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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, August 11, 2020

Guests: Valerie Jarrett, Tim Kaine, Aimee Allison, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, David Plouffe


Joe Biden picks Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate in the 2020 Presidential Election. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) is interviewed about Joe Biden picking Sen. Harris.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: That is the REIDOUT for tonight. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.


ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN. It's Kamala Harris. Joe Biden makes his vice presidential pick choosing his former rival to be his running mate. Tonight, as Kamala Harris becomes the very first woman of color on a presidential ticket, Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on this historic moment.

And the last Democrat to run for vice president, Tim Kaine, on what Harris can expect when it's time to face Trump and Pence when ALL IN starts right now.


VELSHI: Good evening from Philadelphia, I'm Ali Velshi in for Chris Hayes. After weeks of waiting and wondering and speculating, we now know Joe Biden's picked for his vice-presidential running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California. The news broke this afternoon about 4:15 Eastern Time with texts and an e-mail from Biden going out to his campaign supporters saying, "I've decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021.

He followed up shortly with a tweet calling Senator Harris quote a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country's finest public servants. The Senator's first reaction came on Twitter too writing that she is honored to join the ticket and do what it takes to make Biden our commander in chief.

It was a fitting virtual reveal and reaction for a campaign that's been running almost entirely without in person events for months amid the Coronavirus crisis. Joe Biden's campaign photographer posted this photo after the announcement showing the moment that he told Senator Harris that he had selected her as his V.P. today over video chat from his home in Delaware.

But they are actually going to be together in person tomorrow. They'll deliver remarks at an event near Biden's longtime home in Wilmington, Delaware. A lot of Americans were first introduced to Senator Harris during her presidential campaign last year.

Let me tell you a bit about her. She was born and raised in California, the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants. Her mother was a cancer researcher, her father and economics professor. She started her career as a deputy district attorney. She went on to become the district attorney for San Francisco and then California's Attorney General.

Joe Biden noted in his e-mail announcement this afternoon that Harris and his late son Beau were Attorney Generals at the same time, Beau in Delaware, which is how Joe first met Kamala Harris. Biden writes that Beau "had enormous respect for Harris and her work, and that he thought a lot about that as he made this decision. There is no one's opinion I valued more than Beau's."

After her election to the Senate in 2016, Harris gained recognition for her tough questioning of witnesses that came before her on the intelligence and judiciary committees like the Attorney General Bill Barr following the release of the Mueller report.


HARRIS: Attorney General Barr, has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?


HARRIS: Yes or no.

BARR: Could you repeat that question?

HARRIS: I will repeat it. Has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? Yes or no, please, sir.

BARR: The president or anybody else?

HARRIS: It seems you'd remember something like that and be able to tell us.

BARR: Yes, but I'm trying to grapple with the word suggest. I mean, there have been discussions of matters out there that they have not asked me to open an investigation but --

HARRIS: Perhaps they've suggested.

BARR: I don't know, I wouldn't say suggest.

HARRIS: Hinted.

BARR: I don't know.

HARRIS: Inferred. You don't know. OK.


VELSHI: Senator Harris' obvious tough talking skills were also on display during her run for president when she and Joe Biden were opponents, perhaps most notably, with this exchange at NBC's primary debate last June.


HARRIS: I'm going to now direct this at Vice President Biden. I do not believe you are a racist. And I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground. But I also believe and it's personal and I was actually very -- it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.

And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing. And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.


VELSHI: That little girl was me. Today, Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his running mate making history. She is going to be the first woman of color on the presidential ticket in a year where we have seen the largest protests and social unrest in this country's history. So now, the Democratic ticket is complete. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will face off against Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

Last week, Valerie Jarrett, the longest-serving presidential senior advisor to Barack Obama signed on to a letter to various media outlets demanding fair coverage of the vice-presidential candidate. "Women have been subject to stereotypes and tropes about qualifications, leadership, looks, relationships and experience. Those stereotypes are often amplified and weaponized for black and brown women." Tonight, Kamala Harris is that vice presidential candidate, a woman of color.

Valerie Jarrett, with me again now. Valerie, you and I spoke of this on Sunday, and I pledge to you then that we will, as media get this right. So now we start today. Kamala Harris is the first vice presidential candidate of color in this country's history. She is a woman. Your thoughts, first of all.

VALERIE JARRETT, SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, that little girl is more than ready for this job. She's brilliant, she has an extraordinary track record of experience. She's savvy. She has devoted her entire career to public service, as Vice President Biden said, fighting for the little guy. And I cannot wait to see this team on the campaign trail. But even more importantly, when they take over and govern our country during what we know alley is going to be an extraordinary, challenging time.

I'd also say about her that she has, you know, the resilience she can take a punch, she can give a punch. She is going to be a formidable opponent. I can't wait to see her debate Vice President Pence. But she also has a kind and generous heart. And I think Vice President Biden saw all that in her, not to mention, she really reflects the best of the American story.

As you said, Ali, daughter of immigrants who came here and made an incredible life for themselves. And she's ready. She's more than ready.

VELSHI: The Republicans had an attack ad ready. I'm sure they had a for all sorts of candidates, but they aired this one, literally, seconds after the announcement. It makes an interesting point that I want to talk to you about. Let's listen to it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Kamala Harris ran for president by rushing to the radical left, embracing Bernie's plan for socialized medicine, calling for trillions of new taxes, attacking Joe Biden for racist policies. Voters rejected Harris. They smartly spotted a phony but not Joe Biden. He's not that smart.

Biden calls himself a transition candidate. He is handing over the reins to Kamala while they joyfully embrace the radical left. Slow Joe and Phony Kamala is perfect together, wrong for America.


VELSHI: So, we had two issues here. One is that there are a lot of people on the left who, you know who see Kamala Harris as somebody who was a prosecutor. They even criticize her for it. But the bottom line is attaching socialist and radical left to Kamala Harris, I don't know if that's a great strategy. I don't know how long that one is going to last, but I don't know how much traction it's going to get either.

JARRETT: I don't think it's going to get any traction. They're flailing. They don't know exactly how to approach this dynamic and duo, and I think the American people are smarter than that. They're smart enough to have watched her carefully throughout her career, seeing the incredible work she did on the Judiciary Committee and on the Intelligence Committee, recognize that she has the gravitas to command the respect of not just the American people, but leaders on the world stage.

So, I am confident as this campaign continues that the American people will see what I see in both of them, and that is leaders who are ready to move our country forward, restore the soul of our country, basic decency and regain our stature around the world. Something that has been sorely missed, particularly during this challenging time of a pandemic where we have just dropped the ball in terms of our leadership, and those two will pick it up and run with it. And look after us, look after the American people, particularly the little guy.

VELSHI: There's an interesting Instagram post tonight from Sarah Palin, who it almost seemed congratulatory. It was the idea that standing on the shoulders of Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin, and here are the things we learned when we campaigned, and here's some advice, and it actually -- it was conciliatory and a kind note.

But tell me how you think the media is going to handle this and how they should handle it. On one hand, we have responsibility to hold everybody to account for what they've said for what they've done. On the other hand, you have and others have warned rightly so that we have a bit of a double standard in this country. We've got -- we've got something that might be misogyny, might be sexism, it's certainly something but it prevents us from allowing women to advance as easily as men do in politics.

JARRETT: I guess, to put it simply, and I thought of this, Ali, since our last conversation, ask yourselves, would you say the same thing and describing a man. Hold yourself to just that simple standard. Check yourself before you use language that has been historically used to describe women in positions of power but it's derogatory, is a double standard. And if you hold yourself to that, I think we'll be all right.

She and Vice President Biden are more than ready to have debates on substance, to have debates on issues. They should be challenged. That's part of this process is their effort to earn the competence and trust of the American people and she is more than ready to that for that. But we will have her back if she's treated unfairly and discriminatory. And I think the American people have are sick and tired of that as well.

VELSHI: Barack Obama sent out a statement in which he said, "Joe Biden nailed this decision by choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America's next vice president. He didn't say candidate, he said his vice president. He's underscored his own judgment and character. Reality shows us that these attributes are not optional in a president. They're requirements of the job and now Joe has an ideal partner to help him tackle the very real challenges America faces right now and in the years ahead."

Joe Biden has picked his partner as vice presidential candidate, but there's a lot of what Joe Biden is riding on that depends on his partnership with Barack Obama and that Americans recognize that. What do you think Barack Obama's role in this election is going to be?

JARRETT: I think he's been very clear, Ali, that he is here to be supportive of Vice President Biden and now the partner on the ticket, Senator Harris in any way he can. He knows Vice President Biden very well, having served with him for eight years. Vice President Biden's counsel and advice was instrumental, important. His willingness to take on big pieces of responsibility during their time in office together also vitally important.

So, he has earned the overwhelming respect of Vice President Obama. So, he is there to do whatever is necessary to help these two get over that finish line and use his voice as effectively as we know he can.

VELSHI: Valerie Jarrett, good to see you again. Thank you for joining us.

JARRETT: Good to see you.

VELSHI: Valerie Jarrett is the senior -- was the senior advisor to President Barack Obama. Thank you. And the author of a great book called finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward. And Kamala Harris is going to debate Mike Pence in their first and only vice presidential debate on October 7th at the University of Utah.

I want to bring in the last person who debated Mike Pence during an election Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia. As you know, he was Hillary Clinton's running mate back in 2016. Senator Kaine, good to see you. You and I were talking probably about a week ago about what these potential candidates are going through and what they're thinking and how to improve their chances.

OK, that's all behind us now. The big ticket is going to be October 7th. America is going to want to see what Kamala Harris can do when she debates Mike Pence. But it's not really a secret. We kind of know about what Kamala Harris is like an adversarial situations, what she's like when she's up against somebody who's not telling the truth and what she's up -- what she's like when she's up against somebody who's obfuscating.

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): Yes, we do, because we've seen her. And I think you, Ali, put your finger on something. This is an administration that can't win by telling the truth, so they're going to try to win by not telling the truth. We're living in a pandemic where more than 160,000 Americans have died, so many of them, tens of thousands needlessly, because it's been so poorly handled and because the United States handled it so poorly with a president saying the virus was going to go away or preaching quack medicine. It also led to economic devastation that we've never seen in the history of the country.

Now, you'll hear happy talk certainly from the President and the Vice President, but Kamala is sharp, and she's going to be able to make it extremely plain that people shouldn't be fooled into believing the death toll we've experienced and the economic devastation is any reason to applaud this administration. She'll do a fine job.

VELSHI: What do you know about her? You work with her. You had some -- you had some overlap. You weren't in the Senate at the same time, but you had business with her.

KAINE: Ali, I'm still in the same room.

VELSHI: You were in the Senate. You've been in the Senate since 2016. That's right. You're both in the senate since 2016.

KAINE: Yes, I have not gone yet, Ali, so -- now, we've worked together for four years, and Kamala is a great colleague. When she came in 2016, you know, she has really -- it's hard in the Senate. Freshmen are told to, you know, be quiet for three terms, and then you can, you know, seek and make your point known. But Kamala has come in and has just done a superb job on Intel and on Judiciary. You showed some clips earlier of her significant examination of witnesses. She's going to do very, very well in this job.

Now, she's going to have to face off against the double standards we apply to women and even the misogyny that was so obvious when Hillary was running in 2016, but she's not unrealistic about that. Those of us who care about Kamala and about 2020 being the centennial of women getting the right to vote, we got to have her back and try to, you know, put a stake through the heart of misogyny and the double standard that's made it so hard for women to be elected to higher office in the United States.

VELSHI: So, I know there are some viewers who probably are unsatisfied with the idea that we're discussing what the opening line of attack from Republicans is on Kamala Harris. The reason it's intriguing is because they've had a lot of time to think about this.

Kamala Harris was an odds on favorite for a while, and they've had a lot of time to think about what they're going to come up with, that's going to plant the seed of doubt in the minds of Americans and move over to the radical left and an embrace of socialism is the best job they've come up with. I only bring it up because I just don't think that's all that effective.

KAINES: I don't think it is either. And they were going to say the same thing about anybody that Joe Biden picks because they're really desperate right now. I mean, again, we are dealing with a historic catastrophe in the pandemic response in the United States. The best-prepared nation in the world handled it in one of the worst aspects of the world because we have a president who said it wasn't a problem, said it was going to go away, you know, preached quack medicine, undercut his own experts, and now seems to be bored with it. I mean, he wants to turn his attention away from the ravages of this.

So, this is, you know, most historic time, what Joe Biden brings. And the reason he's doing well I think in polling right now, he brings character and compassion but also competence. And by picking Kamala, he's underlying those character virtues in a very important way.

VELSHI: One of the things -- again, some people will remember Kamala Harris with her exchanges with Joe Biden and other things that happened in the campaign. But people watch politics very closely will remember that exchange that we played at the top of the show with Bill Barr. Kamala Harris, you know, addressing Bill Barr or Kamala Harris questioning Brett Kavanaugh.

She's got a remarkable chops as a -- as a lawyer, as a prosecutor, as an attorney general, as a United States Senator who has addressed some of the biggest issues of this era that we're in. How, as somebody who ran for vice president, how does that serve her in this particular job? How does she translate that experience to running for vice president?

KAINE: Well, I think that, you know, there's sort of two chapters. There's candidate and then there's vice president. We have great hopes that this ticket is going to be successful. She's going to need to be tough. Remember, Joe Biden was often used by the Obama administration to have tough conversations with members of Congress. I was a governor and saw Joe managed the Recovery Act for the administration. I was a senator in the Obama second term on the Foreign Relations Committee and saw Joe come up and talk about tough issues like the Iran negotiation or the Paris Climate accord.

So, you know, I think in a way, I think of Kamala's skills more in the kind of vice president she'll be than in the campaign coming ahead. We need somebody like her. And I think she and Joe will have complimentary personalities that will make them a good team.

Barack and Joe didn't have the same personality type. They shared values, but their personalities were a little bit different. And that was the strength. And I think we're going to see the same thing about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

VELSHI: Senator, good to see you. I apologize for evicting you for the Senate -- from the Senate for a few moments there, but we all know and we've talked very often that you are in the Senate and that's where you have been working with Kamala Harris for the last four years. So, thank you again for your time, sir. Senator Tim Kaine, Senator from Virginia and former vice presidential candidate.

Tonight, much more on this historic moment as Kamala Harris joins Joe Biden on the ticket and President Trump struggles to mount any sort of attack on Biden's new running mate. We're going to talk about that next.


VELSHI: Ever since Joe Biden announced he was running for president way back in April 2019, Republicans especially President Trump struggled to effectively attack his candidacy. And now that Biden has picked Kamala Harris as his vice president, they don't seem to have much on her either.

The President's tweeter account rolled out their attack video accusing Kamala Harris of being part of the get this, the radical left immediately after Joe Biden made his announcement. And that apparently is all they have. The second part of the ad shifts to repeating the same things against Biden.

Just a short time ago, Vice President Pence made the same allegation to a crowd in Arizona. The Trump campaign has been chomping at the bit for someone to attack something to stick. And they seem to have only this attempt to tie a decidedly moderate ticket to the radical left.

Joining me now, Aimee Allison, founder of She the People, a network of women of color working for political change, and Brittany Packnett Cunningham, a former member of President Obama's 21st Century Policing Task Force, and two women who I've relied upon heavily in this conversation about who the next president and who the next vice president is going to be. Thanks to both of you for being here.

Amy, let me start with you. You took a very, very active role in giving voice to the women who are running not just for president but across the board in American politics. How are you feeling tonight?

AIMEE ALLISON, FOUNDER, SHE THE PEOPLE: I'm pretty feeling pretty good. I mean, if you think about it, over the last few months, all the terrible things that are happening, we started saying what is the most strategic powerful thing that Joe Biden can do to smooth away toward winning back the White House, recognizing the power of women of color, particularly black women voters, and recognizing that we want to govern and we want to lead.

Putting Kamala Harris on the ticket is a signal that the Biden campaign sees us hears us and is ready to make space for us to be governing partners as we move America forward. It feels great. I mean, Kamala Harris, Senator Harris is from my hometown here in Oakland and. And to see her rise from San Francisco D.A., through her work in California all the way to the Senate, to hear her advocacy, particularly in times of economic need right now in times of racial unrest or calling for racial justice, it means so much for me personally and for millions of women of color.

And I believe this is what we needed in order to deepen enthusiasm and turn out women of color and I believe this is what we needed in order to deepen enthusiasm and turn out women of color, the most loyal Democrats in historic numbers in November.

VELSHI: Brittany Packnett Cunningham, this was an important thing for a lot of people to have a -- we know we knew it was going to be a woman, but a person of color. Given the moment that we're in, setting aside the fact that we're celebrating 100 years of women voting, setting aside the unique difficulties faced by people of color in this country, but the point is we are in a moment right now, what happens now that Kamala Harris is the vice-presidential candidate? How does that translate in the next 80-some odd days before the election?

BRITTANY PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM, MEMBER, OBAMA'S 21ST CENTURY POLICING TASK FORCE: Well, as you can ask any black woman, we know that we have to be tougher, stronger, better, faster, twice as prepared, twice as ready to take on the hard things. Kamala Harris, I fully believe is more than prepared to take that on. Black women have had to do that throughout history and throughout our lives, and this moment is no different.

You know, it is really something to be standing not just looking at history, but recognizing all of the incredible ways in which black women are responsible for expanding the American political imagination, whether it's organizers in the streets, or its policymakers like Kamala Harris and so many others, we have to recognize the power that black women have to rise to the occasion every single time. And I believe that this is no different.

But what we'll also continue to see because black women are so brilliant and bold and powerful, we will see particular attacks that are you more unique than what we've seen against just women generally. So, we've heard the word misogyny thrown around and it is necessary and accurate. But we can actually be more precise. We can use the word misogyny war which was created by a black feminist, which is specific to the intersectional discrimination that black women face.

We have to get familiar with it and we have to be ready to defend against it, irrespective of what your politics are, because that shouldn't be welcome in the American discourse.

VELSHI: Good point. By the way, Brittany, I feel like I saw you on the cover of a magazine like in the last couple weeks so I'm kind of having a little bit of a starstruck moment. I want to bring in David Plouffe. He was the campaign manager for Barack Obama's historic 2008 campaign. He's the author of A Citizens Guide to Beating Donald Trump.

You know, David, I'm already seeing it on Twitter. People are mad at me because I'm talking about the attacks that are coming. Part of it has become a little underwhelmed. They knew what this ticket was going to be for a long time. I mean, I remind people. People have been trying to -- the Republicans have been trying to attack Joe Biden for so long that it got Donald Trump impeached. They don't seem to have much.

DAVID PLOUFFE, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, BARACK OBAMA 2008 CAMPAIGN: Now well, the Trump and his campaign it's been pathetic and incompetent and ineffective their attempts to launch various (INAUDIBLE). So, there's no doubt I think they're going to try and swing Kamala Harris now into that chair.

But at the end of the day, one people vote for the top of the ticket, I think Kamala Harris is going to bring energy to the ticket. She's got two big moments. Next Wednesday, her convention speech, and then October 7th the debate against Mike Pence or whoever Trump picks if he dumps Pence. But I think day to day she'll be strong. But at the end of the day, I think these are going to fall flat.

The other thing about Kamala Harris is if Joe Biden wins, he's going to have a Herculean task in front of him to dig us out of this mess Trump has left. And Kamala Harris has what it takes. She's tough. She's experienced. She's running a huge department in the California Department of Justice.

So yes, I think we're going to see -- they won't even hide it. It's going to be racial, misogynistic, trying scare people, but at the end of the day, they've not landed on an effective case against Biden. It's getting very late. People start voting in some battleground states in for weeks. The clock's ticking.

But if they want to turn this in a race against Kamala Harris -- by the way, I think that's a race you would win, but I do not that's the path to beating Joe Biden.

VELSHI: You said something really interesting there. Aimee, I just want to -- I want to just go back to what David Plouffe said. He said, if Trump decides not to dump Pence, there's stuff in the ether that suggests that the Trump campaign is worried enough about the effect, the positive effect that Kamala Harris is going to have, that they may be looking at options versus pens.

I don't know if they're going to come to you because you seem to sort of have a direct line to the best women in politics, but do you think it's possible that Donald Trump is going to try and find somebody to go up against Kamala Harris?

ALLISON: Wouldn't be the irony of ironies for the party that's become the home of white supremacy and attacks on people of color and particularly black women to look for a savior amongst women of color? It would be ironic and it's not going to work. Because when it comes right down to it, women of color are the most progressive voters and the most loyal Democrats. It's all about turnout. I don't think it matters what the Republicans say. We're not trying to convince any Republicans. We need to get our people out.

First and foremost, black and brown women who in battleground states can close that margin and win the White House back. So you know, they can scramble around, he can switch out Pence. I personally want to see Kamala Harris, Senator Harris eviscerate a Republican, whoever it is, vice presidential candidate.

Anyone has seen her on the Senate Judiciary Committee in her questioning knows that she has no fear when it comes to facing the Republicans and facing them down. Some of them saying they're nervous and things like that. She's ready. And women of color are ready to defend her against the kinds of attacks Brittany was talking about, that unique and ugly quality of racism and sexism.

Women of Color have come into their power. There's many of us. We're 38 million strong. We're the center of a multiracial coalition. We're not having it. And we're ready in the last 80 days to do turnout and to win.

VELSHI: Brittany, there was some discussion about enthusiasm, particularly amongst African Americans for Joe Biden. And the bottom line here is that I think Joe Biden was delaying this pick because he knew it was going to be something people would be enthused about. But tell me how that enthusiasm is going to translate because to Aimee's point, folks got a vote, this administration is making it harder for people to vote, they're cutting back on the Post Office, they're talking about mail-in ballots being fraudulent. What happens now what does -- what does Kamala Harris do that causes people to say I'm getting out there, and I'm going to put the first woman of color into the White House.

CUNNINGHAM: Well, I think you're absolutely right to pair this conversation about enthusiasm with suppression, because you can play the most perfect game, but if the rules are rigged, and the rest have been bought off, then none of that actually matters, and you'll lose every time. We can have the most enthusiastic base, but if this president and this party continues to try to steal those votes, then we'll have a tough problem on our hands.

And I think that Senator Harris has been particularly pointed in making sure that we recognize that yes, this President is trying to dismantle the Postal Service, that he is trying to invalidate mail-in ballots before they even come in, that he is very, very friendly with foreign operatives that we know played a huge part in her primary campaign, and that this President continues to try to suppress votes through all of the classic ways. She has pushed Mitch McConnell to make sure that he actually passes the Voting Rights Advancement Act.

So, all of these things have to happen simultaneously. And I think we'll see Senator Harris continue to invest her time and influence there, as she has while she's been a member of the Senate. Because it's critically important to recognize that yes, we have to make sure that we get the base out. But if they can't have their voices heard when they approach those ballot boxes, it will only do so much.

We have to be careful not to lay blame against oppressed communities and marginalized communities that continue to have their votes disenfranchised and suppressed without actually doing the work that it will take to protect those votes. So, I think we'll see her continue to invest in that and hopefully, she'll push the party to do the same because we need to see that at all levels of the ballot.

VELSHI: Thank you to the three of you for joining me this evening, Aimee Allison, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, and David pluff. Stick around. We want to have a little more of this discussion, but I got to take a break and pay the bills.



SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's never forget that on the fundamental issues, we all have so much more in common than what separates us. And you know, some will say, well, we need to search to find that common ground. Here's what I say. I think we need to recognize we are already standing on common ground.


VELSHI: All right, we're back now with Aimee Allison, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, and David Plouffe. David, this is going to be a weird campaign any way you cut it, right? They can't do the things that they normally do. You know, Joe Biden and you know the energy he gets out of a crowd of people. Kamala Harris is a great speaker. She's good with crowds too. What do they do now?

PLOUFFE: It's very different, Ali. I think, you know, vice -- I mentioned the two big moments. So, for Kamala Harris, it's her convention speech next Wednesday, the debate on October 7th, the one vice presidential debate. But historically, on all the other days in a campaign, you know, maybe the nominee, the presidential candidates in Cleveland, but the vice-presidential candidate is down in Youngstown. You know, you're in different states. And so, that's going to be less of what we see.

And I think, you know, deciding which interviews you're doing, what grassroots volunteer work you're doing. I mean, Kamala Harris is going to be a huge assist to all the people out there working so hard to contact voters. But it's very different. So, it's -- usually I'd say, hey, your vice president is going to do these five stops today in these three time zones, and your presidential candidate is going to do these five. That's not the case anymore. So, it's splitting up interviews, grassroots events, fundraising calls.

I think she's also going to be very helpful -- you know, Brittany made this point, she's been so strong substantively on voter protection, so I think she can really help lead the ticket there, but also motivating people. You know, it is really hard by the way to win an election, even in the best of circumstances.

So, I think the problem with the Biden-Harris ticket is now -- I'm pretty confident, I'm not 100 percent confident, they're going to enter October with enough supportive registered voters to win the election. The question is, does that materialize in vote. And I think she can be all over this each and every day, you know, throwing flags where Trump and his campaign and foreign adversaries are trying to make it harder to vote, but also encouraging Democrats to stick with it because it's going to take huge commitment from all of us to make sure we see this election through and to make sure that they win.

So, at the end of the day, how you deploy her is going to be different than we've seen traditionally, but I think she brings huge assets to this race. And the energy you can just sense in the last few hours, I think is real. And I think people are excited about Joe Biden. They're excited about getting rid of Donald Trump.

But Kamala Harris really brings us to another place of excitement and enthusiasm, which I think this campaign needed, because I still think it's going to tighten, I still think the refs are going to be out there engaged in state sponsored suppression and disinformation. So we got to battle through a lot of stuff here, and so we're going to need everything everyone's got. President Obama said today at the end of his statement, let's go win this thing and I think she's going to help us win it.

VELSHI: Amy Allison, I wish I were as creative at anything as Donald Trump is at racism. Listen to what he said today. It was -- it was creative. He managed to launch a racist attack about somebody wasn't even talking about. Let's listen to this.


TRUMP: She was extraordinarily nasty to Kavanaugh, Judge Kavanaugh then, now Justice Kavanaugh. She was nasty to a level that was just a horrible thing the way she was, the way she treated now Justice Kavanaugh, and I won't forget that. She was very, very nasty to -- one of the reasons that surprised me, she was very -- she was probably nastier than even Pocahontas to Joe Biden. She was very disrespectful to Joe Biden. And it's hard to pick somebody that's that disrespectful.


VELSHI: So, she brought -- he brought Elizabeth Warren into this whole thing with his derogatory comment about her. But nasty, we're back to nasty again. Donald Trump does this. He calls women nasty. He's been called out on it. It doesn't really change for him. Where does it go from here?

ALLISON: Well, listen, Donald Trump, his entire presidency has been attacking women of color and black women in particular with his, you know, his name-calling. It doesn't matter what he says. Listen, we have to -- just like the clip that you showed of Senator Harris's speech which he talked about common ground, this is the moment to unify. For Democrats, it's unifying across race.

And so while he says and does whatever he's going to do, we know that he's counting on, first and foremost, attracting a base of voters that are attracted to his racist sentiments and speech. And that is the opposite of what we're doing. We're unifying our multiracial coalition. We're going in deep into states that are majority people of color where we need to speak to the hopes and the dreams, the pain that we're in, and to believe in this, and that's what we do.

We're prepared to defend Senator Harris against these attacks, his racist and sexist attacks, and we're going to talk about the issues, but most of all, we're going to on the ground, engage our multiracial coalition so that we can be victorious and get Trump out of the White House.

VELSHI: Brittany Packnett Cunningham, one of the things about Kamala Harris is she does deal -- he does dwell in policy and she's an expert on these things. You were -- you're a co-founder of Campaign Zero. You were part of President Obama's 21st Century Policing Task Force. Policing is a major issue right now. How does this position you and the people like you who are fighting for more fairness in policing? On one hand, you've got somebody in Kamala Harris who understands the issue very well. What do you hope to get out of that?

CUNNINGHAM: Well, I think it's going to be really important to recognize that brave and courageous people on the streets all over the country for the last seven or six years, but especially in this year, have moved America further and faster on this issue, and I think many people were expecting.

So there's a real opportunity here for the Biden Harris campaign to expand the table of people that they are listening to, and make sure that they are thoroughly and thoughtfully helping design what the future can look like in partnership with those faults. That every time that I've met with Kamala Harris, she has really taken the time to listen and make sure to ask more questions than she gave answers.

I think that that's the approach that this campaign needs now. I think that more folks from the grassroots need to be heard on these issues. And we have to make sure that whatever the future holds, that it is one that actually fully holds black people, brown folks, and indigenous folks in all of our humanity.

I believe that there are lots of people with the best ideas to make that happen, and I truly, truly hope that this campaign will listen thoroughly to them.

VELSHI: Thank you to all three of you for our continued conversation tonight, Aimee Allison, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, and David Plouffe. Coming up next, almost immediately after the announcement today, we got our first Kamala Harris ad and it wasn't from the Democrats. The Biden campaign's unlikely allies after this.


VELSHI: All right today August 11, 2020, less than a week before the start of the Democratic National Convention, the ticket is complete with the selection of Senator Kamala Harris as Joe Biden's running mate. All the pieces of the presidential race are now in play. And as the two sides line up, the Democrats have some unlikely allies, a group of Republicans making ads for Joe Biden.

This afternoon, among the first Biden-Harris ads came from the anti-Trump Lincoln Project.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joe Biden is the president for this moment, a man tested by tragedy, proven in a crisis, a leader who acts through compassion and strength, not anger and weakness. Standing with him, Kamala Harris, a strong voice for a better America, daughter of immigrants, a passion for justice, a happy warrior in the battle for the soul of America.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is the America we believe in where hard work means more than family wealth, where compassion and kindness or strength not weaknesses. This is the America of our better angels, the best of America.


VELSHI: One of the co-founders of that group, Steve Schmidt, someone who's been through a presidential campaign or two himself is going to join me next. Don't go anywhere.


VELSHI: Joining me now, Steve Schmidt, longtime Republican strategist, co-founder of the Lincoln Project. Steve, good to see you. It's been a long time since we've talked. You are -- your organization mostly conservatives, mostly Republicans, ex-Republicans, people who don't want to see Donald Trump in power in some cases because you think maybe the world could do with a healthy Republican Party, and other reasons maybe because you don't -- you just don't want Donald Trump around. What is the appointment of Kamala Harris do for your cause?

STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC ANALYST: Well, we know, Ali, now who the ticket is. We know what the contest is. We know what the contours of it are. And we know who the team is that will lead to an American restoration upon the removal of Donald Trump from political power.

It is true as you say that most of us are former Republicans, worked in Republican campaigns. I left the party some years ago. But the Lincoln Project is an American organization. And as Americans, we're participating in the political process and we're sending out a warning about this illiberal president, about this man who has violated his oath, who has provided the country that has caused incredible damage to one of the great crises in the history of the Republic with 162,000 dead Americans through his ineptitude, his incompetence.

He is one of the great dangers this country has ever faced. And we are suffering through this great calamity because we have a reality show store in the White House who knows nothing of history, nothing of our traditions, nothing of the ideas and ideals that the country was built around and that we struggle, as Dr. King pointed out, to bend that arc of the moral universe towards justice.

And so tonight, we see again, the promise of the American dream, the daughter of immigrants rising to become the vice-presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. We have a lot of work to do in this country, and the Lincoln Project plays a small part in a coalition that's among the broadest and most diverse in America's political history that's coming together to get rid of Donald Trump and to put a decent and good man back into the White House where the admonition that's inscribed from the prayer that John Adams once said that the only good and wise man live under this roof, that that will be fulfilled once again come noon on January 20th.

VELSHI: So, it's unfair for me to ask you to get inside Donald Trump's head because as you said, you were a Republican a long time ago and Donald Trump's a different beast. But in July of 2019, Vanity Fair talked to a number of Republican insiders at the time when Kamala Harris was running for president, and they -- the headline of the article was she's dangerous. GOP insiders fear Kamala could be the next Obama.

Now, obviously, this was before she stepped out of the race for the presidency. But if you're a Republican, if you're Donald Trump, in particular, forget Republican, if you're Donald Trump, what are you thinking tonight?

SCHMIDT: You're thinking that you have the best pick that Joe Biden could have picked to help his cause on the ticket. She's a formidable political leader in this country. She's smart. She's quick on her feet. She's articulate. I think Mike Pence is going to have a very, very difficult time in the vice presidential debate.

And frankly, intellectually from an eloquence articulation perspective, they're not in the same league with each other. You look at Kamala Harris and the interrogatory from her perch on the committee's that she serves asking questions, holding people to account.

She's a prosecutor who's going to be able to go out and prosecute a case against one of the easiest targets there's ever been to prosecute a case against, and that's Donald Trump. Because we now have an economic calamity in this country, we have a public health calamity in this country. America is the weakest it has ever been in the post-World War II era in the eyes of both our adversaries and our allies.

The country is in a nosedive. Donald Trump has launched a precipitous and dangerous decline of America's influence, our esteem that we feel for the country in each other's eyes. He's stoked in this country, Ali, a cold Civil War. He has Americans at each other's throats.

And we have in this ticket American patriots, who will have the ability to come together and I think communicate even to the people who will not be voting to them, reminding them that we all as she said in that announcement speech in January, we all have much more in common than we do in difference in this country. We are Americans.

And this is a ticket that's not going to seek to divide us. It's a ticket that's going to seek to unite us. And so you'll see a broad coalition from Bernie Sanders, the disaffected Republicans, who believe in democracy, who believe in the rule of law, who do not believe the president is a king, can't stand the corruption, cannot stand the desecrations that this man has delivered from behind the presidential seal, behind the presidential desk, debasing everything that's good and noble about American government.

VELSHI: Steve, I had 30 seconds left, but you mentioned how Donald Trump is illiberal. That's the attack that Republicans are using on Kamala Harris today that she is a left-wing, radical socialist. Does that kind of stick?

SCHMIDT: I don't think it sticks. I don't think it's true. And the word I'm using for him, he is illiberal. He is contrary to democratic values and norms. He is like a Belarusian leader. He has no faithfulness to the ideas that sustain the American Republic, the separation of powers, the premises of the constitutional republic. And so, we have somebody with an autocratic personality in the highest office in the land.

VELSHI: Steve Schmidt, good to see you my friend. Thank you very much. Steve Schmidt is a Republican strategist -- was a Republican strategist a long time ago. He's an MSNBC analyst and a co-founder of the Lincoln Project.

August 11, 2020, remember that date, the day on which a woman of color was put on to a major party ticket for the vice-presidency of the United States.

That is ALL IN on this Tuesday night. My friend Rachel Maddow is joining us now.



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