'Up w/Chris Hayes' for Saturday, August 25, 2012
Read the transcript to the Saturday show
UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
August 25, 2012
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Guests: Michelle Goldberg, Katha Pollitt, W. Kamau Bell, Kristen Day, Esther Armah, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jay Smooth, W. Kamau Bell, Michelle Goldberg
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris
Hayes. Tropical storm Isaac has strengthened as it dumps heavy rains on
Haiti today, prompting fears of floods and mudslides and an evacuation of
thousands of tent camp dwellers yesterday. Officials also issued a
hurricane warning for South Florida and the keys.
And in a conference call with Southern Baptists on Friday, former
Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, lashed out at GOP leaders for trying to
force Republican Congressman Todd Akin out of the Missouri Senate race
after Akin`s controversial comments on rape and abortion. We`ll be talking
about that in a moment.
Right now, I`m joined by Michelle Goldberg, senior contributing writer
for "Newsweek" and the "Daily Beast and author of "The Means of
Reproduction, Sex, power, and the Future of the World." W. Kamau Bell,
comedian and host of FX`s new "Totally Bias: The W. Kamau Bell," which is
fantastic. You guys should all be seen Thursday night 11 o`clock eastern,
HAYES: On FX. You should definitely check that out. Katha Pollitt,
my colleague at "The Nation" where she is a columnist, and Esther Armah,
host of WBAI FMs "Wake Up Call" here in New York. Great to have all of you
The presidential campaign turned to the subject of abortion this week,
not because of the candidates, but because of this exchange during a local
TV interview with Missouri Senate candidate, Republican, Todd Akin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES JACO, HOST, "JACO REPORT": If an abortion could be considered
in the case of, say, a tubal pregnancy or something like that, what about
in the case of rape? Should it be legal or not?
REP. TODD AKIN, (R) MISSOURI: Well, you know, people want to try and
make that as one of those things, how do you slice this particularly tough
sort of ethical question. It seems to me, first of all, from what I
understand from doctors, that`s really rare. If it`s a legitimate rape,
the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
But let`s assume that maybe that didn`t work or something, you know, I
think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be in
the rapist and not attacking the child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Akin would hastily apologize for his words, but it`s still
worth establishing for the record that he was wrong about the rarity of
pregnancy as resulting from rape. In just a one-year period from 2004 and
2005, over 3,000 pregnancies resulted from rape according to estimates of
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.
But the deeper embedded assumption here that rape cannot truly be
labeled as such if the victim becomes pregnant is not merely a bizarre
misunderstanding of basic human biology. It`s an insidious myth pedaled by
figures on the far-right for decades, and it`s linage can be traced back
centuries to the earliest, most permanent (ph) theories about women,
sexuality, and reproduction.
In the second century A.D., Roman physician Galen laid out the ground
work with his theory that the reproductive systems of men and women were
virtually identical. Galen wrote a genitalia, quote, turn outward the
women`s, turn inward, so to speak, and full double the men`s and you will
find the same in both in every respect."
The reasoning went as follows, "Since male genitals must be aroused as
a pre-condition of sexual procreation, the same must be true of women.
Hence, a woman cannot be inseminated against her will." That theory
persisted in some form for centuries, influencing early legal theories
about the relationship between pregnancy and sexual assault.
A 13th century legal text, for example, contains this passage about
rape. "If the woman should have conceived at the time alleged in the
appeal, the allegation abates. For without a woman`s consent, she could
not conceive." Again, the false principle of the heart of this theory was
that women must experience sexual arousal in order for pregnancy to occur.
If the victim became pregnant, she must have consented, thus,
disproving the allegation of rape. These beliefs about reproduction and
sexuality persisted into the 19th century when the British physician,
Samuel Farr, wrote in the elements of medical jurisprudence, quote, "For
without an excitation of lust or the enjoyment of pleasure in the venereal
act, no conception can probably take place."
So that if an absolute rape could be perpetrated, it is not likely she
would become pregnant. This connection between consent and pregnancy has
been disproved countless times over the last half century, but nonetheless,
persists to this day in certain far right circles.
As recently as 1999, for example, Dr. John Wilky, a former president
of the National Right to Life Committee wrote, quote, "Assault rape
pregnancies are extremely rare. There`s no greater emotional trauma that
can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape as can radically upset
her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation, and even
nurturing of a pregnancy." Wilky is so prominent in the anti-abortion
movement that in 2007, Mitt Romney said in a statement about Wilky, quote,
"I am proud to have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-
It was Romney in 2007. Next week, on Thursday, Mitt Romney will
formally accept the presidential nomination of a party whose platform
explicitly calls for amending the United States constitution to outlaw
abortions entirely, making no exceptions for incest, the mother`s health,
or rape. So, I was sort of amazed to learn that this Akin moment had this
very long intellectual pedigree.
And what strikes me about his statement -- first of all, the clause
from what I understand from doctors is a great thing to append to anything,
any assertion you want to make. Well, from what I --
HAYES: When you`re talking about the rape exception, right, the
problem that people who advocate the position that Todd Akin does, Paul
Ryan does, that the Republican Party advocates (ph) is that it`s a
massively unpopular position. We have some polling on this, right? This
is, you know, people`s feelings about abortion are very conflicted.
They`re all over the place. The polling on this, the various --
tremendously based on how do you ask the question. But, when you get to
the polls, right, on the scale of policy, you find massive unpopularity of
-- for both ends, right? If you say full abortion -- right to abortion up
until, you know, late into the third trimester, that`s a very unpopular
position, whether right or not.
And if you say illegal under any circumstances, that`s very unpopular,
right? Illegal under any circumstances, that`s 20 percent position. The
republicans and conservatives are in a position of having to defend that.
And so, there`s this kind of way in which this idea about rape,
pregnancy, being impossible is a way of reverse engineering away this very
difficult repudiation, this kind of signal of moral revulsion we all feel
after a thought of a woman who`s been raped forcing --
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THEDAILYBEAST.COM: And the best face, I think, you
can put on this or the most empathetic towards the Todd Akins of the world
is that maybe he cannot quite come to terms with the cruel implications of
his position. You know, he kind of does not want to face what it is that
he`s kind of forcing on rape victims.
That to me -- because in a way, if you do accept it, if you do accept
the biology, if you do accept the fact that women do regularly become
pregnant as a result of rape, then how do you explain to those women that
you are going to force them against their will to carry that pregnancy to
HAYES: Right, Well, I`ll tell you how to explain. Here`s Paul Ryan
being asked about that on Thursday, right? Paul Ryan as someone who has
co-signed legislation with Todd Akin, believes abortion should be illegal
in all circumstances, and here he is explaining that, you know, and justify
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m very proud of my
pro-life record, and I`ve always adopted the idea the position that the
method of concept doesn`t change the definition of life. But let`s
remember, I`m joined the Romney/Ryan ticket, and the president makes
And the president, in this case, the future president, Mitt Romney has
exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother which is a vast
improvement of where we are right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The method of conception, I mean, this is the moral reasoning
and heart. And I actually --
KATHA POLLITT, THENATION.COM: They said the method of conception.
HAYES: Well, right. But I mean --
HAYES: Well, right, exactly. That at least gets the biology right,
which is an improvement over Todd Akin. But that to me is -- that`s the
argument for no exceptions, and that is the argument of the Republican
Party right now, right?
GOLDBERG: But -- I`ve had this -- I mean, I had arguments with anti-
abortion activists before where one of the things that strikes me about not
just Paul Ryan here, but everything Paul Ryan`s ever written about abortion
is the extent to which the woman is completely absent from the discussion.
You know, he writes these essays and doesn`t mention the word woman
once. And so, these Republicans, you know, tend to believe that taxation
is theft, they tend to believe -- they tend to be against eminent to
domain, they are certainly -- you know, our constitution is founded on the
principle that you can`t force people to quarter soldiers in their home, in
your home against their will.
HAYES: -- Third Amendment shout out only eight minutes into the show.
GOLDBERG: Right. But, they do believe that women should be forced,
in a certain sense, whether or not the metaphysical question about the
beginning of life is not completely germane to whether or not that life has
the right to reside in you against your will.
POLLITT: Isn`t it sort of like a soldier being quartered in our (ph)
GOLDBERG: And so, what people have argued when I said this is they
say, well, to -- by kind of putting yourself in that situation you have
implicitly opened yourself up.
HAYES: Yes. My feeling about this is that I can understand -- I
actually understand the view of -- I mean, what I think is useful about
this moment in American politics both in terms of what Todd Akin said and
about the fact that the platform that Paul Ryan`s nomination, Todd Akin`s
comment, and then the platform coming out, which we`re going to talk about
in greater depth tomorrow are clarifying in terms of where the Republican
Party is on this issue.
They are in the most maximalistly extreme part of the issue on one
side and I think that`s clarifying. And in fact, I would even say this. I
understand that view, and I understand the pro-choice view, which I,
myself, hold very dearly, better than I understand the middle view, which
says it`s -- it should be illegal, but if it`s rape, it should be legal
I don`t understand. If you grant that it`s a life in the beginning,
then have you this method of conception argument.
W. KAMAU BELL, HOST, "TOTALLY BIASED": I just would like to say on
behalf of all men, I think we need to shut up.
BELL: I really feel like I`ve seen more men on TV talking about when
women should and shouldn`t conceive or when women -- and it`s like just
shut up, dudes.
It really points to the patriarchal system of this country that men
feel such a right to talk about things that have nothing to do with them,
because I certainly -- as a black person, I`m happy that we stop saying
where Black people could and couldn`t go in this country, and I feel the
same way to just doing that with women right now, you know?
HAYES: Yes. It is --
BELL: I`m sorry. Since the 13th century as I --
POLLITT: I think that the view that says you can have an abortion if
you`ve been raped, but not for any other circumstance, is related to the
older idea of abortion, which we now -- which the pro-lifers have -- anti-
choicers have pretty much dropped, which is it`s a sexual sin. It follows
from wrong sex, that sex is a contract to have a baby, which, I think,
would come as a huge surprise to most people who had sex.
POLLITT: And I think that these two anti-choice ideas have gotten a
little bit conflated. One, the earlier idea which is the idea of St.
Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, which abortion is wrong, because you`re not
supposed to be having sex. Sex is bad. The only purpose to have sex is to
have a baby. And if you have sex with any other time, you`re already
committing a sin --
GOLDBERG: The arguments against legal abortion, initially, were all
about that it was going to encourage promiscuity, not that it was going to
HAYES: I want you to hold that thought for one second, I`ll come back
to you. And then I want to bring in someone who does believe that abortion
should be illegal but wants to make the exception so that we can sort of
zero in on where this argument is right now, right after this break.
HAYES: We`re just talking during the break about one of the most
remarkable things about the Akin comment was the fact that it just showed
what the kind of bubble that he exists in, that there`s -- you know, you`ve
never seen a politician more genuine in an interview than Todd Akin, you
know, working his way through that question, marshaling these little known
facts, and -- you said he probably walked off and thought he totally nailed
BELL: Yes. That was great --
BELL: I looked good on TV.
BELL: Wait until I call my family for --
HAYES: Katha, I am -- so, you`re saying there are sort of two
arguments that sort of -- this argument in medieval times about encouraging
sexual promiscuity about the fact that the evilness of abortion emanates
from the evilness of sex outside of the procreative intent.
HAYES: And then, there`s obviously another more current argument, the
one that we hear more often in politics.
POLLITT: Yes. It actually -- the Catholic Church really -- the pope
decided that abortion was murder in 1869. This was a by-product of the
doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, which was
declared, you know, official doctrine then, along with papal infallibility.
And the first thing he said was infallible was I`m infallible. So, that`s
POLLITT: That`s all clear --
POLLITT: So, then abortion became like murder. It came a different
kind of thing. And in America, I don`t think you would get very far with
that earlier idea.
HAYES: About the sexual --
HAYES: Because of sexual practices of (ph) America.
POLLITT: Because we just don`t live like that, and people have never
lived like that. But, that aura still persists. And that`s why, for
example, along with the idea that the woman is the man`s property either
has been her father, the idea that there has to be -- you have to resist to
the utmost which is -- was legal doctrine for a very long time in many
states and a horrible miscarriage of justice were done according to that.
HAYES: The legal definition of rape?
POLLITT: The legal -- you could not -- you could not be a bona fide
victim of rape, unless, you had resisted to the utmost. So, the best
victim was a dead victim, because she really resisted.
HAYES: Right, right.
POLLITT: But anything short of that --
HAYES: Was suspect.
POLLITT: -- was suspect.
HAYES: I want to bring in Kristen Day, executive director of
Democrats for Life of America which advocates changing the party`s platform
to focus on reducing the number of abortions. Kristen, I wanted to ask you
first, the Democrats for Life, my understanding of the position is that
abortion should be outlawed, but there should be exceptions.
And I want you to just walk me through the moral reasoning of how you
get there. As I was saying before, I can understand the moral reasoning of
Paul Ryan who says it`s a life, and that life is independent of, quote,
"the method of conception." Obviously, I can understand the pro-choice
argument. Walk me through the moral reasoning that gets you to this
KRISTEN DAY, DEMOCRATS FOR LIFE: The exceptions were first brought
into light in 1978 when Henry Hyde and Congressman Jim Oberstar first
introduced the Hyde languages, said rape -- federal funding for abortion
would be allowed in rape, incest, and life of the mother, because those are
the most difficult cases when you`re asking a woman to carry a child to
term when it`s an unplanned pregnancy.
You know, you have to provide the support behind it. And the reason
that we support those exceptions is because we want to address the other 95
percent of abortions that when a woman has an unplanned pregnancy, how do
we ask her to carry that pregnancy to term? And then, what do we do after
that? And Democrats for Life is different from that aspect.
And that, yes, we are opposed to abortion, but we also consider
ourselves pro-life, and we want to look at those aspects once the baby is
born. Is there affordable child care? Is there healthcare? Is there --
how can we make sure that she has the ability to care for that child after
the baby is born?
HAYES: But them -- and I hear you right that that supporting these
exceptions, these three exceptions, rape, incest, life of the mother is
fundamentally a political calculation about the fact that those -- no
exceptions for those are so politically toxic that it`s just not worth
DAY: You know, for us, the reason is hard, because those cases are so
difficult. And, you know, a woman who is a victim of rape has gone through
a very traumatic situation. And we should -- we should have compassion for
those women who go through those -- the victims, and to -- and then to find
out that she`s pregnant on top of that, you know, no one can even begin to
understand how difficult that would be.
And even when have you a planned pregnancy, you can, sometimes, have
times of panic, how are you going to provide for this child, and to not
have compassion for a woman who is a victim of rape is just the wrong
stance to take until we can address the other 95 percent of abortions where
women feel like they don`t have the support, they don`t have the financial
capability, they don`t want to drop out of school.
So, I think we really need -- and the Democrats for Life, we think we
really need (ph) to address the root reasons that women choose abortion and
really address those concerns, too, because then, you know, if a woman is
raped and she becomes pregnant and, you know, she does want to carry the
child to term, again, we have to make sure that all of the structures are
in place to make sure that she has the ability to do that.
HAYES: I want to take a moment just to read just so people know that
the actual language as we have it now, this is not final. It will be
ratified on Monday of the GOP platform on abortion, and then, I know you
guys want to ask Kristen some questions. This is the Republican Party
platform on abortion.
"We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child
has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We
support human life amendment to the constitution and endorse legislation to
make clear that the 14th Amendment`s protections, due process and like,
apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or
perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and
will not fund or subsidize healthcare which includes abortions coverage."
I know that you guys have some questions for Kristen, and I want you
to ask those right after this break.
HAYES: Kristen Day from Democrats for Life talking about your
organization`s advocacy of a physician that would outlaw abortion and also
make exceptions in the cases in which the Republican platform, Paul Ryan,
specifically, would not make exceptions. Although, the position, I should
note is that the same position roughly that mitt Romney has advocated, who
has advocated for these exceptions.
We`re talking about this, of course, because of the comments of Todd
Akin this week and the kind of underlying belief system underneath the
incredibly, offensively wrong headed biology in that statement. But you
guys had a question for Kristen, Katha?
POLLITT: Yes. I actually have a couple of questions. My first one
is that, you know, which is language of forcible rape that was in the tax -
- no taxpayer funding for abortion bill, that many, many people in Congress
voted for, including members of Democrats for Life, Kathy Dahlkemper, for
example, voted in favor of that original Ryan and Akin sponsored version of
the bill that narrowed the definition of rape to, quote, "forcible rape,"
Now, that doesn`t exactly fit with all this compassion going down.
For example, it excludes statutory rape, it excludes all kinds of -- you
know, rape by threat or coercion that doesn`t involve, you know, real
physical force. And it`s really kind of behind where the law -- you know,
the law has advanced beyond that.
So, I`d like to have your thoughts on why this compassion for some of
your members did not extend to the full range of rape victims, but only to
this very narrow Akin promoted and Paul Ryan promoted definition?
DAY: The original language did not include that definition (ph).
That was something that was done, you know, later after the bill text had
already been introduced and this did not include that narrow definition. I
think it was a political calculation by national right to life to gin up
the base and try to get pro lifers more to talk about this issue and raise
So -- and, you know, so the Kathy Dahlkemper and others, you know,
really concern about this -- yes, concern about this language being narrow
like that and really diminishing, you know, the violence against women when
a rape occurs.
HAYES: Can I just say that -- when we talk about exemption, because
obviously, I think the majority -- again, public opinion on this is messy,
right, but there`s a lot of people in this country who think that you
shouldn`t be able to have abortions except for and then a big laundry list
of parenthesis, you know, someone you know needs one.
POLLITT: Rape, incest, or need (ph).
HAYES: Right, right. That`s the joke. Rape, incest, or need (ph).
But there`s also -- there`s also a suspicion on the part of people who are
advocates of outlined abortion that if you create exceptions, right, then
they`re going to be used in this disingenuous way. Examples of this.
Here`s Idaho state senator chuck winder, Republican sponsored
mandatory ultrasound bill, talking about how physicians should go about
ascertaining whether the rape is real, because you don`t want this rape
exception being used willy-nilly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK WINDER, (R) IOWA: I would hope that when a woman goes into
a physician with a rape issue, that physician will, indeed, ask her about
perhaps her marriage. Was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ESTHER ARMAH, WBAI-FM`S "WAKE UP CALL": I mean, it`s -- what`s
extraordinary to me is, I think, there`s a few things here. One is the
exercise of this extraordinary white Male privilege and the protection of
men against women who are going to be making claims that of somehow about
bringing them down in this particular way, because the idea that you would
even put the word "legitimate in front of rape" or the word "forcible in
front of rape," somewhat implies that rape by itself is not an act of
force, it`s not about violence.
And the reality is so many of the rapes, it`s not the man with the
knife and at gunpoint. That`s just not the reality. The statistics bend
(ph) out again, again, and again, and again. And so, I think there`s also
a very comfortable thing that we`re doing, and it`s been great to put Akin,
a six-term congressman, backed by the Tea Party, kind of throw him into the
HAYES: Possible future -- I mean, it is unclear that he is not going
to be a senator -
ARMAH: Absolutely. And tea party backed. And it`s very easy to
throw him under the bus, but the reality is, I think, the rape culture in
this society -- I mean, this is a massive consensus opinion that reflects
what he thinks that rape is this kind of time (ph) that women will use, but
it`s about dealing and emasculating and negating men in some way.
HAYES: I want you to respond to that, because I think that, to me, --
there`s the abortion can born of this (ph) and there`s a rape can born of
this (ph), and I think that there`s been so much excoriation of Akin
rightly, but what he said about this category of a thing called legitimate
rape is something -- it is an idea that is in the back of a lot of people`s
heads in this country.
HAYES: Kristen Day from the Democratic for Life, I want to thank you
for joining us this morning. We really appreciate it. I hope we can have
DAY: Thank you so much.
HAYES: And I want to get into that issue right after we take this
HAYES: All right. Esther, before we went to break, I think you
raised, to me, what is -- when you kind of drilled down through this last
week, watching the fallout from this Todd Akin comment, which -- it`s kinds
of remarkable in American politics, right, using this guy who won this
No one on the Republican side wanted him to win, because they realized
that he had an extreme record, extreme views. He`s bee in the House for
six terms. He`s on the science committee, we should note.
ARMAH: Science committee.
HAYES: Claire McCaskill was essentially -- Claire McCaskill, of
course, is the Democratic incumbent in Missouri who faces -- who has faced
up until this week an uphill battle, I think, for re-election. Wanted --
clearly wanted him to be the nominee for this reason.
ARMAH: Spent money.
HAYES: Ran these hilarious ads. In fact, can we show that ad? This
is the sort of genius bit of trolling from the McCaskill campaign during
the primary trying to ostensibly running ads against Akin that were a wink,
wink, nudge, nudge to the Republican base that he is your man.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most conservative congressman in Missouri as
our senator? Todd Akin, a crusader against bigger government. Akin would
completely eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy and privatize
Todd`s pro-family agenda would outlaw many forms of contraception, and
Akin alone says President Obama is a complete menace to our civilization.
Todd Akin, Missouri`s true conservative is just too conservative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s so brilliant. So brilliant.
BELL: I think I want to vote for Akin.
HAYES: Pro-family is the smartest part of that. So, what`s happening
is, you know, and this was amazing moment where the McCaskill folks knew
exactly what they were getting Todd Akin. And so, the impulse is to say
this guy is (INAUDIBLE), but the thing -- you raise this point.
The thing he said when he modifies rape with legitimate rape, the
subtext of that is a subtext about a belief about what rape looks like,
exception (ph) of cultural imagination in which there are a lot of
illegitimate rapes, false accusations of rape, rape in which that was
actually consensual sex, but then the woman decides that she didn`t want to
have consensual sex retroactively and levels this accusation and as extreme
as Todd Akin`s views are, that embedded assumption is not, at all, rare.
ARMAH: Not only is it not rare, but I think what his comments did was
allowed this kind of comfort zone, but there`s a real consensus, the
shaming of women, the nightmare that is the pursuit of justice for rape
victims, the idea that the only trauma that comes from rape is the
possibility of getting pregnant as if the actual rape itself is not trauma.
And then, when you add language, attitudes that legitimate or forcible
in front of them, you`re consistently going back to the history that you
mentioned that really legislation is about protection of the man from
women. But I think there`s a second point and the second point is, with
the Republican Party, this issue represents ideology versus issues. And
when a really specific moment with the --
HAYES: What do you mean by that?
ARMAH: The issue of women and trauma and rape can be absolutely
sacrificed to the ideology that pro-family, pro-life, is everything, and
that the establishment Republicans who would dare to want to get Akin out
of the party will then be backed by people like -- there was a piece in the
Christian Science monitor and one quote from Lisa Payne Negha, from the
Missouri Grassroots Coalition who said, when I first heard the quote, I was
This was offensive to women. This was outrageous. But when the
establishment tried to get him out, I thought how dare they. So then, she
donated to his campaign. And bear in mind, there`s no guarantee that as
the result of his comment, Akin will not become the Missouri senator. This
assumption that he`s not out, I think, is (INAUDIBLE).
HAYES: He did a press conference yesterday to say that he`s staying
HAYES: And there is now, Mike Huckabee is kind of leading the chart -
- the back lash against the backlash.
BELL: His big sin was that -- what he said is that he said it out
loud. I mean, I feel like that`s the things that a lot of the Republicans
agree with him and like, we just say that in the secret meetings. We don`t
say that --
ARMAH: Well, they say it out loud, just not in front of cameras.
BELL: Yes. Not in front of cameras. Yes.
GOLDBERG: One thing I think that`s really important to clarify about
this kind of widest forcible or legitimate rape language is so offensive,
because I don`t think that progressives or critics of Todd Akin should get
into the trap of defending statutory rape laws or pretending that statutory
rape is as bad as, you know, kind of -- brutal rapes.
I mean, our statutory rape laws, in many cases, are really
preposterous and we have, you know, people being put on --
HAYES: -- and convicted for having sex to seven-year-old (ph).
GOLDBERG: So, the reason that this language is offensive is not
because it`s trying to separate out statutory rape from other forms of
rape. It`s because like you said it comes out of a whole line of thought
that women will often falsely claim rape.
And if you go back -- you know, you mentioned John Wilky (ph) who`s,
you know, the latest -- in 1999 wrote this piece about how real rape
doesn`t result in conception, also wrote in that piece that when pro-lifers
talk about rape, they should always talk about either assault rape or
GOLDBERG: And he made two distinctions between statutory rape but
also between the many cases in which women -- will also in the many cases
in which women claim rape because they`re pregnant and they don`t want to
HAYES: Laurie Penny is a British journalist (INAUDIBLE) wrote a
really powerful, amazing piece. We`ll put (ph) up in the website. People
should read it, about her own rape and the details and the facts of that,
which don`t -- which just clearly rape, but also don`t -- that`s not a
stranger, a knife with an alley (ph) in this way.
And, you know, if I`m not mistaken, the CDC says only about 15 percent
roughly of rapes are rapes of that kind that we would call forcible rape.
The vast majority are through coercion, intimidation, pinning, the victim
begin to sleep, all of these things, and that whole universe.
I mean, remember, there`s 85,000, I think, legal allegations of rape
in the country, and it`s underreported by as much as a factor of 15 if you
read the statistics. The overwhelming majority of those don`t comport (ph)
to this cultural image. Katha, I want to get your thoughts right after we
take a break.
HAYES: -- talking about -- well, I didn`t think we would be talking
about this. We`re talking about rape and our cultural expectations and
definitions of it, and the kind of -- I think the taboo -- not taboo. The
-- the broad misconceptions that are widely shared among people about rape
that are pointed to by the comment for which Todd Akin has taken so much
heat. Katha, you want to say --
POLLITT: Yes. I have a number of thoughts. One is, we mustn`t
forget to mention that marital rape is still very controversial. Very hard
to get a conviction. Very-- millions of reasons why a woman wouldn`t bring
GOLDBERG: And Todd Akin has questioned marital rape.
POLLITT: Yes, he did.
HAYES: Also he didn`t -- we should say, he voted for the bill in the
state legislature in Missouri. He voted for the bill that would make
marital rape a crime.
POLLITT: Philosophically, he said, oh come on. This is ridiculous.
I want to say, you know, the whole focus on rape it seems tome in terms of
the abortion debate is, really, I don`t want to say it`s a distraction, but
it does do the thing of like, OK, if you just, -- you know, you`re some
virgin and you`ve just been beaten up and it`s all truly horrible, then
we`ll let you have one of our prized abortions.
BELL: You won!
POLLITT: But you know, if you just -- if you`ve got ten children and
this 11th child, you know, is going to, you know, rip your uterus in five
pieces, sorry, because there`s no health exception in all of these laws.
POLLITT: And Ryan has said the health exception is so vague, you can
drive a mack truck through it.
HAYES: Yes. We have that sound. Let`s play this. This is Paul Ryan
making that case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: Let me just say this to all of my colleagues who are about to
vote on this issue. On the motion to recommit, the health exception is a
loophole wide enough to drive a mack truck through it. The health
exception would render this ban virtually meaningless.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And this -- this is a suspicion of these exceptions, and folks
who want to ban all abortions, right, that any exception if you give an
inch, that these -- these nefarious women who are trying to scam their way
into an abortion are going to take a mountain.
BELL: Again, men, shut up.
BELL: Dude, this has nothing to do with you and your body. Stop
talking about it. And I feel like there`s an underlying assumption with
Democrats for Life, that somehow that there`s -- there are abortions that
are easy, abortions that are hard.
BELL: And I feel like isn`t -- from what I understand, I think
they`re all hard choices, and I feel like -- we`re sort of like by putting
words in front of rape. I think rape is bad. And --
BELL: -- like can we just agree that rape is bad? You know, a few
words that don`t need modifiers.
ARMAH: I think also you`re talking about legislating the shaming of
women when it comes to making health choices. That health is not a choice
that is up to them. That it`s something that can be imposed externally by
HAYES: And the president said that this week. I mean, he talked
ARMAH: He said rape is rape.
GOLDBERG: But he also said, you know, that yes, that these are kind
of legislators who are mostly men making health decisions for women. \
ARMAH: Including him, even though, you know, he at least was on the
right side of the issue. But I think the other thing that was important to
me was that Ryan talked about this interfering with religious freedom, and
I thought that, you know, the Republicans in terms of their ideology are
kind of worshipping at the altar of winning by any means necessary.
Those are the current politics and the politics of winning are making
this ideology that`s alert to the right for the Republicans over school the
issues that are about women`s bodies and women`s health. So, that`s
sacrificing -- you would think they think that sacrificing votes in order
to support the ideology, which is what Akin --
GOLDBERG: What they`re doing is they`re playing a double game, which,
you know, they have often done, but it`s being thrown into high relief by
this Akin thing where they have one message for their base and they have
another message for everyone else. They kind of hope that people don`t
listen to each another.
GOLDBERG: You know, George W. Bush was incredibly adept at speaking
in code. So, that when he said he -- that when he said he was really
opposed to Dred Scott decision, the anti-abortion movement understood that
that he meant it as an analogy for Roe vs. Wade, but everybody else
thought, of course, you`re opposed to Dred Scott.
And so, you know, Mitt Romney and this current crop of Republicans are
less willing -- are less -- either a less adept or just less willing. And
so, now, everybody knows what they really think.
HAYES: Katha Pollitt from "The Nation," Esther Armah from WBAI-FM,
thanks for being here this morning. Really appreciate it. Michelle, we`re
going to see you a little bit later in the program.
HAYES: We want to talk about the persistence of race in American
politics. Race and the era of Obama. My story of the week right after
HAYES: My story of the week today, the problem of the color line.
Last week, during a brief tangent in our discussion of Medicare that got at
the nature of the Republican base, I was defending the GOP base against
generalizations that they are, as a blanket matter races, misogynistic, and
homophobic, and then concluded with this statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It is undeniably the case that racist Americans are almost
entirely in one political coalition and not the other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The problem with that statement is that it`s not true. I was
just wrong about what the data say about the way explicit avowed racists
are distributed between the two parties.
Economist, Alex Tabarrok, looks at some data from 2002 that show
roughly equal percentages of White Democrats and White Republicans around
10 percent, favor laws against interracial marriage, and about 15 percent
of White members of both parties agree strongly with the statement, quote,
"Blacks shouldn`t be pushy."
He points to overwhelming majorities of both Democrats and Republicans
who say they would vote for a Black president and concludes, quote, "It is
undeniable that some Americans are racists, but racists split about evenly
across the parties." No party has a monopoly on racist.
Political scientist, John Sides (ph), responded to Tabarrok to flesh
out the picture that using data from 2008 national election study, he shows
that the people who express explicitly racist views such as Black people
are lazy or that Black people are unintelligent are more likely to be
Republicans than Democrats.
Identification with the Democratic Party tends to decline, he wrote,
identification with the Republican Party tends to increase as attitudes
towards Blacks become less favorable. When you look at the general social
survey data through the prism of ideology, this tendency is even clearer.
Razib Khan writing for "Discover" magazine points out that twice as many
White conservatives as White liberals would, quote, "strongly oppose a
close relatively marrying a Black person."
The good news is that the numbers in both cases are low. Only 20
percent of White conservatives and 10 percent of white liberals. So, I was
wrong when I said that, quote, "it is undeniably the case that racist
Americans are almost entirely in one political coalition and not the
other." That is simply not borne out by the data, it was a moment,
frankly, when my own biases led me to say something that wasn`t true.
My bad for saying it, and thank you, internet, for correcting me. But
my deeper mistake was focusing on racists as accountable group of
individuals as people with an essential core nature that can be analyzed
and chartered rather than focusing on how race reverberates through the two
different political coalitions and the vast racial disparities in the
effects of the policies favored by each of those coalition.
This is a seductive error that the great Jay Smooth has warned us
about in his now classic how-to-video about how to talk about race and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SMOOTH, FOUNDER, ILLDOCTRINE.COM: Remember the difference between
what they did conversation and the what they are conversation. The what
they did conversation focuses strictly on the person`s words and actions
and explaining why, what they did, and what they said was unacceptable.
The what they are conversation, on the other hand, takes things one
step further and uses what they did and what they said to draw conclusions
about what kind of person they are. I don`t care what he is, but I need to
hold him accountable for what he did. And that`s how we need to approach
those conversations about race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, instead of focusing on what conservatives are, we should
keep the conversation focused on what they are doing or what they are
calling for, and in this realm, there are very -- some very obvious racial
asymmetries, the first and most obvious one is an issue we`ve been covering
here on UP and on the network more broadly the Republican push in many
To impose new restrictions on voting, whether through voter I.D. laws
or curtailment on early voting that will disproportionately disenfranchise
people of color. One Ohio County chairman told the "Columbus Dispatch," he
opposed additional voting hours because, quote, "We shouldn`t contort the
voting process to accommodate the urban -- read African-American voter
The reality is, you don`t have to include a single White individual
racist in the entire party for them to pursue the strategy. This is a core
truth about American politics. We have a multiracial society with two
political coalitions. One of those coalitions are Democrats contains
almost all of the African-Americans, a majority of Latinos and Asians and a
minority of White people.
This is what the other political coalition looks like. The obvious
racial disparity you see at the political rallies is also reflected in the
institutional makeup of the parties. This is the racial breakdown of the
U.S. according to the 2010 census. This is the racial break down of
delegates the DNC in 2008. And this is the racial breakdown for delegates
to the RNC in 2008.
It is, therefore, not too surprising that in Tuesday`s NBC/"Wall
Street Journal" poll, Romney managed to get zero percent from Black voters.
And keep in mind, this is a country that is only growing less White. This
is what America`s racial composition will look like in 2050, according to
the census bureau. Just 50 percent white.
Into a nation already reeling from a total crisis of authority, a
cascade of institutional failure and a stalking, corrosive anxiety about
decline, the multiracial political party nominated and then managed to get
elected the first Black man to run the country in the nation`s history.
And one of the chief paradoxes of his time in office is that despite
the fact that the economic misery produced by the crisis and recession has
fallen disproportionately on people of color, they, according to Pew, are
more optimistic about the future than White people are.
Barack Obama was elected partly on an implicit promise or at least a
promise (INAUDIBLE) to suture the still gaping wounds of slavery, White
supremacist terrorism, rape, lynching, discrimination, and humiliation that
have marked our body politic from its birth. Today, it is a wound that if
no longer festering quite so openly is scarred over in such a way that it
cannot be scrubbed away or excised over or even covered.
It is part of we are. The turn at the 20th century, W.B. Dubois
predicted rightly that the problem of the 20th century is the problem of
the color line. Twelve years into the 21st century, on the eve of a
nominating convention of the party that destroyed slavery and enshrined the
right to vote in due process into the constitution, in the midst of the
hard core re-election of the battle of the first Black president, that line
seems as inerasable (ph) as ever from our politics.
HAYES: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris Hayes here with the one
and only Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC`s "Melissa Harris-Perry,"
which comes on right after the show, Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for
"The Atlantic" magazine, W. Kamau Bell, host of the new FX show, "Totally
Biased with W. Kamau Bell," and Jay Smooth, who is joining the program,
founder of the video blog -- I`ll be checking out -- illdoctrine.com and
host of New York`s Underground Railroad hip-shop show on WBAI-FM.
So, here -- an amazing thing happened this week, which is Ta-Nehisi
you wrote this incredible essay, very beautifully written as everything you
write is, and complex and searching and sophisticated analysis of the kind
of paradoxes of our understanding of race in the Obama era, how -- what has
changed, what has not, what the expectations of the first Black president
had been across the racial divide for White Americans and Black Americans,
And then, into the new cycle came Mitt Romney speaking yesterday at a
TA-NEHISI COATES, THEATLANTIC.COM: He planned it.
HAYES: Exactly. Mitt Romney apparently has a contract with the
Atlantic publicity bureau.
This is -- this is a joke that he told in Michigan on the stump
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No one has ever asked to see
my birth certificate. They know this is the place that I was born and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. So here`s what I think is interesting about that
comment. When we see that comment, we see the birther phenomenon, right,
there are all sorts of things in American politics in the age of Obama that
have an obvious, clear, distinct, and acute racial subtext, but no
necessary racial text, right? He`s not saying anything imputably racist,
And the way that we understand opposition of Barack Obama,
particularly opposition by white people and white conservatives is colored
by race in a way that I think can be the source of a lot of confusion,
frustration and anger in the body politic because there`s a lot of white
folks who are like, look, I just don`t like the guy because we have a $16
trillion debt, or whatever the issue is, why are you calling me a racist?
And so, I guess my first question. What do you think when you see
Mitt Romney make that comment?
COATES: Well, I think when I see him make that comment particularly
in Michigan, it`s really interesting to me, the subtext of birtherism is a
skepticism of citizenship. It`s a long tradition of skepticism of African-
American citizenship, cynicism towards African-American citizenship
stretches back, you know, literally to the birth of this country.
Mitt Romney, as you said, is from Michigan. I happen to be doing some
reporting in Michigan about a year or two ago, and frankly, your
neighborhood where Mitt Romney was actually born, Palmer Woods, on the
outskirts of Detroit. He`s moved to Bloomfield Hills.
Romney was born in 1947 where broad swaths of Detroit were essentially
white set-asides, housing wise. Affirmative action for white people in the
worst possible kind of way -- not to help any sort of inequality, to
HAYES: And extend privilege.
COATES: Right, right. Right.
Everyone wants to see the president`s grades. Everyone skeptical of
what affirmative action did for him. How did he get here? We don`t
believe him. Is he a citizen?
No one skeptical of Mitt Romney, given the fact of his origin. No one
thinks about how he was born, how that housing helped him, how job
discrimination, the whole time in which he comes from may have aided his
rise. I`m not saying anybody should, but the skepticism that you see
towards Obama is not one that`s reflected across the screen. It`s a very
specific, particular skeptic.
HAYES: You see, you had this great line yesterday, it says racism is
not just hatred, but it`s trust toward some group of people and skepticism
toward others. And that`s manifest --
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: That`s one of the lines in the text
that distresses me, the idea that racism is -- because when I read that
line, you`re such a gorgeous writer, so seductive, right? It`s true I read
the line and it says racism is in part defined by sort of a preferential
option for one group and skepticism towards another. But if it is that
solely or primarily, than black folks are the biggest racists I know, in
the sense of our deep skepticism towards white folks, right?
So, I think we have to make sure we`re layering on top of that set of
emotive and psychological sort of puristic preferences, also, the question
of power and as you pointed out just now, of policy, the ability to have
restricted covenants on your housing and that sort of thing.
But let`s real quick, I want to complicate the birtherism just a bit.
HARRIS-PERRY: Because I think we do a bit of a disservice to the
birtherism when and to how it`s operation in race when we take it back to a
kind of Jim Crow or slavery moment, because this operates for President
Obama I think because he`s insufficiently Negro, and by Negro, I mean
specifically African-American as opposed to what he is. Because the thing
that President Obama can do that most or the rest of us can`t do is tell
you exactly where he is from in Africa, exactly his African people are,
exactly what language the people from whom he comes from Africa.
No one ever asks what Michelle Obama`s citizenship is, because she --
not because she has a birth certificate, but rather because she is from a
discernible racial history and his is not.
HAYES: I point to two points. The first thing, just to reply to the
initial criticism -- just to be clear, the line is "racism is not just."
COATES: So, it`s not that I would not certainly confine racism just
to that. And I think you do. You make a lot of good points. I think
Obama -- God, I hate using this word -- exoticism, quote-unquote,
COATES: For a lack of a better term, exoticism does make it a lot
easier to, you know, directly go at it that way. Having said that, I think
that he was just black, I wouldn`t be shocked if there was some other way
of questioning his citizenship, maybe not birtherism but something
W. KAMAU BELL, HOST, "TOTALLY BIASED": And also, if he was just
black, which I feel weird saying.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, it`s also an odd thing.
BELL: If he was just black, he wouldn`t be the president. I think
his exoticism is part of the thing that gave white people of this country
like, I don`t have to feel guilty about him, because he`s from Africa. We
didn`t own him.
HARRIS-PERRY: It shows that we did, but just through his white
BELL: It`s so complicated.
HARRIS-PERRY: So it`s complex.
HAYES: There`s two things at play here, right? The way in which --
the way in which opposition to the birtherism, right, or let me show the
new welfare. Do we have the welfare ad that Mitt Romney is running?
Here are ads that Mitt Romney is running, I would say completely
without a factual basis, just to set up the policy thing here. Governors
have been asking for waivers to experiment with the method by which they
implement TANF, which is a welfare reform bill signed in the 1990 by Bill
Clinton and pushed by Newt Gingrich forever. In fact, Mitt Romney joins in
a letter asking governors to do that.
Barack Obama`s HHS department has granted authority for these waivers
to experiment, and the Romney campaign has seized on that as an example of
undoing welfare reform. And these are some of the ads that he`s been
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN AD)
BELL: My mother didn`t learn to read or write, so she didn`t have
real skills to fall back on, so she ended up on the welfare system. And
that`s how I grew up.
President Obama stripping work requirement out of welfare, I think the
problem with that is there`s been so many success stories of the welfare
reform of the `90s, where families that might otherwise have stayed stuck
in the cycle of dependency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. So, what`s so fascinating about this and what gets to
this conundrum, right, is that again, we are dealing on terrain that is
facially race neutral. It`s a white person in that ad. But there are no
black appear in this welfare ad. And yet the history of arguments about
the evil of redistributing your tax dollars to some other lazy person who
won`t work, is bound up.
And just to give a sense of how far back this go, this is just
amazing. 1866 cartoon, which is a broadside from a congressional campaign
happening in Pennsylvania at the time, during reconstruction. It`s an
attack advocating the election -- Hiser Climber (ph) for governor for
Pennsylvania on a white supremacy platform and it`s attacking the
Freedman`s Bureau, an agency that keep the Negro in idleness at the expense
of the wise men, twice vetoed by the president and in the back, the pillars
of Freedman`s Bureau, which are no work, sugar plums, indolence, white
women, apathy, white sugar, idleness, fishballs, clams, stews and pies.
So, you have to -- and what happens is --
BELL: I would like to improve racism has been here for a while.
HARRIS-PERRY: Just established.
HAYES: It`s very excite thing.
So, right, so this gets to this problem because when we have this
conversation about this, one side says why are you accusing us of making a
racial appeal? We`re just talking about welfare, we`ve got a white guy in
the ad and then it seems like we`re in the terrain we talked about in the
video I just shouted out, about the what you are conversation, because the
what you did conversation can`t be explicated just within the boundary of
what`s on television screen.
JAY SMOOTH, ILLDOCTRINE.COM: Right. I mean, I think it perfectly
simplifies the conundrum that Ta-Nehisi describes the president is trying
to navigate. And I think -- you know, I cringe a little bit when that
video I made is presented as a literal how-to video because, of course,
there`s no catch all way to always discuss race constructively and
effectively. It`s almost always as painful and awkward.
And we see in situations like this where things have shifted no covert
racism, being the dominant form instead of overt, and you want to call out
something, because they are clear implications there. But if you call it
out, then you`re also falling into the trap of getting trolled and letting
them play the role of being the victim and saying, look at those liberals
playing the race card on us again.
So, it`s a lose/lose situation that the president has been struggling
HAYES: And that is exactly what the essay is about, is that how he`s
How has the president navigated the fact that he is constantly being
trolled in some ways, right? He`s constantly being trolled to, quote,
"play the race card." Another phrase that I just despise, but we`ll invoke
COATES: I was at war with myself writing this piece, and some level,
as I said in the piece and I said before, I would like your president of
the United States to talk more about your race. But, you know, you look at
what happened with the Henry Louis Gates thing. I mean, it`s good that
health care got pass. That wasn`t directed to health care.
I was out in this forum, and I was moderating and the people who are
on the phone were way to the left of me, even though I consider myself
pretty far left. They were to the left of me, they were all African-
American. And to a man and to a woman, all of them said, he shouldn`t have
said anything. That`s not his job.
HAYES: About Henry Louis Gates?
COATES: Yes. I was totally, totally stunned by that. You know, at
the time I was of the mind, he should have said more, you know? So to be
honest, I`ve been back and forth on it, you know?
HARRIS-PERRY: So, I guess part of what I was surprised about in your
piece in terms of the way that you take on the president as -- in terms of
his race talk or --
HAYES: Or lack thereof.
HARRIS-PERRY: -- or lack thereof, I guess is really two things. One
is whether or not in the role of president, we expect the president of the
United States to address race. So for me, the answer to that is yes. So,
to the extent that I want President Obama to address race, I want Bill
Clinton, President Clinton, to stand up.
Because part of what is irritating to me about this whole completely
false welfare line is that policy, the one that President Obama now has to
defend in order to -- is itself a racially disparate policy when Bill
Clinton signed that welfare to work act what he did. What he did was to
make poor mothers have to go to work, rather than to care for their
children -- at the same time, the conservatives are claiming that
motherhood is more important than work.
I mean -- so Bill Clinton is let off having to do that. And so I
think there is a way when we call for President Obama to speak specifically
on race, we allow Mitt Romney off of it, we allow Paul Ryan off.
So, the question is, should a president who is going to be the
president of a diverse nation have to speak about it?
And real quick, I guess I am so surprised that you don`t see him doing
it. Because you are such a beautiful reader of textual analysis and I feel
like President Obama is performing race talk regularly, in ways that are
not just dog whistled, but the sort of code switching that allows him just
in his body to be doing race at all times.
COATES: I do say that. I wrote about that in the piece. I think
that was a significant subtext. I talk about explicitly, in terms of
policy, that sort of thing. The thing to keep in mind is President Obama
said himself that we couldn`t ignore race, that it should be explicitly
So, I don`t think in asking them to talk about, that lets Mitt Romney
or the Republican Party off the hook at all. I think I spent a
considerable portion of the episode -- I`m sorry, of the essay, keeping
them on the hook, trying to put them on the hook.
HAYES: I want to point to my favorite example of the president`s code
switching -- physical code switching. This is shaking hands, have you seen
this, with the U.S. Dream Team. This is him -- how are you, sir? Good to
see you. That`s it right there.
Talk more about it after the break.
HAYES: All right. So there is a quote recently in "Black Enterprise"
magazine that epitomizes the line the president has taken, explicitly this
issue of -- are you, Barack Obama, first black president, doing enough for
black America? Are you explicitly targeting policies sufficiently to the
And he says, "I want all Americans to have opportunity. I`m not the
president of the black America. I`m president of the United States
America. But the programs that we have put in place have been directed to
those folks who are least able to get financing, through conventional
means," et cetera, et cetera.
So, this is the line, right? I`m not the president of black America.
And you have this I thought you had a funny riff on your show about --
you basically were like you are president of black America. I know you are
president of black America is and I know that you know. And I know you
know you can`t say that. That`s me just doing the W. Kamau Bell show, even
though you are sitting right here.
BELL: Yes. I think we -- that`s the frustration I feel sometimes, is
like he is the president of black America. Like, dude, you know that you
are, and you know that`s why we elected you because we wanted to elect, we
wanted to see one of us in office. And we`re -- we are at the very --
we`re the base of Barack Obama, we`re his base.
And I think -- you would see George W. Bush talk directly to his base
sometime in clear tones in way Barack does through code switching but
doesn`t talk as directly to his base. And I think sometimes as a black
person, that can be frustrating.
HARRIS-PERRY: What other American president, when he tells the story
of American greatness, because they all do, right? They all do sort of
here`s why America is great.
What other American president has made the contributions, the life
stories of black Americans and black women in particular, the core of how
he tells that story? On the night that he`s elected, he stands there in
Grant Park in Chicago and he tells the story of America through the eyes of
a woman named Anna Cooper who was a 90-some --
HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, I hear you, OK, maybe he doesn`t. For real
like who else ever in the history of American politics, when they were just
having a talk, made us the center of it? But I`m not sure I buy the story
that he doesn`t talk about race. Who else in the middle of their campaign
suspended and was like, let`s just chat about race?
SMOOTH: I mean, I think he does talk about race, both in the winks
and nods that you laid out in your show and you describe, and he explicitly
talks about the importance of race and the positive examples you cite and
shows how his existence is an example of the American exceptionalism that
people say he doesn`t believe in.
But I do wish, I share Ta-Nehisi`s wish that he would explicitly
discuss the impact of racism and racial inequities on people, especially
since, as you also pointed, he does sometimes when he speaks to black
audiences, he sort of delivers these pull your pants up Cosbyisms --
COATES: Yes. Like he --
SMOOTH: But there`s a place for that, but also not giving the context
to the external obstacles as explicitly kind of hurts a bit.
COATES: Right. He does have a crafted political policy message
towards black people. It involves stops playing video games, it involves
better parenting, it involves studying, you know? Things that we can all
endorse, I`m happy he`s saying that. These --
HAYES: You do like video games, let`s be clear.
COATES: I`m a little upset about the video games.
But, look, he tends to shy away from the systemic critique that really
should go with that.
HAYES: OK. But let me say, I found the Henry Louis Gates moment
really instructive and you wrote about that, but I also think it affected
the way they comported themselves afterward. The Henry Louis Gates moment
was -- the moment I was in the room during the press conference, reaction
was so honest, right? It came from such a -- a pure, just honest place, it
wasn`t at all particularly radical, anything he was saying. He was saying
a pretty mundane thing, that you shouldn`t be pulled out of your house and
the craziness that ensued. I feel like they are like, all right, enough of
HARRIS-PERRY: Isn`t it possible that as wordsmiths, as journalists,
as writers, as professors, that we are overly interested in what the
president is saying as a set of analyst tools? So, to suggest he doesn`t
have a systemic critique at the same time that he is, you know, making sure
that the Pigford settlement finally goes through to get money to black
farmers, that he is finally reducing settlement disparity, that he is
passing Lilly Ledbetter, which has a disproportionate impact on black
families, because black women are more likely to be the heads of household,
that he`s passing health care reform bill.
HAYES: Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, right.
HARRIS-PERRY: I don`t know how much I care about what he talks about,
as long as he`s using systemic tools. This goes back to the sort of what I
said versus what I do?
COATES: I think that`s perfectly defensible. But I don`t think any
of us is saying he hasn`t done anything for blacks. I definitely would not
say that. I would never argue that he`s done nothing for African-
BELL: I feel sorry for Barack Obama in a lot of ways, because I feel
like black people sat around for 40 years in this country imagining the
HAYES: Yes, you`re right about that, as a cosmic joke.
BELL: We thought that when we got a black president, we would just be
able to sometimes like save me, black president. Save me! And he would
fly in and save us in a moment`s notice. And we -- he`s not that guy. I`m
not saying --
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s what you think? I actually think we thought
exactly this -- we figured, in fact so much so that initially in the
primaries, we were like I`m not sure if I can vote for him, because I`m
afraid they`ll assassinate him. I actually think we expected exactly this.
That we figured we would elect an African-American as president and there
would be massive resistance.
And the reason we figured that is because that`s what happened in the
HAYES: Yes, exactly. But there`s two things here. I want to get
back to something you just said about the massive resistance, because
there`s a theory on the right that when you said -- you said something very
clearly, like we voted for him, we, African-Americans and right now support
for him is 100 percent according to the most recent poll, right, because of
-- because of very obvious affinity, a very deep, profound symbolic --
HARRIS-PERRY: And a really bad opponent.
HAYES: And there`s a theory, and I think it`s really the theory of
Mitt Romney and theory of conservatives, which is that Barack Obama`s
election was of the product of, you know, the deep, you know, African-
Americans rightly unjustly feeling a connection to the first black
president and white liberal guilt, wanting to make this historical moment
happen and the fact there was a crisis, and all of the symbolism, put to a
person who actually isn`t up to the task, that actually he`s not that good
of a president.
I`m not saying I believe this. I`m saying that this is the critique
that the right gives, right, that this was all this kind of symbolic
politics, it wasn`t actually substantive, the reason he won. And I want to
hear you respond to that because that is -- that is the argument that sort
of integrates the historical nature of the presidency and kind of uses it
against him, right after this.
HAYES: Yes, (INAUDIBLE) black president. It`s on the noses nose.
HARRIS-PERRY: Do we have $5,000?
HAYES: Right. So, there is a critique -- I mean, this sort of -- I
want to be clear to people who are attacking me on Twitter. I do not
believe the theory of the case I just gave. I was representing the theory
that is propounded I think by conservatives about -- essentially Obama as a
kind of affirmative action figure, right, that essentially he was the
beneficiary of a lot of white guilt and put him in over his head and now --
and sort of now, you, white America, you expiated your guilt by voting for
him the first time.
This is really I think what a lot of the appeal is. You voted for him
the first time because you wanted a black president. You see that he`s
over his knead, now time to get --
BELL: We on the show, "Totally Biased," we were writing a bit of a
commercial and the whole idea for commercial was like white people, saying
we gave it a shot. And then we saw the commercial, not as a fake
commercial, like, oh, I guess we need to try harder.
BELL: We were going to make a joke about it.
HARRIS-PERRY: You know, I think the -- my one angst when we suggest
that the pushback against President Obama is primarily about race, my
concern about that is to me, the logical extension of that argument, for
progressives is, therefore, we can only elect white progressives, that a
block body will drive white people so frickin` nuts, right? They`re going
to go -- I said fricking.
HARRIS-PERRY: That they`re going to be unable, we`re never going to
get health care, any of these things passed, because they`re just going to
be reacting to racism. And therefore, don`t ever put any more black bodies
HAYES: That`s a subtext in this --
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. And the real concern about that is like just the
empirics of it. They impeached Bill Clinton. They impeached the white
HAYES: OK. I`m glad you brought that up, because that brings to
mind, right, when there`s this argument about how much is it racial animus,
when we talk about the Tea Party backlash? When we talked about everything
that Barack Obama and Charles Pierce wrote this piece being like, I have
seen -- you know, I`ve never experienced a president who America felt like
he owed them something, that he there was because of their good grace or
something, and, you know, when you compare the backlash to Barack Obama in
many it looks remarkably similar to the backlash of Bill Clinton, right? I
COATES: I think the most important thing about that is I tried to
make this point in the piece. Bill Clinton himself is racialize, he`s
already racialized. Barack Obama just personifies, he just brings it to
the floor, you know, even more so.
If Barack Obama was caught up in the same type (ph) that Bill Clinton
had been caught, I think he would have run out of office. Immediately --
HARRIS-PERRY: Don`t you do that, black women are violent thing. Come
BELL: I mean, metaphorically kill him (ph).
BELL: I mean she would hold him accountable in a way. I didn`t mean
to illegally killing.
HARRIS-PERRY: But see, even there, even there, the idea that black
women hold accountable their partners in a way that white women don`t is
again empirically false. Black women are more likely to be victimized by
domestic violence than are white women. Black women are the highest
fastest growing population of new HIV infections. Why? Because we are so
rather die, we will literally die, like I think we have to be careful in
this creation of these -- like I think that -- the idea that you can`t
attack us, we can`t be bothered.
And so, why isn`t President Obama bucking up, because that`s what
black people do. We just fight, we`re just angry, we just talk, we just
tell it. No, it`s a stereotype.
HAYES: And it`s really frustrating, this kind of stereotyping on
white liberals, like even these statements like Michael Moore, like we
thought we were voting for the black guy, this Bill Maher, this kind of
like essential blackness, that liberals --
HARRIS-PERRY: Which is racist.
HAYES: That he`s gangster, or something like that is the core of
blackness, is like confrontational, like being confrontational.
BELL: When you said that evidence shows equal racism in both parties,
every black person went yes.
HAYES: Yes. It`s very funny. You know what? It`s very funny. Yes,
I`m glad you said it because when I said that, and I was wrong, an
offhanded comment. The reason I spent a lot of time correcting it. I was
But the people that went nuts on me on Twitter were white
conservatives than black people. I have shown up at dinner parties, gone
over to meet the parents, more than one liberal household. Let me tell
The thing I want to turn attention to here and to me the part of the
essay I thought was the most bracing, or -- is a discussion of the way you
talk about Shirley Sherrod, and everybody remembers the Shirley Sherrod
incident. Forget about what the president has to navigate, how black
citizens navigate their relationships with the first black president and
their relationship of criticism or support or frustration.
And the story you tell about Shirley Sherrod, the last line of the
piece, not to ruin the ending, spoiler alert, is basically she talks to
you, but I don`t want to hurt the president. She got screwed over. I
think we can all agree, like she really got screwed over in the whole
thing, the president, himself`s fault or his whole administration, like
ultimately the buck stops here.
But her conclusion from the whole episode was, whatever happens, I
don`t want to be used as a political cajole in any way to protect --
COATES: Well, I think, you know, some context is really important
there. Shirley Sherrod is working in Albany, Georgia. She is in it. I
mean, really, really, really in it.
And one of the things she said to me was there was this constant
experience after it happened, where people who -- before did not like her,
would come up to her, oh, I`m so sympathetic, oh, I`m so sorry he did that
to you. I`m so sorry -- you know, with an obvious anti Obama bias,
And so there is a way in which she could be used within that specific
community. Not even nationally, within a specific community to help her,
despite legitimate anger by the way she has toward the White House.
HAYES: And that gets to this sort of fodder question, right, which is
criticism as fodder for the critics, and I want, Melissa, I want to
We`ll take a quick break and we`ll be back.
HAYES: No, but, Melissa, you want to respond, I mean, about this --
we were talking about this issue of the ammunition problem, right? If you
criticize the president openly, you are giving ammunition of a cast of
people who are your ideological political enemies and have vowed to destroy
him. And so, there is a certain amount of self-censorship that promotes.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. I mean, there`s the ammunition problem. But
again, I think I would go back to our conversation what`s happening
discursively versus what`s happening in terms of actual pushback against
the president, the administration, all of that. But I do think this gets -
- what happens, we tell the story that African-Americans are unwilling to
critique the president because African-Americans are his key supporters.
But as a matter of evidence, take Sherrod, for example. Actually, for
me the big critique is not of the president or administration, it`s of the
NAACP. It`s of Ben Jealous on hearing the Shirley Sherrod story tweets
initially, "She should be ashamed of herself."
HARRIS-PERRY: So, maybe, as you point out --
COATES: She got enough anger for the NAACP --
HARRIS-PERRY: Check it out. Maybe not your average viewer doesn`t
know who Shirley Sherrod is, but if you`re the head of the NAACP and you
hear the last Sherrod and you hear the state of Georgia, you should start
connecting Charles Sherrod and Georgia in your head like ding, ding, ding,
like I found the prize, 101.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, like their failure to catch that connection was for
me is far more insidious.
But the whole point is that Sherrod and other local activists like her
-- I mean, my husband spent some part of the early part the Obama
administration actually in a lawsuit that had begun in the Bush
administration, but continued to the Obama administration against HUD for a
set of housing policies.
There are people doing work all over the country who are making
pushbacks, who are trying to do work, you know, organizing. That`s not the
same thing as sitting on television and saying I think the president is
HAYES: Why not, though?
HAYES: The thing you do -- if your job is to go on television --
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s not how conservatives won the movement because
when conservatives win, what they do is they have that fight, they get the
push, they actually don`t -- I mean, even as Bush -- even as Bush complete
failed to overturn Roe vs. Wade, you didn`t hear the conservative white
wing of the party attack him, what they did is they took state by state,
each and every state.
COATES: That factual correction that I got to make. Shirley Sherrod
actually does critique the president.
HAYES: In the piece she does.
COATES: She`s not like rolling over.
COATES: I think her point was -- and she said this in a very early
initial e-mail and then we have follow-up after that. I have to be
conscious about what I`m saying, how I`m saying it, who I`m saying it to.
But she was very clear with the critique.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good point.
HAYES: Jay, what do you think about this sort of ammunition point?
SMOOTH: I mean, it`s definitely a tightrope walk. That`s something
that would be the case as far as who you are rooting for in your party in
general. But I think there`s other layers of it for sure because there was
always a dichotomy for me.
I had tremendous hopes for the symbolic importance that Obama would
have in terms of getting I elected. I had more pragmatic, cynical hopes as
far as what he`d be able to accomplish, in terms of policies and what he
would be able to do in his administration.
But -- I mean, I think there is a desire to preserve that symbolic
impact he would have that makes him at times to be reticent to talk about
things like drones, so on, which is -- I think there is -- you know, it`s a
tightrope walk, being frank about the ways in which one is critically and
then speaking in his defense against things he`s facing in terms of massive
resistance -- you`re reticent to talk about that as well.
HAYES: And particularly you feel so many critiques are unfair. I
mean, that`s part of the problem, right?
HAYES: And I said this off-air, let me say this on air, which is that
like, look, I covered the labor movement. There are a lot of unions that
are total disasters. They are completely dysfunctional entities. And I
covered some of them, right?
There is a desire to not write a story if you are on the left and say,
man, this union, what a total mess, because the union movement is massively
important, the soul of the American left for years, and there is a
determined effort to extinguish it, to destroy it, to wipe it out of
existence. And up against that.
And so you think that goes through your mind as are you modulating,
when you`re talking about -- the thing I want to respond about the FOX News
thing and this -- we see this argument. And I see it on my Twitter feed
all the time, I`m sure you get it. It`s about this international argument
about Barack Obama, is he sellout? Is he pragmatic? All this stuff,
When you look -- when you point to the conservative`s example, I think
about the Iraq war and I always saying to myself, I wish the conservatives
who oppose the Iraq war hasn`t gotten behind the president. I wish they
had really taken to the air waves and killed that thing before it happened.
And I think there is a danger to falling in line. There is a real danger
to falling in line.
HARRIS-PERRY: Wait. But I guess my point, we`re not falling -- to
suggest the absence of an all-day 5 five-point critique to the president`s
agenda is falling in line is my concern.
So, I guess I just wanting to point out that for me, one of the great
-- as Professor Cornel West might say, one of the great gifts of blackness
to America has been the ability to both maintain an incredibly and uniquely
American optimism about the project that is the American story and to
operate always with a characteristic (ph) of suspicion about how we`re
actually living out the American story.
So we love the Declaration of Independence and have a lot of criticism
of the Constitution which was meant to bring that thing into existence.
HAYES: Let me read just quickly from your essay, which sort of makes
this point, "For most of American history, our political system was premise
on two conflicting facts. One, an oft-stated love of democracy, the other,
the undemocratic white supremacy inscribed at every level of government.
In warring against that paradox, African-Americans have been historically
restricted to the realm of protest and agitation."
"But when President Barack Obama pledged," and this is about Trayvon
Martin, "to get to the bottom of exactly what happened, he was not
protesting or agitating, right? This is the first he was not appealing to
federal power. He was employing it. The power was black, and in certain
quarters, was received as such."
More on this after the break.
HAYES: All right. To kind of punch home this conversation. There is
something you wanted to say about Shirley Sherrod.
COATES: Yes, I was going to go back to this.
Melissa, this point you made about NAACP, which I think is so, so
true, they should have known.
HAYES: And Ben Jealous did apologize.
COATES: He did apologize.
COATES: The thing that always impressed me about Barack Obama is he`s
not just an African-American president. He`s really just right up on the
experience, he knows, he`s smart, intellectual, shouldn`t he have known?
Shouldn`t somebody close to him have known?
COATES: I mean, that`s what really got me like appalling about that.
I mean, not to let the NAACP off the hook.
HARRIS-PERRY: No, just to say, I have no idea whether or not
President Obama in and of himself knew or not, right? What I know
empirically is the NAACP. So, whether it was actually Ben Jealous or
whoever tweets for Ben Jealous.
COATES: Somebody close to him. I mean, does that say anything?
HARRIS-PERRY: I`m not surprise that Tom Vilsack didn`t know that name
Sherrod. I mean, like, did you see Tom Vilsack? I`m not surprised about
HAYES: I want to -- there is a passage from "The Audacity of Hope,"
which I think we should end with the president`s words, he is such an
incredible writer, where he is talking -- he`s talking about a lesson he
learned about how black politicians talk about race. This is from his book
written in 2006. Check it out.
He says, "I remember once sitting with one my Democratic colleagues in
the Illinois State Senate as we listened to another fallow senator -- an
African-American whom I`ll call John Doe who represented a largely inner
city district -- launch into a lengthy and passionate peroration on why the
elimination of a certain program was a case of blatant racism. After a few
minutes, the white senator, who had one of the chamber`s most liberal
voting records turned to me and said, `You know what the problem is with
John? Whenever I hear him, he makes me feel more white.`
In defense of my black colleague, I pointed out that it`s not easy for
black politicians to gauge the right tone to take -- too angry? Not angry
enough? -- when discussing the enormous hardship facing his or her
constituents, still my white colleague`s comment was instructive."
That moment in the book is kind of a -- you know, profound one,
because it`s about learning a lesson as a black politician who is in a
world on the south side of Chicago, where if that was all he was going to
be, he wouldn`t have to negotiate the sort of cross racial appeals as much,
right? He could have been continued to represent Hyde Park for a long
time. Maybe run for Congress, but --
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, he did. And --
HAYES: He got it handed to him.
HARRIS-PERRY: He says he was insufficiently black.
HAYES: And the reporting from that campaign is amazing. One of my
colleagues, Ted McClellan (ph) of "Chicago Reader" when I was there, wrote
a piece about that. But this -- that portion is omitted from the abridged
version of the audio book. Interesting.
Nice find, segment producer Todd Cole.
All right. Melissa Harris-Perry, are you going to take off to get
ready for your own show, which is coming up next. I`m sure the staff will
HAYES: Thank you for being here.
HAYES: What do we know now that we didn`t know last week? My answer
is after this.
HARRIS-PERRY: All right. So, what do we know now that we didn`t know
We know now just how bad the recovery has been for the middle class.
According to research firm Sentier LLC, we know median household income
fell 2.6 percent in real terms in the 18 months that make up the official
term of the great recession. Median incomes have fallen an additional 4.8
percent since June 2009, the official start of the so-called recovery.
We know despite the fact that unemployment remains at 8 percent, this
campaign focused shockingly little on job agenda and full employment. We
know Mitt Romney uses poor economic news as a political cajole to attack
President Obama`s record. But we can predict with a great deal of
certainty that the agenda he and the House Republican Caucus are advocating
will only erode the economic prospects of the middle class and further
erode the economic prospects of the middle class.
And even as their prospects dim, we now know that middle class
Americans are more generous in their charitable contributions than the
affluent. We already knew from the variety of social psychological studies
that those better off economically tend to be less empathetic but we know
how this plays out in dollars and cents. According to a new study from
"The Chronicle of Philanthropy," household that is earn between $50,000 and
$75,000 annually give an average of 7.6 percent of their discretionary
income to charity, while those who earn over $100,000 give an average of
4.2 percent of their discretionary income to charity.
We also know that, quote, "Rich people who live in neighborhoods with
many other wealthy people give smaller share of their incomes to charity
than rich people who live in more economically diverse communities. On
people making more than $200,000 a year account for more than 40 percent of
the taxpayers in the zip code, wealthy residents give an average of 2.8
percent of discretionary income to charity compared with an average of 4.2
percent for all item earners earning $200,000 or more," end quote.
And, finally, we now know not one but two local TV stations, one in
Denver, the other in Ohio, were asked by Romney campaign staffers not to
ask any questions about Congressman Todd Akin or abortion before they were
granted interviews with Mitt Romney. We know that for both candidates, the
terms of access have increasingly shifted in favor of the campaigns. And
we know that citizens increasingly get their news from campaigns directly
rather than in the media.
The Pew Research Center found that, quote, "reporters and talk show
personalities account for half of the assertions of the candidate`s
character and biography as they did 12 years ago," 27 percent versus 50
percent in 2000. At the same time, campaigns, their surrogates and allies
account for nearly half these themes -- 48 percent up from 37 percent in
We also know that reporters competing for access and scoops on the
increasingly overpopulated national political beat face a fundamental
collective action problem when individually bargaining over the terms of
access to campaigns we know a bit of genuine journalistic solidarity for
reporters collectively refuse certain conditions would solve the problem.
But we also know collective action and solidarity are dirty words.
Michelle Goldberg from "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast" is back with
us at the table. I want to find out what my guests now know when the week
Michelle, we begin with you.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, NEWSWEEK: We know that nobody has ever asked to
see Mitt Romney`s birth certificate and I think more significantly we know
that he`s willing to go there very much unlike John McCain four years ago.
HAYES: Yes, I have been pondering, thinking, discussing this moment.
I was on Rachel`s show last night and we talked about it. It just seemed
so bizarre to me. I think Rachel`s theory is essentially it`s trolling,
it`s a way of trying to provoke accusations of racism because of the
politics of people accusing a white person of being racist down to their
benefit even if the explicit birtherness doesn`t.
GOLDBERG: Yes, it`s hard -- I mean, some people said it must have
been a slip-up and Mitt Romney does tend to say ridiculous offensive things
when he`s speaking extemporaneously, but at the same time it was, you know,
it obviously delighted the crowd. And that`s actually -- he`s defending it
on the grounds, the crowd loved it, you know, which says quite a bit about
COATES: We know that -- well, let me back up a little bit. In 2008,
there was a hope there would be a reform of the Republican Party, that it
would moderate a little bit. We know that`s not going to happen.
Actually, what`s happening is moving further right and if there`s going to
be any reform, it`s a long, long ways off. I think the birther comment,
this whole forcible rape business in relation to abortion really evidences
HAYES: Yes. We`re going to talk -- tomorrow, we`re going to talk
about the Republican convention and the Republican platform, which NBC News
has gotten its hand on the draft version of that platform. The platform
people, oh, Mitt Romney, all these people, Reince Priebus, don`t worry
about the platform, nothing to see here.
But that`s the expression of the --
COATES: That`s the platform you`re running on.
HAYES: As the party grows more disciplined than we have seen the
Republican Party that conducts itself with tremendous discipline, more
party-line votes, particularly governs from the House, instead of looking
at the hazy details that Mitt Romney won`t give, look at the platform for
what they are pledging themselves to do. We`re going to do that tomorrow.
BELL: I learned as my friend (INAUDIBLE) say that the Republican
Party is not a logic-base system. And that if you`re going to talk about
forcible rape and legitimate rape and also gin up birtherism comment, that
I really feel like I don`t trust you to operate heavy machinery for the
outside without adult supervision.
HAYES: I should say, just as a factual stipulation, that the Akin
comment was condemned widely across the Republican circles, basically every
Republican starting from -- working its way up to Mitt Romney took them
about 36 hours condemned the comment. We should be clear on that.
BELL: I would argue that they condemn him again saying it out loud on
camera. That the thing in there is actually, I believe that`s what they
HAYES: J. Smooth?
SMOOTH: I mean, I think as he said, even though the dog whistle may
have been accidental, he was cleaning his dog whistle and it just went off,
I think they have, afterwards, it had the intended effect of a dog whistle,
there was a rousing ovation, and they played it as if it was intentional.
I think the Republicans are going to cast their lot with playing up fear
and pandering and sort of meta trolling pandering as far as they can, which
makes me as a Republican, I would feel the way that I felt as a Knicks fan,
that you`re sort of instead of building something that can make you a
viable party for the future, we are sort of training for that 38-year-old
player with two broken knees and seeing if he has one more chance.
I mean, -- they`re casting their lot with going for a shrinking pool
of people that you can pander to that way that in the long term I don`t
think bodes well.
HAYES: Well, when you talk about these demographic projections, and
this is the point that noble people make all the time. But if you look at
the immigration part of this platform is extremely radical. I mean --
GOLDBERG: And would defund Texas universities.
HAYES: Yes, defund Texas universities because there`s essentially a
state-wide DREAM Act. We`ll talk more about that tomorrow.
My thanks to Michelle Goldberg from "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast,"
Ta-Nehisi Coates from "Atlantic", W. Kamau Bell from the new show "Totally
Biased" on FX, Thursday nights at 11:00 Eastern, and IllDoctrined.com`s Jay
Smooth. Thanks for getting UP.
Thank you for joining us today for UP.
Join us tomorrow, Sunday morning at 8:00 when we`ll have Michael
Steele, former RNC chairman, live with us from Tampa to preview the
Republican convention, along with Salon.com`s Joan Walsh, whose news book
is called "What`s the Matter with White People: Why We Long for a Golden
Age That Never Was".
Coming up next is, of course, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY." On MHP today,
Melissa takes a look at Paul Ryan`s workout routine and examines whether he
and his new boss Mitt Romney are fit for office. See what I did there.
Plus, a trip home to New Orleans and a tour of the new Harris-Perry
home that has just three walls.
All that plus the lesson on how babies are made.
Looking forward to that. That`s "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" coming up
We`ll see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
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