July 5, 2014
Guest: Katon Dawson, Alina Das, Raul Reyes, Edna Monroy, Lucy Flores,
Vanessa K. Bush, David Freedlander, Ed Feigenbaum, Devon Glover
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning, my question. Is the future of
the Democratic Party a state assemblywoman in Nevada? Plus, the 20th
annual Essence festival under way right now in New Orleans. And, the
presidential potential of the one that no one is talking about yet. But
first, our huddled masses. Congress won`t act so the president will. The
time has come.
Good morning. I am Krystal Ball in for Melissa Harris-Perry who will join
us later in the program, so stick around for that. We have a lot to get to
this morning including the growing political showdown over immigration
reform. But we begin with the latest on Arthur, the first hurricane of the
season has now been downgraded to a tropical storm. And it is moving
toward Canada after bringing heavy rain to parts of New England, New
Bedford, Massachusetts got as much as eight inches of rain causing a flood
emergency. North Carolina received the brunt of the storm when Arthur made
landfall late Thursday, about 1,600 people are still without power this
morning. The storm flooded some homes and toppled trees, but the damage
was much less than officials had expected. Make sure to stay with MSNBC
throughout the day for the latest on Arthur and the holiday weekend
We turn now to the surprise out of Washington this week because, contrary
to popular belief, it turns out Congress can get stuff done. Just, you
know, it has to be something that unequivocally benefits members of
Congress. As the "National Journal" reported this week, members of the
House of Representatives no longer have to disclose privately funded
travel. How nice that is for them. Travel like the $50,000 trip that
Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre took to Australia this year with his
wife. That was at the expense of the Australian Defense Industry
Association, you know, that kind of thing. The House Ethics Committee made
the decision behind closed doors and they never announced it publicly. As
"National Journal" points out last year members of Congress and their aides
received $6 million worth of free travel from private sources. As for this
year, we just won`t know how much travel our elected leaders, their
spouses, and their staff take on the dime of people who have something to
gain. So that`s something that Congress accomplished. See, when Congress
really wants to act, they still can. Of course, there is so much more that
Congress refuses to accomplish.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I believe Speaker
Boehner when he says he wants to pass an immigration bill. I think he
genuinely wants to get something done. But last week he informed me the
Republicans will continue to block a vote on immigration reform at least
for the remainder of this year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: That was President Obama in the Rose Garden on Monday threatening
more executive action on immigration if Congress continues to block
comprehensive immigration reform and Republicans will, apparently, at least
for the remainder of this year, six more months, continue to block
comprehensive immigration reform. They will refuse to pass it while
363,000 people wait for their deportation cases to move through a
backlogged, overtaxed system while our country maintains space for 34,000
people to be held in detention centers, a minimum that is mandated by law.
While people going through the existing legal system are waiting more than
20 years -- 20 years -- for their Visa and Green Card applications to be
processed. While more than 5,000 children, who are the citizens of the
United States, are in foster care because their parents were deported or
detained. As tens of thousands more children come pouring over the border,
they`re desperate to escape violent crime and crushing poverty in their
We have a special obligation, 20 percent of all the immigrants in the world
live right here in the United States and yet still no immigration reform
for the remainder of this year. The president pulled no punches in his
condemnation of the House for failing to even case up the immigration
reform bill that the Senate passed last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Our country and our economy would be stronger today if House
Republicans had allowed a simple yes or no vote on this bill or, for that
matter, any bill. They`d be following the will of the majority of the
American people who support reform. And, instead, they`ve proven again and
again that they`re unwilling to stand up to the Tea Party in order to do
what`s best for the country. And the worst part about it is a bunch of
them know better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: Stand up to the Tea Party. But who is there to stand up to the so-
called Tea Party? Look at the chairman of the committee with jurisdiction
over immigration policy, really the lead House Republican on immigration
that would be Congressman Bob Goodlatte, a fellow Virginian, I might add.
He responded to the president`s speech by blaming the president for the
current humanitarian crisis at the U.S./Mexican border. And for blaming
him for the gridlock in Congress and saying the Senate`s immigration bill
is a nonstarter. If the Senate bill were to become law it would worsen the
crisis because it fails to secure our borders, mitigate threats to national
security, deport convicted criminal aliens and enforce our immigration laws
going forward. The statements like that, it`s hard to be as hopeful as the
president tried to at least sound on Monday that the House Republicans will
pass a bill somehow, some day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Maybe it will be after the midterms when they`re less worried about
politics. Maybe it will be next year. Whenever it is, they will find me a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: But he also made clear that in the meantime, he will act alone. At
least to the fullest extent that he can. He announced that two of his
cabinet members, Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security
Secretary Jay Johnson will make recommendations by the end of this summer
on how much the president can do by himself. He announced that he will act
immediately on those recommendations and that he doesn`t really care what
Congress has to say about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If House Republicans are really concerned about me taking too many
executive actions, the best solution to that is passing bills. Where I
would greatly prefer Congress actually do something. I take executive
action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress
chooses to do nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: Do you remember no drama Obama, the cool headed moderate mediator?
Well, this President Obama is bringing the drama and it is about time.
Joining me now we have Katon Dawson, national Republican consultant and a
former senior advisor to Texas Governor Rick Perry, we have Alina Das, she
is an assistant professor of clinical law and co-director of the Immigrant
Rights Clinic at New York University School of Law, Beth Fouhy, senior
editor for msnbc.com be and, of course, Raul Reyes, attorney and columnist
for "USA Today." Thank you all so much for joining me. I really
RAUL REYES, USA TODAY: Good morning.
BALL: And happy Fourth belatedly.
BETH FOUHY, MSNBC.COM SENIOR EDITOR: Happy Fourth.
BALL: So, Raul, let me start with you. The president finally bringing the
drama, finally seeming to acknowledge the fact that nothing is going to
happen with Republicans, we can stop holding our breath, and the timing
certainly seems tied to Eric Cantor`s dramatic primary loss. But I would
say, also, immigration reform advocates have been very successful at
putting pressure on this president.
REYES: Right. And I think most immigration reform advocates feel that
it`s not just that the time is now. It`s that it`s much, much overdue
because they have been putting the pressure on the president for quite some
time to take action. They`ve been making the same argument that the
president is making now that Congress is not going to do anything, that
there`s really no hope for Congressional legislative relief. They have
been saying that all along and it`s only finally now that he is getting it.
And it`s great that he is. But I think one consequence we will see of him
waiting so long to take action is now. Absolutely the immigrant community,
and certainly many Latino voters, they expect him to go very big on
whatever executive action that he takes. They expect something very
expansive, very broad. You know, partly to make up for so much time going
by. You know, he`s been tagged with this label of deporter-in-chief, and
that`s unfortunate as that is, it is borne out by statistics.
BALL: It`s borne out by statistics and I think that label actually really
seemed to have an impact on him.
BALL: And put pressure on him. But to Raul`s point, what could the
president feasibly do with executive action because I do think hopes have
gotten very high and perhaps very unrealistic we should also keep in mind
that anything he does through the executive branch is obviously by its
nature temporary, the next president could come right in and undo it.
ALINA DAS, ASST. PROF., CLINICAL LAW, NYU: Absolutely. But the president
has broad authority to act, to stem the tide of mass deportations and
detention in this country. And he can do it in three core ways. First, he
can put an end to some of the programs that have been funneling people into
the broken system to begin with. These are programs like secure
communities, 287-G, programs that essentially use local police interaction
to target people. Usually in communities of color for deportation. And
these programs have been criticized for racial profiling and eroding
community trust. So he can put an end to those. He can also expand
prosecutorial discretion. This is a program called deferred action, which
essentially allows people to come forward and if they meet certain
requirements they get a temporary reprieve from deportation and work
authorization. The idea is that there are many people who will eventually
benefit from immigration reform and they shouldn`t be torn apart from their
families before that immigration reform happens.
BALL: And Katon, I want to get you in here with the Republican
perspective. It strikes me that one of the things that Republicans were
trying to do, is they were trying to pressure the president to keep him
from taking additional executive action and they tried to tie the crisis at
the border currently to the doc on deferred action that we have already
had. But the president seemingly didn`t listen to that criticism and said,
you know what, if you guys aren`t going to act, I`m going to go ahead and
do it on my own.
KATON DAWSON, NATIONAL REPUBICAN CONSULTANT: Well, this is born in
politics and these are all politicians and I think you will find the
Republicans maybe a listening audience after the midterms. I don`t see any
future in the next six months. There is .
BALL: But you are hopeful after the midterms?
DAWSON: Let me go back to nominating John McCain as our nominee before
Mitt Romney. And if you would think that immigration was the death to all
Republican politicians, John McCain won South Carolina. So, I think the
temperature of immigration has changed. The sad, disappointing part right
now is the 370,000 cases that are sitting there that you just mentioned.
DAWSON: waiting to get to court, a year and a half to wait. Now we have
got 90,000 children, soon to be 140,000 children, being trafficked by
criminals from the Central America. That`s going to hurt our effort as
Republicans who want immigration reform because now the message has become
muddled in the middle of the midterms. I think Republicans are going to
capture the United States Senate. I think that in 2015 there is our chance
as Republican Party to do something substantial with the problem that just
nobody seems to be able to solve. I always -- I criticize the president
for I criticize him for a lot of things, Krystal, but what I really
criticize him is the first four years when he got - had the House and the
Senate. Where was he then?
BALL: Well, he was acting on a lot of other issues.
DAWSON: Yeah, I got it.
BALL: And the economy in free fall.
DAWSON: Yeah, I got it. I got it.
BALL: So we had banking regulation.
DAWSON: You did.
BALL: And we got a lot we had to deal with in that time.
DAWSON: He had the Affordable Care Act. To immigration, he picked the
Affordable Care Act. I mean he had sway, but we didn`t get it then. And
now executive order .
BALL: I don`t think it`s really fair to blame .
DAWSON: I`m trying.
BALL: When you have got the Republicans who are - bring it to the House
DAWSON: That will be my .
BALL: I know. I get it. All right. Stay right there. We have got more
on this. This is not the first time the president has promised to make
immigration reform happen as our friend Katon was just pointing out. Could
his words come back to haunt him again?
BALL: Many immigrants` rights advocates have expressed cautious hope that
this time President Obama will actually take concrete action to fix what he
can of a broken immigration system but they`ve been hearing promises for a
long time. Here is candidate Obama speaking with UnIvision`s Jorge Ramos
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORGE RAMOS, UNIVISION`S ANCHOR: And you`ve been waiting 100 days?
OBAMA: I cannot guarantee that it`s going to be in the first 100 days.
But I can get what I can get - what I can guarantee is that we will have in
the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support and that I`m
promoting and that I want to move that forward as quickly as possible.
RAMOS: In the first year?
OBAMA: In my first year in office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: And here is President Obama running for re-election nearly four
years later speaking again to Univision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my
second term. This is something I care deeply about. It`s personal to me.
And I will do everything that I can to try to get it done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: So we are back with our panel continuing to talk about the politics
of immigration. I wanted to get Beth in here. I mean Beth, how high is
the disappointment among immigration reform advocates? Are they still
feeling like President Obama is really behind them and has their back and
is doing everything he can to push forward with comprehensive immigration
FOUHY: Look, I think they know that he is in a box. That he`s done -- he
probably hasn`t done as much as he could. But the - the deporter-in-chief
label really bothers him, but they ultimately know that he wants to get it
done, that there was a bipartisan proposal that came out of the Senate that
he supported that had a lot of promising outcomes for immigrants in this
country. But the fact of the matter is, and I defer to Katon on this, who
as a national strategist knows that Republicans need to get onboard with
some form of immigration reform. Unfortunately, in the House, the way that
House districts are gerrymandered, many, many House Republicans are in
districts where there`s no support for immigration reform whatsoever. And
they have no reason to vote for it. These guys are not running for
president. They`re not necessarily looking at the health of the future of
the Republican Party. They`re looking for what their constituents want.
And in many cases those constituents are not interested in seeing a change
to this. So, they want more people sent away. They don`t want a path to
citizenship. They don`t want more immigrants in this country. So he
really -- the president really is up against a real wall there. And so he
has to take actions that he can actually perhaps get away with legally.
And there`s still a big question about how much even Republicans are going
to try to push back on those.
BALL: Right. Alina, what do you say to that question? Is there a sense
in the immigration reform community that the president really deeply gets
this issue? Because like - with health care, I think we all had this sense
that deep in his belly the president got that issue. He was connected to
it through his mother. I get that sense with the work he does on equal
pay, through his daughters. Do you feel like he has that same deep level
connection to this issue?
DAS: Well, I think the president does deeply care, but his actions have
been very different. I mean, he is the one who has deported more than 2
million people, more than any other president, and more than any other
BALL: And why do you think that is?
DAS: Well, I think he`s been trying to create some political space for
immigration reform to show that he`s tough on immigrants. But now here we
are six years later, we`re relying on mass incarceration, one of the most
inhumane aspects of the immigration system with more than 1,000 persons
deported every day and more than 30,000 people detained each night. And
it`s a terrible system that has torn apart countless families. So, he not
only has the authority to act now, he really has an obligation to do this,
to fix the problems that he`s created by taking such a progressive stance
REYES: Right. I think he has a moral responsibility at this point to act.
And I believe that he does care deeply about this issue. I just think that
at some level maybe it`s his blind spot. That`s the only way I can try to
figure it out. Because, you know, he`s been pushed on it so much and yet
throughout these years of his administration he`s pursued -- his strategy
has been we`ll pursue aggressive immigration enforcement and that will
somehow win over enough Republicans that we can do reform. And that has
not worked really at all.
REYES: And so now, he`s finally giving it up and going forward. And I
think in the Latino community there`s deep frustration, a sense of
betrayal, tremendous disappointment and yet given all that - you know, he`s
in a tough spot. There`s some precedent for the situation that he`s in
right now. In 2012, we were at a different level. But the deportations
were going full steam ahead then when he was running for re-election and
then he introduced DACA, the deferred action for young immigrants. And
right when he did that, his numbers shot up with the Latino community.
They shot up, you know, among so many of the immigrant reformists. They
saw that at least he was willing to expend some political capital and do
something. So I think we might be at one of those moments, again, where
things are at a breaking point. But if he pushes ahead and shows some
political courage on this issue, he will be rewarded. And speaking of the
political courage, I think Republicans right now are missing a real
defining moment for their party because we need to see people like Marco
Rubio. We need to see the moderates like Jeb Bush coming forward right now
and denouncing that ugliness that we saw in California .
REYES: With people screaming at the buses and yelling at these immigrants
who are already traumatized. This is a time when all those Republicans
need to say that`s not our party. That`s not conservatives. This is not
us. And so far they`ve been pretty quiet.
BALL: Yeah, we`re still waiting for those voices. All right, stay with us
because the immigration debate is not just a political issue, but obviously
also a humanitarian one. Coming up, we will talk to an activist about the
real people who are behind these headlines.
BALL: 47,000 unaccompanied minors have come across the U.S. border with
Mexico since last October. They are running away not only from extreme
poverty and a lack of opportunity, but often from the very real threat of
violence. The national focus on this crisis and the heartbreaking pictures
in stories that have come out of it that has put new pressure on Congress
and on the president to do something about immigration. And that is the
power of putting a human face on our immigration system. Joining us now
from Los Angeles, California, we have Edna Monroy, with the California
Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance. Edna, thank you so much for being with
us. And I was hoping you could start by sharing a bit of your story. You
are an immigrant. Tell us how you came to the United States.
EDNA MONROY, IMMIGRANT YOUTH LEADER: Sure, hi. Good morning, everyone.
BALL: Good morning.
MONROY: So, yes, I actually crossed the border back in 2001. A few weeks
before 9/11 and I was 12. I`m originally from Guerrero, Mexico. And the
main reason why I was coming over is to reunite with my father. It was my
mother, my sister and I that crossed the border. And I guess you can say I
- I`m one of the lucky ones. I was able to cross and while also trusting
coyote, the kind of guided me. And just going through different
experiences of getting detained by border patrol, going to, I guess, their
offices where they had two sections, one for minors, one for adults. And
just having a reality check on seeing how adults - and we just as
undocumented immigrants were treated, seeing adults being chained up from
head to toe and just us being called names, right, many ugly names, and
being asked why are we here, why are we crossing and eventually making it
right crossing the border and settling here in South Central L.A. as an
immigrant and (INAUDIBLE) student.
MONROY: Attending university, high schools, university, high schools and
BALL: Edna, I want to ask you when you first came across, I understand you
were detained, you were sent back to Mexico and then you were able to cross
successfully. What that experience of the detention center, what sort of
message did that send to you about this new country that you were coming
MONROY: Yeah. Well, we, you know, we as a family we talked. And my dad
didn`t want us to actually go through because he, himself, went through it,
right? He crossed through the desert. He crossed through the mountains.
He tried different multiple times before actually making it. And we tried
to get a visa, like a tourist visa, some sort of visa, but because we were
working class, we were street vendors, flower street vendors back in
Mexico, we were not allowed to get that visa because, again, we didn`t have
any money in the bank. We didn`t have any property. So, we had to make
that tough decision and so - and we were not the only ones. It was
different people going through the same struggles and getting caught right,
at age 12, and just being questioned and being harassed and being called
names just made me realize that, you know, we were not wanted in this
country. We were not wanted. We were dehumanized for being who we are.
BALL: Edna, I know you speak with new immigrants who are coming now and
hearing their stories. How does their experience compare to what you saw
as a child at 12?
MONROY: It`s very heartbreaking. I mean I was 12. And there is a lot of
kids that can be as young as four or five. And I can just imagine their
journey going through Mexico and you can see, not a very friendly-
immigrant friendly country as well. These kids are from Central America,
and just - I can just relate to a lot of those emotions, right, that they
are going through, of not feeling wanted, of not feeling - like you belong,
not feeling supported. You are escaping from poverty, you are escaping
from violence and you`re coming to this country you expect to be at least
welcome, at least embraced, right? This is a country of immigrants. You
are not seeing that. They`re not seeing that. They are not getting that
from us. On the other hand, they`re being slapped, you know, and told
you`re not wanted. You should go back and die. Because that`s the
decision that they are going - they have to make. You know, it`s either
come to the U.S., survive through desert, survive, right? And then make it
here. And once you`re here, you`re being called names. You`re being told,
go back. We don`t want you here.
BALL: And yet they don`t feel they have it - a real choice to go back to
their home country. Edna Monroy in Los Angeles, thank you so much for
being here and also for your courage and your work. We so appreciate you.
MONROY: Thank you. And, again, we expect President Obama to do the right
thing and grant humanitarian asylum to these families. Stop deportations
and also expend administrative relief to all 11.5 million undocumented
immigrants. He must act now. He said he has the power now, right?
MONROY: After saying that he doesn`t. So we want him to come forward and
do the right thing.
BALL: That`s what we`re talking about this morning. Thank you so much,
MONROY: Thank you.
BALL: When we come back exclusive original reporting from MSNBC. What
happens when 1500 people cram into a space that`s meant for 250? That
immigrant place, that`s next.
BALL: McAllen, Texas, is a city along the Mexican border. So many people
are crossing there that the border patrol station is housing 1,500
immigrants a day in a facility that`s designed to house no more than 250.
This week msnbc.com Amanda Sakuma visited a shelter there for families,
usually parents with young children who`ve been just released from border
patrol pending a court date. The families are cheered by volunteers when
they walk in and welcomed to McAllen. The shelter is run by Catholic
charities of the Rio Grande Valley and Save the Children provides families
with clean clothes, hot meals, a shower and legal advice. They also have
toys and games and arts and crafts for the kids. Many of the families
there say they are fleeing the threat of violence like this mother from
Guatemala who is hoping she will be allowed to stay with her mother in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (speaking Spanish)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (speaking Spanish)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: Often border patrol simply drops these immigrants off at a bus stop
with instructions to appear at court at a later date. There are
organizations who run the shelter, pick them up, they offer them a safe
place to rest before they continue on their journeys.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFELIA DE LOS SANTOS, CATHOLIC CHARITIES: You know if the church doesn`t
help these people, who will? Our government seems to be taking its time in
declaring this an emergency. It is an emergency. It is a crisis. We have
families that have been authorized to be here temporarily that are in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: Alina, I don`t understand how anyone can watch these stories and
then fail to act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAS: Absolutely. This is a humanitarian crisis that needs a humanitarian
solution. And that means that people shouldn`t be locked up or turned
away. We`re not a country that sends children to their death. We`re a
country that will accept these children, and if they do have a well-founded
fear of persecution or if they were abused, abandoned or neglected in their
home countries there are legal mechanisms for them to stay here in the
safety of the United States.
BALL: Right. And estimates by the U.N. say that as many as 50 percent of
these children .
BALL: 50-60 percent may be eligible for asylum here. And yet all I hear
from really any politician is how can we most quickly send them back? To a
place, Katon, that they were fleeing because of sometimes fear that they
and their family would be targeted.
DAWSON: You know, the argument is going to be on both sides right now.
The argument I hear on the Republican side, is we`re a nation built on laws
that has legal immigration. It`s broken. It doesn`t work. Now we`ve got
the Central American countries -- and I think the real tragic story back
behind is the money making enterprises, these criminal enterprises that are
picking up these children, and moving them to the United States, sneaking
them through, we don`t know how many have died. And we don`t have that
figure yet. And as tragic as it is, our laws are broken, things are done.
But the face of this is going to get sadder and sadder and sadder. But the
realization is going to be is that we have failed to secure our borders
first. We haven`t done that yet.
REYES: Katon, when Republicans talk about respecting the rule of law and
needing to honor that, our rule of law also says that we treat refugees a
BALL: That`s right.
REYES: We have provisions for humanitarian, we have provisions for -
specifically for child migrants. We can`t disregard those. And one thing
that`s a little troubling about the president`s approach, he now is trying
to expedite their - being returned which would speed up due process which
is always a very dangerous proposition and having the border patrol process
these children on their own is extremely treacherous. Because, you know,
they`re doing their job, but the border patrol, that`s a law enforcement
agency. It`s not a child welfare agency and it`s very difficult to process
asylum claims whether it`s legitimate, they are traumatized people, some of
these children don`t even speak Spanish.
BALL: When - talking about children, right, it`s not even adults in some
REYES: So it`s not a job for the border patrol.
BALL: Well, and, Beth, politically we seem to relate to this crisis in a
different way than when we see refugee crises in other countries. But
that`s essentially what we have here.
FOUHY: Yes, and we were talking before and during the break that maybe 50
or 60 percent of these children are legitimately considered political
refugees coming from a situation of violence in their home country. But
since the whole immigration debate has been conflated and it`s about people
coming over the border and breaking the laws and cheap labor, free labor,
it`s very hard to sort of distinguish between these children who were --
and families who are facing this crisis at home and people who are simply
just coming here to have a better life. Not that they shouldn`t want that,
too, but it all becomes one and the people with legitimate concerns about
persecution and violence at home, their voices is not heard as loudly as it
might otherwise be, if it weren`t lost in the rest of the immigration.
BALL: Right. Well, and as we pointed out and Raul, as you were saying
during one of the breaks, a lot of these folks try to go through the normal
process, but there, in essence, isn`t any real normal legal process for
them at this point. All right, I want to thank Alina Das for joining us
this morning. The rest of the panel is going to stick around. And I had
some thoughts on this issue as well while I was watching the fireworks last
night and listening to "God Bless America" and thinking about what the
fourth means. I couldn`t stop thinking about a country that is so great
and so full of promise and opportunity and safety and benevolence that
people would walk for thousands of miles and risk their lives to get here
to bring their families here, to bring their children here. Is there
anyone who believes in the promise of America more than these immigrants
who put all their faith in us, who place their lives and their children`s
lives in our hands arriving with nothing but a belief that somehow in
America they can make a go of it?
Watching the footage of children in bare, crowded detention centers,
watching the anti-immigrant protesters screaming and demanding they go
home, watching John Boehner make excuses for why now is not the right time
to take action, I just can`t believe the way that we are failing them
falling so short of their vision of America, of our vision of America. We
have a genuine humanitarian crisis on our own border and we can`t muster
the will to deal with it. We are a nation of immigrants. We elect the
leaders who make the laws and ultimately we are responsible for living up
to the promise we proclaim with those fireworks. When we say that we are
the land of the free and the home of the brave. I hope the next Fourth of
July we have more than just our past to celebrate. And that`s what we have
to say on immigration.
Coming up we`re going to take you live to the 20th annual Essence
Festival, one of the most anticipated events of the most anticipated events
of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. But first, two people who deserve
BALL: On Tuesday two people named Howard gave America reason to stand up
and cheer. One of them you probably heard of, the amazing goalie for the
U.S. soccer team, Tim Howard, made history by recording 16 saves in the
Americans` game against Belgium, the most in a World Cup game in nearly 50
years. Though the U.S. did lose, Howard won the nation`s hearts, inspiring
a flurry of fan love on social media. His Wikipedia page was even briefly
altered to proclaim him the Secretary of Defense. On that same day,
though, another Howard, no relations that we know of anyway, with ties to
the real Defense Department set another record for the U.S. Michelle J.
Howard became the first female four star admiral in the U.S. Navy and with
her new rank she takes over as the vice chief of naval operations, she`s
the first woman and the first African-American to ever hold the job.
Admiral Howard has a history of firsts including being the first black
woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, but she may well be known best for
helping to orchestrate the daring rescue of Captain Richard Phillips who
was kidnapped from a cargo ship by Somali pirates back in in 2009. It was
so dramatic that it inspired a real Hollywood drama. The Oscar nominated
film "Captain Phillips." The Secretary of the Navy said Howard`s promotion
is "a representation of how far we have come and how far she has helped
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAY MABUS, SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: She is also a great example of how much
we as a Navy and a nation lose if we put artificial barriers in, if we
don`t judge people based on their ability, based on their capability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: Admiral Howard also noted the significance of the moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADM. MICHELLE HOWARD, FIRST FEMALE FOUR-STAR ADMIRAL: If you don`t believe
today was the first when I call to order four star show to boards for women
they didn`t exist.
HOWARD: Special contract was let, and you folks are seeing the first set
in the history of the United States.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: That is just too cool. All right. Still to come, more on how women
of color are making history. We will take you live to the Essence Festival
in New Orleans. A celebration of African-American women now in its 20th
year. And someone that you just might have heard of, our very own Melissa
Harris-Perry is going to join us live, yes, right here on her own show.
She will be a guest, but up next, the Latina making a groundbreaking run
for office in Nevada. Her extraordinary journey from former juvenile
delinquent to powerful politician when we come back.
BALL: Speculation about the 2016 election is not limited just to the
presidency. In Nevada 2016 speculation has made the race for lieutenant
governor a national story. Nevada`s Republican governor currently Brian
Sandoval is expect to cruise to re-election this November, but it is the
speculation that he will, himself, challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid in 2016 that is bringing that extra focus. Because if Sandoval wins
that Senate seat the lieutenant governor will then move on up to be
governor. Nevada State Senator Mark Hutchison won the GOP primary for
lieutenant governor last month and if elected he could become governor
himself should Mr. Sandoval decide to go to Washington and successfully
challenge Harry Reid or maybe not. Maybe that governor in waiting will be
the Democratic nominee. This daughter of immigrants, a former high school
dropout and the current state assemblywoman from Nevada`s 28th district,
Lucy Flores. Flores has a fascinating story, and she is profiled in a new
MSNBC "Original Report."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUCY FLORES (D), NV: By the time I was 15, I was on juvenile
parole. By the time I was 17, I was a high school dropout. And at that
time there was nothing to indicate that I would go on to become the first
in my family to go to college, to be a practicing attorney, and certainly
not your Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
FLORES: This is the neighborhood where I grew up. There are 13 of us,
but, you know, when we moved here, we moved here because of a family
tragedy. My two oldest brothers had actually been murdered because of drug
and gang violence. We didn`t have much. We were pretty low income. But
we made to. It wasn`t until my mom left, you know, that things really
started to fall apart.
It was very minor crimes, you know, it was shoplifting, because I had
already been on probation and because I had had multiple arrests, that is
when they decided that they were going to send me away for a long-term
juvenile institution. I didn`t know about being successful or being in
college. What I did know about was that I knew a lot of people who were in
prison and a lot of people who were on welfare and a lot of people who
were, you know, just having babies. When I was sentenced to this facility
I just felt like it was just another normal occurrence, that`s something
that was bound to happen.
We`re at the college of southern Nevada, it`s one of our community colleges
here in Las Vegas. This is where I decided to start my new life once I
made the decision that education was going to be the key to my future. I
ended up in the state legislature. And I felt like I had this amazing
opportunity to work on all kinds of issues that were important to me and do
it in a way that didn`t affect just five people, but affected entire
communities that could affect an entire state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: Joining me now live is the woman herself, Nevada assemblywoman and
Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, Lucy Flores. Assemblywoman,
thank you so much for being with us. And when I watch your incredible
story, I just have to ask myself, how did you overcome the obstacles? How
did you make it this far?
FLORES: Well, first of all, thanks for having me. I really appreciate the
BALL: Of course.
FLORES: You know, I guess sometimes I ask myself that same question. I
always tell people, look, you know, it`s a demonstration of what happens
when we invest in each other. I certainly did not do this alone. One of
the things that wasn`t mentioned in that preview was, you know, that my
parole officer was the first person who really made a huge difference in me
and really helped to empower me and get me on the right track. And, of
course, that`s where it started. It`s not where it ended. It`s really a
demonstration what happens when we don`t give up on each other, when we
invest in education and the resources that kids need, that communities need
to be successful and, you know, obviously I took advantage of that. But it
wasn`t without that intervention that I was able to be where I`m today.
BALL: So, let`s talk a little bit about the race, about your current
campaign. It`s a very exciting one, it`s likely to be quite close. But
Nevada is a tough state still for Democrats, particularly in an off year,
what`s your strategy to win and how are people receiving you on the trail?
FLORES: Well, the strategy to win is to talk to everyone. And certainly
I`m talking about my background and people, you know, my story really
resonates with people because they might not be able to necessarily
identify with, you know, the specific details of my life, but they identify
in ways that speaks to them because we all have challenge. We all have
struggles and we have had much of that here in Nevada. And so, you know,
when I`m out on the campaign trail, I`m talking about those challenges and
I`m talking about how to fix them. I`m talking about solutions. And that
really resonates with people and people are getting really excited about
that because, you know, I think that for a long time we haven`t had
necessarily someone in our top leadership here in Nevada who is really
talking about those everyday challenges that Nevadans experience and that
are also -- that someone is proposing a solution to address those everyday
challenges that regardless of partisanship, that people are experiencing
here in Nevada.
BALL: That connects to people. I want to ask you, also, about this moment
from last year that got a lot of attention when you talked about something
else that happened in your youth. Let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: At 16 I got an abortion, and that was a very difficult thing for
me to do. And I`ll never forget being there and having that done. And I
don`t regret it. I don`t regret it because I am here making a difference,
at least in my mind, for many of the other young ladies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: Very courageous moment there, and there was a huge backlash. You
received death threats, but you also had a lot of women come forward and
say thank you for having the courage to say what you said. How has the
issue of abortion and your courage on that issue played into the campaign
that you`re running?
FLORES: Well, you know, right now it hasn`t really affected my campaign or
what we`re talking about right now. You know, look, I`m unapologetic about
being pro-choice and standing up for women and their ability to make their
own health decisions. And, you know, I`ve always been pro-choice. I am
that now. And so that hasn`t necessarily been, you know, a wedge issue
that has been brought up in the campaign. Now, certainly people do
remember my testimony and, you know, people are just thankful that there is
a politician -- I mean, I hate to refer to myself as a politician, an
elected official. I mean I came here to do a job, to try to improve
people`s lives. And, you know, sometimes that requires making courageous
decisions. And I think that`s what all elected officials are supposed to
do. And people, they really appreciate that I did that. And I`ve always
just been very honest about the things that have occurred in my life and
the decisions that I had to make. Because again, people experience that
every day of their lives. And we should be talking about that .
FLORES: . because we`re making decisions and policies that affect people`s
lives every single day.
BALL: I think voters really appreciate that level of candor and courage
really. Lucy Flores, thank you so much for joining us this morning.
FLORES: Thank you.
BALL: And I want to let everyone know that you can continue this
conversation with Lucy online. She will be answering your questions.
Visit mhpshow.com to submit your question, and we will post her answers
this week. Still to come this morning, Melissa Harris-Perry is live from
Essence Festival in New Orleans. More "Nerdland" at the top of the hour.
BALL: Welcome back. I am Krystal Ball, in for Melissa Harris-Perry.
Happy Fourth of July weekend.
If you are like many Americans you spent yesterday maybe taking in a
patriotic parade, grilling with family and friends in the afternoon and
enjoying an evening of fireworks. These are the traditions of the
Independence Day weekend for so many Americans, red, white, and blue -- and
Prince is why the superdome was that color last night headlining the
Essence Festival concert in New Orleans and kicking off a weekend featuring
an absolutely incredible lineup of recording stars. The Essence Fest does
turn 20 years old this week. And for many women in this country, this is
what the Fourth of July weekend is really all about.
Maybe you first learned about Essence Fest last year when Melissa broadcast
this very show live from the very noisy and very enthusiastic New Orleans
Convention Center. Here is what you have to know about the four-day-long
event in New Orleans. Yes, it is about the music and, yes, essence is
about enjoying the extraordinary city of New Orleans.
In fact, Essence was so devoted to the city that it returned to the
Crescent City just a year after taking one year break following Hurricane
Katrina. The festival`s nearly half a million attendees adds more than
$100 million to the New Orleans economy each year at precisely the time
heat and humidity lead to a summertime tourism lull.
But the festival is about so much more than the music and the city. It is
very consciously an empowerment event whose goal is to encourage women of
color to think seriously and collectively about how to wield economic power
in the marketplace, political power at the ballot box and personal power in
Joining me now from New Orleans are "Essence" editor-in-chief, Vanessa K.
Bush, and the host of this very show, Melissa Harris-Perry.
Melissa, how is it going down there in New Orleans? We missed you.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: It`s great. It`s so wonderful and weird
to be a guest on my own show, but thank you, Krystal, for stepping in today
on a holiday weekend to do this.
BALL: It`s my pleasure.
HARRIS-PERRY: But, listen, it`s been extraordinary. I think Essence
Festival always is such a special time. You know, this year on the Fourth
of July, on Independence Day, last night the big headliner, Prince
But I think, you know, as you said, it`s so important to recognize that
although the evenings here are definitely about the party, the daytimes
here are definitely about the purpose. And so, I had the incredible
opportunity yesterday, for example, to sit with Alicia Keys and with a
panel of what we like to call real women, women living with HIV, living
here in this country and talking about how African-American women are
empowered to end HIV and end AIS in our lifetime. So, you know, we did
that and then went to see Prince.
BALL: It sounds like an amazing and a really powerful day.
Vanessa, speak to that, because the creator of the festive described it as
a party with a purpose. It`s 20 years old now. How is the festival
evolved over the years to make sure it`s meeting the needs and wants of
everyone who attends?
VANESSA K. BUSH, EDITOR IN CHIEF, ESSENCE: Well, you know, the founders of
"Essence" thought it was truly important for us to make sure we didn`t just
have a party but that we actually empowered people with free daytime
entertainment workshops that focused on issues in our community.
So, today, we`re digging even deeper into issues with what`s at stake.
We`re talking about what`s going on in our cities. We`re going to have a
mayor`s panel with Marc Morial, Mayor Kasim Reed from Atlanta, Mayor
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake from Baltimore, and Mayor Jerry Brown from
And they are really going to talk to us about not just the problems that
our cities are facing, but also the solutions, the things that are working,
the innovative things that they are doing. And that`s just really part and
parcel of what Essence wants to bring to the table. We don`t want to talk
about what are the problems or what pathology is. But, really, how do we
bring solutions to the table.
HARRIS-PERRY: I think for me that`s part of what`s important is to
remember that in the last two presidential elections, that in the last two
presidential elections, African-American women have had the highest voter
turnout of any race and gender group, right? So, what that means is when
you look at the Obamas in the White House, that is the result of the
political empowerment of African-American women voters who showed up and
And so, part of what happens here at Essence is that you have the
identification of the problems but, also, continuing to point out that
despite economic and social and political marginalization, black women are
nonetheless already wielding their power in the public sphere.
BALL: Right. Well, and, Vanessa, to that point as Melissa is pointing
out, black women are the most reliable, progressive voting bloc. They
accounted in 2012 for 13 percent of all votes despite being 12 percent of
the electorate. So, it is a very powerful block indeed.
Is there a focus in Essence on finding and making sure that we`re fully
expressing that political power?
BUSH: Oh, absolutely. If you look at our columns and issues where we`re
talking about women to watch, where we highlight women who are running
important cities in our communities, we talk about voting rights -- a
voting rights piece in an upcoming issue in the September issue where we
talk about some of the losses that we`re seeing, some of the changes that
We`re losing some of our civil rights and we may not even be aware of this.
What Essence like to do is bring conversation to the table, so that we are
sure that this very powerful voting block, these black women, are active
and activating in the spaces where we need to make sure that our voices are
BALL: And, Melissa --
HARRIS-PERRY: Krystal, I think -- you know --
BALL: Go ahead.
HARRIS-PERRY: I was just going to say, you know, we`ve seen some of this
kind of fundamental question we like to call in Nerdland of
HARRIS-PERRY: -- over the course of the past few weeks. So, if we think
about the amazing program launched by the White House this past Fourth, My
Brother`s Keeper meant to it address the concerns of African-American boys
and men, that`s a critically important step. But we`ve also seen the White
House take a little bit of heat for that from African-American women who
are activists, intellectuals saying, hey, what about our daughters?
We have seen over the course of the past week the civil rights -- excuse
me, the reproductive rights decisions coming out of the Supreme Court and
even though we`ve had a lot of progressive conversation about it, we
haven`t always emphasized the ways in had which African-American and poor
women are most heavily affected by those reproductive rights decisions.
So, intersectionality is right there at that point where you say being a
black woman is not just being black plus woman. It is its own unique set
of with wonderful and difficult experiences and sometimes, we just got to
get together with ourselves in order to have a conversation about how we
address the reality of living at that intersection.
BALL: Yes, that`s so true. And, Melissa, you`ve done such a great job of
educating me, for one, and your audience in general on intersectionality
and what that means and what it means in our political culture.
Vanessa, one of the things that "Essence" is known for and sort of
intertwined with is the city of New Orleans itself. Could you ever of see
bringing that event to any other cities in the future?
BUSH: Well, actually, this year we did a road to Essence Festival. We
took the Essence Festival experience to cities from Chicago to Atlanta to
rural Maryland to Arkansas and we did both. We brought the empowerment
experience, had deep issues of concern to our community as well as a little
bit of -- you know, the nighttime flavor, the concerts, and it was
phenomenal, just another way for us to expand our footprint and make sure
that everyone in the community gets an opportunity to be heard.
HARRIS-PERRY: But we get the big Fourth of July party here in New Orleans.
There`s no way we`re letting Essence go.
BUSH: Absolutely. We couldn`t think of a better partner than the city of
New Orleans. This is the home for us. The warm of the city, the embrace -
- the way that people embrace us, there`s nothing like it and that`s why
we`re so fortunate to have been here for practically 20 years.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. I mean, Krystal, I just want to point that after
Katrina, at a time we department even know if all of our professional
sports teams were going to come home, when it felt like so many people were
potentially abandoning the city, that Essence very nearly made a commitment
to coming back. And so, now, nearly a decade later, it doesn`t seem such a
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, of course, you would come back. People were
questioning whether this city could come back and it took partners like
Essence to say we`ll be back. We`ll be there in the summer when the
tourist dollars go down and we`re going to keep support that local economy.
It makes a difference to have the long term relationship.
BALL: Well, I have to say I`m jealous of you both not only for being there
but I think I`m jealous you got to see Prince last night. I would love to
have seen that.
Vanessa K. Bush in New Orleans, thank you very much.
And, Melissa, thank you. And thank you for letting me hang out in Nerdland
for the day. It`s been fun. We are looking forward to having you back
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you for baby sitting.
All right. Stay right there.
Still ahead, the potential 2016 candidate who may catch everyone by
surprise, everyone except us nerds, that is.
And beats by the bard (ph). We will meet the artist who could change
everything you think about Shakespeare.
BALL: We still have a lot to get to this morning, including the letter of
But, first, here is the latest on Arthur. This morning, Arthur was
downgraded to a tropical storm and it`s now moving toward Nova Scotia after
bringing heavy rain to parts of New England. There had been real concern
that the first hurricane of the season would wreak havoc on one of the
biggest holiday weekends of the summer.
But this morning, officials are breathing a sigh of relief. Though Arthur
caused flooding and did topple some trees when it made landfall along the
North Carolina coast late Thursday, the damage was minimal. At the height
of the storm more than 40,000 people were without power, about 1,600 people
are still without power this morning but there were no reports of injuries
or deaths, thank God. And already things are beginning to get back to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve been through this many times before. The wind
blows, storms come. We clean up. The next day, we go and do what we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: The biggest threat from Arthur right now may be rip currents, which
could affect beachgoers all along the Atlantic Coast, at least 100 people a
year drowned because of rip currents, so officials are urging people to be
extra cautious on this holiday weekend.
In New York, rip currents forced the Macy`s fireworks barge to move, but
the show did go on with the nation`s largest fireworks display. It lit up
the skies over the east river.
Stay with MSNBC throughout the day for the latest on Arthur and the rest of
the holiday weekend weather forecast.
Up next for us, he`s got the looks, he`s got the record, but can he get the
The potential 2016 candidate who could take everyone by surprise.
BALL: If you are already fatigued with early speculation about the 2016
election and the single inescapable narrative -- let`s call it the
inevitability of Hillary -- you can in part blame the GOP for your
exhaustion. You see while Democrats are more or less focused on one person
as the object of their obsession, Republicans have what has been called at
least a, quote, "deep bench", a veritable variety pack of possible
contenders for the 2016 Republican nomination that`s got a little something
for everyone at the party.
And as "Washington Post" chief correspondent Dan Balz told "THE DAILY
RUNDOWN`s" Chuck Todd earlier this year, it`s still anybody`s game.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN BALZ, THE WASHINGTON POST: There is no front-runner. We`ve said it
repeatedly. This is a field --
CHUCK TODD, THE DAILY RUNDOWN: That`s not satisfying, Dan. Come on. You
BALZ: It`s not satisfying but it`s truth. I mean, you can pick out any
one person and say they have a niche of this party that if they can build
out from that, they could become a formidable candidate. But nobody has
been able to do that yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: But look a bit closer at the occupants of that deep bench, and the
embarrassment riches starts to look a little more rich with plain old
Take, for instance, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. If there`s anyone
poised to become that formidable Republican candidate who could possibly go
all the way, it`s the guy who won a landslide re-election victory in a very
blue state, except that road to victory got the a lot more bumpy when it
took a detour through a traffic jam over the George Washington Bridge. And
while there is still no evidence linking Governor Christie to the scandal
directly, he is still close enough to it to be tainted with the stench.
Then, there was the contender who just last year seems like such a sure
thing that "Time" magazine declared him, quote, "The Republican savior."
But a little dehydration during his State of the Union rebuttal and a lot
of failure on his push to reform immigration policy left the savior
standing among his party in need of a bit of rescue.
And then there`s this guy, Texas Governor Rick Perry. You certainly
remember him from the 2012 primarily, though probably not in a good way,
and you will likely see him reappear again in 2016. But he has already
gotten ahead of the game with his first pre-campaign blunder comparing
homosexuality to a lifestyle choice akin to being an alcoholic.
Also reportedly eying a run in 2016 is the son of a presidential dynasty,
former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. And if he decides to launch a campaign,
he`s already got a built-in Bush donor network as well as his own folks
onboard in an appeal to a broad coalition of moderate Republicans,
conservative Democrats and independents, that`s all working in his favor.
Yet, Bush`s strong support of immigration reform may run him afoul of the
very same Tea Party populace that just ousted establishment leader Eric
So, needless to say that full bench has its share of splinters, which is
why we wanted to introduce you someone to the far, far, far end of that
bench. We just think might be sitting pretty, someone that you probably
never thought of before.
Behold the dark horse with the bright mane, Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
Just look at that glowing head of perfectly parted presidential white hair,
those strong and manly shoulders that seem as though they could bear the
weight of the U.S. presidency.
Pence, after serving six terms in Congress where he rose to the number
three power position in the Republican caucus, was pushed to run for
president in 2012 by Tea Party activists and Republican conservatives.
Four years ago he was the one many hoped would be the conservative
alternative to Mitt Romney but instead chose to run for a seat in Indiana`s
executive office, a much stronger position from which to seek the
And his record in Indiana isn`t bad. He`s balanced the budget and gone
away with the deficit. Pence has the backing of the grassroots with none
of the whacky gaffes and scandal stench to shame the party and scare away
the moderate. And would you just look at that hair.
Now, far be it for us to engage in premature speculation, we would never do
that. I`m just saying, if you see your neighbor`s signs covered in "Pence
for president" signs for 2016, you heard it here first.
Joining me now, Katon Dawson, national Republican consultant and a former
senior adviser to Texas Governor Rick Perry. Sorry for that one line.
All right. Raul Reyes, attorney and columnist for "USA Today", who is
chuckling the whole time. Beth Fouhy, senior editor for MSNBC.com, and we
have David Freedlander, senior political correspondent with "The Daily
Beast" and the writer of this very exciting article, "Mike Pence: Dark
Horse in Training for 2016."
David, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks to you guys for coming
I want to start with your article because you kind of get into who Mike
Pence is and why he could be in a good place. You say he stays on message.
A lot of guys have a message but they can`t deliver it well. He has a
message and he delivers it will.
You also go on to say, much of the praise of Pence is in this vein. He
will not embarrass us.
Is that what GOP folks are looking for in 2016? It seems like kind of a
DAVID FREEDLANDER, THE DAILY BEAST: You know, I mean, I think it`s fair to
say they like that. I mean, as you were going through the whole litany,
they`re right. Being the Republican presidential front runner is kind of
like being the drummer for Spinal Tap. I mean, you kind of just disappear.
And so, you`re right. I mean, everyone is sort of looking (ph) at the
bench, and Pence is still sitting there waiting for his term.
BALL: Yes. All right. Katon, you know Mike Pence, friends with him,
contributed to him. Is he going to run? Is he in for 2016, do you think?
DAWSON: I don`t know. It`s just like just said, being a front-runner in
Republican politics, you either want to have a vasectomy, root canal, or be
front runner? Because once you`re the front-runner, then you`re going to
get all the attention.
The nice thing about Mike Pence is he`s got a nice, clean record. He`s a
decent guy. His wife, Karen, good family, lawyer by trade, has done a
radio talk show for years. I invited him in 2004, I think it was, to speak
at a Republican convention in South Carolina where he just wooed the
audience because he was an up-and-coming star.
I do think Mike is doing his job in Indiana. One of the things you`re
seeing that he`s doing that other Republicans aren`t, they turned the
mandate down but Mike is getting some solutions and has done the hip 2.0.
BALL: You`re talking about Medicare --
DAWSON: He is. Medicare expansion. He`s getting some real answers that
will resonate among a Republican electorate.
But, you know, it`s hard to run for president. Building an organization,
getting anything ready to do it. You no longer can just show up, like you
said, show up and just become a candidate, and Mike will have to make that
BALL: Now, you`ve raised your share of Republican funds.
DAWSON: I have.
BALL: Do you see big donors who are saying, OK, Chris Christie is not
going to happen, Scott Walker, there are some issues there as well. Do you
see them taking a look at Mike Pence?
DAWSON: You know, you got to look at certain states where the money is
raised. California, Texas, New Jersey. And Chris Christie, I ran into
when I was raising money early in the year. I ran into the Chris Christie
machine raising money until bridgegate came and everything came around, and
he`s still raising money for the RGA.
Now, I think what Republicans are looking for in the donor class is
somebody that they know they like. We have to have a likeable candidate.
It`s one of the things we do in the Republican Party is we just murder each
other. We can take a real likeable candidate and make them unlikable
DAWSON: And Mike Pence is a guy that`s going to be hard to do that, too.
Beth, getting back to what Katon was saying about the Medicaid expansion.
You know, this is a tough choice. I think a lot of Republicans are looking
to governors, to the states, for potentially 2016 candidates, but they all
have this choice to make, right, of whether or not to expand Medicaid and
they`ve chosen different paths, of course, Rick Perry absolutely not.
Kasich on the other hand from Ohio went ahead with the Medicaid expansion.
And here Mike Pence has tried to find a third way. He is not taking the
Medicaid expansion fully. He is trying to take the dollars, so it`s not
official that they`re going to be able to do that. But it looks like they
will, taking the dollars, setting up health savings accounts, trying to
find a third way.
Is it going to be a problem for him though in a Republican primary that he
was willing to do anything with the Affordable Care Act?
FOUHY: Yes, exactly, because basically, my opinion, most of the
Republicans governors aren`t taking this money not out of spite,
necessarily for the poor people in their state but they don`t want to
accommodate Obama on anything.
BALL: Out of cowardice, I would say.
FOUHY: Right. But the fact Pence did this does show a real sign of, you
know, creativity, maturity as a politician, and he`s hopefully getting a
lot more health care to his constituents, which can`t be a bad thing.
Certainly, it`s going to be great for Republican for him.
Look, I think Pence still looks like a very promising candidate in many
ways, but there`s -- I see some problems just at the outset. I mean, to be
popular with the Tea Party does help you get elected as a Republican in a
Republican state like Indiana. I don`t know that gets you a lot of looks
in other parts of the country. He faces a social issue, an interesting
social issue quandary right now.
A U.S. district judge took down Indiana`s gay marriage ban, and so, some
gay couples start to marry there, and then that was put on hold by a
federal judge is awaiting an appeal or a hearing. So, now, the federal
government is going to recognize those marriages and Pence is going to have
to decide whether or not he or his state is going to recognize the gay
marriages in that state.
And that`s going to be an interesting sign, too, like what is the message
he wants to send to Republicans nationally about how he handles this issue,
which -- let`s face it -- is going the way of gay rights, and not going
BALL: He`s been very conservative on social issues.
REYES: Right. And I think he might have some of the -- looking ahead,
some of the trouble that Rick Perry had. You know, he`s from a
conservative district, in a conservative state. And then on the national
stage, like when Rick Perry was out in San Francisco facing questions about
same sex marriage and what you think of it and how to deal with it -- it`s
not something he`s used to dealing with and finding all the nuances.
So, I think that`s something he has to be aware of. He really has to stake
out a position, but as you said, what plays at home may not the play in the
And, you know, he has had -- he`s a politician. Has had this record as
congressman and governor. He has had a few stumbles like when he said
abortion was the number one cause of death for African-Americans and he
apologized later when he drew some comparisons when the Supreme Court
upheld the Affordable Care Act. He compared this to 9/11 and then he had
to apologize. So, he has had some gaffes, you know, as his profile has
BALL: Certainly, he has them. Plus, he also called for all money to be
taken away from Planned Parenthood not just that to abortion.
So, yes, he`s been very, very conservative and has had a few gaffes
All right. Just how real, though, is the Pence hypothesis? We are going
to go next to Indiana and find a reporter who will explain how the former
congressman has been positioning himself for a return to Washington since
BALL: We are back talking about the dark horse who can could be the one to
watch for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Indiana Governor
And joining me now from Indianapolis is someone who spent a lot of time
covering the governor, Ed Feigenbaum, editor and publisher of Indiana
Thank you so much for joining us, Ed.
So, you know, when Governor Pence was being pushed to run for president in
2012, he chose then to go back to Indiana and run for governor instead.
How do you think his record as governor in Indiana will stand up against
his potential GOP primary opponent?
ED FEIGENBAUM, EDITOR/PUBLISHER: Well, that was another box that he had to
check, Krystal. He lacked executive experience to that point. He`s done a
really good job building on that. You know, he`s put together budgets that
will create surpluses. We`ll probably hear by the end of the week that
we`re going to end the current fiscal year with a surplus close to $2
And he`s also done a real good job of assuaging that the Tea Party types,
the conservatives within the Republican Party that he`s one of them, while
at the same time not using those as wedge issues within the state of
BALL: All right. I want to take a listen to Mike Pence speaking at this
year`s NRA annual meeting. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: If I only had 12 years left to live, I`d
want to live it as a member of Congress because that was the longest 12
years of my life. The longer I serve as governor of this great state, the
more convince I am that the cure for ails this country will come more from
our nation`s state capitals than it ever will from our nation`s state
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: So, Ed, the cool thing to be in the Republican Party these days is
an outsider. Mike Pence was in Congress for 12 years. It`s pretty hard to
say you`re a Washington outsider when you`ve been in Congress for 12 years.
But that`s kind of the case and positioning that he`s trying to find right
FEIGENBAUM: And he didn`t want to stay in Washington. He was never too
comfortable there. He was one of the guys -- and this is going to give him
additional credentials -- who took on John Boehner at one point for
Republican leadership. He took on George Bush because George Bush wasn`t
conservative enough, wasn`t fiscally conservative enough, and he`s got the
t-shirt and some of the bruises to prove that.
You know, he went through that No Child Left Behind fight. So, he`s the
guy who was never really comfortable in Washington, understood what needed
to be done was really being done in the states and wanted to lead the state
BALL: Ed, hang with us. I want to take it back to our panel for a minute.
Katon, do you agree? You`re saying he feels like a regular relatable kind
of a guy, doesn`t necessarily feel like your Washington insider?
DAWSON: Republican primary voters like governors. They do. They like the
experience. They like that.
Mike is -- his conservative credentials can the not be questioned. And
that`s the first thing that starts to happen in a Republican primary and,
his social issues are going to play well in the primary. And it`s just --
Mike, you don`t have to make the decision do they want to build the
apparatus to go do that. That is a very tough, litigious, expensive
But Mike is a guy we saw come in long ago because he picked fights against
the leadership. He went up against them. And you`re right, Mike wasn`t in
love with Congress.
So, being governor in Indiana is a good day job right now for Mike Pence.
He`ll just have to make decision, does he want to build a financial network
nationally to get in the game. That will be the decision.
BALL: David, how is --how is Mike`s relationship with the base of the
party as we were talking about? He`s going with this third way on Medicaid
expansion. He also backed the guest worker program while he was in
Congress, which set him at odds with some immigration hard-liners. That`s
going to be another issue that he has to deal with.
But how is his standing among the base these days?
FREEDLANDER: Oh, I think they love him. I mean, yes, you could poke holes
in everyone`s record. As a governor, you`re sort of more open to that
because you have to find compromise, have to pass decision.
This is a guy, he was against No Child Heft Behind. He was against TARP.
He was against the Medicare expansion. I mean, he is pretty good on
conservative issues. When you talk conservatives they always describe him
as a full spectrum conservative. He`s got the social conservative, the
fiscal conservative and foreign policy conservatism.
BALL: Ed, going back to you, let`s talk a little bit about the Medicaid
expansion there in Indiana going forward with what`s been seen as a third
way, taking the federal money but doing it in a different way.
How is that received there? Are voters excited about that path?
FEIGENBAUM: Well, everybody is excited about that, including a lot of
Democrats, but the Republicans as well.
Let me go back real quickly to a point that Katon made about the base and
just as importantly I think that Mike Pence is a guy that some of the
leaders in the party, in the very conservative wing of the party, the Gary
Bauers, Chris Chocolas, the Grover Norquists, are comfortable with would
come to his aid in a moment. And this is a guy who`s proven that he can
raise a lot of money.
And speaking of a lot of money, you know, you`ve raised the so-called
I think that if you look at closely enough, it`s really not Medicaid
expansion. It`s kind of a consumer-driven program. If it were really
Medicaid expansion, then Secretary Sebelius and Secretary Burwell would
have had no problem whatsoever in approving this thing real quickly, but
we`re still working on some waivers.
This is really a consumer-driven kind of program, something that works to
empower the people of Indiana that are going to be on the program. And
it`s basically an expansion of a very successful bipartisan program that
has worked for 45,000 people for the past several years.
BALL: Ed, one thing that can be a real turnoff to voters, though, if they
feel like their governor is looking beyond their state to what is coming
next for them and positioning themselves for a run for president. Is there
any of that sense either among the population or among insiders there in
Indiana that he is, in fact, laying the groundwork, positioning himself to
make a run in 2016?
FEIGENBAUM: No, we`ve been there and done that. If you look at all of our
U.S. senators since 1962, I think there`s only been one that has not run
for president. And that`s one of the incumbents, Dan Coats and Joe
Connelly, our other incumbent. But we had Bayh and Hartke and Lugar, that
were running, Dan Quayle, obviously.
I think the Hoosiers are proud of people looking at folks in Indiana saying
we think these people are worthy of being president and it`s something that
brings a lot of attention and as Mitch Daniels showed a couple of years
ago, this is something that helps bring home the Indiana message to the
rest of the country and shows them that we are really a success story
regardless of who is in charge of the state at any given time.
BALL: Yes, he`s certainly an interesting candidate to watch. One thing
I`m wondering about if he turns out to be sort of the Tim Pawlenty of the
next time around, a lot of talk, a lot of excitement among a certain class
that sort of doesn`t really pan out. But we will have to wait and see.
Ed Feigenbaum in Indianapolis, thank you so much for your insights.
And thank you, also, to our panel here in New York. We`ve had Katon
Dawson, David Freedlander, Beth Fouhy, and Raul Reyes. Thank you so much
to all of you.
And still to come a performance of Shakespeare like you have never heard
before. But, first, my letter of the week.
BALL: Detroit`s water department accounts for nearly $6 billion of the $18
billion in debt that led the city to declare bankruptcy last year. And as
part of its plan to climb out of bankruptcy, the department has turned off
the water for thousands of residents who have fallen behind in paying their
bills. The city of Detroit says cutting off the water is the only way to
get people to pay their bills and recoup the nearly $90 million that the
utility is currently owed by customers.
But in withholding the water, the city is also denying a vital resource to
its most vulnerable residents at a time when they need it the most, which
is why, today, my letter is going to the Detroit emergency manager who is
overseeing the shutoff.
Dear Kevin Orr, it`s me, Krystal.
Did you happen to catch the weather report for Detroit this week? You guys
had a perfect day to celebrate the Fourth of July, a bright and balmy 77
But that`s cool compared to what`s coming. Detroit is supposed to hit 87
degrees by Friday, you know, the kind of day that makes you want to go
inside and have a nice, long drink of ice, cold water, maybe beat the heat
by standing for a few minutes in a cool shower or any shower at all for
that the matter. Sounds nice, doesn`t it?
But thanks to the decision of your department, there will be no such relief
for the thousands of Detroit residents who are going to be without water at
the height of summer.
Kevin, it is truly a sin and national shame that Detroit borders the Great
Lakes with more than 20 percent of fresh water on the planet and yet these
American citizens have been reduced to appealing to the United Nations for
help just to get a drop, because what you are withholding from people isn`t
just a summertime luxury, but a literal necessity for the sustenance of
human life. Clean water is a vital resource not only for survival but also
for preparing food, tending to personal and family hygiene and just
maintaining safe and sanitary living conditions. By denying people the
ability to provide for those most basic of needs, you are depriving them of
their human right to a life lived with dignity.
Kevin, have you considered how turning off the tap could create a public
health crisis in a city already strained by limited resources to be able to
Michigan Congressman John Conyers laid out the dangers to which you are
exposing Detroit residents this week in a statement saying, quote, "The
failure to reinstate water service means unsanitary conditions,
malnutrition and disease for babies, the sick, and the elderly."
This forcing the most vulnerable people to try and eke out an existence
without water only doubles the disgrace. Please understand that you are
attempting to collect a debt from people who have already paid the greatest
price for Detroit`s downturn. The city`s economy has been crippled by a 40
percent poverty rate, record unemployment, and a population decline of 1
million people since the 1950s.
Those left behind have had to shoulder the burden of the crumbling city,
including the old and deteriorating infrastructure of Detroit`s water and
sewage system. As their ability to pay the bills declines, the coast of
water for those customers has only gone up, 119 percent over the last
Kevin, I`m not saying that Detroit`s water department doesn`t have the
right to try and collect what it`s owed. It does. But why not start with
the 57 percent of the city`s commercial users, who according to reports
submitted to the U.N., still haven`t paid their bills or the 55 percent of
the industrial users who are also delinquent? Between the two of them
that`s nearly $30 million in outstanding payments.
Or, here`s a thought, maybe try saving money by turning off the untold
amounts of water that has been continuously flowing through leaky pipes in
Detroit`s abandoned buildings. In the meantime, Mr. Orr, keep the water
running for the people who truly need it the most. You are the emergency
manager for the city of Detroit. You are supposed to be helping the people
of Detroit out of an emergency situation not finding new ones for them.
BALL: Our foot soldier today is someone who truly understands the
intersection of the old and the new. The sonnet man who`s real name is
Devon Glover teamed with Broadway producer R.J. Shaw emerged the old
English verse of William Shakespeare`s sonnets, with a contemporary hip hop
beat, and spoken word.
The result is this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEVON GLOVER, THE SONNET MAN: My mistress` eyes are nothing like the sun;
coral is far more red than her lips` red; if snow be white, why then her
breasts are dun; if hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have
seen roses damasked, red and white, but no such roses see I in her cheeks;
and in some perfumes is there more delight than in the breath that from my
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: That was a performance in Grill Jamaica. But Devon has taken his
sweet swan of Avon hip hop fusion to workshops and classrooms from coast to
coast as well as Shakespeare`s original birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon.
And next week, he will be performing at the world renowned Stratford
Festival in Nigeria on the lake, in Ontario, Canada. I`ve been there.
And I am thrilled to have here with me here in the man bringing the bard to
hip hop and the hip hop generation to the bard, the Sonnet Man, art but
soldier, Devon Glover.
Devon, it`s great to have you. Thank you for joining us.
GLOVER: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
BALL: Of course, how did the Sonnet Man start? Because you went to Ithaca
College, you majored in math.
GLOVER: In math, yes.
BALL: How did this start?
GLOVER: Well, my passion is music and education, and a beauty of language.
After avoiding Shakespeare so much, after re-studying Shakespeare in my
later years, just the -- the beauty of his language and the fact that
students -- you know, students around the world, they cannot avoid
Shakespeare. I thought this would be an innovative way to introduce
Shakespeare in a more catchy way, rather than, you know, giving them a book
and a large play of Shakespeare.
Start small and add some diction to it, add some rhythm to it and have
them, you know, dance and move to it. They get to learn sublimely, you
BALL: How do young people respond when they hear you perform? Do they
connect more with Shakespeare after they`ve heard you?
GLOVER: Yes. It`s more like bridging the gap. You know, usually students
that are in tune with hip hop, not familiar with Shakespeare, either at a
young age, especially students in my neighborhood. So, you know, compared
to connect Shakespeare to a great genre like hip hop, it actually inspires
them to open up Shakespeare and actually learn more themselves.
BALL: Well, you start from a place where they already have a connection.
And then you use that as a bridge, which I think is so brilliant.
BALL: On the flip side you also perfect formed, as I mentioned, Stratford-
upon-Avon, Shakespeare`s birth place. How did the true Shakespeareans view
the work that you were doing?
GLOVER: It was quite a great experience. You know. The -- they like the
beauty of the language and the fact that I was using his words and there
was no switching of his words. I try to call myself hip hop, you know,
cliff notes. I actually -- it is the sonnet I have used, consider studying
And they -- like the meaning and definition that I brought to this
audience. So, it was -- it was actually great. Actually I had been
requested to come back next year --
BALL: That`s awesome.
GLOVER: -- for the Stratford Festival. So, I`m looking forward to that.
BALL: I`m sure they love the weigh you bring it to life.
BALL: And you have a new CD out. I`m excited to have a copy. It`s "The
Sonnet Man: Hip Hop, Shakespeare, Fusion". What can people expect to hear
GLOVER: You know, you can -- you can dance, if it has -- lot of different
themes to it. You know, Shakespeare works hard on his sleeves. So,
there`s a lot of themes, a lot of different tunes.
In fact, we have the -- blend the moats where you learn along and read
along with Shakespeare. So, just -- you know, getting a glimpse of
Shakespeare and getting a glimpse of may life because -- the sonnet I
choose, I like to connect to my life and story.
BALL: I`m going to listen to it on the way to the beach today.
GLOVER: Thank you.
BALL: And I understand you performed a sonogram and engagement party
yesterday. Quickly, tell us a little bit about that.
GLOVER: Well, just -- went to a friend`s house and, you know, that had --
had a couple of requests to possibly do a couple of songs. It was just --
you know, just -- good times and good times with friends and I like to --
do open shows as well as, you know, theater. It works great for me.
BALL: Awesome. Well, we are glad to have you here, Devon Glover, the
Sonnet Man. Thank you for joining us in Nerdland today.
GLOVER: Thank you.
BALL: And now, I`m going to invite you to get up from the table and head
over to our summer concert series stage aka right over there. And for
those of you at home, we are going to leave you today with this version of
William Shakespeare`s Sonnet 18.
I am Krystal Ball. Melissa will be back tomorrow, 10:00 a.m. eastern.
And "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT" will be up next.
And now, Devon Glover, the Sonnet Man.
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