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Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 1/30/2016

Guests: Symone Sanders, Eric Bodhlert, Maria Hinojosa, Jamilah Lemieux, Karla Holloway, Cornell William Brooks, Victoria E. Arteaga, Boris Epshteyn, Glenn Martin

Show: MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY Date: January 30, 2016 Guest: Symone Sanders, Eric Bodhlert, Maria Hinojosa, Jamilah Lemieux, Karla Holloway, Cornell William Brooks, Victoria E. Arteaga, Boris Epshteyn, Glenn Martin

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: Good morning. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry, and this hour we have eyes on the many presidential hopefuls stumping across Iowa today.


.giving their last-ditch closing arguments ahead of Monday`s first in the nation caucus, the very first votes in the contest that will determine the next President of the United States.


It`s finally real, people, and tomorrow I too will be on the ground in Iowa, and excited down to my political science nerd toes. So today we`re going to get into the nitty gritty in both parties.


But first, the Democrats because the (kray tier) Vermont Socialist that just about everyone thought was a long shot candidate is now neck and neck with former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. (The) Democratic Party -- primary, I`m sorry -- is no longer just a coronation. According to the most recent NBC News "Wall Street Journal" Marist poll, Clinton is only three points ahead of Senator Sanders among likely Iowa Democratic caucus goers, a lead well within the polls 4.7 margin of error.


It`s a dead heat and both candidates are feeling the, well, you know, going all out in their closing arguments to Iowans. Now, by this point, anyone closing watching the campaign has become accustomed to the message integral to the Sanders campaign.


He is the outsider who`s going to up end the political establishment, whether they like it or not.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Two Democratic visions for regulating Wall Street. One says it`s OK to take millions from big banks and then tell them what to do. Will they like me? No. Will they begin to play by the rules if I`m President? You better believe it.


HARRIS-PERRY: So here`s one way to think about it. You see, in Bernie Sanders` world, it`s Bernie versus them and, if he wins, he is in fact going to win, win, win. But you see, not everyone`s buying it.


"The Washington Post" editorial board for one said this week that Bernie quote "Is playing the role of the uncorrupted anti-establishment crusader, but Mr. Sanders is not a brave truth teller. He`s a politician sowing his own brand of fiction to a slice of the country that eagerly wants to buy it." To Sanders that kind of thinking is exactly what he`s running against.


Here`s Bernie in Iowa on Thursday.


SANDERS: That`s in a sense what this campaign is about, that is, people are telling us -- whether it`s "The Washington Post" editorial board or anybody else -- our ideas are too ambitious, can`t happen, it`s too bold. Really?


HARRIS-PERRY: See every time you tell him it`s too bold, it`s too big, it`s a response that furthers Sanders` image as a rouge outsider who will continue to represent the (dreams) of the people, even in the face of powerful opposition. His pitch is they don`t want you to vote for Bernie, so you definitely should. Actually, you know who Bernie has kind of been reminding me of lately? The renowned hip-hop producer DJ Khaled.


DJ KHALED, HIP-HOP PRODUCER: Do not want you to have a lunch. They don`t want you to be happy, they don`t want you to enjoy lunch. Well, I`m a enjoy it. (SHOUTING) They don`t want you to wear a St. Laurent fur. They don`t want you to break the App Store. They don`t want you to be the biggest boss in the game. So what we gonna do, is we gonna win more.


HARRIS-PERRY: Right, right, they don`t even want you to have a, a talk show. See, for those who don`t know who DJ Khaled is, he`s a renowned hip- hop producer who`s responsible for some of the most memorable hits of the past decade. He`s collaborated with some of the most popular artists out there, like Fat Joe, Kanye West, Drake. And he`s perhaps best known for the hit single "All I Do is Win." Now we`d play it for you but, you know, lawsuits. So unlike Khaled, we have to follow at least some of the rules that "they" lay out for us. Anyway, Khaled has added social media feed onto his resume and this social media is really (about) -- it`s kind of hilarious and inspirational life advice which he sometimes calls major cheese on Snapchat.


Now maybe he is kidding when he says they don`t want you to eat lunch. But nevertheless he has established an admirably strong anti-"they" stance. Khaled never identifies exactly who "they" are, but he indicates that there is an establishment, a system of power discouraging you from doing something. So, we, you should challenge the establishment by doing it anyway.


It`s a message that perhaps can prove useful in this political climate.


KHALED: Major (keel lure). They don`t want you to have healthcare. They don`t want you to have Obamacare. So what we gonna do is care about our life and get that Obamacare.


HARRIS-PERRY: See, that kind of sums up the message of Bernie Sanders who`s caring in Iowa.


They don`t want you to vote for him, so you should. Sometimes "they" is the DNC for not yet adding additional debates to the calendar. Sometimes "they" is Wall Street or "The Washington Post" or (even) Planned Parenthood. "They" is money and special interests. "They" is definitely Hillary Clinton.


And Bernie`s major key, "they" don`t want you to feel the Bern, so you should. Joining me now is Maria Hinojosa, Executive Producer and anchor of "Humanizing America" and NPR`s Latino USA; Eric Boehlert, Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America; and Jamilah Lemieux, who is a Senior Editor for "Ebony" digital; and Symone Sanders, National Press Secretary for the Sanders campaign, who joins us from Des Moines, Iowa. So, is Bernie, who I have said before, spends more time on, you know, being covered by -- not that he`s on there, right? -- being covered by sort of world star hip hop than anybody but except maybe DJ Khalid, is he making this argument? Is this the closing argument in Iowa, that there`s an establishment that doesn`t want Sanders, and so that`s in part why voters, caucusers should choose him?

SYMONE SANDERS, NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY, SANDERS CAMPAIGN: Thank you for having me this morning, Melissa. I think our closing argument in Iowa is that, you know, yes, we live in a rigged economy that is kept in place by a system of corrupt campaign finance, and Bernie doesn`t think that`s right. Bernie is not participating in that system. Bernie is here for the people, and that`s what this campaign is about.


So we`re asking people, you know, to come out and caucus on Monday and -- because this campaign is not just about getting Bernie Sanders elected. This campaign is about every day, hard-working Americans, those people that deserve that $15 minimum wage, you know, the people that deserve the healthcare that DJ Khalid was talking about. So that is a part of our closing argument. We`ve got that enthusiasm, we`ve got the momentum, and (I`ves) been in the office all weekend. We definitely have a good ground game.


HARRIS-PERRY: All right, Symone, hold for me for a second. Eric, so talk to me, kind of get to the Iowa for, for a minute. Because I actually get why this argument taps into a kind of oppositional consciousness as, for example, Lawrence Levine might talk about African-American cultures that works like, they don`t want you to eat breakfast, you`d better eat that breakfast. But does it tap -- is there an oppositional consciousness in Iowa caucus-goers? Would -- is this a useful argument for closing with Iowa caucusers?

ERIC BOEHLERT, SENIOR FELLOW, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA: Well, I think it`s a classic anti-establishment campaign, right? And the Democratic Party has always been open to that. I mean we`ve never had a primary where there wasn`t someone from the outside saying, hey, let`s take a different view, let`s, let`s take this outside Washington, D.C. Now they`ll probably mention Planned Parenthood. Sometimes when you get into this anti, anti, anti, you kind of run into trouble.


BOEHLERT: I mean if Bernie kind of singled out Planned Parenthood as they`re against us, any Democrat I think who`s running for national office, especially after what Planned Parenthood went through this last year, pointing out them as kind of an opponent -- they walked it back and I think everything`s fine there -- but, when you come, become anti-establishment everything, you do run into a problem. But, yeah, no, this is a perfect -- it makes sense for the Democratic Party, it makes sense for Iowa, and it makes sense for people who want to have, you know, a larger debate. We`ve never -- quick point. I mean a Democratic primary has been a coronation. We`ve never had a coronation on any primary. We`re always going to have a good fight. I mean go back to Bradley-Gore. Everyone thought Gore was going to walk. Iowa and New Hampshire were dog fights.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, right. I guess what I would say is great, but it didn`t initially look that way.

BOEHLERT: Yeah, right.

HARRIS-PERRY: And so, Symone, let me come back to you just real quick though on this point about Planned Parenthood, because there was a moment that felt like a misstep this week on this kind of oppositional position to say, oh, no, there are all of these groups against (who) there`s been a six-figure ad buy by Planned Parenthood nationally for, for Mrs. Clinton. They have endorsed her campaign, but does that make them an establishment that is against Mr. Sanders?

SANDERS: Of course not, Melissa, and the Senator clarified his comments on Rachel Maddow following the days after. And what he was saying, of course Planned Parenthood itself is not the establishment. The Senator has a hundred percent pro-choice voting record. He has fought with Planned Parenthood, he`s fought with NARAL, he stood up for women`s rights, women`s reproductive rights. So, of course, he wasn`t talking about Planned Parenthood and, you know, the hard-working folks at Planned Parenthood all across the country.


But what he was referring to were Washington-based organizations that vote one way, and they`re -- the people that represent, vote another way. And we`ve seen that with many of these unions across the country. Lots of unions have come out and endorsed other candidates in this race. But the members of these unions across the country are standing with other candidates. There are hundreds of thousands of union members standing with Senator Sanders. So, of course, you know, Planned Parenthood is not the establishment. The Senator was not knocking Planned Parenthood, and I think people, people see that and they know that.


HARRIS-PERRY: Let me, let me come out for a second. Jamilah, what do you, what do you make of my claim here around, around Khalid because, you know, he even did a sort of thing around Jeb Bush. You know, we`ve seen Mr. Bush is actually speaking live right now in Iowa. You can see him in the corner there. Hold on one second, I want to listen to DJ Khalid talking to Jeb Bush and I`m going to let you weigh in on that.


KHALID: You know I rock with Obama. Obama should (loo). But, Jeb Bush, seems like you need some advice. I`mma give you the key to success and motivate you. They don`t want you to win. They don`t want you to have breakfast. A healthy breakfast of fruit, green apple. That`s the key, apple.


HARRIS-PERRY: And then Jeb was kind of funny enough to actually tweet back, oh, you know, I had my green apple today, right?


And so, you know, it, it felt to me Jamilah like there is this sort of again this question of running against the establishment does feel like part of the overall theme of, of this particular election season.


JAMILAH LEMIEUX, SENIOR EDITOR, "EBONY" DIGITAL: Absolutely. I think the "they" that doesn`t want Jeb Bush to win would be the majority of American (voters).

HARRIS-PERRY: Democratic and Republic Party (inaudible).

LEMIEUX: Right, the establishment and anti-establishment, we may be unified on that.

HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, no, poor Jeb.

LEMIEUX: Poor Jeb.


LEMIEUX: And we have to say how do we step away from.


LEMIEUX: You know, but this -- Senator Sanders does represent something really interesting. And if we think of President Obama, the infancy of his candi -- of his campaign as anti-establishment, he didn`t speak to a "they," right? It wasn`t the idea that other people didn`t want you to have things. It was imagine a better world. Hope, change, something different.


It wasn`t necessarily about being radical or revolutionary, it was just imagine that we could do something a little bit better than what we`ve done before. To have someone near eight years later, eight years later, come forward and say, forget it all.


There`s an establishment. There`s a regime. There needs to be a change. I want you to be radical. That Sanders has continue to drive forward this message, and he has not hidden from the word "Socialist," but kept it integral to his messaging. It`s something that we certainly haven`t seen in my lifetime, and really interested to see how voters react to that.

HARRIS-PERRY: So that, so that`s interesting because there have been a lot of comparisons to the, to the Senator Obama `08 campaign here. But you`re actually doing a little bit of a different thing because you`re right. Obama `08 was about, if there was a "they," it was a kind of historical "they," it wasn`t an existing "they." Stick with us everybody, except I want to say thank you to Symone Sanders in Des Moines, Iowa, because I know that you are running up to do all the work of the campaign, rushing. I`m going to see you again tomorrow because I`ll be on the ground in Des Moines, and so I`ll get to see you live, along with some of my students there. Everybody else, stay right there because Hillary Clinton also thinks that "they" don`t want her to be President, and that`s next. But, as we go to break, let`s listen in as Jeb Bush talks to his supporters in Iowa right now.


FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH, (R) FLORIDA: .in Washington, D.C. And you know the place that I would first work to change the culture and change direction is the Department of Veterans Affairs. These men, and many others in this room, have served this country in an extraordinary way. And the net result is that they deserve the best care possible, the best care possible. And today they`re not getting it. The Department of Veterans Affairs, is employees, a department of 340,000 people.




HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m fighting for everyone who`s ever been knocked down but refused to be knocked out. I`m going to fight until every little girl in America knows she can grow up to be anything she wants, even President of the United States.


HARRIS-PERRY: That was one of Hillary Clinton`s latest ads, and she continues to demonstrate that Bernie Sanders is not the only one who can pitch himself as an outsider. Clinton also seems to have a DJ Khalid-style "they" argument to make. Perhaps it is a "they" don`t want you to have a woman as President. So, Maria, I want to ask you a little bit about this in part because, you know, for me, I am now officially old enough to remember that the Clintons were outsiders, right, and that they in fact initially ran -- and I really do say "they" at this point -- in part because she was also running as a, you know, they don`t want you to have a First Lady who is smart, who is, you know, willing to govern alongside, you know, her partner. That in fact they really did come in in the early `90s as a, as a different kind of outsider. And I feel sometimes like that has gotten lost in the description of the Clintons as establishment now.


MARIA HINOJOSA, EXECUTIVE PRODUCE & ANCHOR, "HUMANIZING AMERICA," "LATINO USA," NPR: So I, I`m just watching -- I have two millennial Latino voters in my home.


HINOJOSO: Right? They know that I, I don`t take a position. I listen to them, I listen to my husband, and I use them as kind of my guinea pigs.


Sorry to reveal, but my daughter eight years ago was a staunch Hillary supporter. I mean she would take on fights in her, you know, whatever it was, when she was in middle school.


HINOJOSO: Because all of her friends were supporting Obama. The other morning after the debate she calls me up. I don`t know what city I`m in. She was like, Mom, I get the Bernie thing.

HARRIS-PERRY: Interesting.

HINOJOSO: I get the Bernie thing. And I`m just like, OK.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s interesting.

HINOJOSO: What, what? And I just said, so what did you think? And she said, he`s talking about money and banks. And I was like, my 17-year-old daughter who will be voting is talking to me about money in politics in eight o`clock in the morning after the debate. And so -- and I`m, I`m just kind of judging from them -- while they don`t have the history, that memory of the outsiders, I think something has changed in the sense that, that being a woman, at least for my daughter, you know, it`s just not enough right now.

HARRIS-PERRY: So is, is that what that -- is that part of what`s happening around the outsider claim here is that (chu) thinks that the Clinton campaign may be using a more identity-based outsider claim in this moment, that an identity-based claim is going to work less well than a kind of structural policy-based outsider claim.

BOEHLERT: Well, there has been commentary that she did run this kind of campaign in 2008. She didn`t really talk about being, you know, an historical figure and things like that.


BOEHLERT: And maybe she should have then. Now she, she`s just more comfortable now.


BOEHLERT: I think this is who she is. Look, when you`re Secretary of State, when you`ve been on the national stage for a quarter century, it`s harder to do that outsider thing.


BOEHLERT: But, look, when you want to talk about the "they" who don`t want to, you know, I would say Clinton is a little unusual. She`s running against Sanders, she`s running against the GOP, which has been advertising against her, and she`s running against the press. Nobody has to run against all three.


She knew this wasn`t going to be a cake walk, and it`s not.


HARRIS-PERRY: So, this, this is perhaps for me the one thing that keeps making me think that the press, and maybe even Democrats who want to see kind of a good fight and not a coronation, are overblowing the Sanders narrative, and it is that during Republican debates they act like only one person is running. And the very fact that the only person that they`re ever running against is Hillary Clinton, suggests to me that the only person they think who is a challenge for them. And in fact right now it is once again all about the e-mails, right? And so now the discourse emerges again about the e-mails. And I just wonder like, if, if they only see Hillary Clinton as a threat, is that, is that either indicative that they have a piece of information there, or that they are misreading Sanders? In other words, that they`re underestimating Sanders as a potential threat?

LEMIEUX: You know, I -- it`s hard to understand what the GOP strategy is. That`s fine considering that there are more candidates still in the race and we could adequately sit -- adequately sit.


LEMIEUX: .and discuss one by one during a two-hour news program.


LEMIEUX: But the one thing that they do seem clear on is that we are running against Hillary Clinton.

HARRIS-PERRY: Mm-hmm. That`s the one thing they agree on.

LEMIEUX: That`s the one thing they agree on, and I don`t think that means that the Sanders narrative is being overblown and that we`re seeing too much into it. The polling numbers are saying, look, he -- he presents, if nothing else, a threat in New Hampshire and Iowa, and that`s a serious threat and Iowa changed the course of history just a few years ago.


LEMIEUX: I just wonder if the Clinton campaign entered feeling that this would be a coronation, feeling you can count on the endorsement of President Obama, you can count on the people who said, look, the color, the temperature of the presidency has changed.


We`ve seen a black man, we can certainly imagine a white woman. It should not be such a great fight for me to get this, I`m qualified.


HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I just, I want to make one other claim about the version of `90s outsider, "they" don`t want it.


And it really was that when came in -- when Bill Clinton came in and triangulated in the early `90s, his DJ Khalid argument was they don`t want you to pick a Democrat who can win. `Cause in `84 and `88 it was a kind of lefty Democrat who, who won the nomination and then lost in the general. And he was like, I know I`m to the right of them but, if you pick me, I can actually win in the generals. And then he did twice, right?


And in a certain way, that is the argument, right? The kind of safe argument that Hillary Clinton is making again and actually is that old- fashioned one. So she`s saying they just don`t want y`all to have a Democrat who can win. So it`ll be interesting to see. It`s all very DJ Khalid. Thank you to Eric Boehlert for coming. Are you, are you going to Iowa?

BOEHLERT: Not making it out.

HARRIS-PERRY: Not making it out. Well, yeah, it`s -- you know, it`s cold. OK. And to Maria Hinojoso and Jamilah Lemieux, we are going to be back a little bit later in the program. But up next, we`re going to go to Iowa live on the ground as the two-day caucus countdown continues. But as we go to break, let us take a listen to Senator Marco Rubio as he addresses his supporters in Iowa.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R-FL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And that`s why when I am President I will lead the effort. We will fix our tax code. We will roll back regulations. We will save Social Security and Medicare. We will deal with the national debt. We will fully utilize our energy resources. And, if we do that, there will be no economy in the world better than ours to create jobs. We will become the single best place on this planet to start a business or grow an existing one and create the best-paying jobs the 21st century economy can provide.



HARRIS-PERRY: When we come back we`re going to talk about one of these big political issues that may not be getting a lot of play on the campaign trail but is central to the question of American politics, the Flint water crisis.


HARRIS-PERRY: Wednesday night during Rachel Maddow`s "Crisis in Flint" town hall, the President of Michigan`s National Action Network succinctly summed up Flint`s residents` feelings about who is to blame for water that has been poisoning them for months.


REV. CHARLE WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK OF MICHIGAN: I was thinking about what I was going to say on the way here, and I felt like, Marshawn Lynch. All I got to say is Governor Snyder got to go.


HARRIS-PERRY: Now, it`s true that Flint`s Mayor and City Council OK`d the original decision to switch the City`s water source from the Detroit system to a yet-to-be-completed pipeline that would bring fresh water from Lake Huron. So why are Flint citizens blaming the person in charge of the State? Well, because there is no record that City officials voted to use the tainted water from the Flint River in the meantime. The final call on that decision came from Emergency Managers who were handpicked by and reported to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.


And, as the "New York Times" points out this week, in Flint Emergency Managers not only oversaw the City, effectively seizing legal authority from the Mayor and City Council, but also pressed to switch the source of the financially-troubled city`s water supply to save money.


Michigan`s Emergency Manager law give an unelected person, appointed by the Governor, the power to make decisions for financially-challenged municipalities and school districts, and Flint has been under the control of six Emergency Managers in the last 13 years. It`s a loss of political agency that the City`s current Mayor linked directly to the water crisis.


KAREN WEAVER, MAYOR OF FLINT: Democracy needs to be restored in Flint. That`s what`s happened, that`s how we got here. We didn`t have a voice, it was taken.


HARRIS-PERRY: It`s not just Flint. According to a 2013 report from "The Atlantic," while the cities under Emergency Management together contain just nine percent of Michigan`s population, they contain notably about half of the state`s African-American residents. Which means those Michiganders who are stripped of their political power under the law are more likely to be economically disadvantaged African-Americans, a reality that made Michigan`s Emergency Manager policy the target of a federal lawsuit from the Detroit branch of the NAACP in 2013. The suit claimed that the law created a disparate impact that violated voting rights and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment and, according to the Detroit NAACP President, white municipalities that experienced similar financial distress did not come under similar financial oversight. A judge ruled the lawsuit could not move forward on technical grounds. But this week the NAACP continued the fight, and on Wednesday National NAACP President Cornell William Brooks presented Governor Snyder with a 15-point plan to address Flint`s water crisis.


And among the top priorities on that list is a call to repeal Michigan`s Emergency Manager law. Joining my panel now is Karla Holloway, Professor of English, Law, and African-American Studies at Duke University.


And from Washington, D.C,. NAACP President, Cornell William Brooks. Mr. Brooks, what in the world does democracy have to do with clean and potable water in Flint, Michigan?

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, NAACP: Democracy has everything to do with clean water in Flint, Michigan. When we think about this lead-based Katrina for the citizenry of Flint, it began not with contamination, but rather with legislation. That is to say Public Act 436, which provide near dictatorial powers for the Emergency Manager.


In other words, you have a State official who is able to suspend City Council meetings, able to suspend City ordinances, able to cancel labor contracts, able to basically oversee, overrun, if you will, the fiscal and political civic decisions of a municipality. And, as you so well pointed out, while nine percent of Michigan`s citizens are under Emergency Managers, it represents 50 percent of the African-American population, and well more than that when we consider citizens of color. So the point being here, this is not merely a catastrophe in environmental terms, it is a catastrophe in civic terms.


It is precisely because you had an unaccountable, unelected State official making a disastrous choice not in the best interest of the citizens of Flint, but rather driven by fiscal concerns, that we have lead in the bloodstream of, bloodstreams of children. It is a profoundly democratic question and catastrophe in Flint, Michigan.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, Karla, I want to come to you on this because it feels to me like in a moment like this it is so easy to go to the symbolism, right?


HARRIS-PERRY: The people of Flint represent -- and so I appreciate, for example, what Mr. Brooks did there with the lead Katrina, right?

HOLLOWAY: Katrina. Certainly.

HARRIS-PERRY: So I both appreciate it and I recognize the danger in it. Because in each case, in the case of Katrina for my family, for my neighbors, for all of us who even a decade later have to deal with the, the City officials who take victory laps around the graves of people a decade later.


HARRIS-PERRY: Right? And the same thing in this context of Flint, that, that here in this place where children have boils on their skin or they are poisoned by -- as Mr. Brooks is saying -- the choices made by unelected folks, that they both are absolute indications of the power of democracy, but we can also turn them into symbols. And so since that`s your work, right?



HARRIS-PERRY: Both at the intersection of law and symbols, I was like, well, I need Karla Holloway at the table.

HOLLOWAY: Well, I`m worried about the symbolism, and I`m worried about the symbolism precisely because, as soon as this moves out of the news cycle, we have right here an irreversible neurotoxin in these children`s systems. So this news cycle will move on, our attention to it will be the same thing that happened to Katrina. They will become symbols, and yet these children, and these classrooms, and these families, communities, will be dealing with this for decades. It will become a structural problem, it will become a cultural problem, and what I really worry about is the way in which the victims of this particular incident -- I`m holding back from saying crime -- this particular incident will become the kind of metaphorical reference, rather than real bodies with real problems, like the boils, that will go on to be things that happen in developing childs` (brains).


HARRIS-PERRY: So, Cornell, this is why it was so important for me to take a moment to focus on this part because, yes, the neuro and physiological, but also the political, right? That.

BROOKS: That`s right.

HARRIS-PERRY: .that we will both need to establish all of the reparation necessary for addressing the physical consequences here, but also we`re going to restore some version of democracy in this space.

BROOKS: That`s right. I mean we can`t ignore, we shouldn`t blink, morally or otherwise, the human cost and the human toll of this. When you see a child with a rash on his back, when you see parents who are frightened to death, the consequences of this crisis for their children, that`s real. And we cannot lose sight of the humanity.


But focusing on the humanity points to the underlying problem with democracy. And the fact of the matter is that it is because of this law that we have this crisis. And if we respond to this democratic crisis with specific policy reforms. So, for example, we need a victim fund. Just as was pointed out, this is a generational problem. We have neurotoxins, which is just another way of saying basically, brain poison in the bloodstreams of children, which has a consequence in terms of the developmental progress of children, learning disabilities, behavioral challenges. And so the point being is we have to have a fund to address that. Point two, we`ve called upon the Justice Department to look into investigating and looking for litigatory options to hold this city and state accountable. Title VI seems like a viable vehicle. In addition to that, we have called for a real fiscal response here. The point being here is, when you have advocates talking about billions of dollars in terms of infrastructure replacement.


.and the Governor calling for in excess of $20 million for a short-term response, the point being here is responsibility can be measured in money, and right now what we have is a response that is under-responsive and irresponsible.


BROOKS: We got to step up and address this problem. We have the Federal delegation, Congressional delegation.


BROOKS: .talking about hundreds of millions of dollars.

HARRIS-PERRY: And we -- and, right, and, and that, and that is an under response. I`ve got more one this, I promise. I want to say thank you to Cornell William Brooks in Washington, D.C. When we come back, there are more folks who are being impacted. There`s also more folks who are responsible. I am looking at you, Secretary Jeh Johnson.


HARRIS-PERRY: It`s been four months since the City of Flint began issuing warnings about lead in the water, three months since the County urged residents not to drink the water, and weeks since the contamination prompted State and Federal government to declare a state of emergency. But up until very recently many in Flint`s communities of undocumented immigrants were still drinking and bathing in the lead-contaminated water because they never got the message about its dangers. Flint`s Spanish-only speakers missed the message because they said it only had been delivered in English-language-only flyers and media. Many were not able to get bottled water because, up until recently, water distribution sites required State- issue ID that undocumented people can apply for under Michigan law.

And deportation fears, Mr. Johnson, have also many some of Flint`s undocumented immigrants reluctant to open their doors to uniformed National Guard members who are going house to house with clean water and supplies. Joining me via Skype from Flint is one of the local advocates who have helped to step in to provide resources and support for the city`s immigrant community, Victoria Arteaga is an immigrant -- excuse me, immigration lawyer and memer of -- member of Flint`s Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic church. So nice to have you Miss Arteaga. Can you explain to me this issue around the State-issued IDs, because isn`t, isn`t clean water an international human right? It`s not supposed to be tied to citizenship, right?

VICTORIA E. ARTEAGA, IMMIGRATION LAWYER: Well, we believe that it is. It`s a right, it`s a human right. Everyone should be able to get clean water. That`s essential for us.

HARRIS-PERRY: So can you talk to me about the deportation fear (a piece) because, you know, we have been very clear about linking the Emergency Manager piece back to Mr. Snyder, back to the Governor, a Republican governor who made choices that, that created this lead poisoning. But I don`t want to let Secretary -- Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and his deportation sweeps at the behest of the Obama administration that have struck fear in so many communities, off the hook here because it is part of my understanding about why at least some groups of children are continuing to be poisoned in that community because they are too afraid to in fact accept the help.


ARTEAGA: Yeah, yeah, it`s been a long-term issue here. Deportation, as we know, is at an all-time high. A lot of people are afraid to go into public offices. A lot of people are afraid to step forward. And they`ve had the experience that, if you step forward, your name is on a list. You don`t want your name on a list. Another thing here is that they need the IDs in order to be sure that the people in Flint are getting services. But, again, that raises the same issue for these folks, that I don`t want my name on a list.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yep. Maria, let me (inaudible). You know, this is what fear looks like in the United States of America today, the consequences.


HINOJOSA: Yeah, we don`t have -- because we don`t talk about it so much. I mean, we do on Latino USA and in all the ways that we do, but on the national media, it`s not discussed. So this notion of, you know, people coming to your home at five o`clock in the morning and banging on the door. It`s interesting that the people from Michigan -- from Flint -- were not opening the door.


HINOJOSA: That they knew that they were like, well, we don`t have to open the door. Because right now of course there`s this misrepresentation of who is at the door presenting themselves as police, when they`re Immigration agents. So when we think about living in the United States of America with this kind of fear, we`re talking about an underground community. And I was thinking about my notes and I was writing, you know, underground. This is what an underground community. And I was like underground railroad, underground. We have to understand that there is an underground now in this moment in history that is before our eyes. And actually I think that if, if the good people of Flint knew where their neighbors were who are undocumented, I believe that they would actually go and help them. But these are communities of undocumented immigrants in a community like Flint that are so underground they may not even know where they are, right? So that`s how deep we`re talking about. And the notion that you`re afraid to come out of your home? Again, Melissa, I find it interesting that you said Jeh Johnson.


HINOJOSA: I`m saying Barack Obama.

HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, sure. I, hey. Sure, I`m with.

HINOJOSA: I`m saying Barack Obama, and you know what the simplest thing to do? Send Michelle Obama to go meet with these families. Something.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I mean, I mean, maybe -- but, look, for me it`s not a First Lady moment. It, it, it is the Department of Homeland Security making a decision and I presume that it`s a decision that is coming from the administration, but I don`t really know. `Cause I have asked Mr. Johnson repeatedly to be on my TV show, and he will not. So that is why I keep calling on Mr. Johnson. Any time he would like to sit down with me, he can. I mean, my, maybe I`m all wrong. But, but I will say, Jamilah, I want to come back to Maria`s point here that, that this does feel like potentially a black-brown coalition moment. Because, because I don`t want the Obama administration`s final year to be marred by a fugitive slave law around the question of this deportation that leads in the context of Flint to actual children being actually poisoned by lead because their parents are too afraid to open the door for clean water.

LEMIEUX: You know what is one of the most terrifying things about this moment for me is the possibility that a Republican could become the next President, and that this precedent has been set by a Democrat.


LEMIEUX: .that we can come into your house at four or five o`clock in the morning, while you`re asleep, taking you and your family away. So if a Democrat is doing that, what happens next when we have candidates that have said I`m not letting Muslims in.


LEMIEUX: And I have no problem putting all of you brown people out. That`s terrifying.

HARRIS-PERRY: Ma`am, Miss Arteaga, can I ask you to speak on that?

ARTEAGA: Well, right now, we, we do know, we all know that deportation is at an all-time high. That`s a genuine fear for people. If a policeman knocks on the door and says "Police, water, we`re giving water away," the first thing you hear is "police," and that`s where it stops. But we also need to be aware that the State, the local authorities are trying very hard to work with us. It`s, it`s important, it`s essential to everyone that we get this water. And so we`re getting a lot of support, we`re getting some written materials from the State that are in Spanish.


We`re hearing from Catholic charities, from Red Cross, and they are saying, no, we will not turn anyone away. So those doors are open. The big thing now is we need to get the word out and we need to find out what`s going to happen in the future with these folks. Because if you`re undocumented you don`t have insurance. And you have to look for what insurance you can get from the insurance -- or the agencies that are offering free services.


HARRIS-PERRY: So I can imagine, Karla, a, an announcement that says we are, we are in a crisis, right? We are in a situation where, as we were talking about, irreversible health, neurological damage to children, to families, and so the Federal government simply saying, you know what, in fact, we are putting a full stop on deportation for a month.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah, yeah.

HARRIS-PERRY: For six weeks, for eight. For some parents, just say hey, sometimes things are so bad, the reality of in these communities so serious that we want to actually tamp down the fear long enough for people to get help. And then we`ll just get back to our whole Homeland Security anxieties in 15 minutes.

HOLLOWAY: Everything is in the "and then." And everything is also in this power that we have come to see as normative of Emergency Management. This stuff started in Michigan actually just after I left. I`m a Michigan, former Michigan resident. I still drink the Vernnor`s. Well, maybe not so much anymore. But the whole idea of going into black and brown communities and taking over the financial management, declaring emergency, has now morphed into what we consider the manufacture of national emergency around the issue of immigration.


These patterns of learning to be afraid of ICE agents are now patterns and rehearsed. I know not to open my door at four or five in the morning because I know what happened to my neighbor who looked like me, who had the same skin tone as me. So if this are the things we learn to understand and remember, even declaring an emergency for this moment until I decide it`s not an emergency.



HARRIS-PERRY: And I want to take a listen for a second because what was interesting to me is that the moderators for Fox News did actually ask a Flint water crisis question at the GOP debate on Thursday. And I want to listen to Governor Kasich`s response because I thought it was a smart response.


GOV. JOHN KASICH, (R-OH) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People at home are saying they`ve got a problem. Listen to them. Because most of the time they`re absolutely correct. So the fact is that we work for the people; the people don`t work for us, and we have to have an attitude when we`re in government of servanthood


HARRIS-PERRY: So for me this was -- I mean, whatever, however you want to adjudicate his honesty, it was a smart response to say, look, actually the people have been saying that there was a problem for a long time, even before the scientists showed up. And that in fact government is meant to serve the people. And I just thought how long has it been since we`ve heard someone in elected office say that?

HINOJOSA: You know what concerns me is the kind of institutional impact of this, right? That you have now a generation of young people, let`s say, whose parents are immigrants. Because I`m imagining that many of these young people in Flint were born there. But they are carrying the residual impact of I don`t want to have anything to do with any law enforcement, whoever looks like that. And I remember when there were floods in Colorado, and the same thing happened. People were knocking on their door to save people, and they were like I`m not opening the door. So it, it`s now becoming a generational issue because we can`t ignore the fact that these are children born here who are going to be growing up, looking at law enforcement as something that is not there. And every law enforcement says (inaudible).

HARRIS-PERRY: Does that sound familiar, my friend. Thank you to Victoria Arteaga in Flint, Michigan. Right here in New York, thank you to Jemilah Lemieux. And Maria and Karla are going to be back in our next hour.


Coming up, we`re going to go back live to the campaign trail as the countdown to the Iowa caucuses continues.



HARRIS-PERRY: The presidential candidates are spending the final hours before the Iowa caucuses with a flurry of campaigning across the state.


Right now Senator Ted Cruz is scheduled to address supporters in Hubbard, Iowa. NBC`s Hallie Jackson joins us now. Hallie, does the Cruz campaign see a pathway to victory in the Iowa caucuses on Monday?

HALLIE JACKSON, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Absolutely, and they see that pathway to victory, Melissa, through their organization on the ground, right? Let me give you a sense of where we are. We`re in Ames, and this is the line of people waiting to get into Senator Cruz` next event. So we`re going to walk the line as we chat here and kind of show you where things are happening. From day one, the Cruz campaign has talked about trying to be successful in Iowa, and doing so by really hitting that ground game hard. They`ve got thousands of volunteers here. They opened a couple of dorms, they call them Camp Cruz, to bring people in to try to get out the vote. As you know it`s going to be all about turnout on Monday night, and the Cruz campaign feels confident that the people who support the Senator here in Iowa will end up actually going to the caucuses and participating, which a question mark in some ways with supporters of some of the other candidates like maybe a Donald Trump. These potential first- time caucus goers, they may or may not show up. I want to stop here. This is like jersey central, Melissa, the folks that are selling. Turn around here for me, (Cathy), the Cruz jersey. You see you`re seeing these sort of sported through. And then, you know, the Senator the last push that he`s making here these last few days is to get out. It`s not just on the ground, it`s also the retail politicking and the town halls like this one. This is sort of the pre-event setup. They haven`t actually gotten everything ready to go yet, but you can see some of the media here setting up. They`re getting sort of the backdrop ready and all that. So this, you know, what it looks like before a, before a campaign event. We`ve got more than 40 of them here in the state today from all of the Republican candidates in this last big push to Monday night. Melissa.

HARRIS-PERRY: So fun, man, I love the Iowa caucuses. I can`t wait to get there later tonight. Thank you, Hallie.

JACKSON: (inaudible) Sixty hours.

HARRIS-PERRY: I don`t think I`ve the nerve. Thank you to Hallie Jackson in Ames, Iowa. I also want to say thank you Jemilah and to some of our other folks who are going to be back in our next hour. But coming up next, what Donald Trump and Wiz Khalifa have in common. And what a Republican President might do if President Obama`s criminal justice legacy is on the table. There`s more in Nerdland at the top of the hour.


HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.

And we`re just two days from the Iowa caucus. The very first votes that will be cast in the 2016 presidential election.

And we here at MSNBC have our eyes all over that state, with the hottest ticket right now, actually not in an Iowa caucusers` mitten, but for Hamilton the critically acclaimed Broadway hip-hop musical about our Founding Fathers.

We`re talking sold-out seats. It`s an Obama family favorite. Thousands of fans cursing last weekend`s blizzard for cancelling Saturday`s show, because this hip-hop romp set in the 18th century has helped to redefine not only theatre, but also the ways in which we think about politics and understand our past.

Through hip-hop, we learn about the Federalists on our $10 bill who famously died after a skirmish with long-time friendly, Vice President Aaron Burr. The duel that reminded "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda of old-school rap rivalries. Telling the "New York Times," quote, it`s a hip-hop story. It`s Tupac.

Now, the ways in which we slay our opponents now is different than in Hamilton`s day, but hip-hop beef was everywhere this week on Twitter, in space, and at the GOP debate.

First, there`s the beef that went super nova on Twitter about the shape of the planet. Seriously. Rapper B.O.B. decided to propagate the old earth is flat myth this week with tweets like, "Once you go flat, you never go back. Where is the curve?"

His tweets drew the attention of world renown astrophysicist and super vest wearer Neil deGrasse Tyson who promptly debunked the claims on Twitter. And that`s when things escalated into an actual rap battle!

Here`s B.O.B.`s disk track.


B.O.B. "FLATLINE": Neil Tyson need to loosen up his vest, they`ll probably write that man one hell of a check, flat line, you fooled us for the last time --


HARRIS-PERRY: Tyson`s incredible response was rapped by his nephew.


"FLAT TO FACT" TYSON, FEAT. NEIL DEGRESSE TYSON: You say the earth is flat and that you try to disrespect him? I`m bringing facts to combat a silly theory because B.O.B. has got to know the planet is a sphere G whooah.

To be clear, being five centuries regressed in your reasoning doesn`t mean we all can`t still like your music.


HARRIS-PERRY: Mike drop. So, alongside that feud, there was also the epic beef between hip-hop heavy hitters Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa, when Wiz suggested that the new album name "Wave" was a rip-off of Harlem rapper Max B. Kanye blasted back, as Kanye does, in a mixture of disses and compliments?

OK, "No one I know has ever listened to one of your albums all the way through," he tweeted to Wiz, followed by, "I think you dress cool. #wizwearscoolpants?"

You know what else we saw buried underneath the beef? There`s the GOP debate.

OK, minus the hip-hop and the powdered wigs, Senator Ted Cruz on Thursday challenged his absent opponent ultimate beefer, Donald Trump, to a duel in front of a live audience. And per Kanye West to Wiz, first came the insults.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m a maniac. And everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly. And, Ben, you`re a terrible surgeon. Now that we`ve gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way --


HARRIS-PERRY: OK. Then that was followed with props.


CRUZ: I am glad Donald is running. I`m glad he has produced enormous enthusiasm, and that every Donald Trump voter or potential voter, I hope to earn your support. I know everyone else on this stage hopes to earn your support.


HARRIS-PERRY: I just love -- we see presidential candidates channeling hip-hop beefing isn`t such a bad idea, because like in the world of hip- hop, the most important thing to remember in politics, never alienate the fans.

Joining me now is Boris Epshteyn, who is the Republican strategist and former communications aide for the McCain-Palin campaigns. Also, Maria Hinojosa, executive producer and anchor of NPR`s "Latino USA". Beth Fouhy who is senior editor here at And Elise Jordan, MSNBC political analyst and former senior adviser for policy for Senator Rand Paul`s campaign.

So fun to have you all here. I`m sorry for my silly intro. But I really did see this kind of, like, you know, part of what Ted Cruz had to do was all -- all of them had to do with Mr. Trump gone was to say he`s terrible, but not that terrible, because I still want his supporters to now want me.

BORIS EPSHTEYN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: And for Trump to not go after him, because he`s a stupid beefer, right?

HARRIS-PERRY: He really is. No, you really don`t, because you will lose that one.

EPSHTEYN: You will go down.




ELISE JORDAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: What Trump did the other night was really basically just a brilliant setup to have everyone go at Ted Cruz. And he knew there is so much loathing of Ted Cruz up on that stage, and he by putting Ted in the front runner position, everyone just went for it.

HARRIS-PERRY: In fact, let`s listen to Ted Cruz saying everybody is kind of beating me up here. Let`s take a listen to that.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let`s begin by being clear what this campaign is about. It`s not about Donald Trump.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I kind of miss Donald Trump. He was a Teddy bear to me. We always had such a loving relationship in these debates, and in between and the tweets. I kind of miss him. I wish he was here.


HARRIS-PERRY: Well, so that wasn`t it. So let`s pause a second and let`s listen to the one I was calling for initially.


CRUZ: Chris, I would note that the last four questions have been -- Rand, please attack Ted. Marco, please attack Ted. Chris, please attack Ted. Jeb, please attack Ted.


CRUZ: Let me just say this --


CRUZ: No, no, a debate actually is a policy issue. But I will say this -- gosh, if you guys say -- ask one more mean question, I may have to leave the stage.


HARRIS-PERRY: So, was that an error? Was that an enforced error, I`ll leave if you keep being mean to me?

BETH FOUHY, MSNBC.COM SR. EDITOR: All I can say is that all the Republican folks I follow on Twitter were eh, like, folks, you`re seeing the real Ted Cruz here. Hope you know this is what you`re getting if you decide to elect this guy. Actually, I was noticing, Maria -- you`re Maria -- to you, Melissa, about the other beefs that were exposed with Trump not being on the stage, and I count like five.

Rubio versus Cruz on immigration. Rubio versus Christie, governor versus senator. You know, senators don`t do anything, according to Christie. Rand Paul versus Christie, on national security. Rand Paul versus Rubio on national security. And Jeb versus Rubio, sort of the father and prodigal son.

A lot of beefs.

EPSHTEYN: And notice no beefs as Kasich. It`s very interesting. Kasich stayed out of any frontal attack, and he has done some really good work in New Hampshire. You have seen some polls almost up to 20 percent in there. Now, Bush is also up to 18 percent. And so the people maybe who are beefing the least are doing the best with Trump not there.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, it`s -- you know, I called two years ago -- I just sort of looking at the field before anything happened, including the Trump phenomenon. I thought that Kasich just looked strongest on paper candidate. What you want is a Midwestern governor, right?

And, again, maybe not for the primaries, but come general election time, you want a Midwestern governor. You want to pair him with somebody like a Nikki Haley from the south, a woman of color, who -- I mean, that ticket is a really hard one for Democrats to beat.

But it is hard for me to imagine a Kasich -- if you just look at sort of the number of minutes that people had to talk, how in the world would caucusers or voters have any idea who John Kasich is to vote for him?

EPSHTEYN: Those debates don`t mean as much as we think -- they mean a lot. They mean a lot in terms of voters first getting to know somebody. But especially in Iowa, it`s hand to hand combat. In Iowa, it`s all about being out there. Kasich has done that well there, and he`s done very well in New Hampshire. So is Christie.

JORDAN: But the debate is this last debate, especially, important in the sense that it is three days before and the debate on immigration. Very important --


JORDAN: In Iowa.

Also how Rubio and Cruz are really navigating the fine line and how Cruz is also seeing his lead. He really peaked too early and now has become the battering ram for the other candidates. And now, he`s trying to set expectations. Oh, let`s forget about Iowa. We`re going to do really well in the SEC states.

HINOJOSA: So, my question was, actually, when I was watching Rubio doing his immigration thing, and I actually tweeted and said, could Marco Rubio get as many Latino votes as George W. Bush? The way he was speaking, I was like, I don`t know if he can do this. And what the Republican Party needs is that. But if you`re -- when I was talking to Latinos on the ground, their response was, this is pushing us even further away. And he`s going to have to have that Latino vote, like George W. now being held up --

HARRIS-PERRY: But so, Marco Rubio was being -- experienced alienating by the folks that you were --

HINOJOSA: Absolutely, absolutely.

HARRIS-PERRY: Fascinating, because I was thinking, oh, my goodness, he looks dangerous to me in a general --

HINOJOSA: It`s not to say he doesn`t look presidential. But the way he was talking about these things was so kind of adamant that that`s the response I was seeing.

FOUHY: He did say, we are not going to deport 11 million people and came flat out and said that, which admittedly -- Trump has been the guy.

HINOJOSA: We`re kind of holding things down, right? Meanwhile, there is no resolution. And it`s just like, at this, they`re looking --

EPSHTEYN: The problem of Rubio is no one really knows where he stands. I as a Republican cannot tell you for sure where Rubio stands on immigration. You know why? Because I`m not sure he knows where he stands on immigration. He goes back and forth. And you brought up George W. Bush.

To me, the best candidate on immigration, his brother, Jeb Bush, has been somewhat consistent, and it`s also the policy that unites the most people.

HARRIS-PERRY: I was going to say, Jeb for the first time -- and not -- not that I`m sure he can even maintain this, but without Trump on the stage, for the first time, it felt like, oh, that`s why he thought he could run. I mean, again, I still think -- it`s fascinating. Not from which in terms of support for the policies, but you could see what a strong campaigner George W. is relative to Jeb, just in watching Jeb run this time.

But for the first time, when Trump wasn`t on the stage, you kind of saw Jeb straighten up a little bit, right?

FOUHY: And I think Rand Paul did really well. I thought all of them -- suddenly it was this is the campaign that would have been.



JORDAN: And focused on policy instead of these petty insults that we`re letting -- I just feel like the Republican field in general with this -- with the exception of a few candidates like Rand Paul, like Jeb, who have really gone after Trump, have let Trump get away with just being this misogynistic jerk. And it`s such a stain on the party that --

HARRIS-PERRY: So this is -- I want to talk about my favorite beef of the night, which is Megyn Kelly, and Trump.

FOUHY: Awesome job.

HARRIS-PERRY: Who did an awesome job. I mean, so awesome, she kept him from being in the fight for that night.

"The New York Times" just endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. We`re going to have more on that when we come back. Yes.



RUBIO: If I`m our nominee, I will unite this party and we will defeat Hillary Clinton and we will turn this country around after the seven years that is the disaster that is Barack Obama.


HARRIS-PERRY: So, that was Marco Rubio, at least trying to turn the fight external, right? So you point out we saw all of those internal beefs emerged, especially with Donald Trump off the stage.

But I`ve got to say, I still think it`s weird they keep running against a two-term, term-limited president. Like, in fact, no matter what happens, President Obama will be done, because, in fact, the constitution says so. So we could just move on. Like, I`m not sure that you can say that Hillary Clinton is the keeper of the Obama legacy. In fact, I think that`s what we`re battling for right now.

EPSHTEYN: I never thought I would say this so quickly, but I agree with you.


EPSHTEYN: Marco Rubio came out with that in his opening statement and first response. I was surprised. I really was. I thought it was way too strong against the current president. You could talk about the policies.

And I agree with Marco Rubio that the current policies have been detrimental, but we need to talk about the future. We need to go back to the Reagan presidency and the Reagan candidacy and talk about the city on the hill that can be. Not to talk about --

HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, you mean rhetorically.

JORDAN: I think that`s nice in theory, but in practice, it polls really well to attack Barack Obama --

HARRIS-PERRY: As a primary strategy.

JORDAN: Just like it did in 2008, to attack George W. Bush. He`s an incumbent --

EPSHTEYN: Which Obama did a ton, which Obama did a ton, you`re right.


FOUHY: I`m sorry. I don`t recall anybody talking about kicking George W. Bush`s fanny or rear end.


HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, yes. That was Chris Christie.

FOUHY: That was horrifying.

HARRIS-PERRY: That one was -- that was over the top. That was out of hand.

EPSHTEYN: George W. Bush is called "stupid" a lot.

FOUHY: Not on stage.


HARRIS-PERRY: Not by candidates.

So I will say, I do think there are two things. I think what pundits and pollsters and people do is one thing. I think what people who are planning to be the president of the United States is different. And I do think that Mr. Christie went over the top. I also think that what Mr. Rubio did there was not the same thing. Mr. Rubio saying I think his policies are a disaster is a perfectly -- I disagree. But I think it`s fine.

EPSHTEYN: Donald was doing that in 2011.

HINOJOSA: But the tone, I kept feeling like, God, I don`t want to live in this country any more, the way they`re talking about it. It`s just like, whoa, there`s nothing hopeful. It was so negative.


HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask if Mr. Trump is -- that -- because I will agree, it felt more negative. And I am wondering if that is one of the things that Trump has brought to the Republican side, is that he does a kind of like -- we`re going to win. It`s not that I have a ton of content. But it does have a kind of like -- well, if I`m president accident we`re going to win.

EPSHTEYN: We`re going to make it gravy.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. Again, it`s just a rhetorical thing out there, but it -- it produces something that --

JORDAN: I feel like he has approached this campaign with such an utter lack of decency, just in how you treat other human beings. And it`s been such a trickle down effect, especially with his supporters. Like, I was shocked to see this article in "Time." I thought it was awesome. About the sexism of Trump`s campaign and how many times his supporters called Megyn Kelly the absolutely worst of worst word.


JORDAN: And it`s the trickle down and the kind of leader you are. And I to think it`s really important.

HARRIS-PERRY: She really was very, very strong. She was awesome. I am running a program, at Wake Forest, where I`m a college professor. My real job during the week. We`ve got 22 students, both parties, all different, you know, perspectives, and we watch all of the debates together, and they live-tweet, go wait to vote.

And they were kind of just -- they were just watching her work, and they were like, this is a little masterful, just sort of watching how she was managing, questioning those candidates. And you`re right. For wanting to be in that position and then to have the front-running candidate talk about her in those ways I think is deeply problematic no matter where you`re standing.

HINOJOSA: Which is why Iowa women voters are going to be fascinating to watch. The Trump conversation, specifically now, with this whole situation with Megyn Kelly, it`s like I want to know the women who were going to vote for Donald Trump.

EPSHTEYN: Women in Iowa and nationally support Trump in pretty large numbers, because of his other positions, that he is saying things that people want to say. Airing concerns that people want to talk about. Not just immigration.

So, he is not killing himself for women in his feud with Megyn Kelly, because Megyn Kelly --


HARRIS-PERRY: She`s a controversial person. She can take care of herself.

FOUHY: But the numbers for Trump among women in a general election are terrible. He is net 36 --

HINOJOSA: Terrible in general.

EPSHTEYN: But for some reason if you look at the numbers of him against Hillary and him against Bernie, he`s still winning, right? You look at the head-to-head match-ups in the polls.

JORDAN: It`s so early, though.

I think he did damage to himself. It wasn`t -- probably was smarter than if he had gone and put himself in front of -- on stage. But at the same time, it looked weak. Him doing that veterans event, that was essentially all about himself. It was -- you hear what Trump was talking about when cutting in --


JORDAN: The little amount of time I spent watching that on commercial breaks on the other debate and it was all about Trump. It wasn`t about the veterans.


HARRIS-PERRY: I want to ask you about one big political story on the table this morning. Once again, Senator Clinton`s e-mails, which have once again shown up. I`m just wondering, this close to the Iowa caucuses, are they going to have an effect on what happens?

FOUHY: Here`s what I think is going to have the effect. Hillary Clinton`s biggest problem when you look at Democratic polling, among Democrats who generally like her, this is lack of trust. That`s the thing that people kept expressing. And that`s what in many ways ticks people over to Sanders.

The specifics of this particular e-mail situation, where did they over- classify these 22 e-mails, I don`t think people are going to pay attention to that. But it just reminds people of the trust issue, which has been her problem, the thing dogging her and is bringing her popularity down, even among the press.

HARRIS-PERRY: So with the less than 48 hours, just once again --

FOUHY: It`s a reminder of that accountability people have with her.

EPSHTEYN: It`s going to have more of an effect in New Hampshire, than even Iowa. It`s almost too soon for Iowa. And he may not win Iowa anyway. What really matters in both Democrat and Republican elections is New Hampshire.

HARRIS-PERRY: Although -- here is my claim in New Hampshire. Iowa I just don`t think she has time to fight back. But you put Hillary Clinton -- you back baby into a corner, she has a tendency| to do her best when swinging. So, it will be interesting to see whether New Hampshire gives her lead time to punch back.

OK, thank you Boris and Maria and to Beth and to Elise. I love this panel. You all need to come back a lot.

Up next, President Obama`s bold new move, and what Republican candidates are saying about it -- when we come back.


HARRIS-PERRY: A hot topic is the Republican debate this week that you may have missed -- criminal justice reform, seriously.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we have treated the drug addicted in our prisons. And we released them into the community. And our recidivism rate is less than 20 percent.

We don`t want them in and out of the prisons. Give people a chance. We talked about criminal justice reform. We have enacted it in our state.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, here`s the problem in this country right now. The problem is that Barack Obama has made law enforcement the enemy. Hillary Clinton has made law enforcement the enemy.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we need to do is make sure the war on drugs is equal protection under the law and that we don`t unfairly incarcerate another generation of young African-American males. I think something has to change. I think it`s a big thing that our party needs to be part of.


HARRIS-PERRY: President Obama has made it clear that he wants criminal justice reform to be a lasting part of his legacy -- something that would only happen if his successor is sympathetic to that cause. Because despite bipartisan support, there are reports that Senator Ted Cruz and others are, in fact, trying to kill reform legislation in Congress, leading up to the president once again to take executive action.

And he did just that this week -- announcing major reforms to help federal prisons using solitary confinement, citing research that prolonged periods without human contact can cause severe and sometimes permanent psychological harm.

Under the president`s new rules, inmates can no longer be punished with months in solitary confinement for low-level offenses. No longer can they be placed in solitary indefinitely with no plans to reintegrate them into general population. And no longer can juvenile inmates be placed in solitary for any reason, for any length of time.

Together, these reforms could directly affect more than 10,000 federal inmates held in solitary on any given day. In his announcement, the president cited the story of Kalief Browder.

You may remember Kalief`s story. He was accused of stealing a backpack and he was held in jail on Rikers Island here in New York for three years without a trial, starting when he was just 16. He spent two of those years in solitary. His family says caused lasting effects, even after his release including paranoia and panic attacks. Last year at the age of 22, Kalief took his own life.

Now, his story clearly struck a chord with the president. We have to note the new rules for federal prisons would not have kept Kalief out of solitary at Rikers, which is a city jail, nor will they affect the estimated 70,000 to 90,000 state inmates held on any given day.

Joining me is Glenn Martin, president and founder of Just Leadership USA, Karla Holloway, professor of English law and African-American studies at Duke University, and MSNBC`s own chief legal correspondent, Ari Melber.

So, Glenn, we just noted that it wouldn`t have kept Kalief out. But obviously the president has control over what he has control over. And so, I`m wondering, how impactful this might be for ultimately moving some of those city and state jails and prisons.

GLENN MARTIN, PRES. & FOUNDER, JUST LEADERSHIP USA: Well, first of all, I think for our president, this is about his values, right? Ninety-five percent of people who go to prison return home at some point. So, this is about safe communities. This is about human dignity.

I`m glad he actually used the Kalief Browder case to set the context for his order, because you can juxtapose his actions and inaction of our local leaders, particularly our progressive mayor, Bill de Blasio in New York City. The hope, however, is that by the president announcing something so courageous and so significant, that our local leaders see the cover they need, if you will, to decide to do something.

The fact of the matter, as you mentioned, 70,000 to 90,000 people are incarcerated in cells for 22 hours a day on the local level, and we need to do something about that. Again, these people are returning home. I mean, I spent time in solitary confinement.

I would urge listeners who want to know what it`s like to find the smallest, darkest closet in their home, lock themselves in there, find three of their most insensitive neighbors to take care of them and spend a few weeks there, it`s a horrible situation.

HARRIS-PERRY: That point about people coming home feels to me like an important political point. But I don`t want to lose the very first piece you started with, which is the moral piece in and of itself, which is the humanity piece.


HARRIS-PERRY: That even if you never went home, it matters how we treat human beings, right? And it matters constitutionally. We actually said who we`re going to be as a nation, but even if you`re never going home, it matters how we treat human beings.

And, in fact, part of it was so valuable to me about this moment, the president didn`t just do this and is walk away or do it quietly on a Monday. He -- the administration, Valerie Jarrett, they got on NPR, they wrote a "Washington Post" op-ed about it. They really stood behind this as a meaningful and relative --

HOLLOWAY: And the president went to a jail. You know, he let his body be seen. The chiefs -- the commander in chief of the United States in a prison.

So, this story actually started earlier, with Obama`s humanity coming through. And he told a story -- Kalief`s story. You know, what more perfect victim, except that, you know, he was a victim, finally, of the system, than a boy and a backpack, you know, who was -- and if parents want to think about this, we put children on a time-out stool for maybe -- if you`re 2 years old, two minutes.

We are doing this to children whom the most interesting line in this case to me is when Justice Kennedy said in his decision, children are constitutionally different. And you know -- the way I play with words, constitutionally, as in the Constitution, the 8th Amendment kind of thing, or constitutionally their body.

So, at some point, we are being allowed to think exactly of that question, and the ethics, and the ideas of recidivism, and who do they come back as. Because I have had some experience with that, as well. And what does our - - what do the ways in which we treat children in prison say about us as human beings. And I`m thinking our language of treating a child in prison is just oxymoronic.

HARRIS-PERRY: How we treat a child in prison.

HOLLOWAY: Exactly.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there is so much here. Jurisprudential, you`re talking about how the court looks at the rights of minors, which is both as less and more. Less in the speech context -- children have less rights to have free speech in school. More, though, in these physical contexts under the law.

This week, the Supreme Court also ruled, saying that these life sentences given to minors should be more appealable, because it is so grave to take someone who is 16 and write off the rest of their life. They haven`t even entered into the adult system in any meaningful way.

You think about the ethics of what you`re talking about and treatment. And you talked about having lived this, which is something that a lot of people watching around this table may not know. A victim, a prisoner of our enemy`s treatment, John McCain, right? Who we all know as a hero, who went through that.

He said -- I`m quoting him, that the hardest thing he went through, wasn`t the physical torture. It was the solitary confinement.

So, if we think about your point -- put aside the fact that in Mr. Browder`s case, he was never convicted of anything.

HARRIS-PERRY: Or even tried!

MELBER: So, this thing that John McCain called torture is what the state of New York, which is not the most conservative place -- sometimes we like to write this off, oh, it`s worse in the South and the data show it -- this is something where the state of New York, blue New York, that`s how he was treated as a minor by something John McCain calls torture before he ever got his rights of due process. So, that humanity that is being broken down there through that system, you have to say, what is it about a system that used to take something as perhaps with people who are really bad, you have some notion of retributive justice.

What we call in the law, the part of it, that isn`t for policy, that isn`t for deterrence, is just to say someone did something so terrible, we`re just punishing them, even if it affects nothing else. How is it we got from that end point over here that, is supposed to be the worst thing, and are meeting that out to innocent minors?


HARRIS-PERRY: OK. When we come back, I want to push back against even that idea, because I`m going to go back to 1996, where we used to call these innocent minors super predators.

HOLLOWAY: Super predators.

HARRIS-PERRY: When we come back.




HARRIS-PERRY: As 2016 contenders continue to stake out their positions on criminal justice reform, the Supreme Court gave hope this week to some inmates serving life sentences who were sentenced when they were juveniles, as Ari was just reminding us, the court had already ruled that mandatory life without parole for juveniles is unconstitutional, but now, they decided that that ruling applies retroactively. Approximately, 1,000 inmates can now appeal for resentencing and release from the imprisonment in which they have spent their entire adult lives.

And as we`re preparing for this, Glenn, I was reminded -- and it goes to what you were saying, okay, maybe we think there are some groups of people who are so bad, we do think, OK, for this group there is something internal or inherent. It reminds me that in 1996, back when first Clinton was president -- the only Clinton I guess who actually has been president -- OK, when Bill Clinton was president, there was this January 21st, 1996, super predators arrive, right?

And it is that story about these kids, 10 and 11 in Chicago, who killed an 8-year-old. And literally, the sentence -- the sentence says, right, it wouldn`t be a problem if Illinois`s special 30-bed kiddy prison weren`t still under construction. It just -- reports it like if only the kiddy prison were ready for them!

HOLLOWAY: The kiddy prison.

HARRIS-PERRY: If only it were ready for them, because that is kind of the obvious way that these super predators ought to be dealt with.

MARTIN: And let`s be honest. Super predators are all wrapped up in dog whistle politics.

HARRIS-PERRY: I don`t think this is dog whistle. It`s just like black kids on the South Side are going to grow up and kill you. We need a kiddy prison for them.

MARTIN: We live in a country where we`re willing to recycle everything except our children. And here is an opportunity for children, particularly in the states of Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Michigan, which decided not to retroactively apply the court`s decision, to have a chance to get parole at some point. I`m shocked we`re having this conversation.

We live in a country where if you go back 50 years, we were doing something quite different. The blacker and browner our prison system has become, the more punitive. And that punitiveness hasn`t been relegated to our criminal justice system. It`s seeping out into our health care, into our education system and elsewhere.

So, we should be asking the question, what does it mean not to these kids necessarily to give them this opportunity. What does it mean to us as a country? Like why are we doing this? Are we just more punitive than any other country and why? I think that`s the question.

HARRIS-PERRY: That to me is why it is so powerful for President Obama to be pulling back. Like even if he can`t fix it everywhere, that for 20 years later for him to even just make the moral public discursive argument, we don`t -- like, full stop. We don`t put children in solitary because they are kids. They are not super predators.

We`re not just waiting for the 30-bed kiddy prison. No, no, no. They`re children, constitutionally different.

HOLLOWAY: He`s trying to restore some of the humanity of the population we have labeled other and different enough so that we don`t have to worry about them. We don`t do all children like this.

There is a teenager in Texas, was it, an affluent teenager who gets a lot different treatment in the system and there are children all over the country who get very different treatment, and I`m glad you mentioned not only in prisons, but in -- their access to and in mental health facilities, in schools, whether or not they go to the alternative school for a minor infraction. So, we have such a practice --


HARRIS-PERRY: -- just poisoned an entire city of children with lead, and we know the lead is likely to a whole set of behavioral practices here which we have criminalized in this country.

HOLLOWAY: Here is my prediction about that entire city of children. That that narrative is going to shift very quickly to why aren`t these children`s parents taking better care of themselves, giving them better nutrition, you know, or expecting, you know, they came out of that lead poisoning era, so we better build a school for them.

MELBER: Well, I think what you`re talk about also, and you mentioned Ethan Couch, who was called the affluenza defendant. You`re talking about the difference between stigma and policy. If you want a policy that says, oh, we deal with substance abuse that relates to harm, really gravely and seriously, that would be a policy.

We don`t even do that. Ethan Couch was a minor, so it fits in the conversation that way. But he used alcohol and then got in a car and crashed and four people were killed. OK?

So what is the policy response? I would say legally, right, you`re looking at manslaughter, which is a serious charge, where your act caused this death, even if it wasn`t your original intention. He didn`t get charged in jail with manslaughter. He didn`t get any jail time whatsoever. And yet you`re telling me stories about people who weren`t even charged.

HOLLOWAY: Backpack.

HARRIS-PERRY: With a theft, who are spending years in solitary. So the connective tissue here is how does that happen and one is state laws and that conversation.

The other way is stigma. Somehow because it was alcohol and his profile and his situation, that triggers all sorts of different societal responses then, whether it was different.

I`m sorry, from a policy perspective, if I`m just as a lawyer measuring it out, if you`re using crack cocaine, alone -- on the stoop, that might be negative for you and your community, and we should work on that. But the fact that the law right now punishes that more than drinking alcohol and causing someone`s death, I would tell you as a lawyer, that`s not defensible on policy. So something else is happening.

HOLLOWAY: You`re right.

MELBER: Something with stigma, something with discrimination.

HARRIS-PERRY: And you know, it`s always -- this kind of thing happens in public discourse where what we say is, let`s go throw the affluenza teen in jail. And I want to pause and say, no, no, no. Our goal is not to become more punitive.

That if we are going to start asking for a world that sees -- wanting to become less -- I want to say thank you to Glenn Martin always for helping us think through these questions.

MARTIN: Thank you.

HARRIS-PERRY: And also, the reminder that over the four years we have been talking to each other, how much has happened? Who knows?

And to Karla Holloway, and also Ari Melber.

Let me tell you a couple of things about, Ari, I want to make sure you do not miss tomorrow`s MHP show, because I`m getting on a plane, if Jeh Johnson will let me, and I`m going fly to Iowa, and Ari is going to stay here in New York at this table. We`re going to host in two different places together. We`re going to take a look in part at Ari`s exclusive interview with a death row inmate in California who is now fighting for his life.

Also, when we come back, I have many, many feelings about Cam Newton. We`re going to talk about it.


HARRIS-PERRY: With the Super Bowl only eight days away, it seems all eyes are on this guy, Cam Newton. Quarterback of the Super Bowl-bound Carolina Panthers.

He`s also the favorite to win the NFL`s MVP Award, and if he gets that, and leads Carolina to victory next Sunday, he will be the second player in history to clinch a college national championship, the Heisman trophy, the MVP Award, and the Super Bowl. Which is basically way of saying Cam Newton has been having a kind of great season. Become the sixth African-American quarterback in 50 years to start in the Super Bowl, the greatest stage in American sports awaits.

But that isn`t the only reason he`s in the spotlight these days. Turns out, the quarterback is as polarizing as he is popular, because when Cam scores, he dances. And his moves scandalized one of Tennessee Titans` observers who wrote an open letter to Cam Newton after giving a close-up view of his game, complaining about, quote, "the chest puff, the pelvic thrusts, the arrogant struts and the in-your-face taunting."

She wasn`t the only one. Former Bears` linebacker, Brian Urlacher, is not a fan. This week, he contrasted Cam with his Super Bowl rival, Denver Broncos` quarterback, Peyton Manning. "I don`t like it when guys celebrate with dances and stuff. You know who I like, the way he celebrates, is Peyton. He kind of gives the guy a handshake and goes back to the sidelines. I think that`s a great celebration right there."

Cam Newton, he is not Peyton Manning, or Tom Brady. In fact, he is not like most of the quarterbacks embraced by the public for their leadership and intellect on the field.

Now, let me just clear this up real quick. I do live in North Carolina now. But I am no bandwagon-jumping Panthers fan. The New Orleans Saints will forever have my football loving heart.

But Cam -- I like cam, because he is unapologetically himself, whether he is dabbing or handing off the touchdown ball to the kid in the crowd, or describing his team`s strategy with an excellent Southern food metaphor.


CAM NEWTON, CAROLINA PANTHERS: I said it then, I`m going to say it now. It`s a process. It wasn`t going to be -- what did I say? Instant grits, quick grits. It`s going to be a process like long cooked collard greens, you know what I`m saying? I think those collard greens are brewing right now. You can smell it from a mile away.


HARRIS-PERRY: Grits and collard greens in one sentence. I mean, when asked why he faces criticism where others don`t, Cam Newton does not mince words.


NEWTON: I said it since day one. You know, I`m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people, because they -- they haven`t seen nothing that they could compare me to.


HARRIS-PERRY: The very notion of Cam Newton being unapologetically black in a position historically reserve for white men makes him the Serena Williams of football. Like Serena, Cam is met with defiance when he plays, when he expresses an emotion, and especially when he wins.

But he just keeps on dancing and charming and leading -- and that in itself is a kind of defiance. And what`s Cam`s response to all the haters -- if you don`t like me dancing in the end zone, then just try to keep me out of it.


HARRIS-PERRY: The presidential candidates are making a mad dash across the Hawkeye State, with just two days before the Iowa caucuses. Just this morning, "The New York Times" endorsed Hillary Clinton, and she`s set to hold her first event of the busy day in about an hour, and just as the controversy over her emails is hitting up again.

NBC`s Kristen Welker is following the Clinton campaign and joins us now from Ames, Iowa.

Kristen, is the Clinton campaign concern or are they just, you know, dabbing in the snow?

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: Well, I think that they are in full go mode, Melissa. Look, they acknowledge that this latest email issue isn`t coming at an ideal time, with just two days before the all important caucuses. At the same time, they say, look, we are calling for the State Department to release those 22 emails that were marked as top secret they say. They were marked as top secret after they were sent. They underscore the fact that Secretary Clinton never sent or received any emails that were marked as classified at the time.

And right now, what they`re focused on, Melissa, is moving beyond that latest issue and trying to focus on their ground game, getting people out to caucus, because that`s, of course, going to make the difference. This race is razor type.

Take a look at our latest NBC News/"Wall Street Journal"/Marist poll, which was just released. Clinton leads here 48 percent to 45 percent. So, that is a very close margin. And again, it`s all going to depend on the turnout.

Later today, Secretary Clinton will be joined here in Ames with Gabby Giffords, who is going to argue that she is the toughest candidate to take on the NRA.

As you pointed out, Melissa, today, she was also endorsed by "The New York Times". "The New York Times" saying that she would be the best candidate for the Democratic nomination. They praised Sanders for some of his policy positions, but they conclude this, Melissa, let me read you a little snippet. They say, quote, "In the end, Mr. Sanders does not have the breadth of experience or policy ideas that Mrs. Clinton offers."

She`s picking up another big endorsement today from 28 African-American ministers. She met with some of them when she was in Philadelphia earlier this week.

Getting that type of support could be critical for getting out African- American voters in states like South Carolina, where they make up a large majority of the Democratic primary voters there. So, she`s getting some big endorsements on this day where she`s trying to close in the deal and, again, this will all come down to turnout. Secretary Clinton, Bernie Sanders have their teams on the ground knocking on doors, reminding people to come out and caucus on Monday -- Melissa.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Kristen Welker in Ames, Iowa.

Senator Bernie Sanders is also courting voters as he tries to close that gap with Hillary Clinton in Iowa. He is set to address Iowa supporters in just a few minutes.

NBC`s Kasie Hunt joins us now from Manchester, Iowa.

Kasie, what is Sanders` message as we count down to those very first caucuses?


Bernie Sanders in the final stretch here, and you can feel the energy at many of his events, this one here in Manchester definitely on the smaller side. But, frankly, most of his events here in Iowa in the final stretch are marked by huge and very excited crowds. He and Hillary Clinton held competing events just a few miles apart from each other in Dubuque, Iowa, last night.

Bernie Sanders drawing upwards of 1,100 people while Hillary Clinton only drew about 500. Sanders closing message hits on many of these themes we`ve been hearing from him all the way along talking about fairness. He has backed off a little bit on the attacks on Hillary Clinton over the course of the past 24 hours. Some of his sharpest critiques came earlier in the week. Yesterday, he focused largely on corporations, talking about Walmart, the Walton family.

Sanders is really -- you can see it in the candidate himself. You can feel it with the team here on the ground. They`re at the point where they`re feeling like they have a shot at this, and that is frankly farther along than anyone expected they would be when Sanders first started doing this campaign. I went back and looked at what some of the pundits have to say about him early on. People called him frosty, they called him a loon. They said, oh, he is 57, but he looks 91.

I asked Sanders about all of those comments when I talked to him a day or so ago. He laughed. He said, you know, I said at the time don`t underestimate me, and that is still my message to Iowans today. Don`t underestimate me.

So, today, he has a full slate of campaign events, and it`s going to be capped with a huge rally in Iowa City. Of course, one of the key areas for him to get students out, there`s going to be performances by the band Vampire Weekend and others. Something of a sendoff for him as we head into Monday -- Melissa.

HARRIS-PERRY: Nothing like Iowa.

Thank you to Kasie Hunt in Manchester, Iowa.

That is our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. I`m going to see you tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. I`m going to be in Iowa as we count down the final hours before the first vote of 2016 are cast. It`s all going to happen soon.

Be sure to watch MSNBC`s primetime coverage of the final day before the Iowa caucuses tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

But coming up right now, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT". Alex is going to talk to the national press secretary for the Hillary Clinton campaign. And among the topics, the new developments in the e-mail controversy and the polls that show it`s a dead heat in cold Iowa.