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Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 10/04/15

Guests: Katon Dawson, Marcus Mabry, Tara Dowdell, Christopher Borick,Alexander Kliment, Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez

BILL KARINS, MSNBC METEOROLOGIST: We could get maybe we thought foot, foot and a half. Now some areas have gotten two feet of rain. And we are seeing with two feet of rain can do in a short period of time. There`s water everywhere in South Carolina. Just got word that I-95 is now closed in both directions and all the alternate routes are closed, too. So traffic literally has stopped going north and south up and down the eastern seaboard for trucks, for cars, for mostly rail travel, too. Everyone has to wait for the water to recede in the days ahead. And here is why. I mean, this is what we call an atmospheric quiver. It did have come connection to hurricane Joaquin. It was stealing some moisture from the hurricane. And it was a little into the flow. The storm responsible is still spinning right now over north Florida, southern Georgia. And it just continuing that focus. It just pivoted. This is 24-hours. It started like this. And now, it is going to kind of stilt. And not it is going to from west to east. It is shifted out of Charleston. They had the worst weather yesterday. Today`s fears are Columbia, back to areas around Georgetown, South Carolina and now shifting up towards the Myrtle Beach this afternoon. Rainfall totals are incredible. Boone hall plantation, 24 inches of rain. We know that`s true, that`s from a national weather service employee that works in the area. So we know that that`s a real measurement. Charleston is out of 16 inches. Columbia, ten. Oregon eight. North Myrtle Beach eight. And we are going to add possibly another six to ten inch on top of this. This area is an estimate of the rainfall totals. This area in white is where we`ve seen above eight inches of rain. And that includes from Columbia, into Charleston and now inching northward. And we will soon add to those totals further up towards Myrtle Beach. Now, pictures from the area. I mean, water is just literally everywhere. There are Hundreds if not thousands of cars have been flooded out. We know that there are water in homes. They have been doing rescues overnight by boat. Some people are even waking up and looking outside and realize they can`t leave their houses because they Republican surrounded by water. Those people still have to be rescued, too. So let me take it through the weather map and show you. We do have flash flood warnings, of course. There is flash flood emergency through the area. The office of emergency management in South Carolina has told everyone to stay at home. They`ve asked churches to cancel in the flooded areas. We do not people leaving their homes. We still have flood watches north of there because that heavy rain band will be shifting north later on today. Here is how our computer seeing it. This is 9:00 a.m. Sunday. And that has been going through 8:00 p.m. Sunday, focus, they are batch of heavy rain. It is more scattered. So that`s good. Then it regenerates tonight near Myrtle Beach. So if you`re in the Myrtle Beach, north Myrtle Beach area you could still see the worst of your flooding this evening into tomorrow morning. And then finally by 6:00 p.m. Monday, that rain shifts out of South Carolina. Our computers are still saying another ten inches in Georgetown. So you are in Georgetown right now. You`ve already had three to five feet of water through downtown Georgetown and you could get another ten inches of rain. That water is not going anywhere anytime fast. Columbia could get another three to four inches. Orangeburg, five. North Myrtle Beach area around seven inches. Notice Charleston, maybe a possibly another four inches. But I do think the worst in Charleston has already been done. So that`s that part of the story. The other thing which has cost already millions of dollars of damage up and down the east coast is the waves and the high tide cycles. We have one more bad one this afternoon. We are expecting, again, we have a coastal flood warning around Oslo County, all the way to the (INAUDIBLE) and then from Norfolk up through the Jersey shore. We have one more high tide cycle where we are going to see chunks of beach taken out. We will see water on the roads from southern jersey right down to the mid-Atlantic. So you get the picture, this is a catastrophic disasters in South Carolina especially. DORIAN WARREN, MSNBC HOST: Thank you to NBC`s Bill Karins. And we will check back with you later in program. In South Carolina`s capital city, the rain is showing no signs of letting up. And emergency officials are warning people to stay out of the standing water. Let`s go now to Columbia, South Carolina where we`re joined by NBC news correspondent Sara Dallof. Sarah, and you talk to the fire chief there this morning. And it sounds like some people are not heeding those warnings. SARAH DALLOF, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: A lot of people not heeding those warnings this morning. In fact, the fire chief says they`re just overwhelmed by the sheer number of calls. At one point a hundred calls stacked up waiting for emergency response. And you know, Bill just a minute ago mentioned the catastrophic flooding. Let`s show you exactly what it looks like right here. This intersection now awake as gills creek experiencing major flood zone overflow. You can see some of those businesses damaged there. And you can actually if you look out there see the roofs of some of the cars that are covered by that water. We talked to one family who was in the intersection. They said the water came on so suddenly, they didn`t even have some time to react. They talked to us about anxious moments waiting for rescue. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kept seeping under the door. I got the kids, went on the roof and sat on the roof and waited it out. (END VIDEO CLIP) DALLOF: That family was helped to safety. They are recovering now. They say they are very thankful, they are very prayerful for other people who may be affected by this historic storm. As for now, Columbia pretty much shut down. Churches, stores all of those things not operating today. And officials encouraging people, please stay home and please stay off of these very dangerous roads. Dorian, back to you. WARREN: Thank you to NBC`s Sarah Dallof in Columbia, South Carolina. We`ll have more on this historic flooding later in the program. Now to the other developing story we`re following this morning. The investigation into Thursday`s deadly shooting in Roseburg, Oregon. We`re learning more about the shooter who opened fire at Umpqua Community College killing nine people. Authorities have confirmed that Chris Harper Mercer was a student at the college. And so, his death has been ruled a suicide. But officials are still trying to determine learning why he did what he did. Meanwhile, we are also hearing from the shooter`s family for the first time. MSNBC`s Jacob Soboroff joins us from Roseburg, Oregon. Jacob, what can you tell us about the family`s reaction? JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dorian. So we got a statement yesterday from the family of the shooter in which they said our thoughts, our hearts and our prayers go out to all of the families of those who died and were injured. And we also heard from the father of the shooter who told another network quote "if Chris had not been able to get his hands on 13 guns, this wouldn`t have happened." I also had a conversation about gun control with the fire chief here from Douglas County. And he told me how he thinks those types of tragedies can be prevented in the future. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHIEF GREG MARLAR, DOUGLAS COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT NUMBER 2: Well, I believe there has to be some change. I can`t speak to what sort of changes that means as far as the specifics of gun control but something has to change. This needless victims are being involved in these incidents and we have to actively work together to make the change on how we can certainly reduce if not totally prevent those. And I think we all have to do that together. And there is no one single easy answer. But I think I know from public safety, besides law enforcement, and even public safety, we need to be part of that and step up and help facilitate that. (END VIDEO CLIP) SOBOROFF: The fire chief Marlar was one of the first responders on the scene here at Umpqua Community College. We`ve also heard the president of the United States, the two senators from the state of Oregon, the governor of the state of Oregon and a local congressman discuss the idea of gun control but no specifics yet, Dorian. WARREN: Thank you to Jacob Soboroff in Roseburg, Oregon. This morning we have brand-new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal"/Marist polls on the all-important states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Who`s up and who`s down? That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: There`s new polling out this morning from the all-important states of Iowa and New Hampshire. In Iowa the NBC News/"Wall Street Journal"/Marist poll found that among Democratic caucus goers, the current top candidates are Hillary Clinton with 47 percent, Bernie Sanders with 36 percent and Martin O`Malley trailing far behind at four percent. Essentially, the same standing they have a month ago. And among Republican caucus goers in Iowa, Donald Trump`s lead is shrinking though he`s still out in front with 24 percent, five points ahead of Ben Carson with 19 percent. And in the single digits Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal. In New Hampshire, it is a different story among Democratic primary voters. Sanders leads Clinton by nine points, 48 percent to 39 percent. And among Republicans polled in New Hampshire, major drop-off for Trump. The GOP front-runners still leads at 21 percent but he`s followed closely by a surging Carly Fiorina at 16 percent. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson follow. A potential run by vice president Joe Biden makes it a closer contest for Democrats. In Iowa Biden comes in third place with 22 percent taking a bite out of Clinton`s lead. And over in New Hampshire, vice president Biden currently garners 18 percent but leaves Sanders on top. So how does this compare to national polling? The "Real Clear Politics" average for Democrats show Clinton as the front-runner followed by Sanders and vice president Biden. And for the GOP, Trump is the front-runner, followed by Carson and Fiorina. And so, of course we`re left with one essential breathless question, what does it all mean? And since I don`t know I`m hoping my panel does. Joining me now, Katon Dawson, national Republican consultant and former South Carolina GOP chair. Tara Dowdell, business and political marketing consultant and president of the Tara Dowdell group. Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College, institute of public opinion and professor of political science Muhlenberg College and Marcus Mabry, editor at-large for "The New York Times." And Chris, as a pollster at the table, based on these numbers, who will be the next president of the United States? CHRISTOPHER BORICK, DIRECTOR, MUHLENBERG COLLEGE INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC OPINION: I knew this was coming. It`s tough question. I`m going to be the political scientist and kind of a little bit of a weasel here. A lot has to be shaken out, but I think what you see is that early signs or continued signs of some erosion for Donald Trump. Those New Hampshire numbers I think are very troubling for him. It puts him in a spot in a state like New Hampshire that I think is going to be key to get a bigger picture of where the U.S. is headed. Gives him some challenges and I think he`s got troubles. WARREN: (INAUDIBLE). Who`s gaining? BORICK: It`s Fiorina. If there`s one piece of numbers -- or piece of these numbers that strikes out, it is her gain in that state. You`re looking for a pick-up of the type that she`s come there. She`s got to be really happy with those numbers. MARCUS MABRY, EDITOR AT-LARGE, THE NEW YORK TIMES: But it`s October. Right? It means nothing. A poll is a snapshot in time of an election that happens 13 months from now. It means nothing. We`re going to talk about it because this is what we do. (CROSSTALK) MABRY: Exactly. January`s only four months away. So the fact is though, what this to me -- I think the Republican`s numbers are what truly about those numbers is great for Hillary Clinton because Hillary Clinton needs a campaign. Hillary Clinton, what we are seeing though, you know, with the kind of draft Biden movement gaining momentum, the fact lots of us feel like how can Biden say no when there`s this much love being shown towards him at HRC and other events. What Hillary needs, though, is she needs someone to fight against. Because if she`s not bloodied by the time she gets to a general election campaign, she will be weak and flabby and not ready to fight. So this is good for her. KATON DAWSON, NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: The number that matters and Marcus is right. The number that matters when we look at on our side and I think the Democrats look at is the likability number. That`s where Trump`s got trouble and that`s where Hillary`s got trouble. There`s a likability number on certain demographics. Hillary sitting there you see no energy. You see the numbers -- on ours, we see 61 percent unlikable in the general election. And you go looking Republican, especially in South Carolina with Trump, you know, I like what he`s saying but do you like him? Well. So I think you`ve seen Donald Trump now trying to be the charming Donald Trump. WARREN: So let me ask you this, Katon. Has Donald Trump reached a ceiling? Is this the beginning of the end for him or his numbers is going to continue to revolve? DAWSON: You know, he`s got some more shelf life because of the earned media. If you will think about it, only the person who`s hit Donald Trump was Rand Paul in New Hampshire. No super PAC has come up. They`re coming. No super PAC`s come up against him. Republicans now, we do this in a primary. We circle the wagons and all murder each other. That`s coming. And it is going to really be in South Carolina because that`s right before what they call the SEC primary. WARREN: Tara, I know you`ve worked on lots of campaigns. So there is a narrative going around that this is a national primary but should we still be paying attention state by state? TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I want to say a couple of things. First of all, on this Hillary Clinton likability thing. I really take exception with that because that likability has been really focused on Hillary Clinton. And I think a big part of that is because she`s a woman. Is Rand Paul likable? Well the numbers say no. WARREN: If fairness, we focus on Trump`s likability as well. DOWDELL: Well, that Trump is a personality, right? So Trump is actually a media personality. He`s a celebrity. So I think people started to focus on Trump`s likability but not to the same extent as they have on Hillary Clinton`s likability. Is Chris Christie likable? I mean, there are a ton of people within the Republican primary that you could say are they likable? Is Jeb Bush likable? I mean, he said stuff happens in response to a very tragic mass murder in this country. So this likability thing I think has been really pushed and I think it is part of what is hurting Hillary because it`s become this narrative and I think it`s unfair. Let`s ask that question of all of the candidates. Are all the candidates likable? WARREN: So I want you to respond to this as the political scientist at the table. How much does likability really matter? BORICK: It matters a ton, Dorian. And it might be unfair, as you say, but that`s reality and that`s Hillary`s problem. That`s one of the reasons she was on "Saturday Night Live." DOWDELL: If it`s reality for Hillary, it should be reality for everybody. BORICK: It is. It is. As you said, Katon, and I mean, you know, 60 percent unfavorable in our latest poll in Pennsylvania that we just did for Trump. I mean that`s a big problem. It might be focused on in a different way for Hillary and that could be unfair. DOWDELL: And we should address that. MABRY: I think in the long run Hillary actually does benefit, too. At some point the press, I mean, complaining and whining about the lack of access in which she does. And everyone kind of focusing on her and shooting so hard at her, I think she benefits at some point people saying, wow, step back, people, leave her alone! At some point, voters -- DOWDELL: At some point. But right now it is hurting her. Right now it`s hurting her. At some point she may benefit from it, but right now it is hurting her. And I think also with all this attention that`s being paid to Donald Trump, he`s had just a huge stage from which to spout a number of terrible things. But I do think that with that there`s all this talk about not a lot of energy on the democratic side. Well, you have Bernie Sanders who had a rally yesterday with 20,000 people. There`s a lot of energy on the democratic side. It`s not just getting the same level of attention. WARREN: OK, to be continued in a few minutes. Up next, "SNL" returns proving once again the most important thing in comedy -- timing. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m just so darn bummed. All anyone wants to talk about is Donald Trump. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump? Isn`t he the one that`s like "you`re all losers." UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is -- that`s him. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: Last night marked the premier of "Saturday Night Live`s" 41st season. And, quite frankly, in this campaign season, it is good to it be a satirical comedy show. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, Donald is so smart. He`s so good with the media. You know, he know that if he said the craziest thing, he will go up in the poll numbers. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, come on, Melania, that`s just not true. I don`t say outrageous things just for poll numbers. I speak from my heart. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really? OK, because I hear your numbers go down a little bit this week. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mexicans are stealing our children. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You see? He doesn`t even have to think about it. He`s genius. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: That was (INAUDIBLE) Donald and Melania Trump. And that was just the beginning. The late night sketch comedy show has a wide field to work with this year as you can see in this spoof of a pharmaceutical lab. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mental illness doesn`t run in our family. So I never thought it could happen to someone I love. But then my husband started getting confused. He`d say things that just didn`t make any sense. Things like -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And come next November, I, Rick Santorum, will be president of the United States! UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he believed this. That`s when I knew, he had dementia. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband, Mike Huckabee, used to be my rock, my partner. And then one night last month he got up in the middle of the night and started packing his suitcase. He wasn`t making any sense. He was muttering "Kim`s in jail and I got to go get her out of jail and then I`m going to be in jail and that`s going to make me president." He didn`t even know what year it was or how the world worked. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: Now of course, "Saturday Night Live" is not just a place for actors to spoof the candidates. It`s also yet another platform that the candidates increasingly find themselves campaigning. But it is an effort to show off not their policy ideas but their humanity. Last night former secretary of state Hillary Clinton became the first presidential candidate of the season to take the risk of being "live from New York." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You give off such a young, cool vibe. You must work in Brooklyn. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes! Somewhere in there. Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. Mrs. Clinton, I`m so sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to say my sister`s gay so thank you for all you`ve done for gay marriage. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you`re welcome. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It really is great how long you`ve supported gay marriage. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I could have supported it sooner. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you did it pretty soon. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could have been sooner. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fair point. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: OK, Katon, how did she do? Did this convince you or persuade you as a GOP strategist about her personality, her warmth? DAWSON: It could persuade me you are not going to see Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul or anybody else on "Saturday Night Live." That`s what it convinced me. But I think it was a good choice for her politically. I mean, she was likable. We talked about the likeability numbers. She`s funny. She`s talking about some issues that are really deep in there. She didn`t go to the other thing she was invited to. Biden went. WARREN: We`ll come to that in a few minutes. DAWSON: But at the end of the day, I mean, I think it is a good move for her. It is a big audience. She`s got to show some energy, some passion. And Hillary`s no way not funny. But if you talk to people who do know her, they say she is extremely funny. So you know, do I know you and do I like you matters? And Hillary took a chance but she`s a pro at this. And this isn`t her first rodeo. WARREN: So I want to play a clip from Hillary Clinton from - with Al Sharpton which aired earlier this morning on "Politics Nation." Let`s take a look at this. She`s referring to black lives matter. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The movement for Black Lives Matter has been essential in raising up these issues. A new generation has come to the forefront. I`ve met with some of them. I`ve certainly been made aware of all the meetings my staff has been having with a lot of the advocates because we have to restore fundamental faith in our democracy and equal treatment under the law. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: So there, she`s definitely appealing to African-American voters and talking about Black Lives Matter. There was something interesting though that happened on "SNL." Not the actual sketch with Hillary, but an introduction she made. And I want to play that, then get your reaction, Tara. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mental illness doesn`t run in our family so I never thought it could happen to someone I love. But then my husband started getting confused. He`d say things that just didn`t make any sense. Things like -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And come next November, I, Rick Santorum, will be -- (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: OK. So that was not the right clip. I want to play at Miley Cyrus introduction clip with Hillary Clinton introducing her. Let`s take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: Ladies and gentlemen, Miley Cyrus! (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: -- because, there she is appealing to millennials in some way, right, introducing Miley Cyrus. But Miley Cyrus is not well liked among black women in particular. So I wanted to play those two back-to-back, of her interview with Reverend Al Sharpton, but then introducing Miley. Is that going to piss off black women in America? DOWDELL: I don`t think it is going to be a big deal. Maybe some people will rant about it or vent about it on Twitter very briefly. But I don`t think it is going to be a big deal. The issue that black women in particular had with Hillary Clinton, and I would say it was a specific age group of black women, was that they found that she was dismissive or felt that she was dismissive of President Obama during the campaign, dismissive of his credentials, his accomplishments, and that is what created tension. Also they didn`t -- many black women don`t like when she hit President Obama on different policy points. They didn`t find that to be loyal in the way that a Joe Biden has shown just a tremendous amount of loyalty and support of the president. Those are the issues they have. They`re not very substantive issues. This is not very substantive so I don`t think it is going to last. MABRY: Joe Biden during that same campaign called President Obama clean and articulate. DOWDELL: Right. He was forgiven. And he came around and really showed himself to be a true advocate and supporter and partner for the president. WARREN: OK. I don`t want to get into substance issue. And Chris, I want to ask you, staying on personality and perception, will this work for Hillary Clinton in terms of trying to show a lighter side of her? And she hasn`t always been funny. I thought the clip last night was funny. She hasn`t always been funny. Let`s actually play just a little sound from a press conference where she`s trying to make a joke about her emails. Let`s take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You were the official in charge. Did you wipe the server? CLINTON: Well, like with a cloth or something? No. No. UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Digitally. CLINTON: I don`t know how it works digitally at all. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: OK. That was a massive fail at trying to crack a joke. Does it matter? BORICK: Yes, major fail. And it does, Dorian. And for her, it does. On policy issues, I think she`s in good shape. If you look at the Democratic electorate. If you look at the general electorate in the United States, where she`s hurting really badly is on those personal favorability. We talked about that before. And I think it was a major fail she said in those attempts to diffuse the issues with the emails, but she did well last night. Trump imitation. Her persona, she is in right situation. She might be pretty funny and it helped last night. WARREN: So will this work? Do you think that hit, Marcus, last night that sketch, will it work in terms of her perception? MABRY: It is a nice beginning. She`s not doing it every day, though. That`s what she hasn`t had to do. And I think it is good for her if she has a real challenge. And Bernie Sanders is not really the challenger who is going to make her funnier. Because Bernie Sanders is not that funny. On the other hand, Joe Biden out there cracking jokes, being really human and accessible, even if people were like I`ll never vote for this guy because he`s crazy. But if people are like I`d like to have a beer with him, I want to hang out with Biden, I go riding with Biden. Those people - - that kind of pressure will make Hillary say, look, you know, you better find your inner mom, sister, you know, because otherwise you`re not going to get elected. That would be really good for her. DAWSON: I`ve got about ten Republican candidates that would like for you all Democrats to start talking about each other. (LAUGHTER) WARREN: Speaking of vice president Biden, late last night vice president Biden was not campaigning for president. He was just giving a high-profile speech in front of an influential group that represents a key Democratic primary constituency. That`s all it really was. Not a campaign event at all, or was it? That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: The will he or won`t he speculations swirling around vice president Joe Biden doesn`t seem as vulnerable that up any time soon. Reports say that the VP will not participate on the first Democratic debate to be held on October 13th. And that he will likely reveal his plans in the second half of this month. In the meantime, there is plenty to fuel the continued speculation. The new Marist polls we have been discussing this morning show vice president Biden, when included on the list of candidates, doing reasonably well in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire. In fact, you can see he`s been gaining some ground all without campaigning. Well, without officially campaigning because the vice president has certainly not been hidden from public view recently. There was his emotional appearance on CBS` "Late Show with Stephen Colbert." He received a warmth welcome at the congressional black caucus breakfast just two weeks ago. He was there in Philadelphia to say farewell to Pope Francis at the end of the pontiff`s visit to the U.S. And just last night, the vice president was the keynote speaker at the annual dinner for the nation`s largest LGBT organization, human rights campaign. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The great arc of justice is the journey of this nation and it continues to move in the right direction and we`re moving closer and closer to the animating spirit of America because of all of you. The very fact that we finally recognize that love is not a political matter, it is a basic human right, the fact that we recognize that is because of you. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: One thing is certain, while Mr. Biden makes up his mind about whether or not to run for president he`s showing that being the sitting vice president can be awfully handy. So Marcus, I want to come to you first out of this because the HRC annual gala is, it is an important opportunity to address one of the key constituencies of the Democratic Party. And as you probably know, Hillary Clinton was invited. She had already been booked for "SNL" so they created breakfast for her. Was this a miss opportunity for her and how does this benefit vice president Biden? MABRY: It was a missed opportunity for her. But, you know, you have to make these choices. So if you have chosen HRC and Saturday Night Live, I think they made the right decision because LGBT people are going to be there for Hillary or for whoever the Democrat is. That`s is going to happen. Until the Republicans get over this obsession they have with what people do in the bedroom. And young Republicans are already over that. And it is really important that the party establishment realize that. You know, those young Republicans (INAUDIBLE) will tell you, I`m here at the convention, I`m a serious Republican, but this social issue stuff, this is silly. I don`t pay any attention. So Biden is a natural in that audience. And so, I think what you saw the love fest that was given to him by HRC last night is a threat to Hillary because a lot of people would love to -- especially a lot of gay men -- would like to go with Biden, just aren`t attracted to Hillary, you know, as they are him as a candidate. WARREN: All right. Speaking of the threat of vice president Biden to Hillary, she spoke with Reverend Al Sharpton on "Politics Nation" this morning about just what a threat of the Biden campaign would look like to her. Let`s take a listen and then I`m going to get you to respond, Tara. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: I have said repeatedly that this is a very hard time for the vice president for all the obvious reasons any of us can understand. And he has to have the space and time to make up his mind about what he wants to do. And I respect that. I don`t comment on it. I want him to do whatever he thinks is right for him and his family. So I`m going to run my campaign and make my case to the American people. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: OK, Tara, we know that vice president Biden came out very early. He beat both Hillary Clinton and President Obama in his support for marriage equality. Could he pull support away from secretary of state Clinton even without running? DOWDELL: Well, I think the polling is showing that he is pulling support away from secretary of state Clinton without running. I do think though that as far as Joe Biden is concerned, I think that he wants to be president. He has wanted to be president for decades. He wants it so bad he can taste it. And I said this actually on this network months and months ago. I don`t know if you remember. In the beginning of this year he went to several early voting states and made these speeches. And I said at that time he was testing the waters. Joe Biden is an outstanding retail politician. And he resonates with people, he connects with people in a way that many politicians do not. So if he were to run, if he does get in, which all the indicators are that he will right now, that could change, he will be formidable and, but the question is can he close because he hasn`t been able to close in the past. MABRY: Where I think he helps Hillary if he does get in, is because it will energize I think many African-American primary voters who are then going to take an interest in the selection. They would say well this was President Obama`s vice president for eight years. He is the inheritor of the Obama agenda, the Obama legacy. I need to be there for him. And even if they vote for him and not vote Biden in the primary, it is good for Hillary if she wins the candidacy in the end to have had those African- Americans energized during the primary campaign because otherwise they may not show up on general Election Day. And that will hurt her. DOWDELL: That helps her if she wins if President Obama and vice president Biden are fully supportive of her candidacy. Then that helps her. I think the issue for secretary of state Clinton though at this point is that there are still some jitters amongst African-American women in particular that she really needs to regain the trust and confidence of African-American women voters. Big part of the electorate in states like South Carolina. (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The general election she can`t fight for those fighters. WARREN: All right, Chris, I want to get you in here and ask you, does it matter? What`s the importance of LGBT voters as a core constituency of the Democratic Party in terms of this point Marcus is making about the competition between vice president Biden and secretary of state Clinton? And I actually want to play some sound of vice president Biden at the HRC dinner last night and get you to respond. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: My answer is what will constitute success is when under no circumstances, no gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person ever, ever has to ask the question, what do you think of me? That day`s within our reach because of you. You give us hope. You`re never silent. And together we can change not only this country, but the whole world. God bless you and may God bless our troops. Thank you. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: So Chris, he said very clearly together we can change this country and the world meaning there`s still work to do. Is this going to win over LGBT voters and donors? BORICK: Yes. I think one big thing that it the vice president has is that he`s seen among the LGBT community as moving the president, if it is a mistake or whatever when he issued a statement that really pushed the White House to come out on the issue, if you will. It`s won them over for a long time. He wants to have this group as part of a broader constituency that could be there for -- again, looking for weak spots in Hillary Clinton, be it among perhaps African-American women, be it perhaps within the LGBT community. Those are spots that Biden`s going to need if he`s going to get in. And I think he felt naturally very comfortable in that setting last night. He feels very comfortable in general right now on campaign trail. Every time you look at him he seems very relaxed. Now, that might change once the pressure starts coming on. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once he files the paperwork. WARREN: Marcus, "The New York Times," your employer, actually -- MABRY: My employer, not my newspaper. WARREN: So the -- you reported, your paper reported that the Hillary Clinton camp is making moves to check Joe Biden, whether it comes to delegates, donors, et cetera. Will, it at this stage, will it be enough to stop whatever momentum Biden has right now? MABRY: No. And in fact, it might go the other way. Because even listening to Hillary this morning on your network, you know, every time the Clinton campaign comes out and says poor Joe, he`s going through a lot right now, that kind of message could really piss him off and make him say, you know what? I`m the vice president of the United States and people like me better than you. Yes, I`m going to run. So I think there is really danger there. They`re trying to line up super delegates, these elected officials, people who are Democratic then, who have delegates to give away at the convention. They are trying to line them down now, lock them down now, which they did not do in the race against Obama so that they can actually be a formidable challenge to actually keep the vice president from even coming in to this base. WARREN: Katon, really quickly. Because we have been inside baseball of the Democratic primary. What`s the GOP strategy for LGBT? DAWSON: What is it? DOWDELL: Exactly! Exactly. DAWSON: The four bases of the two parties, we are talking about the religious right, pro-life movement on our side, you are talking about that. And I want to come back to your point that we missed it. Delegates. Organization. And that`s not sexy for our viewership, but let me tell you in a Republican primary, go look and see how many people have done ballot access. Hillary Clinton`s probably done ballot access. So there are a lot of things underneath that make success that we don`t see right. DOWDELL: Right, that`s true. WARREN: All right. Not enough time was as always, but we want to thank Marcus Mabry for joining us. The rest of our panel will be back in the next hour. And still to come this morning, a treasure troll of exclusive material. We have Ari Melber`s interview with Supreme Court justice Steve Breyer. And a preview of first lady Michelle Obama`s most animated appearance scheduled for tomorrow. But after the break, back to the Carolinas for an update on the historic flooding. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: South Carolina is still getting pummeled with rain unleashing some historic floods. Let`s go right to it the weather channel`s Jim Cantore. And Jim, this is a weather event unlike anything residents have seen in hundreds of years. JIM CANTORE, THE WEATHER CHANNEL: I think in terms of weather disasters, you have to go all the way back to hurricane Hugo in 1989. Certainly, in terms of the size of this disaster and certainly what it may cost by time it is all said and done. What`s breaking now in Columbia and Lexington, South Carolina, which is in the mid-state, the capital of the Palmetto state is really daunting. I mean, you got rivers, creeks that are coming out of their banks, flooding. We have water rescues, dozens and dozens of waters rescues. We hear reports, not confirmed, but it wouldn`t surprise me that we`re getting people evacuated out of their homes. They`re bringing in helicopters to help with that evacuation because there are people actually trapped in trees. These are all things that I`m hearing and cannot confirm at this time. But it certainly wouldn`t surprise me given what I`m looking at on the radar. So yesterday again it is Charleston. Last night it was Charleston again and North Charleston as well. We saw that ban move up into Georgetown. That`s an area that`s had many, many roads under water. They`ve done water rescues this morning as well. There is really not a lot of room here in the state of South Carolina. We`ve had two feet of rain. More than two feet of rain in the last 60 hours which is just unprecedented. We`ve set all sorts of records especially for the month of October which isn`t a super wet month in the state of South Carolina. But boy, I`ll tell you, the problem is we`re going to see this continue. If you think of this as a football game, Dorian, this is the third quarter of this football game, alright. We still have tonight and maybe tomorrow morning to go with this before the ban begins to diffuse itself a little bit. And that means Myrtle Beach is in play. Columbia is still in play. And I think many areas in the upstate as well that are getting tree damage and some flooded roads are in play. And then think about this. Right after all those rivers, the (INAUDIBLE). So the Santee and the Savanah River may go into major flood stage even after this even is over next week. We got a long way to go here in South Carolina. Big problems right now, though, Columbia, Lexington, under water. Back to you. WARREN: All right. Thank you to the Weather Channel`s Jim Cantore in Charleston, South Carolina. Coming up, a rare interview with the sitting Supreme Court justice as the court prepares to return to work tomorrow. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: Tomorrow the U.S. Supreme Court begins a new term in which the justices are expected to take on cases examining abortion, contraception, race and voting district boundary disputes. Earlier this week MSNBC`s chief legal correspondent Ari Melber had the opportunity to sit down with Justice Stephen Breyer for a rare one-on-one interview. Ari asked justice Breyer about his most significant opinions for the court including a dissent in a controversial ruling that stopped some school integration programs in 2007. They also talked about American courts` reckoning with a globalized world, a focal point of justice Breyer`s new book, "the court and the world." And the wide-ranging interview, they even discussed a Roman philosopher and politician, Cicero. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: You write in your new book about the Supreme Court`s role during war and you quote Cicero. Why? JUSTICE STEPHEN BREYER, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Cicero said hundreds of years ago, couple of thousand, he said in time of war, the laws fall silent. That means don`t look to the courts because a national security need. The president or Congress or whoever the leader is may simply ignore the law in the interest of national security. Francis Bitle, the attorney general for President Franklin Roosevelt during World War II said the same thing. He said very few presidents have paid a lot of attention to the constitution during war time. They feel the job is to win the war, we`ll worry about the constitution later. But then the new attitude, somewhat new, maybe only 80 years, but, 50, 60, 70 years, I think is well reflected in the court`s cases coming out of Guantanamo. There were four cases. There were four internees, four detainees, four people who were imprisoned in Guantanamo who were combatants in the war in Afghanistan. They were there during active fighting, captured. They brought cases against the president of the United States, the secretary of defense. This court in each case said that the detainee, the imprisoned person, won. They won the right to come in to court. Now the statement that I think is the most clear as to why is that written by Justice Sandra O`Connor which I joined. She said, in effect, she didn`t say it in these words, we are not Cicero. Forget Cicero. He`s gone. The constitution does not write a blank check to the president. It does not write a blank check allowing him to run over civil rights, to put people in prison for whatever reason he wishes, to take away their right to go to court. It does not write a blank check even during time of war or security emergency. Well, now the question is -- and I`m sure it`s occurred to you -- and to everyone who might hear her words, and mine -- well, what kind of check does it write? And that`s one of the great problems that will face this court. We have security threats from abroad. We`re not just dealing with our own nation. There are places all over the world that are threatened. And I think, and one of the reasons I`ve written this book, is to say we have to know more about what had goes on abroad. MELBER: But you mention the school integration case. I want to read from that. You wrote the last half century has witnessed great strides toward racial equality but we haven`t realized the promise of Brown versus board of education to invalid the plans under review in that case. You write is to threaten the promise of Brown and the position of the court, you say, would break that promise. Quote, "this is a decision the court and the nation will come to regret." Schooling, racial integration, equality, very important to this nation. Do you look back on that dissent that you wrote favorably? Do you think what you`ve warned has begun to come to pass? BREYER: I don`t really ask myself that question. I did feel strongly about it. I felt strongly that education is such a huge problem and part of it is tied up with race. That it is important to understand the constitution as granting to the local school boards or states or appropriate officials as much leeway as possible, as is reasonable in the circumstances, to take race, too, into account, in a positive way. That was the theory of my dissent. That was the thesis. And of course I thought it was important. I can`t think of a more important issue for us today than education and its involvement with race. Do I go back and look back at an opinion I wrote and try to measure it and say was I right, ha, ha, ha? No, I don`t. I wrote it. I learned this from Arthur Goldberg for whom I was a law clerk. He said you decided the case. Maybe you won it, maybe you lost it. And now what you do it is on to the next case and that is a much better attitude. (END VIDEOTAPE) WARREN: Our thanks to Ari Melber for that rare look into the thinking of one of our sitting Supreme Court justices. Coming up next, President Obama at his most passionate and Hillary Clinton calls it a blast from the Jim Crow past. You won`t believe what Arizona -- I`m sorry -- what Alabama just did. More Nerdland at the top of the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: Welcome back. I`m Dorian Warren in for Melissa. Torrential rains are drenching South Carolina unleashing dangerous floods. First responders spent much of the night answering rescue calls and those rescues are expected to continue throughout the day. Let`s go straight to NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins. And Bill, how long before people in that area might some relief? KARINS: Um, Tuesday. I mean, the people could be trapped in their homes for a couple of days. School`s already cancel tomorrow in some areas. A state of emergency telling everyone to stay in their homes for today. Hundreds of rescues from fire departments all over the state. Maybe even thousands of rescues have been taking place. Our NBC station in Charleston, a reporter just tweeted out this video here. This is highway 17 near Georgetown. And somehow they were able to get down the left side of the road. You can see one van that they passed there. This is the highway. This is Highway 17 right along the coast in South Carolina. And wait until you see the water levels here on this SUV that got trapped. And obviously these people either barely escaped or a fire department had to come and rescue these people. This is the story in Ft. Jackson, this is just east of Columbia, South Carolina. This is a dam collapse. Looks like a not too, like rock, kind of an earthen dam, we`ll call it. That collapsed. That`s almost like a downtown area. There`s literally no water left in the Seaman`s (ph) Lake. This is downtown Columbia, South Carolina. So, in Columbia you had six inches of rain in a short period of time last night and it is still raining now. Plus, we had numerous dam collapses. And all of that water is just piling up in the city of Columbia and in the lakes and rivers. This is a separate city. This is North Charleston, South Carolina. This image was sent out by the city of North Charleston. And this is the scene that is taking place all over the state right now. Fire Departments are in boats having to go rescue the children and the parents and the people in their homes that they woke up this morning surrounded by water, couldn`t drive their cars and they want to get those people out of their homes into safe areas. And you can just see the pictures and videos, it is not just one city. It is not one location. This is almost a state wide event and just an emergency and a flooding situation that we haven`t seen in South Carolina. Jim Cantore just mentioned maybe since Hugo back in `89, which that was a long time ago, a lot of people don`t remember what happened all the way back then. So, let me take you through the weather maps. Because we are not done with this event, obviously. We still have more problems with another image there. Backyards flooded all the way up to the bridges. I`ve heard of three hundred road closures in the city of Columbia itself. I-95 is closed. You can`t get north and south along the east coast through the state of South Carolina. This was sent in by the Lexington, South Carolina Police Department for Interstate Highway trooper actually. And just shown numerous roads are washed out. So, not only we have to wait for the water to recede but a lot of roads and bridges are going to have to be rebuilt after this. Our rainfall totals are definitely in the historic category. Boone Hall, plantation, two feet of rain. And it`s still raining there. Charleston is now up to 16. Columbia ten. Orangeburg eight. And we`re still adding to these totals. This hose of moisture has been in this area of South Carolina. The picture, this area of grey, I usually don`t want to see this on my maps, that`s off the charts on like ten-plus inches of rain. And here Dorian, finally the radar, we`re not done. We`re probably starting the fourth quarter of this event. We still have the day today of very heavy rain. Watch out around Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, thunderstorms producing two to three inches an hour and now hearing about major flash flooding starting to take place there. So, you get the fisher, I mean, South Carolina, this is about as bad as a weather event, kind of lot of even the old-timers will ever remember. WARREN: All right. Thank you to NBC`s Bill Karins. And let`s go now to Columbia, South Carolina where we`re joined by NBC News correspondent Sarah Dallof. And Sarah, people are staying endorse or are they trying to venture out? DALLOF: Now, they are venturing out Dorian, ignoring police from officials who are begging people to stay inside and off the roads. People coming out here. They want to photograph, they want to see this catastrophic destruction for themselves. And you can see just how encompassing it is. Its intersection just turned into a lake there behind me. When we first arrived we could still see the handles on the doors of some of those businesses back there now. The water level is almost to the top there. We`re seeing some of those buildings starting to lift a little bit from the power of the water. We`ve seen some collapses out there. Just a testament to the power of nature. This water is all from gills creek which rose seven feet in just three hours shattering previous records. As I said, officials just overwhelmed by the shear amount of calls there getting for trapped motorists, for swift water rescues, for downed power lines and downed trees. A lot of concerns out there right now. Meanwhile people encouraged to stay indoors but they`re coming out anyway to see what`s going on. Emergency shelters operating right now for those who have been forced out of their homes. No sign of things letting up any time soon Dorian during this very wet, very dangerous weekend in Columbia. Back to you. WARREN: Thank you to NBC`s Sarah Dallof in Columbia, South Carolina. Now we turn to the investigation, to the deadly shooting at an Oregon Community College. New details are emerging about the gunman who opened fire killing nine people Thursday. Chris Harper Mercer died after a firefight with law enforcement. But authorities have determined that his death was a suicide. They`ve also confirmed that Mercer was a student at the school. And that he was enrolled in the class where he opened fire. MSNBC`s Jacob Soboroff joins us now from Roseburg, Oregon. And Jacob, do you have some new information this morning about the emergency system at the school? SOBOROFF: Yes, we do, Dorian. You know, as people go to church this morning to remember the victims and as people start to resume their normal lives taking in as we see right here walking by us in front of Umpqua Community College on their mornings walks, the local paper this morning here, the news register reports that the early warning system at the college may not have functioned properly on the day of the shooting. Faculty members tell the paper and they also tell "The Oregonian," the paper here in Oregon that the system was just supposed to take over their computer screens and alert them to something happening. It did not happen. They didn`t receiving text messages that this was happening. And interim president of Umpqua Community College says it is too early to tell, she`d tell "The Oregonian" whether or not the system did in fact work but we will stay on top of this and hopefully have an answer on this soon. WARREN: Thank you to Jacob Soboroff from Roseburg, Oregon. The news out of Oregon first broke on Thursday, there was chaos and confusion as authorities worked to secure the scene and investigate the details of exactly what happened. But we have been here too many times before. The pictures from the scene were all too familiar as were the feelings we felt while we watched. Grief, shock, anger, outrage, frustration, resignation. And on Thursday, during a White House press conference to respond to the shootings, our President powerfully channeled all of those feelings when he spoke these words. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: As I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It`s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America. Next week or a couple months from now. We don`t yet know why this individual did what he did. And it`s fair to say that anybody who does this has a sickness in their minds, regardless of what they think their motivations may be. But we are not the only country on earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people. We are the only advanced country on earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few month months. You know, earlier this year I answered a question in an interview by saying, "The United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient common sense gun safety laws, even in the face of repeated mass killings." And later that day, there was a mass shooting in a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. That day! Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it, we`ve become numb to this. We`ve talked about this after Columbine and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston. It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun. And what`s become routine of course is the response of those who oppose any kind of common sense gun legislation. Right now I can imagine the press releases being cranked out. We need more guns, fewer gun safety laws. Does anybody really believe that? There are scores of responsible gun owners in this country. They know that`s not true. We know because of the polling that says that a majority of Americans understand we should be changing these laws, including the majority of responsible law abiding gun owners. There is a gun for roughly every man, woman and child in America. So how can you with a straight face make the argument that more guns will make us safer? We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest death. So the notion that gun laws don`t work or just will make it harder for law abiding citizens and criminals will still get their guns is not born out by the evidence. We know that other countries in response to one mass shooting have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours. Great Britain. Australia. Countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: Even after all of that, the President still wasn`t done. More on the shooting from President Obama and the guest at my table up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: On Thursday in the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting in Oregon, we saw President Obama give a press conference in which he responded with all the feelings. But as it turned out the next day, following another address about the resignation of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the President still had a few more feelings about mass shootings that he wanted to share. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: If we`re going to do something about that, the politics has to change. The politics has to change. And the people who are troubled by this have to be as intense and as organized and as adamant about this issue as folks on the other side. You have to make sure that anybody who you are voting for is on the right side of this issue. And if they`re not, even if they`re great on other stuff, for a couple of election cycles, you got to vote against them and let them know precisely why you voted against them. And you just have to for a while be a single issue voter because that`s what is happening on the other side. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: With me now, Katon Dawson, national republican consultant and South Carolina GOP chair. Tara Dowdell, business and political marketing consultant and president of the Tara Dowdell Group. And Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion and professor of Political Science at Muhlenberg College. And Kate, I want to start with you. Because after the shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, there is enough public outrage and political will to bring down the confederate flag and you were part of that change. Why can`t that powerful emotion also fuel meaningful changes around gun laws? DAWSON: You know, you look at the poll numbers, even the South Carolina, 80 percent of the public want stronger background checks. I think it`s now become an American problem, not a republican problem, not a democrat problem. And it`s such a big issue with a lot of money involved on both sides. I think seeing the President talking about elections and making it a campaign issue is probably one of the first times I`ve seen that, say you know, this is something you`ll need to vote on. I`m not sure in my business that that`s an issue that will take you out of office. It is probably an issue that will help you now and I suspect in our next governor`s race we`ll see something about it because the wounds from the Charleston Emanuel Nine will stay forever. The sickness of the individuals, the guns, the shooting around the corner from my house of a young 32-year-old man, policeman in Forest Acres was three days ago with a gun that was stolen. A couple of children. I mean, those things are real personal and it is everywhere now. So, I think it is -- I think you have to not depoliticize it but you have to de-party it. And you`ll see just like the present stuff we talked about yesterday Dorian where you had Cory Booker, Tim Scott and others were doing kind of sentencing reforms in federal prisoners. I think this is an issue that we`ll find a lot of common ground on. WARREN: Okay. So, on this point about the politics of this. I want to take a listen to the republican presidential candidate`s response to the shooting and then get your response to their response. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But you know, no matter what you do, guns, no guns, it doesn`t matter. You have people that are mentally ill and they`re going to come through the cracks and they`re going to do things that people will not even believe are possible. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, I don`t believe that gun control would stop this. SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I always find it interesting that the reflexive reaction to the Left is to say we need more gun laws. DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You`re not going to handle it with more gun control because gun control only works for normal law abiding citizens. Doesn`t work for crazies. JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, it`s very sad to see but I resist the notion -- and I had this challenge as governor, because we have -- look. Stuff happens. There he always a crisis. And the impulse is always to do something and it is not necessarily the right thing to do. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: All right. Tara, so, those are all very consistent responses from the republican presidential candidates. Different actually from what Katon just said about not depoliticizing but de-partying this issue. What do you make of the President`s opposite strategy of politicizing this and creating single issue voters around gun legislation? DOWDELL: I think he has to do that. I think he`s doing what needs to happen. Unfortunately, despite what Katon is saying, we saw from the very own mouths of the republican presidential candidates that they are opposed to any kind of laws or protections around guns. That is the bottom-line. That was their immediate reaction and it was consistent across the board. Not one of them deviated from the talking points on this issue. And the problem is that people are dying. More preschoolers are killed in this country by gun violence than police officers who are in gun battles with people. That should scare people. It should scare people. This is a problem. And I will raise the point that John Oliver raised which I thought was perfect on this issue. One guy had a bomb in his shoe on the airport that didn`t even properly go off and we all have to take our shoes off. Because of that. But meanwhile, we`ve had one mass murder, every day on average in this country, and there`s not one thing being done about it. This is a party issue. The Republican Party with some Democrats, very few but some, have repeatedly opposed any kind of reform on this issue despite the polling, despite the public. WARREN: Okay. Okay. So, on this point in the polling, Chris. So, the polling is interesting in this because if we look at national polls around this issue and we have a poll from Pew released in August that shows a majority of support on every proposed gun regulation and even within the parties, majorities are near majority support. Katon mentioned a poll right out of South Carolina, that shows 80 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Democrats supporting background checks in that state. Why is it so hard when there is almost consensus at least in South Carolina, why can we not change the law? Why aren`t policymakers responsive to polls and is this a unique issue in American politics? BORICK: Yes. It is a great question, Dorian. You`re right. It is hard to find a poll that you don`t see those numbers aligned with overwhelming support among Republicans, among Democrats, among Americans. As Katon says, it is an American issue. What really it comes down to a lot is two factors. First saliency. And I think that`s where the President was going on the issue. The President was making the case that for a lot of voters, it`s yes, if you ask them in a poll, do they want change? They`re going to say, yes. However, how important is it to you? For gun owners and gun rights advocates it`s always been an incredibly salient issue. And they push hard on that and they call their congressmen, they call their senators, and Jeb Bush, and they give money and then make that a central. The President very pragmatic, very good advice if you`re invested in this interest. You have to up your game to actually do that. And I think he`s given pragmatic and correct advice. WARREN: All right. Up next, it may not be the cold war but there is a definite chill in the air when the President talks about Russia. His message to Vladimir Putin when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: This morning we learned that Russian bombs continue to rain down on Syria for a fifth day in a row despite international concerns over Moscow`s intentions and the war-torn nation. Since the air strikes began on Wednesday, tensions have intensified over whether Russian`s military involvement is targeting ISIS as the Russian government says, or whether these strikes are actually an attempt to bolster the regime of embattled President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Russia`s closest Middle East ally. In the wake of this action, President Obama has come under fire for his handling of the Syrian conflict which critics say has created a vacuum in which Islamic extremists as well as Russia have gained strength in the region. Friday in a wide ranging news conference the President tackled the criticism head-on and had some tough words about Russian President Vladimir Putin. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Regardless of what Mr. Putin said was that he doesn`t distinguish between ISIL and a moderate Sunni opposition that wants to see Mr. Assad go. From their perspective they`re all terrorists. And that`s a recipe for disaster. And it`s one that I reject. Mr. Putin had to go in to Syria not out of strength but out of weakness. Because his client, Mr. Assad, was crumbling and it was insufficient for him simply to send them arms and money. Now, he`s got to put in his own planes and his own pilots. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: Joining the panel is Alexander Kliment, director of Eurasia Practice at the Eurasia Group. And Alex, I want to ask you about the two different visions that President Obama and President Putin have. Is there any middle ground here? ALEXANDER KLIMENT, DIRECTOR, EURASIA PRACTICE AT THE EURASIA GROUP: It`s very difficult to see middle ground at the moment. Right? The big -- everyone agrees that ISIS is abhorrent and is a regional threat with global implications. The point of disagreement is how do you deal with that. Right? The Russians say in order to deal with ISIS, you need first to secure and stabilize the Assad regime, and then maybe go after ISIS. The Americans say, no, actually you need to weaken and remove Assad, and then you can go after ISIS. Both reasonable arguments on both sides. The difference is that the Russians are actually putting skin in the game on their side of the argument. Right. The U.S. has not done a very good job of bolstering the forces that are seeking to remove Mr. Assad whereas Russia has now put a tremendous amount of military hardware behind the project of strengthening him. And until the U.S. really sort of -- I mean, the U.S. basically has two choices. Right? One is to move closer to the Russian position which is that Assad should stay in power. WARREN: Uh-hm. KLIMENT: The other is to put a lot more skin of our own in the game to remove Mr. Assad from power. The first option may be a little embarrassing. The second option may be a little catastrophic if it leads to a war torn, U.S. and Russia and Syria. WARREN: Okay. And speaking of that, what is the impact on the relationship between the U.S. and Russia, one that`s already deeply strained? KLIMENT: Uh-hm. I mean, it`s certainly not making things better. The Russians and the Americans have talked about doing deconfliction which is sort of a way to make sure that no one steps on each other`s toes. It`s a difficult concept to actually put into practice. I think the real game for Russia here is the relationship with Europe. What Putin has done here is to make himself indispensable on the Syria question which touches the refugee question in Europe which is the number one political problem for Europe right now, both dealing with the refugees and cutting off the source of refugee flows. So, Putin is using Syria to really kind of repair his relationship with Europe which was badly damaged over the Ukraine crisis. I think that`s the real angle here from the Russian perspective. WARREN: All right. There`s been a lot of criticism about this so-called Obama doctrine. And I want to play some sound first from Obama in August of 2012 talking about the red line. So, let`s take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus, that would change my equation. In taking direct action we must uphold standards that reflect our values. That means taking strikes only when we face a continuing imminent threat. And only where there is no certainty -- there is near certainty of no civilian casualties, for our actions should meet a simple test -- we must not create more enemies than we take off the battlefield. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: So that last clip was the President speaking at West Point in 2014. And I guess the question to you Alex is, with this week`s air strikes, is the so-called Obama doctrine failing and what are the difficult choices the Obama administration faces when it comes to Syria? KLIMENT: Right. Well, I think the problem that the Obama administration has had in Syria is similar to the problem that they`ve had in Ukraine, which is that they`ve set up red lines, very high-mindedly leads that set out, red lines what should and shouldn`t be done but they`re red lines that they don`t have either the political will or the popular support and maybe Christopher can call me on this. The populist support to actually enforce. When Putin told -- when Obama told Putin you should not take Crimea, and should not destabilize southeastern Ukraine, Putin knew full well that there was no real muscle behind those pronouncements. And similarly on Syria. The problem for U.S. foreign policy in Syria and more broadly in the Middle East is the problem of clearly defining interests, clearly -- defining coherent interests. Is this about democratization? Is it about stabilizing the Middle East? Is it about fighting terrorism? You can`t have all three at once at the same time. All right? And I think the problem for the U.S. has been in the Middle East we`re constantly trying to square these circles that end up being triangles. WARREN: Okay. So, you said that Putin basically looks at the U.S. and argues that there`s no muscle, especially around Ukraine and the takeover of Crimea. Yet, the President said earlier as we saw that Putin is operating from a position of weakness and not strength. Is he right on that? KLIMENT: Well, in terms of financial resources, military resources, there`s no question that the U.S. is -- dwarfs Russia. But what Putin has done very shrewdly is to identify points where he can exploit his sort of asymmetrical advantages. Right? Ukraine matters so much more to Russia than it does to the U.S. that Putin knew he could push the envelope there. Similarly I think with Syria. Russia has a clear objective in Syria, keep Assad in power and then deal with everything else afterwards. The U.S. is sort of well, we want Mr. Assad to go. But are we going to put resources behind that? And if not, it`s very confused. I mean, Putin is definitely weaker -- Russia is weaker than the U.S. WARREN: I have to interrupt this discussion for a moment because we are going to take a listen now to President Obama in Emmitsburg, Maryland where he`s speaking live at the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service honoring firefighters who died in the line of duty this year and in 2014. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: They might save the lives of people that they`ve never met. They are good stewards serving their neighborhoods, their communities, our nation, with courage and fortitude and strength. We can never repay them fully for their sacrifices. But today we gather to honor 87 brave firefighters who gave their lives in service to us all. Our prayers are with their families. Many of whom honor us with their presence today. You remember them as moms and dads, siblings and spouses, friends and neighbors. Today we remember them and salute them as the heroes that they were. It`s hard to think of a more selfless profession than firefighting. There`s a reason why firefighting occupies a special place in our imaginations, why little boys and increasing cannily little girls say I want to be a fireman, I want to be a firefighter. They understand instinctually that there`s something special about it. Imagine what it takes to put on that heavy coat and that helmet and override the natural human instinct for self-preservation and run into danger as others are running away. To literally walk through fire knowing that you might never make it out because you`re trying to save people that are strangers. Yet the fallen we honor today would probably have said that they were just ordinary Americans who were doing work they believed in. Carrying on a tradition as old as America itself. There is a humility that seems to be part of being a firefighter. From rural communities to inner cities, those we honor today lived a fundamental principle that binds us all as Americans, that I am my brother`s keeper, I am my sister`s keeper. WARREN: Okay, we`ll going to continue to monitor the President`s remarks this morning but we need to take a quick break now. My thanks to Alex Kliment. And still to come, why Alabama could soon be the new front line in the fight for voting rights? But when we come back, the latest on the catastrophic flooding drenching much of the Carolinas. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: South Carolina is dealing with historic floods this morning and roads have become impassable and in some areas residents are evacuating their neighborhoods as water begins to enter their homes. Let`s go now to Columbia, South Carolina where we are a joined by NBC News correspondent Sarah Dallof. Sarah. SARAH DALLOF, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Dorian. You know, overnight these heavy rains moved in just as forecasters had predicted, and now the result -- catastrophic flooding here in Columbia. A lot of people right now ignoring pleas by officials to please stay home and off the roads. Instead, coming out to take photos, to see it for themselves. Some of them getting into trouble. You can see a car actually there, back there behind me, submerged up to its roof by water. There are more cars in that intersection as well, believe it or not. We talked to one family. They were headed to pick up their mother from the hospital when they said they were in the intersection. The water just came upon them and the next thing they knew they were completely stranded. They had to wait about two-and-a-half hours for rescuers. And by the time they arrived, the family was actually on the roof of the car. They say another ten minutes and they`re not sure if they would have made it. They say they are very thankful for the emergency response and they are praying for other people who may find themselves stranded in the storm. This water behind me creating the lake out at this intersection, this is coming from Gillis Lake. It rose seven feet in the mirror three hours that just shattered all previous records. Meanwhile, we`re also seeing a lot of downed trees, a lot of power outages in this area. It is a historic home Dorian, it`s a historic flood and storm Dorian just as forecasters predicted. Back to you. WARREN: All right. Thank you to NBC`s Sarah Dallof in Columbia, South Carolina. And let`s go to Charleston, South Carolina where we find The Weather Channel`s Jim Cantore. And Jim, you`ve spoken with state officials this morning. How are they comparing? THE WEATHER CHANNEL METEOROLOGIST: Well, right now they`re trying to get additional resource. Tom was, you know, he had a, you know, pretty interesting tone to his voice. I mean, he`s very concerned obviously. Tom Barry who we talked to with the South Carolina emergency management about actually the need for additional resources especially in the rescue area. Right now the situation in Columbia, as well as in the Richland County area around Columbia is where they have people they need to get to but there`s just not enough resources to get to them. So, that`s the problem, that`s always a problem in a disaster. The good news is that people can get high enough and stay high enough they can wait it out. Now, again, this is all unfolding. And I caution everybody, when there`s a flood and there`s moving water, and water flowing downhill, there`s other problems that begin to ensue and other areas that begin to flood as with. But we have a pretty, pretty good idea of where the two main problems are right now. Again in Richland County and also off into the southeast part of Columbia City. So, big, big problems with rain. They had a foot of rain, in some cases 12 to 15 inches of rain overall, large area overnight. And if you go out of Columbia, you actually go off field a little bit. So, all that water is trying to get to the main stem river to Santi that goes into the Columbia. As its doing that, that`s taking creeks the streams and really water sceneries or reservoirs are over their banks. And that`s the problem here this morning. So, where we`re going to watch Dorian over the next 24 hours, is really a continuation of this rain. The forecast right now calling for another six to ten inches of rain. The rates at which it fall will make a difference but the problem is, any additional rain will just exacerbate this problem. And even after the steady rainfalls here in South Carolina which should be tomorrow afternoon at some point, we will still have to deal with the river flooding. That may go on for a good part of the week. This is a horrible disaster certainly for many areas in South Carolina. Back to you. WARREN: All right. Thank you to the Weather Channel`s Jim Cantore in Charleston, South Carolina. Still to come this morning, our exclusive preview of First Lady Michelle Obama`s special appearance scheduled for tomorrow. In Alabama, polls an October surprise. And it is a terrible one. Details on the newest battle over voting rights when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: Here on MHP as part of our reporting on the electorate`s right to be heard and represented, we make it a point to track concerns about voter suppression which is why this week we turn our attention to Alabama where voting just became that much harder in 28 counties. This week the Alabama State legislature had to figure out how to slice its budget ahead of next fiscal year. The solution -- fewer parks, five state parks would be closed, fewer National Guard armories and 31 fewer offices that provide driver`s licenses. Now, this might sound like a simple local inconvenience but the decision could actually result in voter disenfranchisement for many members of the community. Because of a 2011 state bill that made driver`s licenses or special photo I.D.s a requirement for voting, the office closures make the path to the ballot box that much harder for the quarter million registered Alabama voters who don`t have the required I.D.s. And minority communities could be hit the hardest. Of the ten counties with the highest percentage of non-white registered voters, eight will see their driver`s license offices closed. In fact, all counties where black citizens comprise 75 percent of registered voters will no longer have a driver`s license office. Alabama activists and journalists have been very vocal about this issue with one columnist writing, quote, "It is not just a civil rights violation, it is not just public relations nightmare, it is not just an invitation for worldwide scorn and an alarm bell to the Justice Department. It is an affront to the very notion of justice in a nation where one man, one vote is as precious as oxygen." Joining me from DC is the Advancement Project, director of Voter Protection Program, Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez. And Katherine, what are the possible courses of action for Alabama citizens whose votes might be hampered by this decision? KATHERINE CULLITON-GONZALEZ, DIRECTOR, VOTER PROTECTION PROGRAM: I would say the most important course of action is to continue to protest because this is something that is not going to be able to be changed one voter at a time. The state has clearly made a policy trying to disenfranchise certain blocks of voters. Over 500,000 people don`t have the type of voter I.D. that Alabama is asking for. The majority are overwhelming African-American and this latest move is only going to make it harder for African-Americans to vote. So, we need to make sure to continue to protest and tell the state to stop disenfranchising voters of color, as well as anyone else who doesn`t have the I.D. WARREN: Okay. In terms of protests how likely are we to see this decision reversed or altered in some way as a result of litigation and what would that process look like? CULLITON-GONZALEZ: Well, Alabama used to be covered under Section 5 of the voting rights act in which they had to preclear all of their voting changes. This wouldn`t have happened unless the Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the voting rights act or the formula behind it in 2013. What we`re left with is another section of the voting rights act, section 2, which does also prohibit discrimination in voting and all these indicia show a very strong case that Alabama is in violation of the anti- discrimination provisions of the voting rights act. The problem with litigation is it takes a long time, it is very expensive. Even when the Department of Justice acts, it takes a long time and is very expensive. And so that`s why I would say the state of Alabama should just drop the voter I.D. law. It is clearly going to disenfranchise many people. It did in 2014. And it clearly is racially discriminatory. WARREN: Hillary Clinton released a statement this week saying this is only going to make it harder for people to vote. It is a blast from the Jim Crow past. Katon, talk to me about what the strategy is here of the republican-controlled legislature and the agency responsible for closing these offices. This looks very suspicious. DAWSON: It might look suspicious. I made a call in to Alabama last night when we saw the topics and asked a legislator there to give me the breakdown what it was. And I will never waver on I believe you need an I.D. to vote. You need an I.D. to go in the courthouse. We`ve been over this. I.D. to get on the airport. I do think in Alabama`s defense, they probably have the largest number and you put it on the screen, of I.D.s that you can have. All the way down to travel I.D. military I.D., one thing we don`t have in South Carolina is a school I.D. So, to the legislature`s defense, they have a wide swath of identifications to have. I think all probably have a picture on them. I mean it might look suspect but then again, so did the parks, so did the National Guards, so did everything else. So, and these folks have to balance their budgets. That`s how I saw it. The other things will go out in the courts and they`ll play out in the courts. And she`s right, any time you get into court, it is litigious in time. But I still haven`t seen any evidence yet, that a lot of voter I.D.s laws from the number of people voting in the ballot boxes has had that big an impact, I haven`t seen yet. I haven`t seen in South Carolina. WARREN: So, Katherine, I want you to respond to this. Is this really just about budgets? Or is there some other story here about how those 28 counties were chosen to be -- to have driver`s license offices closed? CULLITON-GONZALEZ: Well, I would say, even if it is just about budgets, the idea of a voter I.D. law that`s unnecessary, absolutely unnecessary to stop any type of proven voter fraud or even alleged voter fraud that disenfranchises 20 percent of the electorate has got to be wrong, it`s got to be wrong in our democracy. It may be easy to say we need an I.D. to get on a plane or go places. That`s not the reality of the 500,000 people in Alabama who live in rural areas, who would need to get a ride, who would need to spend a few hours of time, come up with the money in order to get this type of strict voter I.D. to vote. And time after time again, we`ve proven that these voter I.D. laws do absolutely nothing to make our elections, without voter fraud. And what we really need is for election officials to concentrate on free and fair and accessible elections. There`s just no reason for this voter ID law. And turnout did decrease in 2014. WARREN: Katherine, we`re out of time. Unfortunately, I want to thank you very much, Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez in Washington, DC. And here in New York, thank you to Katon Dawson, Tara Dowdell, and Christopher Borick. Safe travels back to South Carolina, Katon. DAWSON: Sure. Thank you. WARREN: Up next, exclusive footage of Michelle Obama like you`ve never seen her. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: For three years now in this program, we`ve been bringing you news to Doc McStuffins. Doc for those who don`t know is a Disney junior cartoon character and stars in the eponymous show "Doc McStuffins." At six-years- old she`s a doctor to stuffed animals and toys regularly treating them in her backyard clinic. Her mother is a regular people doctor. If you don`t have children or cartoons just aren`t your thing, you may not be all that familiar with doc. So, let me just make clear for the uninitiated. Doc McStuffins is huge. Debuting in 2012, the show quickly became a top rated show among kids age two to five. In 2013, merchandise based on the character grossed $500 million. In 2014, a life size doc appeared alongside none other than First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House and a salute to military veterans and their families. This year, the show`s creator Chris Nee accepted a Peabody award in the children youth category. Celebrities have flocked to Doc. Geena Davis, Molly Shannon, Jeffrey Tambor, Lisa Loeb, Jim Belushi. All have loaned their voices to characters on the show. It`s not lost on anyone that Doc is something special. And the cartoon world of largely white princesses and male superheroes, Doc McStuffins is a rare African- American she-ro who stars in her own show and helps inspire all kids but especially young girls of color. Expires them all to be excited about the field of medicine. And now just in time for child health day, which is tomorrow, by the way, a special new episode of Doc McStuffins with a very special guest star will premiere on Disney Jr. and the episode entitled "Doc McStuffins goes to Washington," First Lady Michelle Obama gets animated. Here`s our exclusive preview. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our next kidspiration kid is Doc McStuffins. (APPLAUSE) Doc takes such amazing care of all of her friends. And having shared the dance floor with her, I know she can bust a move. UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I sure can. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doc, in recognition of everything you did to help an injured toy here today, we want to ask if you`ll be the official White House toy doctor. UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Yes! I will. Thank you. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone, the Doc is in. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: Hit show, economic titan, Peabody Award and now friend of Flotus. For Doc McStuffins, the achievements just keep piling up. And we couldn`t be happier for her. Way to go, Doc. That`s our show for today. And thanks to you at home for watching. Melissa will be back next Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Now it`s time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT." Alex. ALEX WITT, MSNBC HOST, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT": It was fun to have you here, Dorian. Thank you so much. Hey, everyone. We`re going to take you up and down the East Coast for live reports on this massive storm that just keeps dumping more and more rain on the Carolinas. Also the new clue found as the Coast Guard desperately searches for a U.S. cargo ship which went missing during the hurricane with Americans on board. Donald Trump`s shrinking lead. We`re going to show you the news numbers from the latest NBC News poll. And Hillary Clinton`s surprise appearance on "Saturday Night Live." You can`t miss this. It`s so fun. Don`t go anywhere. I`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END