tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC July 10, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT
root testified about the physical abilities of both zimmerman and martin saying that martin appeared to be in good physical health compared to zimmerman who was in the process of losing weight. root also portrayed zimmerman as poorly equipped for a fight based on discussions with a trainer at zimmerman's gym. >> what information were you able to glean concerning mr. zimmerman's physical prowess or ability? >> outside of defenses, he didn't have any. mr. zimmerman was described as being a very nice person but not the fighter. >> in the prosecution's cross examination, attorney john guy used a dummy to reenact the events that may have led to the fatal gun shot, including the positioning of the firearm during the fight. >> if this person, this mannequin, were carrying a firearm on their waist, where would the gun be right now in relation to me? >> would be at your left inner thigh. >> right here, right?
>> yes. if he was right-handed, it would be at your left inner thigh, right? >> right. underneath my leg. >> yes, inside your leg. >> let's go back to the courtroom where dennis root is still on the stand and let's listen in. >> whether it's a push or a strike, every time you blow -- drive a strike or a firearm, the body goes until it hits an object that will stop it. >> did you see the physical injuries that punctate bruising and lacerations on the side of mr. zimmerman's head? >> when i said blows earlier, those were the things that really caught my eye because of the fact that it was a striking, not a pushing so much because of all of the, lack of a better word, injury or damage that i saw on the side of the head. there was swelling all around his head. it's not just the facial area, it's all around. >> the injuries were consistent with somebody pushing the head down to the side, do you see me move it to the side like that, is that similar to that hitting
cement? >> it could be. it could be that or it could be punches as well driving those strikes in. >> and then on the other side, were the injuries consistent with the left side of mr. zimmerman? >> it could be. you know, just like mr. guy pointed out, if mr. zimmerman is on the bottom and he's not just laying there, he is moving whether he's trying to defend himself, trying to do his sliding techniques or whatever they are, as he's turning his body and his head in those efforts, it's going to redirect and realign so whatever push or punch comes in, if he turns this way it's a strike to the side, the front. that's all indicative of an ongoing combat event. >> talk to me about the angle. mr. guy, i think, was suggesting that we need to stay focused with the entry of the angle of the wound. basically 90 degrees straight in, correct? >> that's what he said, yes. >> now that could happen as mr. guy suggested, maybe something like this, just trayvon martin is trying to now back away at
the end of the 45 seconds, correct? >> correct. >> do you agree that that's a possibility? >> absolutely it's a possibility. >> do you have any evidence that beyond a reasonable doubt that is what happened? >> no. >> could it happen this way? >> yes. >> same thing. could it happen this way? >> yes. >> could it happen if mr. martin is reaching back with his hands where he has the final strike or something like that? could it happen right there when he's coming back over? >> as long as the alignments of the body stay within the same relative positions, where they are within that access of movement, it's a possibility. >> you know that mr. zimmerman was, in fact, able to get the gun out of the right side hip, correct? >> yes. >> somehow he got to that, correct? >> correct. >> how much weight do you give to mr. zimmerman's ability to disclose and to revise exactly how that happened? >> not a lot. >> why not? >> because when he became aware of the presence of the firearm he reached for it.
he -- the transition under stress -- the transition of how it got into the hand is kind of moot and, you know, my background, training and experience, i've interviewed numerous police officers involved in shootings and frequently i hear i shot -- well, when you draw, they are not clear on how they got into position, they just know they did it. instinctually, survival mechanism, whatever it is. the point still remains the gun was in his hands and he did in fact discharge it. >> he did it in a way that was in contact with billowing clothing that was two to four inches away from the chest, correct? >> correct. if we think about the movements, if he's moving with the -- i think it was an arizona iced tea in his jacket, the hoodie, transition, leaning forward, the body position is there, he's going to keep it away. if they transition back, at some point if he's leaning too far back or whatever trying to get it up, the tea will be pushing
the shirt the opposite direction because it's going with the motion too. at what point and where they were, i can't specifically say. >> okay. in the context of your training and experience in the way combat events and how they owe kerr, is it possible that at some point mr. martin was in fact up here? >> there is no question that it's possible because during the event when he says he's sliding down, i don't expect mr. martin to be able to match him move for move. is it possible that at some point he was up on his chest? yes. then he slides back. >> is it possible that at some point he was here? >> sure. >> how about is it possible that at some point during that dynamic altercation he was even this far down? >> it's possible. >> when he's this far down, just over the thighs, where is that hip holster? i'm not going to ask you to get up, just tell me when to stop my finger as to where the hip holster is. >> right here. >> yes, sir.
>> is it available to him at this point? >> yes, sir. >> how about up here? >> yes, sir. >> at this point where you say it's available, what is my ty pointing down towards. >> the bellybutton. >> my ty ie is pointing directl to the belly built ton? >> yes, sir. >> based on your training and experience, how much thrashing or movement was happening in that dynamic event between these two men at that point? >> i would have to say a lot. >> was that evidenced by the contusions and abrasions on mr. zimmerman's head? >> yes, sir. i mean, the clothing, showing the contact, the wet spots on the clothing. you know, i think that you're not going to be involved in an encounter like this without it being dynamic. >> since the weapon is not available, we had talked about -- you did say this could be a weapon? >> yes, sir. >> could be a weapon? >> yes, sir. >> could be a weapon?
>> yes, sir. >> most anything that you want to be a weapon could be a weapon, correct? >> yes, sir. i do training classes on improvised weapon systems. anything can be utilized. it depends how it can be used. >> you certainly would say a stick could be a weapon? >> most definitely. >> you saw evidence of injuries caused by a weapon of a fist, correct? >> yes. >> and the weapon of concrete? >> yes. head striking the concrete, yes. >> and just so we're clear, did you see any evidence of any injury on trayvon martin from your review of the autopsy that was consistent with him being hit by this? >> i didn't see anything to that effect, no, sir. >> did you see any evidence of any injury of trayvon martin being hit by anything? >> i didn't note any injuries on trayvon martin except for there was the one point on his hand. >> how would you explain fact to
this jury? how do you explain the fact that in an ongoing altercation, i'm going to presume for the point of this that it was mr. zimmerman screaming, mr. zimmerman screaming 40 seconds, how do you explain to this jury that he couldn't even land a strike in defense of himself? >> object to that. calling for speculation. >> your honor, i'm going to -- >> you're asking for an explanation? >> i am. and the door i think has been opened as to potential analogies. >> overruled. >> can you restate the question again? i'm sorry. >> sure. can you explain to the jury a couple of facts. it was suggested it was mr. zimmerman screaming. you've now testified that mr. zimp mer man was not able to strike nary a blow on mr. martin. can you explain to the jury how that might have happened, how that occurred? >> well, if we were stating that he was the individual screaming, then we could conclude that with mr. martin on top of him, mr.
martin was the aggressor. the strikes were being rained down and he, for lack of better words, was physically unable of responding, wanting someone to help him out of a bad situation. it's possible his hands were busy. maybe they were pushing -- i wasn't there. i can't say exactly what his hands were doing. i know if you're the aggressor in a fight, how can you be the addressor and not hurt somebody? so in this situation if he's the one screaming, the reason there's an absence of injuries is because he's the one that was throwing strikes. >> is it unusual for someone to simply be completely dominated by another one who is physically better abilitied. >> it all goes back to mindset and it's not unusual but what's really -- you know, in listening to the nonemergency call that mr. zimmerman made, it's clear
during this conversation that he becomes concerned about mr. martin, ee special pli when he's looking at him and walking back towards him because he even vocalizes this to the dispatcher. he didn't get out of the car at that point to confront him. to me, my perspective is because mr. martin is not the i'm in your face confrontational person, when he had the opportunity where he mentioned that mr. martin had taken off running or mr. zimmerman is not confrontational. he announced that mr. martin took off running, that's when he gets out and is following. the operator asks, are you following him? he says, yes, i am. it's because there's no threat. he took off running. everything about that one call that leads up indicates that he had concern for his safety. i can hear it in his voice. then when he interacts with him and he's coming back, he's face to face, he's not confrontational. he's looking at him. you can hear in the voice that he's talking to the dispatcher.
then when mr. martin is leaving again, suddenly his vernacular is strengthened and he struck me as the type of person that doesn't have a problem with telling you that someone is a jerk. i lost the question. i apologize. i was going somewhere, i don't know where it was. >> you were. i was going to let you go. we'll refocus it. >> let's go to where i was going to. >> do you have plans for the jury to go out for lunch and it's going to take an extra long lunchtime. is this a good breaking point? >> it is, your honor. >> thank you. >> ladies and gentlemen -- you've been watching the george zimmerman trial and the testimony of dennis root, a safety and law enforcement trainer. joining me is msnbc legal analyst, lisa bloom. lisa, what was the prosecution looking -- the defense looking to do today to demonstrate and
really pinpoint the location of the gun? >> he's a use of force expert. he makes a living testifying in cases like this, and the defense is trying to establish that george zimmerman behaved reasonably, that given that a fight is very dynamic and how the whole thing proceeded according to george zimmerman's story, ultimately when he was down and trayvon martin was on top of him, that was his story, when he reached for the gun and fired the gun it was reasonable under all the circumstances. >> there are a number of things that judge nelson restricted dennis root on the stand from discussing. he was not able to testify that zimmerman was reasonable in his use of deadly force, that zimmerman did not violate florida law and that zimmerman acted in restraint when using deadly force on trayvon martin. why was that not permissible? >> i think ultimately he did testify to some of that, certainly to some of the reasonablebility. that is questions for the jury. witnesses are not supposed to come to court and tell the jury how to decide ultimate issues.
whether it was self-defense under florida law. that's what the jurors are to decide. the witnesses are supposed to talk about facts. when you get to an expert witness, it gets mercier. sometimes that gets close to the line on issues that the jury is supposed to decide. >> i want to return to the events of last night where it was certainly a tense scene in the courtroom. at one point the judge seems very frustrated and walked out while don west was still speaking. have you seen that before in the courtroom? >> you know, i haven't and i've seen a lot. everything about this case is really extraordinary. it's certainly the judge and the attorneys who have been working very long hours. yesterday it was 13 plus hours. that's just in the courtroom. when i'm trying cases after the courtroom is done, i go back to the office and work for several more hours getting witnesses ready for the next day, reviewing legal points. i think tempers are fraying on all ends and, you know, the judge had told him essentially he had lost the argument. he's continuing to argue. she's had it.
she gets up and walks out. she's the judge. she gets to do that. >> she is the judge and she gets to do that. court is now actually in recess until 1:45 p.m. eastern. that's nbc's legal analyst lisa bloom. thanks as always. >> thank you. after the break the list includes john mccain, lindsey graham, karl rove and bushes jeb and george w. can these heavy weights impact reform when the debate in the house isn't actually about immigration reform. we'll talk party skis ams and canyons when raul labrador joins us next on "now." is like hammering.
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people, part of my family. >> rather than making them or talking about putting up a fence, why don't we work out some recognition of our mutual problems, make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit and then while they're working and earning here, they pay taxes here. >> that was the republican party's position on immigration in 1980. 33 years later, 700 miles of fencing, 20,000 additional border patrol agents, that's apparently not enough to satisfy the house gop. >> we all believe that if we're going to go forward on immigration reform, the first big step is you have to have a serious border security. >> today's crisis kounl/therapy session of house republicans, speaker john boehner will take the temperature of his raucous caucus. the signs for immigration reform are not good. despite an rnc autopsy urging
the party to embrace comprehensive reform and despite john mccain, marco rubio, jeb bush and a majority of republican primary voters, politico says top republicans now predict comprehensive immigration reform will die a slow month-long death in the house. the gop's last president clearly concerned about a party marginalizing itself among a changing electorate felt the need to break his silence today at a naturalization ceremony at his presidential library. >> i do hope there is a policy resolution to the debate and i hope during the debate that we keep a benevolent spirit in mind and we understand the contributions immigrants make to our country. >> the cvo projects the senate bill would cut the flow by up to half and reduce the deficit by $135 billion over ten years.
the u.s. chamber of commerce would help to craft the bill is running for and calling for an end to the status quo. all of this begs the question, what exactly is stopping the house gop from embracing comprehensive reform. joining me today, executive vice president of global strategy group and former senior advisor to priorities u.s.a. action, bill burton. new york magazine's jonathan chase and distinguished fellow, bob herbert and joining us from capitol hill is republican congressman, raul labrador. congressman, thanks so much for joining us on a very, very important day. >> great to be on your show, alex. >> congressman, i want to start first with what you have said to the press thus far as far as comprehensive immigration reform. you told the hill today that comprehensive reform, the senate bill, is less likely than it was a month ago. i ask you in this hour, is there any chance that the senate bill can pass the house of
representatives? >> there's absolutely no chance that the senate bill passes the house of representatives. it's a good start. there's a lot of good things in the senate bill but we need to make it stronger. we actually believe that we should do a step-by-step approach. i think a comprehensive bill, it's a bad idea. i think you can do a comprehensive approach to immigration where you do a series of bills that together they deal with the issue comprehensively. i think that's what we're trying to do in the house of representatives. >> are you confident that that step-by-step approach will include a path to citizenship. >> it will include a path to legal status. i don't know that it will include a path to citizenship. it will not necessarily give them citizenship status. i think that's something that the american people want. i think that's something that is fair but it's something that can also pass the house of representatives. >> congressman if, as you say, the senate bill dies and there's
no chance that it passes the house, what do you say to editorials like this one from the "wall street journal" which is not exactly known as a bastian of liberal thought. i'll read you the quote from the op ed page today. the republican led house has tried to sell itself as the party of solutions. to fail to fix an immigration that everyone admits is contrary to the -- are house republicans mere obstructionists? >> absolutely not. you had a mere minority vote for the bill. you had most of the senate democrats or all the senate democrats vote for it. i think there is a solution. the question is chuck shoom mer said any bill without a pathway is dead. if chuck schumer is not going to pass anything unless he gets 100% of what he wants then he's the one who's killing immigration reform. he's the one who is saying 80%
is not enough. >> do you really think the narrative is out there that it's democrats killing this. you have "the wall street journal" excoriating house republicans. >> we have -- >> let me finish. you have a bill put together by john mccain and lindsey graham and the u.s. chamber of commerce and you're going to blame democrats? >> yeah. if chuck schumer does not accept the solution from the house, if he says that 80% is not good enough for him because he wants 100%, then it is his fault. i mean, think about this where we have come from. the republican party is actually working on immigration reform, it's working on legalization legislation, it's working on ways to deal with the young kids that are here in the united states that came here through no fault of their own. if that is not good enough for chuck schumer and the democratic party, then that means that they really don't want a solution, that all they want is the rhetoric to talk about immigration reform. you also need to remember, the president has solid majorities in the house and the senate when he was elected. he promised the hispanic people
that that was the first issue he was going to work on, was immigration reform, and he did not do it. now conveniently after his re-election he's saying that it's the house that is not doing immigration reform. he had two years to do it and he did absolutely nothing. so let's not try to blame the republicans for lack of immigration reform. >> it's not democrats necessarily who are blaming the republicans, it's other republicans who are blaming republicans. >> you're talking about "the wall street journal." that's an editorial journal that is neither republican nor democrat. >> george bush, lindsey graham who won't be happy if the bill dies in the house. >> i listend to george bush. i agree with everything that he said in that clip that you just had. i don't see how george bush and i disagree on anything. i actually think george bush and i agree 100% on what needs to be done. we need to have responsible immigration reform. reducing it by 30 to 50% is not responsible immigration reform.
>> let me ask you one question though. you're accusing democrats of being absolutists. isn't that what republicans are doing, exactly the same thing. you want 100% security on a border that is tens of thousands of miles long when you have a proposal that reduces it up to half? >> nobody is saying 100%. it has to be better than 30%. cbo is saying it's going to be between 30 and 50%. we know it's less than what the cbo scores because when the cbo scores everything else, they always seem to overestimate things. even if we take them at their word, which is what i'm doing right now, 30 to 50% the american people will not stand for that. you look at all of the polling data out there, whether it's republican polling data or democratic polling data. it all shows that the american people want us to do something on immigration and i agree with them, but they also say that the number one concern that they have is they want border security. they want to make sure that we secure the border and that we do not have the same issue ten years from now.
if you think about it, if we allow that kind of illegal immigration over the next ten years, every five years we have to have another reg began amnesty. we have to start legalizing everybody five years. i don't want to have to be here ten years from now debating this issue again. >> let me bring in our panel for a little analysis. bill, i want to ask. part of this is about immigration reform and the specific policy choices in and around reform, but i also think what's happening here is exemplary within the larger cleat where you have some folks who are moderate, willing to come to the table, and you have other folks from conservative districts or just sort of idealogues and party purists who refuse to come to the 25ib8. >> two points. one on policy and one on politics. on policy, democrats had a choice whether they could try to get a bill or have a bill that failed and use the politics of it to win an election.
i think that democrats demonstrated that they were willing to give up a lot. you know, giving up on the gay rights pieces. this was giving up a lot. giving up on crazy border security pieces. this is a lot. we're more militarized at the border than when woodrow wilson was chasing down poncho villa. on the politics, republicans have a big problem. if you're mike hoffman in colorado and you need to fix your problem with the spanish voters, then you need a bill to vote on. republicans can put together a coalition in the house and pass something through. the fact that they won't is the problem that congressman labrador can't exactly solve for in the talking points that don't match up with reality. >> i don't speak on talking points so that's totally offensive. if you want to have a debate on the discussion, we can do that. i have my own mind. i was an immigration lawyer for 15 years. i think i know more about you on immigration and immigration
reform. let's not try to insult people. >> there was no insult intended, congressman. >> i think there was. >> i appreciate, congressman, that you were an immigration lawyer for 15 years. you of all people should know that there is a massive problem in this country. >> there is. >> and there is not an easy way to solve it. >> it's not my party. it's your party that stood in the way of solving it when president bush wanted to resolve it. if we want to cast a perfectisp back and forth all day. >> president obama voted for amendments that killed the immigration reform act in the senate. let's talk about the reality of immigration reform. your party hasn't wanted to do it. rob emanuel told the president that if they did immigration reform democrats would lose electorally. if you want to start casting aspersions, your party has as much blame as my party has for not getting this issue solved. >> congressman, let me ask jonathan tate to respond to this idea that the congressman's putting forward, that it's
democrats standing in the way of compromise. >> i didn't say that. i said both parties. both parties are. >> okay. that democrats are equally to blame. >> his premise is that the democrats are insisting on getting everything they want, which he means to be the senate bill. the senate bill isn't everything the democrats want. the senate bill is a compromise between two parties. they went pretty far between what they want. now he's saying you have to go much farther to abandon the central things you wanted in immigration reform. go farther. that's kind of a strange argument, but it's interesting that he feels compelled to try to blame the democrats for the failure of immigration reform at the house department of engineering. i wasn't sure that -- >> i failed to defend republicans after you're blaming democrats for five minutes. you started out by blaming republicans. the whole segment has been about blaming republicans for the failure of immigration reform. what i'm telling you is that there's republicans who have
goodwill here in the house of representatives like myself that understand the need for comprehensive immigration reform. we understand we need to do something with the 11 million people here. we understand we have a broken immigration system. we understand we need to do something for the high skilled sector, that we're bleeding jobs. we're having people come and be educate add and they're leaving the united states. we understand all those things, but we want to make sure that the triggers are in place that we don't repeat the mistake of 1986 where we have a.mnesty today. >> the mistake that you mention is of a republican president, ronald reg began, who is much more mainstream on this. >> i know. >> why not bring the senate bill up for a vote in the house? >> we can bring it up -- >> and let the members of the house decide. >> we can bring it up in the house judiciary committee and it
will die. >> the committee isn't the house. he means the full house. >> you know, we work as a house committee process. i know you guys don't like that, but that's what we do here in the house of representatives. >> let's try asking, congressman. have you had any communication with republicans in the senate about this? >> absolutely. i have talked to a lot of republicans in the senate. i'm good members with people and i'm friends with people who voted against the immigration reform bill and we're trying to craft legislation and craft a concept and a way for us to get to an immigration reform bill. i think we both want the same thing. >> have you spoken with john mccain and lindsey graham about this and the fact that there is no chance of passing the senate bill in the house? >> i have not talked to them about that but i have talked to other people. >> and i want to bring bob herbert in here. bob, this is a really dramatic turn of events. i was someone who wanted a broader comprehensive immigration bill.
it's a sad day for someone who wanted broader prospects. looking at the political calculus, it seems as if the republican party doesn't think it needs to pass comprehensive reform and make a bigger bid to people of hispanic origin, latin origin and the new republic analyzed this notion of perhaps doubling down on white voters by saying if republicans don't want to come pro mice on immigration reform, they will probably need to do something else to make up ground. it could be moderating on social issues or economics or both. the gop will have to pick its poison meaning the status quo is not going to make it. >> i think we make a mistake when we look at it through a lens of moderation and logic which is what we do. that's not where the party is and what the party is. i thought the excitement of immigration reform was misplaced. i never thought it was going to
pass the house. i knew inevitably and said probably on the show but i said inevitably we were going to get to this point. i think the republican party is hostile to immigration reform and i think that it is hostile to most voters of the party, not all republicans, but the party as a whole is hostile nonwhite voters. that's where the party is. the argument we have been making is this is a losing stand for the party, that the dem graphics alone are changing in a way that they can't take it from where they are. i don't totally agree with that, but i think the party itself has to change. that means the folks in the party themselves right now have to be done. >> congressman, i want to ask you specifically about that because you're a person of color. your mother was a single mother. you came to this country from puerto rico. are you satisfied that the outreach and the messaging that your party has gotten to single women, working women, single mothers, to people of color. people looking to come to the
united states to make a better job and i agree with that statement, but i think the rest of the statement is a little bit off. i'll give you one example. steve pierce is the congressman from new mexico. there was a "new york times" article written about him, how he is a very conservative. he's just as conservative as i am on many issues. he represents a district that is mostly hispanic. what he does is he reaches out to the hispanic community. he doesn't pandor to the hispanic community. he makes sure he goes to all the meetings, caucuses. he does everything they do. what he does is gets the respect of the hispanic community. i think he has to be an example for every republican. pandoring to the community like msnbc wants us to do. >> i would beg to differ on that last point. >> that's a recipe for disaster because what's going to happen, if you're pandering, it's going to be the side that panders the
most that will get the results. we'll never out pandor the democratic party. >> you may want to qualify it or pa pandor it. >> that's what we want. that's what you're doing. you're saying the only way the republican party can win is by accepting an immigration reform bill that is not fully completed. i don't think that's the right way to do it. we do the right policy and the politics will follow, but i do agree that we have to as a party go out to the communities and talk to them, explain to them why our policies are different than their policy. ask them why they think under the obama administration there are more hispanic people poor, more african-americans poor, more people losing their job. >> given all of that, it's a wonder that the president won the hispanic community by the margins that he did. i do want to ask you,
congressman -- >> it is a wonder. >> given -- given the fact that you did not vote, you're one of the very few number of republicans who did not vote to keep speaker boehner in as the speaker of the house, are you satisfied with his lead othership on this issue in particular and are you confident that he will stand the house republican caucus in good stead? >> absolutely. he and i have a very good relationship. he understands why i voted the way i voted, i just abstained. he's leading the republican congress in the right way. he's making sure the will of the republican conference is heard. that's why we're having the conference like me advocating for getting something done, for showing the american people our vision of immigration reform. i think it's a mistake to have no vision, to say our vision is to do absolutely nothing.
that's where we would lose politically. if we can say, these are the things we're willing to do, you will see the american people will be on our side. >> congressman, we look forward to that action and we look forward to having you back on the show to discuss those actions specifically. thank you so much four your time. >> great to be on your show. we have some developing news to update you on. moments ago the texas house passed that state's controversial abortion bill by a vote of 96-49. the measure now heads to the texas senate where it previously died as a result of state senator wendy davis's 11 hour filibuster. a vote could come as early as friday. coming up, ron and rand paul may be considered darlgts of the tea party, but planet paul has neocon fet der rate theories on race and theories. we'll discuss it next when we're joined live on "now." it's a fresh-over.
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last month when the supreme court struck down section 4 of the voting rights act, a key provision that designates which parts of the country must have federal permission to make changes in election laws, the court essentially opened the door to state level voter suppression. since then the states have wasted no time. in his opinion, chief justice john roberts said, quote, our country has changed. but what's happened at the state level is evidence that actually it hasn't. a mere two hours, two hours after the court's decision was announced texas officials said they would begin enforcing a strict voter i.d. requirement. soon after, four more states followed suit. mississippi, alabama, south carolina, and north carolina are all moving forward with new voter suppression laws that would disproportionately affect minority voters. those states with an historic predilection for disenfranchising people of color
literally rushed to put in place laws that would disenfranchise people of color. has the country really changed? if one needed more evidence that racism still exists in america, look no further than the office of kentucky senator rand paul, one of the gop's rising stars and a possible presidential candidate in 2016. yesterday "the watching free beacon" reported that jack hunter, a close aid to rand paul and the co-author on the senator's latest book apparently spent years working as a pro secessionist radio pundant and neoconfederate activist. he calls himself a confederate activist. he said lincoln's a sass sinl john wilkes booth had his heart in the right place. a nonwhite majority america would simply cease to be america. joining us now is the director of the democracy program at the brennan center, wendy wiser.
from capitol hill democratic congressman from minnesota, keith ellison. i would like to go to you first. i found the freebie con's reporting shocking whampt did you make of it? >> shocking. but it's not that surprising. i mean, here's the reality. i mean, there was little doubt what was going to happen once section 4 was struck down. in fact, justice roberts himself had been speaking against it for years and so when the flood gates got opened, the flood waters came right on through. what we've got to do as americans is stand up and say this is not who we are. we believe that people have a right to vote. full participation without regard to race or color and we need an awakening too because if the neocon fet der rates are on the march. people who believe in equality and inclusion need to be on the march too. >> wendy, let's talk about the voter laws. some part of me wants to talk about maybe there is something
different than dastardly, dastardly different than voter fraud at the root of it. ten cases of in person voter impersonation. it is insane to insinuate and to put in place laws that disenfranchise hundreds of thousands if not millions of people for something that doesn't exist, this idea of voter fraud. >> absolutely. and the problem's actually even worse than that. there are voter id laws in many states across the country, but these states, mississippi, alabama, texas have put in some of the most restrictive and inflexible voter i.d. laws for persons with no options who don't have those i.d.s and very difficult options to get those. in those states it was extremely discriminatory. it would affect african-american and latino voters and it blocked it. the ink wasn't dry before the
attorney general said we're moving forward with this. >> jonathan, you've written about -- you wrote yesterday about jack hunter and we've talked about the sort of southern strategy and the resurgence of sort of racist era political strategy and how that has reared its head. >> right. no, i think we have to be a little more careful about the continuation between this and historic voter suppression. john roberts has worn a different era, it's all over, it's all behind us. he's partially right because it's not the same thing. it's not as extreme, brutal and violent. it's not nearly as bad as what happened, but it is still bad. it is a continuation of the same things, a much weaker version of white conservative majorities putting in intended things for no reason other than to suppress the minority vote. it's a much more marginal vote. they're not disenfranchising a
majority, they're trying to disenfranchise a minority. you have to be careful with what roberts is doing. they're trying to say there's nothing similar and of course there are some things similar. you know -- >> yeah, and i find it -- i think you'd be hard-pressed to say that this isn't at least nakedly political, to try and surpass the votes of the traditionally voting democratic people. >> absolutely. his basis of a comparison is the pre-mid 1960s south where you had 90% or more of the african-american population disenfranchised. you don't have that policy anymore. you have policies designed to eliminate a much smaller minority vote. that's not to say they're terrible policies. >> congressman, i've got to ask you -- >> i've got to tell you. >> go ahead. >> i think my friend has taken a very -- too optimistic of a view. it's going to start out being somewhat innocuous but we don't know where it ends up a year
from now, two years from now. i think it's possible that we will see some things glaringly similar to the 1960s. my mother was born and raised in louisiana tells me that these kinds of things and this voter suppression stuff reminds her of the era she grew up in. so i'm not quite prepared to say that it's too much time to learn generous. now that section 4 has been struck down, we really don't know where this thing is going to go. >> i think we ought to be prepared for the worst. >> i think it's also important to keep in mind that the point of these voter suppression laws is to prevent black people, and in many cases latinos as well, from voting. that is exactly the same thing people were trying to do in the 1960s. they want to keep you from going in and casting your vote. >> and they're -- the other thing that we should keep in mind is there are large numbers of people that are being
excluded, prevented from voting. it's not like a small group of people here and there. it's tremendous numbers of people that are being kept from casting their ballots. this is an evil practice, a racist practice. that needs to be kept in mind. one more quick point. when roberts says the country has changed since the 1960s. that is absolutely clear. all he has to do is look around. unless you're nuts, you realize that the country has changed, but the suggestion is that the voting rights act has not been updated since the mid 1960s, and that's absolutely not true. they've been looking at cases of discrimination over the past several years and the voting rights act has been adjusted to reflect those situations. >> let me just say, i don't know if it's convenient -- it is convenient to have some news of jack hunter come out against this back drop. racism and racist opinions about america are alive and well and
flourishing in the offices of some people who run for president in 2016, bill. >> well, bob's point and congressman ellison's point that these laws are specifically designed to keep black folks, hispanic folks, college students, seniors, people who traditionally support democrats from voting is exactly right. i think that -- my hope is that, a, the voting rights act is figured out in congress. they try to go back at it. i think we all know that's not going to happen any time soon. >> we're pessimistic at best. >> right. second, in some of these communities where people see that people are actively trying to stop them from voting, engages them and energizes them in a way that they hadn't been energized. >> wendy, i want to talk to you about that point. first of all, the black turnout was up from 2008. it was 64.7% in 2008, 64.7% in 2012. had this vote not taken action
in several states according to the brennan center, as many as 5 million votes might have been lost which is almost exactly president obama's popular vote margin over mitt romney. >> absolutely. there is a lot at stake in the vote suppression laws and they affect vast numbers of people and the voting rights act was incremental in stopping several of them that affected huge numbers of people in texas, south carolina, florida. those would have been in effect in full force in 2012 election if it weren't for the voting rights act. and the voting rights act is important not only for these big statewide races but where the little bread and butter happens is at local races, municipal elections and school board elections where 85% of the discriminatory voting changes that were blocked happen and it affects people in their day-to-day lives. there the racism has been really far more widespread, doesn't get the same kind of national attention that, for example, a city of mississippi cansless an
election just after african-americans become a majority of the registered voters and when just last year in bow month, texas, they rejiggered the elections where the three african-american school board members wouldn't be able to seek re-election and have shorter terms, we realize we really do need that voting rights act to protect all of our rights to equal access. >> you're so right. the point about local level discrimination is shocking and deserving of greater attention. congressman, before we let you go, is there any reason to be optimistic -- this is against the back drop which looks like it may fail. is there any reason to be optimistic that coop can do something about these voter suppression laws? >> you must be optimistic working in this place. we're going to keep on fighting for it. i'm happy to tell you that i think that members like jim stensinbrenner and others are committed to do something. i know that they're moving forward so, look, we're going to push and we're going to act like
it's going to succeed and assume that it can. that's the only way forward that we have. >> keep the fight alive. we will be standing with you, congressman keith ellison. thank you so much for your time. >> zblem thank you to the brennan center's wendy wiser. we will have more for you after the break. that's real love. and so is giving him real tasty food. but some leading dog foods add sugar, dyes, or even artificial preservatives. [ dog whimpers ] but now there's new so good! from iams. with 100% real wholesome ingredients and none of those other things. now that's real love. so is that. new so good! see what's really in your dog's bowl at iams.com. what are you guys doing? having some fiber! with new phillips' fiber good gummies. they're fruity delicious! just two gummies have 4 grams of fiber! to help support regularity! i want some... [ woman ] hop on over! [ marge ] fiber the fun way, from phillips'.
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mitchell reports", rallying cry in the loan star state. the fight for reproductive rights takes a hit as they move closer to restricting access to women's health care. the filibuster star, wendy davis, does she have any last-minute options. she'll be joining us live in a minute. the battle over the borders. house republicans decide the future of immigration reform. will they listen to former president george w. bush? >> we have a problem. the laws governing the immigration system aren't working. the system is broken. >> witness for the defense, george zimmerman's lawyers are wrapping up their face with testimony from a defense expert who says zimmerman would have been at a fiscal disadvantage. we'll be following this live. the second of state gets emotional today when speaking about his wife's illness. >> i just want to thank
everybody for your extraordinary well wishes in the last days. theresa is doing better under evaluation and we hope improving. i want to thank everybody for the remarkable outpouring of good wishes that's been really very special. we are very, very humbled by the expressions of support. i think she's coming along and i know when she's able to, she'll thank everybody herself. good day. i'm andrea mitchell. in washington, overriding shouts texas statehouse republicans overrode the people by a vote of 96-42. the bill goes on to almost certain passage in the senate. >> my goal in this bill is to