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Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 10/24/15

Guests: Eric Boehlert, Aimee Meredith Cox, Alfonso Aguilar, Jamelle Bouie,Karen Finney, Sarah Jane Glynn, Jeff DeGraff, Kenji Yoshino, Nancy Northup,Brielle Siskin

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hurricane Patricia, the strongest ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, hit land. The storm was still firmly within category 5 range when it made landfall last night, packing winds of up to 165 miles per hour. As the center of the storm now drags across Mexico, Patricia is rapidly weakening. It is now a tropical storm. But the heavy rain still poses some danger to parts of Mexico and even south Texas. Joining me now, MSNBC meteorologist Bonnie Schneider. What lies ahead today? BONNIE SCHNEIDER, MSNBC METEOROLOGIST: We`re watching for that threat of flooding, even though the storm certainly has dissipated, as you mentioned, and a tropical storm, but it will still bring some rainfall through central Mexico. And of course the risk for mudslides, landslides, because of all that water coming down. But there`s still another threat we need to talk about and it`s happening right now. Look at these red boxes. These indicate the flash flood warnings at present. We already had record rainfall in many locations. But look at this, it still continues to rain, heavy rain training through Austin, Texas right now. The next stop for all this rain is actually Houston. So when we zoom into the area where we`ve seen the heaviest rain, like Corsicana, where there have been 15, 16 inches of rain. The problem is more is to come, and all is shifting to the east. So there`s Houston getting some light to moderate rain right now, but with the energy from Patricia as well as moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, we have a stalled front, it all works together to bring this. 6.3 inches expected over the next three days in Houston, Texas. But we`re also looking at a threat for southwest Louisiana as well, and all the way along the border there. So Port Arthur, Beaumont, we`re going to see a lot of rain in these areas, where it`s been dry for a while, Melissa. That`s why it`s so dangerous to get all this rain at once, really will make for some treacherous flooding. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to MSNBC`s Bonnie Schneider. We`re going to check in with you a little later in the program. Still to come this morning, we`ll also have highlights of Rachel Maddow`s interview with Hillary Clinton, and Kenji Yoshino is going to be here to explain how the Supreme Court may be about to take up crucial cases on abortion access. But we turn first to a question of leadership. Wednesday brought the highly anticipated news. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT: As my family and I have worked through the grieving process, I`ve said all along what I`ve said time and again to others. That it may very well be that that process, by the time we get through it, closes the window on mounting a realistic campaign for president. That it might close. I`ve concluded it has closed. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: And with that, Vice President Biden publicly announced he would not seek the Democratic nomination for the presidency. For weeks, the question of whether the VP would run animated political observers, media and even many voters, with many just counting the days until his announcement. But despite the anticipation, we knew it was going to take a while. Because the vice president and his family have been hurting since the loss of their beloved son, husband, brother and father, Beau Biden. It`s an incomprehensible loss that could strip anyone of the emotional resources needed just to carry on, let alone run for president. And Mr. Biden had warned us that his emotional capacity in the wake of Beau`s death might keep him from running. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: I don`t think any man or woman should run for president unless, No. 1, they know exactly why they would want to be president, and, two, they can look at the folks out there and say, I promise you, you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy and my passion to do this. And I`d be lying if I said that I knew I was there. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: But Wednesday, the vice president told us he thankfully was there emotionally, and that his family was there with him. He told us it was not a matter of grief, it was a matter of time. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: Unfortunately, I believe we`re out of time. The time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So there will be no Joe. And I for one am disappointed. Okay, maybe not like Lesley Nope (ph) disappointed, but I did want the vice president to run. I wanted Joe Biden to really want to be president. Let me say it a little bit differently. Because this is about more than just Mr. Biden. I want the vice president in a successful two-term presidency to want to seek the Oval Office. I know Mr. Biden and his family have been grieving a tremendous loss. I know it`s almost impossible to see how he could win. But I wanted him to want it anyway, because well, hell, it`s the American presidency. And it is a nearly unfathomable privilege to be anywhere within the stratosphere of being able to compete for that office. Come on, admit it, political nerds, you have at some point supported one of those quixotic candidates, a candidate who threw her hat into the ring with little name recognition and even fewer dollars. Or maybe you supported him even if he couldn`t win because he had such a vision for what he could do as a school board member or city councilman or even a president that you bought into. I`m not suggesting for example that lost causes are somehow more authentic than carefully strategized campaigns. But there is something about the willingness to just do it, to run, that is necessary for feeding this American project in self-government. And it is worth pointing out that sometimes very long-shot candidates do indeed win. In this year`s Republican race, currently shaping up to be one of the most expectation exploding elections in recent memory. I even think Senator Sanders is surprised to find himself running as strongly as he has thus far. And yet we`re hearing politicians like Congressman Paul Ryan decide to pursue top level leadership if and only if victory is a foregone conclusion. On Thursday, Ryan did officially announce his bid for the speakership, but only after all three major factions of House Republicans endorsed him. I guess that`s good for him, but I`m worried about our system when the certainty of victory is a precondition for getting in the race. So even if he didn`t think he could win, I needed Vice President Biden to want it. Because being the president is a really big deal. And here`s the thing, I kind of think the vice president is predisposed to thinking the same way. Because I want you to listen to him telling the American people that he`s not running. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: I believe the huge sums of unlimited and often secret money pouring into our politics is a fundamental threat to our democracy. We need, as the president`s proposed, to triple the child care tax credit. That alone will lead to dramatic increase in the number of women able to be in the workforce. If I could be anything, I would have wanted to be the president that ended cancer. Because it`s possible. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: No, sir, I like you, Mr. Vice President, but this is just mean. You cannot tell me you are not running for president and then set out a vision of campaign finance reform, gender equity and curing cancer, restoring optimism that would have happened if you had been elected. That is like flirting with me at the party all night long, refusing to ask me out on a date, and then telling me how cute our kids would have been. No, no, no. Now, no one can forget and no one should underestimate the gravity of the loss that Vice President Biden has suffered. But watching the vice president, one from a successful administration, outline his would-be presidential agenda, and yet declining to run, has renewed my anxieties about a troubling anemia affecting the Democratic Party. Say what you want about the GOP choices this year, but at least a whole lot of Republicans want to be president. And over on the Democratic side, it`s easy to get the sense that many party leaders looked at that really cool house over on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and shrugged their shoulders and said meh, largely because they didn`t think they had the numbers or the funding or the time to get through the doors. But if the only people who respond to the call to run are those who could assuredly win the office, what are we left with? Members of wealthy families. Maybe political dynasties exclusively dominating the race for the highest office. Not the stuff of a thriving democratic system. Joining me now, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who is also the former Democratic National Committee chair, and an MSNBC contributor. Alfonso Aguilar, who is executive director of the American Principles Projects Latino Partnership. Aimee Meredith Cox, assistant professor of African- American studies, Fordham University, and author of a really great book which we didn`t put the title in there. (LAUGHTER) HARRIS-PERRY: It`s fantastic. And Eric Boehlert, who is the senior fellow at Media Matters for America. Sorry, Aimee, we`re going to plug the book later. Mr. Dean, I want to come to you. What are your thoughts? Am I wrong on this? HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: I think we`re in a better shape than you think as a democracy. I do agree with Joe on Citizens United. It`s a total disaster, because it`s demoralizing to 80 percent of the American people who don`t think anything they do counts. And so it is a disaster. Look, Joe, Joe`s run twice. He definitely has the heart for it. The problem is, he`s at 20 percent in the polls, everybody loves him, and he has 100 percent name recognition, and he hasn`t started campaigning yet. So that`s his ceiling. He at some point, you don`t do this because -- it`s too much to put your family through. And Hillary is an incredible candidate. HARRIS-PERRY: I hear you. I do. Particularly on the family part. When you don`t see a clear pathway to victory. That said, you know this maybe better than anyone else, for Democrats to win in the general, we got to have big turnout. And what happened in `08, all that anxiety about that hard-fought, very long primary, actually ended up being really good for Democrats. And I wonder, with Mr. Biden choosing not to get in, if Democrats had now lost that. DEAN: There`s another issue. And it`s one -- I mean, I had decided to support Hillary a long time ago, so it wasn`t an issue for me. But if I wanted to run now, I wouldn`t, because Bernie`s got my slot, essentially, the insurgent. And he`s doing great. So there`s a lot of things that go into this. It`s not -- having done it once, having found a candidate that I thought would be a better president than I, why would you do it? Just for the sake of doing it? I thought that Hillary would be the best president of the all people who are running by far. HARRIS-PERRY: I got you. And if he`d opted out, if the vice president had opted out and said, I`m out because I`m looking at Hillary Clinton and I say to myself, but that ain`t what he did. He dug a little hole. He planted a little shady tree. He put it over. And I was, like, excuse me, sir, again. If you`re not running -- this is tough for me. DEAN: The thing is, his heart said to do it. But he listened to his head. HARRIS-PERRY: I gave the Republicans a lot of credit here by saying there is a robust group that are running on the Republican side. But when you look at the leaders, they actually -- the current folks leading in the polls. They actually are not office holders. There`s one part that makes me say, okay, democracy`s good on the Republican side, because folks who aren`t -- who aren`t even currently in office are willing to jump in. But it also makes me concerned when for example Mr. Ryan is eschewing leadership a little bit and the folks on the Republican side who may be best positioned aren`t running. ALFONSO AGUILAR, EXEC. DIR., LATINO PARTNERSHIP: Let me say, look, on the Republican side, I think the message voters are sending right now is they`re frustrated with Washington. We have a Republican Congress. And they`re not governing. They`re not legislating. I think they sent them there to do something different. To advance certain principles. They can`t agree among themselves. In terms of Paul Ryan, look, he knows what John Boehner went through. He doesn`t want to go through that. He wants to make sure that if they elect him speaker, they`re at least going to respect him. Not just going to go against him every time he proposes something. Let me just say one thing about Joe Biden. As a Republican, I would have loved to see Joe Biden in the race. I think he would have challenged Hillary. He would have made those debates certainly much more interesting. I mean, the last debate was so boring, everybody was in agreement. And certainly would have been a great contrast. He`s an authentic, honest man, and I think he will be a great contrast with Hillary. HARRIS-PERRY: See, now that was some shady tree planting over there too. Let me -- I want to play one little thing. I just want to play our current president. President Obama, way back in 2007, at the JJ dinner in Iowa, talking about why he was getting in the race. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: I am not in this race to fulfill some long-held ambitions or because I believe it`s somehow owed to me. I never expected to be here. I always knew this journey was improbable. I`ve never been on a journey that wasn`t. I am running in this race because of what Dr. King called the fierce urgency of now. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: When we come back, we`re going to talk about that idea of a fierce urgency of now, and whether or not it still exists in the Democratic Party. I want you to just let that run through your head for a minute, and here`s the other thing that happened on Wednesday. Even as he told us that he would not run, the vice president did take a dig at the person who is running, and that`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: I believe we have to end the divisive partisan politics that is ripping this country apart, and I think we can. It`s mean-spirited. It`s petty. And it`s gone on for much too long. I don`t believe, like some do, that it`s naive to talk to Republicans. I don`t think we should look at Republicans as our enemy. They are opposition. They`re not our enemies. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was Vice President Biden on Wednesday taking a not so veiled swipe at the Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for the pride she expressed in the first Democratic debate for making enemies of the Republicans. The question I have for my panel is, is that fair? If you`re not getting in, do you get to plant the shady tree over the one most viable candidate left in the race? What do you think? AIMEE MEREDITH COX, FORDHAM UNIV.: Is it fair? I think it`s part of our democracy. I think that sort of conflict and debate and tension is what makes a good sort of democratic citizenry. But I don`t think it`s about not playing by the rules. I think in fact these are the rules of the game. I am deeply disappointed Biden didn`t run as well. And part of that is in fact when you showed the clip of Obama in 2007, I wish we had a clip of Shirley Chisholm. I`m thinking about the most improbable candidate possible with Shirley Chisholm. That spirit, that urgent spirit of wanting to throw your hat in because you have something to say, because you have a community to stand in front of. Because you believe so deeply in the democracy. So I wanted to see Biden run because I feel like there was a space that`s missing. There`s a space between Hillary Clinton, which some people feel is just more of the same, and Bernie Sanders, who many people feel is maybe too far to the left. I think Biden could have created some of the excitement that I feel is missing that we saw with the first run of Obama. I think we`re missing that sense of urgency, of a new possibility. Of something perhaps being different than the way it`s always been done. HARRIS-PERRY: Even your point here that there`s a thing missing. One of the things that`s missing is, again, we had a two-term Democratic president who is still quite popular. Who sort of mentioned if he ran again, he`d probably win again. I think that may even be true of President Clinton. But talk to me then about what happens when there`s nobody who is sort of running on that record in the race. ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTERS: Well, I think if Joe Biden saw Hillary Clinton wasn`t really running on President Obama`s record, he would have been I think even more urgent to run. She`s been pretty clear. I mean, yes, there`s a couple keystone things here and there. But it`s pretty hard to find a ton of daylight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. She seems to be very proud of her time in the administration. Very proud of Barack Obama`s accomplishments. So, again, I think Joe Biden, it`s interesting because, you know, he didn`t really -- he didn`t really have a group he was going to represent. I think Bernie felt that urgency. He had to get in there. Barack Obama felt he had to get in there. And I think part of the problem with Joe Biden was there wasn`t a natural constituency. One other quick point was that, you know, I don`t think the press really covered themselves with glory for the last four months of this what-if game. This is all based on one Maureen Dowd column, and we spent four months on is he going to run, isn`t he-- HARRIS-PERRY: We`re trying to get a little enthusiasm here, it`s an election! BOEHLERT: There are a couple of studies on this. His possible campaign got four times as much coverage as Bernie`s actual campaign. HARRIS-PERRY: I hear you. I do. But I think that also is indicative to me, Governor, of what was the kind of missing piece here, right? So you talk about Bernie is in my spot, the insurgent spot. The fact is, there`s something about the fact that the vice president, because I hear you. It would be tough for him. There`s not a natural consistency. But the people we elect to be presidents are vice presidents, governors, and senators. So like actually, he isn`t nearly as much of a long shot as say for example -- DEAN: The problem is that`s on paper. The problem is you have a candidate with a resume that`s probably the most extraordinary resume I can remember as a candidate for president of the United States, Hillary Clinton. As I talked about the other day, which I get some pushback on, there are a lot of people who would walk through walls for Hillary Clinton. There are a lot of people would walk through walls for Bernie Sanders. I haven`t met many people who would walk through walls for Joe Biden. Good guy, they like him a lot. But you know. HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask one more push on this. There`s a little bit of a leadership anxiety I have. For me, I still have angst about the fact that Mrs. Clinton didn`t run in 2004. That to me was the moment when it would have been like almost impossible for her to win. She would have been running against an incumbent president, but man, I felt like the Democratic Party needed her to step up. She chose to wait until 2008. I think there were real consequences for that. And one of the things I have always appreciated about President Obama even when I`ve disagreed with him is that even though there was the Clinton `08 inevitability, he nonetheless made that choice to run. There is something about supporting the candidate who throws the -- who just does it, who goes for it. And I feel like that`s part of what the Bernie Sanders surge is now. I guess what I want to ask, is that fair, or should we not be kind of making a leadership judgment based on the willingness to get in, in a tough spot? DEAN: I don`t know what to say about that. Lots of people have gotten in in tough spots and hadn`t gone anywhere. (LAUGHTER) HARRIS-PERRY: Sure, that`s right. But you made a difference and then -- DEAN: I did make a difference. HARRIS-PERRY: And then took leadership of the party when, heck, nobody wanted that job. DEAN: Right, right. HARRIS-PERRY: I think this is your point about Shirley Chisholm, she wasn`t going to win, but she altered the system in ways that allowed Barack Obama to win all those years later. BOEHLERT: Well, look, I mean, Bill Clinton wouldn`t have been president, I mean, George Bush Sr. was riding high in the polls. Everybody thought Mario Cuomo was going to be -- (CROSSTALK) AGUILAR: I think we can`t underestimate what he`s saying about timing. I think Governor Dean knows this well. Running a presidential campaign is a great enterprise. At this time to raise the money, to -- HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, I get it. AGUILAR: To mount the operation, the infrastructure in states like Iowa, and New Hampshire, it`s tough. HARRIS-PERRY: I know, I get it. And it`s undoubtedly not a personal dig at Vice President Biden, who I both like and respect as a candidate. Although I don`t know him. But what I will say is it`s concerning to me. Just from, again, the health of the party overall. But one more thing, the party is going to be running an actual election. There is a race. The race right now is mostly a two-person race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. And guess what`s going to get hot tonight? Iowa. The Jefferson Jackson dinner. We`ll go there to talk about what`s in a name when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Remnants of Hurricane Patricia are compounding the effects of heavy rain already hitting south Texas. Some areas have already seen more than a foot of rain in the last 24 hours. This is new video of a train that derailed in Navarro County, Texas. Joining me now from Dallas, NBC News correspondent Charles Hadlock. What do we know about this derailment? CHARLES HADLOCK, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Melissa. It happened early this morning about a few miles north of Corsicana, Texas, which is about an hour`s drive southeast of Dallas. The interstates were already flooded, but the train tracks were also under water, with about 13 inches of water falling in that area over the last 24 hours. The train came along, hit the water, and then derailed, and rescue workers had to get to the train to rescue the two train workers who were on board. Everyone got out safely. They`re now trying to wait for the water to recede before lifting that train and getting it open again. Let me show you where I am right now. This is the Trinity River, as it passes by downtown Dallas. Now, the river is normally back behind those trees there. But the level today is at 37 feet. It`s expected to crest at 39 feet. But even though this is a dramatic shot, this is what it`s supposed to do during a flood. This is a flood plain. So there`s no real infrastructure under water here. But what we`re worried about is Hurricane Patricia off to the southwest as it moves across the mountains of Mexico and along the Texas coast. Communities along the coast, including Corpus Christi, Galveston, and Houston, are all on high alert, waiting to see what happens as this moisture that`s already in Texas mixes with the moisture that`s coming up from the Pacific or from that hurricane. Everyone is watching what will happen over the next 48 hours here, Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to NBC`s Charles Hadlock in Dallas. It`s a tough situation there. We`re going to keep our attention on it. There is much more to come this morning. We`re going to go live to Des Moines, Iowa for a preview of tonight`s Jefferson Jackson dinner next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: So, this morning, we`re counting down to the Iowa Democratic Party`s annual Jefferson Jackson dinner. The Dems` biggest fundraising event of the year. Now, during election years, the dinner offers Democratic presidential contenders a chance to rally the supporters and donors and settle into their message, increase enthusiasm and really step into that star power just ahead of the first caucus in the nation. In Iowa, do you remember back in `07 when the Jefferson Jackson dinner brought us this iconic turning point? And then Senator Barack Obama`s then underdog campaign. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA: Doesn`t just offer change as a slogan. But real meaningful change. Change that America can believe in. [CHEERS] OBAMA: That`s why I`m in this race. [CHEERS] OBAMA: That`s why I`m running for the presidency of the United States of America. To offer change that we can believe in. [CHEERS] (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: I just love the young president. Yes, the dinner is a really big deal. And since its inception almost a century ago, it has honored the party`s founders, Thomas Jefferson, who penned these words. "We hold these truths to be self-evidence that all persons are created equal." And Andrew Jackson, the president often credited with popularizing populism. But we also know that both Jefferson and Jackson held and traded human beings as property. Jackson also signed the quote "Indian Removal Act" and initiated the Trail of Tears. Because those legacies are at odds with the party`s values and the self-evidence truths written in the Declaration of Independence, the Iowa Democratic Party voted in August to change the name of the Jefferson Jackson dinner after tonight`s event. Joining a growing list of state parties to vote those names down. And joining me from Des Moines is Jamal Bouie, chief political correspondent at "Slate" magazine. So, Jamelle, I don`t know what to make over the cleansing of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. What are your thoughts about that? JAMELLE BOUIE, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, SLATE: I`m conflicted too. For Jefferson, Jefferson the slave owner, Jefferson has relationship with Sally Hemmings, lots of controversy, lots of ugly things, I think, in Jefferson`s history. At the same time, Jefferson is probably the most eloquent defender of the young American republic. Was a democratic theorist along with James Madison who still influences people today. And I think that`s a legacy worth holding onto. Andrew Jackson is a little different, right? Andrew Jackson - No one remembers Andrew Jackson for anything but an Indian (INAUDIBLE) and wrecking the American economy by imposing a national bank. And so, I think actually I think it`s totally fair to want to excise Jackson from recognition in the modern Democratic Party. I think there are more appropriate figures to be trying to kind of link together the party`s past and its present than Jackson. But Jefferson is a genuinely tough case. Because he does have those ugly parts of his history. But he also is a very vital person in our history. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, I mean the Declaration of Independence is sort of a big deal. And I don`t - you know, like I`m just not down for removing that out of our story. Let me back up just to the strategy piece here. How important is this dinner, in this kind of race? I mean, at this point, with Vice President Biden bowing out, we have a situation where it looks like Hillary Clinton has a pretty clear pathway to the nomination. But is this still critical? BOEHLERT: Yes, it is. I mean you showed the speech Obama gave. That was the turning point. At this point eight years ago, he was exactly where Bernie Sanders was early. Down 20 or 30 points in the national polls. And he turned it around if you start looking at the polls. You know, the question is, is Bernie Sanders going to be able to do what Barack Obama did or is Bernie Sanders going to be more of a Bill Bradley situation? DEAN: Let`s be really clear about how Barack Obama won in Iowa. The speech was great. But he won by having a better organization ... HARRIS-PERRY: On the ground. DEAN: ...than anybody`s ever had before or since. When I ran, we had that record turnout in Iowa. In Obama`s year, they doubled it. And all the people I know in Iowa who go to the caucus, they say we got there and three quarters of the people we`ve never seen before. Now, that -- that`s actually what convinced me that Obama could win and be president. If you can organize like that and have that kind of discipline, I thought, wow, this guy could do it. HARRIS-PERRY: So this is not a small point that, you know, we in the media, we tend to focus on the speeches or the moment. But it`s actually that ground game. And this is actually a lesson that the GOP learned ... DEAN: And this is where I want to hear because ... HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah, and GOP has been doing on the ground, organizing in a powerful way. DEAN: I want to know who these guys are, when they are out front, and what kind of ground games ... HARRIS-PERRY: Right, right, because that`s what I`m thinking. Trump may be able to be on top of the polls, but can they get that ground game going? AGUILAR: Well, and part of it was ironically Citizens United. It has activated grassroots activists like never before. And we`re seeing in the Republican side people, regular people, participating actively. And I`ve seen it in Iowa like never before. Regular people participating of the process. That were not part of the Republican establishment. Participating of the process and supporting candidates who are clearly -- don`t have a record in politics. They`re supporting people like Trump, they are supporting people like Carson. So, that`s how they -- people like -- candidates like that can actually win a Republican caucus in Iowa. So I think Citizens United has actually activated organizations that recruit the base and make regular citizens active participants of our democracy. HARRIS-PERRY: Jamelle, I want to -- I want to come back to you on this. Is that generally your impression of the impact of Citizens United? BOUIE: Well, that -- I actually have not heard that take on the impact of Citizens United. In part, because it doesn`t appear to me that super PAC money is really going towards that kind of organization. And when you think, you know, it`s one thing to have people excited about a candidate. Some of them very happy to even come out to a rally, but something very different to have people come out to a caucus, right, to come out and actually participate for a long time in the process of voting. And in deciding. And so, it`s unclear to me whether the kind of money and leads by super PAC, Citizens United and super-PACs would actually go to that purpose. But, you know, lots of -- happening this election. (LAUGHTER) BOUIE: We are talking with Donald Trump. So who knows? HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah, it`s pretty quiet there behind you. But do you have a sense that it`s going to be a big night there in Des Moines? BOUIE: Yes, so if you are behind me, there`s a setup for the Hillary Clinton and Katy Perry event. But just a couple of blocks down, there`s a gaggle of Hillary Clinton supporters cheering every car that comes by. You can`t hear them, but I can hear them pretty clearly at this point. HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah, I like the idea that maybe what we`ll do is we`ll have it called the Jefferson and then whoever the headliner is. So like, you know, the Jefferson/Katy Perry dinner for this year. BOUIE: Right. I like Roosevelt really. Like Jefferson Roosevelt. HARRIS-PERRY: I`m down for that, yeah. Let`s get -- Thank you to Jamelle Bouie in Des Moines, Iowa, and here in New York, I want to say thank you to Governor Howard Dean, the rest of the panel is sticking around. And up next, this week`s marathon testimony session and what it really revealed. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: It`s been called Hillary Clinton`s best week ever. Wednesday was big when Vice President Biden who could have been her toughest rival for the Democratic nomination declared he would not run. But Thursday was even bigger. As the former secretary of state sat in the hot seat for an 11-hour spectacle. With the House committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi Libya that killed four Americans. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ever talk to Ambassador Stevens when all of this was going on in the hotbed of Libya? HILLARY CLINTON: Well -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is a yes or no question, madam secretary, I`m sorry. Did you ever personally speak to Ambassador Stevens -- we don`t know the answer. Did you ever personally speak to him after you swore him in in May? Yes or no please. HILLARY CLINTON: I believe. Yes, I believe I did. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: It was the show that GOP had been waiting for. This likely Democratic presidential nominee getting grilled on the security failure that occurred during her watch. Now, after 11 hours, what exactly did we learn? The committee chairman, Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, has that answer. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: What is one of the important new things you learned today? REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C., CMTE. CHAIRMAN: I think some of Jimmy Jordan`s questioning. Well, when you say knew today, we knew some of that already. We knew about the emails, in terms of her testimony, I don`t know that she testified that much differently today than she has previous times she`s testified so I`d have to go back and look at the transcript. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: After 11 hours, not to mention the month of preparation, and the committee chair`s response was I don`t know. Last night, in her first interview since Thursday, Secretary Clinton reacted to Chairman Gowdy`s comment on MSNBC`s "The Rachel Maddow Show." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Does that make you glad you did it or does that make you feel like it was a waste of time? HILLARY CLINTON: I said I would do it. And I did it because if there is anything new, which is unlikely after the eight prior investigations that have been held, we should know about it because the point is what are we going to do to both honor the people that we lost and try to make sure this doesn`t happen again? (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Joining the table now is Karen Finney, senior adviser and spokesperson for Hillary Clinton 2016. Your candidate had a big week. KAREN FINNEY, SR. ADVISER, HILLARY CLINTON 2016: We did have a big week. It was a good week. You know, Thursday I think was so important for a number of reasons. I think people saw a president sitting at that table. I mean who else could sit there for 11 hours? I mean, just her command of the information. She was calm, cool, collected throughout all of it. Took all of the questions. And we`re talking about events that happened quite a while ago. And very meticulous detail. Talking about, you know, the security measures. Talking about what happened. Talking about sort of the relationships between this country and what was going on at the time in Libya. So I think the Republicans were disappointed because the truth is they didn`t ask much that was new. So there wasn`t much new to say. And I think it was quite obviously -- you`ve got Trey Gowdy on the campaign trail today with Jeb Bush. So if that doesn`t tell you it was political, I don`t know what else will. HARRIS-PERRY: I got to tell you, we talked a little bit earlier in the hour about this idea that Americans are feeling distressed about government in general, and the Republican base is feeling distressed about what the Republican Party may be actually doing in Congress. And I feel like what happened on Thursday ups the ante on both of those. AGUILAR: I agree. I think the Clinton campaign`s probably going to hire now Trey Gowdy -- (LAUGHTER) AGUILAR: Because that was a gift to Hillary. Look, it was a colossal waste of time. HARRIS-PERRY: And not just time, taxpayer money. AGUILAR: Oh, absolutely. They want Republicans to focus on the issues of the day, the concerns of regular Americans. I think in terms of Benghazi, the damage is done. People I think realize that the administration, that Secretary Clinton was not truthful. To do another hearing, to repeat the same questions, and Trey Gowdy says, we have no new information. I mean, the damage is done. Why do it? So in politics, you can`t get too greedy. FINNEY: It may be your opinion you don`t believe what they said, but as Hillary said on Thursday a number of times, you may not like the answer, but that -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: -- political strategy -- let me just suggest, not adjudicating her truthfulness, right, I think there may be a point to be made that whatever damage there was, whatever drip, drip, drip has been caused suddenly got reversed on Thursday. BOEHLERT: Look, she testified 33 months ago. She answered a lot of these questions 33 months ago. Media Matters has a list of not only all the questions she was asked, all of them have been answered. We have been debunking this for three years. HARRIS-PERRY: I actually wonder if you guys are sad that it seems to be over now -- because now like what happens -- BOEHLERT: Look, they`re going to keep throwing misinformation at us, we`ll just keep fact-checking it. But here is the other point that I think is important. Hillary at the debate, Hillary at the hearing, where was the phony, calculating, unauthentic Hillary Clinton that the press has been depicting for six months? She has been under a barrage of endlessly negative snarky coverage, and you take away the filter, and people are like, oh, that is not who she is -- she`s smart, she`s savvy. HARRIS-PERRY: I consistently see in Hillary Clinton over the years, she -- so candidates are good and bad at different things. She`s particularly good when attacked, right? So it is sort of her sweet spot about when she suddenly really -- like it`s kind of focusing for her. COX: I think this is not a small point. If we think about what happened here, we think of it as a witch-hunt. If you`re going to stage a witch- hunt, it`s theater, it`s public theater. You have to do that in a competent way, and this was completely incompetent. So I think it damaged the Republican Party. FINNEY: I just want to add something, though, because I think part of it is what you also saw on Thursday was someone who this is who she is. She takes the job very seriously. She knows the facts. She knew the information. She knew -- that`s also part of her and part of her leadership style and just part of who she is as a human being. By the way, what we did not see on Thursday was anything that told us anything about how we make sure we don`t lose more Americans. Instead, you`ve got Congress, Republicans in Congress, by the way, fighting over whether or not to fund a training center that could actually help prevent what happened. HARRIS-PERRY: I want to listen to Secretary Clinton talking about exactly that point. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: It is deeply unfortunate that something as serious as what happened in Benghazi could ever be used for partisan political purposes. And I`m hoping that we can move forward together. We can start working together. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, on the pure politics, she took it and she flipped it. (CROSSTALK) AGUILAR: Days before she had said that Republicans were her big enemy -- now she wants to work together. FINNEY: I`m sorry, what did you see there on Thursday? Were they friendly? AGUILAR: Absolutely. I told you, it was a terrible -- it was terrible theater. But a week doesn`t make a campaign. (CROSSTALK) AGUILAR: There are many statements of hers where she contradicts herself. And we still have that first hearing, where she said, what does it matter? Look at her credibility ratings. (CROSSTALK) AGUILAR: People question her credibility. That is reality. FINNEY: Why are you talking about talking points -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: Up next, we`ll talk about the best testimony of all, all over Secretary Clinton`s face, this is all happening. It is still happening. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Very few new details emerged from Hillary Clinton`s Benghazi testimony on Thursday, despite 11 hours of interrogation and partisan sparring. But what did we get out of it? The very meme worthy faces of Hillary Clinton. There was one hand on the face, is that really your question face. And there were the two hands on the face, did you not hear me answer that question three times face? And there was the do you even have a question face. And then there was the I look like I`m listening but really I`m thinking about Drake`s "Hot Line Bling" video face. No, we just made that one up. Look, it was -- it was the 11 hours, again, felt like rather than feeling like it was a deep seriousness, instead what it ended up feeling like was again theatrical. One of the best moments of theater though came from Representative Cummings. I just want to play a little bit of him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, D-MD.: I don`t know what we want from you. Do we want to badger you over and over again until you get tired, until we do get the gotcha moment that he`s talking about? We`re better than that! We`re so much better. We`re a better country. And we`re better than using taxpayer dollars to try to destroy a campaign. That`s not what America is all about. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Are we better than that? BOEHLERT: We should be. I mean, you know, I think that was hour nine or something. I don`t think Representative Cummings has ever been on a committee that spent almost $5 million to hold four hearings. This is -- and Trey Gowdy refusing to create rules for the committee. They just all - - they just threw everything out the window because they thought they had Hillary in their sights. That`s what made the hearings so amazing. They thought this was going to be their theater. This was going to be their propaganda. This was the Fox News hearing that was going to, you know, damage Hillary Clinton. But after the debate, a week before, I`m sure Trey Gowdy was thinking, how do we cancel this. HARRIS-PERRY: Let me back up a little bit on where damage may still have been done. On the one hand, I heard Representative Cummings say, OK, we`re better than that. But honestly, as I watched those 11 hours, I kept thinking about Sonia Sotomayor, you know, being grilled in this way that was often rude, even around her name, her ethnicity, while sitting there with a cast on her foot. I was remembering Joe Biden`s less than spectacular moment with Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas Senate confirmation hearings. I thought, actually, we might not be better than this. And especially for young women thinking about some day running. Are they watching this spectacle and thinking, this is going to be the price I will have to pay if in fact, I ever want to go to this level? FINNEY: Here is what I would say to that. I hope if they do, if they were watching that and they watched Hillary Clinton, what they came away with is, if it happens, I can handle it. I can do it. As women, we can do it. I saw this woman get up there and do it and answer the questions. Part of the reason we didn`t see or hear new information and part of the reason you got some of those faces is because the whole investigation has been a sham. If they`d really been doing their work and had come up with new lines of questioning instead of did you call this person or did you call that person or how come Sid Blumenthal e-mails you -- HARRIS-PERRY: I think it is fair to ask the questions about the ambassador -- FINNEY: But they`ve been asked seven times-- (CROSSTALK) AGUILAR: But to say that the entire investigation is a sham, I mean, that`s ridiculous -- I think-- FINNEY: What did you get for your $5 million? What did the American taxpayers get-- AGUILAR: No, no, no, let me talk. You talked. Look, I agree that this hearing was unnecessary. Having said that, was the investigation necessary? I think so. The American public need to know. Are there going to be criminal charges or anything like that? I don`t think so. At the end, we have the information. Let the American public judge for themselves. I believe that the administration, Secretary Clinton, were not truthful. They told us at the very beginning that this was the product of a video produced here in the United States, and it turns out it wasn`t that. FINNEY: All right, so -- AGUILAR: So I think the American people -- we have four people, four Americans dead. I think we need to have this discussion -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: I`ll tell you what we`ll do here. AGUILAR: She`s not above the law. HARRIS-PERRY: We`re going to get out the light sabers. And during the commercial break, we`re going to let these two light saber-- AGUILAR: I have a green one. (CROSSTALK) FINNEY: -- you got to let me respond to that, I mean -- HARRIS-PERRY: I can`t though because of the commercial thing. Hold on, just don`t go away, Karen. Coming up, Congressman Paul Ryan is ready to be the next speaker, but he has a list of demands. Do his personal preferences match his politics? More Nerdland at the top of the hour. Maybe even more Karen Finney at the top of the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: We`re going to turn now to one of the biggest political stories of the week and one that won`t be fully resolved until next week. The House of Representatives needs a new speaker, someone to take on that powerful office third in line for the presidency. And the charge of everything that happens on the House floor, including which bills come to a vote. And most Republicans want their new speaker to be Congressman Paul Ryan. They believe only he can unite the party`s warring factions. Only he can guide the House Republicans out of chaos and into glory. Only he can inspire the district 2`s rise up against the tyrannical capital and take control of Panem. Sorry, that`s "Hunger Games", sorry. Anyway, you may remember Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney`s running mate in 2012. His fellow Republicans really want him to run for the speaker`s gavel and it`s really big gavel. Who wouldn`t want that? Well, Paul Ryan. He said now he is, quote, "ready and eager to be speaker", but he didn`t really seem to want the job in the first place. He said it over and over again. And it was only this week that he finally relented and then only if his demands were met. He wanted support from all the Republican factions, even the cantankerous House Freedom Caucus that helped boot John Boehner. And he also demanded one more thing. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: I cannot and will not give up my family time. I consider to do this with reluctance. And I mean that in the most personal of ways. Like many of you, Jenna and I have children who are in the formative foundational year of their lives. I generally worry about the consequences that my agreeing to serve will have on them. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, Congressman Ryan will only deign to become one of the most powerful men in the country, yes, his fellow Republicans guarantee him weekends off to spend with his family who live in Janesville, Wisconsin. Remember, Congress is only in session 137 days a year, about 100 days less than your average full-time worker. But Speaker Boehner, for one, spent most of his off time on the road. In just the first half of this year, he hosted more than 100 events for lawmakers and candidates according to "Politico" and raised $28 million. Paul Ryan does not want to do that. Some think that is to be applauded, including Facebook CEOO Sheryl Sandburg who declared Ryan had won the lean- in award of the day, saying, quote, "We need work to work for parents and having leaders who weigh responsibilities as fathers as much as their responsibilities to their jobs shows all of us what is possible, #leanin." Also, cheering the congressman was Anne-Marie Slaughter who famously wrote "The Atlantic" cover story, "Why women still can`t have it all". (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, THE ATLANTIC: This will help women as well as men. Because this will say that you can be committed to your family and still be committed to your career. And that`s a very important statement. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: If only there was some other way that a congressman and the chair of the powerful ways and means committee could help women as well as men. Maybe like voting for policies that help women and families, like the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act. Oh, that`s right, Congressman Ryan did vote on that bill. He voted no. Or maybe he could help women by using the committee he runs to advance policy reforms that would help women in their families, like a bill to create a national paid leave insurance program within Social Security. That bill is collecting dust in the ways and means committee which Ryan chairs. Paul Ryan certainly talks a lot about helping people, especially poor people. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RYAN: We want a healthy economy. And a big part of that is having a safety net that is strong. Both for those who cannot help themselves and for those who need just a helping hand to get up and going in life. That`s our goal. So, today, I would like to start a conversation. I want to talk about how we can repair the safety net and help families get ahead. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: It`s a nice conversation but congressman has literally done the opposite. He calls his budget plans the path to prosperity, plans that would cut hundreds billions of dollars from programs like food stamps and Pell grants and Medicaid. Ryan also wants to reform welfare again by increasing and expanding work requirements. Even though work requirements by definition for struggling parents, especially single parents, to spend less time with their kids. So, you know what`s good for the goose? Well, it`s just good for the goose. Joining me now, Sarah Jane Glynn, director of the Women`s Economic Policy Center -- at the Center for American Progress, and Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the American Principles Project, Latino Partnership. Aimee Meredith Cox, assistant professor of African-American studies at Fordham University. And Eric Boehlert who is the senior fellow at American Matters for America. Was this irritating to you, the Ryan of it all? SARAH JANE GLYNN, DIR. OF WOMEN`S ECON POLICY, CTR FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Well, one thing that always irritates me is we seem to be shocked any time a man says he wants to spend time with his family. I think that`s incredibly insulting to all of the men who would love to have more time to spend with their kids. HARRIS-PERRY: I hear you. GLYNN: We know that 75 percent of men say they want to spend more time with their children but their jobs prevent them from doing so. We know that more than 90 percent of men say if they were considering a new job, they would think about how it would impact their time with their kids. So, this isn`t actually a new conversation or a new issue, it`s just being given new voice because someone who`s in an incredible position of power and privilege is talking about it. So, in that sense, I`m glad. I`m glad that we`re on the show talking about it. I`m glad that it`s all over the media. This is a conversation we need to keep happening. But it is really problematic to keep talking about this in very individualistic ways. This is something we need to deal with at the national level through public policy, not through individual negotiations. HARRIS-PERRY: You`re shaking your head, I presume not because you don`t think fathers love their kids. AGUILAR: No, my kids -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, exactly. AGUILAR: Let me tell you something, I think it was such an awesome statement to make. We have to make it more. I think President Obama has also made the importance of parenthood. HARRIS-PERRY: Sure. AGUILAR: Parents have to be in the lives of their kids. Government is not going to make us good parents, mothers or fathers. It`s individuals. And we have to take responsibility. I don`t think he was asking, to be fair, any special treatment. He was just talking about the exaggerated expectations that sometimes the Republican Party puts on speakers. (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: So let me just say, I hear you, I hear you -- government can`t make an individual a good parent. Government can, through a set of policies, make -- facilitate the capacity to parent. And let me give you one example -- weekends brought to you by the American labor movement which provides you with two days a week when your children are not in school and you are not at work. So, the demands that Ryan was making are the kinds of demands that male and female workers have been able to make through the labor music. AGUILAR: I agree. At some point, we have to understand that government can`t continue spending. Imposing new requirements on business does have an impact on business that affects individuals. It may mean less job for people, and a job, as Newt Gingrich used to say, is the best social program that a person can have -- HARRIS-PERRY: Cannot have it all, all the same way, all at the same time. So either we believe that especially for young children that parenting is critical and therefore it is worth investing in as a country. So, things sometimes cost a little money, like our military. And so, sometimes, we have to say, zero to 12 months. We actually think it is highly valuable for parents -- fathers, mothers -- to be able to be present and to do that, we therefore facilitate that capacity. GLYNN: Well, we also have some options that cost zero dollars, such as doing what he has done, the right to request flexibility. There is legislation, the Schedules That Work Act, that would enable people to make reasonable requests to their employees. Can I have a permanent schedule that`s not shifting every week? Or can I change my work hours slightly so I can care for my children or care for my aging parents? Zero dollar price tag on this. That would be doing exactly what Ryan has done, providing that right for every worker. Yet he and his party have not stood up for this idea. HARRIS-PERRY: It`s so important. Folks don`t always recognize if you`re not an hourly worker, you may not know that if you have a retail job or restaurant job, sometimes you don`t even know until that day whether or not you`re working. How can you begin to provide child care? Look, before we go to break, an update on Patricia, which is now a tropical depression, as it pushes across Mexico. It was one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall in the western hemisphere, remnants of the storm are compounding the effects of heavy rain already soaking South Texas. This video is from Navarro County where a freight train ran into high water and overturned. We know two train workers have been rescued. We`ll have much more on this flooding, coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RYAN: The left is making a big mistake here. What they`re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that. People don`t just want a life of comfort. They want a life of dignity. They want a life of self- determination. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: And that was the likely next speaker of the House, Congressman Paul Ryan, last year, in a nutshell, outlining his ideology. I`m going to let you in here, Aimee. COX: I have a lot to say. I mean, I think what is so fascinating to me is the way that Ryan steps to the mic as a martyr, like I`ll reluctantly come to this position if I can have these concessions. And the privilege of being able to make those demands, a privilege of being able to sort of claim your family, the family/work life balance in ways that totally obscure what`s happening to the majority of Americans. And so, even when we think of Paul Ryan`s -- bringing his family to the table, and I will take this position if this can happen. Some people might say, this is really great, right? This shows that we can finally this have this conversation in ways that will eventually impact what`s happening with women. But I would say that`s not actually true. And so, what women are we talking about and who are we talking about when we talk about the privilege to demand that you can have balance in your life when there are so many of us who are struggling just to hold on to what we have. Forget get about finding the balance or being able to juggle. And that individual, sort of that individual mentality, is -- majority of the basis for the Republican Party. Pull yourself up by your individual boot straps. The fact that if you can just be self-determined, without understanding the very real constraints that prevent the large majority of Americans from being able to be self-determined. HARRIS-PERRY: Right, right, I`m not mad at wanting to spend time with your children in the formative years. That`s great. But then I want to say then for all. BOEHLERT: Right. It`s interesting, as you mentioned, speaker of the house has about 100 days off -- more 100 days than the average worker. John Boehner used to brag he golfled 100 rounds a year. So, this is a very unique position. I don`t get the sense that Paul Ryan wants to start a national conversation. He`s got the GOP over a barrel, and he`s saying these are my demands. It would also be kind of fascinating what the media conversation would be if this is Nancy Pelosi. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. BOEHLERT: If Hillary Clinton was running for president -- HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, yes. BOEHLERT: -- oh, by the way, if I win, we have new rules. Impressive about that. HARRIS-PERRY: There is, again, for me a bit of a tandem on this point, which is a little separate than the family work leaves point. But just the like, OK, I also get your kids and -- they come first. But there`s also extraordinary privilege in this opportunity. That gives me a little -- you know, Sarah Palin, for all of my disagreements with Governor Palin, when her country called, despite the fact she had a 4-month-old, she was fine. She was like, OK, maybe not the best time to be vice president but I`m going to try. Sometimes it is a big enough opportunity for leadership that you go ahead and step in. BOEHLERT: The speaker`s job is such an awful job right now, right? Nobody wants it -- HARRIS-PERRY: But Mr. Ryan is a catfish noodler, which is basically the same thing, right? It means you go catch the catfish with your hands. I think that`s basically the same thing as trying to wrangle the current Republican Party into line. AGUILAR: But let`s be fair. If there`s somebody who is a hard worker when he goes to Washington is Paul Ryan. Not only works with the Republicans but Democrats. You know very well that I work on immigration issue, trying to get Republicans to support immigration reform. Paul Ryan is somebody who has reported immigration reform, has worked with somebody like Luis Gutierrez. Luis Gutierrez is very respectful, speaks highly of Paul Ryan. This is somebody who`s trying to govern. HARRIS-PERRY: Alfonso, I feel you. I just want to pause on one thing. Because I don`t disagree with you that I actually think Mr. Ryan is a great choice for this role. I want us to be super careful when we use the language "hard worker." because I actually keep an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall. Because it is a reminder about what hard work looks like. So, I feel you that he`s a hard worker. I do. But in the context of relative privilege, and I just want to point out, when you talk about work life balance and being a hard worker, the moms who don`t have health care who are working -- AGUILAR: I understand that -- HARRIS-PERRY: But we don`t call them hard workers. Call them failures, people who are sucking off the system -- AGUILAR: No, no, no -- HARRIS-PERRY: That`s true. AGUILAR: That is very unfair. I think we cannot generalize about the Republican Party -- HARRIS-PERRY: Not all Republicans, that is certainly true. AGUILAR: Mitt Romney did a terrible job about -- HARRIS-PERRY: I don`t even think -- AGUILAR: -- connecting with the middle class. If Paul Ryan, who comes from a state like Wisconsin, is a Republican and conservative, -- he understands we need a growing economy to create good paying jobs -- HARRIS-PERRY: I`m also not talking about the middle class -- (CROSSTALK) AGUILAR: In the last eight years, the median household -- has gone down $10,000 a year -- HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, absolutely -- AGUILAR: -- under Obama`s economy. You can`t blame Bush now. So, no, let`s be fair, at some point, you have to own the economy. Impoverishing Hispanics. You know, you cannot resolve the problems of the middle class with government benefits. You do it with a growing economy and good paying jobs. HARRIS-PERRY: And I just don`t think there`s any sort of economic measure, Alfonso, that would not demonstrate a growing economy under President Obama. So, I agree with you it has not been felt all the way down. But there`s also no question it has been growing. Thank you to Sara, Jane Glynn, Eric Boehlert, also Alfonso Aguilar, and Aimee Meredith who are sticking around. Up next, an update on the tropical storm Patricia, the case that can lead the security to rule on abortion for the first time in nearly a decade. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Patricia is now a tropical depression, pushing across Mexico, where the terrain is slowing down the storm. But remnants of the storm are compounding the effects of heavy rain already soaking south Texas. This video is from Navarro County, Texas, where a freight train ran into high water and overturned. Two train workers were rescued. MSNBC meteorologist Bonnie Schneider has been tracking the storm. Bonnie, how much rainfall should Texans be expecting this afternoon? SCHNEIDER: Melissa, we`re going to be seeing a lot of rain. And not just for this afternoon, but for the next few days, so even into Sunday. I want to show the latest information with tropical depression now Patricia. So, the storm has weakened. It`s been weakening very rapidly. Hard to believe less than 24 hours ago, we`re talking about a category 5 hurricane. Unbelievable. So, here`s what`s left of it. The remnants working their way into Texas. That`s what we`re anticipating. That will only enhance what`s going on now. And it`s a dangerous situation, especially right here in Bastrop County, that`s east of Austin. This is the county sounds familiar because we`ve had the wildfires burning there. Now, with all that scarred area, the rains coming down. So, naturally, flooding a huge concern for this part of Texas. And then we head to Houston. This is where we`re watching large amounts of rain accumulating. You can see it from the southwest. Really, the moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and only enhanced by Patricia. It`s a recipe for a lot of rain. And you have to realize looking back that Texas overall, over the past six months, has been pretty dry. So, when you`re getting all this rain in at once, it`s going to make for a lot of flooding. So, six inches expected into Houston in addition to what we`re already seeing. And then look at Port Arthur, right on the border there with Louisiana. We`re talking about rain into Lake Charles, Beaumont, all these places looking at a lot of rain. But we`re certainly looking at substantial rain into central Texas, and well into Louisiana as well. So, this is the forecast over the next few days, Melissa. We`ll be watching it, because we have all that moisture coming in from Patricia, and the rain that`s already falling. So, that`s why it`s looking like a tough situation for Texas. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to MSNBC`s Bonnie Schneider. Now, I want to go back to that train derailment in Navarro County. We have new details. The 64-car Union Pacific train was carrying cement en route to when several cars were knocked off the track by the water. No passengers were on board the train. And an emergency management team was able to rescue the conductor and engineer without any injuries. Joining me now by phone is Jeff DeGraff, who is the spokesperson for Union Pacific. Jeff, are you there? What can you tell us about the rescue this morning? JEFF DEGRAFF, SPOKESMAN, UNION PACIFIC (via telephone): Well, we`re very glad to report that our two crew members were rescued without injury by the Navarro County water rescue team. And once the train did get stuck in the high water, they were able to evacuate the locomotive and swim through to some higher ground where they were able to wait for the rescue team. So, they are safe and secure, just a little damp and a little shaken. HARRIS-PERRY: With the crew now safe and secure and evacuated, what are going to be the next steps for securing the actual train? DEGRAFF: Well, we`ve already begun the process. We have approximately 19 cars on the back end of the train, on the northern end of the train. That are still on the track, and we`re bringing in the locomotive from the north that will pull those cars out and move them northward to clear the area. The rest of the cars locomotives are (AUDIO GAP) have to wait until the floodwaters recedes. (AUDIO GAP) So Mother Nature to give us a window here. HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely. Well, I`m just so happy and I know all of us are that the crew is OK. And that they were able to be evacuated without injury. I want to say thank you to Union Pacific`s Jeff DeGraff in Spring, Texas, this morning. I`d also like to bring in NBC News correspondent Charles Hadlock in Texas. Charles, we talked with you last hour. What`s the situation where you are now? HADLOCK: Hi, Melissa. I`m along the banks of the Trinity River here in Dallas as the river passes by downtown Dallas. Normally, the river is at 30 feet just beyond those trees there. But today, it`s at 35 feet. It`s expected to climb another two feet. But even though this is a dramatic shot, this is what it`s supposed to do. This is a flood way. So, it`s supposed to flood here. The rain (AUDIO GAP) drought all summer. The last significant rain (AUDIO GAP) is way back in July. So, this rain is welcome. (AUDIO GAP) receiving too much, down around Corsicana, where the train derailment was. They got up to 18 inches of rain over the last 24 hours. And as that hurricane continues to break apart over Mexico, the remnants of that will move across the mountains of Mexico, across the coastal plains of Texas. And that`s what has so many people concerned. We`re already having bad weather here because of another storm system. You bring in the remnants of Patricia, and it could be even more rain, especially along the Gulf Coast. That`s why the city of Houston and Galveston are on high alert today, through tomorrow, watching out for what`s coming from the Southwest. Melissa, back to you. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to NBC`s Charles Hadlock in Dallas, Texas. Up next, Kenji Yoshino is here. So, you know we`re going to talk about the Supreme Court. And we`re going to talk about how that court could soon make access to abortion much harder. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: On Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that health services provided by Planned Parenthood will no longer be eligible for coverage under the state`s Medicaid program. The governor released a statement saying that his decision was informed by the secretly recorded videos showing a Planned Parenthood represented discussing the organization`s fetal tissue donation program. Planned Parenthood has challenged the videos, calling them deceptively and misleadingly edited. But the governor`s initiative means that Texas` 39 Planned Parenthood providers will lose the $3 million in Medicaid reimbursement used primarily to cover health care services for women who would be otherwise unable to afford the cost. Texas Democrats has tested the legality of the decision, calling for a federal investigation into the state`s reasoning for cutting the funds. Planned Parenthood was also under fire in Louisiana, where a similar attempt by Governor Bobby Jindal to cut funding was blocked temporarily by a federal judge. But even as the dispute over Planned Parenthood continues to play out with state level, the Supreme Court is poised to take up a larger fight with national implication for access to abortion. In the coming weeks, the court will decide if it will hear a case brought by it Texas abortion providers who would be forced to close under the strict anti-abortion law signed in 2013 by Governor Rick Perry. The providers are asking the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling that upheld the law and that if allowed to stand could leave the entire state of Texas with only ten remaining abortion clinics out of the 40 in operation before the law passed. Should the court allow the case to move forward, the decision will be its first major ruling on abortion since 2007. Joining the table now are Nancy Northup, who`s president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Kenji Yoshino, who`s professor of constitutional law at NYU. Kenji, what can you tell us about what to expect in terms of the Supreme Court decision? KENJI YOSHINO, PROF. OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, NYU LAW SCHOOL: Yes. So, the standard is always a place to start, right? So, the standard they`re going to apply is from the 1992 Planned Parenthood versus Casey case. So, the question is whether or not these restrictions place an undue burden on a woman`s right to choose. And undue burden is defined as having a purpose or an effect that places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking a pre-viability abortion. What`s the issue in these statutes are the so-called TRAP provisions. So, there`s this notion that -- which is targeted regulation of abortion providers. And so, one set says you have to have admitting privileges to a hospital that`s more than 30 miles from the abortion clinic. And then the other provision says your abortion clinic has to be up to code with regard to -- comparable to ambulatory surgical center, right? So, essentially like a hospital grade kind of environment. So, both of these are incredibly onerous. And as you said, you know, before this law was enacted, there were 41 providers. And now, if this decision is upheld, it could be down to 10. HARRIS-PERRY: This question of access, Nancy, feels like the kind of the next frontier or the existing frontier around reproductive justice. That Roe stands, right? This isn`t going to overturn whether there is kind of an essential right to privacy and to seek an abortion, but it could make it impossible to actually access it. NANCY NORTHUP, PRES. & CEO, CTR. FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: This case is very much about the viability of that right to abortion. As Kenji was saying, the stakes here are about the reality of women`s constitutional rights to access abortion. What the Texas politicians have done is try to sneak around those rulings that Kenji was talking about on false pretenses of health and safety, to pass laws they knew would have the effect they have so far. Half the clinics have closed. We`re down to about 20 clinics in the state of Texas. They`re trying to make an end-run around the Constitution. They`re trying to disrespect the rulings that are there. So, it is really critical that the court do. They have not seen any kind of case like this in all the years since Roe versus Wade. There`s never been a law like taxes that has had the effect of actual blocking access to services in the state. And so, that`s why it`s critically important for the women in Texas but not just there, for the women in other states, the United States, to make sure that their ability to get care in their communities continues. HARRIS-PERRY: So, I wonder, as we`re thinking about how the court is going to make the decision because your point that they haven`t seen anything this enormous since Roe. How much will medical expertise testimony in the form of, you know, amicus brief and others matter here? Because the main pushback from reproductive justice advocates tends to be, look, these rules sound like, oh, they`re about protecting health and safety when in fact they`re not. And so, how much will the court need to hear from medical professionals around that? YOSHINO: Right. Well, the AMA and ACOG which are the leading organizations have been really clear that this has nothing to do with the health of women. In fact, it would impinge on the capacity of women to get through safe and healthy, you know, abortions. And so, this is completely pretextual with regard to what`s being put forward. And just to give you a statistic, the number of regularly performed abortions, most commonly performed type of abortions in Texas leading to medical complications is 0.05 percent nationally, 0.05 percent. So this kind of health rational, though it sounds very good, if you just sort of scratch a little bit under the surface, you see it`s a complete pretext. HARRIS-PERRY: I`m also wondering, the court is meant to be insulated from politics. But I wonder how much the conversation about those Planned Parenthood videos will, in fact, enter in to the conversation that the justices themselves have? NORTHUP: Well, I think what links the Planned Parenthood deceptive underhand videos in this case is the extreme ways in which those who want to block access to safe and legal abortion will take any means even underhanded means. So, that`s what links the two. And the underhanded nature, to build on what Kenji was saying, if you close down, as this case would, all but ten clinics in Texas, the drive from El Paso, Texas, to San Antonio, 15 hours round trip. So, the notion that you are helping women`s health care when you take it out of their communities is patently absurd. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. And this is the question of undue burden. One more piece for you on this particular question, Kenji. Will the Catholicism of the court impact this decision? There are a disproportionate number of Catholics who sit on the current court. YOSHINO: Yes. I mean, it may. You know, six of the justices are Catholics, if you`re talking about Sotomayor and Kennedy, right, they were two of the five justices who put the freeze on the fifth circuit opinion and said this can`t go on to operation, until we decide whether or not we`re going to review it or not the ruling itself. And so, you know, I think it`s a little bit up in the air with regard to that. I think it is again going to come down to Justice Kennedy and how he feels about undue burden. From my perspective, it`s like, you know, Justice Kennedy would have a lot of explaining to do after writing the opinion where he set out the undue burden, but only set it out but said, you know, we have to remain faithful on (INAUDIBLE) ground to Rove. So, you know, Casey`s often described as a super precedent. So, if he were to re-jigger or to depart from the undue burden test, that would be really remarkable departure for him on jurisprudential grounds, not on religious grounds. HARRIS-PERRY: Not on religious grounds. When we come back, the rise of the pregnancy crisis centers. They are not what they seems to be. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Type the words "abortion" and "clinic" into an Internet search box, and among the list of services for women looking to end a pregnancy you might also see results that, while they include the word "abortion", link to clinics whose mission is to convince women not to have one. They`re called crisis pregnancy centers. And a recent "Salon" report found that they outnumber abortion clinics by an estimated 3-1. Now, these centers offer pregnancy testing, ultrasound, child care r resources and counseling to women facing an unplanned pregnancy. But investigations into the practices of pregnancy crisis centers like the 2006 government report has found they are at best ambiguous about their explicit anti-abortion agenda and at worst intentionally deceive women with misleading or scientifically inaccurate information to deter them from accessing an abortion until the pregnancies have advanced too far for termination. The centers, most of which have conservative Christian affiliations, receive millions of dollars in state and federal funds. And they are often located in close proximity to reproductive health centers which can make it easy for a woman seeking an abortion to accidentally end up at a pregnancy crisis center instead. And that confusion is what brings some women to the doors of a pregnancy crisis center in Jackson, Mississippi, that`s only minutes away from the last remaining abortion clinic in the state. Here`s what the director of the center told MSNBC. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARBARA BEAVERS, CENTER FOR PREGNANCY CHOICES: There are those that come and they may not call or whatever. And they would think they`re going to get an abortion here. I`m trying to think over the years. We have had those, you know. Sometimes people hear what they want to hear. I`m really a firm believer that abortion goes against the basic nature of a woman. A mother, a woman is made to guard and protect her baby and to defend it at the cost of her own life. An abortion asks us to take the life of the baby for the sake of the mother. I just feel like it`s so anti-woman and so anti-our nature. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: We`re going to take a quick commercial break. When we come back, I`m going to let my panel respond. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Before the break, we were talking about crisis pregnancy centers. Aimee, I want to let you on this. COX: Yes. I mean, when we hear the words care, protection and safety as it relates to the abortion debate, we have to be really careful in discerning about who`s care, protection and safety we`re talking about. And increasingly, it`s becoming clear that we are not talking about low income women, especially young women of color. The pregnancy crisis centers, if we are talking about anti-abortion, right, so the desire to not encourage young women to get abortions, that`s one thing. But when you are deceiving young women, when you`re giving them misinformation, when you`re not giving them the scientific facts, biological facts that can keep them safe and protect them physically, that is unconscionable. HARRIS-PERRY: And they -- COX: And we`re not just talking about a political debate here, we`re talking about allowing people to have information to take care of themselves. HARRIS-PERRY: It really is misleading. I mean, I don`t want to -- it really is misleading information, which is to say medically inaccurate information given about sort of the effects of abortion which simply -- there simply is no research -- COX: Which is different from not agreeing with abortion, that`s very different. This level of deception is dangerous. HARRIS-PERRY: So this point I think is an important one. I do think abortion is a relevant important social, moral, political topic that deserves conversation in the public sphere. But there`s the oddity of on one hand, taking Medicaid reimbursements not for abortion, right, but for primary health care that occurs at Planned Parenthoods, While at the same type, using the abstinence-only education federal dollars to help support the crisis pregnancy clinics the kind of unfairness these clinics actually get tax dollars. AGUILAR: Let`s put things in perspective. I think abortion clinics still outnumber by a wide margin crisis pregnancy -- HARRIS-PERRY: They do not, no, they certainly do not. No, not in Mississippi. They certainly do not. There`s only one in all of Mississippi, whereas there are many crisis pregnant centers. So, throughout the south, actually no, the crisis pregnancy centers -- AGUILAR: And you`re arguing really that all the crisis pregnancy centers are deceiving, look -- HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, because I think people think crisis pregnant center means a place I can go and get an abortion -- AGUILAR: Look, to say that abortion is the law of the land, I can admit that. That`s the legal perspective. To say that abortion is objectively science based, I reject that totally. That`s an opinion. And -- HARRIS-PERRY: Well, it`s a medical procedure -- AGUILAR: Well, it`s a medical procedure like euthanasia could be a medical procedure as well, yes. You kill a baby, it`s dead. You kill a older -- an elderly person, it`s dead. But we have to talk about the ethics and the morality about it. But I admit that it`s the law of the law. But we live in a pluralistic society where we have to respect freedom of religion. We have churches. We have people of faith that run clinics that provides all sorts of services. We have to protect their right -- HARRIS-PERRY: Sure -- AGUILAR: People against their -- HARRIS-PERRY: Sure, sure, sure. That is very different than giving tax -- AGUILAR: We`re talking only -- HARRIS-PERRY: That is very different than giving tax dollars to support one side while snatching it from the other -- AGUILAR: We are giving tax dollars to Planned Parenthood and they`re deceiving. Let me tell you about the Hispanic community, how they go to Planned Parenthood thinking services and they are forced to have an abortion. HARRIS-PERRY: No one is forced to have an abortion. That is simply not true. (CROSSTALK) AGUILAR: Come on. HARRIS-PERRY: And now, the protections of the state, California just did it, had to step in, because the crisis pregnancy centers are so misleading and require them to be clear to women about the fact that they don`t provide reproductive health services, and you know, women are at the center of this, and they need to be able to make their decisions for themselves. And we have to respect women in making those decisions, and that is not what the practice is at the crisis pregnancy centers do. (CROSSTALK) AGUILAR: It is a beautiful argument, but in the end it is a strategy of intolerance. HARRIS-PERRY: It`s not a strategy of intolerance -- (CROSSTALK) AGUILAR: And let me finish, if I can finish, and I`m the only token differing opinion on the show today. And what I am trying to say here -- HARRIS-PERRY: OK. AGUILAR: I believe in the democracy, but I am opposed imposing the religious dogma and I believe -- I`m against imposing secular dogma. And to tell a center that you have to talk abortion where you`re providing services to women, that`s -- (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I say, if you receive federal dollars and the fact that you give medically inaccurate -- so let me say in the state of North Carolina. AGUILAR: It isn`t inaccurate. HARRIS-PERRY: In the state of North Carolina -- so, for example, in the state of North Carolina, in our sex ed for students, you have are to give medically inaccurate information and I`ll give you the example of what it is. People who teach it are told that they have to tell the students that having an abortion affects your ability for later fertility which is simply not true, and yet, you have to do this. So, in fact, we do have the government stepping in and stepping only on one side. I want to say thank you to Nancy Northup and to Alfonso Aguilar, Aimee Meredith Cox and to Kenji Yoshino. I want to also just for a moment switch to a slightly different topic here because for months, we`ve been covering the hardships the Chicago schools are facing. There were hunger striking parents who were fighting to have their southeast side school reopen. There were the major corruption scandals involving the former Chicago public schools chief who gave $23 million of the school system`s no-bid contracts to a former employer to secure some serious kickbacks for herself while the district, itself, faces major fiscal problems. And in the wake of the shooting in Oregon, the president in a news conference announcing Education Secretary Arne Duncan`s resignation brought up the dangers of gun violence at Chicago school children`s fate when he said, quote, "Kids are running for their lives just trying to get to school In an environment where students are affective by violence, corruption and displacement, our foot soldiers this week is working to make the lives of those students a little less tumultuous. Brielle Siskin works for Umoja, a non-profit student development group as a restorative justice manager. But the kids at Sullivan High School in Chicago know her as the peace king, that`s because Brielle runs one of the Umoja`s six Chicago peace rooms, a safe place where students and the faculty members can come together to work out the environment in friendly environment. And Brielle is seeing results. Since the peace room started at Sullivan, suspension rates have dropped exponentially and just as importantly, the school`s environment has changed to become a more friendly place. Brielle Siskin joins me now from Chicago. Nice to have you. BRIELLE SISKIN, UMOJA: Hi. Thank you so much for having me. HARRIS-PERRY: So, tell me more about the peace rooms, and how exactly do they work? SISKIN: Yes. So, the peace room, it`s a safe space at Sullivan where students and staff come to solve interpersonal conflicts they are dealing with one another. And we also do a lot of the relationship building and community building in the peace room, too. HARRIS-PERRY: So, you know, this idea of restorative justice and particularly restorative justice for young people has, I think, gaining some traction in our public sphere. Talk to me about why it`s important. SISKIN: Yes, so restorative justice is important, because it gives students the opportunity to come together and talk about conflict and harm when it happens. Oftentimes in the schools, when students do something wrong, there is a suspension that happens or a punitive discipline, and so restorative justice in the peace room gives the students the space to resolve their issues so they can stay in school and stay in class HARRIS-PERRY: You know, sometimes we have talked about the strategy whether it is curricular or co-curricular as the peace rooms are, we also talked about the realities of kids not having enough food to eat before school or during school hours, or the challenges they may be facing in their communities and the neighborhoods before and after school hours, how does the peace rooms address some of those issues? SISKIN: Yes. So, the peace room is just a space where people can open up and talk about what they are dealing in the moment or the night before, because often what I see is the conflict that takes place is not actually something that is between the two people, but maybe they were hungry the night before and maybe they had a bad conversation with their mother before they left their house. So, the peace room gives students a space to open up and talk about those issues so that we can really get at the underlying conflict and provide the supports we need for the students. HARRIS-PERRY: And what are the teachers and the administrators saying about this process? SISKIN: So the teachers and administrators at Sullivan, they are very pro- restorative justice. We have the principal at Sullivan who lives and breathes this work. He believes that students should learn math, they should learn English and they should also leave school learning the skills they need to resolve conflicts. And I`m not going to lie, it take as while for the teachers to get upon board, but at Sullivan they really have, because they see that it works. HARRIS-PERRY: And, Brielle, I have a question for you and I don`t know if a peace room might help me and my guest Alfonso Aguilar to make peace about the big political differences that we have? SISKIN: Yes. I think you definitely could. We have to do some norm setting at the beginning, talk about how you want to respect each other. Maybe you can talk in peace. But I would love to support with that. HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely. I think I`m going to get Alfonso into the peace room a little later and see if we can find some restorative justice. (LAUGHTER) HARRIS-PERRY: I want to say thank to Brielle Siskin in Chicago and thank you for being our foot soldier this week. SISKIN: Thank you. Thanks so much. HARRIS-PERRY: Thanks. And that`s our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. We will be back tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. I expect to see you here joining us tomorrow. We`re going to discuss the DNC`s invitation to host a social racial justice forum at the town hall. And we`re going to talk with Alicia Garza of Black Lives Matter and DeRay McKesson of Campaign Zero. But, right now, it`s time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT". Hi, Alex. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END