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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

July 30, 2013
Guest: Lee Burdick

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, GUEST HOST: And thanks to you at home for
staying with us the next hour. Rachel has the night off.

But if you are watching Rachel, we will be joined later this hour by
the chief of staff of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner who tonight has been
(AUDIO GAP) by an eighth woman. That will be the interview tonight. And
you are going to want t see it.

But, we begin here with a surprise victory. This was Barack Obama in
January 2008 on the night he won the Iowa Democratic caucuses.

Senator Obama was not supposed to win that night. Senator Hillary
Clinton was favored, but she came in third behind both Senator John Edwards
and that new guy from Illinois, the skinny one with the funny name.

Barack Obama was not supposed to win Iowa, but he did, and it gave him
tremendous momentum. And with that momentum, he ran directly into a brick
wall. Less than a week later, Senator Clinton won the New Hampshire
primary. She righted her campaign, she was back on top.

Barack Obama finished second and his momentum was looking like so much
pixie dust cleared away with a single sneeze from the party establishment.
And yet, what we remember from that night in New Hampshire is not what
Hillary Clinton said in victory, but what Barack Obama said in defeat about


down impossible odds, when we`ve been told we`re not ready, or that we
shouldn`t try, or that we can`t, generations of Americans have responded
with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people -- yes, we can.
Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

CROWD: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!


HARRIS-PERRY: Barack Obama told the crowd that night that slaves
whispered, "Yes, we can," on the road to freedom. Women called out "Yes,
we can," on the way to the ballot box. And his supporters would say, "Yes,
we can," on the path to the White House.

Barack Obama framed his real and painful defeat in terms of the broad
sweeping ark of American experience. He could not change result in New
Hampshire but he could change the way people saw that result. He could
shift their perspective.

In a way, it is his singular gift as a politician. Last year, when
Vice President Biden endorsed marriage equality, when he did that right in
the heat of the presidential campaign, he forced the president`s hand on
the issue. Suddenly, the president needed to take a stand on an issue he
had avoided taking a stand on. And so, he evolved into an open supporter
of marriage equality.

Then, he framed that support in terms both personal and universal.


OBAMA: You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are
same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been
sitting around the dinner table and we`ve been talking about their friends
and their parents, and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn`t dawn on them that
somehow their friends` parents would be treated differently. It doesn`t
make sense to them, and frankly, that`s the kind of thing that prompts a
change of perspective.


HARRIS-PERRY: For President Obama, so much depends on the frame.
He`s saying right there, yes, you have kids, right? And I have kids.
Their generation sees this differently. So I moved a little bit, and maybe
you`ll move little bit, too.

Now, he cannot make the nation move on the issue of marriage equality,
but he can frame the issue in a way that makes it easier for the country to
move. He did it, again, this month after a Florida jury acquitted the man
who killed young Trayvon Martin.


OBAMA: You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this
could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could
have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why in the African-
American community, at least, there`s a lot of pain around what happened
here, I think it`s important to recognize that the African-American
community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a
history that doesn`t go away.


HARRIS-PERRY: Again, there`s only so much President Obama could do as
president in the sense of governing. He could conceivably bring a federal
charge against the shooter, but otherwise the case was a Florida case tried
under Florida state law.

What the president could do was change the framing. He could say
Trayvon Martin could have been my child, Trayvon Martin could have been me.
And people with that experience and history see this story a particular
way. He could try to change the framing enough so people could see the
story in that way whether they looked like Trayvon Martin, themselves, or

Last week, President Obama set out, again, to make the case for the
federal government doing something about jobs and the economy. He began a
series of speeches, the first one in Galesburg, Illinois, all with the
argument that the economy grows best from the middle outward, not from the
top down or the bottom up. The gap between the rich and poor in this
country, he told "The New York Times," is fraying the social fabric in our
country. He said that everything he proposes over the next three years
will be designed to do something about that.

The thing about the Obama presidency is that the president is supposed
to work with a Congress where the House is controlled by Republicans who
will not let his proposals pass. According to the beltway understanding of
things, President Obama might as well propose building a colony on the moon
and naming it after Newt Gingrich. He may as well propose that than ask
Congress to do something, anything about jobs because this Congress is
dedicated to doing as little as what President Obama wants as they possibly

Help the economy? Lunar economy, you say.

Today, President Obama took his case for fixing income inequality to warehouse in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is an interesting
choice of venue, an odd deliberative frame. Interesting considering the
Jeff Bezos of Amazon amassed a fortune of $25 billion in counting, while
workers sweated away in warehouses evocative of a Charles Dickens` tale.
I`m just saying.

But there is the president in the Amazon warehouse today offering
Republicans in Congress a grand bargain, a big cut in corporate tax rates
in exchange for programs to create jobs. The president starting by
reframing what it means to work.


OBAMA: Jobs are about more than just paying the bills. Jobs are
about more than just statistics. We`ve never just defined having a job as
having a paycheck here in America.

A job is a source of pride. It`s a source of dignity. It`s the way
you look after your family.


It`s proof that you`re doing the right things and meeting your
responsibilities and contributing to the fabric of your community and
helping to build the country.


HARRIS-PERRY: Jobs are not just about paying the bills. So we need
to make sure country is growing good jobs. That was part one. And then
because Republicans in Congress have already said they will not go along
with the president`s economic proposals, the president reframed the pitch.
He made a kind of separate pitch, not to Congress, but to the titans of


OBAMA: At the same time, I`m calling on our businesses to do more for
their workers. I talked to Jeff Bezos yesterday and he was so proud of the
fact that he wants to see every employee in Amazon continually upgrade
their skills and improve, and if they have a dream they want to pursue,
Amazon wants to help them pursue it.


That`s the kind of approach that we need from America`s businesses.
You know, offering training programs, health care, retirement plans, paying
better wages, that`s not just the right thing to do, it`s actually good for
your bottom line.


HARRIS-PERRY: Can you hear it there? The president working through
that one, broadening the value of work, widening the responsibilities for
creating new jobs, reframing what employers should do for their workers as
a matter of fiscal good sense.

We have seen reframing work for this president in moments of
frustration and defeat. Does it work for him now?

Joining us now is David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President
Obama, now an MSNBC senior political analyst.

Mr. Axelrod, thank you for being here.


HARRIS-PERRY: All right. So talk to me about where President Obama
is standing in this moment? Can he still expect to govern in the
traditional sense? Can he actually go take a proposal to the Hill, or is
the best that he`s going to be able to do in terms of economic change

AXELROD: You know, I think one of his strengths is he thinks long
term. He doesn`t get terribly bogged down in the short-term mix master of
Washington politics. He, you know, listening to the clips that you played,
I got very nostalgic because I`ve been hearing him talk about this stuff as
long as I`ve known him, and I`ve known him for more than 20 years.

He believes that this is the central challenge of our time, that the
economic forces that have been at play for several decades that have
marginalize the middle class, threatened who we are as a country and that
we have to do things, affirmative things to push back on those forces and
preserve what is best about our country, the ability to work hard and get
ahead. And he is going to explore every avenue that he can to get that

He`ll use the authorities that he has. You know, outside of Congress
and he`ll try and find partners in Congress to work with him. And today
was part of that effort. But to do that you have to involve the American

That`s been the lesson that I think he`s learned over the last 4 1/2
years is that to move issues, you have to involve the American people. And
he`s on the road now. He`s making the case. And it`s a compelling one as
you point out.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, David, I appreciate what you`re saying there about
sort of this having been this president`s world view for a long time. You
know, he was my state senator way back in the years when I lived in Hyde
Park in Chicago.

AXELROD: I know that, as we shared him as a state senator.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. So I certainly agree with that, but I
also wonder, you know, part of what this president has also always been is
a process democrat with a little "D" -- someone who really believes the
actual process of governing between the branches matters. Is he
fundamentally frustrated now in his second term to keep coming up against a
Congress that won`t move on these fundamental economic issues?

AXELROD: I think that he is determined. I mean, I talk to him from
time to time. I`m struck by the fact that he, you know, one of his
strengths is he remains calm and focused.

Yes, you know, he has his frustrations. Obviously when you have the
speaker of the House say he`s going to be measured by the laws that he
repeals, not the laws that he passes, that`s a kind of stunning statement.
And if you`re trying to govern and looking for partners, it`s a depressing

On the other hand, we have gotten things done over the last 4 1/2
years. A lot of it has to do with his persistence. And he`s making a case
that the majority of the American people strongly embrace. Ultimately,
that has to matter in a democracy and he`s going to keep plugging away at

HARRIS-PERRY: So, he`s been clear over the past few days about this
issue of inequality, this issue of jobs and of growth. But he`s spent a
lot of years as a rhetorical deficit hawk, also making a claim to the need
to bring down the deficit, and let`s say, actually bringing down the

AXELROD: Yes, exactly.

HARRIS-PERRY: Has he seeded too much ground there? Like, in other
words, we still hear Republicans pushing on this deficit question, despite
the fact that it is shrinking.

AXELROD: I don`t think he has, Melissa, because there was a problem.
There is a long-term issue we have to deal with. When you look at the
campaign he ran in 2008 and the campaign he ran in 2012, it was scary
focused on these issues.

That`s what`s so stunning about the Republican response to all of
this, because the president ran on these issues about the investments that
we have to make in the middle class, in our economy, to secure a better
future to make sure that we`re true to the credo of our country, to the
history of our country as a place of opportunity.

That`s what he ran on. A majority of the American people supported
him. And now, you have a -- you have leaders in the Congress, particularly
on the House side, but also Mitch McConnell who`s looking over his shoulder
at the Tea Party in his own state, who are acting as if it never happened,
that there was no message from the American people.

HARRIS-PERRY: David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President
Obama, former Hyde Parker like me and relatively n Twitter follower of


HARRIS-PERRY: It`s nice to have you on the show tonight.

AXELROD: Thanks, Melissa. Good to be with you.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you.

Bob Filner is still the mayor of San Diego, California. He stands
accused of a pattern of sexual misconduct. There are calls for his
resignation. He may even be recalled. And he is about to take two weeks
off for intensive therapy around his behavior at the office.

Tonight, his new chief of staff joins us for the interview. Don`t
miss it.


HARRIS-PERRY: A lot to do on this show tonight. The Bradley Manning
verdict, Governor Bob McDonnell goes on the record about his current
troubles, a charter school cheating scandal about the people who push for
charter schools in Indiana.

And oh, yes, the chief of staff of the scandalized mayor of San Diego
joins us live for the interview.

Stay with us.


HARRIS-PERRY: The Bradley Manning trial has been going on for about
two months now and if at any point you wanted to know what had happened in
the proceedings that day or the day before, you had two choices. You could
either read news articles about the trial of which there have been many.
Or if you wanted to take a look at things for yourself, you could read the
transcripts of the trial.

The transcripts couldn`t be found on any military Web site. I mean,
it was a military trial, after all, but rather here at a website maintained
by Manning`s supporters. Transcripts like these, they were clearly marked
unofficial transcript. But the Freedom of the Press Foundation raised the
money and paid for an unofficial stenographer to attend the trial and
produce daily transcripts.

However, they do not record the entire trial. A good chunk of it took
place behind closed doors. Cell phones were banned after someone made an
audio recording and leaked it.

For all the secrecy surrounding the trial of Bradley Manning, there
was not a whole lot in dispute. First of all, Bradley Manning admitted
that he leaked to the worldwide web about 700,000 documents, including
battlefield reports and State Department cables. That is not in dispute.

He has also already pled guilty to 10 charges. That isn`t in dispute

In dispute was motive. Bradley Manning was charged under the
Espionage Act. The most serious charge against him was aiding the enemy.
For that, he could have been sentenced to life without the possibility of
parole. Today, the judge of the Bradley Manning trial after deliberating
for about 16 hours over the course of three days found him not guilty of
that charge. Not guilty of aiding the enemy.

On an espionage charge related to a video prosecutors say he leaked in
2009, which Manning denied, she also found him not guilty. But on all
other charges, five counts of espionage, five theft charges, computer
fraud, and breaking military rules, Bradley Manning was guilty.

Throughout this whole trial, Bradley Manning`s lawyers argued he was
not a spy and shouldn`t be treated like one because he did not
intentionally give the classified documents to some specific enemy. If he
wanted to do harm to t United States, or make money off of his thievery, he
could have. One witness said Bradley Manning, what he leaked, just the war
logs, were worth more than $5.5 million.

And it`s not hard to see why. Private Manning`s leaks wrote a lot of
the news reports in 2010. What the world now knows because of Bradley
Manning is not in dispute, and it is significant.


REPORTER: The documents reveal that even as Pakistan accepted
billions in U.S. aid, Pakistani intelligence officials allegedly conspired
with Taliban leaders in May 2007. The Taliban shot down a U.S. helicopter
with a shoulder-fired missile, killing seven soldiers. But NATO commanders
concealed that fact.

More than 66,000 Iraqi civilians were killed even though the Pentagon
repeatedly claimed they never kept such statistics.

The names of more than 300 Iraqi informants working with the Americans
appear in the documents.

This is the third and by far the biggest release of U.S. secrets by

Friends like French President Sarkozy described as thin-skinned and an
emperor with no clothes. Foes like Iranian President Ahmadinejad called
Hitler. Libya`s Moammar Gadhafi, strange, and always accompanied by a
voluptuous blonde Ukrainian nurse.

One cable in January says Yemen`s President Saleh told General David
Petraeus, "We`ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours."

State of State Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice before her ordered
U.S. embassies and intelligence services to gather private information on
U.N. leaders and diplomats. Including computer passwords, even DNA and


HARRIS-PERRY: Private Manning also released this video, this
disturbing video showing American helicopter pilots in Iraq in 2007 firing
on a group of Iraqis and a journalist from the "Reuters" wire service, and
his driver. Twelve people were killed.

WikiLeaks added their own subtitles to it. The military said proper
protocols were followed, but after this video was made public, people all
across the world and in the United States outraged.

Until Private Manning leaked it, we had not seen video like this that
the military did not want us to see. We had a whole new kind of access to
our war in Iraq.

On the one hand, it seemed like the trial of Private Bradley Manning
was over before it began. He had already admitted to leaking the hundreds
of thousands of documents. He was held in solitary confinement for the
better parent of a year. He denied very little of the government`s
findings against him, and yet what today`s verdicts will mean for Private
Manning, that is still up in the air.

Tomorrow begins the sentencing phase of the trial. Manning faces up
to 136 years in prison, although there are no minimum sentencing

So, really, what happens to Private Manning, and for how long it
happens, that is still an open question.

As Rachel says, watch this space.


HARRIS-PERRY: For 35 of the 42 years since 1971, the city of San
Diego, California, has been governed by a Republican mayor, until this last
year. The city had not elected a Democrat for mayor since 1986, and then
last November, then-U.S. Congressman Bob Filner, a Democrat, was elected
mayor. This man had been in Congress since 1993.

He was a former Freedom Rider. He was a founding member of the
Congressional Progressive Caucus. He was a big thinker. He had big ideas.

And so, for Democrats, and for progressives in San Diego, Bob Filner`s
mayoral election was a big deal -- a moment of unlikely triumph, and
optimism for liberals in the conservative and second largest city in

In his first news conference after the election, Mayor Bob Filner
introduced his city to his then-fiancee, Bronwyn Ingram, whom he called the
first lady of San Diego.


support of the disabled community for 20 years, and the way that I met Bob
is some policies that were very disadvantageous to the disabled community
were occurring in my department, and the reason I met Bob, was that he was
the only member of Congress who would sit down and meet with us and who
actually cared and together we changed that policy. So, I hope we`ll be an
effective team here, too.


HARRIS-PERRY: She hoped they would be an effective team. It was all
about hope in December of last year for progressives in San Diego -- a
loving couple with big goals for their city.

Then early this month without warning, the mayor`s fiancee sent an e-
mail to members of her volunteer group which she named Team First Lady.
This group was Ms. Ingram`s organized effort to address community issues
and homelessness.

The e-mail read, quote, "I have broken off my engagement to Bob Filner
and ended our relationship. I have struggled with this decision, as I
really wanted to see the community projects we had initiated with such
enthusiasm come to fruition. I`m extremely disappointed and heartbroken,
both for what Team First Lady could have accomplished and for me

No real explanation, just a stark and painful missive to her team.

And then, a couple of days later, a former Democratic city
councilwoman, a woman who was once an ally of Bob Filner, announced
publicly that although she had supported the mayor in the past, she had
just sent a letter to the mayor asking for his resignation. She added that
she could not describe how anguishing it was to ask him that he vacate his
office. And then she held a news conference.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I received credible firsthand evidence of
more than one woman being sexually harassed, I could not not act. I
believe what they have told me, and they need to know that they are not


HARRIS-PERRY: Mayor Bob Filner responded and apologized but refused
to resign.


MAYOR BOB FILNER (D), SAN DIEGO, CA: I begin today by apologizing to
you. I have diminished the office to which you elected me. The charges
made at today`s news conference are serious. When a friend like Donna Frye
is compelled to call for my resignation, I`m clearly doing something wrong.


HARRIS-PERRY: A few days later, there was another news conference
with more details.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the sidewalk, the mayor suddenly, in clear
view of anyone who might pass by, grabbed and kissed her, jamming his
tongue down her throat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no circumstance under which it would be
appropriate for the mayor to enter into an elevator with my client or any
person who he employs and to tell them that they would do a better job on
that floor if they worked without their panties on.


HARRIS-PERRY: In response, the mayor put out a statement, stating
that he deserved due process and asserting the right to defend himself
against the allegations and declaring that he was, quote, "innocent of
sexual harassment."

As days passed, more women have made grievances against Mayor Filner
public. And then there was this.


GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: There have been a number of press articles
referring to mayor Filner and suggesting that he asked a woman to work
without her panties. The woman was not named. Irene is the woman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The past six months turned out to be the worst
time of my entire working life. I had to work and do my job in an
atmosphere where women were viewed by Mayor Filner as sexual objects or
stupid idiots. I saw him place his hands where it did not belong on
numerous women. I was placed in the Filner headlock and moved around as a
rag doll while he whispered sexual comments in my ear.


HARRIS-PERRY: Irene McCormick Jackson, a woman who had believed in
Bob Filner, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bob Filner and the
city of San Diego. The mayor released another statement in response to the
lawsuit saying that the claims against him are invalid. He said, quote, "I
know that justice will prevail." That very day in wake of the sexual
harassment suit, the San Diego City attorney restricted Mayor Filner from
meeting with women alone at city facilities.

The mayor officially could no longer be alone with a woman while he
was at work. This policy was to be enforced by his chief of staff.

Soon thereafter, Mayor Filner lost his second chief of staff in a
matter of 10 days. The person he tapped to replace him is Lee Burdick, a
woman. She would now be in charge of enforcing the "mayor can`t be alone
with women" rule.

In the coming days, five more women came forward to accuse the mayor
of making unwanted sexual advances. Among them, a retired Navy admiral. A
San Diego State University dean. A leader in the San Diego`s tourism
industry. The head of a group of business owners in San Diego.

Everyone from his former fiancee and first lady, to chair of the
Democratic National Committee, had called on Mayor Filner to resign.

Last week, Mayor Filner called another presser.


FILNER: Let me be absolutely clear. The behavior I have engaged in
over many years is wrong. My failure to respect women and the intimidating
contact I engaged in at times is inexcusable. So beginning on August 5th,
I will be entering a behavior counseling clinic to undergo two weeks of
intensive therapy to begin the process of addressing my behavior.


HARRIS-PERRY: He is not leaving. He is just checking into a behavior
counseling clinic, which means something is wrong. He plans to return to
work on August 19th. Today in response to Bob Filner`s attorney asking
that the city council pay his legal fees, as he fights the sexual
harassment allegations, the city council authorized the city attorney to
file legal action against Bob Filner to shield public funds from any
potential payout in the sexual harassment lawsuit against the mayor.

And then tonight, on San Diego local news, another woman came forward
to accuse Bob Filner of misconduct. She became the mayor`s eighth accuser.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He grabbed my left hand and looked at the
wedding ring and twirled it around and asked if it was a real wedding band.
And I said, yes, it was, about 25 years` worth of wedding band. He then
asked me if it could come off while I was in D.C. and if I would go out
with him. I said, I really didn`t think so.

And at that point, he pulled hand closer to him and he reached over to
kiss me. I turned my head at that moment and on the side of my face, I got
a very wet, saliva-filled kiss, including feeling his tongue on my cheek.


HARRIS-PERRY: All of this scandal, all of these salacious
allegations, this gigantic mess, which has kept San Diego from having an
effective mayor -- all of it falls at the feet of Democrat Bob Filner, in
whom so many people put their faith, for whom so many women went to work
with the idea that progressive principles finally had a champion in San
Diego`s mayor, which makes the Bob Filner scandal most notably sad in this
season of salacious political stories.

Bob Filner has risked political progress for people who had waited and
worked for a really long time to achieve it.

In just a moment, Lee Burdick, Mayor Bob Filner`s new chief of staff,
joins me the interview.

Stay tuned.



FILNER: The behavior I have engaged in over many years is wrong. My
failure to respect women and the intimidating contact I engaged in at times
is inexcusable. It is simply not acceptable for me to try to explain away
my conduct as product of the standards of a different generation. I am
responsible for my conduct, and I must take responsibility for my conduct
by taking action so that such conduct does not ever happen again.


HARRIS-PERRY: That was San Diego Mayor Bob Filner on Friday
acknowledging his behavior toward women was inexcusable, following multiple
sexual harassment allegations.

Mayor Filner went on to explain that starting Monday, he will be
entering a behavioral counseling clinic to undergo two weeks of extensive
therapy. This as his new chief of staff, a woman named Lee Burdick was
standing by his side.

And joining us for the interview is Lee Burdick, chief of staff to San
Diego Mayor Bob Filner.

Ms. Burdick, thank you for being here tonight.

having me.

HARRIS-PERRY: Before the commercial, you heard me talk about the fact
that this mayor was a very important win for so many progressives in San
Diego. And yet, now, his extremely troubling behavior sort of stops that
forward momentum. Is there anything about what I said that I got wrong?

BURDICK: Well, actually, Melissa, there is, and I appreciate the
opportunity to correct the record. You said that the city attorney is the
one who imposed this new policy that the mayor would not meet alone with
any female constituents.

The fact is, the mayor and I, together, developed that policy. We
felt that it was a reasonable and prudent business practice in light of the
allegations that were being leveled against him. And we put forth that
policy because we felt it protected both the mayor and the citizens of San
Diego, ensuring them that city business was being conducted with the
highest level of integrity.

HARRIS-PERRY: Mr. Burdick, I appreciate you for taking clearly the
responsibility for that policy, because I want to ask you about that
policy. You say that it is prudent and reasonable. It is also prima facie
discriminatory. It means that women who live in San Diego will never have
the opportunity to meet alone with their mayor as constituents, but men

In other words, it is now as a matter of policy in mayor`s office that
women will be treated differently than men.

BURDICK: You know, it`s funny that you put it that way, because there
is no reason in an open and transparent government why anyone should feel
the need to meet alone with the mayor. Virtually every event, every
meeting the mayor has, he is always staffed by somebody. Our
responsibility, my staff`s responsibility, being to ensure that whatever
commitments or promises he makes in those constituent meetings are carried
forward and fulfilled.

So, it really isn`t discriminatory, and it really isn`t a problem as
far as how we do business in San Diego.

HARRIS-PERRY: Let`s talk about what is a problem in terms of how the
mayor has an opportunity or not to do business in San Diego. These are
very serious allegations. An eighth woman coming forward today accusing
your boss of unwanted sexual advances and claiming that Mayor Filner
attempted to kiss her in 2011 after a business meeting in D.C. this woman
and others are very credible sources.

So explain to me, do you believe that these women are not telling the
truth? Or do you believe they`re telling the truth, but you simply don`t
think that it is important relative to the mayor`s ability to do his job?

BURDICK: Melissa, quite frankly, I haven`t made a judgment one way or
the other as to whether these women are or are not telling the truth. We
have in place a legal process whereby someone who`s been injured has a
right to file a claim or level allegations, and that triggers a legal
process which also presents due process rights for the accused. I believe
in the legal process, and I know that at the end of the day, if the mayor
has done what he is accused of doing, that process will result in the
correct remedy. Until then, I`ve got to step up and make sure that the
business of the city of San Diego moves forward.

HARRIS-PERRY: Ms. Burdick, I appreciate your point about due process
and absolutely agree that, of course, Mr. Filner along with every American
citizen has a right to be first assumed innocent until proven guilty, and
all of that. That`s different than the question of effective governing.
He has the right in the question of court.

But given the credibility of those who have leveled these allegations,
has it become impossible for this mayor to actually govern?

BURDICK: Absolutely not. And, in fact, that`s really why I wanted to
come talk with you this evening is because the mayor is surrounded by very
sophisticated advisers who are committed to his progressive vision --
committed to the vision that the people of San Diego voted for last
November. And we`re actually using this opportunity to hunker down and
really develop a foundation for supporting that vision and moving it
forward, both while he is away getting the help he needs, and when he comes
back -- to be able to pick up where he left off, to make sure that the
citizens of San Diego get the kind of government that they dreamed of when
they voted for him in November.

HARRIS-PERRY: But, see, Ms. Burdick, my concern is exactly that. In
fact, you and others are people who deeply believe in this mayor`s
progressive vision. I get that. Clearly, his trajectory, again, from
being a freedom rider, to a founding member of the Progressive Caucus, all
of that.

What we know is that often women who are victimized by men, whose
vision they believe in -- think of the teenage girl in San Diego who may
get harassed by an athlete on her school`s team, but thinks she shouldn`t
come forward because she`s got to take one for the team. That`s what this
sounds like to me because I haven`t heard anything that makes me think I
should disbelieve these extremely credible people from his fiancee on down
to folks who were working for him and did believe in this vision.

BURDICK: Melissa, I am not going to judge these women. It took a lot
of courage for them to come forward and make their faces known. The mayor
has a right to face his accusers, and there are always two sides to every
story. I believe in the development of an evidentiary record where a jury
of his peers can judge what has happened, and if, in fact, he has done
something wrong, he will be held accountable.

But what is important to me is that we have a unique opportunity in
this administration to carry forward the passion of a vision of a better
government, a better future where neighborhoods are empowered, where
homeless veterans are off the street, where we can take care of each other
toward a better, sustainable future.

HARRIS-PERRY: The vision is lovely. Unfortunately, I have to say the
messenger at this point not so much anymore. But I do appreciate --

BURDICK: You don`t like me?

HARRIS-PERRY: No, no, no. Not you. I`m talking about -- I`m talking
about Mayor Bob Filner who in bringing this vision forward has now become
the person and is accused by at least eight people of some pretty serious

But, Lee Burdick, I appreciate you coming and joining us tonight.
Chief of staff to San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, thank you for your time.

BURDICK: Thank you, Melissa.

HARRIS-PERRY: And we`ll be right back with Governor Bob McDonnell on
the record and on video about his own dicey situation.

Stay tuned.



GOV. BOB MCDONNELL (R), VIRGINIA: I take responsibility for all my
actions. And the ones that I feel that have any way undermined the trust
of Virginians, I take personal responsibility. And I`m deeply sorry for
things that I have done or choices that perhaps members of my family have
made that have hurt that trust.


HARRIS-PERRY: Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who has been under
fire for perks that he took from a Virginia businessman, announced today
that he is giving it all back. Last week, Governor McDonnell announced
that he has paid back $120,000 worth of loans that he got from that

And today, he said all of the tangible gifts that he got are going
back, too, including thousands of dollars in wedding gifts to his daughter,
and the one gift that probably attracted the most public attention.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re going to give back the tangible gift,
does that include the Rolex watch?

MCDONNELL: Everything that I have received from this particular
donor, because of concerns raised by the public.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just to be clear, the Rolex is going back?

MCDONNELL: All of his gifts that I have, including that, yes.


HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, no, not the Rolex, well, it is not clear exactly
what anyone else can do with the Rolex that is engraved with the
inscription "71st Governor of Virginia". But that`s not Bob McDonnell`s
problem anymore. He`s given it up.

Governor transvaginal ultrasound sat for an hour-long interview today,
which mostly concerned this ever-growing scandal that has swallowed the
final year of his administration, the question of whether he traded access
for gifts.

And while it`s bad to be Bob McDonnell right now, it may be worse to
be his wife. Over the weekend, we learned that the Virginia first lady
spent hundreds of thousands of dollars from her husband`s PAC all on
clothes and other times, all apparently legally.

And today, Bob McDonnell kind of, sort of threw her under the bus,
saying she was the one responsible for the high profile event held at the
governor`s mansion, to tout a product from that businessman who was giving
them all gifts -- gifts which I now mentioned are now going back. The
Rolex, the wedding gifts, the loans, everything tangible that he got from
this one donor is going back.

But here is the real question, but still remains, even once you have
given back the money, even once you have given back the gifts, can you
restore the thing that Virginia voters must be most interested in you
restoring at this point? Which is their faith in the system, their faith
that when they elected you, that your primary goal and interests would be
their benefit, and their well-being? That sort of faith in one`s political
leaders is not actually that sort of thing that can be returned as easily
as a Rolex can be.

Given the quirks of election law in Virginia where a governor cannot
serve more than one term in office, Bob McDonnell is out at the end of the
year. He`s term-limited. And as Virginia voters decide who should replace
him, as they decide whether their faith in the system can be restored,
they`re not exactly being offered a clean break from Bob McDonnell era,
because Bob McDonnell`s political protege, his Attorney General Ken
Cuccinelli, who is running to replace him, s himself sitting on $18,000
worth of gifts from the same donor.

And now that Bob McDonnell is giving back his gifts, what does Ken
Cuccinelli do? Bob McDonnell, by announcing that he`s giving back all
these gifts, actually makes things harder for the Cuch -- because now, Cuch
watch is all about whether his gifts will be going back, too. And, so far,
the Cuch has made no indication that that`s going to happen. But we shall
see how long that stance remains politically tenable in Virginia.

Cuch watch begins again.


HARRIS-PERRY: We Googled Tony Bennett today, and surprisingly,
stories about the legendary singer were not the first stories to appear.
Instead, we got stories about this Tony Bennett, education commissioner of
the great state of Florida.

This Tony Bennett is not making headlines today not because of his
current job, but because of his old one, as a school chief in Indiana,
where one of the schools over which he had oversight is this one, the
Christel House Charter School in Indianapolis. It`s named for Christel
DeHaan, a major philanthropist, who earned a fortune in timeshare
properties business.

Ms. DeHaan has also been a big supporter of school choice legislation
in Indiana. It is now law in the state and it drains of millions from the
public school system and gives it to privacy schools in the form of
vouchers. It was a Republican bill and Christel DeHaan supported it. She
is a major donor in Republican politics in Indiana, donating nearly $3
million to Republicans in the last 15 years, including $130,000 to Tony
Bennett school`s guy himself.

Last fall, the charter school in Indiana that bares Christel`s name
was not doing very well. Poor test scores in Algebra were dragging down
the performance of the entire school. Christel House got a C on the state
evaluation, and that put the school in jeopardy.

Now, state evaluations are meant to hold schools accountable -- come
what may -- except in the school of Christel House Charter Schools. In
that case, Tony Bennett intervened. He and his staff reportedly found ways
to change the formula, by which schools are graded, to boost the Christel
House Charter School`s test results. They made the C look like an A, and
they appeared to have done it with Christel House specifically in mind.

Quoting from the email written by Bennett and obtained by "The
Associated Press", they need -- quote, "They need to understand that
anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our
accountability work."

I`m sorry, compromising what now, Tony Bennett the schools guy?
Compromises the A to F grading system for charter schools, which was Tony
Bennett`s signature accomplishment as schools guy, it was his calling card,
and Christel House Charter School`s grades was the mean for which he
garnered support for his calling card.

So, yes, unless they compromise ethically, they would be compromised
politically. Get it? Indiana doesn`t just use these grades too determine
how much state funding schools receive. It is the system by which the
state determines which schools get taken over by the state. And the man
who was in charge of it has now called its entire validity into question.
Doesn`t that initial C grade for Christel House merit a chose closer look?
As well as for the charter house in general, if the jewel of Tony Bennett`s
work is not making the grade, what is going on with the rest of Tony
Bennett`s work?

Tony Bennett denied the allegations. In an interview with "The
Associated Press", quote, "The fact that anyone would say I would try to
cook the books for Christel House is so wrong. It`s frankly so off-base."

Tony Bennett has the consolation of knowing he won`t get fired, at
least not in Indiana, because voters in Indiana have already kicked him up.
In an upset, they elected a librarian who is a Democrat, and it`s new
superintendent of public construction in November election. She ran
against school vouchers, so Tony Bennett took his talents and his beliefs
about education to Florida, where he was the school chief, and hoping that
what happens in Indiana stays in Indiana.

That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again. Now, it`s time for

Have a great night.


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