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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  February 18, 2012 10:00am-12:00pm EST

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ob. that's why i recommend a rinse like crest pro-health multi-otection. it helps you get a better dental check-up. so be ready for your next dental check-up. try any crest pro-health rinse. this morning it's not just the polls. there are 7.6 billion reasons for mitt romney to be distressed in detroit. and freud would have had a field day with these presidential p k picks. plus, i have a history lesson up my sleeve and it involves quoting old legal documents. welcome to nerd land, people. but first, why i wish nothing but the best for the gop. good morning. i'm melissa harris-perry. thanks for sharing what i hope is the first of many weekend
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mornings with me. now, be honest. two months ago when you were decking the halls and lighting the candles, did you think the republican primary contest would still be competitive in mid-february? did you think rick santorum would be the leading candidate? yeah, me neither. and certainly those of us in cable news appreciate the republican party giving us the rati ratings gift of a long, unpredictable -- no, i don't mean unpredictable. the word i'm looking for is absurd. yes, we appreciate the absurd primary season. but, as an american, i'm not excited about the republican disarray. i'm worried about the strength and identity of the republican party. in fact, i can think of few things more important politically than a healthy gop. now, relax. i am not advocating that president obama serve one term. but i do believe that president obama, the democratic party, and our country need a strong republican party. the recent cover of "the new yorker" showing mitt and newt
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attack each other with obama watching gleefully have people crowing but not me. the two-party system is necessary for all interests but a one-party system would be a disaster. when the system works, the party out of power spends its time coming up with alternative policies, providing voters with choice. but when the system is broken, they don't really offer a choice. they just say, i'm the opposite. being not obama is not an agenda. i actually want a strong republican party. not only because it will make democrats work harder but because it will make all of us safer. we need a country where it is safe for your pooarty to lose because the reality is both parties lose about half the time. we have to know the people in power will be reasonable and ke tent leaders and our basic rights are not up for grabs every four years. so perhaps you can understand my concern with the current state of things in the gop. the party's base and establishment leaders are clearly at odds. how else can we explain the serious challenge rick santorum
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has waged against mitt romney? republican primary voters are craving a conservative, be it a true conservative, reagan or severe conservative. but will shorts would be puzzled by the evolution of that word "conservative." so my first question to my first guest this morning is, what is a conservative? joining me now you is edward cox, chairman of the new york republican state committee and incidentally the son-in-law of the late president richard nixon. here he is on his wedding day at the white house. i know! >> a number of years ago. >> i'm sorry -- >> we're celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary. >> congratulations. i feel like i may never get another guest if i always show weddi inding pictures before ou interview. i appreciate you being here. >> good to be here. >> in part, i want to talk carefully about the republican party, where it is right now and what its health is compared to sort of where it's been in the past. so first question -- what is a conservative and
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what's the state of the party? >> the state of the party is terrific. we are the party in opposition at a time when the economy is really in trouble, the jobless rate in the -- if you take a look at the participation in the labor force is at an all-time low. a lot of people are dropping out. the economy is growing very slowly coming out of the deepest recession since the great depression. so, as the party in opposition that swept into the house with an unprecedented majority, biggest we've had, 241 republicans, since 1920, we are looking forward to taking over the senate and the presidency and getting this economy on the right track. >> all right. i actually can see where that answer comes from, this idea that, we're fine, we had a big win in 2010. but, look, that was a big win that was in part driven by a real internal party division, that big win came at the cost of
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republicans with more seniority losing in primaries to tea party challengers and it comes i think at the cost of a kind of ideological coherence in the party. so, you know, i just want you to like move off the talking points. seriously -- >> melissa, you're missing the big wave. the big wave, in his first year with his push -- pushing his health care program, obama care, through congress with bye partisan opposition, not one republican voted for it, 34 democrats voted against it, more would have except for big sliceses of pork that were passed out, a stimulus bill that was really more political cronyism than stimulating the economy, dodd/frank that put a wet blanket on the economy. all that, what you got was scott brown winning in massachusetts, then you got -- >> oh, come on, scott brown wins in massachusetts for local reasons. >> you had the rise of the tea party, our wins in 2010, then brooklyn queens, democratic
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district, hadn't had a republican since 1923. this is a big wave that's going to keep rolling until -- >> all right, let's go back to health care because this is a fair point. >> you're looking at the small things. you want to look at the big picture. >> i want the big picture on health care. the major efforts of the obama administration, in his early years, include the mandated subsidies to get affordable health care through, the cap rate plan on environmental policies, and a discussion about bringing tax breaks for the rich back from the bush lows. all of those things that the republican party in the mid-'90s themselves supported. so when you tell me oh, the party is strong, my sense is, wait a minute, when in fact president obama comes in and is governing on something that would have been in many ways a republican party platform in the early '90s and this party is left with no place to go but to
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oppose the very things that they suggested 15 years ago, that doesn't look like strength to me. >> the early '90s were 15 years ago. a lot of facts have changed. people are relooking at things. the bottom line is, the american people turned everything in washington over to the democratic party in the '08 elections. >> and 2010. >> and they didn't do what they were supposed to do, address jobs and the economy. >> but that congress is now -- >> that's why they're going to turn everything over to republicans come november in order to address the problems that the democratic party did not address. they tried cap and trade. even with huge democratic majorities -- >> there were no huge democratic majorities. there have been no huge -- >> oh, sure. 60 senators? >> no. as we well know, actually -- >> they can outswallow cap and trade. >> as we know, we were not functioning with a filibuster-proof senate, which became for the first time in american history what one would have to have. >> you did. you had 60 snats senators.
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not you but the democratic party. >> the democratic party had 59 3/4. >> i'm not sure we can trace -- >> in massachusetts scott brown won. it was quite an election. >> and i think an awful lot of the story of that election is undoubtedly about the local factors in that election as much as they are about anything that was going on nationally. but let me just suggest, though, again on the question of the republican party's central health, the very fact that the tea party, which did not initially understand itself as presumably republican but understood itself as a kind of liberty aryan populist movement, now it found a home within the republican party, in part because we're a two-party system and there's no other place to be. but a tea party revolution is not necessarily we're looking at a strong and identity-based republican party. i think one might claim just the opposite, that part of what the tea party has done is draw the
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republican party farther to the right. you now have rick santorum as a leading candidate, someone whoa does not look like a very likely candidate for a general election. >> the tea party is about cutting spending and creating jobs. that's what the republican party is about. >> they seem to be these days about religion and contraception. >> if you want to go back historically, that's what the reagan revolution was about. carter had created a terrible economy and as a result republican ronald reagan a conservative was elected along with a republican senate. >> edward cox, stay with us. we'll come back on this. i ta i'd take reagan's tax rates over what we're looking at. we'll bring a few more voices into this conversation. ed cox is giving me a good time this morning.
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welcome back. we're talking about why it's good to have a healthy, funct n functioning republican party. yes, this is the melissa harris-perry show. let me welcome back ed cox, also corian warren, assistant professor at columbia university and a fill low at the roosevelt institute and peter edelman, georgetown law professor and author of "so rich so poor why it is so hard to end poverty in america." okay, i want to start -- mr. cox and i were having a conversation about the idea that the republican party is strong in part because of the tea party challenge, swept in, saw this big 2010 win. but i have to say, what i've been saying the right drift feels more like 1964. i want to play nelson rockefeller at the 1964 republican national convention giving a speech that was very unpopular because he's actually
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attack being the far right wing of his party. we'll see the response here. >> these extremists feed on fear, hate, and terror. they encourage disunity. these are people who have nothing in common with americanism. the republican party must repudiate these people. >> i love the last black republican in the party just clapping, yes, please repudiate them, right? >> the republican party was a party of civil rights. >> oh, no, absolutely. which is why you -- >> the majority. >> yes, it was a party of civil rights. it's in part why the democrats were southerners for so long right up until this moment, right up until 1964. >> i'm afraid the governor had it wrong because after that we were the party that did help pass the civil rights law. >> oh, no, no, no. i'm sorry. the republican party --
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>> i have to disagree because we are the party that got the economy back on track after the carter disaster and 21% interest rates, 13% -- >> dorian, i want to bring you in here. >> bring in data and evidence. this is nerd land. larry bartell, your former colleague at princeton wrote a book where he shows empirically that over the 20th century under democratic administrations inequality went down, under republican administrations, it increased including policy, increases in the minimum wage, always already democratic administrations. republicans have not cared about the core issues of inequality in this country. >> we care very much. >> you have to go back to taft and roosevelt. >> who's "we"? >> peter? >> the tea party and the republicans in the congress now only know one word -- no. >> that's because you've got a democratic president who's absolutely divisive and doing
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class warfare. >> so i really do -- i mean, so i started this with what i was hoping would feel like a counterintuitive thesis, you know, for the start of msnbc's sort of liberal african-american girl's show. i actually want a strong republican party. >> only up to a point. >> but up to the point that if it's strong enough to have its own set of ideas that are not just "no 0," then we can govern. if the idea is no, then there can't be collective governing. i mean, the fact is that the pool and rosenthal have this score and when they show is that the polarization in the parties is driven fre dominantly by the republican party. it's gotten farther and farther right and if anything the democrats are chasing them a little bit. but it hasn't been sort of pulling this way. that doesn't feel to me like strength when you're moving to the side of the normal curve, not sort of to where americans are at the middle.
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>> well, and it skews the entire republican party because anybody who's left -- and there are very few from the nelson rockefeller wing of the party -- people like o olympic area snowe, susan collins, more or less moderate republicans, they're so scared now they're going to be primaried by a tea party person you can't tell the difference between them and the tea party. it's really a terrible situation. >> if you'll let a republican talk here briefly. the situation, this is pat kadell, a poster for carter and doug sharon, a poster for clinton. they wrote an article and the conclusion was the president was so divisive in the way he was conducting his campaign by going far left and campaigning on class warfare and then -- >> but president obama is not -- >> -- if he were to win, he would not be able to govern. >> but president obama is empirically not going far left. that's my point. >> these are two democrats.
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>> but which democrats are those? >> there are two things important here. the first is that the republican party is deeply divided so when rick santorum says he is not a libertarian and in fact he disagrees with libertarians he means that. in contradiction to ron paul, that's opposite of ron paul. here's the second thing. here's what i don't understand. the republican strategy is basically to be a white party and a white southern party. and the time -- the clock is ticking on that demographic. >> and apparently all-male party. >> right. >> i mean, what i kept feeling this week -- i hear you. when i first heard the discourse of the tea party, you know, as much as i wasn't in agreement with it, i kind of like populist movements asking for jobs and worrying about the effects of big government. but the shift now has moved towards this -- this so-called moral, ethical, racially problematic and now this contraception language, you know, jobs are simply not located in my uterus. like, whenever they are,
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whenever they might be, you know, created, that's not just where they r. so why so much policy language around that? >> the vast majority of women disagree with the republican party. three out of four women. it's a short-term strategy. the republican party decides to go all in on 2012 in getting as many old and white male voters they can, 2016, 2020, this country looks very different and i'm not sure what the strategy is medium and long term to actually be a viable party, a competitive party. >> how unfair are we being? >> extremely. >> okay. >> look, on the social issues, enact, the hispanics agree with the republicans. >> but they don't vote that way. >> but they will. >> actually, african-americans agree, too, on social issues but they don't vote for republicans. >> the important issue is the economic issues this time around in this election. you have to agree with that. >> but you have to get the candidates to agree with that. >> you don't have a credible
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position. >> i think if you take a look at the polls, the american people -- >> interestingly enough, i think that's precisely what i expected, that the economic issues would be the central issue here. but if that's true, it is more than a little surprising that rick santorum becomes the leading candidate in a place like michigan. i mean, if it were primarily about jobs, the fact is, even if i don't completely agree with mitt romney, he's got a good line about jobs. >> well, not in michigan. >> yeah, that's right. where he opposed the bailout of -- >> rick santorum is elected twice in pennsylvania and part of the reason 2000 also, not an easy time to win in pennsylvania, in part because he appealed to the trade unions. he is a much deeper than just being on the social issues. >> but his discourse -- >> well, ultimately he lost. >> 2006 was a hard time to be a republican. and i think -- >> especially in pennsylvania. >> the thing is, there's a rick
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santorum blue collar story to be told, the kind of penn state grad. >> exactly. >> but that isn't in fact the story he seems to be telling. i actually would feel a little more comfortable with the -- >> he's telling it in michigan because mischigan is a blue collaror state. that's why he may do very well there. >> we're going to take a break. i love you guys. this is so much fun. edward cox, thank you for being here and taking the time with my grilling you on the republican party this morning. when we come back, why you don't have to be a card-carrying union member to reap the benefits of unions. i'll explain in a few minutes, a programming note, in our next hour we'll take you to newark, new jersey, and to new hope baptist church where people are gather forge whitney houston's funeral. the funeral starts at noon. we will have live coverage. stay tuned for that. hands that feel soft and silky smooth! ooh...she's got the look. what's her secret?
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that's been very frustrating. i call it crony capitalism. that's the path he's taking. he got hundreds of millions of dollars from labor bosses for his campaign, and so he's paying them back in every way he knows how. one way, of course, was giving general motors and chrysler to the uaw. >> so there was mitt romney in michigan wednesday, still trying to explain his opposition to the government's bailout of the auto industry. and going on the attack against unions. mitt romney who says his focus is on the middle class may want to pay closer attention to unions and to a few important numbers in particular, like 11.8. that's the percentage of all wage and salaried workers who belonged to a union in 2011 according to the bureau of labor statistics. 20.1, the percentage of u.s. workers who belonged to unions in 1983. 40%. that's the rate at which income inequality in the private sector grew during that same period. 15%. that's how much more the typical
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unionized employee earns versus a worker not in a union. 1 percentage point. according to the analysis, by center for american progress, is all that union membership would need to increase to add $153 per year to middle class household income. 1,532 is how many dollars a year the average middle class household income would increase if union rates in america were 10 percentage points higher. now, pause with me. i want to make sure that's clear. i'm talking about everyone here. when union membership goes up, the average household union and nonunion sees a pay increase. when you wonder what unions do for the middle class, consider this. 47,500 is how many general motors hourly workers represented by autoworkers will receive chekzs for $7,000 on march 2nd according to the detroit news.
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that's because of their union contract and this number, 7.6 billion. gm's all-time record profit recorded for the year 2011. governor romney, you can continue to argue against the bailout. you can continue to argue against unions. but i'm wondering, govern, i know you want to win michigan, but do you want michigan to win? i invite all of you to dig into these numbers on your own on our blog, go to later. coming up, i'm going 0 arm chair psychologist. [ woman ] my boyfriend and i were going on vacation, so i used my citi thank you card to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? we talked about getting a diamond. but with all the thank you points i've been earning... ♪
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as mitt romney, son of detroit, kpainled in michigan this week, he was welcomed home with some unwelcoming news, rick santorum is beelting him in the polls. ah, those voters getting in the way of mr. inevitable, and in michigan where for all places politics as well, here's how he put it. >> i grew up in michigan.
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it was exciting to be here. i remember going to the detroit auto show with my dad. michigan's been my home, and this is personal. >> indeed, it is personal. michigan is a state where romney's father george once enjoyed the status of a beloved auto executive turned three-term governor. romney senior made his bid for president in 1968, initially seen as the front-runner for the republican nomination. george romney was done in by his own allegiance -- the lesson of his campaign implosion was not lost on his son mitt who was 20 years old at the time. so now here comes mitt romney again in full-on mode to succeed where father failed. we've seen this in the history of the republican when after one term john adams was rejected by the country he helped found his son -- george w. bush won two terms while his father only won
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one. political scientists and voters alike tend to analyze candidates by their psychology as much as their policies. face it, we like to get into the heads of our possible future heads of state. and when it comes to presidents, biography 0 counts. the legacy of george romney was suspected to give mitt romney insurmountable home field advantage in michigan. what if the son loses as the specter of the father looks on? peter edelman, professor of law at georgetown, dorian warren and digital editor of "the onion." all right, what do you think? are there daddy issues at play in the 2012 election cycle? >> there are always daddy issues at play. papa don't preach comes to mind. go to the commercial with a papa don't preach" i'll be very happy. when you look at george w. bush and mitt romney who you both cited they watched their fathers
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lose. mitt was a lot younger, rick perlstein went into his psyche and saw this. when you see your father on a pedestal and ripped off of it, you can't help but learn lessons and run away with it. when we use the word authenticity, romney senior was pro civil rights. he challenged his own church's stance on the role of black people. you have mitt saying, i don't know if i can do that. part of his lack of inner compass may be because of his father getting his butt whipped. >> it happens right at the moment when george romney is sort of making his bid. he's the sort of the blue collar michigan, pro-civil rights, right after the rockefeller moment we watched earlier, here comes george romney who of course loses. do we always want presidents to be our daddy? is that what's happening here? >> well, it's part of our national psyche or the human psyche, although we should talk
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about moms, too. >> yes. >> but in this case it coincides, the reaction to daddy, with the direction of the republican party. >> right. >> the lesson that both romney and others and certainly george w. bush have taken from their father's losses has been to move to the right. and so i think that we can analyze many problems from different disciplines so you've got psychology and you've got politics. >> right. and in this case they're moving together, the moderate fathers lose, the lesson to the sons is, move to the right. >> i'll call it psycho politics. >> there's another way in which daddy issues are important in this campaign, and that's the sense in which santorum, romney, all the republican candidates want to be our daddy and they want to be the daddy to all girls and women in this country. they want to tell them what they can do with their bodies. >> oh! >> there's a sense in which they talk about the nanny state. well, they want a daddy state that directs and tells people
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who what to do with their bodies, women in particular. >> dorian warren giving me the object of rick santorum as my daddy telling me what to do with my body. it's not even noon. i can't manage that. >> that's perfect. there's also the father as disciplinarian. >> right. the authoritarian. >> right. the tough love, the idea that poor people just need to work harder. sort of if you want it hard enough, the beating of the child is done by the father in these typical american views. i just spilled coffee on your new set. that is horrible. >> that's all right. i'll play mommy here. it's just so exciting. >> i have daddy issues. >> moving away from the coffee, peter? >> i was conveniently seated on the other side. >> like you knew it was going to happen. >> it depends on the age of the candidate. >> yeah. >> whether the politics is generational at the time. dwight eisenhower is a father figure in a different way.
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>> yeah. >> ronald reagan is a father figure in a different way. and so when -- and it comes particularly on the republican side. >> right. >> somebody who really we can look to or they want the person to look to as a father in a generational sense. >> i want to go to a critical moment when romney's daddy issues became clear. it was john king on cnn asking mitt if he was going to do what his father did relative to making his taxes available. let's look at that. >> back in 1967, your father set a groundbreaking, what was then groundbreaking standard, he released his tax returns. he released them for not one year but for 12 years. and when he did that, he said this -- one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show. when you release yours, will you follow your father's example? >> maybe. >> yeah, you have that -- i
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know. it hurts to watch. awkward moment! will you be the man and the leader that your father was? i don't know, maybe. >> will you be human like your father was? >> you just said this is primarily on the republican side, but it's not exclusive. look, our president has himself addressed fatherhood as a fundamental issue in his own psychology, the first book "dreams from my father" is about his sort of working out who barack obama sr. is relative to him. is this unfair, though, to try to think through the psychology of candidates? should we really just be thinking about their policy, or do we gain some kind of insight by trying to think of them specifically as men, humans having these emotional disappearances? >> i think it's important to understand who it is we're electing and something about their character and how that relates to how they'll govern. that's very fundamental. that's not -- >> as long as it's not the sole
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focus of the investigation. i mean, you want the policies. you want the family history. you want the religious and moral views because they inform how they might behave and where they come from and trying to impose their views on you, the nation and citizenry. so it's important but i don't think it should be the only. >> if i could put a number on it, it should be 10%. that's only because i live in new york city because this is the psychotherapy capital of the world. so we should be analyzing our candidates to an extent. but your point is well taken as far as democratic presidents as well. clearly bill clinton had serious daddy issues. >> right. >> so barack obama as well i think has been trying to find his father his whole life, and i think in another sense, though, he's provided a good example of a father figure in the white house in terms of his daughters. i just don't appreciate his lecturing in terms of what i should be doing as a black father or as a black man. that's why i have to draw the line. >> he takes his personal experience and extrapolates it
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and amplifies it to the nation, fatherhood tours. >> bill cosby tour. >> he's not as angry as bill cosby. >> he is not as angry as bill cosby. that is good. we're going to make that as a psychological analysis. we'll take a quick break. i think there's more to say about this. i'll show you what we do for fun in nerd land. we watch old videos of mitt romney's father.
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welcome back. before the break, we were talking presidential candidates and their papas. with me is chloe angel, editor of and once again dorian warren of columbia university and thurston of "the onion." i'm going to go to my script in a second. one quick programming note based on the twitter responses to dorian and thurston --
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yes, they are both single. >> wow! >> given how focused we are on michigan right now and how mitt romney is playing up his roots in that state, i did a little digging about his father george. here he is on "meet the press" in 1967 talking about the vietnam war and america's war. >> i think one of the shocks that americans have been exposed to in recent years is the fact that we can no longer trust our own government people. we can no longer rely on their telling us the truth. now, i was shocked to find that out, but i found that out. now, as far as the conditions through the cities are concerned, we have a very fundamental problem, and this problem, too, is above party. and that's the question of race relations and citizenship. either america is prepared to give full citizenship to every american citizen or it is not. >> yes, that is the jaw-dropping line.
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i mean, mitt romney looks a lot like his dad. they have that same kind of square-jawed pedigree, but he sure doesn't sound like his dad. and the kinds of things we hear there, it's hard to imagine even hearing mitt romney hear them. chloe, i want to talk to you first, in part because i was teasing the guys about their responses. but there's kind of a daddy state going on, interesting daddy behavior in this past week that i know might be interesting to talk about. >> i'm so glad you brought up the issue that these two lovely gentlemen are single because that's something we've seen politicians do to their children, famously scott brown on the night of his election told the whole audience that his daughters were single and looking. and president obama talked about locking up his daughters, now they're in high school he's looking at these industrial-grade locks and he's glad as a father of daughters who are approaching high school age. yeah, it is always about daddy politics. you're absolutely right.
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>> as the mom of a 10-year-old, it's not that i am not sympathetic to the master lock for emerging adolescent daughter moments. in fact, it actually doesn't feel oppressive or anger inspiring for me in the role of him as father. but, as dorian was talking about in the last segment, the idea of president as father of the nation is a different sort of story. it's one thing to sort of tease about protection of the daughter. it's another thing to say, i am a candidate for office and i will protect you against your own choice by making sure that you don't have contraception available. >> right. and it's one thing to joke privately about your daughters but we're talking about publicly parenting, the most visible father in the world. takes on a different tenor and implication when he does that. >> with the whole daddy imposition over women's bodies coming out of the republican party right now, that is a jobs program. the sonograms? somebody's got to do those
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tests. they're creating work there, too. i think he's missing that point, melissa. just to be fair. >> i did, i missed that, of course, someone will have to palpitate women. >> exactly. >> oh, who knew? >> someone who i should add is state-mandated, doctor state-man indicted to do that whether they want to or not. government is telling them how to do that job, but it's created. >> that's the interesting thing about republicans. on one hand, let's get the smallest state possible. i've got a great map none straighting on one hand we have conservatives saying we don't want the state intervention. but when you look at federal government spending and the percent of personal income made up by government benefits, those dark red spots are actually largely republican areas. >> this just drives me crazy because it is the height of hypocrisy. the reddest parts of america are the most, quote unquote, welfare dependent. and we don't demonize those folks.
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i'm a new yorker in a blue state, why should i be paying my taxpayer dollars for people who hate the government. don't take the benefits if you hate the government that much? >> i want to pause on this because this is such an interesting moment when an african-american democrat plays the role of, i'm the taxpayer and there are these undeserving, like, southern republicans taking my money. i mean, because we just don't frame it that way, despite the fact that's precisely what happens. >> i have a much more common vision for -- collective vision for the public good. but to go back to the romney video you played, since you brought up the democrat issue, george romney was further to the left than half the democratic party is today. >> oh, yes. >> if you take a look at all the blue dog democrats in particular. you'd be hard-pressed to find any one of them to stay anything close to what he said in the late '60s. >> any politician in general. the whole country has slid very much farther to the right. no republican could say that today. >> and that's a real political and electoral issue. and it's one that -- you know, i
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think sometimes we hear in the criticisms of president obama, why doesn't he just go stand farther to the left? part of the reason is we're all hanging out on the right. i have one more nerd land moment. i want to show the normal distribution -- i know this is a horrible thing to do. if the -- >> more data! >> i want to show the normal distribution and i want to do it because we have an assumption that american political ideas exist sort of mostly in the middle, with only just a few people out on the left and just a few over in the right. but in fact the normal curve, what we think of as the bell curve, there it is, that would be an ideal sort of everybody is kind of a moderate, you have just a few people reading the nation and just a few people over here voting for ron paul. but that curve is actually shifted to the right now. is it possible to be george romney anymore, principled republican conservative in the republican party who can win a primary? >> the thing is, when you allow the debate to shift so far to the right, you lose the
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political space to end up in a safer, more productive middle. you look at that health care debate and that could have and should have been a debate between a single payor system and some market-driven reform things on the right. instead, you got market-driven reforms on the left and death panels on the right so we ended up somewhere in the middle, better than zero but not nearly the positive impact we could have had with a healthier set of boundaries to begin with. >> but this is it not something that's happened just in this election cycle. this is a 40-year effort of the conservative movement to build institutions and organizations that have shifted the country to the right. and it would only take another social movement to move the country back to the left. so here's my shout-out to occupy, right? because in just two months, now four months, just in two or five months, they shifted the conversation like that to income inequality in this country. and that's the only thing that will move the discussion and that bell curve back to the left. >> i love it would only take a social movement. just a social movement.
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could i blame, then, occupy, in shifting the conversation to inequality, is that why we are now having a conversation about the birth control pill in 2012? is it because they can't talk jobs and inequality anymore so now they're talking women's rights? >> i think what's going on is they are talking jobs and inequality. but if you look ats deeds and not word, they're actually focusing on republican conservative issues. when they do take action, it's on time heavy tested, issues that never fail to divide the citizen citizenr citizenry. the people who don't get up at 10:00 in the morning to watch polit politics, it's far more compelling to talk about
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ultrasound bills and conservative social issues and how the gays are coming to wreck your marriage. >> i am going to make it very exciting because in our next segment we're going to leave this conversation a little bit, although we'll take some of this culture war conversation with us. because i want to have an opportunity actually to think through what culture -- how culture fluinfluences all of th. we have these broad daddy issues but sort of, what does daddy mean to us culturally? how can we think in the broadest sense about how all of these political and social issues actually influence our politics. so i'm going to wrap up this conversation and we'll take a quick break. and i am going to explain to you why i am cheering on chris brown's fans. yes, i did just say that. that's next. do your lashes want volume or length?
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welcome back. next week on the show i'll have anita hill here with me. be sure to tune in because i can't wait for that. but first, the annual grammy awards were this past sunday. it's the music industry's night to celebrate, self-congratulate and show off a little. and the show provided some pretty memorable moments. what was my faisst part? i was actually happy to see the responses of young women on twitter saying that singer chris brown could beat them up if he wanted to. what, you didn't think i would say that? before you jump through the tv, let me explain. to me, nothing more clearly reveals how twisted the narrative has become over women needing a man thing. think about it. young girls, white, black, all kinds were tweeting with they were okay with someone beating them, like this tweet -- like i've said multiple times before, chris brown can beat me all he wants. i'd do anything to have him. oh, my. i mine, what exactly are we teaching our girls, that they have little value unless they're attached to powerful men?
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apparently, since they are willing even jokingly to accept abuse. and this is no joke. this has real consequences, especially in african-american communities. aids is now the leading cause of death for african-american women ages 25 to 34 and most infections for these women come from unprotected sex. and african-american women are the fastest rate of new incarcerations. why? because some young women are trying to prove they can be ride or die chicks. they are quite literally riding and dying. they're saying, oh, in this instance tweeting that they're okay being beaten as a sign of love. people, beatings are not love. now, rihanna found that out in a very public way in february 2009, but she too seems to have had a short memory. there are unverified reports that rihanna and chris brown will be collaborating on a new song. not exactly the right example she said she wanted to set. so, yes, i was happy to see those tweets about chris brown
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because they revealed a lot. in case there was any confusion, over whether the women or particularly sisters need a man argument is helpful or harmful, i've got news for you. those tweets showed just how harmful it is. and, by the way, february is teen dating violence awareness month. for more information, check out our blog. we will be right back. e're using more and more energy. the world needs more energy. where's it going to come from? ♪ that's why right here, in australia, chevron is building one of the biggest natural gas projects in the world. enough power for a city the size of singapore for 50 years. what's it going to do to the planet? natural gas is the cleanest conventional fuel there is. we've got to be smart about this. it's a smart way to go. ♪ [ female announcer ] new and improved swiffer dusters with dust lock adhesive can clean virtually every surface in your home.
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and the reclinable, heated napa leather seats inside the jeep grand cherokee, just wait until we tell you about the heated and ventilated front seats. ♪ ♪ . welcome back. this week our male presidential hopefuls and our male lawmakers became downright animated debating if and when women should have access to contraception. lots of people wondered, why do these men feel they have a right to tell women what to do with their bodies? turns out that question actually has an answer, an answer rooted in our nation's history. let's go back to the colonial era. in the 17th century conditions of colonial america, it like 0ly
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that theonearly 40% of infants before their first birthday. women's pregnant bodies were seen as a public matter and that meant women didn't have the one thing that has come to truly define citizenship -- privacy. prief ci privacy? stick with me. i want to convince you how important it is. let's go back again this time to 1905. a man finds a photo of himself in the local newspaper being used to advertise life insurance. a photo used without his consent, claiming his privacy has been invaded he sues and the supreme court of georgia rules on his behalf. more specifically, t court cites his right to privacy as a citizen and says, quote, the right of privacy has its foundation in the instincts of nature. in other words, we all have the right to be left alone. but all didn't include women until decades later when the supreme court decided another case.
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this is one you might be more familiar with, 1973's roe v. wade. this is where the supreme court ruled the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision. so, in the colonial era, on the frontier, women's bodies are public property. the country needed women to have babies and to populate the nation. but part of the move to becoming a modern nation was allowing the women the right to privacy that male citizens had enjoyed since 1905. we might say that 1973 was the beginning of women's full personhood in the united states. but 1973 is not the end of the story. old debates about women's bodies are being recycled this election year as the gop plays an old tune called compulsory motherhood. come on, you know how it goes. president teddy roosevelt knew the tune in 1905 when women were fighting for the right to vote, teddy responded by mocking the standing class of working women pushing for suffrage. he told a group of mothers that their highest service to the
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country was the children they bore and those who straink from this duty deserved, quote, contempt as hearty as any visited upon the soldier who runs away in battle. procreate or commit treason. treason against a country that doesn't see you as a full citizen. so why do men believe they have the right to decide about women's bodies? because they've had a lot of practice. i'm joined by chloe angel, dorian warren and peter edelman of georgetown law. maybe i'll start with you, peter. did i get the case law right here as sort of privacy as a 20th century way of look pg at what a citizen is? >> absolutely. the first modern decision is about birth control, before roe v. wade, griswold versus connecticut. and really until this current controversy we thought that was
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the easy subject, contraception. >> chloe, what has been your sense over the last few weeks? >> i'm totally flabbergasted. i'm with you. i don't think we could have imagined in 2012 we would still be having this discussion about birth control. on the other hand, i'm not that surprised because the anti-choice movement has set its sights on repealing as much law, as much legislation and rolling back as many women's rights as it possibly can. it starts with abortion because lots of people, just less than half the country, feel that abortion is wrong so it starts with something where it has a strong base. but emboldened by that it moves on to contraception. who knows what comes next? >> i know what comes next. >> what? >> aspirin. >> i have it between my knees right now so i can't get pregnant for the rest of this show. >> can i jump in here? social conservatives believe life begins with conception and ends with birth because if you look at their priorities they
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don't care about early childhood education, they don't care about quality public education, they don't care about the quality of life for people throughout their lives. >> they're not interested in covering neonatal health care even. >> then at the end of life they don't care about seniors trying to stay above the poverty line. so the crux of the matter is, control, going back to our discussion of daddy issues, wanting to have control over women and girls' bodies. that's been the case for centuries. >> right. we want to be clear. when we say they don't care, we don't know anything about how they might feel emotionally, right? >> just their policy priorities. >> the policy priorities don't reflect a priority that is, for example, concerned about neonatal care or about the availability of maternal nutrition. i do -- because it was a jaw-dropping moment on the aspirin, just in case people were working this week and didn't have a chance to catch it, i want to show quickly this moment of santorum spokesperson and supporter foster friess
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talking to our own andrea mitchell and saying something that made everyone's jaws drop. >> this contraception thing, my gosh it's so even expensive. back in my days they used bayer aspirin for contraception. the gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly. >> excuse me. i'm just trying to catch my breath from that. >> four seconds of dead air, the most powerful moment on television this week it felt like. >> i'm just trying to catch my breath from that. foster friess has apologized since then and said he was making a joke and it was a bad one. but it does feel like there's this attempt to control all of the side effects of the pill, you know, the side effects of the pill like women getting more education, delaying marriage,
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right, have higher economic stat us. >> at the same time peerter and can get viagra covered for free in all of our insurance plans but women can't get contraception for free, much less period, if they work or go to school at a catholic institution. that's the position of the catholic bishops in this country. >> well look, the advent of birth control in this country and legalization of abortion fundamentally and dramatically chanced america forever in every way. we actually cannot go back to the way things were, even if we wanted to, which the vast majority of americans given the chance to choose contraception, they do. but the republican agenda at the moment is about sending us back to the time where women didn't have control over their fertility and by extension over their lives. >> this is part of what we start with, the colonial era. we want to remind folks, when people say go back -- >> take our country back. >> -- this is where we'd be going back to. >> you have to ask yourself, melissa, why now? we know it came up because of
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president obama's health care plan, but i have this thought that maybe the republicans have decided the economy is getting a little bit better and so it's kind of not going well for them and they need to resurrect, bring back these social issues. now, that santorum as well, because he cares a lot about that. that's really where he comes from. but i keep wondering, why now? so i wonder if the political moment is because economics is beginning to lean toward the democrats. >> it still strikes me as odd. >> it's bizarre because three out of four women in this country disagree with the republicans on this issue. the vast majority of americans believe gay people should have civil rights like everybody else. it's a losing strategy. >> it's higher than three out much four. the chart says that basically 98% of women use contraception and in fact even that percentage of catholic women are using it. when we look at the numbers, the numbers demonstrate to us very clearly that women not only have
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this opinion, they have this practice. >> right. >> look, i'm of the opinion that it's not about a winning strategy. it's about winning conversation. this conversation about birth control, about social issues is loud, and it's very difficult i think for democrats to get on the right side of it. so if you're losing the conversation and the numbers, the data, the graphs on the economy, shift the conversation to something that you can win, even if the numbers are against you. when people get into this issue, they get fired up. they get riled up. they start yelling. they start making ridiculous comments about aspirin on television. and you can win the conversation if not the numbers. >> it keeps us from talking about anything else, but it still feels to me like this -- like there is an economic aspect to it, right, jobs as we -- as we see higher job creation, it's hard to make the argument that the economy is so bad. but is it also a job strategy in the sense that if women are mothers, who must leave the workforce, then they are not there to compete with men for jobs? i mean, is this literally a
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strategy to push women back out? that's part of what teddy roosevelt was doing, get men back in. >> that is actually the strategy, that makes no sense. there are families in america that are struggling to survive on two incomes let alone one. it just makes absolutely no sense. and women, for god's sake, this is 2012, women want to work. >> and they have to. i mean -- >> right. >> i apparently am causing the unemployment crisis because i have too many jobs. so i can see at this moment why one who is a parent would want to maybe perhaps not work, but it's simply not really optional. we were looking at this front page story in the "times" about women -- that mothers are increasingly unmarried. that's just sort of a truth across race, across income lines. really college-educated women are still getting married first but most mothers are single mothers. so if there's compulsory motherhood, then it's compulsory single motherhood and compulsory single motherhood also requires compulsory employment. >> i think that's truly
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visionary. i think you're two steps ahead, melissa. >> oh, no. >> well, you probably always are. but i think that that's the logic of where this goes. and, you know, the fact is that when we enacted social security in the 1930s, one of the reasons was that the elderly -- we wanted to get the elderly out of the workforce, stop competing for jobs. it's not a new idea. in this case it's a pretty stupid idea, but logically i think it's more bringing the social issues back into the conversation to change the subject. you know, if you're a litigator and your arguments aren't going well, you pound on the table. >> that's right. make noise if you can't bring some sort of light to the conversation. >> that's why it's a sonogram bill. now i get it. >> yes, of course. that's why it's a sonogram bill. i have to take a quick commercial break. we'll continue this conversation on the other side.
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welcome back. before the break, we were doing what we could to reclaim women's bodies for ourselves, away from the gop, and i am back now with chloe angyll, dorian warren and peter edelman. i want to start with what i found to be a fascinating intersection that began this week. you know, i like to think of myself as a black feminist scholar which means i'm always interested when race and -- intersect. but lo did i think rick santorum would do the intersection for me. here's rick santorum on "cbs this morning" yesterday responding to foster friess' statements on contraception and explaining why he's not responsible for everybody who's a supporter, but he makes an interesting point at the end. i want you to see this. >> this is what you guys do. i mean, you don't do this with
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president obama. in fact, with president obama what you did was you went out and defended him against someone who he sats sat in a church for and defended him, oh, he can't possibly believe what he listened to for 20 years. this is a double standard. this is what you're pulling off. and i'm going to call you on it. >> and jeremiah wright showed up. here we go. >> reverend wright, welcome back. >> welcome back, reverend wright, just when we needed you in the middle of an economic recovery. and while we are talking about aspirin between your knees, this is about jeremiah wright. >> here's the puzzling thing and contradiction. so he brings jeremiah wright back up, but is he christian or muslim? i'm confused. what's the president again? is he really -- >> secret muslim. >> secret muslim in a christian church. okay. >> i always want to pause on
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he's a secret muslim thing. this is totally off topic, but part of why that happens is because we don't have a very good understanding of islam. one can be a secret christian because it is just a religion why you profess faith. you can profess it but don't have to say it. you can be a secret krisz cheen. you can't be a secret muslim because islam is a faith of practice. we'd see him doing a variety of islam practices, prayer and -- there's a variety of things that have to happen. it's not the same kind of thing. >> there you go with those facts again. >> it's very complicated. >> i know. i'm so sorry. i feel like someone right now is turning off. but we're -- but didn't it feel in that moment like that intersection between, i'm going to bring up this scary black male preacher, rand i eer and l to this scary women out of control having babies whenever they want to or even better not having babies when they choose not to, that this kind of social narrative rather than any sort of clear political economic policy is what's driving this
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particular primary season. >> the whole republican primary season is just wonderful for the democrats. i mean, there's just one joyous thing after another. this is just the latest, and i think that in terms of a general election running against santorum, you know, might be kind of fun for the democrats. >> i'm not convinced. i'm still worried. >> look, i found another silver lining which is rick santorum has learned a really important phrase -- double standard. i think it's really important that he understand that, yes, if he thinks that's a double standard, there are plenty of other double standards in america. we were talking about one during the break, that insurance companies cover viagra for men but not contraception for women. >> i think there's another way of the intersections of race and gender come together at this moment. we have charles murray with a new book out about the problems of the white working middle class and then the "new york times" article today, the concern is about unwed moernlgdzs and who are the unwed mothers?
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lots of white women in their 20s. so i think there's something going on here about the threats to white womanhood that these conservative candidates are worried about and conservative commentators are distressed about and therefore they need morality. they need daddy to come back in and set them straight. >> when you say threats to white womanhood, that makes me nervous because that's had eye very violent history in the u.s. but part of the difference here is white women are not actually daughters requiring daddy to come back. one of the things we've seen in the data are the poll numbers of single women voters moving increasingly into the obama camp. peter, this would go to your point that this primary conversation is good for the president's reelection possibilities. you know, we can actually look that single women are more likely than they were previously to support president obama. that said, i'm still always nervous when we start even having a conversation about
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taking away these kind of basic rights of women, even if it feels like, oh, this is a political winner. you know, i'm not sure because we've got personhood on, what, 11 ballots in the u.s.? >> i don't want to take away from the fact it's very, very serious. i think the national conversation around reproductive choice, reproductive freedom and justice in this country has taken a very sharp right turn in the last couple of years. personhood used to be a fringe position now it's on -- >> we have 12 different states pushing personhood. i think we have a map of this, including colorado, ohio, montana, california, kansas, virginia, oklahoma, wisconsin, alabama, georgia, nevada, arkansas. these are not all -- that's not the convifederacy there. >> no. but several of those are swing states so i think there are at least two things going on here. one is an ideological battle around these issues. the second is a mobilizational strategy to get voters out in november if they can't mobilize them on economic issues. >> that's right. this was used around marriage
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equality previously, right? >> yes. >> this was kind of the bush marriage equality strategy in 2004. get those ballots on the state ballot so even if people aren't excited about, for example, romney or santorum, they show up to vote their conscience on the ballot initiative. >> we need to take this very seriously. the roe v. wade is a historic decision. the country had moved after that, even though it brought right-wing voters, fundamentalists into the political process, it had that effect, basically the country was supportive of a woman should have the choice of whether to carry a baby to term. now we have this movement that you talked about where it's coming closer to being just a little over a majority that support choice. >> here's what i want to say about personhood. when we talk about giving fetuses constitutional rights, the flip side of that is forced birth. we are talking about the government forcing women to carry a pregnancy to term and
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then give birth, which i'm sure you recall is kind of a big deal. so in the same week that we have republicans tearing their hair out and making a big public show about obama intruding into people's personal religious lives we have lawmakers in virginia signing into law, passing a state-sanctioned rape law. the hypocrisy like you said earlier is mind-boggling. what we are talking about when we talk about personhood is forced birth. i think it's really important to remember that that is the other consequence of giving fetuses full constitutional rights. >> this is the language of the pro-life movement has often been about the slavery language, right? in fact, rick santorum has said this about the president, how can he be a black man and support -- not support personhood because, after all, enslaved people were not persons so if you're black you should want personhood. but it ignores that women are personses. >> right. and here's the thing about that nalcy. at first glance it looks like a good one.
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but if you look a little closer it breaks down. here is why. because, like i said, the flip side of giving fetuses of constitutional rights is forced birth. you are robbing a woman of deciding what happenses to her body from the moment she gets pregnant. when african-americans were given full constitutional rights, white people had to give up a lot of things, their livelihood, a lot of their privilege. they did not have to give up their bodily autonomy. the analogy looks good on the surface but i think it's insulting and intellect tully dishonest. >> i will leave with that. i have to wrap the conversation. we're going to take a quick break. when we come back, we're going to go south to a southern preacher find fiting for marriage equality. indeed, i'll have his story after the break. also, in just a few minutes i'm going to take you to newark, new jersey, where guests are gathering for whitney houston's funeral. the funeral starts at noon. we'll have live coverage. don't go away.
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with secret's 48-hour odor protection technology. new secret outlast. now is the part of the show where we introduce you to people whose names you may not know but are fighting the good fight throughout. now, america's history, many groups have had to fight for basic rights, women's suffrage and racial civil rightses to name a few. but the struggle is not over, not even close. last is september the republican-led north carolina assembly voted to place a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. if it passes on this ballot in may, the amendment would add a new section to the state's constitution and define marriage in the following way -- provide that marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in the state. but this time north carolina marriage equality advocates have an interesting ally. reverend william barber, president of the north carolina chapter of the naacp is against
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the amendment. last saturday during a march for justice and equality, reverend barber outlined the naacp's grievances against the state's gop saying, quote, the new far right, tea party-backed ultra conservative leadership of the general assembly has attacked public education, assailed our voting rights ignored the cries of the poor and unemployed, sought to divide us by race, income and sexual orientation and tried to sell off our environment to the highest bidder. it's that phrase "sexual orientation" that caught my attention. it is a courageous position for reverend barber to take, given his role as a community preacher. the north carolina naacp does not take a position on same-sex marriage, but they do take one on discrimination and we reached out to reverend barber to ask why he's taken up this fight. he told us, even if you disagree with same-sex marriage, we don't believe you should be demeaning people aels humanity and trying
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to right them out of the constitution and nullify their position as full citizens. what's important here is the fight is focused around american principles and those very principles do not lend themselves to discriminatory or exclusionary actions like trying to eliminate someone's civil rights. reverend barber realizes this, and that's why he's our week's "foot soldier." make your foot soldier nominations on our facebook page. coming up -- you're going to be looking live at pictures of the folks filing into new hope baptist church in newark, new jersey, where whitney houston's funeral is set to begin in just about a half hour. we're going to take you there live later this hour. food, meet flavor. flavor, meet food. introducing swanson flavor boost. concentrated broth in easy to use packets. mix it into skillet dishes, for an instant dose of...
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welcome back. you're looking at live pictures
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from outside whitney houston's funeral, scheduled at noon today. invited guests have made their way into newark's new hope baptist church where houston grew up singing in the choir. her family denied a public memorial and a six-block perimeter is set up to provide privacy for the guests. we will be bringing you her funeral live. but first i want to go to nbc's craig melvin who is in newark, new jersey. kre craig, i know you have some information about the funeral for us. >> reporter: yeah, melissa. we just learned a short time ago that whitney houston's godmother, aretha franklin, the queen of soul herself, will not be here at the funeral. we were told a short time ago she wouldn't be performing because she's sick. then just moments ago we found out that she will not be at the funeral at all. so that, of course, very big news here in terms of folks who are going to be on the inside performing. there are a number of pofolks w will be speaking inside, folks
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who will perform as well, clive davis her mentor for many, many years, the man who discovered her back in the early '80s. he will speak, then reverend winans, kevin costner set to deliver words, t.d. jaikes also going to be speaking. also a number of mrufkal numbers, stevie wonder, r. kelly,icia keyes. fo folks have started to pile into the church. it's supposed to start at noon. we're told the funeral is supposed to be an hour and a half. we're skeptical. we assume it will run at least two hours. that's the latest. i do want to talk about the fans for just a second. i spent some time talking to some fans who are six blocks from here. they are being kept four, five blo blocks away. some of these fans drove up from baltimore, we talked to someone who drove down from northern jersey as well. some of these fanses say they're
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very upset because they feel like they were the ones that helped put whitney houston on the map, they w the ones who bought the millions of albums over the years and they have been kept at a distance and have been throughout the week as well. so we've heard from a number of those fans, but, as you mentioned, the family decided very early on in the week that this would be a very private affair. there was a viewing last night, private viewing just for family members, and the funeral today, invite-only. the church seats 1,500. we're told that it will not be at capacity, that there will probably be about 500 people inside. so that's the very latest from outside new hope baptist church. and, of course, as you mentioned, this where whitney houston started that career many, many years ago, singing in the church choir that her mother had organized. >> craig, of course, this is the challenge when we're dealing with someone like whitney houston who we all loved but loved from afar.
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this desire to be there, to mourn collectively, to mourn together, and on the other hand the family who knows her intimately wanting to have the privacy and opportunity to mourn alone. >> reporter: and we're told that the decision was very difficult for the family, that this was not something that they decided lightly. as you might imagine, they were pressured by lots of folks in the media to open this thing up and to have a number of cameras inside. for a while, there were going to be no cameras inside. then they decided on one camera. that's the camera we will all be using throughout the funeral, no media inside the church. we will talk to some folks after the funeral about what goes on in there. so we don't really know in terms of how much we're going to be able to see, all we'll see and hear, because, again, there's that one pool camera. a lot of folks have been dropping by bears and balloons and flowers. there's a makeshift memorial in front of the church that has
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grown throughout the course of the week, but it is going to be a very private affair. the newark police department has gone to great lengths to make sure the family's privacy is respected. >> craig, stay with us. i want to introduce a few new fo folks into the conversation. i'm back now with the author of "how to be black" joins us also are pop culture expert john murray and an msnbc contributor and also the author of "who's afraid of post blackness." i'm thrilled to have all of you at the table with me. i am really sorry the circumstances under which it is happening is that we need to have this conversation about whitney houston, about her legacy, her art, her work. but you all are exactly the people who i would want to have this conversation with. torei'm going to start with you. when you first got thes news and you were thinking about the cultural and emotional impact, what the loss of whitney houston means. >> let me go back just one second to something that he
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said, and that has been said a l lot, aretha franklin is not whitney houston's godlover. darlene love, the rock 'n' roll hall of famer is her godfather. aretha franklin is a great friend, an auntie, very close friend but not an actual godmother. but the legacy, you know, i think about whitney very much like michael jackson, that she's born during the civil rights movement, toward the end of the baby boomer generation, and she -- and she has the access to all the greatest teachers who existed before her, not just chaka khan and aretha franklin by dionne warwick and her mother cissy houston. of course mishe emergeses in th 'p '80s with powerful men to expose
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her to all the powerful marketing machine that's possible and make them the biggest stars in the world. so there's this interesting arc that they're able to take advantage of, you know, malcolm glad well talks about good historical timing is important to becoming a superstar. they get that. >> the great talent that we know exists in black churcheses like new hope, actually becomes pop culture because of the historic moment in which it finds itself. it's interesting to hear you say that she feels like michael jackson in a certain way. certainly the loss feels similar. but, you know, hooer she was in fact this pop music icon during the time of hip-hop emerging. it felt to me like there was always a little bit of cultural tension around our appreciation for her talent and voice but the discordance aspect of that pop vis-a-vis hip-hop. >> you're absolutely right. there was a time african-americans in particular gave bhit ne a lot of flack for
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being a pop star. one time she was at the soul train awards and she was booed. they didn't like the fact she had crossed over into pop they like their black stars so sing r&b. they want these soul stories but whitney was a dressed-up diva. people had problems with it, and so she got alock of backlash for it. i think that's when she began to kind of revert back to her core. she wanted to say, hey, i am t girl from newark. >> in the mtv era, it was very difficult to say, i'm just going to stand here and sing. it's not about image and branding, not about lasers, it's just me and this voice and this athletic ability to sing. that was very unusual for what everybody was doing. >> absolutely. >> i love you call it the athletic ability. >> absolutely. >> that moment of her in a track suit singing the national anthem, i mean, is this the only -- >> but the 11 seconds holding that final note. that's michael jordan leaving
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from half court to dunk. >> she can stand there in a track suit and there is no other time when i have ever felt the national anthem like that. >> right. >> well, marvin gaye's national anthem. >> okay. >> incredible. >> i haven't gone too deep any my own thoughts about whitney's loss and end of her life except it's really sad. but when i think about music and how it's changed, so much was invested in her. when you talk about this marketing machine, it was also a creative machine to try to find songwriters who could write for her amazing voice and the level of money they poured -- they banked pretty much everything on her. that won't happen today. a very different economic environment, the music industry is so different. and the millions and millions of dollars they pumped in and then got back out, that won't ever happen again. so a unique historical timing. >> i think about the glitzy '80'80s and she along with michael
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jackson, eddie murphy, bill cosby represent that on the cultural stage. >> vocally, singers typically have one or the other attributes. they either have great tone or they have great vocal ability. they can do all the vocal acrobatics. whitney had both. she had this amazing tone, but she could do the acrobaticses, the church thing, do pop, she could do jazz. one time on the american music awards she did this whole broadway medley and people were, like, you can sing everything. she sang jennifer holladay's song at an awards show and jennifer holladay was upset. she could sing anything. >> guys, i know we have more to talk about, more whitney to come, but we have to take a quick break. when we come back, more from newark, new jersey and more of our appreciation for the amazing talent that was whitney houston. we'll be right back.
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. you're looking at live pictures from outside whit new houston's funeral, scheduled to begin at noon. back with me are thurston, john murray and toure. the naacp image awards were last night. we were nominated, myself and to toure, we both lost. congratulations to hill harper who beat us both. i'm sad we weren't there because we missed this tribute to whit n ny houston.
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♪ >> that was yolanda adams singing "i love the lord," the song whitney houston performed in "the preacher's wife" sound track. you know, we talked before about kind of the complicated legacy. we were talking about the voice, the power of the voice. but the fact is, the other part of the legacy has been a great deal of criticism about whitney houston. there was a time when the question was, is she sufficiently part of the black community? is she sufficiently part of the black experience? but then there's the criticism around the kind of long legacy issues of drug abuse or drug use and the divorce and all of -- the reality show, all of that. how is that ultimately going to impact our memory of houston, or will we just remember the voice?
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>> i think the music is going to resonate the most. i think when it's all said and done, it will be the thing that carries everybody through. we only saw a short portion of the yolanda adams tribute last night, but the end of it was spirit-filled. they had their hands lifted in praise. the naacp image awards looked like a church service last night. i think it's indicative of the funeral going to be today. the family is calling it a homegoing celebration because they believe in the christian faith living here on earth is like checking into a hotel. some check out early, some stay a long time. but when it's all said and done, they go home. they believe home is heaven for whitney. there's going to be some shouting, some praising. they're going to be rejoicing in the fact that heaven is going to be her home just like last night they were rejoicing. >> john, i want to go inside the church for a moment. we do have the choir here on exactly this point of a homegoing. ♪
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♪ >> maybe this will be surprising imagery to some people who haven't experienced african-american funerals, to not see people in black or people singing in a somber way but singing in this joyous and spirit-filled way and wearing white. this goes to john's point about death is not a death, it's a homegoing, going home to god. i felt like you wanted to jump in earlier. >> you living in new orleans now, you know this is the way that we send people off. >> i knew it even before. >> of course you knew it before. without a doubt. >> i didn't just become black. >> no, no. nobody said that. nobody said you did. but new orleans, like nobody else, knows how to send people off with a joyous thing and celebrating their life, not
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mourning the death. i want to jump back a tiny bit, the authenticity issue we've talked about with black enough and embraced later and i think again, like michael jackson, we remember too many of the bad things of whitney toward the end and fixated on that and did not understand the stress and anxiety and emotional human difficulty of being a superstar, and it's a dream life and many of us want those problems rather than the problems of being working class. >> sure. >> fine, i understand that, but at the same time we understand whitney is not living a pampered life. she has difficulties and stresses that lead her to make the bad decisions that she made. we get to the point of the fans saying we are upset that we can't be part of her funeral because we made her. i don't think that they're right that they're forgetting that she's a human being and that there are human people who are family members who want to grieve in private.
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>> there's whitney houston the thing and then the depth of the humanity. >> right. >> and i hear stars talk about i put a thing that whitney houston thing onstage and then i go home and i put that away, and i am a different person. >> right. right. right. and the whitney houston that is being mourned in this moment is the full, complicated person. your book has the funny title. "how to be fwlblack ", the very thing that a superstar or something else is something that is not human. >> said in the number of comments before that, it could be called how to be and black could be your own variable. how to be a woman, how to be gay, how to be jewish, how to be houston. who they actually are versus how the world sees them and there will always be a gap in those two experiences and what you're
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talking about with the demands of the crowd can never be fully satisfied. >> i want to go to craig melvin who is in newark, new jersey, right now and is right there and listening. craig, are you there? >> i am. i am here, melissa. what you guys are looking at right now. that's the new hope baptist church in new jersey mass choir. they are going to start the funeral service at noon. right after that there will be a script you are and reverend donny mcclerkin will sing with the choir. anyone who follows gospel music will know the name of the song called "stand," and after that tyler perry, bebe winans and t.d. jakes. and a great deal of speaking earlier and reverend winans, when asked what type of service will this be? what will the tone be like? reverend winans said we don't have church.
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folks who might be watching this who might not be familiar with the black baptist church experience over the next two and a half, three hour, they are going see a quintessential black baptist church funeral. they've got it scripted at an hour and a half. it will -- >> everyone at the table is laughing, craig. >> everyone at the table laughed at the idea of an hour and a half in part because if you've been part of these experiences before especially a death like this, someone who is only 48 years old, who still leaves behind a very young woman as her daughter, the kind of outpouring of mourning and the desire to spend a little more time before we send that person home. >> reporter: i also want to let our audience know that we've been trying to find out a little bit more about aretha franklin and that situation. of course, earlier we reported that the queen of soul herself had been scheduled to perform here. she's also got a performance tonight, as well. we understand she'll not be able
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to make either one of those. there's some sort of undisclosed illness that will not only keep her from performing, she is not even going to be here. she will not be in new hope baptist church for the funeral service. once we learn more about that we will, of course, pass that along to you. we also want to note that what we saw here, we saw the choir sing a short time ago, there has been singing going on in that church for about 20 minutes now. there's been some warming up and there's been an old fashioned just sort of gospel service, if you will, that was somewhat spontaneous, as well, we are told. this is the view we will have for the next three hours. >> i want to ask a quick question and we have very little time left here. >> true. >> i want to ask you and each member of the panel, what is your favorite whitney houston song? >> oh, "greatest love of all." hands down. yeah, you know? i know, you know that's maybe
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not even a song that a young fella in columbia, south carolina, that's probably not the type of song you would guess, but for me it resonated. it was also one of those songs, melissa, just singing. it was just that majestic voice, and i think i heard one of your panelists speak to this earlier. whitney houston came of age at a time when there was a lot of dancing and she stood and she sang and there were a lot of people who still aren't a lot of people that can do that the way she did it. what was your favorite? >> you know, this is going to sound nuts because i'm a political scientist. i love the national anthem. it's the one that for me, it changed what the national anthem was for me. it's still the one that really moved me. >> i believe "you and me" from the preacher's soundtrack. i know that is being sung at the service today. that's a song that sticks with me. >> "i will always love you".
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just the age that i was, i was an emotional teenager and everything hit me so significantly more. >> "i will always love you" is to me, it is an extraordinary example of majestic, powerful singing. >> thank you. that is our show. thank you to craig melvin out in newark, new jersey. thanks to tori rafer sticking around and thanks to all of you at home for watching. tune in tomorrow. they're going to let me come back and i'm going to take back something i said about hillary clinton in 2008. tune in next weekend when anita hill will be my guest. stay here for the funeral of whitney houston. coming up next, weekends with alex witt and more of the live coverage of whitney houston.
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