tv Up W Chris Hayes MSNBC October 16, 2011 5:00am-7:00am PDT
vo: earn points for the things you're already buying. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. hello from new york. i am chris hayes. barack obama leads the official dedication of the national memorial of the reverend martin luther king jr. and then observed around the world with almost nonviolent protest in every continent. here in the u.s. one woman arrested apparently for being in a bank. right now i am joined by melissa harris perry, and columnist from my favorite magazine, "the nation," and we
have the professor of studies at columbia university, and it's greats to have you back. bob herbert, "the new york times" veteran, and now a distinguished fellow and author of "promises betrayed," and then host of the majority report, and cohost of "ring of fire," ring of fire.com. you are such distinguished guest. we will start in washington where nbc news correspondent, mike viqueira, is covering the dedication of the martin luther king jr. memorial. >> reporter: from the i have a dream speech that was delivered 48 years ago, there was a phrase that serves as the theme for the memorial today, and hugh from a mountain of despair, a stone of
hope. if you are fortunate enough to be down in washington, since it did open to the public in august, you see it's a massive mound of granite, and it has been moved forward towards the horizon, and then there is martin luther king, and this ceremony was postponed, seven days ago on the 48th anniversary of the "i have a dream" speech, and the original ceremony was to take place but hurricane irene put the stop on that, and here we are on a subblime day. i have a feeling that with a day like today, people will come out from all corners from the area to witness this. they are talking about some 50,000 here. and still, a significantly less than what we had in august. as you mention, the president is
going to be speaking later in the morning, and there will be all kinds of entertainment as well, stevie wonder and james taylor and others will be performing, and the congressman, the civil rights icon and other l people from the african-american community. >> thank you so much. looks gorgeous there. i will confess, i never knew how to pronounce bough relief, and i always wondered how that was pronounced outside. >> we -- there is news about today's nonviolent people seeking justice. tens of thousands joined occupy wall street in more than 900 cities all around the world, and
gathered in greece, france, and ireland and the philippines and in spain where the demonstrations by the indignants helped to spark the protests. and then there was an interesting quote i wanted to talk about. and then in rome, the black balk attacked, and thousands and thousands of people gathered peacefully all around the world, and each protest had its own message, and they shared a consistent theme, anger at the global financial system and concern with accelerating
extreme inequality. and 6,000 protesters poured into times square, and they marched towards jp morgan chase urging many to close their accounts. police say they failed to disburse when warned to do so and they asked to transfer their accounts to support the 99%. one group of protesters, and this got a lot of play, entered a downtown branch of citibank, and we have the tape. according to the bank they refused to leave after the bank manager said so. and the occupy wall street protesters went in to close their accounts, and check this out. one woman arrested -- >> i am a customer. i am a customer.
>> were you inside -- >> what are you doing? >> what are you doing! what are you doing? >> i am a customer. >> oh, my god. this is wrong! this is wrong! this is wrong! this is wrong! sha shame! >> that clip got a lot of play yesterday for understandable reasons. it's very powerful. i want to make sure -- i spent several hours trying to track down what happened in the bank, and i do not know. i do not know the context. what i do know and what i think links together what happened yesterday and we will talk about the legacy of dr. king, and it's king talking about the purpose of nonviolent direct action.
she says nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue, and it seeks to dramatizeed the issue. the most favored sort of left wing mind could not cook up the scenario that a officer arresting a customer of a bank because they were going to close their account. >> and the argument, i think one of the damming things about the tape, we don't know exactly what happened there. i watched the tape many times. citibank is saying they called because they were trespassing and would not leave, and she was outside the bank, and they did not appreciate it, and they dragged her back in to arrest her. they locked the other protesters
inside, and the idea that they would not leave is questionable at best. they wanted them to be punished for coming in and protesting by trying to take their money out. >> you have been surprised -- i keep thinking to myself, if mayor bloomberg were to hire me as consultant, i would say don't try to kick the protesters out and don't have the cops do things like this because it helps the movement. >> that would have been the smart thing politically for bloomberg to do, and i have been following the cops for the longest time, and new york city cops are out of control, they harass people. what they have done to young, black and hispanic people, especially men and boys has been terrible for years with their stop and frisk policies, and they have been sort of -- especially in the post september
11th era, they have been given free reign to keep things under control. i am not surprised they have reacted this way to the protesters. >> let me say, i have been down at occupy wall street a lot, and i feel like the cops are in a impossible position in many cases, because for instance we were covering the big march last week, and there are thousands of people and you don't know where they are heading, and at one moment it could be violent and they can't control it and they are out numbered so i have a lot of sympathy for the cops on the front line trying to manage the situation. >> and the lead up to the rnc, we had cops on our show, and we were talking to them and they were being told to expect a full on seattle-style riot, and i think to a certain extent, there's a certain amount of poor training within the police department to deal with this stuff.
>> i am talking about unprovoked actions by the police. pepper spray in the faces of people who have not done anything provocative. i am talking that grabbing somebody from behind and turning them around and punching a person, and the unwarranted use of force, and i'm not talking about the fact that cops my react ang rrily because they ha been provoked. >> and it's difficult to do the crowd management and a responsible police officer, and we have not just rogue police officers on the force that may be behaving this way, but a real expectation from the leadership of certainly not just the new york city police force, but we are dealing with entintervention new orleans, and i have gotten a little bit of of push back from
pushing back. i asked about it yesterday morning on the show, but then was watching. i am a professor and i had to think about this in context, and i was reading the back "race rebels," and it was actually very useful thinking about occupying space sometimes without the kind of goals that i was asking for yesterday. i kept saying i need an agenda and policy items, and then i was reminding myself that sometimes that comes later and part of what democracy, democratic action with a little d is, is that public space belongs in the public, and it should not be policed in the ways that say you are only allowed to occupy -- even playing hip-hop music loud in a public space is some of the way some could re-take the right
to be in public when they were so heavily policed. >> the attitude in new york, very often, i think most often is the police and boloomberg administration will allow to you protest, rather than the idea that they have a right to protest. >> and the burden is on the people who want to interfere with the exspreshtion of the protest. >> and this marks the post 9/11 period, and i don't think you could do this five or six years ago and have the public on your side. >> we're going to take a look at the legacy of doctor king and the man that walks in the trail, barack obama, right after this. [ male announcer ] dove and suave beauty products,
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president obama will be speaking on the mall to dedicate the new national memorial, the reverend martin luther king jr. and it's a testimony that king could go from one of the most radically polarizing figures of our time to the most unifying. when king wrote the classic letter from jail, what people forget is king was writing in response to another letter frrks eight white colllurnlgy men. 6 a cause should be pressed in the courts, and negotiations among local leaders and not in the streets. we appeal to the white and nigro citizenry to observe the principles of law and order and
common sense. progress required in his words, tension. the irony today is that the language of unity is one of the hallmarks of the rhetoric of the men that walk in king's shadow, our first black president, barack obama. if it were not for the center showing up at a rally to stand along activist and lend his opposition to the iraq war, and at the same time the republicans and democrats in washington found unity and favor in it, he would not be president today. and unity only comes decades later when their victory has been secured. our panel is back. what do you make of barack obama's university rhetoric, john? it has been such a consistent theme from the famous speech in 2004. >> it's a wonderful idea to have unity. one of the reasons i was in favor of him being president is
that he is very good at trying to split the difference between people who consider themselves to be polarized. the problem with university is for one, in terms of what he has found, he has been up against a party not as interested in what he is or more unified in themselves than thinking about america being unified, and another problem is if we are talk about unity in general, and a lot of the issues today are so much more abstract than the ones in 1899, and thinking about william jennings brian, and then if we are talking about franklin d. roosevelt -- >> i feel like the liberal critique of the president, there are's a few of these, and the stylistic critique of how he approached his control is he
made too much unity, and the thing about unity it cannot be unilaterally imposed, and it takes two to tango. >> yeah, unity is not the problem. obama had the perfect message in 2008. it was to bring the country together, you know, and knit the various forces together and deal with the crisis. change was the mantra. and where i think that he went wrong, i love the red state blue state rif that he did, and where he went wrong after he became president and it became clear that there was going to be no give on the other side at all, that he kept pounding that negotiation theme over and over again when he knew it was not going to bear fruit. >> do you agree with that? >> well, in the 2008 campaign, john said he was supporting the
presidential candidate, barack oba obama, this coalition has gotten too big, because we're on the same side. >> it was interesting. >> it might be a moment when something is going on that is not fully substantive, and part is happening our expressions of hope about what our country can be, right? that said the 2004 speech was the red state blue state speech, and what it reflected at that moment, his style but not the policy, and what it reflects is barack obama almost does have -- i see it as an immigrant sensibility about the possibilities of what america can be. >> absolutely. >> he has sort of a hugeness that is really not just campaigning, it is at his core a belief that even when the parties and leadership disagree, that there are fundamentals on which american people can agree.
>> i think it comes back to the idea that university maintains the status quo. i think to a certain extent, that has been the complaint, because the status quo has been one of protect the banks, protect the economic system of protect the way that resources are doled out in the country. and that's one of the problems, he turned out in many respect to want university, but that has been the sign of the establishment, the establishment media -- >> or deeper than that is respect for the process, right? to me, the fascinating resonance for the call to the clergymen, you dr. king say the process is irredeemable, and we are saying go through the process and take it up in the courts. >> but this is an unfair comparison. barack obama is not -- >> yes, it is fair. >> he is not the white clergy
writing. for him to bring up the memorial and dedicate it, and dr. king never ran so much as for dogcatcher. and it's a conception, what we do with the king, the historical face is dr. king. dr. king is lbj in that picture. >> what do you find particularly interesting about barack obama's view of university and where the country can go? it sounds like you think that he has a particularly identify yo -- >> i don't think it's speech making. i think i would go on chris with this, he is a process democrat
with a little "d," and part of it is as valuable as the out come. and the fact is that dr. king believed the process of nonviolence was as important as any given out come. he called for a different set of tactics believing it would move more quickly. >> unity is a goal and the process is how you attempt to reach the ultimate unattainable goal but try to get as close to it as possible. you have to have a realistic view of what is going on. obama's policies don't indicate that he has a realistic view. you cannot be for the oppressors and those for that at the same time, and obama has never made it clear who he is for.
>> there is a difference between -- i think -- there's a process in terms of protest and a process in terms of government. one of the problems that we have in the country, there is a growing contingency of the americans that feel the process itself leads to inappropriate out comes, and that's the problem, he is not taking on the process but showing too much deference. >> he has tremendous faith to that process. >> and why are we surprised he is interested in some sort of process rather than turning things upside down? he sounded just like he does now, and everybody thought he was on his way of becoming a new fdr, and that was a stereotyping and because he was black. >> i never thought that obama was going to be oovt fdr, and never thought obama was particularly liberal. >> as we are going to say all these wonderful things about king today, and king did silence
ela baker, and did throw a guy out of the movement because he was gay, and a notion that one cannot be simultaneously for the people and against the people, it is a remembrance of king, and we want to remember him as perfect. >> that's a perfect segue -- >> i don't want to remember king as perfect. i don't agree with that at all. we remember king as human and very flawed, but he was a moral conscience for the nation and had goals that were clearly identified. you knew where he wanted to go. >> i want to talk more about this, and i am trying to go to a break. and i want to talk about what you just brought up about the notion about in the projection from white voters and liberals,
there was a special sort of racialized betrayal, and a piece melissa wrote that got a lot of attention, i want to discuss it right after this break. i couldn't conceive this as a heart attack. the doctor leaned over and said to me, "you just beat the widow-maker." i was put on an aspirin, and it's part of my regimen now. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. go see your doctor now.
we are discussing the legacy of dr. martin luther king jr., and we had an amazing discussion on commercial break here at the table. i want to read a quote because i think this quote sets up the fact that we now look at king in these sort of rose colored classes, and you were talking about at his time king was not a perfect man and he did these things. and todd cole found a great quote from james baldwin, and i could not believe when i read this quote. this is in harper's in 1961. this is martin luther king in
his michael jordan on the bulls phase of activist um. he is in his prime. and this is what baldwin says. three years earlier i had not encountered many people, and i am speaking of negros critical of him, and but many more people seemed critical. it had to do with his effectiveness as a leader. that was in 1961. i thought, wow, a, that is what they say about barack obama today, and they say i love the guy and think he is smart and i don't question his integrity but i don't think he is an effective leader, and brenda you wrote an article that is wrestling with a sense of betrayal, and the title of the piece was black president double standard, why white
liberals are abandoning obama. the piece -- if you are watching this and the you have not read the piece -- >> actually read it, and don't read the critiques of it. the 2012 election may be a test of electoral racism. if old-fashioned electoral racism is the unwillingness to vote for a black candidate, then liberal racism is abandoning the candidate when he is just as competent as his white predecessors. >> this was one of the deeply naive moments. the vast majority of the piece is saying i think old-fashioned electoral racism is gone, and i said the notion that white
voters will not vote for a black candidate because they are black, that seems to no longer be an important part of how elections are operating on questions of race. if we just keep looking for this, and if racism is only i won't vote for a black candidate because he or she is black, is that gone enough where it will no longer be the primary mission that keeps african-americans out of office or re-election, and i was asking about a different racism, and it was about comparisons. the very fact that we are thinking about president obama and his record in the context of martin luther king rather than in the context of say, bill clinton, or jimmy carter, or lbj, in other words, other democratic presidents, and we put him against a standard that is -- i mean, show me the martin luther king. >> that goes both ways. the president himself cultivated that. >> but not from the obama campaign. >> no, that is not just from
white liberals, though, that association. that was all over the place throughout the primary. the question i want to ask, in terms of old-fashioned electoral racism. he wins a larger share of the democratic vote -- >> not a majority of the white vote. >> the support among wihites is cratered the most. what do you hear about the white libera liberals, their disappointment about the racially loaded aspect to it. >> for me, one of the most painful and difficult things that the left has had to deal with at every point has been trying to cope with what it means to simultaneously be liberal to, believe in justice, fairness and equality and to
continue to hold a set of beliefs and anxieties around race that are real and impact how we interact. to pretend that doesn't exist -- it's not about criticizing the president. this is a question about what may happen in 2012. if i see white democrats in large numbers abandon president obama in 2012, it will be evidence for me. it's not about criticism. criticism of the president is the democratic process, and it's not about criticism, but it's about voting. if we don't deal with racist on the left. >> i will cut you off, because what i want to do is go to a break, and then i want to come back and bring you guys into the discussion and bring you in as well as home. we'll be right back. [ dentist ] chris thinks the best way to live life is to dig right in. but as his dentist, i know that to do that, he needs to use the brush more dentists use.
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we are back with our guests. and so we were just talking about melissa's article. you guys had a lot of responses. >> as a white liberal, i think that -- well, first off, there is a difference between democrat and liberal, is that -- the difference is becoming a little starker. and there is no real empirical data that show that obama is not losing that much more support than white activist than any other group for that matter. i think that to the extent that there was some projection that obama might be more liberal than he is because he is black, i think there is some of that. you have to remember the field we were looking at at the time as well. nobody trusted edwards to a certain extent -- >> that's so weird. that's a weird thing to say. continue. >> that was good. >> aside from they did not trust him for the wrong reasons.
>> right, they thought it was a put on. >> yeah, and there was a lot of skepticism about hillary clinton because she might bring in the team that obama brought in eventually from an economic standpoint. and it's going to be a function of what liberals think is the best way forward for liberals. >> i think we have to consider that when we are talking about how to talk about race in a liberal coalition, we have to be open to the instances when, and it's not the all the time, we have to be open to the instances when it may not be necessary when racism is part of the issue with obama as opposed to when bill clinton came in. there were huge expectations. clinton were not thinking of him as a saver or jesus in a way that people were thinking of obama, and there were various reasons for that, and one of them with obama we were projecting on him, and i mean black and white people and everything around it, and
because of the african-american experience, it must be in some sense basically not just a liberal, but a leftist, and he must have been talking in between to just allow him to self get elected. the disappointment, as massive as it would be, if barack obama was white or inspiring in some other way in that fashion, and what that means is people might dessert obama to some extent, the people in the middle would that vote for mitt romney rather than obama, and i don't think there will be that many, and some are disappointed and obama has been rolled in a sense that even clinton and gays in the military and etc., and bill clinton had for example hillary clinton fashioning the extremely detailed health care plan that ended up not working but it was seen as a victory in a way, and with obama he is seen as a less effective creator. >> clinton won with 45% of the
vote, and perot took a chunk of that, and it was because of jobs and nafta. i don't think that obama came in in the same expectation as clinton did, and he already lost those white voters. >> we will come back and talk more about this right after this break. i want to focus on innovation. but my data is doubling. my servers are maxed out. i need to think about something else when i run. [ male announcer ] with efficient i.t. solutions from dell, doug can shift up to 50% of his company's technology spend from operating costs to innovation. so his company runs better, and so does doug. dell. the power to do more. to bring you a low-priced medicare prescription drug plan. ♪ with the lowest national plan premium... ♪ ...and copays as low as one dollar... ♪
we're back discussing barack obama, race, white liberals, all sorts of stuff. bob herbert, you wanted to weigh in. >> we should keep this mind that there are still a fair number of white voters in this country who will not vote for a black person because he or she is black. i think it's a large number. and you can see it when you look at what is happening with the democratic party, because there are a lot of voters who won't vote for democrats because they believe the party is too close to black people. >> melissa, i want to give alast word since this is your piece. what do you sort of take away from this.
i think there is the piece itself and reaction to it, which is -- ch >> i wrote a piece saying i don't believe in defending our public writing, you have to write a piece and if it's misunderstood that's what it stands as. people will read it and reflect differently on it. i have a body of work that is interested more than anything other thing in trying to think about how we effectively build interracial coalitions for justice and equality. some of it will have elections issues, and some will be about voting the right or wrong people out or into office. barack obama is a fascinating test for us natalie to think about how we manage having a black president. if we think that all important acts of racism occur on the right, if we think that all racial bias occurs on the right as a matter of holding up ugly signs at so-called tea parties, and we don't try to think about how racial bias also infects
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you said recently that the quote extravagant promises end of quote, made in connection with the voting rights bill has become a shattered mockery. what did you mean by that, dr. king? >> i mean this voting rights bill came into being to end not only discrimination in its overt expressions and voter registration, but also to remove the atmosphere of intimidation for economic reprisals and the creation of fear that cause
people not to vote. one of the things we have found is that when you have federal registers in communities, many more negros go out to register because they see a different atmosphere, and they are not over arched over under gerted with the fear of economic intimidation in which they deal with some of the local registers they have dealt with on so long. >> i tried to get a memorial earpiece, and that would pay tribute to the era, and we could not find them. more and more states are pushing voter id laws, and making it harder for older, poor and disinfranchised to vote, and more of them don't have i.d.s, and joining me now to talk about
the issue is congressman steve cone, a democrat from tennessee. good to have you with us this morning. >> nice to be with you from memphis. >> you spoke about this issue back in july, and what did you say and what kind of response did you receive? >> well, we have written the justice department, and attorney general holder is concerned, steny hoyer had a meeting with the caucuses and wade henderson, and this is a national republican effort to hinder democratic votes to try and influence the 2012 presidency. the people who don't have photo i.d.s are generally democratic supporters, african-american and people of color, and they are people who are more likely to be poor or extremely young, and those are the people that president obama had strong voter support from in 2008. if they can just get about half
a percentage of those folks, or even just one person in florida, the chad state, to not vote because they don't have a photo i.d. and make it legal to stop that, and they can influence the future of the supreme court, and it could be worse. the supreme court is really the issue. they said it's the economy stupid, and it's the supreme court and that's the issue for 2012. >> congressman, i may do a bad job because i am playing devil's advocate, and let me layout the argument which is why would you not want to verify that when a person shows up to say they are voting they are in fact that person? we do this as a routine matter in commercial transactions, and as a routine matter for transportation, and in all sorts of facets of american life, the basic thing you do when they say they are a certain person you ask for verification, and why would we not want to do that
simple act at the voting booth? >> there are other ways to verify verification than besides a photo i.d. and the captains know who people are and they should not have to have some artificially imposed barrier to stop people from voting. the fact is, these tactics have arisen. there is not a great problem with people voting. there is a very number of limited people who tried to vote illegally. the number of people that would be disinfranchised because of the barrier, it over compensates in such a way that it disinfranchises those that should have the franchise. and there are obvious political backings of this. the conservative right wing think tank who has been spreading the bills throughout the country, that's why it passed in tennessee, and there's a method to their madness, if it be madness. >> there is an investigation of
the justice department between 2002 and 2007, and they did not prosecute a single person for impersonating a single person. and federal prosecutors executed 86 people are 300 million for voter fraud, and many were mistaken and not trying to gain on the system. >> what they are doing here is disgusting. it's a vile kind of pragmatism. i think bringing up the poll tax is not useful, because it's not an idea that they want to suppress the black vote because they need to be kept quiet, and it's because black people tend to vote democratic. one thing we will do is try to legislate against it. what is going on right now makes perfect sense. in the late '50s, there were more black voters in southern
states, but i think we need to get it out in the black community, that they need to get i.d. i worry about, well, the black community is getting rolled and therefore we must work from on high to stop republicans from paying that kind of attention, and the other thing we have to do is fight it by making sure that more people have the kinds of i.d.s. and we need to put on different glasses and fight as well as complain. >> i have a question for the representative. you know, this is something that is not terribly new. we have seen republicans do this in the past in ohio. why are democrats finally now addressing this? >> it is late to have come to the table for sure, and we have come to the table now, and we will make a effort to educate voters. i had election officials at my medicare open enrollment meeting yesterday and explained to the votes that came about voting and photo i.d.s.
we are putting it on the congressional website how to vote, and about federal i.d.s. we are going to make a major concerted effort to make sure people get their i.d.s and be prepared so we don't have the problem come november of 2012. >> congressman, thank you so much for joining us this morning. always a great honor to have you on. >> nice to be with you. i want people to know, as you said, i have a majority african-american district. last week you had keith legelli and he is muslim and i am jewish, and his district and white and mine is black, and we vote together. >> the dream lives on in keith ellison and steve cohen. the play write joins us with her thoughts about king after in. [ male announcer ] whether over a cup of maxwell house...
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hello from new york. it's sunday, and this is "up with chris hayes." and it's the official day of dedication to the memorial of reverend martin luther king jr. we are focusing on the reverend king, his life and achievements and how his legacy continues to shape our lives. my guest right now has an extraordinary tale to tell about the legacy. she has a play write. it is set for the last night of dr king's last day of life. a small theater upstairs from a public, as far off broadway as it gets. let's take a look from the scene of the show. >> last time, i heard was
preaching everybody the same, negro folk, white folk, we are all alike. >> at the most human level, we all the same. >> what one thing we all got in common? >> we scared. we all scared. we scared of each other. scared of ourselves. they just scared. scared of losing something they have known their whole lives. fear. fear makes us human. >> it is such a great pleasure to have you here. can i congratulate you on blowing up. you are blowing up. your profile, it's wonderful. tell me about the play. it has two characters. dr. king and another character, who is she? >> a mysterious chambermaid
named kami. it's in the motel and it's after he has given the mountain top speech, so the play followed him looking at his past, and he is really challenged by this maid, because she is in terms of what she thinks politically, so they have many interesting arguments throughout the night. she is very interesting in that she is an honorary black panther, and in 1968, the civil rights movement -- it was occurring, and dr king led a march that dissented into chaos. and it was like, fight the powers that be. and she really talks about that
kind of black nationalism, and that black self determination. she is a very self possessed black woman. >> it's interesting, because that mark that he leads into violence is an imbariousment for him. he vows to come back from the march. one of the things you do in the play, and there is stage direction. we hear the great sort of american saint, right, dr. martin luther king relieving himself in the rest room. what were you trying to do with that moment in terms of setting the play for the audience? >> to me, it's about he is a human. oh, my goodness, he urinates. when i walk into my mother's house in the living room, there are two pictures on the wall, jesus and dr. king, and they sit side by side, and i grew up revering him, and he was a saint
and he had become a deity, so he was a ghost that haunted me almost, and so for me, the play was a way for me to take him off of the wall and take him out of the history book and make him a real life flesh and blood human being, who had challenges and sometimes smoked and had stinky feet because he was always on the road, you know, and it allows an audience to see that this man who was so extraordinary was actually quite ordinary, and it inspires people, and they can be like if he was ordinary and did that, well, me as an ordinary person, i can do that too. >> so the thing about smoking, he gets a pack of cigarettes in the beginning. is there a resistance to having that humanization happening? do people react strongly against that when they see it? >> oh, absolutely. absolutely. maybe the first week of previews there was a young woman that walked out, but then she kept on
walking back in, and then she would walk out, and no, no, he knlt be doing that, and the play is funny, too, it's funny, no! and then she would walk back in because she wanted to know what happens next. there is a resistance to seeing him as a human being. a lot of people know that dr. king was not a perfect person. you guys were talking about that earlier. and i think it doesn't take anything away from his nobel peace prize, and he was an amazing person, but he was a person. >> you have a personal connection to the story because you grew up in memphis, and just a few blocks from the hotel. >> my mother grew up around the corner from that hotel. >> tell me your mother's story, because it's a remarkable one in how it connects to the play. >> well, she is my first personal connection to dr. king. when i was growing up she would tell me the story about how he
came to speak on support of the sanitation strike, she wanted to go and hear this amazing thing. she had never been in his presence before. she had seen him the week before and she thought that man had such pretty skin, and he came back and vowed to come back the following week, and she was like i want to be in his presence, and she asked her mother, big mama, my grandmother, can i go and hear him speak, and there was a rumor that somebody was going to bomb the church, and big mama was like sit your butt down, you are not going anywhere near that church, and she did not get to go, and the next day he was gone, and she lost that chance to be in his presence. >> and then you engineered an alternate universe. >> yeah, it's a way to give my mother a retroactive audience
with dr. king. i did not tell her i named the character after her, and so she started freaking out on the front row. and she was like, oh, my god, and everybody was like is this woman having a seizer, so what is going on? and it was so unexpected for her. and the character is unexpected as well. >> the new play called "the mountain top." we want to bring more folks here, and i want to look at king's earlier years because it's under looked at. to be more environmentally aware,
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ms. hall. i want to play the clip for "meet the press." we got to spend the we can going through all "meet the press" archives, and this is a gate clip of dr. king talking about the nonviolent direct action and demonstrations. >> dr. king, to follow-up the question, recent polls suggest that in terms of national reaction, demonstrations are now counter productive, by continuing in them don't you do the risk of doing more harm than good? >> again, i contend that we are not doing more harm than good in demonstrations because i think demonstrations serve the purpose of bringing the issues out in the open. i have never felt that demonstrations could actually solve the problem.
they call attention to the problem they dra dramatize the t yuns of certain ills, and i think the initial reaction to demonstrations is always negative. >> that's dr. martin luther king speaking in 1966, two years before the ends of his life. you and i were about the same age, and we were not there -- >> yeah, not even thought of. >> but i wonder if you are watching what is going on with occupy wall street, and those words have a resonance as far as calling attention to the problem. we are talking more about economic inequality, and the banks now, than a month ago. you have been following it and what is your feeling about what is unfolding? >> i have been following it from the sidelines because i have been in the theater. but, you know, you can't escape
it. it's everywhere. i actually feel like it's an amazing time, because my generation, we, you know, we were inspired by the civil rights movement, but we are so far removed from it, that we are like, oh, those marches are over. we did not know how to protest our anger, our discuss. i think the occupy wall street is an opportunity to where, oh, we can demonstrate and use protest to call attention to the problem. obviously it will not solve it, but i think it's beautiful to see all the people, different ages and colors standing together in the way that we did in 19 -- in the 1960s. i think that's remarkable. >> i think it's funny, though, that occupy wall street has the same problem, which i think is gradually becoming solved, but what king had at the end of his life, the question is exactly what do we protest. it's one thing for ten people to have an unfocused sin asizam.
and king, his idea is what do we protest now, because they were more violent protests, and she was opposed to them, and they were opposed to him because he was too gentle, and he died before he knew how to bring it together. >> they were not a violent coordinating committee. >> but they were philosophically less zealoused -- >> yeah, and i think we -- >> yeah. >> with that said, i do think it's important that that transition that king does at the end. it's an idea that he already accomplished the '64 civil rights act and the '65 voting rights, and then he writes about chaos or community x then all
the things that we think of as the capstone accomplishes of the civil right move, and then the possibility of chaos is still the very real possibility of american racial dissent into that, rather than a kind of movement towards community. for me, it always is so useful, for example, and we are reminded we have to pause and look back on what actually counts as an accomplishment. we don't always know in that moment. king, he had done some ugly compromising things. he sold out the mississippi freedom democratic party and kept them from being seated by selling them out to the democrats in atlantic city, and that was our great courageous leader, and he silenced others in his movement because they were too hot. i think it's so important that not only humanizing him in his personal self, but that he was
an imperfect leader, and still exceptional. >> i don't think that we think about the latter part of king's life very much. we don't talk about the post victory king. it was only a few years because his life was cut short, but he was struggling with this problem of what are the demands, which is something that we hear about right now, economic justice, what does that look like? and then more specifically to maintain the sort of sin tral tea to the movement, and this sort of extremely religiously grounded vision of christian brotherhood and sisterhood. >> i want to make a point. i was very much around, and -- >> well -- >> we will let you speak last. >> exactly. >> and what i recall so clearly in 1967 when king gave his famous anti-war speech outside the church, and it was the idea
that we -- we -- that was a time when things began to go haywire in the country, and we lost the momentum of the war period, and the two things king was talking about at the time and what we did not pay enough attention to, was the war and violence on one manned and the economic injustice on the other hand, and now we're in 2011, and we escalated in afghanistan and intra convenienting in countries all over the place, and we have economic injustice like we have never seen since the depression. that's what we need to keep in mind at this moment going forward, and that's what occupy wall street is doing a great service by focusing us on those economic injustice issues. >> and a lot don't know he was dealing with economic injustice at the end of the his life. i did not know about the poor
peoples' campaign. >> what was it? >> amazing new march in washington that dr. king was trying to create. it was like 1968, he had started it thinking about a year before, and they had really come together, and then even inside of his ranks, people were like maybe we should not talk about poor people but maybe we should talk about civil rights, civil rights, civil rights, and king was taking a triple praurngonge approach to justice, talking about the war, and a threat to injustice is a threat for justice everywhere. >> and whatever passes, the legislation, the great testament at the end of his life, is the housing act, and it was an account to move the civil rights movement out of the question of southern injustice, although that existed, but into the question of housing, because housing is where economics, wealth and environmental
justice, everything has to do with your access to education to all of these things has to do with where you live, and the last achievement comes officer his death, and so i think that is the legacy of king. >> you know what is interesting about king in particular, if you think about black history, and you think about the voting act of '65, and then housing in '68, and then in terms of drama, it's really hard to come up with the drama of black up lift after that. it has been harder to know where to go. in the same way, i think king's drama had ended. if he lived, i think he would have come a very respected stateman, but i don't think there were any more concrete walls for him to break down, which would have been very frustrating for him. he was symbolic of the whole black liberation movement in general in that way in his life arc. >> the play "the mountain top" is something to check out.
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i said to a group last night, nobody else can do this for us. no document can do this for us. no proclamation can do this for us, and no sewn sonian civil rights can do this for us, and if the negro wants to be free, he must sign with a pen and ink, a self of asserted manhood, his own ae mans pags proclamation. >> we are talking today, of course, about martin luther king's legacy, and while going through the archives this
weekend, i was struck by how much the mainstream media seemed to be at war with dr. king insert ways. he made several appearances on "meet the press," and each question that was posed to him was bordering on hostile. we strung together a few moments to give you an idea of what i am talking about. take a listen. >> are you saying the end justifies the means and you are apparently breaking local laws hoping for a better conclusion? >> is it correct to say you don't oppose interracial marriages. >> dr. king, how many white people are members of your church in atlanta? i would like to know just if it's xhacommunism -- >> a picture of you was taken at
a racial school is being blastered all over alabama billboards with the caption, martin luther king with the a communist training school -- >> for the record, i was only at a communist school for a few months. aren't shows shocking? the reason they are shocking to me was because we have this vision of him as a unifying figure, and we have the santa claus martin luther king, and i was in the archives thinking everybody would pay him the deference and would understand that he was obviously on the right side of all of the issues, and question after question is aren't you saying people should break the law? they are really obsessed with that. isn't there a black person somewhere doing something bad to
a white person that you should have to defend? and it struck me, i know he was a polarizing figure in his life, and watching that made me realize in reality what that meant? >> clips like that are the things that get me in trouble. i am supposedly the black guy that znts understand there is racism, and i say how much does it matter, and people say more than you think. i think about clips like that where perfectly educated and what was considered a normal person, and they would ask questions like that, and they meant it, that was normal living room conversation. at this point, america is far from perfect on race, but those things look properly backwards to us because we moved ahead. i think wow, it's not like that and think of the progress we made, and other people tell me, no, we're still living in hell. >> isn't it true there are no
white people that go to trinity united of christ, and isn't it true that you are not really a citizen? i just want to say on the one hand i am very much with you on how much progress has been made and how important to say this moment is not like that moment, but some of the discourse about if you are pressing against the system, you are necessarily not even part of it, and you are not even a citizen, and these are some of the very same kinds of anxieties that emerge over the past three years in the context -- >> i would briefly say, less mainstream now than those things were then, but i take your point. >> no question, less mainstream now than it was 40 or more years ago, but it's still rough out there. >> and the fact is the mainstream is not the mainstream anymore. in other words, we are a lot more messed in terms of the
media. >> we have 30 million people watching right now, just fyi, just so we're clear. >> the fact is that limbaugh, beck, when they say the things, or fox and friends, they have the difference between what was mainstream and what they are right now, there is no one sort of chain of media, and to a certain extent, i think the hat that he was wearing -- >> that was the perfect metaphor. it was a lot more blatant. >> well played. >> and the idea that king was a polarizing figure. you have to keep in mind the majority of americans were against desegregation of public facilities, and against mixed marriages, and i saw the idea
where that question came up, and in many parts of the country it was illegal for whites and blacks to get married. it was illegal. so he was very much a polarizing figure. >> and in the lbtg movements, we cannot put simple rights on the ballot. imagine we put the simple rights on the ballot at that moment, you would not have got una majority of americans in support of it. >> the great thing about the interracial marriage question, it's clear from the context that he is asking the question to reveal how deeply radical king is, because this is the craziest thing, and this is the craziest thing you will hear, don't you support interracial marriages. >> yeah, and we are talking about the fact that i grew up in virginia, immediately post jim crow, and i can remember going to my mother who is white to
swimming pools, and we were at the wading pool, and she says why are there two swimming pools next to each other, and my father was like, diana, that's kr jim crow. that was true in my childhood. >> there is also the fact that the anxiety that you see in the press, there is a white establishment press as unreflective racism that is clearly channelled. i think mostly the anxiety about direct action is interesting. we have the images of the montgomery march and the fire hoses on the girls and all of the sort of black and white images, and we have the civil rights movement and it makes us think in our mind as sort of the romantic, and also as obviously right, and not as threatening disorder, as threatening chaos, and something that even
sympathetic white liberals were a little not sure that they wanted to go along with. and that drains a lot of black people, and drains the radicalism. and when we are facing something ourselves, like occupy wall street or some other large mobilized direct action, if you had that little renaissance in you, that's normal but also part of the way that it goes down. >> part of my sense is why society digests martin luther king in the way that we do, we see him now as he could not have been a polarizing figure. and it's the same thing that happens in terms of the broader civilized rights movement. there was street heat. and within the context of that movement, martin luther king was on one end of the nonviolent spectrum, and there was another end of the spectrum where the guys really promoting the second amendment were guys showing up with shotguns in oakland to meetings. >> are you say k -- you are
advocating that? i mean, that was a joke. that was a joke. >> i was just trying to calculate my youtube -- >> what do you think of that? >> well, i think that there is value in a movement like occupy wall street and to put it in today's context, that essentially makes -- it's the sorkin piece in the new york times, he admits a bank ceo called him up and said should i be worried about the protesters? he said i don't know, i will check it out. and the bank executive rather than worried about is this being an accountability moment, he is working about his own safety. at social unrest is the time people have for -- >> i want to pause on one thing
here, and remind ourselves, one, there were tons of civil unrest, and social action, and occupying of buildings and all this from the 1890s to the 1950s. it was crushed and crushed and crushed by the state, and failed and failed and failed, and so the memory of the civil rights movement is not because it happens, but it's the first time it succeeds. the part of the reason it's successionful, is because of the violence against it and it was publicized. what is so important here is it is not just the action against it, but it's the will -- i mean, it's not just a matter of a pushback. it's not cowardly. the street heat, people were murdered. >> and the other thing, there was street heat on the other side. let's not forget that there was white riots, and there was people from the streets disobeying the law, which is the
order of a desegregation order showing up at the school to bar -- that's why they had to sends the national guard. >> there was tv, and it went that people in the soviet union could watch this going on, and the kennedy administration was embarrassed about the open racism in the united states and what it made it looks like on the geopolitical stage. and it was the anti-communist movement, and that's the problem. >> we will talk more about this actually and about the role the press plays in civil rights, and in struggles for social justice right after this break.
street. we usually check out the op eds, and today we wanted to focus on the memorial to dr. king. and this is august 28th, 1963, cover of the jobs and justice march. and i offer this as an antidote to the clips we played before as somebody in the moment at that time getting what they are seeing. i have a dream he cried again and again. phrases from the constitution, all ending with a vision that they might all one day come true. he was full of the symbolism of lincoln and gandhi, and he was militant and sad and sent the crowd away feeling like the long journey had been worthwhile. what a great piece of reporting. the flip side of the hostile press role that we saw in the
montage is that there is no question that at a certain point the northern white establishment press particularly, which had unprecedented kind of monopoly of the public's attention in the 1960s came to see what the true nature of southern segregation was, and that coverage really changed perceptions, wouldn't you say, bob. >> i absolutely agree with that. and what i think is different now, and you are talking about the mainstream press, and it's much less important, and actually much less existence in the old days, and the times are important because it's the paper of record and people come to the "times" to see what happened, and the issues coming up today and the occupy wall street movement, these issues resonate with so much of the population right now, so when you were talking about civil rights in the mainstream press, the people looking at the mainstream press saw the victims of the oppression as the other, but they thought it was intolerable
what was happening to them. now, what is really interesting is less of a mainstream press, much more in the way of communications, but very fragmented, and issues that really resonate with the majority of the population. >> so back then you have this sort of concentrated mass media shining the light on an issue about how we treat a minority country. now we have a media that is trying to get the story of how the majority is being screwed, exactly. >> a reminder, the real turning point was not the violence against john lewis, but it was the murder of white allies and those incredibly brave, courageous white students that came south and were murdered, and white southerners doing there who were murdered that helped to bridge this, as you point out, this other. >> that's true.
but also the young girls who were murdered in birmingham -- >> yeah, the innocence. >> and the fire hoses, and the dogs, and, yeah. >> the provocative counter factual i want to ask you, in the environment when the established press does not have the hold as a fact of how many people watch the evening news broadcast, and how many people read "the new york times," is it possible for the kind of social change that we need in the absence of that kind of concentrated media entity? >> i think it's a question of what the social change is. one of the problems that i think that we have had in this country is that our press has become so sequesters for the most part on economic lines that the urgency of what has been going on in the country in terms of prolonged unemployment and loss of wages has not been felt by that group
of people enough to really appreciate the urgency that is going on. i think, you know, that is one of the biggest problems, i think, that we have in terms of real social change in terms of economic justice in the country. >> the unemployment rate is around 4.5%, which is near full employment, and for african-americans it's around 16%, and people young it's in the 20s, and if you look at the full measure of unemployment, so there's a profound social distance between the people that have my job, for instance, and people that are long-term unemployed seeing their houses foreclosed upon. what you should know for the news week ahead. ♪
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coverage with obama's speech about an hour and a half or so away. and meantime, he hits the road to push his jobs bill, and we will tell you how it might be a key to the re-election campaign. more 999 talk, build a big long fence and lots of cash and almost no cash, and an eventful day for some of the candidates, and those are the highlights. back to you. >> what should we know as we head into the week? first you should know especially if you are about to be a new parent, if you give your kid access to n ipad, they will suspect every object in the word will be operated in the same way. as gop ae laets rally around mitt romney, you should know that this photo of had he and
his buddies posing while tossing around money will be making a regular appearance in the general election. speaking of money, president obama raised $70 million for his re-election, which is good sense for the election, but bad for the economics. and you should know you can find dylan ratigan here weekdays. and then the cfdc commodities commission had limited how much speculating wall street could do on various commodities. the vote is set for tuesday, and reuters reports that they have enough votes to pass the limits. so if prices stabilize, you will
know the bureaucrats got it right and made things better for businesses alike. and the occupiers have been trying to make it through the winter to come. finally, you should know as you watch the maurltin luther king junior memorialized today, that the present day santafies image figure, he was deeply polarizing and controversial. he was not embraced by the establishment and viewed by many as a troublemaker, and casted by white liberals that his program by civil disobedience caused disorder. the disorder was the point of the nonviolence civil disobedience. king understood that real, radical change, which is what he spent his life fighting for requires disruption and
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our guests are back to tell us what you should know as the news unfolds this week. first, because we've been discussing civil disobedience and the reaction and the legacy of dr. martin luther king, jr. i want to play this piece of tape which we did not get to earlier. a few people going to close their account in bank of america account in santa cruz and this is what happens. >> cannot be pro tester and customer at the same time. >> oh, hell no. >> they walk in with signs saying i want to close my account and the employee says you cannot -- you have to go. >> i'm awe customer. >> the employee says you cannot be a protester and customer at the same time. that's going to be iconic quote. i want to show the one from earlier. this is what happened yesterday at a citibank here in new york
city. >> you were inside with everybody else. >> i'm a customer. >> you were inside. >> why do you -- >> what are you doing? what are you doing? what are you doing? not doing anything wrong. oh, my god. this is wrong. this is wrong. [ screaming ] this is wrong. shame, shame, shame. >> should note that citibank issued a statement saying people entered the bank and refused to leave, were being disruptive. that woman was not inside the bank when arrested as you saw. just want that video to be out there. provoke discussion among people. now, i would like to hear from you, bob herbert. what should folks know? >> as we look at the protests
against concentrated wealth. we should keep in mind that the median wealth for african-americans in this country is a meager $2200. and the median wealth for african-american females in the united states is $5. >> wow. that is amazing statistic. bob herbert. sam cedar, ring of fire radio. >> going forward. occupy wall street, i think, is going to grow. not only will you see more direct action in the context of the banks but now there's going to be more direct action on-line. occupy the boardroom is just launching now and they're going to basically start to flood the e-mail boxes of some members of board rooms of banks and other major corporations. >> just want to make sure and emphasize on the african-american females, it's single african-american females at $5. >> bob herbert doing an on arrow owe. >> political science froefr professor at tulane.
sister citizen is her great book. it's sister citizen by melissa harris perry. i have given you all your titles. what should folks know? >> certainly on this same question of sort of thinking about king, we've put one figure in, king. if that memorial were representative of the civil rights movement, there would be so many names and faces of people who we don't know. remember that king comes to prominence from the montgomery bus boycott. that means that people stayed off those buses for an entire year. now, one person broke ranks for a year. there's one person in that memorial, but it is memorializing hundreds of thousands of people who did that work. >> that's great. john mcquarter of columbia university. what should folks know? >> chris, actually, i will be a father for the first time in two and a half months. i wonder whether my daughter will be born into an america undergoing a really significant
revolution from the left. i think that would be interesting and beneficial in many ways. in terms of whether that's going to stem from occupy wall street, i think that this week is when we're going to see, pretty much by saturday, in terms of the media coverage, in terms of what's going on, whether or not that's going to be a significant something rather than just something we were interested in as news people for a few weeks in late 2011. >> that's john mcwhorter of columbia university, melissa harris. majority -- bob herbert of dee moes. i screw up the end of the show every single day. thank you for joining us. we'll be back next saturday at 7:00 easte time and sunday at 8:00. set it your dvr's. we have david onset. until then, find us on facebook at up with chris. up next is "weekends with alex witt." we'll see you next year -- week, here on up. >> so close. >> so close. cannot get it right.
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uh yeah, it's a chevy volt. so you're just here rubbing our nose in the fact that you don't have to buy gas? just plug in and go? that make you feel better? well i still pay about $1.50 a day in electricity... on average. you know he's just here to use the bathroom. customers only. no gas, no bathroom. ok, i'll buy gas.