'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, March 21st, 2015
Read the transcript to the Saturday show
Past transcripts by month
Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: March 21, 2015
Guest: Genevieve Wood, L. Joy Williams, Jackie Kucinich, Lola Ogunnaike,
Terry O`Neill, Kim Ghattas, Lynn Sweet, McKay Coppins, Derrick Pitts
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: Coffee talk.
Good morning. Thanks for getting up with us. I`m Jonathan Capehart
sitting in this Saturday for Steve Kornacki. Ahead on UP, the man who
changed the way Americans now order their coffees is now trying to change
the way Americans talk about race. The details on that in just a moment.
We`ll have more on the investigation into the death of a man found hanging
from a tree, also.
Still to come this morning, a machete wielding man shot overnight at a busy
airport. We`ll show you in.
Plus, is the war on women really over? Some would like you to believe it
is. All that and a whole lot more is up ahead this morning.
But we begin this morning with the nation`s largest coffee chain`s plan to
sell a whole lot more than Grande soy half cup lattes. Starbucks is
launching a campaign this week to spur a national conversation on race.
The company is hoping their baristas will be the ones to initiate that
dialogue when you order your daily caffeine fix. The conversation is
supposed to begin on your coffee cup. Right alongside your misspelled
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD SCHULTZ, STARBUCKS CEO: What if we were to write race together on
every Starbucks cup and that facilitated a conversation between you and our
customers? And what if our customers as a result of that had a renewed
level of understanding and sensitivity about the issue. And they
themselves would spread that to their own sphere of influence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: This new effort drawing widespread criticism online. PBS
Newshour Gwen Ifill tweeting, quote, "Honest to God if you start to engage
me on a conversation on race before I`ve had my morning coffee it will not
end well." And I Gwen Ifill, it will not end well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I`m not going to stand here and tell you that Starbucks itself is
going to solve centuries old problems of racism in America. But I am going
to tell you, that we`re going to try and demonstrate a level of respect of
leadership and concern that we can make a difference.
MELLODY HOBSON, STARBUCKS BOARD MEMBER: You see, race today is one of the
most controversial and uncomfortable issues you can discuss. We`ve
certainly seen that in the last 24 hours, right? It`s time for us to get
comfortable with an uncomfortable conversation about race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: So how will this Starbucks initiative actually work in the real
world? On the panel this morning, Genevieve Wood, senior contributor for
The Daily Signal, which is part of the Heritage Foundation. Political
strategist L. Joy Williams, also president of the Brooklyn Chapter of the
NAACP. Jackie Kucinich, senior political editor with The Daily Beast, my
former colleague at The Washington Post. And Lola Ogunnaike, my former
colleague at The Daily News and anchor with "Arise 360." Thank you all for
being here this morning.
Lola, I`m going to start with you. What do you make of Howard Schultz`s
effort and Starbucks effort to engage customers, the public on race?
LOLA OGUNNAIKE, ARISE 360: I think it`s a noble idea. And in theory it
could work, but in practice, I think it could be a disaster. Especially in
a city like New York. No one has time to barely give their order let alone
engage in an esoteric conversation about race. And then with Baristas who
aren`t necessarily the most prepared or equipped to have these really in
depth controversial conversations. I mean, unless skip gates decides that
he wants to become a barista at the local Starbucks. I don`t think that
these people are going to be able to even have this conversation and have
it on the level that we will need to have it for to affect actual change.
Which is the real point of this whole conversation, to effect that change.
CAPEHART: Right. Let me open that question up to everyone else at the
table. What do you make of this? Go ahead, Jackie.
JACKIE KUCINICH, THE DAILY BEAST: I think it`s stick to the weather. Is a
better slogan when it comes to just ordering coffee. Let`s just have like
a nice -- just interacting. I guess, I completely agree. I don`t really
know what they were thinking. You know, I think maybe their heart was in
the right place. But Starbucks has a long history of getting involved in
the political conversation. They`re asking people not to bring guns into
Starbucks in states where you can conceal carry, it comes to mind. So they
do this. This just seems a little bit more personal.
GENEVIEVE WOOD, THE DAILY SIGNAL: I`ve been interested though with the
overreaction almost to it. You know, I`m a conservative. And there`s a
lot of things Starbucks stands for that I don`t like. Some things I do. I
love their coffee. But I think this is a noble idea. And it`s their
business. They`re willing to take a risk. I mean, they`re willing to say,
we may have people who don`t come in and buy coffee because they`re nervous
to come in or we may have some kind of incident in the store. But they`re
willing to put that on a line to bring forth an issue and I think these
people are kind of over the top about it.
L. JOY WILLIAMS, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Well, quite often people want to
receive awards and let us have an awards ceremony because you woke up one
day and decided to enter a conversation that millions of people have to
live through every day. And so to feel that they -- because this company
who doesn`t have to begins to engage in a conversation about race and the
we are supposed to give them kudos for bad implementation I think is a bad
idea. I think secondly if they`re going to have this conversation, I think
the way they started it was right. By starting it internally. They had
these conversations internally with their staff, with other fields. And
then they needed to continue that conversation internally. Because they
missed a big elephant in the room is, how does Starbucks in communities --
it is one of the things that is used as a barometers in terms of
gentrification and neighborhoods across the country. Right? So, to be
able to say we want to be a part of this conversation and we`re going to
start with us and how our blueprint across the country impacts that
CAPEHART: And that`s a very good point. I mean, my heart goes out to
Howard Schultz on this. Because I`ve heard for long time that he`s been
doing, having these conversations with his employees around the country as
a result of Ferguson. And it came from a very pure place. And when I
heard about this, I was wildly impressed. I thought it`s amazing that
this, you know, captain of American business that affects all of our lives
is doing this on his own. What I didn`t realize was that it was going to
turn into this. And so, you know --
KUCINICH: Can you really have a Kumbaya over a dark Columbian roast --
OGUNNAIKE: If you`re forced to have a conversation about race, that`s not
the most welcoming environment to have a conversation about race, if it
happens organically, then fine. But if you`re going to go pay for your
tea, and your barista says let me ask you about oppression, that`s not the
way you want to start your morning.
WILLIAMS: But I also want, I mean, you know, because even in our
conversation when we were talking about also don`t want to make it seem
that we`re insulting the intelligence of baristas, right?
WILLIAMS: Because there are people there who are going through college,
going through a grad degree over whatever.
KUCINICH: We`re not insulting their intelligence at all. We`re just
saying that --
WILLIAMS: But it`s unfair to them.
KUCINICH: It`s unfair to expect them to have to do everything else in
addition to doing what they were hired to do which was serve coffee and
serve tea and maybe a donut and a muffin.
WOOD: Does anybody who has been to Starbucks? I mean, I went yesterday at
-- we were talking about this. And I don`t know if it was just because
everybody was in a good mood because it was Friday. People, the customers
and the baristas couldn`t have been friendlier to each other that I have
never seen. And nobody talked --
OGUNNAIKE: It is different --
WOOD: And I wonder --
OGUNNAIKE: I want to say, I actually tried it the other day. I went to my
local Starbucks in my Chelsey neighborhood and I tried to engage in a
conversation about race. The woman behind the counter look at me like I
had two heads, the elder gentleman was very nice and he wrote race together
on my cup. And that was the extent of my conversation about race at
Starbucks. But the green tea was amazing.
CAPEHART: Did you know, one of the reasons with why it`s so difficult to
have a conversation on race, whether it`s with the barista or even with
your colleague or coworker or just a perfect stranger. It`s such a
personal conversation it requires trust. And I think that one of the
reasons why we always go through these cycles of our, oh now, maybe we can
have that conversation, is because while we all know each other and we all
can have a conversation on race, if we then walk up to a stranger. I don`t
know a perfect stranger. I don`t know where they heart is, I don`t know
what their motivation is.
WILLIAMS: Right. But I think --
CAPEHART: Go ahead.
WILLIAMS: Yes, but I think it goes back to my earlier point in terms of
you start the conversation by talking about yourself and your
responsibility in your position in the conversation of race. So one
acknowledging whatever privilege, acknowledging whatever history, whatever
past, whatever current reality that you have and that you play in the race
together conversation. And so that`s where you start. And then being able
to further have the conversation where, okay, now I`ve identified and I`ve
worked through sort of how I fit in this space. And now I can begin to
have a conversation with others.
OGUNNAIKE: With all due respect, I love what you`re saying and it sounds
great at a Harvard, you know, race 101 class. Having that conversation at
Starbucks you`re going to quote sweet brown. Ain`t nobody got time for
WILLIAMS: I agree. But I`m talking about the company and the owner
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
CAPEHART: I quote it all the time.
WILLIAMS: Baristas and the folks who are getting paid a minimum wage or
higher than a minimum wage -- that burden should not be on them. I`m
talking about the company itself. And I`m talking about the owner himself.
OGUNNAIKE: And this is also selling coffee. I mean, let`s be real.
KUCINICH: We`re talking about Starbucks. I mean, good for them.
CAPEHART: You know, I`m not going --
KUCINICH: I`m cynical about this.
CAPEHART: No. But I`m not going to be that cynical and say that the
reason why Howard Schultz is doing all this is to sell coffee --
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
Right. You know, newspaper and here`s the race together that they`re
putting out in some Starbucks. I think you said you didn`t see it in
yours. But, you know, Starbucks has been doing, I think some really
fantastic ads. Just on its own. I think for a couple of weeks ago, they
had one that said, shall we overcome, asking the question for MLK weekend.
I believe they did something -- I`d never even realized before. If you
spell the alphabet backwards, if you lay the alphabet backwards, what you
get is MLK. And when I saw it -- there is it on the screen right now. Did
that for MLK day. And what does it say at the bottom because I`m an old
man? It`s time to look at things differently. Again, a fantastic message.
Very subtle, terrific. I think it`s in keeping, with I think the pure
heart of Howard Schultz and maybe not the profit motive of the entire
company as Starbucks. Because as you said, Genevieve, Starbucks is taking
a big risk here by waiting into a subject that`s wildly controversial as we
just demonstrated. The panel is staying put.
When we come back the latest into the investigation into the terrible story
of an African-American man found hanging from a tree in Mississippi earlier
And later Monica Lewinsky, she is back revisiting the aftermath of her time
at the White House. What she had to say coming up.
CAPEHART: The FBI says it`s too early to say whether the black man found
hanging from a tree in Mississippi died as a result of suicide or murder.
Preliminary results of the autopsy on 54-year-old Otis Byrd are expected
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD ALWAY, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: We want to reiterate that individual
single pieces of information and bits of rumors, we`re going to hold off on
speaking to those until we can collectively come to a conclusion and get
you the truth that everybody deserves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the case in an interview
with MSNBC yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: At this point, you know, we are trying
to determine exactly what happened. The FBI, the civil rights division,
the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi are looking into
the matter to determine if there are any federal violations of law that
occurred in this potential hate crime. We simply don`t know the facts at
this point. And we`re still in the process of trying to gather those
facts. But we do have, you know, a substantial federal presence helping
determine what the facts are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: NBC National Correspondent Joy Reid is in Port Gibson,
Mississippi this morning. Joy, great to see you. What do we know about
the case at this time?
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Same here, Jonathan. So,
Jonathan, as you just heard from Attorney General Eric Holder officials
here in Mississippi are also counseling caution. And that`s everybody from
the sheriff of the Claiborne County all the way to the state-wide president
of the NAACP, all of whom are saying that there are plenty of rumors.
There`s a lot of anxiety as the NAACP president told me. Anytime you have
the image of a black man hanging from a tree in Mississippi with all the
history that goes along with that, it does alarm people. But everyone is
taking a wait and see attitude. There`s simply not enough information
right now. Because we don`t have the results of that autopsy to know
whether Otis Byrd took his own life or whether he was killed. So, I think
as that proceeds. People are actually being very cautious, the mood is
CAPEHART: Yes. I was going to ask you what we don`t know. And so, we
don`t know a lot until we get the results of the autopsy. But what are
officials looking to find out?
REID: Well, Jonathan, right now, what officials are doing is trying to re-
create Otis Byrd`s last day. March 2nd is when he disappeared. What we do
know is that he went to a casino, a Riverfront Casino not far from here.
About 20 miles away from where I am now in Port Gibson. He went to the
casino early in the day on March 2nd with a niece. He went home and then
went back to the casino later in the day with a friend who dropped him off.
And then a third person brought him back. We know that he got back to the
house that he was renting that`s not far from here where I am at the, I
guess the county seat of Claiborne County late at night, 10:30, 11:00 at
night. And that is the last that we know of him until of course his body
was found this past week. The family didn`t put in a missing persons
report for six days. But the family is very close. There are a lot of
members of the family that live in this area.
And when they hadn`t heard from him after six days, he was reported missing
to the sheriff. Now, I did talk to the sheriff Jonathan who said that once
he started to search for Otis Byrd, he felt that he need more man power.
He needed more people to search. There are heavily wooded areas near the
house that Otis Byrd was renting. So, he did call in to Mississippi Bureau
of Investigations which is the FBI`s division here. And then later brought
in the fish and wildlife division because he just needed more man power,
more bodies, more legs to go into the wooded areas and try to search for
him. And then of course, unfortunately, he was found. So to wrap it up,
basically right now, they`re searching a storage locker that was owned by
or used by Mr. Byrd. They are seeking surveillance video from the casino
where he is known to have gone twice on the last day he was known alive.
And then just waiting for that autopsy result.
CAPEHART: A lot of information you have just given us, Joy. Thanks very
much. MSNBC`s Joy Reid in Port Gibson, Mississippi, this morning.
And next why African-American students at UVA stormed out of a meeting
yesterday with law enforcement. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: Late yesterday, three Ft. Lauderdale police officers were fired
and a fourth stepped down after a five month investigation into racially
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF FRANK ADDERLEY, FORT LAUDERDALE FLORIDA POLICE: All four officers`
conduct involved racist text messages exchanged among themselves and former
police Officer Alex Alvarez created a video that was racially biased.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: And about 200 University of Virginia students stormed out of a
meeting with local police and officials yesterday. Chanting "Black Lives
Matter." The student run meeting was an attempt to address the bloody
arrest of an African-American student that rocked the Charlottesville
campus this week. Early Wednesday morning, under age 20-year-old UVA
junior Martese Johnson was arrested by State Alcohol Beverage Control agent
after trying to enter a bar. His forehead was bloodied as he was taken to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN MORAN, SECRETARY OF PUBLIC SAFETY: He was charged with public
intoxication, swearing and obstruction of justice is my belief. And we`re
asking the state police to gather all the relevant facts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Virginia state police have launched a criminal investigation
into the bloody altercation, along with an independent review requested by
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (R), VIRGINIA: To see the photos I can tell you as a
parent, you know, I have a son about the same age in college. I have a
daughter in college. So, I was very disturbed by the pictures I saw
yesterday. Let`s let the investigation go forth. Obviously, I moved very
quickly, I wanted an independent investigation, I want to know exactly what
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Agents involved in Johnson`s arrests remain on administrative
duty. At a press conference Tuesday, Johnson`s attorney read a statement
on his behalf.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL WATKINS, MARTESE JOHNSON`S ATTORNEY: I trust that the scars on my
face and head will one day heal. But the trauma from what the ABC officers
did yesterday will stay with me forever. I believe we as a community are
better than this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: So what do we do? So, what do we do -- this week`s event tell
us about the current state of policing and race relations in this country?
I want to talk to my panel.
Sorry. I am sorry. I`m not meaning to make a joke because this is a very
serious subject. We don`t know all the details of what happened leading up
to the arrest of Martese Johnson and we`re so learning the full context.
But L. Joy, what do you make of what we know so far?
WILLIAMS: Well, we may not know in its entirety all the details that led
up to his arrest. But what we do know is how he was treated. And that is
in and of itself, as said by his attorney, trauma. In that you have this
young man. Who was handled in such a way. And this is across the country
that young black males and black women are subject to this type of
behavior. And this type of treatment. We all, as citizens of this
country, deserve to be treated in a manner that is respectful. We all
deserve to be treated the same way as any citizens who are white or of any
other race or ethnicity. And we know that not to be not the case
currently. And so while we may not know what led up to, we do know exactly
what happened and how he was treated. And that is what our movements
across the country are attacking. Is that, that treatment, that we are all
subjected to across the country.
CAPEHART: Right. And seeing the pictures, I think we showed the picture
of Martese Johnson on the ground with his bloody face. There we have it on
the screen. I mean, it just tears my heart out both for him, but also, as
an African-American man, I -- that could be me. And, you know, Lola, you
went to UVA.
OGUNNAIKE: I went to the University of Virginia.
CAPEHART: What`s your reaction?
OGUNNAIKE: The pictures are horrifying. The video is equally as
horrifying. And the University of Virginia is my Alma Mater and I love the
University of Virginia. That was not my experience when I attended the
school at all. And to think that that could happen to a young student
there, it just -- it just breaks my heart. I don`t understand why an
arrest would lead to a young man ending up with ten stitches in his
forehead on the ground being attacked. And the video is there. We have
all seen it. And I just don`t know. I mean it leaves a huge stain on the
university. This is something that they have to address and they have to
address it seriously. Because I do not want black parents across the
country who are thinking of sending their students to the University of
Virginia to have a second thought. Because I had an amazing education.
And I had a wonderful time while I was there. And this will give parents
KUCINICH: I think the officials involved right now do deserve some credit
for taking this very seriously and launching investigations very quickly.
WILLIAMS: Yes. I think with this university police, I thought this was
the Bureau of Alcohol --
WOOD: ABC it`s called in Virginia. It could happened right by campus.
KUCINICH: Right by campus.
KUCINICH: It`s literally two steps away from campus.
WOOD: Right. But it wasn`t campus police that did this.
OGUNNAIKE: Because it happened near the University of Virginia, literally
two steps away from campus, it`s University of Virginia is obviously --
WOOD: -- is involved.
OGUNNAIKE: -- and take this very seriously.
WOOD: And I say though on the ABC I think, one of the questions here is,
have they been over the top in past cases as well. This is one example.
But there have been previous cases of have these officials been over the
top and dealing with students and others coming out of bars and the like.
And look, I mean, we have to know all the facts before we jump to
conclusions. You know, we do have cameras here. And I think this is
another example where I think cameras are so important. I mean, we talk
about, you know, should cops be wearing cameras. I think they should.
Because if we don`t have video, there is always this attempt to kind of
jump to a certain conclusion depending on where you`re coming from. And we
can`t go there as a country.
WILLIAMS: But I don`t want us to just rest on that -- that because he was
a college student, because it`s UVA, because somehow he is different than
CAPEHART: And immune.
WILLIAMS: And immune, right? That this is something that happens in
Brownsville. It happens in Chicago, it happens in Mississippi. Right?
And they could be on college campuses or they can standing on a corner in
front of their local corner store. Right? And so whether or not you`re in
college and a college student and an honor student or whether or not you`re
just hanging out on the corner on your block and in your community, you
should be treated with the same level of respect. And not this
overabundance and over policing that we are subjected to.
CAPEHART: You know, one of the students that was interviewed at UVA made
this very poignant remark which I know and I know you know it, L. Joy and
you know it Lola which is, as an African-American you know that no matter
whether you have a college degree or if you`re just around the way -- just,
you know, standing on the corner, then you will all be treated the same.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes.
CAPEHART: It doesn`t matter how many degrees you have. And you know, "The
New York Times," did this wonderful sort documentary talking to black
parents about the talk. That they give their children. I got the talk and
I remember crying my eyes out being told that my view of the world and my
friends and just even my country was not true.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes.
CAPEHART: It broke my heart. And to think about it back now, it still
breaks my heart. But let`s take a look at this documentary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The conversation with him was really just, look, you`re
a beautiful young boy.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Being an African-American is a wonderful thing. It`s
a wonderful blessing. You have come from great people. But it`s also a
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: In America, because of your skin color, as a black boy
and as a black man, we are going to be dealing with a lot of danger.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Under no circumstance are you to talk to the police if
you`re arrested. Until I get there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: I mean, the man -- we don`t have it in the clip that we just
showed. But the man in the brown sweater, I think he was the first one to
come on camera. As he`s giving that monologue, he starts crying, just
tears roll down his face. And this man right here -- and I can`t even talk
about it because it gives me chills.
OGUNNAIKE: I just gave birth to a young baby boy two and a half months
ago. And Jonathan, the fact that I will have to have this conversation
with my son at some point, it`s just -- it breaks my heart. It breaks my
heart. And I will have to have that conversation with him.
WILLIAMS: And it`s not a conversation not only that our parents have with
us. My youngest brother, he`s doing his first year in college. All right?
And so I face time with him every week. And every week I`m asking a
conversation -- he`s in a town that is predominantly white. And you know,
I went through a conversation with him, all my knowledge as NAACP president
and all that stuff, okay, here, don`t do this, don`t go this way. I mean,
he now has a number of friends who are white. I`m like, okay, you can`t do
the same thing. You can`t be in the same places. You can`t react the same
way. Because this is going to happen. And, you know, having these
conversations with him that`s, you know, the ego and the, you know, he`s
19. It`s like I want to conquer the world. And then to be able to -- that
I have to have crush his spirit a little bit just so he can live, is a
OGUNNAIKE: -- that you have to tell him that talking back to a police
officer could get you killed in this country.
WILLIAMS: Even if you`re right.
OGUNNAIKE: Even if you`re right. That is scary. That is tragic.
CAPEHART: Tragic. Yes, tragic and scary. And that`s going to have to be
OGUNNAIKE: No, not on that note. No.
CAPEHART: No, I know. Do you have a more hopeful note to end on?
WILLIAMS: The only --
OGUNNAIKE: Things have to get better.
WILLIAMS: I hope you don`t have to have the discussion with your son.
He`s two months old.
OGUNNAIKE: Two months old --
CAPEHART: That`s a hopeful note. Lola Ogunnaike, thank you very much.
Lola is an anchor with "Arise 360." Thank you for joining today`s
Still ahead. Newly reelected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is
changing his tune. In our next hour, we`ll ask why.
But first, the war on women, is it really over? The debate is coming up
CAPEHART: The award for most provocative statement this week might have to
go to the conservative group Concerned Women for America which declared at
a panel that the war on women is over. It`s been more than two years since
the first shots of the conflict were fired by people like Todd Akin who
talked about the idea of legitimate rape during his failed Senate campaign.
Or Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock who stated that pregnancy from
rape is God`s intent. Or Mitt Romney who fumbled in a presidential debate
when said he had binders full of women. Comments that helped Barack Obama
win by more than 11 points among women voters and by 36 points, among
unmarried women voters. And now, after all of that happen, panelists who
included likely presidential candidate Carley Fiorina and Congresswoman
Cathy McMorris Rodgers, declared this week that the war on women is over.
And pointed to Mark Udall as one example of that. The Colorado senator
lost his bid for reelection last year in a campaign which he stressed
reproductive health rights so much, one of his own supporters gave him the
nickname Mark uterus. It`s not surprising that Democrats dispute the
entire war on women as thesis, democrats on the hill announced the return
of the war on women this week. They cite the deadlock over hidden
antiabortion language in a human trafficking bill as evidence. As well as
the continuing stalemate over Loretta Lynch`s nomination as Attorney
General. Hillary Clinton weighed in on Twitter about the quote,
"Congressional trifecta against women going forward the fight for paid
family league, equal pay and a national minimum wage increase seem to be
the new turf for the female vote."
Republicans think they can make gains on these runs by arguing that
Congress has no place regulating these issues. That they are best left
between a woman and her boss. But just saying your conscience just
abjecter, that it isn`t your fight, is that the same thing as trying to
deny the existence of we`re all together?
Back with me to discuss, our Genevieve Wood with The Daily Signal as well
as political strategist L. Joy Williams, Jackie Kucinich from The Daily
Beast and joining the panel right now, Terry O`Neill, president of the
National Organization for Women. Thanks all for being here. So,
Genevieve, I`m going to start with you, do you agree with the women on that
panel? As a conservative, would you declare that the war on women is over?
WOOD: Well, I don`t know that there was a whole war on women in the first
place. I kind of disagree with that Monica from the get-go. But I think
some of what they were talking about and I would agree. I don`t think it
worked too well in the last election cycle for democrats who used it. It
just, it didn`t help them. And I think Mark Udall as one example of that.
I do think if Hillary Clinton is a democratic nominee which likely she will
be, that it will be a tactic that I would say the left is going to bring
CAPEHART: So, Terry, I mean, this apparently works with democratic voting
bloc. It helps win elections perhaps maybe in some cases. How do
democrats continue this message without sounding like a broken record?
TERRY O`NEILL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: Well, that`s a
real problem. I mean, my organization, of course, is non-partisan. And
we`re really focused on the actual policies that are being promoted. What
we`ve seen from the republican leadership is exactly this, a dramatic
escalation in their antiabortion agenda. That little nugget that`s in the
antihuman trafficking bill is really astonishing. What it does is it says
to trafficked victims, survivors of trafficking that they can`t get access
to reproductive healthcare if it includes abortion care. Rape is epidemic
in the trafficked community. And so, it`s absolutely outrageous. So,
that`s a huge escalation. But then you put that together with the budget
that has just been proposed by the republican leadership, right? Which
slashes social programs that women disproportionately rely on. Because why
do women rely on these programs? It`s because two thirds of minimum wage
workers in this country are women. And that in turn is because 70 percent
of tipped workers. These are women whose base rage of the federal law is
$2 and 13 cents an hour. Seventy percent of tipped workers are women. So,
you have less money coming in the door, right? And now you have to dig
into your own packet to pay essential healthcare. It really is a war on
CAPEHART: Let L. Joy go in and I will bring you in.
WILLIAMS: You know, my opinion on this is that I don`t think that going
into another election cycle that sort of having a conversation of war on
woman, I think you have to expand it and I think it will resonate with
voters. To the conservative women`s point that it is more than just
abortion access and abortion coverage, I agree with them on that. It is.
And particularly when you`re talking about women of color, the issue is
pocket book issues. Because when we`re talking about equal pay, while
overall for women it`s one number, for women of color, it`s significantly
lower. Access to a job, having union access. Having childcare. All of
those things together are a part of issues that women care about. And so,
when you talk about a war on women, all of those issues are included in
that. So, it`s not only abortion access, it`s healthcare access, it`s
equal pay, access to a job. It`s child care, it`s education. All of those
issues. So, whatever candidate comes up from whatever party in 2016,
whoever is able to speak to those issues and propose a budget and policies
that address those issues, we`ll get the women vote. And that who is
consistently going to come out.
CAPEHART: All right. I didn`t check you once again but Genevieve -- are
WOOD: I`ll try to make it very quick. Let me talk about the trafficking
issue because I think this is important. It`s a bill that I think
everybody was behind, democrats, republicans was behind this thing. What
happened was there is something called a hide amendment and in the hide
amendment is something that`s been around since 1976, it`s not new, which
says federal taxpayer dollars can`t be used for abortion except in the
cases of rape and incest. So, this is a perfect example of where that
being in this bill would not affect trafficking victims. Because if
they`ve been raped, those dollars can be used, and the reality is, this was
-- I think the Left is trying to make this blow up into an abortion battle,
then it just should not be. But then could I make one of the -- off the
WOOD: The other side, you know, I think it`s really important that we
realize when we keep talking to people in suggesting you`re behind you`re
down, you`re behind the guys. That has a negative effect on women too. I
think young women in this country need to know. More women are graduating
with bachelor`s degree today than men, more women are graduating with
masters and with doctorates in men, young women coming out of college in
major metropolitan cities around the country are actually earning more than
their male counterparts in many cases. If they`ve got the same educational
background, same jobs. You know, there are studies that show, I think it`s
the Pew Research that did this, that young women coming out of college have
a negative view of what their prospects will be in the work force. And a
lot of that is because they hear this kind of talk and they don`t hear
about all the progress women have made.
CAPEHART: Terry real fast and then Jackie because Jackie has been tamping
up a bit together.
O`NEILL: I -- on the abortion restrictions for victims of trafficking, the
reality is, what we know is that vulnerable women are very
disproportionately likely to be disbelieved when they say they`ve been
subjected to sexual assault. Look what happened in Washington, D.C. It
was just revealed in The Washington Post about two weeks ago. An 11-year-
old child gang raped, disbelieved by the police and ultimately incarcerated
for lying to police at 11-years-old. This is the kind of culture that
we`re living in, this rape, culture. So, when you say there`s a rape
exception for the most vulnerable of all women. Girls and women who`ve
been subjected to rape and trafficked, that rape exception is actually --
KUCINICH: From a positive perspective, this makes it permanent which is
different. Because the Hyde Amendment is something that is usually a
budget rider. But it`s usually a budget rider, it`s renewed every year.
This makes it permanent that makes it different. That said, but, it`s
fines. So anyway, so policy aside, so but I do think the interesting thing
about this story from The Daily Beast -- I had to get it in there --
I think that republican women are now talking about talking to women.
KUCINICH: Republicans usually correct me if I`m wrong, usually don`t
divide the party into women or minorities or, you know, now they`re talking
about -- talking to women with a different message. Not saying, you know,
we all pay taxes so the message is the same. That`s different. And that
is a -- it`s going to be interesting to see how that played into an
election against Hillary Clinton. Because they`re acknowledging that you
do talk to women differently in a campaign. You just do.
WOOD: Well, and not all women are the same.
WOOD: There`s a difference between -- and then you see the way they vote.
KUCINICH: That`s right.
WOOD: Married women, single women. People have different, I mean, I`m
single I`m still a conservative. But the reality is, people do have
different needs based on where they are in life. And I do think you cannot
treat everybody as though they are complete -- have the same needs.
WILLIAMS: It`s also important to the point you just raised in terms of not
being able to communicate to young women on the progress we`ve made. While
we talk about the progress, we also need to shine the light that there is
still much more to go. The same when we talk about that with race
relations, we also have to do that with the gender bias. And so, to be
able to say to a young women, yes, we are graduating more. Yes, black
women are starting more businesses, yes, we`re doing all of that. However,
these institutions still exist that prevent you from continuing to go
higher. And now we need to --
O`NEILL: And when you talk about the progress, it`s really wonderful. But
to say because some of these people are progressing then everyone else is
experiencing an epidemic of personal failure is really not fair to them.
We have to look at the system. And the system is holding them back. One
quick statistic for just -- I find jaw dropping. Looking at educational
systems and the zero tolerance in some of the public schools, African-
American boys are suspended at six times the rate for white boys in
schools. African-American girls are suspended at ten times the rate for
white girls. That is a systemic problem that we absolutely have to
WOOD: If we had more school choice it would help all those kids.
CAPEHART: Way to go Genevieve, to drop that grenade at the end of the
conversation. And on that note, thank you Terry O`Neill, president of the
National Organization for Women. Thanks for coming in.
Still ahead, the unexpected doctor of choice for a woman who has lived to
And next, the latest on the chaotic scene at the New Orleans Airport. A
man shot after allegedly pulling out a machete at a security checkpoint.
CAPEHART: We`ll get back to politics in just a bit. But we want to update
you on a situation in New Orleans where a man who was shot after allegedly
attacking TSA agents at the airport remains in the hospital. Authorities
say 63-year-old Richard White pulled out a can of wasp killer and began
spraying agents and passengers in line at a security checkpoint. He then
pulled out a giant machete and began swinging it before running through the
metal detector. Authorities say, White didn`t get that far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF NEWELL NORMAND, TSA AGENT: The law enforcement officer proceeded
down the exit line to come around, coming in very close contact to the
individual with the machete. And that officer fired three times. Hitting
the perpetrator once in the left chest, the left facial area, and the left
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: A TSA agent was shot in the arm during the incident but should
be okay. The airport was shut down for about 20 minutes leaving many
flights delayed. But this morning operations are fully up and running.
Still ahead, the not so bright future of the American space program.
And next, the tone of Scott Walker`s possible 2016 bid is changing.
Literally. He`s losing his accent. We`ll bring you that next. Stay with
CAPEHART: There`s a lot going on this morning. So let`s get caught up on
some headlines. So in the "New York Times," the headline for a 2016 run
Scott Walker washes Wisconsin out of his mouth. Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I love Wisconsin. We have a
comprehensive plan, it`s called continuing the Wisconsin comeback.
People forget this before, Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy Movement, it
started in Madison, Wisconsin. It was occupy our capital. And eventually
when they lost that battle, they lost the court challenge, they moved on to
Wall Street and they went elsewhere around the country. But it started in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Well, hello, Eliza doo little. What do you make of that? Did
you hear it?
KUCINICH: You got to stick close to your roots. I mean, I don`t have the
Midwestern, like Upper Midwest accent. But I think it makes him, I think
you have to stay with who you are or voters are going to know you`re not
WILLIAMS: I think it`s just a candidate thing. You know, as he`s looking
to expand his brand and obviously looking towards 2016. There is probably
some poll somewhere to polish him up a little bit. Fix your accent. I`ve
had candidates fix your hair, you know, go to a speech therapist to fix a
list or something like that. So, yes.
WOOD: I mean, you know, Bill Clinton didn`t lose his accent, George W.
Bush didn`t lose his accent. But, you know, I`m sure there`s a poll that
said, there`s something about the way he says Wisconsin that bothers
WOOD: Right. I mean, look, what he needs to do is make sure he`s speaking
in a way people can understand his policies and I think he ought to smile a
CAPEHART: Okay. The next headline comes from some -- Dallas, Fort Worth.
Dr. Pepper the doctor of choice for our 104-year-old woman. Fort Worth,
Texas resident Elizabeth Sullivan celebrating her 104th birthday says the
secret to her success is three Dr. Peppers a day. Warren Buffett -- he
calls it the six year old diet because they`re the ones who die the least.
KUCINICH: I mean, Mrs. Sullivan, you be you.
WILLIAMS: It`s working. Part of her process, go for it. And hopefully
she will live to 140.
WOOD: She`s apparently got good genes. Right? And Dr. Pepper --
CAPEHART: And real fast, can`t let this article without talking about Salt
Lake Tribune. Mitt Romney`s new opponent is Evander Holyfield. They`re
going to fight in Utah, May 17th.
WILLIAMS: This is awesome.
CAPEHART: Romney, 68. Romney says it will either be a very short fight or
I will be knocked unconscious.
WILLIAMS: Well, I think this is awesome. Like, who, and I`m not sure if
maybe Holyfield is sort of an idle. I would love to play tennis with
Serena Williams. I`m sure I would get my butt whipped. But it would be
fun to do and --
KUCINICH: That`s tennis.
WOOD: It`s not going to be a real boxing match, come on.
CAPEHART: I want to see Romney`s nominees, you know, in shorts. I mean,
how is he going to be interested in the ring? Is this real?
KUCINICH: I mean, you know, for a good cause.
WOOD: Why didn`t he do this when he was running for president? You know?
We could have maybe made him a little more real to folks.
WILLIAMS: No, we probably would have laughed.
CAPEHART: Up next, we tackle the week that was in foreign policy. Another
hour of news and politics is ahead. Stay right here.
CAPEHART: Foreign policy gets personal.
CAPEHART: Thanks for staying with us this Saturday morning. We`re going
to go live to the White House in just a few minutes for the latest on the
international spat between the president and the prime minister of Israel.
Plus, Congressman Aaron Schock may be resigning, but that is not stopping
federal investigators from looking at his finances. We`ll share all the
Also, with Donald Trump hinting that he wants to get back into the
presidential race. Should we take fringe candidates like him seriously?
And the future is not what it used to. We talked to UP`s favorite
astronomer about the technology slowdown.
But we begin this hour with the new challenges the U.S. is facing overseas.
Benjamin Netanyahu unexpectedly won big this week, securing reelection one
day after saying a Palestinian state would not be created on his watch.
His victory has forced the Obama administration to rethink its entire
Middle East strategy. The president bluntly telling Benjamin Netanyahu
that the U.S. will have to, quote, "reassess our options."
The White House was reportedly unimpressed when Netanyahu appeared to back
away from his Palestinian state comments in an interview with our own
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I don`t want an one state
solution. I want a sustainable peaceful two-state solution. But for that,
circumstances have to change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Post-victory, post-Netanyahu`s visit to him, Republican House
Speaker John Boehner is on his way to Israel this week. House sources tell
NBC News that the trip was set up before Netanyahu`s win this week. But
still, the image of the prime minister and the head of the opposition party
in Washington is likely to be viewed as a victory lap for both men, and
increase tensions with the White House.
In his speech before Congress, Netanyahu called the administration`s
negotiations with Iran a bad deal. Forty-seven Senate Republicans seeming
to agree with him in what was interpreted as a direct response to that
letter, the president sending this direct message to the people of Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This year, we have the best
opportunity in decades to pursue a different future between our countries.
Now, our diplomats and our scientists are engaged in negotiations in the
hopes of finding a comprehensive solution that resolves the world`s
concerns with Iran`s nuclear program. My message to you, the people of
Iran, is that together, we have to speak up for the future we seek.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: For more, we are joined now be NBC`s Kristen Welker at the White
House -- Kristen.
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: Jonathan, good morning.
Well, look, there is no doubt that that friction between President Obama
and Prime Minister Netanyahu is creating a complicated backdrop as these
Iran talks are set to enter their final day. It is important to point out
that the talks are on recess essentially this weekend for a couple of
reasons. First, because it`s the Iranian New Year. Second, because the
mother of the president of Iran passed away and one of his brothers is
among the negotiators.
So, those are the official reasons why the talks are suspended for this
weekend. However, there are undoubtedly still a few major sticking points
namely on the issue of centrifuges, how many centrifuges should Iran be
allowed to have to enrich uranium.
They`re talking about somewhere in the ballpark of 6,000 right now.
Critics of this deal say that number should be much lower. But Iranians
would like it to be higher.
The other big sticking point on sanctions. Iran wants sanctions lifted as
soon as there`s a deal in place. But the United States and its European
counterparts are saying, no, sanctions should be lifted over time and
gradually. And once Iran proves that they are series about whatever deal
is actually in place.
Now, Secretary Kerry, who was in Switzerland for these diplomat talks spoke
to the press earlier today. And said there has been progress.
Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We have made genuine progress. We don`t
want just any deal. If we had, we could have announced something a long
time ago. We are not rushing. This has been a two-and-a-half-year or more
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WELKER: And you hear the secretary referencing the fact that it`s been a
two and a half year or more process, in part because there has been some
extensions. I am told and Secretary Kerry has signaled that President
Obama does not want there to be another extension. He wants the deal to be
worked out, a preliminary sort of framework by this initial end of March
deadline. And then for there to be a real deal in place by June.
But there are still some major issues to work through. Negotiators are
going to be back at it next week. Secretary Kerry will spend part of this
weekend meeting with his European counterparts in London today.
Jonathan, back to you.
CAPEHART: A lot of work being done. Thank you very much, Kristen Welker
at the White House.
I want to bring in now, Kim Ghattas, a correspondent for the BBC, covering
the State Department since the beginning of the Obama administration. She
joins this morning`s panel.
Genevieve Wood, senior contributor for "The Daily Signal", political
strategist L. Joy Williams, and Jackie Kucinich, senior politics editor
with "The Daily Beast".
But, Kim, I want to start with you.
KIM GHATTAS, BBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.
CAPEHART: Does the State Department look at the events of last week as a
GHATTAS: Well, I think a lot of people within the administration -- I
assume you`re referring to the Israeli election -- a lot of people within
the state department or White House were hoping secretly -- even if they
didn`t say so publicly that Mr. Netanyahu would lose the election. But
that is a bet that many members of the administration have made several
times over the last six years or so, because this is not the first time
that Mr. Netanyahu is elected or reelected. We`ve seen that in 2013 and
But yet again, he has proven to be a tough and successful politician. And
it`s dashed the hopes of people like the American secretary of state, Mr.
Kerry, who would probably have liked to try to give Middle East peace talks
So, in many ways, it`s dashed the hopes. But in other ways, it`s also put
everybody in a position where they are clear about what the obstacles are.
You`ve heard it from the Palestinians, they say -- well, there was the
pretense before that Mr. Netanyahu wanted a two-state solution. His
statements before the day of the elections about where he really stood
makes clear that there is simply no hope here.
Now, of course, we`ve heard Mr. Netanyahu walk back those statements. And
the White House rebutting him saying, well, we don`t take him at his word.
CAPEHART: The relationship between the president and the prime minister
came up in the interview that Andrea did with Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Let`s take a listen to that part of the interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: There is an unbreakable bond
between the Israel and the United States. The president said that, I have
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: But what about between you and Barack Obama?
NETANYAHU: Well, I think that was reflected in the relationship between
the president of the United States and the prime minister of Israel. We
have -- we can have differences but we have so many things that unite us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: We have differences. And I`m wondering, the common ground
between the United States and Israel, I`m wondering if that common ground
is being lost over issues, such as Iran, and now a Palestinian state, and
wondering where else might there be a rift between -- and I hesitate to say
between the United States and Israel, but between the president, Barack
Obama, and the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
KUCINICH: These two people clearly don`t like each other. That being, you
saw that also -- the White House isn`t letting Netanyahu take this back,
his comments about the two-state solution. They were like, no, you said
He had a great interview yesterday on NPR, one of the things he said there,
when you boil it down, was it was just politics. Sometimes you say things
to get people to the polls. When you boil down what he said. So, it`s --
you have to wonder how much that this relationship between the two leaders
is fraying, the larger issue.
WILLIAMS: You know, I don`t think so. You know, I think for both of them
-- while they may individually not be favorable to each other, they do
recognize, both of them, that the United States and Israel does have an
unbreakable relationship. So being able to separate the policy and the
politics from whatever individual issues they may have, what I do think is
that that tense situation is what has allowed or allowed space for Congress
and sort of those to kind of enter this conversation and sort of create
more confusion during these negotiations at this time. I think that is,
unfortunately, sort of contributes to the difficult situation.
KUCINICH: That seems really amping up saying that you`re never going to
have to revisit -- I can`t remember the exactly language. It seems like --
revisit that relationship. That`s problematic.
WOOD: But I think part of this, I mean, this isn`t just a personality
conflict. I think, there`s a difference of policy the two administrations.
I mean, what President Obama and his administration want to do as relates
to the Middle East is quite different than the way Netanyahu sees it for
I think a lot of conservative and Republicans see what the right role for
Israel should be. So, I think there`s a real policy tug of war here that`s
fuelling then the personality tug of war that we see happening, too.
CAPEHART: Kim, I want to bring you back into the conversation and talk
about Speaker Boehner, because he`s got this trip to Israel next week. His
office or folks on the Hill are telling NBC News that this was planned long
before the elections, long before he gave that speech to the House of
But, one, how is the trip being viewed at the State Department if you`ve
been able to do reporting on that? And two, do you think Speaker Boehner
would still be going to Israel if Prime Minister Netanyahu had lost?
GHATTAS: That`s a very good question. You would assume not. A lot of
people that I was speaking to here in Washington said that the reelection
of Mr. Netanyahu or at least, you know, the plurality he has won in the
Knesset so far -- because that is how the White House framed the message
that they put out when they described the conversation between Mr. Obama
and Mr. Netanyahu.
So, I don`t think that Mr. Boehner would have gone to Israel had Bibi lost
the election. So, that is a very good question. A lot of people I was
talking to here said in essence this is not just a victory for Mr.
Netanyahu, that election. It is also a victory for Mr. Boehner.
And the idea that politics stops at water`s edge, that is really gone.
Certainly, when you`re looking at the relationship between Israel and the
United States, and certainly when you`re looking at the Iran deal. Look,
this administration, this president, you know, he wants something to hold
up, a piece of paper to hold up as his legacy on foreign policy. Mr. Kerry
and his predecessor, Hillary Clinton, had perhaps hoped it could be a peace
deal between Israelis and Palestinians. That is clearly not going to
And so, Mr. Obama is very much hoping that despite the reelection of Mr.
Netanyahu, despite the complications that this means for his negotiations,
despite the acrimony also with Republicans here, that he can drive this
through this negotiation and bring it to the finish line.
And that`s why he appealed directly to the people of Iran in his Nowruz
message, the Iranian New Year, to say this is a chance of a lifetime. I`m
not quite sure it actually makes a difference to the negotiations. But
he`s certainly trying to pitch the deal directly to the Iranians.
CAPEHART: And, Kim, since you brought her up, Secretary Clinton hasn`t
weighed in on the Israeli elections. "The New York Times" asked yesterday
whether the Obama administration`s relationship with Netanyahu poses
problems for her. I`m going to bring this to the whole table. But, Kim,
I`m going to start with you.
How can Secretary Clinton differentiate herself if and when she runs?
GHATTAS: If and when she runs, that`s a very good question. I don`t think
she`ll weigh in just yet on this issue. Look, when she was secretary of
state, she was often described as the yeller in chief at Mr. Netanyahu,
because she was the one who had to relay the message that the
administration was very unhappy with the way Mr. Netanyahu was going about
things like, you know, announcing more settlements, even as, for example,
the time when the vice president was visiting Israel, there was that
announcement there. It made people furious at the State Department.
And so, she`s going to have to walk a fine line when she does decide to
run. She needs to appeal to a certain base here within the United States.
But, remember, she has to appeal to Democrats. She will have to appeal to
But within the Democratic camp, there is a lot of upset with the way Mr.
Netanyahu has handled this. And there is a lot of anger that he himself is
the one who is pushing this rift between the United States and American
So, it will be a fine line, but I`m not sure it will be that difficult,
necessarily. We`ll have to see how she handles it. There`s always the
potential for mistakes. And, of course, there is no doubt she will stand
behind this administration`s message that, you know, she does support the
idea of a two state solution, even if it`s not achievable at this point.
On that front --
CAPEHART: Yes, right, real fast.
GHATTAS: -- Mr. Netanyahu is actually right. The conditions don`t lend
themselves to achieving that goal.
CAPEHART: Right. So really fast, to the table, start with Jackie and go
around. How will former Secretary Clinton differentiate herself if and
when she runs?
KUCINICH: That is the question, right? She`s going to have to respond to
this, because Republicans are going to hammer president on his relationship
with Netanyahu and what`s happened with Israel. I think she`ll have -- I
don`t know what she`s going to say, but it`s going to have to happen.
WOOD: Yes. So, we`ll see what deal they get out of Iran. I think people
are concerned about is the president wants a deal, he`ll sign almost
everything. That`s where Hillary could come out and do something. She
could say I wouldn`t have signed that deal. I would have gone for
So, we`ll see. It`s going to depend on how those play out.
WILLIAMS: I think she will try to differentiate herself talking personally
what she would have done differently on whatever comes out. I don`t
necessarily think the president will sign anything but --
WOOD: You`re right.
WILLIAMS: I think she will, you know, either -- if it`s something strong
that she`ll end up supporting that or at least say what she would have done
CAPEHART: Kim Ghattas with the BBC, thanks very much for coming in this
Still ahead, Monica Lewinsky speaks out about cyber bullying. Hear her
comments coming up.
But next, a new investigation into now outgoing Congressman Aaron Schock.
The latest on what the Feds are looking for. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: It`s been one story after another lately about the questionable
spending habits of illinois Congressman Aaron Schock which led this week to
the announcement he`ll be resigning at the end of the month. But his
pending resignation hasn`t made the stories go away. There are new reports
indicating that Aaron Schock`s legal problems may be just beginning.
NBC News` Pete Williams reporting that federal agents are currently looking
into Schock`s spending of campaign money as well as issues related to
taxes. A federal law enforcement official telling NBC that the IRS is
heavily involved in these inquiries.
"The Chicago Sun-Times`" Lynn Sweet adding in her story for the paper, "FBI
agents are also interested in probing in kind contributions Schock held for
expenses were not reported."
Joining us this morning is Lynn Sweet, "Chicago Sun-Times" Washington
bureau chief who has been all over this Aaron Schock story from the
And also all over this Aaron Schock story from the beginning is MSNBC
contributor Jimmy Williams, executive editor at "Blue Nation Review", who
has been doggedly pursuing this story.
Thank you both very much, Jimmy and Lynn, for coming in.
Lynn, let me start with you. There`s a slew of spending issues with Aaron
Schock. There`s the Katy Perry concert, to the office decoration that we
all know about, the "Downtown Abbey", reimbursement for car mileage, the
bringing of all the staff to New York.
Is there any indication of which instances authorities are specifically
LYNN SWEET, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: No, because they are looking into
everything to try and organize their case. Right now, the investigation is
in its preliminary stages. From what I understand, it`s largely based on
the reports that news outlets have published -- it`s not like the
investigators found a whole new stream of information on their own at this
point. But based on how these investigations often go, the -- when a
member of Congress gets in trouble like this, everything could be at issue.
And one thing could lead to another.
So, I think the most serious category are issues where you can assert that
Congressman Schock may have abused taxpayer money. That`s more serious
than if he misused campaign funds, because if you don`t -- if you convert
taxpayer money to personal use, that is a bit more open and shut. The
rules regulating campaign money are a little grayer.
CAPEHART: And, Jimmy, are there any other stories? I mean, I know I
mentioned in the intro the drip, drip, drip of stories. When you got one
drip, and you got three drips, there are more drips coming.
Is there anything else that could come out?
JIMMY WILLIAMS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You know, we looked also after he
announced that he was going to resign effective March 31st. We looked into
the past stuff he done when he was in the state legislature.
We also looked into the fact that he testified in a state court under oath
and admitted that he had -- what`s the word I`m looking for? Officially he
signed documents that he had backdated for his father for investments. He
admitted that in court. And his father testified as well.
So, these kinds of things all, as Lynn said, they all will come up now.
There is nothing that`s off the table. When the pipes burst, they burst
all over the house, right? And so, I think he has -- and the press has
done a fabulous job, I think in laying this all out for federal and state
investigators. So, they`re going to look at this. This is just the
beginning. I think that`s exactly right what Lynn said.
CAPEHART: Well, since you brought up, Jimmy, since you brought up Aaron
Schock`s father, he gave a doorstep interview to the media this week.
Let`s -- we`ve got two clips, play either one, because they`re just -- too
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. RICHARD SCHOCK, FATHER OF REP. AARON SCHOCK: Ten years from now,
whatever he`s doing, he`ll be successful at, I promise you that. Two years
from now, he`ll be successful because -- if he`s not in jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: If he`s not in jail. Thanks, Dad. Who does that?
WILLIAMS: Yes. If my -- if my father were alive, I would -- that had been
my father, I would have called him on the phone and said, daddy, you`re
just not helping my case.
And that`s the problem here. His father is for all intents and purposes
saying my son will be fine, which is a good thing to say. But I have a
massive asterisk here which is unless he`s in jail.
So, if your father thinks you`re going to jail, then that`s a bigger
SWEET: Well, I think here and I know you might, I`m not sure, but I can
guess if you`re going to play another clip and we could get into other
stuff. I would say it`s -- I have a very charitable impulse for a father.
He`s not the principal. He`s not used to public speaking. I don`t think
he understood that when he talks about anything using the word prison or
jail you don`t go there.
So, I want to keep the spotlight on Congressman Schock. But I think it
shows the kind of pressure or -- gives us a little insight, I suppose, into
Aaron Schock`s world. But I`ve covered a lot of these cases where people
get in trouble. And this is outside of the norm. Usually parents say --
even when their kids are accused of horrible things -- I love my child no
matter what and I`m praying for them during this episode.
CAPEHART: Lynn, we don`t have a lot of time left. Actually, I have less
than a minute. But apparently, Congressman Schock has $3.3 million left in
his political funds.
What happens to that money?
SWEET: Well, for now, they`re under his control. He could use it for a
comeback. He could give it to charity. I think it`s premature to -- as
long as he files regular reports on it. The answer is it just sits there
I think it is possible he might have to get some permission, I think he can
use it for his legal fees. But there may be some technical glitches on
that. So, he could have it sitting there for now.
SWEET: He cannot -- he cannot convert it to personal use.
And that`s good to know. My thanks to Lynn Sweet with "Chicago Sun-Times",
and, of course, MSNBC contributor, Jimmy Williams, from "Blue Nation
Review", thanks to both for coming in.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
SWEET: Thank you, Jonathan.
CAPEHART: Up next, he`s hinted at running for president before and he`s
doing it again. Why Donald Trump may be more serious about it this time
CAPEHART: Just like you know when it`s spring when the college basketball
tournament begins, you know the race for president is underway when Donald
Trump begins flirting with a run for the White House. On Wednesday, the
Donald announced he`s forming a presidential exploratory committee. He
even made a pilgrimage to New Hampshire.
As only Trump could put it, he said he was, quote, "the only one who can
make America truly great again." If this sounds familiar, it`s because
Trump considered a run for president in 2012 and in 2008, and he formed an
exploratory committee all the way back in 1999.
But how serious is his attempt? I mean, there were always reports he was
trying to renegotiate another season of "Celebrity Apprentice." And poll
numbers show he has little to no chance of winning.
Ben Carson another candidate with no political experience bears much better
in that poll. But Carson, a world renowned neurosurgeon, isn`t polling all
that well in Iowa. A profile in this weekend`s "New York Times" magazine
suggests Carson could be the ideal Republican presidential candidate
conservative voters can and do see from him, an inspiring, up from nowhere
African-American who shares their beliefs, a right wing answer to Barack
And Carson`s lack of experience and numerous gaffs, like saying being gay
is a choice because, quote, "a lot of people go to prison straight and come
out gay" -- just let that marinate for a minute -- making him a long shot
to win the GOP nomination.
So, what are Trump and Carson hoping to accomplish?
Joining the panel is McKay Coppins, senior political writer with
"BuzzFeed". He joins the panel here, L. Joy, Genevieve, Jackie.
I mean, I`m sorry, the whole prison thing just always throws me. But,
McKay, you`ve travelled with Donald Trump a little more than a year ago. I
believe you wrote -- you wrote that covering Trump`s various stunts and
inflammatory comments feels increasingly like a chore, akin to dawning a
network brand parka during a snowstorm and shouting into the camera about a
predictable phenomenon that viewers somehow find surprising. Trump`s
supposed political aspirations in particular inflict upon reporters make to
cover them a special sort of journalistic indignity. It`s like hyping the
storm of the century before a single flake has fallen.
Has your opinion changed all that much since then?
MCKAY COPPINS, BUZZFEED: No, I think if anything this pageant of pretend
presidential ambitions of the last week proves my point, right? I mean,
this is a quadrennial thing for him. He always pretends like he`s going to
run for president.
But what`s interesting is every four years, he has to go a little bit
further in order for people to take him seriously. So, this time, he`s
actually formed an exploratory committee, which is further than he`s gone
except, as you noted in 1999, which was a very brief thing.
I still would bet my entire year`s salary that he will not actually be on a
ballot in Iowa come the caucuses in February of next year. But you know,
this does present a problem for the Republican Party, right? It`s not just
Donald Trump. It`s the candidates that are running as celebrities, running
with motives other than actually winning the presidency, because they suck
up a lot of oxygen and distract from the more serious candidates and issues
that the Republican Party wants to debate.
WILLIAMS: So the only thing that Trump has proven is that he knows how to
make money. And from this perspective, he continues to do this because it
makes him money. And so, I wish that at the same time, the pool reporters
who have to cover this and actually use his comments and do articles about
what he said on race or what he said on foreign policy, that you guys would
actually get a check every time that happens.
But because the only thing you`re doing is furthering his brand, right?
It`s not really serious. The other thing I will say -- and, you know,
although I`m not a Republican, is I don`t want to blame particularly the
Republican Party for these candidates, right? Because it`s not as if the
Republican Party themselves, party leadership are going out and seeking
these candidates and saying, hey, can you come and be a candidate?
WILLIAMS: Right, they`re look, please sit down somewhere and leave us
And so, I think because the Democratic Party does this as well. We
randomly throughout the years have candidates that are extreme either to
the left or fringe candidates that do that as well. So, I don`t want to
blame the party. I think what the party can do is actively seek out other
candidates of color that they can use and seek out moderates and others
that can be put before the American people for consideration.
And I think them proactively doing that helps take some more of the air
that trump and all of those others suck out the room.
CAPEHART: So, Genevieve, you`re the conservative at the table, you`re
going to one day support somebody, vote for somebody, Donald Trump?
WOOD: I will say I was always for them, I was always for them from the get
CAPEHART: But Donald Trump isn`t polling well so well, as I said on the
intro. But Ben Carson is. Why is he polling so well?
WOOD: Well, first of all, Ben Carson hasn`t run before. I think he`s new.
And, look, he`s been a legitimate part of the policy discussion. Whether
people agree with him or not he`s been a part of it. I don`t think he`s
been -- I don`t want to say Donald Trump has been a joke. I don`t think
anybody Republican or otherwise truly thinks Donald Trump is going to run
for president. I don`t think that.
I think there are a lot of people who do think Ben Carson might and a lot
of people hope he does. It doesn`t necessarily mean they all think he`s
going to win, but they think he`s going to bring something to the
discussion of the debate that`s been missing. And I think he`s a serious
guy. I don`t think Carson and Trump are the same type of candidates.
CAPEHART: Sure, I agree with that. But with Carson and Trump in the race,
what does that do with the folks who are several tiers above, like Jeb Bush
and Scott Walker?
KUCINICH: They don`t want to be responding to things -- to a lesser
extent, Trump -- I mean, I think he is joke at this point. It doesn`t feel
special anymore when he runs.
KUCINICH: It`s like he came with the furniture of something. The danger
with having more fringe candidates in the race is they`re going to say
something and another Republican is going to have to respond.
We saw that with Rudy Giuliani. He is not running. He is the former New
York mayor. But he -- some of the things about Obama being an American,
they have to respond to that. And be it fair or not, that creates a
COPPINS: No, I mean, absolutely. If you look at after 2012, when Mitt
Romney had to kind of go through this tortuous process of beating back Rick
Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, Donald Trump at one point, any of these kind
of fringe candidates before he finally emerged with the nominee.
By the time he emerged the nominee, he was -- it was an embarrassing thing
he had actually been competitive with these other people, right? And so,
after that, the party put in place a bunch of different policies and
procedures to try to avoid that happening again in 2016. They have
shortened the primary calendar, tried to rein in the number of debates.
COPPINS: They`ve done things to try to make it more difficult for these
movement candidates to gain momentum and to kind of suck up oxygen and
But it`s unclear. I mean, that "New York Times" piece you mentioned points
out that the field is much bigger in 2016. There are a lot of Republicans
running. And depending on how things shake out, you could actually see, a
Ben Carson or a much more conservative movement candidate just hitting the
sweet spot whereas all these other establishment candidates are battling it
CAPEHART: We`re going to have to live it there. Thank you to McKay
Coppins from "BuzzFeed".
Up next, the latest on the developing story in Brooklyn. We`ll go live to
the scene right after this.
CAPEHART: We`re following a developing story in Brooklyn where seven
children have been killed in a house fire. The youngest victim was just
five years old.
NBC`s Ron Mott joins us live on the scene.
RON MOTT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jonathan, good morning. A very sad
tragic start to the Saturday here in Brooklyn. Seven people -- seven
children killed in a house fire. The fire commissioner says it`s the
deadliest fire in this city in about seven years.
You can see there are a couple of fire engines still on the scene here.
The fire itself is under control. They are still waiting to go through the
house to collect whatever evidence they need. But preliminary as we take a
look at the videos shot earlier of this firefight, the fire commissioner
says there was a hot plate apparently left on in the kitchen.
This was an orthodox Jewish neighborhood. And so, obviously, you can`t use
the oven, so a hot plate was used to keep some food warm last night. It
was left on and ignited the fire.
Two people did manage to get out. The mother of these children, along with
the 15-year-old, they did manage to get out of the house coming through a
second floor window. They`re in critical condition at area hospitals here.
We`re not sure what the prognosis, whether they will make it. But they did
manage to get themselves out of the house.
The fire commissioner says there were no smoke alarms found on the second
or first floor of the house. There was one in the basement.
But recapping here, seven children between the ages of five and 15 killed
in a house fire overnight in Brooklyn -- Jonathan.
CAPEHART: So sad. My thanks to NBC`s Ron Mott. Thank you.
We`ll be right back.
CAPEHART: Well, we`re back again with this morning`s panel for a look at
some of the other headlines making the news. These are what we didn`t get
to the last go around.
Monica Lewinsky spoke at -- did the TED Talk this week. Let`s take a look
at some of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONICA LEWINSKY: Like me at 22, a few of you may have also taken wrong
turns and fallen in love with the wrong person. Maybe even your boss.
Unlike me, though, your boss probably wasn`t the president of the United
States of America. When this happened to me 17 years ago, there was no
name for it. Now, we call it cyber bullying and online harassment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Now, Monica spoke for 22 minutes. She talked about the culture
of humiliation. She talked about public humiliation being a blood sport.
She said we need to return to a long held value of compassion and empathy.
WILLIAMS: This is a important conversation, particularly in our culture
now we rely so heavily on online communication and social media. And so,
we have to be aware of how the bullying that can happen in person that we
see with children and even adults, because adults participate in it as
well. And in the form of online because people -- being in front of
everyone, they go just extra, you know? Right. And so, it`s extra.
So, I think this is an important conversation. And I think she`s a great
person to sort of --
CAPEHART: I`m impressed by Monica Lewinsky and what she`s done over the
last year, "Vanity Fair" and now this.
KUCINICH: I think the message -- I agree with you the message is extremely
important. I wonder about the timing. I really do, because cyber bullying
has been a problem for a bunch of years now. I wonder why she is coming
out now. I`m skeptical.
WOOD: Why do you think that is?
KUCINICH: Why is that?
CAPEHART: 2016, a certain person is going to come in.
WOOD: I always blamed Bill Clinton for that scenario, not Monica Lewinsky.
But look, it is an issue. We were just talking at break about some of the
tweets and the like we get after doing shows like this one. Some of them
are really nice and some of them aren`t. But, you know, that`s different
than somebody who is like, the whole world is in on.
But she`s right, and you see what happens with kids. I mean, this is their
world in many cases, whether it`s their friends and people outside. What
they say --
CAPEHART: It`s incredible.
WOOD: It`s amazing.
CAPEHART: Alex Witt before we came on did a segment with a guy in Toronto
where they did the mean tweets, Jimmy Kimmel has people with them, they
have the kids reading these mean tweets. It tears your heart out.
But let`s move on. Ted Cruz, he`s planning an important speech in
Virginia. I mean, Ted Cruz is like Donald Trump. All he has to say is I`m
going to give a speech and people show up. Any idea what he`s going to
say? Should we even care?
KUCINICH: Follow the dailybeast.com because Tim Mack (ph) is going to be
there on Monday to listen.
CAPEHART: Liberty University.
WOOD: He`s probably going to talk about different policy things. I
haven`t seen his speech up front. Ted Cruz is probably going to run for
president. He`s probably one of the folks you`re going to see him on the
WILLIAMS: Yes, I just think it`s also a setup. Come here me talk about
some ideas and I`m going to run for president.
CAPEHART: How serious is he?
WOOD: I think he`s serious. You mean as a person or candidate?
CAPEHART: As a candidate.
WOOD: I think he`s serious. I`m not saying I think he`s necessarily going
to win. But I think he`s very serious. Look, he`s a smart guy. A lot of
people who don`t like Ted Cruz or his policy -- I forgot who his professor
was at Harvard, he`s one of the smartest students I ever had, even if I
don`t agree with him.
He`s going to shake the debate.
CAPEHART: OK. Real fast, we probably have a minute left.
But speaking of Hillary Clinton, the House GOP sent a letter asking for her
to hand over her private server to a third, quote, "neutral detached and
independent third party." The request is voluntary.
Should Hillary Clinton exceed to the voluntary request? We`ll go one by
one. Yes or no?
KUCINICH: She is not going to do it. She is definitely not going to do
it. It is not going to happen.
WOOD: She should do it unless she`s got something to hide.
WILLIAMS: Should -- I mean, all of the information could be taken and used
in a different kind of way. I don`t think she will do it.
CAPEHART: But even with a third party independent neutral -- not saying
give it to us so we can read through it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s not going to happen.
CAPEHART: All right then.
CAPEHART: When we return, does the final frontier seem a little further
out than it used to be? Or did the Jetsons set the bar too high?
We`ll discuss next.
CAPEHART: NASA is scheduled to launch an unmanned rocket next week. There
will be lots of university experiments on board, one with the lofty goal of
searching for other life in space. But almost four years after NASA
scrapped the shuttle program, ending our days of manned U.S. space flight,
we have reached a dubious milestone. We have arrived at the year that
"Back to the Future`s" Marty McFly traveled to when he time traveled into
his own future.
That 2015 was filled with flying cars and hover boards. Self-driving
Teslas aside, it`s a future that`s completely unrealized in the real world.
There`s also the future imagined by the Jetsons. Watch in watching that
show after school, I grew up expecting an adulthood filled with floating
homes and robot maids.
More recently, the "Star Trek" reboot has encouraged us to dream of a San
Francisco that`s home to star fleet and of boldly going where nobody has
gone before all within the next two centuries. But instead, these days
we`re boldly going nowhere. The retired space shuttle fleet lives in
museums and private effor efforts to develop space travel are experiencing
President John F. Kennedy helped inspire a generation and more of Americans
to reach for. The moon, quite literally. Did anyone foresee a future
where manned exploration would end at the moon?
Derrick Pitts is chief astronomer and planetarium director for the Franklin
Institute, I should say the great Franklin Institute, in Philadelphia, and
joins our panel.
Thank you very much for being here.
DERRICK PITTS, FRANKLIN INSTITUTE: Thank you for having me, Jonathan.
Great to be here.
CAPEHART: So, there`s a company that`s trying to colonize Mars. They say
no new technology needs on to invented to create a human colony. How
accurate is that? I mean, I find that hard to believe.
PITTS: Well, while it may be possible to establish a colony on mars with
the technology that`s available right now, certainly it could be done, it`s
really the infrastructure that`s most important in this. We have to be
able to pull together all the right industries, all the right talents to
actually build up what that infrastructure is to allow people to survive on
And that`s where the real key is. Do we have a motivating force, do we
have a driving force that`s strong enough to pull together all those
disparate pieces of technology that would make it possible. And when you
start to look pretty closely, I think that`s the thing that`s missing more
than anything else is that driving force to do that. I do have to say one
thing really quickly and that is au contraire, my friend, there`s a
tremendous amount going on in space exploration right now that really is
going to show that there`s tremendous amount of stuff coming in the next
decade or so.
CAPEHART: OK. Well, tell me what that is? Just don`t say, au contraire -
- what is that?
PITTS: So, when I say au contraire, I mean a couple things. First of all,
NASA is working really hard to build up its infrastructure to develop all
the technologies needed to safely and within reason be able to get people
out to the planet mars by the year 2030 or so. It takes awhile to build
that infrastructure up to do that in a safe way.
But in the meantime, here are the other things that are happening. There
are a number of independent companies that are launching capability to give
us easy access to low earth orbit. That infrastructure building up is
going to allow NASA to move into the 21st century as a space agency of the
21st century taking care of all the big exploration challenges rather than
the small things of just putting satellites up.
So I think when we look forward, we`re going to see in the next couple of
years, there are a number of space probes that are going to different
planets like Pluto at the end of this summer, and space probes looking at
Jupiter and Saturn more closely, and we`ll also begin to see the
development of the rocket technology needed to take humans off the planet
and on to Mars.
CAPEHART: Derrick, I still have to ask you, I mean, why hasn`t technology
caught up to fantasy? I mean, I`m supposed to have my hover board and my
floating everything right now in 2015. Why don`t I have that?
PITTS: Well, as I said -- as I said when I said my responses back, where`s
my flying car? I should have had that by now.
Here`s the problem, Jonathan. The real challenge is when you look at
fantasy versus reality -- fantasy has no challenges in it really because
when you look at the fantasy picture, you never find out where the money
comes from to pay for all that technological development and support. And
that`s a real challenge because we know for sure that no bucks, no Buck
Rogers, you have to have the money to do it.
That`s NASA`s challenge because Congress doesn`t allot the money that NASA
needs to do the incredible job we want to see done. So, one penny of every
tax dollar paid by Americans goes to NASA space exploration. Imagine what
could happen if two pennies went to that, and that`s tremendous amount
So the other side of that is in fantasy, nobody really has to pay a price.
So, when the explorers that are out in space, you know, cutting the path
for us, when something terrible happens to them, there is a real price that
has to be paid to open the next door of exploration for us, but that
doesn`t happen in fantasy and always takes a lot longer in reality to do
CAPEHART: My thanks to astronomer Derrick Pitts with the great Franklin
Institute and to today`s panel, Jackie Kucinich, Genevieve Wood and L. Joy
And thank you for getting up with us. Melissa Harris-Perry is coming up
next, so keep it right here. Have a great Saturday. We`ll see you back
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2015 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2015 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
MORE FROM RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Add Rachel Maddow Show headlines to your news reader: