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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  July 15, 2012 7:00am-9:00am PDT

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so, back to more pills. almost done, when... hang on. stan's doctor recommended aleve. it can keep pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is rudy. who switched to aleve. and two pills for a day free of pain. ♪ and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels. this morning, the anatomy of a rape joke. is there any humor within? plus, the president is on a roll. democrats, it's time to stand by your man. first, the politics of free stuff. really, mitt romney? good morning. i'm melissa harris-perry. this week at the naacp
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convention, mitt romney started off with the best day he's ever had in front of a black audience. okay, first of all, he showed up. even though he wasn't likely to win any votes in that room, his willingness to address an naacp suggested an understanding that he's running for president of all of the people, not just the ones that like him. then he addressed the black audience like human beings. that is a light years ahead of this. >> who let the dogs out? who, who? >> and, of course, this -- >> what's happin? that's michael. >> he also gets credit for keeping it real. there was no trace of mitt romney, the flip-flopper, who switches positions when it's politically convenient.
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he didn't say affordable care act, he said obama care like he always does. he also gets bonus points for name checking, frederick doug list, and his own father george romney, even when it put him at odds with his own party. so, yes, mitt romney got off to a great start. and contrary to media reports of a hostile audience, the applause he received indicated that his listeners thought so, too. but then this happened -- >> i'm going to eliminate every nonessential expensive program i can find. that includes obama care and i'm going to work to reform and save -- [ booing ]. >> not obama care.
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>> did he say that? >> you know he did. >> this was the moments romney got what he really came for, the sound bite of the black audience booing his sentence about repealing the obama care. he didn't come here to break bread. he came here for a morsel of red meat. he told them, your friends who like obama care, you remind them of this. if they want more stuff from the government, tell them to vote for the other guy. more free stuff. but don't forget, nothing is really free. okay. mitt romney took an audience of americans who is he running to serve and turned them into a prop. african-americans want to be treated like people, not props. we don't want to be the political equivalent of the one that dies first in the movies. weapon want to be like terise
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who survived through all three "transformer" movies. as hardworking taxpayers who boo the repeal of obama care because we don't want to carry the $56 million cost of uncompensated care for the uninsured. black people want to be spoken to as fans and family members because they'd rather our loved ones not and spoken to like members of an informed electorate who understand this. nothing about the affordable care act qualifies as free stuff. the entire idea is that no one gets a free pass. everyone shares the burden together. in fact, mitt romney knows as much because he said so during the debate.
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>> if people can afford to either buy the insurance or pay your own way, don't be free riders. >> now, i'm glad to offer mitt romney that reminder of his own ideas. if there's one thing he didn't need to remind members of the naacp, it's that nothing, not even freedom, is free. the legal fight to end segregation and the economic argument against segregation was that black people didn't get or want anything for free. they wanted the same use of the services for which they paid the same money, because they were segregated but their dollars weren't. not the tax dollars that went to schools they couldn't attend or helped pay for public schools where they were never allowed to swim or first-class fares on buses or trains. so, no, the naacp didn't need any reminders about free stuff. but they may have needed this one wake-up call. that the guy running against the president thinks they are props,
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which is another thing that romney did at the naacp on wednesday, which is one that obama should be thanking him for. because romney just sliced a piece of red meat, too. joining me, joy-ann reid and comedian lynn winstead, author of "live free or die." joy, who did you think he was talking to? >> i have a piece about this exact same thing you've taken the words right out of my mouth. i think there were two audiences that mitt romney had in mind and neither was naacp, clearly. one of them was white independents, he wants them to see this visual, going to naacp makes him look inclusive. but on the other hand, as he did his talk afterwards, that was his other big audience. he's always had a problem with the conservative base of the
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gop. they prefer the style of newt gingrich who is going to say, i'm going to the naacp and tell them to stop asking for the welfare. so mitt romney is, you know what, i can do that, too. >> i'm sure your analysis that he was trying to fire up the base and using props, i think what he was trying to say to the base -- and this will be a bit provocative and you know i hate that -- what he was saying to the base was he was talking to a room full of willy hortons. that's what he was trying to do. willy horton was used in our troubled political history as evidenced by the fact that the immediate reaction was by rush limbaugh, he does speak for the people of underconservatives who
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wish for a good old return of the days of jim crow. that's what he was doing in a very passive-aggressive way. >> i'd say it a little differently. >> you are not saying dragon of radio? >> i would say this, i would say that mitt romney was calling for a sister jackson moment. he criticized a young rapper, a soldier for being provocative and using imagery that no one would support. the neo-cons were looking to see that mitt romney would be tough when he needed to be tough. >> let me push back on the sister stole der a little bit. i've heard this used before. bill clinton was a democrat who was pushing back the left of his own party. in order for this to be a sister soldier moment, it would be romney calling, for example,
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rush limbaugh -- it would need to be him distancing himself from the right of his party in order to establish a center position. >> well, here's what i would say. i think you're right but the symbolism that mitt romney was seeking to achieve at the naacp was comparable what bill clinton sought to accomplish at the jesse jackson concert which was, bill clinton was speaking to a black -- primarily black audience at the time and he was trying to challenge the prevailing view which is what romney was doing here. first of all, the naacp is unfailingly polite. >> oh, my gosh, yes. >> the boos he got was because they found that he was profoundly impolite. >> just to push back for a second, i think the more comparable moment was bill clinton going to south carolina
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during the primary and saying that barack obama is a fairytale. because if you think that there's a long history -- what's the matter with kansas question, why lower middle class whites vote for the republican party is because there's been this repeal and romney has made a career out of this of saying to lower class whites, those people are taking your stuff. you are not a free rider. even if you are on welfare, you deserve it, you've worked hard. but those people are taking your stuff. they are bad people. >> and when i watch the speech as it was happening, the thing that i found so interesting and it sort of brings all of your points together, they do want that newt gingrich guy and mitt romney didn't go the distance for anybody. he wasn't explosive enough in front of that audience to say, look, i'm really going to tell
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these people what they need to hear. >> uh-huh. >> he inserted obama care knowing that's what he wanted out of it but lamely in a way that it was like, well, that's just kind of rude. when you hear joe biden talk, when you talk about a constituency, even if they are not going to vote for you, when looking at our society and we're seeing people in our society, our brothers and sisters and kids, he never said our. if you go back and look at that speech, there was no our. even if you disagree with me -- >> we're going right back to this but we're going to talk about the difference between the joe biden speech and romney speech. >> the lurch organ. >> more on the naacp. in the next hour, i'm going to have the olympic gold medalist dominique daas on here.
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the naacp has historically incited change. so mitt romney might have found a sympathetic ear had had he really been looking for and trying to cultivate one. inste instead. it seems, he decided to seek his own. here's what hifl shelton, head of the naacp washington, d.c., office said this week. >> do you know about the
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speeches after the meeting today? >> i'm not quite surprised. they gave me a list of an can american v.i.p.s that they brought in. >> they brought their own. still with me is bob franken, wade henderson, be joy-ann reid, and lizz winstead. that is not a small point. the line is shorter. if you are a political entrepreneur young elected official, the fact that the line is shorter on the republican side than the democrats. >> and i saw the list. every republican star you could think of was on it. mia love, roger inis. the irony is, very few are members of the naacp. so he brought people that would normally not even be there. they brought in as many as they
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could scoop up, including the lieutenant governor of florida. >> it's a little bit unfair, i believe, to dismiss black republicans because conservatism, the many, many aspects of conservatism are arguable points. and just to say -- i'm not even going to use the term but you know the term that they are being in there for reasons of catering to the whites and all that, i believe is really -- >> no, i don't disagree, bob. but i want to draw a distinction between black republicans who are rank and file supporters of the republicans both historic and contemporary, between those who exploit their blackness within the context of the republican party for purely political reasons. they represent no one and to suggest that they speak for a constituency that is not there is simply to give them more credit. >> forgive me, but i also have
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to say anyone who represents themselves is a little bit of a fraud. >> well, if you're an elected official -- >> if you're an elected official and can be held accountable through regular, free elections who don't have voter suppressions, it doesn't have the same impact. we can't throw out racial authenticity. i think the most authentic person there was vice president biden who it cracks me up that vp biden -- >> joe biden isn't black? >> really, he was blacking it up that day. >> it's good to be home. it's good to be home. ladies and gentlemen, i'm a live time member of the naacp and i
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went through the battle with mouse. mouse, are you out there? how you doing, man? >> oh, my god. he was like -- hey, mouse. what's going on mouse. i was like, is this happening? i'm sorry. so you wanted an hour from romney? boy, he was like, me and mouse. >> the shout outs were very authentic. and when you say joe biden has a deep history in the naacp and the civil rights movement, he doesn't get ready for a lot of things that he has done. he was behind the violence against women act but he helped ratify the convention on racial discrimination and human rights treaty that would not have become law had it not been for joe biden's strong leadership, he's done a lot more through legislative gains.
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so that history is true, indeed. >> when you like someone like joe biden, he lived in the world as a regular human being. >> yes. >> somebody who had -- >> amtrack joe. >> and i think putting those two back to back like that, when you look at mitt romney who seems to only know people of one class of wealth, he did not come up from a place, it's really different. you get permission to talk amongst people because you have different friends in different places. >> that's what was so remarkable before the naacp. quite frankly, that could have been a speech delivered anywhere outside of a country club. >> yes. >> it could have been delivered to any demographic group because the issues that he was talking about are the universal issues about the disparity that is
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growing in this country and in a paradox cal way it was encouraging because maybe we can say we are all in this together. now we've got to unite to get rid of these. >> and he did say us. >> yes, that's right. >> and, remember, this was the second time that he went to the and gave that speech, he speaks in terms of us and we. >> but also he can say things that the president can't say. >> indeed. >> and has anybody wondered about barack obama not being at the convention and what that was about? >> my rain response to that was it was within the same week, the president made a decision if he couldn't go to both he wasn't going to either and he's going
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to the urban convention next week in new orleans. if you had a chance between new orleans and any other place on the planet, of course you'd go to new orleans. up next, the unscripted moment that had said it all. that's next. if you are one of the millions of men
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did he just say that? holder started off by sticking to the script, talking about sb-14, texas voter i.d. law. he also pointed out the travel hardships of those that they face under the law. then he started out with these five words. >> we call those poll taxes.
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>> that ad lib was used in the jim crow style to deny african-americans to vote and they were ruled unconstitutional by the u.s. supreme court in 1937 and outlawed. still with me, bob franken, joy reid, wade henderson and lizz winstead. >> they deny the african-americans to vote. this is an added burden on those who should have unfettered access to the polls, people who have voted historically with absolutely no problem. to argue that there is a voter fraud issue is to use deceptive tactics to justify these abuses intended to rig the outcome of the election.
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holder was right. it's because he was a surrogate, a proxy for barack obama. an argument that he's fighting for all americans is real. joe biden touched on that in his remarks. i'd point out that romney ignored it entirely. >> this is aimed much more at his panic voters than african-americans. >> absolutely. >> and in florida they make it very clear this is a resonating issue and they need to minimize the turnout of minority voters. >> in texas, for instance, there have been 70 vote fraud cases since 2002. 39 million votes. >> right. exactly. >> and more alien sightings.
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>> and i mean outer space aliens. >> right. >> i think it's part of a larger issue that you had in wisconsin what can be construed as an effort to destroy the unions. >> yep. isn't this interested that republicans are trying to sabotage when it comes to voting which is a sacred part of democracy. >> lizz? >> after hearing these new stories constantly, i was busy having a nervous breakdown because of this fact and i started googling other things. there's more people that have had the wrong limb amputated. the biggest problem s. every time you have anything like this, that tiny, tiny percentage, when that becomes the way we talk about the norm,
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it's a problem. >> and part of it was the naacp was going absolutely nuts about how she felt -- that mitt romney had talked down to a group of people who lived poll taxes and the black and white grainy film somewhere. these are old black folks sitting in the room who suffered, who made this different and to acknowledge it, to not say that the voter suppression efforts are real, to not make that a legitimate point of contention, are republican points legitimate? of course. make your case. but you can't ignore these other aspects. >> but mitt is not george romney. george romney did march gns discrimination in detroit. that ain't mitt romney. what romney did was to come in, use the backdrop of the naacp and unscathed above the surface in a superficial way and wanted credit because he showed up.
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any legitimate candidate who wants to seek votes of all americans has to demonstrate that they are receptive to hearing the concerns and issues from these constituents. >> it's such a great point. because one thing that they are doing is selling the nostalgic issues. this is not your father's romney. >> and georgia got 30% of the black vote. >> and earned it. >> and demonizing the naacp, these are organizations that in the past were criticized by many people who advocated for the black cause because they were too polite. >> right. too polite. >> i will remind you, anything you want to affirmatively count in both parties and the republican party stood up for human rights the way that they are doing now. >> that's right. coming up, we're getting
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into something a little different. rape jokes. comedian jokes about rape. are they off limits? that's up next. this is new york state. we built the first railway, the first trade route to the west, the greatest empires. then, some said, we lost our edge. well today, there's a new new york state. one that's working to attract businesses and create jobs. a place where innovation meets determination... and businesses lead the world. the new new york works for business. find out how it can work for yours at thenewny.com.
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visa. supporting athletes and the olympic games for 25 years. people everywhere go with visa. imagine this, it's a weekend. you manage to get a baby sitter, round up your friends for the evening and y'all head out to the comedy club to blow off steam. what you're not ready for is the comedian to start a routine about rape and how about rape jokes are always funny. you're feeling uncomfortable when another patron yells out what you are thinking. actually, rape jokes are never funny. the comedian responds by asking the audience to think of something even funnier, something the comedian deems downright hilarious, the idea of the heckler being gang raped.
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think about how that makes you feel, the pit in your stomach. who thinks that the rape of a man is funny? well, the jokes happened. a woman changed comedy central and received his gang rape joke in response. the response to tosh joke has brought up the subject of who bears the brunt of being the brunt of our jokes. one of the most compelling responses was from jessica. hi, jessica. >> how are you doing? >> i'm fascinated by this conversation that is occurring because on the one hand there's the feminist part of me that
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wants to laugh at this obscene humor. tell me about the argument that you made in your piece. >> i think that we can joke about tragedy but it depends on how you do it. i think a good joke about rape is one that is subversive, not terrifying. you look at wanda sykes and they have funny jokes about rape but what made them good is they point out what a aqful and absurd. they don't belittle it which is what daniel tosh did. >> it feels like sometimes -- and i'm sure you hear this sometimes from young women -- i hear a lot on campus. feminists think nothing is funny. it's buzz kill. we go around the country politically correcting everyone. in your article you weren't saying that. the wanda sykes joke, how free she would feel if she could
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leave her lady parts at home and therefore not have to worry about it. is that what you mean by subverse i have? play that out a little bit? >> yes, that is what i mean. it's a way of mocking rape culture, not supporting it. it's not a tool used by the powerful to reassert their power and that's what happened in this case. >> someone like you and i should not be talking about this because we are not comics. so to tell a person who is creative how to be creative. how do you respond to that? >> making disgusting rape jokes, his audience is free to respond in turn and what is happening here is a lot of his audience is
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horrified. some people are boycotting and some people are calling for comedy central to take his show off the air and that's free speech as well. >> let's say that they did -- and it doesn't look like there's any move to do that. but would that constitute censorship. is that what they would not want to have happen? >> i don't think it's the best idea. i don't think it's going to change anything but i still think that's the way that free speech works. you boycott something and sometimes people get taken off the air. it's just par for the course. >> let me ask you, can rape jokes be funny because it seems to me part of the point is, even when they are told and exactly the way you suggest is problematic, reinforcing rape culture, that they are funny to a lot of folks, that plenty of folks find it provocative and enjoyable to imagine a woman n. particular, being raped. >> right. and that's a conversation on its
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own. why do people still find the jokes so funny? because it allows them to have these antiquated sexist ideas about women but feel that they are edgy and controversial for having those views. joking about a woman who speaks her mind being attacked is not edgy or original or new. anyone who spent time in a comment section has been told a variation of that joke a million times over. so it's a little bit cliche. >> so in that sense it's bad because there's nothing edgy about it. i appreciate you joining me. >> boston. come on down here to new york at some point. >> absolutely. thanks. >> check out jessica's upcoming new book, "why have kids," it's out in september. up next, on the question of questionable humor, i decided to get a table full of comedians. we're going to stay on this topic.
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ladies, wouldn't it be wonderful if our private parts were detachable? just think of the freedom you would have. you get home from work, it's getting dark outside, i would like to go for a jog but it's getting too dark. i'll just leave it at home. and you're out jogging. yeah, it could be pitch black. you're still out there jogging, enjoying yourself. some crazy guy jumps out of the bushes and you're like -- i left it at home. >> that's comedian wanda sykes showing us how you can make a rape joke funny. as we look at rape as it relates to the controversy surrounding daniel tosh's recent rape joke at a los angeles comedy club.
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joining me again are political lizz winstead and joy reid. all right. who here does rape jokes? >> well, i would say backing up completely, i would like to argue the point that that wasn't even a joke. he was making a statement. so you're at a comedy club, it's fair game to say, i disagree. and then i find this very interesting he said that daniel tosh got on stage and said, what would you like to talk about? now, that opens up a conversation with your audience and somebody yelled rape. and another woman said, no, rape
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jokes are never funny and all of a sudden, boom f. that happened, then, yeah, you ask the audience who they thought and they said something. >> it's not the same point as being heckled. >> where was the joke? >> wasn't it like the equivalent of one guy in the room and wouldn't it be funny if anybody lynched that guy right now? so sort of making a threat, that's how it came across to the woman who heard it. >> what is sad about that, comics disowned him. remember letterman had to say, i knew him. and it was horrible. what shocked me the most, if every comic, all of these guy comics that i admire came out and defended this guy and defended rape culture.
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comics don't agree on anything. everyone is talking about the comedy community. are you friends with elan? yes. elan just got a special. >> i hate elan. >> we don't even have health insurance. it's like comedians assemble. >> it's kind of funny, too, because of the activism and it got so crazy because it's something like them. it's the narcassism behind, let's hold this torch up. >> the thing is, all of a sudden it became about free speech. that's where this whole argument became awry. no government entity was like, you are not allowed to make rape voeks. but that dude over there may joke about it. >> why doesn't this girl have freedom of speech? we know you have freedom of speech. you have a microphone in front of you. when talking about heck be letters, that's the crazy thing. the biggest argument i got was,
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you're a comic. people are literally saying, she was asking for it without seeming like -- >> she probably heckled while wearing a short skirt and therefore was really asking for it. >> exactly. and what was so sad about that was being left-wing comedians. you want to talk about freedom of speech, i did a show in texas, had a marine charge the stage and say, if you say one more word i'm going to beat the -- out of you. right? and i talked about how awkward the situation was. that was my last bit. i was like, dude, if you just waited ten seconds. i talked about how i'm very pro troop. not wanting you to get shot is a pro use stance. comedians get heckled from day
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one. >> it's interesting to figure out what we think we mean when we say free speech or what we think we mean when we say we're doing provocative comedy. i mean, i really do like -- every once in a while almost everything i like makes fun of all of the equity groups i care about. they play with issues of gay culture and race. i miss dave chapel at the core of my being. but was the n word used? every 15 seconds. >> that is almost an impossible question. so i just feel like, you go for what you are going to say. go for it 110%. but the second it passes your lips, it is everybody else's to
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judge and if you're going to be weak and back down and apologize, i'm not going to defend you because, why did you say it? that's what i don't get. >> as soon as we get back, there's plenty more. we're back after the break. according to ford, the works fuel saver package could literally pay for itself. jim twitchel is this true? yes it's true. how is this possible? proper tire inflation, by using proper grades of oil, your car runs more efficiently, saves gas. you could be doing this right now? yes i could, mike. i'm slowing you down? yes you are. my bad. the works fuel saver package. just $29.95 or less after rebate. only at your ford dealer. so, to sum up, you take care of that, you take care of these, you save a bunch of this. that works.
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he can prove to you that rape is funny. why do you think they call him porky? huh? i know what you are going to say, elmer were asking for it. men think that, it's the women woman's fault. >> we're talking about daniel tosh's controversial rape joke. joining me again are three
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veteran comics and lizz winstead, joy reid. all three of you are comics but you are also purposefully and highly politicized. >> right. which means basically we walk into a room and we are aware that we are about to catch flack. when i walk on to the stage, i'm also the negro comic. >> and you wear the hats. >> and i wear the hats. i go, so, white liberals and everyone loses their mind but the fact is, i'm prepared for all of it. any flack i catch, anyone coming at me, i'm like, okay, i i'm prepared for you. this is how i'm going to respond. in a situation here, the response was something over the top. the boundaries that were around him in his mind that this i can say this and it's okay.
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and the culture decides to jump around and protect that and i believe that's the biggest, biggest thing here, is people that were running at me going, how can you not defend him? he says that you are a comic. comic just say stuff. i'm like, i say stuff but i don't want to be a douche. >> you guys are all doing this for a living. part of what you're doing when you do comedy is that you are not doing it out of hostility. >> right. >> you played the george carlin clip. it's a slice of life. when bills could bee made fun of his kids, you don't think that he hated his kids. >> again, why people do comedy is that sam was very funny, put it out there. controversial. dice clay. >> right.
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>> those people didn't apologize. i am stuck on the fact, why are you saying it if you can't defend it. it drives me insane. >> to be fair, dice clay said it but he was the worse. he was an awful man. i think i agree with you in the sense that i like what jessica said earlier where she paraphase you used this as a defense mechanism to take down the bigger guy. suddenly the bullies are invading our nerd space and they are using our tool. >> bullies in nerd land. >> that's right. they are using our tool. and so i think that -- because here's the thing. when you're talking about rape, rape culture, that is edgy and smart. who is sitting in an audience who has it too good for too long, rape victims.
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i really wish someone would get on stage and give them a piece of it. go after the dude -- why aren't we going after the guy doing the raping? why are we going after, you know, the governments with their sexist policies and the police who just ignore rape case after rape case can after rape case? there are so many big targets to go after. >> i like the -- >> why are you bringing up rape at all if you don't have some reason to bring it up? >> you need a subversive space to go to. i'm officially man because the bullies invaded the nerd land. check out our blog at mhp.com. you can see more of our comedians on the issue of rape in comedy. ♪
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lately it seems like certain democrats are following the forest gump method. instead of standing by their man, it seems that some are saying, run, democrats, run. like run, forest run. not so fast. the latest numbers may have are you trading in your running shoes. the latest poll shows that obama favors romney. the affordable care act, the defining piece of legislation for president obama's first term in office, while it may not be gaining in popularity among certain republicans, be it is gaining tracks. 39% supported the affordable care act and 53 opposed it. but then in july it rose to 47%
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while the number against it fell to 47%. as americans are learning what the law does, they like it more. as if that's not enough to quash your fears, experts say it will improve in the coming months. see, democrats, there's no reason to be afraid. you can stand by your president the same way you would expect him to stand by you. at the table, bob franken, joy reid, wade henderson, lizz winstead, author of "lizz free or die." who in their right mind does not want to run against president obama? >> well i think what we have right now is trying to figure out how the rats to get back on the ship.
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i think that politics -- >> you are full of them today. >> the characteristics of politics, sadly, is ex speed generals. and to have jumped off as some of them did is going to come back and bite them. >> let's be honest, the democrats have done a dreadful job of defending the affordable care act. they have done nothing to encourage the american people to understand how beneficial this law will be in the long term for the interest that we all support. part of what you're seeing are members in close elections who feel that their affiliation with president obama will be used against them. when you look at joe manchin, claire mccaskill, john tester in montana, you're looking at senators saying, hey, i'm not sure that we really want to openly identify, given where the
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public is and the public ruling. and i think that's crazy. >> when you look at democrats, intimidation is sort of built in. remember with bill clinton, they were not rushing to his side. if you look at the way that the republicans respond when one of their own are in trouble and democrats do, democrats tend to run the other way. but i think with this particular president there was always a fear. that's why democrats are a majority party. it doesn't mean in your character you don't stand by your leader. come what may, they were like, we love medicare. no, you don't. >> well, they are getting down with mitt romney, who they don't like. they do not like mitt romney. they are like, yes, mitt romney is our guy. >> and what i would also say, too, in my business of getting on stage and talking about these big issues to folks, having to tamp it down to a place where it's digestible, i think the one
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thing that democrats don't do in their plans is barack obama's big health care reform. the most massive, hardest thing to explain ever, nobody took the second part of that plan and said, we need to be able to sell this thing, go great guns and make it amazing until now. they are finally doing it. >> quite frankly, i think the democrats should proudly call it obama care. >> obama cares, with the s. >> to use a sports analogy and i suspect thaw that you get tired of sports -- >> i love them. >> one of my best analogy, they spent the whole game throwing bean balls against each other, which are against the rules. if that had been the democrats against the republicans, the republicans would be throwing bean balls and the democrats would be wining about it. the simple fact of the matter
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is, as chris matthews hardball comes from the description of politics and sometimes the democrats have to -- >> it does feel like part of how president obama ran, it's going to be i'm going to be a new sort of politician. the hope and change thing, it's the thing that gets turned over against them. there was a sense like, look, folks, i actually believe in building bridges and i think there are -- when it does go hardball, he's then getting criticized for not being somehow magically above the fray. >> you're right. but this nonsense that we were in a post partisan period in america where a period could appeal to both parties in a way that elevated him above politics was naive at the outset he and when the leaders in the house and republican party stood up and said, look, our main job is to make sure that is he not re-elected, we will institute a series of policies and we will
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be effective at blocking him at every turn and that's what has happened. these are the laws of the political universe. >> wait, a live naivety can be good for -- you're a civil rights leader, right? the idea of me and my 12 friends and some little children and some old people, we're going to go beat bull conner. that takes a little bit of, yes we can naivety. >> i'm not going to say it's naivety because it's organizing structure. rosa parks didn't just stand up as a spontaneous to discrimination. she was part of an organized movement that had discussed and discussed a tragedy that she helped pursue. look, these are my laws of the political universe. republicans fall in line. democrats fall in love. and progressives multiply through division. that's just the way it is. >> the truth of the matter is, i think people have oversold this idea that president obama is a
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change and hopey guy. that's how you climb through the ranks and get to the white house. they are like, please don't attack bain capital. >> nancy pelosi is my kind of democrat. she says it like it is. you're not going to bust her on not knowing the facts because she knows them but she's prepared to speak in a truthful unvarnished way that makes clear where she stands. unfortunately, democrats who not just equivocate on these issues but fail to back up the main objective of what they are trying to accomplish. >> is this because some folks are blue dogs? i think about my two senators. unwith of them is david vener and marry lan drew. is she the great progressive champion? no. >> when you talk about
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progressism, i think you have to talk about them in terms of degrees, like conservatives. where you know that you are you cannot win in louisiana unless you cater to the oil interests, for instance. so you can sit there and be a prophet without honor and be marginallized. a single purpose is to defeat barack obama. what the democrats did not do is make their lives a living health. they made it a living heck maybe but not a living hell. we're staying right on this when we come back and i am going to get on the bus. literally. i got on the bus yesterday. it was fun. [ birds chirping ]
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one of the best parts of getting to bring you this show each weekend is that we work right here in the heart of new york city. it's the kind of building where you never know who you might run into. on friday, just as i was coming into work, i ran into about a dozen members of the congressional black caucus. they were in the city for a weekend retreat traveling around town on a bus. i asked if they minded if i came around for a ride and if i could ask a few questions and the members couldn't have been nicer. i even pushed, a little, ask if president obama was out in virginia in the rain, what were they doing in new york? >> why isn't the bus in virginia
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with the president right now? he's standing in the rain. trying to get the votes. so talk to me about how does the cbc do the work it has to do to support the president for re-election? >> we will be all over this country. this is a retreat. what we need to do, what we're doing right now is help raise money so we can get out into the african-american community and other communities, to get that word out that we are with the president. that we have the president's back. >> much more on my ride on the bus later in the show today as well as next weekend. but for now back with me are bob franken, joy reid, wade henderson, and lizz winstead. what are the carrots and sticks that the party itself has in order to draw other folks in line? >> and that's one of the issues that the republican from florida
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and they tend to get re-elected without opposition. and what they have done is gone on a jobs tour so there is an issue with cohesiveness. >> their power is totally restrictive. there was a time where he had five chairman, chair men of important committees. it would have been helpful if we could have focused the lens on job creation at that point when
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they had the power to deliver. now they can't really -- >> this is the kind of elections that have consequences. these are folks who if dems do ride his coat tails, no one benefits more than a black caucus. >> there are in some ways it would be easier to confuse him with joe mccarthy. but to the point that was being made, whether was frustrating is that even when the democrats had the house, they weren't able to deliver the blow. you know, this kind of thing. quite frankly, when it comes to public perception, you brought up obama care. the polls are really interesting. it shows that people agree, be with wide margins, with the characteristics of the bill but they are against it. how can that be?
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>> i think it's very easy to be the party that says, we are going to stump constantly for the people who have the most money and the people who have the most money are going to give us money and we're going to be funded and paid for and we are done here. and that is to put it simply. i would say that, also, we have a process president in a microwave society. you know, we have forgotten for many, many years, we have generations of people who have not experienced process and through technology and everything else, the way we live and the way reee act and even our owe motions are not used to processing if you can make an apple pie and show your kids how you make the dough and put it in and people understand what happens at the end, you smell it, but if you can have a half-assed pie that you throw into a microwave, we take that
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as a metaphor for how we look at things. i want to know how we convince people -- >> i particularly like your point about, it's easy to be the party that is representing interests of the wealthy, and even if we think about the tea party which, if it's an actual grass roots movement, i can have a real appreciation for, right in i don't agree with them but i have an appreciation for those who use their voice in a p populist way. if it's being paid for by the interests, they get it easier to be occupied. it's literally a group of like kids in food tents trying to make it happen with very little resources. >> but i think you made such an important point before, which is the way i would put it, which isn't as well put as you do it. >> of course it won't be, bob. >> we live in a society and all
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we hear is sound bites. i've made lots of money doing sound bites. so the fact is, however, in the process we've destroyed anybody's interests in thinking issues out. all we have is the well-financed disportions that people buy into because they are not willing to say, what are the facts here? >> and citizens united. >> i think you're absolutely right. i want to go back to a point that was made about the process and i want to give the president a little more credit than we sometimes have. he is the president that delivered a health care law. >> hello. >> this is the first time that it has ever been done. some say it goes back to teddy roosevelt but certainly back to harry truman and ultimately delivered a law that would make significant change. my problem is that we allow individuals who purport to discuss these issues, however, to get away with not discussing some of the issues that are at the heart of it. what the supreme court did to
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the medicaid expansion has a potential of pulling the string that unravels the law and its application. >> you guys get more time. i promise. lizz, you're heading out. thank you so much for being here today. >> you're welcome. >> i'll miss you guys. >> everybody else is back with a little more. in my section segment i'm sending you all away because i'm going to talk to one of my olympic heroes dominique daas. so you all have to wait and just come back. [ male announcer ] turn 1, daytona. riverside exit, i-95. variante ascari, monza. mile 7, highway 1. wehrseifen, nurburgring. the horseshoe, twin peaks boulevard. every famous curve has an equally thrilling, lesser-known counterpart. conquer them, with the lexus is performance line,
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my next guest is the first african-american woman to win a gold in the olympics. many remember her as part of the magnificent seven who won the goeltd that year. i am so pleased to welcome dominique dawes. thank you for being here. >> thanks for having me on. >> i was talking about the 1996 team which, you know, that team looked like america. and do you know how much that meant to so many of us? you are younger than i am but yet you're so inspiring to me. >> well, thank you. that was 16 years ago and you're right the diversity on that team was enormous. there was an african-american, romanian american and a number of americans on the team that represented team usa quite well in making history with all six of those girls with a highlight from my athletic career. >> on that question of the way
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in which you served as a role model, i was thinking very simil similarly in watching serena williams. an african-american woman in a sport that is thought of an elite sport t. costs money to be part of, requires a lot of equipment, is there something about sort of you and serena williams and the not many others like you that feels like a role model responsibility for you? >> i don't think just being an african-american female made me feel like i'm a role model. it's believing that i can make an impact in my sport. i knew that young white girls were looking up to me, young minorities were looking up to me and i wanted to make sure that they would follow in footsteps and i was there watching serena williams win her fifth womimbeln
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title. >> it feels like lately a lot of the barriers that you've been working on breaking down are related to your position as a co-chair on the president's physical fitness and it's you and our home town hero, drew, in that role. talk to me about what that work is. >> i'm excited to be co-counsci. we've been working choosely with the first lady and since my career sended 12 years ago my message has been on inspiring people and nutrition which is why i'm so excited this year to team up with hormel natural choice. it's all about giving moms the motivation to recognize that they are positive role models
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for their kids when it comes to cooking, when it comes to fuelinging their bodies to live nutritious lifestyles. this has been a great partnership for me and i hope to do more after the olympic games. >> after talking about the olympics, all of us here at 30 rock are excited about the upcoming olympics but those of us on the msnbc side are also beside ourself with excitement about the fact that we're in a presidential election year and they always can come at the same time. every four years is the summer olympics, every four years a presidential campaign. do the olympians themselves, are you aware of the world politics that are also happening at the same time that you are training and performing and competing? >> i think it depends on the individual athletes. some i think get involved in politics. they recognize that they can make an impact and when it comes to particular politics, those are bipartisan issues with
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health, fitness, and wellness, but i think it's really the athletes. i don't tend to get involved in politics but i do get involved in cause-related issues that are young and dear to me. my younger brother has autism so i work on issues relating to that disorder and physical activity and good nutrition for kids. that's why i do the work that i do, because a lot of people are going to listen to what i have to say, mainly because of my achievements in the athletic world but i think it's a platform and i do embrace that. >> before we go, i want you to weigh in on this year's team. gabby douglas, i'm watching closely. what are you expecting from this year's team? >> i must say this is the most exciting times that i've had preparing for olympic games. i'm going to be there in london doing work for foxsports.com and
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i'm following this team usa. i think gabby douglas won the olympic trials and i call it doing it douglas. i was sitting in the media section and couldn't stop clapping and jumping out of my seat. i know i'm going to have that same reaction in london. also, jordan has been a solid competitor from the team and i think she's going to lead the way as well. these girls are going to win gold and do what we did six years ago. >> you're feelings watching gabby are the feelings that we had watching you and it's been a real thrill to have an opportunity to talk with you. >> thank you so much. i appreciate it. up next, could it be that public transportation is not just an economic issue but also a civil rights issue? that when we come back. [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be cool
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things and it's kind of interesting when i fly into washington every week, we go to remote parking and get on a bus to go to the terminal. i invariably walk directly to the back of the bus and i always sit on the last seat on the bus. and i do so intentionally. and part of it is to sort of play with the people who watch me do it and another part of it is to demonstrate that this is my choice. >> that was democratic congressman james clyburn speaking with me last night on the bus right here in new york city. his personal tale is a reminder of achieving first-class citizenship in america, we usually refer to voting rights but transportation is a marker of full citizenship. in 1896, a transportation case before the supreme court
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establishes the establishment of a first-class citizen. in the 1930s, it was part of the new deal to pull the country out of our economic depression. the work's progress administration poured federal dollars into the infrastructure to create and promote investment, creating future of the federal aid highway act establishes our transportation network facilitating the growth of the middle class by linking workers to job opportunities in the cities. that same year, civil rights activists in month gom ree, alabama, demanded first-class citizen when demanding the same fare. transportation is still at the heart of first-class citizenship. it's not just access to job openings because peter goodman wrote this he can would, getting a job and getting to a job are
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two different things. data from brookings institution found that 39 million live in areas that lack public transportation. building transportation infrastructure is an economic issue but it's also a securities rights issue. with me is joy reid, wade henderson, bob franken. how is it a civil rights issue today? >> well, let's start with the fact that today in the economy the number one issues is jobs. jobs in this country are something that we can actually build through transit but the reality is that there was a time in this country when you would get up in the morning, get your kids ready for school, give them breakfast, pack them off, send them, walk down to street to your school and then would you walk to your job. today that is no longer the case. as communities of color remained
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in central cities by and large. the jobs are now in places that they cannot reach by public transit. the reality is, when we look at 15% unemployment rates in the black community today, when the national rate is 8.2, far too high, far too high for anybody, but 15% unemployment rate, the disconnect between where the jobs are and where people of color are who need the jobs are tremendous and -- >> that's a good point about schools. i'm also thinking the death of public neighborhood schools and the charterization. you can now no longer walk to school, which is what i did is walk to school. >> this is my favorite topics of all time. dwight david eisenhower who led 40% of the black americans sign landmark legislation.
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it bisected and dissected communities. in downtown where all of the black businesses were and thriving community, they were just devastated by these highways going through. >> i live in the seventh ward. what happened on claiborne, the beautiful oak trees, built a highway over it and now we've wa painted oak trees. >> the highway system was built on part of a national defense highway. >> uh-huh. >> that is to say that it was supposed to be a way that we could escape in case of a nuclear attack. i covered the hurricane in houston where everybody got on the highways and was heading to dallas. and if you recall, they were stopped in place, which sort of put a line to that. >> which is why you think that louisiana governor bobby jindal, when he got stimulus money from the president and the congress in 2009 to build a light rail
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system, what do you know built it. instead, decides to stand in the school house door of transportation equity and not build -- just yesterday we decided we're having a hash tag fbj, forget bobby jindal. because it's exactly that sort of choice, right? >> look, this whole transportation is one of the sleeper issues of the 21st century. i'm so glad that you did the leader that you did because it gives historical perspective of how it's advanced almost together in our country since 1896. now what we have is congress moving away from that. it's obviously very important and probably the only jobs bill that congress will enact this year. so that's important. it also put a cap, as you know, on the loans that students received. so it provided the basis for trying to deal with student loan policy and to extended flood insurance at the federal level.
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all of that is important. but what it also did was to forget both inner city and urban transportation but also rural transit. it didn't connect jobs to policy. this isn't an issue of color coded in a way that other civil rights issues sometimes are. this is about black, white, diverse, asian, latino, persons with disabilities who struggle over half a millionville no connection to our transportation system. >> wade make as critical point here as did bob. as we connect the policy to today and what this reauthorization act represents, it represents a continued practice of spending 80% of hour dollars on highways, 20% on public transit. between 1995 and 2009, we saw an increase of 31%.
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we have not matched our investments into public transit with ridership. >> the ridership goes up. we don't lay more tracks and so -- and we don't link them to rural and suburban -- >> public transit getting a little history, was in effect sab tabled by what was called the highway lobby, which was the collection of interests who profited from automobiles in the inner city. the car manufacturers, what is important about this issue is that it is literally a manifestation of the big problem, the people in the not only adequate transportation, they don't get adequate nutritional opportunities because the whole foods of this world and safe ways of this world won't locate down there. they have inferior school systems. that kind of thing.
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this is the perfect metaphor -- >> we're going to stay right on transportation. who knew? people getting rammed up about trains and cars. we'll stay on this right when we come back. building pass, corporate card, verizon 4g lte phone. the global ready one ? yeah, but you won't need... ♪ hajimemashite. hajimemashite. hajimemashite. you guys like football ? thank you so much. i'm stoked. you stoked ? totally. ... and he says, "under the mattress." souse le matelas. ( laughter ) why's the new guy sending me emails from paris ? paris, france ? verizon's 4g lte devices are global-ready. plus, global data for just $25. only from verizon. that's a good thing, but it doesn't cover everything. only about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you. so consider an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan,
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bringing down the national unemployment rate, bringing it down lower than the 8.2%, 50% of the highway funds to mass transit generating 1.1 million new transit jobs over a five-year period a. net gain of 180,000 jobs over five years. that is without a single dollar in new spending. transportation can be a vehicle of unemployment. maya, those were the statics that we were just talking about.
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>> this is a critical important point. wade mentioned the reauthorization of transportation funding and the best thing about that bill is it is 27 pages long. other groups where community of color depend on public transit, you have one in nine black people in this country dependent on public transit. that's 52 football stadiums worth of people. 27% of the jobs in the 100 biggest metropolitan areas in this country are actually not accessible. >> 27% of working adults are without access. we know that these are the top five places where it's worse. we can look at the areas, augusta, georgia, jackson,
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mississippi, knoxville, tennessee, chattanooga, tennessee. they are growing in population. we are not in detroit. we are coming to the south. and then you have -- >> the thing that is so important about the south, one of the things -- it's state law, too. so 30 states in the nation do not allow state tax -- state gas taxes, state gas revenue to go to public transit. to draw down on federal transportation dollars, you have to have a 20% match. most cash-strapped states are not able to draw down their match and local communities are not allowed to collect it. >> you mentioned the power. bob mentioned the power. i don't think we should underestimate that. >> yep. >> i think what we saw in this most recent reauthorization was the power of that lobby,
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recognizing with the construction. we have to begrudge that. the issue, however, if you paint that as an issue that benefits minorities, more or less exclusively, and fail to -- >> with everybody. >> exactly. we're dead. so i would only remind people and i think maya is right. this is a 27-month bill. we have learned a lot from how to move congress on these issues. i remind you of the words that a. phillip randolph, one of the founders of my organization, look, there are no free seats, guys, at the table of life. you get what you can take. you keep what you can hold and you can't take it and you can't hoeltd it unless you're organized with this lesson. >> here what is so interesting with what maya was saying. the rationale for the gasoline taxes, for anything but constructing highways is, well, it's created by the use of
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highways. and that is comparable to saying that the alcohol tax should only go back. >> right. more liquor. >> that is the kind of distortion that has been successful. >> i'm sorry. i think we're leading off the responsibility of the governors here. and you have resisting the idea of using money. >> hash tag, fbj, forget bobby jindal. i am just sick of it. >> in florida, rail would be hugely important. there are major pockets of urban communities, of rural populations, this is not an issue that has no access to jobs, where jobs are. and governors are saying, no, we don't want that. >> look, part of my railing against governor jindal is in part, as bob was saying, yes, it's jobs and access and equity, but also we live in a place where hurricanes sometimes show up and they show up for communities that don't have access to private vehicles.
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>> right. so we got -- we've got to be able to have reasonable ways also of talking about safety, public safety. >> i wanted to connect wade's point, which was so important because it's not just an issue for certain with bob's point about history. the 30 states that i mentioned, a number of those states passed those laws in reaction to efforts to have race that becomes one of the central factors that helps everybody get access. >> it's the story like you think to yourself, what does the great montgomery bus system now? the answer is, once they disinvestment. >> here's an idea. texas, the issue is voting rights and getting proper i.d. and one of the issues is people
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who can't get to the i.d. are two counties away. build a mass transit system that goes between where they are and the voting line is. >> i love it. i love it. rick perry, we need some light rail to get people to their voter i.d. places. more on this topic in a moment but, first, it's a time for a preview of "weekend with alex witt". >> two americans were kidnapped from their tour bus. they are being held hostage for a release of a prisoner. and the state is about to get high powered help to check voter citizenship. also, where the mormon chunk spent its business. it's good business. is it god's business? that's the question. and coming up in politics, our substantive interview with you, melissa harris-perry. i want to know, did you watch
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yourself on that link i sent you? >> i didn't. >> you never do. >> every time you show that, i'm looking around my office like, why didn't i clean up first? >> it's all good. all good. >> thank you, alex. up next, we're all going on a road trip. [ male announcer ] considering all your mouth goes through, do you really think brushing is enough to keep it clean? while brushing misses germs in 75% of your mouth, listerine® cleans virtually your entire mouth. so take your oral health to a whole new level. listerine®... power to your mouth™. use the points we earn with our citi thankyou card for a relaxing vacation. ♪ sometimes, we go for a ride in the park.
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for today's footnote, i'm reminiscing on a great american summer tradition. can you remember your favorite family road trip? did you play the license plate game? or annoy your sister when your mom wasn't looking? did you stop at a favorite roadside diner? as you passed famous landmark, did you ever sing this song at the top of your voice? ♪ this land is your land ♪ this land my land ♪ from california to the new york island ♪ ♪ in the redwood forests
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♪ to the gulf stream waters ♪ this land was made for you and me ♪ >> okay. i admit it, you sang it. i'm a bit after nerd. but these are the lyrics by american folk singer woody guthrie who was born 100 years ago this weekend. his music combined social critique and working class americana. by declare thing land belong to all of us guthrie was saying what should be true. not actually what was true in the 1940s when he wrote those words. in fact, this land was so restricted that when some american families set out on summer road trips, they needed a guide to where they could stop and eat and even relieve themselves without fear of violence. this need inspired harlem postal worker victor green to create the negro motorists green book. published from 1936 to 1964, the green book authored a state by state guide of listed businesses
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that served black patrons and indicated communities where it was safe for black road trippers to stop for everything from gas to lunch to an overnight stay. this week we explored the history of the negro motorist green book the an article for the road.com. i was born after the great legislative accomplishments of the civil rights movement. but the racial restrictions of our country left a residue over how i was taught to travel. pack a meal because there may be no safe place to stop and eat. traveling south, plan your trip so you don't have to be in mississippi at night. going west to chicago, take a pennsylvania route so you don't have to go through west virginia. never get gas at a local station with a name you don't recognize and never get off at an unmarked exit. even with a flat tour. you see, these are the lessons so many black travelers were taught by our parents and grandparents who needed green's goode book to safely navigate their own country.
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on roads that with our own taxes helped to build in cars often built by their own hands. this history is part of what made me fall in love with the optics of the first 2008 obama for america campaign. you see, it is continuing to inspire me the past four years. watching first candidate and then president obama travel to oregon and iowa, louisiana, utah, west virginia. it was actually really powerful to watch him in his black body enter into places where so many black americans have long felt like trespassers instead of citizens. honestly, it makes me hopeful guth i have right. this land is your land and it is my land. it is the land that was made for you and me. it is still fun to pull your sister's hair in the back seat. that is our show for today. thank you to bob franken, joy reid, wade hunterson. thank you at home for watching. i will see you next saturday and sunday at 10:00 a.m.
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our guest next week will be alec weck. coming up next, "weekends with alex witt." hey. hey eddie. i brought your stuff. you don't have to do this. yes i do. i want you to keep this. it'd be weird. take care. you too. [ sighs ] so how did it go? he's upset. [ male announcer ] spend less time at gas stations. with best in class fuel economy. it's our most innovative altima ever. ♪
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[ female announcer ] letting her home be turned into a training facility? ♪ this olympian's mom has been doing it for years. she's got bounty. in this lab demo, one sheet of new bounty leaves this surface cleaner than two sheets of the leading ordinary brand.

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