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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 09/14/15

Guests: Katie Packer Gage, Rasheen Aldridge

ARI MELBER, MSNBC GUEST HOST: Good evening. Thank you, Chris. Rachel has a night off. Tonight, we`re covering big news in the Bernie Sanders campaign, the release of the long-awaited report on policing in Ferguson, Missouri. And the biggest thing, however, happening in presidential politics in the last hour, as you may know by now, and the biggest crowd for any Republican this past week was the huge Trump rally in Dallas. We`re talking 20,000 people at the American Airlines Center. That`s the giant arena where the NBA`s Mavericks play. And Trump spoke with his characteristic improvisation. He was riffing about today`s news that Arnold Schwarzenegger will replace him on "The Apprentice" and what the scaffolding will even look like at his inauguration next year. And he called out his opponents by name. Even sassing Bush and Rubio about a new Trump lead in some polls in Florida. He also joked about his penchant for controversial comments. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have to say, we`re going to have so many victories that at some point they`re just going to be coming out of your ears. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) Now, I have to be careful what I say about coming out of somebody`s ears. I have to be careful! (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) Nose, ears, eyes, those are the only places I`m talking about. The only. We`re winning in Florida. Think of it. You have Jeb Bush, governor of Florida, you have a sitting senator in Florida, Marco Rubio. And the poll comes out the other day, Trump is leading in Florida. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) Can you imagine? Big lead. How about this? Have you ever heard of the great state of Texas? (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) Leading in Texas. How does that happen? I`m surging with women. Can you believe it? (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) I have such respect for women. I cherish women. I am going to take such good care of women`s health care issues, you won`t even believe it. But I`m surging with women. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Now, whether or not you believe that and whether or not you think Trump gets too much coverage or gets a free pass for too many questionable statements, there is no denying as a factual matter right now his polling is only improving as the fall campaign season arrives. He has a 13-point lead in today`s new national "Washington Post"/ABC poll. Jeb Bush is officially in non-establishment territory right there down at about 7 percent. And then there is no national primary, so sometimes the more relevant metric is the state polls. Trump leads in New Hampshire on that score. Leads in Iowa according to an Internet poll of Iowa Republicans from CBS News and YouGov. Also New Hampshire and South Carolina in that same web poll. Trump always sounds like he is the top dog. But if you look at this, if you listen tonight, there is a larger share of Republican voters and leaders who seem to really be treating him now as the frontrunner. That was evident in tonight`s event in deep-red Texas. That is the Trump show as it stands. There is also, though, as we mentioned, big news on the Democratic side tonight. Hillary Clinton remains still, to many, the presumed frontrunner. But that new round of polls have brought good news for Trump have brought some worrying news for her. As she does remain in the number one spot nationally among Democrats, that`s the same "Washington Post" poll. But her lead is slipping particularly among women voters. In July, 71 percent of left-leaning female voters said they would vote for Clinton. It wasn`t seen as a surprise then. Look today, the proportion has dropped to 42 percent. Securing the female vote has been one of the lynchpins of her campaign strategy. Over the last few days she is headlining Women for Hillary events in New Hampshire, in Wisconsin, and she had one today in Iowa. But in then in those same polls we mentioned, CBS News web surveys, you see her losing to Bernie Sanders in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Now sure, it is early and polls are just one way of determining a candidate`s status in the race. But the energy in this race, according to many on the ground, also seems to be moving towards Bernie Sanders. Tonight, this is just a short time ago, he spoke to a huge crowd in Manassas, Virginia. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Manassas, thank you! (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) What a great turnout. Four and a half months ago we began this campaign, and some of the media were saying, well, you know, you got the senator from a small state. He is a fringe candidate because nobody in America really thinks that the American people are prepared to take on the billionaire class. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) Well, it turns out that in Virginia, in the West Coast, in the Midwest, in New England, it turns out people are prepared to take on the billionaire class. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) SANDERS: Bernie Sanders in Virginia tonight sounding confident. Now, the Bernie Sanders for president campaign is hiring new staff. They`re actively looking to hire campaign coordinators for when? Well, for Super Tuesday states. That`s on March 1st. Candidates must have a good sense of humor and a strong commitment to the ideals of the Bernie 2016 campaign. So, Bernie Sanders right now actively bulking up his campaign infrastructure for a long de delegate hunt out to Super Tuesday and he`s going to places around the country that Democratic candidates for president often wouldn`t go, especially this early. Before that event tonight in Manassas, he spoke to a crowd today of 12,000 people at Liberty University in Virginia. If you follow politics, you`ll remember that name. That is the university, of course, founded by the famed televangelist Jerry Falwell. And Bernie went there today to deliver his message. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANDERS: I believe in women`s rights. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) And the right of a woman to control her own body. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) I believe in gay rights and gay marriage. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: The applause you could hear on that tape came mostly from a very small group of Bernie Sanders supporters that trekked out to Liberty and were there in the front of the very large auditorium. Sanders in his remarks today knew he was reaching out to a predominantly unreceptive audience. But, nonetheless, he tried to bridge the gap, positioning his well-known economic populism within a religious tradition. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANDERS: I say this as somebody whose voice is hoarse because I have given dozens of speeches in the last few months. It is easy to go out and talk to people who agree with you. I was in Greensboro, North Carolina, just last night. All right. We had 9,000 people out. Mostly they agreed with me. And tonight, we`re going to be in Manassas and have thousands out and they agree with me. That`s not hard to do. But it is harder but not less important for us to try and communicate with those who do not agree with us on every issue. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: That is what Bernie Sanders looked like on offense today. Now, many Clinton backers are worried that she seems something more like stuck in neutral. Campaign aides calling Iowa backers, reassuring them that they have a long-term strategy. That`s according to a "BuzzFeed" news report. But Clinton herself is striking more asserted notes on the trail. She even debuted her own SNL style impression of Donald Trump on the trail today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have to admit, Donald Trump is entertaining. I have to tell you. I really do. I really do find it entertaining. And, you know, I kind of wish I had that same sort of mentality like, oh, listen, I don`t need to tell you anything. When I get there, peace will be breaking out everywhere. Prosperity will be raining down upon you. We will have the new age. Well, I would like to do that. But I don`t think that`s how a great democracy makes its decisions about who is going to lead us. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Joining us now is E.J. Dionne, columnist for "The Washington Post" and MSNBC contributor. Good evening to you. And what effect are we seeing in the Trump and Bernie surges on the rest of the field, particularly Hillary? E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Good to be with you, Ari. I mean, tonight, you saw a really interesting contrast. There are a lot of people who say, well, Trump and Bernie are both kind of the same. They`re both outside of protest candidates. Well, here you had Donald Trump who spent like the first half-hour of his speech talking about himself, talking about his contract and Arnold Schwarzenegger taking his old job, all that stuff. Then you had Bernie Sanders go to Liberty University. He quotes the Prophet Amos, the Gospel of Matthew, talking about wanting to treat others the way they treat you. It was a totally different thing. So, they may both be drawing angry people, people mad about the status quo, but they`re very different candidates. And I thought what Bernie did today was really a great thing. I think the proposition he laid out there that people should talk to those they disagree with was very good and good for those Liberty University kids, probably most of whom are staunch Republicans, for giving him a polite and sometimes enthusiastic response. And the last thing about what Bernie did is, this is a message -- Bernie is Jewish. This is a message that a lot of progressive Christians have been giving for a long time, which is -- look, there are disagreements on abortion and disagreements on gay rights but there ought to be more consensus on issues of social justice and economic justice and inequality. I`m not sure he converted any Republicans there, but I suspect he got them thinking about issues that they didn`t necessarily think about all the time. MELBER: Yes. I mean, one of the other things Donald Trump said today, in somewhat of a critique of the press, was he said he has to keep revising his speech because he`s always carried live on national television which none of the other candidates he claims that ever happens to. Bernie Sanders has a pretty regular economic stump speech. What he did today, though, was seeded as we showed, with some of that scripture and some of that moral argument. Do you think that worked for him with this crowd? Or was he using this opportunity in civil discourse, as you say, to try to speak to persuadables beyond Liberty University? DIONNE: Well, first of all, Bernie Sanders knows he doesn`t run simultaneously on two cable networks the way Donald Trump does. So, this is a genuinely interesting thing to do that clearly got some news coverage. I thought he did do some interesting riffs here. The one that grabbed me the most was when he talked about family values, noted that he has seven grandkids, that he believes in family values. But then he said basically, if you believe in family values, shouldn`t you be for family leave, which every major rich country in the world has except us? And that`s a kind of argument that I think more people need to make to religious audiences. Because I think, you know, as a gut issue, I think most people think that new parents ought to spend time with their kids. That`s not a liberal issue. And I think Bernie made it sound not like a liberal issue but like a consensus and a compassion issue and a family issue. MELBER: What does it say to you when you think about whatever the so-called conservative religious vote is, what does it say that Donald Trump seems to be doing just fine among those voters at this point? DIONNE: Donald Trump is getting a share of almost every Republican constituency, including religious people. He is not doing exceptionally well. He is not doing exceptionally badly. But I think when you look at Ben Carson and why he has climbed in the polls, I think he is kind of the alternative for Trump among conservatives looking for an outsider because he is a genuinely and deeply religious man, you know, where Trump is flamboyant and full of himself, the Ben Carson is quiet and thoughtful looking, even though he sometimes says some crazy things about President Obama and Obamacare. It`s a real contrast. So, I think as the campaign goes down the road, you`re going to see Trump doing not as well with religious conservatives and Carson doing better. I think that`s that competition. Trump knows it`s there which is why probably he started taking shots at Ben Carson. MELBER: He certainly has. We`ll actually be covering that more later tonight in the ramp up to Wednesday. Carson and Trump, of course, exchanging more words. E.J. Dionne from MSNBC, as well as "The Washington Post" -- thanks for your time. DIONNE: So good to be with you. Thanks. MELBER: Great. Appreciate it. And a programming note: Bernie Sanders will be Rachel`s guest right here on Thursday night. That`s a conversation you don`t want to miss between the two of them. We have lots more ahead, including the exclusive interview with a woman who helped two murderers escape from prison. And the craziest of the day which I promise has nothing to do, I promise, has nothing to do with Donald Trump. We have a big show tonight. So please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MELBER: What could actually stop Donald Trump? How do you stop the seemingly unstoppable Republican frontrunner? That is the question that his rivals are facing in a debate this week. And we`re going to take a close look at some real answers. That`s just ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I`m watching television, and they said, Trump is surging with women. I said, really, that`s amazing. You know, it`s incredible. I make like statements -- Carly has given me a little bit of a hard time, even though her poll numbers are horrible. Look, I like Carly, and I like Ben, and I like many of the people that I`m running against. I mean, many of these people are terrific people. But nobody is going to be able to do the job that I`m going to do. Nobody. They won`t. They won`t. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Donald Trump speaking tonight at that large rally in Dallas. That was just within the last hour. Trump has been sparring with his rivals Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson. And while he says they`re not surging, we do have evidence to the contrary tonight. More than that in a minute. Here is the thing about Trump`s insults. Throughout this campaign, he has found ways to either single out Jeb Bush, his establishment foil, or punch down at these truly marginal candidates so he`d knock people like Lindsey Graham and Rick Perry. You could call them sort of the 1 percenters because they`re literally landing at 1 percent in the polls. But that is changing in terms of Trump`s style. He`s now picking fights with people who are not only surging but people who, unlike Jeb, are improving in the polls and appeal to voters in this conservative anti- Washington lane that Trump wants to own. So, that`s what`s so politically notable about his new attacks on a man on Trump`s heels in Iowa there, Dr. Ben Carson, as well as Trump`s sexist, even withering remarks about the only Republican to move up onto the main debate stage this week, Carly Fiorina. Trump`s attack on Carly began last week when "Rolling Stone" published an article quoting him saying that Fiorina`s face could never be the face of a president. You have probably heard about that one because Trump faced non-stop criticism for it since the article was published. And just like his damage control after attacking Megyn Kelly, Trump is quick to explain that anyone who thinks these new remarks are sexist is just misinterpreting him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS: A story out today in "Rolling Stone," apparently a fellow by the name of Paul Solotaroff, followed you around for a couple of days and said -- he writes that after the rally in New Hampshire you all were watching the TV around the conference table on the airplane when you said this looking at Carly Fiorina on the TV, said, "Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she`s a woman. I`m not supposed to say bad things, but really folks, come on. Are we serious?" So that`s what they`re quoting you as saying. What would you like to say about that? TRUMP (via telephone): Probably I did say something like that about Carly. I`m talking about persona. I`m not talking about look. Although when I get criticized for my hair, which isn`t that bad, you know, you`ve seen me, right? It`s not that bad. But when I get criticized constantly about my hair, nobody does the story about, oh, isn`t that terrible, they criticized Donald Trump`s hair. The fact is that I probably did say that about Carly or something about -- in a jocular manner, obviously. JOY BEHAR, TV HOST: Don`t hang up when I do this, because you talked about Carly Fiorina in "Rolling Stone" magazine. You said, "Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that the face of our next president?" Are you making fun of her looks, Donald, because I know you don`t like it -- TRUMP: No. I`m talking about the persona. CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: "Look at that face. Why would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that`s the face of our next president? I mean, she`s a woman. I`m not supposed to say bad things. But really, folks, come on, are we serious?" That`s not about persona. TRUMP: I`m talking persona. CUOMO: How? Where is persona in there? (CROSSTALK) TRUMP: I know that`s OK if you talk about my hair. CUOMO: That`s tit for tat. TRUMP: By the way, I think you know me well enough, it is my hair. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: That was all last week. But this was still an issue as of yesterday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TV HOST: Let me ask you as a business question, not a -- not a political correctness politics question. How would you expect the human see resources department to handle that if an executive at your company was heard saying that about a woman employee? What would you -- TRUMP: Well, first of all, I was talking about her persona. She had tremendously -- you could call it bad luck. You could call it she did a bad job, but Hewlett-Packard was a disaster. To be honest with you, the problem we have is we`re so politically correct that we can`t get out of our way. So, people make statements and all of a sudden the statements, that`s a big deal. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: This is, of course, the Trump M.O. We know this. He hurls attention-grabbing insult potentially demeaning someone`s gender or identity, who knows what, and then he says people misunderstood him. After all that he will go in and impugn any remaining critics saying, hey, everyone is too sensitive nowadays and being nice is overrated. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Number one, I think I am a nice person. I help people. A woman came up to me, she said to me, are you nice enough to be president? I said, I hope I am. I think I`m a nice person. I have great relationships. But I think this is going to be an election based on competence and - - we need competence. Enough with the niceness. This country is in bad trouble. We need competence. And I have said it to a lot of people, Monica. This is going to be an election on competence. It`s enough with the nice. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Enough with the nice. Well, you know who agrees with that today? Carly Fiorina. Her super PAC just released an ad seizing on Trump`s remarks and taking him on. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ladies, look at this face. And look at all of your faces. The face of leadership. The face of leadership in our party, the party of women`s suffrage. We are not a special interest group. We are the majority of the nation. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) This is the face of a 61-year-old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Are we seeing a prelude to what is to come this week in the debate? Well, joining us now is Katie Packer Gage. She was deputy campaign manager of Mitt Romney`s campaign as a political strategist. Good evening to you. KATIE PACKER GAGE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: How are you? MELBER: Doing well. I got to tell you. That`s a pretty good ad. Your thoughts on the ad and what Carly is doing going into Wednesday`s debate? GAGE: Well, I think Carly has struck just the right tone. You know, I am not in a camp with any of the candidates, but I think Carly`s approach has been great. This is a woman who is very, very accomplished by any count. She is a cancer survivor. She is a woman who lost a child I believe to a drug overdose. I mean, she has been through some pretty traumatic things in her life and I think she wears her face pretty well. And I think the notion that Donald Trump was attacking her persona by mocking her face I think is laughable. I think Donald Trump is the one that needs help. You know, the way he reacts to these things is textbook Donald Trump. It`s to try to push away and try to make like he is the one that`s being persecuted when really he is the bully in this scenario. And I think Carly handled herself with a lot of grace and a lot of dignity, you know, in the face of that kind of bullying. MELBER: Based on your presentation campaign experience, how does a campaign try to set up for its own moments in these kind of debates, especially when there are so many candidates and they know they have limited time. In that respect, what does Carly and Ben Carson, what`s going on inside those campaigns? GAGE: Well, I think Carly is definitely going to be looking for her moment. You know, she worked very hard to, you know, fight her way into this prime-time debate. And she found a place. I think she`s going to be looking to introduce herself to the American people and, you know, sort of leave a mark. And she is going to, you know, show that she can go toe-to- toe not only with Donald Trump but with Hillary Clinton or whoever the Democrats ultimately post up. You know, I think all of these candidates will be trying to challenge the very personal attacks that Donald Trump has leveled against them and try to show that they`ve got the fight, they`ve got the energy. All of these candidates, virtually all of these candidates are more conservative on the issues than Donald Trump is, but, you know, right now there is, you know, a clamoring among voters for an outsider, somebody that`s willing to take on Washington, willing to take on the status quo. And these candidates are going to be looking for an opportunity. You know, but in a debate with such limited time restrictions and so many candidates, it is going to be very, very hard. MELBER: Do you think the way this is shaking out, though, that folks like Carson and Fiorina who are getting some attention that they`re still at a disadvantage because they want the lane that Trump is in. Romney was that and he was trailing at this point in the cycle and you guys still got the nomination. In that respect, do Bush and Rubio and Kasich still have the natural alternative, whereas no one is going to necessarily take that from Trump? GAGE: Well, it`s going to be a challenge for a little while longer because, you know, you remember, Trump is at 25 percent, 30 percent, which means 70 percent to 75 percent of primary Republican voters aren`t with him. But all of that support is being diluted among 15, 16 candidates. And so, until we start to see the field winnow a little bit, we`re going to continue to see Donald Trump as the frontrunner. It`s very, very hard. When TV networks, with all due respect to MSNBC, are breaking -- breaking news for a Trump speech, they`re not really doing that for any of the other candidates. So, it`s very difficult for these candidates to get any kind of real exposure without spending millions of dollars for television advertising, you know, while he is getting all kinds of free advertising on his own. So, it`s going to be a challenge for a while yet, until the field starts to narrow a bit. MELBER: Right. I mean, it`s something we talk about, that there is 15-odd candidates. But you forget how that makes what in a normal race would be a tiny portion of the electorate look like the biggest lead ever. We`ll see what happens if there are more dropouts. Katy Packer Gage, deputy campaign manager for Romney`s 2012 race, thank you so much. GAGE: Thanks for having me. MELBER: Ahead, a blockbuster report about race just a year after those Ferguson demonstrations. We`re going to talk to one of the young commissioners who`s trying to change the future there. And later, a blunder Down Under? Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MELBER: Ladies and gentlemen, this is an onion. A giant onion, I know. And you may know it as a fantastic ingredient for soups and main courses. It can be chopped, diced, grilled, even deep fried. Or you can dispense with all of that preparation and eat it like this. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MELBER: Now, tonight the act of eating raw onions in public is a big story in politics. I don`t mean that as a metaphor. I am talking about straight-up onion-eating. Please, stay with us for this one. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. JAY NIXON (D), MISSOURI: Today, I am pleased to introduce 16 men and women who I have appointed to serve this region and our state as members of the Ferguson Commission. They bring to the table a rich diversity of life experience and points of views. While they are clearly a diverse group, they are united by the shared passion to promote understanding, to hasten healing, to ensure equal opportunities in education and employment and to safeguard the civil rights of all of our citizens. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon picked those people in the wake of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. He asked them to go beyond that case and look at the structural problems in policing crime and poverty. Today, that commission released its report and we`re going to report on its contents in a moment. But it`s beginning with looking at why this commission was different in the first place. From the very day of Governor Nixon`s announcement, it didn`t actually look like a beltway commission of retirees or hacks, the usual grouping of people who are so decades-deep into the status quo that they are the least likely people to challenge the root causes of anything. This was different. And that may partly be because of the grass- roots pressure and national media scrutiny. It included law enforcement and formal policy experts but also people beyond the establishment, new leaders from black churches and emerging street protesters. That may be why today`s report even introduced itself as, quote, "The People`s Report, Not a Typical Commission Report." That`s why the commission was co-chaired by Reverend Starsky Wilson who spoke about his hope for fundamental change today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REV. STARSKY WILSON, FERGUSON COMMISSION CO-CHAIR: It is worth it for every citizen who is within the sound of our voices today and everyone who has clicked through the report to take it seriously, to find their place, to, sure, disagree with some things but to say that, of 189 recommendations, there are three that will change my life and will change my child`s life, and so, I will engage in that. So, you do the work together. You do it with people you disagree with. You commit to stay around the table. You listen to diverse voices, and you come to some common ground that is more than the lowest common denominator, and then you work hard. You work really hard to make it happen. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Here are a few of those 189 policy recommendations. They ask for a revision in what people, what citizens ask of police and what standards are used for force or incarceration. They also address one of the controversial parts of Ferguson that drew bipartisan criticism at the time, the use of military-style weapons and tactics against public protest. So, the commission calls for only proportional use of such materials. Now, here are some other big recommendations. They call for assigning the attorney general as a special prosecutor in these controversial police use of force cases to establish a new database to track the use of force, to eliminate incarceration for minor or non-violent local offenses and to assign public defenders for criminally charged minors and revise the state law on use of force against fleeing suspects which doesn`t currently match Supreme Court precedent. Now, while the media spotlight on Ferguson has certainly dimmed, in many ways, today`s news, the release of this work over the past year, of this report, is arguably just as important as anything that`s taken place in Ferguson over the past year. This is the process, a slower one, sure, than those protests. But this is a process that many believe can change the community for years to come, because it includes so many people who really are the community. On that list is the youngest member of the Ferguson Commission, 21- year-old Rasheen Aldridge. He led peaceful protests almost every day following the killing of Michael Brown and says he applied to be on the commission because he wanted young people to have their own voice. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RASHEEN ALDRIDGE, YOUNG ACTIVISTS UNITED DIRECTOR: Young people are tired of seeing themselves on TV laying down in the streets. Mike Brown could have been any one of us. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: And joining us now tonight for an interview, Rasheen Aldridge, Jr. committee organizer and activist, and one of the commissioners on the Ferguson Commission. Thanks for being here tonight. ADRIDGE: Thanks for having me. MELBER: In your view, what`s the most important thing coming out of this report that you worked on? ALDRIDGE: I think the most important thing that is coming out of this report -- I mean, there are several things, as you know, as we look back on what happened on August 9th, the death of Michael Brown and the police reactions and the way the police have responded to communities for so long. We have -- the commission has looked and seen that it`s bigger than just that. And we understand that it`s bigger than just police violence. This is -- we`re talking issues that have been embedded in our communities for too long. Issues that have been embedded in communities across this nation, that continues to not see the same opportunity and not see the same resources that there are in other communities. Looking at the report, I do see several recommendations that really excites me, several ones that like consolidating some of these municipal courts and getting rid of some of these police departments and making them smaller so they actually can do their job and can police the community and not have to write tickets all day and be a collection agency, and also looking at our youth. Our youth must thrive. There is a lot of positive recommendations around that around looking at the way that we`re suspending a lot of young people, looking at the way that we are accrediting our schools, and also looking at the way young people are coming into this world, and even having a childhood saving account. So, it`s a lot I could say are my favorite. I mean, honestly, these recommendations should have happening a long time ago. That`s what the community has said. And they`re the ones that put the recommendations forward. MELBER: Well, one of the big takeaways, as you know, is this report as well as the DOJ report traced the way things that are meaning to be punishable by jail time, that is to say the government didn`t tended people go to jail over them end up being a place that minorities end up in jail time because of the broke arrest warrant system. You guys have proposals about changing that. Talk about how some of that`s already started to happen locally in Ferguson. ALDRIDGE: There has been a lot of work without this Ferguson Commission, because we understand also as a commission this isn`t the end all be all solution of change, but a lot of recommendations that have been put forward have been solutions and change or calling outs that people in the community have been calling for, for a long time. So, this recent past year we`ve seen a huge change in the way the municipal courts in the way that they ran and the way they`re also handling people. But we still have a long way to go. MELBER: Yes. ALDRIDGE: But the attention that has been raised around it and the changes that have changed around Senate Bill 5 and actually digging deep in even the commission when we first started, the attorney general sued 13 municipalities that was acting out. So, change is happening but we understand, it`s not happening fast enough. MELBER: And just briefly, Rasheen, was there a lot of discord and disagreement on the commission or not? ALDRIDGE: Several times here and there, there was disagreement, you know. Some people didn`t believe that this should have been a recommendation, some people believed that this shouldn`t have been a recommendation. But at the end of the day we had to remember this wasn`t about us. We wasn`t called here to have a Rasheen Aldridge commission or a Tracy Blackmon commission or Reverend Starsky commission. This was the Ferguson Commission that had to find solutions. I mean, had to find solutions for the people. So, at the end of the day we had to remember this wasn`t about us. We made it happen. It`s been difficult, but we have came a long way. We pushed through. And with the support of all the community, thousands of volunteer hours, we got a very healthy and people`s recommendation, I believe. MELBER: Rasheen, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it. ALDRIDGE: Thank you. MELBER: Ahead, the powerful NBC exclusive prison interview that everyone has been talking about. And later, some global politics that may be even weirder than ours. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MELBER: NBC`s Matt Lauer got an exclusive one-on-one interview with the woman at the center of the brazen prison escape in upstate New York earlier this year. Prison employee Joyce Mitchell who pled guilty to her role in the prison break sat down with Lauer. An amazing interview and we`re going to have that for you, next. Don`t go anywhere. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MELBER: This past summer for several weeks in June, America was transfixed by a manhunt. New York state police, Vermont police, the U.S. Marshal Service, the FBI and other authorities searching desperately for these two men, convicted murderers, David Sweat and Richard Matt, who managed that unlikely escape from a prison in Clinton County, New York. They used tools smuggled to them by a prison employee we learned, and then they hacked and dug and sawed and crawled their way to freedom, tunneling through prison walls and steam pipes. They reached a manhole cover in the street blocks away from the prison. Now, that Hollywood-esque escape kicked off the manhunt which lasted nearly three weeks before Richard Matt was located and killed in a confrontation with authorities. And two days later, David Sweat caught as well. The intrigue with this case did not end with the prisoner`s capture because the question remained, who helped them escape. During the search we did learn investigators were focusing on a single prison employee in particular, Joyce Mitchell. She had worked as a tailor at the prison. She was arrested and now pled guilty to smuggling in the very tools that helped that escape. Now, rumors have been swirling in the tabloids as to why she did it? Why did she help these two convicted murders get out? Were there threats? Did she fall in love with one of them? Did she plan to run away with one of them? So many theories, and all the while, we hadn`t heard from Joyce Mitchell herself outside of the courtroom. That is until now. Matt Lauer sat down with Joyce Mitchell for a one-on-one interview as she awaits her sentence. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NBC NEWS EXCLUSIVE) MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: As part of the job, how close were you and how close did you become to the inmates? Is it fair to say you also became a friend? JOYCE MITCHELL, PRISON EMPLOYEE: It is fair to say that. LAUER: Was there flirtation as part of the friendship? MITCHELL: There was. LAUER: Did you think perhaps you were crossing some sort of a line? MITCHELL: I was at first, but then I guess I -- I guess I got a little too comfortable. LAUER: David Sweat is a guy who shot a sheriff`s deputy 15 times. So, these are two guys who committed heinous crimes. MITCHELL: Yes. LAUER: And these are the guys you allowed yourself to have a friendship with. MITCHELL: Yes. Everybody tells me I`m way too nice. LAUER: When did they start asking you for favors? MITCHELL: A few months before they decided to get out, they were asking me for things. LAUER: So what did you bring them? MITCHELL: I would bring cookies, brownies, you know, stuff like that. LAUER: And then they started asking for other things. When Richard Matt comes to you and says, Joyce, I need a star-shaped drill bit. That`s a lot different than cookies and brownies. MITCHELL: Yes. LAUER: What did you think? MITCHELL: At first I`m like, I can`t get you that. But then he`s like, I need it. LAUER: For what? MITCHELL: At first, they didn`t tell me. And then after, they did, it was because they were going to try to escape. LAUER: Speculation has run rampant, Joyce, that while Mr. Matt told you he loved you, that by this point, you loved him as well. MITCHELL: No. It was -- it started out as flirtation thing, but that`s all it ever was. There was never any love between myself and Mr. Matt. LAUER: At some point, in addition to bringing food and now starting to bring the tools they would eventually use to break out of prison, there was sexual contact between you and Richard Matt. MITCHELL: There was never any actual sexual intercourse. Mr. Matt had grabbed me a couple of times and kissed me. And then there was one point where he had -- I`m sorry. He wanted me to -- LAUER: Would you like a tissue? MITCHELL: He wanted me to perform oral sex on him, and I said no. And when I said, no, he grabbed my head and pushed me down. LAUER: If you can, to the best of your ability, Mrs. Mitchell, tell me the complete list of things that you gave them. MITCHELL: I gave them the star bit, four full-sides ax blades. And I gave them chisel and punch. That`s all that I give them. LAUER: That`s a lot. MITCHELL: It is. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: A tough discussion but fills in some of the holes in that story that we were all following. You can see even more Matt Lauer`s interview with Joyce Mitchell on Friday on the "Today Show". Now, still ahead for us: the weirdest political story of the day, and we`re not talking, I promise, about anything that Donald Trump did. Stay with us. We`ll be right back. (COMEMRCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me just -- I`m going to grab an outfit. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, Cramer. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Elaine is afraid of snowball. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little snowball? He runs on batteries. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, George, that`s an onion. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: It is just really weird to eat an onion like an apple. Weird enough it has been mocked on "Seinfeld." But in Australia, the country`s top politician, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, is known for doing just that delightfully chomping into raw onions, skin be damned. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OFF-CAMERA: Very good? TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Fine. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Very good. No tears even on that guy. In fact, Mr. Abbott said that particular onion was, quote, "better than any other onions I`ve eaten in a long time." Which makes you wonder, does he eat onions like apples every day? Maybe he does. Here he is eating another member of the onion family. This video looks like it was shot in a weird undercover onion expose. But you can see on the zoom he`s eating one. Mr. Abbott`s taste in politics turn out to be as every bit of embracing as his taste in raw snack food. He described gay marriage as, quote, "Just a fashion of the moment." He says abortion is, quote, "the easy way out." He`s taken similarly hard line positions on climate change to economics. But even putting policy aside, what has been most strike about his time in us office is how entirely tone deaf Mr. Abbott has shown himself to be day in, day out. He`s managed to insult on camera mind you just about every section of Australian society, including the military. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TV ANCHOR: Tony Abbott has been called out seemingly insulting a Queensland soldier killed in Afghanistan. After being told about complications of the firefight, this is Mr. Abbott`s reaction. ABBOTT: Nah, it`s pretty obvious that -- well, sometimes (EXPLETIVE DELETED) happens, doesn`t it? TV ANCHOR: Mr. Abbott was then lost for words when confronted about his comments. ABBOTT: Look, a soldier has died and you shouldn`t be trying to turn this into a subsequent media circus. REPORTER: The soldiers -- I shouldn`t? I`m trying to envision of you, your reaction to his explanation about what happened on the day and the operation in which McKinney was killed. How does that turn you into a media circus? Tell me, what`s the context? If it`s out of context, what`s the context? You`re not saying anything, Tony. ABBOTT: I`ve given you the response you deserve. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Damage control. Now, this Australian prime minister is a walking highlight reel. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just survived on around $400 after I pay my rent. I work on an adult to make ends meet. ABBOTT: Canada probably has more involvement. No one, however smart, however well-educated, however experienced is the suppository of all wisdom. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: We`re not sure if that word means what you think it means. Now, today Australia`s onion-eating suppository wisdom was ousted from his own role as Australian prime minister by his own party. They voted to replace him a more moderate leadership, and that is a headline in and of itself. But so is the way the country reacted. People are delighting in the end of Abbott`s onion-eating tenure posting pictures with the hashtag, #putoutyouronions. There had been over 7,000 tweets in the past day, pictures of people putting onions out on their front steps. Onions tied on their doors. Hanging from bicycles. Fancy champagne glass onions, some even photoshopping pictures of an onion head. And part of me thinks he`s going to lay off the onion for a while. All right. That`s our show. I`m Ari Melber, sitting in for Rachel. You can always find me on Facebook at, right there. And now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL." Good evening, Lawrence. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END