'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, May 10th, 2015
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: May 10, 2015
Guest: Eleanor Clift, Betsy Woodruff, Amanda Terkel, Page Croyder, Ron
Wyden, Mark Shriver, Cecilia Munoz, David Frum, Ellen Weintraub, Scott
Newell, Shannon Watts
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If we don`t write
the rules for trade around the world, guess what? China will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC ANCHOR: We writing the rules on trade.
Good morning. Thanks for getting up with us this Sunday morning. I`m
Jonathan Capehart in for Steve Kornacki. A triple whammy of severe weather
in parts of the country as we come on the air this morning. The first
named tropical storm of the season, Ana, is making landfall near
Wilmington, North Carolina, as we speak. There is also tornado activity in
the southern plains and on the furthest edge of that storm system? Snow in
May. The details in the forecast in just a minute.
Meanwhile that political storm that has been brewing between President
Obama and Elizabeth Warren on the trade deal is intensifying. We will be
talking about the president`s latest remarks in just a few minutes. Also,
Senator Ron Wyden will be on the show to tell us why he`s prepared to
filibuster in order to block renewal of the Patriot Act. That`s coming up.
Plus, Prince is doing his part today to help the city of Baltimore heal.
He`s got a new song about Baltimore and a concert planned in Charm City
tonight. And there`s a case to be made that race relations in this country
are getting better. No, really? Our thoughts on that are ahead along with
much, much more. But we begin with the severe and potentially deadly
weather that`s wreaking havoc over much of the country at this hour.
Severe thunderstorms causing damage in Oklahoma and Texas yesterday. The
storm system now moving east from the plains to the Ohio Valley. Tornadoes
are a big concern as is possible flooding. Meanwhile May will feel more
like February today in Denver which could see as many as eight inches of
snow today. On the other side of that snow system, snow falling in South
Dakota yesterday. And in the Carolinas at this hour, tropical storm Ana
making landfall minutes ago. The Atlantic hurricane season getting an
early start this year. It doesn`t officially begin for another three
weeks. Meteorologist Domenica Davis joins us now.
DOMENICA DAVIS, MSNBC METEOROLOGIST: Hi, yes, happy Mother`s Day. We have
a lot going on. We will start with tropical storm Ana right now, which did
make landfall right around the 6:00 hour, and that happened in South
Carolina around Myrtle Beach. So, what we will be focusing on now as the
storm is coming on shore, it`s still a tropical storm. Winds are at 40
miles per hour. It will dissipate, though, pretty quickly as it moves to
North Carolina and become extra tropical. But rains will be a problem.
So, we could see three to five inches of additional rainfall in the
Wilmington area basically along the immediate coast of the Carolinas up
through Virginia. That`s where we will see upwards of three inches of rain
which will cause some flash flooding for later today.
Here`s a look at the radar. Severe weather focus once again coming through
the southern plains. We do have strong storms right now going through the
Dallas Fort Worth area. A tornado warning assigned to that just to the
west of Frisco-there. This is a nasty line of storms that`s moving off to
the northeast. So, they are starting out with some severe weather and
unfortunately, they are going to see that right through today. So, here is
a look at today`s severe weather threat. It`s back down through Texas once
again. It does push up into the Midwest, Tennessee Valley, Memphis sure in
that zone as well. But it looks like the main areas of concern, that`s our
enhanced risk, is up through Nebraska and down to the Texas area. Flash
flooding now will be a major concern because these places have been getting
hit with rain over the past week or so. So that is something certainly we
will keep our eye on. Back to you.
CAPEHART: MSNBC meteorologist Domenica Davis. Thank you. Turning now to
the key - to the forecast for a key legislative goal of President Obama`s
second term. On Tuesday, the Senate is set to begin debate and vote on
whether to fast track President Obama`s trade deal. If the Senate gives
the president fast track authority that means his administration would be
allowed to negotiate a final deal with other countries knowing that
Congress only gets to approve or reject the final act. They will have a
lot more leverage and leeway knowing that Congress won`t have a say in
making any changes. Changes that other nations would then need to approve
Hypothetical changes that send a very real chance of scuttling the bill all
together and for once it`s not the Republican rank and file that is
standing in the way of President Obama. It`s his fellow Democrats
including the Democratic leader of the Senate Harry Reid. President Obama
has been on a big push lately to get Senate Democrats like Harry Reid not
to mention public support on his side. He told Chris Matthews that Senator
Elizabeth Warren is flat out wrong for opposing the trade deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I love Elizabeth, we are allies on the whole host of issues. But
she`s wrong on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: On Friday at Nike headquarters outside Portland, Oregon,
President Obama called out all of the Democrats who were fighting him on
this issue. And in an interview with Matt Bai of Yahoo! News that posted
yesterday, he addressed Senator Warren`s specific charge that the trade
bill would undermine many of the Wall Street reforms that she and the
president had fought for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATT BAI, YAHOO NEWS: Senator Warren said this week this pack could be
used to roll back Dodd Frank, which ...
OBAMA: She`s absolutely wrong.
BAI: Closed to your heart and ...
OBAMA: I passed it.
BAI: They`re coming at you pretty - I don`t -
OBAMA: I understand.
BAI: But they are coming on you pretty hard on this.
OBAMA: I understand that. And think about the logic of that. Right? The
notion that I have this massive fight with Wall Street to make sure that we
don`t repeat what happened in 2007 and 2008. And then I sign a provision
that would unravel it? I would have to be pretty stupid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Here to talk about what`s next for the trade deal Amanda Terkel
is the senior political reporter and politics managing editor with "The
Huffington Post." Eleanor Clift, Washington correspondent with "The Daily
Beast," and also with "The Daily Beast" political reporter Betsy Woodruff.
Thank you all for being here. I`m going to throw this question out to the
entire table. You know, we have this interview with Senator Ron Wyden
coming up later in this show. And he is no one`s idea of a centrist. And
he`s not the only - he`s not only on the side of President Obama when it
comes to this trade deal getting passed, he stayed behind in Washington
when the president was in his own home state of Oregon on Friday to help
drum up votes to get past like authority pass. But he seems to be going
against folks like Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown of Ohio who are
against it. I`m just wondering how do you figure out where to stand on
this issue. Let alone how the Senate is likely to decide when there`s the
kind of split among the progressive wing. What`s going on here?
ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, I think first you have to recognize
this is not a new issue. This division within the Democratic Party. In
2002, the last time the Congress approved so called fast track authority
for then President Bush, only 25 Democrats in the House went along with it.
I think in the Senate, ever since Ron Wyden signed on on the president`s
side and created this bipartisan deal with Senator Orrin Hatch, the fix was
kind of in in the Senate. The House is going to be the problem. Because
there`s a strong element within the Republican Party that doesn`t support
this Tea Party types. Some people just don`t want to give the president
the authority. So, the fight will continue, but Democrats have always been
at odds over trade.
And I think what angers people like Elizabeth Warren and in the House,
Senator Levin who`s on the way to means committee, is that the president is
making them sound like they are the old guard. And their favorite status
quo, and he`s not really recognizing some of their valid complaints and in
negotiating this deal, Democrats have been kept in the dark. It`s been
highly under wraps for national security reasons. Yet, corporate executive
and CEOs are right in there crafting it, and everybody knows it`s going to
be good for business. So it automatically makes some Democrats ...
CAPEHART: Let me push back on this. Because from my own reporting,
because I keep hearing this charge that it`s under wraps, it`s top secret.
Members of Congress can`t even see the deal. Senator Warren was on
Rachel`s show a few weeks ago. She talked about how she read the deal. In
my reporting and sources that UCTR, any member of Congress, if they want to
have a briefing they can call it USCR, The trade representative will go
there and talk to them about what`s in the bill. It`s available for ...
CLIFT: But they`re not allowed to talk about it. It`s being treated like
classified material. But I agree with you to the extent that the secrecy
thing is kind of a cover. They basically don`t like what`s in the deal.
AMANDA TERKEL, THE HUFFINGTON POST: And I think there is some frustration
that President Obama is getting frustrated at some of the attacks. But the
lawmakers feel like right now they have to just sort of, you know, the
public is relying on President Obama to take - trust me. The public is not
- to everything that`s going on. And I think that is what worries some of
these senators. And in terms of who is opposing it, there is also
definitely some pressure from businesses and state. Ron Wyden is from
Oregon, which is right Nike has headquarters, although the other senator
from that state, Jeff Merkley, is against TPP. But most of the lawmakers
from that state are in favor of Senator Patty Murray. For example, in the
Washington State following he`s very big there - she`s come out in
favorite. And it`s not surprising that Sherrod Brown from the Rust belt
where a lot of these manufacturing jobs have disappeared is against it.
So, I think, geographically there is some play there.
CAPEHART: I have to ask you because you brought up all of these states and
companies and outsourcing. And it`s been reported that President Obama
once asked the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, you know, why iPhones couldn`t be
made in the United States and instead of China, and Jobs told him quote
"those jobs aren`t coming back."
So, is that - is that how we understand this trade deal? Some politicians
have accepted the fact that jobs - those jobs aren`t coming back and others
are still fighting to bring them back?
BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST: I think so. I think that`s kind of
essential implication here. You don`t have free trade if you can
necessarily create only goods and services in your country that you need.
And what`s really interesting and you are vigil about this, is while - is
how ugly of a rift it has made on the right. You are talking about issues
of jobs and workers and some of these popular - that we often hear,
particularly from the Tea Party. We`ve had some prominent conservative
figures be very vocally opposed to this.
CAPEHART: Why are they opposed to the trade deal?
WOODRUFF: Kind of the same reason as they are opposed to the expanded
immigration. It`s a similar concept in terms of let`s protect the United
States economy. Protect the U.S. workers from more combination, keep them
from competing with everybody coming into the U.S., keep them from
competing with other countries as far as goods and services.
CLIFT: It sounds like protectionism, doesn`t it?
CLIFT: Which used to be the province of Democrats, but I really think the
fact that this is President Obama pushing it and it`s being framed as a
major legacy item for the president, it`s a huge deal. A dozen nations.
It`s the biggest trade deal in some time. And so, if you`re a Republican,
do you really want to hand him this victory.
And then there are some genuine policy differences. I think the Tea Party
element really doesn`t like this.
CAPEHART: And we are running out of time, but can the United States afford
not to do this deal given the way the world is today versus the way the
world was when NAFTA was negotiated?
TERKEL: Well, I think that`s President Obama`s case. If we don`t do this,
we are going to be letting China set the rules and China`s, you know, weak
labor standards that will become sort of the default. That`s why we need
to do this. But so far, you know, President Obama going to Nike and saying
Nike will agree to create 10,000 jobs over the next decade when it has
about a million jobs around the world. Those 10,000 jobs will be in the
U.S. That`s not too far convincing, I think, to a lot of people. How this
will help the American economy. So, I think the White House needs to make
a slightly stronger case still.
CAPEHART: Well, we`re about to find out.
CAPEHART: Still ahead as we continue this morning here is what President
Obama has to say about it. Conspicuous absence at this Nike event on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: In fact, that`s why Ron Wyden is not here. Because he`s in
Washington D.C. as we speak quarterbacking this effort on behalf of Oregon
small business owners and workers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Senator Ron Wyden missing out on President Obama`s visit to his
own backyard in order to spearhead the effort to win votes for the trade
bill back in Washington. He takes the time to talk to me about that and
also why he is prepared to filibuster to stop renewal of the Patriot Act.
That`s in just a bit. But first, first lady Michelle Obama gives a very
personal and very moving commencement address. That`s next. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: There`s a lot going on this morning. So, let`s get caught up on
some of the headlines going on with our panel. First lady Michelle Obama
spoke at Tuskegee University to the graduates yesterday. Let`s take a
listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE Obama: The world won`t always see you in those caps and gowns.
They won`t know how hard you worked and how much you sacrificed to make it
to this day and my husband and I know how frustrating that experience can
be. We both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire
lives. The folks who cross the street in fear of their safety, the clerks
who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores. The people at
formal events who assumed we were the help and those who have questioned
our intelligence, our honesty, even our love of this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: And she was just getting started there. Have any of you seen
the entire or her entire commencement address?
CLIFT: I read the text and my eyes got bigger and bigger. We talked a lot
about President Obama sort of unbound in this last year and a half. I
think we are now seeing the same phenomenon with the first lady. I mean
she goes through chapter and verse of how she was characterized and how it
made her feel and she tells these students, you know, you`re looking at me
now. I`m a fully formed human being, but it was a lot of hard work to get
here and I had to screen out a lot of negative comments. I think it is
beautifully instructed for young people.
CAPEHART: Go ahead, Amanda.
TERKEL: And she - I mean she has had conservatives going after her. You
know, she talked - you know, the terrorists (INAUDIBLE), how she is
perceived as being angry. She has had all sorts of epithets, you know, and
really nasty comparisons thrown her way. That definitely had a racial
component. And, you know, she is admitting look, I saw all of that and
that really hurt. And I think that is part of the reason she and the
president have kept their daughters - try to keep their daughters out of
the public eyes so much. And so that they are not subjected to all this
slights. And I think they`ve done a pretty good job. But it was really
moving to hear her talk about all this.
CAPEHART: Yeah, I want to go back and watch the entire speech. Because
there is a tone there of frustration, a little bit of anger, justified,
justifiable anger. Because what, it`s been six years that we have been
listening to the barrage of criticisms of the president and the first lady.
Did you want to jump in before I move on to Deflategate?
WOODRUFF: I just think this is a new side. We`re not used to seeing this
side of the first lady. We are used to seeing her - nodding to celebrities
and going on "Late Night" comedy shows and kind of presenting this image of
someone who`s fun and happy and in a good mood and it`s really interesting
and definitely a change for her to sort of have these raw emotions at the
CAPEHART: So, I teased it. Deflategate. So, but - it`s Deflategate in a
way that my mind is boggled. The Associated Press was saying, "pressures
on to enrolling colleges Deflategate course, Deflategate will be a four
credit course at the University of New Hampshire this fall. The course
description, please translate this for me, because it says, the course will
be about "the interplay between those footballs and the legal regulatory
and journalistic systems governing sports."
CAPEHART: What does that mean?
TERKEL: I guess you need to take the course.
WOODRUFF: Is that for the lab, too?
CLIFT: I think that`s the academic version of click base. I mean they are
trying to get a title for this course that won`t appeal to young people.
It`s about sports management.
WOODRUFF: Also, New Hampshire is Patriots territory. So, they can be
potentially in the class.
CAPEHART: Uh-huh. And a little bias. We have got like 45 seconds left,
but we have to get this in. NPR, from cartoon chubster to handsome
hipster, McDonald`s revamps the Hamburglar. McDonald`s is trying to
reinvent itself as the "modern progressive Burglar company". And it`s seen
sales and customer visits as their customers visits have declined in recent
years. Is that going to work, revamping the hamburglar? Come on.
TERKEL: He still looks creepy.
TERKEL: Not pulling me in the door. If it goes as well as the Pay with
Lovin` project they did, definitely a friend of mine had to Pay with
Lovin`. Kathy (INAUDIBLE) and thought it was humiliating and awful to make
her dance and she did not enjoy it.
CLIFT: I don`t know. I guess there`s a room for the traditional hamburger
and fries, this may flop just like the new coke did for a generation ago.
CAPEHART: Yeah, there`s that hamburger, it`s not doing it for me.
Still ahead, we are keeping our eyes on tropical storm Ana moving ashore in
the Carolinas at this hour. More ahead on that.
And next ...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARILYN MOSBY, BALTIMORE CITY STATE`S ATTORNEY: I`m a prosecutor. My job
is to follow the facts and apply them to the elements of the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Baltimore`s top prosecutor is under fire for the charges she
brought against six police officers in connection with Freddie Gray`s
death. We will talk to a former Baltimore prosecutor who is among her
biggest critics next.
CAPEHART: Leave it to a prince to help rescue Baltimore from one of its
darkest hours. Tonight the singer Prince, no longer that artist formerly
known as, is holding a Rally for Peace concert in that city. He has even
written a new song about Baltimore. MSNBC`s Adam Reiss is live for us in
the Charm City.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Steve, good morning to you. Prince will
debut that single tonight. It`s called "Baltimore." It`s a protest song,
but it`s also a tribute to Freddie Gray. He hopes this will begin the
healing here in Baltimore after weeks of protests, rioting and tension.
He`s asked for people to wear Gray tonight and he says he`ll donate much of
the proceeds to inner city charities. Now, meanwhile, these six officers
charged, their attorneys have filed a 109 page motion requesting that the
prosecutor Marilyn Mosby recuse herself. They say she has five conflicts
of interest among them. The attorney for Freddie Gray`s family is a
personal friend and has donated money to her campaign and her husband is a
city councilman in the district that has been hit hardest by the riot.
They said if she doesn`t recuse herself or drop the charges they will move
for an independent prosecutor. Steve?
CAPEHART: Adam Reiss in Baltimore, thank you. Tonight`s concert comes at
the end of a peaceful weak in Charm City. The citywide overnight curfew is
no longer in place. Marilyn governor Larry Hogan lifted the state of
emergency and National Guard troops no longer patrolled the streets. The
drug store chain CVBS even announced that it would rebuild two of the
stores damaged in the riots, and they keep all employees on the payroll
while they do it. Baltimore is on the road to recovery, but we shouldn`t
forget it will be a long road back. On Friday, U.S. Attorney General
Loretta Lynch announced the Justice Department would investigate whether
the Baltimore police department has been using excessive force, an
investigation encouraged by the city`s own mayor.
Marilyn Mosby, the state`s attorney who brought charges against six
Baltimore police officers in connection to the death of Freddie Gray is
facing criticism that she has been overzealous. Paige Croyder, a former
prosecutor in Baltimore calling the charges against those officers,
"incompetent at best."
Croyder, writing in part "If I were a Baltimore police officer, I would be
looking for another job immediately and as a Baltimore citizen I may start
looking for some place else to live. When the police cannot depend upon
the state`s attorney to be as thorough, competent, non-political and fair
with them as she is supposed to be with all citizens, none of us will be
safe." Page Croyder joins us live now to discuss. Thank you very much for
being here this morning.
I`m not sure. I can`t hear Page. But -so we`re going to try to get the
audio fixed with Page Croyder. But I don`t know if any of you saw the
blistering op-ed that she wrote in "The Baltimore Sun" last week. About
Marilyn Mosby. You`re nodding. Talk a little bit about what that op-ed
WOODRUFF: Yeah, the author just goes after piece by piece almost every
thing that Marilyn Mosby did when putting together the case against police.
In one particular point that was very interesting was that - that part of
prosecutorial ethics is that you don`t use prosecution - you don`t press
charges to do crowd control. And I remember when Marilyn Mosby made this
announcement, one of the things that was most striking was that it came so
quickly and that it certainly seemed to have an effect on - you know,
arguably, on the way the protests were going.
So, if that`s the case, that automatically brings into question how she
handled this, and whether or not she did it the correct way.
CAPEHART: You know, one of the things she said in that press conference
was that, she did her own investigation independent of the police. How
much do you think that will be in her favor do you think?
WOODRUFF: That seems like a problem, right? I mean she is supposed to
depend on law enforcement officials to enforce law and gather information.
And it certainly suggests, that doesn`t prove, but it does suggest that
there are some issues here.
TERKEL: And there are a lot of people, though, the fact that she did her
independent investigation was sort of reassuring, because there are so many
people who`ve come to distrust law enforcement.
TERKEL: And the fact they put out. And only do we find out the real fact
when it happens - that there`s a bystander nearby who has sort of a study -
and videotapes. So, I think for a lot of people this was reassuring. I
understand that people - many law enforcement officials were frustrated
with this, think she acted too quickly. But for a lot of people who have
figured that, there were no charges that were going to be brought, this is
the same thing that happened in other cities. She was a breath of fresh
air, and it was nice at finally, but there were - a jury will be - look at
CAPEHART: Go ahead, Eleanor.
CLIFT: I don`t think there`s any evidence that she sure changed - I mean
how long - is the correct amount of the charges or basically, the worst is
negligent homicide, and if you are just looking at the events, I don`t
think that`s out of bounds. But I think Mrs. Croyder does articulate
definitely what a lot of people who, if you will, on the police`s side,
that the police are going to automatically really not police these
neighborhoods, that they are going to bail out. You are not going to be
able to get the lease, and they are going to leave these neighborhoods in
worse situation, and that - that may or may not be a credible accusation.
I don`t know that the facts bear that out.
CAPEHART: You know, one of the things about - to your point, Amanda, about
people feeling good about the fact that the State` Attorney said that she
did her own independent investigation, is because I think it was the last
year "The Baltimore Sun" did this exhaustive report. Hit line, "Undo
Force," about how the city paid out more than $5 million to settle
excessive force cases against the Baltimore police department. So, there
is -- there seems to be no love lost between a big part of the community in
Baltimore and African-Americans in particular, and the Baltimore police
TERKEL: I mean I think that people are looking at the facts, you know,
most people aren`t lawyers and they don`t know exactly what the process is,
but they like the fact that a man is dead. And he had a small pocket knife
with him. He died while in police custody and in the very least the police
officers behind this should go in front of a jury and face charges. Now
whether or not they`re convicted that`s what the jury will have to decide.
But I think so many people around the country are just so frustrated that
so far that hasn`t happened in too many cases.
CAPEHART: Let me read something from the op ed and get you to react to
this. She says, "in the long run, Marilyn Mosby may be undermining the
cause of justice rather than promoting it. She has created an expectation
of guilt and conviction. If that does not happen, many will blame the
system as unfair or unjust, when it may have been Ms. Mosby`s own lack of
confidence and/or arrogance in bringing charges so quickly."
WOODRUFF: That`s a very troubling hypothetical. If that is the case and
that`s how it bears out, then in the long run, the way Mosby has handled
this, could be a big negative. But of course that`s a hypothetical. It`s
a big if. And it`s totally possible that Ms. Mosby is handling this
appropriately. However she has mishandled it. Not good.
CLIFT: What everybody remembers is Rodney King and the four police
officers charged in that severe beating in California a long time ago. The
jury was moved to Simi Valley. A white community where a lot of the police
officers lived, and they were acquitted, and that`s what led to the riots.
But I think there are enough charges here. I would be willing to bet that
those police officers are going to get charged with something. They may
not go to jail for life and they probably shouldn`t.
CAPEHART: We have got Page Croyder`s audio fixed. We will take a break
and come back and talk with Page Croyder after this.
CAPEHART: And we`re back now continuing our conversation about Baltimore.
And we do have Page Croyder on the phone now. Sorry about the audio
problems we had in the last segment there. In your op-ed, you say that
Marilyn Mosby has created an expectation of guilt and conviction. How has
she done that?
PAGE CROYDER: She got up there, talked about her independent
investigation, and she said to the crowd I heard your call for no peace, no
justice. I will give justice for Freddie Gray, which by the way is an
unethical statement for her client is the public, it is not Freddie Gray.
But she gave that impression.
I listened to your discussion, which was very interesting, and I certainly
heard all those arguments, and I want to clarify one point. It was
suggested I am on the side of the police. I am not on anybody`s side. As
a prosecutor, your duty is to follow the evidence wherever it goes. If it
means you prosecute police, that`s what you do. If it means you decide you
do not have sufficient evidence to prosecute, that`s what you decide,
whatever the social consequences.
Her press conference gave the appearance that perhaps there is more to the
prosecution. I`m not saying it is, but it leaves the room for
interpretation that give me peace and I will get this justice for Freddie
But my criticism of what she`s done is the process. She did move very
quickly. Two weeks is not nearly enough time to do a thorough
investigation of a case that is not easy. When we don`t know how or when
Freddie Gray sustained his injuries. She did not use her unit, which is
the most experienced unit in her office, whose job it is to investigate
suspicious deaths. Her homicide unit, she bypassed that unit completely.
She did not use the grand jury. The grand jury is an important
investigative pool. You can put witnesses under oath, you gather evidence.
Most importantly, you get feedback from ordinary citizens as to what they
make of the evidence, what they see. In Ms. Mosby`s case, it would be
particularly pertinent to use the grand jury to give her some partial
insulation to these charges of her conflict of interest. If you`re using
your normal process, your homicide unit and your grand jury, and having
this kind of independent look at the evidence, that would give her some
insulation to these charges of conflict of interest. She did not have any
time to evaluate the police report. She had it one day. And she got the
autopsy report the same day she was announcing the charges. That is not a
thorough investigation. What she relies on is her own investigation. That
frankly was not a good idea. We are already seeing reports of
inconsistencies between her investigation and the police investigation.
What that automatically sets up is a way for defense attorneys to exploit
weaknesses in the case. They may not be big inconsistencies, but the
smallest ones will be exploited.
CAPEHART: Ms. Croyder, I have to ask you then, given what you have just
said and given in the press conference that State Attorney Mosby did that
day, where she laid out the case there, should the cops not have been
CROYDER: I read the probable cause statement. The probable cause
statement does not have probable cause in it to charge the driver of the
van with second degree murder. Okay? It`s not in there. She also, I
think, has mistakenly charged the two police officers who arrested Freddie
Gray. Those two officers, she`s not alleging had anything to do with his
death. But she is charging them with false imprisonment for making an
arrest without probable cause. First of all, if she had taken her time, I
think she would have realized she can`t sustain those charges. It appears
that they at the very worst had good faith, which would give them immunity,
and second of all she didn`t think through the profound implications of
doing that. And that is why I said if I was a police officer, I`d be
looking for another job. It`s not because police officers were charged
with a crime. It`s because these two police officers were charged with a
crime for making an arrest without probable cause when she didn`t charge
them with lying. In other words, they had made a mistake. If you are
going to criminally charge every police officer who makes a mistake about
probable cause, that`s an issue by the way which lawyers disagree about and
judges disagree about and law review articles are written about. If you`re
willing to charge them for making a mistake about probable cause, they
cannot do their job. There was an article yesterday in the Sun. The
police department feels chilled. There are officers who are reluctant to
respond to calls, not because of they want to be insulated from wrongdoing,
but because they might be charged for making mistakes.
CAPEHART: Ms. Croyder, one last question. You`re not a fan of Marilyn
Mosby`s. I have gone back and read in your blog, and one of the things you
said about her even before she got the nomination that then led to her
winning election, you focused in and zeroed in on how young she is back
then, and you also made that point in your op-ed in the "Baltimore Sun."
Do you think that her age, and by that I guess you might mean inexperience,
is driving your -- a large part of your criticism of her and what she has
CROYDER: My -- what I wrote last year as I was closing down my blog was
that she was so inexperienced, she did not really appreciate the enormity
of the job in front of her. By the way, in that blog, I was criticizing
her predecessor. So I criticize what I see.
CROYDER: I criticized her predecessor for his conflict of interest with
the police department. But her inexperience is huge. There was another
incident right upon taking office in which her inexperience showed and has
hurt her office. I didn`t say anything then, because I really had ended my
blog, but this inexperience is huge. She did not follow any of the normal
protocols. She really stepped over ethical boundaries in her press
conference. What I said in my blog has turned out to be prophetic. And
I`m not here, I don`t know her at all. What I said in my blog last time
was not that I was not a fan of hers, but my observation was that she was
terribly inexperienced. That is what I said and it`s proving out.
CAPEHART: And on that note, Page Croyder, thank you very much. Page
Croyder, former deputy state`s attorney from Baltimore. Thank you for
being with us. And sticking with us through our audio problems. We also
want to mention that we reached out to Marilyn Mosby but didn`t get a
Still ahead, the lessons lawmakers here can learn from Britain`s recent
election. And next, the historic meeting that took place last night while
you were sleeping. Lots more ahead. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: New video coming in this morning of the historic meeting taking
place today between the pope and Cuban President Raul Castro. Just a few
hours ago, Pope Francis and Castro meeting for nearly an hour at the
Vatican. Castro reportedly thanked Francis for helping to thaw the icy
relationship between Cuba and the United States. The pope is planning to
return the visit, going to Cuba in September. A trip that will also take
him to Washington, Philadelphia and New York.
Still ahead, as we continue this Sunday morning, why the conservative
victory in Britain this week is actually great news for progressives here
in the United States. And next, some exclusive news to report from my
interview with Senator Ron Wyden about the future of the Patriot Act. Stay
CAPEHART: The clock is ticking. Just three weeks to go before the Patriot
Act expires. And Congress is deadlocked about whether to extend it or
reform some of its more controversial provisions. The debate became even
more pointed on Thursday when a federal appeals court struck down the NSA`s
massive surveillance program of phone data, unanimously ruling that the
bulk collection of domestic call data is not authorized by the Patriot Act.
A ruling energized a bipartisan group of congressional opponents like
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy and Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee, who
are refusing to renew the Patriot Act unless it includes new provisions
that would stop the government from vacuuming up phone records. President
Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are also among those supporting that
effort to overhaul the Patriot Act. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell leads a formidable contingent of hawkish senators who are dead
set on letting the bulk collection of phone records continue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY.: According to the CIA, had these authorities
been in place, more than a decade ago, they would have likely prevented
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: One day, and I hope that I`m wrong, but one day
there will be an attack that`s successful. And the first question out of
everyone`s mouth is going to be, why didn`t we know about it? And the
answer better not be, because this Congress failed to authorize a program
that might have helped us know about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: On Friday, I spoke with Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon,
about where he stands on the Patriot Act. And the efforts to end the bulk
collection of phone data.
CAPEHART: Senator Wyden, thank you very much for being with us this
SEN. RON WYDEN, D-ORE.: Thank you, Jonathan.
CAPEHART: So I have to ask you your reaction to a federal appeals court
ruling that the NSA program, surveillance program is illegal?
WYDEN: I was very pleased, and of course I am not exactly surprised. The
fact of the matter is, this was a dragnet surveillance program that was
CAPEHART: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said this program is
very important. He said that had this mass surveillance program been
around, that 9/11 could have been prevented. What`s your response to that?
Are Republicans fear mongering on this?
WYDEN: The facts show otherwise. For example, the president`s own
advisory group made up of some very conservative people, people with strong
national security credentials, said in their report. And I always liked
(ph) to kid (ph), it`s at page 104. That report said that collecting all
of these phone records on law-abiding Americans with no connection to
wrongdoing does not really advance the cause of fighting terror. They say
that information could be obtained by conventional means. Or what are
called emergency authorizations.
CAPEHART: And when you say conventional means, what exactly does that mean
in government speak?
WYDEN: It means getting a warrant. It means showing, as we traditionally
have, really since the days of the founding fathers, that in effect, that
there is specific information, probable cause, reasons to make sure that
you balance security and liberty. And the fact of the matter is, the
Republican leadership in the Senate is now calling for just reupping this
very flawed program that an important judge has declared to be illegal. I
want to say this morning, Jonathan, that if for example, they decide to go
with some sort of short-term extension of this flawed law, I intend to
filibuster that on the floor of the Senate, unless there are major reforms,
like getting rid of this bulk phone record collection program.
CAPEHART: So you want to get rid of it altogether. From my understanding,
the USA Freedom Act, one of the reforms that it would put in place is to
take the ownership of that bulk data away from the government and put it in
the hands of the phone companies. Private enterprise. That`s not good
enough for you.
WYDEN: The U.S.A. Freedom Act in effect would go back to the status quo.
They would go back to what the traditional system was. The phone companies
had the data. The government would come forward and show why they had to
have access to it.
CAPEHART: Let me ask you about Senator Rand Paul. In an op-ed, a couple
of days ago, he was questioning if the USA Freedom Act actually expands the
Patriot Act. Can you talk about that? Do you know what he`s talking about
WYDEN: First of all, Senator Paul and I kid that we`re sort of the
founders of the informal Ben Franklin caucus. Ben Franklin said that
anybody who gives up their liberty to have security does not deserve
either. I haven`t had a chance to review Senator Paul`s article, but it
seems to me that with Pat Leahy`s effort, his long-standing effort to get
rid of the bulk phone record collections program, it`s what I call,
Jonathan, a federal human relations data base -- I think what Pat Leahy is
trying to do is very important. I do intend to go further, and that`s why
I mentioned making sure we stop this warrantless search of American`s e-
mails. And I can be pretty confident in saying this morning that Senator
Paul and I will be working on these issues in the days ahead.
CAPEHART: As you said a few moments ago, you were willing to go to the mat
on this, you are willing to filibuster to keep - to insure that the
surveillance program is dead.
WYDEN: Correct. And the question will be, as you know, the Senate
Republican leadership has been looking at a variety of ways to move forward
to keep the bulk phone records collection program going. What usually
happens is they then say let`s just have a short term extension of it. I`m
tired of extending a bad law. And so if they come back with that effort,
to basically extend this flawed law for a short term, without major reforms
like ending bulk collection of phone records, I do intend to filibuster.
CAPEHART: Senator, one last question, and to shift gears a bit, talk about
trade, the Trans Pacific Partnership. The president is out on the road
trying to gin up support for it. You support it. You are from Oregon, the
president is in Oregon. Why aren`t you in Oregon with the president
championing this trade deal?
WYDEN: The president is in my back yard, not far from our southeast
Portland home, and it is pretty exasperating to not be there.
CAPEHART: So why aren`t you there?
WYDEN: Well, the reason I`m not is I have to be in Washington, D.C. today,
because we`re looking to have that trade legislation up on the floor at the
beginning of next week, and discussions are ongoing pretty much around the
clock. Trying to find a way, as we did in the Senate Finance Committee, to
move forward in a bipartisan way.
CAPEHART: And Senator, how do you address the concerns of your fellow
Democrats who are really against this bill? How do you allay their concerns
that TPP is just NAFTA 20 years older?
WYDEN: First of all, Jonathan, what we`re on now are the rules for trade,
what`s called TPA. Those rules come first, and then you go to the specific
agreement, such as the trans Pacific one that you mentioned. My central
argument on the floor, speaking to progressives, and as you know, a
majority of Senate Finance Democrats voted for the legislation. So we`re
starting to pick up support. My central argument would be to lay out item
by item by item how what we are doing now is very different than the 1990s
and those NAFTA days.
CAPEHART: Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon, thank you very much.
WYDEN: Thank you.
CAPEHART: Once again our thanks to Senator Ron Wyden for taking the time
to join us. Still ahead as we begin our second hour, a live look at
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, at this hour, experiencing the first
named tropical storm of the season. There`s also snow in South Dakota this
morning and the possibility of tornadoes from Kansas to Texas. More on
that. And mothers as a powerful political force as we continue on this
Mother`s Day. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: The war on the war on poverty.
Thanks for staying with us this Sunday morning. I`m Jonathan Capehart in
for Steve Kornacki. Much more still ahead this hour as we continue. We`re
following the progress of Tropical Storm Ana as it moves ashore in the
Carolinas at this hour. There are also tornadoes and snow in the midst
this morning- of severe and potentially dangerous weather. Also, just
ahead, the war on poverty is increasingly under fire. Is it time to
rethink the approach after 50 years? More on that with two people actively
involved in the fight, including President Obama`s point person on this
issue. Plus, why David Cameron`s stance on gay marriage rights should be a
cautionary tale for conservatives here at home.
Also coming up, we have simplified how to follow the money in the 2016
presidential race. All you have to do? Follow the billionaires. We`ll
And in honor of Mother`s Day this morning, happy Mother`s Day, mom. We
will be looking at moms as a powerful political demographic. But we will
begin this hour with the three developing weather situations that could
affect tens of millions of Americans today. A line of severe thunderstorms
that could cause major flooding and damage in parts of the southern plains
and Texas is moving East. Bringing with it the same threat of tornadoes.
Out west, winter is back. In May, parts of Wyoming and Colorado could be
buried beneath as much as two feet of snow. It`s also snowing in South
Dakota right now, lots of it.
Meanwhile, the first tropical storm of the year, Ana, is moving ashore in
the Carolinas as we speak. NBC News`s Gabe Gutierrez is live in
Wrightsville Beach North Carolina.
GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Jonathan, good morning. Well, it
is about three weeks before the start of hurricane season and several hours
ago Ana made landfall just north of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. That`s
just to our south. And right now we`re in the northeast quadrant of the
storm. But in between some rain bands. Over the time being, we are dry.
The sun is even starting to peak out through some of those clouds, but
there is choppy surf behind me. And we are starting to see some beach
erosion as well as some strong winds. Now, Ana has maximum sustain winds
of about 45 miles an hour. It is forecast to bring up to five inches of
rain to some parts of the Carolinas. And that could lead to some flash
flooding along the coast.
Now, Ana is the second earliest storm to make landfall in the U.S. on
record. It is - it was virtually stationary over the past couple of days.
Now, it is moving north, northwest at about five miles an hour. It`s
expected to take a turn towards the north and as it breaks apart it is
expected to weaken starting today. But as it breaks apart, it will bring
heavy rains through Virginia and Maryland through Tuesday. Jonathan, back
CAPEHART: NBC News` Gabe Gutierrez in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
Thanks for joining us.
We begin this hour in Baltimore. And the recent unrest that`s built onto
the city`s streets after the death of Freddie Gray. Conversations about
how to heal Baltimore or how to prevent the next Baltimore have centered on
policing and race relations as we discussed earlier in the show. But
Baltimore has also sparked a renewed discussion about how to tackle the
devastating poverty that still grips many communities across America.
In an op-ed this week in "The Chicago Tribune", Jeb Bush pushed back on
recent calls from the left for more spending on anti-poverty programs
suggesting the entire approach needs to be rethought. "We have spent
trillions of dollars in the war on poverty and poverty not only persists.
It is as intractable as ever. This represents a broken promise and it
feeds the anger of Baltimore." Bush is not the only prominent Republican
to find fault with the war on poverty, as it heads into its second half-
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R ) WISCONSIN: We just did 50 years in the war on poverty.
We spent trillions of dollars. And we still have 45 million people living
in poverty. Deep poverty is among the highest on record. We need to do it
- on welfare reform, not as an exercise to save money, but as an exercise
to save lives and to get people from welfare to work and why there are
opportunity and the probability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Here to discuss this is Mark Shriver, president of the Save the
Action - Save the Children Action Network. Sorry about that, Mark. Thanks
for being here.
MARK SHRIVER, PRESIDENT, SAVE THE CHILDREN ACTION NETWORK: No problem.
Thanks for having me, Jonathan.
CAPEHART: So, give me your reaction to that excerpt that Jeb Bush`s op-ed
that I read a moment ago?
SHRIVER: I think you have got to look at what the war on poverty actually
is. It`s a slogan. And my father started the Office of Economic
Opportunity in Mrs. Johnson`s Great Society, creating programs like Head
Start, legal services for the poor, (INAUDIBLE) vista. You also had in
President Johnson`s Great Society, Medicare and Medicaid. And I guess the
question is, what do we have in common? What does Save the Children Action
Network and Save the Children agree with, Governor Bush on, and I think
it`s his great commitment to early childhood education. I mean he started
a huge access program to high quality early childhood education in Florida.
The problem was we had great accessibility, but the quality wasn`t as good
as it should be.
So I think president - Governor Bush has a strong commitment early to
childhood education. That`s what Head Start is all about. That`s what
early Head Start is now dealing with zero to three. So I wish that we
would talk about the things that we have in common and that we both agree
on and that we ought to be pushing forward together on.
CAPEHART: I just one to point out. Your father was the great Sargent
Shriver who was one of the chief architects of the War on Poverty.
So, you know, this week the Senate passed the Republican budget that would
cut spending over the next ten years by $10 trillion. And it would slash
poverty programs and repeal the Affordable Care Act.
CAPEHART: And Republicans maintain that this is the way to reduce poverty
in America. Mark?
SHRIVER: Well, I think, you know, I was down, Jonathan, just a couple of
weeks ago in South Carolina and that state, which is not a blue state and
the legislature is run by Republicans has made a commitment to early
childhood education. They have increased the amount of money that`s going
to early childhood education in South Carolina. Governor Scott in Florida
is building now what Governor Bush did in Florida to improve the
accessibility and quality to pre-K services. Governor Snider in Michigan.
You know, all across America, there is this early learning nation rising
up. I just don`t know whether the folks in Washington realize that the
business community in Florida is very much in favor of early childhood
education. And that is really the key to getting people out of poverty.
To kids lifting themselves out of poverty.
Look, is Head Start perfect? Absolutely not. Should it be improved? In
certain areas, absolutely. Save the Children is now running Head Start
programs that were struggling across America. What we need to do is to
invest more dollars intelligently, to demand high quality - high quality
services. You know, I met with Governor Haley Barbour a couple of years
ago and I said to him down in Mississippi, look, if Save the Children is
not doing a good job, running our early childhood programs, you should fire
us. And I think when you look around the country and people, both
Republicans and Democrats believe in education it`s the key to lifting
ourselves - lifting themselves out of poverty. That`s where we should be
investing. We should be investing early. And that`s what Save the
Children, Save the Children Action Network is pushing all across the
CAPEHART: And one quick final question given what you just said about how
everyone should be working together. Is there an appetite in Washington to
do all the things that you just said?
SHRIVER: I`m afraid that so often the leaders in Washington are following.
If you look around the country, the Bezos family that has coined this
phrase, early learning nation. And that`s what`s happening. You know, you
see Republicans and Democratic governors making that commitment to early
education through business communities all across the country. They said
in Florida, in Alabama, Oklahoma. And there are ways to pave for this,
that are new and creative ways. Senator Hatch has got a new idea about pay
for success bonds where if you deliver results you get compensated and you
can grow the programs.
So, there are all sorts of creative things happening and around the
country. I wish Washington would get in line. And follow the lead of most
Americans that are really committed to this issue to help kids lift
themselves out of poverty.
CAPEHART: Mark Shriver, many thanks for being here. Mark Shriver with the
Save the Action Network.
SHRIVER: Thank you.
CAPEHART: Save The Children Action Network. I`m sorry about that.
SHRIVER: No problem, thanks, Jonathan.
CAPEHART: Joining me now, Cecilia Munoz is assistant to the president and
White House director of the domestic policy council. So, Cecilia, thank
you for being here. And I want to start by getting your reaction to Jeb
Bush and Paul Ryan`s assertion that the war on poverty has failed.
CECILIA MUNOZ, WH DIRECTOR OF DOMESTIC POLICY: Yeah, so the war on poverty
really resulted in reducing poverty by a third. We have a safety net,
which in the ways that President Obama expanded it during the recovery,
kept about between 4 and 6 million people out of poverty. So, when they
talk about the safety net we have to understand that the safety net really
does prevent hardship in this country, but the safety net is not enough.
And there by attacking safety net programs, they are not really proposing
anything serious to lift people out of poverty. I agree with Mark. And
President Obama put forward a series of early childhood proposals. We
figure out how to get pre-K to every four-year old in this country without
adding a nickel to the deficit. It starts with early childhood education,
but also other programs that help provide opportunity in neighborhoods like
Baltimore and others around the country. It starts with having a serious
conversation about the minimum wage, so that people who were working full
time are not living in poverty. So, this is really about making sure that
we`re making the kinds of investments that we need to create opportunity in
communities around the country. President Obama`s figured how to do that
in a way that doesn`t add anything to the deficit and in fact, cuts - he
has cut the deficit in half in the time that he`s put forward these
proposals. We know how to do this, but it requires investment, it requires
CAPEHART: Well, you mentioned Baltimore, Cecilia, and "The Baltimore Sun"
editorial board is calling for more federal investment in their city and
they wrote this week, "President Obama has offered some lip service in a
visit to, say, from Attorney General Loretta Lynch to hear public concerns.
But merely attempting to calm the populace isn`t really solving the
problem. What`s needed is some serious federal investment, whether through
direct spending or tax cuts, to jump-start opportunity, to create jobs, to
rebuild schools, to provide affordable housing and childcare." What`s your
response to that, Cecilia?
MUNOZ: That`s exactly what President Obama has proposed in his budget.
Those were exactly the polices that this president is putting forward.
Investments in housing, investments in early childhood education,
investments in the lowest performing schools to make sure that our children
graduate ready for college and career. These are exactly the kinds of
investments that the president has been making in his proposing more of.
We`re not getting the kind of cooperation that we need in Congress. But in
fact, we`re taking this conversation around the country along the lines of
what you heard Mark Shriver just say.
We`re actually engaged all around the country in promoting early childhood
education, and as a result we`ve made progress in 30 states. Red states
and blue states. We`re having a consideration about the My Brother`s
Keeper program. 200 communities have stepped forward to say, we`re
building action plans, we`re building matrix to make sure that we know what
goals we`re trying to reach and how we intend to reach them. The Obama
administration is engaged with those kinds of programs around the country
in the hopes that by taking this conversation around the country we can
bring it back to Washington and Congress can start doing its job. We know
what investments we need to make. We know how to pay for it without adding
a nickel to the deficit. And these are - this is what the country needs to
make sure that opportunity is available in every community and every corner
of this country.
CAPEHART: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is going to be in Washington
in a couple of days to unveil a progressive contract with America. And one
of the - one of the 13 points is a call for a $15 minimum wage. Would
President Obama back a minimum wage of $15 that many fast food workers and
now the mayor of New York City are calling for?
MUNOZ: So the members of Congress just a week or two ago put forward a
proposal for $12 minimum wage. That`s a congressional proposal right now.
We are also very excited about the organizing efforts that are going on in
the fast food industry and others, around $15 wage.
It is an incredibly important thing to be having this conversation.
Because the bottom line is, if you are working 40 hours a week you should
be bringing home enough money so that your family isn`t living in poverty.
That`s the principle here. We think a $12 minimum wage will do that, but
we are excited about the organizing going on in the fast food sector and
others on $15.
CAPEHART: Cecilia Munoz. Thanks so much for coming in. Cecilia Munoz,
White House director of the Domestic Policy Council.
MUNOZ: Thank you.
CAPEHART: Still ahead, we look into one of the most powerful demographics
in all of politics. Moms. But first the lessons of David Cameron`s
victory in the U.K. this week or anti-gay marriage Republicans here at
home. That`s next. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: When British Prime Minister David Cameron pushed through the
legalization of same sex marriage in the U.K. last year it was heralded as
a death nail for his conservative government. Opponents said Cameron had
ripped apart the country, and he was warned that polling was beginning to
show the issue would hurt the conservatives in the next elections.
Fast forward 14 months, and the only part of that prophecy which has proved
true, is that the polling was wrong. David Cameron was re-elected on
Friday. His conservative party winning an outright majority in parliament
by a huge margin. Despite polling that had forecasted an incredibly close
election. Instead of moving further and further to the right on social
issues, conservative leaders in the U.K. like David Cameron managed to move
with the times. They even managed to live with single parent health care
systems. While still accomplishing policy goals that keep the right happy.
Things like lowering taxes and being tough on crime and terrorism. We have
been witnessing a different scene here in the U.S. in these early days of
the Republican presidential race. With candidates and possible contenders
largely tripping up recently when they were asked if they would attend a
same sex wedding. Never mind advocate for equal marriage rights, which
leads me to wonder if the Republican Party here would benefit by taking
some pointers from our friends across the pond. Former Bush speechwriter
David Frum is wondering the same thing writing in "The Atlantic" yesterday
that several of the world central right parties have modernized in ways the
GOP hasn`t. He joins us now from Washington. And back with us on set,
Amanda Terkel with - Eleanor Clift of "The Daily Beast" and Betsy Woodruff,
also, with "The Daily Beast".
David, thanks for being here.
DAVID FRUM, FMR. BUSH SPEECHWRITER: Thank you.
CAPEHART: And so, is there a cautionary tale here for Republicans in the
United States? Are they taking the wrong tech of issues like marriage
equality and health reform?
FRUNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not just about Britain. It`s also Canada,
Australia and New Zealand. In fact, most of the English-speaking countries
now have center-right governments. You can throw in Germany for a good
measure, another important ally under center right government. And in all
of this cases, and these are very strong and successful governments. In
Australia because it`s beneath the equator the center-right government is
called the liberals, because it`s upside down, but that ...
FRUNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that party in Australia is about to have a free
vote that will introduce the same sex marriage program to Australia. The
leader of the party has indicated that while he personally doesn`t support
the idea, members of the party will be free to vote their own conscience,
and about 70 percent of Australians support the idea. So, it`s coming
there, too. And one other thing, and I stress this in the article, what
all of these countries have in common is some kind of universal healthcare
guarantee. There is an idea among Republicans that societies approach some
tipping point, and if something happens then you switch into a different
gear and after that you`re on the road to serfdom and rightist head of
parties can never win again. And in fact, just the opposite is true. Once
you take certain agendas out - certain issues out of politics, suddenly,
parties that are (INAUDIBLE) more competitive, not less.
CAPEHART: So, David, one more question. How do you both energize the
Republican Party`s conservative wing while still attracting new voters?
FRUNIDENTIFIED MALE: I take the view the Republican Party doesn`t need to
energize its conservative wing. Look, the Republican Party is the party of
people who pay their cable bills on the day it comes due. It is - we do
not have a mobilization problem. Democrats do. So when Republicans
nominate somebody really divisive, really inflammatory, really exciting,
they boost turnout all across the board solving a problem that Democrats
have and Republicans don`t. Our people vote.
CAPEHART: That`s it. I want the panel to jump in here. Betsy, you have
been wanting to get in.
WOODRUFF: Yeah, I think what`s really interesting and instructive from the
conservative victories in the U.K., is it`s just looking at what the
conservatives didn`t talk about. For instance, being negative on
healthcare, negative on abortion, negative on marriage. But also what
conservatives emphasize and the track record they were able to push. Now,
Ferguson, the (INAUDIBLE) before the elections, predicted a conservative
wing, and the reason he predicted that was in the past five years when
conservatives - went into coalition, unemployment went down and wages went
up. When conservatives talk about jobs, the economy and individual
responsibility, they do pretty darn well.
CAPEHART: You just have that British conservatives.
WOODRUFF: But I also I think in the United States. As if Republicans were
able to focus on the economy and on how they think that they can make
(inaudible) to help mitigate the effects of the economic downturn. I think
it`s a great strategy for them.
TERKEL: I think what`s, you know, the difference between what I see
conservatives do here versus the other countries that David was mentioning,
is there is not this sort of blind allegiance to preserving the status quo
and defending the status quo. There`s an acknowledgment that these
countries are more diverse now. That attitudes are changed in issues like
same sex marriage, and that people want health care, for example. And so,
they adjust their policies to reflect and they find this is who we are
representing now, and we`re going to shape policies around that than simply
trying to filibuster any policy that goes through or saying that, you know,
we need to keep things how they are, this is going - let`s even go back to
what was happening ten years ago. And I think that seems to be a big
SWIFT: I would like to ask David if there are lessons for Republicans in
this country on health care, for example? The Brits aren`t talking about
doing away with the health service. It`s entrenched in the society, but
they are suggesting ways to cut it, and they are being specific. And on
cultural issues, the Republican Party here I think tried to steer clear of
them were unsuccessful. The Brits certainly, the conservatives there
certainly did hands off of cultural issues. Are those two specific
FRUNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t want to make it seem like these are squishy
parties in Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. They are not. The
cultural issues they emphasize are work. One of the most important things
that Cameron did, one of the most popular things he did, was to greatly
toughen the work requirements for people, able-bodied people, who receive
benefits from the state. He cut corporate taxes. He cut income taxes at
the bottom and promised if reelected to cut them at the top, and to get rid
of the inheritance tax on single family, on private homes. He did some
very robust things. These are parties that are nationalist. They in one
way or another, the British conservatives were very emphatic about
immigration restrictions. Canada, the Canadian conservatives and
Australians have emphasized an immigration policy that attracts people with
skills, people with higher levels of education than native-born, an
immigration policy in the national interest. These are - and to Eleanor`s
point, about health care, all of these parties are interested in opening
more space for private competition and free enterprise within the context
of the health care guarantee. Health care coverage is not the same,
universal health coverage is not the same as government health care, or it
doesn`t have to be.
CAPEHART: One quick last question. In many ways, it sounds like the brand
of conservatism we`ve been describing reminds me of compassionate
conservatism of President George W. Bush. Is that what the present day
Republicans should be striving for?
FRUNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t care what you call it, whether you call it
modern or compassionate, but you need a conservatism that makes its peace
with the actual changes that have come to the society. The point is to
govern the society you have, not the society you imagine you once had, or
wish you might have in the future. You are elected by the voters of today.
And one of the great conservative virtues is realism, and to take people as
CAPEHART: That is a fantastic point to end on. Thank you, David Frum of
the Atlantic, for getting with us this morning.
Still ahead, the head of one organization in charge of keeping super PAC
money and politics separate says the system is worse than dysfunctional.
We will explain that to you as well. And next, mail sent during World War
II finally finds its way home. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: You know what? There is still a lot going on this morning that
we need to catch up on. So, one is Jeb Bush courting evangelicals at
Liberty University yesterday, giving an address there. Let`s take a listen
to a part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH: What should be easy calls in favor of religious freedom have
instead become an aggressive stance against it. Somebody here is being
small-minded and intolerant. And it sure isn`t the nuns, ministers and
laymen and women who ask only to live and practice their faith.
BUSH: Federal authorities are demanding obedience in complete disregard of
religious conscience. And in a free society, the answer is no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Come on, now, really. Some reaction to this? I just think
that`s disingenuous. I hear religious freedom, it`s so-called religious
CLIFT: He had to wait a minute for the applause. I think the students,
took a while for them to catch on what he was talking about. He was
basically taking a stand in favor of the religious freedom laws they have
tried to erect so that people under the cloak of religion can deny services
to people whose lifestyle they do not approve of.
CAPEHART: So they can discriminate.
TERKEL: I think the way most people in the country associate the word
religious freedom is with what happened in Indiana. It`s become so high
profile because it`s associated with the antigay laws. So it is
interesting that that is what he would focus on.
CAPEHART: Is Jeb Bush doing this to curry favor with conservatives, on
this particular issue, because he`s angered them with his stance on
immigration and common core?
WOODRUFF: Yes, absolutely. Jeb Bush can only afford to be a centrist on
so many issues, and when it comes to -
WOODRUFF: That`s where he has got to capitalize. What else is interesting
about this is that at Liberty University, his dad went there in 1990 I
believe to give the commencement, and Jerry Falwell, whose son is the
president of Liberty, Falwell was perhaps the most significant evangelical
power broker, he brought George H.W. Bush under his wing as H.W. was
gearing up for his first presidential bid. Even though HW has taken some
pro choice stances as vice president. It`s definitely some parallel
dynasties. Moving together and shoring up each other`s power.
CAPEHART: Another story. This from my beloved Washington Post. "Nickel
by nickel, is the DC bag saving the Anacostia River?"
Am I the only one at the table who lives in Washington?
CAPEHART: You`re all in Washington. Do you sort of begrudge this, do you
hate the 5 cent?
CLIFT: One, you can bring your own cloth bag if you would like. And if
you`re going to hand over a nickel, it`s going to a good cause and the
Anacostia needs to be cleaned up, and I am hoping they are making some
CAPEHART: They are making $10 million for the Anacostia river cleanup and
protection fund. But.
WOODRUFF: But what`s interesting is that most of that is not actually
going to take any pieces of trash out of the river. A lot of that will pay
for fifth graders field trips, paying for personnel costs. I don`t think
they`ve seen a new dramatic uptick in the cleanliness of the river. Now,
the city government argues that this is all part of it and if you teach
fifth graders that waterways are great, maybe they won`t throw trash in the
river. But there is some fine print there.
CAPEHART: Isn`t that always the local government way? It`s a program to
save project x, but a lot of that is siphoned off to pay for project z.
CLIFT: If you look at charities, the overhead is always pretty
significant. I still think it`s a good program, and I think other cities
are picking up on it.
CAPEHART: New York City being more expensive than any other place. They
want a ten cent fee.
CLIFT: When I read somewhere that plastic bags were ending up in the
stomachs of cows, around the world, you know, that`s all I needed to hear.
A 25 cent fee is fine with me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: $10.
CAPEHART: Now we`re going a little overboard, $10..
Our last story here, an Associated Press story. World War II soldier`s
gift to mom, lost for 73 years, returns home. A pillow sham emblazoned
with the word "mother" was sent in 1942 by Dominick O`Gara (ph) from his
Army base in California to his mother in Massachusetts, and was discovered
last month on eBay. There it is on the screen. What I want to know is,
who took it?
CLIFT: Where was it discovered?
CAPEHART: Discovered on eBay. The buyer purchased an unopened envelope
and found the sham inside. Why it was never delivered is a mystery. The
woman it was intended for passed away in 1956.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s also interesting, he purchased an unopened
CLIFT: It sounds like the start of a really good Lifetime movie.
CAPEHART: It`s really strange. As soon as I saw this story, it is
supposed to be this heartwarming thing that he gets his gift back, but I`m
wondering, who`s the person who put it on eBay? Who`s the person who stole
CLIFT: And who`s bidding on it now maybe? Anybody forgot to get a last-
CAPEHART: I`m mesmerized by this. An eBay buyer purchased an unopened
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe it had a postmark from 1942.
WOODRUFF: You know, maybe it`s like buying a pig in a poke thing, like
bidding on old storage units that people have stopped paying for?
CAPEHART: A storage unit I can get. An unopened envelope? Anyway. It`s
Mother`s Day. It`s a feel-good thing. I`m so glad they got it back.
We`re moving on. Still ahead. April showers bring May flowers, so what
does May snow in South Dakota bring? But next, super PACs are more super
sized than ever in the 2016 presidential election. The struggle to
regulate them is next. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: The phrase "follow the money" entered the poplar political
lexicon with "All the President`s Men," where it was advocated as the most
effective way for journalists to track down political corruption. A new
catch phrase, a similar catch phrase, could prove just as useful in
covering the 2016 presidential race. Follow the billionaires. Recently I
was talking to a well placed Republican strategist now working with a
potential presidential candidate who told me that in order to tell the
serious Republicans in the field from the not so serious Republicans, I
needed to follow the billionaires, because only those candidates who have
been adopted by billionaires will be able to last. At a time when the Koch
brothers and Sheldon Adelson have become household names, he has got a
point, and it`s not just on the Republican side. This week Hillary Clinton
announced she will start courting donors for a super PAC supporting her
It`s guaranteed that a flood of big money will dominate this election, most
of it unregulated. The chair of the Federal Election Commission, a woman
named Ann Ravel, was refreshingly candid when she said her agency`s ability
to regulate money in politics is worse than dysfunctional. Telling the New
York Times that the likelihood of the laws being enforced is slim. And
Peter Beinart of the Atlantic writing that running for the White House is
now less an exercise in wooing voters than in wooing the ultra rich. So
what`s the best way to fight the culture of big money when the regulatory
system is not functioning properly? FEC commissioner Ellen Weintraub, also
a former FEC chair, joins me now. Thank you very much for joining us.
What do you think is the reason behind why the FEC is not able to function
and do its job right now?
ELLEN WEINTRAUB, FORMER FEC CHAIR: The answer is pretty obvious. We have
a commission that is made up of six members, and it was designed, three
Republicans, three Democrats, so that no party could take over the
apparatus and use it to punish the other party. It`s being used now in a
way that was not anticipated. Instead of working together towards
bipartisan compromise, half of the commission does not like the laws and
just keeps voting no on enforcing them.
CAPEHART: Is that because of polarization? Because the two sides are
WEINTRAUB: They are polarized. But I also think that we have lost a
common consensus of what the job of a commissioner is. The agency is 40
years old. For the first roughly 32 years of it, commissioners understood
that their job was to make the agency work. And in order to make the
agency work, we have to wok together. We have to try to find common
ground, we can`t just sit on our original positions. And say well, we don`t
agree from the get-go, so we`re just not going to do anything. But in the
last number of years, we`ve had a group of commissioners who have taken a
different tack. They have said, you know what, we don`t want to
compromise, we don`t think these laws are well founded. And we don`t like
them and we`re just going to vote no every time. We don`t care whether
it`s Democrats or Republicans. We just don`t believe in enforcing these
CAPEHART: You worked within the system at the FEC for several years. You
have witnessed it actually operate as it should. So what`s the antidote to
this problem that ails the FEC? Is there a first step that can be taken to
move in a different direction?
WEINTRAUB: Well, I think we have to find a way to get back to the way the
agency used to work. And I think that part of the problem is, that in
Washington, the consensus is that the conventional wisdom is that support
for campaign finance regulation may be wide, but it`s not very deep. No
one is going to suffer any consequences for ignoring these laws. And I
think that really has to change, that the American people instead of just
throwing their hands up in disgust, they have to get more engaged on these
issues. And convince the decision makers in Washington that they really do
care about this, and I believe they do.
CAPEHART: That anticipates my next question, which is if the FEC can`t
police big money, what can other agencies do, like the Justice Department?
WEINTRAUB: The Justice Department is starting to step in. We`ve seen a
couple of criminal cases brought recently, and this is another reason why
it is not good, even for the political actors who think they are getting
away with something, when the FEC is not doing its job, because it leads to
a race to the bottom. One person does something that`s a little bit
outrageous and everyone else looks around and sees that there are no
consequences for that. And everyone else thinks they have to do the same
thing in order to be competitive. So there is a constant degradation of
the law. The law keeps getting undermined. The people get more and more
outrageous in their interpretations, and sooner or later, the Justice
Department will step in, and they can throw people in jail. So that`s not
really a good place to be, where we can issue traffic tickets for low-level
violations, and the Justice Department can throw people in jail, and
there`s nothing in between.
CAPEHART: I would like to get your reaction to something real quick. The
New York Times had an article yesterday about Senator Marco Rubio`s
relationship with a businessman named Norman Braman (ph). And from the
newspaper, it says, as Mr. Rubio has ascended in the ranks of Republican
politics, Mr. Braman has emerged as a remarkable and unique patron. He has
bankrolled Mr. Rubio`s campaigns, he has financed Mr. Rubio`s legislative
agenda, and at the same time, he has subsidized Mr. Rubio`s personal
finances. And meanwhile, MSNBC`s Kasie Hunt caught up with the senator
yesterday and asked him about this. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your major donor, Norman Braman, who was paying you a
salary when you were campaigning for the Senate?
RUBIO: First of all, that`s been public for seven years. It was in my
disclosure form when I filed as a candidate. He was a client of my law
firm, Marco Rubio PA, and we did good work for him, and I`m proud of our
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t feel like you have ever had any (inaudible)
conflicts in your relationship?
RUBIO: No. Norman Braman, the only thing Norman Braman has ever asked my
help on is charities, whether it`s a cancer center or a genomic center at
the University of Miami, something Donna Shalala (inaudible), the
university she was president of. So Norman Braman has never asked me to do
anything for his business in my time in Washington, DC.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Ellen, does this kind of relationship between donors and
politicians make you uncomfortable?
WEINTRAUB: I don`t want to talk about any individual candidate or any
individual donor, but talking systemically. What we`re seeing is an era
where it seems like everybody has got their billionaire patron. And I
think sitting here on Mother`s Day, the kind of democracy that I want for
my children is one in which office holders are responsive to every citizen,
not to their billionaire sponsors. In which candidates try to follow the
rules, play by the rules, knowing that there could be some penalty if they
don`t, instead of trying to get around their rules. I think that`s the way
to bring more people back into participating. The last election was the
most expensive midterm in history. Yet there were more donors - fewer
donors and less transparency than ever, and we had the lowest turnout rate
since World War II. The Supreme Court said that the electorate would not
lose faith in a democracy as a result of all this unlimited outside
spending that they opened the doors to, but I don`t think that`s what we`re
seeing. I think people do see the spending going on, and they think the
only ones that count are the billionaires, and Americans need to stand up
and take our democracy back. This isn`t the way it has to be.
CAPEHART: Ellen Weintraub from the FEC, thanks so much for talking with me
WEINTRAUB: It`s been a pleasure. Happy Mother`s Day, mom.
CAPEHART: Up next, President Obama finally visited South Dakota this past
week, but it is something else visiting the state this weekend that is
really catching people off guard. We will go there next.
CAPEHART: As we`ve been reporting this morning, it is snowing today in
parts of the country as hard as that is to believe. You only need to look
at the streets of Rapid City, South Dakota, to know that it`s true. That`s
where we find the Weather Channel`s Scott Newell. Look at that.
SCOTT NEWELL, WEATHER CHANNEL: The Weather Channel has named this winter
storm Venus. We didn`t think we`d get another one in, but yes, here it is.
As you can see, the problem here is not the 31 degree temperature, although
that, combined with 25 mile an hour winds gives you a wind-chill of 17. So
it`s not (inaudible), it`s been snowing here since yesterday mid-day. I
would say we have about maybe five inches here. And what that has done for
the streets in Rapid City is it`s made them very slushy. Even though the
plows have been through here, look at this stuff. This is hard to get
through, and that is really wet snow. That`s about as wet as snow gets.
The speed limit on I90 here, a lot of people traveling I90, has been cut
down to 40 miles an hour because the travel is very treacherous here. The
other concern here in the Black Hills northeast, which is where most of the
snow will come, an additional 5 to 10 inches we`ll have today, is that a
lot of ranchers have calves and lambs, and those animals really do get
hypothermic in weather like this. They had to really be sure to keep them
protected. This is expected to go throughout the day, and the winter storm
warning goes until 6:00 local time here. So happy Mother`s Day from Venus.
Not a lot of love here in Rapid City, South Dakota, Jonathan. Back to you.
CAPEHART: In May, on May 10. My thanks to Scott Newell of the Weather
Channel. Up next, moms take to the streets this Mother`s Day weekend.
CAPEHART: Thanks for staying with us this Mother`s Day Sunday. Steve is
off celebrating today with his mom. Happy Mother`s Day to her. While some
critics see the day as just another holiday drummed up by the greeting card
industry, in recent years it`s become an occasion for mothers to exercise
their political might. Mothers led marches in Washington and New York
yesterday to advocate for the safety of their children. In Washington, the
million moms march brought together mothers who lost their kids to violent
encounters with the police. While in New York, the gun control group Moms
Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, crossed the Brooklyn bridge for the
third straight year, calling for more gun safety protections. Among the
speakers a teacher from Sandy Hook elementary school.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The evil that occurred that day and the days that
followed are simply indescribable. The horror of learning the details.
The spreadsheets of wakes and funerals. The photos. The ceremonies. And
such small caskets. How does this make sense to anyone, let alone kids? It
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Joining me now, founder of Moms Demand Action, Shannon Watts.
Thanks for joining us.
SHANNON WATTS, MOMS DEMAND ACTION: Good morning.
CAPEHART: In your effort to fight for gun safety, you have chosen to
organize mothers. What have you witnessed in your experience that made you
believe that mothers make a potential political force?
WATTS: If you look at the history of the country, when moms get involved,
when women get involved, things happen, things change. Whether it`s child
labor laws or drunk driving. When Sandy Hook happened, I went online
looking for something like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and I couldn`t
find anything. So I started a Facebook page. What was really intended to
be an online conversation quickly became an offline movement.
CAPEHART: You mentioned Mothers Against Drunk Driving. What exactly did
you learn from them that inspired you to do what you are doing now?
WATTS: We created a system very similar. We have a chapter in every
single state of the country. Our moms are in state houses every day, going
toe to toe with the gun lobby, pushing back against bad bills and
supporting good bills, and we are winning. We didn`t get the vote we
wanted from Congress. But what we realized was much like marriage
equality, if we go to businesses, if we go to companies, if we go to state
lawmakers and pull the levers like our votes and our wallets, that we know
we have the power to use, we`ll win.
CAPEHART: What issues other than gun violence do you believe mothers are
particularly effective at championing?
WATTS: I honestly believe there is no stronger love than a mother`s love.
And so when it comes to championing the rights of our children, I think we
are extremely effective. I am the mother of a gay teen in Indiana. I
don`t think there is a tougher place right now to raise a gay teen.
Marriage equality in many ways is the same playbook for gun safety. Go to
the states, go to businesses, build momentum, show what people want, and
then bring it to Congress and get the federal vote.
CAPEHART: The gun issue has faded a bit from the national stage in recent
months. What are your plans to reignite that debate if 2016?
WATTS: We have the elections coming up. And we`ll be very interested on
where candidates stand on the issue of background checks. We`re going to
be fighting at the state houses, we`re going to continue to get businesses,
and hopefully the next business will be Kroger, to say they won`t allow
open carry in their stores. And so our moms are extremely energized.
People talk about the intensity gap. You`re not seeing it with moms. When
we realized how insane the gun laws are in this country, we are terrified,
and there is no going back.
CAPEHART: How disappointing was it that Congress could not get out even a
background check bill?
WATTS: The same Congress we had in place the day before Sandy Hook was the
same Congress we had the day after. It is a Congress beholden to the gun
lobby. But you have a mom. What are you more afraid of - a gun lobby or a
group of moms coming after you?
CAPEHART: I`m afraid of a group of moms.
CAPEHART: Shannon Watts, thanks very much for joining us. And to the rest
of my panel, Betsy Woodruff, Amanda Terkel, Eleanor Clift, and thank you
for getting up with us today. Up next is Melissa Harris-Perry. Stay
tuned. Happy Mother`s Day to all the moms out there, including mine. Hi,
mom! Have a great week.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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