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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  July 31, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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and the not as polite joe biden in what could be a make or break moment for some of the contenders. lots of people are going to be watching the former vp and senator kamala harris for a possible rematch of their contentious exchange at the nbc debate last month. now, last night the country heard from the parties leading progressive. bernie sanders and elizabeth warren defending their positions on healthcare against attacks from party moderates. all of which served to highlight the democratic divide at a time when many people seem willing to put aside ideals for pragmatism in their attempt to beat donald trump in 2020. all right. let's break it down with felipe, former deputy assistant secretary of state and spokesman for hillary clinton. he also cohosts the podcast unredacted. we've also got don callaway, a democratic strategist and ceo of pine street strategies. and michelle goldberg, "new york times" columnist and msnbc contributor. and, felipe, i want to start
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with you because the divide that played out last night, that could be the divide that defines the rest of this primary. and that's about healthcare. let's will be to this exchange between bernie sanders and john delaney last night. >> medicare for all is comprehensive, it covers all healthcare needs for senior citizens. it will finally include dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses. >> but you don't know that. >> second of all -- >> you don't know that. >> i do know it, i wrote the damn bill. >> his math is wrong, that's all i'm saying. that his math is wrong, it's been colonel documented that if all the bills were paid at medicare rate, which is specifically i think it's in section 1200 of their bill, then many hospitals in this country would close. >> so we've got this big split over healthcare. you've got the public option, medicare for all, medicare for those who want it, the aca. felipe, how do you see democrats coalescing on this issue, if at all? >> well, first you off, i think if we're debating about what shaved green to have our healthcare debate, that's pretty
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good. but watching that clip what i see is in senator sanders someone who is feisty and i could imagine him going up against donald trump. when he said i wrote the damn bill, that's exactly the kind of right to his throat approach you have to take. i could not imagine john delaney standing there. it's why the primaries are here to figure it out. last night was an ideological divide between warren and sanders and the rest of the field why they tagged team. but we'll end up somewhere. i don't think that's going to be the dispositive point where people say, oh my god, i'm not going to support our democratic nominee because they were for medicare for all verse not medicare for all. >> and don, we've talked before about how democrats do better when more people go out to vote. >> right. >> so who among the field of candidates, not just the ten we saw last night, but who do you think is best position dodd sna? drive the post people to the polls come 2020? >> i think the basic spanneders take the stage tonight in kamala
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harris, senator booker, who else is out there? kamala harris and booker are the main ones for tonight. last night perhaps pete buttigieg could do it but i think he's plateaued, remark will as he's been. think bernie's support is kind of where it's going to be. he's have that very loyal and i moveable support. but i think the major base expanders take the stage tonight and it will be fun to watch sparks fly with cory and kamala going toe to toe. >> michelle goldberg, perhaps nobody in the democratic field articulates policy positions as well as senator warren. last night, as we know, she made her pitch for an expansive agenda. let's listen to that first. >> i don't understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the united states just to talk about what we really can't do and shouldn't fight for. [ cheers and applause ] >> so, again there are seems to be a party divided along several lines here.
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basic ideology, gender, age, but, michelle, did you hear anything last night that might signal a middle ground? >> well, i don't know. obviously elizabeth warren is not fighting for the middle ground in this primary. she's basically saying, look, the way you win is to stake out your position as strongly as possible and then go out there and fight for it and bring people over to your side. i think there was this assumption in a lot of the moderation that the party -- i mean, basically the moderation -- a lot of the moderation consisted of people saying the party is moving too far to the left, respond. you know, so there was this baseline assumption that more moderate equals for electable. that could be true, but the last few elections on both sides have not born that out. the last few elections have shown the importance of mobilizing your base, of being clear about what you believe in. of kind of having a real distinct ideology. and so elizabeth warren, i
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think, made two cases. she made the case for big structural change, but she also made the case for big structural change as of pragmatic election strategy. >> thanks for impacting that, michelle, because i think it's a good point you make, that democrats who want someone to be -- who can beat donald trump and democrats who want a candidate who has big ideas, those two things aren't mutually exclusive. is that what you're saying? >> yeah, i think absolutely. and i think that, again, there's the sort of assumption that what we really need is a, you know, safe white guy who won't shake things up too much when, in the past, when both parties have gone with what they perceived to be the safe choice they've lost. and when both parties have gone with the person who really excites the base even at the -- even at the extent of -- at the expense of freaking out the other side a little bit, they've done much better. that doesn't mean that will necessarily happen this time. but the assumption that big, bold ideas are electoral poison
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doesn't have a lot of foundation. >> yeah. felipe -- go ahead. >> historically, if you look, you know, we've never -- the democrats have never elected a president in their first term older than 54 and the democrats have never elected a president who has taken more than one shot at the becoming president. that doesn't mean that people over 54, especially senator sanders and senators warren can't break through that. but it shows to michelle's point that there is a young youth, a future excitement that often comes into the play of the democratic party that will probably come into play here too. >> got it. i want you fine folks to sit tight because we're going to bring in the road warriors. both of them in detroit ahead of night two of these debates. mike, we'll start with you, my friend what can we expect from joe biden tonight? >> well, this discussion that you're all having there with your panel about the discussion we saw last night, very policy heavy one about the ideological direction of the party say
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debate that joe biden very much wants to be a part of. he's grounded his entire campaign on the idea that he can uniquely appeal to working class voters, to voters in states like right here in michigan that helped donald trump win the white house, bring them back to the democratic fold and the need to do so by grounding yourself in middle class values. but that's not the debate that they're expecting tonight. you heard simone sanders talking with hallie jackson that the idea that the game is change and he's not going to be pushed around. that first debate really began to in some voters' minds introduce doubt about whether joe biden is in fact the best candidate to go toe to toe with donald trump. what you're going to see tonight and what we've been seeing in recent weeks is a more aggressive candidate, someone much more willing to mix it up with his opponents. we saw on twitter the joe biden campaign releasing a video about healthcare, about medicare for all. in his view there is an issue in the biden campaign that they believe that they can go toe to toe with kamala harris on. they think that she actually is not in the right on this policy and that she's actually been open the defensive on this
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policy. he also has an op-ed talking about why his view of building upon the affordable care act is the best track for the party. a candidate tonight in joe biden who knows he needs to show fire, mix it up, and be ready to take those attacks and punch back if necessary. >> over to you, vaughan. will be other people on the stage. let's talk about senator harris. do you think joe biden will be the biggest challenge for her tonight based on the reporting that you've been doing there? >> exactly. you saw kamala harris get a little bump in the polls initially after her first debate last month. but she's plateaued and gone back to where she was before and joe biden has stabilized his support. the question is, what does kamala harris do tonight? she told us this week that she intends to continue to paint contrast with not only joe biden but the other candidates where appropriate. she said not only do democrats, but americans deserve that. and think what you should expect tonight is her to argue that she is the candidate in this race that fights for progressive values yet at the same time is a pragmatist, is a realist.
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you saw last night on the debate stage, it was sanders and warren along with those other eight candidates that were arguing that they were more pragmatic. i think what you are going to expect to hear from harris tonight is say, look, i released a healthcare plan this week that, yes, it's medicare for all. everybody has the opportunity to go on to a government public option yet at the same time people can choose to buy into a private health insurance option. she also painted in that healthcare plan that she put forward bernie sanders said that he wants to go to a medicare for all system in four years. kamala harris said to be real, it's going to taken it years. so what she is going to say to the american public that i am somebody that not only holds progressive values that you should come to in this democratic primary. but when it comes time for the general election, donald trump and republicans are going to have a hard time suggesting that she is in the position of calling for the example of abolishment of private health insurance. she's going to try to find that middle ground tonight here in detroit. jeff. >> all right. my hanks to ythanks to you both.
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a trump adviser said that donald trump and joe biden have something in common. it's much the same way people feel about donald trump is baked in, the same is true for joe biden, the way people feel about joe biden since he's such a known quantity, that's fairly baked in too. that strikes me as a fairly risky proposition, because, yes, it assumes you have a floor as a capped date but also it means you have a ceiling. what's the risk here for joe biden generally but specifically tonight as he enters this next round of debates? >> i think the biggest risk for tonight is the vice president coming in seeking to exact revenge on kamala harris for their exchange in the first debate. look, i've avoid making the comparison that you just referenced but i do think it's true and it's bearing out in the polling where, like you said there are was a dip for senator harris and there was a dip for a while on vice president biden in terms of his elect ability but now we're back to where we were before the first debate. he's the front runner then, he's the front runner now. he did not need to win the first
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debate. he does not need to win tonight's debate, he just can't lose them. if he comes in tonight trying to overcompensate or he overtorques his -- what seems to be an anger and aggression at kamala harris, which really should about himself for not preparing and not performing well. and i think that's risk also for senator booker. they're all signaling that they want to mix it up. that's great, it will be great television and people do learn things about people when they get into it with their competitors. but i think the advantage there goes to senator harris because if i were on her team, i would say, look, you need to be prepared for everything. but don't go looking for it. and she might very much look like the mature person who's not, you know, just slinging arrows because they are upset about what happened a month ago. >> yeah. michelle goldberg, you heard felipe saying that the pounce that these candidates might have can't seem to be having too much of a purpose or they'll look
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politically craven. what do you think? >> the problems for biden are less ideological and more can he perform. i've seen him on the stump several times now and i don't know he's a great campaigner. there's a ren hasn't won his previous attempts at the nomination. but he is, i think, slower than he used to be. he's like more muddled. and so what people saw in that last debate i think it was less about the specifics of busing a and joe biden's record than it was suddenly this person that people are coalescing around because they think he's the most electable doesn't necessarily look that electable anymore. and so what i think he has to show less than kind of threading any ideological needle is just that he is sharp and quick on his feet and could be formidable on a stage with donald trump. >> don, final word, my friend. >> last night, first of all, just shout out to marianne williamson. she probably had some of the
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strongest breakout moments when making the distinction in detroit between gross point and flint, michigan. very powerful. and she had the most authoritative discussion that we've seen from any candidate through all of this. she's not a real contender but i thought her performance last night was remarkable. tonight i'm looking forward to see how joe biden reacts to what felipe said but the last week has been consumed between senator booker and him going toe to toe, throwing blows there. i hope joe biden doesn't do too much to overcompensate. i also hope cory does something behind come first behind senator biden. coming up, the curious silence of donald trump. white candidates faced off last night, his normally busy twitter feed was unexpectedly quiet. could it be because they largely avoided taking the bait on the racial firestorm he ignited earlier this week? plus, how mayor pete buttigieg drew a line in the sand last night. as we head to break, here's how some voters we caught up with
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reacted to what they saw on stage last night. >> i would say tim ryan might get most improved. >> i thought pete did a great job tonight. i thought he was very forceful. >> marianne williamson definitely surprised me. >> i'm not a big delaney fan. although i would happily vote for him, i might even work for him to get rid of trump. ven worr him to get rid of trump. i can't believe it. that karl brought his karaoke machine? ♪ ain't nothing but a heartache... ♪ no, i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance with geico. ♪ i never wanna hear you say... ♪ no, kevin... no, kevin! believe it! geico could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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president trump spent the week ahead of the democratic
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debates putting race and his devi divisive rhetoric at the center of our political conversation. he used the backdrop of the white house and the reach of his twitter feed to attack democrats and the cities they represent. how will democrats tonight handle the conversation as president trump tries to set the terms? how do they take on the president without taking the bait? here's how they tackled the issue last night. >> we need to call out white supremacy for what it is, domestic terrorism. and it poses a threat to the united states of america. >> there are people that voted for donald trump before that aren't racist. they just wanted a better shake in the economy. and so i would appeal to them. >> this is part of the dark underbelly of american society. the racism, the bigotry, and the entire conversation that we're having here tonight, if you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the
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collectivized hatred that this president is brick bringing up in this country, then i'm afraid the democrats are going to see dark days. >> we have david jolly and kareem scott here. and, david, i want to start with you. how do democrats take on president trump and his divisive rhetoric without falling into this trap of having this conversation or this debate on his terms? >> listen, this is not easy. if this is easy we would have seen a candidate accomplish that moment last night that we all remembered. i think, jeff, the outrage that people feel is obvious and so for candidates, if they just speak to the outrage and the anger, it's important. you have to call racism for what it is. you have to talk about the racism coming out of the white house. but the opportunity and almost the necessity i think the country needs to see from a major candidate in this race is the person that can speak more to the unsettling of the american spirit in the last two weeks, can speak to healing, can have that moment where they connect with the audience, where
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they understand, look, this is a candidate who gets my outrage but they also get my concern. and a bit of the consternation that is this who we are as a nation and how do we pivot. and ironically throw we don't often think of confronting racism in these terms politically, it's very important first and foremost to communicate to kmuchbts color that you will fight for them. you will address systemic racism, agents of racism that we're seeing now out of the white house. but we need a candidate that can bring white america along as well in understanding why what the president has done is racist. why it reinforces negative stereotypes to marginalize and denigrate communities of color for the intent purpose of positioning the president politically. we need a candidate not just to speak to the outrage, but to speak to the unsell the wittled that many of us feel. it is very hard and hopefully we'll see a candidate sometime
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in this race be able to do that. >> david jolly teed us up perfectly. who in your view is best poised to do the kind of things that he just outlined? >> well, based on last night, i thought amy klobuchar did a really good job of attacking the president without attacking his supporters. there's a way you have to dismantle trumpism without hurting trump voters. we saw elizabeth warren do that. but we saw marianne williamson make one of the most passionate pleas for racial reconciliation at the hands of the government and other institutions in positions of power that we have heard from a white candidate competing for the democratic nomination. and it got significant applause. there was support on social media, and it was very interesting because there was concern and doubt that there would be a conversation about race last night considering none of the candidates of color were on the stage. >> and you make such a great point because people always look to in this case it's the black candidates, cory booker, senator
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kams kamala harris, do that heavy lifting when frankly it strikes me that anybody who's running to be the standard bear in democratic politics, to be the party's nominee should be able to speak articulately and authoritatively about issues of race considering that black folks are the reliable core of the party. >> absolutely. the reality is for many people of color, black people, latinos, asian americans, the state of race in america right now is as important as the economy and housing and national security and trade. and the reality is, race interjects all of those topics anyway. and so they'll want to back a candidate who can speak to those things. >> and david jolly, the president didn't tweet last night during the debate but he has in the last hour. he wrote in part this. he says, the people i saw on stage last night, and you can add in and he mentions joe biden with the pejorative nickname that he so often uses that we won't repeat, he says joe biden, kamala harris, and the rest will lead us into an economic sinkhole the likes of which we have never seen before. with me, only up. so who of the contenders so far
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have shown that they will be able to withstand attacks like this but will also be able to, you know, prosecute the case against donald trump but also beyond that and talk about policy issues as well? >> i think there's a number of candidates that can do that. and very quickly on eugene's last point. this conversation of race is actually an issue that can break us as a nation and we can't get to all these other policy issues if we don't heal. that's why a candidate has to address that. look, the candidates on stage last night, those on stage tonight, they can go toe to toe with donald trump. this is going to be about contrast. and interestingly, there's kind of two parallel lanes for democrats right now. there's a fight for the heart and soul of the party. i believe that the party should just go all in and recognize it's progressive movement, the energy is around progressivism right now. and that is one debate. the heart and soul of the party. the other is that is happening during an election cycle that's so critical to defeating donald trump. and so while it is not my position as a former republican to tell democrats what sthey
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should believe, the one piece of advice i would offer when it comes to an election, understand the importance of incrementalism. i think the party is a medicare for all party, if not today it will be there. perhaps the next step, though, is the public option where you're saying to america, you can have this if you'd like it, but you may not have to have it this. on issues like reparations, land somewhere on a commission to study it as opposed to saying absolutely this is what the formula will look like. any number of those candidates can do this. i think it was a great night for democrats last night, it will be a great night for democrats tonight. but i do think let's just acknowledge and embrace the fact it is a progressive party and let's figure out now how to communicate that to your persuadable voters that will help the party beat donald trump next november. >> yeah. and we started this segment talking about the president's divisive rhetoric. he spent all week, actually more than that, attacking congresswomen of color and the stiff baltimore and elijah cummings. i went to baltimore yesterday to
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talk to people who live there and to see how they feel on president trump's attacks on their city and their congressmen. to hear president trump say the people in baltimore of living in hell, how does that make you feel? >> makes me feel bad. yes, we have our problems but who don't? >> we kin variety him to visit and then he can make his own assumptions. he'll be here himself. >> why do you think the president keeps attacking congressman cummings? >> because he's head of the oversight committee and has subpoenaed his relatives. >> you think president trump is racist? >> yeah, hands down, no doubt about it. the way he treat black people in general is just all around just the way he look at us period. >> so yesterday on the white house south lawn the president told me and a group of other white house reporters that he believes that these attacks work for him politically. i've talked to some of his advisers and they think that his, you know, love it or leave
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taye pro it approach works with him with his base of supporters. david jolly, do you buy that argument? do you think that's a real thing or they're just saying that as part of damage control? >> i do. it puts a pit in my stomach to say yes, i do. i think it works with his base. the people that pushes away are those metropolitan suburban communities that will ensure the house remains in democratic hands in the an electoral college strategy for the president. he has to very precisely replicate how he won in 2016, which is speaking to white populous grievance politics in four or five key electoral college states. right now, it pains me to say that i believe it will work with his constituentsy, which is why to your earl letter point, jeff, the democratic nominee is not about defending people of color, it's about bringing white america along on this journey as to why what we're seeing out of the white house is terribly tragic and wrong nor this era and to speak who we can be instead of who we look like right now under donald trump's
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administration. >> one of the ways that the president -- i'm sorry, the democratic candidates hoping to be president can bring those white americans along is pushing back on the president's message about the economy. if you look at the data, white working class voters have not benefited under trump the way the president said. it's overwhelmingly been wealthy americans, corporations, but not those people in west virginia who mind you, come from communities that look very similar to baltimore in many ways but that the president never disparages. if these democrats can tell them that actually your economic anxieties have not been assuaged under trump but can under democratic policies, perhaps that's one way they can win them. >> you've got to speak to people's hearts and minds, correct? >> at the same time. >> hearts and minds. david jolly, thank you. eugene we'll see you a lit later this hour. great conversation. still ahead, hours after another provocation from north korea, the issue of foreign policy was only briefly touched upon during last night's debate but it provided a breakout moment for one candidate.
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just hours ahead of the democratic debate, north korea fired two short range ballistic missiles. the second launch in a week, according to south korean military officials. foreign policy, the military, veterans issues, they did not get a lions share of time in the debate's first round last night. but south bend, indiana, mayor pete buttigieg did use some of his time to draw a stark contrast between his military service and president trump's deferment. look at this. >> nom mate nate me and you get to see the president of the united states stand next to an american war veteran and explain why he chose to be disabled when it was his chance to serve. >> all right. joining me now is patrick murphy, former pennsylvania congressman and army undersecretary who's endorsed mayor pete buttigieg. and back with us is felipe, former assistant secretary of state and former spokesman to hillary clinton. i want to start with you, patrick. you endorsed mayor buttigieg and tell us why. he's raising a ton of money but his standing in the polls hasn't
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really risen accordingly. why do you think that is? >> well, jeff, the statement on the ground in iowa, new hampshire, early states has been unbelievable. so you're going to see the polls move. it's early in the race, but let me tell you why i support mayor pete. pete and i both served in the military. you know, i lost 19 men in iraq when i served with the 82nd airborne division. as you mentioned, hardly mentioned last night at those debates about foreign policy. when just yesterday north korean launched those missiles, when just yesterday it was announced that two members of my former unit, the 82nd airborne division were killed in afghanistan, that we still have 14,000 troops over there, only mayor pete was the one that came out and said with clarity that we need to bring these troops home. we need to refocus why we're there. we need to repeal and replace the authorization for military force which congress has punted. they're not even touching it. it is time for new generation of leaders and that's why frankly i came out for my friend pete
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buttigieg. >> yeah. and this is something in which mayor pete and president trump at least rhetorically agreed, president trump has in the past called to bring back troops from afghanistan. >> i couldn't agree with you more. listen, we all know it's a show there. ten years ago you have president trump, he was celebrate apprentice season seven. ten years ago you had mayor pete who is lieutenant pete buttigieg in the navy embedded with marines in afghanistan leading men and women. what more of a contrast do you need? he's a man of action. he's got ten done not just in the military, but as a mayor in south bend, indiana. bringing jobs back, putting proposals to make sure that we tackle things like student loan debt and other things. climate change, the only one on the big stage that talked about climate change in the opening remarks. so, listen, there's a lot of reasons why people should support mayor pete. but i think clearly the
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commander and chief test is one of them. >> and, felipe, you used to work at the state department. how do democrats stake out their clime claim to foreign policy and national security which those don't seem to be issues that are as resonate as some other issues currently? >> i would say two things. look at recent history or last three democratic presidents, barack obama, bill clinton, and jimmy carter, they all pretty much had solid foreign policy national security ten yours. certainly bill clinton and barack obama. you look at our last republican president prior to donald trump, george bush, he took us into what will turn out to be a generational catastrophe in the middle east. so the one thing i would say is that it's actually a good thing that we're not talking about foreign policy because it means that there's nothing burning in the world that is so overwhelming that it is dominating. and i don't mean that to be callous, but congressman murphy was the first iraq veteran to be
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elected to the house. and when he was, it was 2006. and 2006 was very much a year where foreign policy and national security was on the ballot primarily in the form of iraq. iraq was doing so terribly we took back -- the democrats took back both the house and senate primarily on frustration with how poorly the war was being prosecuted. watching the mayor last night, boy, would i love to see that matchup with donald trump. first of all, you've got an almost 35-year age difference and the mayor was very compelling and sobering when he said we're coming up on a point where we'll have the first casual in afghanistan, someone who was born after 9/11. and him being able to speak from first hand knowledge and the way he put it against a guy who faked a disability, boy, would that be a great contrast to watch. >> and you also had another moment, not to reduce political debates to moments, but he also had this moment where he took on some republicans and their
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unwavering support of president trump. let's take a look at that. >> if you were watching this at home, and you were a republican member of congress, consider the fact that when the sun sets on your career and they are writing your story of all the good and bad things you did in your life, the thing you will be remembered for is whether in this moment with this president you found the courage to stand up to him or you continued to put party over country. >> so mayor pete looking right into the camera there drawing a line. felipe, do you think that's a moment or a line rather that could help win over independent voters? >> well, first off, i think it's a misnomer, the idea that independent voters are right down the middle anding agnostic about parties and philosophy and are a jump ball is wrong. they're not party affiliated but they are very philosophical and ideological oriented.
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i think he's right. i don't think he's going to suffer for stuff like that. we didn't take the house back. i know there's a debate about the seats we took back and who we appealed to and who we peeled off from donald trump. but the truth of the matter is, donald trump bled off white women of college education, the softest part of his support. i don't think, you know, if you look at the stage last night, you had senators warren, senator biden, and pete buttigieg who were the most direct about, look, this is who we are. the interesting thing that mayor buttigieg says was, look, they're going to call us crazy socialists no matter what. we have to stay within our comfort zone. i think that's a very important point for this ongoing debate whether it's right or wrong, about do we need to water ourselves down in order to appeal to this myth cal independent voter? >> matt patrick murphy, final question to you.
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mayor pete most democrats believe is her ushd, articulate, he has a range of experience. what's it going to take for him to break out of pack here? >> well, i think you're seeing it already. you see the momentum from the last quarter, number one, of all the candidates in raising money. but most importantly he is showing day in and day out from sun up to sundown he has the energy, he has the vision, and he has this movement across america. over 400,000 strong of folks that are joining our campaign and saying let's put this country back on the right track. let's win the era. let's have a new generation of leaders. so we bring our troops home from iraq and afghanistan, we make sure that we invest in infrastructure, in education at a time when this white house is disinvesting in those things. >> all right. patrick murphy and felipe, my thanks to you both. up next, it's one of the biggest storylines heading into tonight. the make or break moment for front runner joe biden. but is it really? as his rivals suggest they're
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chomping at the bit to go after him, they might find a different guy up there than before. >> someone said you're not going to be as polite in the next debate. >> we'll see. debate >> we'll see (vo) parents have a way of imagining the worst... ...especially when your easily distracted teenager has the car. at subaru, we're taking on distracted driving [ping] with sensors that alert you when your eyes are off the road. the all-new subaru forester. the safest forester ever.
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vo: common side effects include headache and tiredness. vo: ask your doctor today, if epclusa is your kind of cure. hi. maria ramirez! mom! maria! maria ramirez... mcdonald's is committing 150 million dollars in tuition assistance, education, and career advising programs... prof: maria ramirez mom and dad: maria ramirez!!! to help more employees achieve their dreams. i think right now it will be sleepy joe. i think. i feel he'll limp across the line. that's what i think. so what i think doesn't mean anything. but i know the other people, i
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know him. i think he's off his game by a lot. but i think personally i think it's going to be sleepy joe. >> that was president trump predicting joe biden as the eventual nominee of the democratic party. the current front runner hoping to follow up his lackluster performance from the nbc debate way stronger showing tonight in michigan. but with nine other candidates vying to take him down, how will biden handle tonight's pilon? "washington post" political reporter eugene scott is back here with us and former hillary clinton campaign manager robbie mook is here with us too. robbie, you have experienced navigating the campaign of a front runner all the way to the nomination as we know. what's the biggest challenge that joe biden faces tonight he's attempts to maintain that front runner status? >> it's a classic example of the kind of challenge that front runners face. you're going to be in the news every single day. every other candidate is going to be defined in relation to you. and if you're not driving news, news is going to be written about you and it's all going to
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be processing. it's often not going to be good. and that -- so that applies in general on the campaign that definitely applies to this debate. you know, every -- the rule number one of debates is you've got to show up ready to go on offense. i'm sure that the vice president will be showing up to do that. i think what's really complicated for him and where this is somewhat unprecedented is the number of people on that stage. it's really hard practically speaking to prepare to actually rehearse a debate like this. they could all be coming at him, it could just be one or two, maybe everybody decides to be kumbaya, you just don't know. so i'm sure he'll show up ready and ready to go on offense. but this is -- this is complex and he's going to have to do a lot of this on his feet. >> and, unooen gene, we all saw last month how kamala harris prosecuted the case as she saw it against joe biden. joe biden said he wasn't prepared for that kind of attack. tonight he says he will be
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prepared. who else should he be having his mind that might come after him, do you think? >> if the past week is any indication, it's cory booker. he has repeatedly attacked the former vice president's policies on criminal justice reform, busing, and just other matters related to race. and cory booker is someone who has not been polling well even with black voters and someone who knows if he's going to change that he has to have a breakout moment. it appears kamala harris set the precedent of what that should look like and he appears to be following that. >> what works for one person. >> right. >> apparently doesn't work for everybody. do you think it's that voters see cory booker's attacks and see them as transparent? see them as self-serving? >> i think some do. i think some believe that these could be coming from desperation as we know that some candidates have to fall off eventually. and someone -- some may look at them and see that he's someone who just wants to have what kamala harris had, benefit in the same way that she did. but the situation is different this time.
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we know that biden is more prepared. we know that biden is expecting things like this from booker because he has given him a bit of a warning. and it may not have the results that booker's hoping it will. >> yeah. and, robbie there are should be or we expect to see some focus tonight paid to biden's role in the 1994 crime bill. president of the florida rights restoration coalition wrote this. he says joe biden needs to atone -- he needs to admit the error of his ways. so what do you think? will he do that? is. kind of thing he should apologize for after weeks and months of not apologizing? >> well, i think he needs -- obviously needs to be prepared for an answer on this. this was an issue in the 2016 campaign too. you know, these laws were passed a long time ago. there were a lot of unintended consequences. and i think he needs to address those. but, you know, this is always a challenge for people who have been in politics a long time, people who are the front runner. you can't spend all that time on
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the stage defending your past and responding. i also think it's an opportunity for him to go out on offense and talk about what he's going to do. what his plans are. what he accomplished in the administration. i'm sure there's a lot to tell there too. >> and, eugene, one of the reasons why joe biden is the front runner is because of his standing among black voters. the latest poll shows him with a sizeable lead among black voters in the 2020 primary races. is generally for the most part people who aren't on twitter and the internet, it's a lot of people who know joe biden as barack obama's for vp's for the last eight years or so. how does he protect that reputation and build on that? >> he remembers the people he has with him and keeping those people satisfied. most black voters that are supporting biden are older black voters with a track record of him voting and not just complaining on twitter and, quite frankly, are people who do remember 1994 and are a bit more sensitive and i guess for giving to him for his policies.
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because many of them felt the same way. i think he's trying to figure out a way to win new people without alienating many of the people that are already with him. it will be interesting to see if people competing against him are able to, you know, put dents in both of those groups. but it's one of the challenges i think anybody running for the nomination and the democratic party currently have. it's a big diverse party much more so than the republican party and trying to speak to those different demographics is not easy. >> robbie, if you're in the room advising the former vp, what do you tell him? not suggesting you work for free. but if you had his ear, what would you tell him tonight as he teps steps on stage? >> you've got to be on offense. you've got to be for something. you've got to be expressing your vision. if you spend all your time responding, you're losing. look, i think this is a challenge for any, you know, front runner out there. it's very easy to define yourself as coming from the past, what you've done. it's really important to build that movement, right? what are your supporters for?
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parodontax. all right. just coming into the newsroom here. jeffrey epstein appeared today in a manhattan federal court. wnbc investigative reporter jonathan deanst is outside the courtroom with what happened in today today's hearing. >> reporter: this is the first time we've seen epstein since reports of him being injured in prison. he sat quietly at the defense table as prosecutors and defense lawyers spoke to the judge about setting a possible trial date. they were talking about next fall, the fall of 2020. that it could take anywhere from ten months to 13 months to go over all the discovery materials. more than a million documents. the defense says it has to review to get ready for this trial. so the judge said we're going to
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set a tentative trial date for june but he's ready to slide into september, october depending on what the matters need. epstein said nothing during court. he sat at the table, no handcuffs, he was wearing blue prison garb with his arms folded. didn't say anything. appeared to be listening intently throughout the hearing. no signs of injuries after the reports in the last ten days or so that he was injured in his jail cell at the mcc across the street. that's the very latest from federal court in lower manhattan. >> thank you for that. coming up, as the fight over immigration rages on, the trump administration is facing a new lawsuit alleging some 900 children were separated from their families last year. coming up in the next hour, andrea mitchell will be joined by the lead attorney for the aclu in that family separation lawsuit. stay with us. family separation lawsuit. stay with us was thinking... was thinking... could there be another around the corner?
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and that wraps up this hour of "msnbc live," i'm jeff bennett. "andrea mitchell reports" starts right now. i got all choked up. >> i'm choked up just thinking about it. jeff, thank you so much. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," second chance. tonight a critical test for joe biden after his weak performance in the first round of debates. who is going to take him on tonight? >> i was probably overly polite in the way i didn't respond to an attack.
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>> the response to having a substantive records shouldn't be to go on an attack. >> democrats divided. with elizabeth warren and bernie sanders under fire from the moderates on the stage, debate night reveals a battle for the heart and soul of the democratic party. >> why do we got to be the party of taking something away from people? >> we're the democrats. we are not about trying to take away healthcare from anyone. that's what the republicans are trying to do. >> it's true that if we embrace a far left agenda, they're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists. if we embrace a conservative agenda? they're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists. >> i did that when i wrote the damn bill. and family matters. despite a federal court ordering an end to family separations, the aclu finds new evidence children are still being taken from their parents.


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