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'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Saturday show

January 18, 2014>

Guests: Keith Ellison, Anthea Butler, Nancy Giles, Katon Dawson, Steve Kornacki, William Barber, David S. Cohen, Anthea Butler, Nancy Northup, Katon Dawson, Amanda Hess, Nancy Giles, Jill Filipovic, Elon James White, Mo Bridges, Tramica Bridges

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning, my question, is it time
to go on offense in the battle for reproductive rights. Plus, a major
development in the New Jersey Bridge scandal story and the 12-year-old
changing the world one bow tie at a time. But first, on the battlefield of
politics, why you must sweat the small stuff.

Good morning. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. This week we`ve got a little news
on an issue we`ve been covering here on MHP show for nearly two years.
This week in voter suppression and this week the news is actually kind of
good. Thursday a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that
would restore some of the protections in the Voting Rights Act that were
struck down by the Supreme Court last year. And on Friday, a Pennsylvania
judge struck down that state`s voter id law. Saying it placed an
unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote. Now, these are
small, but critical steps in the right direction. Returning us to our
traditional value of expanding the franchise rather than limiting it.
Every vote matters. Our nation`s recent experiences remind us that even a
fraction of votes in a single location can have, well, history defining
effects on national elections. So if you care who will occupy the White
House after 2016, you`d better pay attention to who holds offices in the
states, which means you`d better know a little something about the
communities that make those states up. Case in point, North Carolina.

The political significance of the tar heels state was underscored this week
when President Obama visited to promote his efforts to boost the
manufacturing industry. It was his first policy related trip of 2014.
Now, remember, North Carolina is a battleground state that by a razor`s
edge margin went for President Obama in 2008 and then turned back to red in
2012. In between, a political revolution happened in North Carolina.
Republicans won control of both houses of the state legislature. For the
first time in 140 years. And in 2012, the state elected a Republican
governor, giving one party control to the state. Now, the state`s laws are
among the most conservative in the country. North Carolina has passed some
of the nation`s most restrictive voting laws, which disproportionately
affect the poor and racial minorities, groups that traditionally vote
Democratic. It cut unemployment benefits by as much that it was
disqualified from a federal compensation program for long term jobless
benefits. North Carolina eliminated its earned income tax credit,
essentially raising taxes on more than 900,000 households earning less than
$49,000 a year. State lawmakers also passed a law that could close most of
North Carolina`s 16 abortion clinics. And the governor, Pat McCrory, he
signed the law despite his campaign promise not to approve any new abortion

But these changes did not start at the top of the political ticket.
Instead, they started at the bottom. In 2009, in the Wake County School
board election, conservative board members were elected with the support of
multi-million air conservative and supermarket magnet Art Pope. The new
board promptly eliminated a school bussing program, which had been lauded
as a model for school integration, and Pope`s work on the school board
attracted national attention. By 2010, he had the attention of the
conservative strategist Ed Gillespie. Gillespie was working on his red map
plan, and putting state legislatures and their redistricting duties under
Republican control and Art Pope quickly became a key part of Gillespie`s
efforts in North Carolina. Pope, his family, and the groups backed by him
spent more than $2 million on General Assembly races in 2010, and of the 22
races Pope targeted Republicans won 18 and took control of the legislature.

Pope is now North Carolina`s state budget director and Ed Gillespie
announced this week that he will challenge Virginia Democratic Senator Mark
Warner. And this key player in the Republican takeover of North Carolina,
which has raised taxes on some of its poor citizens and cut unemployment
benefits, well, he`s running on a platform. You`ve just got to listen.


to the people of Virginia and a leader for policies that grow the middle
class and foster upward mobility, enabling people to lift themselves out of


HARRIS-PERRY: To be fair, Gillespie didn`t himself cut unemployment or
passed voter restrictions in North Carolina. But he did help orchestrate
the Republican takeover of the legislature that did. And just as his
efforts began at the lower levels of American politics, so, too, has the
opposition to North Carolina`s sharp rightward turn. The grassroots "Moral
Monday" protests last year gained momentum every week as hundreds of
peaceful protesters were arrested for occupying the state legislature and
demanding an end to these particular conservative policies. Their next big
rally is set for Raleigh, on February 8th. And the movement is spreading.
Organizers from a dozen states traveled to Raleigh in December to learn how
to start their own "Moral Mondays." And this week, the first "Moral
Monday" in Georgia was held at the state capital in Atlanta where about 200
people urged the Republican governor there to expand Medicaid and on
Tuesday in South Carolina demonstrators carried a white coffin up the state
house steps to represent the people they say could die. The state refuses
to expand Medicaid. This is where the real progressive movement is going
to have to start. I mean it can`t come whole cloth from the populist mayor
of New York City or even from the tough on bank senator from Massachusetts.
It must take root among the people in places like Raleigh and Atlanta and

Joining me now is Representative Keith Ellison, Democratic congressman from
Minnesota, Anthea Butler, professor of religious studies at the University
of Pennsylvania, Nancy Giles, contributor to "CBS Sunday Morning" and a
writer and social commentator. And Katon Dawson, a Republican consultant
and former chair of the South Carolina GOP. Thanks to you all for being


HARRIS-PERRY: So, congressman, I want to start with you. Because before
going to the U.S. House of Representatives you serve in your state
legislature .


HARRIS-PERRY: And you write about it in your book. Talk to me about -- if
I`m an ordinary citizen living somewhere who doesn`t normally watch cable
news politics, right? How important is the state legislature versus this
federal levels?

ELLISON: They define voter qualifications, so we have 50 or more different
ways to elect people. So like in the last election in Minnesota, the
conservatives put on a valid measure that would require a photographic
identification card from the government, issued by the government before
anyone could vote. And people said we could not possibly beat it, but we
did beat it and we beat it by a wide margin because we organized and talked
to people on the grassroots and we had a multitude of arguments. We said
it cost too much, it was unwieldy. We said it didn`t have any factual
basis, because there was no voter and posture voting .


ELLISON: Going on. And - but we cobbled all of those logical arguments
together and we came up with a winning coalition. So let me tell you. At
the state level, that`s where the action is when it comes to who gets to
vote and who doesn`t from voter - from disenfranchisement, voter I.D.,
access to voter polls, to the number of machines, the state is what`s

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. And this - and that point, Anthea, I want to pick up
on in part because I think it felt for many - you know, for many again,
ordinary folks living their lives, balancing their checkbooks, driving
their kids to school it felt like all of a sudden in 2010 there was this
Republican takeover, this wave, that came out of nowhere. But it didn`t
come out of nowhere, right? It had been built off from like door-catchers
to the Senate at that point.

don`t realize as this probably - almost I would say maybe almost a 50-year
history of people being put in the school board, the mayor`s office.


BUTLER: The state legislature, and, you know right wing conservatives
being asked to run not just because of political duty, but of religious
duty and we`ll get to that when we talk about reproductive rights.


BUTLER: But in this particular case, when you have conservatives who are
motivated, on the liberal side everybody thought, we`ll just go out and
we`ll vote and we`ll have an occasional candidate and that`s really great.
But what they haven`t thought about is the structural issues that make it
very important that you have to be in every place in government. All
politics is local.


BUTLER: And it is very true. All of this starts at a local level. And by
the time you get to the national level, these states` rights issues, the
kinds of things that make these structures happen have already come out of
people`s hands and they go what just happened. You know, and I`m sure
everybody in North Carolina is saying the same thing.

HARRIS-PERRY: How does this happen? So, Katon, it does seem to be the
part of the answer, though, to what happened in North Carolina. I mean,
you know, I`d love to just point to Art Pope and say it`s all his fault and
his big money. But part of it - takeover was possible in part, because the
Democratic Party in North Carolina was vulnerable, right, to this kind of
takeover to these challenges. It seems to me that you all do a really good
job of being profoundly organized on one message. How do you guys do that?
Do you have like internal memos at the meetings? Is there a hash tag?
What is going on with you guys?

KATON DAWSON, REPUBICAN CONSULTANT: It started years and years ago when
the Democrats controlled both South Carolina and North Carolina and you -
when I was - in the state houses, and South Carolina`s 16 years ahead of
North Carolina as far as taking over the bodies. So, we .

HARRIS-PERRY: Taking over the bodies indeed.

DAWSON: We`ll get into that later. But when I was chairman, we didn`t
have full majority, so I went after sheriff`s races and changed nine
sheriffs from Democrats to Republican .


DAWSON: And then with that you go to solicitors. Solicitor named Trey
Gowdy who became a U.S. congressman.

ELLISON: That`s my colleague.

DAWSON: Your colleague. So, when you look at the foreign team, a lot of
people think these candidates should show up. From my standpoint, you get
them on record early. You find out where they are and you start electing
them, and in the south, the pro-life movement is the base of a lot of these
elections, it did, and it`s a proud base that I`m with, but what I`m
telling you is that - right. You don`t just show up. Politics doesn`t
change overnight. Art Pope`s $2 million didn`t change that. What really
changed North Carolina was an influx of people and retires. Conservative.
That`s one of the things that changed it. The second thing changed was
national Democrat politics were not matching up. I ran the last cycle in
North Carolina when President Obama had about 42 bricks and mortars in
there and we put about 450 people in there fighting that fight, and what we
found out in North Carolina was it was different. As everybody was working
persuadable voters. It was the Republican base we had to go the last three
weeks to, and we had to go, because they were sitting on the sidelines.

HARRIS-PERRY: OK. So I love that you said we split sheriffs and the next
thing you know we`re flipping whole state bodies, right? Because, you
know, those are those low information elections where 100 people, 200
people can make all the difference in who becomes your sheriff in New
Orleans. We vote on the coroner, God help us. I know. But - I know, it
is. There`s a lot to be said about that, right? It`s a Southern thing. I
do want to look, though, at the Medicaid gap, right? Because you talked
about who can be persuaded, right? And in Georgia there are more than
400,000 people who would have gotten Medicaid in North Carolina, more than
300,000 people. In South Carolina, nearly 200,000 people. And that looks
to me like a group of people who are not getting Medicaid, who could have
gotten it, if, in fact, their governors had been willing to extend it. If
I`m a Democrat sitting in those states, I start thinking about how I start
flipping it based on that.

talking about this in the green room. People voting against their own
interests. And I can`t underscore enough what`s been said at the table as
someone who considers herself bright, college educated and never really
paid much attention to the smaller votes.


GILES: You know, the school board, you know. I don`t have children, so I
wouldn`t have really think about that. The local votes. And I know so
many people who maybe will pay more attention if it`s a mayoral vote.


GILES: Or if it`s a Senate vote or presidential campaign, but we`ve got to
get boots on the ground just like you`re an evil genius.


GILES: I want to incorporate everything that`s being said. We`ve got to
make sure the people know that the stakes are high.

HARRIS-PERRY: Stick with me. OK, we`ll let your polite southern evil
genius reign when we get back. We`re going to take a break right now. And
while we go to break we`re going to be listening to music inspired by the
"Moral Monday" protests. This is "My Body Politics" by the North Carolina
Music Love Army.


HARRIS-PERRY: Six months ago the Supreme Court struck down a key part of
the Voting Rights Act. The court took issue specifically with the formula
for determining, which states and jurisdictions have such problematic
history on voting rights that they need his federal approval for any
changes to their voting laws before they go into effect. The justices had
said the formula was outdated and invited Congress to create a new one.
Now, for the first time since the ruling a bipartisan group of lawmakers
has an actual proposal. And the bill was introduced Thursday by Senator
Patrick Leahy and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and Congressman John
Conyers, and co-sponsored by Congressman and civil rights leader John
Lewis. Under the bill, states that have had five or more violations of
federal voting laws in the past 15 years will need preclearance from the
Feds before changing local voting rules. Currently that would cover
Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Five fewer states then were
previously fully covered. And local jurisdiction would need the
preclearance if they had three violations in the past 15 years or if they
had persistent extremely low minority turnout over that time. The bill
would also make it easier to get a preliminary injunction to brock a
problematic law pending trial. One caveat, though. The bill specifically
exempts voter I.D. laws saying such requirements are not a violation of the
Voting Rights Act and at this point, it does not cover North Carolina,
which has some of the most restrictive voting laws in the country.

So, Anthea, this is like one of those good news/bad news stories.


HARRIS-PERRY: Where, OK, bipartisan, looks like we might get a new
formula, we don`t just have to walk around with a two slid section five
forever, but it also gives away the ghost with the notion that I.D. is
inherently not part of the VRA problem.

BUTLER: I know. And that`s really - what it does is it leaves it up to
state judges and things like that. That what just happened in Pennsylvania
with Governor Corbett having a bad day yesterday finding out that, you
know, we won`t have to use our voter I.D. But I am thinking about states
like Texas where, you know, voter I.D., you can use your gun permit, you
can use your concealed carry permit to get .

HARRIS-PERRY: But not your student ..

BUTLER: But not your student I.D. card, right? So what kind of sense does
that make? So, I`m hopeful that this will, you know, help bridge a little
bit of a gap. Because I see Texas is almost being the worst in that bunch
for a lot of respects, but they`re all equally bad, but the question is,
can we find enough consensus to have that voted upon in the House?


BUTLER: And that`s where I`m worried about it. Because if we don`t, I
think that what we`re going to see in 2014 is a lot more people being taken
off the rolls and this won`t get fixed, you know, by November `14, which
will make it very problematic.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, and Katon, this is precisely where I want to come with
you, then. Because I love the story that you tell about we have good
strategy, we`ve got demographic changes, we go get those voters, we pound
the pavement. If that is what -- if that`s the issue, then I would be like
well, God bless the Republicans because if people agree with you and you
get your voters out.

DAWSON: You get one more than they do.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. Then that`s what democracy is. But then this is
something different. Because this isn`t about we go convince the voters to
be on our side. This is we suppress the voters most likely to choose the
other side and that to me doesn`t feel like it`s healthy for democracy.

DAWSON: Well, the arguments are going to go on, the courts are going to
continue. Some states are going to do, others - some laws are going to be
more egregious than others, but it`s going to get down to the voter I.D.
again, whether it`s right or not. And whether the citizens in the states -
will there be protests on the streets? There`s some. But, again, it takes
a voter I.D. to get in about everywhere. And that`s where I think
sometimes the argument gets lost. It took me one to get in here. Four
times - to get in ..

HARRIS-PERRY: But you don`t have a constitutional right to be in here.

DAWSON: Well, I don`t. You invited me.


DAWSON: Thank you. You are exactly right.


DAWSON: Or you could turn me away.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah. No. Right. I mean - right, nor do I. But - and
yet, Congressman, I guess the other point is - I actually also don`t have a
constitutional right to vote. In that it is state by state, right? And so
what I`m wondering, given your point that there are at least 50 separate
and unequal rules and procedures for voting, is it time, congressman, to
have a -- an amendment to the U.S. Constitution providing at the federal
level the right to vote for every citizen and wipe this mess away?

ELLISON: Yes. And Mark Pocan who`s from Wisconsin and I have a bill to
make the right to vote a constitutional amendment and we`re moving it as
well as we can, and I think it only makes sense because we really don`t
live in the kind of country that was -- we had when we put this voting
scheme together. Things have changed in the amount of just inequality and
disparity and the way people are treated is just so wide - that it`s just
not fair. And so, it`s time to amend the constitution and grant a right to
vote to all citizens. But I will say this. You know. Grassroots activism
really is the key here.


ELLISON: And people getting involved like "Moral Mondays" and it`s
spreading. You know, in Wisconsin people were out on the streets. In
Minnesota we get things on the street. I think this is good for democracy
and I`m excited about it.

HARRIS-PERRY: OK. And you took us exactly where we are going next,
because when we come back, I`ve got somebody from "Moral Mondays" right
here, because up next, the trouble in district 12 that not even Katniss can


HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. You know, district 12 just can`t catch a
break. No, no, no, not that district 12. This district 12. North
Carolina`s 12TH congressional district. Last weekend we told you about the
decision by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to hold off on filling the
12th district seat just vacated by Mel Watt who`s now heading a Federal
Housing Agency until the general election in November, so that leaves the
seat in a solidly democratic majority and minority district without a
representative for almost a year. Governor McCrory was asked about his
decision Wednesday during an interview with a host of MSNBC`s "The Daily
Rundown" Chuck Todd.


CHUCK TODD, MSNBC ANCHOR: I know people have a low opinion of Congress,
but to have basically to disenfranchise nearly a million people and not
having a representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, that is not a
healthy thing for a year.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R ), NORTH CAROLINA: Well, Chuck, I`m sworn to uphold
the constitutional laws of North Carolina and I can`t change those laws
between now and that election, and, again, I have to uphold the election
laws and I made the good decision.


HARRIS-PERRY: Joining us now from Washington, D.C. is the Reverend William
Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and leader of the "Moral
Mondays" movement which has been protesting among other things North
Carolina`s voter restrictions and who also sent a letter to Governor
McCrory about this question of District 12. Reverend Barber, thank you for
being here.

Perry. You know, it`s utterly ridiculous the government says about the
law, the fact of the matter is we have the people who can get together and
actually comply with the law, you know. Representative Price,
Representative Butterfield actually wrote the governor and said we can do
better than this. 700,000 people, Republicans, Democrats, black and white,
will be left without a representative. It`s just wrong. Over 300 days in
a time when the Congress will be dealing with the VRA bill, you know, farm
bills, all the things that impact that particular district. And, you know,
it took us 90 years, Melissa, from 1900 to 1990 to even get representation
in the African American community.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah, I mean it`s a crazy little district. You know, it`s
worth looking at it again. Congressman Ellis (ph) was sitting here at the
table and when he saw how gerrymandered that district was.

BARBER: Right.

HARRIS-PERRY: His mouth kind of fell open. And, of course, we know
district 12 was challenged on racial gerrymandering, was redrawn to be a
clearly part of then gerrymandered districts, which is legal and
constitutional, but that said, you know, I guess I`m wondering, Reverend
Barber, if I went down today to a barbershop in Greensboro and asked
people, you know, do you know that you live in district 12 and do you know
that you are not going to have a representative, what would they say about

BARBER: Well, people are livid about it. I mean, they really are, because
they recognize that this is taxation without representation. Now, the
other part of that, Melissa, is that if we had free clearance in place,
this decision of the governor would have to be pre-cleared. The fact is
now that we don`t because we`re looking for this reauthorization of section
four, it makes this even more problematic. The Republicans stalled on
Mayor Watt being appointed and now governor McCrory is again being the
governor of denial. He has denied Medicaid, denied unemployment, he`s
tried to deny voting rights and now he`s trying to deny representation tor
this district.

HARRIS-PERRY: Hold on one second. I want to come out to you, Nancy,
because you`re having this reaction.

GILES: I feel sick.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah. That feels to me like the kind of every woman, every
man reaction, must be when they hear this story. So, tell me what you`re
thinking of this?

GILES: Number one, how can the governor just say no with a little laugh in
his voice, yeah, I`m complying with the law and not have a representative
for that - for that area, for so many people, how is that allowed? I mean,
again, I tell you one thing that`s really interesting about this president
because a lot of it filters down from that. I have learned more about how
the government works on the lower, lower, lower, local, local levels than I
have ever learned before and I`m just shocked that this many people cannot
have a representative at such a crucial time for people to be represented.

HARRIS-PERRY: Let`s listen. Because I want to listen to this. Because
Governor McCrory said it wasn`t a particularly crucial time. He said it`s
a couple of months and it doesn`t make any difference. Let`s take a listen
to that.


GOV. MCCRORY: My decision was even supported by the very liberal editorial
page of the Charlotte "Observer" and it was also supported by three of the
African-American Democratic candidates that are running for Mel Watt`s

I think the only difference in any other option was about two months. And
Chuck, you know and I know that not much goes on in Washington between July
and the election anyway, which is a sad commentary on Washington politics.

TODD: I know.


HARRIS-PERRY: Representative Ellison, you`ll be doing anything there
between July and November?

ELLISON: I think we`ll be pretty busy. We`ve been busy every single year.
I`ve been in Congress. And here`s the other thing. Just being in
Washington and voting is not the only thing members of Congress do. Being
in the district, listening to people, talking to them, holding meetings,
talking about, you know, we`re doing constituent services, helping people
get passports and Social Security checks and VHS. It`s all critical. This
is one of the more amazing abdications of responsibility I`ve ever seen.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I will say in terms of not abdicating responsibility,
Mel Watt`s team is staying in place in that district office to do some of
that constituent service, because they clearly do care about that, but
Reverend Barber, let me ask you about the other part of it we heard
Governor McCrory say when he says hey, three of the six North Carolina 12
Democratic candidates, all of them African American, are down with the
November election. We checked. That does seem to be true. Why would
those candidates support this timing?

BARBER: Well, that`s why in the NAACP we have no permanent - there is no
permanent enemies on the permanent interest. It doesn`t matter if someone
wants to, you know, even stay in bondage. All of us don`t want to stay in
bondage. What we want is constitutional representation. So that doesn`t
matter. He`s called to govern for the best interest of the people, not to
pick out two or three people and then decide to implement something that`s
going to cause taxation without representation. Melissa, here we are in
North Carolina. He is denying this. We have the worst redistricting law
since the 19th century. He passed the worst voters oppression law that
we`ve seen since Jim Crow and now we are in the middle of this discussion
about section 4 that`s actually going to leave North Carolina uncovered,
South Carolina uncovered, Alabama uncovered. These actions are
unacceptable. This - we happen to have an amendment. It`s sad that one
day after the actual birthday of Dr. King we`re having a discussion about
voting rights that have taken us backwards add not forward.

HARRIS-PERRY: And particularly, I mean I just want to point out again for
folks who may not know the North Carolina map. That district in part runs
through Greensboro. Greensboro is where we saw those initial sit-ins of
African-American men from North Carolina ANT sitting there on those
Woolworth`s counters, challenging precisely this sort of things. This was
ground zero on the civil rights movement. It is ground zero now.

BARBER: Franklin Graham - Franklin McCain was buried just yesterday who
was a part of those civil rights movements. This district and the first
district are the districts that were carved out as a result of the Voting
Rights Act, but it took 90 years. I want people to hear this. 90 years
for North Carolina to get representation African Americans in the U.S.
Congress after George White was the last one pushed out in 1901 at the end
of reconstruction. That`s why we`ve got to be very serious. And you keep
hearing me push on this issue about this section for the voter rights and
what`s been proposed. It is not good for us. We have to - anything that
does not cover, pre-clear North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia and South
Carolina, anything that gives people five chances to violate the law before
we can be pre-cleared and anything that undermines the voter - says that
voter I.D. is not a part of what can be used to decide pre-clear is just
wrong, it`s backwards. And we`ve got to spend .

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s not enough. I`ll tell you what, Reverend Barber.
I`ve got a little time on Tuesday. I think I`m going to come down to North
Carolina and say hey to you. All right. Rev. Barber, thank you so much.
We have much more to get to this morning, including Congressman Ellison`s
new memoirs. But first when we come back, my colleague Steve Kornacki, he
has a major development in the New Jersey bridge story. Local politics
matter, people.


HARRIS-PERRY: This morning we have new reporting connected to the
administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and it`s a story that
broke right here on MSNBC only hours ago on "Up with Steve Kornacki." The
mayor of Hoboken told Steve in an exclusive television interview why she
believes her city is being denied critical Hurricane Sandy aid. Now, you
remember that the city of Hoboken in the aftermath of the storm was 80
percent under water. Hoboken remains vulnerable to another storm and the
mayor says the reason her city is not getting the funds it needs has
nothing to do with the fact that she didn`t endorse Chris Christie for
reelection. Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer says members of Christie`s
administration warned her that her town would be starved of hurricane
relief money unless she approved a lucrative redevelopment plan favored by
the governor.


DAWN ZIMMER, MAYOR OF HOBOKEN: The bottom line is, it`s not fair for the
governor to hold Sandy funds hostage for the city of Hoboken, because he
wants me to give back to one private developer and it`s important that -- I
know it`s very complicated for the public to really understand all of this,
but I have a legal obligation to follow the law, to bring balanced
development to Hoboken. I cannot give a windfall to one property owner
because the governor wants me to in exchange for the Sandy fund, so I`ll
tell you, I feel like I`m literally between a rock and a hard place.


HARRIS-PERRY: We should note that a spokesman for Governor Christie issued
this statement. Quote, "Mayor Zimmer has been effusive in her public
praise of the governor`s office and the assistance we`ve provided in terms
of economic development and Sandy aid. What or who is driving her only now
to say such outlandishly false things is anyone`s guess." And "Up with
Steve Kornacki" received this statement from the director of strategic
communications with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. She
say, quote, "Mayor Zimmer`s allegation that on May 16th, 2013 Commissioner
Constable conditioned Hoboken`s receipt of Sandy aid on her moving forward
with a development project is categorically false." Joining the table now
is Steve Kornacki, host of "Up with Steve Kornacki." All right, Steve,
these are major claims. It`s also very complicated. So, I tried to get a
general idea of it. What do you see as the key issue in this moment?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: So, there are several things and the story
line itself connects high ranking people in Christie`s administration. It
connects the Port Authority and the law firm that is run by the chairman of
the Port Authority, David Samson, and Chris Christie`s, you know, close
confidant David Samson. And so, basically, what happened was, there`s this
plot of the land in Hoboken that`s right for - potentially right for some
kind of development. This group, the Rockefeller Group owns it and they`re
represented by Wolff and Samsons. The name of law firm is David Samson`s
law firm. He`s the chairman of the Port Authority. Port Authority paid
for a study on redeveloping on whether this land should be declared, you
know, an area need a redevelopment -- it`s a developer`s dream to get this

The planning board in Hoboken did not go along with that designation, and
when that happened, the mayor of Hoboken got a phone call from the
governor`s office, saying Lieutenant Governor is going to be in town in a
couple of days. He wants to do an event sharp right with you. So they did
the event at the sharp right, hey, business is open, posting - she says
lieutenant governor pulled her aside after said and said, listen, this is
not right, this is not the way it`s supposed to be. But if you want your
Sandy aid, all (inaudible) is being held, but if you want it, you have to
move forward on this development project. You have to move forward on it.

A couple of days later, she`s doing this event, the mayor is doing this
event on public television at Monmouth University, a Sandy anniversary
event, and the Department - or the commissioner of the Department of
Community Affairs, you saw her quoted there, is on stage next to her. And
she says they`re both miked up, they`re waiting to go on and he makes the
same explicit threat to her, linking Sandy funds to this development

HARRIS-PERRY: OK, so a couple of things I want to be sure that we get on
the table here. There`s not at this point any allegation that the
Rockefeller Group itself has been -- they just seem to be part of this, but
not that they commissioned anyone to say this or to do this. Is that

KORNACKI: That`s right. And in terms of what you have, there`s no
evidence pointing to like any kind of wrongdoing right now by like David
Samson. What we know is his law firm represents the Rockefeller group.
You have - we have emails from people of his law firm copying Davis Samson,
the chairman of the Port Authority, and writing to the people in Hoboken
trying to apply pressure to get this thing moving on, you know.

HARRIS-PERRY: No, obviously this mayor is now going to come under - Mayor
Zimmer is going to come under significant scrutiny about whether or not
there are reasons beyond just sort of her saying in this moment, look, I`m
trying to do what is right. Right? In part because this is occurring at
the time that the bridge scandal has become national news. But this is not
linked directly to the bridge scandal. So, folks are going to ask, why
talk about this now, why not tell it when it happened. How do you see this
proceeding in terms of the fundamental questions that are going to be asked
of her on what she`s alleging here?

KORNACKI: I have to say just as we`re reviewing the story this week that I
find her very credible for a few reasons. And one of the reasons is, I
think people looking at this nationally might be inclined to say it`s a
Democratic mayor, Republican governor, he`s down. Oh, of course, this is
Democratic way doing a pile on. There`s been - there`s a faction of
Democrats in New Jersey who are pro Chris Christie Democrats. And Dawn
Zimmer in many ways was the face of the pro-Chris Christie Democrats. When
she came to office in Hoboken, she endorsed his local property tax
initiative. This is controversial among Democrats. His first town hall
meeting on the subject, she invited him to Hoboken to have it. He was her
partner in many ways on many projects in Hoboken. She continues to this

On our show, we asked her about Chris Christie, she believes his first four
years as governor, there were a lot of good things. She believes that were
accomplished during that. It`s just that she got caught up in this
redevelopment issue. It was on opposite side of him, and it`s apparently,
this project was apparently so important to him and then there`s the fact
of this diary. I mean she recorded this in her diary at the time. She
shared the diary with us. And, you`ve got, you know, mundane entries in
the diary and then she`s talking, just pouring her heart out about trying
to grapple with the Chris Christie she believed in versus the Chris
Christie who`s now making - his administration making threats.

HARRIS-PERRY: Can you stay with us? We`ve got a table of folks here
including a Republican who I want to ask in part does this ever get hot
enough that Republicans are going to want Chris Christie to step down as
the head of RGA? I also want to just sort of open up, because these are
new revelations, and I think there are questions that all of us have about
it. So, stick with us for just a little bit longer.


HARRIS-PERRY: We`re back and talking about the new developments in the
question of Chris Christie and his use of - potentially use of political
influence that were alleged today on "Up with Steve Kornacki." And I just
wanted to give you all an opportunity to ask Steve some of the question
about what we`ve learned.

GILES: Well, to start with, Steve, I`ve lived in (INAUDIBLE). I`ve been
here 13 years, which is the neighboring county to Hoboken. So, I know and
I have a lot of friends that live there how damaged they were during Sandy
and how they`re still struggling, so I guess I would say is that do you
think why Dawn Zimmer comes out now and talks about the disparity between
the money that she asks for and the money that she got? The town is still

KORNACKI: Yeah, I mean, look, there`s one last chance, realistically
speaking now. That Christie got a second pot of money from HUD, that he
can get out in grants, but there`s one realistic last chance for Hoboken to
get the money that it`s looking for to save itself from a future storm and
it comes from this sort of a race to the top style competition that HUD
has. And Hoboken is a finalist thread, there were one of ten finalists for
that, so it may be that, you know, this attracts a little bit of attention
to it. Because we didn`t have time on the air, but they took me through
off the air. The resiliency planning that they`ve done, you know, she
actually - she sits on - she was appointed by President Obama to his
climate change panel at the end of December. She has spoken around the
world on resiliency issues. They have some topnotch, you know,
internationally respected resiliency work and proposals the place.

GILES: Right.

KORNACKI: So they are hopefully they can get this grant.

ELLISON: Let me ask you about political resiliency.


ELLISON: So after the news broke on the bridge thing, he comes and does
this long press conference and everybody`s thinking, wow, maybe he`s going
to survive this. Can he survive this?

KORNACKI: Well, this is - we talk about like hardball politics in New
Jersey, and, you know, that governor, whoever was going to take what
leverage here she has and they are going to use it to get what they want.
And people kind of accept that, but this is Sandy. This is Sandy. This is
a governor who part of his political rehab this past week, goes down to the

ELLISON: That`s right.

KORNACKI: Goes down to the Sandy towns and he`s like - hey, everybody. Do
you remember me? I`m the guy who led you through Sandy.

HARRIS-PERRY: And we`re all willing to put up with varieties of kind of
corruption. I mean that`s, you know, I`ve lived in Chicago, I`ve lived now
in New Orleans, right? There is this like - when Blagojevich appear to be
selling a Senate seat that was, right, kind of the end of it and you know
we will send the governor in Louisiana to jail. Like I mean so corruption
and hardball politics is one thing, but like when you get to a certain
level, and these are all still allegations at this point, but they do seem
potentially harmful in a way to me, Katon, that I mean this is the man
who`s the head of the RGA. And it`s going to come to a point where he`s
going to get a phone call saying you`ve been the head of the RGA. It`s bad
for us.

GILES: Republican Governors Association?

HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, sorry, Republican Governors Association.

DAWSON: Well, one thing I can tell you about Republican Party politics and
especially presidential primary politics, and go back to Mark Sanford
meeting his fair, apologizing and immediately resigning from the RGA. He
didn`t want his personal situation to impact what is to me the most
important thing in politics. Much more important the last thing than
presidential politics or governor seats. That`s where redistricting
happens, that`s where rubber meets the road. That`s where we govern as
Republicans, the 157 million Americans who control in GOP controlled
states. We don`t control .


HARRIS-PERRY: I`m frightened.

DAWSON: But you should be, but my part - my part is this apology -- and I
talked to Steve. I`ve listened to other people thinking this is Jersey,
this is the Jersey shore. The Republicans did watch him call the president
in the end, which we saw was very unusual in the middle of a presidential
race. We saw that as cementing his re-election. That`s what - that`s how
I saw it. We`re going to go and cement. So my point is, you know, this is
one more shoe to drop on this. And you can apologize, but you can`t cover
up the fact that if you didn`t tell the truth and that`s what`s coming

HARRIS-PERRY: Steve, this has been amazing reporting. These are real
issues. This is not like made up sort of outrage and so I appreciate your
reporting and that of your team. Thank you to Steve Kornacki. Your team
are delivering great reporting on this. And up next, what I found so
moving about this book by Congressman Ellison. For all the bad we`ve been
saying there`s a lot of optimism about America in this book.


HARRIS-PERRY: Congressman Keith Ellison`s mom is from Louisiana. And she
makes gumbo. And on nights when young Keith would bring friends for
dinner, his mother never turned anyone away. Instead she`d just some water
to the gumbo so that there would be enough for all. Today, Representative
Keith Ellison says we need to do the same thing in our national policy.
Rather than turn the hungry away, we need to add some water to the gumbo
and practice what he calls the politics of generosity. Now, in his new
book called "My Country to the V: My Faith, My Family, Our Future, "
Ellison shares his story from his Detroit roots to being the first non-
white person Minnesota has ever elected to Congress, and the first Muslim
American ever elected to Congress. He also outlines what the politics of
generosity look like. So Representative Keith Ellison, tell me what are
the politics of generosity? What does it look like?

ELLISON: Well, the politics of generosity stem from the idea that we all
need to eat, we all need to retire, we all want to see our kids get a good
education and develop our minds. Our country is the richest country in the
history of the world and this country has never been richer than it is now.


ELLISON: We can make sure that there is a reliable path toward economic
security for every American.

HARRIS-PERRY: There literally is enough gumbo in the pot for everybody.

ELLISON: There`s enough.

HARRIS-PERRY: We just have got to share it.

ELLISON: We don`t have to send anybody out. And the thing is, is that we
have a politics of scarcity and the politics of scarcity is there`s not
enough, we have got to cut Head Start, we`ve got to have chained CPI, so
this - because the seniors are getting too much money. But this is all
driven by the idea that there`s not enough, but I believe that there is
enough. And, as a matter of fact, there is enough. And the only question
is shall we share it. So like, you know, this issue of low wages and the
minimum wage, we`ve seen dramatic profits being reaped from our nation`s
corporations, in McDonald`s, Walmart. These are wildly profitable
companies and yet they are paying people $7.25. $8.25. Stuff like that.
It`s like look, you know, you may not have as massive a profit as you had.


ELLISON: But maybe if the people who work for you could, you know, afford
the hamburgers that they are cooking.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah. It would stimulate the economy. We know that when
poor folks have a little bit more, they spend it and it stimulates the
economy. In addition to our politics of generosity. You also outlined the
politics of courage. And specifically look to Representative Barbara Lee.
And I`d like to listen to the moment that you signal us to here.


REP. BARBARA LEE (D) CALIFORNIA: September 11th changed the world. Our
deepest fears now haunt us. Yet I am convinced that military action will
not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United
States. Some of us must say let`s step back for a moment, let`s just
pause, just for a minute, and think through the implications of our actions
today so that this does not spiral out of control.


HARRIS-PERRY: Your response is there.

ELLISON: Well, it spiraled out of control a little bit, didn`t it?

ELLISON: You know, I mean Iraq, longest - you know, longer than Vietnam.
All kinds of domestic issues were unraveling, these NSA issues to this
moment that stem from the Patriot Act, which was sparked by that tragic
moment in September 11, 2001. I think Barbara Lee is an amazing example of
courage. Because you can listen to that tape. And tell she`s scared.

HARRIS-PERRY: She can feel it.

ELLISON: You can feel it, because if you`ve had the pleasure of being in
her presence, you know, she`s bold, she`s always got a wonderful smile, but
in that moment she is feeling the weak of the moment, but she -- that`s
courage, right? Courage isn`t not being scared.


ELLISON: It`s moving through your fear and Barbara Lee, Paul Wellstone,
you know, these people, you know, they inspire me, you know, and that`s who
I want to be like when I grow up.


HARRIS-PERRY: We`re basically out of time, but I don`t want to leave
without pointing to a moment of courage of your own. Part of what that
post-9/11 and the spiraling out of control Iraq was also the - the kind of
generation of an anti-Muslim bias in the country.


HARRIS-PERRY: that was articulated more frequently and yet you in the
moment of being sworn into the U.S. Congress put your hand on Thomas
Jefferson`s Koran, which I see as an act of courage and the reaffirmation
of the faith of the American people that we can have differing faith and be
one people.

ELLISON: Yeah, I mean that`s the idea - from many to one. E Pluribus
Unum, we are united in our belief that all Americans have due process, have
the right, have equal dignity and yet we come from very diverse places and
it`s all right. You know, the bottom line is that nothing - none of the
great things about America are guaranteed. We have to fight for these
things. People have laid their lives on the line for them. And if you
look at the reverend down there with the "Moral Mondays", they`re laying
their life on the line for the great America now. All I want to say -- I
know we`ve got to wrap is that look, you know, the pessimists are not the
realists. Because good things happen all the time. We were in slavery,
now we`re not. We were in Jim Crow, now we are not. Women couldn`t vote.
Now they can. My point is the people of this time have got to buck up and
make a better world for the people to come.

HARRIS-PERRY: Because the better always happens, but it only happens.

ELLISON: Only happens.

HARRIS-PERRY: through struggle.

ELLISON: That`s it.

HARRIS-PERRY: To read an excerpt of the congressman`s new book please stop
by the Congressman Keith Ellison, thank you for spending time
with us this morning.

ELLISON: Thanks.

HARRIS-PERRY: And coming up next, turning the tide on reproductive rights,
how women are fighting back against the mounting restrictions and the frank
discussion about the ugly and even threatening harassment that someone is
faced online. There`s, of course, more Nerdland at the top of the hour.


HARRIS-PERRY: (AUDIO GAP) Melissa Harris-Perry.

Nerdland, I know that as nerds, we would rather be lovers and thinker, not
fighters. But today, I want us to channel our inner Sun Tzu, because I
want to talk about "The Art of War".

Now, make no mistake -- the reproductive health policies we have seen
emerge from statehouses all across the country amount to nothing short of
an all-out assault to take back the gains made by Roe v. Wade.

This is no brute force, smash and grab operation we`re talking about it
here. Uh-uh. This is an efficient, methodical and so far, highly
effective effort to a road of reproductive choice protections guaranteed to
women by the Supreme Court`s decision in Roe.

In an article in this month`s "Rolling Stone" magazine, the president of
the anti-reproductive rights group Americans United for Life is quoted
sounding like she`s taking a page straight out of Sun Tzu`s book.
According to the magazine, in a 2011 interview, she said, "We don`t make
frontal attacks. Never attack where the enemy is strongest."

Pay attention here to the strategy because if you don`t look closely, you
might not see it until it`s too late. It is a slow loss of liberty and
autonomy by a thousand tiny attacks from a steady onslaught of policies
mostly from Republican-led state legislatures, more abortion restrictions
passed in the last three years than in the last two decades, according to
the Guttmacher Institute.

Everything from Trap laws that impose burdensome and medical unnecessary
requirements on abortion providers that can force them out of business to
attacks on health care coverage that prevent women from paying for
abortions using private insurance or policies purchased on the new health
exchanges. Even mandatory counseling that can sometimes include
information that is irrelevant or misleading. That visit often followed by
a 24-hour waiting period and an additional trip to a provider before the
procedure can be performed, requirements that women seeking abortions must
first undergo ultrasounds to listen to the beat of its heart. Then, there
are 20-week abortion bans that posed a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade
allowance for abortions, up to the point of viability at 24 weeks.

These aggressive policies attempt to lay bare the big picture for the final
decisive battle, a Supreme Court showdown to roll back the gains of Roe v.
Wade. And this week when the enemies of reproductive rights came knocking
at the gates, the court refused to let them in. The justices punted on
considering Arizona`s 20-week abortion ban, a case that could have forced a
challenge to Roe v. Wade. But that was this time advocates for
reproductive justice, no it`s not going to last.

That`s why they`re devising a new tactical approach of their own, going on
offense in this policy fight and using that same weapon, policy to fight
back. Think of it as like political judo, it`s a martial arts practice
that enable a smaller fighter to defeat a bigger stronger opponent using a
key strategy, turning the opponent`s size and strength from an asset into a

NARAL Pro-choice America is taking all of those restrictive abortion
measures and making this pledge to the governors who signed for the law.
You stood for these laws, you signed these laws, now, if you`re up for re-
election this year, you`re going to have to run on them.

This week in "The Nation" magazine, NARAL president Elise Hogue told the
writer Zoey Carpenter that the strategy is to shift the momentum and the
reproductive justice fight to, quote, "force these anti-choice extremists
who hold political office to actually run on and defend anti-choice

Joining me now David S. Cohen, professor of law at Drexel University,
Anthea Butler, professor of religious studies and graduate chair of the
religion of the University of Pennsylvania, Nancy Northup, who is president
and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Katon Dawson, national
Republican consultant, and former chair of the South Carolina Republican

So, Nancy, self-defense teaches women get on the ground, kick with your
legs, don`t try to go right -- you know, don`t try to go arm to arm because
that`s not necessarily where the strength is. Is this what this new
strategy is, all right, you guys want to sign this, run on this?

going to see that last year was an absolute turnaround point in the fight
over women`s access to reproductive health care. We saw going on offense
right and left.

We saw Wendy Davis do that filibuster in Texas, and she is now soaring in
her run for governor of Texas. We saw Albuquerque voters turn down a 20-
week ban. When they got a chance to go to the poll instead of the
politicians, they said, no, we don`t want these kind of extreme measures.


NORTHUP: We saw the introduction in the U.S. Congress, the Women`s Health
Protection Act with 33 cosponsors in the Senate, more than 90 in the House,
which says we even got to stop these restrictions at the state level. Your
zip code can`t determine whether you have constitutional rights.

So, last year was a turnaround and it`s going keep on going.

HARRIS-PERRY: All right. So, I want to go back for a second to the actual
strategy of opponents of reproductive rights for a moment, because it does
feels to me, David, as though the actual Roe v. Wade decision itself is
part of what opens up and allows this possibility that the multiple
trimesters, the notion that there is a point in which the state has an

So, talk to me. Is Roe a sufficient decision for us to continue to rest
reproductive rights on?

DAVID S. COHEN, DREXEL UNIVERSITY: Well, Roe had promised but the problem
was it was cut back in Casey in 1992, because Casey allowed -- Casey was
the Supreme Court case that allowed a lot more restrictions from the state.
It was basically the Supreme Court saying that you can do things that are
burdensome on women`s rights as long as they`re not unduly burdensome and
ever since Casey, we`ve seen the courts and lower courts be more receptive
to infringement on women`s rights and women`s access to abortion.

So, Casey has really opened up the floodgates and with Justice Kennedy
who`s perceived as the swing vote really seemingly approving almost any
restriction, as long as it`s not an absolute criminalization of abortion,
it`s really troublesome what Casey has allowed.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, Katon, as much as we talked in the last hour about the
ways in which Democrats often kind of can`t hold themselves completely
together to have a clear strategy, in the case of women`s reproductive
rights, I`ve got to say. I got to agree with Nancy, this was the moment
when on the left, you saw clear language, war on women. It became the
framework. Republicans had to address whether or not they were, in fact,
committing a war on women, right, and once you give up the framing, you
start to lose.

Are you guys going to lose? I mean really begin to lose, if this is the
central issue on which the Republicans are forced to run.

KATON DAWSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, Republicans will lose in the
primaries if they back up on the pro-life movement. That`s what will
happen. It is the basis especially in the Southeast corridor where I
practice my business. It`s the basis that among other thing it`s in every
party`s platform. It`s in the national party`s platform. It`s one of
things that divides the two parties. There are pro-life Democrats but they
don`t vote at the ballot box.

Pro-life Republicans vote that at the ballot box, whether it`d be a
presidential election or any other election. And those are just facts.

It`s also -- you hear politicians and I do a lot of times when they have
divisive crowds talk about the civil rights of the unborn and the civil
rights -- and I know that that will start a whole other discussion, but we
-- this is -- this is the terminology we use. We live in a country that
spends enormous resources on trying to save nine coal miners in
Pennsylvania, enormous resources on trying to talk somebody off the
Brooklyn Bridge.

And this is -- the pro-life movement didn`t stand down. They`re still
there. They`re still so strong and they will hold you accountable. So, it
will be a fight but it`s going to cross both parties` lines.

HARRIS-PERRY: All right. All right. Stick with me. You`ve drawn some
things that I think have become central parts of how we talk about this. I
don`t want to say I disagree with you on the civil rights.

DAWSON: I think.

HARRIS-PERRY: In fact, actually what I want to do is when we come back, I
want to make the claim if that`s going to be the discourse, if discourse is
the personhood and that from the beginning fertilized eggs have civilized
rights, let`s go ahead and do that and let`s talk about what the civil
rights of all children ought to be and whether or not Republicans can get
on that set of policy agenda. Stay right there when we come back.

Also, why 35-B is so critical in the debate over reproductive rights.


HARRIS-PERRY: Years ago, I accompanied a friend to an appointment to end
an unwanted pregnancy. Now, I expected to hold her hand, to sit with her,
to hug her, to cry with her if it came to that.

But what I hadn`t anticipated, with having to shield her while we walked
the gauntlet just to get in the door. A crowd of people, some shouting,
some quietly imploring, some trying to condemn her, others trying to
convince to change her mind, showing images, all turning her from a woman
simply seeking a medical procedure into a target.

That was a day I first became aware of the vulnerability of woman who
lacked the resources to end a pregnancy quietly and privately to a personal
position. This week, these women, those whose reproductive choices are
subject to public scrutiny in abortion clinics were the heart of the case
considered by the Supreme Court. At issue was a Massachusetts law passed
in 2007 to create a buffer zone, 35 feet of safe space outside of clinics,
to separate patients from protesters.

The question before the court was whether the buffer zones were a
reasonable response to a history of violence and harassment outside the
clinics, or an unconstitutional intrusion into the right of free speech.

So, for me, part of working as an escort experience was going to that whole
point that Katon was bringing up earlier, about, oh, civil rights and the
civil rights of the unborn and I keep thinking, but what about the rights
of the born, of those who are walking around and experiencing life. What
about the rights of these women, of their children who are often already
preexisting before they made the decision to terminate this pregnancy.

Can we possibly push the right to have to respond to that?

what`s going on is that we have sacralized this one piece so much that real
people, real life women who are in a position where they have to make these
decisions are being ignored.

The whole thing about being in front of the clinics where you see the
fetuses and chopped up stuff and everything else, this is the scare tactic.
But what was so interesting about that "Rolling Stone" article by Janet
Rottman (ph) is that she says, you know, Randall Terry news, like we
couldn`t get any traction doing this one thing, so we changed it this way,
it will be easier.

And I think we need a buffer zone. It`s not about taking away anybody`s
free speech. You can stand outside in 35 feet and do what you want. But
when women are being accosted, you know, presented with screaming and
yelling and saying you`re killing your baby, and all this other kind of
stuff, you`re impinging upon their rights as well. And I thing that the
people who feel so strongly pro-life don`t realize they`re infringing on
the rights of others who are trying to exercise their rights to do what
they want to.

Rights go both ways. They don`t go one way just because you have a
hardened ideology.

And I think to go back to Katon`s point, for a minute, I think that you may
say pro, but if we start putting this the negative and making people run on
the negative part of what is happening, the negative piece that women can`t
get prenatal care, they can`t get gynecological examinations, they can`t
get all the kind of care that they would need, not to be in a position the
get pregnant in the first place, then that makes it a different kind of
run. It`s not just pro-life. It`s pro "you don`t want these women to have
a life". And that`s the point.

It`s like if you change this conversation, it becomes something else
different altogether and that`s where I think there`s an attraction,
especially with younger women who want to keep their reproductive rights,
who might be conservative but they don`t want to have to deal with this
whole thing about you`re going to tell me what to do with my body.

HARRIS-PERRY: And one aspect of that, I mean, I think, you know, what
you`re saying there is key, and this, you know, we typically think of it as
the protesters versus the women who are seeking medical services. But
there`s also the clinic providers, there`s the doctors and the nurses and
the receptionists who themselves have been in danger. That`s part of that
35 feet buffer zone too as well.

COHEN: Buffer zones are good because they protect women who are seeking
basic medical care from being harassed but they also prevent violence and
help to ensure safety of clinical workers. We`re not talking just doctors.
We`re talking anyone who works at a clinic, who suffers harassment daily,
threats daily. And we have to remember that in Massachusetts in
particular, there`s a real history of violence.

In 1994, two clinic receptionists at Planned Parenthood, in pre-term,
Shannon Lowney (ph) and Leann Nichols (ph), were murdered because they were
abortion providers. That has happened to six other people working in
abortion in this country`s history. Most recently, Dr. George Tiller in

This is a real risk that people suffer through every day to get to work and
to work, and buffer zones don`t cure the problem, but they provide a space.
Paul Hill who was one of the protesters who killed a doctor in Florida
stood right outside the clinic. He was able to get close access to the
clinic in Pensacola, Florida. There was no buffer zone. Buffer zones help
protect people`s safety.


NORTHUP: Well, I was just going to say, they also allow -- if you think
about it, you know, we have a history of people who want to prevent others
from exercising their constitutional rights -- their right to go to school,
their right to vote, their right to access with respective health services
and all the buffer zone is saying stand aside, let people through. You
should haven`t to go through a gauntlet of protesters to vote, or to go to
school or to get health care.

HARRIS-PERRY: And the people who have to walk that gauntlet are a subset
of all the women who have terminations. I just -- I just want to always
kind of point this out, that if you are wealthy and have either private
insurance or the capacity to pay individually, you can walk into a doctor`s
office. It is not targeted in this way. You can walk into a hospital that
is not targeted this way.

It is a very specific group of people who end up with this kind of shaming,
potential violence, angst, sort of directed at them.

NORTUP: Oh, that`s right. And also, people who are also coming to get
their, you know, their --

HARRIS-PERRY: Their pap smears and their birth control pills.

NORTHUP: Birth control pills and all that.

And again, this does -- I have protested many times in my life. Of course,
I support the right to express an opinion.

HARRIS-PERRY: Of course, of course.

NORTHUP: This is just a law about not blockading, not obstructing, not
congregating in front of the clinic. Step aside, let the people through,
express your opinions peacefully.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, that does feel like to me like that is consistent,
Katon, with Republican values. Or conservative values, that -- of course
we can have differences of opinion. Of course, we know that the issue of
reproductive rights is a central dividing line but that your opinion
doesn`t, in fact, give you the right to stand there and block someone from
something that is constitutional protected.

DAWNSON: You`re exactly right. And it would be my personal opinion,
especially I think in the home state that I live, that anybody that puts
their hands on a woman at any time, or -- I can pretty well assure you that
in South, they`ll go to jail almost immediately.

And if that`s the tactic they want to take, then there`s a good chance
we`ll put them in jail. Now, I understand the protests. I understand
that. But when you start infringing on these zones we`re talking about,
attacking a woman for making that decision, you can attack in all kind of

HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, no, these are mostly verbal attacks. These are
shaming and yelling and sort of narrating and showing the images. They`re
not -- I mean, we do know they can be attached to acts of violence but I`m
not suggesting that those protesters inside those 35 feet are necessarily
reaching out and grabbing but you do feel when you`re walking with someone,
when you`re serving as a guide, you do sort of put your hands up over that
person in part to put your head down.

But that I mean, like can you imagine if you`re going for kidney dialysis,
or for a podiatrist appointment, or for any other medical appointment, and
you have to work through that sort of you know, sort of shaming experience?

NORTHUP: And Massachusetts is saying everybody step aside.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. The pro and --

NORTHUP: Pro-choice, step aside.

DAWSON: Both sides. True.

NORTHUP: Just let people through. Make your points to the side. The
First Amendment`s protected, but you can`t congregate and block access.

HARRIS-PERRY: More on this when we come back, the question of whether or
not it is time to be on offense and what offense looks like.


HARRIS-PERRY: Supporters of reproductive right got a victory in North
Carolina on Friday. A federal judge struck down a North Carolina law that
required abortion providers to give women an ultrasound and describe the
image even if a woman asks them not to. The judge ruled that the law was a
violation of free speech.

So, David, why -- how is that a free speech violation there?

COHEN: Well, in this regard, it`s telling doctors what to say, and it`s
infringing on the doctor/patient relationship, because if a doctor says
that I can treat this women and I can have -- ensure her health in a
particular way and the state saying you have to do something different,
then that`s an infringement on that relationship.

And also, it goes beyond that, though. It`s also about the state saying
that we know what`s best for women. Women don`t know what`s best for
women. Doctors don`t know what`s best for women. Counselors don`t know
what`s best for women.

But we, the legislators, who have probably never been in an abortion
clinic, have never -- a lot of them -- ever been pregnant or can`t get
pregnant since most of them are men, they say, we know what`s best for
women, when it`s really -- women who know what`s best for women, in
consultation with their doctors and anyone else they`re talking about.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, Nancy, to me the ultrasound laws felt like they presume
that women do not know what is happening. And it`s hard for me to tell
whether they`re talking sincerely like, oh, honey, you just don`t know, let
me explain it to you, or if it`s just about shaming you so that a difficult
circumstance becomes even more difficult.

But is there some reason we cannot simply trust that women are fully moral
agents as citizens capable of making hard choices, easy choices, all kinds
of choices, including this choice?

NORTHUP: Well, you`re right and that`s, of course, what the Supreme Court
has said again and again, is that there is a zone of privacy around which
people can make the important decisions of their lives. That`s what this
is about and whether those decisions are about -- who to marry, the size of
your family, how you raise your children, your religious beliefs, that`s
what the promise of het Constitution is, and that`s what the stakes are

In a free society, we make these critical decisions for ourselves. I would
say the ultrasound laws, and the judge really got this in the North
Carolina case. We`re thrilled with yesterday`s win.


NORTHUP: It`s not even just that they`re saying that women don`t know what
they`re doing. It`s plain punitive because the North Carolina law said if
the woman says, "I don`t want to see this and I don`t want to hear this,"
she turns away, she covers her ears, the doctor is supposed to keep on
napping at her and yapping at her, and so that shows that it`s not about
information. It`s about some kind of a punitive performance that the
doctor`s supposed to go through, in violation of her or his ethics as well
as the patient`s wishes.

HARRIS-PERRY: You know, your point is just well-taken, that I like this
image of a zone of privacy. It`s very much like the buffer zone law, but
in a kind of broader sense, because similarly we would not presume that if
an ultrasound showed certain kinds of field deformities that one should be
required to have an abortion, right?

NORTHUP: Of course, of course.

HARRIS-PERRY: So the question of making difficult choices ought to be left
within that buffer zone, right, of our privacy where we are allowed to make
tough choices that concur with our morals, with our ethics, with our

David S. Cohen and Nancy Northup, Katon Dawson, thank you so much.

Anthea is sticking around a little longer. I want to tell you about
special online event this Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. MSNBC national
reporter Irin Carmon will take your questions on the 41st anniversary of
Roe v. Wade. Go to to submit your questions right now.

Up next, the frightening side of social media and why so many women are
being harassed online.


HARRIS-PERRY: Last month, a Pew Research study found that 73 percent of
adults now use social networking sites. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
are the new tools of our professional and personal lives. We use them to
get information to stay connected to friends, to connect with those who
share our interest, and sometimes just to kill time while wait in line.

Our virtual lives are an important part of our real lives. The places
where we work and learn and play and relax are increasingly mediated and
affected by our online selves. Behind the avatars and 140 characters are
flesh and blood people. That mean that what happens online matters, and
what is happening to women online should give us pause.

According to the volunteer organization working to halt online abuse, of
the nearly 4,000 people reporting online stalking and harassment from 2000
to 2012, 72.5 percent were women, harassment of women. And what was being
done and not done to stop it is a subject of the cover story of the
"Pacific-Standard" magazine, entitled "Why Women Aren`t Welcome on the
Internet". The author, Amanda Hess, is herself a victim of online stalking
and harassment.

And her article includes -- or maybe survivor of it. Her article includes
several of the specific attacks that she has received via social media.
They are so gruesome and so vulgar that I`m nothing going to read them
verbatim here. But they include threats of sexual assault and murder.

Amanda writes, "No matter how hard we attempt to ignore it, this type of
gender harassment and the sheer volume of it, a severe implication for
women status on the Internet, threats of rape, death, and stalking can
overpower our emotional bandwidth, take up our time and cost us money
through legal fees, online protection services and missed wages.

Joining me today is Amanda Hess, contributor to "Pacific-Standard". Also
here, Anthea Butler, professor of religious studies and graduate chair of
religion at the University of Pennsylvania. Nancy Giles, contributor to
"CBS Sunday Morning." "Feministe" editor and "Guardian" columnist Gil
Filipovic. And from San Francisco, Elon James White, managing director and
host of "This Week in Blackness."

So happy to have you all here.


HARRIS-PERRY: So, I want to talk to you about this article and the
response you`ve been getting.

received my most recent sort of bouts this past summer and the threats were
obviously distressing. It was an anonymous person on Twitter threatening
to come to my house to rape me, to cut off my head.

On the one hand, that`s so completely ludicrous thing to say and that`s,
you know, probably not going to happen. But on the other hand, it`s so
confusing when you receive threats like that because people are telling
you, don`t worry about it, it`s just the Internet, it`s not going to
happen. Others are saying it`s your responsibility to track this person
down and to prosecute them. And some people are saying if it`s so bad then
why don`t you just quit Twitter.

And so, the threats are bad. What`s really confusing is how as person
you`re supposed to deal with them.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. You know, we were just talking about the gauntlet that
women have to walk in order to receive termination services for pregnancy.
And these are the gauntlets you have to walk on when you log onto the
Internet, right? And does feel to me, like we have to keep making claim
that what occurs online matters in the real world, like even if we were
trying to think of the segment, I keep think there just are going to be
people who feel like, turn it off. Don`t go over there, stop going over
there in virtual world because that world does not matter.

Why does it matter?

JILL FILIPOVIC, EDITOR, FEMINISTE: Well, I think the big disconnect is
exactly what you`re say and what Amanda`s piece highlighted, is that there
is a sense, I think especially among law enforcement and U.S. laws, that
what happens on the Internet is some sort of virtual reality, or as
increasingly, we live our lives online. We see photos of our friends`
babies on Facebook.

We interact on Twitter. I initially met Amanda online --


FILIPOVIC: -- through Feministe blogging. You know, I followed you on
Twitter before I ever met you on your show or meet you. So, we
increasingly network online. My career is writing online. I don`t write
for a newspaper. I write for a blog and for the "Guardians" Web site. You
can`t tell us to just get off the Internet.

And when you have people coming into your online spaces, coming at you in
Twitter and comments on your blogs, essentially telling you, you deserve to
be sexually assaulted or even killed for what you`re saying, that`s just as
intimidating as, you know, walking through a hallway at work and having
somebody hiss at you through a doorway that you should be raped or killed.

I think that`s what people don`t necessarily fully appreciate about the
lives that women live and what we receive online in terms of harassment.

HARRIS-PERRY: Jill, your point is about us knowing one another initially
virtually. It`s also true with my friendship with Elon.

I mean, Elon, you and I became actual sort of friends, colleagues,
following one another`s work all in the virtual world before actually
getting to know one another, and, you know, I was saying that part of my
life is over. It so ugly in that world now that I just can`t engage in the
ways that I initially engaged in social media that, in fact, led to
valuable, you know, professional relationships because it is so ugly there.

Talk to me a little bit about how then you can begin to navigate something
that is that ugly.

ELON JAMES WHITE, THIS WEEK IN BLACKNESS: I`m not exactly sure, especially
with how women are spoken to. Even when they say, the whole thing about,
oh, just don`t be there, it`s like that`s -- it`s a terrible idea because
like for me personally, my entire career right now is based on the social
media platforms that I`ve been using, that I use for my company, for the
relationships I use. So, basically you`re telling women you`re not allowed
to have that opportunity.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right, exactly.

WHITE: And it`s unfair and it`s unreasonable. And when people say that,
it`s literally just ignoring the reality of the world that we`re currently
living in. And so, to actually try to navigate those things, a lot of
people do things for their own mental health, like blocking people in a
heartbeat. Just like, no, that`s just -- that`s not sometimes enough
because if you go to an environment and you just know when you go into that
environment, you`re going to be abused, whether it`s, quote/unquote, "fake
or not fake," it`s still abuse and you don`t want to do it.

Heck, these days, I don`t want to log onto Twitter, let alone if someone
was threatening to rape me.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, yes, absolutely.

Anthea, you have -- you have tweeted pretty honestly and openly about how
these cyber bullies jump off the page, jump off, jump off the 140
characters of Facebook or the blog comments and show up in your real life,
that it is part of the active attempt to destroy people`s credibility,
their capacity to have jobs, that these have very real consequences.

BUTLER: Yes, they do. I can say to you that and you know this and a lot
of other academics know this, that once you say something that somebody
doesn`t like, they start calling them off. They call your provost`s
office, they call your dean`s office. We want to get them off, you want to
shut them up, we want to do all kinds of things.

But what they don`t seem to understand is that we are real life people. If
they walk up to me and wanted to say this to my face, I`m like, come on,
because basically, I`m like, I dare you. Because I bet you won`t say it to
my face first of all, and second of all, the Penn University police will
not let you get that close to me, OK? So, that`s part of it.

But the other part of it is that sometimes, this is very coordinated and I
think one of the things we have to talk about are how other bloggers, other
twitters, other people who are active in social media actually attack other
people and there are sites and we all know this one by somebody who just
got sold to Salem Communications and everybody knows who that is, who`d
send people to come and attack you, when they don`t like what they do.

So, these are coordinated attacks. These are not just the random guys sit
around his boxer shorts saying "I hate this woman." But they are also
coordinate. They are paid for. They are people who say let`s go do this
to this person because we want to take them down.

And so, what I want people to understand, especially Twitter to understand,
is that this service that was so great two or three years ago is now a
cesspool of crap, and it`s so hard to use it the way we used to be able to
use it, to talk and reduce it.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right, right. So, I do want -- I do want to be careful that
-- this isn`t exclusively a Twitter issue.


HARRIS-PERRY: And that part of -- I think as we come back, we`ll talk a
little bit about solutions in part because, again, I met Jill on Twitter, I
met Elon on Twitter.

And not only that, but in a world where there is so much information, I use
the signaling effort. I want to follow people I disagree with, I want to
follow people I agree with, because it`s valuable to me to get that
information. So, when I get back, we`ll talk a little bit about the
solutions look like and whether or not we can redeem the value, right, all
the positive values in this context.


HARRIS-PERRY: We`re back to talk about the "Pacific Standard" article, why
women are not welcome on the Internet and sort of all the questions about
online harassment, that it raises.

Nancy, I want to get you in here.

GILES: Well, you know, it`s so funny. I mean, among other things, I`m a
woman, I love being a woman. It`s hard being a woman. It`s just hard, all

And CBS pays me because they value my opinions, which is lovely. And you
have me on for the same reason. If your opinion isn`t something that
matches up with people, I`ll say men for the most part because I can`t
believe other women are saying the same kind of things back at us, the kind
of sexual violent imagery, the kind of violent attacking on how you look,
how you smell, these really vicious things that just are exponentially over
the top and beyond the pale, it`s fascinating.

As a woman, I wouldn`t say something like that to a man that I disagreed
with, but the vitriol, it`s just -- it`s astounding. It`s shocking.

HARRIS-PERRY: I found, when those moments happen and you`re suddenly being
attacked, sometimes it`s the one person who is obsessing over you and
you`re getting that. But sometimes it`s kind of broader sort of tidal
waves of it.

And I find it to be very triggering. Find the very sense of -- that what
we`re told to do is what rape survivors are often told do, which is don`t
say anything because if you say anything, right, if you push back, then you
are at risk for greater violence and you are at risk that the people you
care and love about will be violated as well. So, if people jump in your
defense, then they do will -- and so, you just feel like, oh, I`m going to
go at this corner and hide, and that is that emotion of assault and of

HESS: Yes. And that`s sort of the paradox of writing the story to begin
with. But one of these sort of important things I think to come out of
this, is that it should not be a problem that women are dealing with on
their own. That there are legal institutions and there are technology
companies that really sort of have a responsibility to make our communities
safe for women.

HARRIS-PERRY: Is this a Title 7 employment discrimination issue?

FILIPOVIC: I think it is. You know, the Internet is where many people
work. It`s where we socialize. And when women are so unwelcomed and so
harassed out of these spaces, it has a real impact on our livelihoods and
our lives.

I mean, you know, it is very comparable to not letting, having, not letting
someone have a seat at a diner, even thought it`s a private institution,
you know? Or not letting a woman into a workplace even though it might be
a private company.

These things, it is gender discrimination and it`s very, very harmful.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, Elon, help me through this for a second, because it
feels to me like one possibility are a set of new policies, regulations and
laws, but part one of what we love about the Internet is its relative
freedom. It`s a kind of libertarian space.

But I also worried about just turning the rules of that space back on
itself. So, like getting other kinds of gang violence online to mess with
the gang violence and it`s occurring like that also feels unproductive to
me. Are there ways to protect the liberty, protect, you know, questions of
levels of anonymity that we care about, but also somehow make this space
safer for people to engage?

WHITE: I believe so. And the fact is that the companies, the big tech
companies have to take into consideration what people need for their own
safety. Like, for example, with Google+, they weren`t allowing people to
have an account without have -- unless they put their real name not
acknowledging the fact that, you know what? Some people don`t want their
real names out there, because they don`t want those attacks to possibly
become real.

The tech companies have to actually start to look at how this is happening,
what`s happening, and try to implement certain types of solutions that can
actually allow for conversation because no one doesn`t want conversation,
because that`s the first thing people want. Just want to stop free speech.
Like no, everyone wants free speech but you know what? You`ve got to see
what`s being said. And we`re talking around women.

And especially, let`s be honest here around women of color. They get the
double dose of sexism and racism at the exact same time. So, they have to
take those things into consideration and not just completely shut
everything off, but constantly, constantly be looking for new and
interesting ways that can allow for the conversation to happen. But at the
same time, keep people safe.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. With just 15 seconds left here, Amanda. I do want to
point out, you made such a strong point that there is, that that anonymity
question, often women who make their lives in public space are not
anonymous online, are actual names and jobs and places and where we work
and often where we live, are available. But the folks who are doing the
stocking or the harassing are quite anonymous.

And it feels like there`s got to be something we can do to change that

HESS: Right. I mean, one of the problems is that, you know, the people
who are saying the Internet isn`t real, it`s very easy to say that if
you`re hiding in your basement, threatening people, it`s easy to say that
if you`re a police officer who doesn`t want to take a report. It`s a lot
harder to say that if you`re a woman just trying to do her job on the

So, it`s difficult to know how to approach that. On the one hand, you
know, police officers don`t have a lot of resources and information.
Technology companies have all the resources in the world, and I think the
problem that you`re seeing in both of those places is that they`re
extremely male-dominated.

You know, we look to tech companies to innovate, to sort of bring us things
that we never could have imagined and so I think we can ask them to bring
us solutions on this problem as well.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. To address this asymmetry with the resources and
intelligence and innovation that they have.

HESS: Right.

HARRIS-PERRY: Amanda Hess, Anthea Butler, Nancy Giles, Jill Filipovic, and
Elon James White -- who, of course, joined us virtually, just to prove the
point that virtual relationships exist.

Up next, we`re going make a happy moment at the end of this show. The 12-
year-old bow tie mogul making a difference in kids` lives. My foot soldier
joins me live, and you`re not going want to miss it.


HARRIS-PERRY: Skinny ties, white ties, Ascots bowties, silk knit ties,
whatever the type of tie, men`s neck wear is usually reserved for special
occasions and uniforms or the office. But our foot soldier this week is
designing bowties that aid his community and make formal wear fashionable
anywhere, even on the playground.

Twelve-year-old Mo Bridges launched his bowtie company, Mo`s Bows in 2011,
after his great grandmother, a seamstress for 60 years, taught him how to
sew. The sixth grader now uses his $80,000 company to sell one of a kind
bowties and change the lives of other children in his community.

For the past three years, Mo has had one bowtie a year called the Go Mo
Summer Camp Bowtie. Proceeds from the sale of that tie go to a scholarship
fund that sends Memphis kids to summer camp, where, as Mo says, they not
only get to have fun, they get to have a meal.

This week, Mo is launching the 2014 Go Mo scholarship bowtie.

Joining me now from Memphis, Tennessee, is the 12-year-old CEO of Mo`s
Bows, Mo Bridges, and with him is his mother, and his words, monager,
Tramica Morris (ph).

So, nice to have you with us.

TRAMICA BRIDGES, MO`S MOTHER: Hello. Thank you for having us.


HARRIS-PERRY: Hey, Mo. So tell me about the tie you`re wearing. Is that
this year`s Go Mo bowtie?

M. BRIDGES: Yes, it is this year`s go mo bowtie. And I want to wish you a
happy New Year and thank you for having me on your show.

HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, thank you. I appreciate the happy New Year.

Now, tell me, so, you started this business at 9 years old. What made you
decide to start a business?

M. BRIDGES: Well, I started business because I really like to dress up,
and I couldn`t find any other bowties I really liked. So, I reached out to
my grandmother and she showed me how to sew. After that, I wore my bow
ties. When I was out, people would just say, hey, I like that bowtie. And
that was the demand for my business.

HARRIS-PERRY: Ms. Morris, whenever I see young people who are doing
amazing things, almost always, there is an adult who actually listened to
them and supported them. So when you have a 9-year-old coming to you and
saying, first of all, I want to learn to sew, and I want to learn to sell -
- how do you make that decision that this isn`t just a kind of side item,
this is something to really support your child in?

T. BRIDGES: Well, actually, Melissa, the fact that Mo has always been --
when I allowed him to dress himself, he chose to wear a suit and tie. So,
on a Saturday going to the grocery store, I am in flip flops and a dress or
something. And Mo is in a complete suit.

So, I knew there was a sense of style and a sense of fashion early on. So
I was not surprised when he said, hey, I want to start a business, and I
want to sell ties. I thought that was just perfect for him.

HARRIS-PERRY: Now, Mo, starting a business is one thing. And having a
sense of fashion is one thing. But you also decided to start the summer
camp scholarship.

That`s something else. What made you want to give back?

M. BRIDGES: Well, you know, Melissa, I figure, why not help a kid?
Because kids are fun, and they`re cool. You just have to -- you have to be
generous because -- and I also like to give back to my community at the
same time.

HARRIS-PERRY: I love that. So what happens at that camp that is valuable?
Why do you think of camp as an important place for kids to go?

M. BRIDGES: Well, I figured that if I went there, then other kids will
like it, because I liked it. And, you know, it`s hot in Memphis and kids
just need to go swimming and they need to be a kid.

And it`s also -- it`s also the highest at child hunger in Memphis. And --
because kids need a meal, and they don`t have a meal in summer, so I
figured that if they go to summer camp, then they can have a meal.

HARRIS-PERRY: I love all of that.

One last thing I want to ask you. My grandmother was a seamstress. And my
mother is wonderful at sewing. There`s such important parts.

Tell me about your relationship with your great grandmother. How has she
inspired you?

M. BRIDGES: Well, my grandmother inspired me, because she -- she taught me
how to sew, and she like -- she was -- she -- everybody will come to her
and I used to grow up playing in her sewing room and I saw these really
cool fabrics. And so I asked her how to teach me how to sew and she did.

HARRIS-PERRY: Tramica Morris, I just want to thank you for being a mom who
has stood up behind that young man and made sure he could be his full self,
because he is pretty amazing.

T. BRIDGES: Thank you.

HARRIS-PERRY: And thank you to Mo Bridges for that fashion style, for that
sense of generosity and for that business acumen -- I can`t wait to see the
multimillionaire magnate you`re going to become and the good you`re going
to do in the world.

That`s our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. I`m going
to see you tomorrow morning, 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

CeCe McDonald will join us for her first television interview since she was
released from reason. Also, actress Laverne Cox of "Orange is a New
Block," who literally picked CeCe up from prison is going to be right here
in Nerdland. You`re not going to want to miss that.

But right now, it is time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT".

Hi, Alex.


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