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'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

September 2, 2012

Guests: Myrna Perez, Ed Pawlowski, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Cristina Beltran, Neal Flomenbaum, Rebecca Onie, Herb Smitherman, Anthony Foxx, Dan Drezner, Cristina Beltran

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: This morning, the tide is turning, and
democracy is returning. Just try to suppress this.

Plus, all eyes on North Carolina this weekend. It`s not even college
basketball season.

And the other health care crisis. There are not enough doctors in America.

But, first, down in Charlotte, they are pitching a big blue tent. Let`s
see what`s going on in there.

Good morning, I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.

Now, that the Republican national convention has come to a close, their
nominees back out on the campaign trail. Yesterday, he made a stop in
Cincinnati where he talked about the reading material that he used to help
him with his convention speech.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the speeches I read was
the convention speech of Barack Obama. He was not one of the ones I wanted
to draw from, except I couldn`t resist a couple of things he said because
he made a lot of promises. And I noted he didn`t keep a lot of promises.


HARRIS-PERRY: So while I don`t agree with his conclusion, I couldn`t
resist following Mister Romney`s lead in going back to a few of President
Obama`s speeches as we gear up for the Democratic National Convention.
Here he is on inauguration day 2009.


there, is work to be done. The state of our economy calls for action, bold
and swift and we will act. Not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new
foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric
grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.


HARRIS-PERRY: Mere moments after taking office, President Obama told the
hard truth, there was a great deal of work to be done. And he got right
down to business. But before we talk about the president`s work, let`s
remember that before he was able to take the oath of office, candidate
Obama had to do a lot of work to get to the podium.

Now, we know the story of the young state senator who wowed us at the 2004
DNC and then on 2008 took on one of America`s best oiled political
machines, ultimately inspired a generation, and turned the electoral
college blue against the war heroes season politician. And while the
timeline to success has many notable moments in between, rarely do we mark
August 2005 as a turning point for the working senator.

You see, when the force of hurricane Katrina devastated the poorly
maintained levees around New Orleans, those floodwaters brought with them
devastation for those in their wake and a wakeup call to the nation. Our
fellow Americans watched in horror as our government fumbled and failed to
alleviate human suffering right in this country. And in the midst of the
crisis, we asked how an administration that is unable to get water to an
American city for three days, could be trusted to conduct a just war
abroad. We asked ourselves, what else is broken with our government?

That next fall, the Democrats regained the majority in Congress and largely
seen as the referendum on the war in Iraq the 2006 Midterm election was
also clear-cut rejection of the image of America that left New Orleanais
trapped on the roofs of their homes. That was not the America we wanted to
we wanted to be. You see, we decided in that moment that we were no longer
the America that would leave either metaphorically or actually Americans
trapped and unable to be rescued.

After hurricane Katrina Americans were grasping for a way forward and one
of those ways was to return the Democrats a coalition party to the majority
of the U.S. house. Democrats who have been trying to out-Republican the
Republicans since Clinton`s right ward shift a decade earlier finally found
their spine and their voice.

So now, just ahead of both parties` political conventions, hurricane Isaac
has pushed the gulf coast once again to the forefront of our political
minds. It is forces, once again, to reckon with that social contract to
ask ourselves what is the role of government in our lives, and that`s
exactly what President Obama spoke to on January 20th, 2009, when he
stepped up to the podium and told us there was a great deal of work to be
done. He was speaking to all of us.

Now, despite exclusionary and ugly beginning, the Democratic Party of the
late 20th century has been a party of coalition, one big, old, messy blue
tent. Just how big and blue and messy, let`s take a look at the Democratic
National Convention Web site. Right in the drop down of community, we have
a whole slew of various in diversified groups that like to vote blue. You
have African-Americans, labor, Latinos, LGBT, seniors, immigrants. And
some of us would need to open up more than one window at a time.

So when we watch the RNC hammer away with one simple message, over and
over, speaker after speaker, yelling we built that. We had to ask, what is
the Democratic Party`s simple, digestible message? Well, there might not
be just one. All that wonderful togetherness is part of what makes a
single message so hard. Talking points are much harder to craft when they
have to be translated into so many different languages. But that is, after
all, the work of the American project, knitting different threads together
into a single cloth.

Here to help me figure out if the Democrats can craft a winning coalition
is mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania, Ed Pawlowski, a Democrat, Cristina
Beltran, an associate professor of New York University and author of "the
trouble with unity," Dan Drezner, professor of International politics of
the Fletcher school of law and diplomacy at Tufts University and Aisha
Moodie-Mills, an adviser on LGBT policy and racial justice at the center
for American progress action fund.

Thank you all, for being here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great to be here.

HARRIS-PERRY: All right. So, is there a message out of Charlotte this
week? Is there a one clear story line that will emerge for the president`s

should said it. The Democrats are going to tell Americans that we`re not
going to leave you behind to fend for yourselves, and that`s the complete
contrary of what Republicans are looking to do. They are saying, well, we
built this individually. We all should go off and do things by ourselves,
government shouldn`t have a role. And I think with the president is going
to say with the Democrats are going to message is that we`re all in this

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. So, in doing that, though, I guess I`m wondering, can
you -- can you that tell that story when you actually have competing
groups, right? And so, on the one hand, we`re all in this together. But,
because it is such big old messy blue tent, there are groups and sometimes
feel like they are in competition. Take for example, Latino workers and
African-American workers in many Americans cities who feel like, wait a
minute there, is competition between our groups.

that, you create an external threat that scares all of them, units all of
them at the same time. And certainly, you know, the Obama campaign has
been very good at doing that. You know, if they run -- if this election is
a referendum election, they will have issues, because not a great economy.
The way they are going to win is if this say choice election where they can
say, look, we`ve done pretty well and then consider the alternative. The
alternative is we go back to the world of 2008. You know, remember Iraq?
Remember the global financial crisis? We didn`t build that. So that`s how
you come back to that.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. I mean, this is Nate Koehn`s point. And I love the
new republic this week, because if you look at it this direction it`s
Republicans and this direction it`s the Democrats which is kind of cracks
me up.

But Nate Koehn got this great piece where he says that the Charlotte
strategy, is that Obama must find his inner Bush and basically makes this
claim that the story line, when you are running as an incumbent in a tough
situation is you have to make the other guy seem scarier and they have done
a pretty good job on that with sort of vilifying Romney around Bain and
around the idea that he would, after all, leave you behind.

It`s not been a difficult job I think outlining that monologue. But you
know, I think the president needs to also highlight his own


PAWLOWSKI: I mean, I want to see him stand up and talk about the fact
that, you know, we had 28 months of job growth. The fact that 4.4 million
jobs have been creaked. The fact that we had two straight years of
manufacturing growth. You know, the Lilly Ledbetter act, you know Pell
grant, you know G.I. bills. You know, he needs to remind the American
people exactly what he`s accomplished over the course of the last four
years, because it`s an amazing record of accomplishments when you look at

HARRIS-PERRY: Is there something about telling the complicated story that
becomes harder? So Christina, I`m sitting here thinking, you know, on the
one hand, you have this sort of easy to that the economy still bad. The
complicated story is actually you`ve seen private sector growth while the
public sector is shedding jobs in localities. But as soon as you tell it
that way, then the counter is, he`s blaming other people. Is it just
harder to tell a complicated story?

I think in a world of sound bites, you know, the ability to really tell
quick narrative that captures all populations. I mean, one of the things
that is easier for the Republican Party, is they are not trying to appeal
to that broad of an electorate, you know. So, it really, in some ways,
will always makes it harder for the Democratic Party, if the Democratic is
more engaged in the Democratic project of bringing Americans together. And
that is always difficult to do in 30 seconds.

HARRIS-PERRY: And even when the party was kind of a mess, right? So, I
want to be clear, the Democratic project of knitting together a winning
coalition at one point also included both the Kennedys and the southern
segregationists, all together in one party, right? So, it hasn`t always
been like, you know, happy, friendly, let`s hold hands against, you know,
environmentalists and laborers. No, right?.

There`s been real challenges, than in fact exactly that one between labor
and environmentalists might be sort of a similar example of this sense of
like do environmental policies take you away jobs, which is what we`re

PAWLOWSKI: But Democrats in general, are usually try to explain, you know
what I mean? I mean and that`s part of our problem. The president, you
know his criticism, and he is trying to constantly explains what, you know,
his stands is, where he stands on specific positions and it becomes more
complicated when we are really trying to educate the general public on what
the issues are.

MOODIE-MILLS: But the question we should be asking, why aren`t the
Republicans, though? You just hit on the head when you said Republicans
are not looking to expand their base, right? They really not reaching out
to all Americans. They are not talking to most of us. And so, the
question becomes I think that the Democrats can really run with this as a
message, is that they are trying to -- even if it`s complicated, speak to
everyone under the umbrella of America. They really care about all

PAWLOWSKI: Republicans talked about the Utopian dream they have.

HARRIS-PERRY: I promise I will let you push back. But I want ask you one
question on the foreign policy piece. Which is it does seem in that area,
it feels like there is a storyline, Osama bin Laden is dead. War in Iraq
is over. Will they sort of say that or do Americans scare about that part
of the story?

DREZNER: I mean, I think they are spending a whole night on foreign
policy. John Kerry is going to give a speech in outlining the national
security accomplishments. And you know, if the Obama campaign, you are
smart about this, what you should say is look, foreign policy is the area
where I probably had the most amount of leeway to do what I want. And if
you noticed, things are looking pretty good on that front. So, just
imagine what you have and if I have more lee way elsewhere. So, if I were
them, I would run on this. The problem is, is that --

HARRIS-PERRY: Do they make me a dictator strategy?


DENZER: The argument is that when I actually had the power to be able to
do what I wanted, we`ve actually gotten decent results. The problem of
course is that, his own success makes it less relevant, because we`re
actually in a more secure place.

Americans don`t care about foreign policy. I teach foreign policy. So, it
is a very embarrassing to me. But the fact is, Americans do not care about
foreign policy unless there is a serious threat and there is no serious

HARRIS-PERRY: I can remember you and I were on faculty together at the
University of Chicago. And it was 2000, we just had the whole election,
Electoral College. And I was like, yes, I`m relevant because I know about
the Electoral College. And then, you know, just a few months later, of
course, was September 11th and you were like who is relevant now?


HARRIS-PERRY: And there is exact that point. We are going to stay on this
question of relevance and what the message is.

Up next, we`ll turn our focus specifically to North Carolina. I`m going to
talk to one of the top Democrats in the state, the mayor of the host city
for the DNC.


HARRIS-PERRY: One of the most notable moments in the historic 2008
election of President Barack Obama was turning North Carolina blue. That`s
Jesse Helms` North Carolina. And it was closed.

Obama took the state with the slightest of margins, a mayor of 13,692 votes
of the nearly 4.3 million that were cast. North Carolina Republicans
recovered quickly from that election, and made sure that their state was
colored a deep shade of red by 2010.

This time, around the national party is going for broke trying to get the
state Tar-heel blue or duke blue. Once again, the "National Journal"
reported that the Romney camp outspent the Obama campaign of more than 2-1
in states, including North Carolina, over a recent four-week period. So,
making Charlotte, North Carolina the sight of this week`s Democratic
National Convention is no coincidence. North Carolina is the battleground
state of all battleground states.

And joining us from Charlotte, is the city`s mayor, Anthony Foxx.

Nice to see you, Mayor.


HARRIS-PERRY: So, talk to me a little bit about this because you had just
become mayor of Charlotte and made the decision to go after this
convention. Tell me why is it important in terms of the legacy of North
Carolina to be holding the convention there in Charlotte?

FOXX: Well, you have to understand, that Charlotte has gone through a
tremendous, tremendous transformation over the last 30 or 40 years. And in
the two years prior to my taking office, we shed about 27,000 jobs. It was
a pretty gutsy move for us to go for a convention. But we believe this is
an opportunity for North Carolina to host its first political convention
and also to put Charlotte and North Carolina on an international stage so
that people can know what a great quality of life and what a great city we

HARRIS-PERRY: So, you know, I did both college and grad school in North
Carolina. I love North Carolina. But it does have one major challenge for
Democrats and that is, it is after all a right to work state. A state that
is not very friendly to unions. How are you going to manage -- and of
course, the president is going to end up speaking at the bank of America
center, which sort of, you know, reveals all of those anxieties about one
percent. How do you manage that story line this week?

FOXX: Well, you know, if we -- if we picked locations for conventions
based on whether everyone agrees with the laws of a particular state, we
probably never have a convention.

What we wanted to do with North Carolina was put the state on a platform
where people could see and take a look at it. But it also means that those
who have different views about ways we should go in this state have an
opportunity to make that message right here in North Carolina.

HARRIS-PERRY: Mayor FOX, I wanted to show you this quote from Karl Rove
back in 2011, in talking about the strategy used against President Obama.
The "Wall Street Journal" piece, he wrote.

Why Obama is likely to lose in 2012 and wrote, even a small drop in the
share of black voters would wipe out his winning margin in North Carolina.

So he identified North Carolina as the place and identified African-
American voters as the voters. You know, when you look at the map of North
Carolina, it`s a place that`s awfully red except for where you are in
Charlotte, and then also in the research triangle, what will you do to make
sure Karl Rove`s prediction doesn`t come true?

FOXX: Well, let me tell you something. North Carolina knows this
president has had our back, he`s worked to put high speed rail into North
Carolina, which we`ve been trying to do for the last 20 years. He`s helped
to keep teachers, firefighters, police officers working. And North
Carolina has had his back really since the beginning.

The polls actually show this race neck in neck in North Carolina, despite
the spending advantage of Mitt Romney. And I think that bodes well for the
president. If I were Mitt Romney, I`d be a little concerned.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, absolutely. I mean, it is basically too close to call
at this point. I`m heading down to Charlotte later on today, and this is
undoubtedly going to be, you know, Charlotte on the national stage.

So, thank you so much, Mayor Anthony Foxx.

FOXX: Thank you, Melissa.

HARRIS-PERRY: Before the convention, a programming note. Tomorrow night,
MSNBC will air an hour-long documentary called Barack Obama, making
history. In this excerpts, a look at what the president inherited when he
took the oath of office.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST, HARDBALL: The problems waiting for him on the
oval office desk included two wars, a broken health care system, and
economy on the verge of collapse, millions facing foreclosure, a jobless
rates spiking relentlessly skyward.


HARRIS-PERRY: "Barack Obama: making history," a documentary hosted by
Chris Matthews, Monday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC. And we
will be right back.



ROMNEY: Hope and change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I`d ask a
simple question. If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack
Obama, shouldn`t you feel that way now that he`s President Obama?


ROMNEY: You know there is something wrong with the kind of job he`s done
as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.



HARRIS-PERRY: Well, Mister Romney, why don`t you ask the gay and lesbian
women in the Arm Forces how they felt the day that the Obama administration
did away with don`t ask, don`t tell, or ask young immigrant dreamers, how
they felt when the president announced a deferred action? How about the
millions of uninsured Americas and how they felt the day that the
affordable healthcare act family passed?

Well, those are just some of the accomplishment of Democrats to highlights
this week to rally certain group inside that big blue tent and sure that
there`s still feeling pretty darn good.

But what other work needs to be done in Charlotte to keep that coalition

We have with us, Democratic Mayor Ed Palowski of Allentown Pennsylvania,
Christina Beltran, professor at New York University, Daniel Drezner,
political scientist at Tufts University and Aisha Moodie-Mills of the
center for American Progress.

So Mayor, I wanted to ask you about this because you said earlier he has to
talk about what his accomplishments are. And it think that`s right. I
mean, you know, if their story line is going to be you don`t feel excited
anymore, is it about saying, yes, you should still feel excited?

PAWLOWSKI: Absolutely. And that`s a much harder task for the president
than it is to say, hey, we live in some nostalgic, you know, era then we
are going to go back to--.


PAWLOWSKI: And you know, obviously, you know, it was nostalgic before 2008
came along, and then obviously the whole world changed for the worse
obviously. And you know, when you look at the rhetoric in this coming out
of the Republican convention.

So, it is much harder for him to sort of chart that course and say, these
are all the accomplishments, these are why they are important. As we
talked about earlier, you know, it is difficult to say, you know, the
economy is really bad and it was really -- it was about to go off a giant
cliff and this is what I did to, you know, make sure that it didn`t go off
a giant cliff. And maybe it`s not perfect, but it`s getting better.
That`s a harder sell than saying, hey, let`s go back to the America we all
used to know and love and, I don`t know.

HARRIS-PERRY: Even though, I don`t remember that America, but yes, I`m

PAWLOWSKI: It existed before 2008 according to Republicans.

BELTRAN: And I think that is exactly right. I mean, I think one of the
things that is so interesting is that -- and I think it was a very cynical
move on Romney`s part in the speech. It`s because, it`s easy to sort of
forget, and I think the Democrats have find a way to remind people of just
how devastated we all felt in 2008.

I mean, after eight years of Bush/Chaney and the sense that the country had
really gone off the rails. On top of the fact of the inspiration of
having, you know, an African-American president, somebody who seem to have
a really progressive exciting vision, that combination is incredibly hard
to recreate that`s - there is no way to create that some sort - that sense
of historical change and now we`re in to the works of the task of
governing. And that is a harder move to make.

So, I think when they talk about an enthusiasm gap, in some ways, it`s an
unfair call in some sense. Because we are dealing with an historical
moment that is radically different. I think one of the tasks they have to
have for the DNC, is to really remind us of where we were in 2008 in that

DREZNER: But that`s one of the point. A Mitt Romney, what he said was
actually right. Which is no president, every president`s most popular
moment is the day they get elected. That`s true of just about every
president in modern history.

And the other problem though, ironically, is that Barack Obama was so good
as president when he first came in offering kind of hope and change.
Ironically, because he was so inspirational in 2008 during the campaign and
2009, you know, Mitt Romney is very clever. That should be where the bar
is. And you look at where we are and that`s the gap, and that`s the sort
of the enthusiasm gap that I think Democrats have to try to make up.

MOODIE-MILLS: Well, I think what they should be doing, though, is talking
about where we`re going, and doing a great compare and contrast to where
Democrats want to take us.

The Democrats are about moving forward. We`re looking at ourselves as a
nation involving as a big umbrella bringing in different ethnicity groups.
We care about poor people. We care about people with different economic

Republicans are actually trying to regress us into, I mean, not even 2008.
We are going way back in some -- if you look at their platform, there some
really Jim Crow underlying types of policies in there that would take us
way back as a nation.

HARRIS-PERRY: It`s interesting you say Jim Crow. Because I was thinking
on exactly this point. I was thinking about Martin Luther King Jr.
Writing his book "where do we go from here, chaos or community? " He writes
that book in `67 after the `64 civil rights bill is passed, after the `65
voting rights act was pass‚. After everything we currently think of as the
signature accomplishments of the civil rights movement, Dr. King is like,
whoa, this could be bad, right?

And it -- you know, I think there is part of it that feels like the point
you just made historically that sometimes, we don`t know how much
accomplishment we`ve had until we have a little more distance from it. So
by `74, you can look back and say, oh, that changed.

PAWLOWSKI: Every time but now.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, absolutely.

PAWLOWSKI: Every time he brings up what -- you know when we talk about
what happened in the past, they criticize him, and say well, you know, he`s
not taking responsibility for his own actions now.

And so, it is almost like they are setting up this no-win scenario form.
He has to explain where we came from, obviously, to your point, to re-
energize those feelings of where we are at really in 2008 and what this
president has accomplished. But every time he does that, then he`s
criticized for saying, oh, you know, he`s not taking responsibility for his
own actions.

BELTRAN: Melissa makes a great point which is, that the way we don`t
understand ourselves in history, ends history. Because right now, we are
in the middle of two amazing civil rights movements, right, for immigrant
rights and for gay and lesbian rights in the whole GOP team community. We
are in the midst of an incredibly exciting political moment, and I think
one of the task is to explain that not as interest group, but to really
explain that as like, this is good for America. This is good for
democracy. We are making history right now and we want to keep that
momentum going.

HARRIS-PERRY: And you know, and part of -- there will be another party
pushing back or another interest like pushing back. I mean, you know, the
one thing I don`t think we can criticized Republicans for is trying to put
the president in a no-win situation.


HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, their job --


HARRIS-PERRY: I think that he wanted to do it honestly. I don`t want him
to steal it. I don`t want them to buy it. I mean, --


HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. Or suppress it, right? I mean, if they win because
Americans like the ideas better, fine, welcome to democracy. You win half
the time, you lose half the time.

You know, my bigger angst if they win by telling inaccuracies, falsehoods,
if they win by using the language of welfare in order to stoke, racial
angst, those - it`s not the like oh, they don`t want him to win. Yes, they
sure don`t.

DREZNER: You know, I study political science. These are things I
definitely learned.


HARRIS-PERRY: Standard thing a political party is supposed to do.

MOODIE-MILLS: Convention is really about ginning up the base and getting
them really excited so they come out to the polls. Because what we are not
talking about yet is the fact that these conventions are about, you know,
shoring up our base, because we know that when the president does, then
ultimately he is going to win. And so, all of the pushback he`s getting --

HARRIS-PERRY: Because the base is bigger.

MOODIE-MILLS: Because the base is bigger, which is why, voter suppression
is happening from the Republicans, trying to eliminate his base and making

HARRIS-PERRY: And I want to look at specifically and exactly the aspects
of that base as soon as we come back. A preview of President Obama`s
response to his challenger, Mitt Romney.



OBAMA: Now, last week the other party gave you their pitch, at the
convention down in Florida. If you didn`t DVR it, let me recap it for you.
Everything is bad. It`s Obama`s fault. And Governor Romney is the only
one who knows the secret to creating jobs and growing the economy. That
was the pitch.


HARRIS-PERRY: It was kind of the pitch. And that was President Obama in
full-on candidate mode, talking about jobs and growing the economy during
Labor Day weekend.

With all of the presidential politics these days, we can`t forget to honor
those who actually did build this, the American workers, happy Labor Day.
Tomorrow, is a direct reminder of the struggle of working people in this

Labor Day was born out of Chicago`s Pullman`s strike, when railroad workers
were calling for increased wages and affordable housing more than 100 years
ago. To break the strike, president Grover Cleveland deployed troops
resulting in the death of several workers.

So tomorrow, think of the movement that built the American middle class.
The five-day workweek, at least to some of us, and the eight-hour work day.
Social Security and minimum wage. And in this election year, let`s not
forgot the combinations of organized labor.

Unions and coalitions of workers are groups that do a great deal of heavy
lifting to get out the vote come election time. But, with so little gain
in the last four year of labor, can the Democratic Party still bank on the
strength of their loyalty?

So, with me at the table, Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Cristina Beltran, Dan
Drezner, and Aisha Moddie-Mills.

Ed, I need to go to you on this one. Because this is like the Pennsylvania
story. This is, you know, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, are a like in so
many ways, but one of the major differences is organized labor in

PAWLOWSKI: It`s true. It`s true. We have a very, very, you know,
significant organized labor movement which I think is going to help us in
urban areas, because when you look at Pennsylvania, there is two
Pennsylvania we talked about. Pennsylvania-Kentucky. Whatever you want to
talk about.

You know, and it`s the urban areas, it`s Philadelphia, it`s Allentown, it`s
Scranton, and then it`s, you know, Erie and Pittsburgh on the other side.
And in the middle, it`s all red.


I mean, it is all red. And when you think about organized labor and you
think about the power that they have in those urban areas and the ability
to turn people out. It`s critical. Because you can win the state by just
winning those urban areas. In fact, the last time around, the president
won the state of Pennsylvania, by winning the urban areas.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. There`s -- there`s a bit of common wisdom that there
aren`t actually any blue states, there are only blue cities.


HARRIS-PERRY: And so, and the cities are either big enough, powerful
enough and mobilized enough to carry the state or not.

PAWLOWSKI: But it`s a real contrast in Pennsylvania. I mean, you can see
it you have the cities, you have the rural areas and the suburbs, and it`s
those areas that carry the state.

And you know, which is why voter suppression, as we talk about earlier, is
so, you know, prevalent in Pennsylvania. I mean, we had the speaker of the
house, Tursack (ph), come out and basically say, you know, in a Republican
state wide convention that, you know, we have voter ID pass to help Romney
win. Done.


PAWLOWSKI: And if you look at it, it`s significant because who does it
hit? It`s minorities, it hits older Americans, it hits college students.

BELTRAN: The poor.

PAWLOWSKI: The poor, the disenfranchised, and he only won Pennsylvania by
700,000 votes last time. They are estimating 758,000 people right now
don`t have voter ID.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, as you were ticking that off, I just wanted to look at
the actual coalition that elected President Obama in 2008.

We are talking about the big blue tent. Let`s look what it looks like. He
had 56 percent of women and 95 percent of African-Americans, 67 percent of
the Hispanic vote, 62 percent of Asian votes, young people giving him 66
percent, and first-time voters, 69 percent.

That`s what the `08 winning coalition looks like. So, the question is, you
know -- and by the way, a bunch of them were driven to the polls or got
their leaflets from union workers, right? Can that be repeated?

DREZNER: I mean, it depends -- in some ways, demographics are in his
favor. I mean, if you look at Hispanic voters, and so forth, you know, if
he gets the same percentages that he got in 2008, he would crush Mitt

The problem is, that some voters aren`t going to turn out in the same way.
First time, you know, you got first time voters aren`t necessarily be
enthusiastic about Obama. Young voters who face a truly crushing economy
are going to far less optimistic I suspect.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. So, he will probably get the same percentage of
those groups, but the issue is how many people in the groups both have the
enthusiasm to turn out and capacity to turn out.

MOODIE-MILLS: Well, there is actually a poll that just came out, Cornell
Belcher, who was the pollster for the Obama campaign in 2008, did a B.E.T.
poll of African-Americans in swing districts. And what that poll showed is
that, this conversation we`re having about enthusiasm, you know, being low
in the African-American community is actually not true at all.

Folks are very concerned about the economy. They are concerned about their
wages even more so than actual jobs and like 90 percent of them are saying
they are going to absolutely come out in support and vote in about the same
way they did in 2008. So, we are not going to see the drop-off among
African-American at least, and other minority voters that people are

HARRIS-PERRY: Unless someone is standing in the way of the polls.

MOODIE-MILLS: And that`s why we see the voter suppression efforts.

BELTRAN: I think that`s right. And it think kind of really because that`s
interesting actually. And I think the voter suppression issue is going to
be -- could actually be an interesting mobilizing issue for the Democrats.

If they come out and really talk about what`s the done out there and
educate the population about this, I think a lot of people who might be
feeling a little bit disappointed with Obama or just frustrated with the
task of governing are going to say, look, you know, I have the right to
vote, you know. And the fact that they are trying to deny me of that,
like, I`m going to go to poll, how dare them?

I think it could really foams a lot of outrage about this is could get a
lot of people.

PAWLOWSKI: You know, I went to a picnic, (INAUDIBLE) and this 95-year-old
woman, this little pip, OK?. And she comes up to me. She says Mayor, you
know, I just got a letter from the state for 50 straight years of voting,
50 straight years of voting. I also have been a poll worker for the last
30 years. You are telling me, I can`t vote because I don`t have an ID?

I said, you know, you can`t vote. I`m sorry. She`s like, but I got this
letter. I said the letter couldn`t help you. I said you got to get, you
know - I will drive to you the polls. She said, no, I`ll get my daughter.
We will go to the DMV. We will make sure - and she said, I don`t need it.
I`m 95, my Social Security is automatically deposited to my checking
account. I don`t drive. I don`t need an ID.

And so, you know, she`s a solid vote for the president, who would not be
able to vote because of these suppression efforts, and it`s not an even
playing field like you said.

HARRIS-PERRY: And we are going to talk more about like what we like to
call this week in voter suppression in a little bit.

But first, I got to tell you. You know, for the conventions, we like to
have a little fun and I`m a professor, so I have, of course, have a pop
quiz. There are undoubtedly Nerdland stickers to be won in our pop quiz.

So up next, by popular demand, do you know the history of the Democratic
National Convention? Because we`ve got a pop quiz. No Googling, next.


HARRIS-PERRY: It`s back to school season and I`m back in teaching mode.
Our panel last week had to take a pop quiz about the history of the
Republican National Convention. And so now -- that`s right, one day ahead
of the Democratic National Convention, I`m putting this panel to the pest
test on all things DNC.

All right. Everybody have their buzzers, or their bells rather. OK.
Here`s how it is going to work. I`m going to ask the question. You have
to listen to the whole question. When you hear it, if you know the answer,
you ring in. If you get it right, you get to put a nerd on it. OK.


HARRIS-PERRY: I know. Oh, yes. Put away iPads, no googling. OK.

The first question. What two words said by Bill Clinton at the 1988
Democratic National Convention inspired this very enthusiastic crowd
response. Let`s listen to the response.


HARRIS-PERRY: OK, Dan. Why were they so excited.

DREZNER: Because he said the words in closing.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. That`s right.

DREZNER: Long, long speech.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. A 32-minute speech, 32 minutes, Bill Clinton

BELTRAN: I was actually a DNC delegate at the 1988 convention and I
remember, we didn`t know who he was. And we were - and we went out and got
food and came back, and we were like he`s still going? You can have a very
bad speech and still come back.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. And still come back and end up a two-term
president of the United States.

All right. Next question. I love that you were actually there and got the

All right. Next question. When, however, not with the longest speech, but
the longest running convention in history? And how many days did it last?
The longest running convention in history?

All right. I`m going to give it to you. It was 1924`s Democratic National
Convention. It lasted 16 days.


HARRIS-PERRY: Took 103 ballots, there were first fights on the floor, and
a big part of the problem was there was a catholic contingency and a Klux
Klan contingency.

PAWLOWSKI: Wasn`t that first one they ever did on radio too, wasn`t it?

HARRIS-PERRY: Oh. Yes, actually I think it was the first one. There is
another one coming up. I won`t take the nerd -- no, I won`t take it. I
have the answer if front of me.


HARRIS-PERRY: OK, I know, I know. All right. This one will be a -- I`ll
give you a fill in the blanks for this one, all right? This is the -
listen. The keynote speaker, Ann Richards, who at the time was the Texas
state treasurer, and she said this about George H.W. Bush. She said, poor
George. He can`t help it. He was born with --

BELTRAN: A silver spoon in his mouth. Silver spoon in his mouth.

HARRIS-PERRY: Close. You have the other word.

BELTRAN: A silver foot in his mouth.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, a silver foot in his mouth. That`s right.

BELTRAN: The spoon was the joke.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. She said that George H.W. Bush was born with
a silver foot in his mouth.

MOODIE-MILLS: She was a spit fire.

BELTRAN: Fascinating --

HARRIS-PERRY: What happened in the world of Ann - I mean, when we would
have like a Texas --

Big haired awesome.

HARRIS-PERRY: Awesome woman. She was great. OK.

The next one, you do remember that during the 1984 RNC convention, Ronald
Reagan emphasized the shining city on the hill. But during the DNC that
summer, New York governor Mario Cuomo had a different classic. A different
way of talking about a city. Also a very famous book. What was the
analogy that he used for his 1984 speech. Think cities. Think maybe more
than one.

DREZNER: I`m going to get this wrong. But was it a shining city on a

HARRIS-PERRY: That was Reagan. So not so much a shining city on a hill.
And so Cuomo said, not so much a shining city on the hill, it`s actually a
tale of two cities.


HARRIS-PERRY: Right. This kind of idea that obviously we`re in America,
we`re more than -- yes. OK. Last question.

PAWLOWSKI: Give yourself another nerd.

HARRIS-PERRY: No, no, no, no, no. I`m sorry, not the last question here.
All right.

Which dark horse candidate was nominated at the first party convention, not
by radio, but reported by telegraph? The hint was he was elected president
in 1844, and if you`ve been watching Nerdland, we talked about him last
week. Yes.


HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. You are killing it.


HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. James Polk was nominated.

BELTRAN: Got to love Polk.

HARRIS-PERRY: At the first telegraph reported convention. Anybody know
why we talked about James Polk last week?

BELTRAN: Aren`t they using him as a model for the Romney campaign.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, the Romney campaign. What?

HARRIS-PERRY: Warren invasion and land graphs.

HARRIS-PERRY: And one term.

The Republicans are saying they see the Romney presidency as modeled after
James Polk.

All right. Now, this one more recent one. And I`m going to stop digging
so far back. This is a question about senator Obama`s nomination speech.
And he played a song immediately after. I will play the song a little bit.
Tell me what the name of the song is.

Let`s listen to Senator Obama`s nomination acceptance song. All right.
Anybody know what song that is, who is singing it?

PAWLOWSKI: Wow. You can tell, none of us.

HARRIS-PERRY: Nobody is a country music fan.

DREZNER: So much for diversity.


HARRIS-PERRY: It`s Brooks & Dunn`s "only in America," and it was, by the
way, the same song that George W. Bush had played at his. Kind of only in
America. So maybe -- I know. I was at that convention and I got to say
when the fireworks went off in Denver, you know, I found it very
disconcerting all of the snipers like walking around on the top. And then,
when the fireworks went off, I literally ducked.


HARRIS-PERRY: So I might have missed what song was being played. So
anyway, there it was.

Thank you, Dan. I appreciate you for being here, and hanging out.
Everybody else is back for more.

And u p next, the fight to protect voting rights continues across the
country. We actually got some good news this week, after the break.


HARRIS-PERRY: We`ve been telling you about the fight to protect voting
rights in Texas and Florida and Ohio for months now. We`re about to start
calling it a -- you know this week in voter suppression.

But this week in voter suppression, we`ve got some encouraging news.

In Texas, federal judges ruled that the proposed law by the state,
requiring voters to show photo ID in order to cast a vote is unfair to
African-Americans and Latinos.

In Ohio, a key ruling to restore weekend voting was put back into place.

And in Florida, a federal judge struck down controversial restrictions
clearing the way for groups like Rock the Vote and the League of Women
Voters to continue to focus on registering new voters.

These are the latest developments. And are they enough to keep our
democracy the way it was intended? In other words, broad.

Joining me now is Myrna Perez, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for

Good morning, Myrna.


HARRIS-PERRY: So, obviously where -- have you been directly involved in
these cases? Let`s start with Texas.

PEREZ: Sure.

HARRIS-PERRY: What is the Texas ruling and what it mean for voters in
Texas for this election?

PEREZ: This was a big week for voters. The Texas week concluded that the
photo ID law, which was one of a number of laws that passed the country
that would make it more difficult for people to participate was likely to
have a discriminatory impact on poor, minority voters. It was likely to
make it very difficult for them to be able to participate in the political
process. And it was likely going to be very difficult for them to obtain
the kind of identification that would allow them to vote.

HARRIS-PERRY: Now, here is what I find just fascinating. I want to nerd
blog this a little bit. Basically, it is a disparate impact ruling, right?
It is a ruling that says, you can`t do this because it is going to have a
disparate impact on these identified community. And I know that that
language, that disparate impacts language is critical and very much under
attack in all kinds of areas of civil rights law. How much will this be
sort of a foundational ruling, not only for Texas, but sort of across the

PEREZ: This was an incredibly detailed, a very careful, very well reasoned
decision in which the panel went through a series of factors, looked at a
bunch of different evidence, concluded different things after having looked
at all of the experts, and in the end, they decided there was a likely
impact on that would be negative toward racial minorities, and
consequently, it was impermissible under the voting rights act.

HARRIS-PERRY: Now, that`s definitely not how the Texas attorney general,
Greg Abbott sees it. He said that the Supreme Court of the United States
is already upheld voter ID laws as a constitutional method of insuring
integrity of the ballot box, and today`s decision is wrong on the law.
Improperly prevents Texas from implementing the same standard type of
ballot. Integrity safeguards that are in placed by Georgia and Indiana and
that were upheld by the Supreme Court. And the state is going to appeal
it. Is this going to the U.S. Supreme Court?

PEREZ: Well, one thing that I think is important to remember is that, this
was the second decision last week in which Texas policy was deemed to have
been violated of the voting rights act.

And the first was in the Texas redistricting case. And that one, a panel
of judges, this was not one lone judge. Two of the three lone judges were
actually Republican appointees found that the state legislature
deliberately acted, purposefully acted, to make minorities worse off in
their congressional redistricting plans.

And I think, when you have an example where one state both deliberately
does something and one state undertakes an action that will have the impact
of doing something, it`s really hard to argue that voting rights act has
outlived its usefulness. I think this proves the continuing need for the
voting rights act.

HARRIS-PERRY: Ah, Texas. How we love her. Stay with me. We have more on
this issue on voter suppression and on the good news being made.

But there are still, many, many states intentionally trying to keep
millions away from the polls. I`m going to talk more about that, next.


MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, HOST: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.

And we are talking about this week`s news on voter suppression. And
the news is good. Yes, seriously. We have good news from the courts in
the key battleground states of Ohio and the big win in the big state of

But put away your dancing shoes, the fight is far from over. Long
fights are part of the long history of voting rights in America. In 1915,
the Supreme Court ruled in Guinn versus United States that Oklahoma`s
Grandfather Amendment which only let those whose grandfathers can vote in
1865 vote in the modern day, they ruled that unconstitutional.

In 1939, the Supreme Court, in Layne versus Wilson, invalidated
another Oklahoma provision designed to permanently disenfranchise black
voters based on a narrow registration requirement.

And in 1944, in Smith versus Allwright, the state ended the all white
primary in Texas and other Southern states.

But after each victory, disenfranchising states reacted by erecting
new barriers that block access for black, immigrants and many poor white

It wasn`t until 1965 Voting Rights Act that the remaining barriers to
fair ballot accident finally fell. And history teaches us that the need
for constant vigilance, because now, more than 50 years later, their access
to the polls is endangered again. The legal victories we saw this week are
good news, but they are not the end of the story.

Here to discuss the state laws and voter suppression is Myrna Perez,
senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice; Mayor Ed Pawlowski of
Allentown, Pennsylvania; Aisha Moodie-Mills of the Center for American
Progress Action Fund; and Cristina Beltran, associate professor at New York

All right. So, we talked a bit about Texas. We want to push. There
is also Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

So, Mayor, you started a little bit last hour telling us what`s going
on in Pennsylvania. What are you seeing in terms of the impact on the
ground of the current voter ID laws in Pennsylvania?

MAYOR ED PAWLOWSKI (D), ALLENTOWN, PA: You know, I think it`s -- I
think it`s severe. I mean, I looked at just a few districts, actual wards
in my city. I -- in Center City, where we have the most minority
population, we have whole wards that actually don`t have voter ID. Thirty
-- one was 59 percent, one was 60 percent, one was 58 percent of the whole
population of those wards that actually are now disenfranchised and can`t

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. Because these are pretty serious rules, right?
I mean, this is part of what I want to get across. This is not just -- oh,
bring any old ID. You know, what you can use for example to buy Sudafed or
decongestant, right?

This is -- it has to have a time stamp so college students can`t use
their student ID to vote.

most frustrating analogy to me, because that`s like comparing apples and
oranges, right? Right to vote is enshrined in our Constitution, voting
rights are in more amendments than any other right in amendments to the

So, to compare that with getting, you know, medicine or flying on a
plane is completely ridiculous.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. But, of course, what happens is we hear the
Republicans do exactly that story, but in reverse. So, we heard Nikki
Haley, the governor, saying, you know, of the South Carolina law, she was
like -- we`re trying to say that if you can go buy Sudafed and you need
this, then surely to do something as valuable as voting, you need valid
voter ID.

Talk to me about what the good news out of Ohio. Because this was
slightly different. It wasn`t voter ID in this case?

voters last week. In Ohio, a judge blocked an election law change, which
would have eliminated the option to vote in person for many, many people
the weekend before the election. And in Florida --

HARRIS-PERRY: Particularly on that Sunday, church, Souls to the
Polls day.

PEREZ: And in Florida, what a court did was permanently impose a ban
on certain restrictions that made it impossible for organizations like the
League of Women voters to go out to our community, bringing people into our
democracy. Now, these laws might sound a little different, but they have a
common thread. And that is politicians trying to manipulate the system
such that they could cherry pick the electorate and keep certain people in
and certain people out.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. So much, I want to -- I have to say this. You
know, there`s a case moving through the courts right now from South
Carolina. I want to set this up a bit because this is -- I think this is a
critically important point about which voters.

In South Carolina, we`ve got a member of the statehouse, State
Representative Alan Clemmons who received an e-mail from constituents. He
did not right this, his consistent Koziol did. Koziol said, you know, if
instead of asking for voter ID, South Carolina legislature announced it was
giving out $100 bills, that African-Americans and the elderly would be
there, quote, "like a swarm of bees going after a watermelon."

In response, the South Carolina state representative wrote. "Amen,
Ed. Thank you for your support of voter ID."

So, the state rep didn`t say the watermelon comment, but he did say
"amen" in response.

MOODIE-MILLS: In South Carolina in particular and this is something
progressives do a disservice, because they try not to talk about it. In
South Carolina, it`s been the Tea Party that has been pushing all of these
voter suppression laws and they have very close ties, most are also members
of these neo-Confederate organizations which is really just code for these
white supremacist -- you know, modern white supremacist groups, kind of
modern day KKK in some instances.

And comments like that underscore this is about racial tension and,
sure, there is a piece of it that is -- just about winning, think we want
to win. But there`s also this something interest in going to this racist
Jim Crow-esque type of South, where people of color not afforded the same
rights and same opportunities as everybody else. And that`s a bigger
conversation that we need to have.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. We heard Attorney General Holder use poll tax to
describe what was going on with the voter ID. That when you were talking
about your ward, these are wards that are predominantly minority.

PAWLOWSKI: Absolutely. In Pennsylvania, it`s so stark. I mean, we
have the speaker of the House getting up at a statewide Republican
convention saying, you know, a whole litany of things that they`ve passed,
and he says, you know, we`ve passed voter ID to help Romney win, done.

HARRIS-PERRY: Let`s listen to him say. I mean, you`re right. We do
actually have him saying that. Let`s listen to him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are focused on making sure that we meet our
obligations that we`ve talked about for years. Pro Second Amendment, the
Castle Doctrine is done. First pro-life legislation, abortion facility
regulations. In 22 years, done.

Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of
Pennsylvania, done.



PAWLOWSKI: What else do you need?

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. That`s it. And if you think that they
aren`t coordinated, if you think these aren`t connected, just listen to

constantly by Democrats.

HARRIS-PERRY: On a loop.

PAWLOWSKI: You know what`s more amazing? We had a judge that
actually upheld that. He had days and days and days of testimony from
individuals like I told you about. This 95-year-old woman who came up,
talked about how they were going to be disenfranchised.

They couldn`t prove a single case of any sort of voter fraud in the
last 10 years in Pennsylvania and they still upheld it.

MOODIE-MILLS: In any state at this point, South Carolina, they asked
the officials of South Carolina -- well, where is the voter fraud? Where
are the cases? They can`t come up with them either. In Florida --


HARRIS-PERRY: This is the other key point about -- about that
Sudafed versus getting on a plane. The Sudafed thing exists because there
are many cases of the creation of methamphetamines in people`s basements.

The getting on a plane thing, it`s because of September 11th.
Because of horrible things happen, we institute new rules.

Now, there`s a sort of ACLU argument about, well, you shouldn`t
submit those. But at least you have like, here`s the abuse, here`s why we
put in the law.

In the case of voting ID, there is no abuse that we can see.

MOODIE-MILLS: The abuse is black people come vote for somebody they
like. And God forbid that`s happening in the United States of America.


HARRIS-PERRY: Cristina, yes, please?

BELTRAN: I was going to say, I think the other part that`s really
problematic here is the idea that we`re making a comparison to consumers
versus citizenship. Like these those are all consumer needs, as opposed to
like Democratic demand, and the fact that you are a citizen.

The fact that our political world has gotten so reduced. I mean, one
sense, a really disappointing aspect to American life is that most
Americans are spectators to politics, most of the time. It`s rare they get
to do something in our system.

So, the fact that they are trying to take that one thing away -- I
mean, again, I really feel like the Democrats need to really, you know,
talk about Democratic theory to some extent and talk about the fact that
this is about your rights. It`s about justice.

HARRIS-PERRY: It`s interesting that you make this point about like
the Democrats should be talking about this, because, Myrna, I`m also
thinking, but you are pursuing a legal strategy. And so, the notion of
like political strategy and a legal strategy operating at the same feels
very sort of NAACP circa 1915 to me. The first sense, it can`t be just the
legal strategy.

How does the legal strategy connect with a broader political

PEREZ: To be clear, like, organizations like the Brennan Center and
the NAACP are nonpartisan. So, don`t equate them to Democratic Party. One
of the things that we do do is try to make sure that the base is broad.
And these laws, which are restrictive, are trying to change who is
participating in our electoral process, by taking certain people out.

I mean, the Texas ID law that was just prevented from being
implemented was crafted with such precision, that those with the University
of Texas ID couldn`t use that to vote, but if you had a concealed gun
permit, you could. These are people purposefully manipulated --


HARRIS-PERRY: -- to pause in case you need to say that one more

PEREZ: If you have a University of Texas identification, that is
unacceptable for voting purposes under the law that was just blocked. But
if you have a concealed gun permit, you could use that to vote. And there
were amendments introduced to try and minimize the burden that this
proposed voter ID law was talking about and they were all rejected.

They wanted -- the legislature passed it because they wanted a really
stringent law. They wanted the surgical precision of who was going to be
in, who was going to be out. When you have politicians choosing their
electorate right now, not only does it make our democracy less robust, it
is contrary to American values like equality and fairness.


MOODIE-MILLS: Let`s talk about that too. It`s absolutely violating
the Constitution. In Ohio and Texas, the rulings specifically say, and
there were Republican appointed judges on these benches that struck down
these laws. But it specifically says that this is bad in sport because
it`s disenfranchising people who are poor, who are disproportionately
people of color and that violates the Constitution.

So, the fact that these things keep coming up, coming up, and having
to be smacked down, you know, begs the question, is there anything else we
can do to be more specific in guidelines?

HARRIS-PERRY: Cristina, is there a place we can see black/brown
coalitions, where we Latinos interested in citizenship questions and
African-Americans interested in protecting the right to vote? We talked
about the big tent before us. Is this a space where that big tent can come

BELTRAN: I think definitely. I mean, I really think that these are
two communities who the value of citizenship has been a really lived
experience of denial and struggle to attain them, right? So, I think these
two communities can really make common cause around this question. And
it`s really just a question of figuring out how to articulate that in ways
that, you know, could resonate with both communities. I think that would
be very, very possible.

HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely. I like your point, Myrna, that voters are
supposed to choose their elected officials, not elected officials choosing

So, thank you to Myrna Perez and Aisha Moodie-Mills and Cristina
Beltran, I`m sure I`ll see you ladies at another point, at some point
during this long election cycle.

The mayor is going to stick around with us a little longer, but up
next, we`re going to shift gears a little bit. I`m going to ask, is there
is a doctor in the house? And increasingly, the answer is no.


HARRIS-PERRY: At this week`s Democratic convention, President Obama
will undoubtedly tout one of the greatest accomplishments of his first
term, the Affordable Care Act. And while that law will give 30 million to
32 million more people access to health care, that`s only one part of the
story. The question now becomes who will care for all of the newly insured
patients if there aren`t enough doctors.

Five thousand seven hundred and twenty-one, that`s the number of
primary care health professional shortage areas in the U.S., 54.4 million
is the number of people living in those areas. Fifteen thousand two
hundred and thirty is the shortage of primary care doctors in the United
States right now. Sixty-two thousand nine hundred, that`s the deficit of
physicians we may see by 2015.

One hundred and thirty thousand plus is the shortage of physicians we
may see in all specialties by 2025. Why are the numbers this way? Because
there are traditional, legislative and economic factors working against
getting more doctors into the system. Ten years, that`s the minimum time
it takes to train a doctor. Fifteen is the number of years residency
programs, which trained new doctors and are largely funded by the federal
government have been capped.

Fifty thousand dollars is the annual average cost to students paying
for medical school, $162,000 is the average amount of debt medical students
can expect to graduate with. But $160,000 is the average salary that
pediatricians and internal and family medicine doctors earn on a yearly
basis. While $315,000 is the average for radiologists and orthopedists.

Is there any wonder that only 37 percent of physicians practice
primary care medicine? Twenty-seventy percent of emergency rooms closed in
metropolitan and suburban areas between 1990 and 2009, 56 percent of
emergency room visits are potentially avoidable, which adds to the
overcrowding of emergency rooms, since many use them as their primary care
centers, and 73.2 million, that`s the predicted number of enrollment in
Medicare, will surge by 2025.

Yes, having access to health care is essential. However, with
factors taxing the system and forcing doctors to decide against serving the
least among us for lucrative careers, we must put aside partisanship to
ensure that those who have gained access will also have the doctors to take
care of them.


HARRIS-PERRY: Do you remember back in June with the Supreme Court
ruling on the Affordable Health Care Act? We featured Disney character Doc
McStuffins as our foot soldier because she inspired hope in my daughter and
others to become doctors in an industry where women, particularly women of
color are underrepresented.

Now, Doc McStuffins, though she inspires may want to serve all like
their little teddy bears, but that desire may be trumped by the reality
that young doctors are facing, which is contributing to the looming primary
care doctor shortage. Doc McStuffins is going to graduate with $160,000 in
student loan debt.

So, at the table: Dr. Nela Flomenbaum, emergency physician in chief
at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill -- excuse me -- Cornell Medical
Center; Rebecca Onie, CEO and cofounder of Health Leads; Dr. Herb
Smitherman, assistant dean of Community of Urban Health at Wayne State
University School of Medicine. You all have long names today. And Mayor
Ed Pawlowski, mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

OK, Dr. Smitherman, let`s start here.


HARRIS-PERRY: I -- this is something that I have learned so much
more about the course of this over the past six months, that we are facing
an actual shortage in doctors. Explain to me sort of what that problem
looks like.

SMITHERMAN: Well, you -- in your introduction, you said a lot of it,
but we actually have a national shortage. Actually, probably over the next
15 years, about 115,000, 120,000 physician shortage. That`s total
physicians. Primary care physicians, about 45,000 by 2020.

And primary care physicians are very important to the reform. If you
don`t have -- obviously, we are having increasing in the number of seniors,
aging population, baby boomers.

And we`re and also seeing a decline in the number of kids graduating
from medical school, going into primary care, actually is declined by about
25 percent. So we`re having the demand go up for primary care physicians
and the supply go down.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. Obviously, we`re looking at this chart earlier
that just -- I mean, for me, it really show visually what it is. On the
one hand, we have people going in, becoming doctors, but you see the
demand/supply shortfall. And that sort of that space could be the
difference between having an opportunity to see a primary care physician
versus not having the opportunity to see one.


HARRIS-PERRY: What`s it look like on the ground? If you`re living
in Pennsylvania, what does it mean to me as a mom calling up to get my well
child visit before school starts? Or, you know, if I have gotten an
illness and I`m trying to decide whether or not to see a doctor?

PAWLOWSKI: That means you`re not going to get into to see a doctor.
I mean, my own personal general practitioner, it takes me weeks to get in -
- and I`m the mayor.



HARRIS-PERRY: You should bring donuts like you do here.


PAWLOWSKI: I don`t think my doctor would like that. My cholesterol
would go through the roof.

But, you know, I mean, also, I think it`s exacerbated by the fact
that you have people who have insurance. So, more people are going to have
insurance. They`re going to be wanting to go to doctors. They`re going to
-- you know, you`re going to have more preventative medicine and as you
pointed out, less doctors to actual supply that care.

So, you`re seeing more people going into emergency rooms to actually
get their primary care, and our local hospitals are, you know, overwhelmed
with the amount of people going to the emergency room just to get primary

HARRIS-PERRY: I want to talk about the emergency room issue. What
does it mean to say that in terms of the cost of medical care and the
quality of sort of doctor/patient interaction when you have patients
showing up in emergency room for ordinary medical care?

depends on the emergency department in ours and most urban emergency
departments, we divided it to urgent care centers and emergency
departments, and we can handle both without competing with each other. But
clearly there are more cost effective ways of delivering non-emergent care.

Access as alluded to the Affordable Care Act is going to drive that
in that there will be more people who now have insurance, have access will
want screening tests, all which is go ahead down the road it will prevent
more serious illnesses and more costly medical expenses, but there`s
nothing to cover that right now. There are no provisions in the Affordable
Care Act to grow more doctors and more providers.

And incidentally, there is some other help along the way as long as
we know how to utilize it properly. We have P.A.s, physician assistants,
nurse practitioners. So, primary care specialist who works with a P.A.,
with an N.P. can deliver much more effective care to many more people.
It`s just that those models have not been fully developed or implemented.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. It seems, I have to say that suddenly now that
people have more access to insurance, we could potentially have a problem
where there is less access to care.

SMITHERMAN: We actually saw that in Boston -- obviously in
Massachusetts. We covered another 500,000 people. What we saw is the cost
in Massachusetts of health care go up by 33 percent.

Why? Everyone got an insurance card, but didn`t have the primary
care capacity. They got the insurance card and where did they end up? In
the emergency room, the most costly setting that we have in medicine. The
cost of health care went up.

Now that we`re -- not only do you have to cover people, but you have
to also fix the delivery system. The delivery system both from
infrastructure standpoint and how the delivery system works with itself,
how the relationship between primary care physicians and the emergency room
physician, et cetera, and specialists.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, talk to me how this Medicaid cap impacts this,
because I think this was part of what it was fascinating to me to learn is
-- excuse me, where the Medicare -- excuse me, the Medicare cap.

So, back in `97, when Medicare costs were skyrocketing, that`s the
point in which Congress says, OK, we`re going to cap the extent of which
Medicare is paying for the residencies. Just -- you know, so back it up.
My kid is going to go to college, be a doctor, go to med school.

What in the world is this 1997 rule about Medicare have to do with
the likelihood of what kind of doctor they`re going to become?

SMITHERMAN: We need more doctors. We need to expand medical school.
Four years of training, once you graduate, go to a residency program.

We have to have enough residency programs for those kids to go into.
So, if you cap the number of residency programs and you`re expanding the
number of medical students that are going into those residents programs,
then you`re going to have students graduating from medical school without a
training program. You need the training program in order to get board
expert certified and the license.

So, that cap actually in 1996, which is still in place --


SMITHERMAN: -- unless we lift that, we`re actually going to start
graduating more medical student than we actually have residency spots to
train them.

HARRIS-PERRY: They cannot become board-certified doctors.

SMITHERMAN: They cannot become full-fledged doctors. That is a

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. And that but -- that`s a fixable, right?


HARRIS-PERRY: It`s something that can be fixed through public

REBECCA ONIE, CEO, HEALTH LEADS: I think one of the challenges is
not just the availability of the residency slots, which is critical, but
also whether or not graduating medical students choose to go into primary


ONIE: And that`s a major factor in play right now, is that med
students aren`t deciding that`s the path they want to take. And what`s
fascinating --

HARRIS-PERRY: And for good reason. I mean, if you have $162,000
worth of debt and your top income is going to be $160,000, you can see why
people would choose something else.


ONIE: What`s interesting about it is that part of it is about the
money and availability of opportunities. But part of it is also that they
look ahead to what it means to be a primary care doctor and how
increasingly challenging that is, with so many patients coming in, and
especially patients who are newly insured, coming in with a whole set of
issues that aren`t even about their presenting clinical needs, but about
the fact that they don`t have food at home, or they have unsafe housing and
they show up as clinical conditions. But for a lot of med students, that`s

HARRIS-PERRY: Tell me how does unsafe housing show up as a clinical

ONIE: We at Health Leads saw a classic example in Baltimore, where a
child had been to the emergency room three times in the past month for
asthma, but when finally the child showed up at the primary care doctor`s
office, when the doctor did the story of the patient, found out that not
only did the child need the medication refilled, but also that they had
been living in housing with asbestos and lead paint and triggering the
child`s asthmas. So, directly having an impact on the fact that the child
had to go back to the E.R. again and again, because the housing was at the
root of it.

HARRIS-PERRY: We have so much -- I promise we have more on this,
because this crisis is I think so complex. So, I wanted to kind of bring
it down, talk to this and also talk more about what this looks like on the

The crisis we`re talking about is very real. But the good news is I
do think there are some solutions and we`ll try to talk a bit about that,


HARRIS-PERRY: Tuesday marks the start of the Democratic National
Convention. And Democrats are going to have to do a good job of selling
the Affordable Care Act -- as well as ACA 2.0. And by that I mean they`re
going to need to convey why the current plan is good for all Americans, but
also what more needs to be done, because health care reform isn`t finished,
not by a long shot.

Back to the panel.

OK, let`s look at this image, because when I saw these numbers, it
made kind of -- two aspects of distribution that matter, right? And one is
what medical students, once they become doctors, choose to do. And when
you look at these numbers, you see that in general practice, you only end
up with 2 percent of doctors are in general practice. They end up with
about 12 percent in family medicine.

But in specialties, right, things like, you know, radiology or
dermatology, over half of all physicians, 57 percent are there.

And the other piece, Mayor, is, of course, the urban, rural and
quality of life. You spend all this money, you go to school for 15 years,
you want to live in a nice place, not necessarily in a rural community that
has very few assets and opportunities.

So, there`s two levels of distribution. Can we get them in the right
specialties? And can we get them to live in places where there is the
greatest need? How do we solve those two issues?

SMITHERMAN: That`s a significant challenge. And you`re right, it`s
not only graduating and training enough physicians, it`s not only getting
the type of physicians, but is getting them in the right spot.

The ACA does have funds to expand primary care and these funds are to
help with the training and the distribution and the increase in the number
of primary care physicians. The fact that ACA will tout it will increase
the number of primary care providers, that includes primary care
physicians, nurse practitioners by about 16,000 by 2016.

And the way they`re going to do that is through something called the
Prevention of Health Funds, about $500 million. They`re going to do --
some thing they`re going to do, not increasing the residency cap, but
they`re going to take the unused spots and redistribute those toward
primary care physicians, increase the training of nurse practitioner,
increase the training of P.A.s. They`re going to give dollars to the
states to actually work on plans for workforce development.

They have about 11 billion in expanding community health centers.
They have dollars with the National Health Service Corps, which is about $2
billion. And those dollars are to try to educate more primary care
physicians and get them into high places of need.

So, you know, there are some $3 billion, $4 billion, $5 billion in
this plan, and not including the $11 billion for expanding community health
centers, which actually doubles the number of community health centers over
the next five years.

HARRIS-PERRY: This is part of how they want to address the people
that have the comma, MD behind.


HARRIS-PERRY: But the other piece that I`ve heard from both of you
is the idea that yes, doctors, absolutely, critically. But also P.A.s,
R.N.s, all of the other health care providers.

FLOMENBAUM: This is not a new problem. The so-called cognitive
specialties, the ones that don`t involve surgical procedures have always
been on the short end of the stick in terms of attractiveness for new
graduates. And until some of these metrics are put into place and make
them as attractive as surgical specialties, it`s going to be very, very
difficult to resolve.

Also, I think more can be done with newly graduated residents who are
seeking to join some very nice lucrative practices perhaps in the first few
years of spending more time and doing whatever specialty they have chosen
on off hours, in the evenings and nights, because that`s really where the
problem is most felt, most heartfelt. People don`t always have diseases
that present themselves from 9:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday.

And when have you somebody who works all day and has a problem, and
they want care, where they need care at 8:00, or a mother who`s taking care
of kids until a spouse, a husband comes home, they need somebody to go to
in the evening.

HARRIS-PERRY: You know, that`s an interesting point. So, I had
talked about distribution as between specialties. And I also talked about
distribution as urban and rural.

But this is also literally the distribution of the 24 hours. It
makes sense why you end up in an emergency room, because at 7:30, maybe
that`s the only time you can get to see a doctor.

FLOMENBAUM: At least 63 percent or 64 percent of all patients that
come in to emergency departments nationwide come in after 5:00 p.m.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right, because that`s part of -- just the ability to
see a physician.

FLOMENBAUM: It`s all about accessible.

PAWLOWSKI: But, you know, you asked about the solution. And I think
it has to be a local solution. When -- if you look -- we have two great
health institutions in my city. We have the Lehigh Health Network, St.
Luke`s Health Network. And they are both training schools now.

And so, they both have -- we have a hospital, they have a connection
with South Florida University and they -- you know, they are recruiting
individuals for those residency programs locally. And so, they are having
success in getting docs. And the same thing with St. Luke`s, they have I
think it`s with Temple University.

And so --

HARRIS-PERRY: So your assessment of this is a nice place to live has
a lot whether or not you have an attachment to it and whether or not it
feels like a nicely (INAUDIBLE) to use.

PAWLOWSKI: Absolutely, absolutely. At the same time, you have local
universities, like the university doubling their enrolment in nurse
practitioner-type programs and training. And so, it really has to be done
almost on a, you know, locality by locality basis.

FLOMENBAUM: Absolutely.

PAWLOWSKI: Really, having local institutions, you know, doing sort
of innovative things to try to get docs to not only stay. Because look,
you are on the low end of the pay scale, you`re in the high end of the
hassle scale, you got all this coordination.

SMITHERMAN: High end of the debt scale.

PAWLOWSKI: High end of the debt scale in Pennsylvania, you have a
problem, we have one of the highest insurance rates in the country for


PAWLOWSKI: So, you got all that working against you. And it -- it
almost has to be this sort of local --

HARRIS-PERRY: A bit of a calling.

PAWLOWSKI: Local approach to get people to come back and reinvest in


ONIE: I think another piece of this, there is the challenge around
the primary care workforce pipeline, but then there`s also the opportunity
in some ways to think through, how do we get more leverage from the
existing primary care workforce? This goes to how do we expand the
definition of the primary care provider to include not only physicians, but
also nurses, physician`s assistants and to go beyond that, and bring in lay
workforces to address some of these basic resource needs like access to
healthy food or heat in the winter, that often really complicate the
clinical care that`s provided. But you don`t need doctors to address.

We did a survey of physicians, one of the hospitals here in New York,
and they reported that they spent on average 9.2 minutes of every 15-minute
patient, addressing patients` resource needs, just access to basic

One doctor said she spent 45 minutes of every 15 minutes patients
needs. I appreciate your honesty. But it really shows how you need a
team-based approach to improve health outcomes, but also really leverage
time of doctors.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s interesting. We`re going to go to an issue
similar to that I want to expand our notion of what is a health care
crisis. I want to talk a little bit about gun violence, and this point of
I love the language of cognitive specialties, because that seems right,
physicians who are problem solving in addition to doing clinical care.

So, up next, a big health risk in some of our cities, it`s called
being shot.


HARRIS-PERRY: We`ve been talking about health care. I want to keep
talking about health care. But now, I`d like to address a specific health
risk. They are called bullets.

In Chicago, on August 23rd, at least 19 people were shot, 13 of which
were shot in one 30-minute period. One week later, on the 30th, 10 more
people were shot and wounded on just that Thursday night.

All told -- at least 82 people -- 82 people were victims of gun
violence in one city, Chicago, in a seven-day period.

Now, there have been similar more shots in Chicago since then, and
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former Obama White House chief of staff announced
on Friday that help will be arriving in the help of 50 federal agents and
in the form of additional support from the Department of Justice for the
city`s anti-violence initiative.

Mayor Emanuel was asked about the crisis today on NBC`s "Meet the


address this?

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO: First, we put more police on the
street -- getting kids, guns, and drugs off the street. Our crime rate
down is 10 percent, and, in fact, our shootings have declined from the
early part of the first quarter of the year and we brought them
dramatically down.

We have a gang issue in parts of the city. Overall -- overall crime,
down 10 percent. And we`re making efforts actually to reduce gang
conflicts, because it`s gang on gang issue. It doesn`t affect the whole

But anywhere it happens, we`re going to be dealing with it.


HARRIS-PERRY: Back with my panel.

So, I so appreciated what you were saying earlier, Rebecca, about the
quality of life in a neighborhood and the way that can impact health. You
know, I have a great deal of love for Chicago, and watching this kind of
violence -- I mean, this has an impact it feels to me, obviously on the
people being shot but the kind of mental health care crisis this creates,
the anxiety. I feel sort of at a loss even from that response.

What`s your reaction, Mayor, to Mayor Emanuel on this response?

PAWLOWSKI: He`s right on. I mean, there`s not much you can do about
it. I mean, we have gun laws, or, lack of gun laws. So many weapons on
the streets, it`s almost impossible to put enough cops to really address
this issue.

I mean, it`s a whole social -- network of social problems that come
together, whether it`s poverty, whether it`s access to illegal weapons,
whether it`s kids, you know, the devaluation of life that seems to have
occurred within this whole generation within our society. And all these
things combined, it creates a combustible mixture that ends up with a lot
of violence within our neighborhoods. Whether it`s Chicago, Allentown, or
whether it`s --

HARRIS-PERRY: New Orleans.

PAWLOWSKI: New Orleans -- I mean, it`s even rural areas now. Look
at it New Jersey, we had somebody that just went into a grocery store in a
suburban area and started shooting up, you know, the staff there.

HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask you this. What if we thought about it
rather than thinking about it as a crime problem, because the response was
police officers, right, and overall crime rate.

What if we thought about it as a public health issue rather than as a
crime issue? Would it change how we make policy around it?

PAWLOWSKI: Listen, we have to have an honest discussion. We have to
have an honest discussion about guns in this country and no one wants to
have that discussion. No one.

I`m not against guns.

HARRIS-PERRY: Sure. You`re from Pennsylvania.

PAWLOWSKI: I have no problem with people owning guns, OK? I have no
problem with people hunting.

I have no -- but come on. There has to be some sort of discussion to
say there are issues affecting urban areas versus rural areas. You know,
the laws that we put in place in, let`s say, Allentown are going to be
different than what`s in the middle of the state in some rural area.

SMITHERMAN: But if you have high unemployment, you have 50 percent
of kids graduating high school, therefore, don`t have an opportunity to
advance in our society, what it does, it criminalizes community.

And so -- and kids get caught up in that. So it is not simply one
sector that will solve this. It`s not simply the Justice Department or the
police apparatus of the United States.

It has to be education. It has to be jobs. It has to be health. It
has to be housing. It has to be transportation.

Cities have to pull all of those entities together and begin to
coordinate an overall holistic strategy to address this. If you just bring
in the police chief and you think you`re going to solve gun violence, you
will not solve gun violence.

HARRIS-PERRY: But to do that, so I love it, because I think both of
you are suggesting you need a holistic strategy, you need to be able to see
this as an education problem, employment problem. But the other thing that
cities need in order to be able to do that is help.

I mean, what Rahm Emanuel did was, OK, whoa. I`m going to need

What we`ve seen over the course of the past ten years, and
particularly, acutely, in the past two years, has been a fundamental
reduction in the support for cities and localities.

PAWLOWSKI: They want to kill the cop program. They want to gut
CDBG. Anything that gave us dollars to be able to address some of these
issues are gone.


PAWLOWSKI: Now, at the same time, when we have a recession, you
know, cities are the first to feel a recession. We`re the last to come out
of it. Our revenues are down.

It`s -- you have even less resources to attack this problem.

FLOMENBAUM: Besides help, you need understanding. Conditions are
different than a few years ago. And they`ll be different a few years from
now than they are at the moment.


FLOMENBAUM: The economy is not fully recovered by any means and the
more people out of work on the streets, the more violence. We`ve seen this
over the last 100 years. The cycles go up and go down.

When we`re in the cycle, like we are now, I think the enforcement,
not necessarily the penalties or criminalization, has to be tougher. You
have to get guns off the street and get people who use them off the streets
to avoid the stray bullets that are killing teens.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, it`s odd, like in so many localities, we haven`t
seen the normal correlation. But then in a few places, places like New
Orleans, places like Chicago, we have seen the spike and it does in part
speak to the locality question.

ONIE: Well, I think to your point, these become health care costs
and this is just another example of how reality of patients` lives thrust
themselves into the health care system with consequences, or course, not
only to patience, but costs involved and the experience what it means to be
a front line provider either in the E.R. or primary care setting.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, sure. It certainly means something to be a front
line provider in Chicago.

There`s no doubt that there`s a lot more for us to talk about all
these questions. And as we continue with ACA 2.0, I have to have you all

And more in just a moment. But, first, it`s time for a preview for

Hi, Alex.

ALEX WITT, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hello to you, Melissa.

We have developing story to share and it`s near your hometown of New
Orleans, Melissa, potentially lingering flood threat that has forced the
evacuation of people from 1,200 homes today. So, the damage from Isaac may
not be fully realized in Louisiana. We`re going to give you a live report.

One of President Obama`s chief advisers is talking about the 2012
election and how it compares to 2008. His take is perhaps not what you
might expect.

One prominent person has revealed he is one of Clint Eastwood`s
biggest fans regardless of that performance the other night.
And there`s a new report on what Americans think about rich people.
Some surprising responses. Those poll results ahead, if you stick around
and watch.

Miss Melissa, back to you.

HARRIS-PERRY: Man, Alex, that is the second time on a Sunday morning
that in a news cut-in I have heard news about New Orleans and Isaac. I am
very, very concerned. My mom is still in the city, as is my husband. So
as soon as we`re off for commercial, I`m going to make some phone calls.

WITT: Crossed fingers, yes.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you, Alex.

But up next, the one woman whose Democratic convention speech we all
need to hear again. We`re going to listen to it when we come back.


HARRIS-PERRY: On July 12th, 1976, Barbara Jordan gave the keynote
address at the Democratic National Convention. Jordan was Southern, black,
female, gay, and disabled from the effects of multiple sclerosis.

Jordan was also brilliant and fearless. She was the first black
woman member of the House from Texas, a state whose Democratic Party
perfected the Jim Crow voter suppression technique of the all-white

So for most of her party`s history and most of her country`s history,
Jordan would have been silenced and shunted out of sight little more than
an empty chair.

But on this night, she was not invisible and she had a voice. She
did not use it to complain.


FORMER REP. BARBARA JORDAN (D), TEXAS: I can list the many problems
Americans have. I can list the problems which cause people to feel
cynical, angry, frustrated -- problems which include lack of integrity in
government, the feeling that the individual no longer counts, the reality
of material and spirituality poverty, the feeling that the grand American
experiment is failing or has failed. I could recite these problems, and
then I could sit down and offer new solutions.


HARRIS-PERRY: Instead, Jordan reminded Americans that we were a
people of solutions and that the Democratic Party embodied those solutions.


JORDAN: We believe in equality for all and privileges for none.
This is a belief that each American regardless of background has equal
standing in the public forum, all of us. Because we believe this idea so
firmly, we are an inclusive rather than an exclusive party. Let everybody


HARRIS-PERRY: She concluded with the reminder that political parties
and elected leaders are only part of the solution to our national


JORDAN: Let there be no illusions about the difficulty of forming
this kind of a national community. It`s tough, difficult, not easy. But a
spirit of harmony will survive in America only if each of us remembers that
we share a common destiny.


HARRIS-PERRY: We share a common destiny. That is worth remembering.

And that is our show for today. Thank you, Dr. Flomenbaum, to
Rebecca Onie, Dr. Smitherman, and to Mayor Pawlowski. And thank you to
those at home for watching.

I`ll see you again next Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Or you can
catch me throughout the week. I`m going to be down in Charlotte for the
Democratic National Convention.



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