UP with STEVE KORNACKI
August 10, 2014
Guest: Neera Tanden, Patrick Murphy, Chris Coons, Dana Milbank, Joe
Watkins, Erika Andiola, Richie Adubato, Lawrence Wilkerson, Michael
Skolnik, Rachel Unkovic, Sue Wicks, Richie Adubato, Kate Fagan, Selena
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC ANCHOR: Help is on the way, but is it enough?
Good Sunday morning to you. I`m Jonathan Capehart in for Steve Kornacki.
We have a lot to get to this morning including a shooting outside St. Louis
that`s caught my attention and the attention of many people across the
country. But we want to begin in Iraq where American fighter jets
conducted another round of air strikes against militant fighters. The U.S.
says those air strikes destroyed armored carriers and a truck that were
firing at members of the Yazidi sect. The military also airdrops more food
and water for Yazidi members trapped on Mount Sinjar.
And now the U.K. is helping with that humanitarian effort. It`s now
dropping supplies in northern Iraq. France is vowing to help with relief
efforts, too. Still ISIS is showing no signs of backing down. It released
this video showing off military equipment it seized. This is day three of
this latest U.S. involvement in Iraq. And it could be a while before it`s
over. Yesterday, before leaving for his vacation on Martha`s Vineyard, the
president reiterated his pledge not to send more ground troops into Iraq,
but said his strategy for defeating ISIS militants is long term.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: First, I don`t
think we`re going to solve this problem in weeks, if that`s what you mean.
I think this is going to take some time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: If sometime turns into months, the president will have to turn to
Congress for permission to pursue his strategy. You see, the war powers
act gives him 60 days to do whatever he thinks is necessary without
congressional approval. Late Friday the White House gave this official
notification to Congress telling lawmakers about the latest military
operation in Iraq. As for what Congress will do when those 60 days are up,
well, that`s where things can get a bit sticky.
See, let`s flashback to June. ISIS was gaining traction in Iraq.
President Obama used the War Powers Act to send 700 U.S. troops to Iraq in
order to protect the U.S. embassy and international airport in Baghdad and
facilities in Erbil. Also, these troops went in June to assess the
capabilities of the Iraqi forces. How did Congress respond? The House
passed an amendment to keep the president from using Pentagon funds to pay
for the military response. It later passed a resolution preventing the
president from deploying troops in a sustained military operation in Iraq
without congressional approval. So, what will happen when these next 60
days are up?
Joining me now to talk about all of that, Democratic Senator Chris Coons of
Delaware, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Neera Tanden,
president of the Center for American Progress, former congressman Patrick
Murphy and MSNBC contributor and the first veteran of the Iraq war to also
serve in Congress and MSNBC military analyst and Medal of Honor recipient
Retired Colonel Jack Jacobs. Senator Coons, let me start with you. As a
member of the Foreign Relations Committee, how much authority and autonomy
does President Obama have in order to deal with this latest crisis?
SEN. CHRIS COONS, (D) DELAWARE: Well, I do think the president is
appropriately acting under both his Article 2 powers in the Constitution to
protect American Personnel and the American facility in Erbil. And he is
acting to prevent an imminent genocide of the Yazidi people who are trapped
as you mentioned up on Mount Sinjar. And he did consult with Congress, he
has sent us appropriately under the War Powers Act notification that
American military assets have been deployed into Iraq. But I do think as
you said in the introduction that should this go on more than 60 days he
will need to consult with Congress and I`m hopeful that we will have an
appropriate, supportive bipartisan and deliberate discussion about what
sort of engagement we think is called for, not just to secure our
facilities in Baghdad and Erbil, but also to push back against ISIS, which
I think posed a very real security threat to Iraq, to Syria and to our
CAPEHART: Patrick, I want to play something President Obama said yesterday
before going to Martha`s Vineyard. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: There`s going to have to be an Iraqi solution that America and other
countries and allies support. And that can`t happen effectively until you
have a legitimate Iraqi government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Now, the administration in the past has signaled they`d like to
see a change in Iraq. You`ve been vocal, Patrick, about saying Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki should step down. What will it take for al-Maliki
to finally leave and who will take his place?
FMR. REP. PATRICK MURPHY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: First, it`s up to the Iraqi
people. It`s not our decision. It has to become from them. But who takes
his place, needs to be a moderate, probably, frankly, Shia leader because
they are the majority of the population, but someone who wants to lead in a
secular manners, someone who isn`t going to just be the leader of the Shia.
They are going to make sure they reach out to the Sunnis and the Kurds up
north. And Jonathan, that`s not happening right now. And it`s not our
faults it`s not happening. It`s their fault. And that`s why the Iraqi
people need to step up. That`s another reason, by the way, when you look
at the military solution in Iraq, the Iraqi army has disbanded. Because
they don`t have confidence in Maliki because he was shunned the Sunni, and
that Sunni that have been in Iraqi army have pretty much left.
CAPEHART: Senator, before I go to Colonel Jack, senator your reaction to
what Patrick said and your views on Nouri al-Maliki.
COONS: I agree that there`s not a military strategy here without a
political solution. The long-term strategy the president`s articulated for
Iraq beyond these short-term measures is to insist on a political solution.
And I`m very hopeful that the Iraqis will take action to replace Maliki
with a prime minister more likely someone of his same background, but
hopefully someone who is more inclusive, who is more willing to govern, as
we had hopes Maliki would three years ago in an inclusive way that allows
the Sunnis and the Kurds to see that they have a future in a joint
government going forward. Without that political solution, I think it will
be very difficult for the Iraqi security forces to be successful in the
battlefield against ISIS.
CAPEHART: Colonel Jacobs, the president was cautioning the American people
yesterday that this could -- that this operation could last a while, could
take a little while. And there`s some Democrats who are very concerned
about mission creep, that this is the beginning of something even larger to
come. Do you think that this is a legitimate concern right now?
COL. JACK JACOBS, MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: Probably not right now. We
have to first determine what is this we`re trying to accomplish there. I
think if the concern is that we`re going to use an increasing number of air
strikes, no need to worry about that. But that doesn`t get us more
involved in what`s going on there. These weapons are being fired from a
great distance. It doesn`t necessarily put our aircraft at risk. We can
use surface or submarine launch cruise missiles at selected targets. But
there hasn`t been much engagement so far. Knocked out a (INAUDIBLE), a
mortar position convoy, a couple of other sites and so on. It`s not like
we`re really -- decisively engaged here. I don`t - one thing we have to
keep in mind, is that when the president says no ground troops, he means no
conventional ground troops. I think we would be remiss if we didn`t
already have Special Operations forces on the ground. And if one of the
objectives is to try to assist the Kurds from coming off the mountain, for
example, that`s not going to be accomplished by themselves. They`re going
to need assistance.
But we`re not sending the Second Armored Division or something to Iraq and
we shouldn`t be concerned about having to do that.
CAPEHART: Patrick, real quickly. On the U.N. .
MURPHY: Colonel Jack is absolutely right. The humanitarian aid effort is
different than the military effort. And the reason why Barack Obama is
acting so quickly is because we have a clear and present danger to the
military folks that are on the ground in Erbil and our State Department
assets in that consulate. And that`s why we have to defend them, just like
Benghazi. He doesn`t want these Republicans busting his chops because he
didn`t protect these people.
CAPEHART: So, Neera, let me bring you into this conversation and ask you
the question about the concern among Democrats and certainly among a lot of
the American people about the possibility of mission creep.
NEERA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Yeah, look, I completely
appreciate that given how badly the recent war went in Iraq, and the
American people have made a judgment about that war and that it was a
failure, the concerns. But I think very clearly here, this is a very
different operation. This is very limited and it is to protect American
interests. Obviously, our people in Erbil, but also the idea that the
United States would not respond to a potential genocide of ISIS, an extreme
terrorist group, out there to destroy a religious minority, a helpless
religious minority trapped on a mountain when we can so -- when we can do
so. I think as progressives we actually should, you know, we should
applaud that kind of action. I mean eventually we didn`t act in Rwanda and
that was a terrible crisis. And here is an area where we can act, we can
act decisively, we`re not using ground troops, and I think we should be
able to distinguish in our foreign policy between a blender like the Iraq
war and protecting particular people and American interests in Erbil.
CAPEHART: I`m going to go around the table and have you all answer this one
question. And that is, what do you see as the end game here. Colonel
Jack, I`ll start with you.
JACOBS: Well, that`s part of the problem here, is that we can`t determine
what the end game, what the objective is. Ideally, there`s a reasonable
government in Baghdad and the Iraqi army and Peshmerga can all control the
area and keep the bad guys away. But that`s not going to happen overnight.
And I think what the - both the administration and other decision makers
are doing now is trying to focus on the short and intermediate term
objective, which is to prevent Erbil from falling and to do what we can for
the people who are on the mountain. Other than that -- beyond that, I
don`t think we`ve thought.
MURPHY: ISIS was diverted a few months ago away from Baghdad. They`re now
marching toward Erbil.
MURPHY: We can stop them from that through these artillery strikes, through
these F/A-18 strikes. Until the Iraqi army steps up, they`re no much right
now to ISIS. ISIS is to the right of al Qaeda, they`re dangerous. The
endgame is a political solution. It`s going to take months, as the
TANDEN: Look, I think that end game ultimately has to be a stop of ISIS.
And I think everyone is right here, and, you know, an end to the threat to
the governments, you know, honestly, both - across the region, you know. I
also worry about Jordan, but obviously in Iraq. And the way to do that is
to stop the ISIS from being able to recruit fighters, which is why the
instability is so vital to end and why we need a political solution.
CAPEHART: Senator Coons?
COONS: I agree. Where we`re trying to get in the longer term is to contain
and ultimately eliminate ISIS, but that`s going to take significant
engagement in Syria and Iraq. It`s going to require a political solution
in Iraq. I spoke to General Petraeus yesterday about the conditions in
Iraq and said to him what I hear from my constituents in Delaware is that
we don`t want to send one more young American to die in Iraq. He agreed
that there`s really only a political solution here that reengaging with the
Sunni tribes, reengaging with the curds, with a new inclusive government in
Baghdad through a political solution that we hope will be achieved here
soon is the best next step.
The short-term goal of preventing genocide of the Kurds, Christians and
Yazidis whom ISIS has been terrorizing and murdering is an admirable goal,
is an appropriate goal. But our longer-term strategy, Jonathan, really is
going to involve a political solution in Iraq and strengthening our support
for the moderate opposition in Syria and strengthening our support for our
regional allies in Jordan and in Turkey and making that sure over the next
months and maybe years we succeed in containing and ultimately removing
ISIS from the battlefield.
CAPEHART: Thank you to all my guests, Senator Chris Coons who will be back
in the next block. Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress, MSNBC
contributor former congressman Patrick Murphy and MSNBC military analyst
Colonel Jack Jacobs. Thank you everyone.
Coming up next, some very good news from Africa.
CAPEHART: Take a look at SleepOut.com. The tech startup connects travelers
and local hosts. It`s like Airbnb but it was started two years ago in
Kenya. It operates in more than 30 countries across Africa and the Middle
East and works from a mobile phone. It`s an internationally recognized
startup outside of Silicon Valley that`s received $235,000 in seed funding.
This is not the typical way Americans typically think of Africa. For years
Americans have had an overly simplistic and overly pessimistic
understanding of the African continent. It can be summed up with the three
D`s: disease, drought and death.
But Africa is home to a burgeoning middle class, a third of the population,
totaling more than 300 million people. That rivals the growing middle
classes in both China and India, according to a new study by the African
Development Bank group. So, the historic summit in Washington this week,
the largest gathering ever of African leaders in the U.S. aimed to cast
Africa in a new light to give Americans a real understanding about the
opportunities in a diverse set of countries with a growing middle class, to
foster deals between American companies and African leaders and announce an
additional $37 billion of public and private investments in Africa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: This summit reflects the reality that even as Africa continues to
face great challenges, we`re also seeing the emergence of a new, more
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: This is something China has seen, and acted on for years now.
Delaware Senator Chris Coons who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations
Subcommittee on African Affairs points out in a recent op-ed that China
surpassed the U.S. as Africa`s largest trading partner five years ago. He
writes, quote, the Chinese have seen plainly what many U.S. businesses have
not, that six of the world`s ten fastest growing economies over the past
decade were in sub-Saharan Africa.
Since 2000, Chinese exports to Africa have outpaced American exports at a
ratio of three to one. And back here to discuss this week`s summit and
U.S. investment in Africa is Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware.
Senator, thanks for being here, coming back. So, I have to ask you, why is
China beating us out when it comes to trade with Africa?
COONS: Well, China has been relentlessly focused on the continent of the
greatest opportunity in this century. They`ve put dozens and dozens of
foreign commercial service officers all over the continent. We have just a
handful. Anecdotally, I`ve heard that they have more foreign commercial
service officers promoting Chinese business, connecting Chinese companies
to the opportunities at the African continent, located in just Nairobi
alone than we have on the entire continent of 54 countries. Secretary
Penny Pritzker, the new Secretary of Commerce has really been addressing
this issue. She`s recently led a successful trade mission, she`s stepped
up and increased the number of our foreign commercial service workers.
That`s one first step that we needed to take.
Second, we needed to engage on energy as Secretary Moniz has, with another
recent successful energy ministry Elenados (ph). But then, last, we needed
to bring to the table the central focus that the president was able to
bring with this summit. The Chinese have hosted summits like the one just
concluded here in Washington for a decade now. So, it`s long overdue. But
I think this African leader summit was a terrific success. As you
mentioned in the introduction, tens of billions of dollars of new
transactions were announced. New relationships were forged and a new
positive focus on the very real economic opportunities on the continent of
Africa was brought to the people of the United States.
CAPEHART: When I interrupted you there while you were answering, I was
going to say ten years ago, 2002, I visited Kenya and Nairobi. And even
then the Americans I met there were talking about the Chinese and what they
were doing, not only in Kenya but across the continent of Africa.
I want to bring up Wal-Mart. The CEO of Wal-Mart was one of the attendees
at the U.S. African Business Forum on Tuesday. And he said he`s excited
about Africa. Now, you and I know Wal-Mart doesn`t have the best record in
labor standards, to say the least. So, how are we going to ensure that
U.S. investment in Africa is responsible to workers and communities, not
COONS: That`s a great question, Jonathan. One of the key differences
between how American companies have operated and will operate in Africa and
how our Chinese competitors have operated and will operate, I believe, in
China, is our values. When the United States comes to the table and has a
conversation, whether it`s through our embassy supporting the export sales
of GE locomotives or power turbines or whether it`s through export of U.S.
poultry or an expansion of Wal-Mart on the continent, we also bring with us
American values in terms of transparency and fighting corruption, in terms
of promoting democracy and an open press, and in terms of other critical
civil liberties and civil rights that the United States makes an issue of
in the midst of our increased engagement with the continent. One of the
real challenges we face is that for those heads of state, for those African
countries that choose not to embrace our view of democracy and of human
rights, they now have with China a ready partner who`s willing to give them
investment opportunities, but ask no difficult questions about tolerance,
about the open media or about democracy. We need to get in this game,
Jonathan. We need to be accessing the opportunities of the African
continent, not just for American workers and American companies, but also
because there is a real contest of ideas on the continent that I think has
the most economic progress in its future for this century.
CAPEHART: Senator, you`re from Delaware. So, what drove you to focus so
much attention in your efforts in Congress to Africa?
COONS: Well, I was blessed to be given the opportunity of being the chair
of the African Affairs Subcommittee when I came to the Senate four years
ago. But I also personally had a life-changing experience as an
undergraduate at the University of Nairobi. The families that I lived
with, the places I was able to travel to in Kenya, in Uganda and Tanzania
in the mid `80s were just life changing in terms of opening my eyes to the
enormous potential of Africa, to the warmth of the people, to the strength
of the traditions and to the opportunities there. And then time that I
later spent in 1987 in South Africa working for Bishop Tutu in the South
African Council of Churches, further strengthened my passion for the U.S.-
Africa engagement. In this particular summit I had the opportunity to
bring a number of Delaware company CEOs to the summit to have a chance to
meet with African heads of state and to then make the argument to the
people I work for, to the citizens of Delaware that this is an enormous
opportunity for us, both to import African produce through the port of
Wilmington and to export Delaware products from poultry to finished
products, to chemicals, to technology to the continent of Africa.
CAPEHART: Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, thanks so much for being with us
COONS: Thank you.
CAPEHART: Up next, we go live to Gaza, the very latest on the developing
peace talks there straight ahead.
CAPEHART: There`s renewed hope this morning that a new truce could take
hold in Gaza. There are reports that Palestinian negotiators have just
agreed to a new three-day truce. It`s not clear, though, if Israel will
agree to the ceasefire. Meanwhile, the violence continued overnight in
Gaza with at least 20 air strikes. Gaza officials say a 14-year-old boy
was among three people killed in those strikes. NBC News chief global
correspondent Bill Neely is live on the ground in Gaza.
BILL NEELY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jonathan, there are now several
reports coming out of Cairo that the Palestinian delegation made up [NO
SOUND] on the Palestinian Authority, have now accepted an Egyptian proposal
that there should be a new 72-hour ceasefire. Remember, the last one ran
out on Friday morning. And since then there have been many dozens of
deaths and dozens of air strikes from Israel and, indeed, many more rockets
fired by Palestinians. For the past few days, Egyptian intelligence chiefs
and they are the negotiators in Cairo, have been focusing almost entirely
on the Palestinian delegation trying to get them to agree -- to get Hamas
to agree to stop the rocket fire into Israel. The reason for that is that
the Israelis walked away from Cairo saying they simply weren`t prepared for
the bigger picture, in other words, to continue the peace talks under fire.
There would be no negotiations under fire.
Now, if these reports are true and the Palestinian delegation is about to
announce a new three-day cease-fire, then that certainly would be a
building block towards, first of all renewed talks and, secondly, a slim
chance of a longer lasting peace deal, but at the minute, no reaction,
obviously, in Israel to these reports. I would imagine that the Israelis
would be extremely skeptical. And in the words of a former U.S. president,
they would want to see deeds, not words. And if there is movement towards
a new ceasefire, no one has told the militants because just half an hour
ago there were two rockets fired over the Israeli town of Sderot, they were
obviously serious enough for the Iron Dome missile system to be used to
intercept them. But the possibility now that there may well be a new
ceasefire in the offing.
CAPEHART: Thank you as always to NBC`s Bill Neely. Stay safe, Bill.
After losing two presidential elections, Republicans need an autopsy of
their autopsy. We`ll discuss next.
CAPEHART: Last week began with an objective truth spoken by "National
Journal" political writer Ron Fournier. The moment came during a frank
exchange with Michael Needham who heads the Heritage Foundation`s political
arm, a funder of extremely conservative GOP candidates. They were
discussing the border bill, which the Republicans were revolting against.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON FOURNIER, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": The fastest growing voting bloc in this
country, thanks to Republican Party, hates them. This party, your party,
cannot be the party of the future beyond November if you`re seen as the
party of white people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Now, some people might disagree with that statement. Real clear
politics, Sean Trende has even argued that Republicans would win nationally
if they just did a better job at turning out white voters. But Fournier`s
statement is pretty much conventional wisdom among GOP leaders. You know,
the people who make decisions for the Republican Party. They ballyhooed
and then ignored GOP autopsy said pretty much the same thing, if the
Republican Party doesn`t broaden its reach to people of color, Hispanics in
particular, it is doomed as a national party.
But lately it seems the words Republican and consensus do not go together.
Case in point, Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks. On Monday, Laura Ingraham
asked Brooks to respond to Fournier`s comments about Republicans becoming
the party of white people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MO BROOKS, (R) ALABAMA: This is a part of the war on whites that`s
being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they`re
launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It`s a
part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in
2012 where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare,
all those kinds of things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Here we are, confronted once again with this surreal notion that
whites are under siege by everyone else. It`s a proposition that is worthy
of a thousand side eyes. Writing in "New York Magazine," Jonathan Chait
responded, "White racial victimization is a concept as old as racism
itself. White reactionaries in the 19 century imagined that abolishing
slavery would turn white people themselves into slaves. The concept of
white subjugation was transferred into such things as black suffrage, civil
rights and so on. The war on whites has raged continuously in the right
wing mind for more than two centuries. So, here we have a problem that`s
basically as old as our country, only now all the people who feel that way
belong to just one political party. To discuss this, we have my
"Washington Post" colleague columnist, Dana Milbank and the Reverend Joe
Watkins, a Republican strategist and a former White House aide to President
George H.W. Bush. And I want to begin by asking both of you a question.
And I want you to answer honestly, are you leading the war on whites, Dana?
DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: No. As a white Person I am besieged,
Jonathan. It`s getting very difficult to make my way about town. You
know, at first when I heard that Mo Brooks had made these remarks, I
wondered if they were perhaps some Mel Brooks remarks because it seems so
comical to me that people would feel so besieged at this point. Because
after all, what Ron Fournier and many others were pointing out is just a
matter of simple statistics. We are reaching a point in this country where
I think the census says 2043, where whites will no longer be the majority.
It doesn`t mean somebody else will be the majority. It just means we`re no
longer a white majority country. We`re very close to that now already.
And rather than seeing that as some sort of a threat to white people, why
not see it as a celebration of what America is and what it was supposed to
CAPEHART: Before I get your response to, are you leading the war on whites,
Dana, since you brought it up, you wrote something in your column that I
really liked, because it was beautifully stated. You wrote that "It was
the battle cry of the white man, particularly the Southern white man who`s
feeling besieged. I don`t share the fear, but I understand it. The United
States is experiencing a rapid decoupling of race and nationality.
Whiteness has less and less to do with being American." Elaborate a little
bit on that for us.
MILBANK: Well, whiteness was never about - supposed to be about being
American. But of course, when it was all about European immigrants, that`s
what this country was in a de facto sense, of course, except for those
slaves we brought over here. But now, of course, that pattern is
continuing except it`s coming from the rest of the world and people are
feeling threatened by that. But really the whole -- the idea of success in
this country is to recognize why does America work well. Well, it`s
because we take the best of cultures from around the world, and we don`t
only assimilate them and mix them into the population. We actually learn
the best aspects of those cultures and make them part of our own.
CAPEHART: Joe, your reaction?
JOE WATKINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Now, of course, I don`t think there`s a
war on whites. That doesn`t help the Republican Party. I mean there`s
always going to be a fight for votes and for voters. And Republicans have
to be engaged in that fight. And I think it`s absolutely right, I agree
with what the Chairman Reince Priebus said. If we don`t broaden our reach,
if the party doesn`t become a party that includes people that look like
America, brown people and black people and gay people and women and young
people and independents, we won`t be a majority party going forward. We`ve
got to broaden our reach, we`ve got to be a more diverse political party in
order to really be competitive, especially in the 2016 cycle.
CAPEHART: So, I`m going to stick with you here, Joe. Because in preparing
the GOP autopsy, the drafters of it talked to House - former House Majority
Leader Dick Armey and he had this great quote. "You can`t call someone
ugly and expect them to go to the prom with you. We`ve chased the Hispanic
voter out of his natural home." Now, Armey was a prominent Tea Party
member before he left Freedom Works, so he`s had his foot in both camps.
So, is it because people like Dick Armey aren`t running for re-election any
more that they are able to speak so freely like this?
WATKINS: No, I think that the speaking that you hear is born of the desire
to win. And in order for the party to be a bigger tent, it`s also got to
be a bigger tent philosophically. And it`s got to have a place for people
who may be fiscal conservatives, but social liberals or social moderates,
who have a wide variety of understandings on subject matter. So, the
Republicans really have to be a bigger tent, a broader philosophical tent
and certainly a broader tent ethnically and racially.
CAPEHART: So, Dana, Republicans are often saying that minority voters want
free stuff. But I want to show an ad that Senator Thad Cochran ran in an
African-American newspaper just days before this year`s primary election in
Mississippi. It says that he brought home more than $18 million in federal
funds to historically black colleges and universities. And it mentions his
support for the Farm Bill and food stamps. Cochran hung on in that
primary, as we all know, and ultimately won his runoff, largely thanks to
support from African-American voters. So, Dana and Joe, but Dana, I`ll
start with you, what`s the difference between free stuff and bringing home
the bacon? Because I don`t -- I really don`t see one.
MILBANK: I think there`s a difference depending on where the Person is
running for office. And the problem with Mo Brooks and a large number of
these House Republicans is they only care about white voters because they
only threat to them is in the primary where there are white voters. Not
black or brown, or yellow, or red. This s- they don`t need to worry about
the nation as a whole. So if you`re taking a Perspective now -- Thad
Cochran is actually just looking at his state and saying, OK, because we
have this open primary, I can bring some Democratic voters over to help me
through. That was sort of a one-off case. But if you`re looking at a
nationwide election, you can`t just appeal to white voters anymore. You`re
not going to prevail.
WATKINS: Well, you have to speak to me if you want my vote. You have got
to talk to me and my community for my vote. And by the way, all black
people aren`t poor. You know, we aren`t the largest -- I mean when you
talk about food stamps, that`s supposed to be black people. That`s not
true. There are more white people on food stamps than black people. But
nonetheless, if you want my vote, you have got to talk to me in my
community, you have got to talk to the things that I care about, that
matter to me. And certainly, if I`m looking to get ahead, if I`m looking
to see a more level playing field, then talk to me about college, talk to
me about employment, talk to me about the chance to own a business and to
build some wealth that I can pass on to my family generationally. Talk to
me about the things that I really care about. And then you`ll have a
chance to get in my ear and maybe get my vote.
CAPEHART: Joe, real fast. Is there anybody in the Republican Party to tell
folks like Congressman Brooks to cut it out?
WATKINS: Well, you have got lots of people that are -- even people who
interviewed him said, you know, perhaps you`ve gone a little bit too far.
I mean -- Laura Ingraham.
CAPEHART: That was Laura Ingraham. When you have Laura Ingraham calling
you out, you know you`ve crossed the line.
I want to thank my guests, GOP strategist Joe Watkins and Dana Milbank with
"The Washington Post," thanks for being here. I like the beard, by the
way. Thank you both for getting up this morning. My Personal thoughts on
the deadly shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, next.
CAPEHART: As you know, I have serious issues with the concept of war on
whites. The very idea, this notion that whites are under siege,
particularly by black and brown takers, as I have written and said, is
worthy of a thousand side eyes. But today the concept feels especially
offensive. Ferguson is a suburb outside St. Louis where yesterday
afternoon police shot and killed Michael Brown. We know very little about
what happened. But a woman who says she saw the interaction described the
scene to the post-dispatch. She says she saw police try to put the unarmed
black teenager into a squad car. She told the paper that she saw Brown
trying to run away with his hands in the air before shots rang out.
Earlier reports said that Michael and a friend were walking in the middle
of the street of the apartment complex where they lived. That`s all we
know so far. An investigation into what happened is already under way.
Let me say that there`s a lot we still don`t know, and perhaps a reasonable
explanation for the shooting may emerge from the investigation. But this
is how it feels to me given the news this week.
This came days after John Crawford, a father of two ventured over to the
toy department of a Wal-Mart in Beaver Creek, Ohio. There he reportedly
picked up a toy gun and walked with it while talking on the phone with
LeeCee Johnson, the mother of his children. According to the Dayton Daily
News, two other shoppers became alarmed and called police. Johnson told
the paper she heard Crawford say "It`s not real before he was shot and
killed by police. That case is now being investigated. And this comes one
year and one month after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the second
degree murder of Trayvon Martin. The neighborhood watch volunteer thought
the unarmed black teen was a "real suspicious guy" as he told Sanford,
When I first wrote about the killing of Trayvon Martin, I wrote about the
lessons my mother taught me growing up, how I shouldn`t run in public and
most definitely not do so with anything in my hands. I was also taught to
never, ever leave home without identification, not only in case something
happens like an accident, but also in case I`m stopped by police for any
reason. To this day, whether I`m going on a run or just running to get
something out of my car, I never step out of my home without my driver`s
license, insurance card and my "Washington Post" business card with my
partner`s cell phone number written on it. See, when you`re black and
especially male in America, you have to go to these seemingly overboard
extra lengths in the off chance they might save your life.
But none of those things would have helped me if I were in the shoes of
Michael Brown, or John Crawford or Trayvon Martin. We don`t know if
Michael Brown was asked for I.D. yet. But we know that the last two of
them weren`t. Perhaps their assailants apparently saw all they needed to
know. What frightens me more than anything in the world is that the
chances are very high that one day I might be in their shoes and meet their
tragic end. The so-called victims of the non-existent war on whites have
absolutely no idea what living under that kind of siege that kind of very
real threat is like.
Joining me at the table is Michael Skolnik, editor in chief for "Global
Grind" and political director for hip-hop producer and activist Russell
Simmons. Michael, yesterday on Twitter the conversation that was happening
-- and there was one Person in particular who sent out this very simple
tweet and she just said I can`t bear to remember another name.
MICHAEL SKOLNIK, GLOBAL GRIND: You know, we are at these junctures where we
had a guilty verdict just this week in the killing of Renisha McBride, the
young woman, the unarmed young woman in Michigan. And we talked about
after the fact these young people of color are killed then our lives
matter. When will young people of color`s lives matter when they are
alive? The police shot an unarmed teenager in broad daylight yesterday in
Ferguson, Missouri. Their job is to protect and serve the community. No
longer are they serving the community. They`re simply waging a war against
young people of color, and we`re seeing the tragedies day after day of
death, not just of arrest, but of death.
CAPEHART: Michael, one thing we do have to point out here. In the case of
what`s happening in Ferguson, there`s an investigation under way. We still
don`t know all of the details. But just broadly speaking, and generally
speaking, just, you know, my -- I had a hard time going to sleep last
night, when you`re doing this job. You need to get to sleep. But, you
know, here, I`m sitting here thinking, here I am, someone who has never had
any kind of interaction with the police other than a speeding ticket. And
yet what happened in Ferguson, what happened to Renisha McBride in Detroit,
what happened to Trayvon Martin, hits me right here.
SKOLNIK: Well, you know, I was discussing with my girlfriend last time. We
have a 16-months old child, and my brother is married to a black woman, and
they have a three-year old child. And we were discussing how we don`t have
to have to talk with our son. My brother and his wife have to talk with
their son, and last night on Twitter people were talking about I have to
talk, I have to have a talk. Once again, here we are having a conversation
of what parents have to do to tell their children, as you just said, when
you leave -- as a grown man when you leave your house, as a white Person I
don`t have those problems. I have the privilege to walk down any street in
any city, in any town in this country and no police officer is going to
stop me and ask me for my identification.
This is happening far too often, it`s happening, in New York, it`s
happening in Missouri, it`s happening in Sanford, Florida. We as a nation
have to stand together, and all of us, and say this is not right. You`re
right. We don`t know all the details of what happened. But we do know
that a young 17-year-old - 18-year old young man was killed and he was
unarmed. That we know, and was shot -- at least, the mother says eight
times. Media reports saying ten times. He was shot at least eight times
and sat on the road for four hours before the body was removed yesterday.
CAPEHART: You know, those reports also say, yeah, broad daylight, many,
many witnesses. Apparently one report I read said his mother had taken
photographs and the police requested that she hand over those photographs
and she did. Maybe we`ll get to see some of those photographs maybe from
her or from other folks. Michael Skolnik, thank you very much for coming
in this morning.
Up next, why we`re there and what will we -- what -- you know what? We`ll
be right back. We are going to be talking about Iraq.
CAPEHART: You`re looking at video shot by a Kurdish news organization of
the Sinjar Mountains in Iraq. Tens of thousands of Yazidi refugees have
been living a life there most of us can`t even imagine. Kurdish forces and
human rights organizations carried food, water and medical supplies to
those in need after those refugees were forced to flee from Islamic
militants running them from their homes. We learned this week about the
Yazidis, the small religious sect who have become the focal point of our
growing engagement and return to Iraq. They are men, women and children
desperately hoping for help from anyone. But it`s already too late for
some. According to UNICEF, scores of Yazidis have already died of
dehydration just this week, and many more risk a similar fate. President
Obama, as we know, has ordered food and supplies to continue going to the
Yazidis, and yesterday he stressed that it`s going to take more than just
the U.S. to aid this humanitarian crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I spoke with Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom and
President Hollande of France. I`m pleased that both leaders express their
strong support for our actions and have agreed to join us in providing
humanitarian assistance to Iraqi civilians who are suffering so much. Once
again, America is proud to act alongside our closest friends and allies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: And overnight we learned that this has started, a British
military plane made its first drop of humanitarian aid in northern Iraq.
But will it be enough? The International Rescue Committee is a human
rights group working with the global community to help those Yazidis dying
on Mount Sinjar in Iraq. Rachel Unkovic is an emergency team coordinator
with IRC and joins us now from Erbil. Rachel, thanks for coming on this
morning. Hearing from the president yesterday and earlier this week, are
you happy with the global response so far?
RACHEL UNKOVIC, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE CMTE.: As you said, the situation is
really quite horrific. It took a real downward turn over the course of the
last week. Approximately 200,000 people that we know of have fled and at
least 50,000 of those people fled into the mountains. The people who fled
into the mountains, mainly Yazidis, are the ones who didn`t have
transportation to flee into a safer city. And they were quickly trapped
there. Air drops are always a last resort. What`s most important is that
these people are able to get off the mountain, these men, women and
children are able to get to safety. But as we continue hearing reports of
people dying of dehydration, without food, without medical services.
CAPEHART: Rachel, has your .
UNKOVIC: it is important that this response is beginning.
CAPEHART: Rachel, has your group been able to get any resources to the
UNKOVIC: We are able to greet the families who have managed to escape from
the mountains. We have managed to meet approximately 9,000 people who have
fled -- managed to escape from the mountains and in to Syria. And I think
that it`s really a mark of their desperation that they`re fleeing into
Syria. We are finding them as soon as they get to Syria with major serious
dehydration, heat stroke. The vast majority is women and children. About
50 percent of the people we`ve met in Syria, the Yazidis are less than 17
CAPEHART: Rachel, Rachel Unkovic with the International Rescue Committee
talking to us from Erbil in Iraq, thank you very much for being on with us.
Much more ahead on the overnight developments in Iraq, plus we`ll talk with
a man who can help explain what the whole pottery barn rule is. And did
you see the video where Rand Paul walked away from his hamburger? We`ll
talk to the person who may have made that happen coming up.
CAPEHART: Welcome back. I`m Jonathan Capehart in for Steve this morning.
We`ve just learned some disturbing new details about ISIS militants` deadly
terror across Iraq. Iraqi officials say those militants killed hundreds of
Yazidis in northern Iraq. NBC News`s Keir Simmons is in Erbil, Iraq, with
KEIR SIMMONS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Jonathan, good morning. ISIS
fighters have been bearing down on this city. In part, that was the reason
the threat to Erbil was part of the reason that President Obama decided
that he had to act. But just this morning now from Iraq`s human rights
minister, blood curdling stories.
He is saying that 500 members of the Yazidi community have been killed.
He`s saying 300 women have been kidnapped, and there are even stories, he
says, of ISIS burying people alive. Little wonder that wherever ISIS goes,
civilians flee. Little wonder that there is a sense that this city which
is a modern city, has to be protected, that they have to be stopped. On
the outskirts of this city, Kurdish fighters are battling with ISIS who are
trying to control the roads to here. The question, of course, is whether
or not that battle and whether or not that combined with U.S. air strikes
helps to push back ISIS, and if it doesn`t, what does the west do then?
Back to you.
CAPEHART: Thank you to NBC`s Keir Simmons.
CAPEHART: There`s a phrase you`ll hear a lot these days when the discussion
of Iraq comes up, the pottery barn rule. The rule is pretty simple, you
break it, you buy it. We should point out it`s not really a rule at the
pottery barn, although it probably is a policy at many china shops. It`s
also a policy that, according to Bob Woodward, General Colin Powell warned
President George W. Bush about before invading Iraq. Woodward wrote in his
book "Plan of Attack," that Powell told the president, quote, "You`re going
to be the proud owner of 25 million people. You will own all their hopes,
aspirations and problems. You`ll own it all." Whatever you want to call
it, it`s a rule that could be haunting President Obama more than a decade
later. It still appears as if Iraq`s fate is in his hands. Joining me now
is Colin Powell`s former chief of staff, Retired Colonel Lawrence
Colonel, I understand you spoke to Secretary Powell about that famous quote
and his recollection of that conversation with President Bush. Give us
your interpretation of that conversation as it happened back then.
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I think the expression "if you
break it, you own it" characterizes at least one major part of Secretary
Powell`s advice to George W. Bush at that time. He never mentioned pottery
barn. That was Tom Friedman, I think in an op -d in "The New York Times."
And it isn`t, as you pointed out, pottery barn`s rule. It`s actually
against the law to be a rule for any retailer in America, if you will check
it closely. But what Powell meant by that, of course, was, if you invade,
you`re going to have to stay and you`re going to have to at least for a
time look after these 25, 26 million people. And that`s what we did,
obviously. And we didn`t do it very well. And that`s why we are where we
CAPEHART: Colonel, how much of what`s playing out right now in Iraq will be
blamed on President Obama and how much will be blamed on the Bush
WILKERSON: I think that`s difficult to say unless you`re saying -- are we
talking about the American people in terms of blame or we are talking about
historians and history. I think in the long run, historians and history
are going to lay most of the censure at the feet of the George W. Bush
administration for first doing what it did, invading Iraq in 2003 and in
second, botching the job so badly. But the American people tend to blame
the president in the office when the crisis occurs. So, I think the
immediate blame and censure if it occurs is going to be based on what
President Obama does, and we`re waiting to see what that is or will be
other than dropping a few bombs.
CAPEHART: Do you agree with the Obama administration`s decision to pull all
ground troops out of Iraq?
WILKERSON: I think that was a smart decision, not only because he was
fulfilling his pledge to the American people, for which the majority
elected him, but also because it`s untenable for American forces to be for
an extended period of time on the ground anywhere in Southwest Asia.
Believe me. I did this for 31 years in the United States military,
everything from planning to stop a Russian invasion through Iran after
their 1979 invasion of Afghanistan to the first Gulf War and beyond.
And it is dangerous for the United States to keep a body of troops on the
ground in this region of the world. The proper military strategy is to
remain offshore and to influence events with military force if and when,
and as a last resort, it`s necessary. Sort of what President Obama is
doing right now? The unfortunate thing is the circumstances he`s using
those forces in quite properly are very bad because of what the Bush
administration did to create those circumstances.
CAPEHART: Colonel, is there anything that the president isn`t doing that
you think he should be doing going forward?
WILKERSON: I think the most important thing he`s doing right now -- and
your images previously reminded me of this -- is what we did in 1991 after
the first Gulf War and operation provide comfort where we had to provide
quite a bit of humanitarian assistance and supplies to Kurds in some of
those very same mountains. That`s important. We don`t need these people
being killed by the Islamic state or anyone else for that matter. We need
the humanitarian assistance to get in there. We need the French, the
British and everyone who is concerned to do something.
I might point out that the same situation exists in Gaza today, and more
people have been killed in Gaza by Israeli strikes than have been killed so
far by the Islamic state in Iraq. So, I`d like to see the same kind of
humanitarian assistance and help going there. But President Obama has a
lot on his plate right now. And I think that`s the most important thing.
I wouldn`t believe half of what I`m hearing right now, about 3,000 people
here, 300 people there, the Peshmerga doing this, the Iraqis doing this,
Islamic state forces doing that. I`ve heard so much so far that is not
accurate, that I would be very careful about the reports and what I
believed and didn`t believe. Remember the propaganda of the first Gulf
War, for example.
CAPEHART: Right. Colonel Wilkerson, we had Hisham Melhem from Al Arabiya
on our show yesterday. Take a listen to what he said about Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HISHAM MELHEM, AL ARABIYA: The United States has a moral responsibility for
what is taking place today in northern Iraq. It was the American invasion
in 2003 that unleashed all these dark forces that created al Qaeda in the
Mesopotamia, which was the antecedent of ISIS. So, we have a moral
responsibility and only the United States can stop that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Colonel, your reaction?
WILKERSON: Well, I`d go back and say that I`d extend that moral
responsibility to when we were trading al Qaeda and al Qaeda like in
Afghanistan against the Soviets much earlier than that. But that said, and
moral responsibility is an important factor here, there are also national
interests and real politic that I would like to bring out, and that is that
the United States has no business becoming the balancer in the Persian Gulf
by placing massive U.S. forces on the ground in that region.
So, this has to be worked out with the preponderance of ground force
capability being rendered by the Iraqis, the Peshmerga and others. And let
me add something here. There`s going to be no stability and no peace in
Afghanistan and Lebanon and Syria and in Iraq, and possibly even Egypt and
no long term security for Israel, unless Iran is participating in it, the
most stable country of consequence in southwest Asia. So we need to have a
new relationship with Iran and it needs to be a more positive relationship.
CAPEHART: Well, that leads to my final question for you, simply what do you
think it will take to secure Iraq and defeat ISIS? Is it help from Iran?
WILKERSON: I think it`s going to take help from Iran. I think it`s going
to take all the religious groups in the region, Sunni, Shia, Christian, you
name it, working together to defeat these bloodthirsty terrorists and
working together in a way that politically and otherwise means there`s
tolerance on the part of the leaders of these people. Maliki, for example,
has created part of the problem in Iraq by being so intolerant of the
The Islamic state would not be nearly as powerful as it is right now
without very substantial Sunni support and very substantial Saudi money.
Saudi Arabia. So, we`ve got to have political leaders who include everyone
in the power structure, not just their religious group. So the group that
fights this Islamic state on the ground in Iraq and Syria and Lebanon and
elsewhere, has got to be a group whose political leaders are tolerant of
all the sects beneath it.
CAPEHART: Colonel Wilkerson, what more can the international community do?
WILKERSON: I think one of the aspects of the international community that
could be very positive is the 1.3, 1.4 billion Muslims in the world who
could be far more outspoken in condemning the policies, procedures,
techniques and the fighting method of the Islamic state and people like
them. I think their support and their rhetoric in terms of that support is
very important. In mosques all across the globe we need a consolidation of
those who are interested in peace, interested in trade and economic
prosperity and stability, and not interested in the kind of caliphate
forming forces that the Islamic state represents itself as being.
CAPEHART: Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin
Powell, thank you very much for getting up for the show this morning.
WILKERSON: Thanks for having me on, Jonathan.
CAPEHART: Up next, the star of this week`s biggest viral video.
CAPEHART: This week, a video of an encounter between two undocumented
immigrants and two members of Congress began making the rounds and quickly
went viral. 27-year-old Erika Andiola and fellow activist Cesar Vargas
approached Congressman Steve King and Senator Rand Paul at a campaign event
in Iowa this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIKA: Hi, my name is Erika, how are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we looking great crowd .
ERIKA: I`m Erika. I just have a question. I`m actually a DREAMer myself.
And actually originally from Mexico, but I`ve been raised here. I got
graduated from (INAUDIBLE) High School and Arizona State University. And I
know you want to get rid of DACA. I want to give you the opportunity, if
you really want to get rid of it, just reap mine. You can go ahead and do
REP. KING: (INAUDIBLE)
ERIKA: I just don`t understand why you -- to do that. And for you
(INAUDIBLE) against DREAMers .
KING: I say no, no. That`s -- Please, please, you are very good -- You`re
very good at English, you know what I`m saying.
ERIKA: I was raised here in the United States.
KING: Right. So you can understand the English language.
ERIKA: OK, what is this?
KING: I (INAUDIBLE) of drug smugglers. You are not -- one of that.
ERIKA: Do I look like a drug smuggler to you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: The incredible video went viral for both what was said by Steve
King and what wasn`t said by Rand Paul. Senator Paul did his best to avoid
the encounter altogether to the point that he actually left the table after
eating one big bite of his burger. But a cell phone camera caught him
showing him quickly getting up and walking out when Andiola identified
herself as a DREAMer. But just as the immigration reform advocates were
circulating this video, their powerful message about who DREAMers are and
the Republican opposition they face, the GOP was giving their base their
own message on immigration. Here`s a new ad from former Massachusetts
Senator Scott Brown who`s now running for Senate in New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT BROWN: Americans go through security before they get on a plane,
enter a government building or attend a ball game. But folks who come here
illegally, they just walk across the border. That`s wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: So, what else do we expect to see as we make our way through
Congress`s summer recess when activists both for and against immigration
reform can confront their members face-to-face? Joining me is the woman
who spoke with Congressman King, DREAMer Erika Andiola, co-director of the
Dream Action Coalition, Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American
Progress is back and here on Skype with me in New York, Raul Reyes, a
lawyer and columnist with "USA Today."
OK, so let`s take these things in turn. Erica, what`s your takeaway from
your conversation with Congressman King? What would you -- actually, what
would you have done if he`d ripped up your DACA card?
ERIKA ANDIOLA, DREAM ACTION COALITION: Yeah, well, you know, it`s a funny
story, because when we were there, I wasn`t really thinking about it too
much. I was just really upset because he had done a speech beforehand and
he talked about -- he talked, you know, various times about how proud he
was of the vote he had just led, about, you know, getting rid of DACA. So,
I was just really upset, and I said to myself and I told Cesar who was
there with me, you know, what will he do if I give him my card? You know,
will he rip it right now? But, you know, afterwards I thought about it,
and I went to Iowa and I flew actually with my DACA card because in Arizona
I can`t get a driver`s license. So, I would have probably been stuck in
Iowa for some time.
CAPEHART: Erika, what did you make of Senator Rand Paul taking that very
quick exit after you introduced yourself as a DREAMer?
ANDIOLA: Well, you know, I think that it`s - for senator -- for the
senators right now it`s very important for him to understand that if he
wants to run for president, he`s going to have to face the issue. And just
the fact that he left, he didn`t want to talk to us, you know, just kind of
shows that he`s afraid right now talking about the issue. And to me, you
know, it`s not only that, but just the fact that he was there with Steve
King just really shows that -- I don`t know he really understands, you
know, that being with King on his presidential campaign, if he does decide,
you know, I think he`s going to run, it`s not really going to help him.
And I hope that he learned that from Romney that Latinos do care about
immigration. And, you know, Steve King is right now not the best advocate
for him to be, you know, campaigning with.
CAPEHART: Real quick, were you -- were you scared when he grabbed you --
when Congressman King grabbed your hand?
ANDIOLA: I honestly didn`t know what to do. I didn`t want to be, you know,
rude. I`m usually very soft spoken. I was trying to be as eloquent as
possible with him. But when he grabbed my hand, I just - I really didn`t
know how to react: but, you know, I kind of went with just talking to him
instead of, you know, doing any other -- I don`t know. I really didn`t
know what to do, but if he didn`t grab me and held my hand very tightly. I
think he wanted me to stop talking. But I mean you saw the rest on the
CAPEHART: Yeah, incredible video. Raul, Neera, I`m going to bring you into
this conversation and to ask each of you for your takeaway from the
exchange we all saw in Iowa. Raul, let me start with you.
RAUL REYES, USA TODAY: Well, I think it sums up two responses that we`re
seeing in the GOP on immigration. One, Rand Paul, is just to run away.
And the other, on Steve King, you know, he referenced -- he kept bringing
up the fact that Erica speaks English well. He mentioned, you know, that
she needs to stop being illegal and breaking the laws of this country and
then he physically grabbed on to her. I mean that sums up a lot of the
ugliness and the rhetoric. But I think what both these politicians -- they
are underestimating the movement of the DREAMers. Because there has been a
real shift. And back in 2010, a lot of the immigrants` rights movement, it
was reacting to laws like Arizona`s SB 1070 and different laws around the
country. Now these young people, they are driving the conversation. It`s
because of them that we have DACA, It`s because of them that 11 states
allow the undocumented people to get licenses. 20 states allow in-state
tuition for undocumented people. So, they are really pushing this
movement, even at the White House, at the highest level. So, increasingly
it`s going to be harder and harder for these candidates and congressmen to
TANDEN: Look, I actually thought it was amazing. The most amazing thing is
that Rand Paul who claims to want to reach out to new groups and bring them
into the GOP would even appear with Steve King who has said so many
terrible things about immigrants, undocumented immigrants, children. And I
think what we`ve learned in this summer is that there`s really two
Republican parties that are at a direct -- in a direct conflict. I mean
there`s the elites who talk about the need to expand their base and reach
out to Latinos. But you see with this border crisis, the first instinct of
the Republican Party is to attack immigrants. I mean this is the border
crisis is really about children crossing the border to avoid death in many
instances. And the first instinct -- you see it in a case like Scott Brown
who sells himself as a moderate, his first instinct is to use this for
politics to attack his opponent. So, I think you really see where the gut
is of the Republican Party, which is to be frankly anti-immigrant. And the
idea that they`re going to solve this problem in the next few years when
their instincts immediately are to demonize immigrants seems to me far-
CAPEHART: Erika, Congressman King released this statement to the Sioux City
Journal. He said that the incident, quote, "Perfectly illustrates the
leftist model of attack, personalized, polarized, distort facts, ambush and
pray on people`s emotions." What`s your response to that?
ANDIOLA: Yeah, you know, I think that for us it`s not about the politics.
I can tell you that. You know, I have a very personal, you know,
motivation to do this, and, you know, my family is still completely
undocumented. My mom was literally taken into ICE just last year. My
house was raided by ICE. And, you know, my mom can literally be deported
by this December because she has to go back and check in with immigration.
So, it`s a very personal issue to me. And of course, you know, he`s going
to put out there that this is more of a political, because I`m a left
winger, whatever he wants to call it, or an illegal alien, you know. We`ve
heard enough from King, you know, on insults.
But I think right now, it`s just really more to me the reason why we did
this was to just really show that we`re going to defend DACA, we are going
to defend the production, and, you know, especially from Steve King. But
also, you know, just to give more courage and encouragement to President
Obama to also make sure that he also acts on his own. Right now he does
have the authority to be able to fix immigration without, you know,
Congress, because Congress hasn`t done much.
But, you know, he could possibly extend something like DACA to people like
my parents or like my mom and my older siblings. And, you know, I really
wanted for us to really show that courage that DREAMers have, but also for
Obama to take also more courage than us and be able to ignore what the GOP
is saying right now, ignore all of what they`re really all about and do
something for the Latino community to be able to get Latinos to get
motivated to vote this November.
CAPEHART: We`ll soon see what the president does. Raul, I know you wanted
to jump in here. But we`ll take a quick break. When we come back, what
Congress can continue to expect from the immigration plight on their summer
recess this month.
CAPEHART: We`re back talking about immigration. Raul Reyes, you wanted to
jump in before we went to break.
REYES: Well, when you asked Erika about Steve King`s response to her
approaching him and he talked -- he referenced her being polarizing and
playing to the emotions and distorting facts, that`s supreme irony.
Because that`s all Steve King has done particularly on the issue of illegal
immigration and the undocumented population. For it`s so for him to
project that on to Erika, I was really astonished at those comments.
CAPEHART: Neera, Congress is back in their districts this month campaigning
and talking with constituents. What do you expect to see in terms of
activism and how has activism on immigration reform been evolving?
TANDEN: So, I think you`re going to see a lot of people actually ask the
kinds of questions Erika asked of elected members. You`re seeing Kevin
McCarthy who has only grown in leadership over the last couple of months in
CAPEHART: The new House Majority Leader.
TANDEN: He`s now number two. And he`s been asked questions like this all
over the last several months because he`s in California, and there are
DREAMers there, and I think throughout the recess, DREAMers and others are
asking elected representatives in both parties about what they`re going to
do on immigration. I think the fact is, what we`ve seen is that
Republicans, especially in a lot of districts and in the Senate, et cetera,
that in the particular races this fall, think that there`s no support for
immigration or for immigration reform because they are in kind of
And that`s why it was so important what Erika did, because she gave a voice
that Steve King doesn`t hear every day, you know, and it allows him to get
away with his kind of virulent talk because he`s not facing DREAMers every
day. So I think it`s vital that we create more and more energy and more
folks like Erika ask their elected representatives why they would turn
their back on people in this country who have been here for years and
years, who are contributing to our country, why would we turn our back on
CAPEHART: Hey, Erika, what does your group have planned for summer recess?
ANDIOLA: Well, see, right now most of our focus has been on, one, of
course, you know, we can show that we defend DACA as much as possible from
people like Steve King and other folks having - trying to take it away from
us. But also, you know, we understand that immigration reform is pretty
much stuck in Congress. There`s really not a lot that we can do as we get
closer to the elections. So, most of our focus has been on pressuring the
president like I said before. And make you sure that, you know, he did
promise that he was going to act before the end of the summer.
And so, we want to make sure that he does, you know, what he promised, but
at the same time, that what he does is as much as he can in terms of, you
know, his abilities to, for example, expand different action to people that
don`t qualify for DACA as well as stopping deportations of folks that are
not necessarily, you know, high priority for this country and, you know,
other things that would really help the undocumented community within this
country to have relief. We`ll keep fighting for immigration reform. And I
think that, you know, if we keep really facing politicians and making sure
that people that are undocumented are affected, are the ones really putting
their faces out there and getting, you know, these folks to really say what
they believe in front of our faces instead of talking to us as if we are
just, you know, a number or an abstract face to a lot of them.
CAPEHART: You know, Raul. Go ahead, Neera.
TANDEN: I think it`s really important to focus on the president. But I
think these ads that you`re seeing in Arkansas and in New Hampshire --
excuse me -- I almost said Massachusetts because that`s where Scott Brown
is from. But these ads you`re seeing, in which we have Republicans
attacking their Democratic opponents on the issue of immigration, attacking
undocumented, calling them illegal, I do think that activists have to focus
on those issues as well. Because if those candidates win running on anti-
immigrant postures, that`s going to affect politics going forward that will
make Republicans less likely to act in the future as well. So I think we
should - we really need to focus on both of these issues. We can`t give
Republicans a free ride for their anti-immigrant posture and for being
really a party that`s not only held these issues up, but is now campaigning
CAPEHART: You know, Raul, we just have time for one question. And speaking
of Republicans and going forward, Chris Christie is going to Mexico next
CAPEHART: Rand Paul is headed to Guatemala to do volunteer medical work.
"The New York Times" says, writes that we are seeing a tug of war between
congressional Republicans who are unleashing ever harsher language and
legislation to rein in illegal immigration and party leaders with their
eyes on the White House who are determined to build bridges to a crucial
constituency that has long been neglected. Are we seeing a growing chasm
between congressional Republicans and efforts to create a national
REYES: I think this civil war is definitely continuing their party. And
that, perhaps, Christie is going, you know, down to Mexico and Rand Paul
also to Central America to show in a sense that they do care, that maybe
that`s the way of showing that they do care about Latin Americans. Bu that
still is not going to overshadow their actions here. And for Rand Paul,
this is -- this was a very important moment because it put a spotlight on
him, on immigration. That`s what matters to Latino voters, is our policies
here. And for Rand Paul, although he says he is for immigration reform, he
did support Arizona SB-1070. And he also voted against the Senate bill.
So, going forward, unless he wants to see continued encounters from the
DREAMers, he really needs to sort out his immigration policy here at home.
CAPEHART: My thanks to Raul Reyes for being here with me today, thank you,
DREAMer Erika Andiola, thank you so much for getting up this morning and
for your bravery. And Neera Tanden from the Center for American Progress.
The reigning NBA champions made a history making addition to their roster
this week. We`ll talk about who that person is and what it means for women
on and off the court. That`s next.
CAPEHART: On Tuesday, a partnership spanning 18 years broke new ground when
the San Antonio Spurs announced that Becky Hammon would become the first
full-time salaried assistant coach in NBA history. Hammon played 16
seasons in the WNBA, eight of those with the Spurs sister team, the San
Antonio Stars. So, this isn`t just a big moment for the NBA, it`s a
similarly big, if not bigger moment, for the WNBA, the only professional
women`s league of the four major sports. And yet 18 years since the WNBA`s
inception, the idea of women coaching men leaves some shaking their heads.
The day after Becky Hammon and the Spurs made headlines, CBS Sports polled
a group of NCAA men`s basketball coaches asking whether they thought a
woman would become head coach of a men`s D1 team in the next 25 years. 58
percent said yes, 42 percent said no, but here is what one coach said
anonymously. He told CBS Sports, quote, "A big part of being a college
coach is molding boys into successful men. Obviously a woman can`t do
that. I just don`t see a place for it." Tell that to my mother.
And this week a Pew poll showed that despite improvements, men and women
with a preference, would rather have a male boss than a female boss. So,
what is it about gender and perceived leadership capability both on and off
the court? Women are still seen by many as unable to lead their male
counterparts. And that`s why Becky Hammon`s move to the NBA is so
important because according to her, her gender was never part of the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECKY HAMMON: I`ve got to be perfectly honest. It`s never been about the
woman thing, it`s been about, hey, she`s got a great basketball mind and
we`d love to have her, we think she`d be a great addition to our program.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: A great basketball mind. That`s what every account of Becky
Hammon and her talent has affirmed that she`s one of the best, one of the
most gifted women to ever play the game, but that she`s also born to coach.
So, will Hammon help forge a new path between the WNBA and NBA or is this
just a special case. And how will she be perceived by the thousands of
young men and women who watch and play her sport? Joining me to answer
these questions are Kate Fagan, columnist and features writer for ESPN,
Richie Adubato, is an analyst for the Orlando Magic and former head coach
of the New York Liberty, where he led Becky Hammon, Selena Roberts, a
former sports writer for "The New York Times" and "Sports Illustrated" and
Sue Wicks, a former teammate of Hammon`s in the NBA.
So, first to you, Ritchie, as a former head coach in the NBA and WNBA, does
Hammon`s new role with the Spurs signal a new kind of relationship between
the two leagues? Is there any talk of that?
RICHIE ADUBATO, NBA COLOR ANALYST: Well, I mean, first of all, you have to
understand, you mentioned Becky Hammon. She has obviously attained a
tremendous heights as a player, as a college player and as a pro player.
So she has a wealth of experience. We brought her into the New York
Liberty in `99. I had just come over from the NBA where I had coached the
Orlando Magic and then I was one year with the Boston Celtics. So, it was
a new experience for me, but I was able to bring Becky Hammon into our
mold. At 5`6" it`s incredible her accomplishments. We know 2,700 points
in college is an incredible amount. When she came to us, we were a very
good basketball team, and we had -- we had Sue Wicks, we had Teresa
Weatherspoon, we had Crystal Robinson, Vickie Johnson, Rebecca Lobo. We
had a terrific team. And Becky came in as an unbelievable shooter, wound
up being our instant offense off the bench, but more importantly showing
her understanding on how to play the game. And you have to go back to the
fact that her father was a coach, she grew up in a coach`s household. She
grew up with the game of basketball.
CAPEHART: Kate, after the news broke about Hammon`s hiring, you wrote a
great personal story about playing with Becky Hammon. And I want to read
part of it. You wrote, quote, "About three minutes into the scrimmage
during a break in play, Hammon walked over to me and said pretty much
verbatim. So, it seems like you`re most effective as a spot shooter. Why
don`t you start on the wing and finally open space? When I drive, I`ll get
you the ball. In that split second, I realized that she had scouted my
game and processed exactly how I might be most effective and also exactly
how she could take advantage of my strengths. Translation, in just a few
minutes, she knew about as much of my game as I knew." From my own
basketball knowledge, what is it about Hammon that makes her a standout?
ADUBATO: She understands --
CAPEHART: That`s for Kate. Sorry. Go ahead.
FAGAN: I think anybody who plays with her realized almost instantaneously
that she`s like a coach on the floor. And she also had this uncanny
ability to decode the X`s and O`s of the game. We would run through a play
one time, and she could already tell the center where to go, the forward
where to go. So I think that was something I saw in two years playing with
her, that our coach would come to her and say, what do you think about
this? Should we do this? And Becky would instantly have an answer and a
very good answer. And I think we knew back then, and that was like eight
years ago, that she was going to coach when she was done playing, but we
all assumed it would be in women`s college basketball. Because she had
played at Colorado State. There was a lot of talk about whether she would
go back to Ft. Collins and be a coach there.
It wasn`t until probably the last year or so that we`ve seen the NBA step
forward and make some really progressive moves, especially with women. You
see Natalie Nakase with the Los Angeles Clippers being there -- an
assistant coach on their summer league staff. It wasn`t until recently
that maybe you started thinking, can Becky Hammon, as she`s working with
the Spurs, as she`s volunteering, could she be the first person to make
this move and coach in the NBA?
CAPEHART: Let me bring this to the table and have you guys here answer this
question. What is it about Hammon that makes her a standout?
WICKS: I think -- well, I`m so thrilled, number one. It`s great to see
Richie Adubato. Hi, coach.
ADUBATO: Hello, how are you.
WICKS: When you just think about the one thing, think about it. She`s been
around great coaches, from Colorado State, with the New York Liberty, with
Richie Adubato, Dan Hughes, and now with Popovich. And then her dad, and
then her brother. So she`s been always around great coaches. And she`s
always been a coach. Like Kate is saying, when she`s on the floor, she has
to coach, because everyone is saying how talented, she`s actually not that
talented. She`s 5`6", she`s not that fast. She`s -- the whole career
trying to find that little inch, that advantage. And that`s what the coach
does. They put the people in the right spots. And that`s what she`s done
for herself. They find the advantages. And that`s what she`s had to do.
So that`s her mindset. That`s how she sees the world, how can I make an
advantage when I`m 5`6", little tiny girl?
CAPEHART: Before we go to break, jump in. What do you think?
ROBERTS: I think you mentioned a little bit of the resistance coming in,
and some coaches that are anonymously saying things. I think the important
thing is, the coaches are really not her peer group. It`s going to be the
players who have to deal with her. Most of these players grew up in Title
IX, sharing facilities with women, hearing from women all the time about
their game. This is not foreign to them. It may be foreign to the people
who haven`t been around that and didn`t grow up with that, but she`s going
to fit right in, because they respect her, and she has proof of concept in
telling them how to be on the floor.
CAPEHART: When we come back, my panel is staying put. We`re not done with
this conversation. When we come back, we`ll hear from Becky Hammon
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMON: He looked at me and he`s like, sweetie, no, you`ll never be able to
play in the NBA, he said, but if you`re really, really good, you know,
maybe you can get a college scholarship. And so you know, I`m going to
have to call him up and say, dad, you never said coaching.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: That was Becky Hammon recounting a past conversation between her
and her father. And to her point, something that Nancy Lieberman, the
former head coach in the men`s D League, writes of Hammon`s hiring, quote,
"this is a very important time in the history of the NBA and a very
important time for women. It opens the door and opens the mind to knowing
anything is possible, given the opportunity. There are girls whose plans
for their future will no longer be restricted to coaching women." Now,
given that the NBA`s viewership skews significantly younger than many other
professional sports, with Nielsen recently measuring that 45 percent of the
league`s viewership is 34 and under. Selena, do you think Hammon`s role
with the Spurs will change, how young girls see their futures in
ROBERTS: It reminds me a little bit of `97, when Violet Palmer came in as
the first female referee in the NBA. And there was sort of that resistance
at first from players who wondered how this was going to work and how is
this going to be. Pretty soon she`s just part of the background, she`s
right there with everybody else. And the gender is forgotten. And she`s
just a great NBA referee now.
I think that`s what you`ll see with Becky and the same with Violet. Other
women came up and now they want to be NBA referees. And I think with
Becky`s position, she`s not going to be asked to carry the whole load,
she`s an assistant coach. But I think that barrier being broken is very
significant going forward for other young girls looking at her.
CAPEHART: Richie, you coached Hammon for almost her entire career with the
New York Liberty. Which of Becky`s skills as a player will best serve her
as a coach, specifically?
ADUBATO: First of all, you always win the confidence of players if you have
some credentials as a player, which obviously she has tremendous
credentials. She played right there in San Antonio. So I`m sure a lot of
the players have seen her play. She`s been involved in some of the
practice sessions. So it always helps for them to think you`ve been an
excellent performer yourself. So she starts with that.
The second thing she has and has always had is tremendous belief and
confidence in herself. I can remember the first year we went to the finals
and we were playing against the Comets for the championship. And she was
my sixth man instant offense off the bench the whole year. Sue Wicks was
the other one, because she gave us hustle, she gave us rebounding, she gave
us defense. They were the two that came off the bench that helped us out.
But Becky was always tremendously confident, like I say in herself. Never
thought anybody could stop her. Is one of the best finishers going to the
basket in the paint among the trees that I`ve ever had. And I`ve had some
great ones. I`ve had Derek Harper, I`ve had Penny Hardaway, to name a few.
We know M.J. of course. She can finish in the trees. But tremendous
I didn`t put her back in in the opening game of the play-offs against the
Comets in the second half because I thought maybe the pressure was too much
for her, being a rookie and playing in such a prestigious situation. So
after the game, I looked at her and said, you know, I was going to put you
in in the second half, but I thought there was a little bit too much
pressure. She said, coach, you`re going to understand one thing about me,
I thrive on pressure. So any player that can tell you that, that was it.
From then on, she played as much as you could possibly play.
CAPEHART: Kate, let me bring you back in the conversation. How do the
economics of the professional and college basketball factor into this? Are
male coaches trying to protect their turf?
FAGAN: Yeah, I think when we heard earlier about a male coach in the NCAA
level saying women couldn`t mold men, I think we need to keep in mind that
a lot of this just comes down to job opportunities. Because when you look
at women`s college basketball and the WNBCA, the numbers across the NCAA
coaching women, 48 percent of those jobs are held by men, and when you go
across the border to the men`s side, pretty much 0 percent of the jobs are
held by women.
So, we`re looking at a job market where men hold 75 percent of the jobs,
and part of that is because women weren`t or weren`t allowed or just didn`t
have the opportunity to coach men. Now, Becky is breaking down that
barrier, and a lot of these coaches, some of that is probably coming from a
defensive standpoint and saying, do we want to lose some of our jobs to
women? And so I think we need to keep in mind kind of the job market, and
there`s big money at the college level and at the pro level, and a lot of
that comes down to economics.
CAPEHART: Running out of time. I want to get your final thoughts from the
table. Sue. What should we expect from Becky Hammon?
WICKS: Great things. Thank you, David Stern, one of the greatest feminists
of this century. Thanks, Coach Popovich, for believing in her and seeing
her as a basketball mind and not as a woman.
ROBERTS: I think that Popovich really set a terrific standard by not
talking about her gender when he hired her. We talked about this earlier,
Sue. He just said, you know, a great coach knows when to talk and when to
shut up. And that`s what she knows how to do. She`s had (inaudible) with
him already. She`s been with the team, they respect her, they take what
she has to say seriously, and I think Popovich has really led, again, the
Spurs are the most progressive team in the league, and he`s shown that,
ADUBATO: An ideal situation is to join the Spurs. They are the premier
organization, and Pop is one of the premier coaches in the league. So,
this is an ideal time to join an organization that everybody looks up to.
CAPEHART: My thanks to Kate Fagan with ESPN and former coach Richie
Adubato. So what should we know for the week ahead? Our answers after
CAPEHART: Want to find out what my guests think we should know. Let`s
start with Sue.
WICKS: OK, well, for all the bird watchers out there, the migration, fall
migration is going on. So you can go to Central Park or Prospect Park and
see the warblers coming through and American redstart perhaps right now.
And more importantly, today is my nephew`s birthday.
CAPEHART: Happy birthday, nephew. Nephew Jack.
ROBERTS: Well, last week, there was another bit of a barrier broken when
CBS announced they`re going to have an all-female sports talk show. So
we`ll be finding out more details about that. Whether it`s going to be,
sort of, as some critics say, "The View," or is it going to be something
more sports oriented. And (inaudible). Let`s hope it`s the latter on that
REYES: You know, we`ve been hearing so much about what the president might
do on immigration. A lot of information about the (inaudible), but I think
one thing we might see, and it could be this week, is he could take some
actions to end secure communities, which is a real controversial
immigration enforcement program. That`s the one where they go barging in
people`s houses and put them in that deportation pipeline. We could see
him take action to end that.
CAPEHART: And this is for a pastry plate. Let`s close. Thanks to all our
guests today and thanks to Steve Kornacki for letting me keep his seat
warm. Thanks to his fantastic team for helping make this show so great.
He`ll be back next weekend. But stick around. "Melissa Harris-Perry" is
up next. Today on MHP, the latest on the U.S. military action in Iraq, and
she`ll look at the growing court battles over America`s teachers. All that
and more next with Melissa.
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