now, while we have been concentrating on this george zimmerman trial, a lot has been happening in the
. we want to get to it. let's bring in our washington insider
bacon. how you doing?
good to see you.
let's start with some of the reporting you've been doing on that very careful statement that the president put out. everyone understands it's somewhat unusual for the president to talk about a specific verdict. you were talking to someone at the
about that. what did you learn?
this is a 166-word statement that was very carefully vetted. 166 was the words, but it was very reviewed by a lot of officials. the president dictated it himself to the speech writers. this is something he thought a lot about beforehand. they feel like they had to plan this out for two reasons. the first being the president really feels. horribly for the martin family and wanted to speak to them in a personal way. the second thing is they wanted to make sure the president really spoke directly and encouraged people to remain calm and not have any kind of violent rioting. they felt it was very important to have it come out in the president's words in the first
. i asked him about any kind of broader action about this. they said this was part of a broader push on gun control, but the
officials i talked to said there's probably not going to be any kind of broader race speech or broader racial initiative from this case that the president would lead. although, i would say that
today spoke at a group of the deltas, the african-american women fraternity and sorority. he mentioned specifically he thinks there should be a broader discussion about race because of this case. holder, who in the past has talked about race and more in a personal way than the president has at times.
something we know about both of them as senior african-
has always had more of an interest in that discussion piece of this. being the president of the whole country and often talking about this case as some sort of teachable moment but not a moment for organizing around policy. one other
issue i wanted to get you on this week on wednesday, the
senate judiciary committee
will begin the first
hearing since that shelby decision when the
basically knocked down a key section of the
voting rights act
. the most interesting part for those of us who have been following the story is that you have a republican congressman testifying what does that mean here,
important thing, he used to be the head of the
house judiciary committee
. he's a republican from wisconsin. he twice led the republicans in their effort to support the reauthorization of the
voting rights act
. he's in the past been an ally with democrats on this issue. so it's important to have him on the hearing because the
groups have told me their strategy to get a new section 4 is to build this block by block, republican by republican. rather than trying to, you know, get
to put out a bill and need
to pass one. it would be
dead on arrival
in it the
. they want to build a bipartisan bill with a
, maybe with an
involved even to get a bipartisan bill in the
that can get support in the senate as well. it's also in the broader
, speaking of doa in the
, the senate passed an
bill, and it looks like it's not going to do so well in the
. one of the reasons for that may be the
of districts in the
. republican districts tend to be far less black, brown, and asian than the national average and where are white where democratic districts tend to be much more
people of color
than the national average. is that a big part in this, that a lot of republicans in the
do not feel that they have to go home and speak to the hispanic-americans in their districts and do you think the
is going to do anything with the senate's bill or just kill it?
let me make two points. the first one is we're asking the
members to do something against their self-interest on some level. politicians rarely do that. for most republicans, voting for an
that will maybe help
run for president in
is not their first priority. their priority is re-election. that's driving it. i would say i'm not as down on this process right now as other people are. the
passed 18 days ago. so things in congress move pretty slowly. what
is doing right now is what he has to do. he has to sound negative about this. he knows most
republicans are don't like this bill, and it's going to have to pass with democratic votes. he couldn't put a bill on the floor next week. he has to let this process come out. he has to let republican activists complain. he has to let republican members complain. he has to sort of, you know, act for a while. remember the fiscal cliff thing? we knew ultimately he was going to let the
vote for tax increases. he had to pretend to be outraged and go through that whole game and that whole acting process first. i think we have to watch that here. i think this bill is not dead. i think we have to, you know, the august recess will happen. republicans will hear from their constituents. then we can see in september where we are and if there's a
passing a more conservative bill and then sort of gradually move toward a path of citizenship.
i'm just concerned there's a lot of acting going down in washington. i just don't like the sound of that.
we're usually very candid here. in this case, i think there may be a little bit of people not saying what their true position is.
bacon, thank you for of the report.