jeb Bush, but it`s not just Asian American voters, it`s this idea of like China as this great, dangerous villain out there that soviet Russia once played in our defense. RYAN: China is very important to the United States. We have a very interesting relationship, I will say. One, we owe China a lot of money. We have borrowed so much money to fund the war because of China. They gave us money. Not only that, but we have issues with them with human rights. One-child policy, we can go on, but right now China hold a lot of cards. What if the Iran deal does not go through? They, along with China, along with Russia could actually -- their sanctions could just fall through on Iran. They`re very important to us. Then also when it comes to China, let`s look at the currency issue. Last year the IMF said they were the greatest world economy, and look what`s happening now. So we have to deal with China. I think this is a great thing for both sides to come together in bilateral meetings to talk about the issues that are on the table. And the community here in China is strong. It`s a big economic community. If you look at the jobs numbers every month, they have the best unemployment rate out of anyone in this nation. KUMAR: But I think really what this is, is that, Obama has had an Asian strategy. And with the markets tumbling in China, all of a sudden what we have is an opportunity in the United States to go back into Asia and basically say, you know, China is weak. You have to come back and negotiate with us. You have to make sure that we are part of the conversation. And yes, China has large investments in our economy. They don`t want us to default on our debt, so it`s actually an opportunity. And let me be straight, too. The idea that we don`t want to engage with people that remain not see eye to eye with it is absurd. Ronald Reagan would never say don`t come to dinner. He would say sit down with me and let`s have a conversation. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. But this is precisely the politics of this. This is part of what I find interesting, Robert, is, you know, in a moment when one person is governing or one party is governing and the other party is on the outside, it is always sort of this role that you can play. I would do it so differently and I would be tougher. And particularly that top discourse. And I guess part of what I`m wondering is whether a nuanced analysis can emerge out of the Republican primary field right now or if it`s all just about like yelling at the same volume. TRAYNHAM: So I think that`s a brilliant question, Melissa. So, in the primary is going to be black and white, figuratively speaking. But of course, when you`re governing it turns to shades of gray. And so, right now, remember, this is a Republican primary and remember there are a lot of conservative voters out there saying to your point the red scare, China. It is us versus them. I see my job go over to Beijing and it`s not coming back. I see the browning of America and these people don`t look like me, so therefore, this is a country I don`t recognize anymore. So the point that Donald Trump is making and also these other people are making in the Republican field, it resonates with the Republican voter. I`m not saying it is right. But I`m saying those are the retail politics that resonate with --. (CROSSTALK) DIONNE: The opposition party is always anti-China and the party left out always says we have to deal with it. (CROSSTALK) DIONNE: But I think even on this subject where Republicans might have gotten some traction, Trump`s campaign kind of got in the way. A colleague made this point, I hadn`t seen it. You know, when he went after Jorge Ramos and Megyn Kelly, he dominated the news in the beginning week. He buried those comments by Marco Rubio and Scott Walker. But I do think Trump race, the fascinating issue is let`s have lunch so we can debate the politics over lunch to politics of dinner. RYAN: The issue with Donald Trump, and I`m really surprised he just wants to have lunch instead of dinner. Trump is a businessman. I would think he would think about the issues of trade. Our trade with China is so important. HARRIS-PERRY: But his discourse isn`t I`m a businessman who understands global trade, it is about I`m a guy who will just beat others. RYAN: This is how he would govern if he was in China. HARRIS-PERRY: When we come back, if it is election season, then you know that everybody is talking about women`s bodies. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: This summer the battle over reproductive rights has raged. Several undercover videos were released by an anti-abortion group suggesting that Planned Parenthood affiliates illegally profited from selling tissue from aborted fetuses. Despite reports that the videos were manipulated, they have helped to galvanize a movement to defund Planned Parenthood. So much so that last week massive demonstrations occurred outside 300 Planned Parenthood clinics around the country. Also this week in Ohio, lawmakers are pushing to criminalize abortion if a fetus has received a down-syndrome diagnosis. Ohio governor John Kasich, a GOP presidential contender, has not publicly taken a position. But he does oppose abortion, and since entering office, the two-time governor has entered 16 anti-abortion measures and then Jeb Bush. Another GOP presidential contender had this to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: I don`t think Planned Parenthood ought to get a penny, though, and that`s the difference. Because they`re not actually doing women`s health issues. They are involved in something way different than that. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: But the biggest headlines on women`s health did not come from the right this week. They came from Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: Extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don`t want to live in the modern world. But it`s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So, Maria, was this too far - I mean, it`s a good, strong, clear position from candidate Clinton, but it also suggested that Republicans are terrorists. KUMAR: Well, I think what she was saying is that in our minds, one of the reasons why the terrorists are at the forefront is they have basically put women back in the Stone Age. And she`s trying to create that parallel. But Hillary all of the sudden was also able to break through to the news cycle. And that was what the big deal was for her. She - folks were no longer talking to her about her emails. They were no longer trying to figure out whether or not she has an authenticity or whether or not she is the wrong candidate for Democratic Party. If anything, she was able to say, look. This is a clear contrast between the Republicans and me. Let`s not forget that we are the party for Democratic women in the right to choose. And she is trying to again energize her base because she`s having a bit of hard time with a lot of progressive women. HARRIS-PERRY: She might have needed that rhetoric to breakthrough. KUMAR: It was no longer about Trump, it was no longer about Jeb Bush. And I think that was -- (CROSSTALK) TRAYNHAM: I flip my argument. Notice this is a Democratic primary. She has potentially maybe two people that may get into the race, whether it would be Elizabeth Warren, there`s some chatter about that, or vice president Biden. So what she is trying to do, and she did very well, to Maria`s point is to change the narrative here and energize her base. This is about fundraising, this is about energizing the base. And remember, she was in Ohio where the registering voters right after that primary - I mean, right after that speech. And then lastly, what`s interesting about this is I talked to some Hillary Clinton folks and they`re saying, look, what we have to do is we have to change the narrative here from the defense as opposed to the server, to E.J.`s point, and make it about what something that Hillary is going to stand for, that she`s going to fight for. HARRIS-PERRY: So on this point, I mean, I so appreciate, you know, both of you go right to the important politics of it, and I did as well, but there is also part of me that thinks, why in the world is this part of the political football? Like I just -- there are some things I wish were off the table. So I don`t think we should talk about, you know, the bill of rights. I don`t think we should talk about whether or not if I get to be president, then you have the right to marry. Like I think there are some basic rights. And for me, this is a settled matter of the Supreme Court. People have a right to privacy, that right to privacy extends to the right to terminate a pregnancy. RYAN: But you know, I think that`s one of the key pieces of the Republican Party. The abortion issue is one of the huge pieces. Every presidential cycle we`ve had same-sex marriage, we`ve had the war, we`ve had so many different things. Now, I think this is part of it, but the fact that`s not coming out is clearly, and is not articulated as I would think it should be, is the fact that Planned Parenthood only has three percent of their health of women`s issues is dedicated to abortions. And that`s the thing that I am not hearing in this discourse. You`re hearing, you know, the terrorist thing, and you know, I don`t think women`s health should be funded, but the issue is that`s three percent. DIONNE: No, I agree with that. And I think it`s an important point because - I mean, if you look at that video, I found it disturbing. I don`t see how anybody cannot find it disturbing, even if you understand that this is a doctor talking about medical stuff. But more of Planned Parenthood`s money goes into family planning which actually reduces the number of abortions. But the fact is abortion isn`t a settled issue in our country. And, in fact, it`s probably less settled than gay marriage is, because what you`ve seen is a lot of steady movement in favor of gay marriage, and I think that issue is going to go away. The numbers on abortion really haven`t changed. You`ve got a majority that`s pro-choice but kind of a narrow majority. You`ve got a lot of Americans who are ambivalence. And politics can never speak to that ambivalence. Because if you are ever ambivalent as a politician, you`ve got problems. HARRIS-PERRY: So let me ask in part as we start of the show, like talking about Joe Biden, the possibility of Biden jumping in here. And so, E.J., when you are talking about, OK, Hillary Clinton has to make her position clear, especially if there are other folks jumping in. But Biden, part of his sort of narrative is his strong Catholicism. He`s also been pro-choice in the past, but those could be very difficult to hold intension if you`re the presidential candidate. DIONNE: Well, Catholic liberals have been struggling - politicians have been struggling with this for 25 or 30 years. Pope Francis makes it a little easier for them because Pope Francis, he`s very pro-life, he`s very anti-abortion, but he says this is not the only issue. He has gone back in a way to what used to be called the seamless garment or the consistent ethic of life where the church also talks about poverty, war, the death penalty, immigration. And so, it`s going to be very interesting during his visit to see what does this do to the internal catholic conversation? TRAYNHAM: Well, and to that point, I`m sorry. Go ahead, Maria. KUMAR: But I think also part - and this is what you are saying earlier. The fact that the Republican Party right now is really image bashing because they`re changing demographics. We`re talking about the red scare in China and the Soviet Union. And even this women issues, you actually recommends to the electorate and it`s an older generations and that`s where their long term problem is. Sure, this may be nice as it sounds. But how are they going to maintain control? HARRIS-PERRY: I hear you, Maria. I mean, their electorate may be older but the Democratic Party`s candidates are much older. And so I will say what the Republicans have is a lot of young people and a very big, wide, broad, can last for a long time bench. RYAN: What you`re going to find, though, is Joe Biden is going to be just like Obama. He has to look at the religion and also being president of all of America. HARRIS-PERRY: All of it. Thank you April Ryan, also Maria Teresa Kumar. E.J. Dionne and Robert Traynham are going to be back in our next hour. But still to come this morning, HUD secretary Julian Castro joins me live. Plus the surging candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson. It is happening, America. More Nerdland at the top of the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry and we are live in Washington, D.C. this morning. Yesterday in New Orleans, a series of commemorative events marks ten years since the levees broke, sending a deluge to the city. But we begin this hour looking at one of the most important policy decisions to come from government in the years immediately following Katrina. This was the dramatic scene in New Orleans on December 20th, 2007. The day that the city council met to vote on the demolition and redevelopment of the city`s largest public housing developments in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Chaos erupted as police officers used pepper spray and tasers against protesters who showed up to oppose the plan as a land grab that would only exacerbate the vulnerabilities of New Orleans` most impoverished residents. Their police fell on deaf ears, and eight years after the council`s unanimous vote to oppose the demolition, the 4500 units of sturdy brick buildings that made up four housing projects are gone, as is most of the city`s public housing. What has taken their place is a mixed income communities. But are also a signifier of the mixed outcomes of the city`s plan to rebuild. Today offers to redeveloped housing has still fallen short of the scale that was lost in the demolition. And according to the Times-Picayune, the new communities which seemed to have made at least some headway towards the goal of decentralizing poverty in the city housed just nine percent of the nearly 20,000 households served by the Housing Authority of New Orleans or HANO. The remaining 91 percent are holding sectionate vouchers that would meant to allow them the option to choose neighborhoods with less crime, better schools and improved access to jobs and health care. According to a report from the data center, a large percentage of those families were pushed out of the places that had been their homes for generations only to find themselves segregated again and pockets of poverty on the outskirts of the city. Joining me now is Secretary Julian Castro in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is a pleasure to have you here. JULIAN CASTRO, SECRETARY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Great to be here. HARRIS-PERRY: You were in New Orleans this week in part to mark the 10th anniversary. In the 10 years since the vote to bring down the public housing. Do you think that was the right decision? CASTRO: I believe that the decision was made with the right intention, and ultimately, whether or not that was the right decision is going to depend on whether we get it right now and in the years to come, right? Because this idea that we ought to get folks into, at their choice, areas of higher opportunity makes a lot of sense. Just a couple months ago, there was very powerful research from a group out of Harvard lead by Rouch Cheddy (ph) that said, when you get families into higher opportunity areas, that has great outcomes in terms of educational achievement, in terms of income. At the same time, you can`t forget about the distressed areas and investing in the older urban core neighborhoods. So, I believe that generally, getting this mix right of using housing choice vouchers plus reinvesting in those older, traditional public housing, that getting that balance right is sometimes challenging, but it makes sense. And so I would say that it`s on the right track as long as we stay true to that balance. HARRIS-PERRY: So that balance strikes me as important when I often hear people talking about getting families into communities of greater access and opportunity. But you makes sense if you think that sort of the egalitarian or just outcome is family by family. Part of what I was want to say to that is, how we make every community a community that has access, that has opportunity, and it does feel like housing is such a big part of that. So, how might HUD policies actually make a difference not only in New Orleans but in other cities across the country? CASTRO: That`s a great question. In fact, one of the things that I think will be a lasting legacy of the Obama administration, and I saw this when I was mayor of San Antonio, is for the first time it came in and said, look, in these distressed urban communities, it`s not enough just to focus on improving the housing or just improving the education or transportation, you have to focus on all of these things. So the work that we`re doing with the choice neighborhood initiative, the work that we`re doing with promised zones, for instance, the work that the Department of Education is doing with promised neighborhoods is all about making sure that we invest in those older urban core neighborhoods, that we invest in the people there, and that ultimately we lift up the level of economic opportunity and quality of life. So it`s that place-based work that I believe is the strongest answer to the question of, well, what do we do to not forget about folks who also want to live there where they`ve lived forever. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. CASTRO: You know? I had the chance when I was in New Orleans to meet families who have lived in these neighborhoods a long time. That`s their home. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. CASTRO: You know, that`s where they want to be. If you gave them a choice to go somewhere else, they wouldn`t because they want to live there, and there`s a good reason for that. And we can`t forget about them, and fortunately, the Obama administration has taken this holistic approach to investing in those neighborhoods. HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask you a political sort of pause of the day question. Clearly Mr. Trump, the current republican front-runner, is making headlines with comments that many in the Latino community see as outrageous, as painful, as inaccurate. Can I ask you what your response to the kind of headline-making comments of Mr. Trump are? CASTRO: Well, you know, I see it on different levels, of course. I see it as somebody who has been in politics, and I understand why it`s politically advantageous. He`s not doing it by accident, you know, he`s doing it because it appeals to his republican base, and we`ve seen folks from Pete Wilson 20 years ago to Jan Brewer just a few years ago to Steve King in Iowa that drum up resentment against immigrants in order to get elected. At the same time, personally I can only imagine what so many folks are feeling of different colors and backgrounds who have an immigrant history in our country. And I know my grandmother came when she was six or seven years old in 1922 from Mexico as a young orphan, and she worked her entire life as a maid, a cook and a babysitter. And so she didn`t reach, quote-unquote, "The American dream." But because of that, my mother was able to graduate from high school, go to college, and my brother and I have become professionals and then public servants. So what he`s doing, the plan that he`s put forward, is a dangerous one, it`s offensive, and I don`t think that it`s practical for an America that is operating in a 21st Century global economy. And my hope is that ultimately that people will choose reasonableness and this sense of embracing our immigrant past instead of the divisiveness and the rhetoric that Trump is offering. HARRIS-PERRY: Mr. Secretary, that is an almost seamless answer that included a really lovely reminder about your own story. Are you thinking about running for vice president? CASTRO: I am not. I`m thinking about doing a great job at HUD. HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, I see. CASTRO: First of all, you can`t run for vice president. HARRIS-PERRY: Well, have you been approached for potentially, sort of eyed by the folks who are currently running in the Democratic Party? CASTRO: Well, I can tell you no one has approached me about that. HARRIS-PERRY: Okay. CASTRO: Of course I`ve seen that, but no, I mean, I`ve learned in life that if you want to have a good future that you have to do a great job with what`s in front of you, so I`m trying not to forget what`s in front of me and do a fantastic job at HUD. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you so much, and thank you again for being in New Orleans, for listening to folks. It is a city I love greatly and want to see good things there. CASTRO: It`s a great city. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you. When we come back, Donald Trump may be at the top of the GOP pack, but be careful! You got to look at the candidate drafting right behind him, and the unlikely contender is also an unlikely republican, and that`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: With all eyes on Donald Trump and his surprise emergence at the head of the American presidential pack, you may have missed the guy behind him in the number two spot, an equally unlikely frontrunner among contenders for the GOP nomination. Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson is the only other candidate in the crowd of republican field pulling support numbers in the double digits. In a New Des Moines register poll of likely GOP Iowa caucus goers has them rising to 18 percent of support, within five percentage points of Trump. His numbers are more impressive when you consider that Carson has outpaced experienced political veterans in his first ever foray into electoral politics. And that even among all pump and circumstance of the Trump spectacle, the comparatively mild-mannered Carson has still managed to attract his own sizeable share of enthusiastic supporters. Just last week in Arizona, 12,000 people turned out to a Carson campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, more than vote Trump and Bernie Sanders had attracted to the same venue in recent weeks. And while he may speaks softly, Carson addresses his supporters with the Trump`s same flare for his dramatic in his political rhetoric. He has advocated sealing all for the country`s borders. And has in the past called ObamaCare the worst thing to happen to America since slavery. In fact, it was Carson`s critique of the law during his speech at the 2013 National Prayer breakfast that marked his first emergence onto the national political stage. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here`s my solution. When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account to which money can be contributed pre-tax from the time you`re born to the time you die. When you die, you can pass it on to your family members so that when you`re 85 years old and you got six diseases you`re not trying to spend up everything. You`re happy to pass it on and there`s nobody talking about death panels. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Carson`s attack on President Obama`s signature legislation while the President was just sitting a few feet away transformed him into a hero among Tea Party conservatives who saw him as someone unafraid to speak truth to power. For his new fans on the far right, Carson and his personal story of overcoming a childhood of poverty to become a world-renowned neurosurgeon was the very embodiment of conservative ideas of self-reliance and individual responsibility. But long before his emergence as a Tea Party truth-teller, those same conservative values had already elevated him to hero status in the African-American community. For a generation of young people who came of age in the `90s, Carson`s memoir, "Gifted Hands" was practically required reading as parents and educators track to instill the message of bootstraps uplift trended throughout his life story. His narrative was improbable, a young troubled man raised in the city of Detroit by a single mother who goes on to become Johns Hopkins youngest chief neurosurgeon and the first ever to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head. But for those African- Americans who saw in his life the share -- of family, religion, person morality, present example maybe improbable feel possible. In the GQ profile of Carson earlier this year, writer in Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates said of Carson`s frequent visits to inner city schools during his residency of Johns Hopkins, quote, "Anytime anyone wanted to bring out any sort of inspirational figure for young back kids, especially for young black boys in Baltimore, they turned to Ben Carson." But more than 20 years later, Carson`s re-emergence as a Tea Party hero has exposed some of the nuances in black political identity because those same young people grew up to elect as their president another inspiration feature with a figure with an improbable success story and a message of personal responsibility. And the same message that has brought African-American audiences to their feet into the polls for President Obama may not have quite the same resonance when it comes wrapped in Carson`s republican rhetoric. Joining me now, Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project. E.J. Dionne, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor. Will Jawando, democratic candidate for Maryland`s 8th Congressional District and a former White House aide. And Robert Traynham, MSNBC contributor, former Bush/Cheney senior advisor of vice president of communications for the Bipartisan Policy Center. So, Will, I actually want to start with you, because I think there is a way in which Carson`s kind of bootstraps, individualist, politics of respectability is not that different from what we hear from President Obama, for example, in "My Brother`s Keeper." But then the valiance feels very different when it`s republican versus democrat. WILL JAWANDO, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE, MARYLAND, 8TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: You`re exactly right. I think what Dr. Carson does if he gets 70 percent of it right. That the ideas of personal responsibility, of working hard, of parents that care, of church, of family, of values, same things the President talks about and believes and I believe. I grew up similar to him, very poor in Silver Spring, Maryland. My mother stayed on me hard. But the difference was I had a structure around me and I was fortunate to get scholarships to high school and college and law school, and what he fails to recognize is that from chattel slavery to Jim Crow to the failed drug war that`s led to mass incarceration, these are state sanction systems that make it harder to succeed, and so it`s not all about personal responsibility. I`ve had good friends like probably Dr. Carson that didn`t make it out because they didn`t have scholarships, they didn`t have mentors, and so he fails to see that connection between the two. HARRIS-PERRY: Is that were it falls apart Robert Traynham, because it does feels me like that, that kind of conservatism, right? Not the partisanship, but the conservatism is I mean, that is just a thread throughout. Much of like, not to me, because I don`t believe in respectability politics, but for many, many people that is a common, common thread. TRAYNHAM: Absolutely. HARRIS-PERRY: But then it really does feel different when it comes packaged republican. TRAYNHAM: Absolutely. Well, let`s pack up first. Dr. Ben Carson is my brother, he`s your uncle, he`s your grandfather, he`s one of us in the black community with someone who is literally brilliant, who pulled himself up from his bootstraps. So, let`s just acknowledge that, that he`s a black man that has pulled himself up, that is very, very smart. The difference is, is that, guess what, he`s a black republican. And so, therefore when we start whispering it, then all of a sudden, the kind of the new car smell of the veneer kind of goes off a little bit. So, then he`d sees in the eyes of the African-American community, I`m very proud of him, you know, this brother does a good very job, but you know, he`s a republican so therefore, he is not one of us. But he`s kind of like an Alan Keys, but he`s kind of like a Bill Cosby, but he`s kind of like a Barack Obama, but the fact of the matter is that he`s a republican, therefore, he`s discredited and that`s a shame. That`s a shame in the black communities, it`s also a shame across this nation. HARRIS-PERRY: So, this is very interesting to me. I think it`s a thing we often hear from black Republicans is that sense of somehow being kind of cast out of the race, of being racially inauthentic in some way. But I actually would want to go all the way back to the first claim which is, let`s just go ahead and say he`s a brilliant guy who pulled himself up by his own bootstraps. It`s amazing I want to say is, I will totally give you that he is brilliant, there`s no question about that, but I don`t know whether or not he pulled himself up by his own bootstraps. My suggestion to be actually is that`s probably is not the full story. TRAYNHAM: Well, how can you say that when his life story, single mom in Detroit, his mom works three jobs, apparently. HARRIS-PERRY: Sure. TRAYNHAM: How can you not say that? HARRIS-PERRY: Because I think that hard work is necessary but insufficient condition for success. Which is simply to say, must we work hard? Absolutely. But does hard work necessarily lead to success? No. And so I always want to think about the other side. (CROSSTALK) TRAYNHAM: But that`s his story though. That`s his story. E. J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: I think there are two issues here. One is, do we admire what Ben Carson made of his life? You bet we do. This is an amazing story. It`s a great thing. And I think it`s a deep debate in our country`s history about is individual effort all by itself always enough? I mean, my feeling is not a single one of us is self-made because there is always somebody -- first of all, there is a mom or a dad. There is somebody in the neighborhood, there is a coach, there`s a teacher, and often there is a scholarship, there is -- I got to go to college partly on scholarship and Social Security. (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: I go even further -- but I go even further because I think that even still leaves us within the realm of the kind of like civic action that`s still I think is very neatly within a small government world. My bet is that there is also almost always a public school -- DIONNE: Yes. HARRIS-PERRY: A health plan. Like, in fact, yes, it`s both -- we have the people around us. But there is almost always public policies, too. JUDITH BROWNE DIANIS, CO-DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Policies. Right. Exactly. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. DIANIS: There are policies that get cited, and that`s where I differ with you. This is not just about a black man being cast out because he`s a republican. He`s pushing policies not recognizing structural racism, not recognizing all of the things that add to making lives harder for black people in America. So, it`s not just about the republican run. You know, feel-good story. Yes, we all read about it. We do hold him up like, oh, my God, Ben Carson, he`s brilliant. He`s brilliant when it comes to medical science, but I will tell you, that when I`ve heard him talk about policy, I wouldn`t say, he`s brilliant on everything. HARRIS-PERRY: I just have to show Ben Carson at the Iowa State Fair talking about the brains because it just makes me happy. Let`s show him after a second. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARSON: With the kind of brains that God endowed us with, we do not have to limit ourselves in any capacity whatsoever. The human brain is the most magnificent organ system in the universe. I mean, it remembers everything you`ve ever seen, everything you`ve ever heard, can process more than two million bits of information in one second. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So like my Nerdland so love that! I want to go to the Iowa State Fair and hear somebody talk about brain science! It`s sounds great, but it also doesn`t quite make me think that he`s going to make the policy I need. Stay with us. More on this. But up next, I`m going to bring in one of the key activists in St. Louis who rightfully demands and respected even if not doing so with a respectable way. We`ll going deeper to this when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: This week some of the most visible criticism of Black Lives Matter came not from white progressives but from conservative African- Americans. In a scathing editorial for USA Today, republican presidential candidate Ben Carson writes, the idea that disrupting and protesting Bernie Sanders speeches will change what is wrong in America is lunacy. The Black Lives Matter Movement is focused on the wrong targets, to the detriment of blacks who would like to see real change and to the benefit of powerful white liberal funders using the attacks on Sanders for political purposes that mean nothing for the problems that face our community. Carson`s editorial came just days after former U.S. vets navy veteran Peggy Hubbard`s Facebook`s screed against the movement when viral with more than seven million views. But amid this argument against the movement`s strategy, this week also brought a response to one of its original demands. As the Ferguson Municipal Court announce a major overhaul in accordance with the new St. Louis County law that will include the withdrawal of all warrants issued before December 31st of 2014. Joining me now from St. Louis is Tef Poe, co-founder of Hands Up United and the hip-hop artist who just released his latest album "War Machine 3." Tef, nice to have you here. Does the announcement sound to you like a victory, this announcement about the municipal court changes? TEF POE, CO-FOUNDER, HANDS UP UNITED: I mean, I think it`s a noteworthy achievement, but I also feel as if it`s irrelevant to the lives of the men and women that are struggling with the things that the system has impounded upon us. You know, there is a lot of talk in St. Louis right now about the rates raising and really defining what poverty means and what hardship means to people of color in this city, and I think that any type of dialogue that we have for myself personally, poor people have to be in the forefront of that discussion. HARRIS-PERRY: Can you respond a bit to these critiques that have come from kind of a black conservative world? Are you saying, look, the Black Lives Matter is either just focused on the wrong things or using the wrong strategies or just simply disreputable? POE: You know, we live in a world where people are telling us to be respectable to targets that just aren`t respectable. There`s nothing respectable about white supremacy, there is nothing respectable about oppression, there is nothing respectable about sexism, and misogyny, and rape and murder and pillage. So, for me the conversation is deeply rooted in respect too, is the same people that sort of Palestinian children and not to Iraq and with the tank is a war machine that came to destroy a village and genocide their people. So, this is the dilemma that we have. We have a non-respectable enemy that`s asking us to essentially respect his humanity while they don`t even acknowledge ours. HARRIS-PERRY: Tef, stick with me. I want you to -- don`t go away. But Will, I want to come up to you. One of the reasons I wanted you at the table is a piece you wrote for The Root this week. So, you were kind of talking about, oh, you know, I believe in many of the same values that both President Obama and Dr. Ben Carson believe in, but you also wrote about how sort of respectability won`t necessarily save you from injustices or inequality in this case. JAWANDO: That`s exactly right. You know, I write a piece talking about how we`re going to need more voices in the criminal justice reform, debate. I`m a lawyer, I`m a White House aide, I`m a father, but I`ve also been arrested. And the circumstances are different, it was a mistake, the charges are dropped. But people don`t know that and this is a republican and a democratic problem. That we`re at critical point. We`re not at an infliction point, we are at a breaking point. And to say that when you have one out of two African-Americans that have been arrested by the time they`re 23, 44 percent of Latino men, 70 percent of the juveniles locked up today across the country are people of color, are children of color. To say that this is -- we`re supposed to just be calm and to these young people and that we`re supposed to be a very calm and peaceful and respectful movement, I think is crazy. And what we`re seeing the beginning, the tip of the iceberg of the success of this movement. And I want to tell my daughter in 15, 20 years that I was at the forefront running for Congress, pushing the democratic primary, too, to not just make people understanding it but understand that we have to move. Because if it`s respectable, Bernie Sanders, Senator Sanders does not release a racial justice platform if he`s not interrupted and I believe that. And so, we can`t be respectable. HARRIS-PERRY: So, Judith, talk to me a little about this. Because it does feel to me, you know, part of this is organizations, or the movements like Black Lives Matter can sometimes feel like it`s contesting judicial civil rights organizations like NAACP or urban league or others. So, how do sort of use all those aspects of community to push an agenda? DIANIS: Well, I mean, it`s important to have a spectrum of voices, right, and the movement for Black Lives is clearly staking out a position that is pushing us into a discourse that we would not have otherwise had in this country. You know, for him to call it lunacy, no, let`s talk about the kind of changes that are happening, the kinds of conversations that are happening and we`re seeing real systemic reform that`s kind of a ripple effect of young people calling out racism in this country. HARRIS-PERRY: So, Tef, let me come back to you, because it does feel like, you know, again I can cite something actually happening in St. Louis around policy. We heard Will here cite Bernie Sanders actually coming out with a racial justice platform. So, certainly Black Lives Matter is not declaring victory or doing a victory lap, but I wonder, are you starting to see some meaningful victories? POE: I believe so. And I think that, you know, it`s also important to note that in any frontier of a battle, you have different planks, you have different areas and different people with different skill sets and different capabilities. One thing I was talking with one of my elders yesterday about Jamala Rogers, she brought up the fact that, you know, we need not shoot down different ideologies and different methods just because they don`t look some of a tour a route that we may deem is capable of bringing about victory for us. I believe that you need people on the front line with the gas mask and the bandanas and their shirts off and the young ladies with their fists up, wearing the tank tops just much as you need young women, at the Pentagon wearing Hillary Clinton`s suits. So, I think that, you know, this is a vast assortment of people. And I also want to note that, you know, when white supremacists like Donald Trump look at black people, when they look at people like Harriet Tubman, to him Harriet Tubman is the same exact person as Nicki Minaj. So, when we talk about respectability politics, we need to note that our enemy doesn`t have a conscience. Donald Trump doesn`t have a conscience. People like him, they really don`t care about our general perception of ourselves to them. And I think that within the Ferguson movement, that`s one thing that a lot of the protesters began to notice. In the early days, people were in the streets and we thought that we could chant our way into making police officers respect us, we could chant our way into making politicians view us as valid members of society. I think now we realize that`s not possible and no matter what you look like, you can have a suit and a tie on -- Martin Luther King is just as dead as Tupac Shakur. HARRIS-PERRY: Tef Poe in St. Louis, Missouri as always bringing us lots to think about. I appreciate you joining us here in Washington. Thank you Robert Traynham. The rest my panel is sticking around. Still to come this morning, the big business of buying structured settlements from those suffering from lead poisoning. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: If you grew up in the `70s or `80s, you probably remember the public service announcement warning parents about the health risks associated with lead-based paint. Paint containing lead was popular in the 19th and early 20th Century because it was bright, durable and quick drying. It`s also extremely toxic, with miniscule amounts causing serious health problems. Lead poisoning can affect the entire body, resulting in symptoms including headaches, irritability, confusion, memory loss, abdominal pain, nausea, loss of appetite and kidney damage. It can even result in seizures, comma and death. And children are especially at risk, babies and small children want to put anything and everything into their mouths and lead paint chips are very sweet tasting. Even lead paint that isn`t peeling can shed harmful dust which can settle on toys, beds and floors. Compounding the danger is the fact that children absorbed lead into their systems faster than adults, and because they`re still growing, lead poisoning inhibits developments resulting in permanent learning disabilities, behavioral problems and stunted growth. Many countries in Europe band lead paint in the first decades of the 20th Century, and the League of Nations pushed for a worldwide ban in 1922. At the time, the United States was the world`s largest producer of lead, so despite widespread knowledge of the dangers interior lead paint could bring, it wasn`t officially banned in the U.S. until 1978. Lead paint was banned going forward, but what about the millions of homes already covered in it? Removing lead paint is extremely difficult, as a process and often results in dangerous exposure. Those who could afford to hire professionals to remove lead paint from their homes or who could afford to move did so. What about those who couldn`t afford it? Let`s look at two cities. In Chicago the rate of lead poisoning in children under six growing up in poor black communities is six times the city`s average. In 1995, more than 80 percent of children tested in the city`s upper class Lincoln Park neighborhood had elevated levels of lead, nearly the same rates as those in the low income Austin neighborhood. By 2013, the percentage of children exposed in Lincoln Park had fallen to zero. But in Austin, nearly a quarter of children still had dangerous levels of lead exposure. Now, in Baltimore, the rate of children with lead poisoning is nearly three times that of the national average. As in Chicago, the toxic rates of lead exposure are concentrated in low- income, predominantly black neighborhoods. Many children suffering from permanent disabilities as a result of lead poisoning have filed lawsuits and received settlements worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. But a new investigative report reveals why some of those people are getting only a fraction of what they were awarded and why other people are making millions off of their suffering. And that story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Next week important court hearings will begin in the Freddie Gray case to determine if the trial should be moved out of Baltimore, if state`s Attorney Mary Mosby should be recused and if charges against six police officers should be dismissed. Freddie Gray died in April from a spinal cord injury suffered while in police custody. But a different tragedy began for Freddie and for so many others decades earlier. Gray was awarded a structural settlement after his family filed a lawsuit in 2008 based on the lead paint exposure Freddie and his siblings suffered in their rented home. Two years before his death, he agreed to sell $146,000 worth of his settlement to a company called access funding. In exchange he received $18,000. In other words, over time he would have received $146,000 in small amounts, but by agreeing to sell his right to that 146, he received 18,000 up front as a lump-sum payment. According to the paperwork Gray signed, it said Gray wanted to pay off debt and improve his credit. And an investigative report in the "Washington Post" this week details how companies like access funding approach recipients of structured settlements. The companies offer quick cash for significantly less than what would be the cumulative total. Access funding, one of the many companies that buy structured settlements, says the industry helps people who have urgent needs. But critics say that these companies profit off of vulnerable individuals and communities. Gray`s stepfather told the "Washington Post," quote, "they sucker you in." They didn`t know they were giving up so much for so little. Because the city is dotted with old homes full of lead, many Baltimore residents have received lead paint settlements and Gray is hardly alone for selling his for pennies on the dollar. According to the post, access funding has purchased about 200 structured settlements in Maryland since 2013. And one such person is Vincent Maurice Jones, Jr., he grew up in one of the lead painted home on Baltimore`s Mosher Street, and he didn`t graduate from high school, suffers from severe learning difficulties and lives with his mother in a house he purchased with money from a structured settlement. In 2013, Jones signed several contracts with access funding indicating he wished to sell $663,000 worth of his settlement for just $50,000 in return. And despite already owning a home, the paperwork for access funding, Jones says, indicates that he needs money because he doesn`t want to pay rent anymore. We reached out to access funding to see if anyone would join us, and in response to our invitation, they provided this statement. Quote, "Previous media coverage contained numerous factual inaccuracies and presented a material misleading depiction of our practices of our business and industry. We are eager to work with consumers, policymakers and others to educate them as to the actual practices and regulations already in place. We are also supportive and have pro-actively adopted various initiatives being discussed to update the current Maryland structured settlement transfer laws to be on par with other more stringent policies throughout the country." So, with us, Judith Browne Dianis, E.J. Dionne, Will Jawando and joining me now, the reporter who has been digging into those numbers, and talking to the people who are agreeing to such contracts. Terrence McCoy of the "Washington Post." Did I get that right, Terrence? TERRENCE MCCOY, POVERTY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": Yes, you got it right. And I think the most important thing to remember when you`re talking about what these are called, structured settlements, they`re different than traditional settlements which are paid out in one lump sum. And the reason these structured settlements started the way they did is because these people are vulnerable recipients and they may not have much experience being able to manage wiring sums of money. So what they do then is they tried to eke out that money over decades to help that person really weather the stresses of everyday life. And a lot of times, this is the single assets that these people have. And, but at the same time, disability is expensive, poverty is expensive, that pile up. And in that desperation creates opportunity. And that really is what was gave rise to this industry that really comes in and pays out what sometimes can be dimes on the dollar for these structured settlements. HARRIS-PERRY: In fact, the story about this industry reads to me almost like the kind of predatory lending that we`ve seen not only in mortgages that I think we`re used to hearing about, but also in used cars, in the pay day loans. Is it in that category? MCCOY: Well, I think critics definitely do say that this is predatory lending because what happens is these contracts are extremely complicated. They stretch across at least a dozen pages, and then when you think about the people who are striking deals with them a lot of times, especially if they come from circumstances like in Baltimore when they have lead poisoning, they have diminished capacity to be able to understand complexity like that. And again, in that sort of situation, it gives rise to the situation you see, where these dollar amounts just don`t even seem to equate. HARRIS-PERRY: So, Judith, I wonder if there`s ways that we could begin to think of this sort of issue as a civil rights issue or as an inequality issue in ways that I think we often don`t. DIANIS: Right. No, I definitely think so. I mean, your analogy to predatory lending is spot on and we do need to be looking at this as a violation of civil rights. Because I`m sure if we actually got some real data behind this that we would see African-Americans and Latinos probably hit more disproportionately by these kinds of practices. HARRIS-PERRY: Well, and it makes sense given what you report here about the lead, right? That the lead in the homes is most likely to happen in communities where people have fewer housing choices and options. MCCOY: This story is steeped in the historical sweep of Baltimore when you think of decades of segregated housing policies that really crammed a certain demographic in certain neighborhoods, and then those neighborhoods started atrophy. And in that atrophy, you have situations like lead paint poisoning because those houses aren`t being maintained properly. So, if you just follow the footsteps all the way back to the origin of the story, you can make it into a civil rights issue. DIONNE: First of all, I`m very biased here, but I do want to say let`s hear it for good, old-fashioned journalism. HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely. Exactly. DIONNE: Terrence -- saying, it took four months -- three months to put this story together. We need this kind of journalism, so let me just put that out there. But, you know, this does link up to the conversation we had in the last segment about Black Lives Matter, and there is clearly a linkage between class issues and race issues, and there are coalition opportunities there. And, you know, when you go back to Dr. King, you think about two aspects of his approach, aspect one was militancy and protest. HARRIS-PERRY: Uh-mm. DIONNE: And you have to put problems before people, you have to put them in people`s faces. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. DIONNE: For myself, it wasn`t at the front of my mind before that when my 22-year-old son goes out in the street, I don`t worry that he`s going to be shot by a cop. HARRIS-PERRY: Uh-mm. DIONNE: That`s the one side of it. The other side of it is if you look at what he did, Dr. King was very focused on the conversion of adversaries and on coalition building, and I think when you look at that movement, you have the first half where you need the militancy to get the problem out there, but you need coalition building to solve it. And I think that that`s -- HARRIS-PERRY: And it`s okay for it to be different people doing that work. JAWANDO: And I think E.J. is exactly right. You need the militancy as the starter. It`s the match that lights the flame. But you also need a new set of leaders that have lived experience, that can go in and talk to -- I think now you have Republicans that just don`t understand a lot of these issues or deny them, and then you have many Democrats that care, want to care, but don`t understand the urgency. Baltimore has been a democratic city for a long time, I know a lot of people there, and I think you need folks that have lived through it to be some of these leaders that can help bring these coalitions together and get us real policy. You need that merging. But one without the other doesn`t work. HARRIS-PERRY: And Terrence, you know, I would add to that also, and this maybe goes back to the kind of hands clap for journalism. You`re also inputting issues in front of people to be able to tie those links. I saw appreciated this idea that, you know, we all meet Freddie Gray in this moment of his arrest, but that the questions about what impacts Freddie Gray`s life are these large structural questions that go much beyond it. MCCOY: The arc that Freddie Gray traced from his early life and slum housing in Baltimore all the way to his death, this is the stuff that has been repeated by hundreds of different people in those urban centers. When you think about being born into lead paint tenements and then you see the compounding damages of failures in the classroom, truancy and run-in with the law. All these things add up to what you could see happened to Freddie Gray. And then the aftermath of those protests and the frustration that you see that happens. HARRIS-PERRY: And the story becomes that much more complicated and rich. I want to say thank you to Judith Browne Dianis, to E.J. Dionne, to Will Jawando, and to Terrence McCoy, his plan to be in Washington, D.C. -- (LAUGHTER) Up next, the civil rights activist confirm to the nation`s highest court on this day 48 years ago. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was confirmed to the Supreme Court becoming the first African-American justice on the nation`s highest court. But long before his historic appointment, Marshall established himself as one of the legal giants of the 20th century. And a tireless warrior for racial equality. As a student he was denied admission to the University of Maryland law school because of his race. And Marshall went on to attend Howard University Law School. Graduating first in his class. Shortly after graduation, he successfully sued the very Maryland law school that rejected him, forcing an end to their segregation policies. For more than 20 years, Marshall worked as a chief counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where he helped formulate the strategy of using litigation as a tool of social reform. He traveled the country taking on major and minor cases involving questions of racial justice. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) THURGOOD MARSHALL, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Maybe you can`t override prejudice overnight by the emancipation proclamation was issued in 1863, 90-odd years ago. I believe in gradualism. I also believe that 90-odd years is pretty gradual. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: He won key victory challenging Texas` whites-only primary elections and racially restricted housing covenants. But his most significant legal victory came in 1954, as the lead attorney in Brown versus the Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court case that struck down segregation in public schools. Marshall argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court, earning an impressive record that President Lyndon Johnson noted when he nominated Marshall for the high court declaring that it was, quote, "The right thing to do and the right time to do it." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LYNDON JOHNSON, 36TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He has argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court. He has won 29 of them. And that`s a batting average of 900. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: For the next 24 years, Justice Marshall was a fierce advocate on social justice issues, standing up for affirmative action and reproductive rights and against the death penalty. Both in and out of court, he was known for making his case in blunt, straightforward language. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (APPLAUSE) MARSHALL: You ought to go around the country and show yourself a Negro and you`re an inspiration. For what? These Negro kids are not fools. They know to tell them that there`s a possibility that someday you`ll have a chance to be the only Negro on the Supreme Court, that those odds aren`t too good. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: I just love him. Marshall retired from the court in 1991. And though the current Supreme Court with its conservative majority has undercut much of what Marshall fought for by gutting the heart of the voting rights act and laying the groundwork for further rollback for affirmative action, it is also more diverse than ever. A court that includes three women, including the first Latina on the court. A transformation that began with the historic confirmation of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court of the United States on this day, August 30th, 1967. And that is our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. And thank you to the team here in Washington, D.C. You all have been extraordinary, I`m going to see you next Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern back up there in New York. But right now it`s time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT." Hi, Alex. ALEX WITT, MSNBC HOST, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT": Hi there. We do love those guys in D.C. Thank you so much, Melissa. A fan falls to his death at a baseball stadium. What went wrong and was foul play involved. Chris Christie fighting up criticism over his plan to track foreigners with some help from FedEx. Plus, what to expect on Wall Street after a very wild week. What you can do to protect your investments. Don`t go anywhere. I`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WITT: New polls and reaction. The Bernie Sanders surge gets fresh momentum in Iowa. And what`s happening on the GOP side could be a bigger surprise. The only woman in the GOP field. Will she be part of the main event at the next republican debate or part of the undercard? I`ll talk to her deputy campaign manager. Police now have a suspect in that execution-style killing of an officer in Houston. But one very big piece of the puzzle remains a mystery at this hour. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END